As you may have heard by now, friend of this blog, and our friend at Firedoglake, John Chandley, aka “Scarecrow”, has died. Let the record reflect that I am freaking tired of being on the memorial duty. Seriously tired. If you are a participant in the discussion at this blog, or a related friend thereto, quit dying. Please. Enough.
John Chandley was a man. He stood firm and resolute on his own, in spite of being known probably to you only for blogging at Firedoglake under the pseudonym of “Scarecrow”. But Scarecrow was much more that that; never a merely a straw creature, but one who definitively stood firm for that which was righteous in the income inequality wars:
Scarecrow on a wooden cross Blackbird in the barn
Four hundred empty acres that used to be my farm
I grew up like my daddy did My grandpa cleared this land
When I was five I walked the fence while grandpa held my hand
Rain on the scarecrow Blood on the plow
This land fed a nation This land made me proud
And Son I’m just sorry there’s no legacy for you now
Rain on the scarecrow Blood on the plow
Rain on the scarecrow Blood on the plow
The crops we grew last summer weren’t enough to pay the loans
Couldn’t buy the seed to plant this spring and the Farmers Bank foreclosed
Called my old friend Schepman up to auction off the land
He said John it’s just my job and I hope you understand
Hey calling it your job ol’ hoss sure don’t make it right
But if you want me to I’ll say a prayer for your soul tonight
“Like a scarecrow in the rain”. Aren’t we all. That is the meter of life, and it is transient. Funny thing was, the real John Chandley, at least so far as I even knew him, was not transient in the least; but came out of the Berkeley swamps, cool and slow, like John Chandley’s friend and colleague at the time at Berkeley (John/Scarecrow was present at Berkeley in the moment), Mario Savio, with a backbeat hard to master.
The musical imagery here is mine; I am not sure what would be the preferred cocktail de jour of John. Before I leave, let me offer up one more paean of my own to the life of the one, and only, Mr. John “Scarecrow” Chandley”:
The world’s goin’ crazy and
Nobody gives a damn anymore.
And they’re breakin’ off relationships and
Leavin’ on sailin’ ships for far and distant shores.
You’re my brother,
Though I didn’t know you yesterday.
I’m your brother.
Together we can find a way.
Scarecrow would have, by every right that I knew him, been trepidatious in regards for our future; yet hopeful for the success and greatness that may await us all.
It is hard to tell where we all go in the living, much less where we go beyond. But never let it be said this blog does not care about the voices who were its friends and colleagues. And certainly not tonight.
RIP John “Scarecrow” Chandley.
As you may know by now, last Tuesday morning Firedoglake rolled out its brand new membership program. Both Jane Hamsher and Teddy Partridge have eloquently explained what this means to both you and Firedoglake. And we are all in it together, and for the absolute worthiest of purposes: an independent media, kick ass activism, intelligent analysis and stimulating discussion.
There is friendship and camaraderie here at FDL, without question; but, let’s face it, the real draw is the quality content. The quality of content was always superb; but it has grown, over the years, to be truly breathtaking across the board. For all of the broad spectrum of coverage here at FDL – from the biting humor and sardonic delight of TBogg, to the cutting edge intersection of entertainment, pop and light politics of Lisa Derrick at La Figa, to the unparalleled and award winning investigative reporting, insight and analysis of Marcy Wheeler at Emptywheel, to Jane Hamsher constantly moving the spectrum balance at FDL Action, to the wonderful guests and hosts at Book Salon, to the collective at FDL Main – there is simply nothing in the dead tree press or blogosphere like Firedoglake.
What I want to focus on for a moment, because it is the area I know best, is the incredible legal team you have working for you here. Firedoglake does not just have regular bloggers, or even working journalists, interpreting complex and often confusing legal cases, decisions and situation. No, Firedoglake has a team of professional attorneys at work both in front page posts, and behind the scenes for consultation by all the other journalists to consult with and draw upon. It is a powerful combination that is unmatched anywhere else, and one of the many reasons this site is worth your hard earned dollars of support and Continue reading
When Jane first invited you to become a founding member of Firedoglake, she made an analogy to NPR.
Last year, Craig Newmark of Craigslist said he thinks that by the year 2020, NPR will be a “dominant force” in media because of their membership model.
“I have a feeling that membership models and philanthropy models will be stronger than advertising-supported organizations, because people are willing to pay for trustworthy news,” he said.
That’s not quite right. Sure, like NPR, we aim to build financial stability over time and with it continue to do solid reporting. Like NPR, we hope to create a real community with our readers. And SWAG … We’ve got SWAG!
But in the last three days, an NPR executive got caught on film speaking the truth. Impolitely speaking the truth, but it was the truth. And rather than stand up for the truth of the statement, the ultimate target of the attack, Vivian Schiller, was forced out.
When faced with the choice of defending the truth or capitulating to fear, NPR capitulated.
Now, I’m grateful to the FDL community–from Jane to our readers–for supporting me in the past when I have spoken the truth a bit impolitely.
I’m even more grateful, though, for the courage that you give–and demand–of us. We talk with you directly in threads. We listen. We take your concerns seriously. And we know that if we ever hinted of capitulation in the face of fear, we’d hear about it!
That’s part of what membership in FDL is all about: holding us accountable, steeling our spines, giving us energy to take on the tough battles.
By asking you to become a member of FDL, we’re hoping to build the financial stability to keep doing what we’re doing. But we’re also looking to formalize the relationship in which you, our readers, ensure the integrity of what we do.
Become a founding member of FDL–and earn the right to kick our a$$ if we ever grow complacent.
In a full throated mea culpa by the New York Times Public Editor, Clark Hoyt, appearing in the Sunday edition, the Times officially describes the critical and material implications that arise when readers are misled by undisclosed interests of sources and authors in their paper of record.
These examples have resulted in five embarrassing editors’ notes in the last two months — two of them last week — each of them saying readers should have been informed of the undisclosed interest. And on Thursday, the standards editor sent Times journalists a memo urging them to be “constantly alert” to the outside interests of expert sources. The cases raised timeless issues for journalists and sources about what readers have a right to know and whose responsibility it is to find it out or disclose it.
That is exactly right. One of the prime examples the Times’ Public Editor bases his proper conclusion on is that of Jonathan Gruber:
Jonathan Gruber, a prominent M.I.T. health economist, wrote an Op-Ed column and was quoted frequently in other Times columns, news articles and blogs on health care reform before it came to light that he had a contract worth nearly $400,000 to analyze health proposals for the Obama administration.
Gruber, the health care economist, wrote an Op-Ed column in July supporting an excise tax on so-called Cadillac health plans. Not long before, he had signed a contract with the Department of Health and Human Services to analyze the economic impact of various health care proposals in Congress. He did not tell Op-Ed editors, nor was the contract mentioned on at least 12 other occasions when he was quoted in The Times after he was consulting for the administration. After a blogger reported on Gruber’s government contract on the Daily Kos Web site, Gruber did volunteer it to Steven Greenhouse, a Times reporter interviewing him for an article on the excise tax. Greenhouse said he included the fact in a draft but struck it because the article was too long. Greenhouse said that Gruber’s views on the tax were so well-known that he did not think they would be influenced by a consulting contract. But had he realized how large the contract was, Greenhouse said, “I would have stood up and paid lots more attention.”
While it is nice the Times has admitted its problem with Gruber, and his wantonly serial failure to disclose material facts and appearances of conflict, it is extremely curious and convenient they dodge the most recent, and in many regards most glaring, example of their damage from Gruber’s Continue reading