FDL: Looking At Things As They Were; Dreaming Of Things That Never Would Be

UnknownThere are multiple better voices here to address the apparent demise of Firedoglake, whether briefly or at length. I was, in a way, an interloper by chance. By fortune, actually. Because I was asked, for inexplicable reasons I will never fully understand, but will always treasure, to join Emptywheel when it morphed from The Last Hurrah into the Emptywheel blog at Firedoglake. Yes, I had been a decent contributor to both Next Hurrah, and, often, FDL, but still it was a bit of a shock when it came.

I can honestly say I, as a result, encountered some of the finest and most genuine people in my life. That happened because of FDL, both as to the lifetime friendships with people that are here with us, including, most notably, Marcy, and all the others. Marcy, Rayne, Jim White, Ed Walker, Rosalind….and, please, let us not forget Mary and some of the others no longer here. All that came, at least for me, out of seeing Scooter Libby coverage early on nearly a decade ago. At FDL.

This medium may be digital, but it has wings and real life beyond the URL’s and binary code or whatever. The people I have met and interacted with as a result of being around FDL were, with little exception, remarkable, intelligent, wonderful and I think the world has been made better by them.

So, to Jane Hamsher, Christy Hardin Smith, Siun, Pachacutec, Richard Taylor, Karl, Suzanne, Bev Wright (Bev and Book Salon was one of the most awesome things ever), Ellie, each and every one of the fantastic moderators who were the ones who kept the enterprise really alive for so long, and a host of others that allowed me to participate with them, thank you. There are too many to list, and I love one and all. You will all be missed, and I apologize to the too many other friends I met there and have not listed. You know who you are, and thank you.

I am starting to see eulogies all over the web, and most are quite decent. FDL was right, and early so, about the rule of law, the Cheney Administration, torture, surveillance, marriage equality and ACA/Obamacare, just to name a few of the plethora of topics breached on her pages. The voices have not died, but, now, the common enterprise has.

I will leave it to others to say where exactly FDL fits into the hierarchy and history of the blogosphere, but it was certainly up there. Thanks, and vaya con dios FDL.

Update, from emptywheel: bmaz forgot to mention DDay, but I’m certain it was an oversight.

67 replies
  1. pdaly says:

    Thanks for the alert, bmaz.
    Sorry to learn that FDL will be no more. Was just perusing the FDL website earlier today missing the easy ability to comment on posts. I had no idea of the impending update by Jane later today.
    I enjoyed the energy FDL brought to covering the Scooter Libby trial and the determination of commenters to learn the truth about our government under Bush and Obama alike.
    Glad to learn as well that Kevin Gosztola and Brian Sonenstein will continue on at their own group Shadowproof which will archive FDL posts.

    • bmaz says:

      You know, all things run their course and change. That’s good in the long run, for the most part, I think. But, still, pretty melancholy in a way. I started to try to filet open and describe some of the many critical areas FDL led, and was right, on. That was too big a task to put in this post.

      • pdaly says:

        True, bmaz, but I’m glad you got the conversation started.
        Looking at the most recent video link I posted I realize Jane taught us the word “chyron” those words that scroll along the bottom of the TV news casts.

  2. allan says:

    Three things: (i) Jane, Christy, Marcy, bmaz, Ed, DDay, Kevin and other FDL regulars opened my eyes to a world largely hidden from view in the MSM. And the commenters at FDL formed a real community. (ii) When I first began reading FDL in 2005-06, there were abundant political ads on it, helping support the site. As soon as FDL began airing posts that were not supportive of the Democratic party line, the ads, and the revenue, dried up. (iii) FDL was under constant DDOS attack for months in late 2014 – early 2015, making the site close to unusable. Cui bono?

  3. Ed Walker says:

    We got a lot of things right at FDL. I am particularly proud that we never went into the tank for Obama, but held progressives to the principles they said they supported during campaigns. That was just as true of the public option as it was on surveillance, Guantanamo and many more. Unlike other sites, we were writing about the economic issues in the Great Crash immediately, and on the rest of the mess of foreclosures and bank crimes. In the health care mess, we wrote often and accurately about the economics of the insurance biz, and we were right there too, as the merger craze in the health insurance business shows.
    Principle before party. A good motto, and one I hope Kevin, Brian and Kit will uphold.

  4. JohnT says:

    Now that I think about it, I guess I was attracted to FDL because I was part of the HS non clique that hated HS cliques, we weren’t the stuck up rich kids, or the jocks, or the geeks, or the cowboys or … ? We were all of them, and none of them
    We made fun of them, and at the same time, ourselves
    I was attracted to pariahs, I guess
    I first came across FDL through links at Crooks and Liars. And the blog I was a commenter at at the time was Blog for America, which was Dean for America’s virtual meeting place. BFA was pretty much destroyed by one troll who hijacked every comment thread.
    So, FDL became my virtual home. It was a place where the tough questions were asked … and answered by the bloggers, and most often the community of commenters (too many to list)
    What got me hooked, initially, was Christie’s writing; it’s like she was in my mind. Jane can write snark with the best of them. Then Marcy joined, which was completely unfair to the PTBs and MOTUs because they were so used to the stenographers of the MSM who worship at the mighty altar of the cocktail weinie parties
    I enjoyed FDL because it was a site that comforted the afflicted, and afflicted the comfortable
    Thanks Jane

  5. ek hornbeck says:


    Comfort the afflicted, and afflicted the comfortable? That’s my line.

    But it’s true enough. Firedog Lake broadened my horizons considerably and is something I always regarded as a port in a storm.

  6. rosalind says:

    in the immortal words of Suite Judy Blew Lies: “Jane was proved fucking right!”. Thank you Jane & Christy, for paving the way and shining the light on the D.C. cocktail wiener brigade. And for providing a launching pad for some of the best & brightest and sharp & snarkiest reporters this side of Molly Ivins.
    you will be long remembered for shifting the discourse in a long over-due direction.

  7. wallace says:

    I wish I had found FDL earlier than I did, which was just prior to Manning’s kangaroo trial. It was there, that I actually found emptywheel’s blog, which was listed on The Dissenter’s blogroll. The Dissenter was #2 on my morning round of the blogosphere. A few months ago, I stopped visiting, because it wouldn’t load. I knew something was up, but couldn’t find what the problem was. Now I know. Anyway, at least I found emptywheel. Now it’s my #1 site to visit. Sorry to see FDL fade into the sunset.

  8. JamesJoyce says:

    Bmaz, this has legs. You and so many other were so right.

    “FDL was right, and early so, about the rule of law,… “

    We were warned about changing a “historic position,” while embracing preemption “…understood by few, but feared by many.”

    This “change,” has extracted a cost we have yet to calculate. It is adding up each day. With preemption comes discrimination in its most ugly forms.

    Yes it is about the rule of law. Well settled law in fact.



    Silence is never an option if one is committed to a “Never Again,” mindset here, there or anywhere, for that matter.


  9. orionATL says:

    i have suspected this was coming for some time.

    firedoglake, which i always took to be an acronym for “fucking democratic liberal”, will rest forever and very proudly on these laurels – it was a fantastic STARNURSERY for weblog journalists who then went on to provide the interested citizenry with extraordinarily high-quality news analysis – emptywheel, attackerman, dday, tbogg, k. gostolza just to name those that come to mind for me.

    not only was there the live webreporting of the plame trial, but i’ll never forget the coverage of the japanese nuclear disaster led by a highly knowledgeable citizen know only (to me) by the psuedonym “lobster”, aided by other knowlegables who contributed, in one of the most unique news coverage efforts i have seen in my lifetime.

    for me though, firedoglake was defined by its determined defense of bradley manning who was being tortured by the u.s. military not 25 miles from barrack obama’s oval office. that defense was highly effective, eventually involved a u.n. raporteur on torture, and forced obama to abandon, briefly, his characteristic moral cowardice.

    there is a lot for jane hampsher to be proud of – but being a highly involved and effective american citizen who made one hell of a difference is surely near the top of her list of fdl accomplishments.

  10. Elliott says:

    Lovely post, bmaz. I met the most wonderful people through FDL. This site is full of the best of the best.

    But there is another EGREGIOUS omission.

    • phred says:

      And who can forget TRex : ) TRex was live when I was sound asleep during the Late Late snarkfest, but I read that post first thing every morning to put a spring in my step to start my day. I loved TRex’ rapier wit, emphasis on the rapier, while the wit made me laugh out loud. I miss TRex.
      I first found FDL via BuzzFeed, when an acquaintance pointed me to it as I was gnashing my teeth over Suite Judy and her enablers at the NYT — a paper I had read religiously until that time and dropped like a hot rock when I found FDL and the rest of the “blogosphere”, most importantly The Next Hurrah.
      I finally found the community that read the news as carefully as I did, was as skeptical as I was of the casual lies and manipulations common in the front pages and lead stories of the MSM, even while the truth was buried in plain site elsewhere in double digit pages. It was a revelation and a relief to finally feel less alone.
      That community meant a lot to me and for the first time I had an opportunity to talk to ordinary people with their own extraordinary expertise who worked in areas quite different from my own, people I would never meet in my day to day life were there for me on-line to chat with and learn from. It was a privilege and a joy to be a part of that and I will always be grateful to Jane and Marcy for creating that space for us.

  11. galljdaj says:

    The above was an interesting read, and my comment, ‘this is the first time I have ever heard about FDL!’ And. Its much to my surprise.

    Which, brings me to what seems likely as much a surprise to many alive and knowledgeable folks ‘idea’. At one time I read and printed every PNAC White Paper, all ~130 plus or minus some number. Its my belief American Peoples need to read each and every one of them! How Our Country has gotten to where we are Today! Rule by an elite group that worse than any other in History save maybe Abraham and his tribe. However, its the Blackages I think of most criminally.

    Look at ‘Detroit’, Greece, Cuba, US Jobs, Sharing the Pie, Common Good, Rule of Law, RICO… CIA, and you find the American Tragedy Today

    They deserve a website visible to All !! All the White Papers of the American Criminal Leaders!

  12. dakine01 says:

    Thanks for the kind words bmaz. I found FDL through HuffPo and soon found out I was not alone in the world. Reasoned, articulate understanding of issues that affect us all (while never losing the ability to laugh.)

    Richard Taylor

  13. P J Evans says:

    I got a little amusement out of the obituary at dKos, where a number of people were talking about FDL and its pie-fights, without apparently realizing that dKos was doing the exact same thing at the same time. (Orange-colored glasses? Selective amnesia? I don’t know. But I think that when there are a lot of posts with titles starting ‘ACTION!’ and a lot of demands to support cause X, Y, or Z, it’s not good for the site.)

  14. TarheelDem says:

    I arrived at Firedoglake as a reader of the liveblog coverage of the Scooter Libby trial. I witnessed the birth of citizen journalism in the decentralized coverage of the Occupy movement and NoNATO.

    But the moment that Firedoglake enabled that I think is most emblematic of its contribution is the takedown of Lannie Davis’s corruption surrounding the Affordable Care Act that Jane Hamsher did on the Ed Schultz show. Davis was not amused and thereafter the term “firebagger” entered the American political vocabulary.

    I have every confidence that the new venture will be every bit as strong in its own soon-to-be-characteristic way.

  15. Betty says:

    Thanks for this, bmaz. I have seen so many people who I otherwise respect gloating over the demise of FDL- I guess because the site had the audacity to criticize Obama. I can’t believe these people ever spent any time there or they would know what a valuable contribution it made over the years.

  16. wayoutwest says:

    I’m sure there could be an excellent sociological/historical study and even a book written on the Rise and Fall of FDL and the internet as an open forum. When I joined the fray during the transition from Conservative to Liberal rule in Amerika I think FDL was near its peak with excellent reporting and a true Forma Libre format that allowed hundreds of voices to be heard even if it was chaotic and confrontational. I doubt we’ll ever see that diverse and energetic interaction on the web again, it was a unique time and FDL was the at the head of the pack.
    Sadly too much freedom is threatening to some people for partisan and personal reasons and the knives and clubs soon appeared to thin the herd which was very effective and FDL began its slide to its inevitable death.

  17. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Departures from the scene that come one at a time are hard, Big Red, Dday, to name two. Closing the doors is more dramatic. It leaves a bigger hole, a gap between hands, even if the dramatis personae relocate to a new theater.

    Yes, the Fukushima coverage was tops. So, too, were the many commentators before and after. FDL, and EW, has been notably rich in these: informed, articulate, disciplined. Sadly, it’s probably time again for bmaz to toll the nine tailors, and the six, for those who have come and gone, and made us richer for it. Thanks.

  18. Person1597 says:

    Gratitude to the ladies of the lake. Quite a splash was made… at exactly the right time!

    Keep makin’ waves, baby!

    Gotta shout out some kudos to darkblack. Tom Tomorrow deserves honorable mention for truthfully observing the world, too.

    Whocouldaknowed what was accomplished by a bunch of dirty fucking hippies with fired O’glakes. Heh… there’s gold in them there archives!

  19. galljdaj says:

    I’ve read comments above that say to me I missed FDL!

    A site I know that I am ‘missing’ is ABUZZ! When the nyt killed it, the American Peoples got saddled and driven off the Mountain by the lil bush gang(PNAC) .

    Is there a parallel set of connections between FDL and ABUZZ? Many posts give me the idea of respect being equal. What I found so great about ABUZZ was that liars could be faced off with the Truth, and everyone could see both the lie and the truth by those with the truth and the evidence!

  20. Suzanne says:

    thank you bmaz. fdl has been my home for a long long time. i met so many wonderful people working backstage and more when i was given the honor of hosting late late night. the final lln will be saturday nite and i hope it is a trip down musical and fdl memory lane … a happy wake and not a funeral dirge.

    it really is the people i will miss most — the community we built at fdl. we cared about each other. we celebrated good times and put our hands on the monitor for those in difficult times. we were firebaggers and firepups – sometimes we were called ‘fucking retards’ but we all had fire in our belly for truth, justice, and the american way the way it is supposed to be.

    i will miss fdl – its been a part of my life for almost 10 years which is a long long time for an internet site. i like to think we did some good in those years … set the bar high for what a ‘blog’ can do. first federal court press credentials. live blogging trials. live blogging the kabuki on the senate floor. the list goes on and on. all done with lotsa snark while wearing great shoes.

  21. Rich says:

    Am I correct to conclude the mere Existence of Firedoglake proved there IS/WAS something special in the waters of western Pennsylvania?

    Murtha/haditha andd Joe Darby/Abu Ghraib cases in point

  22. Mary McCurnin says:

    Makes me feel sad. It was a huge part of my life for six or seven years. I made so many wonderful friends. I am still habituated to opened my computer and typing in a F. FDL still comes up automatically.

    Thank you to Jane.

    • tejanarusa says:

      Mary – me, too. Even though I haven’t visited for awhile, when I typed in the “f” tonight, “firedoglake.com” came up immediately. It was bittersweet, wasn’t it?

      • Tom in AZ says:

        FDL is still up on the bookmarks bar on all my devices. I go back to the days of Jane and Christy when it was still on its original host. On days when things would sometimes get 6-7 comments. Both of them were so nice and so hard working. I joined as a charter/founding member when they started that to support them. And when Jane called me by real phone to ask me to be the Phoenix liaison to the Occupy folks here in Phoenix, I was delighted and proud to deliver stuff we had collected for them. The first thing besides a comment I ever had posted on the web was a picture of quails in the wild, as Christy used to post some kind of nature themed pic on Sunday mornings.

        The link is to my occu-puppies getting ready to deliver…


    • JohnT says:

      Pressing f brings up firedoglake on mine too
      And thanks to fdl, I personally met you and Ron, and your dog. And scarecrow’s sister, son and daughter-in-law

  23. Kevin Gosztola says:

    I appreciate the tribute to FDL, which you posted, bmaz. Marcy, Rayne, Jim, Ed, David Dayen, John Chandley, and others I am failing to name were each responsible for building something special. That something special hired me, and it became a wonderful place to grow and come into my own.

    There is an earlier generation and a second generation at FDL that made it highly successful. I am part of that second generation. And that second generation deserves credit too for keeping FDL alive.

    I understand the disappointment and shock that FDL has come to an end. Everyone involved formed bonds that people are concerned about maintaining. You all are not wrong to think that Shadowproof will be different in comparison to FDL. It definitely will be. So, I say that to show I empathize with what all of you are feeling about this moment.

    I am on the other end of all this. I see this as a major opportunity. It is not sad news. It is no time for a eulogy. FDL reached its peak back in 2014.

    No, for me, it is a relief. What I have gone through the past seven to eight months has been exhausting, overwhelming, and frustrating. I did my best to oversee a website with pretty much zero funds. I also had to worry about keeping it online after it was hacked. Then, I had to work with Brian to coordinate a shift to a new temporary website.

    It is a relief to be at this moment, where we get to launch Shadowproof. There is a lot Brian, Dan, Kit, and I went through together these past months to get here. We really hope that some of you will support and appreciate what we do because, at least for me, you all laid a foundation that made what I did at FDL from 2011-2015 possible and I am forever indebted to many of you.

  24. tejanarusa says:

    This is a lovely tribute, bmaz, and so many familiar names in the comments!
    I cut back my blog reading sharply a few years ago when I found myself doing immigration law, and constantly traveling to one Texas detention center or another. I missed FDL, but in many ways, I had narrowed my participation after Southern Dragon died,even though I was one of the team (substitute) to carry on his morning Diner as Over Easy.
    Now I’ve retired, and finding old friends and many FDL friends on FB, spend way too much time there.
    FDL was a phenomenon. Like someone else said, it was Christy Hardin Smith that brought me there; a link from Alternet, maybe, to a fantastic and moving piece she did on a West Virginia mine disaster. It was the one before the Libby trial, so I was there for that, and for delivering rubber stamps to Congress, and the US Attorneys firings, and Chelsea Manning, and so many issues I can’t even remember them all. FDL was often the only place to discuss them rationally, and I loved that about it. It was a community, too, a place to get support (off the front page) for troubles one might experiencing, and yes, we lost some valued members. Katymine is the first loss I remember, and oh yes, Mary! And Steve Gilliard (not part of fdl, but cross-read), and John Chandley (Scarecrow), and Southern Dragon, who went so fast it shocked us all.
    FDL at its best was unique, and I will miss it.

  25. Jim White says:

    I first wandered into the Lake in the fall of 2007. Those were heady days when, over at Greenwald’s blog at Salon, we had briefly gotten Chris Dodd to do a pseudo-filibuster of the FISA renewal. The energy at the Lake was palpable then, and it felt as though people from many fronts were converging into an already thriving gathering place to try to do the right thing.
    Many similar issues followed, but, to me, the unifying theme that ran through the posts and the comment community was the idea that we are all in this together and that every person is valued.
    Much was lost when it turned out that a revenue stream to support the amazing collection of talent could not be developed. That got compounded by a significant loss of community when the lurking mods disappeared.
    As Mary Gauthier put it, we are now “scattered forth like seeds, at the mercy of the wind” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Ta0bnkNXW0), but there are now many spots where seeds of hope are taking root. Islands of folks who still care about preventing the oligarchs’ wars on individuals, races, cultures and the planet spring up here and there to push forward the values we all share.
    We may have lost one home, but we still inhabit the same Earth and must continue to do what we can.
    To all of you who take part in that greater community now or have done so with any of its predecessors, know that you are cherished and are not alone.

    • Valley girl says:

      Hi Jim-

      Interesting comment you made:

      “That got compounded by a significant loss of community when the lurking mods disappeared.”

      I was not aware of that phenomenon/ aftereffect – what happened when the lurking mods disappeared. If you care to say more, I’d be very interested.

      I think I have a pretty good grasp of “the lurking mod” concept.

      • JohnT says:

        Hmm? Dunno what that means either.
        All I know is, for me, not being able to participate in the conversations (because of the hacking?) drove me away
        (just gonna keep going on a general riff)
        Because the comments are what interested me the most. Of course Mary’s comments were phenomenal when it came to law, as were bmaz’s, and scarecrow, and Christy, and Mason, and Cynthia Kouril (aka what was her pseudonym? had something to do with rugby, or am I completely wrong?)
        And economics with massochio, and Hugh’s, and selise’s and invaluable comments
        On torture Mary’s slashing and surgical intellect was like Errol Flynn’s swordplay in Robin Hood or Captain Blood. And on FISA, selise’s dogged nailing down of facts from her questioning of her congressman’s aides was magnificent
        One thing I was very uncomfortable with, and extremely puzzled by, was treatment of single payer advocates. But, that’s water under the bridge

        • Valley girl says:

          Thanks John-

          Yes, there was a time when the comments were amazing. I learned so much from the commenters, as well as the front pagers. Mary was the most amazing commenter I’ve ever encountered- it seemed to take her no time at all to formulate a comment in response to something, And rather than try to say it another way, I’ll go with your way- slashing and surgical – and …. she could write. As you say, there were other really excellent commenters- agree with your named names. And, can think of a few more.

          And, as an aside- loose head prop. So, yes a rugby term.

          As for treatment of single payer advocates- I was also very uncomfortable with that- thought not necessarily puzzled. But as you say, water under the bridge.

  26. cynthia kouril says:

    It was the commentors that I came for. It was the feeling of community. How cool was it that at any time of the day or night you could have a substantive conversation with smart, well informed, people? Great convo, on tap, like water?

    Somebody on Facebook mentioned setting up and FDL alumni page, and I think that would be a great way to keep in touch. I know it works for my HS graduating class.

    I want to thank all the Firepups, for the comradery , the passion, the valuable information and insights, and the openmindedness you brought to the comments section.

  27. cynthia kouril says:

    OK, time for a funny story:
    I’m packing my bags to go down to DC for the opening arguments of the Libby trial. Littlepprop asks me about my impending trip. I tell her I am going to meet Jane and Christy and Emptywheel and Pachtahutec to watch part of the trial. She’s about 8-9 years old.

    She gets VERY UPSET and tells me they were taught in school to NEVER meet in person someone they only knew over the internet. She pleads with me not to go. She says I will be kidnapped. She threatens to call her grandmother and “tell on me”.

    She only relents and let’s me go when I tell her my old buddy Pat Fitzgerald will be there to save me and that he’s a 6’4″ rugby player. Even so, I was required to call in several times a day to let her know I was safe.


    • pdaly says:

      Great story! And thanks for all your comments over the years explaining the legal system as well, Cynthia.

    • Terry Olson says:

      That is so sweet! The Libby trial was epic.

      FDL was home to me for so many crazy years of W.

      Thanks to bmaz, EW, Jane, Christie and SO many others. I loved it for many years.

  28. RevDeb says:

    So sad to see the nod of an era—one in which we did so much thanks to the many people who used their knowledge and voices for truth and justice.

    I found FDL fom a link Marcy posted on the Next Hurrah about Scooter Libby. At the time, FDL was a one woman blog on blogspot. I remember Jane introducing us to Christy. I remember Christy encouraging us to meet one another at our senators’ offices one spring when they were on recess. I met Selise, scarecrow, Andy, Katherine, and eventually others in the lobby of the JFK building in Boston on our way to Ted Kennedy’s office.

    When Ned Lamont took on Short Ride Joe LIEberman, a slew of us firepups invaded CT to go door to door, to make calls, to do whatever we could to rid the senate of Joe. We almost did it too!

    The FDL caucus at the first Yearly Kos convention was awesome. We put faces to names and cheered on “our” people at the forum on the Plame case. Marcy and Christy shone like the diamonds they are.

    FISA, the public option, torture, Fukushima, Manning, Occupy, so many issues of import were the stuff of our daily consciousnesses and actions.

    FDL was formative in my political activist life. It will always be a part of me. And I continually miss my friend John, aka Scarecrow.

    We were a force to be reckoned with.

    Best wishes and blessings to the new incarnation and the next generation.


    • bmaz says:

      Hi RevDeb!! Hope all is well with you and yours.
      Just as an aside, Deb is so right about meeting the actual people behind the names. There have been so, so many over the years for me, including meeting RevDeb at an event that didn’t even have anything to do with FDL or even Netroots. To the last person, every single one I have met has been genuine, wonderful, and pretty much exactly who they appeared to be digitally. I ascribe that to the quality of people that FDL and Next Hurrah/Emptywheel have attracted over the years. It really is something special, and thank you all.

    • molly says:

      There is a closed group on FB where many of the oldtimers are congregating. I was going to add you but it didn’t look like you had visited FB for several years. Please join us. Bmaz too, of course.

      • bmaz says:

        Molly, can’t speak for Marcy’s current involvement, but I have never been on Facebook. If I was, I would join in this in a heartbeat. That said, I know a bunch of people already involved, and will trust they will keep me peripherally involved.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Agree about Facebook. Like much social media, it’s commercialization of user data and privacy standards are questionable,

  29. John Casper says:

    So great to see all the familiar handles, hugs all around.

    I remember Marcy calling it “Jane’s place.” That’s what it was.

    RIP Scarecrow, John Chandley.

    RIP Mary Beth Perdue , aka “Mary.”
    “In Memoriam: Mary Beth Perdue”


    I never knew there was a hero at My Lai, a U.S. helicopter pilot, Lt. Hugh Thompson, Jr., who faced down William Calley and his second platoon.

    “Immediately realizing that the soldiers intended to murder the Vietnamese civilians, Thompson landed his helicopter between the advancing ground unit and the villagers.[33] He turned to Colburn and Andreotta and told them he would shoot the men in the 2nd Platoon if they attempted to kill any of the fleeing civilians.”


    Got that from Mary in the comments. She would respond to as many of as she could.

    I remember VG and her understandable frustration with moderating comments. VG, I remember the friendship you had with an attorney,  one of FDL’s best commenters, trying to get tenure at a law school. I hope he did.

    phred, nice catch on TRex. I remembered him, but not his handle.

    Cynthia, great summary of what made FDL. Love lhp, if she’s on Twitter, I’m @runtodaylight .

    In addition to everything else, it was fun. There’s was lots of lightness, humor, jokes ….

    Like a lot of others I stumbled over it trying to find the latest on Plamegate. The first commenter Jane and Christy had was a Dem from Connecticut. He’d drop by every once in awhile, but wasn’t a regular. Jane and Christy clawed and built FDL out of nothing but a url. Imagine writing posts and hoping someone would read them.

    “Dust bunnies” was an early and accessible example FDL scooping the MSM.

    Swearing was allowed.

    Jane’s true north was the battle against homophobia. She was lightyears ahead. Rinse, lather, repeat. She obviously wasn’t happy about sexism, but she tolerated some mild forms in the comments. Homophobia never got that.

    I’ve forgotten an inside joke, was it about what would cause a new thread, and the commenter with a science fiction, “warp?” Star Trek, kind of handle, around whom the legend emerged.

    The nicknames we assigned confirmed an evolving community that was creating its own language, lemonhead (Chris Matthews, who had other nicknames). Jim “church lady” Brady of the infamous ambush, the Washington Post aka WaPo aka WaPu blogger ethics panel.

    The link below’s from 2005. Jane’s opening is about the photo of Laura Bush.

    FDL Late Nite: Pushback Edition

    “That is going to be one hell of a fuckin’ detox. Good luck with the pink cloud, hon.

    Crooks & Liars, Matt Stoller and Kos all respond to Church Lady Brady. (Update: So does Lambert. And LP has visual aids.) If the WaPo ever decides they can do without a full-time whiner running the WPNI, I personally think he has just aced the interview for Fourth Power Tool.



    No mention of FDL that omits puniase is complete. A Giants fan, and the most creative punster ever.

    Where would FDL have been without darkblack’s photoshopping?

    All of us who loved her, were leveled by Jane’s ability to repeatedly survive cancer.

    I remember when her Mom passed.

    I remember guys who had crushes on Jane, chasing her around in the comments. “Why won’t you respond to me.”

    Swopa taught me about the Sunni’s the Shia, the Kurds…. so much about the Middle East.

    IIRC Jane’s first appearance on CSPAN came after the video of she, Marcy, and others covering the Libby trial.

    In case anyone had doubts about Jane’s strategic and tactical genius. I remember when she told us that in order to kick Lieberman out of the party, we had to support a guy who had 9% name recognition, Ned Lamont. She never sugarcoated it, nine effing %.

    She’d invite movie stars like John Cusack to drop in. They were unannounced, but if you were logging into to FDL, you could chat with celebrities.

    Later she had us calling democrats to sign a pledge, not to vote for any health care bill that didn’t include a “public option.” At the beginning, we got slaughtered from “the left.” A lot of smart people, including some of FDL’s smartest and most respected commenters, were angry. They though Jane was undercutting single-payer. They were all wrong. Close to a year before the final votes, Jane’s sources were right. Single payer was doa. After Obama and the health insurance oligopoly used Bart Stupack to gut abortion rights, and the public option, even digby, for whom Jane and all of us had the utmost respect, caved. All those people from outside FDL, who had vilified Jane months earlier, as too conservative, they all caved.

    Per others, those book salons…..

    Four months before Lehman brothers, Jane had a book salon, for Charles R. Morris’ “The Three-Trillion Dollar Meltdown….”

    I remember the comments. No one was disagreeing. If you read FDL, you knew that future.

    John Dean, responding to each and every comment…..

    Michelle Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow.” http://www.amazon.com/Crow-Study-Guide-Call-Action/dp/1304489191/ref=pd_sim_14_7?ie=UTF8&refRID=0DP2JSGS6SECY09FAY3A

    Douglass Blackmon’s 2009 Pulitzer winner, “Slavery By Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II” http://www.slaverybyanothername.com/pbs-film/

    Apologies to the hundreds of great authors I’m leaving out. I can never begin to repay the debt I owe Jane, Marcy, Christy, Mary Beth Perdue, DDay, ….. that community on so many levels.

    • bmaz says:

      Thanks John, that was a fantastic trip through the past. Despite the clearly rocky start they have engendered, Kevin and ShadowProof will carry any remnants of FDL forward. They deserve thanks for keeping the archives, and I hope they continue to actually do so, available, and best wishes for their effort in the future.
      Just as a reminder, however, the archives of Emptywheel, and The Next Hurrah before it, are now, and always will be, right here at this blog.

    • Tom in AZ says:

      Speaking on nicknames, if I am not mistaken ‘Pool Boy’ lives on in infamy as a founder of Politico… where he still sucks. Jim VandeHei.

  30. pdaly says:

    Thanks, John Casper.
    Your list of people and FDL events reminded me of another commenter, EvilParallelUniverse (‘E.P.U.’ for short) who became known for his/her late arrival to a thread just as the majority’s attention was moving on to a new post.
    Being “EPU’d” or ‘commenting in EPU land’ became part of the common lingo.
    EPU even makes it as an entry in the Urban Dictionary:

    • phred says:

      EPU’ed : ) Thanks for that : )
      So many great memories and so nice to see so many familiar voices chiming in. Boo, you have an incredible memory, as EW said, “great comment” : )

        • phred says:

          Happy August bmaz : ) You realize that it is almost time for you to get back to your regular Trash collection. Some of us, can’t wait ; ) Especially those of us who have cavalierly ignored off-season shenanigans of all sorts…
          And Boo, a lot of us have learned a great deal from you, too : ) Thanks!

          • JohnT says:

            Trash Talk?
            Oh, it’s on
            The QB trades are off the table (even though I’ve liked Rodgers since he was at Butte College in Chico, and also I used to live in Appleton Wi); we’ll keep Bridgewater
            Although the Nv casinos have to Pack as the prohibitive SB favorite, I guarantee, the Pack and Vikes split this year. And the Vikings will win at least 10 games

            • phred says:

              Good to see delusion lives on in the Land of 10,000 Flakes ; )
              Oh it’s on, alright… Split between the Vikes and Pack??? Been spending a little too much of your vacation time in Colorado this year??? If your Vikes take the Division from my Packers this year, I’ll eat lutefisk and even pretend to enjoy it ; P
              GO PACKERS!!!

            • bmaz says:

              Mr. Namath, thanks for yer guarantee!! (Please keep in mind that Teddy Bridgewater is no Brett Favre).

              And Phred, right on sister, your response to those ill mannered Vikings were spot on.

        • pdaly says:

          Phred might like this Texan lawyer’s blog. Steph Bradley defends Brady from the Wells Report and remains a Houston Texans fan. Maybe emptywheel or bmaz can invite her to TrashTalk if she is not aware of it already.
          She answers almost every comment but you have to click on the blue reply each time to see her answer (or perhaps it is something in my browser settings).

  31. John Casper says:

    bmaz, honored, and you’re welcome. Can’t begin to summarize how many “slap-forehead” why-didn’t-I-put-that-together moments I’ve had reading your posts and comments. The DOJ using high profile prosecutions of athletes to distract from their unwillingness to hold the elites accountable is near the top. Such good news about Last Hurrah’s archives, “Sister Sara, RIP.”
    Sara wrote “Sorting Out the Generals” http://thenexthurrah.typepad.com/the_next_hurrah/2006/04/sorting_out_the.html . Among other things, what West Point teaches about occupations. The best thing about the Last Hurrah was the variety of topics that Marcy would tackle, micro economics, macro economics, currency exchange, global trade, military history, “4th generation warfare, … . Marcy, I understand and fully support your concentration, but we’re all the poorer for it.

    pdaly, nice catch on “EPU’d,” yeah that was it. Tom, thanks for mentioning Jane’s pivot to Occupy and you’re exactly right about “pool boy.” phred, a large portion of my debt to FDL is owed to you.

    Left so much out, again, very early, Jane was telling us to buy books written by some guy named Glenn Greenwald. Remember when Pachacutec started commenting. His talent was immediately obvious. It was from FDL’s prolific Phoenix Woman that I first learned about solar roadways. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/solar-roadways#/story
    Jane tried to hold NARAL accountable when they endorsed sell-outs like Lieberman. She tried to hold the Pritzker family accountable, they control the second largest credit bureau, Trans Union, and are huge in the Democratic party, especially in Illinois.
    It was routine for critics to attack Jane over why she wasn’t covering “x” topic. Legalizing pot, Chelsea Manning, getting arrested in D.C. protesting tar sands,….

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