On the road with Ned Lamont

“I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills.
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;”

Today, Kim, Fiona and I went to the 28th Annual Daffodil Festival in Meriden. For Ned, it was an opportunity to meet with people from Meriden and surrounding towns and talk about the issues that mattered to them. For us, it was an opportunity to enjoy some of the simple pleasures of our home state that too often gets overlooked.

Fiona was particularly interested in the swimming pool filled with trout where youngsters could try their hands at fishing. She also enjoyed a pony ride.

Last week, Kim and I joined Ned as he worshiped at Faith Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church in Stamford. It isn’t our regular church and we enjoyed a different style of worship than we are used to.

As I’ve traveled the State with different campaigns, I’ve found myself looking for these special times, chances to savor what Connecticut has to offer, from daffodil festivals, county fairs and oyster festivals, to a rich tradition of spirituality and innovation.

It struck me that this is perhaps what I like best, being on the road with a candidate I believe in.

"Nuestro Himno”

(Originally posted at DailyKos)

On July 27th, 2004, I was at the Democratic National Convention in Boston and wrote this blog entry about the music. “the real highlight was when Michael Enis and Alicia Chiles sang our National Anthem in Tohono O'odham

It was a wonderful honoring of the diversity that helps make our country strong.”

This evening, I heard a news report about "Nuestro Himno”, a Spanish rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner". Bush is quoted as saying, “"I think the National Anthem ought to be sung in English. And, I think people who want to be a citizen of this country ought to learn English." (Ref: Spanish National Anthem Hits Sour Note with Bush – KTLA News. The article talks about how this rendition was done “as an expression of solidarity for the undocumented immigrants.”

This is not the first time a former Governor of Texas has said foolish things about English. Ann Richard’s is fond of quoting "Ma" Ferguson, the first female Governor of Texas as saying, “If the English language was good enough for Jesus Christ it was good enough for the school children of Texas.”

Well, if we are really all that concerned with immigration and what language the National Anthem should be sung in, then perhaps we should all be learning Tohono O'odham and singing that version.

The way life shouldn’t be

I haven’t written about the Media Bloggers Association in quite a while, which is probably a good thing. Their website describes the organization this way:

The Media Bloggers Association is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to promoting, protecting and educating its members; supporting the development of "blogging" or "citizen journalism" as a distinct form of media; and helping to extend the power of the press, with all the rights and responsibilities that entails, to every citizen.

While the promotion and education of its members is important, MBA probably makes its biggest mark in protecting bloggers against scurrilous lawsuits.

Today, I received an email about Maine Web Report. Lance, the blogger for Maine Web Report has been writing extensively the Maine Office of Tourism. Apparently, people haven’t taken well to his criticism, and an advertising firm involved has slapped him with a ‘3 count multi-million dollar federal lawsuit’. The MBA is will be acting as co-counsel in defending Lance.

I was born in Maine. I have friends in Maine. I still think of Maine as Vacationland and hope to move back to Maine one day. However, I must say, I am very disappointed with what I’m reading about those attempting to promote tourism in Maine.

This isn’t the way life should be. As much as I hate to say it, right now, I prefer New Hampshire and their motto.

Various bloggers that are writing about this include B. L. Ochman, Bill Hobbs, Tor Lindahl, Jason Clarke, James Joyner and Don Singleton

In The News

Today’s Stamford Times has a front page article entitled, “Blogging for Votes”. It does not appear to be online, but has some good quotes from me. Also, the Hartford Courant has Joe's Getting Blogged Down.

Watching, but decidedly not orchestrating, these bloggers is a 46-year-old Leprachaunish-looking Wall Street refugee with a puffy graying beard. His name is Aldon Hynes. He "lives on the web," as he puts it. Sixteen hours a day, scouring sites, writing comments. As an official Lamont staffer, he finds donors and volunteers nationwide on sites like dailykos.com (another source of priceless yet free Lamont help).

Hynes believes the blogosphere is reviving democracy by enabling everyday people to participate in politics on their own terms. He knows that pro-Lamont bloggers like 62-year-old Kelly Monaghan of myleftnutmeg.com (Connecticut's version of the Daily Kos, with about 500 unique visitors and 2,800 page views a day) will never follow a central line or strategy. Monaghan regaled me with criticisms of the Lamont campaign at the Naples event. Hynes wouldn't have it any other way. The idea isn't to replicate the "right-wing noise machine" that filters a central daily message to talk-show hosts and columnists and candidates across the country. It's to unbottle an anarchic, grassroots explosion of democratic participation.

The era that began with the Nixon-Kennedy debates has ended, Hynes declares.

"From 1960 to 2000 we had an era of broadcast politics," he says. "You get on TV. You get your 30-second sound bite. That's bad for the country. Spazeboy? He would have never ended up in politics. Some brilliant people have been disenfranchised by broadcast politics."

"People are starving for authenticity. People are tired of Photoshopped, airbrushed candidates," Hynes argues.

I agree. Internet politics may have the potential for even more abuse and dishonesty than broadcast politics. But unlike broadcast politics, it offers us the potential to reclaim our political system from the sell-outs and their Svengalis. That happy scenario may just be unfolding before Joe Lieberman's - and our own - eyes.

Post Broadcast Revolutions

(Originally published at Greater Democracy)

“The Revolution will not be televised”. Gil Scott-Heron told us so. Joe Trippi repeated it, but CTBlogger, Spazeboy and Scarce, among others are doing it anyway.

“The revolution will not be brought to you by Xerox”. No, it will be brought to you by Kinko’s and YouTube, by Sony and Microsoft. They will sell you Lenin’s rope.

“The revolution will not show you pictures of Nixon”. It will show you pictures of Bush and Lieberman.

“The theme song will not be written by Jim Webb, Francis Scott Key, nor sung by Glen Campbell, Tom Jones, Johnny Cash, Englebert Humperdink, or the Rare Earth.” However, clips from each of them are likely to appear in the mashup.

“The revolution will be no re-run brothers; The revolution will be live.” It will be recorded by all of us. It will be animated in flash. It will be mashed up, spread by emails and downloaded to video Ipods.

Maybe Marshall McLuhan was right. Maybe the medium is the message. When I was young, I had “thirteen channels of shit on the TV to chose from”. In other countries, where there was one state run television, the TV studios were the first thing to be taken over during a coup.

Now, we have YouTube, Google Video, and plethora of other tools for distributing video. We have Flash, Movie Maker and iMovies to make our content.

The seeds of the revolution is everyone becoming able create and distribute their own content. We saw the beginning of this with blogs. Now, we are seeing it with online videos.

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