You are browsing the archive for Uncategorized.

Changes to MyFDL

8:00 am in Uncategorized by Jane Hamsher

When we first opened MyFDL several years ago there was no existing software that allowed us to do what we wanted to do — open up a blog where the entire FDL community could post. So at that time we had to do a lot of adaptation to the WordPress system we run on in order to make it work.

This meant that each time we needed to upgrade WordPress, we had to re-write our own software too, which to be perfectly honest was problematic from the start and has caused a lot of our technical problems over the years.

We find ourselves in a place where we can’t do the needed upgrades to the WordPress system that the entire site runs on and reprogram MyFDL at the same time due to cost and the sheer enormity of the task. So starting tonight at 10 pm ET we are going to be taking MyFDL in its current state offline and replacing it with a more limited community blog that operates on standard WordPress, at least until we can get the rest of the site upgraded.

What does that mean for MyFDL bloggers? For regular MyFDL bloggers, not much. The Over Easy gang and many of the people you see here regularly will have logins and posting privileges on the MyFDL blog, which will function on standard WordPress like any of the other FDL verticals (News, The Dissenter, Just Say Now, etc.).

But MyFDL now has some 33,000 people with diarist permissions, and WordPress in its native form was simply was not built to handle that kind of volume. So much to our sadness we won’t be able to import all of those 33,000 authors to the new blog. We hope that everyone who may find themselves unable to post diaries for the time being will continue to bring their insights and their research to the community in the OverEasy or Late Night threads, because it is your continued participation that makes the community so rich.

We thank everyone for their forbearance while we try to get our system upgraded, and we hope that in the not-too-distant future we’ll be able to solve our programming challenges and be able to create a space that will be both more functional and more suited to the needs of the community.

If you have questions please leave them in the comments section, we’ll be around today and tomorrow answering them.

Looking for a Lawyer to Help with Media Shield Law

10:16 am in Uncategorized by Jane Hamsher

Are you a lawyer willing to devote some volunteer time to doing some research on a media shield law? If the answer is yes, please email me at firedoglake AT gmail DOT com and let me know what your availability is.

It’s a very worthwhile project that could help some journalists who really need it. If you’ve got some time to spare, I promise it will be interesting.

Please Help FDL Stay Online

6:51 am in Uncategorized by Jane Hamsher

As you may have noticed over the past week or so, FDL has been been under almost constant Denial of Service attack. We’ve been down as much as we’ve been up.  We stop one thing, but the attackers try another. Our tech bills are mounting and so this week we’re asking for your help to stay online.

FDL has been around for nearly 10 years now, which is quite a feat — not a lot of blogs from that era are still around, or at least still resemble their former selves. FDL has lasted because we have remained true to our principles and independence and community support.

In that time we’ve been on the front page of the New York Times for our coverage of the Scooter Libby trial, and people all over the world followed Kevin Gosztola’s lone coverage of the Chelsea Manning Trial.

We support whistleblowers who tell the truth about government criminality like Chelsea Manning, Thomas Drake, Peter Van Buren and John Kiriakou. When the mainstream media was calling them traitors, FDL forged relationships and stuck by their side when everyone else backed away.

We’re here in the morning and we’re here late at night. People always know they can show up early and chat with the Over Easy crowd, or into the wee hours with the Late Night crew.

But it isn’t a one way conversation. We also provide a place where our community can express their opinions and post themselves about things they’d be banned for in other places.

We’ve covered LGBT issues, civil liberties, domestic spying, marijuana and drug policy, Occupy, WikiLeaks, genetically modified foods, prison reform, elections, and a wide variety of subjects from fracking to Fukushima in a way that other news sources just don’t.

While the issues change and the world turns, FDL has adapted by applying our same tried and true values to those subjects, refusing to go with institutional zeitgeist on issues like Syria — and we actually win, too.

Our willingness to go against the beltway grain and cover issues in the way we do is no doubt what has opened us up to attacks, but we’re not going to back down. We need our community to band together and defend our publication’s existence and work.

We have a terrific community here at FDL that has always been extremely generous about supporting us when we’re in need. And if we cannot overcome these technical hurdles and pay these bills, the attackers could be successful in silencing us and we could be in serious jeopardy

Can you donate to help FDL stay online?

War With Syria: Where Do Your Congressional Representatives Stand?

11:41 am in Uncategorized by Jane Hamsher

President Obama has said he will ask for Congressional authorization to attack Syria.

We know that Alan Grayson is firmly against going to war with Syria. Grijalva is also opposed. Justin Amash will lead the opposition from the Republican side.

Eliot Engel has a war boner on, and as ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee he can do a lot of damage. And the firmly anti-war Nancy Pelosi will undoubtedly whip her caucus in support of the President and his desire to wage an extremely unpopular war.

So where does your member of Congress stand? Let us know in the comments so we can start vote counting.

John “Scarecrow” Chandley, RIP

2:10 pm in Uncategorized by Jane Hamsher

John Scarecrow ChandleyJohn Chandley’s son Christopher just called to say that John passed away last night.

As many in the community know, Scarecrow had been battling lung cancer for several months.

His children were with him when he passed. Christopher said “he loved you and he loved his work at Firedoglake.”

He was a brilliant writer and editor, a loyal friend and a deeply moral and committed soul. He will be terribly, terribly missed.

Update:  Perris had a great suggestion.  Please feel free to leave a commemorative link to your favorite posts from Scarecrow in the comments.

Here’s mine — when Scarecrow figured out what caused the Deep Horizon oil rig to blow a week before BP did.

Happy Holiday Knitting

10:57 am in Uncategorized by Jane Hamsher

Because the war on Christmas would not be complete without the sacrilege of non-Christmas specific holiday crafts.

This season, Lucy pays homage to Orlando Bloom in the classic slouch hat knitted in broken rib stitch.  The pattern can be found for free at Ravelry, where you can friend me as JaneHamsher.

I also knitted some fishtail pattern wrist warmers for myself, made out of Paton’s Kroy sock yarn:

I very much enjoyed seeing people’s art projects on the equally sacrilegious Happy Thanksgiving Knitting, so if you’d really like to get under Bill O’Reilly’s skin feel free to leave links to your holiday (or non-holiday) artistry in the comments.

Do You Know Where Your Local Walmart Black Friday Strike Is?

2:09 pm in Uncategorized by Jane Hamsher

Walmart strikers

Walmart workers in Pico Rivera prepare to strike

Find a Black Friday Walmart action near you.

Firedoglake has been working with the Walmart strikers in preparation for Black Friday. We’ve been talking with young organizers across the country who are finally starting to have some traction against the big box monolith that has wiped out small American businesses everywhere they’ve been been built.

Walmart is not going to take this lying down.  They have filed a complaint with the NLRB trying to stop the strikers, and yesterday when an employee in Florida walked off the job, Walmart called the police who issued her a warning for trespassing.

Having worked with groups ranging from Occupy WallStreet to OccupySandy to the Keystone XL tree sitters,  we’ve learned an awful lot about supplying demonstrators.  We’ve consulted with experienced union strike bosses to anticipate needs that demonstrators will have that they may not even realize until they’re in the thick of it.  And ironically,  the Walmart strike organizers said they actually learned a lot from studying the FDL member distribution system we set up for Occupy Supply.

So once again we’re digging in behind the workers, sending supplies to the picket lines and directing nearby activists to attend the Black Friday protests in solidarity.

Public support for the strikers is going to be critical to the narrative that comes out of Black Friday.  If you’re inclined to show up and support the strikers, they can really use your help:

You can search for a Black Friday Walmart action in your area here.

We’ve seen that bringing change to Walmart and its third party contractors is possible. In September, 38 warehouse workers in Elwood, IL struck alongside 600 supporters, and were able to clog up an important national distribution point for Walmart facilities across the nation. The strike was successful, and the workers were allowed to return to work without retaliation.

But Walmart employees have a long way to go for justice, and the Black Friday actions are a major step in that direction. With your help, we’ll show Walmart strikers that we’ve got their backs and help them continue to strike until their voices have been heard.

We’ll continue to support the Walmart strikers long after Black Friday.  We hope you’ll join with us in supporting them.

Happy Thanksgiving Knitting

8:56 am in Uncategorized by Jane Hamsher

Lucy and Jane

Happy Thanksgiving from Lucy and her mom

When your dad is a minister, some old lady is sticking a pair of knitting needles in your hands before you can walk. Like tuna noodle casserole and out-of-tune pianos in the basement, it’s a staple of a church upbringing.

So I’ve been knitting for as long as I can remember.  I like to pick up patterns over at Ravelry (I’m JaneHamsher,  if you’re on Ravelry, friend me!)  My best friend from high school, Mary Jane M, is a bit of a star knitter over there and sometimes I do test knitting for her.  I knitted the Fair Isle sock in this pattern (and took the photo too as I recall, though I think I just snapped the shutter since it was Mary Jane’s foot in the sock.)

Recently I knitted this Burberry-inspired cowl pattern in green. I picked up the yarn at the Knit and Stitch yarn shop in Bethesda.  I wish I could remember what the name of the yarn is because it knits up really nicely.

The dogs and I have a fire going in the fireplace, we’re watching the Macy’s parade, and I’m working on these mittens, worn by Kristen Stewart in possibly the stupidest movie of all time, Twilight.

Lucy wanted to say “happy Thanksgiving” too, so she jumped in the photo.  That’s  me in the green cowl and new red hair.  Katie was attending to other urgent business in the yard.

So happy Thanksgiving, from all of us to all of you.

What’s your hobby, and how are you faring this fine Thanksgiving day?

Good Wishes for an Old Friend: Sending Our Love to Scarecrow

6:03 am in Uncategorized by Jane Hamsher

John Scarecrow Chandley

John "Scarecrow" Chandley

Our front page editor John Chandley, aka Scarecrow, has been around FDL since we opened the doors in 2004, and I can’t think of anyone who has been a more loyal friend to the community. His insights and his passion for justice have inspired all of us throughout the years.

People may have noticed that for several weeks now, I’ve been on front page editing duty in his place. What they didn’t know is that John was recently diagnosed with metastatic melanoma which has spread to his lungs and his brain.

John is in the hospital right now, waiting for Glaxo Smith Klein to approve him for the use of dabrafenib, just about the only known drug effective on treating his form of melanoma after it has spread to the brain, because it can cross the blood/brain barrier. I don’t want to get into how the thieves at Glaxo Smith Klein are charging thousands of dollars per month for a drug that was developed with NIH funding or that John has to be hospitalized to afford it even if he is approved, because I’ll just be shaking with rage and it will detract from the point of this post, which is to wish him the best for a speedy recovery.

John didn’t have WiFi access in the hospital so we bought him a wireless card yesterday and Phred and her husband delivered it to him in the hospital last night. So I know you can read this, Scarecrow.

Get better fast John.  We miss you and love you.

Kindle Fire Using Microsoft Bing as Default Search Engine

10:14 am in Uncategorized by Jane Hamsher

Kindle Fire

Microsoft has apparently forked over big cash to Amazon to have its Bing search engine installed as the default on the new Kindle Fire HD.

Ars Technica:

“All text you enter in Amazon Silk’s address bar is sent to a default search engine,” Amazon writes in the Amazon Silk browser terms and conditions, updated yesterday. “The initial default search engine is selected by Amazon Silk, and we may change the default search engine in the future without notice to you. If you would like, you may choose to use a different search provider as your default search engine. The privacy policy of the selected default search engine applies to information sent to it.”

Google signed a deal for $300 million last year to be the default search engine in Mozilla’s Firefox.

Microsoft is no doubt desperate to reverse the trends in this chart:

Google’s cozy position as a government-granted monopoly has certainly reaped rewards for the company, and they’re eating everyone’s lunch in the global race for the almighty online advertising dollar. Microsoft had to make a big move.

I switched to DuckDuckGo a few months ago when Google changed their algorithm to favor their own sites and it became impossible to find anything I was looking for. When DuckDuckGo doesn’t work and I need a more sophisticated tool I do find that Bing consistently has a better chance of delivering what I want, although the creaky design takes some getting used to.

Bottom line:  I don’t think it’s a bad move for Amazon.  Kindle users will probably be better served by the deal.