Our staff writers were not the only ones making waves this year. MyFDL contributors gave voice to stories on a wide range of topics, from assaults on internet freedom to unfair labor practices to several local news items with national repercussions. The depth and diversity of work on this year’s MyFDL Top 10 list is representative of some of the many reasons why we love our community.
Below you will find the 10 most-read MyFDL posts of 2013 based on unique pageviews.* Don’t forget to check out my previous post on the top 10 posts by Firedoglake writers, and share your honorable mentions in the comments.
A huge thanks to everyone who has read, written and commented at MyFDL this year, making it the great forum for news, commentary and debate that it’s become. This place just wouldn’t be the same without you.
*Note: Unique Pageviews’ count the number of unique visitors to access any given post. For example, if I load this post 3 times, that counts as 3 pageviews but is only 1 unique pageview.
#10: None Dare Call It Treason: Are Prominent Right-Wingers Plotting Overthrow or Secession? by Phoenix Woman
Veteran MyFDL’er Phoenix Woman kicks off our list with an excellent post on the speakers at this year’s Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit (VVS), which is kind of like a Netroots Nation of the religious right.
As Phoenix Woman notes, General William “Jerry” Boykin, the Executive Vice President of the FRC, was scheduled to speak at this year’s event alongside Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. PW dissects each of their connections to various secessionists, Birchers and dominionists advocating for a coup and the imposition of martial law. It’s a fascinating read with a lot of great links for those who want a closer look at one of the darker corners of the right-wing.
#9: The Incredible Shrinking Internet by danps
Net neutrality is a complicated and multi-faceted issue that is being ruthlessly attacked by corporations in courtrooms and legislatures across the country.
This post has got to be one of the most clear and concise interpretations I’ve read on the subject. Danps effortlessly walks us through the telecom industry’s plans to make websites and users pay premiums to access specific content on the internet, decimating the open access we all currently enjoy. Danps even digs up this little promise made by the telecoms back in ’96 that, nearly 18 years later, still hasn’t come to fruition: “All 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia contracted with their local telecommunication utilities for the build-out of fiber and hybrid fiber-coax networks intended to bring bidirectional digital video service to millions of homes by the year 2000.”
In April, acmerecords shared a frightening story from the Seattle Post Intelligencer on a confidential court order compelling the Oregon Medical Marijuana Project to provide the US Department of Justice with the names, addresses, telephone numbers, birth dates, and driver’s license numbers of “patients, growers and care givers in the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program database files.”
Due to the incongruence of state and federal marijuana laws, OMMP’s best efforts to enshrine these records with the same privacy rights as other health records were thwarted by the supersession of federal demand. Acmerecords takes this opportunity to highlight just how pervasive unnecessary federal intervention into state marijuana laws has become under the Obama administration, noting that “patients [...] have been able to receive prescriptions for medical cannabis from doctors in Oregon since 1998. During that period of nearly 15 years; during the final 2 years of the Bill Clinton presidency and over the 8 year course of the George W. Bush presidency, there are no previous warrants known to have been served upon the Oregon Medical Marijuana Project for patient’s private medical records by the federal government.”
#7: Obama DEA Employs ‘Smashing’ New Tactic to Intimidate Cannabis Pharmacies by acmerecords
There is no mistaking the fact that the Obama administration has a taste for periodic and dramatic raids of legitimate, state-sanctioned marijuana businesses. Even though the administration has a history of uttering liberal platitudes about unfair sentencing and enforcement priorities, its track record on marijuana policy points to the same old drug war fealty that has captivated this country for decades.
The administration continued its battle with these operations into this year when the DEA worked with Michigan state law enforcement to conduct so-called “smash and grab” raids of marijuana dispensaries. In a series of actions that sound more like stick-ups than law enforcement, agents appeared at dispensaries, quickly flashed (but did not leave) warrants, grabbed plants and cash and left just as quick as they came. Three dispensaries reported being raided without being left a copy of the warrant justifying the action.
#6: Worker Hangs Self at G.E. Erie after Massive Layoffs by firebagger
Here was a story scarcely covered by more than a couple local news outlets: a worker was found dead at their workstation at GE Transportation in Lawrence Park, PA, and the Deputy Coroner in Eerie ruled the death as a suicide.
What made this story even more notable was rumors from message boards frequented by GE workers claiming the suicide was in reaction to news that the company would be outsourcing over 900 jobs to a non-union plant in Texas. If those rumors are indeed true, how did this story not make more headlines outside Pennsylvania? Firebagger has an idea: “Guess all those media holdings really pay off for G.E. at times like this.”
#5: Surveillance of Banksters Please by masaccio
The more we learn about the government’s surveillance addiction, the more disgusted we become. But Masaccio posits these technologies could be useful for society if we could just turn their gaze elsewhere.
What if we used the NSA’s vast eavesdropping, collection and mapping technologies to combat money laundering and financial fraud? Imagine if the government had dedicated the same resources used to spy on the entire planet to focus on the financial sector. What if we used it to look at the use of offshore bank accounts, or the flow of money from Mexican drug cartels? In a way, thinking of how these technologies can be used for good further illuminates just how wrong the NSA’s surveillance programs are.
#4: What Not To Take To A Scrapyard by Crane-Station
I was pleasantly surprised to see this make the list: an extremely informative and fascinating post on some of the do’s, but most importantly the don’ts, of metal scrapping. It might seem out of place among pieces on NSA surveillance and marijuana reform on a politics website, but when you think about it, it actually fits right in.
For one, it’s an example of the immense and diverse cache of information and knowledge brought to the table by our community members. We are, after all, a community, and when we’re not discussing the issues of the day it’s not at all unusual for MyFDL’ers to discuss ways and means to help each other get by. Take a look at the comments on this post and you’ll see the wealth of information extends beyond that which the author brought as people begin to chip in their own experiences and ideas. It’s also a strong sign of our times: scrapping grew in popularity in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis as an important source of income. Some countries, like Germany, even offered “bonuses” for scrapping certain metals, and it has certainly become an important source of cash for many Americans as well. I have no prior experience with scrapping but after reading this post I have to admit my interest has been piqued.
#3: Senator Wendy Davis Filibusters #SB5 Anti-Abortion Bill in Texas (LIVE) by Kit OConnell
MyFDL editor Kit O’Connell helped us stay up to date during TX State Senator Wendy Davis’ heroic filibuster against Senate Bill 5 back in June. The filibuster, aided by a loud and large popular protest that continued for over a month, blocked a bill which — when passed in emergency legislative session — became a de facto ban on abortion for many women in the state.
Kit’s post is emblematic of yet another important function of our community: his citizen journalism helped bring us all to Texas to follow the fight over SB5. Aside from curating other voices reporting on the SB5, Kit went down to the capitol to do some reporting himself. This dedication to grassroots reporting where it’s needed most is a critical aspect of MyFDL, and we’re happy to have it well-represented on our list at #3.
#2: Bradley Manning Wins Peace Prize by David Swanson
After years behind bars and tremendous suffering under a vindictive regime of solitary confinement and other abuses, Chelsea Manning finally had her day in court this summer to tell her side of the story. And ever since, Chelsea has won several awards in absentia, including the Sean MacBride Peace Award by the International Peace Bureau. Antiwar activist and author David Swanson brings us some reactions to the award and advocates for her to win the Nobel Peace Prize as well. Notably, after Manning won the MacBride Peace Prize, she wrote in an open letter to the Guardian that she was not a pacifist, but a transparency advocate.
*Note: The headline refers to Manning as “Bradley” and not “Chelsea” because David’s post was published before her statement in August.
#1: Trayvon Martin’s Parents Settle Lawsuit Against HOA for More Than $1 Million by Masoninblue
After the murder of Trayvon Martin, there was one small sliver of good news for his family: they were able to settle their lawsuit against the Homeowners Association for over $1 million. As Masoninblue notes in his piece at #1 on our list, “This will not bring back Trayvon, but it’s an important achievement and milestone in the long road seeking justice for Trayvon.”
The Martin family sued the HOA for Trayvon’s wrongful death after they sent out a newsletter in February, 2012 (the same month and year of his death) that indicated that George Zimmerman was their Neighborhood Watch Captain in charge of any and all disturbances at the Retreat at Twin Lakes, where Trayvon was killed. By delegating such a responsibility to a man like Zimmerman, the Retreat was effectively an enabling party to the murder of this young, innocent man. Zimmerman was acquitted in July of this year.
What were your favorite MyFDL posts from 2013? Who are your favorite MyFDL contributors? And what issues do you want to see get enough attention to make the list next year? Let us know in the comments, and have a safe and happy new year!