2010 gave us a lot to write about here at Firedoglake. From passing student loan reform, to covering the BP oil disaster, to elevating the national conversation around marijuana policy, FDL bloggers and diarists came through with amazing reporting and analysis on the wide variety of issues facing the country.
Here’s a round-up of the top 10 blog posts at Firedoglake in 2010 (based on pageviews) — feel free to share your favorite FDL posts from last year in the comments!
On the day President Obama signed the Affordable Health Care Act of 2010 into law, a Harris Poll attempted to find exactly what portion of Americans held extreme views about the President by asking, among other things, if they believed he was a socialist and if he was born in the United States– loaded questions that were certain to produce some wacky results. And, unsurprisingly, they did: the Harris Poll found that 67% of Republicans believed Obama to be a socialist, 45% believed he was not born in the US and thefore ineligible to hold the office of the President, and 38% believed he was “doing many of the things that Hitler did.”
Many people across the country believed that 2010 was the year they would finally see the tides begin to turn on our costly, failed drug war. One obstacle we faced during the course of our Just Say Now campaign to legalize marijuana was the censorship of our online ads. Both Facebook and Reddit refused to run ads depicting marijuana leafs because marijuana is illegal, a stance that made it virtually impossible to advocate for the legalization of marijuana. In August, Condé Nast (which owns Reddit) prohibited the social news site from running Just Say Now ads depicting marijuana, despite the fact that many Reddit users were writing about the various legalization initiatives and even doing small-scale organizing around the issue on their own. In response, Reddit staffers chose to go around Condé Nast and run our ads for free!
Last spring, a federal judge in Mississippi ruled that Constance McMillen, a gay high school student attending Itawamba Agricultural High School, had her rights violated after being barred from attending her prom in a tuxedo with her girlfriend. In response, angry, homophobic parents at her school planned a secret, private prom and invited all of Constance’s classmates to attend — except, of course, for Constance and her girlfriend, who unknowingly showed up at the prom’s original location, only to find that no one else was there.
Many people held suspicions about the rape charges leveled at Wikileaks founder Julian Assange after his organization leaked thousands of confidential Iraq War documents to the press. Assange’s chief accuser in Sweden was Anna Ardin — an accomplished anti-communist activist with ties to all sorts of questionable characters involved in the US interventions in Latin America, including convicted terrorist and former-CIA agent Luis Posada Carriles. Ardin’s connections to US foreign policy interests brought her accusations into question, especially since evidence suggests she threw a party for Assange after the alleged ‘crime,’ only to report it to authorities once the US political class started clamoring for his head.
In this follow-up post from Lisa on the story of Constance McMillen, we are treated to photos and Facebook comments from students and parents involved in the “private, no-gays prom.” It turned out that the parents who organized the secret prom had sought to exclude students with learning disabilities from attending as well. As Constance told the Advocate, “[The students with learning disabilities] had the time of their lives [...] That’s the one good thing that come out of this, [these kids] didn’t have to worry about people making fun of them [at their prom].”
Last summer, Washington, DC cops proclaimed their authority to arrest anyone in the ‘Prostitution Free Zone’ found to be carrying two or more condoms on their person — a truly counterproductive policy in a city facing the highest HIV/AIDS infection rates in the country (aound 3-5%). Lisa points out how the Center for Disease Control puts the threshold for severe epidemics at a mere 1%, and wonders how, if at all, this policy helps.
When Google and Verizon announced a joint policy to kill net neutrality at the height of the open internet debate in August, FCC Commissioners Michael Copps and Mignon Clyburn let loose with harsh criticisms of their proposal at a public hearing in Minnesota. According to Copps, the deal “would eliminate any openness provisions over wireless, which is where all Internet applications are going.” Copps and Clyburn were joined by Minnesota Senator Al Franken, who noted that “we can’t let companies write the rules that we the people are supposed to follow. Because if that happens those rules will be written only to protect corporations.”
Four months before the deciding vote, California’s Proposition 19 to legalize marijuana enjoyed overwhelming support from the public. A PPP poll showed that voters supported the measure by an astounding 52% to 36%. Surprisingly, the poll found African Americans to be the largest bloc of supporters for marijuana legalization – a finding in conflict with earlier polling results that showed African Americans supporting legalization on-or-below average with the rest of the country. Jon also noted the significance of a Rasmussen poll that had, for the first time in the firm’s history, showed a plurality supporting marijuana legalization among American adults: 43% support to 42% oppose – a significant change from results released about one year earlier that found support at only 41%, with 49% opposed. Most importantly, the Rasmussen poll showed that an unprecedented 65% of American adults believed that marijuana would be legalized in the near future.
We spent more than a year writing about health care reform and it’s various, complex parts. From the individual mandate that forced Americans to purchase private insurance or face fines from the IRS, to the absence of drug reimportation controls that would make prescription drugs affordable to consumers in the US, there was a LOT of spin and misinformation swirling around the bill. Just a few days before the House vote, we put together a fact sheet called “The Truth About the Health Care Bill” that debunked the various myths surrounding the bill’s provisions. It was wildly popular at the time and continues to serve as an important resource that sheds light on what this bill actually means to the average American.
It might seem silly that a simple post announcing a ballot proposition number in California would be the most popular of our work in 2010. But when the announcement came that Californians would be deciding to legalize marijuana via Proposition 19 (incidentally, the same number used for the legalization initiative in 1972), the debate over the war on drugs was reignited and became one of the biggest stories of 2010. Michael’s post was the most highly-trafficked post on FDL in 2010!
Is there a particularly memorable post from 2010 that you think should have made the list? Share it with us in the comments!
And thank you all so much for reading and supporting Firedoglake this past year!