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Happy Birthday FDL Membership – March 8, 2012

10:00 am in Uncategorized by Ryan Cook

In the blink of an eye, the Firedoglake Membership Program turned 1-year old today, and I can hardly believe it.

Happy BirthdayOn this day of March in 2011, only 5 quick months after I began working for Firedoglake, we launched our membership drive. We had over 500 members join within the first week, and an additional 300 in the second week. It was an amazing heartfelt success, as people were pledging to help make Firedoglake sustainable for years.

By joining membership, whether you all know it or not, you have helped to bring on new writers, support our staff, allow for more petitions and actions to take place, and encouraged us to grow as a news source. Due to your support, we can continue to look into the future, instead of being unsure if the future was in our sights. It also allows us to stay independent, free from outside influence and alternative motifs.

If you are not already a member, JOIN HERE, or give me a call to talk about membership benefits at (202)709-7498.

You can always email me at

A birthday is an amazing time to look back at your success stories from the year, but an even better time to reflect. To think about how you can make yourself better, stronger, healthier, and in membership’s case, helpful.

I only wish we were able to have a physical birthday party for the Membership program, but this post will have to do for now. One of the things to put on our birthday wish list is to have a large meet-up one day for all members.

Not a member? Join the list below in celebration of the Membership Program’s 1st birthday.

Thank You New Members!

Kathy J

Pamela J

Richard W

Richard W

Daniel P

David C

Lora P

Nicholas N

Victor T

Tom C

David R

Clytie S

Dan A

Scott M

Jack K

Kristen Z

Robert E

Jerry R

Dennice B

Susan O

Keith B

D. Cormac L

Frederick M

William P

Tony N

Jack W

Daniel S

David S

Tom V

Magesh J

Sheila S


Thomas W. H.

Carole H

Joel A


Ending Marriage Discrimination One Amazing Video At a Time

6:33 am in Uncategorized by Ryan Cook

I realize that this video has now received over 5 million views, but I felt this Australian commercial was worth sharing. The most powerful part of this video is that I watched it outside of youtube, on a third party site, where there was no title. I watched as this man went through the everyday struggles and events that most people face; birthdays, dating, illness, death of a family member, finding a significant other, moving into a new home, proposing.

Watch the video below!

It was not until the end that you find that this man was gay, and he was proposing to another man. There is NO difference. Everyone loves who they love, and should be able to share their lives with that person, regardless of sex, with the same added benefits as everyone else.

2012 Membership Drive – Your Support Motivates All of Us at Firedoglake

10:00 am in Uncategorized by Ryan Cook

I wanted to say THANK YOU to over 30 people who became New Members this membership drive at Firedoglake. You are not only part of a successful membership drive, but are helping to ensure the sustainability of Firedoglake for years to come.

Become a member during our 2012 membership drive TODAY!

As many of you may know, I have taken a personal interest in the membership program at Firedoglake. I was here when we started planning for it, when we launched it, and for hours upon hours of board member meeting about new benefits we could offer. During this drive a couple of things have happened that really motivate me, things that couldn’t have happened this time last year.

1. Our amazing writers are talking about the work they completed with members all over the country. They have made even more connections this year.

2. Members are contacting me, willing to write a post about how they have enjoyed their membership and all the things they have learned over the past year.

3. There is a lot of emotion. Last year we were just talking about what we wanted to do, and who we were going to have on for webinars. This year we are talking about what we want to do better, what we did accomplish, and the amazing guest speakers that have taught us a lot of important strategies and lessons.

To see this program grow is a truly remarkable thing to me. Not because I did not think it would happen, but I always worry. It is like having a puppy, and for the first month its running around scared, going to the bathroom on your favorite rug, using your Salvatore Ferragamo’s as a chew toy. You’re thinking, “this might not work.” Then, in a just a few short months you have an amazing dog that is supportive, protective, and helping you to live a long and successful life.

Clearly we don’t think of our members as pets, but rather the membership program provides the same companionship, sense of support and motivation to push forward each and every day that many of us share with them. We’ve got an irreplaceable, unbreakable relationship with our members that we know will result in some pretty amazing triumphs going forward – and we look forward to growing our family to hopefully include you.

Join NOW and let me know in the comments below which speakers you would like to present on our webinars this year!

Organizing a 2 Week Trip for Lt. Dan Choi to Visit Occupations

5:00 pm in Uncategorized by Ryan Cook

I have had the pleasure this week to work with Jane Hamsher and Lt. Dan Choi, DADT activist and superstar occupier! I have been booking travel and organizing events for Dan at 5 different occupations across the country, from Delaware to Fairbanks, AK. We started the trip off in Wilmington, Delaware (Occupy Delaware) last weekend and are picking it back up today.

Last night I spoke with Will Marshall who told me that he successfully picked up Mr. Choi from the airport. Choi starts this full week of travel in Atlanta, GA where they are occupying outside of the AT&T center. From the photos that have been submitted, it looks like Dan is meeting a ton of great people and will be hosting a celebration at the newly acquired military tent from Firedoglake Occupy Supply. Everyone in the communities I have spoken with have been very helpful in working with me to make sure that when Dan arrives he has a ride, food, shelter, and other forms of hospitality.

Without our membership program and the amazing work of our member Liaisons, we could have never dreamed of sending Lt. Dan Choi to Salt Lake City, Flint Michigan, and all of his other stops. Help ensure the sustainability of Firedoglake by joining as a member today!

What will Dan be doing? He wants to focus on meeting all of the occupiers involved, getting to know their story, then stay the night with them at their encampment. He plans to spend at least one night out in the military command tent at each location, staying warm due to some of the amazing advances in solar energy and other tactics to “get off the grid.” The work that some of these occupations are doing such, as Little Rock, Raleigh, and many others is impressive and inspiring.

In hindsight, we can hardly believe we’ve been able to accomplish all we have with Occupy Supply, but when you consider the strength and support we get from the membership program, it makes more sense and opens the door to incredible possibilities for organizing in the future.

Help to keep Firedoglake moving forward by joining our membership program during the 2012 Membership Drive.

Occupy Supply is a program of the Firedoglake Membership program where we have over 105 member liaisons nationwide. I will continue to update everyone daily on his travels. Dan is tremendously excited about visiting these occupations, and his visits are bringing hope to all the campers as they reach the 6 month mark of occupying.

Firedoglake Membership – 2012 A Year To Find Myself

7:50 am in Uncategorized by Ryan Cook

Today – We launch our 2012 Membership Drive and invite readers who have just started visiting Firedoglake or have been with us for years to join our membership program for as low at $5/month or $45/year.

You can join at different levels, and each has membership benefits and gifts.  More important, I can promise, after seeing it this year, you will learn something new, find a new friend who lives just down the street from you with the same interests, and feel a sense of accomplishment from your membership.

Help make year 2 of the FDL Membership Program even better – become a member today!

Last year at this time, I was just getting settled in. It was my first year with Jane Hamsher and Firedoglake. Without knowing my capabilities, everyone trusted me enough to head the project to start a membership program. I must admit, the task was daunting at first, and I was not sure if we would be able to get it off the ground.

We not only got the program off the ground, but reached over 1400 members nationwide within the founding year. I was amazed, joyful, and effervescent. I could not have been happier with the success of the membership program, and I have all of you to thank for that. I take tremendous pride in working for this organization and having a relationship with each and every one of you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for making this past year special.

Join the Firedoglake Membership Program and enter a new year of exciting activism.

This year we have had amazing educational webinars from Rob Richie and Krist Novoselic at Fair Vote, Joshua Koster, from Chong & Koster on online organizing tactics, and Stephen Lerner on occupying our homes and political action. These webinars not only help us learn, but bring us together forming lasting bonds.

I was fortunate to be able to receive most of the emails that came in over the past year about membership. What did people enjoy the most? Finding people who shared a common interest and who lived near them. In many cases we were able to link people together so that they could form small activist groups. This is something that not many membership programs can do, and I am so happy to be part of one who can offer that benefit.

In closing I wanted to talk about 2 very successful membership programs that began this year.

1. MET Program -  The Membership Engagement team (MET) is a group of 5 amazing members who were in charge of reaching out to new members to thank them and offer help on writing posts and becoming more active on Firedoglake.

2. Occupy Supply Liaison Program - Started in the beginning of October 2011, this is a program containing over 105 member liaisons in over 70 locations. The program raised $205,000 and we have sent out nearly 20,000 pieces of cold weather clothing or supplies.

As part of the Occupy Supply Program, Jane and the supply team hold webinars twice a week with participation from FDL liaison members, guest speakers, and Occupiers from around the country.  We exchange experiences, ideas, and insights; we also link up people with different expertise, and we find out what’s working (and what’s not) in various locations.  These twice-weekly webinars have become extremely valuable to the whole occupy supply effort.

Please contact me anytime if you have any questions about membership. You can reach me at

By joining the membership program you help Firedoglake to be a long-term sustainable independent news source.

Occupy Supply Visits Hartford, CT

10:54 am in Uncategorized by Ryan Cook

Help the Occupy Supply Fund ship 100% union made, American manufactured
cold weather gear to occupations.

I was privileged enough to travel to Hartford CT this week to visit my family for the holiday. I traveled from Washington DC to Connecticut by train with over 50lbs of OccupySupply cold weather clothing.

I was given directions by my stepmother who is a state representative. She told me she passed by the occupation every day that she goes to legislative sessions. The occupation is about .5 miles from the Legislative Office Building. Its location could be a little bit better, but they do have a spot where they are not bothered by police and it has potential to hold a lot of people.

As soon as I got there I went to the comfort station which was in fairly rough shape. The ground was soaked and many of the tents, including the comfort station, were somewhat improvised and very flimsy. There were about 25 tents with a head count of about 48 people as far as I could tell. I was told a lot of people were back taking showers and getting supplies.

I met with two people; one was named Maira who was in charge of the comfort station and outreach, the other was Jairule (pronounced the same as the rapper, jah-rool.)  He told me that they had been trying to get in touch of Firedoglake, and that they had been wondering if they were ever going to see supplies delivered.

The best part of my visit was that I got to watch the comfort station managers hand out some of the supplies to the occupiers Maira was trying to be very democratic distributing the items. I was happy to see that we had just enough hats for everyone, so nobody that was there was going to go without at least one piece of clothing from the supply fund.

We are continuing to deliver goods across the country everyday. Over 20 packages went out on Wednesday along with the 30 packages that went out last Saturday. So far, over 30 states have received starter packages or second deliveries.

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Comfort Station

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My OccupySupply Shop: Warming the Country, one hat at a time.

8:22 am in Uncategorized by Ryan Cook

Help the Occupy Supply Fund ship 100% union made, American manufactured
cold weather gear to occupations.

As the UPS truck rolled down Potomac Avenue and parked in front of our small office, our excitement grew. With excitement came fatigue after helping to unload over 120 boxes of clothing in just 4 days. Next thing you know we had a home office that looked more like a warehouse than a place of employment and comfort.

We needed a supply shop! What better than a basement, some shelves, and a little bit over-obsessive-compulsive organization skills?

Over the past week, I have been organizing what is being called my “OccupySupply Shop.” I have neatly organized all the supplies that have come in, minus around 250 blankets that just won’t fit anywhere. Those are getting shipped out quickly. We have an array of hats that are of different colors and materials, so that our supplies are well suited for different geographical areas.

We also have two full shelves, one of which is shown below, of men’s and women’s long underwear. They are amazing base-layer clothing that will be essential to surviving the treacherous winter weather that is already upon many occupations. We also have over 500 scarves, red and black, that are already leaving the shelves quickly.

The supply shop is not just for storage, it is fully functional. When one of our FDL Occupy Supply liaison folks places an order for supplies, a packing slip is created and brought down to the shop. From there, boxes are assembled, packaged, taped up, weighed, addressed, handled with love and care, and shipped directly to local occupations across the country. As you can see, our space is limited, so it is our goal to get these items out to the occupiers as quickly as we can, to make room for the next shipment of items. [cont'd] Read the rest of this entry →

Become an #OccupySupply Fund Liaison

9:52 am in Uncategorized by Ryan Cook

Help Distribute Goods to Occupations
as an “Occupy Liaison”

The Firedoglake Membership Program’s #OccupySupply fund just received our first shipment of cold weather supplies for occupations across the country. With a lot of hard work and determination, we were able to purchase 5000 pieces of clothing for extreme cold weather, made in the USA by union workers. Simply amazing.

Now we’re looking for leaders to help us get it all out there.

The Firedoglake membership program is a small, unified group of volunteers that’s worked hard to make the Occupy Supply fund the success it’s become. Many of our members have been acting as liaisons to build bridges with their local occupy encampments. They joined the membership program because they feel passionately about what we are doing and want to become more involved in our work.

We are looking for members who want to take an active role in the work of the Occupy Supply fund and become “Occupy Liaisons.” These members serve as a point of contact at occupations in their local area, visiting occupations and sending us feedback about what is truly needed there. Occupy Liaisons will deliver supplies as they become available, take time to listen to people at the occupations to really understand what their needs are, and tell their stories to the FDL community. If you want to help us distribute cold weather gear to occupations across the country, please consider the FDL membership program.

(And, by joining membership, you not only help sustain FDL’s future as an independent news source, but as an organizing and activism hub as well!)

Cold weather has already arrived in many areas, bringing snow and harsh conditions. So many Occupy protests need help to make it through the winter, and we need as many folks as possible to act as Occupy Liaisons between our union supply chain and the demonstrations. It’s a critical job that could help decide whether or not these historic protests survive the next few months.

We’ll be announcing trainings for any and all FDL Members interested in becoming Occupy Liaisons next week. Join us today and will make sure you get an invitation to our Occupy Liaison trainings.

If you can’t join us as a liaison, but would like to send some warm weather gear to occupiers, click here!

Firedoglake is eagerly working to build a humane, sustainable, equitable and democratic future. Help us achieve our goal by becoming a member today.

If you are already a member and would like to be a liaison, please send me an email at

The Occupy Supply project is a project of the FDL Membership Program. You can read about it in Jane’s post from yesterday and in the Huffington Post, Gothamist, or the Tech Herald.

Update on #OccupyDC After Winter Weather

8:49 am in Uncategorized by Ryan Cook

Help Kevin Gosztola purchase & distribute supplies from the Occupy Supply fund.


I rode down to the Occupy DC location on K street Sunday Morning. I found out was sick on Monday, so I hope I didn’t leave anything behind.

I wanted to stop by and show my friend from Maryland what was going on. I have to admit that he was being very closed minded to the movement, and had a typical 1% mentality. His opinion drastically changed once we went down to the site and he saw how people were living in consideration with the snow and wind that hit DC on Saturday through Sunday.

He was actually upset that they were not getting any support from the city, and that many of these ‘kids’ were sitting there in cutoff t-shirts. He then understood why I grabbed two blazers, and a bunch of button down shirts that I no longer wear. Granted, this is not your ideal winter gear for camping out on the streets, but its better than a lot of these people have.

I also learned while visiting the “comfort station,” a station that gathers clothing and blanket donations, that they are having a real problem keeping the clothes dry. It is not just a matter of keeping the clothes covered, but due to the weather and air, the clothes still feel damp, and occupiers are unwilling to take them, fearing that it would not be sanitary.

I wanted to do one big thing over the next weekend or this week in addition to everything that Jane Hamsher and FDL are doing with the #OccupySupply Fund. I wanted to go down there and help cook a dinner/meal. I want to see how many mouths are actually fed, and also just to help.

What would you all recommend to cook for the occupiers of DC? They do have propane and pots for cooking, so it does not have to be a cold meal.

I am taking suggestions and let everyone know what I have decided on. This will be out of my pocket, but if you do want to donate to the occupy supply fund, where we are delivering warm winter clothing to DC and occupations across the country you can click here! Jane has been working hard this week with union shops across the country to get warm clothing to occupiers who are in need. 100% of the donations made to the occupy supply fund are going to warm clothes and supplies to help people make it through the winter.

#Occupy LA Can’t Feed People

1:34 pm in Uncategorized by Ryan Cook

Help Kevin Gosztola purchase & distribute supplies from the Occupy Supply fund.

Occupy DC may not have it all together on their winterization plan, but at least they have warm food.

Lisa Derrick contacted me late last night after her visit to Occupy Los Angeles. She was deeply upset to see that the occupiers in LA did not have enough food to go around. She told me that people there were consuming less than 500 calories a day, which is much lower than any person, of any size should receive. Not only are they consuming a low number of calories, but the calories that they are consuming are definitely not healthy ones.

There are close to 1000 people there who are lucky to receive one REAL meal a day. They are occasionally fortunate to have local restaurants bring them bowls of rice and supplies to eat with, but this is not a regular occurrence. To make things harder, only packaged food or food from health department certified restaurant kitchens can be dropped off, which is a regulation of the Health Dept. for feeding groups. Lisa is going to be livestreaming today at 3pm Pacific time, 6pm Eastern. I have been fortunate to visit Occupy DC a few times and they have their definite needs, but for the time being are doing well with food. They have quite the kitchen operation, and last night they were serving pasta. Food, however is not something you can do without, and without our help, Occupy LA could be ending their stand soon.

Thanks to many of your generous donations we were able to send Lisa down to Trader Joe’s for a big haul. This afternoon she will be delivering:

- 100 jars of peanut butter

- 20 jars of applesauce

- 30 loaves of bread

- And hundreds of dollars of canned fruit

That’s just the start. Lisa is still shopping and will show all the great things she bought for the occupiers tonight. Click here to help Lisa deliver more goods to the 1000 people in Los Angeles.

Food for #Occupy LA!

In other news: Last night, Jane Hamsher, Matt McKinnon from the Machinists Union, and I went to the 8pm committee meeting on winterization. This was their first meeting so they were really only brainstorming Ideas. We hope to help them out with warm clothing and supplies soon, along with effective strategies to outlast the winter.