On the record: Talk to the Dome

Ryan Beckwith, master of ceremonies at Under the Dome, wants to hear from folks at BlueNC about your experiences here. I've invited him to use this thread to ask his questions, and to get your answers. His first question:

How would you describe BlueNC to a friend?

Comments

A liberal group blog?

I've used those words to describe BlueNC in the past. Would you have a different description?

— RTB

The term "liberal" has been

subjected to so much negative exposure over the years people (on either side) no longer really know what it means. In a political context, it's supposed to mean simply "open-minded" as opposed to the conservative "closed-minded". But that's not a fair exchange, is it?

Thanks to common (mis)usage, the term has come to represent "a naive person who places little value on hard work and constantly seeks methods to redistribute wealth from solid citizens to lazy layabouts."

If you want a better description of BlueNC (and I think you need one), try this:

BlueNC is a community-driven website that promotes progressive values and policies in North Carolina.

The term "progressive" is not merely a replacement for the now-soured "liberal", it's unique and has actually been around for quite a while.

Basically, it's an opinion that situations rarely improve on their own without some form of "action step" by concerned parties. This often does take the form of efforts to aid the less fortunate, but that's not the main "goal" of being a progressive.

As far as what I tell people about BlueNC, it usually ends up being, "You should check it out; we're doing some really cool stuff!"

:)

A communist blog? Not really! They meet on Friday's at Taco Bell

A liberal group blog?
*The Legion of Dome
I've used those words to describe BlueNC in the past. Would you have a different description?

— RTB

Depending the Generic establishment term. Maybe? Blue NC is more like a information site that covers both sides of the political battlefield. It has grown with amazing speed in the past 2 years with many viewers from both sides and of course with the candiates poping him. It has change the political landscrape of North Carolina. Candiates have been born here in real time and made major impact in the political system. The major trick at this site is it's open policy and it's wonderful folks who post here. James and Betty and the other hosts here do not lie and try to give a fair shake to others with diffent political opinions which is great for democracy. It might get nasty at times, but one thing this site and it's host have in common, is that they care and love their country and state for the good. I salute them for giving it a shot to expand the political knowledge in this age of the internet and real information not being control by some power control freaks....

BlueNC is, to me,

a meeting place to brainstorm about how to bring about positive alterations to the political discourse in our Cities, Counties, our State and our Country.

We are a very diversified group of persons from many different backgrounds with very diverse life experiences as well as many of the same experiences.
Some are born and raised here in North Carolina, some have found their way here to this beautiful State due to work, school, spouses or just because they love it here and want to live here.

Blue NC is a community gathering place for sharing ideas, taking on the tough issues and having a lot of fun while doing so.

North Carolina. Turning the South Blue!

North Carolina. Turning the South Blue!

Ryan, I usually call BlueNC

a political community blog. We do have some moderate/conservative Dems and a Republican or two who stop by for civil discussions. Progressive community blog would be the most accurate description for the most people.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

I would call it a progressive blog community.

Semantics, I suppose, but we combine blogging with online community-building. That online community building often leads to off-line activism. (I think.)

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Three-word definitions

Hmm. I have always tried to keep my definitions to three words (so that I can use them as compound adjectives without trouble...) But you raise an interesting question: How do you differentiate "liberal" from "progressive"?

— RTB

Linda

Since you're the only one not at lunch right now, I'll move onto another thread.

Who are you?

James told me you're one of the seven bloggers with front-page privileges. How did you end up doing that? What is your day job? What are your major causes.

If you would rather talk offline, e-mail your phone number to rbeckwit@newsobserver.com.

Thanks!

— RTB

I just got done doing a project, but have to leave in a minute.

My disorganized thoughts:

BlueNC is more than the new diner, the new coffee shop, the new barber shop. It's a place people come to everyday to chat with friends and colleagues. Sometimes it is casual, sometimes it is heated, but it is always informative.

There is no filter at BlueNC, which is good and bad. We've all sat through meetings with people who seem to have no internal filtering system, but the nice thing about a blog is you can mostly ignore these people.

Having been here since nearly the beginning, I think the thing that has been most exciting has been getting to "know" people from throughout the state. From Screwy Hoolie (Gordon) and the gang in Asheville, to Thomas Brock and others out on the beach. We've got people from all walks of life, from former military officers to students. There isn't any coffee shop that will attract that sort of crowd.

One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

I had to go to an appointment, Ryan, sorry.

I'll email you.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

My thoughts exactly

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Slightly OT, but on my ride from Greensboro to Sanford

this morning, on 101.1 FM WZTK - The Brad and Britt Show, they mentioned the BlueNC Governor Debate. It was in passing, but non the less...

North Carolina. Turning the South Blue!

North Carolina. Turning the South Blue!

That's great to know.

One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Being discussed at the Dome as well

You can find it here.

Make sure you read the comments, because there's one from a person who has apparently been offended by our (my) offensiveness in our earlier days. When Ryan asked me whether I regretted my many rants, I said I regretted all of them. Which is true. I really do wish I could have found another way to interrupt "business as usual" in North Carolina politics.

I'm working very hard to tone it down, but some people simply don't deserve even a modicum of respect, in my opinion.

R-rated?

The person who thinks BlueNC is R-rated obviously doesn't watch the CSI/Law & Order/Reality shows that pass as PG these days.

One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Now I've done it.

I guess I'll hear more than my fair share of dog jokes.

No, no, no, James

There's no such thing as a "fair share" of dog jokes.

You get as many as you possibly can and don't worry about who isn't getting his.

It's a dog-eat-dog world, you know.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing
-Edmund Burke

A Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy

Does that get in under the 3 word rule? I'm hoping you're not counting articles and hyphenated words count as one not two...

In truth, I usually say BlueNC is a left-wing political blog. Most people don't know enough about different types of blogs to find the descriptor "group blog" useful.

On the topic of liberal vs. progressive - I think we get to choose which one we want to call ourselves, but the generally understood meanings of each are pretty much the same. So if someone calls me one or the other, I don't really care which. I feel the same about BlueNC.

It's our only hope for survival...

"I'm the key figure in an ongoing government charade, the plot to conceal the truth about the existence of extraterrestrials. It's a global conspiracy, actually, with key players in the highest levels of power, that reaches down into the lives of every man, woman, and child on this planet, so, of course, no one believes me. I'm an annoyance to my superiors, a joke to my peers. They call me Spooky. Spooky Mulder, whose sister was abducted by aliens when he was just a kid and who now chases after little green men with a badge and a gun, shouting to the heavens or to anyone who will listen that the fix is in, that the sky is falling and when it hits it's gonna be the shit-storm of all time."

This is why Mulder must be kept at a two drink maximum.

I like it.

I've always wanted to belong to a vast left-wing conspiracy.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing
-Edmund Burke

I recently told a friend

that blueNC is my favorite place to get state and local political news. That's a really simplistic view, but anything deeper would have sounded odd to someone who's just not at all into discussing local and state political policy for hours on end.

Besides all the amazingly smart, balanced, smart, active, smart people who use this blog to think out loud, to have important policy discussions in front of God and everybody, to sound the alarm when regular North Carolinians are being railroaded by powerful interests, to report on political events they attend, etc., etc., etc., blueNC is just a great news source for state politics ... for anybody, not just us'uns in the vast left-wing conspriacy. ;)

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

How you get your news

OK, next question:

How has BlueNC changed the way you get political news? Where did you previously learn about candidates, campaign events, etc.?

— RTB

The trouble is I didn't get any political news

before BlueNC. I hated state politics because I didn't know anything about them. This year is so, so different. It's amazing to have a direct connection with so many of the candidates and their supporters who blog here.

I used to subscribe to three newspapers

Way back when. The N&O, the Chapel Hill News, the New York Times. Now it's down to the Times. Plus I pick up the Independent whenever I'm out, which isn't often.

Five years ago, I tried really hard to be informed about what was happening, but it was difficult to get second-order insights. The N&O is clearly the political newspaper of record in the state, but even after scouring it every day, I couldn't get the knowledge I get from the blogs I read daily.

I used to get my news from the typical media sources.

At times I do my best to go directly to the source so I can report the news. Other times, I use what the CharO, N&O and television stations report as a springboard for further research. I check many more sources for news than I used to.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Liberal vs Progressive

I asked George Lakoff about this when he was in Raleigh recently. My Q: "Why do you use the word progressive instead of liberal?" He is a linguist after all...

He said, [paraphrase] "So and So did some polls on the word liberal. We discovered it would be very expensive to realign the word in a positive light. So we stuck with progressive."

I took this to mean that conservatives had damaged the term Liberal so bad that it wasn't worth saving. They did this by framing it in the opposite way it was originally defined. When we participate in this conservative frame, by not using the word liberal in a positive way, we let them win. A great example of the Rove spin machine.

It seems that many Democrats aren't comfortable with being called a Liberal. Because they buy into the conservative frame. Problem is the Dem base is constructed of many self described liberals both old and young. I vote for Liberal Dems and am just fine with being called Liberal, Commie, Pinko, Leftist, etc. I'll wear the description of Liberal with pride!

that's fine if you don't think words matter

The willingness of otherwise hard working activists to portray themselves in a negative light surprises me.

What positive do you get by being "fine with being called Liberal, Commie, Pinko, Leftist, etc."?

Self-representation is not change. When people assert their right to define themselves as "pinko" (or whatever), they usually mean to say that they won't allow themselves or their ideals to be red-baited. That's great and all, but it's not about you, it's about persuading a large majority of your neighbors. You'll have an easier time if you deign to speak their language.

- - - - -
McCain - The Third Bush Term

I've always been the "actions speak louder than words" sort

Some of my friends got together and started a blog about technology and change. IT is pretty good.

I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. - Bill Hicks

:P

speak softly and carry a big stick?

My point is, there is no inherent value in doing things the hard way. If you've got something that needs to get done (help workers, improve housing, fix the environment) you need to be able to convince other folks to pitch in. That's not a trivial task, and I would hope there would be some effort put into it.

- - - - -
McCain - The Third Bush Term

Jerimee that's an excellent

Jerimee that's an excellent point, how we self-identify is in direct relation to how we project ourselves. People shut down immediately when they hear words like "liberal". Certainly I've learned a valuable lesson in my first 3 weeks in North Carolina and that's that Christian doesn't have all of the negative connotations that the idea of organized religion conjured in my mind a month ago. That's because before coming here I hadn't really met any self-identified Christians that shared my ideologies.
I really love the word progressive. As an adjective it is empowering, it lends itself to the of moving forward. Its positive and affirming.
J. Levi Knapp

A great many people think they are thinking when they are really rearranging their prejudices.
William James (1842 - 1910

Levi

It hasn't changed

BLUENC has not changed the way I gather/garner/glean political news.

It's just part of the conversation. Sometimes what passes for news here on BLUENC is no more intelligent or reliable than the pablum from CNN; sometimes there's a glimmer of something worth mining.

But I don't turn to BLUENC for news. I turn to this blog for conversation about the news.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing
-Edmund Burke

I agree. I don't think its a

I agree. I don't think its a good idea to rely on any one outlet for news. However, I love reading/watching the news and then being able to come with like-minded and more intelligent people than myself to read about their takes on the issues. Many times my gut reaction to blurbs are so one-sided and for me, I feel like I need to get input from others who may have different interpretations of what's going on. That's why I like it here.
J. Levi Knapp

A great many people think they are thinking when they are really rearranging their prejudices.
William James (1842 - 1910)

Levi

I like to describe BlueNC

as the early day soap box. I envision what it was like to stand under "the posting tree" and discuss what ever issue you had passion for. Folks would come and listen and walk away thinking about and possibly acting on what the speaker on the soap box said.

Back then, the country did not have 300,000,000 people. Getting your word out required you to go to many posting trees to discuss your ideas.

BlueNC is the new soap box. The other nice thing about BlueNC posters is they look up their facts and post them along with their opinion or thoughts of what the facts say to them.

So BlueNC is a tie-in to the old fashion way of communicating and getting our ideas (political as well as non-political views) to the public with the modern era of computers and instant information. It is a place for folks to come to learn even more about issues that effect our State.

I love the "soap box"ness of this site, the down to earth old fashion feel and flavor. How at any time you can hear someone else talking on their soap box. And folks sometimes actually listen to what I say! Thats even better!

Next question

What role do you see BlueNC playing the political process?

Are you political advocates? Parajournalists? Party organizers? Or are you more like an interest group?

Specifically, how do you relate to the Democratic Party?

— RTB

I've mentioned this before.

I was talking with a campaign consultant (who is a lurker here, so Hi!) who said that blogs have little impact on voters. After all, we're only talking about 3000 or 4000 unique individuals per week, many of whom are just keeping tabs on what we say.

My response to him was that BlueNC is more than that. Nearly every person on BlueNC is an activist, which means that we are social focal points. We're precinct chairs, county leadership, non-profit leaders, fundraisers. We talk about politics outside the blogs, a lot! The blog allows us to be well-informed about different candidates/issues/opposition members in a way that we weren't before. If the Iraq war vote happened now you would have millions of people getting information about how bogus it was from the blogs around the world, compared to the thousands back in 2002/2003.

I think that is why campaigns, candidates, and non-profits come here to post. Not because of the 4000 people they reach directly, but because of the large number of people they reach indirectly. I can tell you that a lot of people in Chapel Hill know who Dan Besse is because of my emails/conversations with them, and I wouldn't know/care about him at all if it hadn't been for his online support.

One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Next Answers

What role do you see BlueNC playing the political process?

BlueNC plays different roles for different people at different times. How helpful is that? It's like a giant town hall. Sometimes there are meetings. Sometimes there are quiet conversations. Sometimes there are speeches/reports. Sometimes - there are revolutions planned. There is a lot of self expression going on, and a lot of ideas being worked on and worked out here.

Are you political advocates?

In my judgment, yes, most of us are. Just not for the same cause.

Parajournalists?

I don't like that term at all. It sounds derogatory. Some of the bloggers here put as much work into their posts as you do into your stories, and are as serious about getting their sources right as you are. Betsy Muse and Greg Flynn come immediately to mind. You can trust the work they do to be accurate and every source to be checked down to finest detail. They're just not paid for it. Citizen journalist is how some people call it. I don't claim that term myself. I am a sometime blogger.

Party organizers?

Some people who post here are also party organizers. But this is not a party organizing site.

Or are you more like an interest group?

No, I don't think so. There are too many diversified interests to call it that.

Specifically, how do you relate to the Democratic Party?

I think BlueNC has a love-hate relationship with the Democratic Party. Although many of us are Democrats, you will often see complaints or rants about the Democratic Party on BlueNC. We are not the blogging arm of the NCDP, and nothing that is posted here is official Democratic dogma. There are members of BlueNC who are not Democrats. As a matter of fact, I think there might be a Republican or two hang around.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

No offense

No offense meant with the term "parajournalists."

Just trying to figure out how to distinguish freelance reporters from staff writers from people who work for free.

— RTB

None taken.

The preferred term is "citizen journalist". I'm just cranky today, and tend to rant when I'm cranky - and when I'm not.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

You have to watch out for those Scrubbing Bubbles, Linda

Take it from one with recent experience.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing
-Edmund Burke

Wages of sin

I actually hesitated to mention the product because I didn't want to admit using it, but this was an EMERGENCY! In fact, I had to go beyond that and hit the tiles with this other stuff that is so ferocious I held my breath applying it and then fled the scene. It's what I get for neglecting an unused room for a year or so and then having to get it suddenly fixed up for a guest. Vinegar and water wasn't gonna get it done.

Anyway, dagnabbit, I was hoping I'd get away with blaming my wickedness on the toxic stuff -- and then have some way of conveying that -- honest to goodness -- I know it's bad to have this stuff in my house!

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing
-Edmund Burke

Awkward phrasing

I've always thought "citizen journalist" is a weird term, too.

I mean, what am I supposed to be? A foreign national?

I think it's supposed to be a way of avoiding the word "amateur" which sounds derogatory, but it's not the mot juste either.

— RTB

You're right!

Why don't we just go with blogger? That works, doesn't it? It works for what we do online, even what you do at Under The Dome, and then you still get to be a Citizen, which is only fair.

My other idea was Super Genius, but I understand that's already been taken.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

labels

do matter. I'm ok with "blogger," rather than something that incorporates the word "journalist."

The question of who/what a journalist is is not unimportant, since there are advocates for the idea of passing a law that would confer some immunity to "journalists" for preserving confidentiality of sources. The difficulty of defining who gets to call him or herself a journalist is part of what makes the drafting (not to mention enforcement) of such a law problematic.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing
-Edmund Burke

I have a degree in journalism

I want to be called a journalist. I worked multiple jobs to get that degree dangit. I'm not asking to be paid, though. :D



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

CNN uses Citizen Journalist

....not that I think CNN is the bees knees.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Well there ya go

Would you think, given what you know about journalism, that half the folks you see blogging are entitled to use that word with reference to what they are producing online?

And again, CNN lost credibility with me a long, long time ago. Given what I've heard coming out of the mouths of their "anchors," I don't think that the concept of journalism is all that important to them.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing
-Edmund Burke

No......not half

but I'm not sure that half of the folks writing for newspapers can really lay claim to the title. :D Seriously, there are some bloggers out there who are journalists. Their thought process, research, level of integrity - it's real journalism. I would much rather write a blog post. I can get away with ........... and - this - and :D.

CNN is an entertainment channel and they pretty much stink at that too.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

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