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Chelsea Green Blog

Kos Célèbre

What a stud muffin!
Interview by DEBORAH SOLOMON Published: March 19, 2006 Q: As the founder of the left-leaning Daily Kos, the largest political blog in the country, did you find it hard to write “Crashing the Gate,” an actual book, as opposed to your usual raw and episodic three-sentence musings? It was brutal. My co-writer, Jerome Armstrong, and I had no idea of what we were getting into. There came a point where we literally sat around for a day trying to figure out how to tell our publisher there would be no book. Which may prove that bloggers are better at demolishing arguments than building them. When bloggers make an argument, we can add a link to support our premises. You cannot link with books. The strongest part of your book argues that Democrats are in desperate need of savvier consultants, their own Karl Rove, to help them build a political majority. Why would you want them to be more like Republicans? To get their message out, the Republicans created this entire conservative noise machine. They have Fox News and The Washington Times and the 700 Club and just about the entire talk-radio dial. They have this incredible ability to promote whatever the big issue of the day is. There is no partisan liberal media that is working in concert with the Democratic Party in order to sell whatever the party is selling. That’s not true. The liberal media has you and Michael Moore. Think of the endless volume of verbiage you guys produce. The blog world is tiny compared to talk radio. Rush Limbaugh reaches nearly 20 million people every week. The Daily Kos reaches maybe a million. What about the old liberal media, like The Village Voice? Ha-ha. What about The Nation? What’s its circulation — 200,000 maybe? The American Prospect has maybe 75,000 readers. And The Washington Monthly maybe 50,000 readers. These are not big publications. Whom would you like to see run in 2008? I like Mark Warner. I like Russ Feingold. I don’t hate Hillary, but I don’t like anyone who is declared by fiat to be the front-runner. Unlike any of those contenders, you’re a U.S. Army veteran. Joining the Army was the best decision I ever made, and leaving the Army was the second-best decision I ever made. I went into the Army weighing 111 pounds, at 5 foot 7, and I had no self-confidence. I came out thinking that I could conquer the world. You sound like an Army recruiter. Can you sell us on basic training? In basic training, you get ground down to zero, which for me was really easy because there wasn’t much to grind. But then they build you up. You do a 25-mile road march with a 100-pound rucksack in Oklahoma in the dead of summer — I can still remember squeezing blood out of my socks because my feet were so blistered. How do you support yourself these days? Does Daily Kos bring in enough advertising revenue to enable you to eat? Last year, I probably earned somewhere between $70,000 and $80,000. I live comfortably. My wife and I just bought a house here in Berkeley. Is it odd to live so far from Washington and spend every nanosecond of your life writing about it? No. I avoid Washington like the plague. And I generally avoid politicians. I find them quite dull. Have you met John Kerry? Only once. I was in a bathroom stall next to him at the Democratic National Convention. I didn’t say hello. It was a private moment for him. Do you read your fellow liberal bloggers, like those who write for Huffington Post? To me, Huffington Post gives voice to the voice. They’re celebrities who don’t need a platform. That’s not fair. You can’t discredit bloggers like Jane Smiley or Nora Ephron just because they have a reputation outside politics. These people don’t have trouble being heard if they want to be heard. Sometimes Huffington Post has noncelebrities — I am more interested in them, people who don’t have the chance to get their message out.

Bern Baby Bern!

Feel the Bern, now read the Bern. Chelsea Green is bringing out the first major book chronicling the issues being raised by US Senator Bernie Sanders in his campaign for president of the United States. The Essential Bernie Sanders and His Vision for America is the only book that outlines, in Sanders’ own words and […] Read More..

Economic Development is Broken. Here’s How to Fix It

Economic development today is completely broken. That’s the argument of author Michael Shuman in his new book, The Local Economy Solution. The singular focus on attracting global corporations is not just ineffective but counterproductive, Shuman argues, especially given the huge opportunity costs. Indeed, it’s not far-fetched to suggest that the best way most communities can […] Read More..

5 Shareable Strategies for Creating Climate Action

Frustrated about climate change? You’re not alone. Most people in our society find themselves somewhere on the spectrum of depressed about our climate situation to flat-out denying that it exists. In fact, the more information about global warming that piles up, the less we seem to do to combat it. What is the reason for this […] Read More..

A Mini-Festo for Earth Day – Rebuild the Foodshed

For the past month, author Philip Ackerman-Leist has been on a Twitter MiniFesto campaign – each day sending out a new tweet designed to spark conversation and pass along some lessons he learned whilst working on his last book, Rebuilding the Foodshed. You might also know Philip as the author of his memoir Up Tunket […] Read More..

Books in the News: ‘The Tao of Vegetable Gardening’ & More!

What does Taoism have to do with gardening? That question is being answered in The Washington Post this week with a lengthy profile of Chelsea Green author Carol Deppe—gardener, plant breeder, seed expert, and geneticist based in Oregon—and her new book The Tao of Vegetable Gardening. “Once I read The Tao of Vegetable Gardening, with its […] Read More..