A good part of the reason I started blogging was because I went to a history conference at a UT branch up between Dallas and Fort Worth and found that, contrary to belief, many well known academic historians have found community history projects to be invaluable because of their focus and details. Photos rated high. Photos with details rate high. Interviews with participants in events rated high. Interviews with older people rated high if you cover their experience and perspective.
- Prairie Weather

“Protest works. Just look at the proof”

Free MP3 sites

Be your own program director. Venture off the beaten path. Live a little.

2dopeboyz: Hip hop. (RSS)

3hive: Sharing the sharing. Free and legal MP3s from over 600 underground and undiscovered artists — new ones added daily. (RSS)

Amazon MP3 Download - Frequency: Weekly. Get the latest on Amazon MP3 music downloads - new releases, freshly ripped hits, and special deals.

Audio Drums - A blog for rare, possibly overlooked, maybe forgotten gems of music with a slight emphasis on electronic and indie genres. (RSS)

Common Folk Music - A blog about music, not just folk music, but all music ranging from indie to alt-country to bluegrass, because music is for the “Common Folk”. (RSS)

Discobelle.net (RSS)

Fiddlefreak Folk Music Blog - Folk, bluegrass, Celtic, and other music of the people. (RSS)

Fingertips Music - Free and legal music. (RSS)

Gorilla Vs Bear (RSS)

Hillydilly: Simply Good Music. (RSS)

I Rock Cleveland: Indie Rock, College Rock, Alt Rock, Modern Rock, Cleveland Rock, and Rock. (RSS)

KEXP Song of the Day: KEXP 90.3 FM - where the music matters (RSS)

Kick Kick Snare (RSS)

Line Of Best Fit - TLOBF.COM | Music Reviews, News, Interviews & Downloads (RSS)

Lipstick Disco - Deep House & Disco music blog fronted by Females (RSS)

Minnesota Public Radio Song of the Day: Music lovers from 89.3 The Current share songs with you each weekday. (RSS)

Muruch (RSS)

Music Like Dirt: Music in all its many forms, mp3’s, live reviews and photography. (RSS)

My Old Kentucky Blog - a music blog that parties with unicorns. (RSS)

Nah Right. (RSS)

ninebullets.net. (RSS)

Rollo & Grady: Los Angeles Music Blog, LA Music Blog (RSS)

Said the Gramophone: a music weblog (RSS)

She Makes Music: She Makes Music focuses on the most exciting and impressive new music created by brilliant and talented female musicians. (RSS)


Sounds Better With Reverb (RSS)

Stereogum: All the MP3s on Stereogum.com (RSS)

their bated breath (RSS)

Women of Hip Hop (RSS)

YouKnowIGotSoul (RSS)

Mourn ya till I join ya

The Wheel’s Still In Spin: Focusing on new music releases and reviews of individual albums as original, fictional short stories (RSS)

A Fifty Cent Lighter & A Whiskey Buzz - This site is just a way for me to have a little fun and share a little music. I’ll highlight some of my favorite artists that I play on the radio and try to expound upon their music in ways I can’t always do on the air. (RSS)

Aminal Sound

Audiofile: Music Blog, Music Articles - Salon.com

Crossfade: The CNET music blog

Direct Current New Music - Adult pop, rock, singer/songwriters, folk, Americana, alt-country, adult alternative, soul, world music, crossover jazz and simply those artists that make us go “hmmm.”(RSS)

GarageBand.com Folk top tracks (RSS)

GarageBand.com Hip Hop top tracks (RSS)

Flawless Hustle: Urban culture blog featuring artist interviews, music reviews, legal music downloads, street art, graffiti and more! (RSS)



The Jon Swift principle: “I will add anyone to my blogroll who adds me to theirs.” Email or leave a comment to let me know.


The Hunting of the Snark

Sites participating in blogroll amnesty day

Jon Swift aka Al Weisel, may he rest in peace. Co-originator of Blogroll Amnesty Day

skippy the bush kangaroo (Co-originator of Blogroll Amnesty Day) (2012)

Vagabond Scholar (2012)
Occasional blogging, mostly of the long-form variety. Keeper of the Jon Swift Memorial Roundup (The Best Posts of the Year, Chosen by the Bloggers Themselves)

Notes From Underground (2012)

Redeye’s Front Page (2012)

Wisdom of the West (2012)

Zen Comix (2012)

pygalgia (2012)

Mikeb302000 (2012)

The Agonist (2012)

Brilliant At Breakfast (2012)

Bacon and Eggs (2012)

« Washington press corps catches up to 2002, discovers surveillance state | Main | Proof of life »

Activism in the spaces in between

It can be difficult to write about activism in an open-ended effort like the one against fracking. It isn’t like a campaign where everything is geared toward election day, at which point everyone will know who won and who lost. It’s different even from an issue like the Keystone XL pipeline, which is a single (continent-spanning) contiguous piece of infrastructure, and which will ultimately get a definitive yes or no.

Fracking involves lots of activity in communities dotted across the nation. There are big shale plays in some parts of the west, some parts of the Midwest, some parts of the east, and so on. But nothing connects those dots, and that makes it hard to give the thing a sense of its nationwide scope. Coverage will tend to be on a smaller scale, which makes it easier to dismiss it as a purely local or parochial concern.

Another issue with coverage is that developments tend to move slower than the news cycle. Activists like our group might start something like a monthly water monitoring program, but after kicking it off there really isn’t much new to report on it. You can’t make much of a story out of: We’re still monitoring!

This week there was an interesting new development though. Our county had not approved an increase in funding to our health district since 1955. We’ve had lots of renewals, but no increases. Counties and other regional bodies are capable of providing valuable services to residents, but those services cost money - paid through taxes. Asking people to raise their taxes is a pretty heavy lift, as our track record on this issue shows.

Because of the contacts and knowledge our group has gained through our water monitoring program, we knew about the replacement levy coming up and invited someone from the board to speak. He talked in general terms about what the department was doing, what its challenges were, and so on. We raised our concerns about fracking to him, and he said the department would look into subsidizing the cost of its water testing program if the levy passed.1

So we ordered a batch of signs and put them out on our lawns:

We also talked up the issue with friends and neighbors, and generally tried to promote the issue as we could. We weren’t in any way prime movers in the effort, but we pitched in as we were able to.2 And miracle of miracles, it actually passed.

There are a couple of interesting notes in the article. The eye popping one for me is this: voter turnout of 8.87 percent. My experience at the polls was certainly congruent with that. I got there about a half an hour after polls opened and I thought I’d gone to the wrong place. It was deserted.

Inside, I initially went to the wrong room (misplaced signage - not my fault!) and found out I was the first voter to show up. I then made my way to the correct room and found out I was the first voter there as well. By contrast, last November I arrived about ten minutes after polls opened and there was already a long line. It was quick inside the booth as well - the health levy was literally the only item on the ballot. That wasn’t true county wide, of course, but it’s safe to say there were considerably fewer issues than in November.

These two factors make an interesting dynamic: Lower voter turnout means each voter who does show up gets more bang for the buck. Your vote has more weight if it’s one of ten than it does if it’s one of a million. And the thinner ballot means the election results generally were something of a referendum on the levy itself. Last November’s replacement levy defeat was bundled with votes for president, Congress, and so on. But Tuesday’s replacement levy success was close to an endorsement of the levy, plain and simple.

There are potentially some good lessons for activists. The first is that action on a controversial issue like fracking can be taken through less contentious avenues like health department funding. Lots of people enthusiastically support the oil and gas industry, but the population opposed to local health department funding is pretty much limited to anti-tax zealots.

Second, a group that believes it has popular support on an issue might do well to look to special elections to get on the ballot. There is less chance of the issue getting diluted or obscured by other issues, and activists can translate their support into maximum leverage at the polls.

Finally, the process of identifying issues and reaching out to key players is a great way to build social capital. It gets you in touch with people you wouldn’t have been in touch with otherwise and can help support a related issue in ways that might not have been obvious. And every now and then it all translates, as it did on Tuesday, into a surprising and pleasant victory.


1. Technical/legal note: we refer to our program as water monitoring and not water testing, because we don’t want anyone to think the handful of metrics we look at is in any way equivalent to the far more extensive testing done by the county or the EPA. We are very careful about our word choice.

2. This sort of purely grassroots effort is one where a third party could make hay. One would think that a party like, say, the Greens would be strongly in favor of, say, adequate funding for health departments. To the extent they are absent, they are missing out on a party building opportunity. They may not have the time, resources or inclination to do so in my neck of the woods, which is fine. But I will be decidedly unimpressed with their guilt trips about supporting the awful two party system when the next presidential election rolls around.

Reader Comments (1)

have read you through naked capitalism links, & specifically shared this post with the frack free geauga group...didnt have a clue you were ~25 miles south of me till i saw that portage county sign..

May 13, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterrjs

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