For those of you who have not yet contributed (the PayPal buttons are to your right), here's the all-important Avedon endorsement:
I really think, if you can afford to throw a little money their way, Corrente deserves your support. And even if you can't afford to give money, you should read it and talk it up, because it's got some terrific stuff going there, it presses the important issues hard, it actually creates great activism, and, most importantly, it really irritates the more establishment "progressive" types when people pay attention to what these outrageous lefties have to say.
So won't you help keep the server hamsters in kibble? And help put a "blue tarp" over lambert's head? If blogs like Corrente are to be sustainable, it's only going to be through your help because, dammit, the check from the Soros Foundation got lost in the mailroom, and nobody can find it. And if you're a whale, you get comped at the wet bar in The Mighty Corrente Building!
For those of you who are new to Corrente, and might not want to read the entire annual report -- which even has footnotes! -- I'd like to try a little harder sell. [And since I like points 1-8 below so much, I don't want to rewrite them for an even harder sell. Just think of a donation as your feedback for a solid year's work, and also as, er, very tangible proof that blogs like Corrente are sustainable. Since that really is what's at stake. Thanks to helpful people yesterday, I'm about 2/3 of the way to where I would like to be. And the operational definition of where I would like to be is mere gnawing, daily "Never pay the bill until the shut-off notice comes" anxiety instead of outright panic. --lambert]
Corrente, proudly, is an old-school C list blog. Although our readership numbers and influence numbers are high in the blogosphere considered as a whole, those numbers are distributed on a power curve, that curve follows a logarithmic scale, and so the "left" bloggers and career "progressives" on the legacy party-oriented A list have orders of magnitude more readers -- and funding -- than we do. However, if you look at the ratio of readers -- and funding -- to deliverables, Corrente ranks very high; we punch far above our weight, as I shall now show:
1. Correntian posters organized the Fiscal Sustainability Teach-In Counter-Conference on MMT. This was the only on-the-ground left counterpoint to Pete Peterson's Social Security-gutting Cat Food Conference.
3. At Corrente, not one, but two candidates for emergent parties are active commenters and posters, putting Corrente firmly in the mainstream of American public opinion, where 58% support a third party (although some would say a second).
4. Correntians produce consistently excellent serial content, like Vast Left's American Extremists, the Plantidotians' Plantidote of the Day [hat tip for concept, Yves], and the Corrente Review of Games.
5. Corrente knew Obama was a fraud before it was cool and said so, loudly and often [hat tip, John Smart]
6. Corrente has delivered live blog after live blog from writers and organizers doing real work on the ground (Dr. Margaret Flowers and Kip Sullivan on single payer; Yves Smith on FinReg, to name a few).
And that's before we get to [lambert blushes modestly] consistently excellent daily commentary and a Darwinian comments section whose painfully evolved moderation policies kill trolls fast. And that's before you consider our policy that all posters get front paged, because at Corrente we have the confidence to fight policy issues out on the basis of evidence and reasoning. And that's before you consider the guilty pleasure we give to D staffers and access bloggers, who read us consistently, and chatter amongst themselves on their lists about the latest outrage, but don't want to give people like us any oxygen. Please don't decrease their pleasure, their guilt, or their chatter, and help keep Corrente viable!
And all for... pennies a day! You get a very big bang for your buck by helping Corrente. And you can also strike a blow for diversity of opinion, because we also consistently link to the blogs who are even smaller than we are, listed in the "Random Links" box in the right sidebar.
End of hard sell. The PayPal buttons are to your right. And you can also use the Tweet button at the bottom of this post to get help from more people. DCblogger suggests using the tagline "Please support the best political blog ever!" She's not wrong, is she? And readers! What would you add to that? --lambert]
But wait! There's more!
[I'm leaving this sticky... [And still sticky... Because "the left" needs a left, and that left needs your help!] Welcome, Susie Madrak readers! Welcome, agonist readers! Welcome, Stop Me Before I Vote Again readers! Welcome, Reclusive Leftist readers! Welcome, Naked Capitalism readers! Welcome, Ian Welsh readers! Welcome, Sideshow readers! Welcome, Brad Reed readers! --lambert]
Readers: Once again, I need your help with the annual fundraiser, which helps pay for the server and my salary for the work of the last year.
I wanted to wait to ask until I finished the chores, but up here in Zone 5b, we can feel the winter approaching, with its associated requirements for heat, light, and maintenance, as I button up the house for the winter. Oh, and property taxes [chews hands]. And putting a blue tarp on part of my roof (Mainers know what that means). So I think that now is the time. Now, my situation is not as desperate as it was when my main waste pipe burst in a January freeze, and your kindness saved me, and it's marginally less precarious than it was last year, thanks to my mad Drupal skillz, but still:
Corrente is my job, 24/7, and your help with this annual fundraiser for the work I've done over the past year forms a substantial part of my cash flow stream, which is, shall we say, barely above four figures. The PayPal buttons to contribute are to your right. (You don't need an account to donate!) Basically, just like last year, I could use enough to pick up a couple three Mac Book Pros. [As of Thursday, today, we're at a about one and a half. --lambert] My simple plan to blog and grow rich hasn't worked out financially (though I'm now incredibly rich in friends, in the world of ideas, and in work to do, for which I am grateful). I know times are tough, so I'm not asking for anybody to do more than they can! So zero out that annoying balance on the VISA and MasterCard gift cards your relatives keep giving you! [Hat tip, Paul Lukasiak]
First, I want to welcome new Fellow letsgetitdone, Western Correspondent CoyoteCreek, and the Plantidotes group moderator twig  (as well as the Plantidotians). In their different ways, all are showing that even the blog that everybody hates and nobody reads can have an impact, on the ground, in RL. letsgetitdone was the driving force behind the Fiscal Sustainability Teach-In Counter Conference, where a number of Correntians (preserving anonymity here) helped put on an actual, honest-to-gosh conference in DC at GWU, which was the only non-virtual countervailing force to Pete Peterson's Catfood Summit of the same date. Coyotecreek helped to organize the Denver Meetup of western Correntians, which was awesome, and I hope leads to the same kind of friendships and ties I've come to have with so many of you. And twig has organized a group to create Plantidotes of the Day, with spectacular results. (I would name all the group members, but being able to run that query is part of my chores!)
And speaking of chores, many of the technical changes to the Corrente Platform made in the last wave of minor site improvements are intended to support more such group efforts -- virtually, or on the ground -- in the coming year: Communications tools like Corrente Mail, Event posts and an Event calendar to publicize what's happening, maps to show where events are happening, Groups so that people can come together, online or on the ground for organizing .... Even file uploading, so that photographs and documents are easy to upload! So, I hope to see many more people using the Corrente platform in the coming year for self-organizing ventures. More groups can be established, just like Plantidotians: Cookians, Knitians, Construction-ians... Feminist erotic literature-ians... (though those last two are a little awkward). Perhaps we could hold another conference in DC are the precise nature of the mid-terms debacle becomes clear! And just as anyone with an account can post and be front-paged, so anyone with an account can start a group.
Now, a word about Corrente as a beacon, a soapbox, and an online community. As a beacon: I changed the HTML title of the site from Boldly Shrill... (how true, how true) to If you have "no place to go," come here! This is, of course, a riff on how "the left" has always come crawling back to the Ds, no matter how much abuse the Ds dished out. Well, if you don't want to be that kind of person any more, "... come here" sends the message that Corrente is a good place for you to be. Further, "... come here" sends a welcome message to readers and writers whose convictions and postings have brought them to the attention of the business model enforcers at the access blogs. Since, in good Versailles fashion, I'd expect access blogs like DK, FDL, and OL to double-down on censorship and shunning, "... come here" is a very important message to send. This year, we've been experiencing a slow but steady increase in readership, and I believe it's Corrente's welcoming beacon that has allowed this to happen (as long as we can maintain Corrente's moderation policies by avoiding, say, "any stick to beat a dog"-style argumentation).
Now, Corrente as a soapbox. Unbelievable as it may seem, Corrente is actually read, and by influencers. Although it may feel that we are shouting into the void, that feeling is in fact the result of the Internet's lack of feedback. I have it on reasonably reliable authority that we're a guilty pleasure for staffers on the Hill, as well as for the access bloggers and Town House types. We also get links from Paul Krugman, despite regularly chewing his ankles. And we also got an admission of error from Brad Reed at C&L: "You were right about Obama! I was wrong." Whatever else Reed's mea culpa might have been, it was better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, or a slap in the belly with a wet fish! And if Reed was willing to own up, you can believe that there are many more like him who, for whatever reason, aren't willing to speak up. Now, if we could get the same kind of admission on single payer!
More importantly, Corrente has moved from being "political" blog (for some definition of political) to -- IMNSHO -- a more interesting and resilient platform. Time was, we lived or died by links from the A list of political bloggers. No more; we've been shunned by FDL, DK, OL in as long as I can remember, although (given their business models) that is as it should be. Therefore, we can say what we like without worrying about what they think! Interestingly, the links that we do get are from econobloggers like Yves (!), who are refreshingly old school in their approach. However, our steady growth in readership is organic, and not driven by links at all. People come here, like what they read, and stick around to comment and post. This, again, is as it should be. And even better, Correntians -- informed by the Darwinian combat of our comments section, with its constant demand for evidence and reasoning, and its ethos that "your argument is not you" -- tend to fan out across the blogosphere, spreading the work that is done here, and bringing traffic back, too.
Finally, as an online community, Corrente has been increasing its ability to render mutual aid, whether virtually, or on the ground. That's what gardening posts are about; that's what Common Household Remedy Requests are all about. And others -- myself among them! -- have given and received mutual aid in our own lives.
A word about what's next:
PB 2.0 needs at least the following: (1) people, (2) organizing tools, and (3) funding. It seems clear to me that over the last year, we've gradually evolved the first two, and are closing in on the third. Last year, at this time, I tried to create a funding model using advertising; that just flopped. This year, I'm going to try again, by creating a Corrente marketplace. I see this marketplace as offering mutual aid in two ways: (1) By offering those of us who have products to sell a place to do that; and (2) by devoting a percentage of the proceeds -- which don't have to be large to be worthwhile -- for microloans, voted on by Correntians, as FrenchDoc advocated long ago. Expect me to contact many more of you for advice and help, and look for the rollout in the coming weeks! And this idea was one reason for the server upgrade, besides my desire for a better reader experience: Bigger hamsters, bigger cages to handle the load of the marketplace.
So, sorry for the length of this (dread word) bleg, but that's my annual report. Again, the Paypal Buttons are to your right in the sidebar. You don't have to be a Paypal member to give!
Oh, and one more thing: The site should now be much faster, after the server upgrade -- especially if you aren't logged in. And the amount a professional would get paid to do the kind of technical work that I'm doing here.... Well, let's say that I'm asking for a year what they might ask for a week or two (depending on the client). Not to go all hard sell on you!
NOTE  How can you tell we're old school? Who is IOZ explains:
Listen, the dudes and dudettes at Corrente not only kindly link us all the goddamn time, but they are authentically not a gaggle of fuckers and sellouts.
We're not tools of party factions, we create memes instead of laundering them, we struggle to minimize tribalism, and we say Fuck. Proudly (though the list from that post in 2007 does need an update...). Oh, and I'm starting the list from zero as an in-joke for techies....
NOTE  I've been castigating myself for putting this post off, but when I went to look at my fundraiser post from last year, I found it was on the exact same date: September 27. Serendipity!
NOTE  To my regular contributors: I appreciate your contributions so much; they really decrease my level of anxiety, and having that little bit extra available has helped me so many times. So don't feel that you need to dig deep again; you're already doing that! However, if you wanted to induce others to join the fold....
NOTE  Also, group moderator Julia Williams, whose group is private.
NOTE  I know we discussed this, but I can't find the link!
NOTE  And I wish I had the original link to this, too. Which D politician first said that, anyhow?
NOTE  Another data point: I can go on Eschaton comments without being smeared as a racist any more! I hope the same is true for you all.
UPDATE I forgot [lambert tearfully effaces himself in ritual condemnation] to mention two efforts: First, the Corrente Review of Games, now up to the 12th issue of Volume I, which is a collaborative effort by DCBlue, danps, and extremely alert reader Aeryl. True, video games are teh suxx0r, and the worst time sink since Al Gore invented the Internet (kidding!) but the foolish misdirectedness of the effort in no way detracts from the value of the commitment. MR SUBLIMINAL Haw! In fact [lambert returns to his normal, nice guy self] I'm thinking that the CRG was really the first collaborative effort here. Am I right, or am I forgetting somebody? If so, please correct me! Second, we actually have community members who've posted here running for office, and not as legacy party candidates, either: Julia Williams (Greeen) and Warren Mosler (Independent). That's pretty amazing, when you think about it.