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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Tuesday Deadline Linkdump: the secessionists strike back edition

Lots of links for you today from Vermont blogs writing about the connection between the secessionists at the Second Vermont Republic and white supremecist groups.

• The altercation between the liberal bloggers and the Second Vermont Republic has claimed its first casualty — John Odum, founder of Green Mountain Daily, has decided to quit blogging. SVR founder Thomas Naylor called him out recently in a press release announcing that Odum works for the Vermont Natural Resources Council. I think people knew that before, but Odum has never mixed his work and his blogging, because he was afraid it might jeopardize his job. Guess he'd rather work than blog. I'm sorry to see him go, especially in this way. He says GMD will continue without him.

• The response from Philip Baruth at Vermont Daily Briefing: "Some losses you shrug off, and others disturb your sleep, like phantom pain in place of an amputated limb."

• From Julie Waters, the gal that broke the Rainville plagiarism scandal, at Reason and Brimstone: "This is beyond acceptable. I have no problem with a heated, even occasionally derogatory and personal, debate, but to instead to go after someone's employer is absolutely reprehensible."

• From J.D. Ryan at Five Before Chaos: "My point is, don't gloat over this too much, SVR guys... payback truly is a nasty muthah. And there were other forces at work here that had absolutely nothing to do with you. And don't be deluded into thinking that now that Odum's quiet for now that this story is going to disappear. You've just given yourself even more bad press (as if you needed any)."

• And from conservative Charity Tensel at She's Right, who  has a soft spot for Odum: "Today the blogosphere weeps."

• On a lighter but still political note, Steve Benen of the Carpetbagger Report celebrated his 4th blogiversary last week. Says Steve:

"To borrow a presidential cliche, the State of the Blog is strong. Over the last year, traffic has grown considerably, and the comments section has flourished. The relative success of the blog has led to a variety of other terrific opportunities for me over the last year, including writing articles for the Washington Monthly, The American Prospect, and The Guardian, becoming an editor for a blog at Salon.com, guest blogging for Kevin Drum and John Amato, contributing to the Huffington Post, and even participating in a bloggers’ meeting with Bill Clinton at his New York office. It was, to put it mildly, an incredibly exciting year."

He forgot to mention that I wrote that stellar profile of him in October. Guess I can't compare with Bill Clinton...

February 27, 2007 at 12:16 PM in VT Blogs | Permalink


I think Odum's departure is both sad, and frightening.

I have found that my knowledge of, and interest in, Vermont Politics has grown a great deal, in part because sites like GMD exist: Bloggers there write about what interests them, not about what will sell papers; and, ironically, they manage to make local politics more dramatic, and fun to follow than many of the state’s mainstream media outlets.

It is sad to know that a few well placed hits can threaten the freedom of those who promote this kind of community of free political discussion. And it's a little frightening that someone’s political voice can be silenced in such a fashion.

So, while I'm sure that other people will be continue the good work at GMD, Mr. Odum will be missed, and I'm very sorry to see him go.

A little piece of intelligent political discussion goes with him.

Posted by: Alex | Feb 27, 2007 3:19:55 PM

Someone who Odum has been critical of mentioned Odum's employer in a press release? Why does that mean that Odum has to stop blogging?

Posted by: anon | Feb 27, 2007 3:44:35 PM

New GMD front pager puts it pretty well in a comment added to Odum's entry...


Posted by: Alex | Feb 27, 2007 3:59:07 PM

Until this soapy operatic, I confess that I did not know where John worked. Naylor's press release implicating Elizabeth Courtney is a seeming attempt by him to play puppet-master over John's employer. Do the powers-that-be at VNRC have their strings pulled this easily?

If John is leaving GMD becaue VNRC caves to wingnuts, the effect will be no different than any of us having our employers receive threats or harassment due to letters to the editor we write in our spare time. John cultivated a discussion forum and liberal Democratic blog for citizen journalism is old-fashioned good-citizenship. We need a lot more willing citizens like this these days.

Sadly, however, our employers can affect whether we use our citizenship talents. If I am correctly reading between the lines here, Naylor is trying to get VNRC to throw cold water on John's spare time community citizenship contributions. What's next, our employers telling what to (not) say at Town Meeting?

IN a few days, no one will remember the soapy operatic that started this dust-up. On the other hand, if his employer is caving to associates of people who glorify terrorism, genocide, slavery and the violent upheaval that came close to destroying the United States, then I don't see this story going away for a long time. SVR's mouse-that-roared press release is an asterisk attached to a footnote about story that is a non-event. Vermont's most successful new media political blog having its founder pressured by his employer from being a contributing citizen is a story with long legs and an elephant's memory, however.

I hope John is taking a voluntary breath of fresh air rather than being choked by VNRC.


ps. I said my piece earlier: http://www.greenmountaindaily.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=984

Posted by: Caoimhin Laochdha | Feb 27, 2007 5:13:08 PM

I'm curious.
Why is it that VNRC is getting a pass here?
Whether Odum was off the mark with his blog commentary or whether Mr. Naylor is truly unhinged seems beside the point now.

Is VNRC going to vet ALL the non-employment activity of their employees and board members to see if it passes the sniff test for controversy? Who at VNRC decides what is just vanilla enough?

Frankly, I could care less about the Odum/Naylor kerfuffle. For me, this is now about the response of VNRC.

Posted by: Dairymaid | Feb 28, 2007 3:30:27 PM

I think the obvious shuld be stated aloud again and again: Odum was given an ultimatum by his boss: if he continued to blog at GMD, he would be out of a job. It wasn't that he "decided to quit" blogging. And to reiterate cl's comment, I didn't know where he worked, either, until all this.

And, right-on to Dairymaid -- why should VNRC get a pass? This has got to be some kind of illegal supression of free speech here.


Posted by: Nanuq of the North | Feb 28, 2007 5:25:52 PM

This has got to be some kind of illegal supression of free speech here.

That's a joke, Nanuq. An employer can fire an employee for any or no reason at any time. They can fire you because you have a John Kerry bumper sticker. They can fire you because you smoke cigarettes at home on your own time. They can fire you if you get fat. They can fire you for blogging- at work or at home.

At least John was given a choice...and he can obviously just use fake name if he wants to keep blogging.

It's not like his Habeas Corpus rights have been suspended or anything...oh wait... they have. Americans are locked up indefinitely with no charges and even tortured nowadays. You really think we're protected from getting fired from our jobs?

Posted by: Haik Bedrosian | Feb 28, 2007 9:51:22 PM

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