You need Corrente, and yes, Lambert needs the money
[Note: You do not have to join Corrente to contribute. The PayPay buttons are to your right. Click away! --lambert]
So, how are we doing? First, you met Coyote Creek;s $250 challenge! And as of this evening, in terms the monetary total, we're 64% there ($3193 of $5000). And we have 72 contributors, with a goal of 112. Thank you!
So I've been able to catch up with the server, and handle some bills, including a family matter, and move on to bill for air-sealing the attic. I really don't want to return to Maine with bills to the contractors unpaid. (There's a breakdown at the end of the post.) Again, thank you!
You need Corrente
dan_ps wrote a fine post that explains why you need Corrente quite crisply. His reason is in bold:
Sponsor independent media or trust the sponsorship of others
Operations that run actually - not just theoretically - on reader donations have the great virtue of not being dependent on substantial patronage from anywhere. The proprietors might still be stupid or crazy of course, but at least you know it’s their own native stupid or crazy and not some other factor.
Sites like Hullabaloo, Eschaton and Naked Capitalism run mainly off of reader donations, and maybe some additional modest ad revenue. Agree or disagree with them, they run their own shops. Independent sites like theirs will probably never be wildly profitable, but it’s important for them to do well enough to keep running. No one of them is indispensable, but together they are able to provide analysis and reporting unencumbered by the kind of considerations inherent in sponsored outlets. That makes them an essential part of an informed citizen’s news diet.
One of the best of those sites is Corrente.
Actually, I'd like to take issue with Dan on one small point: I regard Corrente as utterly indispensable, for the following reasons:
1) Corrente, of all the sites Dan mentions -- Digby, Naked Capitalism, Hullabaloo, and Eschaton -- is the only site where you, the reader, can not only comment, but post. At Corrente, every single blog is front-paged! You get to express yourself here in a way that you can't elsewhere, and that includes adding your own graphics and videos. (And lambert touching up your headlines is included for free!)
2) Corrente has a humongous back catalog of projects, exceeded only by Naked Capitalism, a site with a much larger readership. The depth and breadth of Corrente's posting over the years is amazing for a blog with virtually no funding, at least by DC standards, which testifies again to the strength and tenacity Corrente's reader/writership. To mention a few highlights: A very early call (2010) on the dangers of fracking (PA lady); the platinum coin (letsgetitdone), which Corrente played a key role in propagating; the MMT conference (report) organized primarily by Correntians, and scheduled against Pete Peterson's "Fiscal Sustainability"; the 2009-2010 single payer battle (hat tip, dcblogger) and the much-loved Plantidote of the Day (twig, Kathryn, jerztomato). And many others!
3) Corrente was right on Obama; posts too numerous to mention. Have I mentioned lately what an asshole Obama is?
4) Corrente was right on ObamaCare, both on the website disaster (hat tip, Katiebird), fairness issues, and on narrow networks and balance billing (hat tip, Dromaius).
5) Corrente is the only left blog that's developed and intends to propagate an explicit checklist ("The 12-Point Platform") to hold politicians accountable and drag the Overton Window left. (This is my personal project for the 2014, a midterms year.)
6) Corrente is hated by all the right people. You won't catch any of the career "progressive" and/or Obot blogs linking to us at all. But that doesn't mean they don't read us!
Lambert needs the money
Somebody asked me through the contact form:
Do you really need the money?
Which, when I think about it, is an important question. And my first impulse was to say "Dammit, I wouldn't be asking for it if I didn't need it!" But that's not very persuasive, is it now?
However, just because a question is important doesn't mean it's the right question to ask. Consider again:
Do the math: Assume lambert (moi) works 20 hours a week on Corrente. Half a year is 26 weeks, so 26 * 20 = 520. $3000 / 520 = $5.76 an hour. I think that's low, even for an English major, so I'd like to raise the bar for consistently excellent left-wing blogging to, say, $5000 / 520 = $9.62 an hour, or within hailing distance of Obama's pathetic version of the minimum wage. (Of course, this estimated wage is ridiculously high: 20 hours a week is absurdly lowballed, and not only am I leaving out the costs of the server that keep Corrente consistently up and free from attacks -- $220 * 12 = $2640 -- I faithfully pay taxes on donations, which are, after all income. So, reworking the calculations, that comes to ( 3600 - (2640 / 2) - (3600 * 20%) ) / 520 = $3.00 an hour, after the last fundraiser. Or, if we make this fundraiser's goal -- 5000 - (2640 / 2) - (5000 * 0.2) ) / 520) ) -- $5.15 an hour.
Summarizing, if we make the $5000 goal, I'll be netting $5.15 an hour, after server costs and taxes, and assuming I only work 20 hours a week on Corrente, an absurdly low figure. So, if you knew your server (the other kind of server) in a restaurant was working 20 hours serving you, and you knew they made $5.15 an hour, would you ask them if they "needed the money"? I don't think so. At least I hope not! Point being, Corrente is my job, and if you read Corrente, you should recompense me for my labor (again, if you can).
Next, yes, I do need the money. It's winter in Maine, and this is a particularly grim one, and not just for the fuel bills (which are horrible). I had the pipes burst (twice), and had to have an electrician wrap them. Air-sealing the attic was a "no good dead goes unpunished" scenario, since I unexpectedly had to have more knob-and-tube wiring replaced to complete the job; the payments to the electrician and air seal people you see in Appendix I are final payments; I've already paid both contractors plenty. Worse, I had to shut down a revenue-generating room that I couldn't afford to rewire. And then there's the hellmouth under the crawlspace. All of which ate up the money I'd set aside for this trip.
Bringing me to the reason I'm here in Thailand, and here for so long, and yes, I need the money to do it.
I don't think my situation in Maine is tenable long-term. At the same time property taxes are going up, the town is putting a ceiling on what I can charge for rent by bringing in privatized dorms for the university, like Campus Crest. (And that's before we get to the hellish last year I spent with tenants who turned out to be drunks; never again.) And then there's the constant slow deterioration of the physical plant I really can't afford to keep up. But if I could get myself out of there and rent out the unit that used to be mine, I'd be better able to stave off the deterioration. And if I relocated somewhere the dollar went twice as far and medical care was good -- say, Thailand (or Ecuador) -- then my standard of living would actually increase. (Assuming the dollar doesn't collapse, of course).
So that's my task right now, not that it's unpleasurable: The way to see if I can live here is to live here; to live here long enough to wear off the romance of the smiling Thais, happy all the time (although things like potential military coups and checking twitter in the morning for gunfire and grenades the previous night have a way of doing that). I'm not doing this for my health. Except for my teeth.
And don't worry: I do want to blog until I drop, and won't stop blogging about American politics, any more than James Joyce stopped blogging about Dublin when he left for Trieste.
NOTE As a bonus, if you want the name of a good dentist in Bangkok, I have it ;-) As another bonus, expatriation is an option that more and more people seem to find sensible, and so that may end up being a new area for Corrente to cover.
Appendix I: Spending breakdown
I've crossed out what your help has enabled me to do.
The server, which I am behind on, and grateful every day to log on and find running ($660); Family obligations and bills ($1000); The electrician ($700); Theair-seal people ($1400);
- Final dental work, network maintenance, and food, lodging, and transport back to Maine for Lambert ($1300).
On the last item: Part of the "flying trapeze" aspect of this trip is that I took the money to pay for the burst pipes and the electrical work on the house out of my travel budget for this trip. Obviously, these items are less important than all the others, which is why they're last. Nevertheless, the first extraction was such a success I'd like to do the others. In addition, by "network maintenance" I mean reciprocating kind things that Thai people have done for me on this journey, and gifts for people who helped me back in Orono.