DMI Blog

Elana Levin

DMIblog’s 1st Birthdaty Hottest Posts and Hottest Comments

As DMI board member and blogger extraordinare Tom Watson wrote Thursday, the DMIblog is now 1 year old. I think we've done a pretty good job of fulfilling our mission, as Andrea Batista Schlesinger wrote 12 months ago, to "facilitate a substantive conversation about policy that isn't naíve to politics -- but isn't driven by it, either."

I apologize to you, the reader, for the number of times I am about to use the word "hot" in a blog post that does not describe the summer Blackout in Queens. I'd say the DMIblog has hosted some of the hottest discussion online about public policy and its impact on America. Because DMI believes you change the conversation by changing who participates in it, we've been host to some outstanding guest bloggers and many a sharp comment has been typed by our super commenters this year (and we love our commenters, you keep a blog blogly). So in honor of this birthday I've assembled a list of some of our most heated discussions on the blog and some of the blogs' best comments.

The hottest blog posts:

Mark Winston Griffith went where few have dared to go before in his hotly debated yet searching post: "Calling the Question of ACORN" (any comment thread that leading Urban Planning expert Brad Lander feels compelled to join must be a worthy conversation). In fact, I still get feedback from readers about that post.

Guest blogger David Sirota's post "Hillary Clinton's 'Mating Ritual' With Rupert Murdoch" had everyone talking about two names that usually don't go together and speculating on how this alliance reflects on power and politics. Speaking of Hillary Clinton - one of the blogs greatest hits was Andrea's explanation of how the DLC gets it all wrong when they talk about "the middle." Her post "Middle class isn't middle ground" was such a hit that and Alternet picked it up.

Andrea's "Open Letter to Lou Dobbs" reverberated through the blogosphere and onto Lou Dobbs TV show no less. Actually, whenever the DMIBlog talks about immigration we are sure to get a huge response. Take for example Amy Traub's "Like Alice in Wonderland's White Queen, Congress Believes As Many As Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast" one of the many DMI immigration posts based on our immigration policy report which countless bloggers have used as a framework to analyze policy (shoutout to Ezra Klein and also The Working Life for blogging our report early and often.)

Among the biggest debates on the DMIBlog of all time was Amy Traub's post the day of the transit strike "MTA Disrespects Us All, Governor Dodges Accountability." While I found writing by transit workers to be sadly missing from many blogs during the strike, I was glad that the DMIBlog's comment threads had at least one transit worker participating in our debate. The post, like the strike itself, elicited with some conflicting opinions on the economics, class biases and racial aspects of the strike (you'll see more on this story in my Top 10 Comments list).

Speaking of workers' rights, DMI labor fellow Adrianne Shropshire initiated a series of discussions on the blog about Community Benefits Agreements, Industrial Development Areas and other concepts at the nexus of how a community and its government decide what kind of economic development supports the common good. This became the topic of a DMI Marketplace of Ideas event . DMI has participated in an ongoing discussion on these accountability issues, especially since the event and it all started with the blog post: Development Development Everywhere.

Speaking of posts that have taken off... while Ezekiel Edwards' moving narratives of low-income New Yorkers struggling with a criminal justice system that is often blind to the collateral damages it causes to communities and individuals, it was a post about New York communities that are disempowered by the electoral system and the Census Bureau that caught fire on the blogs, radio and in print. His first post on this subject "
The Census Bureau must sharpen its senses
" is an excellent primer on a topic that will only get more heated if the party controlling Albany changes hands.

In the to-the point opening line of his blog post "Democracy Delayed," Andrew Friedman wrote "Madeline Provenzano is playing politics with the health of low-income New Yorkers." The post explained how an elected official refused to schedule a hearing to pass the Healthy Homes Act - a bill to require real enforcement of the housing code in the face of unaccountable slumlords. Provenzano refused to schedule a hearing because the bill was too "political" to be discussed before an election, i.e. it might reflect badly on members of the Council who refused to get tough on slumlords. As Andrew wrote: "So much for democratic process... So much for accountable government... So much for healthy homes."

New York bloggers swarmed over Andrew's post inspiring Andrea to write The election-year freeze responding to the feedback she'd heard about Andrew's post. She wrote "Some were surprised that the DMIBlog called out Ms. Provenzano so directly, but perhaps we need to call out politicians a little more, but for their policy not just their politics." Her assertion is important to remember as we head into the final stretch of another hot election season.

For DMI's top 12 comments and threads see the extended entry

We have quite a cast of blog commenters here at DMIblog. That's been one of the things that makes running this blog so interesting and challenging - keeping content worthy of our readers and answering the good questions they pose in the comment threads.

One of our most thoughtful commenters is Daniel Millstone, a great blogger in his own right over at Daily Gotham. He's asked tough questions and prodded us for more information countless times.
* * * * * *
Dan Millstone on Is Healthcare an Individual Right or a Responsibility? The Massachusetts Universal Healthcare Plan

The devil, if there is one in the Mass. health plan, may be the details. Three that trouble me are:

1) Private, profit making plans may end up offering light-weight insurance to be affordable.

2) fining individuals who may not be able to afford to buy coverage may not be effective. and

3) risky behavior will cost people money -- smokers get higher rates. Below the url to a Boston Globe article. I've been led to believe that -- as a group -- people who smoke are poorer than people who dont. Charging them higher premiums may drive them out of the system.
Posted by: Daniel Millstone | April 17, 2006 01:06 PM

* * * *
Daniel again on Kids, Courts, and Our Future, bringing in a timely reference to the Campaign for Fiscal Equity judgment.

The Campaign for Fiscal Equity judgment, when enforced, will not throw money at a problem. The judgment amount of 5.6 Billion per year for NYC schools was arrived at by a panel of special masters. They reviewed a fairly specific funding plan based on a carefully prepared needs assessment. NYC public schools have been starved for decades. Funding them at appropriate levels will start to correct a vast injustice imposed on our children and city. Those who are interested in reviewing the materials in this action can see much of the material on-line at:

It would be good if a state-wide solution to school funding were found. Such a solution has so far evaded the Republican majority in the State Senate which, in a party-line vote, rejected a school funding revision. How Republican Nick Spano of Yonkers will explain this vote to the parents of his money starved district, I do not know. Certainly, the three Republican State Senators from NYC who are seeking re-election have some explaining to do, too.
Posted by: Daniel Millstone | April 20, 2006 12:58 PM

* * * *
Chad Marlow contributed to the ongoing discussion about DMI's event "The Media and the '05 Elections"

I think blaming the press for the uninspired coverage of the 2005 mayoral election is like blaming the American public for not watching as much baseball as they used to. Like a baseball game, the 2005 Mayoral election was slow, largely uneventful, took too long to play, and was devoid of any real hard hitting (or discussion of hard hitting issues anyway).

There were numerous opportunities to make the mayoral race into one that was compelling and worth paying attention to. That the more progressive candidate (really, his staff) failed to realize his numerous opportunities to do so is no one's fault but his own (some political professionals, like myself, were consistently dumbfounded as opportunity after opportunity went unidentified and unused).

Truth be told, I think the press wanted a better campaign to report on and, if given the chance, they would have reported a more interesting race. That being said, the press cannot responsibly create an interesting, engaged race where none exists, no matter how frustrated they may become covering the same bland election week in and week out. That they restrained themselves under those circumstances is to their credit, not a subject for criticism.

Posted by: Chad Marlow | November 17, 2005 04:05 PM

* * * *

Daniel initiated a great comment thread about the ideas presented at DMI's Marketplace of Ideas event with Gloria Lawlah on Fair Share Healthcare.

I worry that employer-based health care is a dead end. While the WFP effort (and its MD model) is very good, it seems limited. Look at, for example, the General Motors health plans which, it seems, play a significant part in the non-profitability of the Corp.

Especially since, as a practical matter, people change jobs a lot -- portable comprehensive insurance which has no "pre-existing condition" exceptions may be more viable.

As I see it, single payer non-employer coverage has the best chance of providing, universal, affordable, comprehensive coverage.

Posted by: Daniel Millstone | April 28, 2006 02:28 PM
Here's my take though Daniel. If we want anything to happen we need to force corporations to feel the pain. The only force that would make the federal government actually do national universal health care is if the corporations tell them to.

The only way the corporations will tell them to do that is if the corporations suffer under the yoke of high health care costs for their employees. Right now the corps only pass the pain on to their workers and onto taxpayers.

If we make the corporations accountable for paying for their own workers the corporations will finally get off their fatted-asses and scream to the government for a universal plan.

Posted by: ann on | April 28, 2006 04:21 PM

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Posted at 10:51 AM, Oct 16, 2006 in Blog Stroll | Progressive Agenda
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