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Sometimes I wake up and I’m instantly confused. My twitter stream is blazing with snark over some topic that I’ve never heard of, and every individual tweet simply assumes you know what the fuss is about. Today it’s #nolabels. WTF?

Well, it turns out that No Labels is the latest centrist brainchild of….someone. I’m not sure who. But it features such luminaries as Evan Bayh, Joe Lieberman, Michael Bloomberg, David Gergen, and a bunch of others. And what are they all about? I’m not sure. A pragmatic and sensible approach to our nation’s problems, of course, and God knows I’m OK with that, but beyond that it’s not clear. I browsed through their Issues page, but it was mostly just explanations of problems and links to reports and white papers from other organizations.

I don’t want to be instantly cynical about this. Who knows? Maybe it will catch on. But I dunno. Issues are pretty important to people, and No Labels categorically ignores social issues and doesn’t go much further on the rest of the issue spectrum either, saying “we don’t want to prejudge or lock ourselves into a given position on any issue when there is a much bigger cause that can unify us as Americans.”

Maybe. Turning down the outrage-o-meter certainly sounds like a good idea, but I’m not sure it means much to have a civil discussion if you don’t actually engage with all the stuff that normally turns our political discourse uncivil in the first place. In any case, now you know.

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You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

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