I date the beginning of this blog from November 15, 2004. Prior to that, I had been holding forth on national politics on, I think, a blogspot platform. After the November 2004 elections, I felt like there were plenty of people offering opinions on national issues. My first post was an ode to a young dog of mine I had to put to sleep because of a cancerous tumor on her liver. A couple of weeks later, I started reporting on state issues and was off and running from there.
My productivity has ebbed and flowed over the years — probably as a mirror of my productivity out in the real world. My favorite time to blog is probably the beginning of the legislative session when none of the introduced bills have yet been filtered by the legislative process. These bills are easy to digest, frequently entertaining, and generally come at a time when I have a lot of energy. Later on in the session, the important bills get technical and complicated, things move fast, and my energy level is down. In any event, my best work has to do with reading and writing about the bills during the legislative session. The rest is often filler. The summers and falls feature fewer entries, less focus, less objectivity, and more off hand opinion. Over the years, as I’ve mentioned before, other social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook have scratched the blogging itch in a way that has decreased postings here.
The state blogosphere was pretty sparse when I started. The Indiana Law Blog and Advance Indiana are probably the only blogs I followed then that are still around today. Lots of bloggers have come and gone during that period. A decade is an eternity in Internet time. But there is one blogger in particular I want to mention: I particularly mourn the passing of Doghouse Riley during that period. Once he got going, his writing was like an avalanche falling down a mountain onto the target of his wrath. It was a thing of beauty.
My tenure has been marked by relatively little wrath; more of a nerdy interest in the political. Low key sarcasm and mockery is more my style. Maybe it’s a Gen-X thing. Probably the issue I followed the most extensively and gained me the most readership was Daylight Saving Time. Back in December 2004, I didn’t even know how to say it right, referring to “Daylight Savings Time”
This has been the basic problem with daylight savings time legislation in the past. The state splits about 50/50 as to whether to have it or not. Most folks who think about it have a fairly strong opinion one way or the other. The folks who are in favor of it are divided between Eastern time and Central time, so they have been losing the fight for decades. Now, we have one party rule and a governor who apparently thinks it’s a good idea, so maybe it has a chance.
Guess it did have a chance.
If I had to pick a favorite blog post over the years, it would probably be “Chrysler and the Indiana Bankruptcy.” It had a lot of things going for it I liked. I was jousting with some fellow bloggers; I did some reasonably thorough legal analysis; the complexity of the underlying subject matter lent itself to specious, disingenuous, and self-serving characterizations in other places; I was skeptical of Richard Mourdock before it was cool; I’ve had cause to reuse the original piece over-and-over again.
Over the years, I’ve noticed an affinity for certain broad topics – health care, education, religion, privatization, nostalgia for the “good old days,” and the nature of labor. But also a focus on certain narrower matters: daylight saving times, license plates, and the Toll Road for example. But there has been absolutely no plan. From time to time, people ask me why or how I do this. It’s simply a matter that I enjoy writing. I enjoy reading. I enjoy holding forth on topics of interest. And, so I do what I enjoy doing. When I feel like writing, I do it. When I don’t feel like writing or don’t feel like I have the time. I let it go. While I could probably have greater readership and have produced better things over the years if I had a less whimsical approach to this, I probably would have burned out years ago.
The experience has been almost entirely positive. I have met a good number of great people through this blog, and become closer to others. I hesitate to mention anyone in particular for fear of excluding the others, but just as an example, “HoosierOne” has become a dear friend of the family, welcome at family dinners, and a great favorite of my kids.
At times, this blog has felt like a public space with remarkable discourse among the readers. Certainly I have learned a great deal from others at those times. Other times, particularly when one of the dedicated trolls has taken an interest in my blog, the discourse has devolved into something less valuable. But that’s the Internet for you.
So, I’ll keep mashing away at the keyboard from time to time and hope something more or less readable comes out. Thanks for reading.