Posts Tagged ‘blogs’

by Pete Talbot

This is insider stuff.  About three weeks ago 4&20 notched one million hits.

I was hoping jhwygirl or maybe even founding father Jay Stevens would announce this and also add some pithy commentary. Didn’t happen, though, so I guess it’s up to me.

First, I’m not sure what a hit is versus a visit versus a ‘unique visit’ and I don’t really care.  Our traffic is nothing compared to Huffington Post, Daily Kos or most of your celebrity websites, but one million seems like a lot to me.

Here’s some history — corrections appreciated.  4&20 was started by the legendary Jay Stevens in February, 2006, as a progressive political blog (and vehicle to help get Jon Tester elected to the U.S. Senate).  Jay also mixed in some arts and culture and observations.  He held the position of chief contributor and site administrator until around April, 2007, when he was invited by Matt Singer to join Left in The West.

Jhwygirl took over as the main contributor and site administrator, although Jay continued to post from time-to-time.

I joined in June, 2007, followed by Rebecca Schmitz and, I think this order is correct: Jamee, problembear, JC, carfreestupidity, Duganz and Lizard.  Rebecca retired and Jamee moved on except for the occasional post.  Everyone else is still going strong.

Other occasional contributors included Jason Wiener, Matt Singer (particularly when his site crashed) and Ross Keogh (hey Ross, what’s happening with Mountain Water?).

Here are some stats: As of 2011, we’re averaging about 850 hits a day.  Our top day was 3,885 visits on March 5, 2009, the day of the natural gas explosion that leveled several Bozeman buildings and killed a woman.  We’ve logged 3,107 posts, 28,887 comments and 78,930 spam comments (most of them, thankfully, caught by the filter). Lately, most of our referrals have come from MT Cowgirl, followed by Wulfgar!, Left in The West and Intelligent Discontent, although this ebbs and flows weekly.

It’s been a great ride and I’ve learned a lot.  The current crew of contributors got together a couple of weeks ago for some celebratory beverages. I hadn’t even met most of them.  We all have different styles (we can’t even agree on a headline format) and different issues.  It’s what makes this site, well, different.

They are a well-spoken, out-spoken bunch of guys (jhwygirl couldn’t make it) and passionate about what they do and what they write.  I like ’em.  They want what’s best for our community, state, nation and world.

All that being said, I’m taking the hiatus I promised I would when we hit 1,000,000.  I have an addictive personality and I’m finding myself obsessed with this and other blogs.  I’m also a pitifully slow writer.  So, it’s time to take a break from the keyboard and deal with all the day-to-day responsibilities I prefer to avoid.  If I don’t, I’m afraid there will be an intervention in my future.

I know that the other very qualified contributors will pick up the slack.  I imagine I’ll be back, too, when some issue which I can’t ignore rears its ugly head.

Finally, blog traffic seems to have slowed at the Montana sites I’ve visited lately.  Blame it on the close of the 2011 legislature (which provided much fodder) or perhaps it’s this sort of spring-like weather.  It could also be the flame wars, between progressives, so apparent on these Montana sites.  I’d like to see less of that and more focus on the skanks in state and national politics who are selling your average Joe and Josephine down the tubes. Denny Rehberg immediately comes to mind.

4&20 is an ever-evolving site.  Thank you contributors, commenters and gentle readers for helping us reach one million.

by Pete Talbot

At first glance, maybe this was something I should have attended. The Helena Independent Record headline read: Insight offered to bloggers.  Gosh, I thought, I wonder why I didn’t hear about this earlier.

Then some of the names in the story caught my eye: Aaron Flint of the Flint Report, Carl Graham of the Montana Policy Institute, Montana Watchdog, the Franklin Center — all pretty much mouthpieces for right wing and Libertarian causes.

Flint, for example, has a radio show on the Northern Ag Network, a conservative station out of Billings.  He has the Flint Report website, too, that carries headlines like: Tester Profits Off Credit Card Companies and Bullock Gets Testy Over Otter Creek.

The Montana Policy Institute out of Bozeman is a Libertarian think tank that refuses to reveal it’s funding sources.  Perhaps you’ve seen MPI President Carl Graham’s guest columns in your local paper on the wonders of a free market economy.  MPI just finished hosting a “Health Care Freedom Panel” with keynote speaker and MPI Senior Fellow Rob Natelson.

There’s Montana Watchdog, another website, that is sponsored by the Montana Policy Institute and presents itself as a news organization with Front Page links to, well, Natelson’s “Health Care Freedom Panel.”

The Franklin Center, based in North Dakota and Virginia (now there’s a strange pairing) bills itself as an organization dedicated to investigative reporting.  The group’s founder and president, Jason Stverak, is the former executive director of the North Dakota Republican Party.

Here’s a line from the end of the IR story:

Also among them was Big Sky Tea Party Association board member Roger Nummerdor, who thinks it might be time to start doing some blogging.

This all happened last Saturday at the Red Lion Colonial Inn in Helena.

And these guys are joined at the hip.  I don’t begrudge some dudes holding a workshop, spreading the righteous word, maybe having a few beers, chewing the fat.  It’s just that they’re so sneaky about it.  You seldom see them flaunting their right-wing credentials.

Heck, they even fooled the IR reporter, who didn’t mention a thing in her story about these guys’ background.  I’m hoping she was fooled, anyway, because if she knew and didn’t mention it, that’s piss-poor reporting.

By CFS

In all this ongoing back and forth between the liberal/progressive/Democrat blogs of Montana (the Great Flame War of 2011) one point that is yet to be made is the differing approach that the two parties seem to deal with internal dissent.  One party gives the impression of eagerly embracing the mutiny… while the other is trying to quickly stomp out the fire before it can spread.

What started as a grassroots movement from outside the ramparts of a party historically known for it’s discipline in pulling it’s member into line on issues; the Tea People’s anger, enthusiasm, and naivety was quickly capitalized upon by the Republican establishment and old guard power base.  Organizations that, at first ad-hoc groups meeting at coffee shops bitching about how the Republicans had betrayed their ideals, were quickly provided with organizational support, funds, and training from long-time Republican political operatives.  Nation-wide organizations were built by the likes of Dick Army and elected Republicans such as Michele Bachmann embraced the mass of angry white people produced by a steady diet of Fox News.

Now that the Tea People are well ensconced in the warm and loving embrace of the GOP guess what happens whenever the Tea People get all uppity?  Thats right… Boehner quickly folds and make overtures to please his new far right base.

Contrast this with the current approach that the mainline Democrats seem to want to take when dealing the more progressive/liberal/whatever side of the party…

This attitude comes straight from the top as Obama and his press secretary have said more than once that they are tired of the criticism coming from the left.  Other Democrats have used this type of language, calling liberals “extremists.”

 The same attitude has been on display recently on various Montana progressive blogs.  Pogie actually did a great job of getting to the issue and fostering a discussion around the role of dissension within a political party in shaping policy and strategy.  Others however have been eager to follow the STFU guidelines.  From LITW:

Here’s the dealio.  Democrats still have value.  I like Jon Tester, even more for taking action on wolf control dictated by the judiciary.  Don’t like that?  Tough shit.  Leave.  I like Barrack Obama.  I think he called out the Republicans and has played them very well.  Don’t like that?  Tough shit.  Leave.  Seriously.  You don’t like Democrats?  Leave, assholes.

The problem with the STFU/your-either-with-us-or-against-us type attitude is that people really do leave.  People will choose to vote for third party candidate like Nader when they get frustrated enough which then gives us 8 years of THE ADVENTURES OF BUSHIT AND TURD BLOSSOM .

If a party doesn’t listen to internal dissent and respond to the criticism by addressing people’s grievances then people leave.  The Republicants were electorally successful in the last cycle specifically because they embraced the crazy hidden within themselves and physically manifested as the Tea People.

Do we really want to put this at the entrance to the Democratic party?




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