A Dozen Years Of Blogging

The other day I got to looking back at all the online activity in my past, and saw how entwined my day-to-day life has been with the Web since way back.

First off, I recall I started a blog in 1996, a year before the word was invented.

In 1996, during the Clinton-Dole presidential race, I started an online political column I called “Content.” It had aa cool logo. I used The Well, and updated the site manually. That site has disappeared into the ether, but each time I updated I also posted to the alt.politics.elections Usenet group and those posts still exist. Here are a few. The earliest one I could find:

Term-limited Assemblyman Phil Isenberg (D-Sacramento) has an irate letter to the editor in today’s Sacramento Bee. Isenberg says Senate President Pro Tem Bill Lockyer (D-Hayward) promised a “good, clean” gambling regulation bill this year, but the result (SB1887) looked more like a special-interest wish-list than a regulating bill. Isenberg says the Assembly had to clean it up. One of the things the Assembly did was add a provision which would ban candidates from attorney general from taking campaign contributions from gambling interests. Makes sense, huh? But Lockyer is mulling a race for AG, and campaigns being as expensive as they are, it would take quite a politician to give up all that potential money. Evidently, Lockyer isn’t that politician: he let the Senate adjourn instead of allowing the bill to be heard.

And this was the latest one I could find, in June 1997:

Back a ways (May 30, actually) the Assembly Appropriations Committee killed a popular idea by Republican Assemblyman Brooks Firestone. AB13 would have created a tax-exempt college savings program for parents, run by the state. Seems ol’ Brooks (yes, he is heir to the tire fortune) is pondering running for Lieutenant Governor, and such a popular piece of legislation with his name on it would be a nice feather in his cap come campaign time. So the Democratic leadership killed it. But then (long about June 9) the leadrship had a change of heart and realized they had killed a good idea–so they kindly resurrected “Scholarshare.” The only catch: Firestone doesn’t get to have his name on the bill–the new “author” will be the Assembly Higher Education Committee.

Later, in 1998, working at the Institute for Global Ethics, I had the idea of starting something we called Business Ethics Newsline. The first edition was in February that year. I wrote columns for Newsline on occasion. It’s still going strong.

I’d have to say my favorite Newsline item was called “Civic TQM:”

Imagine we were able to implement TQM in the civic life of the United States. Opinion makers would encourage people to focus on fixing problems early in the process, when it’s first possible to correct — and possibly preempt — them. Instead of telling citizens that their highest — and only — duty is to vote, what if we were to spend a similar amount of energy encouraging citizens to get involved before November? The intense get-out-the-vote efforts by so many nonprofit community groups could become get-out-the-letter-to-the-editor campaigns focused on Labor Day, when there is enough time to influence policy proposals. We could create a new social movement around quality citizenship.

While at IGE, I also had the idea to start a newsletter called Campaign Conduct This Week. It was a weekly (natch) roundup of political happenings that related to ethics in politics. I can’t find many traces of it, except for a December 1999 version that the San Juan County prosecutor’s office sent out to an email list (we used to send it out by email as well as post it).

Then, in 2003, after I had left my job and struck out on my own, I started my own blog under my own name. I called this one Public Comments, and it was just an occasional outlet for writing. I was even quite haughty about not calling it a “blog” — no, these were essays. Occasionally I’d get them published in The Christian Science Monitor but more often it was just an outlet for my thoughts.

Later, in 2007 I started a local blog called Rockville Central, which takes up a great deal of my blogging time. I wrote a recent article all about that here.

Around this time, I also started writing more and more frequently for Pajamas Media, a collection of bloggers (like Huffington Post).

So I guess it makes sense that I started this daily blog up recently. The last dozen years have been filled with various versions of blogs, and now perhaps doing one that is just my daily thoughts will be good for me.

But . . . what to write about?

Published by

Brad Rourke

Executive editor of issue guides and program officer at the Kettering Foundation.

2 thoughts on “A Dozen Years Of Blogging”

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