Do you know how or why it is some articles get marked with a "special" blue politics tag? It's happened to my work a few times and when it does, they seem to get more visibility. I'm not sure how it works, though.thepoliticalbreakdown
A few years ago, Tumblr created a number of curated tags. Or, rather, they turned uncurated tags into curated ones and put people in charge of stocking them with featured posts. One of them is “Politics” and there are certain posts — usually at least ten each day, sometimes as many as fifty — that allow Tumblr users who follow the Politics tag to see a diversity of posts they might not ordinarily see; these tags are also a good way to find new blogs, by following the people whose posts are featured and by following the editors.
Some of the editors are employed in some way by Tumblr; some are volunteer editors who are asked by Tumblr to curate the tag. I’m one such volunteer. I’ve been doing it — shockingly — for two years now (which seems like a pretty long time, especially because I think I was asked to do it for six months or something like that). When I see an interesting post, I can click a button and “promote” the post to the Politics tag; this is how the post gets the highlighted blue Politics tag on it that people might see in their dashboard; it also sends the post over to the Politics tag and people who follow the tag might see a notification in their Search bar to let them know that there’s a new post to be seen at the tag’s page. That’s how the posts get more visibility.
Here’s a post I wrote back when I was first asked to be a volunteer editor; it’s about how I plan to use my powers for good and also some problems I have with the way the whole curated tag system works. I think it holds up pretty well.
It seems my blog turned 5 years old today!
Here’s what I wrote in my very first post five years ago:
I really don’t have the time to start blogging, but I’m being pushed in that direction. I’m not sure if this site will make things easier, more difficult, or something in the middle. More on that soon enough…
I didn’t end up posting a whole lot until November 2009; in fact, I think there are about as many posts in November 2009 as in all the previous months of 2009 combined.
Looking back at the archived posts from those first few months of blogging is a good bit of fun. If you’re a relatively new reader, I highly recommend browsing the archive; there are, at this point, nearly 4,000 posts of varying quality for your enjoyment.
Every once in a long while, I get a very nice note to balance out the mean, aggressive, or otherwise hard-to-decipher ones. One nice comment online tends to act as a counterweight to about a hundred unpleasant ones, at least for me.
So, thanks! This was a real pick-me-up on a day that started with shoveling the driveway at 5:30am in -15 degree weather and that then revolved around finishing up a paper on the international community’s generally tepid response to dismal human rights situations around the world.
Duck of Minerva, a group blog filled to the brim with some of my favorite political scientists, is hosting its second annual Online Achievements in International Studies Awards and it seems that, like last year, I’ve been nominated in the Best Blog (Individual) category.
This is quite an honor and I’d be further honored if you’ll all decide to vote for me. One catch: You have to register to vote by email.
Even though the other nominees are surely more deserving of this award, I’m hoping that my audience — and the power of thousands of Tumblr users who generally seem to like to vote for things and can share this message far and wide! — will register to vote and overwhelm those more worthy bloggers to steal the prize for me!
This is what I get if I win:
You know, if half the people who read this actually register and vote for me, I’m a lock. So, please, help me out!
Another reader suggests that I should rethink everything I’ve said in the case of the retired police officer who murdered a man in a movie theatre because he was a retired police officer and thus any possible rules don’t apply to him:
This “menace to society”, as you put it, was an ex-cop. That means that under the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act, he was permitted to carry around a gun, regardless of state and local laws.
Changing state CCW laws would have no effect. Making guns harder to purchase would have no effect. Changing Stand Your Ground laws would have no effect.
And given that the bill was co-sponsored by such notorious anti-gun politicians as Rep Carolyn McCarthy and Senators Chuck Schumer, Barney Frank, Diane Feinstein, and Harry Reid, good luck at repealing it.
In light of this, perhaps you’d like to re-think your comments.
Leaving aside the general foolishness of the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA), the interesting thing about it is that there’s no need to change any state laws (which is good since the guy who sent this comment is certain that changing laws wouldn’t impact ex-cops who hate texting from bringing guns into movie theatres legally).
Movie theatres are private companies and they can restrict access to people carrying weapons … even if those people are eligible to carry weapons anywhere they want under the provisions of LEOSA:
Although LEOSA preempts state and local laws, there are two notable exceptions: “the laws of any State that (1) permit private persons or entities to prohibit or restrict the possession of concealed firearms on their property” (such as a bars, private clubs, amusement parks, etc.), or “(2) prohibit or restrict the possession of firearms on any State or local government property, installation, building, base, or park”  Additionally, LEOSA does not override the federal Gun-Free School Zone Act (GFSZA) which prohibits carrying a firearm within 1,000 feet of elementary or secondary schools. Although the GFSZA authorizes on-duty law enforcement officers to carry firearms in such circumstances, off-duty and retired law enforcement officers are still restricted from doing so unless they have a firearms license issued from the state in which they reside and then it is only good for the state in which they reside. Individuals must also obey any federal laws and federal agency policies that restrict the carrying of concealed firearms in certain federal buildings and lands, as well as federal regulations prohibiting the carriage of firearms on airplanes.
So, yeah, being a police officer or a former police officer doesn’t entitle you to carry your gun anywhere you’d like. Or, rather, it doesn’t allow you to actually go into every place you might like while carrying the weapon you’re legally allowed to carry.
And, of course, being a former police officer doesn’t mean you’re not a menace to society; in the case in question, the former police officer clearly is one.
I’m going to respond to a few responses to some of my recent posts about guns, concealed carry and stand your ground laws, and “freedom.”
My favorite response so far comes from a self-described libertarian brony — “I’m Anti-State. Anti-War. Pro-Market. Pro-Christian. And Pro-Pony” — who blogs at Blame the 1st; he writes:
Actually, a recent university study shows that concealed carry laws result in fewer murders: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13504851.2013.854294
A few comments:
- This isn’t “a university study;” it’s a very, very short piece (three pages) by Mark Gius, a economics professor at Quinnipiac.
- Gius cites almost no literature on the topic and, though it briefly mentions articles that disagree with his conclusion regarding the effect of concealed carry laws on homicide, it doesn’t explain what’s wrong with the arguments found in those articles.
- Gius doesn’t really explain why he hasn’t demonstrated simple correlation, rather than causation, with his quick assessment of some state-level data on homicides. States with lax concealed carry laws might have fewer homicides than states that limit concealed carry … but that doesn’t mean that concealed carry is responsible for the number of homicides in these states.
- Our brony blogger is simply wrong that the “study shows that concealed carry laws result in fewer murders.” Here’s the conclusion of Gius’ piece, which seems a lot less certain of what he’s demonstrated than is the brony:
These results suggest that, even after controlling for unobservable state and year fixed effects, limiting the ability to carry concealed weapons may cause murder rates to increase. There may, however, be other explanations for these results. Laws may be ineffective due to loopholes and exemptions. The most violent states may also have the toughest gun control measures. Further research is warranted in this area.
More important than any of this, however, is the blogger’s strident anti-state and pro-pony stance. I’d like to learn a whole lot more about the connection between “My Little Pony,” guns, free markets, privatizing entitlement programs, and just generally opposing the federal government.
I’m neither a libertarian nor a brony … but this guy’s sure piqued my curiosity.
It’s February 1, so you know Twitter is lighting up with white people — mostly teenagers, which makes me so incredibly depressed — who are just baffled or angry about the fact that there’s no white history month when there’s a black history month.
There are thousands of these; I just grabbed a few for posterity.
The post hit 10,000 Tumblr notes in the first 24 hours and also drew several thousand non-Tumblr readers to my blog, thanks to Facebook sharing, and posts linking to my blog on Feministing.com and on the Cracked.com forum.
HT: Patrick Jones.
By comparison, my most popular post of 2012 with Tumblr users was this post about the “RoboRomney” website that demonstrates how Mitt Romney agrees with you no matter what position you hold on a wide variety of policy matters; it garnered just under 4,000 notes.
Tune in tomorrow for my second most popular post of 2013.
Today’s Comment of the Day is really nothing more than naked not-at-all-humblebragging.
At first I thought this comment came from my grandmother … but then I remembered that my grandmother’s so not into Beyoncé’s new album.
This claim, from Jodi Dean’s book Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies, is a particularly interesting one to try out on the audience of this blog (who almost exclusively arrive at this blog via Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook).
Are you reading this?
And are you engaging with the things written on this blog (or on blogs generally)? Do you debate and discuss these ideas? Do you share them with others or do you just click “Like” and move on to the next thing?
And, especially for the Tumblr audience, why are you blogging? Knowing that there are millions and millions of Tumblr blogs, do you think your posts matter and, if so, in what way?
Or is Dean right that we’re just engrossed in the whole idea of consumption and contribution, leading us to believe that we’re participating in a national (or even global) political conversation when, in fact, we’re not?
In response to my post this afternoon, in which I noted that “In America, slavery is very much a one race issue," my
Tumblr stalker privileged young interlocutor writes the following:
Yeah, you are right… if you ignore the black slaver owners, Indian slaver owners, and the fact that the Irish were treated
as slavesworse than slaves…
I have to assume I’m just being trolled here.
This guy surely knows that, when I say slavery in America is a one race issue, it’s because of the race of the slaves, right?
I mean, no one is actually this aggressively ignorant, right?