Dairy, death, guns, rape, religion, and Mike Knudson... poor Mike's wondering, "How'd I get in with this crowd?"
One metric of good blogging is the number of comments one draws. That metric doesn't always square with my judgment: I write some stories that I think are great (stay tuned for those in my personal top ten!) but which hardly draw a response from you dear readers. I dash off other stories that I think won't draw much attention, and you readers blow them up into 100-plus-comment free-for-alls. Such surprises are among the pleasures of blogging.
So, by comment totals as of Christmas Eve, out of over 1300 blog posts this year, here are the ten Madville Times stories you found most worth your commentary in 2012:
10. Nelson, Tornow Help Hanson County Anti-CAFO Forces Win in Court (159 comments): The mainstream GOP's bête noire, Rep. Stace Nelson, joined fellow conservative R. Shawn Tornow to help Hanson County folks turn back a 7000-head that threatened to slurp up their water. I celebrated Republicans doing the work of Democrats and fighting for sensible environmental policy... but the Hanson County folks may be more motivated by dislike of the immigrants who staff such dairies. Whatever the motivations, Nelson and Tornow won on procedure, arguing that the county didn't follow its own conditional use permit rules.
8 (tie!). Secession: Crime Against Constitution and Union (175): After Barack Hussein Obama won four more years as President, a brief furor arose among some cranky, unpatriotic conservatives who would rather destroy America than stick with it when they lose an election. South Dakotans didn't get as worked up about seceding as folks in other states, but you commenters did!
8 (tie!). Paranoia Afoot: Liss Calls for Purge of Marxist Infiltrators (175): One-term Republican legislator Brian Liss said Marxists have infiltrated the Republican Party. Liss called for purging Marxists from every American institution. Top commenter: Joe McCarthy.
7. President Barack Obama: Rape Is Rape… and Men Shouldn’t Rule Women’s Bodies (181): We took our own shots at the campaign-killing kerfuffle over Missouri Congressman Todd Akin's concept of "legitimate rape."
6. Rep. Betty Olson Wants Armed French Teachers in Your School (211): I resisted posting about the Connecticut school shooting for four days. But then Rep. Betty Olson drew me in with her proposal to let me and my fellow educators carry guns in our classrooms. Big conversation across multiple posts ensued. Worth noting: on top of the big discussion here on the blog, when I asked my Facebook followers whether I should carry a gun in the classroom, I drew 80 comments from a wide variety of friends with widely differing opinions.
5. Randazzo, SD Gun Owners Target Knudson for “Full Support” of 2nd Amendment (236): Surprisingly, this July gun post drew more comments than the any single gun post following the Connecticut shooting. District 12 Democratic House candidate Mike Knudson expressed his "full support" of the Second Amendment, and the gun lobby still attacked him.
4. Santorum Supports Telling Non-Christians to Leave America (247): The man who came in second in the Republican Presidential primary race said non-Christians should leave the United States. Rick Santorum and Brian Liss both express the unhealthy exclusivity of the conservative Republican agenda.
3. Thune, GOP Reject Universal Human Rights for Johnson, Others with Disabilities (259): This post about partisan politics leading Republicans to abdicate our nation's moral leadership on equality for folks with disabilities embarrassed our nation and outraged readers. With Senate icon Bob Dole watching from his wheelchair, Republicans rejected a U.N. treaty that would hold all nations to our standard of inclusivity and accommodation, mostly because of paranoia sown by Rick Santorum about the U.N. sending black helicopters to take kids away from home-school parents.
2. District 12 Democrat Knudson Gets Five Notable Non-Family GOP Endorsements (306): You sure thought Mike Knudson was worth talking about! In October, Knudson release a campaign flyer with endorsements from his dad Dave and five other notable South Dakota Republicans. But Knudson and District 12-mate Susan Randall still got beat by veteran GOP legislators Manny Steele and Hal Wick.
1. Tina Curl’s Fundraising Misguided, Exaggerated; We’ll Call When Moeller’s Dead (322): In the best example of how the Madville Times is no liberal echo chamber, I caught all sorts of heck for suggesting that Tina Curl and her unemployed husband might make better use of their time and other people's money in looking for work and taking care of themselves than taking an arduous road trip across the country to watch us kill her daughter's smirking killer. They came; we killed; not much good was done for anyone.
Right or wrong, agree or disagree, I appreciate your willingness, dear readers, to read the posts you find here daily, to really think about them, and to contribute to our public wisdom. These conversations matter. I look forward to more of them in 2013.