Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The State of this blog

Last week was my highest traffic week ever. Yesterday was my highest traffic day ever. September was my highest visited month ever, and I'm at my highest average visit length at 11:00 minutes plus. I've had almost 30,000 page views since February. I even have my own internet stalker now in this Plato whack job. If I threw some celebrity knockers in there, I could probably challenge Angelo. This blog has gone further than I ever imagined. I'm very shocked.

The overwhelming majority of the visits are from here in Saipan, but there is a long list of countries that have shown up. I'm always astonished when someone from a place like Brunei or United Arab Emirates checks in, but it happens once in a while. I find it a little weird to see people Googling my name every day, but that's happening a lot, too. The Department of the Interior, and other Washington folks, check in sometimes. That's a little weird.

I started this blog back in February 2006, and I only intended it to be a second home for the letters I had been sending to the Marianas Variety. I never promoted this blog back then, never knew any other bloggers, and no one much read that stuff here until February this year when I jumped on board in earnest. Angelo really jump started this whole thing, and now it is very large and growing community -- and factionalized. The once tight knit nature of this community has fallen apart. Last Wednesday as far as I know there was no monthly meet up at Java Joes. I think there were like 40 plus people in June. That's unlikely to happen again. I've made a few good friends from this venture, and a few enemies, but it has been a net positive overall.

12 comments:

lil_hammerhead said...

"Enemies" is a strong word Jeff. I can't imagine that you could possibly make "enemies" blogging. I've gotten into countless heated discussions, and to some extent they turned fairly personal, however, I couldn't imagine not being able to sit down with them at any face to face activity? Maybe I just have a great ability to disconnect? I kind of look at it like any meeting situation.. words are exchanged in a board room, opinions are espoused, sometimes extreme and harsh opinions, but that doesn't prevent civil and cordial behavior from taking place outside of the board room.

Jeff said...

I'm not talking about people who make comments. Whenever you argue against people's financial interests, you create enemies. That's why most people don't say anything or stay anonymous.

Anonymous [#0962] said...

I used to enter the Saipan blogosphere through Chamorro.com's link at the bottom of its Island Commentary page to Angelo's blog. When he temporarily deactivated his blog, I made your blog my primary entry to Saipan's web logs. His total ban on anonymous comment is unattractive to me; I like your discouragement of anonymity and your comment moderation for civility. Thanks!

I still have to click through to Bruce's page to reach "Middle Road," however. :(

Your newspaper column undoubtedly helps generate traffic, too.

Jeff said...

Middle Road delinked me first, so I thought it only appropriate I do the same.

I'm not sure Angelo put in a total ban on anonymity.

Galvin Deleon Guerrero said...

Is this epiphany of yours a prelude to a run for office?

What would your slogan be?
Jeff for Congress...
Jeff's House...
Bass in your Face...
Give a haole a chance...
Have brain, will engage...
Make it so...
If Chomsky would run...
I rant, you rave...
May the Force be with Jeff...
Biba Jeff...
Save Ferris...

Anonymous [#0962] said...

Sometimes taking the high road, rather than engaging in tit-for-tat link removal, has the collateral benefit of creating an impression of magnanimity. Too bad more members of the CNMI bar don't keep to this same high road more often. Not that I'm suggesting your link removal is petty or anything. It's your blog. Just a traffic improvement suggestion.

One can always sign up for a Google account under a fake name, so to that extent Mr. V.’s blog still allows anonymity. But posts like this one of mine have been forbidden for quite a while now there. Given the abuse he took, I do understand and sympathize with his decision, notwithstanding whatever role he had in instigating the fireworks.

----------------------------------------------------------

Since I have Mr. G on this thread, I'd like to address your September 21st letter to the editor of the Marianas Variety mentioning government attorneys. "On top of that, discussion is underway to give government attorneys higher pay at the same time that PSS is facing severe budget cuts. . . . Why do we spend more money on attorneys than teachers? Is litigation more important than education?"

You should be aware that Public Law 15-81 simply restored lawyer salaries to their 1998 levels, after the FY 2007 budget omitted the usual language. The CNMI actually spends considerably more on the salaries of government teachers than on government attorneys, which is as it should be. (PSS administrators, AG support staff, and immigration personnel are not teachers or lawyers.) Indeed, there has been a cut in the number of OAG lawyers between December 31, 2005 and July 1, 2007 from 31 to 20. Heaven help us if we have a similar reduction in PSS teachers! So much for the supposedly inordinately severe budget cuts at PSS. Times are tough for everyone.

If you are referring to the salary of an individual attorney compared to a teacher, remember the need to repay student loans, and keep in mind that as with doctors, lawyers have options to work elsewhere -- as do teachers. Only one indigenous NMD attorney currently sees fit to work at the OAG, which says something about how “generous” the salaries for public service lawyers are here in the CNMI. Since non-NMD citizens in the CNMI are ineligible to join the 68% of Americans who own their family home, which is the greatest financial asset of most households, it is safe to say that the net worth of home-owning NMD teachers’ families is likely higher than that of most government lawyers, even considering deflated real estate values.

This brings to mind the issue of a candidate for School Board apparently seeking to promote the politics of class division and envy, rather than seeking to unify the community. No, litigation may not be “more important” than education, but if the Commonwealth cannot prevail in the avalanche of frivolous and over-pleaded lawsuits that besets the government, then there will not be any money left for education. It will all go to Plaintiffs’ lawyers and the purveyors of inflated claims. So it’s that simple, a matter of practical necessity.

Nor should we be always seeking to compare ourselves with one another, trying to measure who is “more important.” This hardly befits a candidate for public office, a position where humility should be central. As Our Lord taught at the Last Supper when He washed his disciples’ feet, the greatest of all is the servant of all.

P.S. Even if everyone on Saipan voted randomly for School Board, you’d have a 2/3 chance of winning, so I hope you’re up to the job!

Jeff said...

If people want to visit that blog, they will find a way. It's not that hard. I'm not a huge fan of how they do things.

Galvin Deleon Guerrero said...

Wow, maybe I'm the one who should run for office. There are people responding to me on other people's blogs.

Anyway, Jeff, sorry about hijacking your blog to post a response to someone who hides behind the security blanket of anonymity.

Here goes:

I completely agree that humility should be central to anyone seeking public office. And I completely agree that we should be foot-washers. I do apologize if I've suggested or anyone has interpreted otherwise.

But, just to clarify, I was not trying to "promote the politics of class division and envy" with my post/letter to the editor. Rather, I was questioning our priorities as a community. Sure, in terms of real dollars, our government spends more on teachers. However, when we look at how much money is spent per teacher and per student, the numbers are appalling. For example, we spend more local funds per prisoner than we do local AND federal funds per student. To be specific, according to the Department of Corrections, we spend about $28,150.00/year on each prisoner, whereas we spend only about $6,000.00/year on each student. That makes it very clear, at least to me, what our priorities are.

And I never said that we do not need attorneys. We need attorneys and the legal system to work out our differences and disagreements in a civilized manner, rather than resorting to violence.

But, when we invest more in our legal system than in our education system, something is remiss.

Lastly, I think it completely "befits a candidate for public office" to ask tough questions. As Albert Einstein once said, "The important thing is not to stop questioning."

Peace out. And Save Ferris.

Jeff said...

To be dead honest, I spent four years seeing the finished product, and there was a good 1/3 who really were at the elementary school level at best. Already, I saw one of those arrested for felony armed robbery of the poker rooms, and at least four or five others with other less serious cases. I see huge numbers with no realistic chance to complete college work, which is the basic entry into the middle class. Poverty tends to breed all kinds of social problems that are expensive and messy to clean up, so I think you have a real point G.

lil_hammerhead said...

On a lighter note.. MHS used to be the only high school.. I often wondered who did the planning for that area around MHS. If you notice theirs the high school, then the court house and then the jail. Humorous and not so humorous.

lil_hammerhead said...

there's... not theirs (geez)

Galvin Deleon Guerrero said...

Humorous, not humorous, and very telling. An assembly line?