Updates and Sundry Things

Like most blogs from the heady days of the Blogosphere, this site has been basically dead for a number of years. Like most everyone else, I moved to Twitter. However, since Elon Musk purchased the site and has begun ruling it like Anthony Fremont I have moved most of my social posting to Mastodon, where I can be found at @jayreding@mastodon.world. Mastodon seems like a much better alternative to Twitter – it’s 100% open source, it’s completely federated so that no one company or person can own it, and it seems to work fairly well.

It is interesting to watch the life cycle of yet another social media platform run its course. I remember the days when MySpace was all the rage on the nascent Internet. Then MySpace fell to Facebook, which was cool until it became everyone’s least favorite way to find out that their uncle as a racist asshole. Then Facebook gave way to Twitter, which was always a hellsite, and is even more so now. Whatever replaces Twitter—whether it be Mastodon, Counter Social, or something else, will likely have its rise and fall.

That does give me a certain nostalgia for the good old days of the blogosphere, tempered only by the fact that so many of my blogging associates have succumbed to mindless Trumpism. There was a time when InstaPundit was my first and most often-visited site. Today, it’s just another cesspool of mindless partisanship. While I don’t mind partisanship, as readers of this site in its heyday will attest, I like a much more mindful partisanship than just “other side bad.” And most of the remainder of the blogosphere is basically partisan dreck.

While I would love to return to long-form writing (which is why this site remains up, although the archives are currently not available), it may be a while before that happens, if ever. Between a full-time job as an attorney, being a parent to two very active kids, and the rest of life, time is a precious commodity. However, at some point I may decide to return to active blogging, if nothing else but for the nostalgia.

To everyone who supported this site all those years ago, you have not been forgotten. Please feel free to follow me on Mastodon and maybe, just maybe, this site might have some actual content again for the first time in years.

The New Jay Reding.com

I’ve finally gotten around to updating the template around here. The last update was all the way back in 2007, so it was time to do a little freshening up. For one, since 2007 more and more people are browsing the web on mobile devices like the iPad. And this site is now designed to look great on the iPad. (For those of you using an iOS device, try adding this site to your home screen!) The site has been rebuilt from the ground up using HTML5, CSS3, and all the other latest acronyms. I’ve also tried to make the typography as legible as possible regardless of your screen size or device.

Of course, that means that you’ll need to use a recent-generation browser to view the site. I’ve tested it on Safari, Firefox, Chrome, and the latest versions of Internet Explorer. If you’re using an older version of Internet Explorer (7, or God help you 6), you probably won’t get the site as it was intended. But it should still be readable and usable. And if you’re on an iPhone or Android device, you’re golden—the site should work just fine on latest-generation mobile devices.

And since everyone else is doing it, I figured it was time for this site to jump on the social networking bandwagon as well. So you can use the “Share/Bookmark” link at the bottom of each post to post articles here on Facebook, Twitter, or any number of social networking sites.

Of course, there will undoubtedly be much tweaking of elements as time wears on, as well as additional features. I’m never quite satisfied with a blog template. If you see any problems with the template, feel free to email me at comments – at – jayreding.com.

I’m hoping that this new design will last as long as the one it replaced. Each site template this site uses has been created by hand rather than built from a modified prepackaged template. That’s because I believe that this site should be unique and not use the same template or design everyone else is using. I can’t promise it will be that way forever—as I continue my career my spare time keeps getting shorter and shorter. But for now, this design is 100% hand-crafted pixels. I hope you enjoy it.

Server Problems

Apparently some time in the past few days the server that this site is hosted on was moved, without any warning. Posts, comments, and trackbacks from the last few days are missing as they were sent to the old server, which is now apparently unreachable. Needless to say I’m a little annoyed that a server changed its IP address with no notice for those of us who manage our own DNS settings.

With that geeky rant aside, the site should start working again as soon as your service provider catches the new address. Fortunately, my email is hosted with Google, so I haven’t missed any emails over the break. I should also be able to restore at least one of the missing posts from a backup, and the other one was a brief aside that’s not worth preserving.

Between this and a @*&(^ snowstorm, this week is not starting very well…

UPDATE: On the good side, the upgrade to WordPress 2.5 was quite seamless—then again, that’s what I’ve come to expect from WordPress these days.

Comment Policy Changes

You’ll now have to register on the site to leave a comment. The level of spam this site is getting is causing more and more problems, and dealing with it is become more and more of a pain, even with a very effective anti-spam system.

You will have to use a valid email address to register, or you won’t be able to comment. Your email address will not be shared with third parties, and you won’t get any unsolicited emails from me.

I realize that this makes it more difficult to comment, but given that I’ve seen the comment threads here continue to degenerate into silly name-calling, I’m not so sure that’s a bad idea. The alternative is to shut down commenting permanently, which I’ve considered. However, there have been valuable additions made through comments, and I want to keep those going.

To be clear on the rules, I will be much less tolerant of personal attacks than I have been in the past. The general rule of thumb will be that if you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face at a dinner party, don’t say it here.

The level of decorum here has not been what I’d like it to be, and I’m not going to let this site swirl the drain with the rest of society. I don’t mind arguments contrary to mine—in fact, that’s what I’d like to see. However, what I’m looking for are arguments that are better than the stuff I see in other blog comments. I’m quite frankly sick and tired of discussion that boils down to one side calling the other names.

If you want to engage in partisan mudslinging and cheap debate, there are other places better suited for it. This site is about intellectual discussions of politics and policy, and the comments should reflect that. I would rather get a handful of really insightful, really probing, and smartly critical comments a year than a boatload of the same old trash. I don’t run this site for the traffic or the money, I run it for the intellectual edification. The comments haven’t been what I want them to be, and I’ll continue to re-evaulate them as time goes by.

The Great Relaunching

Welcome back to the newly relaunched Jay Reding.com.

A few months ago, this site began having some odd technical problems. The template would revert back to the WordPress default. The database was starting to have random problems with the comments table. The amount of spam was overwhelming a database that had been passed around various blogging systems more times than a doobie at a Grateful Dead concert. Before things got too bad, I took the site down to try to get a handle on what was going on.

In the meantime, the site was in dire need of a new template, since I apparently can’t keep a design more than six months. There are some nifty new features — a print stylesheet in case you’ve the urgent need to contribute to the death of some trees, a special template for the iPhone/iPod which is scientifically proven to increase your hipness factor by at least .04%, and WordPress widgets which gives me the power to add all sorts of junk to the sidebar on a whim. (Which I’ve no intention of doing.)

So, welcome back. It’s nice to know that you’re missed when you’re gone. But, to borrow a quote, it’s time to get back on the horse…

UPDATE: You’ll also notice the new tagging feature, which allows you to see posts based on more specific information than the old WordPress category system.

There’s also an incredibly geeky and equally obscure sci-fi reference somewhere in this template. See if you can find it…


Blogging will be light through this week, as I’m currently buried in work. However, in the meantime, Mitch Berg has a fascinating look at what it means to be a conservative, Michelle Malkin takes a look at the left an Winter Soldier Syndrome and Jeff Goldstein examines the strategic case for patience in Iraq.

Also, as a personal bleg, if anyone has any first-hand knowledge about large law firms in the Twin Cities, I’m interested in hearing it, good, bad, or indifferent. I’m working on applications for summer associate positions for next year, and I’m always interested in different perspectives in what life is like with local firms. If you’re not comfortable leaving a comment here, please feel free to email me at comments (at) jayreding.com. Your comments will be completely confidential and greatly appreciated.

MOB Rule

I finally got around to adding the Minnesota Organization of Bloggers blogroll to the site — something I should have done much earlier. There are plenty of excellent Minnesota blogs that are well worth your time, discussing everything from politics to pop culture, and the MOB blogroll is an excellent way of seeing what’s out there.

Pardon The Dust

The site might be a bit shaky yet today — this weekend I did some substantial rearranging of the site’s DNS entries which may cause some ISPs to be unable to connect. My email has been rendered worthless due to spam, and my client-side filters just haven’t been able to keep up with the deluge. So, I decided to use GMail for Domains instead. I miss having IMAP access to email, but at least GMail is far better at filtering spam than Thunderbird was — and I don’t need to worry about configuring an email client on each machine I use. Web-based email seems to make a lot more sense these days, especially when it can do a better job of detecting and deleting spam than even a Baysian filter can.

Email is proving to be a perfect example of the tragedy of the commons — there’s virtually no cost to use it, which means that it’s become a perfect medium for spammers. Given that there’s no real technical or legal solution to spam, and not for a lack of trying, it appears that the Cold War between spammers and email providers will have no end in sight…

Signal And Noise

I’ve made the decision to disable comments on future posts. I’ll still be allowing open TrackBacks from other blogs, but not including comments.

The primary reason for this is that there are so few comments of any substance that it’s just not worth having any. So far it’s the same cast of characters making the same diatribes without any real intelligent discussion of the issues. People who have had intelligent and thoughtful things to say have been actively turned off by the caliber of comments on this site. That isn’t acceptable to me.

A worthwhile comment is something like “You failed to note the implications of X, for reasons Y and Z, and here’s why X impacts your argument.” A comment that is not worthwhile is something like “all Republicans are evil, and cannot be trusted.” The former is a intelligent, thoughtful criticism based on a good-faith reading of the argument. The latter is just mere cant grounded in bad faith. If I had more comments like the former, even ones that were challenging and contradictory, I’d be fine with leaving comments open. Sadly, those are few and far between.

Secondly, I have my own personal professional interests to look out for. I don’t blog under pseudonym specifically because it forces me to be more moderate in my tone and more thoughtful in my analysis. (And even then, sometimes my tone is more strident than it should, and my analysis been less than perfect.)

There’s a difference between being a partisan advocate and being an unthinking partisan, and sadly 99% of the political debate is being advanced by the latter. If I’m going to spend my time looking at contrary views, I’d rather read Kevin Drum, Joshua Micah Marshall or Andrew Sullivan, then go through the fever swamps of The Daily Kos or Eschaton. (For that matter, that’s why I don’t read a large number of right-wing blogs as well.)

Finally, managing the torrent of spam, while not as hard as it was in old days, is still an annoyance, and I have no desire to spend what little time I have not researching legal matters with commenting issues.

As a compromise, I will occasionally create “open threads” that will have comments enabled from time to time. I’ve never been a fan of the concept, but I’m willing to give it a try. If the level of rhetoric on those becomes such that I feel comfortable enabling comments on a more general basis, I will do so.

This site is and always has been my personal project, paid for by my own money and on my own time. To paraphrase Reagan, I paid for this mic, so I can set the rules. This isn’t a step I take lightly, but I’d rather not allow the signal to noise ratio on this site become such that people are actively discouraged from participating. If that’s going to be the case, it’s better to step back and re-evaluate whether it’s worth it to have comments at all.

Comments will be enabled on this post. Consider this the first “open thread.”

Black Friday

Being insane, I decided to venture out with my family on Black Friday. Now, I’m a committed capitalist and all, but you people standing in line for hours in front of Best Buy are nuts.

Then again, after this morning, this site (and it’s owner) may become the property of the American Express corporation… if I spend any more I’ll end up as an honorary member of Congress…