I’ll be blogging sporadically this week, as I am vacationing with the in-laws at Emerald Isle, N.C.
I’ll be blogging sporadically this week, as I am vacationing with the in-laws at Emerald Isle, N.C.
Some of the best content of the Bacon’s Rebellion blog lies buried in the comments. Readers are extraordinarily knowledgeable, and they often share their knowledge to amplify or take issue with posts appearing on the blog. I have been so impressed with readers’ contributions recently that I have decided to highlight their contributions.
Readers should check the comments as a matter of course. However, not every comment is a masterpiece and it can be intimidating sifting through the more than 90,000 comments published over the past two-and-a-half years to find the gems.
Accordingly, I have downloaded a plug-in that allows me to highlight comments that hew to the highest standards of Bacon’s Rebellion discourse, advancing the dialogue in a positive way by bringing new facts to the table, presenting cogent and persuasive logic, or advancing an argument with exceptional panache. This will allow readers to skip over the ad hominem attacks, the cheap shots, routine carping and spleen venting that occasionally mars the discourse. (For that record, that includes my ad hominem attacks, cheap shots and spleen venting.)
I will bequeath these highlights sparingly, but I welcome nominations from readers. While I read or scan every comment that enters the bog, I am sometimes hard pressed for time and may overlook valuable contributions. If you think I’ve overlooked an especially worthy comment, contact me at jabacon[at]baconsrebellion.com with your suggestions. Be sure to send me the URL and the time stamp of the comment so I can find it.
By Peter Galuszka
For that past six (or is it seven or eight?) years, I’m been pleased to pound away posting my peculiar views on Bacons Rebellion.
My stance has typically been that of a liberal or progressive albeit one of the near and not the far left. My opinions have been honed by 41 years of experience as a journalist in Virginia, in other states and abroad.
Now it’s time to sign off, at least on Bacons Rebellion. I’ll be moving over to Style Weekly, where I have been writing for the past six years.
I have a close relationship with the Style staff whom I respect tremendously. In fact, it was a Style story on coal giant Massey Energy in 2009 that morphed into my first book, “Thunder on the Mountain: Death at Massey and the Dirty Secrets Behind Big Coal” that was published in hardback by St. Martin’s Press in 2012 and then in paperback by West Virginia University Press in 2014. In a way, it’s like going home since Style is owned by The Virginian-Pilot, where I first starting working in 1973 when I was 20 years old.
I also have tremendous respect for Jim Bacon, with whom I have been working on and off since 2000. While Jim and I share very different views on most topics, he and I share one common idea – that the free press and deeply reported and analyzed stories are essential if Virginia and the country are to protect individual liberty and have flourishing economies.
Over the years, Jim and I have chewed over such issues as land use and the environment; ethics and energy. We’ve been through such colorful figures as Ken Cuccinelli and the rise and fall of Bob McDonnell, the Confederate flag and health care.
Recently, however, Jim has accepted a sponsorship from Dominion Resources, whom I have covered and written about critically since the mid-1970s. Although Dominion has had absolutely no impact on my recent postings, I am uncomfortable with continuing on a blog that embraces stories that do seem, in some cases, to be push Dominion’s interests in ways that are far too one-sided. This is not healthy given the gravity of such issues as global warming, renewable energy, coal, natural gas, the rights of landowners who decline to let Dominion survey their property for a pipeline route and so on.
Another reason for my decision to leave is that a venomous gas seems to be suddenly choking the Rebellion. Rather than arguing my points with wit and facts, as I have been enjoying for years, some of the more recent commenters have resorted to snark and bitter personal assaults. I have donated thousands of hours of my time for free on this blog. Commenters might not agree with me, but now some seem not to respect my efforts at all. So, I say goodbye and good luck to them.
If you want to find me in the future, look for me at styleweekly.com and at The Washington Post, where I will continue to contribute to the All Opinions Are Local section and to other parts of the paper. I will still be free lancing for various outlets.
I hope you will continue to read and support Bacons Rebellion. It is fantastic resource that has served as much-needed forum for information, ideas, debate and analysis as journalism continues to undergo the tremors caused by the Internet.
All the best to Jim!
Subscribers to the Bacon’s Rebellion email alert received notification of a newly published article about legal issues surrounding the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. That story was incomplete. I published it by clicking on the wrong button in WordPress, and I deleted it from the blog as soon as I recognized the mistake. My apologies for the confusion.
Bacon’s Rebellion is pleased to announce that Dominion is sponsoring year-long blog commentary and journalistic coverage of energy and environmental issues in Virginia.
Dominion joins a list of Bacon’s Rebellion sponsors that has included the Piedmont Environmental Council, Bon Secours Richmond and Smart Growth America. Like its predecessors, Dominion asks for nothing more than objective, in-depth commentary and journalism. Dominion will exercise no editorial control over content published by Bacon’s Rebellion.
Unlike previous sponsorships, this one may prove to be controversial. Dominion is regarded in some quarters with suspicion and hostility due to its extensive lobbying clout, large contributions to Virginia electoral campaigns and significant impact on rate payers and the environment. When I weighed the pros and cons of a Dominion sponsorship, I had to consider the possibility that critics might accuse Dominion of having “bought” me to influence my journalistic coverage. After careful consideration, I decided not to be deterred.
First, my professional reputation as a journalist is the source of my livelihood and is not something I will compromise. If anything, Dominion’s sponsorship will cause me to downplay personal opinions of a politically conservative nature that might be construed as sympathetic to the company in favor of pursuing a more straightforward, journalistic approach.
Second, the beauty of the blog format is that readers will hold me accountable. Readers show me no mercy as it is, which I regard as a blessing because they keep me honest and prevent me from getting lazy. If I cut Dominion slack it doesn’t deserve, readers will tell me about it. Loudly.
Third, in the interest of full transparency, I am posting the sponsorship agreement online, with only the dollar amount of the sponsorship redacted.
Here’s how I envision approaching energy and environment. The big story is how the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan will be implemented in Virginia and what impact the restructuring of Virginia’s energy industry will have on consumers, the economy and the environment. It’s a many tentacled story, reaching into such issues as nuclear energy, renewable fuels, energy efficiency and natural gas production, among others. I’ll be writing about all those, as well as related matters such as pipelines, transmission lines and the demand for energy in Virginia’s economy. I will endeavor to develop a wide range of sources in the electric power industry, the political and regulatory communities, the business and financial worlds, the environmental community, academia, and among entities representing consumers and rate payers. As Virginia’s largest energy company, with stakes in electricity and natural gas, Dominion will be an important contact, and I will solicit Dominion’s views just as I solicit the views of others.
I am entirely comfortable with the arrangement. Indeed, thanks to this sponsorship, I will be able to dig into one of the biggest issues of our time and to explore perspectives that otherwise would be overlooked in Virginia. I see that as a benefit for everyone.
Sorry, no blog post for the Rebellion today. Your humble correspondent is on the road in search of paying gigs. I’ll keep my eyes open for bloggable material in the deepest, darkest heartland of Northern Virginia.
Late last night, I published a detailed accounting of the impact of SB 1349 on Dominion Virginia Power. I took that story down this morning when Dominion expressed concern about the accuracy of some of the numbers I used. I expect to get an update from Dominion officials this morning, and I will update the article, if justified, and put it back online later today.
This article provides the most detailed media accounting yet published on the legislation and it is imperative to make it as accurate as possible.
I don’t need much of an excuse to pull up stakes and move to Jackson Hole — and this could be enough to push me over the edge. I took the ISideWith.com quiz to see which party I was most closely aligned with, and which states other respondents most closely matched my own. As far as states are concerned, I’d clearly feel most at home in Wyoming. Virginia… not so much. That probably explains all the guff I get on this blog!
Think there’d be a publishing niche in Wyoming for a Red Cloud’s Rebellion?
Check it out. Where do you fit in?
The World Wide Web is a wonderful thing. It can provide useful, nearly instantaneous information, build communities and topple dictators.
It has also wreaked havoc on how journalists and commentators gather and disseminate original content. Tens of thousands of journalists have lost their jobs because the old business model that paid them has collapsed.
Blogging, fashionable for two decades ago, is, of course an offshoot of the Net. It is based on slicing and dicing other people’s original content.
Jim Bacon and I do that on this blog, but we also accomplish a lot more. We create our own original content that often is unique. Between us, we have more than eight decades of experience and hope that shows in our work.
We have been working mostly for free, but we need to pay our bills. Some blogs and Net services have paywalls or require subscriptions. We’re not asking for that, but we are requesting that you consider making a contribution so we can keep on doing what we have been.If you would like to contribute you can do so by looking at the payment icon on the upper left of the home page.
Bacon’s Rebellion is Virginia’s leading non-partisan blog devoted to state and local public policy issues. There are other great blogs in Virginia, but they are aligned with one partisan viewpoint or the other. We’re different. We focus on policy issues — not politics — and we entertain a wide variety of perspectives. People don’t read Bacon’s Rebellion to seek confirmation of their biases, they read it to challenge their biases and engage in intelligent, civil discourse.
With one brief interruption, I’ve been publishing Bacon’s Rebellion since 2002. I have supported the blog through sponsorships, in which various groups have provided financial support to underwrite quality journalism. I will continue seeking sponsorships, but the marketplace is changing: People with the resources to hire experienced writers often want to publish their own blogs and publications. I have to put bread on the table, and so does regular contributor Peter Galuszka, and if that means dedicating our time to publications other than Bacon’s Rebellion, then that’s what we have to do.
If you like Bacon’s Rebellion… if you appreciate the content and commentary you find here and nowhere else… I ask you to please support the blog financially. The more readers collectively contribute, the more time Peter and I can devote to Bacon’s Rebellion.
In the left-hand column, you’ll find a “Contribute Now with Paypal” button which will allow you to voluntarily “subscribe” to the publication. (We also take credit cards.) Pick a level of support with which you’re comfortable — $2 monthly, $5 or even $10 — and accept our thanks.
James A. Bacon Jr.
Update: Many thanks to readers who have contributed to Bacon’s Rebellion. You are wonderful, we feel your love, but you are too few in number. Therefore, we’re launching into NPR-style fund-raising mode. We will elevate this and other appeals to the top of the blog as long as it takes to generate a respectable revenue flow.