If you read regularly, you may recall that I wrote recently about My son's first letter to Congress. My 7-year old son wrote about his favorite topic: Sharks. (They are hunted for their fins, a delicacy in parts of Asia)
Congressman Burgess wrote back promptly, and it wasn't the usual squishy form letter full of blind partisan dogma, but a very well researched and thoughtful letter not only addressing my son's concerns in detail, but thanking him for his activism. When I get a chance, I'll post the letter.
I appreciate that very much and applaud him and/or his staff for taking the time. I think it is important for children to learn early how to articulate their opinions and actively engage their government for solutions to the problems they see.
So although I normally publish a different picture of Rep. Burgess, this one will go undoctored. (no pun intended). Seth is the one next to Rep. Burgess, (3rd from left) with the obnoxious display of over-enthusiasm for yet another family political outing.
The 3,000th official US troop death of the Iraq war/occupation was reached on Sunday, Dec. 31. Also not to be forgotten are the estimated 650,000 Iraqi deaths.
In memorium and to ask for immediate US troop withdrawl, please join us at 3:30 pm on MONDAY, JANUARY 1 at North Texas Bl and I-35 (Denton). Dress warmly as the high is predicted to only be 50 F. (this is an earlier starting time than previously stated)
Back in 1997 or 1998, I bought this domain name, whosplayin.com, with the intent of turning it into a musicians’ calendar website, to literally show who is playing at the various venues in North Texas and eventually the nation. I actually started programming it, but quickly realized that I wouldn’t have the time, and that other websites would take up that calling.
In the years that followed I would try several other Internet ventures involving the use of the web tied to databases, but my timing was always off, and I blew a lot of money and time on it. In my career as a web programmer, my day job has prospered, and I’ve helped my clients and my contemporaries make tons of money at their online businesses. One of these days maybe I’ll hit upon the idea that will allow me to retire early and spend my daytime hours on charity and politics.
Anyhow, after the music calendar thing tanked, I kept the domain name because I was using it for email. For the website, well – it was just awful. It consisted mostly of crude humor, and links to other websites that I commonly visited. It’s always been the homepage for all of my computers. I’ve also kept a small technical website there, which has not been updated in way too long – it is a Frequently Asked Questions page for WebSpeed – the application server product that I use in my day job.
A couple of years ago, I decided to install Xoops – an object oriented PHP-based system that allowed blogging. My wife and I decided to write periodically about our lives and our thoughts. Back then, although I was politically opinionated, I didn’t much consider this to be a political blog.
But thanks to the antics of George Bush, and his band of merry idiots in Congress, I was finally pushed over the edge in this past year, and began to write more and become way more involved in politics.
Overall, this corresponds with a huge increase in visits to whosplayin.com, which has become more popular. Back in January of last year, the website was only averaging about 233 visitors per month. As of the morning of December 31st, 2006, we’ve got 1361 visitors in December alone. Our record for the year was 1717 visitors in November, corresponding to the elections, where we got over 500 visits in one day alone, as people searched the site for information about the candidates and polling locations.
Here are some other interesting numbers: Most hits in 1 month: November 2006 – 71,563 hits Most pages viewed: August 2006 – 11,082 pages Most bandwidth used: October 2006 – 1.00 GigaByte Most website visits: November 2006 – 3,211 visits Ad revenue earned since WhosPlayin started carrying ads: about $113. (Since I spend over $150 per month in service fees to keep the site running, I’m obviously not doing this for the money)
The website is most popular on weekdays, with traffic dropping off fairly significantly on weekends.
I should say that as high as the above numbers might sound to someone not familiar with web traffic, these are fairly small numbers, which I hope will improve over the coming year. For instance, my biggest client, a mortgage company for whom I’ve helped build an online system over the past 2 ½ years, sees nearly 30,000 transactional page views per hour.
One of the cool things that has happened over the past year is WhosPlayin’s increased ranking with Google, which has led to higher rankings in search engine results. We’ve had quite a few #1 rankings on Google for various terms. For instance, there’s Judge Don Windle, Denton County Probate Judge. When a person types “Judge Windle” in Google, the #1 result is from our photo gallery, showing him with his hand in the cookie jar.
An interesting thing that happened this year was that although I used to run this blog semi-anonymously, I decided to go ahead and be open about who I am. Partly due to the fact that our Congressman, Michael Burgess mentioned my website to me, after I introduced myself. This is also due in part to “Steve Southwell” for awhile in Google pointed directly to Whosplayin.com as the first search result. (Now it’s #4)
I used the blog to help several campaigns in the 2006 elections, none of which were successful, unfortunately. I was able to interview Amy Manuel for County Commissioner, John McLeod for State Representative, Sheila Ford for State Representative, and Barbara Ann Radnofsky for U.S. Senate. I also used the website to advocate for Tim Barnwell in his congressional race against Michael Burgess
One of the disappointments for this year was the lack of posting by people other than me. There was plenty of news that needed local commentary, but I just didn’t have the time. I’d like to have more people sign up and start posting. I’d also like to see more comments to the posts that we have. I’d like for this website to represent a more broad cross-section of the views of North Texans from all portions of the spectrum.
I look forward to using WhosPlayin in 2007 to cover more community affairs in Denton County. Join me.
If you’d like to help, there are several things you could do:
Bookmark WhosPlayin.com, and visit often.
Comment on the posts if you feel like it.
If you run another website, add a link to us, and feel free to quote or link to any articles.
I received this postcard from Dale Henry today, along with the hand-scratched and corrected date of 2008 on top of the 2006 campaign business card. I suppose it's an unorthodox way of announcing your candidacy, but I wish him well.
As of this writing there are now 2,990 2998 (12/30) reported KIA in Iraq for a lie. The past month has seen an increase in military operations by both the Allied forces and the insurgents, with resulting increase beyond the average of approximately 3 KIA daily prior to that time. The 3,000th will probably be Friday or Saturday, Dec 29 or Dec 30
The plan is for a demonstration in support of the troops and against the war day to be held the day AFTER the 3,000th KIA is announced on the website http://icasualties.org/oif
The vigil is intended for 5pm-7pm in the area of North Texas Blvd and I-35, near the main entrance to UNT. (TAKE THE NORTH TX BLVD EXIT FROM EITHER DIRECTION ON I-35) Bernie will be coming up from Carrollton with his large VFP banners which we intend to display facing traffic on the N. TX Blvd overpass bridge to provide mass visual impact to the maximum number of persons.
Space will be limited there, so if a large number of people show up I suggest that they line the sidewalk(s) from the corner in towards UNT. North TX Blvd is a 20mph zone in that area with sufficient curves and corners that it should slow down even any potential hostile motorists, such as the guy at Burgess' office in Lewisville last summer.
If anybody needs sign making materials I have a few yard signs collected from the last election available for your use. Email David Honish or call David at 940-382-2790.
WEATHER? My mother did not raise any fools dumb enough to stand out in the rain. (Well at least not more than once, as we saw at the Old Courthouse Sq last March.) If there is rain let us postpone the event for a day, rather than risk anyone's health standing out in bad weather!