Ten years ago I started writing this blog without expectation that it would be read by many people, because I did not distribute it through social media nor did I take comments or advertising. I simply set out to write on a variety of current-affairs subjects centered around three different capital cities that I know well, with the intention that each of the posts would leave readers with something true, original, independent, constructive, and pragmatic.
Five hundred sixty-three blog posts later, the readership counter shows over 129,000 total views over the decade. I don't know how many of those came from search engines and bots that wandered upon the posts unintentionally, but likely a lot. And not all readers visited with good intent: law firms in student loan litigation once tracked what I wrote and (unsuccessfully) tried to use it to their advantage in court.
Some individual posts have received many reads, others few. Top readership last year reached 116 for a post explaining the success of a lawsuit against the Nebraska Environmental Trust. But lower readership posts have barely reached double digits.
I tried to set high standards in my first post in 2013, on the Philippine-American war. I'm pleased that posts over the years have wound up as citations in academic articles and encyclopedias, most notably those about the remarkable but almost forgotten ecologist Edith Schwarz Clements. (A longer version of those posts at UNL Digital Commons has received over a thousand downloads, from many countries.)
Posts on corruption in federal agencies, especially those explaining revolving doors between government and industry, have been quoted in law review journals. I believe the posts contributed to the welcome demise of unscrupulous federal student loan servicers Navient (formerly Sallie Mae) and PHEAA.
On occasion, I have sent posts directly to agencies, activists, and media with the hope of stimulating action. Posts on scholarship displacement have contributed to outlawing deceitful financial aid packaging practices in a growing number of states. One year there was a boomlet for my suggestion to replace the portrait of John C. Calhoun in the U.S Senate reception room with one of George Norris, who was supposed to receive the honor decades ago but was blocked by his own fellow Nebraskans. (That hasn't happened, but I'm not giving up.)
Because of the pandemic, I've not been able in recent years to be in Berlin as much as I'd like. German federal and state governments present issues worth exploring in depth. The USA neglects the study of comparative government at its own peril, which is ironic in the case of Germany, a successful federal republic brought into being by far-sighted American leadership after WWII.
Future blog posts may get into past events that are still relevant but will be lost to history if not documented, such as my last post on important moments in the expansion of special education in Nebraska. I'd also like to share more genealogical research that extends well beyond my own family, especially about who was where in the Civil War and what they did, honorably or otherwise.
Thank you, readers, whoever you are. I am always delighted to hear from you, as I did not long ago from the grandson of a legendary Nebraska educator about whom I had written mostly (but not entirely) favorably. He was grateful for the post as a welcome addition to his understanding of his notable grandfather.
I am grateful to all readers over the years. Again, thank you.