Thursday, March 15, 2007

Housekeeping odds and ends

A few quick housekeeping notes:

After Blogger was down yesterday for a couple of hours only for those using "old Blogger," I switched to the new now-non-beta version of the upgrade (which previously wouldn't let me switch because my archives are too large). For readers, so far, the main difference appears the be the "Labels" at the bottom of each post that collect stories in identified categories. I spent a little while this morning tagging some of the more common keywords in archived posts, though not nearly comprehensively. So some categories of things I've covered more recently, like TYC, are quite robust, while other, especially older topics I haven't filled out yet. Over time the labels should become a more useful tool as more blog posts are integrated and the categories diversify.

Traffic has been up in the last few weeks, and I appreciate everyone visiting. Sometime in the next week or so Grits will see its 400,000th visitor- I've been seeing upwards of 1,100 on weekdays recently, and as of 10:13 this morning a whopping 10% even were Texas state employees (i.e., from domains). Welcome! I hope you're finding what you read here useful.

Finally, just to give regulars a heads up, for the next couple of months or so I'll be tracking four key Texas legislative committees on criminal justice topics on Grits for Breakfast: House Corrections, House Criminal Jurisprudence, House Law Enforcement, and Senate Criminal Justice. That doesn't mean I won't discuss bills outside those committees (I will), but for those four I've created separate labels and intend to preview each of their committee agendas every week before they meet, then track bills of interest they pass out.

My purpose in previewing each week's agenda is to allow folks who support or oppose the criminal justice legislation I write about to know where bills are in the process and participate before the deed is done. I think that's a more useful approach than merely waiting on newsmakers to act, then reporting on it afterward. Sometimes I may not do this much before the committee hearings - bills are only posted a few days in advance - but in most cases bills are left pending for at least a week before a vote is cast, and you still have time to contact the bill sponsor, chair or committee members as needed. As always, if you're seriously tracking bills, don't wait on me - the Texas capitol website is your friend.

I mention my short-term intention regarding committee coverage both to invite readers to weigh in on bills they read about during the process, and also to solicit bill sponsors, supporters, or opponents of bills coming up in these committees to send me information arguing for your view. As I've said before, this is a better blog when readers participate.

For those of you, like my friend who emailed this morning, who feel like you don't understand the process well enough to get involved, let me point you to this primer from the House Research Organization on how a bill becomes a law.

Thanks for reading, everybody. It's already a wild session and it hasn't even really gotten going full steam, yet.


Amerloc said...

I knew you had switched as soon as Bloglines said you had 118 new posts. It's not uncommon for me to see that you have two or three in between my trips to the internet, but 118 was a dead giveaway.

For some reason, Bloglines reads every post in the month as a new post when you switch to the new Blogger.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Some of that may also have been from me adding Labels to older posts on a few key topics, e.g., county jails. I haven't yet figured out all new new bells and whistles yet. If anybody knows any cool features in the "new" blogger that weren't in the old one, let me know.

Anonymous said...

You were up to 10.68% state employees by 4:45 pm. Pretty impressive - more than one in ten readers!