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Reading the Arkansas Daily Blog yet? If not, we recommend it.

The Arkansas Blog is our Internet access to daily, even hourly, news publishing. If you haven’t been there already, just go to www.arktimes.com and click on the blog link near the top of the page.

On any given day, we post 10 to 15 items. Some are straight news stories, generally about Arkansas. Some are commentary. Some are links to articles in other publications about Arkansas, Arkansans or things we’re interested in. Sometimes, gossip creeps in.

“We,” by the way, are generally Warwick Sabin and I, though other Times staffers contribute from time to time. We post items seven days a week, as we’re able while also having a life outside the blog and producing a print edition of the newspaper. And we accept anonymous comments 24 hours a day, though a nom de blog is required.

The instant feedback ranges from enlightening to amusing, painful, scary, crude and just plain boring. Given our political sympathies, the blog attracts plenty of like-minded people. But there are many on the other side who can’t resist a fight and they break out regularly.

A note about the content of readers’ responses: I try not to edit them. But I also try to keep personal sexual comments and other abusive remarks out of the threads of conversation. I also try to prevent repetitious posts by people trying to run advertising campaigns (generally for political candidates) on our blog’s time.

I’m sometimes surprised at what subjects take off, as measured by the number of responses. Sometimes, topics that seem sure-fire just flop. A look at some of the most popular blog items at the end of last week give you some idea of the things that inspire our readers to write.

• Cindy Sheehan and her anti-war T-shirt. If you liked her shirt, your hated her arrest by Capitol jackboots. And vice versa.

• Super Bowl menus. Cheese dip and chili dogs never go out of style.

• Gay rights. The degree of animosity among conservatives cannot be overestimated.

• High schools sports. Almost unanimously, our readers think sports are overemphasized. (This is a rare case where I edge toward the middle. Sports are desirable school activities, useful even, within limits.)

• Race. See gay rights.

• Race, again. A discussion of a movement to honor white students at the 50th anniversary of the 1957 school crisis brought out white supremacists, die-hard Confederates and a discussion of the Confederate- and Faubus-friendly news policies of the Democrat-Gazette. A preponderance of commenters said the Little Rock Nine should be the story next year, not inconvenienced white students.

• Race, again. The neo-Nazi shot down by police after killing a cop gave rise to a discussion of the white supremacists who skulk in the hills of Arkansas. Republicans proved very touchy when readers observed the political ideas they share with prominent skinheads.

• The race for governor and other state offices. It’s going to be a long year. With a lot of name calling.


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