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Rob Kailey is a working schmuck with no ties or affiliations to any governmental or political organizations, save those of sympathy.

And this time I mean it...

by: Jay Stevens

Wed Nov 03, 2010 at 18:52:55 PM MST

I am retiring from Left in the West and taking a vacation from blogging. And this time I mean it. Well, maybe except for a few parting shots...

The decision has been percolating for months. I'm tired of my bottomless RSS feed. I'm tired of watching Twitter and Facebook scroll by. I'm tired of combing the Internet for something to write about two, three times a day, every day, whether I feel like writing or not. I'm tired of the ravenous, insatiable trolls, the toxicity that the isolated, anonymity the Internet abets, and all of the stupid little rules we had to make to contain it. But most of all, I need to move on. I need the time and attention back. My job's contract is up at the end of this year, and I'm planning on taking the winter off, doing odd-jobs around the house, and mulling over my options.

Blogging has been a thrill, and it's been a grind. I'll always value the opportunity blogging gave me as a political outsider to have a voice, and have folks listen, push back, create dialog about government and power. But most of all, I'll value the friendships I formed among the activists, politicians, and media I met along the way. There are horrible people in politics, but there are many good-hearted idealists of all ideologies, too, enough to create a tenuous balance. The one solace I have in the wake of these midterm elections is knowing that a few friends of mine with conservative views and honest hearts are happy today. I'd name all these friends here, but not only is there not enough room, but I don't want to stain their reputations by associating them with me in print.

And of the friends I've made on the way, I feel especially connected to my comrades-at-keyboards, the denizens of mothers' basements across the state, the vibrant, eclectic, and combative pajama-clad members of the Montana blogsphere. To Pogie, Wulfgar!, Shane Mason, JC, Cowgirl, Dave Crisp, Ed Kemmick, Cece, Gregg Smith, Eric Coobs, and Mark and Steve Tokarski I owe thanks for their links and comments and observations and support and occasional barbs. Of all the rightie bloggers, none's infuriated me more than Dave Budge; and that fury's driven me to clarify my views, question my beliefs, and work harder at understanding progressivism, all good things - although, to tell the truth, if I ever met him at a bar, I don't know if I'd slug him or buy him a beer. Probably both. Thanks to Pete Talbot for being a good Missoula friend always willing to listen to my bullsh*t and for picking up the slack at the b'birds. A special shout-out goes to jhwygirl and her complete takeover of my first blog, 4&20 blackbirds. If there's one thing I can clearly claim to be proud of, it's convincing her to blog. Montana's a better place for it.

But the one person I owe most of my thanks to is Matt Singer. He got me into this mess in the first place. He told me to start a blog, guided me through the political landscape, and showed me how people can matter in politics. Hanging out with Matt brought me to door-knocking and phone-banking and organizing. He's been like a mentor to me, and a good friend, too, always free with his couch and beer. Plus he happens to be the hardest-working gun-totin', rootin-tootin-est cowpoke activist thar is, bar none! Thanks, Matt.

One thing I think I can say is that I tried to write every post with honesty. I avoided rumors and never made sh*t up. I never wrote a word on anybody else's behalf. I never traded posts for favors. I tried to be the best Jay Stevens I could, and tell you exactly what I thought. I hope it served you well.

So...what about those "parting shots" I mentioned? I thought I'd just write a few last, contemplative posts to leave you with, a kind of last snapshot standing outside the fully packed family wagon before I climb in and drive off...

Update: Just to be clear, I am not quitting progressive politics or writing about politics. Just the daily grind of blogging, and here at LiTW. I live in Pennsylvania; it was always a fool's errand to try to keep up with local Montana politics from here...

Jay Stevens :: And this time I mean it...
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Dude. (0.00 / 0)
You're still one of my favorites, and seeing you go is going to make it awfully hard to stomach the increasing amount of bullshit prevaling on the interwebs.  

I think we're witnessing the decline of this whole blogging enterprise - the shouters on the right are getting shoutier, and the left side of the blogosphere is slowly but surely being taken over by party hacks.  It's sad to watch, but I suppose it's always been inevitable.

In that light, it's tough to watch one of the honest voices slip away... I couldn't be more sorry to see you go, but couldn't agree with you more that this is the right time to do it.  

Happy trails.  And we never did grab that beer...  Maybe if I'm in the Penssylvania neighborhood in the future.  :-)

A sad day, just got sadder... (0.00 / 0)

Politics will not be the same, nor will my daily reading habits.

In a world of sometimes lazy journalism and cruel trolls, you shined the light on truth-telling and progressive ideals.  You inspired me and molded my confidence to run for office.

You're a talent and a friend, Jay, and you'll be missed.

See you around Matt's couch sometime soon.

In solidarity and friendship,
Rep. Ellie Hill
House District 94
Missoula, Montana

Have a good one - (0.00 / 0)

Adios Compadre - Vaya Con Dios.

Happy Trails (0.00 / 0)
No one said it would be easy. And they were right!

no more partisan politics for me either jay (0.00 / 0)
just causes, homelessness, wilderness but no more partisan politics for me. peace out.

sad day for Montana (0.00 / 0)
You were the best Jay Stevens you could be.

Thanks for all your words over the years. I hope this is more of a transition than an ending, but regardless I hope we can be friends for life. Thank you.

TWITTER: @BobBrigham

Don't do it, Jay (0.00 / 0)
Take some time off, do some odd jobs around the house, mull over your options ... then get back to what you do so well: writing about politics.  Doesn't have to be here at LiTW, although you'd be sorely missed, but somewhere.

You should also continue to be a mentor, share your knowledge and expertise, set the example of fair and thoughtful prose, be the guy who has offered others a chance to write.

Anyway, that's what you've done for me.

This blogging can be addicting, so I'm betting that some policy, issue, candidate or who knows what will fire you up enough to come back to the fold.  At least I sure as hell hope so.

Crap (0.00 / 0)
The election didn't depress me; it just made me tired and somewhat disgusted.

This news depresses me.  LitW has been at the top of my everyday reading list for more years than I can remember.  I know I'm not alone in that.

Take good care of you and yours, Jay.  And we'll see you around the 'sphere.

You will be missed! (0.00 / 0)
Jay - I have enjoyed your commentary for years now.  (Yeah I am the one you got on the NOW coverage of Tester's race.)  I certainly understand your need to move on from MT politics.  I am sure that there are issues to focus on closer to PA.

You are a gifted writer.  I hope that after your break you find a way to continue to use that gift.

Peace to you,

Thanks for all, Jay. (0.00 / 0)
Sorry to see you go but totally understandable.  Lots going on in PA these days, too, so stay on 'em, amigo!  -GO

Many thanks Jay (0.00 / 0)
for giving me the chance to think and write about the world in a different way--the way you've pointed it out to us.

You may be burned out on this gig, but I've always valued your ability to get to the heart of a matter in a way that made me want to think about it, learn about it, and maybe write. That's why I come to places like this--not just to spar, but to think and learn. It's what separates the wheat from the chaff in bloggerdom.

You're one of the best bloggers out there--not necessarily because of all your positions, but because you care about what you write about--you're passionate without being obnoxious or overly ideological and rigid, and that's rare in bloggers.

I can read between the lines: job's up, "vacation from blogging", "tired". It's time to shake it up and move on. I'm sure you'll either find a great new job to put your skills to work, or you'll get settled somewhere, and the "itch" to think and write will hit again, whether or not it's blogging.

Let us know how it goes. I'll miss ya!  

Good On Ya and Good Luck (0.00 / 0)

  Surprised... no, especially if you're in PA! i've some friends writing in PA for Common Sense. (dia4u@ptd.net Dorothy Reilly)

   Politix in MT is secretive and unsophisticated. Good Ol boy hay seeds and low iq voters; In Big Sky Montana where the US Representatives are Owned by Capitalists... not much to be writing about.

      William Crain

      IWW fw 371037  Industrial Workers of the World
      The Wobblies Show} Exploring Economic and Social Justice/Living Wage. Ch7 Wed 5:30pm Pub Acc Billings,MT
      Peace & Justice Forums
      Viet Nam disabled Vet.

              bon swa

"Left" and "liberal" are mutually exclusive terms. If you are a "liberal" you can't be Left. "Liberal" means you want a kinder gentler capitalism. "Left" means you are anti-capitalist.

Good luck Jay (0.00 / 0)
See you 'round the tubes. Drop a line if I can help on another writing assignment.

Best wishes, Jay (0.00 / 0)
I've appreciated your efforts, and I hope others have been inspired to step up.  2010 was a discouraging election starting months ago and culminating this week, but I know a lot of progressives like me, in MT and elsewhere, are going to be fully motivated working toward 2012.


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Purely Hypothetical, of course, but - The best candidate for the Republicans for US Senate is:
Corey Stapleton
Dennis Rehberg
Marc Racicot
Champ Edmunds
Steve Daines
Harris Himes
Kreyton Kerns


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