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Wendy Davis, Rick Perry, and Everyone and Everything In Between: Our Top 20 Posts This Year


by: Katherine Haenschen

Sun Dec 29, 2013 at 00:00 PM CST


2013 was a big year for BOR on a number of fronts. We racked up our 13 millionth page view, celebrated our 11th anniversary, and welcomed the biggest writing team to date.

Traffic in particular was up this year -- we had the highest monthly traffic stats since the 2008 primary, due in large part to Senator Wendy Davis's filibuster and the national interest that generated. But BOR also broke some other important stories this year, and continued to serve as a resource for progressive news from the Lone Star state.

It was a good year, and here's to hoping that 2014 is even bigger and better.

Below the jump, check out the 20 most-trafficked posts by our staff writers this year.  

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Before I give you the run-down of our most popular staff posts, I'd be remiss if I didn't recognize the collective teamwork of the staff providing live-blogs of the events surrounding the filibuster and special sessions.

These live-blogs are a genuine team effort, with the entire staff feeding in content to which ever writer was in the hot seat compiling the post.

The live-blogs came about in the run-up to the filibuster when it was clear that there was insufficient web-based information for people not on Twitter or Facebook. While Twitter was definitely the medium that defined the debate, there was still a need for aggregation of photos, personal stories, and even key Tweets from the events.

Our biggest live-blog of the year was on Friday July 12th, the night that the Senate voted to pass HB 2 / SB 1. This was also the afternoon of the infamous seizing of tampons by DPS, apparently at the behest of Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst.  

The final vote -- and Eddie Lucio's three-hour soliloquy on why he's the least awesome person in the Senate -- was followed by a march to Republic Square and back to the Capitol. That night was the culmination of weeks of work by so many progressive organizations, as evidenced by the huge crowds and tremendous diversity of those in attendance. Go back and relive it in our live-blog.

Our other live-blogs racked up big traffic too, particularly our dispatches from the House State Affairs committee hearing during the second special session, and the SB5 filibuster itself. These posts were a true team effort, and valuable resources for people looking for not only the blow-by-blow, but also the stories of the Texans inspired to join the fight.

But now, what you clicked through for -- our staff's top posts as measured in page views for 2013.


The Top Twenty Most-Trafficked BOR Posts for 2013

20. Did The Texas Senate Really Pass SB5? Chaille Jolink, Wednesday, June 26.

Midnight came and went and confusion reigned for another hour in the Capitol as it was unclear if the screams of the gallery prevented Dewhurst from getting the vote off in time. After some chicanery with the time stamps, the answer was clear -- Nope. Chaille set the record straight and posted the conflicting time stamps of the vote.


19. Rick Perry is Quietly Urging Texans to Sign Up for Obamacare. Katie Singh, Wednesday, October 23.

Texas is shutting its high-risk pool, and Perry's administration urged the impacted individuals to sign up for health insurance on the federal exchanges.


18. No Texas Republican Votes to Reopen US Government or Avoid Default. Joseph Vogas, Wednesday, October 16.

While every Democrat voted "Yes" to fund the government and avoid a catastrophic default, no Texas Republican in the US House or Senate voted to prevent economic ruin. Is the business community paying attention yet?


17. Gov. Perry Makes Disgusting Comment About Murder of Texas DA. Ben Sherman, Friday, April 5.

Is Rick Perry out of office yet?


16. Summermoon Coffee Bar is Totally Anti-Choice. Genevieve Cato, Wednesday, August 14.

When a south Austin coffee shop not only refused to donate a silent auction item to NARAL Texas but also penned an anti-choice screed in reply, Genevieve broke the story and helped drive away pro-choice customers.


15. Read The Offensive Email David Dewhurst Sent Last NIght. Ben Sherman, Thursday, June 27.

Ben's Upworthy-worthy headline led to a fundraising email sent by The Dew attacking the citizens who filled the Capitol during the first special session and vowing to continue his attack on Texas women's reproductive rights.


14. "Go Eat A Dick:" Budding Misogynist Thor Lund's Foray Into Public Misogyny. Natalie San Luis, Thursday, August 15.

Former UT Student Government Prez Thor Lund penned a lengthy post after leaving office that proffered several problematic views on women. Natalie thoroughly dissected his paean towards the objectification of women. Thor later claimed it was satire.


13. Greg Abbott Supporters Make Public Death Threats Against Wendy Davis. Ben Sherman, Thursday, October 24.

Stay classy, you guys. Or at least moderate your damn Facebook pages and stop acting like you tacitly condone this crap because it fires up your base.


12. David Dewhurst & Greg Abbott Consider Charges Against Student Who Led Eyes of Texas. Joe Deshotel, Sunday, June 29.

Our Republican "leaders" considered charging the student with disturbing the peace.


11. Some Texas Republicans Very Open About Disliking Non-White Voting. Ben Sherman, Tuesday, August 6.

Ben linked together a series of statements by Republican elected officials and party leaders that shared one troubling commonality: opposition to minority voting rights.  


10. 72-Year-Old Woman Arrested During Wendy Davis Filibuster, Charged With Felony. Joe Deshotel, Thursday, June 27.

A video from a witness showed the senior citizen being roughly removed from the Senate chamber, and went viral as people could hardly believe her treatment by DPS.


9. SB5 Primer: What You Need To Know. Chaille Jolink, Tuesday, June 25.

Come for the explanation of why exactly SB5 is so bad for women's access to healthcare, stay for the photo of Mrs. T wielding a coat hanger.


8. Rick Perry Vetoes Bipartisan "Buy American" Bill. Katherine Haenschen, Tuesday, May 28.

The bill would have established a preference for buying Texas and American made goods. The bill passed the Senate 23-7 and the House, 145-0. Perry vetoed it.

Rick Perry = The Worst.


7. Sen. Eddie Lucio Files Bill Requiring Texas Men to Take Three-Hour Masturbation Course Before Sex. Katherine Haenschen, Monday, August 5.

This post -- which is satire -- served to remind many individuals to click first, then tweet in outrage second. I skewered Lucio's bill, which was introduced, never got a hearing, just patriarchal grandstanding if you ask me, that required women to take a three-hour webinar on adoption before having an abortion. The post continues to bring in traffic from Google, and I hope that the eager web searchers find the actual instructional videos they're looking for.


6. Wendy Davis Held Up While Voting Due to New Voter Suppression Law. Ben Sherman, Tuesday, October 29.  

The irony, it burns. Wendy Davis's amendment allowing voters to sign an affidavit if their names on their Voter ID are "substantially similar" to the names on their voter record allowed her -- and Greg Abbott -- to be able to vote in the November 2013 elections.

Ben writes:

If Republicans had 100 percent of their way, all women whose maiden names created a slight discrepancy between their ID and the voter roll would have had to cast a provisional ballot, conditional on their returning later with proof of the name change.

What "war on women?"


5. Thanks to Wendy Davis, Over 20,000 Old Rape Kits Will Finally Be Tested. Katie Singh, Friday, August 9.

First she passed the law in 2011, and then she got it funded in 2013. Wendy Davis helped address a shameful pattern of letting rape kits go untested in Texas. Evidence was left untested in rapes dating back to 1996. In the meantime how many perpetrators have walked free, and how many new individuals have they attacked?


4. #SB5: Stand With Wendy! A Primer on Texas Filibusters. Katherine Haenschen, Tuesday, June 25.

While Wendy Davis spoke, thousands of people Googled up the rules for a filibuster and were appalled to learn that the Senator could neither lean nor take a bathroom break.


3. Rep. Farenthold on Veterans Who Were About to Lose Disability Checks: You Have To Make Sacrifices. Omar Araiza, Friday, October 18.

The sheer hypocrisy of Congressman Ducky PJ's telling individuals who actually served our country in a meaningful way that they would have to suck it up and deal with the consequences of his efforts to keep the government shut down outraged readers across the Internet and racked up huge traffic via Reddit.  


2. Bro-Choice: How HB2 Hurts Texas Men Who Like Women. Ben Sherman, Wednesday, July 3.

Ben's post got an assist from Team Twitchy, who freaked out over Ben's sex-positive missive in which he argued that dudes should care about access to abortion for the women in their lives. Ben's points remain solid, and right-wing conservatives remain a bunch of creepy anti-sex weirdos.


1. Another UT Austin Student of Color Attacked by Bleach Bomb. Ben Sherman, Friday, August 23.

Despite its progressive location and honor code, the UT campus is home to some simmering racial discontent that broke open at the beginning of the fall semester, as an African-American student was the target of a bleach bomb attack, part of a troubling history of physical violence against students of color at UT. Worst was the UTPD's response. Ben's post helped make this story into a national scandal and reminded all of us that there's a lot of work to do in "post-race" America.

::

What Does It All Mean?

If you're looking for a pattern beyond "people love Wendy Davis and hate Rick Perry," many of top posts this year inspired outrage at hypocrisy -- for instance, Farenthold's comments on veterans, or anti-Obamacare Perry quietly urging high-risk Texans to sign up for the federal program. Our readership also reacted strongly to injustice, such as when Wendy Davis had to sign an affidavit to vote, which stood as an example of the trouble many women would face at the polls this year (and possibly next).

Additionally, all of our posts about businesses that perpetuated homophobia or misogyny had high traffic -- and those stories will live in their Google search results forever. It doesn't pay to hate -- literally. Racism has been an especially big driver of traffic not just this year but last as well (lynched chair, anyone?) -- I will note that I would gladly see our traffic decline if conservatives and Republicans stopped doing egregiously racist things on the regular. In the meantime we're happy to keep calling it out.

Overall, it has been a pleasure to bring you the fine work of our talented team of writers and their varied progressive perspectives this year. It was a thrill to witness the filibuster and special sessions first hand and feel the energy of the crowd, and to share that energy and enthusiasm with all of you following along on our blog. It's also inspiring to watch those of you who engage with us on Facebook and Twitter as you share our work and add your own righteous outrage!

Thanks for your readership, support, and shared desire to make a better Texas for everyone. Happy New Year!



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Do not republish without express written permission.


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Burnt Orange Reporters
Editor and Publisher:
Katherine Haenschen

Senior Staff Writers:
Joe Deshotel
Michael Hurta
Ben Sherman

Staff Writers:
Omar Araiza
Emily Cadik
Genevieve Cato
Phillip Martin
Natalie San Luis
Katie Singh
Joseph Vogas

Founder:
Byron LaMasters

Blogger Emeritus:
Karl-Thomas Musselman

Read staff bios here.

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