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    On Saturday morning we posted a brief compilation of recent events suggesting Twitter might be targeting conservatives, Is Twitter Silencing Conservatives? The impetus Saturday was the suspension of Robert Stacy McCain's account (@rsmccain).  McCain blogs at and last February published a book, Sex Trouble: Essays on Radical Feminism and the War Against Human Nature.  That followed de-verification of Milo Yiannopoulos's account (@Nero).  Like McCain, Yiannopoulos is a prominent critic of modern feminism and the Gordian Knot of accusations and recriminations known as "Gamergate."  Oversimplified, Gamergate involves issues about the poor treatment of women in the gaming community.

    Last night, for reasons unrelated to this post, I was looking back at the posts from when former Cornell undergrad Kathleen McCaffrey joined (November 2010) and then departed (May 2012) Legal Insurrection. What I immediately noticed is how many of the commenters back then still are commenters now. That sense of continuity and community is one of the things I think sets Legal Insurrection apart. But it wasn't something I was going to write about. Over the years I've struggled with how to handle the comment section. I've had to make repeated appeals to commenters to tone things down, and on occasion have had to ban people when they crossed that "you know it when you see it" line. Those appeals have met with limited success, and it troubles me that in the past couple of months I have received numerous communications from long-term readers -- some who have been with us almost since the beginning -- that the comment section is out of control and they don't like reading it anymore. They are not wrong, and things seem to be getting worse this election season. But, that said, I want our comment section to be vibrant and active.  I think it would be worse if we opened it up to third-party software like Disqus or Facebook. We would lose the sense of community, and would open ourselves up to more drive-by commenters throwing hand grenades into the comment section then moving on.

    When Professor Jacobson suggested I put together a "Top 5" post, I thought it would be easy peasy. I was wrong. 2015 was a wild year and I wrote a lot of things. Picking a few favorites our of 40-some-odd pages of posts though? That was no easy task. And what posts should be included in the list? Posts I enjoyed writing? Subjects I found compelling? Stories I just liked? Posts y'all liked? Featured images I found humorous? So.many.questions. Questions that became a bit more difficult to answer after a few mimosas. I settled on a few that I liked for any number of the above-listed reasons. I'm sure I could've included a few more, but I reiterate -- mimosas. And maybe a bloody mary or three. Without further ado, My Top 5 Posts of 2015 in no particular order:

    1. That time President Obama forgot all about that whole Barbary Corsairs War thing

    Barring big breaking news, which unfortunately is a possibility tonight, this will be my and our last post of 2015. This is the time each year I get a little weepy-eyed and reflective. When I look back on the past year, there were some tough times. I think of Mandy often, and wish her and her family a better 2016. I'm also thankful for the many authors who have contributed so much over the past year. I don't want to name anyone for fear of leaving someone out, but Amy and Kemberlee and Aleister and Leslie and Andrew and Antonio and Fuzzy and David and Neo and AACONS, and new authors Vijeta, Miriam and (very recently) Jonathan, and old author Anne recently returned. They have allowed us to keep the content and quality flowing as my fight against anti-Semitism in the form of the anti-Israel boycott movement consumes so much of my time. And to the readers who keep returning despite all the other choices.

    This small poetic effort of mine has become somewhat of a holiday tradition. Merry Christmas Eve to you all! 'TWAS THE BLOGGER'S NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS 'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the ‘sphere Bloggers were glad to see Christmas draw near. Their laptops were turned off and all put away The bloggers were swearing to take off the day. Their children were nestled all snug in their beds While visions of extra time danced in their heads With a father or mom not distracted by writing No posts to compose, and no links to be citing.

    I can't believe I missed Legal Insurrection's 7th anniversary on October 12, 2015. I even had the date on my calendar, but I've been so distracted lately I didn't pay attention. The lights were turned on here on October 12, 2008. The first post was Obama is Door No. 2:
    As in Let’s Make a Deal, choosing Door No. 2 carries great risks. So does choosing Obama. Obama may be a post-racial healer, or he may be someone who carefully uses race and false accusations of racism to advance his political career. Obama may not have known about Jeremiah Wright’s political race-baiting, or he may have known but not cared. Obama may be someone who views this country as inherently good, or he may secretly share the views of his political enabler, William Ayers, that this country is inherently bad. We may know Obama better than Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers know Obama, or we may not know Obama at all.
    And the fourth post was “Race” As Political Weapon:
    We are on the verge of electing a president who built his political career on the backs of race-baiters and anti-american zealots, and we can’t talk about it out of fear of being called “racist.”

    Islamists in Bangladesh have published a hit list of bloggers and writers which includes people in Europe and America. The image above is of people in Bangladesh protesting the murder of a blogger earlier this year. Jethro Mullen of CNN reports:
    Extremists in Bangladesh publish global hit list of bloggers and writers Islamic extremists in Bangladesh appear to be taking their war on secular writers and bloggers beyond the South Asian country's borders. A hit list purporting to be from the militant group Ansarullah Bangla Team has been sent out threatening people in Europe and North America. "Let Bangladesh revoke the citizenship of these enemies of Islam," a statement accompanying the list says. "If not, we will hunt them down in whatever part of God's world we find them and kill them right there." The list contains nine people in the United Kingdom, eight in Germany, two in the United States, one in Canada and one in Sweden. CNN isn't reporting any of the names on the list.

    [WAJ Note: Given the vigorous reader discussion about Ad Blockers, I asked Jason Boisvert, who has contacted me via Twitter in the past about auto-play issues, if we could repost his original blog post, and he agreed.] ------------------ Many websites today have autoplay video/audio ads, even when they aren't supposed too. This postat the webcomic Erfworld lays out the basics as to why. In short, advertising networks are paid for ads from producers and host them on their networks. The networks appear on many sites, and those sites receive a portion of the revenue from the networks. It turns out that the best-paying networks "accidentally" let a larger portion of "malicious" (that is, with unauthorized function) ads through. These ads play audio when the websites running them have demanded no-autoplay, crash websites with long scripts, lock the page so the ad is on-screen, making it impossible to scroll and even redirect mobile devices to the purchase page of whatever they are advertising. Somehow, the networks that pay less don't have the problem of "malicious" ads "sneaking through" and "accidentally" breaking webpages or blasting noise and music. At the moment, these ad companies are protected. The obnoxiousness of the ads is often related to the uselessness of the product, so annoying or even destructive ads enhance revenue - the terrible reputation of the company is not a factor for someone selling a cell-phone game no one has heard of. Most people won't quit a website for playing an audio ad sometimes, so the ads still get plenty of viewers.

    Comcast subsidiary NBC Universal recently purchased large shares of Buzzfeed and Vox Media. NBC Universal, "owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment television networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, world-renowned theme parks, and a suite of leading Internet-based businesses." With NBCU sinking about $200 million into each respective media conglomeration, both Vox Media and Buzzfeed are reportedly valued at over $1 billion each. Though Buzzfeed is valued around $1.5 billion. Re/code reports: addition to the NBCUniversal investment, the two companies now have a commercial partnership. That means, among other things, that they will collaborate on digital advertising, will work together on video advertising and video programming, and that you will likely see Vox Media employees more frequently on NBCU-owned networks like CNBC. (Re/code already had and continues to have a news partnership with CNBC).
    Does this mean proliferation of Voxsplaining and cat gifs? Will the internet overtake television?! Is the future NOW?!

    Free content isn't free to produce. It costs money to produce. Even at a "blog" without layers of bureaucracy. I understand the urge to adblock. There are many big conservative websites I just won't visit anymore because I'm bombarded with pop-ups, pop-overs, pop-unders, and click pop-ups. And then there are auto-run video ads, in a whole league of horrible all their own. Half the time, my computer freezes. Adblockers are both a response and a cause of the problem. When fewer people view ads, the need to bombard the people who don't use adblockers to make up the revenue increases. It's a vicious cycle. One way to avoid it is to put up a paywall and hope to drive revenue through a subscription model. Both of those models are of limited success, unless you are a unique media property like The Wall Street Journal. We don't use any of the above, and we suffer financially for that decision. We're not part of a media conglomerate with investors and venture capital. A large percentage of our revenue comes from our relatively non-intrusive advertising. We (I) would just like not to lose money. When you block our ads, it has a greater impact on us. This is a serious industry problem, as AFP reports, Online ad blocking costs sites nearly $22 billion: