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I sent this to the TT for publication: About a month ago, I stumbled across a veritable gold mine of information and news on Central Louisiana, a blog that called itself “Cenla Antics.” Although the blog had been in operation since October of 2005, its existence was only known to a handful of people, most of whom contributed to the site regularly and anonymously. The blog covered a variety of issues, and I found that it served as an interestering cultural and political barometer. It also became obvious to me that many of these anonymous contributors were people with an inside knowledge of local government. I suspect that there are even local government officials who anonymously contributed to this blog. Although I found it frustrating that the vast majority of contributors cloaked themselves in anonymity, it was hard for me to ignore the wealth of insight they provided. I decided to join in the discussion, using my real name and expressing my real opinions. As a result, I received a fair amount of attention. When I questioned why most people chose to remain anonymous, one blogger who calls himself “Civil Sentient” said, “You should know that people that work in government cannot speak their mind on open forums without a very real danger of loosing their jobs.” In other words, the individuals with the most insight into the innerworkings of our local government cannot openly express their experience without fear of reprisal. There are countless stories that The Town Talk could publish, if it only had a legitmate source who would go on the record. Indeed, I have learned, throughout the past month, that most of us in Central Louisiana are woefully uninformed about the true nature of our government and the ways in which government develops lucrative partnerships witth private industry. Often, these partnerships are not in the best interest of the community; they exist solely to funnel tax dollars to private citizens connected by friendship or family to government officials. In Louisiana, this system of entitlement is known as “the good ol’ boy network,” and we have been conditioned to accept this as a basic fact of government. However, this dynamic is the definition of government corruption, and it should be the responsibility of the press to expose these violations of the public trust, regardless of who is in power. The Town Talk should be actively pursuing sources with this inside information, exchanging their testimony with the promise of anonymity. This is standard practice for newspapers in larger cities, and there is no reason it would not be effective in Central Louisiana. After all, most of these people are already speaking their mind in the blogosphere. I decided to create my own blog, cenlamar.blogspot.com, in order to give myself a venue to express my personal take on the news. Currently, my blog receives between 100 and 150 unique visits per day, and this, I believe, is a testament to the number of people who are actively engaged in our community. My blog has allowed me to learn information that I would otherwise never know, and it has awakened a renewed sense of enthusiasm and hope for the future of our community. I believe in the old adage, “The truth shall set you free,” and I know that there are good, honest people serving our community who are repulsed by the good ol’ boy mentality. There are a handful of blogs that focus on Central Louisiana, and I encourage readers of The Town Talk to peruse these sites: cenlaantics.blogspot.com, cenlarambler.blogspot.com, wesawthat.blogspot.com, and of course, my personal blog, cenlamar.blogspot.com.