Tom Knighton of Albany is preparing to launch his new website called "Laws and Sausages" on Tuesday.
ALBANY -- If there's anyone who understands the highs and lows of hosting a political blog, it's Tom Knighton.
Knighton joined colleague Jeff Sexton as co-editor and co-owner of the popular SWGAPolitics.com blog in March of 2009, and their regular posts helped the blog become one of the most read Internet sites in the region. SWGAPolitics posts were mentioned at various times by the influential Atlanta-based Peach Pundit blog and by the national Huffington Post.
Alternately, Knighton and Sexton are still involved in a libel suit filed by unsuccessful state gubernatorial candidate Ray McBerry over comments that appeared on SWGAPolitics.com.
With those extremes firmly in mind, Knighton is preparing to launch a new political blog Tuesday. He says the lessons he's learned from the SWGAPolitics experience will help make www.laws-n-sausages.com a better political forum.
"I've been part of the (partisan) divisiveness in the past, and while I don't think we will ever completely escape from it, I want to offer something a bit different," Knighton said of the laws-n-sausages launch. "A lot of people make judgments about others based on politics; it's going to happen because people do get fired up about politics.
"I'm more interested in healthy debate, in exploring different perspectives from people with different ideologies. That's what this blog will be about."
In addition to Knighton's Libertarian leanings, laws-n-sausages.com will include regular posts by Democrats Keith McCants and Leah Ryals, conservative Mark Meagher and independent Aaron Bensonhaver.
The blog's managing editor and founder says he's developed a feel for such varied perspectives.
"I've been there," Knighton said. "I've run the gamut from hard liberal to a place slightly to the right of Genghis Khan, and now I'm a Libertarian. There's room for all points of view in political discourse. That doesn't mean, though, if someone's a jackwagon that I'm not going to call him a jackwagon."
With Sexton moving to South Carolina during the weekend to start a job with a nuclear energy facility, SWGAPolitics will no longer add new content.
Both Sexton and Knighton say, though, that the site will not be taken offline and will serve as an archive for materials already posted.
Laws-n-sausages -- which comes from a quote Knighton credits to Otto von Bismarck about there being two things you don't want people to see you make: laws and sausages, but which Knighton says he "blatantly ripped off from TV's 'The West Wing' " -- is already up and running, going through what its creator calls a "soft opening."
He says visitors can expect -- and already find -- plenty of content pertaining to the search for a new Albany city manager, the Albany mayoral race, the exploits of local government as well as pertinent state and national issues.
"It's open season," Knighton said.
"I told the writers I would edit them for spelling and for libelous content. Other than that, anything's fair game."
Currently a contractor at Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany, Knighton said he's working with a couple of ad salespersons to try and make laws-n-sausages a revenue-producing entity.
"One thing I learned with SWGAPolitics.com is that Albany will support a locally produced political website," Knighton said.
"I have no illusions that I'll become a millionaire (through the new site), but if things go well I'd like to somewhere down the pipe create A&E, sports and outdoor blogs.
"I learned some great lessons with what we've done in the past: I've learned what works well, what people respond to and what people literally despise. The idea now is to get people really invested in the new site. Everything we'll be discussing will impact them anyway, so why not let them tell everyone what they think with their own blog posts?"