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Deblogged: Political Junkies

Correction: In the print edition and an earlier online version, Conaway B. Haskins III was misidentified. Style regrets the error.

Two mainstay politically based rants of the Virginia blogosphere have gone silent.

Norman Leahy and Conaway B. Haskins III, better known as One Man's Trash and South of the James, respectively, dialed off after the first of the year, citing … well, frankly, better things to do.

For Leahy, commenting "essentially in a vacuum" for more than four years had taken its toll. "You just come to a point — it's just time to sit back and figure out what I want to do next," says Leahy, who maintained his site between time with his family and full-time employment as a copywriter.

Though he may have felt occasionally alone, Leahy's conservative monologue drew 400 to 500 readers daily and was once called "a hoot" by Times-Dispatch political writer Jeff Schapiro.

Withdrawing his voice has drawn a flurry of calls, e-mails and letters. "I didn't realize that leaving would create this minor stir," Leahy says. "For the longest time I thought my only regular reader was my wife — and she had to be prompted."

Friends called wondering about the "real story," he says. "I was like, gee, I need to come up with some nefarious story about what happened to me."

Put simply, he felt finished with One Man's Trash — and a bit burned out on the most recent election cycle, which Leahy says involved too much mudslinging among fellow bloggers.

The end of South of the James appears also to have been driven largely by increased outside obligations.

Haskins, in his final post Jan. 4, begged his leave with inferences to a change in employment status — presumably for the better. Haskin, who has also written for Style, recently took a new job as state deputy director of constituent casework for Sen. Jim Webb. He writes that new endeavors require his "attention and energy," and that ending his blog is "something that I choose eagerly as there are many new roads ahead."

But is there ever truly an end for a political wonk with a need to vent? Probably not, if Leahy's possible plans are any indication. He says he's entertaining offers from a number of online publications, all "hyper-secret," he says, that likely will allow his ravings to remain part of the broader Virginia political discourse.

In fact, Leahy says, he expects to be back somehow for the 2008 primaries, "working hard on my carpal tunnel." S

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