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Pundit Roundtable

Hello! First, let me remind everyone that WILLisms.com needs your vote for the Weblog Awards. Will deserves to win - vote early, vote often, and have your kids and your pets vote too!

Back to PUNDIT ROUNDTABLE. I am your host, Ken McCracken, and this week we have two critical topics to address:

Topic 1: The Indianapolis Colts (12-0) with four games left in the regular season. Today, they visit the Jacksonville Jaguars (9-3). Will the Colts have a undefeated season, and win the Super Bowl?

Topic 2: In honor of the weblog awards, what are your favorite blogs, and why? What makes a blog good (or bad?)

I welcome back Dean Esmay of Dean's World. Dean, what is your view?

Topic 1: No, yes.

Topic 2: I respect the guys at Wizbang and as such am reluctant to say it, but I don't much care for the Weblog Awards. I don't like how they conduct the voting, and I especially don't like the fact that people can vote daily. It too often becomes an exercise in cronyism and/or crass self-promotion. I wish I hadn't been nominated, and even as I say that I see how at first I wound up talking myself into asking for votes anyway. After a day or two of that I realized it was ludicrous, and I stopped.

What makes a weblog good is the unique voice of whoever writes the blog. If a blog consistently has new and interesting materials that challenge you, entertain you, and make you think, it's a good weblog. The weblog I miss most is A Small Victory. The weblog I still most enjoy reading is Daily Pundit.

Next is another return guest, Laurence Simon. Laurence, how do you see this?
Topic 1: I don't know, and to tell you the truth, I don't care. I really haven't followed football since Paul Tagliabue screwed over Walter Payton by awarding expansion franchises to everyone but his group. Rozelle has pretty much promised Payton he'd get one, Tagliabue and the other owners stabbed Walter in the back.

I've tried to get worked up over the Super Bowl, but the magic just isn't there. I really don't give a damn about anything in football besides watching David Carr suffer over and over and over.

Topic 2: Honor? Pfeh. The Wizbang Awards are garbage. Empty, shallow point-click contest. Punch the monkey! Punch the monkey! People really vote with their citations (citation is more meaningful than just blogrolling for the sake of reciprolls), and to a lesser extent feed subscriptions and reads.

I've posted my latest Ten And Only Ten, which forces me to choose which ten blogs I'd read if I could only read ten. I think that kind of exercise is more relevant that some corrupt anonymous clickathon crap.

Now we have on board a newcomer, Joust the Facts. What do you think?
Topic 1: Lots of people lose lots of money in Vegas trying to answer questions like this, so the first thing I'd say is, don't take this advice and bet on it.

The short answer is that while it's possible they'll go undefeated, I don't think it's likely. They have two very tough road games left on their schedule, today in Jacksonville (9-3), and two weeks from now at Seattle (10-2 currently). Both teams are very good, and will be bringing their best game for a matchup with an undefeated team at home.

I'm reminded of 1985, when everyone thought the Bears were finally going to go undefeated, equalling the Dolphins 'perfect season' of 1972. The game was played on the road, on a Monday night, and the Dan Marino was a young gun. The crowd was roaring and the Dolphins were fired up. Marino shot down the Bears that night, shredding the 46 defense of Buddy Ryan. Indy may just run into such an emotional buzzsaw in one of the two remaining road games, though the Dolphins did have one factor working for them that the Jags and Seahawks won't - they were protecting their own legacy.

I've worked closely with an NFL team in the past, while a Sports Medicine fellow in Philadelphia, and I can tell you that road games can be very difficult to win even when you're favored. The season I worked with the playoff-bound Eagles they lost two tough road games in a row, to Buffalo and Miami, and barely squeaked by in Phoenix on the final day of the season when the Cards had packed it in.

As for the Super Bowl I do think that Indy has a very good chance to win. They have a very balanced and strong offensive attack, with Peyton Manning throwing to Marvin Harrison among others. The running game has Edgerrin James second to Shaun Alexander in the league stats. That kind of balance is crucial. They haven't turned the ball over much. Defensively they're not the strongest, but they're very good, and they generate more turnovers than they give up. They're actually third in both overall offense and defense rankings.

And, most important, all their playoff games will be at home (until the Super Bowl).

Topic 2: WILLisms.com!!!

Seriously, though, I did a run through of some of my favorite blogs in looking at the candidates for Weblog Awards this year. WILLisms.com is a nominee, as is my abode, Joust The facts. (Insert shameless plug for votes here.)

I think that a blog is really good when the writer doesn't just spew opinion or invective. Anyone can do that. Instead the good writers do necessary research, draw together the facts that support their position, and usually consider the opposing arguments before drawing their conclusions. I try to take that approach particularly when I actually get the time to write a longer, more thoughtful, piece. People can disagree with your conclusions, but if you do your homework they can't argue the facts.

(Insert shameless boot-licking for host) Will Franklin does a great job of this, and his use of graphical representations makes it a lot easier on the eyes. Some of the others that I think are superbly written are James Taranto's Best of the Web on OpinionJournal.com, Stephen Green's Vodkapundit, Norm Geras' normblog, Rick Moran's Right Wing Nut House, Pat Santy's Dr. Sanity and Ed Morrissey's Captain's Quarters. Dean Barnett's Soxblog and Varifrank are also regular reads. And (insert shameless plug for host of Weblog Awards) Wizbang and (insert shameless plug for the other place I write) The Right Place.

Then there are some niche blogs that are very good, but check my post or the Weblog Award site to see those. Some other places are good just to pick up some interesting stories quickly. Ace of Spades does that very well. For my money Iowahawk David Burge writes the best satire on the net. It's not even close for second. For a combination of humor and thoughtful commentary Jeff Goldstein is a good read.

Like any industry the best survive, and over time the lousy or half-hearted weblogs disappear. You can't still buy a Yugo, can you?

Next, it is my pleasure to introduce Zsa Zsa the Superfan, to whom I am grateful to for being the best commenter at my former little blog. Zsa Zsa?
Topic 1: I have got to tell you I know little about either of these two teams. BUT what about those ASTROS? Is anyone else pleased that Roger is not going to drag the ASTROS through a little deja vu of the Beltran ordeal? Oh! one thing about the real subject. I really like the commercials during the Super Bowl. Topic 2: On to the next question!... Hmm...let me see! Who are my favorite blogs and why?

This is going to be a hard one. NOT!!!! Everyone who reads WILLisms.com has a slight clue that I am a super duper WILLisms fan! WILLisms.com is so well written and is so factual. I really like that Will gives us honest to goodness facts! The MSM is my least favorite place to get the news ! In the past I would tolerate it because there were no other choices. Today (Thank Goodness) we have the Blogsphere!!! YAY! ... One reason I am not fond of the MSM is that most every reporter feels the need to inject their own personal political beliefs! YIKES!!! AAAAAAaaaa! Sorry but personally I don't care what these individuals reporting the news think! AND I really don't want to hear how they feel about the news stories! In my opinion a great reporter is one who can report the news without revealing their political or personal feelings! On the other hand if we want their opinion I am sure someone will make them a Commentator! OR better yet maybe they should get their own blog so they can feel free to express whatever they are thinking and maybe give us some FACTS to back those feelings up! That is why I like WILLisms.com so much! He gives us the facts man...

Next I have another Blog that is very near and dear to my heart! ...It is FILE IT UNDER. . . If you haven't been there I would suggest visiting! Hoodlumman, Rob B, Darius, and Tom are all very interesting characters! Each of them are very different fom one another but somehow they blend to make one of the funniest, informative, most interesting (because you never know what you will find) blogs in Blogland!...I promise I am not just saying this because FILE IT UNDER had a Zsa Zsa Day in my honor!...Although that does sweeten the pot some! Really though! FILE IT UNDER has made me laugh so hard I have cried!...

Another blogger I am fond of is Bullwinkle!... I first saw his comments on WIZBANG and it was as if he took the words right out of my mouth! I didn't know that he was a regular at another blog until he commented at WILLisms.com! I was so happy to find him!! He is apart of the RANDOM NUMBERS blog... The only thing I am not real fond of is Bullwinkles weekly Friday scantily clad women posts! BUT nobody ever asks me! I am sure there are many who tune in on Friday just for this particular post! SO never mind me!... The rest of the week Bullwinkle is well worth visiting!...Thanks Bullwinkle! Sorry about that little critique! BUT finally someone asked me! YAY!...

When I grow up I really want to become BLOG COMMISH! Honest to goodness though! I like bullwinkle soooooooo much that I started painting moose! I even had one of the moose paintings sell at an auction to benefit Freddy Everett! A guitarist who was left paralyzed when he fell off the stage at one of his concerts! ...Very tragic situation!

Next I have another blogger who is very special! It is WUNDERKRAUT!... He is perhaps one of the sweetest most caring people around! He is going through an adoption that is very heartfelt and interesting!...WUNDERKRAUT is a good stop in blogland too! Of course we have MR. RIGHT!...at the RIGHT PLACE blog! another amazing blogger! Seriously funny is how I would sum MR. RIGHT up! He has a partner Anna who is very awesome too!... SHALL I GO ON?????

Blogland is a very interesting diverse group of individuals. There are so many important blogs out there!...WILLisms.com is one that I consider important! ...WILLisms.com has a weekly REFORM THURSDAY post that concentrates on Social Security Reform! ...I am not sure how many weeks it has been now BUT It is an issue that all of us need to consider IMPORTANT!!! Our future generations are going to be affected because of lazy politicians who consider Social Security Reform a pesky issue that is too much work and too harmful to their own personal political interests!... Social Security Reform is inevitable whether or not we want it or not! ...WILLisms.com had one of the best posts on it awhile back! I believe it was called DONKEYS ON PARADE... Michelle Malkin illustrated it! I absolutely love that illustration of that donkey!... MICHELLE MALKIN is another important blogger in Blogland!... If you haven't read her new book it is very interesting!...The name of her book is UNHINGED!... Believe me when I say go read it!...( AND I am not getting paid to say it ) I could go on BUT at the risk of being edited out !!! I had better sign off! Thanks for having me guys!... I have always been fond of the concept of the round table! It makes everyone even! No one person is more or less important while seated!

Conservative or Liberal... All of the blogs are important! Free speech is what it is about!...YAY BLOGLAND!...

Our final guest is blogger extraordinaire, Will Franklin. Will?
Topic 1: The Colts are not going to lose again until November of 2006.

Topic 2: I have a lot of favorites, but I love blogs that do a lot of original analysis and commentary rather than merely copying and pasting mainstream media stories. Blogs that offer unique and interesting content are obviously preferable to blogs that just link to countless other blogs and follow the herd. Basically, a blog needs a few things to be very good: 1. regular (usually daily, at the very least) updates; 2. some sort of expertise or skill; 3. a nice mix of big picture stuff, current affairs, history, politics, policy, opinion, and so on; 4. occasional humor and/or wit; 5. stuff that is not reported or underreported by the establishment media; and 6. credibility (meaning, do you trust their judgment, and is their information accurate?).

The Host's Last Word: Did I mention that WILLisms.com has been nominated for the Weblog Awards and needs your vote? Ahem.

The Colts are the strongest NFL team since my '85 Chicago Bears. They will go undefeated this year, a feat not achieved since the '73 Miami Dolphins swept the entire season, and the Colts will win the Super Bowl. But Will, their streak will end in October 2006, not November.

As for blogs, I am always attracted to really good writing, and so my two favorites are Captain's Quarters and VodkaPundit. Captain Ed builds a thorough case in every post like he was a prosecutor, and drives the point home. Stephen Green is a natural writer who also nails down a point very well. It is hard to argue with either of these guys once they have said their piece. Another daily stop for me is Dean's World - Dean covers just about any topic you can think of with attitude and insight, he has good contributors with him as well, and he has great commenters. Wizbang and Poliblog are two dailies for me as well.

That's it for this week, go forth and vote! Come back next Sunday for our next PUNDIT ROUNDTABLE!

Update: Dean Esmay, and myself, are in mourning for the passing of a great commenter at Dean's site, Steven Malcolm Anderson. The place just won't be the same without him.

Update: the Colts beat the Jaguars 26-18. Oh, the power of positive punditry!

Posted by Ken McCracken · 11 December 2005 01:12 PM


One more thing!... I Love Vodka pundit too! It has one of the coolest blogrolls I have ever seen! AND Stephen Green is georgeous!....

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at December 11, 2005 02:20 PM

two things:

1. who is Laurence Simon? seriously, who?

had it not been for what nominal exposure I've garnered from this "shallow point-click contest" are pretty much exactly like how the majority of his readers did at one point. I'm pretty sure that there were 0 spontaneous readers of his writing.

let's also point out that quality does not equal readers. I've found several blogs (this one included) in the lower echelons of the ecosystem, ones I would be hard-pressed to find otherwise. likewise, the division that both this and my blog are in has some of my friends, for goodness'ses sakes.

but hey, none of are prolly on his list.

just checked...we're not...

2. who is Will Franklin? does he have a blog or something?

Posted by: MacStansbury at December 11, 2005 02:46 PM

Dean, I wish there was something I could say to help with your loss! Unfortunately when we lose someone important to us. Time is the only thing that helps... Shock is Gods way to help us cope. I truly feel for you! Sorry...

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at December 11, 2005 03:12 PM