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Pundit Roundtable

Hi folks! After a hiatus of a few weeks, we are back with the PUNDIT ROUNDTABLE, and I am your host, Ken McCracken.

We have a special treat this week, a mini-interviews with Dean Esmay of Dean's World, who is in fact our very first interviewee, and Will Franklin.

Dean's blog is one of my daily stops in the blogosphere. He if often pegged, incorrectly in my view, as a hard-right blogger. In fact, his blog, and his co-bloggers, reflect a much broader perspective than that, and I don't think Dean would ever characterize himself as a party-line Republican. I think this erroneous view comes from his uncompromising stance on the War on Terror.

Here we go:

How did you get into blogging?

In the late 1990s I had my own domain, syndicomm.com, for a business I used to run. On that site I would occasionally write essays, because I always had the writing bug (see, for example, this and this). That got to be too much hassle, and I eventually sold the business and the domain and gave up writing on the internet. But, the bug wouldn't leave me, so I started up a mailing list of friends to mail essays to. I would post occasionally to Usenet too, but I just didn't like doing that as much, it was too chaotic.

Right around the turn of the century, my buddy Jerry Kindall started telling me I needed to get a blog. I didn't know what that was and was short on time so I blew him off, until one day he purchased a domain name for me, and set up a blog on it for me, and handed me the keys. I took to it like a duck to water and never went back. I wish I hadn't waited so long!

Do you have a favorite topic you like to post about?

Nope. I write about the war effort mostly out of a sense of duty and obligation. I prefer otherwise to write about philosophy, science, history, and current events (if usually from a historical or political science perspective). I also like turning my skeptical guns to conspiracy theories, scientific crackpottery, and showing where the professional press tends to get things wrong.

What fulfills you the most about blogging?

Learning from my audience.

What are the downsides to blogging?

Being the subject of harassing and nasty behavior from people who don't like what you have to say.

Do you have any blogging goals you want to achieve?

I wish to continue helping America toward victory, to help the spread of liberal values through the world, and to make Dean's World a place people visit because they find it entertaining, challenging, and interesting. If I can keep doing that I'll be happy.

What is the best thing you have achieved so far?

I helped found Operation Give and am still officially a board member.

Is there a statement of purpose you could point us to, or would you like to make one?

"Defending the liberal tradition in history, science, and philosophy."

Ken adds: See? Defending the liberal tradition in history, science, and philosophy. Does that sound like a hard-right ideologue to you? We righties often forget what the broad term liberal really means, and today's 'liberals' too often seem to have forgotten it as well . . .

We also have a mini-interview with Will Franklin, whom you all know as the founder of WILLisms.com. You might be wondering why I would be interviewing Will, considering that I blog with him, but I really didn't know how he would respond . . .

What are you trying to achieve with WILLisms.com?

I want to educate, motivate, entertain, inspire, elucidate, and occasionally upset my readers. I am a conservative. I am a Republican. Hopefully my readers can win the heck out of arguments with lefty colleagues and friends and family members. Hopefully my readers can put things in perspective. Hopefully WILLisms.com will help more tax-cutters, more Social Security-reformers, more freedom-lovers, and so on be able to articulate WHY lower taxes are better, WHY Social Security reform would be a good thing, and a bunch of other WHYs. Hopefully WILLisms.com can help the right kinds of candidates get elected, as well. This being an election year, WILLisms.com might change focus slightly toward the game of politics. We'll see.

Is it a lot of work?

It can be. And it can be tedious. Some posts take 10-20 minutes (or less). Some take an hour or two. Staying abreast of the latest blog trends can consume quite a bit of time, as well. Doing the graphics can also take a lot more, or a lot less, time than I estimate. It just depends. Over the past year, it's gotten a lot easier, and I have gotten much faster and whipping out graphics. Unfortunately, the available time is increasingly sporadic and rare.

One thing about blogging is that I could probably spend 8-10 hours a day, produce essentially the same quantity and quality of commentary found on major news websites. But I would get burned out after a few days of that. Or, I could probably sit down at my computer several times a day and find something funny or interesting, then post it. Wham. 10 minutes to find something. 2 or 3 minutes to post it. Several times a day. But I want to provide the sorts of details that are often unavailable elsewhere. Quality over quantity, for the most part.

Then there's the maintenance if the software malfunctions. Administrative things are a pain. I am not one of those guys who can sit down and write/debug a computer program in half an hour. And even if I were, I wouldn't be the kind of guy who would enjoy doing that. So the computing side, the coding, the fixing problems... all of that is tedious.

A lot of bloggers must spend hours every day promoting their sites, too. Or maybe it just seems like it. It helps having a Zsa Zsa to promote your site non-stop around the blogosphere, because I pretty well stopped doing so a while back.

What do you get most out of blogging (other than the HUGE bucks!)?

In many ways, I treat it like any other hobby. In the beginning, I spent more time trying to get noticed and linked by the bigger bloggers and so on. Traffic to the site was fulfilling. My first couple of comments and emails from readers were thrilling. Now, I still enjoy comments and emails, even the hate ones, but I do this more for myself than anything at this point.

As far as money goes, I could see it being a money-maker if I treated it like a full-time job, added advertisements galore, and so on. The money I make on the site, minus the costs of server space and software and so on, probably breaks down to something like 5 cents an hour. Or less.

Mostly, I believe in the power of freedom. Economically. Politically. Here and abroad. I feel very fortunate to have grown up in such an amazing country, and I want to keep us on the right track, and help get others there, as well. My blog is just one of many thousands that contributes to that. It's just too bad there are so many anti-American, Marxist, hateful blogs out there that are so popular.

How did you get into blogging?

I started WILLisms.com about a year ago after writing for the University of Houston school paper as a grad student. I got irritated with my news pieces being edited, often with errors ADDED that I didn't have. I also got frustrated writing letters to the editor that nobody would ever read. Blogging seemed like a neat way to compete in the marketplace of ideas and win.

Do you have a favorite post, or topic?

The Babe Theory post was fun to do. I plan on updating it (actually, doing more of a sequel) in the next few months sometime, with fresh events and pictures and so on.

I also still enjoy Social Security blogging. It can be irritating, but it's not going away, and there are some very, very interesting solutions out there. Anything with numbers I enjoy. I wish I had the time to post at least one big numbers post per day, one well-developed commentary per day, plus other items.

Well there you have it, the Roundtable's first two interview victims! Come back next week for our next edition of PUNDIT ROUNDTABLE!

Posted by Ken McCracken · 19 February 2006 02:33 PM


Wow! Thanks Will... Did Ken make you say that?
I am almost speechless. WILLisms.com really is so well constructed. I do get out in Blog world a bit! Quite frankly the lay out of WILLisms. is one of the best, If not the best!********** I give it a TEN.
I said almost speechless! "Almost"

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at February 19, 2006 02:39 PM

WILLisms. has had so many great posts. One that really sticks out is the Iran Election. You almost getting arrested and the hostility you experienced was crazy! Every time I drive by the "Ramadan Inn" I think of that.
I also enjoyed the Reform Thursday that Hoodlumman Hosted! The Rabid Donkey post was another...

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