Saturday, January 12, 2008

A 3rd Way To Have A Real Debate

Whallah! was originally created to provide a voice to those of us that disagreed with Jessica McBride's hate-filled (and usually ridiculous) rants. But Whallah's founder, Template, found it necessary at times to go beyond McBride and confront something totally ridiculous.

Even though Whallah! has evolved to cover the local right wing squawk brigade, sometimes, we find ourselves needing to go beyond that parameter to address a wrong that may otherwise be ignored and uncorrected.

I happened to notice such an incident. There is a conservative blog that is completely inappropriately named--Real Debate Wisconsin. This title would imply that, like with Whallah!, all comments are welcome to discuss matters. Unfortunately, that is simply not true. If anything, this site has eerie similarities to the right wing squawk brigade's sites.

The administrator of this blog is a fellow named Fred Dooley. I have had chance to encounter Mr. Dooley here and there in the blogosphere. When Mr. Dooley goes visiting other sites, he can often become quite rude, calling people names, insulting the writer, the other commenters, and the host of the blog. Whallah! had recently cited an example in which he and McBride share such an exchange. This is not an uncommon occurrence. I have even had him personally challenge me to a fight.

But in Mr. Dooley's world, what is good for him, is not allowed to others. Unless he agrees with them, of course. Just last October, there was some kerfuffle created when Mr. Dooley banned a commenter from his site. This commenters sin, that required to his excommunication? Simply this comment:

I think the reason you can’t find a genuine liberal to contribute here is that we’re all collectively horrified by this blog. It’s glib, cheap, unfair, hateful and intellectually dishonest. To be a liberal writer here would mean either playing by the same low rules, or else end up playing Colmes to your Hannity - a weak, ineffectual sidekick to a loud smirking bully. No thanks. This, I believe, is why we refuse. It’s certainly why I did.

There were some comments about this at other places, such as Pundit Nation. And to be fair, here is Mr. Dooley's post on the matter.

Another example of Mr. Dooley's work is here. It is special to note his demand for respectful comments with one of his own to guide us:

I'll give him the jerkface of the day award.

There he's won another.

Fred Homepage 12.28.07 - 4:51 pm
Why am I bringing this all up? Well, there has been a commenter named 3rd way who has been traveling the blogosphere, commenting on all sorts of posts. 3rd way has gone as far as confronting Charlie and McIlheran, so you know that he (based on some comments, I am only presuming 3rd way is male) is an upright sort of person. His comments have been coherent, intelligent, and thoughtful.

Unfortunately, 3rd way fell into Mr. Dooley's trap. He would comment often and vigorously fight and debate for his position in any given comment thread. 3rd way's reward for all this work was only to be ignored and/or ridiculed. Just by reading his comments, one could see that 3rd way was becoming increasingly frustrated with Mr. Dooley and the other commenters.

Today that frustration got the better of 3rd way, and he left this comment (Yes, Mr. Dooley, I was able to catch it):

Whatever Fred. I will take that as a no I don't support debate in my little echo chamber.

Enjoy your "real debate" you old fat bald dolt.

3rd way 01.11.08 - 3:12 pm

The result of this small loss of temper was this:

3rd way has been banned.

When asked about the banning, Mr. Dooley responded:

Scott, 3rd way left a very insulting post which I had to delet(sic) that went far beyond the realm of anything allowed here. It was insulting derogatory and beyond rude.

3rd way earned and deserved the ban.

I did not feel like leaving the insulting post there for everyone else to see.

Fred Homepage 01.11.08 - 3:33 pm

As you can see, when compared to Mr. Dooley's behaviors, 3rd way's comment was rather mild, and at most might have earned a warning. But, then again, Mr. Dooley is a master at the art of selective outrage. He has deleted many the comment from various liberals, including mine. Mr. Dooley, even though he calls his site Real Debate, he doesn't have even one liberal blogger on his blogroll. There is nothing related to reality or debating on this site.

As a note to 3rd way, I would like to say that I find your commentary intelligent and thought-provoking, and you are always welcome to Whallah! or at folkbum's where I also do some posting.

Furthermore, if you are interested, 3rd way, email me at and I would be glad to offer you an invite to contribute to Whallah! While I'm at it, the invite stands for John Foust as well.

And to Mr. Dooley, all I can say is that if you are upset by me calling you out on your hypocrisy, well, too bad for you. I'm over it.

ADDENDUM: As I was strolling through the cheddarsphere this fine day, what do I spy, but good old 3rd way. Apparently, Jay beat me to the pass and has signed on 3rd way to his site. It's all good. Here is a link to his first post.


  1. Seems to me the right wing squawk brigade moderates, a/k/a censors, their debates everywhere and the liberals let the chips fall where they may and address all comers. Ms. and Mr. Mc Bucher are a great example. Yet I hear Mr. does his posting anon and has some of his groupies do the same to promote his causes more seeminly independenlty than through his bride. If that's not the case maybe Mr. B will appear in person to deny the stories.

  2. McBride said she was called the C word. Would that stand for Conservative, Charlie Clone, Capitalist, Columnist or something else? She follows up with a veiled threat of litigation by a trial lawyer she knows. Maybe she and that trial lawyer should review this publication.

    One point it makes is First Amendment Defense Extended
     to criminal libel of public
     to civil libel of public figures
     to all libel involving matters of
    public interest

    Since it's on the web site of her current employer it must be correct.

    Is she trying to remove the public figure exception by lying low on her web site and canning her talk blog?

  3. Chmura Clown Coward Conundrum

  4. Over on Voila, Cindy Kilkenny said……

    “Bucher had alienated Waukesha county by playing too much inside baseball. They took him to task with the AG run. He won't be back. There's no support.”

    Let’s not sell the comeback kid short. Just because Bucher loses a single election, doesn’t mean he is off the Island. After all, he did win nine elections for district attorney didn’t he? But maybe the voters don’t want to hear about his single mom working at Gimbels and supporting six boys again.

    He certainly won’t make the mistake of abandoning his positions on illegal immigration and fighting campaign finance reform. Don’t want to stop the money from rolling in now do we?

    Maybe he will try to play the victim card again, it’s not fair that the election was bought it shows that Wisconsin is for sale. Guess I just couldn’t afford to beat the final bid.

    I don’t think we will see him cry though. Maybe he can enlist Jessica to play that role for him.

    How do you think Paul Bucher would look in a floral suit?

    Alright, I confess, I plagiarized some of the thoughts from Playing to the Oprah vote on GMT. See how easy it is to twist the facts to support the outcome you want?

  5. Thank you, Capper. I'm truly touched by the invitation, and I will keep it in mind for the day when I have a nugget that needs posting. As I examine the themes behind your post as well as 3rd Way's, I sympathize because I'd like to see a Cheddarsphere blog that honestly and actually met the goals of the banner on RDW: a place where smart, interesting, open-minded and polite folks of all stripes could talk. It's sad that it's not RDW nor is it many blogs on the righty side of the Cheddarsphere. I think it's sad that criticism of conservative positions automatically gets you quickly branded, categorized and then dismissed as a liberal, even if you never espouse a single nanny-state position.

    I can readily imagine having a good time in-person with a dozen of the folks I see on all sides of the blog rolls. If I can puff my chest for a minute, I'm glad to say I've reciprocally worked with, loved, admired and respected many of all stripes, from Birchers to dreadlocks. It brings perspective and insight, makes for good conversation and testing of one's ideas, character, principles and mettle. I do not known Template's identity. I saw something the other day that hinted he might even be someone I've locked horns with before, but that doesn't stop me. I'm glad Whallah exists for what it does, especially after dealing with Mr. McBride's ineptitude firsthand in real life.

    Blog management style intrigues me. I think it's a place where someone can demonstrate true forms of leadership and community-building. It's like being a good party host. You can set the tone of a party long before the invitations are mailed. The invitations and pre-party-talk can also set a tone. The setting of the party itself matters, too. You can set expectations for dress, decorum and behavior. I admire a blog where the host and guests maintain an admirable setting. Banning is almost always undesirable and comes off as heavy-handed. It's the equivalent of calling the cops at your own party. Something prior has gone wrong with your ability to set the tone. Spam is one thing; encouraging yahoos to attend is another. Similarly, I cast a skeptical eye at blogs like McBride's where comments are heavily moderated. Talk about your echo chambers. To think she finds it necessary to expend the tremendous extra personal effort and dedication to exclude opinions she doesn't like... such a lack of confidence and finesse. And the places that call their place a "blog" yet don't allow any comment at all! That thought drives me nuts. Gee, how hip and with-it you are to have a web site! They don't get it. (BTW, I see my parodies as performance art comedy, not blogs.)

    Fred's blog management style truly puzzles me. He sets up a question before two cattle-chutes, often with bait at the end of each path. He knows he can expect his righties to march along and sing each other's praises in chorus into one chute, and then he hectors and complains if any dissenting view does not proceed down the other chute in the way he expected. Insulting half the guests every time they open their mouths? Gee, this is a wonderful party, Fred. The header on the invitation doesn't match the dance step, does it?

    Of course, joining the comments on anyone's blog means you are volunteering to be subject to their rules, no matter how effortlessly cordial or inanely arbitrary. Of course, it's often entertaining to go where the noise is, no matter how ridiculous the rules or the costumes. I was banned from Texas Heb after just a few few posts. No insults, no swearing - I like to think I was zapped because my points ran circles around him. My ban from Boots and Sabers was capricious and the host thought it would be best to impugn my character on the way out, without any evidence of his claim, yet he's the only one who could present it. I politely await his apology and retraction. He'd make the same demand of anyone who did it to him.

  6. I never go to RDW anymore, ever. He has absolutely no liberal contributors there. None.
    I'm surprised he didn't ban Scott long ago. Scott made way too many intelligents comments for someone like Fred.
    Now, I wonder if 3rd way and Scott got personal e-mails from Fred like I just recently recieved with a barely veiled threat to expose dirt on me? Or, maybe I'm just special? Uh, not likely. I'm thinking Fred's pulled plenty of "threatening e-mail strategies" because it just seems his nature.

  7. Oh, to be fair-- I banned Fred long ago when he first contacted someone in my "real life" regarding me with very nasty rumors.....
    I wouldn't put anything past him.

  8. I've always wondered what Fred says about Owen, as you knw, Charlie has Owen on his Sunday morning show (taped Friday afternoons) but never Fred....

    Why is that?

  9. Those are some dramatic allegations, Kay. I generally don't like the thought of private emails being posted to the public without permission, so I think the only civil route is to ask Fred to confirm if this is true.

  10. I am the Googlemaster, so I searched. Here are examples of things that Fred said. Almost all I select here were directed at me, a minority weren't:

    "Foust, let me clue you in on something. John, stupid analogy. Deb you can post on Folkbum, you wrote nothing. [..] Quit the hypocrisy and get with the real point. [..] There is no other side. This is cut & dry. [..] Get off your BDS for a minute. [..] Fact is you don't care as it is a liberal attacking a conservative. [..] Folkbum is out slinging the race card. How typical. [..] A silly point John. [..] Get serious. [..] What we actually do is sit there and stare blankly at the walls until we get at email on Owen's blackberry from GOP officials or Charlie Sykes telling us what to agree upon. We then nod up and down in agreement in time with whatever music is playing in the background. You know for a New Years resolution you should hope to get a clue. [..] Well by golly gee John, bully for you. [..] My point is lost on your people. [..] Respect, diversity, every heard of them? Supposedly liberal talking points and core beliefs. What a joke. [..] Perhaps you should learn something about what is going on before spouting off. [..] With all due respect that is as nutsie koo koo an opinion as I have seen in some time. I honestly don;t have the words to describe how ridiculous your opinion is. [..] You people amaze me. Public square. This ain't City Hall. I am trying to talk about taste and decorum. You are trying to supress freedom of religious expression. How very un-American. [..] John. I really don't want to take this post in another direction right now. [..] Foust, either contribute, or do not. [..] JIJARWM... We do have freedom of religion in this country, not freedom from religion. Take your outrage and try and do something constructive with it. You are acting like a spoiled child. [..] You are really a mixed up hateful chap aren't you? If you choose to be ticked off that is your problem. I suggest you get over it. You are the one with the issue here, not me. [..] Gee Foust what is it like to go through life with absolutely no insight? Clue in. [..] Well bully for you Foust. Now that you are done with your personal attack perhaps you would like to speak to THIS instance. [..] If you'd like to play gotcha go ahead but you look even sillier than normal. "

    I can't imagine that Fred's the sort of person who'd say things like this to someone's face at his party. I've never had a drink with him, so who knows. Maybe it's the GIFWT at work again. Blogs give people Dutch courage they don't have in real life.

    Of course, putting anyone under a microscope can lead to seeming inconsistencies. Fred once did state his policy as "I'll issue a warning if I feel someone is out of line and if they continue in that direction I'll ban them." He also censored one of Peter Digaudio's outbursts, for example. He's asked me not to refer to Peter with a nickname, but Peter is free to use nicknames to refer to other people and entities.

  11. You need to learn the difference between "debate" and "ad hominem attack." IMHO as a reader, you stepped over the line when you stopped discussing ideas and resorted to a the kind of insults that most people outgrew by the fifth grade.