Blog civility column

Making the blogosphere
safe for decent folk

    Lee and LexWolf are ruining your blog for everybody else. They… don’’t just disagree, but demean and ridicule all those who don’’t hold to their position. They… are blog bullies.
            –— "Herb"
    Trust me, Herb, when and if you ever come up with real arguments I will be sure to give them proper respect. So far arguments from your side are rather thin on the ground, if you catch my drift…
            –— "LexWolf"
    (E)xpecting civility on a blog where anonymity rules is a bit like expecting mud wrestling to be played under the same conditions as cricket.
            –— "VOA"

By Brad Warthen
Editorial Page Editor
After more than a year of lively participation –— and in some cases "lively" should be read as a euphemism –— I wonder whether my Weblog is a useful forum. And if it isn’’t, what can be done to make it so?
    These may seem odd questions to ask regarding something to which I, and many of you, devote so much energy.
    How much energy? Well, since I started on May 17, 2005, I have written more than 600 times on that site. In the same period, I’’ve had 68 columns in the actual newspaper. Readers haven’’t been exactly watching the grass grow, either. Back here at the regular paper we have never received many more than 300 letters to the editor in a single week — including unpublishable scraps without signatures. In the seven days that ended June 16, there were more than 700 comments on my blog.
    We’’re talking a lot of activity here. A lot of heat. The question is, how much light?
    I’’ve noticed a disturbing trend in the comments lately. It’’s not that many of them are rude, dismissive, narrow-minded, combative and hostile to anyone who dares to disagree. I mean, many of them are all those things. But that’’s not the problem. That has been a factor since the first posts in May of last year. It’’s the nature of the medium.
    In the daily newspaper, we have a thing called "standards." Letters have to be signed. Writers have to be prepared for phone calls from us asking them to back up assertions of fact.
    On the blog, very few sign their full names. Add to that the fact that so far, I have deleted only one comment ever for being unacceptable. That one was grotesquely obscene. (Of course, I delete "spam" messages on sight.)
    This creates an atmosphere that some find, shall we say, liberating. And I don’’t mind that. Call me what you like. If you say something I haven’’t heard before, maybe I’’ll send you a nice prize.
    Here’’s what I am worried about: My less mature correspondents are running off the serious, thoughtful people who came to the blog hoping for the very thing I would like that venue to be — a place to exchange sincere, constructive ideas about the challenges facing South Carolina and the rest of the world.
    Lord knows we need a place like that. Check the "debates" in the Legislature, the Congress or on all those shouting matches on 24-hour cable TV "news." Where do most of those get us? Nowhere. Political parties, professional advocacy groups in Washington and closer to home, news directors who see themselves as entertainers, the Blogosphere itself and, yes, the pliable "mainstream media" have in a single generation dragged public discourse down to the point that it seems that a majority of us believe that public policy is about nothing deeper than scoring points with stupid, simplistic bumper-sticker quips.
    They make me want to hurl, and I am far from alone. Why do you think voter turnout and involvement is so pathetic?
    I have always wanted this page to be something better, and the blog was intended to augment that mission, not replace it in any way. The idea was to broaden the discussion, and share a lot of material that either I didn’’t have room for in the paper, or just wasn’’t ready for prime-time exposure as an editorial or column.
    You have responded, and I have been humbled and gratified by your participation — at least, by some of it.
    But now I’’m trying to figure out how to make that space more hospitable to the most thoughtful respondents, a place where they are greeted with respectful dialogue rather than low-minded derision. I’’m not talking hugs and kisses. I want the arguments lively, and no intellectual punches pulled. The childish stuff, however, needs to go.
    Here are my options, as I see them at this point:

  •     Require registration to leave a comment, with full names. Free people should stand behind their words.
  •     Let those who want to maintain their anonymity do so, but cull out the comments that I personally see as destructive.

    Of course, the best thing would be for everyone on the left, the right and the loony middle to learn how to be cool and play better with others. But if I have to be Daddy I will. And don’’t look at me like that, mister.
    People on the Blogosphere hate this kind of talk. But there are plenty of partisan blowoff sites for them to go to. I’’ve never made a secret of the fact that I’’d like this to be something more. And if I didn’’t know that some of you want it to be something more, I would have quit trying long ago.
    Anybody have any other ideas? Go to the blog, and speak up. I’’m going to give this process a couple of weeks before taking any overt action, drastic or otherwise.
    In the meantime, if you have visited the blog in the past and been discouraged, now is the time to come back and help me make the place safe for decent, law-abiding smart folk.
    If you haven’’t been there at all, what’’s wrong with you? The address is right here

305 thoughts on “Blog civility column

  1. Herb Brasher

    Actually, things have improved a bit on the comments to your last couple of posts (See “Gresham says hey” and “I’m still here”, for example), at least that is my impression. We’re not exactly being profound, but the absence of ad hominem arguments or attacks is encouraging, it seems to me.
    I’m not sure about the anonymity, but I’ve surrendered mine, as you notice. I’d rather see anonymity continued, in which case a bit of censorship might be needed. I’d go for option two, as long as you really enforce it.

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  2. Ervin Shaw

    I have not gotten into any serious blog reading (anyone’s blog) for lack of willingness to devote the time. I read your civility column and detest the worldwide…at least in the public arena…discarding of attempts at discorse for purposes of arriving either at the truth of an issue or at some type of compromise on an issue. Discorse has, I agree, been reduced to “mud wrestling”. I recommend that you (1) remember that yours is “Brad Warthen’s blog”, (2) remember that Brad knows a “blog bully” when he sees one, and that you (3) decide to treat blog bullys as you treat spam. You know the type of participation that you want, and you are in control of the delete button. You’ll be criticized, but so what?…what else is new?

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  3. bud

    Brad, some of the comments are clearly over the top but please don’t go overboard and edit this thing to death. We’re all adults and a bit of good natured jabbing is ok with me. Someone on this blog once accussed me of failing to “take my meds”. I thought that comment added a bit of comic relief to the proceedings.

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  4. Spencer Gantt

    It would seem the answer to your dilemma is in your column. Just make the requirements for posting the same as for “letters to the editor”. Have people participate on your blog by registering with full name, address, and telephone number. Names are published as above (Shaw & Brasher); address/phone are known only to you (unless one finds them in the Columbia phone book).
    People shouldn’t be ashamed/afraid to sign their name to their opinion or “good natured jabbing” if that’s what it really is. Most of it is definitely NOT “good natured”.
    I quit with your blog some time ago for the very reasons noted in your editorial today. (Yes, though I dropped my subscription as well, I get a copy of the Sunday edition every now and then). Some of the best posters no longer participate, Mark Whittington comes to mind. One may disagree with what he thinks, but he expresses himself well. At least, he used to.
    And you, BW, are prone to excoriate those who have opinions contrary to yours and your fellow writers/reporters. Does “endorsements” ring a bell?
    I once asked “what is the purpose of this blog?”. One response (from Bill, I think) was “to express opinions”. OK, but to me it should be more than that. It would be nice to see some positive changes made in our state government as a result of Bwarthen posters. Fat chance, huh?
    Check you later, fokes, probably very infrequently. Anyone to vote for this fall other than the status quo Dumbocan’ts and Repugniwon’ts?
    PS – Does The State ever publish an “anonymous” letter to the editor?

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  5. WM

    Brad,
    I’m one of those who visited your blog but was soon repulsed by the blog-bullies and decided quickly it wasn’t for me. I left wondering if the bullies actually had real jobs or if being nasty on your blog was their job. Today’s political discourse has lost it’s creative and intelligent edge. I hoped that your blog would be a place for thoughtful people to discuss the issues important to our state, nation and world. I still believe that it can be that place here in Col’a.
    You and others, mentioned a couple of good suggestions to add value to the blog. My suggestion is that you don’t allow respondents to go to far a field of the topic. If the issue is South Carolina education then the participants should discuss education, not what the Republican Senator from Texas said to the Democratic governor of New Jersey. Enough said.
    Monitoring what people what to express is not an easy job. You don’t want to lose good thoughts/ideas or as Bud said, go over board and not allow the humorous jab. However, the blog cannot be a place where 2 or 3 people dominate, attack the person and ignore the issue in any type of intelligent manner. I wish you the best in re-fitting your blog and hope it wil become a place that I want to return to for thoughtful discussion on the issue of our lives.
    Thanks for the opportunity to comment.
    Bill Molnar

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  6. watson

    Brad:
    I read your piece this morning about civility – seriousness – taking down reply’s – etc…
    Much like dealing with your paper one on one, I see this as an excuse to not publish that with which you disagree or believe “not serious” or defamatory or ..or…or..or (until you get just those responses of which you approve )
    Having dealt with the paper several times by phone and e-mail, there are truths provable that a liberal simply will never admit which circumvents ANY reasonable discussion. Time and time again I have seen and been told to my face(err..ear) by some of those at the paper – that if black is not white… (“will you agree that it could be gray” ). When one says
    Hell NO !” -The immediate response becomes, “well, you are just not a reasonable person; besides you use defamatory language.”
    So in the end a liberal never makes a mistake..simply look at years of the stats. that say 80% of the Journalist (and I use that word with derision that grows daily) are very liberal YET claim , in spite of overwhelming proof (Rather is just a Minor example) that such is not the case.
    By simply stating that all cats are gray …all of the paper and its ditsy columnist claim perfect syllogism with the actual truth….which is (what cannot be said on your blog..total bullfeces).
    In closing ..many of the lefts beliefs and even their religious cannons are not only, NOT serious – but laughable, in their own right. I give you a prime example ..”Petofiles only need ‘understanding and a tad of readjustment..not jail” Or “Free, ‘Jamal what’s his name’, after all he only killed a kneeling policeman praying for his three children.”
    Hell, perhaps the site NEEDS closing…maybe it is just taking up space and wasting ink.
    YOS
    A H Watson
    2412 Ben Hogan
    Florence, SC
    29506

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  7. Chris W

    Hey Brad…
    &^%$#())) you, and your (*&*&%#^&* newspaper too!
    Hahah
    Don’t let a few bad apples bother you. I suspect today will give them something to think about and hopefully your comments will speak to their higher instincts. These things come and go, but big picture….is that it will all be ok.
    Now, you are often wrong, but that does not necessitate poor behavior by a few posters. Don’t deprive the rest of us of the ability to give you proper instruction and education.
    Chris

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  8. Randy E

    I took a month hiatus because I allowed myself to be sucked into a debate with blog bullies. Since I’ve returned, I’ve had a tremendous exchange on the “I’m still here” post.
    It’s my opinion that the two who were identified are the source of the problems. Aside from their interference, I think the overall dialogue on this blog has been meaningful and a rare opportunity to discuss the local issues.
    My suggestion is to use an abuse reporting procedure like other sites use. A blogger can report another as being abusive or “destructive.” If the reported blogger meets a threshhold of complaints, incremental action can be taken; e.g. warning email from Daddy Warthen, a suspension, and finally even expulsion. This would allow the bloggers to police themselves and preclude censorship. Blogger registration may be necessary.
    As long as we can say the Yankees suck, I’m happy!

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  9. Phillip

    Your column gave me pause, wondering if I have crossed the line into incivility on occasion. I’ve made strong statements but have tried not to make things personal. I also am not anonymous, as anyone who clicks on my name here can easily find out.
    It is easy to lapse into an online back-and-forth with other posters here, to be triggered into a sense of outrage over what one has read, just as I’m sure some of my comments send my friends Dave, Lee, and Lex into a boil on occasion.
    It’s virtually certain that I will never convince any of them on a particular issue, nor vice versa. What we should all keep in mind is that there are other readers out there who may not be so “opinionated”, shall we say, as we are. They might be looking for reasoned arguments on both sides and we should be addressing our comments with them in mind, not merely hurling invective back and forth at each other.
    Aside from the point about readers turned off by the incivility, I think perhaps some might feel “blocked out” by the dominance of the same few people posting all the time. It is a bit addictive, I admit. My proposal to all of us (on all points of the political spectrum) who have been submitting most of the comments in recent weeks and months (and we all know who we are) is to voluntarily take a sabbatical from posting here for a little while…maybe a few weeks or a couple of months, till sometime after Labor Day or even Columbus Day. Not to stop reading the blog of course!—just to let in a little fresh air, a few new voices, conservative, liberal, neo-this, retro-that, mix things up a little bit.
    I’ll be the first to take that step…everybody have a great rest of the summer. See you in the fall.

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  10. Doug

    I’m also not anonymous. My name is right there in my email address. However, I
    will admit that over the past six months I have entered about five entries under another name? Why? Because I sometimes get concerned that something I write may end
    up hurting my wife or kids if someone who knows me happened to read it. When I ran for school board in 2002, I found out that there are people out there who are more than willing to make veiled threats when they don’t like your opinion. I’m more than willing to defend myself, but my family doesn’t need to.
    I’m confortable with letting Brad censor items that stray too far as long as he explains what actions he took and why.
    A lot of the discourse can get tedious.
    A negative comment on Bush or Cheney pretty much guarantees a negative comment about Clinton or Gore. A comment about supporting school vouchers will guarantee a response of being anti-education. Asking for a more responsible, ethical, efficient government typically yields a “libertarian loony” label. That’s fine. We all should be comfortable enough with our opinions to withstand those types of comments.
    The positive impact that I have seen from the blog is that I do pay more attention to what is going on locally. Now the editorial page is the first thing I read in The State every morning.

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  11. Dave

    While the Israelis have over 1400 rockets launched at them indiscriminately where mostly civilians can be hit, we have people worried here about blog civility. Why is that? Let’s all worry about terrorists being civil to the rest of the world and after that is fixed we can worry about people who think other people aren’t nice to them. Sheesh!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  12. Lee

    Brad, why don’t you tell us how we are supposed to handle the usual “liberal” tactics of calling everyone a “racist”, “homophobe” or some other term intended to bully their opponents out of the debate which the liberals are losing?

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  13. Randy E

    Lee, you made your bed and you get to sleep in it.
    Dave, we’re not going to tell a policeman not to give speeding tickets because there are murders committed. Having grave issues in the world doesn’t preclude us from adhering to civility.
    It seems most in here agree with the civility need.

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  14. Dave

    Randy, I would differ. If you had a serial killer prowling and killing in Columbia, I would bet the citizens of Columbia would want every traffic cop assigned to stop the murders. Let’s focus on what is important.

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  15. Randy E

    I’m sure in Arizona right now all traffic laws have been suspended and all robberies are ignored as every cop is on the serial killer case.
    I for one, would NOT want all other violations to be ignored. I’m sure I”m not alone Dave.

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  16. Lee

    Another typical rhetorical device of liberals is to chatter in riddles, about hypothetical situations totally off the topic – such as enforcing traffic laws in Arizona – as an avoidance of their own misbehavior in calling people nazis and racists, and trying disqualify everyone which whom they are unable to discuss politics.

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  17. LWF

    Most BLOGs, be they political, sports or otherwise, fall quickly to the lowest comman demoninator of taste. The only way to change this is for the BLOG sponsor to delete offensive posts. This puts a great deal of responsibility and time on the host-perhaps more than the host can bear. It also begs the queston of the host’s own bias, but the formula should be to remove those who cannot express their views without insulting others (or worse).
    One of the sports sites I used to follow became so severe that people began making physical threats and made efforts to learn the identities of posters they disliked. For the host this site was a money making venture and so he eliminated the “flamers” as they are called.
    It may not be worth your time, Brad, but these people like Lee and Dave will not discipline themselves. I’m afraid only a form of BLOG standards and control can do it!

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  18. Randy E

    I’ve seen tactics such as fabricating statistics and drawing broad and hateful generalizations about entire populations. Of course, making such statements is totally off the topic. The people making these statements apparently can not engage in meaningful conversation.
    In my classes, the students who have the least respect for rules are the ones that complain. Seems some behaviors endure.

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  19. LexWolf

    “In my classes, the students who have the least respect for rules are the ones that complain. Seems some behaviors endure.”
    Aaah, gotta love ya, Randy. Who’s doing all the complaining here? If you can show me just one conservative or libertarian who has been complaining about “civility” in the past couple of weeks, I will leave this blog posthaste and you will never have to read another post of mine. Unfortunately for you, methinks that all the complaints are coming from your side and thus you obviously must have the “least respect for rules”. In fact, when you demand something like 468 times that proponents of school choice post a “plan” even though this had been done several times earlier it’s obvious that it’s YOU and your ilk who are the bully. The fact that YOU are the bully is further demonstrated when you repeatedly take quotes totally out of context even after you have been reminded of the proper context several times. That’s classic bully behavior!
    The problem for you guys is that you are so used to getting your way and to having everybody just shut up while you spout your illogical socialist crap that you are stunned when people point out the truth to you. In your opinion, we are being “incivil” just because we point out some undeniable facts but when your side accuses us of the usual sexist/racist/bigot/homophobe litany, I suppose you are exhibiting the height of civility. NOT!
    Bottom line is that whenever we hear complaints of “incivility” we can be 200% sure that the left-of-center complainers are getting their rear ends kicked on the arguments’ merits. They can’t keep up their side of the argument so their opponents just obviously have to be “incivil”. Works fine if you’re content to be a “victim” but if you really, really, really want to win the debate, how about coming up with better arguments instead of that “incivility” excuse?

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  20. Randy E

    Lex, don’t bother writing any responses to me. I check the name and if it’s yours, I frankly don’t bother reading it.

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  21. LexWolf

    Heh. As I said, Bully! Oh, and I’m sure you wouldn’t want us to confuse you with facts. Nor to ask you to come up with counter-arguments to we ‘uncivil’ guys. I suppose that’s why you refuse to read anything that’s not “approved” by your censors.

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  22. Dave

    The funny thing is that Brad’s blog is really pretty tame regarding incidents of personal attacks, profanity, and the like. In fact, Mary Rosh’s personal attacks on Brad are probably the worst I have read, and he owns the blog. Everyone needs to lighten up a bit about this civility stuff.

    Judge to Curly: Do you solemly swear… to tell the truth?
    Curly: Oh, your honor, I never swear, but I know all the woids.

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  23. Steve L

    I thought folks in the South were brought up with good manners. Well it seems manners are out the window. Anger is in. People who slam down on other posters are bullies. For instance I’ve seen the word “liberal” bandied about, in the comments above, as people are below contempt.
    Well here’s a thought: The Culture War is over. The religious right, conservative, GOP voting, homo haters have won. Game over. So why is the side that has won still grumbling, grumpy and downright mean? Oh right, they have the Rapture to bring upon the world.

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  24. Mike C

    Midway down and at the end of this blog entry I touch on Brad’s column and the interactions on it.
    As a conservative who finds the editorial position of the Wall Street Journal a little too far to the left, I’ve found my exchanges with Phillip, Herb, and several others to be challenging, quite productive, and enjoyable.
    Brad must be tearing his hair out after looking at the thread above. A lot of folks air general charges, rely on labels, and make outlandish claims about the motivations of others. Were we instead to treat this blog as a discussion forum and act as though we were involved in a face-to-face conversation, we’d all get more out of it.
    My aim is to convince others of the merits of my position. I therefore first have to be civil. If I disagree with the position taken by someone, I find that I have to provide facts to support my arguments. Without a supporting link, what I try to put forward as a fact will rightly be treated as an unsupported assertion.
    Sure it’s easy to let emotion take over. As I note in my blog entry, H. L. Mencken’s observation captures the frustration I’ve felt in dealing with some of the trolls and dunderheads. But if any of you want to convince me of the merits of your position, you’ve got to assemble your facts, put on a happy face, and throw that argument into the forum for me to consider.
    And if we’re on the same side, please treat our obviously brain-dead opponents with respect.

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  25. Preston

    Steve got it right. The irony is that it is the religio-fascists on this board that are the real mean people. I merely try to point this out to people by calling spades spades.
    If it looks and smells like poop, is it uncivil to call it shit?

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  26. bud

    Lex writes:
    Bottom line is that whenever we hear complaints of “incivility” we can be 200% sure that the left-of-center complainers are getting their rear ends kicked on the arguments’ merits. They can’t keep up their side of the argument so their opponents just obviously have to be “incivil”. Works fine if you’re content to be a “victim” but if you really, really, really want to win the debate, how about coming up with better arguments instead of that “incivility” excuse?
    On at least one issue the “liberal” side on this blog was the hands-down winner in the arena of ideas: that was the public smoking issue. The conservatives were the ones who started whining and complaining when they couldn’t square the crystal clear concept that all of us have to breathe but nobody has to smoke in public (thereby poluting our air) with some vague libertarian personal freedom issue. This whole issue started with a very benign appeal by Brad that suggested the voluntary prohibitions against smoking are not effective. The right-wingers went balistic suggesting the western way of life was imperiled by any notion of government intervention. Some even suggested we allow hospitals to decide whether smoking should be allowed!
    I offered a compromise (keep things as they are) but the far right would have none of it (they wanted only to revert to the pollution-riden days of yore). So for those of us who like to breathe clean air we have no choice but an all out fight to protect our lungs.
    This particular issue offers little in the way of factual evidence. The evidence is weak regarding the effects of second hand smoke. But what evidence there is suggests a negative health impact. Given the ambiguous nature of the evidence the burden of proof is clearly on those who want to add additional restrictions on the public’s right to breathe clean air. It comes down to this, the freedom to breathe clean air vs the freedom to smoke in public. Since smoking is not a right spelled-out in the constitution but the right to life is (at least in the Declaration of Independence) we should err on the side of caution and allow free-breathing.
    On this issue the right was behaving in a most uncivilized, uncompromising way. By the way Lex, how much exactly is 200% sure? It must be a lot.

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  27. Randy E

    Blogs like this one allow me to engage in meaningful dialogue on issues I find important. It also forces me to refine my thinking. Afterwards, I find that I understand the issues and my positions better, which is beneficial even if I don’t convince anyone.
    For example, I’ve had some heated dialogue with Doug on eduation. It was, I believe, never petty or uncivil and I came to appreciate his perspective. I don’t always agree, but I have and hopefully show respect. The same is true with RTH, to a lesser degree.
    What is useless is engaging in one-upmanship. The two subjects of this thread seem to focus solely on this game. It’s a waste of my time when I get sucked into their pettiness. Unlike Doug, they offer not a sliver of respect for dissenting views. Dave seems to fluctuate between being a Doug and being a Lee or Lexie – imagery of Luke being called to the Dark Side.

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  28. Dave

    Randy, You might have an interesting thread idea for Brad. Pyscho-analyze the bloggers. I guess we are all amateur pyschologists at one time or another.

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  29. Lee

    The lefties just don’t know how to debate and discuss subjects, because our schools are run by to many such people, who let their students get away with stating their opinion as fact, and going unchallenged.
    Out in the real world, the “well, like, you know..” stuff doesn’t cut it. The truisms which go unchallenged in classrooms quickly have the air let out of them by a barrage of facts.

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  30. Lee

    bud, if you really believe that “what evidence there is suggests a negative health impact”, then why don’t you provide some of that evidence, and describe what “suggests” means in scientific terms. The studies I have followed for 20 years found no statistical correlation whatsoever between background smoke and health problems among non-smokers.
    Beyond these pseudo-scientific rationalizations for what is basically a moralistic crusade, is the intolerant attidude of a few non-smokers who want to outlaw a whole set of activities which affect no other people at all, much less themselves. The few cases of smoke they do encounter are the only times it is any business of theirs, yet they want regulations for who world.

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  31. Randy E

    You have a whole thread addressing your observations. Personally, I’d be too embarassed to continue posting on this blog.

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  32. bud

    Randy E., I largely agree with your assertion. However, on rare occassions Lee will make a useful observation.
    But Lee, you didn’t help your cause with your post suggesting, “our schools are run by to many such people” (referring to liberals). Stick with facts, or at least, well thought out conjecture and stay away from these petty side comments.

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  33. Lee

    If our schools are not one reason for liberals not being able to discuss topics objectively with facts, what do you think is the primary cause, and how can the schools do more to remedy their ignorance, both in the style of rhetoric and in the misinformation they use so much in their primitive style of exposition?

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  34. Lee

    Liberals are so used to playing the race card, and other such bullying tactics, to run decent off from debates, that they become very uncivil when their own racism, intolerance and bigotry is described in detail for what it is.
    Again, this isn’t your local liberal safe house, where you can have a lovefest of slogans about how good you are. The politically correct censorship of speech is not honored here.

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  35. Randy E

    Bud, I have acknowledged the merit of Lee’s points those rare times. The point is when a thread is created to address the abuses of a blogger and when the same blogger gets consistent reprimands from others regarding his “behavior” there is a problem.
    For example, Lee stated that teachers “are not professionals” and “the chances are a Hispanic you meet is an illegal alien.” He crossed the line into the hostile and demeaning area Brad describes. These are statements without merit and are little more than hateful. As a teacher with a Hispanic heritage, I am offended. Ironically, Lee claims his wife and mother are teachers.
    I’ll use Doug as an example again. On this site, he has blasted our public education. He did so without blindly stereotyping educators in demeaning and hostile fashion. He and I have stepped over the line at times, but those were exceptions not the norm as in the case of the subjects of this thread.

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  36. bill

    “The first human who hurled an insult instead of a stone was the founder of civilization.”
    Sigmund Freud

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  37. LexWolf

    Bud,
    I don’t want to sidetrack off the topic but you are dead wrong in thinking that your side won on the smoking issue. I have yet to see a valid argument from you that would support your preferences being forced down everyone’s throat. None of you have yet been able to show why the owner of a public establishment can’t decide the smoking status of that establishment.

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  38. Lee

    With 21,000,000 illegal aliens in America, and 85% of them Hispanic, the chances are very good that any Hispanic you meet is illegal, especially if he or she is unable to speak English, and is a low-skilled laborer.
    That is why is is good police work to stop these suspects meeting the profile, and arrest those who are indeed, illegal aliens. That is not racist. A Hispanic policeman would be even more capable of making the judgement of which ones looked suspicious, and would be better able to interrogate them.

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  39. Randy E

    Lee, explain your reasoning again why “teachers are not professionals.” Also, I’d be interested in your wife’s reaction to such a critique.
    85% of 21 million is less than 18 million. There are over 42 million documented Hispanics in the U.S. for a grand total of 60 million. 42 legal out of 60 is 70%. I’d say the chances are a Hispanic you meet is LEGAL.
    Bud, as you were saying?

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  40. Ready to Hurl

    I think that Lee, Dave and Lexie are valuable because they demonstrate just how effective the rightwing’s media domination has been in brainwashing conservative footsoldiers.
    Adamant rejection of reality and the possibility that others have contrary valid viewpoints are hallmarks of the authoritarianism espoused by the rightwing. (See John Dean’s new book, Conservatives Without Conscience.)
    Even Brad’s thought processes have been contaminated. It’ll be a long time before I forget his echoing the “Iraqi-invasion opponents as hate-America-firsters” meme.

    Reply
  41. Lee

    I was writing these same opinions and stating the same myth-busting facts in print media over 35 years ago, so you can forget the liberal myth of “brainwashing by the right-wing media”.
    Would that be the 15% of media who doesn’t call themselves liberal and admit to voting for Clinton, Gore and Kerry?
    I explained the math to you before, Randy: at the rate of 3,000,000 illegals a year, and 2,500,000 of them coming across the Mexican border, the majority of all Hispanics in America will soon be illegal aliens. We know the source of the problem, so why wait to shut it down? – that is, if you really want to solve the problem, and aren’t too intimidated to enforce the laws on non-whites.

    Reply
  42. Lee

    Randy, it is dishonest of you to pretend I didn’t already answer your question with a link to the state web site which discusses the legal status of public school teachers as YEARLY CONTRACT EMPLOYEES.
    Those high-paid consultants are professionals.

    Reply
  43. Randy E

    That’s not what you wrote, Lee. You wrote long ago “chances are a Hispanic you meet is illegal.” You didn’t write WILL be illegal at some point. You CLEARLY stated that this was true in the PRESENT.
    What about the quip “teachers are not professionals?” – talk about avoiding a question.

    Reply
  44. bill

    “A little rudeness and disrespect can elevate a meaningless interaction to a battle of wills and add drama to an otherwise dull day.”
    Bill Watterson(Calvin and Hobbes)

    Reply
  45. Randy E

    Professionals are NOT contracted to do work, eh? It seems you are drastically qualifying your comments.
    And what about your comment demeaning the courses teachers take? I took second semester differential equations with a group of chemical engineers to meet requirements for my education degree. Pretty lame, eh?

    Reply
  46. J Lee

    Hi, just a small interjection for those looking for hard data on smoking. The Surgeon General just released a report a few days ago, entitled “U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General. Catchy title, huh? For those out there wanting facts, it has quite a few.
    I don’t know how to do links but here is the website: http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/secondhandsmoke/
    Enjoy!
    Oh, and let me conform to the blog standards before signing off by using all of your epithets in this thread: Be civil out there, you mud wrestling, blog bullying, Dumbocan’t, Repugniwon’t, Bwarthen (huh?), liberal, racist, homophobe, nazi, religious right, conservative, GOP voting, lefty, religio-fascist, homo hating bad apples! Or at least remember to take those meds on a regular schedule.

    Reply
  47. bud

    Lex here are a few of my preferences:
    1. I do drink in moderation
    2. drink unsweetened iced tea (unusual for a southerner)
    3. prefer briefs to boxers
    4. do not consume marijuana or heroin
    5. I prefer men’s clothing,
    6. like to cuddle with my wife, a human female (rather than another man, animal or inanimate object)
    7. like to breathe tobacco free air.
    Let me be very clear here. I do not in any way, shape or form wish to impose any of my lifestyle preferences on any other human being by way of legislation. What I do want is the freedom to enjoy my choices provided they don’t interfere with anyone elses. I don’t force my unsweetened tea down another persons throat. I don’t walk in a restaraunt naked. I don’t drink and drive a motor vehicle. So why should a smoker be permited to inflict his or her lifestyle choice on me in public places?
    Brad has suggested merely that the current combination of voluntary and government imposed restrictions are not functioning perfectly and suggested, perhaps we need to look at additional government intervention. For the most part I’m ok with the status quo. Where we part company is when you want to revert back to the past. As I see it there are 3 positions on this issue:
    1. Add additional government restrictions
    2. Revert back to some earlier time when there were fewer restrictions (1950 – anything goes, 1980 – a few modest restrictions, 1995 – more restrictions still, etc).
    3. Leave things as they are in 2006.
    My personal preference is #1, additional restrictions, and if put to a referendum I would vote in favor of restrictions up to the point of banning all public smoking. But as a freedom issue you could make a good argument that #3 is ok. The one argument that is simply untenable is a retreat, especially to the 1950s era. Pragmatically speaking (ok this is anecdotal) that just would not work for many, many people. We’ve come too far in this area to retreat now.

    Reply
  48. Will Haltiwanger

    It is interesting how far afield some of you drift from the stated subject. I would suggest that comments that aren’t applicable to the subject of the blog be deleted, they dilute the content and distract from those trying to discuss a particular subject.
    One suggestion sounds appealing, let the bloggers vote. Rather than putting Brad on the spot make him the umpire. We can report those who go beyond what our cummunity wants to endure. Once enough comments are received the benchmark is established by us, not by Brad.
    Many reasonable and sane people will make a choice not to participate in a blog that is largely devoted to emotional tripe rather than reasoned discussion. You are already making a choice to do without their participation. Do you want to include these people or those who rant and call names? I doubt you will get both.
    And by all means put your name on it.

    Reply
  49. Randy E

    Will, I agree with policing ourselves. My suggestion was to provide an abuse reporting procedure. When a blogger hits a threshhold, Brad takes action. I would think the offending comments would need to be documented.
    If not that, then voting people off the island works for me.

    Reply
  50. Lee

    Anyone who took (and passed) a course in differential equations should be able to understand the simple algebra which explains how 2,500,000 extra illegal aliens from Mexico will soon make the illegal Hispanics outnumber the legal ones.
    The constant changing of subjects and niggling over percentages are two more childish devices used by those who really don’t care about solving social problems like illegal immigration. They just want to clog up the discussion and shut it down.

    Reply
  51. Lee

    Randy wants mob rule to vote off those with whom he cannot discuss the topics. No surprise. That’s how liberals like their government too – an ignorant majority voting itself the wealth earned by the Productive Minority.

    Reply
  52. bud

    Will H. I’m guilty as charged. I started out trying to make a point relevant to the civility issue by bringing up the smoking discussion. My original point was that some of the bloggers got very “uncivil” toward Brad’s original comments about his public smoking trials and tribulations. In my zeal regarding this subject I got carried away. I’ll try to be more careful in the future.

    Reply
  53. Tim

    Since the man purpose of my own blog is to blow off steam, I tend toward rhetorical excess and generally tolerate it in others. Of course, my readership isn’t nearly as big as yours, so I don’t get the same sort of vehement discussion that you sometimes see here.
    For that reason, I don’t currently require registration to comment on my blog, but I could see it’s advantages for yours. If people are required to put their names to their posts, it may temper things somewhat. And if someone is truly offensive, ban them. If they don’t like it, they can easily start their own blog for free – anonymously – and keep on ranting.

    Reply
  54. bud

    I’m in favor of very few restrictions on this blog. Any outright obscenity should probably be banned. Perhaps if someone strays from the original topic too far, a warning of some sort might be appropriate. Or anything that constitutes a genuine, serious threat of bodily harm to another individual should definitely raise a red flag. But if there are too many restrictions it could result in a form of censorship which is worse than uncivil discourse. Brad, you’ve got a tough job here, where to draw the line. As for Lex, Lee and Mary, I think they’re just having fun. And what’s wrong with that?

    Reply
  55. VietVet

    Brad, back to your original question. I’m not sure registration would change much. It’s apparent from reading the above posts that various views are sputtered with pride. Pride of what I’m not sure. I prefer to think of myself as an American first and then as a free thinker, not holding to any party talking points.

    Monitoring all these posts would soon drive you quite nutty and possibly to the conclusion that it isn’t worth the effort.

    Reply
  56. Ed Merwin, Jr.

    Although not the owner of a blog myslef, I do enjoy entering into discussions in several selected blogs. When one hides under “anonymity” it is easy to offer comments you wouldn’t dream of making face to face. I also favor #2 of your options, even though I likewise have no reservations about signing my name. Of course tenure helps :-)
    Ed Merwin, Jr.

    Reply
  57. Randy E

    Bud,
    making blanket disparaging comments about populations of people (ignorant majority, teachers are not professionals, schools in SC are terrible, most Hispanics are illegal, the single parents of black students don’t care about their kids [sic]) and following those comments up with ill-conceived justification is hardly “having fun.”
    The point is that such comments set a negative and destructive tone which undermines the dialogue for which this blog was created (this is Brad’s whole point). This is hardly a censorship or restrictive speech issue. It’s an attempt to curtail extreme blogging. Let them blow off steam and be counter productive else where.

    Reply
  58. Kyle

    I read the article, then the comments
    The comments seem to be on the side of civility until…Lee and LexWolf throw in “socialist crap,” “liberal,” “race card,” etc, etc.
    From where I’m standing, the only political affiliations I can see on this blog are the ones Lee & LexWolf hold, only because they are so rabid about calling out anyone left-of-center and hurling insults out left & right. Blog bullies, pure & simple.
    Listen, everyone, nothing is gained by reducing people to labels. Lee & LexWolf, it appears to me that you are trigger-happy with labels and want to identify the “liberals” so you can start tearing them down. No one…read it again, NO ONE…is simple enough to label and dismiss.
    That’s my view after what I’ve read. If you disagree, please tell me why…without insults or labels.

    Reply
  59. Dave

    More moderate, reasonable, friendly voices are needed on this blog. So where is Howard Dean when you really need the guy?

    Reply
  60. bill

    “We don’t need a president who says they’re going to leave this to the next president. That’s not leadership. It’s the kind of thing that got us in there in the first place with no plan.”
    Howard Dean

    Reply
  61. LexWolf

    Hmmmm….just a little perspective here. I just tabulated the 62 posts so far. I left out the posters whom I haven’t seen posting here before. The remaining posts break down into 24 from the Left and 21 from the Right, plus 1 from Doug. Clearly, going by the number of posts, the lefties seem to be doing more bullying. In fact, Randy with a stunning 14 posts (that’s 22.6%) of all the posts can now claim the crown as the King Of The Blog Bullies.

    Reply
  62. Randy E

    Lexie, how about justifying your critique.
    How was Randy bullying or being “destructive?” Is it merely because he posted several times? Is it because he challenged Lee and Lexie for stereotyping people in a disparaging way?
    Explain how Randy is from the “left.” Give specific statements which reflect this. Where does he stand on abortion, gay marriage, welfare etc.?
    I’ve posted several times because I feel strongly about the abusive rhetoric you and Lee have injected into what can be an excellent blog. A couple of examples are your disparaging remarks about “educrats” and “SC schools being terrible.”

    Reply
  63. Lee

    Randy, do you know what the word “stereotype” means? Do you understand the difference between the profile of an illegal immigrant and a stereotype?
    You seem to be posting here to other threads, instead of this one. I presume that is deliberate, an effort to have a comeback, while avoiding posts you can’t answer.

    Reply
  64. Randy E

    Stereotype: “A conventional, formulaic, and oversimplified conception, opinion, or image.”
    “South Carolina schools are bad.”
    “Most Hispanics are illegal”
    “School administrators are ‘educrats'”
    “Teachers are not professionals”
    “schools remedy their ignorance”
    “Liberals…ignorant majority”
    “A Hispanic policeman would be able to pick out the suspicious Hispanics.”
    “Lefties so used to playing the race card”
    I think I have a grasp of stereotypes.

    Reply
  65. Randy E

    Ok, I’ve had enough of Lee and Lexie. I think they’ve proven Brad’s point, ironically on the very thread on which he addressed them.

    Reply
  66. LexWolf

    “Lexie, how about justifying your critique. How was Randy bullying or being “destructive?””
    Why should I, Randy? After all, you already said this above: “Lex, don’t bother writing any responses to me. I check the name and if it’s yours, I frankly don’t bother reading it.”
    Yet you apparently read my latest post anyway. Heh. Can’t even keep your bullying threats straight!
    But anyway, let me refer you to my first post on this thread:
    “when you demand something like 468 times that proponents of school choice post a “plan” even though this had been done several times earlier it’s obvious that it’s YOU and your ilk who are the bully. The fact that YOU are the bully is further demonstrated when you repeatedly take quotes totally out of context even after you have been reminded of the proper context several times. That’s classic bully behavior!”
    On your list of stereotypes, IMO you would have a very hard time proving that numbers 1, 3, 7, and 8 are not perfectly true. 5 makes no sense – who said that? 6 should be “Liberals….ignorant minority”.
    Of course, in the meantime you’ve upped your posts to 17 out of 67. That’s more than 1 out of every 4! Sounds like you’re suffering from a serious cases of Diarrhea Of The Blog.

    Reply
  67. bud

    Brad, let’s move on from this civility discussion. It’s your blog so step up to the plate and make some decisions. Do you want registration? Name and address? Do you want to spell out some rules? Whatever you decide is ok with me but I’m ready to tackle the big issues of the world. The middle east is exploding. Iran is on the brink of becoming a nuclear power. Korea is testing ICBMs. Poverty rates are soaring. Education. Immigration. Health care. All of these and more are crying out for attention so lets move on please. Here’s my solution:
    Rule #1 – None of the 7 words not allowed on TV should be allowed on Brad’s Blog.
    Rule #2 – No personal defamation. We don’t know each other so it’s pointless for me to call Lee or Lex anything derogatory. Any specific attack comments of that type should be excluded. I trust your judgement to distinguish between innocent banter and a genuine attack.
    Rule #3 – Any personal threat should NOT be posted, period.
    Rule #4 – An attack against a specific group should earn a caution. I wouldn’t exclude these attacks, because they do represent a grey area of discourse, but they should definitally deserve a mild reprimand. (Personally I would hate to be restricted from attacking republicans or conservatives. But I will try to stick with facts).
    I would not require registration, full name or addresses at this time. Perhaps if the personal attacks get worse this may be an option.
    So let’s get back to the issues. Personally I like the Brad Blog pretty much the way it is. But that’s just me.

    Reply
  68. LexWolf

    1 and 3 are obviously fine, Bud. With 2 you might want to be careful since most of the personal defamation comes from your side. I can’t agree with 4 unless you qualify it to mean groups whose members have no choice about being part of the group. That means no attacks on the basis of race, ethnicity, sex, etc. but Republicans, conservatives, Democrats or liberals, smokers, non-smokers, politicians, journalists etc. should be fair game.
    However, none of this should be mandatory. I guess I’m old-fashioned but I fully subscribe to the old “sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me”, especially on an anonymous blog. I detest the modern willingness and eagerness to be offended by every little thing.

    Reply
  69. Dave

    Bill, Slick Willie Clinton totally ignored the terrorists, unless you can count the silliness of blowing up an aspirin factory in the Sudan, and left W with a growing seething deadly mess. Bin Laden himself wrote that AQ saw the American’s weak stomach from Clinton’s disgraceful handling of Mogadishu. So Howard Dean was right about the Slickmeister.

    Reply
  70. Dave

    Bill, you posted -“The first human who hurled an insult instead of a stone was the founder of civilization.”
    Sigmund Freud

    The liberals have taken what used to be called insults and turned them (in some cases) into hate crimes. I look at this development as the beginnings of the thought police. Many of those who want to have Brad censor this blog are part of the thought police crowd.

    Reply
  71. VietVet

    First, the accounting observations of regular posters on this list is incorrect. While I don’t post daily, I read daily and I post as appropriate.

    I am not a republican, democrate or libertarian. On some issues I think conservative on others I think liberal. I think for myself and have never been envious of sheep.

    Brad, I think registration would be a good thing. In the event of defamation, a subpoena could be used for legal action. Possibly that would encourage responsible postings.

    Reply
  72. VietVet

    Oh and I am:

    • Wally Bennett
    • College Degree
    • 8 year military veteran
    • Retired
    • Columbia (native Charlestonian)
    • I prefer Diet Coke
    • Registered Independant (so I can play in either swimming pool)

    Reply
  73. Doug

    Maybe VietVet (Wally) has hit on an idea. Why not start a topic where everyone can
    introduce themselves? Then we might find
    out that Lee and Ready to Hurl are both
    fans of Carrot Top; or that Randy and Lex
    each share an affinity for Yoohoo and
    boiled peanuts; or that Mary Rosh and
    Brad are both afraid of spiders.
    Peace thru understanding. :-)
    Doug
    Libertarian
    Baptist
    Aries
    Bald
    45
    Dogs, not cats.
    Letterman, not Leno.
    Red Sox, not Yankees.

    Reply
  74. kc

    My vote would be to leave the comments alone. Just continue deleting only the most egregious comments. If you get into more active comment moderation it will take up way more time than you think, your commenters will be constantly whining to you about your unfair deletion of this or your failure to delete that, and you’ll wind up feeling, and looking, peevish and petty. Trust me.
    Also, I note that neither of your proposed options would solve the issue of LexWolf and Lee sucking all the air out of the room. 😉

    Reply
  75. VietVet

    Randy, you found me out! With my Diet Coke, I’m conservative. No lime… straight up or on the rocks and every now and then a little rum.

    Reply
  76. Lee

    Randy, your examples show that you do not know the meaning of the word “stereotype”, hence your misuse of it an other big words, in your vain effort to assert that you don’t have to be able to respond to facts from people, because those people are unqualified to have opinions different from yours, regardless of what they know.
    A lot of the back and forth in blogs comes from a basic lack of honesty and courage by liberals to state their core positions. Instead of saying that they don’t care about illegal aliens flooding the country and raising the costs of public education, they quibble about definitions and parse sentences.

    Reply
  77. Randy E

    The subject of this thread is two individuals. I think the Roman crowd has passed judgement and most say Thumbs Down!

    Reply
  78. Lee

    Randy, you are stereotyping everyone who is not a schoolteacher as being unqualified to comment on public education. We see through that.

    Reply
  79. Randy E

    I’ve had great dialogue with Doug, RTH, and others (Still Here thread) on education, and they’re not teachers. We may not agree, but we have respectful exchanges.
    Of course, they’re not the ones that dismissed teachers as “not professionals.” Again, what does your wife say about your dismissal of her profession?

    Reply
  80. Lee

    Some teachers are professionals. Some are not.
    Now that we have dismissed another of Randy’s diversions, let’s see if he wants to contribute any ideas for improving education, or will tolerate the ideas of others.

    Reply
  81. LexWolf

    And so Randy continues to bully this blog, all while piously whining about other posters.
    By now, he’s up to 21 of 84 posts.

    Reply
  82. Randy E

    Lee, you are contradicting your earlier statement “teachers are not professionals.”
    Read the “Still Here” thread and you’ll see meaningful dialogue on education without references to “educrats” and dismissive remarks about those who disagree. I offer plenty of suggestions there.

    Reply
  83. Kyle

    I see most everyone has totally missed any point Brad was trying to make.
    Lex, I don’t see Randy being the only person “piously whining.” I’ve read through random commentaries on this blog – you and Lee appear to be throwing out the first stones, so to speak. All I see is labels, labels, insults, insults, and more labels. Remember, you’re talking to another human being.
    This pattern of Brad making a post and then the usual three or four having the same arguments laced with red herrings and ad hominem attacks has got to stop. This could be a better place. I’m not saying the “blog bullies” don’t make some good points. I AM saying that everyone could be a LOT nicer about how “arguments” are done here. You might just get a few more voices in that way.

    Reply
  84. bill

    Randy is a teacher and deserves the utmost respect from everyone on the blog.He should be be making half a million a year.If I were him,I wouldn’t bother responding to a few of the more unsavory characters.Remember the old adage;”You can’t argue with a sick mind.”

    Reply
  85. Lee

    Kyle, please explain why we are supposed to sit idly by, while every thread topic is disrupted by “liberals” who post to each other about how stupid everyone else is, how bad America is, and in general just try to shut down topics that have taken a factual turn contrary to their belief system.
    Lex and I didn’t “throw the first stone”. The editor of the largest newspaper in the state attacked us personally in print, and invited the cyberthugs to pile on. We simply point out what they are doing, and we are predictably admonished for standing up to slander and insults.
    If you don’t want a thread to become personal, then stick to the topic and the facts.

    Reply
  86. Kyle

    Lee, in my random reading of comments on this site under different articles, I don’t see the things you say “liberals” do. That is a generalization about a group of people you apparently don’t like very much. It’s something that turns up a lot from you & LexWolf. I’d like to see what validates such a generalization.
    What I do see, however, is you & LexWolf eager to make generalizations about “liberals” and start on the attack. It’s not that you’re calling out what you perceive as bad logic is wrong, it’s that you are quite vicious about it and, it appears to me, project the generalizations you have about “liberals” onto people in order to tear into them.
    Brad wrote the article, I assume, with what he already had – namely, a plethora of arguments in the commentaries in which these mistakes are made.
    Someone has to take the initiative to hold back on the canned insults and start taking people for individuals who can’t be pigeonholed. That’s what it’s going to take to get this crap to stop.
    I’m just pointing out what I’ve seen on this site, in hopes that someone will take note.

    Reply
  87. Kyle

    Forgot to add this….I’m not saying that you two should go away, but that you’re selling yourselves short by doing what I’ve talked about. I think you both have a lot to add to the discussion. Just do it in a more constructive manner. :)

    Reply
  88. Lee

    Kyle, since you didn’t bother to read the threads close enough to find examples of illiberalims, and many of the threads where they really showed their tails have already scrolled off, don’t expect me to play the game of digging up their misbehavior and reposting it. That’s exactly what they want – clog up every thread with their misbehavior and drive off people who are trying to discuss the mess made by socialists, progressives, and liberals from Woodrow Wilson to Hillary Clinton.
    Anytime you “liberals” want to clean up the threads by talking honestly about the thread topic with facts, get to it.

    Reply
  89. Ready to Hurl

    Brad, as one of the uncivil folks, I suggest the following: allow posters to register and create a set of preferences. Among those preferences would be eliminating from view the posts from any individual.
    Registration could be under a pseudonym.
    Personally, I think that sunlight is the best disinfectant for opinions like Lee’s and Lexie’s. National discourse is toxic because liberals refused to refute demagogues like Limbaugh, Malkin, Savage, Coulter, Hannity et al.
    Newbie readers would soon judge whose posts are the chaff and whose posts are the wheat. Let them make the decision individually.

    Reply
  90. Paul DeMarco

    Brad,
    I, like Spencer Gantt, visit the blog only occasionally becuase of its circular and predictable nature. I wonder if there is a way to make the converstaion more linear so that we are driving toward a solution or consensus on a specific issue.
    I don’t know if this is technologically feasible but if you posed some of your introductory columns as an either/or (i.e should smoking be allowed or banned in public places) and allowed us to vote (preferably in a way that the vote tallies were by name as in a legislature) then we could get a better sense of the mood of the blog as a whole rather than only that of the loudest contributors.
    If you don’t change the format then you may be stuck with endless inane commentary like Lee’s recent insistence that liberalism from “Woodrow Wilson to Hilary Clinton” be defended. Which will certianly be met with a rebuttal that he defend conservatism from Hoover to Bush, which as usual will leave most of the rest of us shaking our heads…

    Reply
  91. Paul DeMarco

    Brad,
    BTW, I agree with requiring full names. I’ve done it from the beginning becuase I knew it would help moderate my own commentary.

    Reply
  92. Randy E

    Paul, there’s some solid discussion on education in the “I’m Still Here” thread.
    I think polling would be a great supplement. Maybe we should take a poll about it.

    Reply
  93. Herb Brasher

    Very good thoughts from Paul DeMarco; I agree pretty much with everything, although there can be situations where someone needs to remain anonymous. Perhaps full names should be required, with exceptions only made in particular cases that are up to Brad to decide.
    Discussions do tend to run in the same predictable directions, and we need to find a way to improve. It has always been pretty evident that Brad wanted to make this blog an alternative to the shrill and disrespectful labeling that constitutes a lot of discourse nowadays. At times, we’ve been able to do that, but not often enough. I like the fact that a lot of people have weighed in on this particular post, and I hope they keep it up. I’m also willing to stay out for awhile, in fact, I’ve tried it before and let myself get sucked in again.
    Mike C., I was especially glad to hear from you again. On the issue we mulled over some last fall, I’ve discovered that there are some interesting things going on re older kids mentoring elementary school kids. Nothing like the program that is needed, both in Columbia and the rural areas, but probably the best that can be done right now–starting on a small scale and growing. I know of two black pastors who are doing this, and one of them is mobilizing college students. Personally, I like the plan that Tony Evans developed in Dallas, but it doesn’t look like that is close to coming here. Of course I’m looking at it from an evangelical Christian perspective, which is the milieu I’m coming from, and the only group where I have much chance of helping at all; hopefully other groups will be able to take up the cause from their own perspective, but still accomplish the bottom line, which is to get next to some kids.
    Anyway, this may be only a drop in a big bucket that is needed, but I’m thankful to some of you on this blog, especially Mike, for helping me see the need.
    Oh, and if introductions are needed/wanted:
    Baptist/Lutheran/Independent/ and currently Presbyterian (evangelical, but the main thing that “Left Behind” means to me is where I used to get my life-saving pencillin shots when I was a kid) interested as to why Preston seems to be so antagonistic toward religion, though I can guess some of the reasons already.
    57
    Lived in Germany 28 years (anybody who has read much of this blog knows that already, and is probably tired of hearing it)
    Still bewildered as to American culture and feel a lot like Rip van Winkle
    Political views influenced strongly by my evangelical views, but also by Luther’s teaching on the Two Realms, which differentiates strongly (probably too strongly, but still helpfully) between God’s Kingdom and man’s.
    Involved in non-governmental foreign aid.
    Grew up in West Texas, but left Texas Tech to come here to college. Becoming a Gamecock fan, especially after helping one daughter through USC.

    Reply
  94. Herb Brasher

    Oh, and Randy, I really like your stuff. My grandma was a school teacher, my sister was a schoolteacher all her life, and during the brief time I was a pastor in Germany, I had to teach school (every pastor used to have to do 10 hours a week religion or ethics).
    Schools are really important for the future of our kids; I like the fact that you write first hand about them. I have a good friend who teaches school in Columbia in an interesting situation.

    Reply
  95. Kyle

    Lee,
    Where did I say I was a liberal? That’s your assumption. Again, you’re using generalizations and labels. You’ve made a sweep from Wilson to Clinton, and I’m afraid that if you see anyone left-of-center that way, your perspective is a little off at best. Seriously, man, it’s going to take someone deciding to stop the finger pointing to end this forever-long argument you’re having with the phantom liberals.
    For the record, I am a moderate with liberal tendencies. But nowhere have I said anything about my political beliefs until now. You made that assumption first.
    Sorry you can’t get by without insults and labels. I tried. Oh well. If you want to see how liberals and conservatives can get along on a blog, visit The Cocklebur (www.aimnewmedia.net/charalambous).
    Brad, if folks stick to reading your articles, and ignore the comments, this site might be OK. The comments are for discussion, I know….but the discussion is being choked by a lot of hubris and fluff.

    Reply
  96. Herb Brasher

    Kyle, that’s what I was complaining about, that helped bring about this thread. But don’t leave, at least here’s my request that you stay on here. We may have to ignore the labels, but those of us who want to, can discuss the issues, while some of the rest just think they are responding, while all they do is dismiss one’s position as stupid. But those of us who want to respectful, even if we disagree, can set a different tone, and hopefully learn from each other.

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  97. Kyle

    Herb, thanks for your commentary. You’re right on the money. I’ll keep reading, and if I can add something constructive, I will. Selective ignoring on our part, e.g. separating the fluff from the real arguments, may be our best tool. :)

    Reply
  98. LexWolf

    This following post from the ‘Yeah, I’m Still Here’ thread is a glittering jewel of colossal incivility. Posted by a lefty, of course. I defy anyone here to find a righty post that comes even close to it!
    Dave, against my better judgement, I’ve wasted the past five minutes googling for Cabbagehead Brooks’ column that you referenced.
    When you provide a link, then I’ll waste another few minutes reading it.
    From all indications, my reply will also be a waste. Your reading comprehension (or due diligence) is so lacking that you either failed to read or to understand the numerous posts above.
    All the adults on the thread have agreed that voc-tech training is essential to reform. I’m relatively sure that Sen. Clinton’s proposal would cover tech schools also.
    You’re doing a great job at parroting the red herrings, strawmen, RNC b.s. and rightwing talking points of the day, however. We’ve come to expect nothing less.
    Sorry, Brad, my civility quota is exhausted today.
    PS Dave, nice job at derailing the discussion by deliberately misreading Randy’s post.
    Of course, I’ll feel badly if you have some mental handicap that impedes your reading comprehension.
    Posted by: Ready to Hurl | Aug 1, 2006 3:20:28 PM

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  99. Randy E

    Lexie’s greatest hits, Volume I (the first was in reference to Brad having to use a breathing machine for his asthma):
    “LOL. Thank you for putting things in a little perspective for Mr. Milquetoast.
    Makes you wonder how the West would have ever been won with today’s crybabies, doesn’t it?”
    Posted by: LexWolf | Jun 23, 2006 9:18:03 PM
    “Wouldn’t it be nice if you could stick to the topic and come up with real “justifications” for your failed public schools rather than your pointless insinuations and namecalling?”
    Posted by: LexWolf | Jun 22, 2006 12:54:10 PM
    “Face it, the Democrats are now, and have always been, the party of racism.”
    Posted by: LexWolf | Jun 23, 2006 10:37:37 AM
    “That last post was particularly pathetic. I’d be thoroughly embarrassed if I were you.”
    Posted by: LexWolf | Jun 24, 2006 10:23:32 PM

    Reply
  100. Randy E

    Lee’s Greatest Hits, Volume I
    “Jeff, you have a naive notion that every student has a two parents. They don’t.
    How old are you, and what do you do for a living?”
    Posted by: Lee | Jun 22, 2006 6:02:49 AM
    “3. Teach the students who are there the blunt social truth, that they are victims of irresponsible adults produced by the last two generations of schools run by white liberals as social experiments.”
    Posted by: Lee | Jun 22, 2006 1:23:49 PM
    “I stand by my opinion that most white liberals are racists of the condescending, patronizing sort, who do no service to the people they treat as objects of their phony charity that makes them feel good about themselves.”
    Posted by: Lee | Jun 26, 2006 9:18:58 PM
    “Maybe if you ever go to college, someday you will understand that getting out of courses is not a benefit to you.”
    Posted by: Lee | Jun 16, 2006 11:25:35 AM

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  101. Randy E

    Lee’s Greatest Hits, The Racial Edition
    “Then, when I show you that 70% of black students at best only have one parent, not two parents, and that many of them don’t care enough to feed them, much less come to parent-teacher meetings, you call me a racist.”
    Posted by: Lee | Jun 27, 2006 1:31:21 PM
    “Hispanics who commit 96.8% of the crime in this country.”
    Posted by: Lee | Jun 13, 2006 1:19:43 PM
    “Since 70% of black children have only one or no parents, I know those biological parents don’t care.
    Do you think they care enough to be hunted down and asked for input?”
    Posted by: Lee | Jun 14, 2006 9:54:14 PM
    “Try again to defend the sorry “home life” of black children in SC.”
    Posted by: Lee | Jun 18, 2006 11:55:42 AM

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  102. Randy E

    “Lexie, you poor ideological drunk. I’ll have to confine you to detox
    Posted by: Randy E | Jun 25, 2006 4:25:48 AM
    OOPS, I crossed the line too.

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  103. Lee

    kyle,
    Where did I say that you said you were a liberal? I didn’t.
    Every post I made about the templates or formats used by “liberals” to avoid or even sabotage honest discussion were made immediately after some of the bullies tried to employ these tactics. You need look no further than this thread for examples of not just incivility, but brutish and hateful behavior by individuals who like to think of themselves as kind, tolerant and generous.
    The last few posts of some misquotes and manufactured quotations attributed to me are a good example of the slander which spews from people who cannot tolerate any challenge to their views, because their views are mostly just their feelings.
    All the above lies and misrepresentationshave been answered before, and there is no need to humor such banal dishonesty with more attention.
    Our public schools keep talking about rediscovering “character education”. They need to realize some of the teachers need remediation first.

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  104. VOA

    Let the games begin! Unfettered debate is best. The readers are capable of judging for themselves who hurls the first (or most) stones.
    So votes Steve Gordy, 56, Methodist, freelance writer and retired technical trainer, born and raised in the South.

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  105. Lee

    Most of the problem with the bad manners and intolerance of socialists and socialistic liberals boils down to their not having any honest interest in solving social problems.
    Conservatives and libertarians discuss solutions, while the socialists deny that the problems exist. That is understandable, since most of the social problems today are the wreckage left by the failure of socialism and liberalism. At least their violent animosity evidences feelings of guilt on their part, which means they do recognize the bankruptcy of their ideology – most of them just lack the intellect, education and maturity to work their way out of it.

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  106. Randy E

    Lee, the logged time and date are listed – source is cited!
    Most came from either the thread on Sally’s article on teachers and the Actual Reality thread.
    Dance all you want, I cut and pasted your OWN words.

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  107. Lee

    My entire explanation of those statements hasb been made. If you were seriously interested in the problems, you would have responded to the facts, instead of trying to take quotations weave them into a cloak for yourself.
    I’ll give you another chance:
    Why do you think that children abandoned by their parents have loving, responsible parents? How can the public schools educate students who don’t attend, who drop out in droves?

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  108. Lee

    Another chance for those who twiddle with the issue of illegal aliens: answer directly.
    Do you think 21,000,000 illegal aliens are a problem?
    Do you care if it is a problem?
    Do you actually enjoy the idea of America being dragged down by millions of illiterate illegals living in poverty, consuming social services intended for citizens, and committing millions of crimes?
    Only when liberals are honest about their bsic beliefs and motives can we know whether to take their other “arguments” seriously, or as psycological diversions.

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  109. Randy E

    Lee, you can qualify the QUOTES all you want, but they speak for themselves.
    I’d love to see the data used to justify that 96.8% of crimes are committed by Hispanics.

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  110. LexWolf

    Nice try, Randy. I fail to see what you consider so incivil about those comments. Maybe you could explain them to us. Even more important, except for the one about Hispanics committing 96.8% of crimes, can you deny that every one of those comments is arguably true? Are you really that offended by the truth?

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  111. LexWolf

    In addition, Randy, it looks as if you had to go back 5 weeks, to Aug 26, and earlier to even find these quotes. I guess things must have been just fine since then or surely you would have found some recent examples of whatever you consider incivility (IMO your quotes are more an example of an individual desperately trying to find something, anything, to be offended about)

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  112. Randy E

    Nah, it’s not uncivil to refer to someone as a “crybaby” because he uses a breathing machine for asthma.
    “Since 70% of black children have only one or no parents, I know those biological parents don’t care.” – Lee
    Lexie, help yourself. Show how this statement is “agruably true.”
    At least you affirm Lee completely made up that derogatory statement about Hispanics.

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  113. Randy E

    Gee Lexie, why would I be offended when someone states that most Hispanics are illegal aliens and commit 96.8% of the crimes? Maybe it’s because my wife, Mom, grandparents, and child have Hispanic blood?!

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  114. Ready to Hurl

    Honestly, Lee, if those 21 million illegal aliens were blue-eyed, blond Northern Europeans would you be so worried?
    I’m actually pretty positive that, if we create a positive path to citizenship, those hardworking, tax-paying Hispanics will become a great human resource for the nation.
    Oh, yes, feel free to describe the “basic beliefs and motives” of liberals. Your fantasies are always so instructional because, sadly, they reflect the ignorance of a large segment of the population.

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  115. LexWolf

    So Lee was off by 8 percentage points but close enough.
    “In 2002, 38 percent of black children and 65 percent of Hispanic children lived with two married parents” SOURCE
    Gee Lexie, why would I be offended when someone states that most Hispanics are illegal aliens and commit 96.8% of the crimes?
    Why indeed should you be offended? Instead of stifling free speech, shouldn’t you instead simply produce statistics that would show that the assertions are wrong?
    What is with all this snivelling and whining nowadays? Stand up like a man and counter with facts!!

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  116. Randy E

    LOL, “counter with facts” is hypocritical of you.
    Lee made a VALUE judgement about single black parents “not caring about their kids.” FACTS please.
    88.8% (“So Lee was off by 8 percentage points but close enough.”) of crimes are committed by Hispanics. FACTS please. Where do you get this figure?
    “Most Hispanics are illegal aliens.” – Lee
    By Lee’s own admission: “85% of the 21,000,000 illegal aliens in America are hispanic” which is less than 18 million. There are 42 million legal Hispanic residents (census figures) for a total of 60 million. 18 out of 60 is not a majority. FACT!
    “What is with all this snivelling and whining nowadays? Stand up like a man and counter with facts!!” – Lexie
    Is what you meant by the “incivility of the left” or do you consider this civil discourse?

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  117. Randy E

    I understand that this exchange with Lex and Lee is the circular “debate” of which Paul is scornful.
    Until Brad deals with these two bullies, the options are limited: watch while these two “suck the air out of the room;” stand up to these bullies; or bug out.
    Again, this blog is a rare opportunity to have dialogue on the important issues in our community with a wide range of individuals.

    Reply
  118. LexWolf

    Heh. Randy’s back to bullying again, distorting quotes, putting words in people’s mouths, demanding that they back up things they never said and so on. All while he rarely ever produces a scintilla of evidence to support his own wild assertions. The usual. I shudder to think that kids actually have to attend his classes. Makes private school even more appealing than it is already, even if it costs $12,000 a year.
    “”not caring about their kids.” is an opinion and can’t be supported by “facts”. Can you prove to us that you care about the kids you are supposed to be teaching? It is, however, at least as valid an opinion as yours. Since you don’t believe 96.8% or 88.8% (and I agree with you) could you perhaps give us a link to the real rate? Again, prove your opponent wrong – don’t go snivelling, whining and acting all outraged.
    Face it, Randy, bullying is when you throw that 88.8% figure in my face even though I never made that claim and even specifically said it was incorrect. You simply can’t be trusted to accurately reproduce quotes.
    “What is with all this snivelling and whining nowadays? Stand up like a man and counter with facts!!” – Lexie
    Is what you meant by the “incivility of the left” or do you consider this civil discourse?

    What, you consider my comment incivil? I can tell you right now that one of the absolute worst things in modern society is people who are eager, ready and overly willing to be “offended” by every little thing. This is nothing but a form of aggression, especially since the very same people so eager to be offended are also the ones who have no problem vilifying others. It totally shuts down debate because they arrogate to themselves a right to judge as incivil any comment they don’t like, even if it’s totally true, and then they demand that others shouldn’t say those “mean” things. In law, truth is an absolute defense against a libel/slander charge. The same thing should apply in blog comments. If it’s true, I don’t care how “offended” some people get. Of course, therein lies your problem because on the things you get most “offended” about you are also most wrong on the facts. If you can’t win on the facts, just bluster, rant and rave and above all, act “offended”.

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  119. Dave

    RTH gets riled up because he cannot find a simple Brooks article from the NY Times. In the idiotic world of the leftist liberals, our taxes should be used to provide him remedial training to learn how to use Google, even if he flunked Google 101 several times. Instead of Midnight Basketball, RTH will need Midnight Google. After all, he too is a victim. Everybody is a victim, just line up and tell the politicians what you need to be compensated for your victimhood. Then working people like me can open our wallets and pay for the likes of RTH.

    Reply
  120. Randy E

    “Face it, Randy, bullying is when you throw that 88.8% figure in my face even though I never made that claim” – Lexwolf
    “Hispanics are illegal aliens and commit 96.8% of the crimes” – Lee
    “So Lee was off by 8 percentage points but close enough”
    Posted by: LexWolf | Aug 1, 2006 9:52:13 PM

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  121. Randy E

    “Since you don’t believe 96.8% or 88.8% (and I agree with you) could you perhaps give us a link to the real rate? Again, prove your opponent wrong…” – Lexie
    Apparently, it is encumbent upon us to prove stated facts are wrong.
    Communities establish social norms – levels of civility. Lex and Lee have clearly stepped beyond the bounds of civility as established by this community and by Daddy Warthen.
    It’s a tiresome and petty script; dismissing any dissent as “sniveling” and “left wing ignorance.” I think Brad is sitting back, watching Lex and Lee prove his point. I hope he decides to put an end to this soon.

    Reply
  122. Kyle

    Lee, I interpreted your statement “Anytime you ‘liberals’ want to clean up the threads by talking honestly about the thread topic with facts, get to it” to mean that you labeled me as a liberal. If I’m wrong about that, I apologize.
    Things seem to have gotten much worse in the past day. Now we’re going back & forth with quotes, trying to prove who is worse. I don’t doubt that everyone is guilty at some point or another. But someone’s going to have to retire this finger-pointing and labeling for civility to reign. Let’s see how far we can get without putting someone on the left or right and then tearing them down. Let’s act like human beings, not political factions.

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  123. Kyle

    Something else I’ve noticed: a intense dislike and apparent misunderstanding of folks left-of-center. We are labeled as immature, without thought and controlled by feelings, without interest in social problems, intolerant, et cetera. That’s a gross generalization and flat-out insult.
    I am left-of-center and don’t consider myself having any of the above characteristics. In fact, I used to fit that description (sort of) when I was right-of-center, by my own admission. My lefty self and my lefty family & friends fly in the face of that description. But I have friends & family that are “righties” as well, and they don’t fit that description either. Again, it’s a problem with generalizing and labeling. It’s describing people who don’t exist.
    It’s called projecting…cooking up a person or group of persons that really don’t exist, and projecting that identity onto real people. Real people are too complex to be pigeonholed.
    …this is me trying to “set the tone,” as Herb mentioned. It’s a little self-indulgent but describes the problem as I see it.

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  124. Lee

    Yes, I made a VALUE judgement about all ABSENT PARENTS not being good parents.
    Black children, unfortunately lead the statisitics of the demographic group most likely to be born out of wedlock and have one or zero parents in their “home”.
    I orginally stated that in a discussion of the futility of spending billions of dollars on education, when factors such as this overwhelm all the efforts of the school.
    ome people who fancy themselves as being “liberal” and “progressive”, are unable to handle such basic realities, especially when they argue against spending more money in the industry that pays their salaries. Rather than discuss solving such root causes of discouraging educational outcomes, they resort to editing phrases out of context in a campaign of racial smearing, that is effective in driving away most people of manners.
    Having dealt with such childish brownshirt tactics for 30 years, I just describe them for what they are, and encourage others to not be intimidated by the hydrophobic vitrol of leftist censorship.

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  125. Lee

    In Los Angeles, 95 percent of all outstanding warrants for homicide in the first half of 2004 (which totaled 1,200 to 1,500) targeted illegal aliens. Up to two-thirds of all fugitive felony warrants (17,000) were for illegal aliens.
    The Los Angeles Police Department arrests about 2500 criminally convicted deportees annually, reports the Los Angeles Times.
    The L.A. County Sheriff reported in 2000 that 23 percent of inmates in county jails were deportable, according to the New York Times.
    500,000 illegal aliens in the US, 85% of them Hispanic, had outstanding felony warrants against them. There are an estimated 700,000 convicted felons illegally in the U.S.
    – sources: Jack Dumphy of the LAPD, in National Review Online, and the LA Times.
    REALITY: These people are not improving America, and they will not sign up for the amnesty programs of Lindsay Graham and Ted Kennedy.

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  126. bud

    Lee writes:
    “ome people who fancy themselves as being “liberal” and “progressive”, are unable to handle such basic realities, especially when they argue against spending more money in the industry that pays their salaries. Rather than discuss solving such root causes of discouraging educational outcomes, they resort to editing phrases out of context in a campaign of racial smearing, that is effective in driving away most people of manners.”
    Is it just me or does this paragraph make absolutely no sense. If there’s a point here can someone please explain it to me? I’m not trying to be uncivil, I seriously do not understand what point Lee is trying to make. Perhaps some of us are accussing Lee of being uncivil when really he is just not articulate enough to make his point in a way we can all understand. And that’s nothing to be ashamed of. After all, clear writing skills are difficult to master. We can’t all be Ernest Hemingway.

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  127. Kyle

    Lee, I think you’ve made a good point, but it’s clouded in all this fluff about what the “lefties” do. I’m a lefty, and I totally agree that we need to address issues in the home in order to fix some issues in education. How can we expect children to come to school and want to learn if their home life is horrible or nonexistent?
    Again, stick to the issue and keep the insults/labels/generalizations to yourself. Where did all this stuff come from? You are convinced that anyone left-of-center is a horrible person. I hope you’ll see that isn’t true.

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  128. Lee

    Most lefties are just ignorant. Their leaders truly are terrible people: Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Hitler, Mussolini, Castro, Arafat, Zarquawi…
    Please not clog up the thread with denials about any of these socialists being “real socialists”, until you have read what they wrote about their vision of socialism.

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  129. Lee

    bud, I am just offering my observations of the emotional hostility of “liberals” when asked to explain the facts and logic behind what they want – which is usually punishing the achievers and spending other people’s money.
    My experience has found most of them to have made it to biological adulthood before being confronted by such blunt questions, and they fall apart.

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  130. Ready to Hurl

    Lee sez: They [posters opposed to his “incivility”]resort to editing phrases out of context in a campaign of racial smearing, that is effective in driving away most people of manners.
    Isn’t it telling that every new poster heard from on this issue agree that Lee and Lexie are the “incivil blog bullies?”
    No one (other than Lexie and Dave) seems to agree with you, Lee.

    Reply
  131. Kyle

    Lee, not one progressive I’ve met or read believes in what you say they do. And the people you cite as our “leaders” shows quite a bit of ignorance on your part. It’s insulting and utterly stupid. It’s beneath human civility.
    I’m trying to be civil, but it’s clear that you have a definition of what you believe to be most liberals, and that is guiding your interactions with everyone. Until you let go of that, I don’t think you’re going to get very far in discussing things. You’re arguing with your perceptions, not with actual people.
    I think you have a lot of good things to add to the discussion, and it’s sad to see you wrapped up in this personal crusade of sorts against progressives & liberals. :(

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  132. Preston

    Lee, take statistics you friggin schmo.
    The statement “In Los Angeles, 95 percent of all outstanding warrants for homicide in the first half of 2004 (which totaled 1,200 to 1,500) targeted illegal aliens.” make no sense statistically. There can be no absolute percentage if the total number of homicides is in question. 95% of 1200 is 1140 and 95% of 1500 is 1425. SO which is it?
    The numbers prove that your arbitrary use of statistics is nothing more than incomprehensible BS. (Again)

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  133. Lee

    Preston, I hold a degree in economics and have developed expert systems for Wall Street, so your insults are laughable.
    The fact that the vast majority of serious crime in California is now committed by illegal immigrants is a serious problem, which could be solved by sealing the Mexican border.
    You may not understand that, or like that, or care, but the facts remain. Try to identify what it is about these facts which bother you so much, as the first step from emotive reaction, and towards objective consideration of the reality.

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  134. Ready to Hurl

    Prima facie evidence that Lee is a raving delusional living in his own fantasy world:
    “Most lefties are just ignorant. Their leaders truly are terrible people: Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Hitler, Mussolini, Castro, Arafat, Zarquawi…”

    None of the posters that Lee would consider “lefties” on this board have evinced even the slightest admiration or willingess to follow the precepts of these leaders. In fact, other than being authoritarian leaders and mass murderers, the list really has no rhyme or reason– other than to smear people who don’t agree with Lee.

    Reply
  135. Lee

    Kyle, would you care to name these rational leaders of modern liberalism? Then we can dissect their belief system, which is not pleasant to view.
    I was thinking of Howard Dean, Noam Chomsky, Hillary Clinton, etc.

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  136. Dave

    Preston, you have given us a new lesson in civility, “friggin schmo”, whatever that is. Is that like a schmuck?

    Reply
  137. LexWolf

    Isn’t it telling that every new poster heard from on this issue agree that Lee and Lexie are the “incivil blog bullies?”
    No one (other than Lexie and Dave) seems to agree with you, Lee.

    That’s not hard to understand at all. Face it, this blog, and most of the commenters as well as the host, is generally moderate to Hard Left. We disturb this generalized Kumbaya feeling and that’s what’s so “incivil” about us. We dare to post facts that the majority is uncomfortable with, and in fact simply can’t stand.
    I’m always willing and able to back up an assertion of fact, something the majority seems to have severe difficulty with. Instead of providing sources and facts when challenged, they simply rephrase their assertions and expect us to accept their halfbaked feelings as gospel truth.
    If this blog is intended as a lovefest then we’re clearly out of place. However, if it’s supposed to be a place where ideas can be exchanged by everyone then even unpopular viewpoints must be accepted. Remember, true diversity includes everyone.
    (Oh, and Randy is now up to 35 posts, over 1/4 – talk about sucking the life out of the blog!)

    Reply
  138. LexWolf

    No no, Dave. That must be some new term of endearment. We all know that these guys would never be incivil. It probably means something like ‘my dear friend’.

    Reply
  139. Lee

    Even after being asked point blank to state their core beliefs on any issue, Randy, RTH and the rest of self-described “lefties” refuse to do so, continuing a barrage of catcalls and denials of any association with those who define socialism, progressivism and modern liberalism.
    This is the lack of honesty which is the basis of all conflicts between their ilk and civilized society. Most of them know enough to conceal their beliefs, which have been the basis of a 100 years of world war, racial exterminations, and purges of intelligentsia.

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  140. bud

    I think Lee is pulling our leg. The so-called “Lefty Leaders” list is so over the top I think he’s just doing that to get a reaction. I just can’t take this silly nonsense seriously any more. Lee you’re not uncivil, you’re just having fun by saying stuff that is so completely outrageous you know those of us on the left are going to respond in kind. I’m onto you Lee. You’re busted!!

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  141. Lee

    I named the major socialist leaders of the 20th century. I guess I did leave off FDR and Bill Clinton, but they were not as honest and articulate, and more followers of the big guys.
    Why can’t you name some of your lefty leaders, and tell us what you like about the philosophy of the least productive members of society telling the achievers what to do?

    Reply
  142. Kyle

    Lex, for pity’s sake, what is your obsession with Randy? Where do you find that “the left” can’t stand the “facts” you post? Whatever has been done in the past on this blog clearly isn’t going to be resolved…so why don’t all of us decide to stop this arguing with generalities and abstracts, and act like human beings? Seriously, you and Lee have got a major beef with what you perceive as “liberals” and, coupled with what comes across as arrogance and/or general malice, it’s choking discussion. Somebody is going to have to let go of all this baggage for any real discussion to go forth.
    Lee, why do you say that “lefty leaders” are the “least productive members of society telling the achievers what to do?” That’s a rather bland, general lump statement. And how can you honestly believe that those on the left are responsible for “100 years of world war, racial exterminations, and purges of intelligentsia?” I’m befuddled and absolutely incensed at such an ignorant rant. You really do have an image of what you perceive as horrible, evil liberals bent on screwing up society for everyone else. I’m amazed.
    I’d like for both of you to know that, for all the “liberals” amongst my family & friends, we get along with folks of all races, political beliefs, religious affiliations, SE status, et cetera. Nothing you’ve said “liberals” believe falls anywhere near the things we believe. We are real people, not the ogres you’ve conjured up. I don’t know how else to get through to you…you’re tearing down and insulting real people, in your own cooked-up guise of what you think they are. It’s a dangerous thing. If you substituted a political philosophy for a race or religion, we’d really be in dangerous territory.
    You want to know some folks that I consider “leaders?” I can only speak for myself. Folks that I admire, and/or who in some way shape what I believe and do:
    Jesus
    Ghandi
    Garrison Keillor
    Mark Warner
    Barack Obama
    Lindsey Graham
    Leaders of the ELCA, my pastors, and my congregation
    Ben Cohen (truemajorityaction.org)
    Helene Cixous
    My family & friends (I learn from them often)
    Early Chicago (anything through Chicago XI….Lamm”s lyrics were very progressive)
    Paul Wellstone
    I think the only way to handle Lee & Lex (sorry to center on you two, but you’ve gone beyond the realm of civil argument and time worth arguing on a blog) is to simply ignore the insults, generalizations, misconceptions, vehement attacks, etc, and focus on the civil arguments. If you two folks want to join in with that, by all means do. But be civil about it. For us to get involved in a discussion that is going to be choked by folks with such ill will towards and misconceptions about real people is a waste of time and bandwidth.

    Reply
  143. Preston

    Lee, what is factual about the statement I commented on above?
    I’m impressed though that you are an engineer and a Wall Street economist. Please e-mail me your resume. I may have some work for you. That still has nothing to do with arbitrarily posting figures. Even though you quote the source, that does not make them facts.
    The sky is blue. That is a factual statement.
    “In Los Angeles, 95 percent of all outstanding warrants for homicide in the first half of 2004 (which totaled 1,200 to 1,500) targeted illegal aliens. Up to two-thirds of all fugitive felony warrants (17,000) were for illegal aliens.”, is just a bunch of BS.
    Dave, I didn’t want to use “bad” language, but I would be happy to if you’d like.
    Oh yeah, Lee, how is the cure for cancer and the solution to world hunger coming? It’s OK. I know you’re busy solving the world’s problems here on BW’s blog. Get back to me.

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  144. Lee

    Preston, it takes no effort on your part to deny the data from the LAPD. You could make some effort to find contradictory data, but it might still threaten your effort to hide from the reality of the crime wave coming across the Mexican border.
    It is so easy to be a liberal. Just reply with smart-aleck comments, and run off to another blog of lovefest with some others in denial, where you can pretend to hire economists and engineers away from Wall Street.

    Reply
  145. Lee

    Paul Wellstone was a typical democratic socialist, pandering to his urban majority by attacking the loggers, miners, farmers and small businessmen of Minnesota. His ideas were simple – tax the productive and buy votes from the indolent. Good riddance.

    Reply
  146. Lee

    “Hey Lee, Do us a favor and lock yourself in your garage with your car running,…”
    Preston, July 20, in response to scientific data about the lack of benefits in raising CAFE standards.

    Reply
  147. Preston

    Wow, enjoying the death of someone.
    No, I am serious. I would like for you to post your resume here so that you can qualify yourself.
    I have a 165 IQ. It is documented, but then just because I say it does that mean you will believe it? Regardless, it is fact.
    Regarding your LAPD stats, how are 95% of 1200 & 1500 the same? That’s all.

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  148. Preston

    No suprise that you resort to Fox News tctics and don’t reveal the rest of the statement. I belive it ends with something like ” and get back to me about air polution..” or something like that.
    What is your point anyway? Didn’t you just celebrate Paul Wellstone’s death?
    You’re like a clown without make-up. Nothing more than a sad, scary freak.

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  149. Ready to Hurl

    Kyle sez:I think the only way to handle Lee & Lex… is to simply ignore the insults, generalizations, misconceptions, vehement attacks, etc, and focus on the civil arguments.
    This is exactly what my solution (letting individual posters choose whose posts they want to even be exposed to) allows.
    In other blogs, posters like Lee and Lexie are known as “trolls” or counter-productive provocateurs. I don’t say that because I want a “liberal love-fest,” as Lee and Lexie allege. A free exchange of ideas would be great.
    Baselessly labeling those who disagree with your views as followers of Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot and Zarqawi isn’t exchanging ideas.
    In other blogs the solution has been for the community to simply ignore the “trolls.” Pretend like they don’t exist. Which is what I’m going to do from now on with Lee.

    Reply
  150. bud

    RTH, I can’t take Lee seriously anymore but he does provide a certain comic relief with his outrageous comments. (Speaking of outrageous, where’s Mary Rosh)?
    Lee if you want me (and it appears others) to respond you will have to stay away from the offensive (and I think comical) insults. Otherwise I plan to ignore anything else you say.

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  151. Lee

    Preston, if you cannot comprehend what 95% of 1200 or 1500 or 1700 murder arrest wants means, you need to use more of that 165 IQ.

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  152. Lee

    Actually, it was the Democrats who celebrated the death of Paul Wellstone. They turned his funeral into a crass political event, spewing hatred at the GOP. Of course, any time you gather a bunch of socialists together, the talk turns to how much they hate the more successful members of society.

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  153. Lee

    bud, actually we would pefer that the child liberals refrain from posting anything unrelated to the actual thread topic. That upsets their intent to shout down ideas and facts which contradict their dogma, so it may require their just not logging in at all.

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  154. Preston

    Lee, what are your credentials?
    Schools attended, degrees earned, job, etc…
    “Preston, if you cannot comprehend what 95% of 1200 or 1500 or 1700 murder arrest wants means…” Are this English?

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  155. Lee

    My credentials are that I post facts that you can’t answer.
    Preston, if you don’t understand the LAPD crime stats, try looking up what you think are the real rates of crime by illegal aliens.
    First, answer the fundamental question: do you really care about the illegal alien crime wave, or are you just playing dumb to derail the facts?

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  156. Kyle

    Fact: the LA crime rates stand. But we need information from across the nation that proves the illegal aliens are responsible for most of it before we can say anything about an “illegal alien crime wave.” One city in the nation isn’t representative enough to base such a major claim on.
    See, we can talk if we ignore and weed out the insults. Try it!

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  157. Preston

    Are you 8 years old?
    DO YOU NOT GET IT???? YOUR STATISTICS AREN’T FACTS. AS REPORTED BY YOU, THEY ARE INCOMPREHENSIBLE, MEANING THEY ARE JUST NUMBERS IN A LIST WITH NO COHERENT POINT!!!!!! EVERYONE ELSE HERE IS NOT WRONG, YOU ARE AN IDIOT!!!!!
    Now go in the backyard and play.
    REALLY, LEAVE US ALL ALONE!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  158. Lee

    Just being an illegal alien is crime enough to deport them. Why wait until they rob, rape and murder? With 500,000 outstanding felony warrants for illegal aliens, 85% of them Hispanic, the problem looks like it was large enough for treatment a long time ago.
    But then, I am not a cowering liberal who is afraid to offend any ethnic group by rounding up a few million of their lawbreakers.

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  159. Lee

    Preston, if the topic is getting over your head, just sit back. You’ll catch on.
    1,700 arrest warrants for murder in Los Angeles County, with 95% of them being for illegal aliens, most of who are Hispanic. Use the Calculator accessory program, if you can’t do the math in your head.

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  160. Kyle

    Sorry, Lee, your reply doesn’t seem to have much to do with my reply. We need more data, not insults. The stats in LA don’t say much of anything for the US citizens who rape, rob, & murder, or the illegal aliens who don’t cause trouble. You’re making an inaccurate statistical assumption – that a small population is representative of the (much) larger population.
    I’m just pointing out a fact. If you care to respond to it, please do so specifically. Without the smart-aleck antics. :)

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  161. bud

    Preston, I think Lee is having fun trying to rile everyone else. (Or either he’s drunk). Either way he’s not worth the time and effort to respond.

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  162. bill

    I’m beginning to think that blogs are unhealthy and self-destructive,but nothing more than a passing fad.Twenty years from now,we’ll be talking about them the way we now talk about our 70’s or 80’s sartorial decisions:”What were we thinking?!!.”
    “Humanity is acquiring all the right technology for all the wrong reasons.” Buckminster Fuller

    Reply
  163. Kyle

    Bill, I feel the same way about LiveJournal and MySpace, as well as the more article-based blogs that are self-serving and don’t really do much to encourage discussion. They are part of a (hopefully passing) fad, one that drives people to think everyone on the internet wants to hang on to their every word. I visit 5 or 6 news-related blogs regularly, mostly in-state, and I usually find something interesting. But that pales in comparison to the plethora of blogs that are out there. And they can be unhealthy. I’ve gotten riled up and had my blood pressure rise over a lot of things in the past on blogs & forums, but I’m learning that I can’t have a civilized conversation with everyone. And why talk about something on a blog when you can be DOING something?
    Good eye, man. Nice quote too.

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  164. Lee

    Kyle, you sound like you don’t really care how much crime the illegal aliens commit. Why don’t you just state your predisposition which makes you so averse to the facts?
    This exchange with all of you has been a good example of my description of how liberals operated, which was criticized as a “generalization” and “stereotype”. Apparently some of the self-labeled liberals couldn’t resist offering up some new examples of avoiding reality.
    The State of Washington is suing the federal government for reimbursement of state costs to incarcerate illegal aliens who have been convicted of felonies.
    In her letter, Gregoire asked that the federal government repay the state by Aug. 1, or take custody of the prisoners.
    Washington isn’t the only state that’s suffered from the federal government’s lack of commitment in this matter. California spends an estimated $750 million per year on illegal immigrant incarceration costs, according to the governor’s office there.
    And in Arizona, Gov. Janet Napolitano has sent invoices to the federal government since late 2004 requesting reimbursement for her state’s costs of keeping lawbreaking illegal immigrants in state prisons. Over 3.5 years, an estimated $270 million bill has been run up, her office said.
    The National Academy of Sciences places the annual cost of illegal alien incarceration nationwide at $40 BILLION.

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  165. Kyle

    “Kyle, you sound like you don’t really care how much crime the illegal aliens commit. Why don’t you just state your predisposition which makes you so averse to the facts?”
    Lee, I don’t deny the facts. But saying that the statistics in one US city equals to an “illegal alien crime wave” is a pretty big jump by any statistical standard. NOWHERE did I give any statement on my beliefs regarding illegal aliens. That is your conjecture. And I’m asking you to provide MORE EVIDENCE of REALITY, which is far from trying to avoid it. All I’m asking you is for more facts and cautioning against a statistical inference with (possibly) no merit. I think I’ve been more than fair. Really, Lee, I’m trying to have a discussion with you, but you need to start reading a little more closely and stop making so many assumptions. I don’t know if this is going to turn out to be worth my time.

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  166. Lee

    I never said that LA was typical of the Hispanic crime all over America. It is the worst, because it is overrun with illegal aliens from Mexico. Cities with fewer illegals from Mexico have less crime, not just less crime by Hispanics. The incarceration demographics from the states prison systems and the Federal Bureau of Prisons show that.
    Any way you look at it, sealing the Mexican border and deporting the illegal Hispanics alone gets rid of 85% of the problem.

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  167. Randy E

    Since Brad is taking a few days off, I’ll offer up a post.
    The other night I was at the local market waiting in line with pancake mix and syrup (my wife is pregnant). The cashier suggested the express line to me. Hearing this, the guy behind me shot over there with his 2 jugs of milk
    I waited and watched in the EXPRESS lane as he discovered, upon seeing what price came up, that he had grabbed the wrong milk for the posted 2 for 1 sale. He brushed by me and ran to the back of the store to get the other milk while the cashier and I stood at the register. Not only did he make us wait, he didn’t even take the other milk back.
    I could tell he wasn’t late as he strolled to his car afterwards. It apparently was a complete lack of consideration for anyone else. I feel like I see this more often lately.
    Allow me some more pop psychology. I have a hypothesis that we are so used to immediate gratification with microwaves, fast food, 200 cable stations, internet etc. that people are becoming much more egocentric and wanting immediate results.

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  168. Kyle

    Lee, you presented the LA stats and then said that there was an “illegal alien crime wave.” If you didn’t mean to make those two related, forgive me. But how do you make that claim that illegal aliens are 85% of the problem? Do they account for 85% of the crime in the US? I’m not giving illegal aliens a pass, I just don’t see how your numbers are backing up your claims.

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  169. Herb

    Randy, you’re right on. Neil Postman said basically the same thing over 20 years ago, and it hasn’t changed. It’s “affluenza”, which has always been difficult for any “successful” culture to deal with. Historically, I can’t think of any culture which has dealt well with it. Wealth, of course, is not the problem per se, but training the next generation to deal with it is the problem.
    Technology is racing ahead, but the moral and philosophical basis to deal with it is far behind. We are struggling with it; Islam and other world views are struggling even more.
    So I guess we are back to the whole education problem, which where you may not have wanted to go.
    Not sure I contributed anything but the obvious.

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  170. Herb

    Kyle, I don’t think Lee’s statistics ever add up. He is convinced that Western man is superior to everybody else, so he looks for statistics to support his theories. Don’t let yourself be sucked into too much pointless “discussion,” as Lee loves to argue. I have never had the impression that he is looking for more input from others on this blog, but just in showing others how smart he is. He does possess a lot of knowledge, and you can learn from him, but I would suggest that discussions as such with Lee are a one-way street, and eventually they don’t really increase anything except your blood pressure.
    My advice is to read his posts if you want to, but not to respond to them. Of course, you can take or leave my advice, the only reason I’m writing this is in the hope that you don’t get frustrated and then stop commenting. It happens a lot here.

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  171. Herb

    “Kyle, you sound like you don’t really care how much crime the illegal aliens commit. Why don’t you just state your predisposition which makes you so averse to the facts?”

    Just to give an example Kyle, the above quote from Lee is calculated to inflame. Instead of giving you the benefit of the doubt, and asking you to explain what you mean, he passes judgment on you already with the second sentence. You are “averse” to the facts. In other words, you are obtuse and stupid. This is very clever, for basically it is a method of denigrating the other person without ever saying any #$^%&#*^&*%#A words. If you respond in kind (which you haven’t, but others sometimes do), then Lee has accomplished what he evidently set out to do.
    Of course, he is free to give a rebuttal of my analysis, but I have enough experience with counseling, etc., to recognize a few of the “tricks” that are used.

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  172. VOA

    I agree with Herb. Let Lee say his piece, but don’t get into an argument. There are far more productive uses of your time.

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  173. Herb

    Or this one:

    But then, I am not a cowering liberal who is afraid to offend any ethnic group by rounding up a few million of their lawbreakers.

    There it is again. If you disagree with Lee, then you are a “cowering liberal,” in other words a coward, and of course a detriment to American society. Almost every word assumes the worst, and is calculated to insult.
    Kyle, again my thought on this is that you can’t discuss with this attitude. Others have said the same thing above, including you yourself. I guess I can quit repeating the obvious.

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  174. Lee

    I don’t “calculate to inflame”. I simply ask the posters to stop splitting hairs, twiddling, parsing and playing other rhetorical games, and state what their basic position is on the issue, because that is what has them playing those games.
    Most conservatives and libertarians agree on the problem, or at least the symptons. We want to discuss the solution. Some socialists and liberals will be honest enough to disagree on the problem, and state why. Most just diddle around with personal attacks and schoolyard rhetoric, even when asked to stop and show some convictions in their beliefs.

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  175. Kyle

    Herb and VOA, I appreciate your comments. I agree with both of you in that discussion is pointless with such an attitude. I’m definitely ignoring Lee’s usual fluff and filtering out what I think are good points for discussion. This is in the hope that we can curb the insults and absolute misguided hateful rhetoric in favor of some actual discussion. I’m optimistic about it.
    But Lee has some serious issues with his constructed identity of liberals…an identity that just isn’t true. There’s no point in arguing that one. I’ve tried, and he ignores what I put out. That could very well turn this optimistic gesture into a big waste of time, and if it does, you’ll see me ignore the man entirely. Same for anyone who wants to use insults and straw men. If it’s all someone has, then their post should be ignored entirely. We need to set a better tone for discussion. I think you two are in a great position to do it, and I will do my best to do the same. As for my discussion in this thread, I believe it might be coming to a close. I’ve tried to make a little difference here and I’ve done all I probably can. Talk about beating a dead horse! :)

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  176. Randy E

    Kyle, you know how in a horror movie there’s always a character who is walking alone into a dark room with the spooky music playing and the audience knows what’s going to happen – WHACK! a machette in the neck or an ice pick in the eye.
    Well, as you were progressing through this thread with your discourse with Lee, the same music was playing and we were watching and WHACK!
    Welcome to the blog, you’ve been formally initiated. You tried to reason with Lee and found out the hard way the futility of it all (and ironically were told that YOU were the one who won’t listen to “reason”).

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  177. Randy E

    Herb, I wouldn’t say your take on the “affluenza” is obvious. I think we don’t pay it attention and the out of site out of mind process kicks in. I think that observation and the technology disjointed with morality are great takes on what’s happening.
    There are an incredible number of people viewing porn on the web, we have the bioethical challenges, indiscrete erectile dysfunction commercials, cable tv which escapes the regulation of network tv, websites to help you cheat on your spouse or to download papers to submit as your own etc.
    And we were once concerned about Elvis doing a little pelvic thrust on tv.

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  178. Lee

    Why do theliberals keep acting just as I describe liberals?
    Just wait until the next topic, and watch them repeat the cycle of obfuscation, vagueness, denial of factual information, nitpicking of the insignificant, changing the subject, credentialling and pseudo-psycology to dismiss those with real ideas and facts, and finally, outright hostility, insults, and slander.
    It it is not a lack of courage to state their core position on each issue, what is holding them back? Not even knowing what their position is?

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  179. bud

    Randy E, Life has become very cluttered with choices. I was guilty the other day of arriving at the cashier in the grocery store only to discover I had picked up the low fat peanut butter rather than the regular stuff. I would rather face the electric chair than my wife if I had brought home the wrong peanut butter. So I ran back to the peanut butter isle and selected the proper PB and quickly ran back to the cashier. Needless to say everyone in line glared at me as though I was Osama bin Laden, but better the others in line than face the little woman with low-fat peanut butter.
    The moral of the story is simply this. We are faced with too many choices. This is part of the afluenza crisis you described. Our trips to the store are fraught with the choice issues which ultimately result in a shopping nightmare. I personally think we were better off when we only had a few choices to make at the peanut butter section of the much smaller A & P that I grew up with in the ’60s. (And remember those really cool cash registers. The thrashing noise they made was a sound of beauty to a 6 year old in 1962).

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  180. Herb

    Bud, that is hilarious. Well I remember the old cash registers, too.
    When one comes back to the U.S. from abroad, even from Europe, the number of choices is bewildering, starting with the grocery store. Just getting some butter: do you want salted, unsalted, in a tube, in a pot, in a package, no cholesterol, etc. We won’t even talk about the cereal isle. We’ve had German friends to visit us, and they would throw up their hands in despair at the choices: you want a salad–which dressing do you want? How do you want your meat cooked? Eggs over easy (or is it easy over, I never can remember)? You want a beer? Which one? It got to be a joke wherever we went.
    The real problems come in dealing with moral choices. There is no good substitute for a home upbringing that helps us to practice purposeful self-discipline. But what do we do for an increasing number of people who don’t have that upbringing? What about our generation (sounds like you and Randy are Boomers, along with me) that is now in the leadership role (for a few years yet)? What should we be doing? What legacy do we need to leave behind?
    How much do we look to the government for answers? Obviously if you are Dave, you don’t look to the government for any of it. That would be to create the “nanny” state.
    But–I would submit that there are very critical issues here that we cannot simply leave up to the “free market” to decide. The government may have to step in at certain points in order to halt the slide. I don’t think the “junk food” issue is necessarily extreme, even though I as much said so a few threads back (I’ve changed my mind, at least I think I’m changing it). But government’s job may be primarily encouraging other initiatives, though there have been some positive government models in the past, like the Peace Corps.
    But we need a government that encourages faith-based initiatives. We have to harness the energy that is there in our institutions, and encourage these groups to create educational models. If we don’t, sooner or later some extremist is going to do it, especially if we have a drastic economic downturn (and all the deficit spending is going to sooner or later head us there, at least that is what common sense tells me–I’m obviously not an economist). Of course what comes to my mind is Hitler Youth, but there are lots of other examples, like radical Islam. Anything that would be a detriment to the democratic institutions that are the bedrock of our society. What I don’t mean is expending a lot of energy fighting these groups, but rather developing positive ones.
    So far I like what I see Tony Evans doing in Dallas, though I will freely admit that I have no first-hand experience of it. Obviously I am coming at this from an evangelical point of view. Others will have to approach it from their point of view. Maybe you hate evangelicals. That is fine, but don’t waste your energy on us; start employing it toward positive ends. We have to do more with our kids. We have to give them values, and we have to start young. A lot of parents don’t have a clue what to do. We have to find ways to help. As Mike C wrote several months ago, the kids in these families don’t have any values outside of themselves. That has to change, if we have any future. We cannot just incarcerate increasing numbers of people. We have to start young; we have to get older kids alongside kindergarten and elementary school kids; they have to have positive role models. I know of a rural pastor in this state that is taking in kids and giving them piano lessons in the afternoon. He wants to do an afternoon tutoring program for kids, but that takes funding (and energy, in other words, volunteers) that he doesn’t have yet. One drop in the bucket, true, but a significant drop.
    I would suggest we start primarily by looking at these institutions. What are they? What are the groups that have a lot of positive energy that can be harnessed, and how to encourage them? Churches are some of them, I am sure, but we’ll have to make some moral judgments. Obviously extremist Islam can and must be ruled out. Scientology has to be ruled out, I think.
    Perhaps it is not inappropriate for me to close with a biblical quotation about the importance of training the next generation.

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  181. Herb

    I wish I could find it, but US News and World Report did come out with an interesting article a couple of months ago, how the numbers of Hispanic illegal immigrants are the source of a lot of positive momentum in our society. I’m not advocating that we increase the number, but the article was an interesting antidote to Lee’s approach of wanting to deport them all. The essence of the article was the other side of the statistics (the other side of the ones that Lee is always quoting), how that these people, who come up from poverty with high motivation to better themselves, are a positive influence in the U.S. It’s the opposite of the “afluenza” problem we’ve been talking about.
    Anyway, if anyone comes up with the article, please let me know. I sure wish I had kept it. I suppose I should e-mail U.S. News. That might work.

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  182. Dave

    Herb, First let me comment on this back and forth exchange between several of you and Lee on the immigration issue. If you agree that Christians are given values and principles to NOT break the law, in fact to a real Christian breaking the law is in fact a sin, then you have to agree that knowingly sneaking into this nation is actual commission of a sin. Somehow or other in all these back and forth debates this is sloughed off as so what. To me it is NOT so what and I assume some others feel the same way. You mentioned we need to “give” the young people positive values. How do we in this society promote and teach positive values if we see sin right in front of our eyes, ignore it, and shrug our shoulders and move to the next issue? By the way, I am of the mind that we cannot immediately round up all the lawbreakers and ship them back home. However, the first step is to absolutely seal the border, and then one by one, even if it takes 25 years, deal with each lawbreaker and also the companies breaking the laws. People don’t realize it but we are still a fragile experiment in democracy here, and adding millions of people who don’t know our constitution, nor our laws, nor our history, is playing with fire. Right now the leftists in Mexico are pulling an Algore trick trying to overturn an election. They are blocking streets in Mexico city and in that country this could turn into armed conflict. So, let’s treat the illegals who are here humanely but if we believe in honesty, believe in following the law, believe in our Christian faith, the right thing to do is the only thing to do. If we don’t do that as a nation, we can forget about imparting values to the younger generations.

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  183. Kyle

    Good illustration, Randy. I got a good morning laugh. And you’re right. A good example is Lee’s complaint right after your post. Nothing to do with reality…I’ve been perfectly clear about my position, discussed facts, even asked for more. He just didn’t want to play that way.

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  184. Preston

    If you really want to piss Lee off, just ask him what his credentials are.
    So far, through arguments, I have found that he is a transportation engineer, world renowned economist, award winiing software designer, astrophysicist, nuclear engineer, minority statistician and amateur mud-wrestler.
    I think in reality he is an 8 year old on his dad’s computer. I have learned my lesson. It’s more fun to make fun of him because directly addressing him is pointless.

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  185. Lee

    All the excuses for not enforcing the immigration laws come down to the economic benefits to those exploiting cheap, illegal laborers who cannot file complaints.
    Shallow analyses by business mouthpieces like those in U.S. News & World are contradicted by comprehensive studies by Congress, the National Academy of Sciences, Pew Hispanic Trust, Manhattan Institute, and Hoover Institute – all finding a huge net cost to America in crime, welfare, pollution, and social decay due to illegal aliens, which can be measured in dollars.
    Apologists don’t care about the cost to others and to the country, because their motivation is their own benefit.

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  186. Lee

    Another childish game of liberals use to excuse their inability to address the facts, is to assert that the facts were delivered by someone unworthy of speaking. He has no right, because he “lacks credentials”. He needs to be an MD, or lawyer, or teacher to raise this issue, or mention those facts.
    Of course, the gamers don’t ask for any credentials from their sources and those cheering them on. In fact, most to them could not pass the phony tests they devise.
    It is just another tactic of dishonesty by the anti-intellectuals, to shout down free speech.

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  187. Doug

    Since this has become the catch-all topic while Brad is absent, I wanted to pass along an observation. Last night, I attended the American Idols concert (not at gunpoint) at the Colonial Center. One of the big TV screens was set up to allow concert-goers to text messages from their cellphones to be displayed on the screen. 90% of the messages were related to Idol singers but at one point a pro-George Bush message was displayed. The response from the crowd? OVERWHELMINGLY negative. Loud booing. I was surprised. Red state, audience 99% white, mostly female, mix of young and middle-aged. Even the “Go Clemson” messages got a better response.
    I think we’re at the point where George Bush-fatigue has set in across the country.
    And I would think that would not bode well for Republicans in the fall.

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  188. Lee

    An even more dishonest and more common tactic is to just lie about the other person personally, as Preston does in his fabrication above about my career activities. Some are just a step beyond exaggeration, like Preston’s frustration vent, but many sink even lower, into posts about people’s appearance, family, any lie that pops into their mind when they reach the stage of pure hate that is so common among “liberals” today.

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  189. bud

    Doug, I was at the American Idol concert but missed the George Bush message. Too bad because that would have made a great night even better. I think the Bush fatigue is mostly related to the Iraq war. It just doesn’t seem like the administration even cares anymore. Just the same old stay-the-course song and dance. And the American public is rapidly growing weary of it.
    My favorite Idol is Paris. That gal can sing.

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  190. Ready to Hurl

    Dave, unless you worship “the state,” breaking a law made by men for men isn’t, by itself, a sin.
    Render unto Caesar…

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  191. Preston

    Main Entry: hy·per·bo·le
    Pronunciation: hI-‘p&r-b&-(“)lE
    Function: noun
    Etymology: Latin, from Greek hyperbolE excess, hyperbole, hyperbola, from hyperballein to exceed, from hyper- + ballein to throw — more at DEVIL
    : extravagant exaggeration (as “mile-high ice-cream cones”)

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  192. Lee

    Preston, just try meet my mild challenge to state your basic position on the issues, so we don’t have to infer from your banal dance of diversion.

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  193. Randy E

    I wrote before how Dave seems to fluctuate between posts worthy of the L&L boys and articulating with insight and intelligence. His last post is a great example of the latter.
    Bud, I don’t think your peanut butter action was so bad. The guy in front of me easily could have let me check out while he got his milk. And of course we all have our moments.
    I think George Bush fatigue is the best description I’ve heard. He’s like the football coach who wears out the players with his overbearing approach. The dems cowardly caved to the strong war sentiment when this all started (and flip flopped around), but make no mistake the Iraq war is W’s war.

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  194. Lee

    FACT: The Democrats almost unanimously voted for war with Iraq “to remove his weapons of mass destruction” in a 1998, again in 2001, and again in 2002.

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  195. Randy E

    and?
    This is Bush’s war, and the feeble (and tiresome) attacks on the spineless dems does not diminish this one bit. You can’t spell war without W.

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  196. Randy E

    Preston, I noticed the same thing about Lee’s statements about his career. He talked about billing me at his “standard engineering rate.” He’s also an “economist.” The amateur mud wrestling thing, was that a little poetic license on your part, maybe?
    One post that gave him away was his comments about taking random samples. He completely bungled the explanation. With a 33 hours of masters work in statistics, I know a little more about this. He seems to appropriated different areas of expertise.

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  197. Dave

    Doug, If I take my family to Disneyworld the last thing I want is to see political stuff. No wonder people booed. You are at a music event,, who wants politics at that point. I wouldn’t read that as a downer on W at all.

    Randy – America was attacked, not George W. This war belongs to everyone, like it or not. How would you like to tell a soldier in Iraq that this isn’t your war, its only George’s war.

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  198. Ready to Hurl

    News Flash, Dave (and Brad).
    Iraq didn’t attack America on 9/11. Osama and AQ did.
    Osama and his second in command are still free. AQ has become a jihadist beacon to discontented Muslims worldwide thanks to to the stupidity of Dear Leader, Rumsfeld and the Neo-Cons’ obsession with Iraq and “remaking” the Middle East.
    “Remaking” the Middle East is going swimmingly– if you think that home renovation should begin with gutting the kitchen and finish by burning down the house.

    Reply
  199. Herb

    Dave, your analysis of law-keeping is almost right. (Again, I am going to address Dave as a fellow evangelical, so ignore this if you’re not interested.) But the overriding principle is, “we must obey God more than man” (see Acts 5; better translation that “rather than man,” which is not really accurate, nor is it helpful.)
    The general principle is, “be subject to every ordinance of man.” But, there are times when, as believers, we choose to disobey man’s laws because we are convinced that God’s law is higher, and this is what we must do. If we do that, we are fully prepared to cheerfully accept the consequences, as M.L. King did, or Dietrich Bonhoeffer before him.
    I cannot judge a pastor who chooses to keep illegal aliens in his church. Maybe some can; I can’t. I would be very careful before I did it, (and this is of course a very theoretical thing on my part, since I’m not doing it, and it doesn’t cost me anything — I can hear Mary preaching to me now!!). But in the end, if I am convinced that I must, before God, go that way, then I must. The U.S. has also had many unjust laws in the past and does also today. That is not the dominion of “all those liberal countries out there.”
    I hope this doesn’t sound patronizing. I don’t intend it to be. I guess I am really just explaining to you, as a fellow evangelical, why I think the way I do. I don’t have time now to provide links to the above verses, but I am sure that you are familiar with them, anyway.

    Reply
  200. Herb

    In the next to the last paragraph, the word “just” should be inserted after “not.” The last sentence should read, “That is not just the dominion of all those liberal countries . . . .”
    I chose that word “liberal” on purpose, since it seems to be a really nasty word around here . . . .

    Reply
  201. Ready to Hurl

    Herb, I thought that “judging” was the eleventh commandment for fundies.
    All you have to do is extend Dave’s precept that you just can’t let anybody “sin” in society without punishment. What would we tell the chillun if we didn’t stone the adulterers?
    Oops, I guess that last part is supposed to be a surprise for when the theo-cons really take over the government.

    Reply
  202. Randy E

    Dave, W’s approval rating indicates that the booing is no surprise.
    I find it disingenious that our leader is to be attributed for so many of the good things, but the bad are to be shared. He is the commander in chief. The buck stops there.
    Before the fringe starts to dismiss me as liberal and hating America, I will point out that I have several conservative beliefs which Dave recognized before and I would vote for L.Graham and McCain and I would have voted for Staton over the dem Rex. That’s hardly liberal.

    Reply
  203. Randy E

    Replying to Herb’s post:
    I talked to my priest about the immigration issue and illegals in the church. Mine is the the Catholic church which obviously has many Hispanics.
    He made two excellent points. He’s not a police officer so it’s not his job to be looking for illegals. He’s also not looking for men who skipped out on child support or others who have committed other crimes (point being why should the one group be highlighted over the others).
    Regarding punishing sin, we would all be punished and punished repeatedly.

    Reply
  204. LexWolf

    “I have several conservative beliefs which Dave recognized before and I would vote for L.Graham and McCain and I would have voted for Staton over the dem Rex. That’s hardly liberal.”
    Heh. It certainly ain’t conservative, Randy. I wouldn’t vote for any of those 3. By the way, did you actually vote for Graham and McCain last time they ran or is this just some pious proclamation of yours?

    Reply
  205. LexWolf

    “He’s not a police officer so it’s not his job to be looking for illegals.”
    Quite so, Randy (and Herb), quite so. However, he’s also not a coyote so it’s not his job to hide illegal aliens either. Nobody expects him to “look” for these people but nobody expects him to aid and abet them in their illegal behavior either.

    Reply
  206. Dave

    Interesting comments. Christians are taught (hopefully) to live their life on this earth with the number one precept to love God above all else. When people go astray, they really are worshiping (loving) themselves more than God. We are also taught to obey the laws of civil authorities. If I thought the illegals were streaming over the border because they were following God’s love I could support that. In reality, they are coming for one and only one reason, money, or in biblical terms mammon. They want more things, more money, cars, you name it. So they truly are sinning in the worst sense. I am not (wouldn’t dare) try to preach to my friend Herb, but there is no half way regarding following the law of God. Laws of man can be disobeyed if you are forced to avert the true law. Sneaking illegally into another nation is not a moral imperative issued to the Mexicans or any others for that matter. What is wrong is wrong, plain and simple.

    Reply
  207. Capital A

    Maybe those outrageously outgrown, bloated and bleating churches that sprout up like anthills in the suburbs of Anytown, USA are attracting them across the border? Would Jesus be proud of constructs like this? WWWJD, indeed.
    Sinning in the worst sense… Get over yourself and clean up your own house first. I’m sure you’ll find ants aplenty.

    Reply
  208. Preston

    Nothing lilke listening to the “evangelicals” at those grotesque abominations preaching piety while wearing a Rolex, gold jewelry, $5000 suits and drving a Mercedes. What would Jesus think? A bunch of greedy freaks praying on the fears of the weak for profit.

    Reply
  209. Capital A

    Capital Amen!
    The incessant rotations of the offering plates are but a few, repeated reasons why I always keep a Shake N’ Bake(tm) coupon handy when visiting such hallowed halls.

    Reply
  210. Preston

    We’d better be carefull before Pat Robertson leg presses us to Hell, or Benny Hinn sends a plague to our home (since he can cure all, he can reverse his power and damn us, right?).

    Reply
  211. Ready to Hurl

    I’m not sure how many fundies are aware that they “sin” if they jaywalk or exceed the speed limit.

    Reply
  212. Ready to Hurl

    Dave sez:In reality, they are coming for one and only one reason, money, or in biblical terms mammon. They want more things, more money, cars, you name it. So they truly are sinning in the worst sense.
    So a Mexican who escapes grinding, hopeless poverty in his native village (more than likely worsened by NAFTA) to take a dangerous, low paid job in America is sinning. Obviously supporting his extended family back home is an offense to God.
    Meanwhile, the rich, SUV-driving Norte Americano who contracts for cheap (read “illegal”) labor to fill back-breaking tasks with little or no safety precautions is…what? A saint?
    I love this blog. It’s like a guided tour of Bizarro World thinking.

    Reply
  213. Herb

    RTH, you are classic. You really make me double over sometimes. Not laughing at you, but with you. Contrary to what Dave and others might think, I am not one of those awful “liaberals.” But sometimes what they write makes me wish I could become one.
    You have many faults, I think, but you are honest. And a critical thinker. I like that.

    Reply
  214. LexWolf

    RTH,
    I have great respect for the Hispanics I’ve known so far. Some of them were probably illegals but they were extremely hardworking and honest. In fact, if I had a choice I would take some of our lazy, indolent citizens and ship them back to wherever they or their ancestors came from and keep the Hispanics instead.
    In other words, I have nothing against Hispanics who, as you correctly noted, mainly come here to escape the misery of their native countries. However, it doesn’t matter whether we like Hispanics or not. If they could, probably half the world would want to move to the US — and I couldn’t blame them at all — but obviously, they can’t all come here. We must have some laws to limit the onslaught or this entire country would collapse. And we must enforce those laws, both against the illegal aliens and against the shady employers.
    The real issue is that we as a nation need to decide which people can come live in this country. We can debate about how much legal immigration we should have and the criteria we should apply to potential immigrants but it’s simply intolerable that people can invade our country and totally ignore our laws. That’s the real issue in this whole thing: who decides – we as a nation or the illegals?

    Reply
  215. Capital A

    North America seemed to prosper quite well the last time it was invaded. The “natives”, however, did not.
    Is it fear of history repeating or just old-fashioned xenophobia that drives the more rabid wolves concerned with this issue?

    Reply
  216. Lee

    You don’t have to be rabid to realize that there is some level of population which is optimum for the overall level of wealth, diversity of culture, and of wildlife and wild places. Those of us who remember population levels of 150,000,000 know it was a lot nicer than it is at 260,000,000. At 400,000,000, America will be a stripped cesspool, like much of Asia and Africa are becoming.
    As a genuine classical liberal, I would like to try to improve the education, properity and health of the American citizens of a stable number, instead of continuing what we did since 1970: increasing our population mostly by immigration and illegal aliens of the poorest, least educated, and most culturally backward sorts. Almost all our new development, roads, schools, water and sewers have been to serve 100,000,000 people who have mostly been dead weight.
    Most of Europe has had better sense that that. Just see how hard it is for even the most educated American to get a work permit there.

    Reply
  217. Herb

    RTH,
    “You have many faults . . .”
    What was I thinking when I wrote that? Evidently not at all, since I don’t know you.
    My apologies. Sometimes my brain disconnects while my fingers are typing.

    Reply
  218. Dave

    RTH – how about letting us all know when you decide to turn over all your belongings, home, cars, and everything else to the illegal immigrants because you are so charitable and gracious. Something tells me you keep a safe distance from the lower socio-economic peasantry. But it makes you feel good to be self righteous, right.

    Capital A – what you give to God is between you and God, mocking tithing is blasphemy. Remember you will reap what you sow. God will remember your useless little coupons even if we dont.

    Reply
  219. Randy E

    “The state’s Hispanic population grew 7.1 percent from 2004 to 2005 — the third-fastest growth rate in the country.”
    LEE, RUN FOR YOUR LIVES – MORE “CRIMINALS!”

    Reply
  220. Randy E

    “I have great respect for the Hispanics I’ve known so far…I have nothing against Hispanics” – Lexwolf
    The same Hispanics that you claimed commit 88% of the crime?! You what, respect their proficiency in crime?
    And don’t bother with the “misquoting” dance. Lee gave the rate at 96% and you said “so he was off by 8%.”
    I smell Flip Flopper!!

    Reply
  221. LexWolf

    The same Hispanics that you claimed commit 88% of the crime?!
    Randy, I’m really starting to see why our kids are doing so poorly in school, with “teachers” like you who can’t or won’t keep their quotes straight and insist on making spurious accusations again and again. Show me exactly where I said that Lee was off by 8% in referring to the Hispanic crime rate. Show me!!
    That comment referred to the percentage of black children growing up in families with only one parent or none at all – Lee had claimed 70% and I posted a link showing that it should have been 62%. In fact, I even challenged you to produce the correct numbers for the Hispanic crime rate, something you failed to do. One would think that an eminent statistics expert like you, with 33 or so hours of statistics training, would have no problem finding those numbers. One would think wrong because all we got from you instead was ranting and raving about made-up quotations.
    At one time I thought that you simply made mistakes when you took quotes out of context or completely mangled them. By now it’s pretty apparent that you intentionally do this. Here is the actual quote again:
    So Lee was off by 8 percentage points but close enough.
    “In 2002, 38 percent of black children and 65 percent of Hispanic children lived with two married parents” SOURCE
    Posted by: LexWolf | Aug 1, 2006 9:52:13 PM

    Your continued cavalier disregard and contempt towards the truth is what sets YOU apart as the major bully on this blog. Not to mention that you seem to think that the blog can’t function unless your verbal diarrhea produces at least 25% of the posts. Despite your all too many posts you rarely produce anything worthwhile – such as some actual substantive discussion concerning my post above.

    Reply
  222. LexWolf

    Where’s that quote again, Mr. Bully? Can’t produce it, can you? Do we get a retraction and apology now?

    Reply
  223. Ready to Hurl

    Lexie, I just felt compelled to comment on Dave’s Bizarro World version of Christianity. I’m still imagining Dave’s God as a Minuteman on the border or a traffic cop ticketing me on the interstate.
    Dave, illegal immirgrants are actually making our society work “better.” They take jobs for less money that most Americans so we get produce, meat and chicken cheaper, for instance.
    So how you figure that I (or any other American) is in danger of “turning over all your belongings, home, cars, and everything else to the illegal immigrants” is a mystery to me.
    The rest of your post is just so much insulting crap unworthy of comment.

    Reply
  224. Randy E

    Lex, does your ability to analyze go beyond mere criticism or can you offer solutions beyond “let the market handle it?”
    It’s quite amusing that you portray me as the bully, when you have a whole thread directed towards your playground tactics.
    Let’s see if you have even a shred of an ability to be constructive…

    Reply
  225. Lee

    Lex, do you really believe that Randy is a math teacher? He’s got you playing his game of dodge ball. He never comes up with any facts and figures, just says everyone else’s are wrong. Intellectual sloth.

    Reply
  226. Randy E

    Oh, if you were referring to Lee’s racially tinged quote in which he made unsubstantiated value assessments about single black parents “not caring about their kids” in lieu of his prejudicial quote that 96.8% of crime is committed by Hispanics then I offer the following apology.
    I’m sorry I mistook which of Lee’s intolerant and hateful statements you were supporting, but am glad to see that you agree that Lee completely fabricated the rate of crime committed by Hispanics.

    Reply
  227. LexWolf

    I’m sorry I mistook which of Lee’s intolerant and hateful statements you were supporting
    Whether they are intolerant and hateful is just your opinion but I notice that you still haven’t produced anything proving them factually wrong. On the other hand I’ve posted several links proving them substantially correct (within a few percent, except for the Hispanic crime claim).
    Whom are we doing any favors by denying specific facts and simply dismissing them as intolerant and hateful. What exactly is so hateful about correctly stating that 62% of black children grow up with only one parent or no parent at all? Sometimes the truth is uncomfortable but wishful thinking or denial of the truth doesn’t get us anywhere either.
    You’re entitled to all the misinformed and misguided opinions you want, Randy, but you’re not entitled to your own facts.

    Lee,
    At this point I don’t believe that Randy is a teacher, nor do I believe that he has done any graduate work in statistics or any other subject. Based on past statements, a floundering freshman in Ed School sounds about right.

    Reply
  228. Lee

    When 60 to 70% of black children have been abandoned by one or both biological parents, exactly what are those parents doing which demonstrates to liberals that they care for their children?
    The same question applies to children of all races. Blacks just happen to lead this state in making their children homeless.

    Reply
  229. Dave

    RTH – with your theory, we should import everyone from Bangladesh, Sudan, Congo, Rwanda, and everywhere else impoverished people live in the world. Hey, then chicken breasts might sell for $.49 a pound instead of $.99. What a deal. Most of us are so thankful the left isnt running, and ruining this nation, the naivety is unreal.

    By the way, my God demands that moral rules be followed. History has shown that those who disobey those rules bear the consequences. I will let Herb provide direct references here. Each to his own but for the good of each I strongly advise following those rules.

    Reply
  230. Randy E

    “At this point I don’t believe that Randy is a teacher, nor do I believe that he has done any graduate work in statistics or any other subject. Based on past statements, a floundering freshman in Ed School sounds about right.” – Lex
    That’s classy Lex, no wonder you are listed on the Axis of Irritation.
    Let’s try this again, slowly.
    Lee posted the statement “70% of black kids live in 1 or no parents homes” that part I do not dispute. Ok? Got it?
    Lee went on to make a VALUE statement based on this prevelance, “I know those parents don’t care about their kids.” I take issue with this part. Ok? Got it? I have consistently and clearly taken issue with the VALUE statement, and not the percent.
    This value statement is clearly tinged with racism because he draws a broad subjective conclusion withOUT data to support it. Based on the fact given (70%), either he is suggesting parents who do not marry or who divorce do not care about their kids, or it’s only black parents who do not care. Which of these do you support Lex? I’d take some time to think before responding in print.

    Reply
  231. bud

    Republicans are in charge of every level of government. Lee and Lex point out all kinds of bad stuff that is happening. Lee and Lex’s solution? Give Republicans even more power! I just don’t follow the logic.

    Reply
  232. Ready to Hurl

    Lazy dodge, Dave. What “moral” precept in the Bible covers immirgration offenses?
    Stop pummeling that strawman or the Baptists might think that you’re dancing.
    You’re the one complaining about the detrimental effects of illegal aliens already in the country.
    You’re the one who thinks that crossing a “man-made” border without permission not just a crime in this country but is a “sin” in the eyes of God. Apparently your God doesn’t love His Hispanic children as much as His Anglo children. Obviously, man-made regulations and laws trump that “love.”
    I just pointed out that the millions of illegal aliens now in this country simply serve your vaunted “free market” (actually corporate pigs at the welfare trough).
    Please show me where I’ve advocated open borders. As usual, you make up positions for me (and “the left”) so that you feel good after “winning” arguments with strawmen. Sort of like intellectual masturbation. Sad.

    Reply
  233. LexWolf

    Randy,
    what’s wrong with your comprehension skills? I never made any VALUE judgement about black parents, as you call it. I simply provided a link that mostly supported Lee’s 70% figure (it’s actually 62%). That’s all I supported – the 62%. Is that so hard to understand? Go pester Lee.
    I would like YOUR statement as to exactly how the absent parents in those 62% of black households are demonstrating that they care about their kids.

    Reply
  234. Lee

    Don’t hold your breath. Randy has been dancing around explaining his value system for weeks. Liberals don’t have values. They don’t pass judgement. Everyone is just as good as everyone else, blah, blah blah.
    That’s why modern liberalism is impotent to improve society.

    Reply
  235. Lee

    Hurl, until you summon up the courage to state without equivocation what you actually do want for immigration policy, everyone will just have to presume you have no ideas, no policy, no will to control your own destiny and the destiny of this nation.

    Reply
  236. Randy E

    I have taught and worked with many black students with divorced parents who are both involved in the life of the student. This debunks your and Lee’s notion that the absent parents don’t care about their kids. Are there many parents who don’t care? Of course, but that’s a far cry from all.
    It’s a slick ploy to post a statistic, inappropriately draw a broad generalization based on it, then put the honus on someone to prove it wrong. You have to responsibility to show your statistic is correct.
    Are you really going to continue defending such a misguided position that black single parents who are not at home with their child don’t care about the child?

    Reply
  237. Kyle

    Randy…this argument is destined to spiral into a very bad exchange of one-uppance. Lee’s already gone off on how liberals have no values and can’t improve society. Don’t egg him on. I’ve lost track of where this argument started and it’s not going to make the world stop turning if it just dies.
    I feel for you, but I think you ought to let this thing die.

    Reply
  238. Randy E

    Kyle, if you notice there are other topics and exchanges that have digressed similarly. The common factor is the Axis of Irritation. It’s what happens when these boys get involved.
    I’ve tried repeatedly to engage in a debate on education for example. Inevitably, this digression is what happens.
    This is why Brad has received so much negative feedback, because of their “destructive” influence.
    Sigh.

    Reply
  239. Ready to Hurl

    Lee, I’m going to post this just once.
    I’m ignoring you until you decide to take Kyle’s and Herb’s advice above.

    Reply
  240. Lee

    Randy thinks that his having met a few single parents “debunks” the data of the US Census Bureau, DSS, and 1,000 social scientists.
    Sure, they were all wrong, and you were able to extrapolate it from your tiny experience. Why don’t you write a paper exposing Harvard, the U. of Michigan, Manhattan Institute, and Brookings Institution as frauds and liars.

    Reply
  241. Randy E

    Lee, so you are absolutely standing by your statement “I know those parents don’t care about their kids” in reference to single black parents?
    So the Census, DSS, and 1000 social scientists out there support that claim?
    I’d love to see the links. Especially for the Census data. I never knew they had data on how much parents love their kids!

    Reply
  242. Lee

    It is my opinion that parents who have children out of wedlock, abandon them, abuse drugs and go to jail are demonstrating a profound lack of care for their offspring. Those circumstances describe the situation of the majority of black children in SC.
    If you think such behavior is acceptable, and not harmful to the children, make your case.
    And don’t use the lack of parental involvement as an excuse for public schools accomplishing very little for most of these children.

    Reply
  243. Randy E

    Very interesting Lee. Please provide a source of data for the conclusion that the majority of black children in SC have parents that “abandon them, abuse drugs, and go to jail.” If it is an opinion, you are showing strong prejudiceness.
    I think this behavior is among the most destructive. I also see no evidence that most black students suffer this plight, which is why I’d like to see your supporting data.

    Reply
  244. LexWolf

    Here you go again with your selective “quotes”, Randy. How about using the complete quote:
    It is my opinion that parents who have children out of wedlock, abandon them, abuse drugs and go to jail are demonstrating a profound lack of care for their offspring. Those circumstances describe the situation of the majority of black children in SC. According to this link 68.4% of black children were born out of wedlock. The SC rate was 67.8% in 1998 and there is little reason to believe that it’s changed much since then.
    These numbers by themselves are a clear majority and that’s even before we add in those kids whose parents “abandon them, abuse drugs and go to jail”.
    Try to be intellectually honest for a change and stop your persistent misquoting!!

    Reply
  245. LexWolf

    Oops, the quote should have ended at the first ‘SC’ and a new paragrapgh should have started with ‘According’.

    Reply
  246. Randy E

    Lex, can you be any more misguided? How can you use that percent to determine how many are using drugs and going to jail? Quite the leap.
    Trying answering that question for once.

    Reply
  247. Randy E

    It is my opinion that parents who have children out of wedlock, abandon them, abuse drugs and go to jail are demonstrating a profound lack of care for their offspring. THOSE CIRCUMSTANCES DESCRIBE THE SITUATION OF THE MAJORITY OF BLACK CHILDREN IN SC.
    Lex, share how the percents and sources you cite bear out this last sentence.

    Reply
  248. LexWolf

    Elementary, Randy, elementary. Especially for an eminent statistican like you.
    A+B+C+D. Around 68% out-of-wedlock births plus whatever the numbers are for the 3 other categories. We don’t even need those other numbers because the out-of-wedlock births are already a clear 2/3 majority. The rest would just be gilding the lily.
    You’re not very good at comprehending either. Nowhere did Lee say that a majority of black children fall into all 4 categories. Some will probably fit into 2 or more but many will simply be out-of-wedlocks without the other 3 problems, i.e. their mothers stay out of trouble otherwise.
    You know, you’re really working very hard at removing all doubts that you aren’t a teacher, much less a math teacher. If you can’t even comprehend a simple statement like this, I shudder to think what you’re teaching your students.

    Reply
  249. Randy E

    THOSE CIRCUMSTANCES DESCRIBE THE SITUATION OF THE MAJORITY OF BLACK CHILDREN IN SC. Show me the statistics for this claim. Show me data from “# of black parents taking drugs.” From “# of black parents in jail.”

    Reply
  250. LexWolf

    Aaargh! Nobody can possibly be this dense.
    Randy, 68% out-of-wedlock plus (let’s just assume) 1% each abandonment, drugs and jail and you have 71%. Does that qualify yet as a majority in your eminent statistician and “math teacher’s” opinion?

    Reply
  251. Randy E

    Lex, Read his quote! Read it slowly.
    “It is my opinion that parents who have children out of wedlock, abandon them, abuse drugs and go to jail are demonstrating a profound lack of care for their offspring. THOSE CIRCUMSTANCES DESCRIBE THE SITUATION OF THE MAJORITY OF BLACK CHILDREN IN SC.”
    “Those circumstances” refers to “out of wedlock, abandonment, drugs, AND (he uses AND Lex!!!) go to jail.” Show me the data that puts ALL 4 characteristics TOGETHER to describe “majority of black children.”
    Lee clearly states that most black children from nontraditional homes have parents who do drugs AND go to jail. I’m not the one that’s “dense.”

    Reply
  252. LexWolf

    Can you please tell us what the meaning of ‘is’ is? Nobody in his right mind would read the post the way you do.

    Reply
  253. Kyle

    It’s pretty hard not to see what Randy is saying. As he’s quoted it, the original poster does seem to be saying that the majority of black children in SC have parents with those problems.
    That’s a pretty big leap. From where I’m standing, it’s a bogus statement and a bad generalization.

    Reply
  254. Lee

    If it weren’t for the education received here, Randy wouldn’t know anything about the social factors affecting black students in SC.
    65% at least born out of wedlock.
    33% at any given moment with only one biological parent around. More than 70% without a parent at some time in their lives.
    25% to 50% of black men in jail at some time in their lives, depending upon the neighborhood.
    There are a lot more bad facts, Randy. You need to do some homework, so you don’t have to resort to insulting messengers and denying the facts.
    Meanwhile, those of us who care will discuss how SC can solve some root causes of its illiteracy and poverty.

    Reply
  255. Lee

    LexWolf understood what I said, and what the statistics say. Now that Randy can’t play with that semantic ruse anymore, perhaps he will become civil and discuss some solutions.

    Reply
  256. Kyle

    Lee, if you want to make a case for how the majority of black children are what you say they are, I think you need to show how all those numbers are related. And remember, correlation != causation. You also probably need to compare this to white children. (How many white kids born out of wedlock? How many white kids without a parent?) In addition, you need to show that being born out of wedlock, not having a parent (not both parents, unless the 70% means both), etc, etc, lead to illiteracy and poverty.
    I don’t disagree that poverty and illiteracy are problems. They are at the root of almost every ‘bigger issue’ we know. And I know the problem reaches children of every race, socioeconomic status, etc. But for the sake of this argument, your numbers aren’t exactly supporting what I think you’re trying to say. And they don’t give you much basis to be thumbing your nose at Randy.

    Reply
  257. LexWolf

    For the white out-of-wedlock rate, check out the links at my 8:52:03 PM post above. Both the national and state rate is at around 22%.

    Reply
  258. Lee

    Kyle, I already posted all those stats, and the sources, several times. Why don’t you look some up for a change? I will post them again, and again.

    Reply
  259. Lee

    Since 1970, out-of-wedlock birth rates have soared. In 1965, 24 percent of black infants and 3.1 percent of white infants were born to single mothers. By 1990 the rates had risen to 64 percent for black infants, 18 percent for whites. Every year about one million more children are born into fatherless families.
    http://www.brookings.edu/comm/policybriefs/pb05.htm
    The longer Latinos are in the U.S., the more they assimilate … but not toward the white norm. Instead, they are becoming more like blacks. Currently, 22% of white births are illegitimate compared to 69% of black births. Among immigrant Latino mothers, 37% of their new babies were illegitimate. But among American-born Latino mothers, the illegitimacy rate rises to 48%.
    Source = verbatim from National Center for Health Statistics on births in 1998 http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/releases/00news/00news/nrbrth98.htm

    Reply
  260. Kyle

    Excellent job of bringing the facts, Lee. Thank you for doing that. Now, can you make those statistics connect with the crime & poverty rates? In doing so, to make your original point, you’ll have to show that they are a result of the statistics you just brought out. Again, correlation doesn’t equal causation.

    Reply
  261. Lee

    Are you asserting that there is no connection between poverty rates with illegitimate children being born to illiterate single mothers who are high school drop outs?
    Are you asserting that such children have no greater risk of remaining poor, becoming addicted to alcohol and narcotics, and committing crimes?
    If so, it sounds like we need to quit wasting money on education, housing, Food Stamps, and welfare, because they have no problem.

    Reply
  262. Kyle

    No. You’re quite right to point these connections and risk factors out…it’s a undeniably true and every effort needs to be made to curb it. I’m saying that these connections aren’t specific to one race or group of people, as you seemed to be pointing out earlier.

    Reply
  263. Lee

    I posted the data of the statistics for all races. Blacks in SC just have the far worst numbers. It’s time to stop pretending it isn’t so, admit that the liberal social programs made the problem worse, and try something else.

    Reply
  264. Ready to Hurl

    Maybe I can help you understand, Kyle.
    On Bizarro World you start with a conclusion (or, in this case, a bias) and find evidence to support it– or look like it’s supporting the bias.

    Reply
  265. LexWolf

    Just because you don’t understand something doesn’t mean it’s a non-sequitur. It’s more like a no-comprende in that case.
    Nobody said that those conditions are specific or unique to one race or group. They are present in all races or groups to some extent. Now we seem to agree that these conditions have an adverse effect, the more prevalent they are in a group. Then wouldn’t it be logical to say that if these conditions are roughly three times as prevalent in one group compared to another (68% versus 22%) that this first group could then could expect to have maybe 3 times as many problems as the second group?

    Reply
  266. Kyle

    Lex, is was indeed a non-sequitur. Lee said something that had nothing to do with my question.
    That aside, your explanation is good, and I agree – it’s no stretch to assume what you’re saying. What I am arguing here is Lee’s assertion that one causes the other, and that “THOSE CIRCUMSTANCES DESCRIBE THE SITUATION OF THE MAJORITY OF BLACK CHILDREN IN SC.” (I dug through the comments to find that, and it was already all-caps…I’m not shouting.) Again, correlation doesn’t equal causation.

    Reply
  267. Lee

    Kyle, do you even care about the root causes of poverty and illiteracy?
    Or are you one of those who like perpeptual unsolved problems as an excuse to dump money into programs which will do nothing but create wealth for social workers, teachers and administrators?

    Reply
  268. Lee

    Liberals like to perpetuate the myth that slavery broke up the black family in America.
    The truth is that African American families were intact well into the 1960s when 75% of
    black children were born into two parent families. In America’s inner cities today –
    where the black poor are concentrated – 80% of black children are born out of wedlock.
    This has nothing or very little to do with slavery, segregation and discrimination,
    but a lot to do with welfare policies, and liberal drug policies.
    – David Horowitz

    Reply
  269. Kyle

    Whoa, whoa whoa….where did my questioning of your statistics and inferences become a declaration that I don’t care about these problems? I’m pointing out a discrepancy in your method, not denying the problem. I’m acknowledging that it is a complex problem that needs multiple perspectives & solutions. What you’re describing is only part of the problem, and I don’t think focusing on one group of people is going to get anyone very far. Poverty & illiteracy is colorblind.
    Again, you pulled a non-sequitur. You’re piling on layers of extraneous stuff and refuting a claim that I’m not trying to make. And blowing off the hard work of people in public service to boot.

    Reply
  270. Dave

    RTH – You said — On Bizarro World you start with a conclusion (or, in this case, a bias) and find evidence to support it– or look like it’s supporting the bias.

    Sounds like the Global Warming crowd’s methodology. Find some junk scientists to proclaim we have man-made GW, then start looking for evidence. If the world has had 7 ice ages, that means we have had 6 or 7 warming ages. Why can’t Mother Nature make up her mind. Oh, she’s a woman. That’s it.

    Reply
  271. Ready to Hurl

    Dave, it’s standard rightwing practice as I pointed out in our exchange about Bobo Brooks. (BTW, it looks like Brownshirt pinup girl Ann Coulter has gotten caught again with bogus footnotes.)
    There sure is a lot of “junk science” out there supporting the global warming phenomenon. While your side seems to supported by a handful of folks, most of whom are financed by energy companies.
    Gore says in his movie that the latest count is 900+ scientific articles recognizing the global warming crisis vs. zero.
    Of course, he might have tilted the scales by only counting peer reviewed and not propaganda pieces in NewsMax.
    wikipedia:

    Main article: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

    The IPCC said in its Second Assessment Report (SAR) in 1995 that “the balance of evidence suggests that there is a discernible human influence on global climate”. Note that “balance of evidence” is not intended to suggest unambiguous proof; it is a reference to the standards of proof required in English civil law (balance of evidence) as opposed to criminal law (beyond reasonable doubt). This statement was strengthened in the Third Assessment Report (TAR) in 2001, in which the IPCC said:
    * “There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities.”
    * “In the light of new evidence and taking into account the remaining uncertainties, most of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations [1].”
    Joint science academies’ statement
    In 2005 the national science academies of the G8 nations and Brazil, China and India, three of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases in the developing world, signed a statement on the global response to climate change. The statement stresses that the scientific understanding of climate change is now sufficiently clear to justify nations taking prompt action [2], and explicitly endorsed the IPCC consensus.
    US National Research Council, 2001
    In 2001 the Committee on the Science of Climate Change of the National Research Council published Climate Change Science: An Analysis of Some Key Questions [3]. This report explicitly endorses the IPCC view of attribution of recent climate change as representing the view of the science community:
    The IPCC’s conclusion that most of the observed warming of the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations accurately reflects the current thinking of the scientific community on this issue. [4]
    The summary begins with:
    Greenhouse gases are accumulating in Earth’s atmosphere as a result of human activities, causing surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean temperatures to rise. Temperatures are, in fact, rising. The changes observed over the last several decades are likely mostly due to human activities, but we cannot rule out that some significant part of these changes is also a reflection of natural variability. Human-induced warming and associated sea level rises are expected to continue through the 21st century. (ibid.)
    American Meteorological Society
    The American Meteorological Society (AMS) statement adopted by their council in 2003 said:
    There is now clear evidence that the mean annual temperature at the Earth’s surface, averaged over the entire globe, has been increasing in the past 200 years. There is also clear evidence that the abundance of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has increased over the same period. In the past decade, significant progress has been made toward a better understanding of the climate system and toward improved projections of long-term climate change… The report by the IPCC stated that the global mean temperature is projected to increase by 1.4 °C–5.8 °C in the next 100 years… Human activities have become a major source of environmental change. Of great urgency are the climate consequences of the increasing atmospheric abundance of greenhouse gases… Because greenhouse gases continue to increase, we are, in effect, conducting a global climate experiment, neither planned nor controlled, the results of which may present unprecedented challenges to our wisdom and foresight as well as have significant impacts on our natural and societal systems. It is a long-term problem that requires a long-term perspective. Important decisions confront current and future national and world leaders. [5]
    Federal Climate Change Science Program, 2006
    On May 2, 2006, the Federal Climate Change Science Program commissioned by the Bush administration in 2002 released the first of 21 assessments which concluded that there is clear evidence of human influences on the climate system (due to changes in greenhouse gases, aerosols, and stratospheric ozone) [6]. The study said that observed patterns of change over the past 50 years cannot be explained by natural processes alone, though it did not state what percentage of climate change may be anthropogenic in nature.
    Other organizations
    Other scientific organisations who have made position statements on climate change.
    * American Geophysical Union position statement on greenhouse gases and climate change
    * Climate Change Science: An Analysis of Some Key Questions, National Academy of Sciences, Commission on Geosciences, Environment and Resources, (Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2001).
    * Joint statement on the Science of Climate Change, issued by sixteen national academies of science from around the world.
    * A position paper of the Stratigraphy Commission of the Geological Society of London.
    * Policy Statement on Climate Variability and Change by the American Association of State Climatologists (AASC)
    The Summary Report of the World Climate Change Conference, Moscow, 2003, included: “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has provided the basis for much of our present understanding of knowledge in this field in its Third Assessment Report (TAR) in 2001. An overwhelming majority of the scientific community has accepted its general conclusions that climate change is occurring, is primarily a result of human emissions of greenhouse gases and aerosols, and that this represents a threat to people and ecosystems.” [7]

    Reply
  272. LexWolf

    RTH,
    what would have been the status of those “bogus” endnotes about 3 or 4 months earlier when the book went to press? How many of the criticisms would still be valid if placed before the book was put to press? Any idjit can take a statement 4 months later and say it didn’t turn out the way people thought.

    Reply
  273. Lee

    Kyle, your ruse of claiming to want to deal with a comprehensive solution is the same bogus stall used by liberals to block tax reform, welfare reform, education reform, etc.
    When any policy, no matter how small, is obviously causing the problem, it needs to be abolished right then. That makes the remaining problem less complex for liberals to ponder, and for the rest of us to work on.

    Reply
  274. Lee

    Top Scientists Say Global Warming is Bunk
    Chill out over global warming
    06/05/2006
    By David Harsanyi
    Denver Post Staff Columnist
    You’ll often hear the left lecture about the importance of dissent in a free society.
    Why not give it a whirl?
    Start by challenging global warming hysteria next time you’re at a LoDo cocktail party and see what happens.
    Admittedly, I possess virtually no expertise in science. That puts me in exactly the same position as most dogmatic environmentalists who want to craft public policy around global warming fears.
    The only inconvenient truth about global warming, contends Colorado State University’s Bill Gray, is that a genuine debate has never actually taken place. Hundreds of scientists, many of them prominent in the field, agree.
    Gray is perhaps the world’s foremost hurricane expert. His Tropical Storm Forecast sets the standard. Yet, his criticism of the global warming “hoax” makes him an outcast.
    “They’ve been brainwashing us for 20 years,” Gray says. “Starting with the nuclear winter and now with the global warming. This scare will also run its course. In 15-20 years, we’ll look back and see what a hoax this was.”
    Gray directs me to a 1975 Newsweek article that whipped up a different fear: a coming ice age.
    “Climatologists,” reads the piece, “are pessimistic that political leaders will take any positive action to compensate for the climatic change. … The longer the planners delay, the more difficult will they find it to cope with climatic change once the results become grim reality.”
    Thank God they did nothing. Imagine how warm we’d be?
    Another highly respected climatologist, Roger Pielke Sr. at the University of Colorado, is also skeptical.
    Pielke contends there isn’t enough intellectual diversity in the debate. He claims a few vocal individuals are quoted “over and over” again, when in fact there are a variety of opinions.

    Reply
  275. Kyle

    Sorry, Lee, you’ve gone back into the “all liberals are causing problems and don’t care about people” attack mode. I’ll be back with you when you can stick with an argument.

    Reply
  276. Lee

    I simply posted the opinon of two of the world’s top climatologists.
    It is your inference that some liberals are ignorant supporters of the global warming hysteria.

    Reply
  277. Ready to Hurl

    Lexie, please explain how the passage of any time would make this example legitimate:
    ====
    [On Page 248, Coulter wrote:]
    ====
    In an article in the New York Times on intelligent design, the design proponents quoted in the article keep rattling off serious, scientific arguments — from [Michael J.] Behe’s examples in molecular biology to [William] Dembski’s mathematical formulas and statistical models. The Times reporter, who was clearly not trying to make the evolutionists sound retarded, was forced to keep describing the evolutionists’ entire retort to these arguments as: Others disagree.2
    That’s it. No explanation, no specifics, just “others disagree.” The high priests of evolution have not only forgotten how to do science, they’ve lost the ability to formulate a coherent counterargument.
    ====
    [Media Matters rebuttal follows]
    The New York Times article Coulter cited — “In Explaining Life’s Complexity, Darwinists and Doubters Clash” — appeared on August 22, 2005, as Part 2 of a three-part series on the debate over the teaching of evolution.
    Coulter’s claim that the article’s author, reporter Kenneth Chang, offered “[n]o explanations” and “no specifics” from the proponents of evolution is flat-out false.
    Chang offered detailed explanations of how evolutionary mechanisms gave rise to blood-clotting systems, modern whales, and speciation among birds on the Galapagos Islands (“Darwin’s finches”). Chang also noted: “Darwin’s theory … has over the last century yielded so many solid findings that no mainstream biologist today doubts its basic tenets, though they may argue about particulars.”
    Finally, and most egregiously, the phrase “others disagree” appears nowhere in the article.

    Reply
  278. Lee

    Charles Darwin was one of the original proponents of the Theory of Intelligent Design, though not the originator of it. He is not usually referred to as being “anti-science”.

    Reply
  279. Kyle

    I’m not following the global warming argument you’ve got going, I was talking about the poverty/illiteracy thing. I should have made that clear.

    Reply
  280. Lee

    Do you even care about the root causes of poverty and illiteracy, like illegitimate births, drugs and alcohol?
    Or are you one of those who like perpeptual unsolved problems as an excuse to dump money into programs which will do nothing but create wealth for social workers, teachers and administrators?

    Reply
  281. Kyle

    You’ve tried that line once before. Lee, seriously, questioning your statistical inferences != denying the problem. If that’s all you’ve got, I’m afraid this discussion is over.

    Reply
  282. Lee

    So tell us what the “real” numbers for bastardy, drug abuse, and felony conviction are, kyle, and why they are not a factor in the poverty and illiteracy of blacks in SC?
    You can’t defend any number. That’s why you talk in riddles and why Randy has run away. You don’t know and you don’t want to know how badly the racist programs of white liberals have screwed up things.

    Reply
  283. Dave

    You gotta love this. Now some of the environmental wackos are claiming that the lack of hurricanes this year is caused by global warming. Can we call those Inconvenient Facts?

    Reply
  284. Dave

    Brad, I really wanted to post number 300, the all time Brad Warthen Blog record. I also was the first to hit your hundredth post. This is exciting. Worth a celebration. Are bloggers weird or what?

    Reply
  285. Kyle

    Lee, listen closely. I am not disagreeing that these problems exist or that they are factors for the problems of any group of people in SC or the nation. I disagree with your statistical inference that seemed to say the problems were strictly among black folks in SC.
    I have been PERFECTLY CLEAR. You have no reason to make charges that I’ve been anything else, and even less ground to yak about how social programs are screwing things up.
    I have tried to be nice, tried to have a civil conversation with you, and have stretched my patience. This is asinine. Lee, it appears to me that you have a clear picture in your head of the enemy (that is, anyone to the left of you) and how they’ve screwed up the world. You are projecting that fantasy onto everyone you talk to. And you bully them until you drive them away. You’re left thinking that you’ve “won” and out-debated someone…when all you’ve done is insult and talk through this fantasy until folks can’t stand the nonsense.
    If you want to make real change in the world, this isn’t the way to do it. You’ve got to work with people of all kinds. Your paranoid, fearful, misanthropic attitude isn’t going to get you anywhere with solving any problem you see.
    I can’t help you. I can’t be any clearer. If you can’t argue reasonably, there’s no point in even trying with you. Call this “running away” to spend time actually living life and trying to help others and not wasting it arguing with a very angry person on a blog.

    Reply
  286. Lee

    Kyle, it is not a “statistical inference” that blacks have the highest rates of illegitimate births, drug abuse, poverty, crime, and incarceration in prison. Those are the basic facts, which could be used for some sort of inference to associate the basic numbers with each other, or with other social problems.
    It doesn’t matter how nice or how hostile you are, if you don’t understand the facts, refuse to admit the basic facts, or dishonestly deny the facts. Some people, usually white liberals, demonstrate one of these behaviors, some two, some all three.
    I can deal with someone who doesn’t understand but tries to, but not those who play games and play dumb because they aren’t seriously interested in the root causes of the poverty and other problems as much as they are in using those as excuses for them to have a paid position of power to dole out tax money, education, or something else which is quite unlikely to have any success.

    Reply
  287. peter vajda

    Blogging, Incivility and Negativity
    Social scientists, socioeconomists, and social psychologists are increasingly pointing to the fact that the social mood in the United States, and across the world’s culture and civilization is turning bad and that overall social mood is going to get a lot worse before improving. Research graphs and diagrams, such as the Elliot Wave Principle, underscore the finding that there is a natural ebb and flow of social mood (positive vs. negative) and that darker times, socially and politically, lie ahead of us, creating increased tension and negativity. Nowhere is this negative mood more evident than in the blogosphere where incivility, disrespect, meanness, bullying, and demeaning behavior rule the day, and the posts. What is it that accounts for this negativity among bloggers and what can be done to perhaps soothe and diminish their high degree of vitriol, rancor, meanness, incivility and disrespect?
    I’ve followed the negativity of blog discussions mainly from the perspective of being
    curious about the nature of the interactions where the behaviors are as interesting, if not more so, than the content.
    There’s no question passion drives many a blogger’s interactions. Unfortunately, passion is often used as an “excuse” (it’s never a “reason”) to treat another blogger disrespectfully or in an uncivil manner.
    Curiously enough, research also points to increases in the number of heart attacks, cancer incidents, obesity rates, diabetes, suicides, spousal abuse incidents, etc. What’s the connection?
    Whether it’s an increase in incivility or in life-threatening illness and disease, these statistics do not mean that I have to engage in anti-social or self-destructive behavior.
    I can choose what behaviors support me to live a healthy lifestyle and which don’t. The
    same reasoning is true for whether I choose to be civil or uncivil, respectful or disrespectful, hurtful and harmful or compassionate and understanding in my
    relationships and interactions, on blogs, that is, in how I choose to show up in the world.
    Shakespeare said, “An event is neither good nor bad, only thinking makes it so.” So, why is one’s “thinking” so negative? What belief systems, mental models of the world and people in the world, assumptions, misconceptions, misperceptions does one have hard-wired into their brain that bring one to reactivity, to negativity in the face of just, well, “words”?
    So, with respect to how I show up in the blogosphere, the bottom line is the degree to which I am “conscious” — whether I am consciously aware of “how I am” and “who I am” while blogging, and relating to others in a blog community, or am I “unconscious”, being reactive, with no conscious thought of how I am behaving.
    In our current culture in the U.S. where most folks are obsessed with ego needs for control, recognition and security, it’s no wonder that most folks’ thoughts are “killing thoughts” as opposed to “healing thoughts.” The mantra underlying most of our interactions and interrelationships is: “It’s all about me! Out of my way!”
    Moreover, in a culture where many folks gain their sense of identity (“who I am”) from a direct association with their “knowledge and information” (the database in their brain), it’s no surprise that much of the incivility and reactivity on blogs comes from the perspective that: “When you disagree with my information, well, you disagree with me”, and because such disagreement is just too much of a hit to many folks’ egos, they react (fight, as opposed to flee or freeze). Agreeing to disagree and engaging in constructive dialogue are fast becoming a lost art forms in Western culture.
    When folks are “unconscious” of “how they are” and “who they are”, when folks are unable or unwilling to engage in self-reflection, their tendency is to associate and behave with a herd mentality — witness the vitriol, the high-pitch ever-escalating level of disrespect, sarcasm (in the guise of “humor”), mocking, bullying, that is taking the place on blogs.
    Much of the negative and disrespectful exchanges in blogs has to do with how one relates to another human being. Life is relationship — the manner in which one chooses to, consciously or unconsciously, relate to, “meet”, “see” and accept another person. What’s happening in the blogosphere is a manifestation of a blogger’s internal conflict that manifests as a failure to relate to another individual in an accepting, compassionate, respectful manner that transcends simple “exchange of knowledge and information.”
    So, while the research is what it is, that does not mean one cannot consciously choose how one wants to be in relationship, is dialogue, in conversation when blogging.
    So, how does one become more conscious of one’s blogging behaviors? How does one become conscious of what’s driving one’s negative blogging behavior? By consciously considering what’s underneath one’s need to be uncivil, mean, disrespectful, and demeaning.
    There are two underlying drivers for much of the negative interactions on blogs. These two drivers are characterized as: (1) “It’s not about the information or content”, and (2) “It’s all about the information or content.”
    1. It’s not about the content
    From this perspective, what is occurring is the need for an individual blogger to resort to a verbally abusive and bullying approach in an effort to make a “connection” with another person. For other bloggers, the need is to first engage, and then disengage, then engage and disengage, as in a “love-hate” relationship, in order to stay in the game.
    In the arena of psychodynamics or ego psychology, this both of these behaviors are referred to as “negative merging.” In some relationships, the only way two people can “merge” or have any semblance of “connectivity” (e.g., mental, emotional,, psychological, social, etc.) is by fighting or arguing. Without the fighting or arguing, there would be no connectivity, no relating. Thus, the need to bully, argue, demean, find fault, nit-pick, etc., supports a blogger top feel engaged and “merged.” It gives the blogger a sense of “belonging”, being psychologically and emotionally connected. It really
    has nothing to do with the “information” being discussed or exchanged.
    Rather, the negative and uncivil behavior is about connecting and needing to feel “seen” and “heard”, in other words, to feel that the blogger is actually “somebody” as opposed to being a “nobody.” Unless the blogger feels they are somebody, they feel they have no sense of value or worth. The only downside is that playing out of this need to be “seen” comes from a deeper place of anger, fear and negativity.
    In “negatively merged” relationships, real and true, mature, heartfelt acceptance, approval, and satisfaction are lacking. So, the only way the two or more bloggers can experience any “false” connection at all is from this place of negative engagement, often it’s in the form of poking, being disrespectful, being uncivil, nit-picking, finding fault, etc. .
    In “negative-merged” relationships, such back-and-forth behavior, and childish emotional acting out, becomes the sole source of contact between bloggers. The bottom line is that in negative-merged relationships, negative contact is better than no
    contact at all.
    So content aside, two or more such bloggers are no different than a couple who, lacking any real heartfelt, mature, adult-level connectivity, resort to arguing and fighting over how to stack the dishes in the dishwasher, fold the laundry, or vacuum the car, or slice the turkey. At the end of the day, for negatively merged bloggers, it’s never really about the “content”. It’s about the need to be “seen” and connect when there’s no true feeling of connectedness.
    Until and unless a “negative-merged” inclined blogger expands their awareness and explores what’s really “underneath” their need to be negative, uncivil and disrespectful, (i.e., by consciously exploring their limiting self-images, beliefs, preconceptions, “hard wiring” about how they view their self vis-à-vis being in the world and relating to others), there’s probably never going to be any change or transformation of that blogger’s behavior. So, they’ll fight, lick their wounds, go away and come back to fight another day on another blog, always at another’s throat, always argumentative, bickering, poking, criticizing. Why? It’s the only way they know how to “connect.”
    2. Content is everything.
    The ego-personality is driven by one’s Inner Judge and Critic, the inner voice that continually creates drama and upset in our lives, that never allows us to truly feel at peace with ourselves. The inner judge and critic is driven by three major ego needs: control, security and recognition.
    Driven consistently and relentlessly by these three needs, many of us derive our identity, that is, “who I think I am”, and “who I take myself to be” from external things, as opposed to experiencing ourselves with integrity and authenticity that arises from being in touch with our Inner Nature, our True and Real Self, from what’s “inside”.
    One of the externals from which people gain a sense of their identify is their “information.” For these folks, their mantra is “I am my information.” In other words, my identity, who I am, is defined on what I have in my brain, my database. I live in my mind, and my mind defines me as a person.
    Coming from this mental place, then, in a blogging environment, what happens when someone disagrees with an “information identity” blogger, is that the “information identity” blogger is unable and unwilling to see the other’s response as a simple perspective, or point of view, or as just “different from me.” Rather, the “information identity” blogger has a need to react, to become defensive and critical and take the other’s information as a personal affront and as a personal and “attack on me.”
    In our culture of right vs. wrong, good vs. bad, win vs. lose, me vs. you, for many bloggers there is little to no room for acceptance of differences, i.e., “different information”. Rather, there’s more of a need for many bloggers to engage in some type of escalating “ad hominem” attack so that the “information identity” blogger can survive, live, and not lose their identity. The “information identity” blogger survives by meeting their need to “be right” in some way, shape or form.
    And so when these “information identity” bloggers feel attacked because another blogger has presented “different information”, or disagreed with them, they emotionally feel out of control, insecure, and unrecognized, unseen. Their internal, unconscious reaction is: “My God, I have no identity if my information is “wrong’. I need to fight back and save my self.”
    In this state of (often unconscious) reactivity characterized by anger, fear, worry, resentment, defensiveness, feeling “small”, unseen, invisible, unrecognized, unappreciated, being resistant, defensive and agitated, and feeling a loss of control, recognition or emotional security, some bloggers act out so they can feel and see themselves as big, large, as “somebody” with an identity.
    ”Information identity” bloggers might be surprised if they were to explore why they need to act out and sting, poke, demean and bully others, why they need to attack, defend and counter-attack, why they are so caught up in identifying with “my information.”
    What happens in the blogosphere is really no different from what happens between and among individuals and couples every day, at work, at home and at play, i.e., occurrences of the same behaviors that manifest when folks allow their ego-personalities and “comparative-judgmental minds” to get in the way of a healthy relationship, a healthy dialogue, a healthy interaction. The dynamic here with the “information identity: blogger, is that they are being by their need for control, recognition and security as opposed to allowing their self to coming from one’s inner plane where one can be perfectly comfortable with who one is and where one is without needing to be right and without depending on one’s information as the source of who they are.
    The poking, the disrespect, the vitriol and incivility are all about resistance, denial and projecting. It’s all about not being “consciously conscious of “Who I am” and “How I am” in relationship; so the negativity comes from one’s locking on to cruise control, being “unconscious” and simply reacting to everything happening “outside”. It’s about needing to look “outside” for what’s lacking “inside.”
    While some may view ad hominem attacks, rudeness, disrespect, poking, bullying and negative behaviors as “common” in today’s discussions and relationships, they are not, neither for children nor for adults, and sometimes, in the blogosphere, it’s hard to tell the difference. Reactive elements cause mental, emotional and even physical pain, and discomfort and for the actual and lurking “ringside” participants and observers, even though they may not even be aware of it. The discord does take a toll, one way or another.
    Where some lurkers would honestly and sincerely like to offer their perspectives in a safe environment, they are often wary of doing so as they don’t want to come up against bloggers whose need is to “take it personally” and who react to “different” takes and information in a negative, poking, rejecting manner. It’s the “information identity” bloggers who make many blogs unsafe for so many others who have worthy contributions to make.
    So, The negativity is an attempt to fill this hole of deficiency, thinking that spending time and energy being critical, judgmental, demeaning and disrespectful of others will somehow make me feel “better” at the expense of those who I am stepping on and over in my attempts to get to the top of some ladder (financial, social professional, etc.) that will make me feel like “somebody.”
    So, what can bloggers do to ensure a more inclusive, safe, mutually-respective container for adult-adult dialogue and reduce the intense degree of negativity that permeates so much of the blogosphere?
    Perhaps bloggers can envision and then act to create an environment where one can
    notice, accept and appreciate the uniqueness of another blogger’s perspective
    without automatically jumping on the “me vs. you”, “right vs. wrong”, “good vs. bad”
    “expert vs. novice”, “intelligent vs. stupid” continuum.
    Perhaps bloggers can take some time to move out of their intellectual zip code of
    ”It’s all about what I know.” and explore the perhaps, more foreign, landscape of non-violent communication to enhance the quality of some of their interactions, even approaching discussions with the curiosity of a “beginner’s mind”, a neutral mind.
    Perhaps bloggers can take a deep breath, sense into their bodies and experience their feelings and emotions, before responding to a post and consciously ask themselves, “Why would a reasonable, rational, decent person like me consciously choose to be disrespectful, uncivil and harm another person simply because their “information” is different from my “information.”
    Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see.” So, if you are engaging in uncivil, disrespectful, demeaning behaviors as a blogger, don’t wait for others to change their tone and tenor. It starts with you.
    As Rumi says, “Out beyond right doing and wrong doing, there is a field; I’ll meet you there.” Come from that place in your blogs and interact from that part of yourself that is respectful, accepting, compassionate, empathic, and inclusive.
    Bloggers can choose to play in that field with their colleagues; or they can choose to
    create and fight in a battlefield of words, of ego, hostility and lost identity. One brings happiness, collegiality, contentment and well-being; the other brings pain and suffering, mentally, emotionally, physically, socially, and spiritually.
    Incivility and negativity are all about “resistance” to someone or something “out there” with which one feels uncomfortable. Incivility and negativity are all about being “unconscious” of how one is in relationship. Incivility and negativity are all about the ego’s need for control, recognition and security and being unwilling to go “inside” and explore why one needs to hurt, be verbally abusive, and disrespect another. Incivility and negativity are largely about the mantras: “I’d rather be right than happy.” Or, “I have to be somebody at the expense of being seen as a nobody.”
    Life, after all, is choices. Do I choose to be reactive, hurtful, negative and uncivil? Why? Really, really, really, why?
    Peter Vajda, Ph.D., C.P.C.

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