Excuse me for getting all earnest, but how can we interact more meaningfully here?

And yes, I mean "earnest" and not "Ernest" like in my last post, although if you'd like you can attribute the seriousness of my message here to the influence of my serious new notebook.

Anyway, I wrote the following as a followup comment on my otherwise silly, fun post on Tina Fey, and it occurred to me I should elevate it to a separate post and see if we can get a good dialogue going on the subject here. Rather than rewrite it, I repeat myself:

Funny thing is, I used to not like Tina Fey — or Jimmy Fallon, or,
going way back before them, Dennis Miller — in their Weekend Update

As y'all know, I like to have fun and kid around, but I do
take the news and the issues of the day seriously, and at some point I
get turned off by people who day in and day out sneer and make jokes of
serious issues. I mean, let's have fun and kid around, but when one's
entire diet of commentary consists of such junk food, and it's all
about mocking and never taking anything seriously, I think it has a
corrosive effect on society. Taken at it's extreme, I think it has
helped raise a generation that has trouble respecting anyone and
anything in politics. The constant drip, drip of smarmy satire adds to
all the partisan attack politics and tactics of personal destruction to
prevent us from coming together to solve the problems we have in common
— which is what representative democracy can be all about.

to say, I have NO appreciation for Jon Stewart and The Daily Show. And
while I enjoyed meeting and kidding around with Stephen Colbert (see video), I can't get into his shtick, either.

even though the Palin gag was pretty hard-hitting satire, it was so
enjoyable that it caused me to have a soft spot for Tina I didn't have

I should also mention that I revised my opinion of Dennis Miller just from the couple of brief spots I've done on his radio show.
I had always thought of him as just too much of a wise guy, too
impressed with his own snarky cleverness, to be borne. But he's
actually deeper than that, and pleasant to talk to.

course, this is just a corollary to something I've found about life —
almost anyone is a more likable, admirable person once you get past the
shorthand, bumper-sticker version of that person. To know a person is
to appreciate him or her more. Maybe this sounds trite, but in our 24/7
headline news/blog world, we increasingly go by the bumper sticker, and
don't get into people deeply enough to appreciate them.

And just
to get WAY philosophical on you…. One of my great disappointments
with this blog is that I had hoped, by having this forum for going way
beyond what I'm able to say and explore in the paper, I could forge
some avenues where I could have more meaningful exchanges with my
readers and fellow citizens about the important issues of the day —
and the people who are important players in those issues.

the resistance to that is just tremendous. So much of what passes for
dialogue here remains on the superficial, partisan, shorthand,
bumper-sticker simplistic level. I try to say something to provoke
thought, and somebody gives some standard, boilerplate ideological
response, and someone else shouts the established bumper-sticker
counter to THAT, and off we go on the kind of pointless partisan
merry-go-round that you can read or hear anywhere in the blogosphere or
on 24/7 talking head "news." And what is the point in that?

draw hope from the fact that occasionally, we get to the point where
some actual,  mutually respectful dialogue occurs between people who
HAVE gotten to know each other beyond the surface here. I see this
particularly with Phillip and Herb and Karen and a handful of others —
and in the past (although, unfortunately, not so much lately) from you,
Randy. I even get an encouraging word now and then from bud or Doug.

I just wish I knew how to build on that. I'm open to suggestions.

Maybe I need to make this a separate post…

… which I just did.

How about it? Do you see any way we can start having conversations here that matter?

69 thoughts on “Excuse me for getting all earnest, but how can we interact more meaningfully here?

  1. Doug Ross

    As one who comments frequently and has a worldview that is probably 180 degrees from you, I hope you understand that there is no personal animosity involved. I respect your right to have opinions that are different from mine. I have said it before and will say it again, I appreciate
    the forum you provide to offer my opinion.
    My concern is that you seem to equate meaningful with “agree with me”. I’ll admit that my biggest frustration with blog comments is that when facts are presented, they can be ignored. When people can’t win the argument on facts, they drop out or attack the person.
    Naturally, I believe The Daily Show and Colbert provide a great service to Americans. They expose the absurdity that is our government each and every day. And the real beauty of it is that they more often than not use the politician’s own words as the ammunition. I watched Jon Stewart go through Bush’s last press conference. He played clips that were 30-45 seconds long of the President speaking saying that his biggest mistake regarding Hurricane Katrina was that he didn’t land Air Force One… and all Stewart had to do at the end was look at the camera with a “can you believe this guy?” expression and everyone gets it.
    Stewart, Colbert, etc. exist to counterbalance the Limbaughs, Olbermans, Hannitys, etc. who speak to the majority of Americans who need to be spoonfed their beliefs.
    I believe it is this type of vigilant skepticism and exposing of the truth that will someday lead to a better government.

  2. Brad Warthen

    There’s the problem, Doug. You’re jaded. To me, representative democracy — our heritage from Washington and Adams and Jefferson and Hamilton and Madison — is the great hope for the world, the deliberative process through which we rise above a state of nature, red in tooth and claw, and build something that can be called a civilization. To you, as you say, government is “absurdity.” People who present politics as nothing BUT absurdity just cause more and more people to be jaded and to see politics as hopeless, and if enough people believe it’s hopeless, it is.
    And no, I don’t equate constructive conversations with “agreeing with me.” How on Earth could anyone read this blog, or read the newspaper, from the Letters to the Editor to op-eds to the news pages to what have you, or look at the unending stream of sources I interact with, and conclude that I am in any way vested in listening or giving creedence only to those who agree with me.
    What I want is constructive, respectful, conversations with people who believe it IS possible to have such conversations and have something good come of people learning from each other, NOT shouting matches between people who are competing to see who can be the most dismissive, or score the biggest put-down.
    How many times do I have to explain this? How hard is it to understand.

  3. Jeff Barge

    Your comment about Stephen Colbert is very on point. He kind of cajoles people to participate by being kooky and goofy and offering prizes and stuff. He got 1 million people to cast votes in this one online contest to get a bridge named after himself in Hungary, so it works. So, on the one hand he is definitely giving a civics lesson, but on the other hand he is sugar coating it by making it seem interactive and kooky, so it’s not people acting on a civic duty to participate it’s just people having fun and blowing off steam. Maybe if you had a point-counterpoint thing where you had two people arguing points on your blog, that might be something to consider. But I know newspapers are always getting free things such as books. so give away some of those books as “prizes” to the smartest comments or whatever. Although I think a lot at the newspaper people re-sell the free books online for spending money, still, if you get there quick you can nab a few as prizes. Put an intern in charge of the prizes and contest ideas, maybe.

  4. p.m.

    Yeah, I’m back for this one.
    You endorsed McCain, yet you have a place in your heart for Tina Fey’s in-your-face insult of Sarah Palin, your endorsee’s pick to be vice-president, and you pat Phillip, Herb, Karen, bud and Randy — Left Coast thinkers all, not just McCain opponents, but McCain deriders — for their meaningful blogging?
    And you wonder why you don’t have conversations that matter?
    Maybe it’s because what you write doesn’t add up.
    Maybe it’s because you play conservative, but court liberals, and that makes folks on both sides mad.
    Maybe it’s because everything I’ve written here indicates you’re not worthy of my trust, much less that of someone who goes by their real name.
    Or it could be because this is a blog, not a roundtable discussion, nor a cabinet meeting.
    But it may just be because no one hear works for you, and you don’t hear the customary echo.

  5. Doug Ross

    I am no more jaded about the government than you are about the private sector.
    I’ll ask you a simple question. In all the years you have been doing this blog, can you relate one occasion where you reversed your position based on meaningful, earnest arguments presented to you?
    You want to deal in the concept of an ideal government and not be distracted by the reality of how it actually works.
    Your push for Inez is a perfect example. Your support for her was based on nothing tangible. You used Education Week’s review of her IMPLEMENTATION of standards as the basis for your endorsement. And you either ignored or disregarded the same magazine’s report card for education that gave South Carolina failing marks across the board. When these facts were presented to you (by me), you just ignore it. When Lee posts factual information to counter your opinions, he is largely ignored.
    I think PM is on the right track. Your world is turning upside down. Anyone with a keyboard can create a blog and express his opinion. Rather than wait for a few letters to the editor to come in via the U.S. Mail, you get immediate feedback. You can’t edit the responses like you can with the letters to the editor. Your statements can be immediately fact checked and counter arguments with supporting information can be referenced immediately.
    The dynamics of editorial content have shifted and you want it to stop. If everyone can express his opinion, how do you make yours more relevant? AND get paid to do it?
    Doesn’t it give you just a momentary pause to look back at this blog and see that the majority of comments are in direct opposition to yours? Why would that be? Because we’re all jaded naysayers who scare off all the people who might agree with you? Is it really that simple?
    Your blog represents a microcosm of the people of South Carolinas. Lee represents 10%, Phillip 10%, Karen 10%, Randy 10%, bud 10%, pm 10%, Herb 10%, slugger 10%, Ralph 10%, all the rest 9.9%, and me .1%. I think you believe in your heart that you speak for 50.1% of South Carolinians. But the content does not support that belief.
    If someone attacks you or someone else personally, delete the comments and be done with it. It’s your blog. Make of it what makes you happiest.

  6. Herb Brasher

    Since when am I a “McCain derider”? I don’t remember doing that? Nor do I remember getting “patted” by Brad very recently. Brad usually ignores what I write–which is fine–he’s provided an interesting forum for people who want to discuss things. I think, P.M. you expect people to buy into an ideology, and for some reason, it has to be lock, stock and barrel. That somebody could be to “the right” (whatever that is) on one issue, and to “the left” on another, doesn’t seem to occur to you guys. How about wanting to believe the truth about something, no matter where it falls? This ideology thing reminds me of some evangelicals–we don’t believe in global warming, it seems–it doesn’t matter what the scientific evidence shows. But why do I have to buy into somebody’s system?
    And the other issue is that I may be persuaded of a position, and have to be able to compromise and not get all I want.
    Some of my positions (for what they may be worth) come from living overseas. When one gets out of this country, a whole new perspective opens up–and even if one doesn’t agree with the world view, it becomes apparent why the rest of the world thinks the way it does.

  7. Rich

    I have been appalled at some of the posts on this blog. I know people here think that I am reflexively a man of the left, but when I express those views I am invited to go back up North or I have my sexuality and intelligence questioned by those who think they can win the left-right debate by shouting down the opposition.
    That kind of politics lost the Republicans the election. I think Sen. Graham understands that, as does Brad, even though I would disagree with him that a non-ideological approach to politics is best. American pragmatism has always been suspicious of fixed ideological positions, and rightly so. But it is imperative to have some sort of coherent political philosophy based upon reflection and, at least, a derivative scholarship.
    It cannot come from the likes of Rush Limbaugh or Bill O’Reilly. Their political obstinacy in the face of a tanking economy, a failed Republican administration, and a determination to impose their vision of society on everyone else is what got the Republicans defeated.
    Americans want freedom. They don’t want right-wing pundits, militarists, and bullying fundamentalist preachers bellowing nonsense from the pulpit telling them what to do and how to live.

  8. Herb Brasher

    “. . . and bullying fundamentalist preachers bellowing nonsense from the pulpit telling them what to do and how to live.”
    Rich, you really seem to have a problem with “fundamentalist preachers,” whoever they are. I just have a hard time figuring out how they seem to be threatening you so badly. Are they coming around to your house? If they’re on the TV, can’t you change the channel? And some people go to church, including evangelical ones, because they want to. Some of us are, I’ll admit, convinced that God has revealed His mind, and we need to listen to him. No less a mind than Dietrich Bonhoeffer was convinced of the same thing, and lived his life accordingly. Is that such a threat to you? Nobody is forcing you to go to church, or even to listen to a preacher, are they?

  9. KP

    If the majority of comments on this blog are in direct opposition to Brad’s views, it’s only because the same people post over and over again. And p.m. and Doug don’t seem to be able to disagree with Brad without turning it into a shouting match, so many of us who might engage in discussion here don’t even bother.
    Actually, Brad’s column in support of Inez was chock full of very good reasons why her service as superintendent deserves respect. He never suggested that she solved all the problems we have in education, only that she did a good job and moved us forward. You can disagree with that view, but you don’t have to treat it (or its author) with contempt just because you don’t agree.

  10. bud

    Brad, some of the stuff on the blog is over the top. Yet much of what you post or comment on warrants a strong response. I’m with Doug on this one. I find it very annoying when you dismiss someone who does not agree with you by suggesting they are partisan. That grates on me like you wouldn’t believe. In particular when you compared Ann Coulter to Paul Krugman my blood began to boil. The 2 approach the world very differently. Coulter is nothing but a mercenary who has found a niche to sell books to ultra conservative readers. She’s obnoxious for sure but what makes her especially disgusting is her complete inability to get basic facts correct. Remember her attack on the NY Times when she claimed they did not have a front page article about the death of Dale Earnhart? That was flat out wrong. The NY Times indeed DID have such story, complete with a photograph of the incident.
    So if you want to come across as a victim, go ahead. But you are as guilty as anyone on the blog for posting opinionated crap rather than well thought out posts based on facts and evidence.

  11. Lee Muller

    The first thing you could do, Brad Warthen, is respond to the facts which contradict your world view, instead of ignoring them. Your attempts to explain away reality might help you work your way out of your delusional worship of lying politicians who pander to your desire to escape personal responsibility for your medical care, retirement, and safety.

  12. bud

    People who present politics as nothing BUT absurdity just cause more and more people to be jaded and to see politics as hopeless, and if enough people believe it’s hopeless, it is.
    Not so. Satire is a great way to make a point. What makes people jaded about politics rather than the comics are people like Sarah Palin who are simply not qualified for the second highest office (let alone the highest) in the land yet the are in a position to do just that. Or Blogo who has earned his derision. Both deserve the treatment they’re getting from the satirists.
    Even the truly gifted like Obama warrant some good-natured ribbing from the comics. Folks can sort all that out without becoming jaded.

  13. Bart

    This is Brad’s blog and he has the right to do with it as he pleases. If he wants to delete comments, he can. If he wants to edit comments, he can. He sets the rules.
    I have been reading and posting here for a while now, not as long as some. My viewpoint is valuable to me and at times, they get a little long but I try to be as respectful to others on this blog as they are to me and the state I call home.
    When reading Brad’s postings, it is done with the idea in mind that discussion will be the result and generally it is discussed by a few but others get off track. I am guilty of that as well so I cannot say much.
    However, I have posted previously that overall, this bunch does represent a good cross section of South Carolinians. The back and forth can get heated and as pointed out, we do take some pointed shots at each other including Brad.
    I hold a lot of respect for each opinion whether I agree or not. Lee, p.m. (keep on commenting), bud, Rich, Doug, KP, Karen, Herb, Capital A, and many others put it out there and do so with a little passion. There are thousands of blogs available for us to visit and join if we wish but none as diverse and lively as this one.
    I have been pissed off at times and ready to delete the link from my favorites list but each day, there is something here to think about and another point of view to consider. Of course there are times when a new visitor is totally not welcome because of the nature of their comments and the regulars let them know about it. I don’t have to call anyone out but I think you know who I am referring to.
    We are heading into a new era of politics in this country. We have elected a new president who represents something different. A man who promised change but so far has delivered snapshot of his administration that reveals nothing more than a bus of insiders riding on retreads with a new tire thrown in here and there. We are in the last two years of Sanford’s tenure as governor and to add to the mix, we are facing a financial crisis that keeps expanding each day.
    My point is this. I have a strong feeling most of us are feeling a little helpless right now and have no idea of what next week will bring. Will we have our jobs? Will more bad news indicate a further erosion of our savings and investments? Will the government step in and take over even more of our private business enterprises? Will our tax dollars keep on going to banks who refuse to extend much needed credit so the economy can start to move along again?
    There is a certain catharsis involved when we are able to express our thoughts and emotions freely especially on a blog like this one. We need that and I truly believe that even though we do cross the line at times, the discourse is good for all of us.
    I find that on more than one occasion, I will type a response to something someone has written only to delete it once it is put into words. I think there are times when we perform self censoring because it is the right thing to do.
    So Brad, this is your blog. You set the rules. Tell us what they are and if we choose to participate or not will be up to us. If my comments are to be censored unless I am guilty of using filthy language or inappropriate sexual innuendos, then I will go away and not return. If I am free to continue posting how I feel or interpret a position, then I will stay and continue to participate. The ball is in your court.

  14. marconi

    KP makes the best point, I think. Lack of more varied response is the result of response by repeat posters.
    I also think that perhaps you’ve become too emotionally invested in your blog as evidenced by an overflow of temper (your perception of others seeing you as an
    equivocator regarding the reason for a cigarette tax (hold your fire here, I’m merely observing, not stating anything).
    That kind of explosive dialectic could get you into real trouble if the wrong people read it.
    Best to can this blog entirely, or do what larger papers do and simply not respond to comments.

  15. Birch Barlow

    Excuse me for getting all earnest, but how can we interact more meaningfully here?
    I don’t know.
    Will you stop calling libertarians radicals?
    Will conservatives stop calling liberals brainless libs or something to that effect?
    Will liberals stop calling conservatives Limbaugh parrots or something to that effect?
    Will all of us be more respectful to your purpose of this blog?
    I see no reason why we can’t. But I see no evidence that we will.

  16. Bart

    One of the more appealing aspects of this blog is the fact that Brad does in fact respond to comments at times. That is what is different about this one. If it remains, I genuinely hope he continues to get angry or whatever and put it out there. There have been and still are progressive blogs who have expressed outright hatred for this one but on the other hand, some conservative blogs are guilty of the same thing. What does that tell us?
    I am not defending Brad but pointing out that if we are not capable of recognizing what is going on here, we are in trouble. This includes Brad as well. This is democracy in action and is a snapshot in time of how it works as long as we are allowed freedom of expression for all who post here.
    Will the name calling stop? Birch is correct in his analysis. No the name calling won’t stop. It has been going on for centuries as evidenced by the Roman Senate forums and political discourse over the span of two thousand years or more. Capital A is perhaps one of the more learned of the posters here and often refers to the Greek philosophers. Go back and read some of their works and then read some commentary by Will Rogers as a counterbalance. History is full of dissenters and discord when politics is discussed.

  17. Capital A

    Warthime, one needs read no further than Doug’s post, the first on this blog, to identify your problem. Doug is right: you think that when someone disagrees with you, that they are wrong or lesser. This belief cannot be quantified if I were to try to produce solid proof from your writing, but the reader, this reader anyway, can deduce that fact from years of reading your blog.
    When a disagreement exists, you end up reacting passive aggressively and by basically acting out the same behavior you claim to despise as noted in your constant, hand-wringing posts. Your true problem is that some people react to agreement in a plainly aggressive way, when you would prefer passive aggression (your method), or just plain old agreement (with your worldview), of course. The problem you are experiencing is with yourself, not with us.
    The logical, free thinking audience can understand that radical wingnuts like Ele Ulmler, p.m.s, and (sigh) myself, at times, aren’t to be taken seriously when we are in full rant mode. That type of recognition is characteristic of being an adult. Now, why can’t you, Warthime, grasp that concept?
    You aren’t being earnest. You’re being overly emotional. That problem may be hormonal, and there are none of us here who may help you with that issue.

  18. Capital A

    (Sorry for pulling an Ele Ulmler here with the back-to-back postings.)
    That said, I really enjoy the blog. Your work, all our work, represents one of the few websites I visit on a regular basis. I have learned everything from what the best audio format is to what Andre Bauer does on his work time with when he is supposed to be representing us (Myspace, of course!).
    I am a more informed person due to this blog and the myriad of viewpoints, especially those in opposition to me. Thanks to you all, but that doesn’t mean I will cut any of you slack when I think you are being disingenuous, furtive or are just plain wrong.
    I would expect no less form any of you.

  19. Bird

    1. Right-Capital A: Plainly aggressive=best.
    2. Free Cindi. With only males on this forum, it gives ALL OF YOU a false sense of superiority.
    3. ‘Someone’ needs a basic lesson in what is truth; what is lies; what is propaganda; what is delusion; what is deception; what is a smear campaign.
    4. XOXO’s = Lee

  20. bud

    I second Capital A. I’ve learned a great deal here. Others that are not as lazy as I am do a terrific job with the research. RTH was especially good at that. Sorry he doesn’t post anymore. Even Lee Muller provides some very useful links to financial/economic data. And yes, Brad has some great links as well.

  21. Herb Brasher

    And don’t forget Rich. For all my consternation at his anti-religion stances, I learn from him as well.
    What I try and remember, and don’t always succeed, is not to write content or tone that I wouldn’t use if I were speaking directly with the person. I’m beginning to recognize Cap’s tongue-in-cheek, but it’s a lot easier to pick up on that in speech than it is in writing. Or maybe I’m just obtuse.
    And when everybody seems mad at everybody else, there is always Karen who steps in like a pretty nurse on a hospital ward of old, bickering men. Everybody shapes up their tone. Yeah, come to think of it, a few more female commenters would do us all good.
    Just reading The Poisonwood Bible. A great illustration of what religion should not be.

  22. Capital A

    Herb, I try hard to get across my sarcastic, irreverent take on life through my words, but I don’t always succeed. This blog has made me a better writer, too, in that it forces me to consider my words more carefully and how I use them to display my “humor.” The real burn for me is when I misspell words that I obviously shouldn’t, so the worry embarrassment usually forces me to even greater consideration of my writing. I’m not sure Warthime is considering all of those tangential, positive effects this simple blog has had on its participants.
    Herb, for the record, I am not anti-God, just anti-religion. There is a difference, so I find it particularly odd that you can’t understand what Rich means when he complains about fundamentalists.
    Religion sponsors movements like Israel’s recent bombings — indiscriminate and inhuman. Religion dictates that you support one side in that cause because their understanding of myths and legends ostensibly align with your understandings of tales and fairytales.
    God would never choose a side…at least not one that I mention. And if HE or SHE did, then allow me to channel momentarily that noted theologist Huckleberry Finn: Alright then — I’ll go to Hell.
    Just making a point; not trying to derail this Era (moments) of Good Feelings we are experiencing currently on the blog.
    Bart, thanks for your kind words, and I enjoy our sparring.

  23. Bart

    Hell has frozen over and I just bought a new pair of ice skates. bud and I agree on something else. I need to take some time and re-evaluate things. Maybe a few days locked in a room listening to Rush, Sean, Neil, Savage, or reading the latest Ann Coulter book might do the trick. No, maybe bud can do that and maybe change his mind on a few things. Think Rich would join him? I know Capital A won’t…can’t leave the allegorical cave for extended periods of time.:)

  24. Bart

    A, don’t forget to include in the religion category, Islamic fundamentalists. Compared to these extremists, the fundamentalist churches in America are milquetoast, no, more like watered down skim milk. The extremes in this country almost never obtain power at the higher levels and never will. Our government is not run by the Bible unlike most Middle Eastern or Islamic nations are run by the writings and teachings from the Koran.
    Generally, it takes two sides to make a war or start a fight. In this case, extreme Islamic fundamentalists and there are more of them than extreme Christian fundamentalists are the ones who took death and destruction to the civilian population. So, if you are going to point out the flaws on one side, be fair and point out the ones on the other side.
    That opens up the door for honest dialogue – by adults anyway.

  25. Bart

    A, don’t forget to include in the religion category, Islamic fundamentalists. Compared to these extremists, the fundamentalist churches in America are milquetoast, no, more like watered down skim milk. The extremes in this country almost never obtain power at the higher levels and never will. Our government is not run by the Bible unlike most Middle Eastern or Islamic nations are run by the writings and teachings from the Koran.
    Generally, it takes two sides to make a war or start a fight. In this case, extreme Islamic fundamentalists and there are more of them than extreme Christian fundamentalists are the ones who took death and destruction to the civilian population. So, if you are going to point out the flaws on one side, be fair and point out the ones on the other side.
    That opens up the door for honest dialogue – by adults anyway.

  26. Jason F. McBrayer

    Doug writes: “The dynamics of editorial content have shifted and you want it to stop. If everyone can express his opinion, how do you make yours more relevant? AND get paid to do it?”
    Yep, that’s entirely it. The establishment media represents a manufactured consensus that could only be maintained when the means of communication were more limited and more expensive, allowing a small number of one-to-many publishers to control how people formed their opinions. A blog is not the editorial page of a monopoly newspaper. You can’t expect the faux-gravitas of an aristocratic medium to carry over into a democratic one.
    But I do understand the importance of being earnest.

  27. Doug Ross

    I’d be interested in hearing how you consider Robert Ariail’s cartoons when presenting The State’s “earnest and meaningful” editorial positions.
    Today’s cartoon shows a goofy looking George Bush under a banner that reads:
    “Misunderestimaton Accomplicated”
    Please compare that to a John Stewart bit skewering the President. I’m missing the subtle difference between your paper showing the President as an idiot and The Daily Show doing the same. You approved that cartoon, right?

  28. Lee Muller

    Brad, your failure to build on the dialogue stems from your running away from the tough questions, and facts which knock the legs out from under your bogus views.
    Instead of acknowledging that your “facts” were wrong, and therefore your opinions need adjusting, Brad, you just disappear, or make some silly remark, insult the posters, or delete their factual information and observations.
    News reporters are supposed to be skeptical, but you want desperately to ignore the bad news about political leaders like the Clintons, Obama, Bob Coble, Lindsey Graham and Bobby Harrell.

  29. Rich

    We live in a state of xenophobes. Brad feels compelled to talk to us all about how we need to engage in constructive discourse (and I agree with him), but he does so as the editor of a newspaper in a state with a history of slavery, racism, secession, crackpot religious fundamentalism (but of course I think as does Bill Maher that all religion needs a serious critique), low educational achievement, and a vociferously undemocratic and paternalistic politics.
    Folks, this ain’t Connecticut, where Randy now freezes! We may love South Carolina, but to love this state is not to be blind to her crippling history–a history almost as benighted as that of Iraq–another faith-based state where people have trouble tolerating one another!
    Now the University of S.C. is compelled by our dumb-ass Republican legislature to verify the citizenship status of all its students. I have two degrees from USC, have a foreign last name, and speak Spanish. Now I must prove to the University of S.C. that I am a citizen. No ordinary documents like an old birth certificate or a license or even their extensive file on me (I have a doctorate in education from USC and have taught Spanish in Beaufort as an adjunct) are sufficient to prove that I am an American. If, by March 1, I do not spend $60 to have a “certified” birth certificate sent to USC for their evaluation, not only will I be put out of the post-doc class I am taking now, I will no longer have access to my educational records at USC!!
    Maybe they’ll deport me to Louisiana! Surely that qualifies as a foreign country.
    What I worry about, however, is that the university is being forced by the state at great clerical expense and inconvenience to verify the citizenship status of 10,000 of its students because our legislature is afraid that some otherwise qualified students illegally here but who have gone through our public schools might actually go to USC, get a great education (which you can get at USC–I am convinced it IS world-class) and eventually become productive members of society.
    Let’s remember that this IS a nation of immigrants. The Indians should have been more careful whom they let in. Is it not hypocritical for us to deny entry to people who want to be here and participate in the American dream?? Is not America at its heart a nation based on an idea of freedom–and not on race, blood, and soil??
    Then there’s the idea of the university that Cardinal Newman so eloquently expounded upon. A university is a comity of intellect transcending international boundaries.
    As I tell my high-school social studies students, the first great world university was established in the eleventh century at Timbuktu in what is now Mali in Africa. At this great Islamic university, any talented young man with academic promise could come to study law, medicine, theology, and government regardless of his citizenship, such as it was in the high middle ages.
    My how we have regressed in South Carolina! But then again, our people, in spite of their great barbecue, have always been afraid of scholarship, equal opportunity, and civil rights.
    After all, you gotta be better than somebody, right?

  30. Doug Ross

    Your post is a little confusing. What is wrong with the birth certificate you have to prove you are an American citizen?
    I have a son at USC now and am not familiar with this program to verify citizenship.
    I’d also be interested in hearing what rights and benefits you believe a person who enters or remains the United States improperly should be entitled to. Subsidized student loans? Scholarships? Equal access to all state colleges (displacing actual U.S. citizens)?
    The United States is not a nation of immigrants. At least for now, it is primarily a nation of U.S. citizens. Legal citizens.

  31. Capital A

    Rich, you can’t be serious. If you are, then the transformation is complete. You have emerged from your chrysalis in full Liberal-Lee mode.
    If we all listen carefully and read between the lines of your last post, I think we can all hear a faint “Heeelllppp meeee!!! Heeellpppp meeee!”.
    Such public displays of self-loathing are rarely so well documented.

  32. Lee Muller

    I don’t believe “Rich” is a real person.
    Let’s see him post his real name and tell us where he teaches, or what he really does for a living.
    I know there are lots of self-hating white and Jewish liberals out there, but they usually are not self-aware enough to just spew it out.

  33. Rich

    Here’s the deal: we cannot legally deny an elementary or secondary education to illegal immigrants, nor are we in the public schools even permitted to inquire into their immigration status. There’s a long, complicated legal history behind this federal policy. We know what would happen here in S.C. and other conservative states if citizenship checks were necessary. It would mean another burden would fall upon the poor, who would now be required to prove that they are Americans. Furthermore, the children of illegals simply would not be in school getting an education and learning the English language skills they would need to stay here. Education through high school is a human right in this country.
    College, however, is still considered a privilege, and it is exempt from such consideration. Doug, if your son has not had to prove his citizenship it’s because that was already checked when he filled out his FAFSA for financial aid. I, however, pay a teacher rate for each graduate course I take.
    High-school and graduate students usually have to submit a raft of paperwork for initial consideration for admission at the university level. My paperwork includes transcripts with my place of birth (good ole USA!) and my teaching certificate which I would not have gotten without passing a SLED check which, as you might imagine, includes verification of my place of birth. Apparently, the documentation I provided years ago to matriculate at USC first in the master’s program I completed in ’96 and the doctorate I completed in ’04, is no longer sufficient.
    Also, I must provide certain specific kinds of documentation: a) a CERTIFIED birth certificate (these cost between $40-60 to get and take weeks to obtain), a valid passport, a certificate of naturalization, or a federal certificate of citizenship (what this involves I do not know) or proof from the INS that I am indeed here legally.
    While I certainly do not object to employers requiring I-9 forms be filled out and filed prior to employment (you can use a combination of documentation to prove citizenship here, including a social security card, a valid driver’s license, a photocopy of a birth certificate (what I wanted to do but was told I could not), etc., with the burden for verification of these documents placed upon the employer, this new S.C. law takes our anti-immigration paranoia to a new level.
    As a result, USC is compelled by the legislature to demand onerous citizenship verification of every student who has not recently filled out a FAFSA or who first obtained an S.C. driver’s license prior to 2002.
    Now, you probably can surmise that most of this 10,000-strong group can come up with some sort of acceptable documentation prior to March 1. They either have it on hand or can order it for $40-60 with the hope that it will arrive by March 1.
    But this is a huge clerical expense for all of our public colleges and a massive inconvenience for people like me whose records already indicate place of birth and who, like me, have either accumulated credit at the university or have degrees from the university.
    Here’s an interesting little twist: I was (finally) able to get the Registrar to acknowledge my status as a teacher in S.C. in good standing for tuition purposes (resulting in a significant savings–grad courses are now over $3000 apiece, but if you’re a teacher, you pay only $1000, which I think is a bargain). I sent several offices at the University my teaching certificate and one of them was able to verify that, yes, I was certified to teach and even do so here in Columbia.
    But now I have to prove that I am an American. As the form letter from the university states: they are unable to verify my citizenship status from the materials already in my file.
    And what’s the purpose?? To ferret out the children of terrorists? To keep Spanish- and Arabic-speaking students from partaking of a college education in S.C., whereas they may have fully exercised their right to an education at the secondary level?
    What’s worse, this nonsense is unworthy of a great university. USC should base its admissions entirely on academic promise and/or merit. Our dumb legislature full of right-wing, low-information Republican loons is quite willing, however, to waste the public dime in a witch-hunt for illegal aliens whose international experience might actually be an asset to the university.
    College students benefit by contact with the world and by embracing it and sharing our values with it and, in turn, being influenced by ways of thinking, being, and knowing that are foreign to what they were raised with. I would recommend to you Cardinal Newman’s idea of a university.
    Oops, he wouldn’t have been allowed to teach at USC without going through a ton of immigration hoops and barriers erected by the INS and the ridiculously named Department of Homeland Security.
    As for our not being a nation of immigrants. That statement by one of our posters up above is too stupid to comment upon.

  34. Doug Ross

    What part of “illegal” do you not understand?
    I wrote that we are not a nation of immigrants. My great grandparents entered the United States from Finland in the early 1900’s. They entered legally and became U.S. citizens. That is the model that made America.
    Your open door policy is a sad reflection of how little respect for the rule of law has been allowed to pervade our society. We are not better off for it. For every illegal immigrant who might attend college, there are plenty more who are drains on limited tax dollars for people for are here legally.
    You whine about paying $60 bucks when you should be whining about the significantly higher amount of your tax dollars that are spent supporting illegals.
    It’s not about terrorists. It’s about enforcing laws.

  35. Birch Barlow

    For every illegal immigrant who might attend college, there are plenty more who are drains on limited tax dollars for people for are here legally.
    Therein lies the real problem. Immigrants shouldn’t be allowed to come here only to become a burden on the Treasury. But then, why should any able-bodied person be allowed to be such a burden? If we had no welfare state illegal immigration would be a minor issue.
    Immigration should be a good thing. The free flow of labor should be prevalent in a free market society.
    But you can’t dangle a carrot in front of these poor immigrants and then expect them not to jump the border to take it. I don’t blame them one bit. Unfortunately, until the underlying problem is corrected nothing will change.
    Of course I’m not foolish enough to believe in things like change.

  36. Rich

    Doug and Birch,
    While I am not blind to the problems posed by illegal immigration, your assessment of the impact on our country of the presence of illegals is dead wrong economically and socially.
    Illegal aliens frequently do the job we don’t want to do. They work hard, they contribute to the economy, and the more than make up in low pay and long hours the cost of the social services they receive, including education.
    Ask any contractor in the field whom he would rather have on the jobsite–a young American or an illegal, and the results might surprise you. Americans’ work ethic just ain’t what it used to be. Furthermore, many illegals come to do more than just wash dishes and haul wood around a construction site. Many are highly skilled tradesmen from their homelands who have contributed significantly to our housing boom.
    While I certainly don’t think they should work for less than they are worth, let’s give them their due. Relying entirely on a native workforce would significantly diminish the quality of much of the manual labor, skilled and unskilled, that is performed in this country.
    I think the real reason for a law such as the one passed by the legislature demanding I prove my citizenship is pure xenophobia. Welcome to S.C.! We’ve had slavery, secession, Jim Crow, lynchings, inadequate education, sharecropping and so-called contract labor, as well as state troopers who barrel through apartment complexes and hit people on videotape with their patrol cars (and then they’re acquitted!). And the irony is that this state is so religious. But it’s not the benign “Jesus loves you” kind of the religion, but the kind that sends people straight to hell for cultural deviance.
    We could use a greater influx of “aliens” to work the slow, but steady change that I see improving S.C. As the old, racist white retirees go off to their reward (i.e., eternal oblivion; there’s no reason to believe that there is anything else beyond the tomb), the body politic becomes more diverse, more Catholic, more Latin (I love hearing Spanish spoken on the street here in S.C.!), and I hope more tolerant, more liberal, more cognizant that this life is where we live now and that we all should help, accept, tolerate, and love one another right now.
    Doug, you should read the Economist’s assessment of the Bush administration in its most recent edition (it can also be accessed online at economist.com). For a conservative magazine (conservative, that is, in British terms; it would be considered centrist or liberal here in the USA), its take on the last eight years is pretty damning.
    America needs to be the beacon of freedom and progress once again for the rest of the world. This is not a system we would impose by force of arms, but one that we would spread by example, by trade, by responsible economics here in the US, and by finally reforming our immigration policies to let people who want to come work here and contribute peacefully to society do so, take advantage of our educational opportunities, and not be subject to institutional racism and xenophobia such as the new S.C. law requires.
    I will bring my birth certificate to the Registrar next week, and I will consult a lawyer if they do not accept it. I hope the other 10,000 USC students affronted by this law do the same. Massive non-compliance is the best way to deal with this.
    Mala lex, nulla lex. Like the laws that established segregation in the South, a bad law not only invites disobedience, it positively commands it!
    Of course, I don’t expect the State newspaper to take a stand on this. People already think this conservative newspaper is somehow liberal. When you find the real liberalism, do tell me about it!!

  37. HWP

    Here’s earnest:
    I really have a difficult time believing it was you. The evidence points to Donnie Myers; his spin directs it back @ you. Unwitting accomplice?
    Moral of the story: Be careful whom you obey.

  38. Birch Barlow

    Good post. I think you may have misunderstood me. I agree with just about everything you wrote in that last post. I have no problem with someone who comes to this country to work.
    If all the illegals working in this country were kicked out tomorrow, where would our economy be? Again, good post.

  39. p.m.

    “Here’s the deal: we cannot legally deny an elementary or secondary education to illegal immigrants, nor are we in the public schools even permitted to inquire into their immigration status. There’s a long, complicated legal history behind this federal policy.”
    “I will bring my birth certificate to the Registrar next week, and I will consult a lawyer if they do not accept it. I hope the other 10,000 USC students affronted by this law do the same. Massive non-compliance is the best way to deal with this.
    “Mala lex, nulla lex. Like the laws that established segregation in the South, a bad law not only invites disobedience, it positively commands it!”
    So you fight the law that causes you yourself a little bit of trouble, but the legal history behind the federal policy that is destroying our identity, our economy and our sense of right and wrong — that’s not worth your trouble to oppose.
    Well, “Welcome to S.C.! We’ve had slavery, secession, Jim Crow, lynchings, inadequate education, sharecropping and so-called contract labor,” and now we’ve got you, Rich.
    We didn’t know how lucky we used to be.

  40. Rich

    I don’t think that you, Lee, and other super-conservatives on this blog really answer any of the statements made by those of us who are more moderate or liberal. There’s just invective, ideology, and a real resentment of anyone who disagrees with you.
    BTW, some things should not be controversial. They should be settled and given as fundamental elements of our civil “religion.”
    I refer, for instance, to the slavery debate one of my social studies colleagues held at Whitmire High several years back. After hearing the arguments pro and con, he proclaimed to the class that the slavery proponents had more effectively argued their case.
    That might have been true, but the real educational travesty here was that this teacher actually thought that this was a debatable issue–that there were indeed two or more sides to the issue of slavery, rather than one settled position as defined by the thirteenth amendment.
    My freedom is non-negotiable. I am willing to understand the history of oppression, but I am absolutely unwilling to concede that those who wish to deny me or anyone else in this country their constitutional rights, their elementary human dignity, or their right to be whoever and whatever they are (e.g., religious or unbelieving, straight or gay, liberal or conservative, etc.) have anything of any importance to say.
    If I had been a black parent in Whitmire, I would have raised holy hell over what my children were subjected to in that “debate” over slavery in the class. As it is, most of the black parents there in Maybinton just shake their heads and go on. This is just the way white people are. What can you do?
    I know what we can do. We can stop being so incredibly stupid and rejoin the Union. If Lindsey Graham wants to work with Obama, God bless him, and Republicans who call him a RINO need to crawl back under their rock!

  41. Lee Muller

    Rich, I am sure that some of the illegal aliens (not immigrants) do jobs you don’t want to do, but there are lots of jobs you don’t want to do.
    What about the unemployed American citizens, especially the illiterate products of our public school system? Why hand their jobs to illegal aliens and then spend tax money to support the citizens whose jobs you gave away? Liberals have no compassion.

  42. Lee Muller

    The excuses made for bringing in cheap, illegal workers from Mexico are just like the excuses made for bringing the slaves from Africa.

  43. Rich

    I work in Richland Two, although I used to teach in Newberry and Saluda. Even in those cash-strapped districts, I saw kids come to school every day bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and ready to learn, to achieve, and to play. These kids were and still are motivated to do what they need to do academically and athletically to make a life for themselves and to make their communities proud.
    Whitmire did indeed produce students (mainly white) who were thoroughly unprepared for life in civil society and who would always be a burden on their community, but there many teachers, doctors, lawyers, business professionals, as well as hardworking tradesmen and women who came out of Whitmire schools both while I was there and for many years before and after.
    South Carolina’s public school system produces many more successes than failures–that’s my perception after 27 years in this state teaching and doing administrative work.
    Yes, there are pockets of failure in our state, but they tend to correspond to distressed communities or those parts of communities that are experiencing social dysfunction on a massive scale.
    My point is that teachers can only do as good a job as a community lets them do. In Whitmire, Saluda, Beaufort, and Richland Two–all places I have worked since 1982–the community as a whole was solidly behind the schools and expected their kids to achieve.
    I remember in Whitmire sitting in the stands at ball games and sharing boxed fried chicken with parents who willingly picked my brain about what their kids were doing in school. And you know what? Whitmire, Saluda, Hilton Head, and Ridge View–all schools where I have worked with large populations on the financial knife edge–have many times been ranked good or excellent by the state of South Carolina.
    So don’t tell me that South Carolina has lousy schools. On the contrary, I am able to worry so much about their social education and their willingness to accept one another precisely because so much else is really and truly right about our schools.
    Kids ARE learning to read, write, compute, and use technology as they prepare for the world of college and/or work. I have often been impressed by the observations made in class by even my weakest students who, once engaged by the material, find their voice and have something to say.
    Now, it’s true that at 26.5 years in this business I am indeed eligible for full retirement at the end of next year. But I think I’ll TERI. I’ll stay at least another five years. By then, the economy will have improved. Why? Because Barack Obama is not going to miss the chance to bring everyone aboard to turn our economic situation around.
    Oh, it may be hard at first. Even though I work in rock-solid Richland Two, the state may decide to reduce or abolish my $7500 annual National Board stipend. The economy may get bad enough that even the salary schedule may have to take a hit. I think we can all forget an increase next year. The question is, how much of a decrease can we suffer and still do our jobs?
    So it may be a hard few years ahead until the squandered opportunities, the greed, the sheer ignorance and incompetence of the Bush administration can be corrected.
    If not, I fear for this country. Still, the basic message of this post from a public-school insider is that South Carolina education is far better than people say it is, kids are learning, teachers are teaching, and we’ll all get through this.
    As our new president likes to say: Yes, we can!!

  44. p.m.

    You know, Rich, after taking a look at the Quality Counts data, I think education in our state is far better than most people think it is, too.
    And who knows? You may actually have something to do with that.
    My apologies. I’ve said some things I shouldn’t have, and when we argue, we argue at oblique angles, anyway, and nothing ever gets settled.
    So enjoy the inauguration. I’m tired of beating a horse that won’t die.

  45. Lee Muller

    The $7,500 bonus for getting your National Certification ticket punched is a scam. The same teachers are teaching the same stuff in the same classroom for an extra $7,500 a year. They would have stayed there without the bonus, and the students are getting nothing for the extra cost.
    I think public education is very good in SC.
    It is just overpriced.
    The overall statistics make things look worse than they are, but the educrats and liberals are afraid to separate out the performance stats by race, which would focus on the real problem students. That intellectual cowardice is why public education is incapable of helping those students.

  46. gayguy

    Brad’s jerking at my tear-strings with this post..or trying to win The Nobel Peace Prize(give up,it’s a blog)…,no,I don’t think it’s that,I think it’s his CAFFEINE ADDICTION…I hope drugs don’t lead to his ruination….

  47. Capital A

    Ele Ulmler, you’re into drinking your bottle of nonsense again. Since you’ve purportedly had more trades than Benjamin Franklin, allow me to pick one so that I can make a simple analogy for you.
    Imagine young Ele as an engineer just starting out with less experience than his colleagues. Gradually, young Ele realizes that to better himself (upgraded pocket protectors, short sleeved Saddlebred dress shirts, weatherproof Hush Puppies, et cetera) and make as much money as his colleagues, he must attain more education and certifications. He does so and from the resulting raises, he is able to afford a (mostly) quiet existence where the only noise he (mostly) makes occurs on a state newspaper’s blog site.
    Now, Ele Ulmler, why shouldn’t teachers receive raises for their efforts resulting in personal and professional betterment? National Board Certification is a highly monitored process which represents a benchmark of achievement for educators across this country.
    Drink down every drop before you answer because I can’t wait to read how you justify your myopia. Go on, spin the bottle…

  48. Rich

    Race doesn’t tell us very much statistically. What is of true significance in educational performance is SES–socio-economic status. That’s why majority-black Ridge View is far superior academically to this state’s rural white-majority counties.
    When kids regardless of color, ethnicity, language, religion, or even the educational attainment of their parents come from stable, financially secure homes where there is love and solid values are taught, they tend to achieve more than kids who come from distressed backgrounds. When you add a good education on the part of the parents in relatively high SES homes, you have a combination that cannot be beat for student achievement.
    I remember in one rural school where I taught Spanish that the majority white population consistently turned in lower levels of achievement than the black population. This latter group came from stable, loving working- and middle-class homes where there was an expectation of achievement and conformity with the rules. As a result, the black population routinely outperformed the white population, largely because the black population was of a higher overall SES. Meanwhile, the white population was plagued with broken homes, joblessness, low levels of education, and generally rebellious redneck attitude toward life that ill-suited them for life in the modern world.
    It’s absolutely not about race; it’s about how you raise your kids, whether or not you love and pay attention to them, and what your expectations are for them. It’s about being able to provide them a secure and financially stable home in which to grow without constantly hearing parents fight about money. It’s also about how men treat their spouses and the example they set for their boys of sobriety, hard work, respect, and commitment to doing that which right while supporting their families as they should.
    Kids who come from broken homes, who are ignored by distracted parents, whose parents themselves are just two steps ahead of the law, the tax collector, or the debt collection agency–these are the kids who find their homes in gangs as substitute families. And we teachers are only able to do just so much with them.
    Oh, and about my $7500. Like many educators, I routinely put in 60+ hours a week on the job. I am in the building by 8:00 a.m. and sometimes do not leave until 8:00 p.m. doing paperwork in my office, which also doubles as the bookroom. While I personally will not suffer much if I lose my stipend (since I am on the top step of the salary schedule on the doctoral lane), there are a lot of teachers with young families whose base pay is around $47K for whom that stipend, plus the county stipend of $5000, makes it possible for them to pay the mortgage and put food on the table. Remember that young teachers with babies often like to have mom stay home for at least part of their youngsters’ childhood. If one of the family breadwinners is making around $60K because of the board stipends, then teaching becomes a livable profession.
    Keep in mind also that teachers in the North make an average of $75K in some states (NY, Massachusetts, California, Ohio) and have much lighter teaching loads. Teachers here routinely deal with 125+ students spread out over six teaching periods per day. In the North, it’s five 45-min. periods or three blocks of 85 minutes apiece with total enrollments per semester not to exceed 75.
    As for our administrators, they’re not living high on the hog, either. Assistant administrators make in the mid-50s, assistant principals an average of $73K, and a high-school principal around $100K.
    Compare these administrative salaries with the salaries of Wall St. financial fat cats–the same ones who tanked this country’s financial system, and you will see that nationalization of American industry might actually result in a huge civil-service rationalization of the work and pay structure of American management which, I submit to you, is incompetent, corrupt, and vastly overpaid relative to what we get for it.
    Look what a Harvard MBA does for you! The same thing it did for George Bush, who, BTW, happens to have one of these useless, even dangerous degrees. The MBA’s, not the M.Ed.’s are running this country into the ground!

  49. Lee Muller

    TERI is another rip-off of the taxpayers.
    Since the state retirement system is already bankrupt, and just consuming the last of its dwindling Ponzi cash, we should abolish it now. Start phasing it out and converting teachers and other state employees into paying for their own retirement.

  50. Rich

    Well-managed defined benefit programs such as the State Retirement System (which you unfairly criticize as bankrupt; it’s one of the best run in the country!) are part and parcel of what we are paid as teachers. Teachers earn about $25K less per annum than comparably educated people in other professions. My sister is a sales executive for a casino in Reno. She has a bachelor’s in business, makes 100K a year + bonuses, and, yes, she has a 401K instead of a dbp. She even has a three-year contract that can be renewed and renegotiated. Her health care is comparable to what I pay here in SC for BC/BS coverage.
    The average teacher my age (52) earns in the mid-50s, with only national board certification as a possible bonus. We are locked into the salary schedule. The job security, health benefits, TERI, and teacher retirement are part of the whole package that makes getting only in the mid-50s tolerable.
    I earn more (you can check out what we make right here on the state by clicking onto: http://www.thestate.com/salaries) simply because I have an earned doctorate in education from USC and I am national-board certified. I worked my butt off for all of this and will be eligible to TERI in exactly four years from Jan. 1 of this year. I am hoping that the program is still there.
    I may not make a $100K plus bonuses or have a secretary and an expense account, but the total package makes it worthwhile to deal with some of the real stress of public education and its constant demands.
    When good times return, if S.C. has rescinded all of its little benefits as you would have it do, people will flee public education–particularly the young, talented teachers who, as my sister discovered years ago, could make big bucks in private industry and put up with a ton less of aggravation.
    Still, for me this isn’t just a job; it’s a secular calling. When my time is done, I want people to remember me as someone who worked hard for our kids. That’s the psychic reward to teaching, or is that plus the minimum wage the only thing you would grudgingly give to our teachers?
    BTW, I am against vouchers, but not just because of the money. In SC, private schools are basically segregation academies that teach creationism and serve as refuges for white supremacists and/or people who only think schooling should be about sports. Most private schools are NOT like Hammond Academy or Cardinal Newman; most of them in this state who subscribe to SCISA are bastions of racism, sexism, homophobia, creationism, and fundamentalist religious nonsense. We NEED public schools in this state, if only to keep our children from being told that their ancestors come from a garden where they lived with dinosaurs a mere 6000 years ago.

  51. martin

    Rich, I just wish you would be concise enough to fill up the screen and be done ’til the next time around. I just counted & that’s about 33 lines. That’s enough for most outpourings. Just think about it. Thanks.

  52. Rich

    Sorry if I am somewhat prolix. Some topics require explication rather than the glib one- or two-liners some of us are used to from Fox News.

  53. Lee Muller

    No kidding:
    “..When kids regardless of color, ethnicity, language, religion, or even the educational attainment of their parents come from stable, financially secure homes where there is love and solid values are taught, they tend to achieve more than kids who come from distressed backgrounds.” – Rich
    The problem is:
    * Most black children have no real home life.
    * 70% of black children are born as unwanted bastards.
    * 90% live, at some point, with one or no biological parent.
    * 35% have a father who is a convicted felon.
    * 95% of their poverty is caused by not being born to married parents.
    The schools cannot fix this problem.
    There is no point in wasting taxpayer money on it.
    Until white liberals admit the immorality they approved is wrong, that they sold blacks down the socialist river, and liberals change, and demand that blacks clean up, too, the problem will only get worse.

  54. Rich

    Did you not read what I wrote? The problem is SES! White and Hispanic students from low SES have the same problems that black students who come from similar environments also have.
    The idea that black kids have no real home life is both racist and offensive. It’s also patently untrue.

  55. Lee Muller

    Stating the facts is not racist.
    White liberals denying reality of their failed programs is racist, because they just continue to let their vision of themselves as superior saviors of the helpless blacks override all factual evidence to the contrary.
    It the SC State Retirement System is properly funded out of current revenues, then it would have no problem dissolving and writing each employee a check for their share. They can’t do it, because it is a Ponzi scheme based on growing government and raising taxes on private sector workers, just like Social Security.
    Everyone would be better off without these schemes.
    As for school pay, in a free market, school teachers would get more what they are worth. Why do you think so many of them are afraid of that? They make less money because they work 70 fewer days than private sector workers, and 10 fewer hours a week than engineers, architects and managers.
    In fact, on an hourly basis, many teachers make more than many engineers and architects, who, as a group, are smarter and much better educated.
    This is not to criticize teachers. It is just economic reality.

  56. zzazzeefrazzee

    Bird, I heartily second #3. A master of the ad hominem is never persuasive, or taken very seriously.
    Brad, thanks for taking care of whatever weird wrapping problems that occurred every time a URL was posted. The ability to verify and corroborate information is one thing that I believe does more to create a more substantive discussion, just as any good argument contains supporting evidence. To be sure, some will use only the most biased sources as the basis of their argument, but at least that determination can be made.

  57. zzazzeefrazzee

    Are these figures pulled out from where the sun never shines? Can Herr Müller ever manage to provide his sources when making an inductive argument, and can he demonstrate that they are facts that pertain to this very state?
    It is rather obvious at how some use what are obviously national figures when one can easily cite statistics to show that the reality here in SC is not necessarily in line with what may be said of the nation as a whole, and what critics are so ready and willing to claim.
    It is also far more compelling that black community leaders in this state do a far better job of addressing these issues- and taking steps to prevent or resolve them- than angry white males accustomed to venting on a blog on a daily basis.

  58. Herb Brasher

    Rich makes some good points about religion, but he always manages to throw the baby out with the bathwater. I was nurtured in my first steps as a Christian by a preacher who wrote to me, “I know of nothing more boring than religion, but there is nothing more fulfilling in life than Christ himself.” He is right, and to the extent that Rich criticizes a religion that is little more than human self-effort, he is helpful.
    The trouble is, many of us find Christ in the context of our church, our worship services, and sometimes even our denomination. Furthermore, our churches, and our Christian schools, I might add, to state the obvious, are made up of imperfect people like ourselves. To ridicule our fellow church members and seekers is to ridicule ourselves on a journey of faith that all of us are on. And we are on it because we realize that we need more to rely on than just our own feeble perspective.
    In the end, Rich is a very intelligent man, but almost insufferingly arrogant. He fails to see that in his attitudes he spreads in full measure the very hostility and self-assured cockiness that he so detests in “fundamentalists.” I doubt that Rich could hold a candle to a good and learned creationist, or better said one of the intelligent design folks like Michael Behe in an honest debate, yet he dismisses them, or seems to (making sweeping generalizations lends itself to that) as ignorant fools.
    You have made a point with Muslim fundamentalists, but I would tread lightly in making it. I think you, and probably Rich also to some extent, are referring to “fanatics” more so than fundamentalists. Having come to know some of the Muslim fundamentalists through writings like Sayyid Qutb’s Milestones, I would have to say that some of them are more righteous than most people in the West–at least they are more consistent. Hassan-al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, became a Muslim “fundamentalist” through his time in the U.S. and his perception of American society as morally decadent, and relationally impoverished (many international students in our country never get to see the inside of an American home or experience family life here). If you have the interest, get hold of Nabeel Jabbour’s The Crescent through the Eyes of the Cross A Syrian born Arab Christian, he opens the minds of honest Westerners to the mistaken way we often look at Muslims, and indirectly shows our bias against the Arab world and Palestians as well.
    In general, we have a problem on this blog with labels like “liberal,” “fundamentalist,” and goodness knows what, but what’s new? We almost need for every contributor to define her/his terms before writing anything.

  59. Lee Muller

    Just think – Barack Obama could not enroll at USC because he cannot produce a birth certificate.
    He has also refused to release transcripts from Occidental College, NYU and Harvard.
    He has also refused to release his medical records or submit to examination by the White House physician.

  60. Rich

    I recommend a good, but quite short book to all of you on matters of religion and politics:
    Go to amazon.com and order Sam Harris’ “Letter to a Christian Nation” (2007). Pretty good stuff. It will make you think.

  61. Lee Muller

    Do you have any statistics to contradict the ones I have obtained from the US Census and other such sources?
    Do you see any so-called black leaders doing anything to restore marriage and morality to the Afro community? Name them. And why are they having no success?


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