[adsi] Re: [them] Arctic ice cap oscillations have happened before

  • From: Milton Scritsmier <Milton_Scritsmier@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: adsi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 18 Nov 2007 19:34:52 -0700

Ken Schmahl, P.E. wrote:
> it's late, and I confess I didn't read it all -- though I got through
> your last part.  I will say, though, that Keith Olbermann, for the most
> part, is right on, and for the least part is far better than Bill
> O'Reilly at his least part. 

I haven't watched Olbermann at all recently, but when I did I found his
criticisms often inspired, sharp, and witty (which was why I watched
him). However, there was no attempt at objectivity. No attempt at trying
to find the truth, he just had a view and was pounding it down. It's
like watching the opposing team's cheerleaders at a football game. No
matter how good their routines, they won't ever convince you to change

> I will be fair, though.  They all sling mud.  But is it from the high
> ground or the mud pits?

Yes, O'Reilly can sling mud (usually in response to personal attacks)
and there have been times when I stopped watching him for months because
his attitude became unbearable and his shows fixated on topics I found
boring. Early on, O'Reilly was fond of saying that he was never wrong.
But lately he has admitted to major mistakes in analysis. For example,
he did say he was late in realizing that Bush and his generals were
messing up bigtime in Iraq in 2003-2006, even though as I said he was
quicker to criticize Bush than most Fox anchors. Has Olbermann ever
admitted recently that the Surge has made a huge military difference
this year in Iraq? Or does he instead harp that losses earlier this year
while the Surge was being implemented were the highest of the war and
conveniently fail to mention that in the last couple months losses are
at a two year low? Did he ever mention that in a couple years (around
1980 or so) peacetime losses were actually numerically higher than they
have been currently in Iraq (admittedly the armed forces were 50% or so
larger in 1980)? When is the last time Olbermann admitted he was wrong
about any major position he has held? Or does he believe he is always

> OK, I paused after writing the above.  And the short issue I have with
> O'Reilly and why I support Olbermann is that O'Reilly is willing to
> defend Bush while he stomps all over my civil liberties like McCarthy
> did while Olbermann is willing to stand up to that abuse like Murrow
> did.  Which one is the journalist?

It's true that O'Reilly generally supports Bush on his domestic
anti-terrorist initiatives, including the Patriot Act. And personally I
find large parts of the Patriot Act reprehensible and did back in 2001
when it was first passed. There are certainly valid arguments about how
Bush's treatment of the detainees sets really bad precedent for the
civil rights of ordinary American citizens, and the Supreme Court is set
to hear a pivotal case soon on this issue. (Did you know that last year
the courts ruled that the detainees must be treated under the Geneva
Convention, which the Bush administration is essentially appealing?).
IMHO, these issues are extremely important and should be resolved one
way or another at the highest level, but I don't see how the average
American citizen's daily life is affected or repressed by them while
this process is going on. The system is working the way it should when
major disagreements arise on Constitutional issues. Nobody in the Bush
administration is impeding this process, nor from past behavior should
should anybody doubt the Bush administration will abide by any ruling
that goes against them.

Still, when it comes to wiretapping or eavesdropping it always mystifies
me when people say Bush has stomped all over their civil rights without
giving any specific examples. Such people always *assume* that Bush is
tapping every phone conversation and every email of every American
citizen without warrants even though such things are clearly illegal
under the Patriot Act and any other American law. Prominent Democratic
senators such as Diane Feinstein and Joe Biden are given regular
top-secret briefings on the actual surveillance actions taken by the
government, and they've never accused the government of such gross abuse
of power, but instead of *relatively* smaller issues such as the timing
and need for FISA warrants when specific suspects are targeted.

You mentioned that Bush is stomping all over your civil liberties. In
all seriousness what particular examples can you cite? How does it
affect your daily life?

(But that said, there is no doubt that the Bush administration has
always interpreted existing law to give themselves maximum flexibility
in treating detainees or terrorist suspects any way they thought they
could get away with. So if this has got a lot of people upset with them
and thinking they are out to purposely destroy all civil liberties in
America, well, in my opinion they are just reaping what they sowed.)

So I guess I see O'Reilly's positions on domestic anti-terrorism issues
as defensible even though I personally don't agree with all of them.
Many times O'Reilly has discussed his reasoning for his positions and
debated them with people whose views are similar to yours. And he has a
history of revising his opinions when evidence shows he is wrong. That's
not very often and perhaps not often enough (O'Reilly is a very stubborn
person and has a pretty strong opinion of himself), but it does happen.

Maybe Olbermann is right and O'Reilly is wrong. But the people I value
more are the ones who can recognize when they've made a mistake and are
big enough to admit it. I've never watched Olbermann long enough to know
if he is such a person, but my gut says he is not. Maybe you can give me
examples if I am wrong.

> More fodder for the fire.  That's why I made this ADSI alias!


> ks
> On Nov 18, 2007 12:10 AM, Milton Scritsmier
> <Milton_Scritsmier@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> <mailto:Milton_Scritsmier@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>> wrote:
>     Ken Schmahl, P.E. wrote:
>     > to finish what Gmail rudely interrupted...
>     >
>     > All I know is, CNN and MSNBC have no Bill O'Reillys.
>     CNN's people generally have good journalistic standards even though
>     they
>      lean to the left. Every so often I see an excellent news report from
>     them that Fox would never do (and vice-versa from Fox). MSNBC, on the
>     other hand, is far worse than either Fox or CNN. You think O'Reilly is
>     bad? Consider Chris Matthews or Keith Olbermann, for example.
>     > Even their worst
>     > can't hold a candle to that dog.  Surely you recognize him for
>     what he is?
>     >
>     Once again, I have to ask how often you actually watch "The Factor".
>     Most people who never watch "The Factor" think O'Reilly is some kind of
>     right wing kook. Actually, he's a populist who sometimes caters too much
>     to getting an audience. Many of his views are not what you expect
>     from a
>     right wing extremist. For example, he was on Bush's case for fumbling
>     the war two or three years ago, well before the rest of the Fox anchors
>     (but well after your liberal friends, of course). Just like you, every
>     time the price of oil goes up he blames it on the oil companies (in
>     fact, he has a running battle on this with Neil Cavuto, Fox's business
>     guru). He believes in civil unions for gays and gay adoption rather
>     than
>     keeping kids in orphanages. Civil rights topics are common and the
>     racial makeup of his guests is far more diverse than his audience and
>     perhaps even more diverse than the US population at large. He actively
>     seeks guests whose opinions are the extreme opposite of his own. He has
>     a good sense of humor, even at his own expense at times. Every week he
>     has an ombudsman segment where he answers viewer criticisms head on.
>     None of this is what you would expect from a close-minded extreme right
>     winger.
>     But like many populists he's also hypersensitive to personal criticism.
>     He can bully his guests, shutting them down harshly at times if they
>     don't want to talk about what he wants to talk about. He often gets into
>     "campaign mode" where some moral issue or another occupies him for weeks
>     on end. Sometimes this is good (like helping get "Jessica's Law" passed
>     in as many states as possible), but sometimes he loses all objectivity.
>     Last spring he got on Boulder's case for forcing Boulder High School
>     students to attend a seminar with panelists who held extreme and
>     ridiculous views about sexuality and drugs. He did a good thing in
>     holding some Boulder public employees' feet to the fire (that never
>     happens here locally), but in doing so he did take some of the
>     panelist's comments out of context to force his point, something he
>     denies to this day. And he tried to paint this issue as part of a
>     national secular progressive plot to take over the minds of the nation's
>     kids. The truth is that many Boulder residents come here to get away
>     from what they see as an oppressive right wing world and build their own
>     private (and, yes, secular progressive) utopia. This includes raising
>     their kids the way they see fit, the same as elsewhere. Nobody here
>     cares very much about taking over the minds of all the kids in America.
>     And it's far from perfect here, as you've heard me complain many times.
>     So when O'Reilly got on Boulder's case, to the people here it looked
>     like the right wing America they had fled had come to invade their turf.
>     Of course their hackles were raised, and nobody here could ever admit
>     that maybe, just maybe O'Reilly had some valid points. O'Reilly never
>     understood this, or if he did he chose not to acknowledge this because
>     he was pursuing his own agenda.
>     So yeah, I think I do recognize O'Reilly for what he is. ;-)

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