Blank Page No.18

Brett and Selena are your hosts for the blank page this weekend. It’s your opportunity to suggest stories you think should make the radio programme….over to you….

Brett here; Pam has sparked an interesting question and topic. Should long distance public busses (example: Greyhound) begin using security measures similar to those employed in airlines (Metal detectors, x-ray scans, luggage checks)? Trains have also come up as well.

Obama and reparations are also being visited

Have a look below, what do you think?

253 Responses to “Blank Page No.18”

  1. 1 nelsoni
    August 1, 2008 at 19:55

    Hello every one. Welcome to our moderators Brett and selena. The journey to 300 plus comments, possible topics for WHYS next week starts here … 😉

  2. August 1, 2008 at 20:05

    I have this lingering thought about educated people: Is arrogance a character flaw of most educated persons or rather just the behavior of certain individuals. I have interacted with many educated persons and i am of the conclusion that they are arrogant. They like to exert control and try to influence others by all means; many of them evade issues and quick to dismiss others. I might be wrong to generalize but a lot of those persons are from my country, liberia. Please share your thoughts.

  3. 3 steve
    August 1, 2008 at 20:11


    Another potential racial atttack, but in Canada. Apparently a 17 year old girl had a problem with someone so got some guys to beat him up.

  4. 4 tso
    August 1, 2008 at 20:17

    steve you seem to have a monitoring station for racially motivated incidents

  5. 5 Pam
    August 1, 2008 at 20:37

    Should long distance public buses eg. Grayhound, start using metal detectors and x-raying passengers hand luggage like airlines do as a result of the beheading on a Grayhound bus in Canada?

  6. 6 steve
    August 1, 2008 at 20:48

    @ Pam

    You can’t defend against all psychos. Imagine if they said you can’t bring liquids on busses or other public transport. Greyhound is private, so they could if they wanted to. Greyhound also has a notorious reputation. My roommate in college once took Greyhound from Maryland all the way to school in Michigan, and TWICE the driver had to call the cops because passengers were smoking crack on the bus.. Other people would tell me about weird passengers, and weird stories, but not normally anything of violence.

    What Greyhound is trying to do is change their clientele. They have a new service from DC to NYC, called Boltbus. It’s online only. That means you need internet access and a credit card, which they hope will keep the rif raff off of the buses. Sure, a murderer could very well have a credit card and internet access..

  7. 7 steve
    August 1, 2008 at 20:52


    2nd degree murder? What do you have to do in Canada to get charged with first degree murder?

  8. 8 Nick in USA
    August 1, 2008 at 21:00

    I also noticed the beheading story yesterday. That is absolutely disgusting. What on earth caused this to happen. I bet the killer has some sort of brain disorder or something.

  9. 9 steve
    August 1, 2008 at 21:02

    Student loan lenders are starting to suspend student loan programs.


    I’ve thought for a while that student loans are going to be the next mortgage crisis. Students are paying up to $35,000 a year (not including room and board) for Philosophy degrees. Starbucks jobs won’t pay enough to repay the loans.

  10. 10 Anthony
    August 1, 2008 at 21:04

    @ steve

    HAHA!!! I was just thinking the same thing! I guess you have to make schematics like “Willie Coyote” from the Looney Toon’s. It was funny because I was seriously surprised when the news reported it was in Canada. I thought for sure it was U.S. thing!!! I can’t imagine people just standing by, but then again I can’t say anything since I wasn’t in that situation.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  11. 11 selena
    August 1, 2008 at 21:08

    Hello everyone!

    Hi Brett,

    Looking forward to the weekend with all of you dear friends…

  12. 12 steve
    August 1, 2008 at 21:08

    @ Anthony

    They have murderers in Canada too, they just get less jail time. Ah, the Karla Hamolka lesson, you can be a serial killer and serve 12 years…

  13. 13 Anthony
    August 1, 2008 at 21:16

    @ steve

    Oh my gosh….. I never heard of that till now. I CAN’T BELIEVE they let her go!!! And now she has a 1 year old!?!?!?! AMAZING!!! Seriously, what the heck??? How could you let someone like that out, AND AFTER ONLY 12 YEARS???

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  14. 14 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    August 1, 2008 at 21:17

    So, Steve, with those lenient sentences, I guess Canada must be a nightmarish hotbed of murders and other violent crime everywhee and all the time, right?

  15. 15 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    August 1, 2008 at 21:19

    Oh, freindly wave to Selena! Hope the weather is fabulous wherever you are.

  16. 16 steve
    August 1, 2008 at 21:21

    @ jonathan

    I don’t recall reading about any US Greyhound passengers get decapitated while sleeping this past week.

    You might want to look at the news. There have been mass shootings there, they have crime on a daily basis, they had Marc Lepine, they had the Dawson CEGEP thing not too long ago. They have a serious crime problem there. I knew a chick who got gangraped by her high school’s hockey team. The team members never got prosecuted, not even questioned, because it would inconvenience the team members. Lots of screwed up stuff, just like in every country. It’s not the crime free paradise you think it is because Bush isn’t the President of it.

  17. August 1, 2008 at 21:22

    Hey all, i hope this weekend will be a thought provoking one. Please share your thoughts on the issue of arrogance. My mind is lingering on this. Are educated individuals arrogant. Is it a character flaw of educated persons or rather a behavior of certain individuals?

  18. 18 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    August 1, 2008 at 21:33


    Golly, what’d I say? Nothing about Bush, paradise, hockey, or anything of the sort.

    I assume we’re forced to rely on these strange anecdotes, non sequiturs, fantasies, and insults because there are no real statistics on violent crime in Canada vs. the US, right? Cuz if there were, it would be a simple enough matter to find them and cite them. Not as simple as skimming the tabloids for blood and guts, but neither rocket science nor brain surgery. “Lots of screwed up stuff like in every country” doesn’t give us much of a clue.

  19. 19 Anthony
    August 1, 2008 at 21:39

    @ steve

    I just looked up past Canadian serial killers, and I gotta say, if I’m gonna become a serial killer, I’m movin’ up North. Serial rapists/killers getting paroled, day passes, weekend passes (where one escaped and killed 4 others). That’s INSANE to me!

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  20. 20 Brett
    August 1, 2008 at 21:51

    Good morning / afternoon / evening, all!

    Educated people [or so they think themselves to be] are quicker to dismiss others thoughts and beliefs because the ones that do think they are right. I see this in plenty of people educated or not, but it seems more prevalent in those who are highly educated. They often do know more about certain subjects than most individuals though, so if it is their area of expertise, I suppose they have a right to feel they are correct, and if not a right, at least an understandable position.

    I’m not sure how it is elsewhere in the world though.

    I used to work at the Medical College of Virginia and some of the professors and doctors were some of the most arrogant and condescending individuals I have ever met. What was funny is that the majority couldn’t operate a computer, this made them even more upset when I had to be the one they came to for help 😉

  21. 21 Brett
    August 1, 2008 at 21:54

    @ Greyhound:

    I have ridden it a number of times. It’s good for what it is, and thats cheap travel at the expense of luxury, perceived safety, and speed.

    The ride from Richmond to York PA took twice what it would have to drive there, I was hit up for money at every single stop, multiple times, I had someone try to steal my bag while I was sitting right next to it. But, it only cost me $50.00, and I met some funny people which sat next to me… Though one girl fell asleep on my shoulder which was odd considering I had no idea who she was and we only had a 5 minute conversation….

    If you want an adventure, go Greyhound!

  22. 22 Pam
    August 1, 2008 at 22:02

    Well, I am enjoying your reactions to my suggested topic. It’s got you all researching the crime there. But still, should long distance bus lines do the same as airlines?

  23. 23 Brett
    August 1, 2008 at 22:05

    Sure it would be wonderful if they did, however it would come at the expense of their fare prices. A metal detecting machine or two for every location, plus an x-ray machine, plus the cost to train and operate and maintain the equipment… What would that cost the customer?

  24. 24 Pam
    August 1, 2008 at 22:08

    I agree.

    Hey, talking about serial killers in Canada, did you hear about Robert Pickton in BC who murdered all those prosititutes?

  25. 25 Venessa
    August 1, 2008 at 22:26

    I’ve taken Greyhound a few times myself….It has always been an adventure.

    What about trains? There were no security measures last time I took the train to Seattle. You just walk out of the station onto the train. Do people think there should be security?

  26. 26 selena
    August 1, 2008 at 22:39

    I think it is pretty unrealistic to think that we can be protected from every danger.

    I have been using the Paris underground all day, running here and there. There are so many people taking the trains it would not be feasible to check everyone? Would it? I wonder!

  27. 27 Venessa
    August 1, 2008 at 22:41

    I should specify – I’m talking about Amtrak or long distance trains, not subway’s etc.

  28. 28 Venessa
    August 1, 2008 at 22:46

    I do agree it would be ridiculous to implement such security measures in subways etc.

  29. 29 savane
    August 1, 2008 at 22:51

    Hi everyone.

    Is it human nature to find someone, who is not as good as us, to look down on? And do we do this to validate how great we think we are?

    I know some ‘sacred’ professions, no offence meant, legal, medical and financial services professionals come to mind first, who get really ticked off if you understand what they are saying and ask questions!!

    Forgot to add consultants to that list! Isn’t that why jargon was invented? To lock out the ‘ignorant’??

    Did I mention that I’m a Human Resources Consultant! I love ‘Consultantese’!

    Go on! Ask me a question! I’ll give you an answer because I know I know everything!!!! And you’ll never know whether I know what I’m talking about because my answer will be in Consultantese!!

    Tee! Hee! 😉

  30. 30 steve
    August 1, 2008 at 22:54

    @ Vanessa

    The greater risk of terrorism, and not random crazy violence, is on public transport. That’s why terrorists go after commutter trains and not really the long distance ones. Also, you can’t really hijack a train, but you could go on a shooting rampage, like what Colin Furgeson did back in the 1990s. In response, rather than searching people, localities stepped up policing on board. I see cops every once in a while on the MEtro in DC, and I sometimes saw cops on the LIRR when I lived in NY. I believe Amtrak has a limited bag searching rule, though I’ve only taken Amtrak maybe twice since 9/11, and was never searched or anything like that.

    They also don’t search people on cruise ships either, yet someone could go nuts on one of those and kill people.

  31. 31 selena
    August 1, 2008 at 22:55

    It is midnight here and I am going to bed.

    You there Brett?

    See you all in the morning…

  32. 32 Brett
    August 1, 2008 at 23:18

    Yep, Brett’s still here, G’night selena!

    I’m working on fixing a laptop which was given to me (oddly enough as my laptop decided to go out on me last month)… And this ones even nicer… It just needed a thorough cleaning of the heat sinks, and a very thorough reformatting 🙂 hopefully I’ll have it up in a little bit and be mobile the rest of the night lol

  33. 33 Virginia Davis
    August 2, 2008 at 00:25


    Regarding “arrogance.” And “educated people.” My joke about myself after graduating from an excellent liberal arts college for a number of years was that I was getting over being “an intellectual snob.”

    I think “arrogance” may come with the education for certain professions. I don’t see this as being a “national” trait – such as you associate with Liberia. But a character trait that is learned to protect oneself and one’s status in a professional culture. And a character trait which not all assume.

    It does come down to 1+1+1+1……

    When it does seem to be a trait for a given group of individuals…..then perhaps education is in order. I have done this as a bus rider with an honored citizen’s pass.

    I finally began to write complaint emails to the bus system. I, and I hope others, are treated better now.

    As a civil servant, I always went the extra mile for people with telephone inquiries.
    But not all of my colleagues did.

    If your education includes assumptions that it is making you “better” than others, then it is at fault.

    Virginia in Oregon

  34. 34 Luz Ma from Mexico
    August 2, 2008 at 02:14

    Good night from Mexico!

    I haven´t been around much, since I have a new job that it is very demanding. But I am planning on reading your posts later and make some contributions. I have missed WHYS all week!

    Brett and Selena… have a great weekend moderating!

  35. 35 Dennis
    August 2, 2008 at 03:18

    Sorry for not being on the first day on BP NO18, I am
    currently not feeling the good….

    Welcome, Brett and Selena to the moderators chair…



  36. 36 Bob in Queensland
    August 2, 2008 at 04:35

    Hi All!

    Re: Security on buses and trains

    How often are people decapitated on Greyhound buses? Laws enacted as a knee jerk reaction after an isolated incident are usually bad ones…and this would be a bad one. Are you going to put metal detectors, X-rays and security guards at every truck stop where you can board a bus? As for trains, yeah, they’re a terrorist target. But even if you found a practical way to screen passengers, the terrorists could just move onto a new target. You could spend billions, inconvenience millions and not save a single life.

    @ Steve

    Re: Murder in Canada.

    Despite the publicised incidents you mention and the “lenient” laws, the homicide rate there is considerably less than half what it is in tough ol’ America. I posted a link a few weeks back with homicide rates around the world and there was no correlation between severity of the legal system and the murder rate. I’m looking after our 3 year old and doing laundry now but I’ll try to look it out again if you want it.

  37. 37 Rick
    August 2, 2008 at 04:45

    Just think if that guy on the bus had a gun.

    The one time PM of Auz said after being accused of arrogance, “Yes I am and I have every reason to be!

    My dictionary defines it as being UNWARRANTED claims to be superior. Makes the above statement kind of funny don’t you think?

    I think one reason educated people seem arrogant is that they are more likely to come from a well off, (given the cost of university), background and bring their arrogance from there. Perhaps they were born on nobb hill and are used to looking down on the rest of us.

  38. 38 Bob in Queensland
    August 2, 2008 at 05:09

    Okay, this is far from the most earthshaking news we’re going to discuss today, but:


    Do you think parents should have the right to saddle their kids with unusual (dare I say “stupid” ) names or should there be some control of the worst excesses? I know that some Scandinavian countries actually have laws about this with lists of “approved” names.

    The libertarian in me says the government should stay out of it–but the kind parent in me says no child should be saddled with a name like this.

  39. 39 Julie P
    August 2, 2008 at 05:17


    I agree that government should stay out of “name business”, but parents really do need think about the names they give their children. Among my favorites for bad names was Frank Zappa naming him son Moon Unit One.

  40. August 2, 2008 at 05:20

    @ Julie P,

    How about Patch Adams, who named his son Atomic Zagnut?!

  41. 41 Julie P
    August 2, 2008 at 05:28


    Another all time fave is Sylvester Stallone naming one of his children Sage Bloodmoon!

  42. 42 Julie P
    August 2, 2008 at 05:34

    @Strange names

    I would be remiss if I missed the two other charming names that Frank Zappa named his two other children: Dweezil and Diva Muffin.

  43. 43 Bob in Queensland
    August 2, 2008 at 05:40

    I’ll refrain from any comments about Patch Adams having a normal “nuclear” family.

  44. 44 1430a
    August 2, 2008 at 07:31

    hello everyone,
    it was great to have to discussion about an Asian(China)country the other day.well, dear morderators i would like it if you could bring in some more topics regarding the issues in Asia.Sarrc would be a good one to start with!

  45. 45 savane
    August 2, 2008 at 07:33

    @ Name-calling

    ‘Ever met someone, and when they tell you their name, you think: “That’s child abuse!”

    There’s a Kenyan ethnic group renowned for naming children after key events or personalities (at or around the time of the child’s birth), e.g., after the post-election violence in Kenya in Jan/Feb this year, the following first names have been used (or are being considered (some name suggestions are in jest, sadly, some will actually be used!):
    * Post-election (violence)
    * Coalition Government
    * Referendum
    * Tear-gas Cannister
    * IDP-Camp (IDP = Internally Displaced Persons)
    * Reconciliation-Talks
    * Safaricom-IPO (after Kenya’s largest cell-phone company’s IPO)

    Of course, there are countless Koffi Anaan’s (he mediated the reconciliation talks) and Barrack Obama’s (his father comes from that ethnic community). I’m expecting to hear the birth of a few Beijing’s and Olympics!

    Is it just me, a fan of Jon Stuart’s, The Daily Show, or is the US media over zealous in its negative reporting of Obama! Case in point, his ‘gaffes’ during his first international trip, e.g., the Iraqi President agreeing with his withdrawal plan from Iraq? And brushing over McCain’s comment about the insecurity of the Iraq-Pakistan border? Please note, the Iraq-Pakistan ‘border’ is otherwise known as the country called Iran!!

  46. 46 Bob in Queensland
    August 2, 2008 at 08:04

    @ 1430a

    I agree that Asian stories are generally under-represented in terms of both news and discussions in WHYS. I suppose part of that is just geography–depending how far east you are, you have to be a bit of a night-owl to ever hear the show–and, unless you’ve heard it, you probably wouldn’t think to listen to the podcast.

    Anyway, if you think SAARC would make a good topic, why not start us off and tell us what you think and why you feel it needs discussion.

  47. 47 nelsoni
    August 2, 2008 at 08:42

    Hello every one, The AFP just reported that 3 of the four members of the USA 4×100 meters relay team tested positive for drugs and have being disqualified. The Beijing olympics seems to be heading the list for the worst ever held, poor air quality( I suggest the atlethes compete with gas masks), doping from left, right and center, haggling over what websites should be allowed or not, denial of broken promises. This is just getting more interesting.

  48. 48 Katharina in Ghent
    August 2, 2008 at 08:56

    @ kids’ names:

    Yes, I think it’s child abuse, and Austria also has a law where, when the parents wish to give their child an unusual name, they have to prove that it really is a name. IMO, parents who call their child something silly like “Formula One Racecar” (I just came up with that name, my condolences if there’s really a person running around with it), ignore the fact that the child is its own entity, and not a pet dog. So I believe that the authorities are basically protecting the child, as they should. If an adult wishes to change his name, than it’s his educated choice, but children are stuck with their parents, and they don’t always have the best interests of the child on mind.

  49. 49 Bob in Queensland
    August 2, 2008 at 09:06

    re: Drugs and the Olympics

    Are there any experts in “sports pharmacy” here?

    One report I heard this morning was about an athlete (can’t remember the details) who was banned from Olympic competition because he tested positive for a diuretic.

    Now, I’m a boring old git with slightly high blood pressure and I take a diuretic every morning. I can tell you right now it doesn’t improve my athletic prowess one bit, unless we’re talking the 25 yard dash to the toilet.

    In the past I’ve also heard of people getting bans for common hay fever remedies.

    So…my question is: is drugs testing now going too far if people are being disqualified for things like diuretics and over the counter hay fever stuff. I fully understand that large doses of steroids to build muscle or things that give you extra red blood cells can provide an unfair advantage, but it must be a minefield if even basic drugs for genuine medical reasons are on a banned list.

  50. August 2, 2008 at 09:38

    I truly believe that drugs scandal in the Olympics is nothing new. It is good that those cheaters have been booted out. Competition should be clean of cheating.

  51. 51 Lubna
    August 2, 2008 at 09:45

    Hello to my two dearest friends Brett and Selena, and a very good luck to both of you guys in your moderation task over the weekend Inshallah ! :-)… Guys, you may want to check out this webpage : dijla.instablogs.com. With my love… Yours forever, Lubna…

  52. 52 selena
    August 2, 2008 at 10:20

    Good morning everyone!

    Thanks dear Lubna for the link.

    Obama changes his mind *again*.


  53. 53 nelsoni
    August 2, 2008 at 10:38

    The Beijing olympics is jinxed, we hardly ever hear any thing positive about the it. Except “positive” drug test which are increasing by the day.

  54. 54 nelsoni
    August 2, 2008 at 11:12

    About media bias. @ Bryan. I read your comments directed @ Bob in Queensland on Talking points August 1st. This topic of media bias never seems to go away and I must say I am amazed at the amount of “evidence” you have put together to nail the BBC as biased. I am tempted to say you can write a book on the subject, however this is another angle you should consider. The viewers/listeners are they objective?

  55. 55 peter mose
    August 2, 2008 at 11:12


    i did write a piece on this ,but i think the bbc sneezed and it got lost,
    history is the clue here back in the 50,s WE HAD A BLOKE WHO RUN THE MILE IN 4 MINUETS,the fact he was a doctor studing heart condition seem to go unnoticed,
    no body in the world had done this so far ,

    and sport back then was a different people actulay run for the sort or their county
    for the prestige ,/ but the things changed and all of those fat business people
    who were to fat to run wanted to be associated with healthy sporting images for them and their companies ,so it began SPONSER SHIP instead of just the prestige
    you could become a millionair as well ,if only you could beat the competion,

    and then came the science that ment the the drugs ,then came the tests,then came the tecnoligy to beat the tests and so on ,
    we now have a situation were if you are not on drugs you are not competativ,

    we ended up with some women looking like men we had some men looking their eyeballs were goin to pop out of their heads/with facial expression,s that you would only find in a horror film,

    if the truth were told it was a cheap answer for the gov to put it out to commercial enterprise ,then then countrys like england could get some glory for no outlay
    and then they could tax the money paid ,
    do you remember when our atherlets had to work all week and then train eves/+weekends just for the glory ,the gov sponser money covered a cheap pair of plimsols and a small box of oranges,

    other countrys paid for everything for their full time atherletes ,but of course some times it,s not enough ,as winning is everything ,it the advertizing its the money its your job ,its your life.

    peter mose
    fully trackable

  56. 56 Katharina in Ghent
    August 2, 2008 at 11:30

    Good morning, Selena!

    Are you still in Paris? I saw your link about Obama, and I’m basically not surprised. I don’t follow the presidential race too closely, because usually, what they say on one day is pretty much opposite to what they will say on the next. From the very beginning I had the strong feeling that in the end McCain will win the elections, first of all for the obvious reasons, but also because “change” alone is not substantial enough, and Obama has little else to show. I don’t suspect the majority of the American electorate to fall for less-than-empty promises.

  57. 57 selena
    August 2, 2008 at 11:48


    Yes, still in Paris… shopping for furniture for the new home. 🙂

    There doesn’t seem to be too much activity here. Is everyone preoccupied with summer activities?

    It is cold here today!

  58. 58 Katharina in Ghent
    August 2, 2008 at 12:37

    @ Selena

    Are you going to stay in Paris?

    Mornings are usually pretty slow on the blog, only when the Americans and Canadians wake up (and Mexicans) does it get more lively.

    We have it more fresh now, too, and it’s going to stay like this for a while… tomorrow my parents come for a visit and once again they’ll enjoy “typical Belgian weather”…

  59. 59 nelsoni
    August 2, 2008 at 12:42

    @ Kathi. Only the americans/canadians/mexicans/ make the blog “more” lively?

  60. 60 Bob in Queensland
    August 2, 2008 at 12:46

    Well, Australia tries its best but I often find I’m talking to myself.–which makes it worrying when I start arguing!

    If I ever feel the need of an ad hominem attack, I’m leaving!

  61. 61 Julie P
    August 2, 2008 at 12:50


    Go ahead, talk and argue with yourself online. When I wake up in the middle of the night, or first thing in the morning, I could use a little chuckle! 🙂

  62. 62 nelsoni
    August 2, 2008 at 12:51

    @ Bob in Queensland. Today’s a saturday and probably almost every one is far from a pc for obvious reasons. But I being young and loving everything mobile, I have got internet access on my PDA so even while enjoying myself outdoors I can still blog and even moderate while doing a little bit of fishing!! Life is mobile 😉

  63. August 2, 2008 at 12:57

    Hi again gang ! ;-)… My dearest Nelsoni : Hi… May be someone should also write a book about the shameless pro-Israeli bias policy adopted by “some ;-)” American media… After all, it’s a biased attitude to blame the BBC alone right ?! ;-)… And my question to our Precios American WHYSers is : Are voices which criticise the Israeli occupation’s policies or defend the just cause of the Palestinian people allowed to appear on FOX News ?! If yes then how many times per decade ?! ;-)… With my love… Yours forever, Lubna…

  64. 64 Julie P
    August 2, 2008 at 13:06

    @Olympics, and athletes use of drugs

    Just today the IOC has stripped the US 2000 relay team of their gold medals for doping. The IOC will reallocate the medals later this year.


  65. 65 steve
    August 2, 2008 at 13:15

    Interesting story on paternity tests in the UK in cases of seeking child support


  66. 66 nelsoni
    August 2, 2008 at 13:20

    @ Lubna. It is not just the Media organizations that are biased. Some of the viewers/listeners are also biased too.

  67. 67 steve
    August 2, 2008 at 13:21

    @ Lubna

    I don’t really watch Fox News much, but I have seen Palestinian guests on it. It’s not like Fox News holds birthday parties for murderers like al jazeera did for the Kuntar guy that Israel returned to Lebanon. Remember, he murdered a family and a child, and he got a heroes welcome, and Al jazeera threw a birthday party for him.

  68. 68 selena
    August 2, 2008 at 13:31


    Were we speaking about biased listeners?

  69. 69 Bryan
    August 2, 2008 at 13:40

    nelsoni August 2, 2008 at 11:12 am

    Quite a lot of what I write here is based on evidence collected over many years on media bias and discussed on the internet. I try to compile fair, accurate and comprehensive data on media bias.

    Are the viewers/listeners objective? Often, no. Am I biased? I guess so. For example, I would prefer to see Israel succeed rather than her enemies:


    But it is not that difficult to put aside personal bias and use purely objective criteria to establish whether media is biased or not. Apply those criteria to the BBC, for example, to establish whether it is biased in favour of the Democrats or Republicans. Have a look at both the quality and the quantity of reporting on both Obama and McCain and it will be clear where the bias lies.

    Another example: have a look at the sombre, sympathetic reporting from the BBC when Labour suffered its staggering defeat in the local elections and Ken Livingstone was ousted from his post as Mayor of London. You could almost hear funeral music playing. Contrast that with the BBC celebrations when Labour won the national elections in 1997, as acknowledged by Jane Garvey on BBC radio last year when she let slip that, “The corridors of Broadcasting House were strewn with empty champagne bottles.”


    Is the BBC biased in favour of Labour? Without a single shadow of a doubt, yes.

  70. 70 Andrew
    August 2, 2008 at 13:43

    Here’s a thought, just been hearing on the beeb about how the games will be a showcase for China. But… what showcase?

    The masses of workers who built the glittering stadia as an example of Chinese creativity and excellence, all those nameless shoeless workers were shooed away so they wont clutter up the city. Anyone who might be considered putting a blot on Beijing because they have grievances with the government, say people with housing concerns or those who want answers about their dead children (recent earthquake) have been muzzled and gotten rid of. People whose houses have been forcibly taken from them.. removed, etc etc.

    Even the atmosphere is fake. Factories closed and cars taken off the roads to cleanse the air do not represent what China, Beijing is really like. Water is being piped in from surrounding areas to make the city look green. Once the games are finished then the old problems will come back. Yes I will mention censorship, totalitarian regime, grime, discontent with the government, corruption and all the rest. So like the communist leaders of the old USSR waving during the 80 games, what do they really have to be proud of when it is not representative of what modern China is really like?

    It is all a put on, all fake. But in the long run I guess the world doesn’t really care as long as they have something pretty to view over 2 weeks and someone to cheer as well.

  71. 71 Dan
    August 2, 2008 at 13:50

    This is a “twitchy” subject.
    Senator Obama is in Florida this weekend and Blacks are lining up to see him. Quite rightly they are proud of him.
    The underlying theme is that if Senator Obama is elected President Blacks expect “Reparations” for slavery.
    Now comes the question: Do we owe any money or further advantage to Blacks (or any group) in a country with limitless opportunity to those Blacks who are descended from slaves? What do we owe all people whose ancestors were also slaves as slavery was pervasive across all racial lines ad amongst all people?
    Not excusing the horrors of slavery but given the conditions in Africa and the opportunities in America are Blacks better off and why have they chosen to remain an underclass?
    Why have Blacks traded one form of slavery, under the lash of a Master, for another form of slavery, a check from the Government? Have Blacks traded one Master for another?
    The Democrat Party was the Party of Slavery and the Ku Klux Klan. Yet Blacks overwhelmingly belong to the Democrat Party and allow themselves to be treated as infants by the very Democrats who are enslaving them again and constantly telling Blacks that they cannot succeed without sucking on the tit of Government?
    Now before I get the knee-jerk liberal reaction calling me racist or whatever know that Senator Obama himself has opened this door and is asking the same questions, perhaps not so bluntly.
    Can we have a calm rational discussion n this subject this weekend and perhaps a WHYS subject during the week?
    Here’s a thought WHYS needs to interview Senator Obama for a full hour on the issue of race and then give Senator McCain the same opportunity.

  72. 73 selena
    August 2, 2008 at 13:52


    You could almost be talking about New Orleans!

  73. 74 Bryan
    August 2, 2008 at 14:00

    steve August 2, 2008 at 1:21 pm,

    Memri has a video clip of Kuntar claiming that little Einat Haran was killed in “crossfire” rather than bludgeoned to death by himself with his rifle butt. Fortunately the truth is all over the internet. The celebrations for this child murderer on his return to Lebanon really were obscene.

    Maybe someone can rescue my response to nelsoni from the spam filter, if that’s where it is.

  74. 75 selena
    August 2, 2008 at 14:02

    Now comes the question: Do we owe any money or further advantage to Blacks (or any group) in a country with limitless opportunity to those Blacks who are descended from slaves?

    My answer is an unequivocal “NO”!

    It was another time and we can never right the wrongs of another time.

    The only thing that can be done is to stop the same thing from happening again but we are not doing a very good job of that.

    Canada has given much money to the Natives and, I believe, the Chinese and Japanese. The Natives keep on asking for more.

    I suppose they know when they are on to a good thing and I don’t fault them for that. The fault lies with those who appease, as I see it.

    We all have a beef to grind with the past. Once that starts it will never stop.

    It is just appeasement and personally I can’t stand appeasement.

  75. 76 Katharina in Ghent
    August 2, 2008 at 14:10

    @ Nelson:

    Okay, okay, we Europeans/Africans/Asians/Australian/Antarcticans also make a lot of contributions to the blog, but look at it: Steve and Julie are up and immediately there are a lot more posts up…

  76. 77 Dan
    August 2, 2008 at 14:17

    @ Selena
    I heartily agree. Appeasment feels good but only leads to evil.
    I laugh at those that apply the morality and values of today to acts of past explorers and conqerers.
    We must concentrate on Today and solving the problems of today and in my experience it begins with education, basic reading, writing, mathematics and learning to speak the language of ones country ad then speaking in an edcated fashion.
    I cannot begin to express the sadess and sorrow of those that come my company looking for menial wor as they possess no skills, cannot speak in a discernable language despite being born here and cannot do basic math. They do however know how to put a condom on a banana.

  77. 78 Julie P
    August 2, 2008 at 14:23


    I recall while taking a sociology class right around the time of Y2K scare. There was a class discussion about the Y2K bug. My professor, who is from Paraguay pointed out that the US is more concerned about it than elsewhere because, according to her, there are more pcs here than anywhere else. Also she pointed out that there is a deeper internet penetration for the US. Here is some quick facts on that.


  78. 79 nelsoni
    August 2, 2008 at 14:29

    @ Kathi it came up when Lubna posted a comment about media bias. Look at the time lines closely. We all make this place rock.

  79. 80 selena
    August 2, 2008 at 14:32


    Haven’t seen anything from you in the Spam filter, or anywhere.

  80. 81 nelsoni
    August 2, 2008 at 14:53

    @ Bryan. In the context of labour/BBC, I am sure you have come across BBC staff protest and Hands off the BBC . This tells a totally different story about the BBC and Labor. Since the BBC has a global audience unlike most other broadcasters it will always be walking on a tight rope. And once we have a biased listener/viewer, no matter how objective a report is, it makes no difference. That’s where part of the real problem is.

  81. 82 Roberto
    August 2, 2008 at 15:00

    Here’s a thought, just been hearing on the beeb about how the games will be a showcase for China. But… what showcase?

    ** GDub will be the first American president to attend the Olympic games.

    Maybe the first significant world leader. Guess he will sprinkle the games with some holy white house water and then go ride his mountain bike on the Great Wall..

    Can anyone imagine FDR visiting Hitler’s games in ’36?

  82. 83 nelsoni
    August 2, 2008 at 15:01

    @ Dan. It would be great to have Obama and McCain on WHYS, however that will generate another controversy about bias because Obama is more likely to accept. Whether McCain would want to put himself in the firing line of BBC worldservice listeners esp WHYSers, that’s a totally different question. It’s a great idea and let’s give it a shot.

  83. 84 Dan
    August 2, 2008 at 15:10

    @ Nelsoni
    It would be spectaular especially if the interviewer keeps each candidate on topic (Race) and it does not degenerate into a campaign commercial. They both have to have their feet held to the fire.

  84. 85 Bob in Queensland
    August 2, 2008 at 15:14

    @ Roberto

    Hitler didn’t hold the mortgage to FDR’s America.

    China, on the other hand has enough dollars and holds enough Treasury Bonds to yank a few strings.

  85. 86 nelsoni
    August 2, 2008 at 15:32

    @ Dan. Trying to put that topic now on a blank page may be a like looking for a needle in the haystack. It would fare better on a talking point page. What do you think?

  86. 87 Dan
    August 2, 2008 at 15:38

    @ Nelsoni

  87. 88 Bob in Queensland
    August 2, 2008 at 15:42

    @ Dan

    Alas, it’s not just people looking for “menial” jobs who haven’t learned even the basics of reading, spelling, grammar and mathematics.

    I’ve had university graduates apply for relatively senior positions using spelling and grammar so poor as to make their applications almost unreadable.

    However, they’ve managed an honours degree in “Media Studies” or some such nonsense discipline.

  88. 89 Dan
    August 2, 2008 at 15:48

    @ Bob in Queensland
    How about a degree in “nderwater Basket Weaving”?

  89. 90 nelsoni
    August 2, 2008 at 15:49

    @ Dan. All right, we will put it on the first talking point page for next week and see the reception it gets from WHYSers.

  90. 91 Dan
    August 2, 2008 at 15:53

    @ Bob in Queensland
    I have a graduate degree in Electrical Engineering with a minor in Law and Political Science.
    I keep going back to school (via Internet now) to keep learning and keep growing.
    Sometimes it is just for fun, most times it is for serious knowledge the point is that learning never stops and basic education is to help one become a productive member of society and be able to make a living for themselves and lift the lives of those who cannot.
    I learned life’s three basic principles:
    1. Live well.
    2. Do good
    3. Help others
    Educaion is key to #1 and perhaps accomplising #’s 2 & 3.

  91. 92 Dan
    August 2, 2008 at 15:54

    @ Nelsoni
    Thank You!!!!

  92. 93 Brett
    August 2, 2008 at 16:02

    Now comes the question: Do we owe any money or further advantage to Blacks (or any group) in a country with limitless opportunity to those Blacks who are descended from slaves?

    My answer is an unequivocal “NO”!

    Exactly! I have expressed my concern many times on here about ‘reparations’ and other forms of expressed advantages for minorities except ‘whites’ since whites get ‘implied’ advantages.

    If any minority gets reparations or advantages, as a descendant of Irish immigrants, I expect the same for the exploitation, violence, and crimes towards ‘my people’ upon their arrival to this great nation.

    I am all for programs to help the POOR and underprivileged, but I sure wouldn’t stand by to see underprivileged ‘whites’ get looked over and assistance given to ‘minorities’ simply because of the color of their skin. Let’s help everyone, not pick and choose who we help because of the color of their skin.

    Furthermore, if Obama supports any sort of reparations (ESPECIALLY monetary) I will be tossing my vote away on Nader. I dig the guy, but again, don’t use my money as a tax payer, to fund an apology for something I wasn’t even a part of. I’m sorry I was born ‘white’ but I shouldn’t have to pay for it.

  93. 94 Bryan
    August 2, 2008 at 16:04

    selena August 2, 2008 at 2:32 pm


    Haven’t seen anything from you in the Spam filter, or anywhere.”

    Sorry, I should have specified. I meant my post at 1:40 pm. It was hanging there with its red “Awaiting Moderation” bar while later comments appeared below it so I thought it was perhaps stuck in the spam filter since it contained some links. Just after I posted the comment questioning where it was, I saw it had been cleared for posting on the site.

    nelsoni August 2, 2008 at 2:53 pm,

    I’m about to read your links.

  94. 95 1430a
    August 2, 2008 at 16:12

    thanks bob for considering the the Asian topics.
    Well to tell the thruth SAARC seems to be as useless as the UN.today was the opening day of the 15th Sarrc summit in Colombo.Every year i hear the leaders and the Head Of States talking about bringing in more cooperation between member countries but that seems really a mirage because the tension seems to be growing between the member states.the problems between India and Pakistan seem never to be ending.The Sri Lankan terrorism never seems to get away.
    Well whatever we say it is a nice Holiday trip for the 50 odd representatives to enjoy quality time in foreign land!

  95. 96 Dan
    August 2, 2008 at 16:20

    @ Brett
    You have it exactly correct…I believe. I will go to the ends of the earth to help one get eat, have shelter, get educated and then open doors so that they may take charge of their lives but they must take advantage of what is offered to better themseves rather than take a crumb off of the table and like Oliver Twist say “May I have more please?”.

  96. 97 viola
    August 2, 2008 at 16:47

    The media bias issue:

    After reading http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0729/p07s01-woeu.html, I wonder:

    Is it inevitable that media will take sides on issues?

    Is it possible for media to be structured in such a way that it can remain neutral on issues?

    Should media be neutral?

    Does media bias increase the divisions inherent in any given society?

    The events in Turkey regarding that country’s supreme court decision not to outlaw the party currently in power because of fears that party will undermine Kemal Attaturk’s constitutional secularism vision for Turkey has prompted me to once more consider the role of media bias.


  97. 98 viola
    August 2, 2008 at 17:02

    Personally, I believe that truly biased people will seek out media that supports their biases and will refuse to read, hear, or see anything that doesn’t support them. People who wish to investigate an issue will read, hear or watch everything.

    Since it is simpler and requires less work and resources, I believe most people on the planet fall into the first category. Kind of sad, really.


  98. 99 viola
    August 2, 2008 at 17:04

    Right now, I’m thinking the last question I asked in my first post is the one I’m most interested in: Does media bias increase the divisions inherent in any society?


  99. 100 viola
    August 2, 2008 at 17:06

    Wow. I’m on a roll.

    Is naming a child something stupid child abuse? No. It’s just stupid and selfish for a parent to do that.


  100. 101 Andrew
    August 2, 2008 at 17:17

    @ Viola

    Fortunately the child can always change their name later on in life

    Unfortunately until they are old enough to do it they probably will have to go through life (and school) being made fun of and picked on.

    Imagine why you would want to name a child something that is going to get it beaten up at school?

  101. 102 viola
    August 2, 2008 at 17:26

    Does education always produce arrogance? Ask first: What is education and what is it for?

    I would say education doesn’t always produce arrogance. Let’s see: Arrogance is when someone looks down on someone who is is perceived to be of less value than himself/herself. If that person is a highly educated one, it indicates that the educated person needs enlightenment, which MAY come with a degree, but not necessarily.

    There’s a term I like, “educated idiot.” However, that term is a disservice to persons with limited brain resources who are humbly trying to maximize their potential through education.

    That kind of thinking goes both ways. Plenty of people without higher education degrees view with scorn educated persons. They say that educated people are the ones the smart people hire to do the stuff they don’t want to do and are quick to point out successful people who did it through hard work, drive, and intelligence rather than education. Thus, they reason, advanced education is unnecessary to get ahead in life.


  102. 103 viola
    August 2, 2008 at 17:29

    !@ Andrew

    That’s why it is stupid and selfish for a parent to give a child a ridiculous name. Too many people don’t understand the significance of naming. It is a definition.


  103. 104 Andrew
    August 2, 2008 at 17:39

    @ Viola

    If having a name like Andrew can get you razzed bad enough.. I pity others with ‘odd’ names

    Having said that, I hear of people in African states such as Kenya or further south with names I quite like.. would not work in the English speaking world though. Names like Redemption or Salvation, biblical type references. Seems to work over there. But in Australia I think it is an arms race to see who can shock or spell a name the most horrendous way.

  104. 105 Bryan
    August 2, 2008 at 17:41

    viola August 2, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    “Does media bias increase the divisions inherent in any society?” It probably increases them and also cements them.

  105. 106 viola
    August 2, 2008 at 17:51

    Beheaded on a Greyhound bus: A sad and shocking event

    I’ve ridden on Greyhound quite a bit. Most of the time I quite like it. Once, down in Washington state, on a bus, I was dozing, as it was nighttime. All of a sudden, the woman riding in the seat behind me reached up and yanked my hair, bringing me shockingly awake. Of course, I said something like, “Hey!” and turned around prepared for battle. She was harmless, though, lucky me. She apologised and said something I didn’t understand and never bothered me anymore. I have no idea why she did that. It was weird, though not as weird as getting your head cut off.

    On my most recent bus trip, here in Canada, nighttime again, some man was talking; I was paying no attention, dozing. We were way out in the boonies (that means far from civilization, for those who haven’t heard the term) when the bus driver pulled over to the side of the road, turned on the lights and started telling this man to stop (whatever he was doing), all the while recording the incident on a hand-held cell phone or camera camcord type recording device. That man was silent for the rest of the trip.

    Will I continue to ride Greyhound? Yes. Am I concerned? Yes. Do I think they ought to have airport-like security? Don’t know. It could very well come to that, eventually.

    Drivers need to be alert. Even so, they can’t spot all the nutcases, any more than you or I can.

    By the way, nutcases do not come from a “class” of people.


  106. 107 Shirley
    August 2, 2008 at 17:58

    Actually, Obama himself does not see a need for reparations I am for reparations, though. An excellent article in terms of presenting my opinions on the subject is A Regional Perspective on Afro-descendant Quality of Life. A couple of quotes: Perhaps the most pervasive and long-lasting effect of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade is the economic dependence that has been forced upon Afrodescendants in its wake.
    According to the National Urban League, the overall economic status of Afrodescendants in the U.S. measures 57% of their White counterparts.

    That should start the pot stirring.

  107. 108 viola
    August 2, 2008 at 17:59


    So, do you think anything should be done to control any media that is doing that, and if you do, what and who should do it?

    I know that education and good will are the best scenario. Barring that, what can be done to or by media to avoid it?


  108. 109 Shirley
    August 2, 2008 at 17:59

    Sorry, that was header “Reparations” and reply to Dan

  109. 110 viola
    August 2, 2008 at 18:14


    Children, as precious as they are, have every conceivable human flaw, cruelty and indifference to other’s discomfort being the really dangerous ones. I really don’t understand how your name could be perceived as weird by children. Maybe because you weren’t given the manly nickname “Andy”?

    Be that as it may, it is true that in their quest for original names for their oh-so-original children, many parents reject every conceivable, “ordinary” name and spelling of names in favor of names they consider cute or exotic or different. I guess there’s nothing wrong with that. It just seems silly to me.

    For parents of another mind, it has led to this: When I said that I wished my granddaughter had been named for my mother, my daughter’s reply was, “Oh, sure, Mother, along with the millions who named their child after ______(from an extremely popular sit-com).


  110. 111 Andrew
    August 2, 2008 at 18:19

    @ Viola

    I agree with you.

    Precious.. that was the name I was trying to recall.. I heard a name like Precious Mbangwa or something like that I think that sound nice.

    But yeah, perhaps they should get a pet and name it according to their sense of flair. Not a child.

    Imagine if I was called Andre instead.. more ribbing for that name!

  111. 112 Sam
    August 2, 2008 at 18:30

    Does violence in video gaming affect a person’s ability to comprehend the difference between pretend video game violence and real violence?

    (I personally do not believe video games trigger violence in most people, since I’ve been a gamer since the 80s, and have a spotless record – not one mark on daily life nor do I have a police record. I just believe this would be a topic many would differ on. I’m curious to the “Why?”s of both sides.)

    Why do you or do you not believe this is the case? Can anything be done to treat people who cannot tell the difference without infringing on others’ freedoms to enjoy fantasy aggression?

    With the video gaming market mostly comprised of violent games (First Person Shooters and other types due to the major part of the market having grown up on 1980’s games onward, and now apparently prefer more mature titles to the past titles they played) and the rest of the collection being less violent if not completely violence free (Super Mario Galaxy, Animal Crossing e.t.c), this would be an interesting topic to get people talking, but beware of letting it fall into shock topic territory. Other journalists (and those who don’t deserve the name at all) have simply stamped “Violent video games are BAD!” on their shows, invited colliding sides on and watched while it hit the fan for fun.

    I’m hoping this show could do a lot better.

  112. 113 viola
    August 2, 2008 at 18:39

    I guess we should all get that thing done where they can accurately identify your ancestry, then do a little research on whichever ancestry group is likely to be awarded reparations.

    There’s African, which should eventually yield some bucks. There’s American Indian which is a terrific one. There’s Irish-American who fled a British-caused famine and should be eligible for apologies and reparations. There’s the Scots who were shipped over for opposing and fighting the Brits on several occasions. There’s all the poor people who were viewed as criminals or undesirables and shipped over. There’s the Jews who fled Europe when the Nazis were running amok. There’s the Japanese-Canadians and Japanese-Americans who were dispossessed during World War II. Maybe the American Indian tribes can extend the game by demanding reparations from other tribes for enslaving them or raiding and killing them.

    With a little research and a modest outlay of cash, we can all put ourselves into position for a reparations payment, maybe more than one, if we’re of mixed ancestry.


  113. 114 Andrew
    August 2, 2008 at 18:48

    I bid all WHYSers a pleasant goodnight (for me anyway) and a productive Sunday!

    I notice I’m probably the last moderator standing now.. so I must leave you in someone else’s capable hands when they arrive online. If messages get backed up.. that will be why.

    Cheers all.

  114. 115 nelsoni
    August 2, 2008 at 18:51

    @ Andrew. I am around so i will moderate for a while. Thanks for stepping in.

  115. 116 Bryan
    August 2, 2008 at 18:55

    viola August 2, 2008 at 5:59 pm,

    Well, I know what I’d like to do TO the media, but to reveal that would be unsuitable for the chaste pages of this blog. What can be done BY the media is a serious programme of introspection to identify the areas of bias and correct the bias. Unfortunately, this is extremely unlikely. The BBC makes feeble attempts in this regard, identifies some areas, usually quite trivial, where it can improve, and then proceeds to do nothing about it. As an example, the BBC’s Impartiality Review of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict of years back had as one of its conclusions the relatively minor point that the BBC was deficient in its response to complaints. Go to the site and you will find the same old dinosaur they’ve had for years, with its funny green look:


    Oops, I see they’ve finally updated it a bit, or at least changed the format. So I’ll put my criticism of the site in the past tense till I can establish whether there has in fact been any improvement:

    It was difficult to navigate around and did not even provide a reference number for one’s complaint or indeed any evidence that the complaint had been received. And getting a response, even the standard blurb, was an unusual event.

  116. 117 Bryan
    August 2, 2008 at 18:56

    Hi nelsoni. I just tried to post something (twice) but it vanished. Maybe it’s in the spam filter.

  117. 118 nelsoni
    August 2, 2008 at 19:02

    @ Bryan. I have recovered your posts from the spam filter. You posted the same thing twice so i deleted one and recovered the other.

  118. 119 selena
    August 2, 2008 at 19:03

    I am here Guys! Any problem?

  119. 120 nelsoni
    August 2, 2008 at 19:05

    @ Bryan have you read the links I provided about labour/Bbc?

  120. 121 nelsoni
    August 2, 2008 at 19:08

    No problem, Selena We are cool. One of Bryan’s comment got stuck in the spam so I recovered it. The spam seems to like Bryan’s post. This not the first time I have recovered his post from spam. 😉

  121. 122 Bryan
    August 2, 2008 at 19:08

    This idea of reparations can get a bit ridiculous. More than two and a half thousand years ago, the Babylonians overran Jerusalem, destroyed Solomon’s temple and hauled most of the ancient Israelites off to exile in Babylon.

    Does this mean present day Iraqis owe reparations to the Israelis? And if so, who is going to figure out how much they owe and ensure that they pay?

  122. 123 Roberto
    August 2, 2008 at 19:09

    Re Reparations:

    Needs to start with Africans for inventing slavery and then selling off their decendents. Good way for the KING to get rid of likely rivals and make a profit to boot.

    Wait, we’re all of African origins. Great, everyone exchange a dollar and reparations sorted.

    As far as I know the West was the first significant group of people to debate the issue and ban slavery. Unfortunately slavery still exists in other parts of the world and modern permutations of indentured servitude exist all over the world.

    Reparations just a topic for opinionated people to squabble over while doing nothing to address the real issues tearing the world asunder.

  123. 124 nelsoni
    August 2, 2008 at 19:11

    @Bryan its obvious that you have alot of evidence against the BBC and I guess you have done your home work well. Do you have a bias dossier on any other media outlet?

  124. 125 Bryan
    August 2, 2008 at 19:16

    Thanks for retrieving my comment, nelsoni. Yes, I read the linked articles and posted a response at 5:10 pm. I believe it appeared on the site but then someone decided they didn’t like it and so deleted it. Here it is again. See if you can find anything wrong with it:

    Bryan August 2, 2008 at 5:10 pm

    nelsoni August 2, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    “@ Bryan. In the context of labour/BBC, I am sure you have come across BBC staff protest and Hands off the BBC . This tells a totally different story about the BBC and Labor. Since the BBC has a global audience unlike most other broadcasters it will always be walking on a tight rope. And once we have a biased listener/viewer, no matter how objective a report is, it makes no difference. That’s where part of the real problem is.”

    I had a look at the links. Bob also came up with the same argument. The point I made on another thread on the subject still stands. I believe the BBC was distraught at the fact of Labour under Blair going arm in arm with Bush/Hitler (remember the poster of bush as Hitler up in the BBC newsroom) into Iraq. This, to me, was internal strife between people on the same side of the political spectrum. I’m unimpressed by the NUJ demanding freedom from political interference. This is the same NUJ that voted to boycott Israeli goods after the Lebanon War. Talk about hypocrisy. Now let’s have some real evidence that the BBC is politically neutral. There is none.

    Now I’m afraid that claiming the BBC is pure in its intent and unbiased has to be based on evidence rather than trying to claim that the bias is in the eye of the beholder. If anyone can show me one example (yes, just one will do) of the BBC treating Hezbollah terrorists with the same contempt that it treats Israelis, as I indicated at 10:32 am on ‘Talking Points 1st august’, and of which there are plenty more examples, then I will examine my stance on BBC bias. Until then….

  125. 126 Bryan
    August 2, 2008 at 20:10

    nelsoni August 2, 2008 at 7:11 pm,

    No, I don’t have anything nearly as comprehensive on any other media as I do on the BBC. There are a few reasons for this but the main one is that no other news organization has the power, reach and influence of the BBC worldwide across TV, radio and the internet. So when the BBC slants the news and lapses into propaganda, it is potentially more damaging than any other media outfit.

    However, I do try to correct mistakes and bias from time to time whatever the source. A few years ago a senior person from a left-leaning media organization (I don’t recall which one, but it wasn’t the BBC) posted an enthusiastic article on his website about a recent visit to South Africa claiming that he’d only paid ten rand (about one and a half US dollars at the time) for international phone calls to anywhere on the planet.

    He put this down to the wonderful economic management in the New South Africa, but he’d been an unwitting participant in widespread fraud involving the diversion of the phone lines of genuine subscribers to illegal phone booths. The genuine people then get the bill for thousands of rand (but usually manage to get it written off since the authorities are aware of the scam). Actual rates for overseas calls are in fact really high in South Africa.

    I sent him an e-mail pointing out his error. Never did get a response.

  126. 127 Dan
    August 2, 2008 at 20:39

    @ Shirley
    And just what reparations should be paid to whom? I’d support paying reparations to any pre-civil war slave but there are none alive.
    Pay money to “Afrodescendents” …wow where did that name come from. Just why would we?
    I believe the Blacks fell into the trap of their former masters and re-enslaved themselved and allowed Liberals and Democrats to treat them like infants telling them they cannot acheive without the Government giving them advantages they may not deserve. How many took advantage of those programs and how many just took the checks ad keep doing so?
    Reparations?…Tell me how you can justify your support for reparations or is it blood money that will ease your conscience?
    If we want to help Blacks out of the underclass it must start with new attitudes and education.
    Like Senator Obama says Black men need to act ike men and fathers must act like parents.
    Put away the idiotic notion of “white education” and get educated and learn to speak. It saddens me when a Black man comes into my company unable to express himself in english despite that he grew up in America. I can forgive the lack of business clothes as long as what the person is wearing is clean and neat but what am I to think when I have someone coming in to ask for a job in shorts 10 sizes too big and tank top shirt, their hat on sideways and then with $1,000 tennis shoes?
    What exactly am I giving reparations for? Certainly not or somthing I never did and was not my fault.
    I will pay money to lift Blacks out of the underclass through education but not a penny for a reparations give away so that some Liberal Democrat’s conscience can be asuaged.
    There hirley does that get the conversation flowing?

  127. 128 steve
    August 2, 2008 at 21:05

    @ Shirley

    There have been other groups in the US discriminated against, such as Asians, who do very well. I have a feeling the disparity in income between blacks and whites and NOTHING to do with having been slaves or prior discrimination, but more to do with culture. My grandfather was alive when there were “jews need not apply” listen in job advertisements. Any call for reparations will make Obama lose the largest landslide vote in history.

  128. 129 dENNIS
    August 2, 2008 at 21:25

    Hi Brett and Selena….

    Hi my lovely, friend Lubna, i will check out your blog…i was unable to
    check it out for a few days because i forgot the address….

    Next Saturday, i can go home for a 3-week vacation–but i will
    be here for you all….

    Syracuse, New York

  129. 130 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    August 2, 2008 at 22:38


    Race is a “‘twitchy’ subject?” No, but it eludes your grasp. I was going to say, nobody around here will fall for such transparent sophistry, but obviously a few have already. Since you’ve presented your polemic in the form of a series of questions, I’ll refute it that way:

    “The underlying theme is that if Senator Obama is electedPresident, Blacks expect ‘Reparations’ for slavery.” Really? Exactly whose “underlying theme?” Sen. Obama doesn’t support it, hasn’t proposed it. It’s your own fantasy. Or someone else’s, that you’re regurgitating. Or just an outrageous lie.

    “Do we owe any money or further advantatage to Blacks…?” First, who is “we?” Second, what money? Third, do you honestly imagine it to be an “advantage” to be black in America? Foolish fantasy, or outrageous lie.

    “Slavery was pervasive across all racial lines and amongst all people?” I don’t know what country you speak from or for or about, but here in America, it wasn’t. Fantasy or lie.

    “…why have they chosen to remain an underclass?” They haven’t. Why have you chosen to believe the absurd, the obscene, and the impossible?

    “Why have Blacks traded one form of slavery, under the lash of a Master, for another form of slavery, a check from the Government?” Hmmm. Reluctantly looking beyond the florid sadomasochistic verbiage, I can’t see what you mean. Since slaves by definition are forced to work for the benefit of others, surely where “Government checks” are concerned, it’s taxpayers who are “slaves” and receipients who are “slaveoweners,” granted it’s a tenuous analogy, you still have it backwards.

    If you’re trying to talk about welfare, you should know that most black people here work for a living, and that most welfare recipients are white. Black and white people alike reeive Social Security in their retirement years; of which blacks collectively enjoy relatively fewer, due in part to their being “advantaged” by relative poverty, poor health care, etc.

    “The Democrat Party…” No such animal. Might you be referring to the Democratic party, and if so, perhaps you could answer my own question: What is the purpose of that strange linguistic affectation?

    I’m as far from a “knee-jerk liberal” as one can be, but I know that in fact Sen. Obama is NOT “asking the same questions,” bluntly or otherwise. They aren’t even valid questions, since they assume the impossible and the false, and Sen. Obama is far too smart for that.

    “Can we have a calm rational discussion n [sic] this subject…” Of course. But it won’t start from premises drawn from some perfervid, pornographic Mandingo fantasy rather than historical or current reality.

    If you knew the WHYS format, you would know that
    WHYS does not interview anyone for “a full hour.” It would be a quiet hour, anyway, since the two Senators do not differ on “the issue of race.” Their own races differ, but that’s not instructive, and it wouldn’t come across on radio, and we already know it. Other than that, hey, great suggestion.

    You, on the other hand, would be most interesting, and I hope we may look forward to many more of your thoughts on this topic or any other.

  130. 131 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    August 2, 2008 at 22:40

    Apologies to all for the very rare long post. Two flicks of the Page Dwon key will get you past it.

  131. 132 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    August 2, 2008 at 23:02


    Does your “feeling” allow for the possibility that there is a profound and unique difference between the normal immigrant experience, where a self-selected group of adventurous, brave, industrious people deliberately take a risk to try to better themselves, and the slave experience, where people are brought over an ocean in chains, unwillingly, and treated more like animals than humans, forced to work for no wages, and deliberately denied education?

    If such as difference is possible, do you imagine that it might possibly pervade through the generations, just as does the culture of the immigrant, to effect the quite different outcomes that are evident?

    I’m not arguing for reparations; that’s a red herring. Not even compassion. Just a bit of common sense.

  132. 133 Will Rhodes
    August 3, 2008 at 00:51

    Obama hasn’t said anything about giving reparations to anyone.

    While a heckler was giving him grief Obama said that the heckler had the opportunity of voting for someone else or running for office. The heckler was looking for Obama to do more for blacks as he will be a black president – plainly stupid.

    I don’t and never had agreed with reparations – I wasn’t a slaved master and I don’t think I should have to pay for it. Slavery was and still is an evil thing and I condemn those who did and do use it.

    End of.

  133. 134 steve
    August 3, 2008 at 01:28

    @ Jonathan

    There have been other groups that have been disadvantaged. Look at asians. In the 19th century, chinese came to work to build the railroads. They were heavily discriminated against, had no education, but became very successful despite clearly being of another race.

    Slavery ended in 1865 in the US. It still exists in places in the world today. Virtually everyone is the descendant of a slave. Am I owed reparations by the Egyptians and Babylonians?

    Slavery ended in 1865, now is 2008. In addition, my family came to the US in the late 1800s, after slavery was abolished. I think most Americans as well. We aren’t responsible for it, no more is a person from Pakistan who moves to Britain today is responsible for the treatment of Ireland by the British in the past.

    The problem isn’t the slavery in the past, or even the discrimination that was rather recent, but of culture, not valuing education. Remember, go to an inner city public school and see if academic excellence is a desirable thing. That’s “acting white”. But if acting white can get you out of the ghetto, get an education and a decent job, I don’t see what is possibly wrong with “acting white”. People can take it too far, if everyone wants to be rich, that’s just insane. I wouldn’t want to be in a place that is that materialistic, as everyone would be miserable.

  134. 135 steve
    August 3, 2008 at 01:29

    Didn’t obama say in a speech regarding an apology for slavery, Obama said he wanted deeds, not words?

  135. 136 Dan
    August 3, 2008 at 02:01

    @ Joanthan
    I was tickled that you tried to subtly change the subject but the discussion was not about Senator Obama and your inside knowledge but about reparations, slavery and race.
    What you cannot see is that peoples from all races at some point in history and even now have been slaves bound in chains.
    I encourage you to step outside of yourself San Francisco party conversations and see the real America were opportunity abounds, where real people treat Blacks like real people not like infants that need to be taken care of as you suggest.
    Reparations is merely a vehicle for liberals to asuage their conscience but corrects nothing.

  136. 137 Dan
    August 3, 2008 at 02:23

    @ Jonathan
    One last thought. You talk about the Black slave experience of over 100 years ago and ask that we feel guilty for it. I do not!!
    It is in history. In today’s world Blacks have educational and economic opportunities as never before but what we are seeing is that Blacks have been taught to remain a permanent underclass.
    Being taught to suck at the Government breast does nothing to lift them out of their underclass status and neither does trying to trowel in guilt for them being “brought here in chains”.
    White slave traders were not the evil people that you also envison. If you examine history carefully, those ships captains increasingly wanted out of the slave transportation. The song Amazing Grace was actually written by a Dutch slave ship captain whose eyes were opened to what he was doing being wrong. Slave trade in America was ending on its own accord.
    In less than 100 years America recognized the wrong, changed and ploughed a path for Blacks to succeed.
    I believe that liberals along with self serving Blacks “leaders” re-enslaved Blacks.
    The question now is raising Blacks out of the underclass and showing them the opportunities that are there for them if they get grounded with basic skills.

  137. 138 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    August 3, 2008 at 03:06

    @ Dan,

    Well, I’m sure my friends here, and everyone else, will be as amused as I to see you call me “subtle” — it’s the first time I’ve been accused of that.

    I didn’t “change the subject.” You made points, and I refuted them. I even quoted each one just so you could keep track. I claimed no “inside knowledge.” Nor did I suggest that black people should be treated like infants. I rather doubt that you treat black people “like real people,” given the huge load of unsavory stereotypes of which you unburdened yourself, up to and including the neatly instructive phrase “like real people.”

    Since you have no defense for any of the points I challenged, our business is done. More precisely, mine is. Please don’t let that inhibit you from carrying on with whatever pastiche of innuendos, straw men, non sequiturs, et cetera you’d like to spew. I’m not interested, but I’ll happily admit that mine seems to be–if you’ll forgive the expression–the minority opinion.

  138. 139 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    August 3, 2008 at 03:21


    When I dig through the mass of contorted rationalizations in your last message, the only solid core I can find under it all is the notion that I asked you to feel guilty.

    That’s easy: I didn’t.

    Nor did I discuss the morality or inner feelings of slave ship captains, the likelihood of the South freeing slaves without the friendly nudge we provided toward that end, or the authorship of “Amazing Grace.” But you know that.

  139. 140 Luz Ma from Mexico
    August 3, 2008 at 03:29

    Greetings from Mexico!

    I have been away for a while… the downside of becoming again a “working mom”. I love my work, but I don´t have time to check WHYS during the week.

    I had a busy Saturday throwing a baby shower for one of my best friends in the morning and taking my daughters to a birthday party in the afternoon. I am craving some “alone time” checking this weekend Blank Page.

    I read your posts about “children names”. One of my favorites here in Mexico is “Aniv. de la Rev.” which is the abreviation of “Aniversario de la Revolución” celebrated on November 20 (the Mexican Revolution Aniversary). The abreviation often appears in printed calendars because “Aniversario de la Revolución” is too long to print. So, many people who were born in November 20 are named “Aniv. de la Rev.”

    I met a person with that name. His mother was very poor and uneducated. She tought “Aniv. de la Rev.” was the name of a Saint, since Saints´ names are often printed in Mexican calendars in the days that the Catholic Church celebrates them.

  140. 141 Bob in Queensland
    August 3, 2008 at 03:45

    Good morning all!

    Well, I think I’m going to avoid the race and reparations debate because the situation here in Aus is a bit different. The big story here is the recent apology to the aboriginal peoples and plans for aid schemes for them (not exactly reparations but in the ballpark). However, as they lived here before the convicts then immigrants arrived, the situation here isn’t analagous. Also, some of the worst abuses happened in living memory of people still with us.

    So…instead I’ll enter the media bias debate again just to make one point I should have been clear on ages ago. Referring to “THE BBC” as an entity is part of the problem. Rather, there are thousands of individuals involved in news and factual programming. Each brings their own biases and interests to the job–but each is governed by those editorial guidelines linked to a couple of days back. To the very best of my knowledge, other than these guidelines, there is no secret document from the Director General saying “support labour” or “be anti Israeli”. If it DID exist and was found out, there would be hell to pay.

    As I said a few weeks back, of the people I know best at the BBC, there is a range from one “lefty” through three “centrists” to a couple of rabid “conservatives”. Although inevitably they must bring their views to the job, the collegiate way any show is produced means that rarely does any one person have the influence to push their agenda. Even if they try, the next shift takes over in an hour or two and somebody else is editing and writing.

    This contrasts greatly with commercial broadcasters where, at least with satellite channels, the ownership IS allowed to set an editorial stance.

  141. 142 Bob in Queensland
    August 3, 2008 at 04:06

    Okay, a totally different question for you all:

    How many of you are genuinely interested in the sports featured in a summer Olympics?

    Putting my cards on the table, I was the class nerd who got good marks in school but would skive off and hide in the library during PE whenever I could get away with it. I don’t follow many sports and certainly not running, jumping, weightlifting or whatever. A few of the events (like gymnastics which my wife used to do and will force me to watch) can be admired from a “gee whiz, that’s spectacular” point of view but for the most part the summer Olympics is like watching paint dry.

    Similarly, I’ve lived in enough countries that the nationalistic “support you country” idea doesn’t work for me either–though if I find myself in an Aussie sports bar over the next few weeks I think I better cheer the locals, if only for my safety!

    So, with all the hype, what do WHYSERS really think? How many are hard core sports fans watching it because you really care who’s a hundredth of a second faster than somebody else?

  142. 143 Venessa
    August 3, 2008 at 04:39

    Bob ~

    I have no interest in the Olympics either and never have. I guess if I feel like sitting in front of the TV and there’s nothing on I might watch but I doubt it. Instead I’ll be looking for something else to do.

    I do like sports though and only like to watch them live. While I am challenged with little coordination and have a tendency to trip over cracks in the pavement I do like to play sports. Admittedly I’m never all that good but I have a lot of fun! Soccer is the reason I had my knee surgery and need a couple more. It’s time to take up swimming next.

  143. 144 Venessa
    August 3, 2008 at 04:43

    Re: Children’s names

    I certainly would have changed my name had I been named what my mother had originally planned. Creatia would be a horrible name to have.

  144. 145 Venessa
    August 3, 2008 at 04:43

    Meda Bias: Isn’t it usually based on who holds the purse strings for the organization?

  145. 146 Bob in Queensland
    August 3, 2008 at 05:58

    @ Venessa

    Certainly for privately owned channels the editorial stance is generally determined by “he who holds the purse strings”,

    There can be other factors affecting this though–for terrestrial broadcasters there are often “fairness” or “equal time” doctrines included in their licenses. These are less likely a factor with satellite or cable broadcasters where regulation is usually done with a lighter touch. Obviously rules vary from country to country too.

    The BBC, of course, doesn’t have any one person or company holding the purse strings. It is publicly funded (but by a license fee rather than from direct taxation) and management functions are divided between the “BBC Trust” and the “Executive Board”.

    If you want to read some rather archaic language defining their charter, you can have a look HERE.

  146. August 3, 2008 at 06:04


    You are asking an audience that is interested in debating world topics on a blog on the web. You are apt not to get a very clear view of your intended question in this format. I would assume most of us hear are not season ticket holders to sports franchises.

  147. 148 Bob in Queensland
    August 3, 2008 at 06:38

    @ Dwight

    Yeah, that was my guess too. However, I was genuinely curious to find out if my dis-interest in Olympic sport was unique to me or was a bit more general.

    Just FYI, what prompted me to ask the question was a post in another, more general, forum I visit where somebody actually asked “can there be anyone not thrilled at the prospect of athletes from all over the world competing with each other?” My answer was “Yeah me”. I’d rather do something exciting like watching paint dry!

  148. 149 Roberto
    August 3, 2008 at 06:40

    Re Reparations revisted:

    The reparation claim is more than slavery recompense. It’s Jim Crow years, separate but equal educations, restrooms, and water fountains, KKK terror.

    Restricting debate along slavery lines is either disingenuous or uninformed.

    Add on the illegal immigrations into this country driving down wages while increasing housing, education, and medical costs, plus the still unresolved Katrina disaster in New Orleans. Modern black Americans can make a credible case for long term discrimination.

    The reparations issue becomes political as a specific voting block manuvers for a slice of the federal tax dollar sweepstakes. Those dollars are currently going primarily to bloated government entities, corporate America and China who is reaping (relative term given the devaluation of the dollar) massive American tax monies on the interest of the government bonds it has bought.

    Reparations to be used against Obama, along with Islamic faith and whatever they can tar him with, just like they will tar McCain with age Iraq, and GDub. Important issues swept under the rug as people vote their fears through their modern “tribal” associations primarily.

    (Cynical comment deleted in advance.)

  149. 150 selena
    August 3, 2008 at 08:28


    I don’t have the slightest interest in sports, Olympic or otherwise…

    Methinks, you have more company than you imagine! 🙂

  150. August 3, 2008 at 08:32

    Hi Bob in Queensland,

    I think that many of us participated, when we were youngsters in these sports that we’ll be seeing in the Olympics, and when we watch the best in the world, with the amazing coverage, and commentary, our very muscles twitch as they come to the finish line. Plus, the air and environment, and how the visitors are going to be treated and report their visits is a big story. Then there are all the reporters and their coverage (I read somewhere that there are three reporters for every athlete)… it all adds up to a huge world experience for many of us.

  151. 152 Bryan
    August 3, 2008 at 08:36

    Bob in Queensland August 3, 2008 at 3:45 am

    “To the very best of my knowledge, other than these guidelines, there is no secret document from the Director General saying “support labour” or “be anti Israeli”. If it DID exist and was found out, there would be hell to pay.”

    I don’t suppose there is, but as in all organisations there are unwritten rules and codes of behaviour. Any newish journalist who steps out of line will soon be pulled back into line by the editors. If he/she doesn’t already know what is acceptable and what is not, he/she soon will.

    I doubt that your Conservative and centrist acquaintances are working as political journalists for the BBC. If they are, they must be playing a good game to fit in.

    Dunno if you saw my comment at the end of the ‘Talking Points 1st August’ thread.

    Also, have a look at this:


    Unstinting praise for Obama while McCain is cast in a negative light? Obama’s voice coming through clear and strong but his hecklers silenced as well as McCain? Funny, maybe there was some difficulty getting hold of the sound track for McCain’s speech. Hell, if I didn’t know any better I’d say that was an extraordinary display of political bias from a broadcaster. But it surely can’t be, can it? This is the impartial BBC we are talking about, right?!

  152. 153 Bryan
    August 3, 2008 at 08:42

    Please, Bob, this is a sincere request: don’t tell me that there will be balance over time in the BBC’s coverage of the race. It has put its considerable weight so squarely behind the Democrats thus far, that even if it backed McCain the rest of the way (which is about as likely as Ahmedinejad becoming a Christian peace activist) it would not be able to restore balance.

  153. 154 Bob in Queensland
    August 3, 2008 at 09:17

    @ Bryan

    Regarding your Obama/McCain link, did we watch the same video? I saw a piece reporting that the unquestioning support for Obama was crumbling as he was subjected to heckling. It also reported the McCain rebuffed Obama for “playing the race card and quoted a McCain spokesman (with text caption…probably the strongest way of handling something on TV) the Republican rebuff. Finally, it showed a large chunk of a McCain TV ad–video that was under the total control of the McCain campaign. Frankly I think you’re so convinced of bias you’d probably see it in a test pattern because the black strip is on the left.

    A few other points. First, the people I know at BBC news (5 out of thousands admittedly) all have medium senior positions on the TV news desk in London. More than that I’m not going to say because it’s inappropriate to name names or titles.

    Second, the BBC reports on news of relevance and interest to its audience. For the first half of the campaign, the Republican primaries were quickly a “done deal” with a very traditional candidate. The Democrats were a neck and neck race between the first black man and a woman, both fairly new territory in the USA. You tell me which party was more news worthy. Similarly, a candidate visiting Europe and the UK will get more coverage on the BBC than one on a permanent US tour. If McCain visited London I guarantee that would be the lead story.

    Third, don’t overestimate the BBC’s “considerable weight” in terms of influencing an American election. Among those that can vote it has no weight. On the other hand among those who don’t vote (i.e. the UK and much of the rest of the world) support for anybody OTHER than a Republican after 8 years of Bush is so strong that the BBC couldn’t dent it if the covered nothing except McCain.

  154. 155 selena
    August 3, 2008 at 09:49

    @Bob, Brian,

    It has always amazed me how two people can look at the same picture, video and listen to the same words and see totally different things.

    It is well to remember that little fact when referring to articles that we think are absolutely going to prove our case. We may be certain of our conclusion but there is no guarantee that others will be as certain.

    As for the bias of the BBC, I believe the BBC is doing a stellar job of trying to keep balance while saying what needs to be said.

    Of course the BBC is not perfect. Is there such a thing as perfect?

    I see too much of Obama, no doubt about it (my bias?). But Obama is a phenomenon, an underdog. Obama needs reporting. The phenomenon itself needs to be understood, if nothing else.

    And in the case of Israel… Israel is a powerful nation supported by the world’s most powerful nation, the USA. It speaks well of the BBC that it cannot be influenced by this power and will report on the condition of the underdog.

    The powerful do not need as much support as the underdogs. The powerful can always stand on their own, whereas the underdog is left to rely on crumbs?

    Every time we advocate for the powerful against the underdog, we allow discrimination to flow freely.

    If the BBC is biased in favour of the underdog, then I sincerely hope that it does not lose its bias.

  155. 156 Julie P
    August 3, 2008 at 10:56


    Concerning the summer Olympics. I could care less about them, even when they were held right here in Atlanta with the possible exception that it got cars off the road. (Traffic may have been hell in Downtown Atlanta, but everywhere else it was paradise!) I much prefer the winter Games, especially when the likes of Eddie the Eagle and Jamaican bobsled team are there. I especially liked the 1988 Winter Games! Go, Eddie!

  156. 157 Bob in Queensland
    August 3, 2008 at 11:15

    @ Julie P

    LOL…you sound like me. Even though I don’t follow the sports per se, I find much more entertainment value in most of the winter Olympic events than their summer counterparts.

  157. 158 Julie P
    August 3, 2008 at 11:16

    Amen, brother Bob, amen!

  158. 159 Bryan
    August 3, 2008 at 11:18

    Yes, well last time we went through the debate I did concede that the Democrat race was more compelling and newsworthy, but the BBC did not need to concentrate on it to the virtual exclusion of the Republicans, when the Republican race was still open. Obviously when McCain got through one could understand the BBC concentrating mostly on the Democrats but certainly not once it had become a straight race between Obama and McCain.

    You seem not to have noticed at all the slant taken by the BBC in that video: the noble Obama battling against the slurs from McCain. And since when has it become fashionable to mute hecklers? Will the BBC mute hecklers if there are any at the next McCain rally, if they allow any soundtrack at all?

    And what’s this about text being more of an influence than sound?

    No time now unfortunately, but I’d just like to say that we should not be too sure that the Palestinians are the underdogs in the conflict. Perhaps you guys should reflect on that a bit.

  159. 160 Bob in Queensland
    August 3, 2008 at 11:19

    @ Selena

    Hopefully the BBC isn’t biased in favour of the underdog, just giving both sides of the story!

    As for “too much Obama” I more or less agree, but would term it more is “too much of the interminable US election process”.

  160. 161 Rick
    August 3, 2008 at 11:29

    I find myself spending more time reading other peoples bloggs lately and joining in less because more often than not I find my views expressed in a more articulate and precise manner than I could. Thank you for the above post, I couldn’t agree more.

  161. 162 Bob in Queensland
    August 3, 2008 at 11:34

    @ Bryan

    And what’s this about text being more of an influence than sound?

    Getting seriously off topic (and probably boring the majority of WHYSERS, but in “Video Editing 101” we’re taught that the visual element of a TV news story is probably 60-70% of the information received by the viewer.

    That’s why, when a news programme wants to drive home a point (particularly if it’s mainly a reporter piece rather than a visual story) they’re so prone to use “bullet point quotes”.

    Believe me, if I was making a story of your views, it would be more powerful to super a caption saying “BBC biased” rather than just let you say it to camera.

  162. 163 Julie P
    August 3, 2008 at 11:47


    Good choice of words…“too much of the interminable US election process”. They do on forever. It’s not enough that we have 50 primaries, plus those in territories, then there is the lapse between the primaries end and when the general election is held, but to exacerbate it there is a lot of speculation as to who will run prior to all of this that it feel the elections are held over a two year period. And since it was known that this election was not going to have an incumbent running, or the VP trying for the spot, I believe this election started in January of 2005. The buzz started then.

  163. 164 selena
    August 3, 2008 at 11:52


    I, too, think other people can express points much more eloquently than I. I am always thinking, “Why didn’t I say that?” 🙂

    I enjoy what you write but you should say what you think for another reason. Sometimes, as in my case now, you may find that others appreciate what you say.

    There are many times when I want to say thank you to someone for what they have written. But my time here is limited and I don’t always follow through.

    Everyone’s opinion counts. I have learned so much from Brian, for instance.


  164. 165 selena
    August 3, 2008 at 12:05


    Text is more influential than sound because people don’t always hear what is being said. Ot, if we hear, we put their own interpretation on the speaker’s words.

    If you see the words, “Julie P is beautiful!” written on a screen, that is the interpretation that grabs your brain, even if you are not listening.

    More often than not, if I ask you what you think of Julie P, after the phrase is flashed on the screen, you will answer, “Julie P is beautiful!” without thinking.

    Not many people truly listen to words. We listen for a bit and then the mind wanders. If we are having a conversation, we are not usually listening; we are usually thinking of a clever response.

    That is one of the reasons why we never really understand each other.

  165. 166 Dan
    August 3, 2008 at 12:22

    @ Roberto
    I understand your point and while agree that what had been done to Blacks is an evil on a par with the Holocaust the truth is that Blacks, Jews, Irish, Asians, Mexicans, Australian Aborigines etc…etc have all experienced the same if not worse horrors and discrimination. You made that point yourself.
    Each group absent the mothers milk money from Government has righted itself and moved up the societal ladder.
    It is my belief and assertion that the “help” in the form of cash, the forgiving of abberant behavior, excused lack of language skills (Ebonics) and the constant drone of “you need me (Gov’t) to accomplish anything in life, has had the opposite effect and in fact has re-enslaved Blacks.
    The evils of the past are just that…in the past. Reparations will not correct them or change that Blacks remain an underclass but, in my opinion, will ignite a definite schism between all races and Blacks that may never be corrected.
    Senator Obama merely opened the door and whether you love him or hate him I do not think he is part of what we are talking about but IS the next page in American political history.

  166. 167 Savane, Nairobi Kenya
    August 3, 2008 at 13:08

    Did anyone watch CNN’s Black in America last week? It was about being a black man in The US.

    One comment got my attention: it’s more likely for a white man with a GED and a criminal record to get a job, than a black man, with junior college education and no criminal record to get a job!!!

    I like that Obama is deliberatley NOT playing the race card – it’ll never be to his advantage: there’s a section of white US that sees him as black (is it because his white ethnicity isn’t physically apparent to them?). There a section of balck US that don’t see him as a ‘real’ African American because he has white ethnicity, he can trace his ethnic roots (his Kenyan grandma’s still alive, in Kenya), he’s not a slave descendant – but heck – he’s from the continent that the slaves came from! (NB: slaves sold to the US came from West Africa, Obama’s Kenyan ethnicity is from East Africa).

    Playing the race card won’t get him any votes! But he’s running for the presidency of a country thay was founded on several great pillars, and unfortunately one negative pillar that inhabits (and haunts) the US to date – racial supremacy and segregation.

  167. 169 Dan
    August 3, 2008 at 13:41

    @ Savane
    “there’s a section of white US that sees him as black (is it because his white ethnicity isn’t physically apparent to them?). There a section of balck US that don’t see him as a ‘real’ African American because he has white ethnicity”

    Is there any section of America that you think that just sees him as a man?
    All countries have positive and negative history’s including those in Africa. America has moved beyond the “negative pillar” in many ways more so than other countries.
    I think that if we keep seperating ourselves by race and color we will never become anything more than little tribes out to dominate one another.
    After the Holocaust Victor Frankel said that there are only 2 races..the decent and the indecent and Martin Luthor King said that we must judge a man by his character and not by his skin color.

  168. 170 selena
    August 3, 2008 at 14:06


    The woman might have a point if we assume that the past was a repository of happy two parent families, where the parental roles were fulfilled through the production well adjusted children.

    Sadly, the opposite was, and continues to be, the case and no amount of sugar coating will change the basic ingredients.

    Men (and women) needed a wake up call. They got it and some of them responded but others are still loathe to get up and face the tough job of “know thyself”.

    Then, I suppose we could say that thirty years is not even a ripple in the sands of time, so there is yet hope.


  169. August 3, 2008 at 14:10

    Hi my dearest Brett and Selena my love… I do have a question for our Precious friends here on this blog who do always keep bringing up the issue of the “anti-Israeli” and the “Pro-labour” bias of the BBC : Are you guys feeling concerned about the issue of media bias in general or only about the issue of the ”anti-Israeli” bias of some media ?! I’m only asking because I haven’t noticed anyone of you guys ever bringing up the issue of the shameless pro-Israeli bias policy adopted by SOME American media… After all, this extreme and selective hypersensitivity doesn’t go along very well with objectivity, and if your house is made of glass, then you shouldn’t throw stones at the houses of others eh ?! With my love… Yours forever, Lubna… PS, WHYS has appeared on the Over To You programme on the BBC WS Radio this weekend… And my dearest Dennis : Hi, and thanks a million to you my good friend… Your extraordinary kindness does always manage to draw a very huge smile on my rather sad face…

  170. 172 selena
    August 3, 2008 at 14:27

    My darling Lubna,

    I am happy that Dennis brings a smile to your face. He does mine, too.

    And that reminds me to wish Dennis a happy three weeks from his studies. Happy holidays, Dennis! Where is home?

    Back to Lubna… I am sorry that your face is sad but I can well understand why it is so.

    My mother used to say, “These things, too, shall pass!” Not very comforting perhaps… but it is the best I can do for the moment.

    Smiles 🙂 🙂 for Lubna and Dennis!

  171. 173 Luz Ma from Mexico
    August 3, 2008 at 15:59

    @Bob about Summer Olympics

    I enjoy watching sports, specially the Summer Olympics. During my childhood, my father used to watch sports every Sunday (soccer, baseball, football), so I got accustomed to watch them.

    However, I am not crazy about them, nor I join the “nationalistic frenzy” that the Summer Olympics bring to my country. Mexicans, in general, don’t came back with medals, so I don’t understand why the Mexican media make such a fuzz about our athletes.

    I watched ALL 2000 Summer Olympics, but only because I was very pregnant with my first child and had lots of time. This year will be quite different 😦

    I think my interest in watching sports is that I am BAD in sports. I envy (in a good way) athletic people. Such is life; one cannot have it all 😉

  172. 174 Luz Ma from Mexico
    August 3, 2008 at 16:32

    @Selena about your comment on Steve’s post

    I agree with you.

    My opinion is that what makes a good family is the kind of love and commitment that parents have for their children, being the family “traditional” or “non-traditional”.

    About the rest of the article, I think the author makes a lot of generalizations. For instance, she says that men are variously portrayed in the media as “dolts, bullies, brutes, deadbeats, rapists, sexual predators and wife-beaters.” But I think that for every “villain” in films, stories, TV programs, etc. there is the “good guy” counterpart (the one who loves the girl no matter what and kisses her in the end). And life is that way: there are good guys and bad guys, like good girls and bad girls… and everything in between.

  173. 175 Dennis
    August 3, 2008 at 17:18

    Re: OLYMPICS…..
    I will watch some of the coverage!

    “Use commonsense”


  174. 176 viola
    August 3, 2008 at 18:30


    I notice you use the term “underdog” to describe conflicts between persons, groups, or countries. That’s fair but I would like to point out a few things about what “underdog” implies. I’ve done this before but believe it bears repeating.

    An “underdog” in any given situation is simply this: He is the dog (think person, country, group) that is not the alpha dog (person, country, group).

    You apparently think that is the end of the story. It is not. Remember, the “top dog” is there because he displaced and replaced the previous “top dog” by killing him either in reality or symbolically.

    The rest of the story is that the “underdog’s” goal is single-minded, to displace and replace the “top dog” by killing him either in reality or symbolically. The morality of the two is exactly the same. Either side claiming to have a moral basis for their actions is lying or self-deluded.

    Your assertion that the “top dog” can take care of himself while the “underdog” needs the help of outsiders (media) implies that it is the moral thing to support an “underdog” by making sure he gets as much of the power of media coverage as the “top dog” gets.

    How is that NOT a bias in favor of the “underdog” (person, country, group)?


  175. 177 viola
    August 3, 2008 at 18:48


    Hi, Sweetie. You probably read all the posts on media bias, but in case you didn’t, here are the ones I posted: Aug 2, 4:47: Aug 2, 5:02; Aug 2, 5:04; Aug 2, 5:59; Aug 3, 6:30. One of Bryan’s: Aug 2, 5:41.

    I am extremely interested in bias in all media in every country. I believe all media that claims to be unbiased should strive very hard to actually be so. In those instances where media is shamelessly used to support one position or country or person or “underdog” ( dear Selena’s term) then it is naive or dishonest not to expect other media sources to spring up that shamelessly supports the other side.


  176. 178 Roberto
    August 3, 2008 at 20:15

    One comment got my attention: it’s more likely for a white man with a GED and a criminal record to get a job, than a black man, with junior college education and no criminal record to get a job!!!

    ——– I would take care drawing conclusions based on a single news program from a medium moving in the entertainment direction.

    A black US male such as you describe can practically write his own ticket. Larger companies are in desparate need of qualified black minorities to give their workforce diversity the government demands.

    Such black males are highly sought after by black female professionals looking for marriage who see a dwindling pool of black males to chose from since they drop out of school in increasing numbers and are heavily incarcerated after drifting into criminal activities.

    In fact, Atlanta, Georgia is the premier place in the country for black professionals as they flock in droves for corporate opportunity, a far cry from the old south of lore.

  177. 181 steve b - uk
    August 3, 2008 at 20:54

    Hello WHSYers

    I would like to raise a question that has always fascinated me –

    That is – whilst most people venerate their past, why do folk in the USA try to deny their origins?

    I live in Norfolk, UK. We – to a large extent – ARE you. Three quarters of all American Presidents claim UK descent. Goodness, lots of your communities are based on our names – New England, Virginia ( after Good Queen Elizabeth 1 – the Virgin Queen ) , and loads more, even ‘Norwich’, where I live.

    We came over and founded you.

    You are our grandchildrern.

    You speak our language ( well, almost, but I won’t hold that aganst you ).

    Sure, most adolescents try to distance themselves from their parents, but don’t you think this has gone too far?

    You came from England. You are of England. You are English.

    Respond if you dare.

  178. 182 peter mose
    August 3, 2008 at 21:14

    reply to pam
    metal detectors on a bus, i dont think so ,1= it would take to much time to scan every passenger,the time taken would cause to long a delay,2= some people are licenced
    to carry guns=police officers /on and off duty, /as far as i know its not ileagle to carry a knife in some countrys ,/you will need one treking /camping in the woods,/ fishing,
    if you are stopped from carring a knife on a bus, that you would use to travel to your
    campsite ,perhaps you might surguest that they might hitch hike,
    did you ever see the hitcher,

    apart from all of that do you realize how many nutters are out there,
    i live in england where it is a criminal offence to carry one ,but i do ,i would not go out without it ,and i am 60 now but still alive ,and plan to stay that way

    peter mose
    fully trackable

  179. 183 Robert
    August 3, 2008 at 21:37

    @Savane and Roberto

    Without seeing the detailed numbers it is really difficult to figure out what the media mean when they quote statistics. (lies, damn lies and statistics as the saying goes). Statistics often need a detailed explanation as to how the number was derived and how the sampling was done. If not done correctly the results are meaningless. With most complex systems and the raw data you can prove anything.

    One of the more extreme manifestations is Simpsons paradox, which occurs when combining different groups of results . An example was that Berkley’s overall admissions during the seventies suggested a strong bias towards men. When all individual departments were checked , many departments were unbiased and a few departments showed a very strong bias towards women. None showed any significant bias towards men to explain the overall results. The answer was the women tended to apply to competitive departments with high reject rates (like English), men were more likely to apply for with fewer application per place (science and engineering). This meant women were more likely to be rejected than men, but only due to they’re choice of subject not any inherent sexism at the institution. Remove that factor and no bias was present.

    How this might effect the situation you’ve said? The white ex con is likely to be doing temporary work, low paid, perhaps slightly less than legal for employment law (by which I mean cash in hand, not paying tax etc, not illegal activities). Fairly easy work to find in some places. The black college grad would probably want a position in a company with some possibility to move into a leadership role etc. More difficult to find those positions. This would distort the overall figures to suggest that the black kid is suffer, but hides the fact that some decisions of the college grad make employment more difficult to start with. The only fair comparison would be between white and black populations with the same economic and family backgrounds and college education.

  180. 184 viola
    August 3, 2008 at 21:40

    One of the questions that comes to me when I consider the big dog, little dog scenario is that it really comes down to whether might makes right. If you believe it does, there is no controversy. If you believe might does not make right, then of course alternate ways of determining who gets the power must be found.

    Where I run into difficulty is when someone seems to think the little dog is entitled to any available tactic, including might, simply because he is little, while the big dog is expected to play fair. So if you can get yourself defined by the world as a little dog, so to speak, you can feel justified to use tactics of might.

    Shouldn’t everybody play fair, so to speak, if everybody believes might doesn’t make right? And aren’t all bets off if either side uses tactics that fit the definition of using might?

    Where is my reasoning flawed? And where does the media fit in?


  181. 185 Amy
    August 3, 2008 at 21:54

    @ Steve B,

    Could you please give some examples of people in the US “denying” their UK origins? As an American, I’d love to see what you have to offer. I personally have never heard anyone do so. My ancestors came mostly from Ireland (County Cork and County Leitrim) but a few are from France and the now non existent Prussia. Also, when it comes to the origin of city names, I agree that some do have an “English” origin but that is primarily in the Northeastern part of the country. In the Midwest a lot of the names have their origins with the various Native American tribes that lived in those areas and in the Southwest and California, Spanish names are predominate. Should those areas be beholden to those origins? I think you are just trying to bait some of us. The United States is a melting pot of people from all over the world so to say that “You came from England. You are of England. You are English” is a bit outrageous.

    Amy in Oregon

  182. 186 Dennis
    August 3, 2008 at 21:55

    To answer your question Selena and Lubna
    and everyone else….

    I am from Madrid in St. Lawrence County in Upstate New


    I am attending Onondaga Community College in Syracuse,
    New York


    [this is part of the State University of New York] colleges and universities….

    In the county of Onondaga

    Syracuse, New York

  183. 187 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    August 3, 2008 at 21:56

    @peter b.–

    What makes you think that Americans (that’s what “people in the US” call ourselves) are trying to deny our origins? It’s hard to say whether something has “gone too far” when you haven’t shown that it exists at al.

    “Answer if you dare?” Answer WHAT? You aren’t frightening; you just haven’t stated a case to answer.

    In fact, most Americans are not of English descent. (Presidents are, rather obviously I should think, not ethnically representative of Americans as a whole.) That’s not a resentful statement of rebellion, it’s just a fact. But irrespective of what our ancestry is, I’m quite unaware of any of us trying to deny it. Where do you get the notion that we are?

  184. 188 Dennis
    August 3, 2008 at 21:57

    Thanks Selena and Lubna….

    it brings some happiness to your worlds….


    hugs and kisses
    Syracuse, New York

  185. 189 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    August 3, 2008 at 22:05

    Like Selena, I don’t care a fig for sports, Olympic or otherwise.

  186. 190 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    August 3, 2008 at 22:17

    Never mind my response to steve b. — Amy said it much better than I, and faster.

  187. 191 Dennis
    August 3, 2008 at 22:23

    Thanks Brett and Selena for being
    the moderators for BLANK PAGE 18!

    Syracuse, New York

  188. 192 viola
    August 3, 2008 at 22:28

    Is it naive to think there is any other dynamic besides “might makes right” going on anywhere in the world, whether it is in regard to nations, tribes, clans, families, men/women, etc.? Is that the “elephant in the room” that no one wants to acknowledge?

    Somebody please offer a rebuttal to that depressing thought.

  189. 193 Amy
    August 3, 2008 at 22:34

    @ Jonathan,

    Thank you 🙂


  190. 194 viola
    August 3, 2008 at 22:35

    @Steve b-UK:

    Everybody’s ancestors came from somewhere. Where did yours? Do you seriously claim your ancestors all the way back to Adam and Eve were English?

  191. 195 selena
    August 3, 2008 at 22:37


    Your reasoning is not flawed. Reality is!

  192. 196 Robert
    August 3, 2008 at 22:54

    steve b – uk

    Following your argument you can say most English are not actually English. If ever there was a melting pot of genes outside of the US then it would have to be us.

    Start with a basic Celtic population
    An Italian invasion at the time of Christ
    Four hundred years later Germans have the first invasion into the gene pool.
    Through in the Scandinavians during the 8th and 9th centuries.
    1066 introduce the French
    1600’s and the Scottish nobility effectively dominate the country.
    1700′ and the Dutch are invited over
    1800’s the Germans for the second time
    2000 migration from the ex colonies

    I would seriously doubt that any English man could claim to be 100% English given such a checkered history of migration in the county. I would have to guess I’m less than 25% true English genes given my family background.

  193. 197 nelsoni
    August 3, 2008 at 23:00

    Hello WHYSers,

    Just a thought:

    I do not envy the WHYS staff that will have to read this page tommorow morning. He/she has thier work cut out. Sure a water or tea break will be necessary after reading these posts especially the long ones. What a way to start a monday morning!!! 🙂

  194. August 3, 2008 at 23:05

    Hello Selena my love… Thanks a million for your extraordinary kindness darling… And hi Viola darling… The Palestinian people are not ”underdogs” sweetie… The Palestinian people are humans who have suffered a great deal and been through so many horrific ordeals over a very long period of time, but still, they’ve managed to stand up in the face of the whole world, raising up their chins, dignified and honoured, saying to all humanity : ”Here we are, we’re still hanging in there, and we’re still alive, regardless of whether anyone is trying to undermine, intimidate, or even erase our physical and cultural existance by using extreme military force, influence, power, money, intensive outside support, and shameless media bias !”… No one can deny the very obvious fact that the size of the suffering of the Palestinian people over more than sixty years of conflict is much much much much much much more than the size of the suffering on the Israeli side, although to me, any innocent civilian, whether living in Tel Eviv or in the Gaza strip, does deserve to live an honourable and dignified life which is free of fears, grief, and despair i.e. exactly the opposite of my life, haha ! ;-)…. With my love… Yours forever, Lubna…

  195. 199 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    August 3, 2008 at 23:05


    Re “might makes right,” the problem is not that your reasoning is flawed, but that your language is vague and doesn’t disclose what your reasoning is.

    The phrase “might makes right” is vague. (That is, it could mean different things to different people.) When you talk about both “big dogs” and “little dogs” using “might,” you need to define what all those words mean to you. Normally, a “big dog” is the party with sole acceess to “might.” “Playing fair” is vague. And “all bets are off” is vague.

    Please don’t think I’m being dismissive, or trying to put you down. You asked for responses, and then in a second post asked for “a rebuttal to that depressing thought.” I’m hoping that a clearer focus might make your thoughts less depressing, or allow us to discuss them by making sure we all know waht we’re talking about.

  196. 200 Dan
    August 3, 2008 at 23:06

    Hey Nelsoni
    just a thought…..”they knew the job was dangerous when the took it” :))

    @ Johnathan..
    I can’t believe I agree with you regarding Americans and our origins.

  197. 201 steve b - uk
    August 3, 2008 at 23:08

    Hi Amy

    Thanks for your reply. I’ take it on board’ ( another American expression that Shakespeare would have difficulty working out what it meant ).

    Sorry for that – I am,indeed, having fun as I always do on WHYS.

    Well, I think I have a point, don’t I?

    The main point is – why do you guys always deny your heritage ? Sure, there are lots of other influences, but you are Brits at the core. The Mayflower?

    You say your ancestors came from Ireland. Thomas Paine came from my city.

    Why do you Americans want to distance yourselves from us? You are undoubdtedy our kids ( I mean that in a good way) in my opinion.

    It seems to me to be because you are powerful and we are not, any more. I fancy that when the Chinese, and Indians and Brazilians take over – soon, I suspect –
    you will come back to us as family.

    ‘All nations have their time in the sun’

  198. 202 nelsoni
    August 3, 2008 at 23:11

    @ Dan “Mentally tasking ” would be more like it.

  199. 203 Julie P
    August 3, 2008 at 23:13


    Pretty funny comment that you have about Americans not knowing their ancestral past. LOL Allow me to acquaint you with my family history, which some of it is very well documented. We came from Plymouth, England in the mid 1600’s from that lineage came a US president who shall remain unnamed. In the mid 1850’s one line of ancestry came from Ireland. At that same time a great, great, grandmother immigrated from Sweden to Germany. My great grandparents from Germany immigrated to the US in the 1890’s. Finally, my father’s parents immigrated to the US from Poland in 1917. The Polish set of grandparents do have French in them and my last name reflects that as it is Polish French. We don’t know our ancestry?! Methinks you don’t enough about Americans to make that sweeping generalization.

  200. 204 Shirley
    August 3, 2008 at 23:22

    I don’t think that slavery originated in Africa, other than to the extent that slavery originated with humans and that I believe in the out of Africa thery. Slavery came to Europe when humans came to Europe. It came to Asia when humans came to Asia. As long as we have been warring against each other and looting each other’s money, jewellery, and pottery, we have been kidnapping people from each other’s tribes and nations as war booty and forcing them to work for us for free.

    To this date, however, my understanding is that kidnapping people otside of the context of war, squeezing them like sardines into a cargo hold, transporting them for months on end with such little food and water that they ate their dead and drank bodily fluids and arrived 1/3 to 2/3 of them dead, separating them from their families and preventing them from socialising with others from the same culture, forbidding them from speaking their languages and practising their religions, forcing them to “breed” like so much of an animal, and raping and beating them to within an inch of their lives is unique to the American form of slavery. Follow 200 years of that with 150 more years of the denial of equal access to employment, jobs, political participation, etc., whether by means legal or cultural. That leaves 50 years between then and now for a people to pick themselves up by their collective bootstraps. And factors of racial discrimination should still be added in, because there are documented cases in which people are still denied employment, housing, etc. and are redlined so that they are forced to live in certain sections of the city where municipal services are substandard and businesses offer rotten goods in filthy settings – all based on the colour of their skin. The effort required for the collective bootstrap-based upliftment of a society against these odds is great enough that the majority have not yet been able to accomplish it.

    To the extent that we Americans invented a unique form of the oppression of other humans, to the extent that we perpetuated it for our own lazy benefits, to the extent that our corporations profitted from uncompensated labor, and to the extent that those corporations evolved into corporations that exist and thrive to this day because they were literally built on the bloody backs of fellow humans, their descendants today certainly deserve their great-great-grandparents’ back pay, calculated according to inflation – not because we who are alive today forced them individually to work for us for free under the threat of torture and death, but because we sit on the profits gained from an immoral practise that effectively held an entire people at a sub-human level of existence which prevented one generation from contributing to the furtherment of the generation that followed them, while we advanced ourselves and our children beyond ourselves at a rate that they could not even hope to achieve.

    For me, pursuing reparations is about righting a wrong that has modern implications. It is about pursuing justice. And as someone who believes in a God that demands justice, I feel compelled to pursue such a justice.

  201. 205 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    August 3, 2008 at 23:23

    @Amy ~~ My pleasure.

    @Nelsoni — That’s why they get the big bucks.

    @Dan — Even a stopped clock is right twice a day. “)

    @steve — You still don’t say why you think we’re distancing ourselves from you. For my part, I’m a shameless, helpless, gaping Anglophile. Are you doing something for which the British slang term, though it describes a common bodily function, is perhaps too rude for inclusion here?

    @nelsoni again — I think “taxing” is the word you seek.

  202. 206 Robert
    August 3, 2008 at 23:24

    Steve B – Uk

    ( another American expression that Shakespeare would have difficulty working out what it meant ).

    The bard would find American English a little easier to understand than UK English. American English is actually the older of the two dialects. Aside from the odd Native American word here and there, and immigration it was never constantly exposed to the rest of the worlds languages for centuries. Britain however through it proximity to Europe and its Empire had many different influences on it’s version of the language and has evolved at a faster pace than the American version.

    After 4 centuries off this, British English is now further from the Elizabethan English than the America English.

  203. 207 steve b - uk
    August 3, 2008 at 23:26

    @jonathan ( sunny/whatever) san francisco

    the last thing I want to be is ‘frightening’

    cool it, mate.

    where vd your ancestors come from? My point is that most Americans come from the UK.

  204. 208 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    August 3, 2008 at 23:33


    An impossibility followed by a succession of errors, I’m afraid. American English cannot be older than the language we brought here from England.

  205. 209 steve b - uk
    August 3, 2008 at 23:34


    This is outrageuos! You are obviously trying to wind me up.

  206. 210 Dan
    August 3, 2008 at 23:44

    @ Shirley
    Slavery originated at the beginning of human existence when one group felt it was better or more powerful spiritually or militarily than another.
    Everything that you allege was done to Black slaves was done to all other slaves from every country and ethnicity. Blacks were not singled out. In modern times one only has to look at Nazi Germany and Pol Pot’s Cambodia.

    “To the extent that we Americans invented a unique form of the oppression of other humans, to the extent that we perpetuated it for our own lazy benefits, to the extent that our corporations profitted from uncompensated labor, and to the extent that those corporations evolved into corporations that exist and thrive to this day because they were literally built on the bloody backs of fellow humans, their descendants today certainly deserve their great-great-grandparents’ back pay, calculated according to inflation – not because we who are alive today forced them individually to work for us for free under the threat of torture and death, but because we sit on the profits gained from an immoral practise that effectively held an entire people at a sub-human level of existence which prevented one generation from contributing to the furtherment of the generation that followed them, while we advanced ourselves and our children beyond ourselves at a rate that they could not even hope to achieve”.

    Whew that was a mouthful but simply not true. I cannot understand why you cradele the belief that only Americans had a unique form of slavery. Obviously again you failed to look at Nazi Germany’s corporations and those of other countries. Why have you only singled out those of America?
    If your true goal is pursuing justice then simply giving a member of the Black underclass money will solve nothing. Besides, how much money will settle your guilt?
    Explain why open enrolment to Blacks in colleges forty years ago has not enabled them to achieve equality on thier own? And why do other immigrants, Vietnamese, Indian (from India), Jews, etc. achieve economic success in one generation, while the Blacks have been freed from slavery for over 100 years, and still consider themselves underclass. They have been given work programs, free college education, welfare, free health care, and STILL CANNOT better themselves….why are they the ONLY class?
    Every oppressed minority climbed the ladder toward success except Blacks and I proffer that it was the Government returning them to the slavery of the almighty dollar that did it.
    Reparations continues that evil.
    As a God fearing person whose God demands justice, throwing money at the problem will accomplish nothing and in fact may make the matter worse.

  207. 211 nelsoni
    August 3, 2008 at 23:46

    @ Jonathan: Tasking or taxing? either way thanks

    Big bucks? is there something you know that we dont?


  208. 212 Venessa
    August 3, 2008 at 23:49

    “I think that if we keep separating ourselves by race and color we will never become anything more than little tribes out to dominate one another.”

    Well said. Unfortunately the reality is that human nature is all about having power. Through all of history one thing remains true – there is someone who always wants supremacy and control over other people. Divisions by race, color, values, location etc. will always be ubiquitous. I have very little doubt it will ever change.

  209. 213 Robert
    August 3, 2008 at 23:56


    The English spoken by the Elizabethans is dead, nobody except English lit students would ever have to talk or write like that today. Languages evolve over time sometimes diverging sometimes converging. Due to circumstances of geography and history the version of English used by the Brits is further from the common root than the American dialect.

    Bill Bryson gave a pretty good description of this happened in one of his books, although for the life of my I can’t remember which one it would have been.

  210. 214 steve b - uk
    August 3, 2008 at 23:57


    too long

  211. 215 Venessa
    August 3, 2008 at 23:57

    People need to get over their “white guilt.” I know I had nothing to do with contributing to slavery, Jim Crow laws etc. and do not feel guilty for the life I lead. My own childhood left very little to be desired.

    People, life is not fair. Get over it. You got one chance at this thing called life (unless you’re going to heaven and waiting for a bunch of virgins). Sitting around whining about how you (or ancestors for that matter) were wronged is quite counterproductive.

    Reparations are nothing more than appeasements for white guilt.

  212. 216 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    August 4, 2008 at 00:09

    @Steve b.–

    I’m as cool as a cucumber, friend. You said “Answer if you dare.” Your point was not that “most Americans come from the UK” which is an uninteresting error, but that Americans are intent on denying our ancestry, which is also wrong but interesting enough to ask you why you purport to think it, a question you refuse to answer.

    “Most Americans come from the UK” was just an erroneous premise along the way to a mistaken proposition.

  213. 217 Pangolin-California
    August 4, 2008 at 00:09

    @ “American” heritage- Americans speak ‘English’ because it was the language of a dominant group at a point in history and then it functioned, and still does, as a trade language. Few Americans anymore can honestly trace their ancestry and culture to England in any meaningful way anymore.

    Myself, I am the product of a Ukranian and a Cajun on my fathers side and Palestinians on my mothers. All of which makes me look like a stereotypical Jew. Even my dog is from Australia. The town I live in is the northernmost outpost of the Spanish conquest of the Americas, has a spanish name and my daughters speak spanish at school. If I turn on the radio I am far more likely to hear Gaelic or Spanish than an honest regional dialect of England. The BBC ‘voice’ not being much rather than very clear.

    What was that about England?

    @ Reparations- Never happen. Could we try for decent schools, minimal food, clothing, housing and health care instead? When the US can put all of it’s citizens who want housing under a roof every night then we can talk.

  214. 218 Julie P
    August 4, 2008 at 00:13

    @steve b – uk,

    Not all Americans have British ancestry, our largest waves of immigration occurred in the 19th century and later, from all over the world, initially many came from continental Europe. There are many Americans who do not have British lineage.

    Here is a link to the Ellis Island Foundation to learn more immigration to the US.


  215. 219 Venessa
    August 4, 2008 at 00:20

    “Could we try for decent schools, minimal food, clothing, housing and health care instead? When the US can put all of it’s citizens who want housing under a roof every night then we can talk.”

    I agree completely!

  216. 220 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    August 4, 2008 at 00:31

    @Venessa ~~

    Good point in your 11:49 post. Dominatiion (supremacy, power, control) can be compelling on an individual basis, but quite mistaken and destructive when based on race, tribe, gender, etc.

  217. 221 steve b - uk
    August 4, 2008 at 00:43

    You Americans are all in denial.

    And I think Jonathan is a very rude chap.

    Good night.

  218. 222 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    August 4, 2008 at 00:54


    English is lately changing at a breathtaking rate, as a consequence of technology and its neologisms, and more interestingly of its use by people of different native tongues. One hears of “Jinglish,” “Chinglish,” and “Spanglish.” Because of world trade in goods, people, and ideas, the language of the great trading nation comes to more inflection points with other languages, both lending to and borrowing from them.

    I’m not sure whether the changes can properly be said to affect either American or British English more than the other though.

  219. 223 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    August 4, 2008 at 01:11

    steve b–

    Rude? Me? Piffle. I still don’t renounce British ancestry, a prospect just a bit more tempting today than yesterday.

  220. 224 Bob in Queensland
    August 4, 2008 at 03:04

    G’day all

    Regarding British ancestry, my experience with Americans is a bit different. As a nation they tend to be very willing to acknowledge it, usually either with a joke about “whupping you guys’ a****s in 1776 (to which I explain I’m Canadian) or a self conscious expression of concern that Brits are still resentful of the war of independence (they aren’t).

    On a personal level though, I’ve met far more Americans who researched their family backgrounds than British folk. It’s awfully common for them to be able to say they come from “Clan McSomething just outside Inverness” or “my grandfather was from a village outside Warsaw”! than most Brits who are just happy with their Britishness. I’ve no statistics to support this, just a general impression.

  221. 225 Bob in Queensland
    August 4, 2008 at 03:05

    Re: “Might makes right”

    Of course it does, especially when you combine this with the other truism “the victor writes the history”. Once the history is written, they really ARE right!

  222. 226 Shirley
    August 4, 2008 at 03:47

    It’s not just about money: http://www.ncobra.com/ncobra_info.htm

    And yes, I do think that a group of people subjected to hundreds of years of hard labour and the kind of psychological warfare hat we inflicted on Africans and their descendants is indeed in a unique situation apart from other peoples and the ways in whcih they were tortured. I do *not* think that no other group deserves reparations. Reparations for black Americans just happens to be what interests me more than other issues.

  223. 227 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    August 4, 2008 at 03:49



    Need I already remind you that the combination of “Might makes right” and “Victor writes history/makes justice” can be, and is, cited in the service of some awfully disreputable causes.

  224. 228 Bob in Queensland
    August 4, 2008 at 04:10

    Hiya Jonathan,

    Nope–no need for the reminder. I’m not saying it’s GOOD….just that it’s the “way of the world”.

    Think of the skewed version of history we’d have if the Axis forces had one WWII–and they came far closer than we like to admit to doing so. On second thought, it doesn’t bear thinking about.

  225. 229 Jack Hughes
    August 4, 2008 at 04:26


    Check this story here:


    A YouGov opinion poll finds strong support for the BBC.

    But the average is made up of very strong support from Labour and LibDem supporters, and lukewarm support from Conservative supporters:

    … a breakdown of figures by political affiliation reveals that this high rating is due to the overwhelming approval of Labour and Liberal Democrat supporters, who each currently give the BBC a net approval rating of 50.

    In contrast, the score from Conservative supporters stands at just 7, meaning it has now fallen not only below ‘Broadsheet newspapers’, but also ‘British Business and Businessmen’ and the Bank of England in their estimation.

  226. 230 Bob in Queensland
    August 4, 2008 at 05:41

    @ Jack Hughes

    Interesting poll, but I can think of a couple of reasons for this that don’t imply bias one way or another:

    -Conservative voters will be “free marketeers” who are philosophically opposed to a publicly funded broadcaster in competition with commercial ones.

    -Conservative voters are pro-business so it’s no surprise they rank business and businessmen more highly. Similarly, two out three broadsheets (assuming the Independent is tabloid now–am I correct?) are self-confessedly right wing, again hence the higher approval rating.

    If I’m reading this correctly, any positive number is approval with disapproval represented by negative numbers. If that’s the case, then Conservatives still “approve” of the BBC, just not as strongly as some others.

  227. 231 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    August 4, 2008 at 05:44


    Sorry, I don’t get it. Are the Janjuweed right in Darfur? Is Mugabe right in Zimbabwe? If the Axis came closer to victory than you want to admit, were they closer to being right than you want to admit, and if they had won, would that have made them right?

    @Jack —

    So the news is…. that they’re still called “broadsheets!”

  228. 232 viola
    August 4, 2008 at 06:16

    Thank you, Jonathan. I appreciate your comments. I thought I was pretty clear, but never mind.

    When I use the term “might makes right,” a well-used cliche if there ever was one, I mean that, according to this belief, the person or entity with more power (bigger, stronger, more resources, meaner, etc.) has proved his or its right to power by fighting and winning. Please understand that I am not advocating this particular dynamic, simply wondering if it is, in fact, the only actual dynamic at work in the world.

    I’ve pointed out that the human struggle for supreme position within a given society or between two different societies is similar to the struggle for dominance in a dog yard or a wolf pack. “Big dog” is another way of saying alpha dog. Maybe these concepts are not clear to you because you are unfamiliar with the dynamics of pack behavior in animals. I’m not the first person who has noticed that human beings also exhibit this pack behavior.

    Hope that clarifies what I was trying to say.

  229. 233 Bob in Queensland
    August 4, 2008 at 06:21

    @ Jonathan

    You don’t get me that easily but I WILL add a couple of corollaries to “Bobbsy’s Rule”.

    1. A period of time must elapse after the end of any conflict–the exact amount varies but it has to be long enough for memories to slip into history.

    2. “Right” is relative rather than absolute term.

    If the Axis had won WWII and we had all studied history from German-language text books, you can be darn sure that Hitler would have been “right”. (I’ve been called a “lefty” often enough in here–I may as well go for “Nazi” today!)

    As for modern-day problems, who knows? If Zanu PF cling onto power then in a few years it’s expedient for the west to support them in a war against, say, a Burmese-style regime in Rwanda, then I bet memories will fade rather quickly. It can work the other way too–look how fast Saddam fell out of favour when it was no longer expedient to support a war against Iran!

  230. 234 steve b - uk
    August 4, 2008 at 06:52

    good morning WHYERs

    Time to get out of bed and heave another cannon ball into the old gun. Light the fuse and….fire!

    @Pangolin – all USA history is just 200 years: not a lot

    also – the current BBC attitude ot accents is just PCism: whereas 30 years ago you could not get anywhere unless you sounded like a toffe nosed toff, the opposite is now true. It is necessary to have an obscure – prefferrably almost incomprensible – regional accent to get a job. Sometimes on TV I cannot understand what on earth people are talking about.

    Now, I love Americans ( or Brits who have gone to live somewhere else, to be more precise, and developed a remakable talent for speaking quickly ) but I hate to be stuck with one who wants to tell me why they – us, a trifle removed, – are so damn good. Americans individually are warm, generous and marvellous company. BUT….one of the most awful things in life is to walk in to a London Pub and hear one of our American ancestors talking – loudly – about how wonderful America is and how they won WW2 all alone and unaided. It happens every night. Nothing will shut them up after one and a half lagers.. Now why do they do this? Are they interested in the fact that the RAF was outnumbered 10 to 1 in 1940 and stood alone? That the UK paid back every penny, plus interest, of the loan our colonial brothers gave us after the war – the last payment was made just this year? Some other countries were just ‘given’ the money – names obvious but excluded. Why? It is because you are our kids and you love to have a go at the UK. (And you like talking a lot ).

    I think I see the cannon ball hurtling towards someone. No doubt this person will respond and tell me what rubbish I am speaking. For myself, I must go back and heave another into the cannon. Now ‘England expects that every man….etc’

  231. 235 Robert
    August 4, 2008 at 08:01

    @ Jonathan

    Agree with all your comments, but they describe how the future of the American English will now evolve quicker than British English. Up until 20th Century these factors where stronger in the UK than the US and so situation was the opposite way round.

    After 400 or so years of divergence American and British English will converge again. Unlike the past the two cultures are exposed to each other on a day to day basis via the web and tv etc.

  232. 236 Julie P
    August 4, 2008 at 08:35

    @steve b – uk

    American history includes our colonial past, which means we have 400 years of history, twice than you so graciously gave us.

  233. 237 Bob in Queensland
    August 4, 2008 at 09:24

    @ Julie P

    Please believe me when I say this is not an attempt at one-upsmanship, but….

    ….before moving to Australia, I used to live in a house in the UK that was just a bit over 400 years old.

    My address there was “New Farm”.

    Seriously, as per a recent debate I do think that, with modern communications, we’re going to see a “cultural convergence” again. After all, if somebody had told you 20 years ago that you’d be spending your time discussing current events with people all over the world via something called “the Internet” it would have seemed like science fiction.

  234. 238 selena
    August 4, 2008 at 09:27

    I feel the need to clarify the term “underdog” in case it has offended anyone.

    In my part of the world “underdog” is a common word used to define any person or persons who are oppressed or ground down by society.

  235. 239 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    August 4, 2008 at 11:25

    @ viola ~~
    Cliches don’t confer clarity. If you truly are wondering, I’ll tell you my view: Love can make right. Compassion can make right. Might can never make right. That’s the dynamic as I see it. Good luck in your quest.

    @ Bob–
    Ah, the old statute of limitations gambit! Fair enough, if a tad cynical. A “right” that can only be judged after everyone forgets everything relevant, and is then subject to expedient caprice, is debased past my recognition.

    @ steve b —
    I wouldn’t presume to advise you, lest I be thought brash, but if I were haunted in pubs every night by my ancestors in the form of loud, fast-talking drunks, I’d change the venue, or the quantity, of my own drinking. Good luck with the cannons, balls, and voices.

  236. 240 steve b - uk
    August 4, 2008 at 11:41


    personal disparagement and moving goalposts doth not an argument make

  237. 241 Julie P
    August 4, 2008 at 12:06


    It’s cool.

    One of my pet peeves is hearing or reading how we do not have history. We have 400 years of it. There would be more in the western hemisphere had it not been for the Spanish, especially them, the British, and the French. Indigenous history was intentionally destroyed.

    Things have changed over the last 20 years, cultures will converge more now that there is more interaction between them thanks to the internet.

  238. 242 Bob in Queensland
    August 4, 2008 at 12:07

    @ steve b – uk

    As much as I believe ad hominem attacks are the last refuge of a poor argument….

    …Jonathan has a point. If you can’t find a pub that’s not over-run with American tourists, then you’re doing it wrong!


  239. 243 Dan
    August 4, 2008 at 13:08

    First let me say Thanks to all for a great “debate” on reparations. I was “shut in” all weekend with work and you all helped keep my sanity…such as it is.

    @ Shirley
    I love your passion but “people subjected to hundreds of years of hard labor and psychological warfare” is not unique to Black slavery.
    It happens to all people made into slaves. I cannot grasp your logic why Blacks are entitled to reparations but no one else. Can you explain?
    If you are solely focused upon getting reparations only for Blacks my question are: why do the descendents of slaves deserve it? How much money? How will giving someone money change their socio-economic situation and condition absent the tools to deal with sudden wealth?

  240. 244 Savane, Nairobi Kenya
    August 4, 2008 at 13:42


    I agree with you…..but do many people thonk that way? Enough to not make it an issue to judge someone by?

  241. 245 Amy
    August 4, 2008 at 16:41

    @ Steve B,

    I do agree with Jonathan and Bob about finding a new place to relax. However, I don’t think that the obnoxious Americans you encounter are trying to distance themselves from or deny any UK ties. They are, unfortunately, the ultimate “ugly American.” Like a child showing their parents “see, I can do it better than you did” those people you encounter in the pubs may just be trying to show the “folks” that America has spread it’s wings and left the nest.

    Amy in Oregon

  242. 246 viola
    August 4, 2008 at 16:59


    Boy, are you picky! Chuckle, chuckle.

    Actually, cliches usually have some advantage since their meanings are the same to a wide variety of people who, of course, speak the same language and share a culture. You are right: I do have a quest to understand the world in which I live. I agree that love and compassion, if they are actually practiced, have great power.

    That brings up the question: Is a suicide bomber expressing love and compassion when he blows up innocents? Bear in mind he is sacrificing himself for his family, his culture, his country, or his religion. Soldiers in armies do the same.

    Will there ever come a time when Joe Average Guy and Joe Average Gal will say “No more killing?” And on that day, will those who don’t believe that have an orgy of killing and take over the world? That is the scenario I can’t get past when I contemplate this kill or be killed course the world is on.

  243. 247 viola
    August 4, 2008 at 17:23


    Thank you for clarifying what you mean by the word “underdog.”

    I confess that I am currently obsessed with trying to understand the exercise of power by individuals, groups, leaders, and countries. When I see someone using the word “underdog” I think, “One who is without power who is, as a consequence, oppressed or ground down by a society that has power over him,” from which I then progress to the “Big dog, little dog,” pack dynamic that I suspect is a more accurate description of the reality of the situation. I thought the “might makes right” followup discussion fit right in.

    I believe it is fruitless to discuss an issue such as the Palestinian one on a one side is right and one side is wrong basis, even if one thinks one side is right and the other wrong. I think we have to look at what is happening, the actual events, and analyze them using some other criteria that actually has a chance at changing how people think and, therefore, changing their behavior.

  244. 248 Shirley
    August 4, 2008 at 17:36

    Dan, it does help to read what a person has posted. You said, “I cannot grasp your logic why Blacks are entitled to reparations but no one else.” The fact is that I had already written, “I do not think that no other group deserves reparations.” (Here, I used the bold tag instead of asterisks. You also asked, “How much money?” I had already written, “It’s not just about money” and posted a link to a page on NCOBRA’s website explaining the goals of that organisation regarding reparations. For the most part, I agree with what they said.

    You also stated that “people subjected to hundreds of years of hard labor and psychological warfare” is not unique to Black slavery. Could you point out another group of people that were removed from their homes, disallowed from forming stable family units and interacting with others from their social groups, and forced to perform hard labour on the pain of torture and death for hundreds of years on the scale of 60 million people? As far as I can tell, the groups that you have listed to this point have not endured centuries of such treatment en masse.

  245. 249 steve
    August 4, 2008 at 17:41

    @ Shirley

    What happened in Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge era was far worse than what you described.

    Also, let’s not forget that africans themselves were involved in the slave trade. They would capture people in africa, then give them over to the slave traders. Do they owe African American reparations as well, sine they partook in the slavetrade?

    You should see the movie about the slave trade called Amistad. It also shows that africans were in on it as well. Should the nations, ie portugal, who were involved in the slave trade pay reparations as well?

  246. 250 steve
    August 4, 2008 at 17:43

    Wow, all Mccain needs to do is to get people to think Obama even might want reparations, and Obama will lose in the largest landslide of all time. Obama will then have to deny that he is in favor of reparations, and will anger his black supporters.

  247. 251 Angela in Washington D.C.
    August 4, 2008 at 17:52


    I don’t think most reasonable Afican Americans are really serious about reparations. Furthermore, since it is hard for most blacks to even trace their history back. Obama made a statement about reparations and stated the best thing that America could do was provide a good education for all people. Reparations will not help because it would just further the mentality of some people who will just wait on a check, instead of trying to help themselves. This article describes what happens when people start to rely on checks than trying to provide for themselves:


  248. 252 Jens
    August 4, 2008 at 17:55

    you know i am a french huggenot and i demand that the french are going to pay reparations. i mean they killed have of my family during st bartholomew’s night and made us leave france (coming to think of it not a too bad a thing)………

  249. 253 viola
    August 4, 2008 at 20:04

    On the one hand, some people don’t take seriously an issue like the mistreatment of people as in slavery unless there is money involved, so that is an argument for reparations. It sends a clear message: As a people, don’t treat other people badly or you will pay,thereby making yourself less wealthy.

    On the other hand, if reparations and those who receive them are then expected to once more fade into the background and stop embarrassing the real people, nothing much will have been accomplished.

    Barack Obama is correct: Do the right thing. Create a just society for all. Spend that money usefully rather than as a bribe.

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