An open letter to Mr. "Dizzy Gillespie":
Mr. Gillespie. Can I just call you "Dizzy"? Somehow, it just seems more appropriate under the circumstances. I'm not sure exactly how my blog has become such a magnet for underage, self-absorbed, badly-educated high school students but ... how else to explain your recent presence here, when I had to delete your comments for being thoroughly off-topic and obnoxious?
Having gone through this a couple times already, I'm really not interested in starting it all over again so I'm going to wax philosophical for just a bit, in the (almost certainly) vain attempt to educate you, even minimally, so that you can avoid making a total fool of yourself in the future. Sadly, based on what little I've seen thus far, I am not optimistic. But I'll give it a shot. Seeing as how you're new to this whole blogging thing, it's possible you just don't know the protocols yet.
To begin with, let's talk about the comments of yours that I deleted. The first rule of leaving comments on someone's blog is that those comments should, at least tangentially, relate to the posting to which they are attached. My posting related to Andrew Sullivan's rather nauseating love affair with himself. Your comments, on the other hand, asked me why I wouldn't debate "Jay Gatsby", then proceeded to reproduce one of Gatsby's comments that I deleted.
Now, I'm not going to get into why Mr. Gatsby is persona non grata around here anymore. If you'd bothered to read the archives, you'd get an idea. All of that aside, given that I (the owner of this blog) have made that decision, it is certainly not up to you (a blogger newbie, junior high school student) to override that decision. I've made my opinion on this topic abundantly clear, and it's not up to you to drag it out further, then add something to the effect that, "Oh, here's the comment Gatsby posted that you deleted, but I thoughtfully kept a copy of it so I'll post it again for you." That is incredibly inappropriate and childish. But it gets worse.
As hard to believe as it might be, you committed the same sin again when, on my posting discussing mathematics and Social Security here, you added a comment apparently accusing Canada of being involved in the scandal-tainted U.N. oil-for-food program. Again, one is not related to the other so, once again, you were being childish and irresponsible. The general rule is, if you have something you want to say, you get your own blog. And, lo and behold, as I have already pointed out, you do have your own blog. So it would have made far more sense to write something about it there, rather than clutter up mine with utterly irrelevant comments. One has to wonder why you bothered to even start a blog if you don't seem interested in writing anything on it.
(Aside: if you want to be taken seriously, here's a piece of advice from someone who has worked with words for well over four decades: it's spelled "journal," not "jornal". And, seeing as the blog site "gojournal.blogspot.com" is still available, you might want to switch quickly before you start looking like a total prat.) But here's the kicker.
I actually followed the link you posted, so I can give you a free lesson in how to do research. Your insinuation was that, somehow, Canada was being given a free pass in terms of getting its sleazy, little hands on Iraqi oil. A fascinating accusation, to be sure. But let's try something a little different here, shall we? Unlike you, the rest of us will actually read past the headline to get to the substance of the article. A radical research strategy, yes, but it's amazing what you can learn when you actually read the text to which you link. First, right in the opening paragraph, we have:
Oil exported from Saddam Hussein's Iraq under a scandal-ridden United Nations program helped revive the fortunes of the troubled refinery at Come By Chance, Nfld., according to its owners, industry sources and a U.S. government report.
Note the important passage: "under a scandal-ridden United Nations program". In other words, regardless of the problems associated with the program, it was still an official U.N. program. But note what else you read in that first paragraph -- it's not described as an official Canadian refinery, but simply as a refinery in Newfoundland. What an odd choice of words. Which are explained in the very next paragraph:
The refinery's Swiss-based owner, Vitol SA, was a major holder of permits allowing it to buy Iraqi oil through the controversial UN scheme, and says much of the crude it purchased went to Come By Chance.
Well, isn't that enlightening? It wasn't really a Canadian refinery after all, was it? Although it was on Canadian soil, it has a Swiss owner who is "a major holder of permits allowing it to buy Iraqi oil." Boy, that extra little detail really slants the story in another direction, doesn't it, Dizzy, my boy? Up here in the Great White, we refer to this technique of digging into the actual text of articles and exposing the salient details as "reading". You should try it someday.
And just to tie things up neatly, in the very next paragraph, we read:
Working through a former senior French diplomat, Vitol bought 21 million barrels of oil under the program..."
So, to sum up, the Canadian refinery was used by its Swiss owners, working through a former French diplomat, to acquire Iraqi oil for which it had official U.N. permits. And this is Canada's fault ... how?
Anyway, I'm sure you get my point by now. Regardless of what you might have been led to believe by your teenage friends and by Mr. Gatsby himself, you are not in any position to take me out to the woodshed intellectually. Please disabuse yourself of any such notions. And, please, I beg you, do not start challenging me to any debates. You are not even remotely ready for such stuff.
Instead, take some time and start blogging. Write a few articles. Express a few opinions. Ask for some feedback. If you're polite, I and my loyal (and long-suffering) readers would be glad to help, I'm sure. But, really, given that you have your own blog, you need to start using it and getting some experience before you start sauntering into town at high noon, lookin' fer the sheriff so you can make your reputation.
If you know what I mean.
LINER NOTES: By the way, Mr. Gillespie, despite what you might have heard, I do not delete anyone's comments just because I disagree with them. If you want to see real censorship in action, I recommend this piece highly.
I, on the other hand, will delete comments if they are offensive, irrelevant, childishly inappropriate or annoyingly repetitive. Or have anything to do with "Jay Gatsby". And that's it. If you disagree with something I've written, you're invited to say so, and I can guarantee that anything you write will not be deleted, subject to the above rules, of course.
And one more thing. There has been a lot of discussion here about "debating". Let me clear this up -- what we do here in terms of posting and commenting is debate. One does not need to get together in real time to have a debate. It's just as much of a debate if I post something, you disagree, I offer a rebuttal, and so on and so on. That's debating, and it's precisely what the previous Mr. Gatsby refused to do.
Rather, Mr. Gatsby had an annoying habit of making bogus claims and, when those claims were questioned, he'd stand there, his arms akimbo, stamping his little foot, demanding a debate, then changing the subject. As proof, way back on Friday, December 31, 2004, Gatsby wrote on his blog that the money for President Bush's inauguration "was not government money but private donations". I pointed out that this simply was not true, and I provided the appropriate link to substantiate my claim. Notice further that Mr. Gatsby now clearly knows this since he left a comment, and he even writes, "Well, I'll have to update it then". And yet, to this day, over a month later, Gatsby has not corrected or retracted his claim -- it's still up on his web site.
This is why Gatsby is not welcome to post here anymore -- he refuses to engage in actual intellectual discussion, and refuses to retract lies that he's posted. I'm hoping that you have somewhat higher standards when it comes to debating, Mr. Gillespie. That choice is entirely yours.
FINAL THOUGHT: One more thing, Mr. Gillespie. While you're renaming your blog so that you don't look illiterate, you might also consider modifying your profile so that it at least makes some logical sense. You write of yourself, "I am conservative, and my views will reflect this." And yet, in the very next sentence, you write, "That does not mean I will present biased news sources or promote one side over the other."
If you state openly that your views will reflect your conservative ideology, then, by definition, you will be promoting one side over the other. That's not a criticism -- it's simply a fact. You might want to rethink this whole blog thing until you're a little more prepared for it.