Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Why So Syria?




The neighborhood of this world is filled with good and bad societies.

Clandestinely the good try to manipulate the world order through backroom deals, meetings, and other sneaky ways to get things accomplished.

On the other hand, the bad members of our global community tend to be somewhat more raw and blatant in their dealings.

Currently in Syria there is a civil war raging between the bad and the worse.  Which is which?  Only time will tell.

When the citizens of another country are involved in fighting for the right to rule it, the people outside of that country need to stay out of the mix.

The government in Syria has supposedly used chemical weapons on civilians.  Although I would agree this is horrendous and should not be tolerated, Syria has not joined into any treaty agreeing not to use these types of weapons.

Some folks in our government think that because chemical weapons have been used, we need to go in and teach them a lesson.

My question is…  Why?

Around this world atrocities are constantly being committed against the population.  We use sanctions, and other diplomatic techniques to try and get them to fall in line, but in the end it is up to that country to police themselves.

If a country with a stable government decided to just gas its folks, such as Germany and the Jewish people, this would make sense to move in and stop this.

Syria is a nightmare!  It’s evil fighting evil.  We need to just stay the heck out of the way until something finally clears.

The President wants to do some weird itty bitty strike of a hundred missiles.  To what end?

It’s like poking a hornet nest with a stick.  You might do a little damage, but you’re going to piss off the hornets that weren’t really bothering you in the first place.

Syria is not a threat to the national interest or security of the United States in their current situation.  They are more involved with killing one another.  Why poke the nest?

In fact, some have claimed that because this action by Syria does not pose an imminent threat to the United States the President had better get the approval of Congress or risk an impeachable offense.

President Obama has decided to go to Congress for their approval, yet claims he needs no such approval.  So why even consult them?

I think he has brought Congress into the mix to cover his ass.  If Congress votes “No” he can bow out a blame Congress for the decision.  If Congress votes “Yes” and all hell breaks loose because of the attack he has someone to blame for the decision.

Since the people and Congress sound like they don’t want this to be approved, the President is stuck with a conundrum.  His speech on Tuesday tried to cover all of the bases without really saying anything.

Thinking that once you lob a hundred missiles into a country they will apologize and behave themselves is a moronic viewpoint.  Once you attack another country you cannot rewind that action.

Now I’m not afraid of Syria, and I know the United States is powerful and can deal with any conflict.  But why even get involved in the first place?

John Kerry accidentally came up with a great solution for the United States to save face.  In a press conference in London Kerry answered a question asking if anything could be done to prevent a U.S. strike on Syria.  Mr. Kerry brought up that if Syria turned over their entire stockpile of chemical weapons it would mean the United States would not attack.

The State Department tried to backstroke and claimed this was not a serious proposal.   Luckily, Russian President Vladimir Putin jumped on the flippant comment and has agreed to back Syria in removing their chemical weapon stockpiles.

As stated before, a huge percentage of the citizens of the United States do not want the country to get involved in the Syrian civil war, and the President now has a graceful way to back out of the corner that he has painted himself into.

The win for the world is that if we can get Syria onboard with destroying its chemical weapons and enter into the treaty with other nations to ban the future use of such weapons, this is a great step forward.

I will give credit to President Obama because it was his determination to attack Syria that accidentally caused this outcome.  Also, to John Kerry for accidentally coming up with an ideal diplomatic solution.

Although they get credit for their accidental resolution to this situation, they are still on notice for getting us into this predicament to begin with.

Running one of the most powerful countries in the world is not an easy task.  Most of us would choke at the pressure.  Let’s just hope this will remain a peaceful ending to this current crisis.

What do you think?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Neutral Good Human Druid




According to What D&D Character Am I

I Am A: Neutral Good Human Druid (7th Level)


Ability Scores:

Strength-12
Dexterity-16
Constitution-12
Intelligence-14
Wisdom-16
Charisma-16


Alignment:
Neutral Good A neutral good character does the best that a good person can do. He is devoted to helping others. He works with kings and magistrates but does not feel beholden to them. Neutral good is the best alignment you can be because it means doing what is good without bias for or against order. However, neutral good can be a dangerous alignment when it advances mediocrity by limiting the actions of the truly capable.


Race:
Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.



Class:
Druids gain power not by ruling nature but by being at one with it. They hate the unnatural, including aberrations or undead, and destroy them where possible. Druids receive divine spells from nature, not the gods, and can gain an array of powers as they gain experience, including the ability to take the shapes of animals. The weapons and armor of a druid are restricted by their traditional oaths, not simply training. A druid's Wisdom score should be high, as this determines the maximum spell level that they can cast.



Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)


Friday, March 15, 2013

Bad Egg




 As Easter comes closer I find myself thinking about different people, and how they look at life.

 The human race is made up of a dynamically, undulating, diverse set of variables.  From the physical, to the emotional, we’re like snowflakes, in the sense that none of us are exactly the same.

 Oh sure, we sometimes find some people who are similar to us, and maybe hang out with them, even call them friends, or acquaintances, but there is always a few traits that just don’t match.

 Some differences can be tolerated, and accepted, while others tend to be deal breakers and we don’t fancy ourselves compatible.

 Occasionally, it’s freaky how close we can be to another person.  Close, but still not exact.

 I’m almost certain that most of you reading this belong to a group of some kind.  Perhaps a gang, religious organization, or something else that you find interesting such as a sporting group, or even part of a team for an actual sport.

 Whatever your association is, within that subgroup you still have a large variety of folks.

 Inevitably the group you are in will have conflict within the ranks.  This is what caused churches to split up time and again over the years.  Have you ever stopped to wonder how there became so many different “flavors” of Christians?  Internal turmoil in the group.

 What makes an individual cause strife?  I can’t believe that these people actually face each day trying to be a jerk and cause hate.  It’s so foreign to me when I see this type of person in line someplace just being as rude and belligerent as they can be.

 There are a very large group of people who think that they live their lives better than others because of the groups they belong to.  Collectively they rain down their views on others like they alone reside on Mt. Olympus, and the rest of us are but amusing insects that don’t see life as they do.

 Then you see one of these people acting like a weiner towards someone else.  Or a group of them will whip up a hate frenzy about another group.  It scares me that they do not see how horrible they are being.

 Far from perfect myself, I still try to live each day as a good person.  I view, and treat everyone else, as another person, not as something I should be angry with and hate.  As neutral as I think I am, occasionally I run across someone who dislikes me (not to sound arrogant, but this is very rare).

 My first thought is to find out why and attempt to mend the rift between us.  Frequently I am very successful in this approach, much to my joy.  Typically it’s a misunderstanding, where good communication was all that was required to repair the damage before it got out of control.

 Then there comes a person who, no matter the attempt, settles into just being evil.

 No amount of kindness and understanding seems to penetrate their wicked shielding.  Worse yet, this person is one of the “holier than thou” people who jumps at the chance to be openly, and blatantly, offended when someone swears near them.

 Take a look at yourself in a mirror.  What do you see?

 Do you fit into the basket of eggs that we call the human race, or are you the one disgusting egg that is among the others, starting to smell and become rotten?

 If you find yourself breaking down inside. If you’re angry about the simplest of things, perhaps it’s time for a change.  Find a friend to give you an honest assessment of how you treat others, or even find a good therapist.

 Chances are if you know that you’re a nasty person, everyone else already sees you as the bad egg.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Out of Control



When I follow topics such as the latest gun control issue, it makes me once again whip out my words and thrust them out to the Internet.

Whether you agree, or disagree with me is not relevant.  What is important to me is that I attempt to explain my position to pass down to my family and friends.

You see, we don’t have to all think the same way.  Being able to exercise our minds is what helps us to grow individually.  Those of you who know me already are aware of my thirst for learning as much as I can.  I enjoy a good discussion regardless of which side I fall on.

I almost began this topic stating what I feel to be obvious, but I’ve decided to start off a bit more basic because a lot of the arguments I hear against the ownership of guns seems to be flawed.

We must first travel back in time to when this country was formed.  This is when the Bill of Rights was created.

Throughout history, and even now in modern times, many governments controlled their people with power and force.  Essentially, he who has the power, makes the rules.

This country began because the government had too much power and forced too many rules and taxes on its colonies.  Anyone that spoke out against such things became an enemy and was quickly jailed or killed to stop anymore foolishness of going against the ruling body.

Is everyone in agreement with me so far?  If not, you need to do some reading on our country’s history.

After just kicking the butt of a government that had complete rule and control over them, when the founding fathers drafted our Constitution and the Bill of Rights, they were determined to not give our new government that kind of power over the people again.

This is the whole reason we see things such as “We the people”, and “by the people, for the people”.

How could the founding fathers ensure that the government would not dictate to the people ever again?  They created a series of checks and balances within the government, and gave the people the right to remain armed so that the government could not become controlling over the people any longer.

They knew that if you disarmed the population, they were at the mercy of the government.

In those days people weren’t so much afraid of their neighbor, nor was it about hunting.  Self defense and hunting was a way of life for them already.  It was understood that these folks would have guns to hunt and defend their property.

Why then put the right into the Bill of Rights?  Because it was designed to allow the population to defend itself against a tyrannical government.

Let’s look at the second amendment.

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

During these times most men were considered part of the militia.  In other words, those that could were expected to take up arms against any threat against their state.

It also says that this is necessary to maintain the security of a FREE state.  The right is not so that people can hunt, or defend themselves against their neighbor.  This is talking specifically about maintaining our freedom!

Many of us accept that we cannot, and probably should not, have missiles, tanks, and that sort of thing, but we should certainly have enough proper firepower to make a good defense against soldiers trying to conquer us!

If the President decides he wants to grab even more power and suddenly become a dictator, we need the ability to make that as difficult as possible.

Stop rolling your eyes and thinking that this could never happen here.  If you allow the government to take away any ability for us to prevent this from happening how would we ever be able to stop this scenario?

It has happened throughout history.

THIS IS the sole reason for the establishment of the second amendment.  It should be the end of the discussion, but alas, it is not.

Now we’re wallowing around arguing about what type of weapons people should be allowed to carry.  So let’s look at this.  If you do not agree with the above, you might as well just stop reading now, because you won’t even be close to this second part of the article.

The point I have made previously, is that we need the right to own sufficient weapons to provide a good defense of our freedom.

Due to the population growth, protecting our freedom has also focused on our ability to defend our individual freedom from the undesirables among us.  We no longer have miles between neighbors, but we live in cities where literally thousands of thugs and hoodlums can easily attack us.

Luckily, because of the second amendment, and our legal ability to defend ourselves from the government, this also allows us the ability to defend ourselves against the criminal element.

Notice this entire article is about defense, and not hunting or target practice.

The argument that we do not need a certain type of gun for hunting is an uneducated asinine viewpoint.  It’s never been about hunting.

If we proceed along the thought process that our second amendment allows us the freedom to own a weapon for our defense, a reasonable assumption would be that we require a weapon that can provide us the best defense possible.

We all enjoyed watching Barney Fife, and his single bullet.  Why was this funny?  Because anyone knows that a gun with a single bullet would be idiotic.

In order to properly defend yourself you need the ability to fire multiple bullets.  How many?  It obviously depends on the situation.  Most of us would like the ability to be able to fire as many as practical in any given situation.

The situation dictates how much ammunition is practical.

When you’re carrying a concealed weapon, for example, you do not necessarily need to look like a crazy man with two bandoliers draped across your chest full of ammunition.  You carry a magazine in your gun and possibly one or two extra depending on your thought process and situation.

If you’re at home, you might possibly want a larger weapon that is capable of carrying a large magazine in case your defense is against numerous armed men trying to kill your family.

In this last scenario you absolutely want as much ammo as you can load at one time.

Why are people trying to limit this number?  Do they honestly believe a criminal will play within any rules they come up with and only have small magazines in their guns?  Even if they do, if there are numerous assailants with small magazines, I’d like to have a bigger one thank you.

In this case, size absolutely matters.

Everything up to this point is why weapons are allowed, and why we require them.

Everything else is irrelevant.

If people take what is legal to own, a car for example, and use it for evil deeds, the proper reaction should not be to outlaw the car, but to punish the person who used it illegally.

Now call me simple, but this seems like an extremely easy concept to grasp.

Just because bad people use a gun in the process of committing their crime, does not mean that we suddenly need to disarm law-abiding citizens any more then we should take everyone’s car away because people drive drunk.

If you can’t see the simplicity in the logic I have spelled it out for you, I’d love to hear your opinion.  If you’re thought process is to take away guns, you might as well not even waste your time responding.  This would mean you do not agree with our Constitution and should tread very carefully in this country.


Speaking of which, you'll notice the end of the second amendment says this right "shall not be infringed". This means by the constitution we shall not have to have this right removed from us.

So back off, because last time I checked EVERY military member, police office and government official has sworn an oath to protect this right! This includes the President of the United States. Actively trying to infringe upon this right is actively going against the Constitution.

It is not the Presidents place to attack the Constitution, but to defend it. As usual, he has his priorities, and the understanding of his position, all wrong.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

President For Dummies




Obamanomics - Really?

Some people wonder what is so bad about the folks currently running our country.

Let me give you my two cents on the subject.

This little game of creating a bill that only the House will pass, or only the Senate will pass, is childish.  Our government officials act like they are two years old most of the time.

I have said this before, and I'll say it again.  Create bills that are small and do not have a bunch of extra special interest crap in them.  One bill, one problem to solve.  Get things done and stop trying to make a political statement.

Obamacare is crap legislation, but it does have some good parts to it, and we all agree that things must be done to help improve our healthcare system.

Trash Obamacare, then work on improving the healthcare system a piece at a time, with individual legislation that is void of special interest crap.  (Do you see a pattern here?)

My next point.  Stop spending money!

We give billions of dollars to other countries constantly.  Stop it!

Tell these other free-loaders they're going to have to survive without our money until we get our own house back in order.  I suggest they do the same.

Then, only when we have got our act together, and have paid down our debt, and are moving things in the right direction, can other countries reapply to see if we can help them.

They had better have a great reason to ask though, because it's about time they started fending for themselves!

The current administrations plan is to tax the holy bat crap out of people, then give the money to other people.  This is a broken thought process.  As Mr. Spock would say, That's illogical.

For example I present to you the situation where unions demand higher wages and more freebies from a company for their members. They do this relentlessly and constantly.

Sure their members love all of the cool benefits and higher pay, until the whole thing comes crashing down because they have driven the company out of business.

Nice strategy.  It's like a parasite that eventually kills the host.

Employees need to have a more symbiotic relationship with their employers, not a parasitic one.

People need to except the fact that their employers NEED TO MAKE MONEY.  This is how our economy thrives, and how they actually got hired in the first place.

Those of you who are too stupid to understand this raise your hand and I'll get a little more detailed for you.

Then the same people complain that companies are moving out of the country, or stashing their funds in offshore accounts.

We have a shortage of companies growing and thriving in this country.  It's not because they are run by evil rich people you idiots.  These companies are run by business folks who become successful by...wait for it...making money!

If you tax the crap out of them, screw them to the wall for benefits and pay, then tax them again, why the hell should they be in business in the first place?

Have many American people (Yes I'm talking to those who support Obama) become so blind that they actually believe that the policy to spend more money then we have, then try to tax every last ounce of income from the people who have made this country great, is a winning policy?

Obama's administration has spent more money then they have taken in.  This does not mean that they need to take in more.  There is no more folks.  We're on the ropes!  The only answer is to stop spending money.

All of the people getting food stamps, free health care, free education, free government loans to research the mating habits of the South-American Swamp Rat, need to be cut off.

The way our country is designed there are those that have worked hard and have money to show for it, and those that are free-loaders and just whine because they are not getting even more free stuff from the government.

You are not entitled to have the government take care of everything for you.  Work hard, or live like someone who doesn't.

We should go to a flat-tax system where everyone pays a percentage of their income.  No loopholes, no sneaky back room deals to get out of it.  Everyone pays "their fair share".

All of the leeches will cry, but this is THE ONLY FAIR WAY TO TAX PEOPLE.  Poor folks will pay very little, and rich folks will pay in a ton of money.

People ask why I don't want another four years of Obama.  It's because his plan is to tax people more, then distribute the money to who he wants to help.  I have news for you, it's not the American people.

Is Mitt Romney any better?

Every four years it's a crap shoot.  When Barak Obama was elected I hoped he would do what he promised, and yet he let down the country.  Many people who were behind him, and helped him get elected, have realized what a mistake it was.

Someone should have given him a "President For Dummies" book.

I don't know if Mitt Romney will do what is needed to turn this country around, but he is a businessman, and understands finances and dealing with money issues much better then Barak Obama ever has.

If President Obama was hired to run a company, he would have been fired for how he has run this country.  I'm willing to let someone else give it a try.  I hope it can't be any worse.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Give It To Your Woman!




Original article can be found at, Pants' washing instructions read 'Give it to your woman'

Recently I engaged in a discussion on a friends Facebook page about the sexist message in this label. Below is the conversation and how it spun rapidly out of control... I have left out everyone else's comments except the woman I was debating with.

We have continued our discussion as Facebook messages, and I have removed any of the more personal comments that have no place in the discussion.

Me: Very amusing! As a society we still need to laugh at ourselves and things like this. Clearly this was meant to be funny, and not to offend.

Aubrey: I don't think it's very funny at all. Sad that this is still publicly acceptable. Can you imagine KFC putting a sticker on a bucket of fried chicken that read, "Feed it to black people." Sad that it's socially acceptable to be sexist and that people who are offended are "not good at taking jokes."

Me: I believe intelligent people know the difference between an intentional hurtful racist comment such as your KFC example, and a joke about our past when women were stereotyped in this manner. If anyone these days thinks that women should be "barefoot and pregnant", or their role is to only stay at home and do house work, they're not sexist, they're idiots. As a society we have thankfully moved past this stereotype for women, and African-American's in your example. Insulting a group intentionally is still not appropriate, but laughing about our horrible past can sometimes be a part of healing as a country.

Aubrey: Simplistic and overused gender stereotype... just don't find it very funny. It's not much of a reach or a very sophisticated joke if you ask me. And of course, when it comes to females, it seems not to be egregious. But not with race, because it's more socially acceptable to be sexist than it is to be racist. I dont' think this joke is meant to laugh about a horrible past, especially when that past isn't past at all. And if you do think it's in the past, watch a few laundry commercials and tell me if you see a theme.

Me: Not to be hurtful, but some people take things way to personally. Becoming so offended over something like this should cause you to look at yourself, and why you find this so personally offensive. Most women don't need you to fight this issue for them, so why then are you? We see this type of behavior when minorities view everyone is against them because of their status. If someone doesn't get promoted it's because they are black, or a woman, or gay, or a Mormon. It's never because they just were not the best choice. (Granted sometimes racism and sexism do play a role, but not as much as people try and push it). You can find something distasteful to your own personal thoughts, which is perfectly acceptable. When you abuse the thing and cry sexism that must be stopped at all costs for the good of everyone, you have slipped over the edge of sanity just a tad. :)

Aubrey: Also not to be hurtful, but coming from a white man who rests at the upper echelon of the hierarchy in most of the world, I'm going to stick to my previous comments. Sexism and racism play a socially institutionalized role and I think you downplay their effects. Have a great day! :)

Me: And there it is. I'm white, and a male, so I have caused everyone in the country from not succeeding. Based on our current president, those types of excuses are rapidly losing traction. Enjoyed the conversation. Thank you for the chance at verbally fencing with you. :)

Aubrey: No, I don’t' think your personal life is responsible for people not succeeding. I am merely saying that privileges afforded to you for being male and white (and presumably heterosexual) are things that a lot of people don't have. And usually, one who has these privileges doesn't realize it. (BTW- If having a black president has taught us anything, it should be that it hasn't done anything to change the black/white gap in this country. E.g.: White wealth to black wealth is 20:1 http://pewresearch.org/pubs/2069/housing-bubble-subprime-mortgages-hispanics-blacks-household-wealth-disparity). Also enjoy myself a debate--back to work now, I promise. Just didn't want my statements to be mischaracterized.

Me: Do you think the fact that 63.7% of American's are White might have something to do with these numbers? I'm just saying... My "privileges" were hard earned. I joined the Air Force and put in over 20 years. While in the Air Force I went to school and got my Bachelor's degree so when I got out I could get a decent job. ANY American can have the SAME privileges I have if they would just get off their butt and quit whining about it! My skin color or sex had zero to do with my success in life. Granted if you're 40 and have not done a damn thing but live with your mom and complain about life, you might have a harder time. Then again, that would not be societies fault, but yours. Point blank, if you live in America and work hard, you will be fine. If you instead sit back and whine that you don't get the same opportunities as your neighbor, I have no sympathy for you. If you're lucky I'll toss you a box of Kleenex.

Aubrey: I am a statistician, so these numbers that are shown here should be explained and interpreted as though there were equal numbers of the population who identified as white and black. That is, the average wealth figure calculated takes into account that there are more whites than blacks, and it also takes into account outliers, rendering your point about there being more white Americans a misunderstanding of statistics.

That is what I was talking about when I said that privileges accrued by those who are most privileged in society go unnoticed. For instance, America was built and operated for 330 years under laws that were essentially forms of affirmative action for white men. This is not an opinion. White men were given opportunities that many other minority groups were not. This allowed them and generations like them to build wealth (i.e. OWN things such as property, which are typically passed down from one generation to another). This is not to mention the many laws (HOLC being a powerful one), which enabled whites to move to suburban areas and apply for federal funds to improve their properties, while blacks were left in greatly segregated center cities. Following the white flight of the cities, were businesses… and jobs!

Better neighborhoods also equal better educational resources. Thus, many whites, me included, have had excellent PUBLIC educations. Primarily due to the fact that a lot of school funding is garnered from property taxes.

Access to excellent education opens the door to a lot of other opportunities: emphasis on post-secondary education is one.

I urge you to read this checklist of white privledges afforded to you every day if you think that everyone, regardless of their minority status, has the same opportunities that you do. Your approach is very individualistic, and it completely neglects the many centuries of institutionalized racism, sexism, homosexism, etc. upon which this country was founded. It troubles me that you credit failure to attain the American Dream to one’s laziness. It communicates to me that you do not blame any of the many institutions in this country, which make it difficult to obtain success.

Sorry for the longer response! I welcome any sort of intelligent discussion. A little bit about my credentials—I am a doctoral student who studies political sociology and the sociology of race. I also happen to teach at Temple University—one course being Gender in America.

http://www.amptoons.com/blog/files/mcintosh.html#daily

Me: As far as statistics go, I won't even entertain the discussion on statistics. They can be twisted in a thousand different ways and it's a futile argument. Anyone can whip out statistics to make their point. An example is in the book, "The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster" the author uses statistics to prove that the declining number of pirates has resulted in cooler temperatures, showing that correlation does not imply causation. (That last line was pulled from Wikipedia)

I definitely agree that this country has been built on the backs of the minorities, whether black, white Native American, or women. I'm actually appalled that this stuff goes on today, and I know that it does, especially in the South still.

My point is not necessarily that folks are lazy, but the ones who are better motivated can, and do, find ways to better their position in our society.

No society is perfect. Looking around the world there is no utopian culture. Even primitive tribal people have there "pecking orders" in their own way. The amazing thing about this country is that anyone with a half a brain can overcome their station in life and work hard to get out of a bad situation.

Unfortunately kids in lower income level areas have a harder time, and don't get the knowledge that they CAN get out of their situation with hard work. Most are content to hang out at their rung on the ladder. Then as they grow older, it's suddenly the rest of us that is oppressing them.

Are there people in this country that still have a hard time advancing do to idiotic people who are biased? Most definitely. Will we ever see a time where this is not a reality. Most definitely not.

There are many well-meaning people in the world that are trying to change this, but unfortunately it's like trying to clean up an avalanche with a snow shovel. You might make a little path where you are, but you will never stop the problem.

This doesn't mean we shouldn't try. Those of us who are not bigoted teach our children to be the same way. I'd like to think this country is getting better, and from what I see it truly is.

In the end, the ONLY way for people to get ahead in life is to work hard at climbing that ladder and show their kids what hard work can do for them.

It's not a magic wand, but it's the tools we have to work with.

I will oppose anyone who is blatantly racisit, sexist, etc... I will not, however, attack people who are trying to lighten a topic through humor. As long as the humor is not meant to be hurtful.

Aubrey: I'll just address the point on statistics... feeling the need to defend them (as it looks like on most cases, we will not agree--I am staunchly sociological, and your view is much more individualistic)! That is called a confounding variable. These statistics that I showed you are not implying causation, so I'm not sure why you brought that up :) Statistics, done well, are excellent quantitative tools. The problems with most data, and this is what I emphasize to my students, have to do with their methodology. It is crucial to be critical of the methodological approaches taken by those who publish statistics. The Pew Foundation is one of the most reputable sources for data out there (I can't say the same for wikipedia!)

Me: LOL True about Wikipedia, but the reference I used from them was for the book, and I just wanted to give credit for the line I used from them. I definitely would not use Wikipedia as a reputable source for anything.

You're correct though. We're getting into the area that we will just agree to disagree.

I want to thank you for the discussion, however. I love having to think through topics, and also when someone makes me think about one of my positions.

You will always be welcome to comment on any of my articles. I write them specifically to try and get a reaction from people. :)

Aubrey: Likewise, enjoyed the challenge! Have a great weekend!