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Joel Stein is the problem.

This is not a knock on the Hutch News... They are looking for content and this moron and his employer obviously allowed them to syndicate it. But this article in my opinion should be framed in the Smithsonian as the leading cause of "I am right and you are wrong", biased crap that keeps us from actually getting anything done.

Joel Stein and writers like him cause more problems with articles like this than any politician ever caused. If you want to know more about Joel Stein here's his wikipedia page. Basically he is a want to be comedian whose has made a big name for himself ridiculing everything. He got real controversial with his "Warriors and Wusses" article where he in fact said that all American Fighting men and women should be held to blame for things because they signed up to be tools of American Imperialism. On second thought... This is knock on the Hutch News, why the hell are you syndicating this guy?

Anyway this specific article... this guy is a jerk and here's my argument specific to this article.

My argument is... He is right. Oil is Oil no matter where it comes from. He is right, Foreign Oil independence will not solve any environmental problems instantly or on it's on accord. He is right, it would be nice if foreign countries had to deal with all negative aesthetics that came will drilling and pumping for oil. He is right that both McCain and Obama are saying these things to get more votes.

He is a jackass because... His whole professional existence does nothing but create divides and unwarranted divisions among people. He is leading people (and I guarantee they are following because this is a news source publishing the column) to believe that foreign oil independence as a goal is a bad idea. He is a jackass because this article will influence people into being against the idea of being independent of foreign oil. He is a jackass because the article that really made him (in)famous was a huge diatribe against American Imperialism and he refuses to see or admit or just write about the fact that the instant we are energy independent... That thing that he calls "American Imperialism" would shrink in gigantic ways. He is a jackass because... The bottom of his website says... "I am the guy who loves porn and hates America", it all kinda starts to seem more real and less of a joke after reading his stuff. He is a shock jock with a pen instead of a microphone, he is Rush Limbaugh with even more of an agenda, he basically is a comedian whose writings are being printed in news sources and that is the problem. Heck... I think some of his stuff is funny... Not the "Warriors and Wusses" and definitely not this Crap today... But some of his stuff is funny.

What possible argument can be made to not look for a way to not rely on the Middle East or any other foreign country for our complete existence. I know there is negatives... I said he was right about a lot of the points in his article. But this is the best possible immediate solution to get MORE of our troops home from all over the World. The people in the World who are the maddest at us are the maddest at us because of our involvement in places that we are involved in because of oil. People in this country that deprioritize issues like the environment, economy, whatever issue you think is important, deprioritize those issues because they are more concerned about the war or energy. All of the issues, environment, energy, economy, national pride, foreign affairs, all of them would make steps forward if we were Energy Independent.

The Environment would be better because we would have control of all of the drilling, production practices that are involved in producing oil for us. The environment would also benefit because we would just have more time and money to dedicate to it.

The Economy would benefit because we would be keeping $700 billion here. We would also produce jobs that would help our economy. A better economy leads to more time and money and ability to prioritize efforts towards renewable energy. Oh and also just a better economy.

National Pride... Whether or not you think this is a issue, I think it is. I am not talking about blind-patriot flag waving pride, I am that guy, but don't think everyone needs to be. I do think we would be way better off if as a whole across the nation we had more national pride. Energy Independence would lead to an increase. Please don't come back with ridiculous arguments that it wouldn't be perfect. I never said it would, in fact I am assuring you it will never be perfect, we should have a plan to make it better, not perfect.

Foreign Affairs... If we didn't have gigantic oil interests in the middle east we could offer to help them with things with the truest of intentions and not offer to help with good intentions but always having oil laying on the table. We could also drastically decrease our Armed Forces presence abroad, at least in the places that they are set to protect our oil interests. Less troops abroad is good if/when it is possible.

Energy Independence is a good thing... Period. The jury is still out on the best way to do it, but if we get it done, there is no doubt it will improve our situation. As far Mr. Stein's statement that offshore drilling won't produce oil until we are all driving electric cars... That's as naive as it comes. It is going to be decades until we are ALL driving electric cars, decades. Hopefully more and more of us are every day, but we have citizens who will buy a used car in 10 years that still runs an internal combustion engine and they will drive it for 10 years and they will need petroleum products, again hopefully not very many but some will be. We have to start taking steps forward with the best possible scenario and stop looking for the perfect scenario.

The "I am right, you are wrong" mentality finds something wrong with every plan (unless it's Joel Stein's plan) and makes that wrong, the focus. We need as a country to find a good plan (not a perfect plan), back it and along the way take lot's of steps in different directions that keep making the plan better. Oh and we need to move Joel Stein to sit next to someone on Saturday Night Live or Mad TV. (He really isn't funny enough for SNL, Mad Tv would be a better fit.)

The part of it I don't like... the thing that I think perpetuates the "I am right and you are wrong" mentality in this country the most... Is putting crap like this in a news medium. The Los Angeles Times and The Hutch News and every other news source have to realize their influence, and they have to see that printing this guys column leads to a certain percentage of their readers taking it as fact, taking it as news. When that happens... They focus on the negative and fight the thought of energy independence...

Not to mention the whole "Warriors and Wusses" thing.

BTW, I think we should be pouring huge efforts into Wind Energy and backing the Picken's Plan as a part of gaining independence from Foreign Oil, and helping the environment and the economy and National Pride and foreign affairs. It's not JUST offshore drilling! But we need that as well. No Perfect answer!!


  1. Wait, is this the same Joel Stein whose article about getting Florida Jews to vote for Obama that I just read in Time? Huh, I tend to like his columns, but also didn't read the article that you're referring to....and probably won't because I'm just EXHAUSTED with talk of foreign oil - sorry 'bout that.

    But, of course we're all entitled to our own opinions and after the bombardment of "serious" stuff in all publications, sometimes I feel like falling over and don't read into things as seriously as I probably should.

    Whatever, made no sense, just thought it was interesting that I just read a piece (I think) by him in Time and then saw that you're bashing him here. Wow, I'm SO deep, it hurts. Whatever, rambling aside, I'm off to scour my brain of all deep thoughts for the rest of the day. :-) It's Sunday, after all!

  2. Kate,

    I love the idea of funny light-hearted stuff to read... I just take some issue to it being presented in/as a News Source. I truly believe (in the most level headed way possible) that it leads to people following peoples opinions because the consider it to be fact.

    I admittedly don't like Joel Steins methods or opinions, this is a horrible one. Influential people pointing out the negatives of every plan that is presented is what leads to no progress, it lead to the invention of pork barrel spending and it is the root of a lot of our issues in this country today. No plan is perfect, waiting for perfection leads to just sitting and waiting.

    Really the article set me off and I already don't like his opinions so i wrote this post. There you go.

  3. Mr. Stein is ever so clever.

    No sale. We all know he's spinning as fast as he can to discourage increasing the world oil supply.

    Same reason Ms. Pelosi turned off the lights on the Republicans.

    The greenies figure time is on their side. The more they strangle the American oil industry, the higher prices will go at the pump and the more the price point for alternative energy will be reached.

    And...the more they handicap the American oil companies ability to drill for oil in the U.S. or off the U.S., the more capital oil companies will have to invest in alternative energies.

    They're playing the money game. Plain and simple.

    It's a cold game they play.

    At the end of each and every day, putting all issues on the table, I'll always stand by what's best for the troops. Mayhaps I should write some more letters.

  4. I see what you mean about having entertainers mixed in with news sources, but I think you're putting too much responsibility on the Joel Stein types and not enough where it belongs. Stein and co are selling their products to paying markets, the publishers. And the end consumer, the readers, are the ones who have to be smart enough to think critically. If the general public can be so easily manipulated by the press, the general public has to take responsibility for its collective ignorance.

    Critical thought is a skill that should be taught at home (thank you, La Jude), at school (thank you, Mrs Meaney, Mr Kanosky, Mrs Schranz and Dr Hartwig) and cultivated by the individual.

    It sure doesn't hurt to have the folly of having entertainment accepted as news pointed out, though.

    Maybe you should write to Hutch News about your concerns. A good old letter to the editor couldn't hurt, could it?

  5. Nora,

    You are absolutely right, except your wrong.

    And a little right.

    First off the Newspaper's are private corps and can publish whatever they want. I agree with that whole-heartedly.

    The issue I have is just that they have a paper that claims freedom of the press protections. To me the responsibility that comes with that claim is printing facts and those 2 things together lead people to just feel comfortable believing what is printed in Newspapers.

    That's the problem with inserting columns inside of News. I love columns a lot!! But there needs to be more separation.

    I don't want laws about this.. I really don't everyone should know this... All I want is people to be aware of what I think is going on and make their own decisions.

    Maybe a newspaper will change something about how they operate.

    Maybe the 3 people that read this blog will just be slightly more aware of an issue.

    Might be I just get Carpal Tunnel from typing this comment.

    Either way... that's my thoughts.

  6. Wow, Cody. I think you succesfully showed us why, "You are right" and Joel Stein and Nora are "wrong". He said with tongue planted firmly in cheek.

    Lighten up "Francis"!(Movie quote from the film Stripes.) So it's not your style of humor, so what. There are two knobs on the radio, multiple buttons on a remote, and their are at least a dozen other pages in the paper that might have an article of more interest.

    It's satire! Did you really believe that he meant we would all be driving electric cars before an ounce of gasoline was produced from offshore drilling? Did I mention it is satire? In satire, human or individual vices, follies, abuses, or shortcomings are held up to censure by means of ridicule, derision, burlesque, irony, or other methods, ideally with the intent to bring about improvement(wiki). To pick parts of the article and hold it up to some sort of test to see if it would hold water or not, does not apply. It's satire! Along the same line of thinking, what do you suppose Will Rogers was driving at when he said,"There ought to be one day -- just one -- where there is open season on senators."? Was Will a madman? Was he out to destroy our 3 branch style of govt? Or was he cracking a joke, with the intent to provoke a thought or two?

    So you did not like the article.... So what! He is going to write others, give him another chance. You mentioned that some things he has written have made you laugh. Just try to remember the good times.

  7. Mr. Underhill,

    For the first time ever.. you really don't get what I am saying. Sorry, I will re-explain.

    I know it is Satire, I know it's comedy. I actually mentioned that several times. I should have reiterated it better so you didn't come at me with that argument.

    Thanks for explaining to me what satire is... I understood it before, but that's a very clear explanation. Again did I mention that I mentioned in the post that I know it's satire.

    I also never said it's not my style of humor, the guy makes me laugh and I loved Stripes, got the reference and Sgt Hulka was one of my favorite characters.

    What's not my style is his presence in a news source. What's not my style is him printing things that are solely his opinion to millions of people that he influences, and only influences because they are reading it in a news source.

    The I am right and you are wrong theory that you tried to flip back on me doesn't apply. It doesn't apply cause I firmly beleive everyone... including me has an opinion. I started my own little bitty thing here to share and discuss and debate my opinion or even to help form an opinion on things I know not of.

    Joel Stein has the right to either have the opinion that Energy Independence is bad or to satirize that.
    I have the right to have an opinion that either way it doesn't belong in a news source.

    I am not saying he is wrong, I am saying I think he saying what he says, where he says it, causes issues. Is that me halting progress by fighting with someone just because we don't have the exact same views? No that's me pointing out an issue that I think is really detrimental to society.

    I am not fighting any type of a fight here, I don't want laws, I don't want to change his opinion, I don't want to infringe on any protected freedoms.

    I just think printing that in a News Source is an irresponsible thing to do. I think that people form opinions and perceptions about issues based on what they learn from reading sources that they consider to be fact.

    And I truly believe that a pretty good number of people don't look at articles like that as satire because of the location of it.

    Will Rogers full quote...
    "Our constitution protects aliens, drunks, and U. S. Senators. There ought to be one day (just one) when there is open season on senators."

    * As quoted in The American Treasury, 1455-1955 (1955) by by Clifton Fadiman, p. 334

    Did you noticed it was printed in a book and not the NY or LA or Patridge Times?

    I disagree with Jon Stewart on a daily basis, every show... But I laugh my ass off at him cause he is doing satire on a channel called Comedy Central, not CNN.

    Mr Underhill, I disagree with a lot of the things you say... but you just keep saying, that is seriously what I want you to do, cause you have chosen a format that is a discussion format and it is your right to put your opinion there.

    Best of luck, thanks for spicing this up a little.

  8. Not to wade too far into this, but I agree and think you need to relax a bit. This joker is a "columnist" in the "opinion" section. He is NOT a news source or journalist. Just because it is in a newspaper and not other media doesn't make it a "news source." He is no different than any other pundit who is on TV, the radio, or newspaper columnist. There are lots of columnist and pundits that I strongly disagree and find outrageous and detrimental to the national dialouge, but they are just voicing their opinions or trying to get coverage, so who cares. Just disagree, point out why they are wrong and move on.

  9. Hey, man, I'm not suggesting Stein and his ilk not be allowed to write in newspapers, I'm just saying the consumer should be educated as to the nature of the product it consumes. Can't blame a guy for hawking his wares or a publishing company for shilling a known variable.

  10. I agree with Nora's last comment... She actually summed it up better than I could.

    I do however stick to my dislike of Op/Eds in News sources. I truly think if we all open our eyes a little (on both sides of the aisle) we would see that our practices of News Sources throwing their bias (on both sides of the aisle) is detrimental to having a truly informed public.

    Again, I am not asking for a law against it. They all are completely within their rights, because they are private corps. I understand satire and am a fan of the right to hide behind satire so you can make things up. I just don't personally feel like it does anything but bad, when tucked in between so-called News articles. (again, on both sides of the aisle, Fox News is the worst, even though I kinda lean that way sometimes.)

    If Rush Limbaugh started running a column in the Hutch News... You would (rightfully so) hear an outcry from SOME of the folks defending Joel Stein.

    You would also hear an outcry from me.

    Some of the folks that are arguing that what Joel Stein does in the LA Times (now the Hutch News as well) are the same folks griping that Fox News leans all the way right.

    I hate that millions of people let Fox News tell them what their opinion should be as well.

    It's just an observation of something that actually perpetuates this bipartisan "I am right and you are wrong" crap.

    In my opinion.

  11. There are lots of things in newspapers that aren't news. Comics, sudoku, classifieds, advertisements. Same as there is a crossword, there is also a page where people can write down their opinions.

    It's not news though. Right? Is your argument that some people mistake it as news?

    I think it is nice to have a section of the paper that isn't news, but is simply people's opinions about interesting topics. I always look forward to turning to the Western Front when I'm home.

    I am against comics though. They need to go.

    (I have a love/hate relationship with the sudoku, but I'll go ahead and vote it out too. Sudoku, you're done!)

  12. I'm all over the place on this one. I LOVE reading the news and staying up on local and worldwide happenings, I also LOVE being entertained in the local newspaper with tongue in cheek articles. I wonder if Printed News media is different for me for some reason, because of my love to read. Sometimes I find myself reading the back of the cereal box.. just to be reading.

    My favorite news channel?
    BBC. Their style is refreshing in that I feel like it's truly just a status report on world news. NO slant, NO agenda, just news.

    Does the method in which I get the news affect whether or not I want the facts... or whether or not I want to be entertained with "satire"?

  13. I love to read the newspaper and some news magazines, and the op-ed pages are usually my favorite, and arguably the most influential (just look at the Wall Street Journal’s Opinion section to see influence!). I think it is important to read op-ed pieces to explain why someone (a smart person, politician, expert, media observer, etc.) thinks, or does not think, the “news” being reported is important and to move the public debate. There are some writer’s and columnists who I almost always read, on both the right and left, and some I avoid like the plague.

    Indeed, my favorite news magazine is “The Economist”, which is a center-right magazine that practices advocacy journalism--meaning that the “news” articles often take a definite editorial stance. I may not always agree, but I enjoy the style and knowing where they are coming from, and why they think something is important. Liekwise, I read tons of blogs which certainly show their biases or opinions.

    I don’t like or watch the news shows that consist of yelling at each other and over-hyped sensationalism (or for that matter frequently read someone like Joel Klein), but I do enjoy the News Hour on PBS, Washington Week in Review and NPR on the radio.

  14. Ok I am conceding the argument here...

    I just don't wanna discuss anymore about this jerk.

    I can't get it out of my head that guys like this with the platforms they have really influence people in an unjust way.

    Ok I am really done now.


I love the discussion in the comments.. so... GO FOR IT!

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