January 2, 2009

The Look of "Balance" in the New Year

Justin Katz

It isn't my intention, with this post, to gripe about not being included on a list in which we'd be in awkward company, but I do think it worthwhile to point out that Crowley's "Rhode Island Blog Round Up" probably gives a better sense of the truth than declarations by a man who considers them cheap indeed:

... if the blog is going to continue to be a success, people who still need to be convinced will have to be welcomed into the conversation.

... While the Projo has layers of editorial review, local TV has too little time for in depth discussions, and talk radio is more bluster than brains, RIFUTURE is a place for people of all political stripes to take their message directly to the people.

In true lefty fashion, Crowley can be expected simply to move the boundaries of which political stripes are fit for civilized discussion.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

I clicked through the link to RIF just for fun. He has blogs listed there which I've never even heard of! I'll assume that "Rhode Island Blog Round Up" on a neo-Crowleyized RIF blog has an inferred "liberal" or "progressive" stuck in there somewhere.

Are you expecting intellectual consistency on his part? Just wondering.

Posted by: Will at January 2, 2009 6:38 PM

Not surprisingly I have been banned under multiple names by both "journalist" Ian Donnis and by RI Future, specifically Jerzyk's [snip] webmaster Alex Moore.
I know I'm not the only one banned by [him].

Posted by: Mike at January 2, 2009 6:59 PM


The stakes are becoming too high in this state, and the tenor of conversation too important, for me to allow you to continue personal attacks of that nature.


Posted by: Justin Katz at January 2, 2009 7:16 PM

Curiosity piqued, I followed the link to RI Future, and then went to the home page and scrolled down.

There is a post by Mr. Crowley concerning the U.S. being ranked 22nd in promiscuity, in response to which he puffs:

“How can we American’s stand for this mediocrity? Are we really going to let the rest of the world surpass us, leave us, um, behind? Personally, I blame…….. well, everyone else.”

Funny how he and his minions at the teachers unions never express such indignation over the OECD’s rankings of U.S. schools’ performance at only in the mid-twenties (of the thirty most advanced industrialized countries)!

At least he is consistent.

Whenever we try to hold the NEARI and the RI “educrats” accountable for the poor performance of Rhode Island’s public schools (which are ranked below-average even in the U.S., which as we’ve seen above is itself ranked below-average performance by the OECD), the reflexive response (to again quote Mr. Crowley) is to “…blame…….. well, everyone else” … parents, poverty, taxpayers, etc. etc. etc.


So there we have it. Crowley et als. are very concerned about the U.S.'s promiscuity, but not at all about its literacy.

Posted by: Tom W at January 2, 2009 7:24 PM

Your obsession with Crowley is only giving him what he wants.
Think about that before continuing the jihad.

Posted by: rhody at January 3, 2009 1:04 AM


Why shouldn't we give it to him? We get something out of it, too. I dare say, he makes for a most excellent demagogue.

Remember, there's nothing wrong with fighting a holy war, as long as you're sure you're on the right side ... and of course, we are on the "right" side!


Posted by: Will at January 3, 2009 1:36 AM

I disagree, Rhody.

The "obsession" thing is Crowley's construction. Its existence is a notion that he actively promotes. The reason is to dissuade his ideological opponents from addressing his arguments, thus letting them stand.

For example, he'll walk around saying that RI Future is going to be a new "balanced" site with the best interests of all Rhode Islanders in mind, and if his opposition is cowed from responding so as not to seem "obsessed," then we wouldn't point out evidence that the "balance" assertion is a bunch of hooey.

Posted by: Justin Katz at January 3, 2009 7:53 AM

Justin, you have to admit that your posts about me tend to be hyperbolic at best. You will remember that I tried to reach out to you at the beginning of the Tiverton teachers negotiations and was slapped away. And what I was reaching out to you with was over the HSA health insurance approach - something new, out of the box, market driven, and, dare I say, conservative. If you want to be included in the blog round up, asking would be nice, this isn't the way to be included.

By the way, if you had only waited 'till Sunday you would have seen your video interview featured prominently.

Oh, and Rhody is dead on. And too bad Tom W doesn't recognize sarcasm.

Posted by: Pat Crowley at January 3, 2009 8:03 AM

This conversation could get real silly real fast.

1. Your "reaching out" entailed the presentation of a negotiating item to which I responded with skepticism but intellectual honesty. The conversation ended there. That's fine — it's how such things go — but spare me the stratagem of making yourself a victim over it.

2. As I was saying, I don't care whether we're included in your blog round up. It just seems to me that even somebody with a cursory knowledge of the RI blogosphere who was putting together an "RI Blog Round Up" would think to include Anchor Rising. Not doing so, when clearly you know of our existence, is an indication of your thought processes.

3. You neglect to mention that my "video interview" also involved RI Future founder Matt Jerzyk. Hardly a sop to me. I'm amenable to changing my opinion of your intentions, Pat, but evidence has to be prior.

Posted by: Justin Katz at January 3, 2009 9:11 AM

Justin, the anger you exude towards me, and everything union, really does not lend any credibility to your points. You seem so much smarter than some of the people who post on your site, but then just go off. If you read my post about Sunday TV news, that was posted yesterday, you will see that I mentioned you. Sorry, I highlighted Matt's name, he is a contributor to the site. If you only took the time to stop with the blatant attacks and get back to some serious analysis like you used to have on this site maybe you could be included in the round up. 'till then, Rhody is still correct.

Posted by: Pat Crowley at January 3, 2009 9:59 AM

It's really too bad that your hatred of me and anything union has stopped allowing this cite from providing real analysis like it used to. Your characterization of what I sent to you is just plain wrong. Again, too bad, because that was a real chance to make some changes. But it also undercuts your arguments that you make in your posts about the EP teachers. Believe me, I understand if you don't want to engage in conversation because it means you cant make the accusations that you made in your most latest posts, but at least be fair to your readers.

For example, If you had read the blog you would had noticed that I included your name in the TV line up post. Sorry, I only highlighted Matt's name because he is a contributor.

If Anchor Rising gets back to analysis from a point of view and stopped being a sounding board for right wing talking points then maybe there can be dialogue.

Posted by: Pat Crowley at January 3, 2009 10:06 AM

The last two comments from Pat are amusing. The first seems like the Pat we've known, compared to the second which is more the new Matt-like Pat. Sadly, neither of them really say much.

Posted by: mikeinRI at January 3, 2009 10:55 AM

>And too bad Tom W doesn't recognize sarcasm.

I took it more as "tongue in cheek" than sarcasm ... sarcasm is what I responded with. ; -)

Posted by: Tom W at January 3, 2009 11:03 AM

As I said: silly.

Pat, you fill these spats with non sequiturs and untruths. People for whose judgment I have some respect have told me that you're intelligent, so I must conclude that your performance is deliberate, which reinforces broad perceptions that you're a propagandist. While I have no great respect for that occupation, it isn't enough, of itself, to generate personal emotions; I simply don't know you well enough to "hate" you. In fact, tidbits that I've picked up here and there lead me to believe that we'd get along just fine in a social setting.

Truth to tell, I'm sincerely concerned about the likely trajectory of RI Future in the new year, both for its sake and for yours. In the meantime, I'm going to let this specific discussion peter off.

P.S. — Interested readers, by the way, can find the HSA discussion to which Pat's referring here, with a relevant follow-up here.

Posted by: Justin Katz at January 3, 2009 1:43 PM

Does any of this sound familiar?

Apples and oranges — mixing of incomparable quantities. For example, "our government has increased social spending by 5 billion dollars, while the previous government increased it only by 0.4 percent." The latter sounds like less, but one cannot be sure without an absolute value.

Half-truth — making statements that are true only in a strict and relatively meaningless sense. For example, "the opposition have accused us of cutting foreign aid, but actually our government spends more than 500 million dollars in foreign aid," not mentioning that (adjusted for inflation) the allocated funds have in fact gone down.

False authority — relying on the general authority of a person who is not proficient in the discussed topic. For example, "the professor read my book, and liked it very much," omitting the fact that it was a professor of chemistry who read a book on history.

False dilemma — assuming that there are only two possible opinions on a given topic. For example, "You're either with us or against us...," ignoring the possibility of a neutral position or divergence.

Demonization — identifying others as a mortal threat. Often this involves scapegoating — blaming others for one's own problems. This is often advanced by using vague terms to identify the opposition group and then stereotyping that group. This allows the demagogue to exaggerate this group's influence and ascribe any trait to them by identifying that trait in any individual in the group. This method can be aided by constructing a false dilemma that portrays opposition groups as having a value system that is the polar opposite of one's own, as opposed to simply having different priorities. This method was incorporated by the Nazi regime to gain the general support of the public when it began to initiate its anti-Semitic policies.

Straw man — mischaracterizing the opposing position and then arguing against the mischaracterization.

Loaded question — posing a question with an implied position that the opponent does not have, e.g. "When did you stop taking bribes?"

Unrelated facts — bringing unrelated facts that sound in favor of the speaker's agenda. For example, marking a vegetable or cereal product as "cholesterol free". Since cholesterol is only found in animal products, such labeling does not actually distinguish this product from similar competitors.

Emotional appeal or personal attack — attempting to bring a discussion to an emotional level. For example, "Everyone is against me!", "Can't I be right just once?", "You're stupid!", or just the classic retort "Shut up!"

In case you didn't recognize this, they are the methods of demagoguery. Kudos, Pat!

Posted by: Will at January 3, 2009 5:36 PM

I have posted quite a bit on RIF and as one could imagine it's a place where I don'texpect to preach to the choir.Most of the participants there have been pretty courteous,but they have this rating system from 0 to 4,0 being a troll notice.I have recieved 0's for what I believe are disagreements with my position rather than my being a troll,since I sign each comment with my real name,even though I have a screen name there also.It seems some of their own people don't understand their rating system.
To be fair to Jerzyk and Moore they haven't ever done that with my comments.
I hardly ever leave a negative rating because I think most comments speak for themselves.

Posted by: joe bernstein at January 4, 2009 8:23 AM
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