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« Yon | Main | Hammer and Wells »

Feb 09, 2006


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Doug H

Ed, I had the same reaction when I saw the billboard. For me scouting was about camping, learning nature skills, and having fun. I think for some scouting may be about preparing kids for future military service.


He's a "BIG name." They're counting on name recognition, not people knowing what he actually did.

Ed Cone

When the kindest explanation is keyed to the ignorance of the crowd, you've got a problem. But I think this is much more about the hard-core politicization of the Boy Scouts, deliberate and overt.

Fecund Stench

Maybe one of you knee-jerks will tell us why you find Ollie so offensive. Iran-Contra, I presume.

Ed Cone

Yes, his disgrace in that episode alone makes him an unworthy speaker for the Boy Scouts. But he also makes his living as a partisan hack, while the Scouts are supposed to welcome kids from all backgrounds and focus on character development and not politics. It's really not that tough a call.

Fecund Stench

I actually agree. The choice tells us a lot about how The Old North State Council thinks. Protest seems in order.

David Wharton

As a former assistant scoutmaster, I have been, and remain, a staunch supporter of scouting and the BSA.

I don't think Ollie North is a particularly awful person (though I'm not really a fan), but I do think he was a particularly bad choice as the most prominent public face of scouting in Greensboro that I've seen in years.

I agree with you, Ed, that political partisanship should not have any part in scouting. This is disappointing.

Patrick Eakes

I, too, was disappointed at the BS' choice of speaker. How exactly did the local Council make it clear they wanted you to get lost?


I'm surprised that the council would allow a convicted felon within three blocks of the boys. It just goes to show what kind of naked partisanship is at play in Old North State. don't give them a dime until they shape up.

Ed Cone

They made it clear by inviting Ollie North as a speaker.

andy gould

Ed, does your son have an opinion? Maybe part of his education should be to acquire an informed one.


Your disapointment with the local Council's choice of speaker is no reason to be down on the entire movement, its ideals, or what it does for young men.

I am not fan of North, and don't like the selection. But I am a big fan of Boy Scouting, and Girl Scouting, and will not let a billboard change those feelings.

Ed Cone

The billboard is advertising a speaker, Gate. I did not say I've given up on Scouting, but on the local Council, which has been headed this way for a while, judging by its newsletter.

Andy, I'm not speaking for my son, I'm speaking for myself. My opinion on this is informed, not just by North's politics, but by his criminal record and most of all his suitability as a speaker for this kind of organization.

Brian Clarey

Don't forget, the Boy Scouts were started in wartime as an American answer to something they were doing in Germany at the time that eventually became known as the 'Hitler Youth.' No shit. It was originally intended as a kind of paramilitary organization, though it's actually morphed over the years into a kind of character-building thing that seems to do good things for a lot of kids, as long as they're not gay.

Ed Cone

No shit, Brian? Try bullshit. Your history is wrong. The Boy Scouts predate WWI, and were based on a movement started in England by Lord Baden-Powell.

Look here:


I'm was a eagle scout and this is very dissapointing. A man who disgraced the Marine Corps uniform (Yes, Fecund Stench, I find trading arms with radical Islamic fanatics for ANYTHING disgusting and reprehensible).

The scout motto is Do Your Best.

Ollie's motto evidently is Do Your Best, even if I have to break the law, disgrace the Marine Corps uniform, and lie to Congress.

There are plenty of people out there in the political arena, right or left, who would have been much better choices. I hope they will not make the same mistake next year.

Ed Cone

"Do you best" is actually the Cub Scout motto, and the opening promise of the Boy Scout oath. "Be Prepared" is the Boy Scout motto. Point taken, nonetheless.

Joe Killian

I was a Scout and my dad, a career Marine, was a Scout Master.

But after the anti-gay flap a few years ago I gave up on the organization and haven't contributed or participated since.

Oliver North? I don't see how anyone who took the same oath I did and learned the same lessons could welcome the guy to speak to Scouts...except perhaps as a cautionary tale.

And yeah - the history of Scouting stretches back much further than the Hitler Youth. I've actually never even heard that urban myth before.

Ed Cone

I struggled with the organization's stance on gays when I was considering Scouts for Elijah. I ended up putting him in despite it, and it was a good experience for him. This is a sad situation here in Greensboro, it's a shame to see local leadership act so irresponsibly with the trust they have been given.


Clarey is looking pretty ignorant on this. The Boy Scouts were started before World War I in England. Do some bloody fact checking before you end looking very foolish. Hitler actually planned to eliminate the BSA once he won the war with America. Good God, Clarey, could you look any more ill informed on this subject?


[[" ... to judge from the newsletter ... "]]

Those of us with younger kids can't judge from the newsletter, Ed. Could you scan & post a copy you consider typical?


Ed Cone

Have one in particular in mind from a while back, very political and heedless of the problems that might cause, no hard copy sorry will look to see if I saved it.

Mr. Sun

My great-grandfather Jebediah Sun met Hitler at a Jamboree, which they called "Oktoberfest."


Oktoberfest. LOL.

Billy The Blogging Poet

from their website:
"Boy Scouts of America, Old North State Council
P.O. Box 29046 Greensboro, NC 27429
The Royce Reynolds Family Scout Office & National Scout Shop is located at
1405 Westover Terrace, Greensboro, 27408
Office hours are Mon.-Fri. 8:30-5:00
Office phone: 336 378-9166 or 800 367-9166 Fax: 336 378-9169
Scout Shop is open Mon. - Fri. 9 - 6 & Sat. 10 - 4 Scout Shop phone number: 235-0977 or 866-451-5009
Email: Council70@bsamail.org

I've already sent them my e-mail demanding they stop Oliver North from speaking, I hope the rest of you will do the same.


In the spirit of argument, why is it ok for Darryl Hunt's image to be rehabbed and held up as a role model(he was a convicted felon prior to being arrested in the Sykes murder)yet not Mr. North.

I'd like to hear the responses.

E. Cone Levy

I'm proud to be an Eagle, but I don't know how much longer I can stand any of this. One of the things that used to be good about scouting in Greensboro is that they refused to follow some national policy (eg. no gays in scouting.. unlike neighboring lexington county who kicked that poor kid out and they also made great strides toward racial diversity within local chapters.

The Old North State council has some great leadership. hopefully they will collectively make better decisions in the future.

E Cone Levy

just thought i would clarify:

of course this is not an issue of national policy and scouting in greensboro is still great.

Again: better decision making in future by old north state council is key to preserving integrity in scouting that sometimes i believe only exists locally.

Tom Hodgin

BOOOOO Ollie, lets replace him with a gay communist..and let Ed introduce him...not that there's anything wrong with that..

Ed Cone

JSykes, I'm unaware of North making any effort at all to rehab himself for his crimes. Also, as noted, a big part of the problem is that he makes a very public living as a hardcore partisan commentator -- that's an issue when you have a group of kids and parents who come from a wide spectrum of backgrounds and beliefs.

Tom Hodgin

Carefull Mr.Sun, Oktoberfest, wouldn't want any of the Harley Boys taken you wrong here, would we...?
Want'a go for a ride??


Darryl Hunt was found to be wrongfully convicted.


Sorry, bloggus interuptus. Let me complete my thought.

Darryl Hunt's lengthy prison stay for a conviction that was ultimately overturned should have made up for his previous crimes. He has paid his debt to society and reformed himself, even if for the wrong reason.

And North?

Brian Clarey

Did a little 'fact-checking' and came up with a few things.
I said :"the Boy Scouts were started in wartime as an American answer to something they were doing in Germany at the time that eventually became known as the 'Hitler Youth.'"

I got the wartime thing wrong, I guess -- boyscouts.com says this: "The Boy Scout movement was founded by British Lord Robert Baden-Powell.
Scouting's first manual was both written and illustrated by Baden-Powell in 1908." No exact dateson the site.

Now, the German Youth Movement was in full swing by 1896, and a natural expression of the movement was the formation of the Wandervogel youth groups, focusing on getting back to nature, camping, hiking... that sort of thing.
Not unlike our Boy Scouts.
They were officially chartered in 1900, by the way.
The Wandervogel survived through the 1930s until it was eventually co-opted (some say "hijacked") by the Hitler Youth operation.

I'm not here to talk smack about the Boy Scouts. Scouting was an important part of the lives of many of my friends — one in particular made it to Eagle and he recently told me the profound effect the institution had on his life. Scouts are a good thing — I get that. But where exactly am I wrong here?

Ed Cone

Where were you wrong, Brian?

Let us count the ways.

Start with trying to duck your obvious error with this second comment instead of sucking it up and saying, "Oops, I made an embarassing mistake that I could have avoided by spending 15 seconds on Google."

Now to the mistakes in your comment: You say the BSA was founded in wartime. Wrong.

You say it was founded as a repsonse to an organization that became the Hitler Youth. The fact that the Nazis hijacked a German youth organization decades after it was formed doesn't support the organic relationship you imply between the original group and the Hitler Youth.

The above errors render you statement that American scouting was a "answer" to the proto-Hitlerlite German movement complete nonsense.

Founded as a paramilitary organization that changed over the years to character-building? Military-like structure (troops, patrols, hierarchies), sure. But a stretch to call it paramilitary, and the character-building was explicit from the start, as the link I provided clearly shows.

In short, you got your facts wrong, and then you compounded your errors with Clintonesque style.

Matt Hill Comer

Great!!!! A bigoted organization bringing in a bigoted speaker.

I used to be a Boy Scout, too, until I was kicked out of my troop in Winston-Salem for being gay.

I was 14 years old and I was rejected by the very people I had come to love and consider a part of my family.

The Boy Scouts have some real issues with prejudice and bigotry and the Old North State Council won't be making that any better by bringing in Col. No-gays... ooops I mean Col. North.


Brian Clarey & the Hitler Youth. Both Tools?

We don't really like North, but we love the Boy Scouts. A great organization.

Chip Atkinson

Matt- you are slandering a great organization that should never allow gay men to lead- and not because they are bigots.

Ed, you are in a huge minority over North. He'' raise a lot of S$$!

Fecund Stench

Chip, I'd rather have my kid (if I had any) led by Matt than you. North is a criminal and cannot be defended.

Danny Wright

So Chip, tell us how gay men are bigots.


We take back the tool thing for Clarey. Eakes says we are overreacting, maybe. But you just don't go around comparing people to Nazi's. It is not nice.

Matt Hill Comer

Chip... I'm not talking about leadership... I'm talking about MEMBERSHIP... as in youth... as in the Boy Scouts of America discirminating against children.

Just like what happened to me when I was FOURTEEN and a YOUTH MEMBER, not LEADER.

chip atkinson

sorry i was not clear- Boy Scouts are not bigots because they don't allow Gay leaders.

North was caught up in a political mess- he's not a crook. he's an extremely charasmatic and articulate spokesperson.

Matt Hill Comer

But the leadership of the BSA is bigoted because they hurt and harm gay youth by rejecting them.

Ed Cone

North's convictions of serious crimes that undermined Constitutional law are a little harder to shrug off than you suggest, Chip. And his charismatic speech is overtly partisan and often hostile to large swaths of the population -- which is what makes him an unsuitable speaker for an organization like the Boy Scouts.


"North's convictions of serious crimes that undermined Constitutional law are a little harder to shrug off than you suggest, Chip. And his charismatic speech is overtly partisan and often hostile to large swaths of the population -- which is what makes him an unsuitable speaker for an organization like the Boy Scouts."

Well Ed, it's YOUR blog......you can certainly post (and believe) whatever you like. However, the political battles of the eighties are well behind us, don't you think?

Patrick Eakes

Bubba, being convicted of accepting an illegal gratuity, aiding and abetting in the obstruction of a congressional inquiry, and destruction of documents is hardly political a battle.

Reagan firing North to try and save face - that's political.


North's felony covictions were overturned by a three judge panel in 1989. Charges were completely dismissed in September 1991.

Patrick Eakes

As I recall, the appelate judges found witnesses that appeared at North's trial were prejudiced by North's bs testimony before Congress. So, he got lucky and had the convictions overturned.

Since he admitted he lied to Congress, he is guilty of that crime whether the conviction stood or not.


LOL! Great rationalization, Patrick!

By your logic, that makes Bill Clinton was guilty of perjury, right?

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