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« Dinner jacket optional | Main | Stimulating »

Aug 30, 2010


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Absolute VS. Relative

William Stoughton

I do think arresting library employees for the actions of patrons is something we can all agree on though. Pretty mainstream stuff, really.


Joe's charge of others being "relativists" is B.S.

He says, the moral imperative is to protect children. The absolute method of doing so is to disconnect the computers from the internet. Anything less is imperfect and therefore, "relativistic."

Although Joe wants to cast himself as occupying some superior moral high ground, his desire to deploy filters that will still let some "porn" be displayed betrays him as just another relativist. We all are on this, the only difference is how we seek to balance competing interests.


"Although Joe wants to cast himself as occupying some superior moral high ground, his desire to deploy filters that will still let some "porn" be displayed betrays him as just another relativist. We all are on this, the only difference is how we seek to balance competing interests."

Let me explain something to you.

You have no moral or ethical basis to call ANYONE, particularly Joe Guarino, a liar.

I will remind you of this every time you make your little statement.


Oh, one other thing. This applies not only to you, but to your fellow Dwarfs, and Snow White himself when discussing this subject.


"They have constructed an idol in their minds"

Yeah but, goddammit, it's an American idol.

sean coon

bubba's so darn cute when he exposes his man crush for joe. too bad NC won't recognize gay marriage. i could picture them adopting a healthy blonde, blue eyed, arian baby boy and raise him to be a fine leader of the community.

of course, that would all come after sending him to art school to paint bad watercolors.


Well, speaking as someone who does in fact reject all theories of morality and religious belief, I can only say how pleased I am to learn that I am in such good company around this town. Party at my place this weekend.


Ed has minions?

Teenagers in Greensboro look at porn? Imagine that.

Why aren't people who are so freaked out about the "moral imperative" to protect children from porn going after Time-Warner, et al, to install filters at their level, thereby protecting the kids no matter where they are? Then, they can chase down all the movie and magazine publishers and have a big bonfire.

It's difficult to avoid reaching two conclusions:

1. Some people don't care if filtering keeps library patrons from accessing information they have a right to access.

2. Some people are extremists whose interest is to use this issue to bash and slander their political opponents.

I propose that people who lose sleep worrying about all this install TV cameras pointing at each library monitor. A group of highly moral people proven immune to the evil impact of porn can watch the screens and when someone loads a dirty picture they can rush into the room and throw one bag over the monitor and another bag over the libary patron.

Look, there are an awful lot of porn sites out there. Few do anything to hide that fact. Just run a filter that uses a list of those sites. Don't rely on any software hocus-pocus, 'cause that's where you into false positive problems and start blocking the wrong sites. Make sure the URL list is updated frequently (weekly). Pay attention to what's on the list, to prevent businesses and politicians from paying to have sites they dislike included. Be grownups and accept the fact that no filter is perfect.


Everybody knows that Joe Guarino is the only person to offer any reason to implement filters and he speaks for everyone on this issue. Nevermind that he didn't say what Ed claims. Perhaps I should offer more Requests For Admissions to prove this that Ed can refuse to answer.

Of course under the same logic employed by Cone, anyone who thinks there is an issue in the first place is merely grandstanding, because we also know that Ed Cone speaks for everyone as well.

But Joe Guarino is definitely wrong about one thing, the correct terminology is "Dwarf", not "Minion".

Brandon Burgess

Spag, does it bother you that Joe reported that the council voted to permit porn in the library?


OK, I'm done. This was a fairly interesting discussion because I got to be geeky and helpful at the same time. Someone even sent a "thank you for explaining it" email. I am fulfilled.

But the "search for Joe K and porn" thing is again over the top. WAY over the top. WAY outside how to do a Google search (see Joe Guarino and porn equally atrocious Google search). He's like a kid out of control after too many sugar sodas and candy. He needs a nap.

This is how the fringe works, kiddos. They take something fairly reasonable (who can argue with porn in the library?) and turn it on its head, over/back/sidewards and demand they're right. This is the worst of fringe-run-amok I've seen online in this burg for a while.

Joe Guarino owes apologies to Sandy Neerman, the library staff, Joe Killian, Amanda Lehmert and the rest of us as we need to be aware of being sucked into insanity. It's a riptide vortex and I'm not going there anymore.

ConvergeSouth is in about 30 days. I have useful stuff to do that might just benefit some folks in this community.

Ed Cone

I prefer "henchmen."

Dave Ribar


Your insensitivity is showing -- it should be "henchpeople," "henchpersons," or "people of hench."

Oh fudge

And we all dress like Black Bart and his crew just before Ralphie shot them all with his Red Rider.


I think the modern gender-inclusive term is "henchperson".


Damn you, Ribar, and your speedy typing! If I had henchpeople of my own, I'd sic them on you for sure!!!


Where is Anthony Comstock when you need him?


Assignment for the day:

Reconcile this:

"True intellectuals search for truth instead of engaging in partisan and ideological hypocrisies and acts of phony outrage."

with this:

"...the correct terminology is 'Dwarf'; not 'Minion'."

or this

"The opening act of the Just Seems Reasonable Tour is Fonzie. The crowd of Dwarfs always goes wild and demands an encore."

or this

"...we are dealing with bureaucrats and the type of people who empower them along with a few basket cases."

or this

"...Too dense to understand the point..."

I must have missed class when the Defame People Who Don't Agree With You school of True Intellectual Search for Truth was discussed.


Ah, the competition for the title of Lemmiwinks Dwarf goes on...

Dr. Mary Johnson

Let me guess, Sue. This year, you're inviting John Edwards, North Carolina's real porn king.


"I must have missed class when the Defame People Who Don't Agree With You school of True Intellectual Search for Truth was discussed."

Well, that's funny, corbs. I must have missed your comment condemning Roch for calling Joe Guarino a liar.

sean coon

yeah, corbs. mrs. bubba only obfuscated the truth by using terminology that the layperson wouldn't understand... he didn't lie!

Jim Langer

All this talk about trash and trash-talking has the residual effect of turning our brains to mush.


The issue was not using terminology the lay person would not understand, it was using terminology that misrepresented what the data showed, after he had been advised of his incorrect misapplication.

It is like him saying he caught a fish that weighed 240 pounds when it was 240 ounces, being told of his error, then repeating it. The cherry on top was his wag of the finger at people who objected to the error for trying to "diminish" the measurement.


...or like claiming that Danny Thompson held up a stack of papers and said that the vast majority were incident reports of people viewing porn, when in fact Thompson never said that at all. Then when asked some questions to clarify what was actually said, refusing to answer them and allowing the mischaracterization to continue.

Or mischaracterizing what Joe Guarino said in this very post by implying that Guarino accused everyone who questioned filters as rejecting morality and religion when that isn't what Guarino said. (But this is just me picking on Ed again, making it about him because, you know, I'm obsessed. Where is that self appointed impartial ombudsman of truth at on this?).

One thing is clear: Ed Cone is obsessed with Joe Guarino. Just look how often he makes Joe the issue. Must be some kind of love affair there. It's a wonder that Ed can get anything done during the day.

Maybe the anti-Dwarfs need to band together to answer for Joe instead of letting Joe answer for himself and along the way attack Ed and anyone else for examining the basis for Joe's opinions.


They’re back!
“Return of the Macho Men.”
Starring Spag as his alter ego Nathan Thurm. His performance of, “I’m not being defensive, You're the one who's being defensive,” dialogue is loaded with sexual tension.
CP resurfaces as the recently cured Dr. Van Nostrand after his release from the Guarino Clucking With Disapproval Clinic in Vienna.
The ever lovable Bubba, still trying to find his purple juice box, reprises his shocking and scandalous portrayal of Barney amped up on granola and fiber. Warning! Not suitable for libraries.

David Hoggard

Rosenberg? Is that you?


>>yeah, corbs. mrs. bubba only obfuscated the truth by using terminology that the layperson wouldn't understand... he didn't lie!

Gracias, Sean.

Bubba accused me of being a liar and then lacked the evidence and the guts to back it up. So, I'm treating him like I treat all such ignoble people: I'm ignoring him. Bubba's the Uninvited Troll here, so I encourage others to join my boycott.

Now, Spag isn't a troll. Just a hypocrite. Maybe the RNC or Dicky Armey send him a check every week.


"Then when asked some questions to clarify what was actually said, refusing to answer them and allowing the mischaracterization to continue." -- Spag

True. It's been over three weeks and Thompson still has not answered any of the four emails I sent him asking him to clarify.


"Bubba accused me of being a liar and then lacked the evidence and the guts to back it up."

As we know from previous experience, corbs syffers from revisionist history syndrome.

"I'm ignoring him."


How many times does that make?

Billy The Blogging Poet

I'm bored... I think I'll go ride my motorcycle. Or go to bed.

Brandon Burgess

Bubba, Joe Guarino reported that the city council "...voted to permit porn surfing in the library", but this never happened. No such vote ever took place and no one is trying to change the rules that ban porn surfing at the library.

Are you going to carry the water for your little buddy or are you man enough to call him out on his lie?

My money says bubba dodges the question and calls me names and pretends that his comrade's lie is irrelevant to the issue. He might even try to say that Joe didn't lie.

We already know where Spag stands. He only calls out those who don't agree with him.

Jim Langer

In politics, recharacterizing the message of your opponent in unflattering terms isn't lying. It's spinning.


how much influence does this gaurino have over danny thompson? is danny thompson such an extremist in his views?


Brandon, who did I agree with that I should have called out and what was I supposed to call them out for?


Jim, you are correct. However, when your opponent has a direct quote that can be objectively determined and you claim that he said something that a review of the quote would show he did not, that is lying or at the very least, getting it wrong.

For example, if I had a stack of 100 papers and I said "a number of them" involved viewing porn, but my opponent claims that I said the "great majority of them" involved viewing porn, then he is either wrong or lying because an objective review of my statement shows that I never said what he claims.

In contrast, if one were to say "by not voting for internet porn filters, the City Council is voting to permit porn at the library", that is a spin. It's not something that can be proven or disproven. It is a subjective argument, not a statement of fact.

I can tell that you are smart enough to see the difference. The same can't be said for others.

Jim Langer

I suppose what Mr. Thompson was doing was also "spinning".

Brandon Burgess

Spag, are you providing a direct quote from Joe?

"Perkins, Matheny, Vaughan, Rakestraw Vote to Permit Porn Surfing at Greensboro Public Library"

--Joe Guarino; August 17, 2010.

No such vote ever happened. Porn surfing is still banned. No vote regarding changing the rules ever occurred. Joe's statement is a lie. You can also call it spin but it is still a lie. You aren't doing your friend (or your integrity and reputation) any favors by arguing otherwise.

Jim Langer

Joe's statement could be considered in political terms "spin". The headlines in newspapers often do the same sorts of things, to grab attention. Our society now condones this sort of thing as part of the razzmatazz of the "marketplace of ideas". The effect does lend itself to inviting like-minded pro-filter-blocking-sites to earnestly believe the mentioned persons may even want to encourage as well as permit such surfing. A "permissive" attitude toward low-life behavior, etc. Maybe they are permissive parents, too, I don't know. Are they "a-moral"? "Obdurate" (impenitent, refusing to atone for sins)? The slippery slope of language combined with context (where Jesus is invoked, for example, on the topic of motes), could reasonably imply to a reader that this is, in fact, a religious crusade. To some people, free access to information and images others may deem "inappropriate" but still this side of outright illicit and far from obscene, is ranked among the best opportunities afforded in a free society, and worth the admitted risk of images that fall short being loaded (as slowly as possible and under the careful supervision of trained staff) but not viewed with impunity, and strongly punished by the library in question.

Perhaps a by-law (I know, "another liberal wants another law") mandating some form of shameful outing (maybe publication/posting of violators' names) would be constructive.

Ed Cone

NP, Thompson seemed more focused on economic development than on pursuing this issue when I spoke to him last week.


Brandon, that is exactly what Joe said. Your issue however is with his argument to support his statement. That is a different thing than rearranging his words to make it appear as if he said something or made an argument that he didn't. If Joe had misquoted City Council then the two might be comparable. Joe's argument is subjective, what Danny Thompson actually said isn't- we have a record of it.

@Ed: "Thompson seemed more focused on economic development than on pursuing this issue when I spoke to him last week."

Obviously Thompson is no longer "grandstanding" and it appears he is more willing to move on than you. Is there a local topic you have posted on more this year than this one after initially dismissing it as Thompson grandstanding and saying it "may be much ado about nothing"?

@Jim: Joe's views on the subject are his own. The majority of the "pro-filter" side has not couched this in religious terms of any sort.

I thing the wall of shame is a good idea, but liberals would object to that, too. Throw the question out there formally here and see what others think.

Brandon Burgess

No Spag, my issue is that what he said is a lie. He said that an event that never occurred actually did happen. There is nothing subjective about that, unless you are suggesting that Joe is delusional and really thinks that the council voted to "permit porn suring in the library".

Joe obviously has very few friends that comment on his blog because a friend will not excuse another's ethical behavior. One of his "friends" wrote that it was wrong for me to point out his lie. Another said that Joe's lie doesn't matter because I've probably lied in my lifetime.


Brandon, you are correct in that there was literally no vote Yes or No to permit porn. I don't think Joe was making a literal case. I actually don't agree with his argument on the meaning of that vote, but I understand it. Langer is exactly right in that what Joe did was "spin". That isn't the same as lying.


BTW, do you have an issue with what Ed said being a lie? I don't recall you being too upset that over the past three weeks, Cone still refuses to answer five simple ADMIT/DENY questions about something he wrote because the answers would show that he wasn't telling it to us straight.

Brandon Burgess

Another one of Joe's "friends" defends his lie; this time by saying Joe didn't mean it literally and then changing the subject to Cone.

Spag, I refuse to engage you further. I thought you cared about exposing unethical behavior in discourse but it's obvious you are here to carry the water for other conservatives.

For the record, I wasn't upset with Ed's characterization of Danny's poorly planned act.

Ed Cone

I cited Thompson's rambling diction accurately, and asked if people would be surprised after hearing him, and seeing him brandish a thick stack of reports rather than the thin stack of relevant ones, to learn that reported incidents were limited in number.

I drew on what really happened to draw a conclusion. There is no magic a-ha moment suggested by your questions that shows that my opinion and inference are factually incorrect.

My conclusion stands: Thompson's words and deeds implied a larger problem than the one documented. He was underprepared and overdramatic. Many people seem to agree with this analysis, including the Council, to judge by its subsequent actions. Talking to Danny himself, it's clear that he would do that presentation differently if he could.

The guy messed up, and people responded, and some equilibrium was restored to the debate. If he doesn't make a habit of it, no need to keep dragging him through the mud for it. Move on to the substance of the issue, as most of us did long ago.


Brandon, I don't think Jim Langer is really aligned with anyone, but is more Left leaning for sure. He essentially says the same thing that I did regarding Joe's statement. If you cannot grasp the difference between an argument and an assertion then you are correct to ignore me henceforth because most of what I write will go over your head.

Joe made an argument that the City Council vote was a vote for porn. You don't have to agree with that argument. It is subjective.

Ed made an assertion that Danny Thompson claimed that the "great majority" of the papers in his hands were of porn. We can prove or disprove whether Danny said that at all simply by reading his actual words. That is not subjective. Ed knows that answering my questions will prove that his assertion was wrong, which is why he won't answer them.

Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to Wannabe Dwarf...


It is subjective

Another freaking relativist.


...And again Ed would rather write a few hundred more words explaining why he doesn't need to answer the five simple ADMIT?DENY questions instead of just answering them.

I really do think you need some professional help if your ego is that enormous that you cannot admit you were wrong about something that isn't really all that significant in the large scheme of things except for its value in pointing out a weakness and/or bias in your argument.

The simplest thing to do for you would be to answer the questions if they aren't a big deal to you. I mean, they must be some kind of a big deal to you because you've written close to ten multi-paragraph comments explaining why you don't have to answer them. Hardly worth the time if they don't matter.

To paraphrase your own words, if you don't make a habit of being unable to admit you were wrong, there will be no need to drag you through the mud for it.

Ed Cone

Here's what I wrote:

If you saw Danny Thompson brandishing this thick stack of papers at the recent City Council meeting, and heard him say the papers represent incident reports from the first six months of 2010, and then refer to "more than a hundred incidences...some of them too lewd and too despicable" to discuss in public, and then say "many of them, a great majority of them..." before concluding that "a number of them involve people viewing pornographic websites," well, would you be surprised after all that to learn that the library director says there were just 18 incident reports of improper computer use at the Central library in the first six months of the year?

His words are accurately quoted, and his rambling, hesitant style was reflected clearly. That's why I think what I think, and why I asked readers if they thought so, too. I also provided a link to the full text, which I've also quoted at length, and which I believe fully supports my conclusion.

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