Hi there folks. I've not had much to say for a long while, since (debatably) losing the death penalty debate. I've read many of your postings, and have admired much of what many of you have to say, and none of what some of you have to say.
Recently, I was very impressed when Mr. ODN, Apok, when he reversed himself on his opinion of the Bush administration. Although not explicitly acknowledging the impact fellow debators have had on this change in perspective, it surely had to have been a moment, a metamorphosis, that was catalyzed by regular participation within his creation, something of an apogee for Apok's ODN.
His very honest volte-face is a sadly race occurrence. I wonder whether others would willingly contribute moments when they've been wrong, and describe the manner in which they were made to realise it?
For me, the wool was once pulled from my eyes when I researched poverty statistics in the U.S., and came across this by the Heritage Foundation.
Although there are areas of the country where life has been well documented as undeniably difficult (pre- and post-Katrina Mississippi river valley/delta, East Kentucky/West Virginian Appalachia, inner-city ghettos) and there are certainly places where it has yet to be widely reported, 'poverty' statistics are compiled according to an anachronistic idea of household expenditures where food compromises a theoretical 33% of expenditures, leading somehow to a 2002 estimation of 35 million 'poor' Americans... according to the Heritage people:
Forty-six percent of all poor households actually own their own homes. The average home owned by persons classified as poor by the Census Bureau is a three-bedroom house with one-and-a-half baths, a garage, and a porch or patio.
Seventy-six percent of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, 30 years ago, only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.
Only 6 percent of poor households are overcrowded. More than two-thirds have more than two rooms per person.
The average poor American has more living space than the average individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens, and other cities throughout Europe. (These comparisons are to the average citizens in foreign countries, not to those classified as poor.)
Nearly three-quarters of poor households own a car; 30 percent own two or more cars.
Ninety-seven percent of poor households have a color television; over half own two or more color televisions.
Seventy-eight percent have a VCR or DVD player; 62 percent have cable or satellite TV reception.
Seventy-three percent own microwave ovens, more than half have a stereo, and a third have an automatic dishwasher.
This is certainly not to say that I believe there are no poor Americans, or that their number is insignificantly small, but, convinced that the Heritage numbers are 'on the money', it is unconscionable to believe America as having 35 million 'poor' people, a 'fact' I once used in argument, and since have forsaken.
Nobody pointed me to this research, so the only credit for my change of opinion can go to the simple statistics provided by the Heritage Foundation, and I honestly can't think of every having been persuaded here at ODN that I was wrong. (Please, this is not an opportunity for any of you to try)
So I ask you if you've got any stories of revelation that you'd like to share... please do.