A few particular posts seem to generate alot of comments, and many of these comments are critical, which is all to the good, really. I welcome criticism, as it invaluable to learning. And, lets face it, like everyone else, I have opinions on many subjects on which I am no expert. Where I am mistaken or incorrect, I'd very much like to know. Moreover, the thoughts that I am carrying about in my skull don't always make it completely onto the screen, and as I can "fill in the blanks" based on what I am thinking, I may not be aware that the links between the different points I am attempting to make are not always clear to the reader. Again, it's useful to have this pointed out.
For example, say I make comments about the oil business. What do I know about the oil business? Not much. I can make arguments based on information that I do have, but I know very well that I may be missing important information, and if someone who knows more can provide information that I am missing (and may not be aware that I am missing), then, hey, good deal.
Likewise, as you have probably noticed, I am more than willing to make comments on contemporary politics and various social issues. Again, I am no expert, I can draw conclusions based on what I know, but there is likely to be relevant information that I am unfamiliar with and not aware that I am unfamiliar with - if you notice this and can fill me in, I'd greatly appreciate it.
And if my thinking seems muddled, well, it could mean one of two things: 1) my thinking is in fact muddled - if you can indicate how it is muddled, then that is great, and I would certainly benefit from it, or 2) my writing (rather than my thinking) is muddled because I have failed to include or fully explain my bridging arguments, thus making my conclusions seem disconnected from my line of thought - again, if you see this, let me know.
So, if you have a point to make - make it, and make it clearly. If you think I am out of line, mistaken, or am making a bad argument, let me know. If the reasoning behind a conclusion seems odd, out of place, or just plain bizarre, point it out and see if the point can be explained more clearly. But do it in a way that might actually be useful and gets at what is wrong, and doesn't come off as an attack (and, really, part of the problem with text communication is that we loose so much context that even gentle ribbing or friendly sarcasm can come off as hostile when it is not intended as such).
One last point - I am well aware that I can and do write things that are inflammatory from time-to-time. Often, though not always, it is because I am frustrated or pissed off. Some folks will take the tone offensively, and that's fair enough, and they may make comments reflecting how they took the tone. In these cases, if I think a case can be made that I have been unnecessarilly insulting, I'll figure that I had it coming. I am probably overly-fond of the term "bigot" for example, and my frustration with many of our cultural oddities can lead to me being insulting when I really shouldn't be, and I need to be more cautious.