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Jan-01-2008 03:30printcomments

Here's to a Happy New Year for our Visitors

2008 stands a chance of being a bright and shining year for Americans hungry for change, here are our "most commented" on stories from 2007 and thoughts about what it all means.

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(SALEM, Ore.) - It has been an interesting and life changing year for many Oregonians. The loss of our soldiers in war, the weather systems wreaking havoc in our communities, and an undeniable economic depression underscore the orchestra of an everyday harmony which has been notably quiet and all too often absent in 2007.

Many news agencies will review the year's top stories and there is an endless rundown of events and developments and crimes and tragedies that can be found on that list.

We thought we would take a different tact and concentrate on which of our stories in 2007 got people talking.

It probably won't surprise many that the Opinion-Editorials or Op-Ed's and Commentary pieces draw the most fiery and even combative comments. Articles that criticize political leaders and pundits are far reaching in terms of soliciting comments and several of these articles made the front page of Google News. One, on June 25th 2007, commanded the front page spot for several hours drawing just under 33,000 readers from Google alone in two days. It, however, is not our number one.

So this list of stories is not a rundown of Oregon's news for the year, it is just a compilation of the stories that received the highest number of comments in 2007, the ones that really kept the conversation lively.

The comments can sometimes be even more interesting than the articles that the discussions evolve from. Many stories ultimately become like blogs for our regular and occasional visitors, and the comments range from spicy to healing and you never know.

You will certainly find the sentiments of both sides of the political spectrum here, and ongoing debate is the order of the day for many of our articles. We don't allow certain things but general dialog is fairly unregulated.

A recent opinion piece on circumcision drew more comments so far as ongoing dialog goes. The Ann Coulter article drew the most comments in a single day; over 300 people spoke up over that one.

When the year began, I was covering the war in Afghanistan for and Oregon FOX-12. Embedded with the Oregon National Guard's 41st Brigade Combat Team, my goal was to cover the positive side of what our Oregon soldiers were doing.

In almost every respect I believe that our team accomplished that collectively; 30 reports in sixty days were broadcast on local TV and streamed over the Web.

The reports showed our soldiers carrying out humanitarian aid missions, administering medical treatment to Afghans, providing candy and gifts to local kids, and even rebuilding an old Kabul hospital in their spare time. They talked about food and missing their families, they fired at the enemy and they traveled on dangerous roads, serving with honor every step of the way. The stories were well received but only a few received a substantial number of comments.

With respect to how much people condemn the "lack of positive war coverage" in the popular media, I find it interesting that the only story related to Afghanistan that received major commentary was the piece where I criticized the U.S. government's plan for replacing the Afghan and Iraq Army's popular AK-47 rifle with the sometimes troublesome and more complicated U.S. M-16.

What are we supposed to learn from that?

It was one of the only critical reports about the war and it is the only one that really got people talking. I was in-country in November and December '06 and January of '07, so most of the reports wouldn't fall under 2007. I can tell you though that the story on what I consider the needless taxpayer funded rifle replacement, received more comments than any of the war reports in the end of 2006 as well.

It all tells me that the last year has been one of great discontent, and it does not affect any one particular group of people. One consolation is that an article about Oregonian Q Madp of who works tirelessly to cover the funerals of our fallen veterans by traveling to every service in the region. He maintains the only site like it on the Web with information on each and every casualty from Iraq and Afghanistan. The fact that Q received the top number of comments is a reflection, in my opinion, of people caring about the right things.

I hope this new year and all of the changes it holds in store for us will see more attention directed toward the imminent needs of our fellow Americans, and that the anger and discourse in our society will begin to dissipate with that change. I think we're ready.

So here are the stories that have drawn the most talk, a link exists by each that will take you to the original story should you find it interesting and desire to read the original content and in some cases, watch the video reports. All articles are free and archived permanently on both our site and on Google for the public.

-----Welcome to our Top Ten-----

Northwest Photographer Remembers Fallen Heroes Day In And Day Out Link
February 8, 2007, 12:23 pm 512 comments in the last 365 days.

His mission is sincere, and exact. A one-man operation, Q Madp attends funerals and memorials for lost service members in the Northwest whenever possible to pay his respects to the fallen heroes. He photographs the services, then posts a limited amount of them on the hero’s Tribute Page, and provides the other photos at no cost to the immediate family member. No strings attached. It's a Thank You for the sacrifice that they have made.

Oregon Courts Have No Right to Force Circumcision Link
December 7, 2007, 10:06 am 478 comments in the last 365 days.

I was extremely distressed to read a quote in a recent AP article by William McCall attributed to Oregon Supreme Court Justice W. Michael Gillette. It says he asked in a hearing, concerning the partial genital amputation desired by a boy's father for his twelve-year-old son, "what would happen if the noncustodial parent of a child objected to allowing participation in a risky sport, such as football", and then that he gave his own preposterous answer: "'The answer to that is that's preposterous,' Gillette said. 'In fact more people get hurt playing football than from having a circumcision - a lot more, and a lot more seriously.'"

Ann Coulter: When Does This Crap End? (VIDEO) Link
June 28, 2007, 11:59 am 327 comments in the last 365 days.

When we grow up we are taught the difference between right and wrong. Well before reaching adulthood, we are supposed to have a sound understanding of the bottom line, and a reasonable appreciation for the fact that mistakes carry consequences. It brings us to that rotten speck on the TV screen; a tortured soul called Ann Coulter.

Lieberman's Demands for War in Iran are Cowardly Link
June 11, 2007, 4:15 am 157 comments in the last 365 days.

February 24th, 1942 is the day the Voice of America began broadcasting. The drive for freedom and unified victory was a national consensus during the Second World War, people were all on the same team. Something else that came to be on February 24th 1942 that today is certainly a voice in America, perhaps a natonal phenomenon... Joe Lieberman. Lieberman says if Iran won't play by the rules, "we've got to use our force...This could be achieved mostly with air attacks."

Snow Resigns: Saying He's Broke After Working for Bush White House Link
August 31, 2007, 1:19 pm 154 comments in the last 365 days.

Where do you begin when analyzing Tony Snow's recent decision to leave his post as the President's official Spokesman? The former FOX reporter says he is leaving the White House because of failing finances, but many are speculating that Snow's September 14th departure could be connected to his bout with cancer. He is the latest of the President's men charging the exit door well ahead of schedule. Critics say their haste is to be expected after what many call the most failed presidency in U.S. history.

Hillary Clinton`s Bid For White House Takes Internet by Storm Link
January 20, 2007, 11:30 pm 103 comments in the last 365 days.

Democratic Senator and former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton entered the 2008 U.S. presidential race on Saturday. Demonstrating the groundswell of enthusiasm generated by her historic candidacy, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s announcement for President lit up the internet Saturday, garnering rave reviews in the blogosphere, and thousands of supporters flocking to her web site each hour. Within just six hours of the announcement going live on her campaign web site, Senator Clinton’s candidacy attracted thousands of messages of support, and widespread accolades online.

Immigration Reform, La Raza and the DREAM Act Link
October 25, 2007, 7:34 pm 102 comments in the last 365 days.

Uh oh. La Raza, the organization who loves to accuse anyone opposed to AMNESTY for millions of illegal immigrants in this country of being 'racists' yet calls itself "The Race", is 'saddened and angered' that the misnamed DREAM Act has again been blocked in the US Senate. This bill has nothing to do with dreams. It is all about amnesty, utilizing misleading and misrepresentative anagrams, pure and simple.

Oregon House Republicans Sore Over Anti-War Bill Link
March 20, 2007, 6:02 pm 98 comments in the last 365 days.

House Republicans joined Democrats in the passage of a bill today that aligns Oregon with other states slowly but surely withdrawing support from the Iraq War. The vote in the House to approve House Joint Memorial 9-A was 33-25. HJR 9-A opposes the war in Iraq and urges President Bush to reconsider the expansion of troop levels in Iraq, and it urges Congress to halt further funding for the war's escalation. Vicki Berger(R) of Salem and Brian Boquist(R) of Dallas broke party ranks by siding with the Democrats like Diane Rosenbaum(D) of Portland, in passing the legislation that many say sends a strong message about the growingly unpopular war that has claimed more than 3,200 lives to date.

American Military Ego Will Lead to Problems As We Replace Iraq and Afghanistan's Army's AK-47 with the M-16 Link
April 25, 2007, 5:54 pm 93 comments in the last 365 days.

Replacing the Iraq and Afghanistan military's Russian AK-47 Assault rifle with the American M-16 is a bad idea. There are many reasons, and many people in the combat theatre believe the decision is going to lead to an excessive number of needless deaths. I fear a sad outcome like in Vietnam. American ego wins again, it seems we try to live off it these days. When the M-16 was introduced to the war effort in Vietnam, it largely failed. What fired well in the Southern California desert did not endure the tropics of Vietnam.

Oregon Man Arrested For Using Stun Gun on 18-Month Old Son Link
February 5, 2007, 9:51 am 78 comments in the last 365 days.

A 21-year old mother contacted Albany Police Saturday afternoon to report child abuse allegations against her husband. She told officers that her husband, 23-year old Rian James Whittman, shot their 18-month old son repeatedly with a stun gun causing injury. Investigators say Whittman used a 100,000 volt stun-gun multiple times on the boy over an approximately 3-week period.

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Henry Ruark January 3, 2008 12:26 pm (Pacific time)

Neal et al: Sometimes, Neal, to some overly-sensitive persons, or those with malign intent no matter how we worked, it may seem we do toot the whistle, at least a little bit. That's curious case in some situations when mention of source or other information, or even background experience, may read to them as if we had intended it to further inflate what is already on record in the STAFF section. Little do they realize that what we contribute comes from sense of obligation, without either solid reward or any possibilities for further use to recompense self for the professional efforts demanded to separate "feeling" from solid "opinion" built on study and source-search. SO I understand your continued usage of that true "Ah Well...exclamation -- and extend open invitation to any and all such critics simply to send Tim own-written Op Ed, any time...good test for both credibility and accountability for them, as well as Tim' own well-demonstrated professional sensitivities and experience.

Henry Ruark January 3, 2008 6:54 am (Pacific time)

Neal et al: Surely agree that we have too many of what we-here know as W/Ds, as well as those who are so mesmerized by results from the 30-year GOP-neocon "noise machine" that their brains are now pickled in propaganda and thus totally lost for any rational discussion. DO feel, however, that we, too, need to cool our jets a bit on some of our automatic responses, driven by those same professional intensities which produce the hard effort of preparing Op Eds and other such statements. Personal/professional attack has no place here, where, as proud and responsible U.S. citizens, protected and encouraged by the First and other Amendments, we are free to voice our solid feelings. That's what John Dewey meant when he stated conversation was the foundation for democracy.

Neal Feldman January 2, 2008 3:02 pm (Pacific time)

Janet - Toot horn? Moi? Ah well...

Neal Feldman January 2, 2008 2:56 pm (Pacific time)

Janet - Toot horn? Moi? Ah well...

Reader Joe January 1, 2008 8:12 pm (Pacific time)

Thanks for keeping the site active, Tim and Bonnie. I hope the new year brings continuing prosperity!

Janet January 1, 2008 11:27 pm (Pacific time)

Happy New Year I liked this recap of local stories. Don't toot your horn too much in 2008 Neal Feldman!

Neal Feldman January 1, 2008 11:02 pm (Pacific time)

I'm surprised too the waterboarding thing wasn't bigger but ig it only counts number of posts there are not so many defending waterboarding. And on the circumcision bit there is an extremely vocal minority opposing it so they will keep going like the energizer bunny... just like the vocal minority supporting Coulter. So when you have an incredibly vocal minority devoutly intent on trying to make its minority position look like a majority position you will get lots of posts. But if you really look at the content of the circumcision comments its all "Its abuse and a sex crime!" , "No it isn't, you are loons" and back and forth like a neverending tennis match. Neither side will ever convince the other. Same with the Coulter situation... "She speaks the truth and should be venerated", "She is a mindless media whore whose stupidity is even an insult to other blondes" and so it goes back and forth like Pong. (which btw you can get for the PSP how retro is that?) Don't ask me for a better way to guage... and I can't really complain as I made the top ten, but just saying. LOL It's fun anyway. Ah well...

Godsofchaos January 1, 2008 8:31 pm (Pacific time)

Haopy New Year! So I am a little late. I suprised the waterbording story wasn't on the top ten list. Also last year was 2007 not 2006.

Tim King January 1, 2008 4:52 pm (Pacific time)

Congratulations Neal! Bonnie, you too for the story on Q. Van Lewis, you also deserve recognition for your piece on circumcision also. Good work everyone and here's to an even bigger year on!

Campbell January 1, 2008 7:53 am (Pacific time)

A dream becomes a nightmare when racists groups like La Raza and Mecha purpose is to promote ethnic cleansing in North America. Those coming across the border illegally are not immigrants. America is the most diverse country in the world that accepts more than one million immigrants per year, more than all nations combined. A dream act is supposed to be for American children who lack the ability to obtain an education, not an avenue to condone and promote illegal behavior.

Neal Feldman January 1, 2008 2:07 pm (Pacific time)

Hey! One of mine made it in the top ten! Woo hoo! Happy holidays and happy new year all (even you Jefferson lol). Ah well...

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.