Hey, remember that time when people of differing opinions used to get together and discuss their opinions in respectful manner? Hey, shut up, I'm calling someone I don't like a f-- on YouTube. The American conversation is dead. Don't blame me, I didn't kill it. I'm just here to delivery the eulogy. The social discourse in this country has gotten terrible in the last 10 years. With the popularity of personality-driven media, talk radio, angry documentaries, negative websites and blogs (I'm aware of the irony, please don't point it out) the level of sophistication in delivering arguments has digressed to the point of whoever makes the loudest noise wins. And the noise people make isn't that great to listen to. Take the recent presidential debate between Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton. They were asked questions about things their pastors said and, good lord, whether or not they wear flag pins on their lapels. Is this was passes as serious issues in 2008? We have real concerns to worry about here. Plus the fact that the media has been skewered, thanks to 24/7 news access of cable news, the internet and video recorders that we've basically become a gotcha society. Don't you dare ever make a mistake out in public, someone will tape it and it will be around the world before you even have a chance to say "Ooops." Paparazzi and fringe news outlets have turned the media into a tabloid. Energy? National security? Who can worry about those things? I have to watch the footage of Bush trying to open the locked door for the 100th time. This is what we do with this amazing technology. We use it to create websites to compare Bush to Hitler. This is what happens when you go 60+ years without a World War II or a Great Depression. You create an entire generation of immature provocateurs who have no idea just what is really important in the world. There are people who videotape speeches just to get that one soundbyte to play out of context. Michael Moore won an Oscar for doing just that. Thank you Academy. So I close by telling Americans to be perfect. Seriously, go outside and say and do nothing that can be misconstrued, don't ever lose your temper, in fact, just don't react to any external stimuli, and for goodness sake, don't open your mouth. Someone with nothing better to do with their life is taping. –Stephen Payne, Editor, Oil and Gas Investor This Week; spayne@hartenergy.com