Some Amendments Are More Equal Than Others

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If you can stomach a slog through all the cant in this press release in news-article drag, you'll come to an unsettling mention of a proposed bill introduced by John Hostettler (R-Ind.) that would prevent the victorious party from being awarded attorney's fees only in Establishment Clause cases under the First Amendment.

I expect the bill to go down in flames, as it did when Hostettler proposed it two years ago, dying in committee—but it's pretty appalling that someone would even propose it. Just ponder the logic here for a minute: When a citizen successfully argues that the government has illegally violated his right to free speech, we try to ensure that he doesn't have to bankrupt himself just to make the government obey the Constitution. Is there any way to interpret this narrow exception other than as a desire to not see the Establishment Clause enforced, signalling that even if you can prove the government has broken the law, you may have to ruin yourself just to get it to stop?

NEXT: In DC, Friends Don't Let Friends Drive.

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  1. The same commitment to Defunding the Left that lies behind the corrupt K Street Project.

  2. Am I the only one who’s too numb to feel much outrage anymore? Intellectually I know this is bad, yet I can’t bring myself to care.

    Maybe it’s just the eight straight days of rain. Maybe this will piss me off after the sun comes out again. But for now, I feel the way I would if someone came in and told me that it’ll get dark after the sun sets tonight: yeah, so?

    I’ve long since given up the belief that government is even remotely on my side. Freedom? Liberty? Justice? That’s not twenty-first century America; those are just words that sound pretty, nothing to be taken literally. Same way the Catholic Church has recently come out and said the Garden of Eden story is not to be taken as the literal truth. It’s just something artistic, that sounds nice.

  3. Theocracy marches on! First “Intellegent Design” in public schools, then Harriet Meiers’ faith-based nomination to the SCOTUS, now this.

  4. Akira, who do you think will fill the world’s power vacuum when we finally go down? I’m hoping it will be India or some kind of United States of Europe; the thought of the Chinese stepping in and wiping out the past several centuries of progress the Western world made in regards to the value of the individual relative to The State, and other such achievements, is just too depressing to contemplate.

  5. I hear you, Jennifer.

    And, I think the rain may have something to do with it. My beautiful view of Manhattan looks like someone hung a white sheet on my windows. Depressing.

    But as for being too numb to be outraged in general, I think that’s a normal reaction. You can’t be outraged all the time–your brain needs a vacation every now and then. Light some candles, pour yourself a drink, watch the rain for a while. You’ll feel better soon 🙂

  6. E-mail the Rep. in question and tell him to piss off.

  7. You’d think the disingenuous “Christians are a persecuted minority” crowd — like, you know, WorldNutDaily and AgapePress — would be a little more cirumspect about crap like this, but apparently they aren’t swift enough to understand the apparent paradoxes.

  8. Jennifer, this link is for you.

    As for who’s next? Most likely the Chinese, after them, India. Western Europe is even more fucked than the United States.

    As for me? Costa Rica or one of the former Eastern Bloc nations such as the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, or Romania has a certain appeal.

  9. Phil, considering that they define “persecution” as “being unable to do anything I want to anybody else,” they are indeed persecuted.

    I saw this great cartoon once. There were two guys, one wearing a gay-guy pink triangle and the other wearing an enormous cross. Cross guy picks up a stick and starts beating pink-triangle guy over the head with it: WHAP WHAP WHAP WHAP WHAP. Triangle guy gets irritated and says “Will you stop doing that, please?” Cross guy gasps and says “Why, that’s. . .that’s. . . religious persecution!”

    My local once-a-week paper had an article last week: some local Episcopal priests are suing their bishop for “violating their civil rights.” How did he do this, you may ask? Well, the bishop has made remarks tolerant of gays, and the priests insist that having to work for someone who doesn’t hate gay people is a violation of their rights.

  10. Mediageek–

    Yeah, I know Europe is in many ways worse than we are, but they’re FAR better than China is, or is likely to be. I’m speculating on what is likely to happen, not what i WANT to see happen.

  11. Jennifer-

    In that case, reading a blog post on how stupid theists are is a violation of my civil rights.

    I’d sue him, but he’s a lawyer so he’d probably win.

  12. Jennifer,

    I think you need to regulate some interstate commerce.

  13. CORRECTION (and apologies for a possible triple post):

    The bishop isn’t being sued for making gay-tolerant remarks; he’s being sued because he either works with a gay priest, or ordained one. Either way, the priests who work under him are suing, basically on the grounds that working for someone who tolerates that which you don’t violates your rights.

    And these are Episcopalians, not Fundies.

  14. Costa Rica or one of the former Eastern Bloc nations such as the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, or Romania has a certain appeal.

    A recent article in The Economist made me somewhat lest optimistic about Poland. Now my escape plan is to a Baltic state.

  15. I’d sue him, but he’s a lawyer so he’d probably win.

    After a post he just made elsewhere I could technically sue him for libel, but I wouldn’t feel right about suing someone whom I’m convinced suffers from a mild mental disability. He can’t help his lack of social skills anymore than I can help being short.

  16. Just remember, if you happen to live in Indiana, don’t vote for the Democrat who runs against this guy. Because, by definition, that would be worse.

  17. Just remember, if you happen to live in Indiana, don’t vote for the Democrat who runs against this guy. Because, by definition, that would be worse.

    Very true. Vote Libertarian.

    Ha!

  18. most indiana polits have been incredible assholes. but i don’t mind Lugar and the former gov now senator Evan Bayh isn’t bad.

    but dan burton et al… shudder.

    kinda makes you pine for the days of Wendel Wilke.

  19. thoreau,

    Jeanne Caldwell is suing the NSF and UC Berkley for a website that they operate which states that most “most Christian and Jewish religious groups have no conflict with the theory of evolution.” Caldwell is claiming an Establishment Clause violation.

  20. Jennifer,

    I’m curious. How would you surmount the factual nature of the statement?

    Of course I’d also have to actually have harmed your reputation for the case to be successful as well. There are numerous other defenses against a libel charge as well; the U.S. is generally not a libel-friendly place like the U.K.

  21. Am I the only one who’s too numb to feel much outrage anymore?

    No…

  22. Bills that fly in the face of liberty, not to mention logic and garden variety sanity, have been proposed by assorted lawmakers with regularity for the last 50 years. This isn’t emblematic of the Bush admin. I think the idea of mandatory flu shots and vaccinations comes up every few years or so.
    I remember one from a rep in Mass, proposing that God be declared the de facto ruler of America. The best part was that the wording was lifted verbatim from the declaration of Emporer Norton.
    There was also the proposal a few years back that would’ve made it illegal for people to build thier own computer.

  23. Mediageek-

    Some of those eastern block countries do sound alright from what I’ve heard, but I’d hate to live in the shadow of Russia especially in the world we’re contemplating with a diminished or undemocratic US no longer checking it. I was going to inquire if anyone though maybe taiwan, japan or south korea might be palatable, but then you’re in the shadow of China. India might be the only place with both the potential of a liberal society and the size and strength to fill in the void if America ever goes under (either in terms of power or a catastrophic loss of individual liberty).

    But like it or not, the future of freedom and liberty for the human race is tied to America. We are the only county with the wealth, institutions and requisite individualism to carry the torch into the future. Its a nasty uphill battle. It’s not like everybody has to go out and become an actvist for liberty, but if we all adapted Jennifer’s resigned outlook, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  24. Akira, who do you think will fill the world’s power vacuum when we finally go down?

    It all depends on who takes us down, when, and how.

    I wouldn’t worry about the Europeans being next up. The structural problems that we have that will undermine US dominance, they have in spades.

    India or China? Hard to say. I think India is probably in a better place socio-economically than China, which is a demographic and social powder keg. The Chinese may be more ruthless and aggressive, though.

    Maybe nation-states become increasingly marginal in world where borders become harder to police? Maybe what replaces the US as the repository of power isn’t a single state power center, red in tooth and claw, but rather networks of commerce?

    A guy can dream, can’t he?

  25. Hak, who’s back,

    “I’m curious. How would you surmount the factual nature of the statement?”

    Easy. Be showing that those groups aren’t “really” Christian or Jewish.

    If you try to put yourself in the fundies’ shoes, it makes perfect sense.

  26. If I can get up the energy: <rant> it is about time for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to stop trying to put criminals’ rights above the rights of American citizens.

    “and the ACLU wants to defend the rights of the terrorists.”

    NYC subway riders aren’t “American citizens?” They’re “criminals” or “terrorists?”

    The petition in support of legislation by Representative John Hostettler (Rep.-Indiana) calls for “a stand against the ACLU’s radical agenda, which undermines our nation’s moral and religious heritage.”

    That religious heritage includes Pilgrims, Puritans, and many other groups who came to the colonies because they were tired of living in Christian countries and being persecuted for their beliefs. Where do you think the Establishment clause came from in the first place?

    Congressman Hostettler’s bill would amend the Civil Rights Attorney’s Fees Act of 1976 to prohibit prevailing parties from being awarded attorney’s fees in religious establishment cases, but not in other civil rights filings.

    IOW, “We’ll use this precedent to crack down on that pesky Freedom of Speech thing next session.” </rant>

  27. “Maybe what replaces the US as the repository of power isn’t a single state power center, red in tooth and claw, but rather networks of commerce?”

    Maybe, but you can count on them being just as red in tooth and claw. Ever do any reading about how the oil companies operate in Nigeria or Indonesia?

  28. Akira, who do you think will fill the world’s power vacuum when we finally go down?

    I have a hard time believing that China will have an easy time of it without American markets to dump cheaply made consumer goods into. Everyone else will yank up tariffs immediately if America goes down. Plus, the OPEC states will need to offset their losses somehow. China’s in a fragile place at the moment, and their recent actions don’t look to be improving matters all that fast. America falls, and I’d bet even money we’d find ourselves in a new dark age. It might only last 100 years, but it would happen, and after the world would be unrecognizable to us, I would wager.

  29. It all depends on who takes us down, when, and how.

    In all seriousness, RC, I don’t think anybody else will have to take us down–we’re doing it to ourselves. It’s just a matter of who will be in a position to fill in the space we leave vacant. I’m afraid the Chinese will be most suited for it (they’re no military match for us, but they could well be for India).

    Plus they have an ENORMOUS surplus male population, but they still have closed borders and refuse to let people emigrate out if they wish. So. . . millions and millions of young, frustrated men with no chance whatsoever of finding a woman and settling down can cause a LOT of trouble. And considering the breathtaking scope of China’s commitment to human rights, which do you think is more likely: they open their borders and let people leave if they choose, or they figure “Better to start a war and let our men raise mayhem in other countries, than stay out of war and let the men raise havoc here”?

  30. “Plus they have an ENORMOUS surplus male population”

    so that rice-sized story is just a myth?

  31. “America falls, and I’d bet even money we’d find ourselves in a new dark age. It might only last 100 years, but it would happen, and after the world would be unrecognizable to us, I would wager.”

    That’s my feel, too. The world is once again interconnected, with most markets open to some degree to international competition. And especially the U.S. with just about every other major nation. When our economic chickens come home to roost, it’s gonna hurt everyone (except maybe Cuba and N. Korea). Now, how bad things are going to get is going to depend in large part on how people react to the economic free-fall.

    The current indicators aren’t promising, but people have a funny way of defying prediction.

  32. Well, even a Dark Age would be better than a planet run by the Chinese. More potential for something good to arise from it, too.

  33. If y’all suspect the inevitability of a new dark age, then get busy with the Asimov-esque Foundation to curtail its effect.
    Vamanos! Time’s a-wasting!

  34. I don’t believe that the US will really have a Roman-style fall. We might end up more like Britain or perhaps Portugal – once king of the hill, now still rich and somewhat influential by world standards, but not KoTH anymore. This might not be entirely a bad thing, either, since it would prevent the US from throwing its weight around as much. In any case, it might actually be a good thing for US citizens, since our lawmakers might lose the illusion that it was their duty to police the world, and it wouldn’t necessarily mean that it would become a bad thing to live in the US. (Other trends might do that, though.)

    As far as who’s on the rise – I think China is the most reasonable candidate; whether they can really do it depends on how they deal with their internal ethnic and political divisions. India, maybe, but the funny thing is that India seems to have more doctrinaire Communists than China does these days. To go out on a limb, I also think that at some point Africa is going to get its shit sorted out and we’ll see the rise of some real African regional powers, if not world powers. It might be another couple hundred years, though, and how much of an impact it makes depends on what the state of the rest of the world is.

    I am also going to join in with mtc on the “American exceptionalism” side. As messed up as America is, as many problems as we do have, and as much as some other countries do look better in some ways, I believe that we have a unique heritage and philosophy of liberty. It isn’t always honored, but it’s there, and it continues to inform our culture in a way no other nation can claim.

  35. it’s wasteland meets illuminatus!

    i love it!

    “i’m not going to die three fourths cork!”

  36. Those who predict the economic rise of China or India forget one wrench that could easily gum up their works: expensive oil.

    Neither country is very efficient in terms of economic output per barrel of oil; and both are headed the wrong direction. China at least has in my observation reached a plateau after which they either need to burn a LOT MORE OIL or build a lot of expensive alternate energy plants, transportation networks, etc. They’re doing the alternative energy, but are going the wrong direction on transportation and are going to end up getting screwed like American exurbanites.

    Don’t count out Western Europe yet. Once the demographic bulge makes its way through their economies, their ability to continue to function as industrial economies with much more expensive oil (compared to us, or the Chinese) will, in my guess, bring them back to parity with us.

  37. and everything in western europe is socialized. and works better. so they’re really ahead of us right now, anyways.

    plus the new power in india would give rise to the question: whom would they call when they need to call the help desk?

    and the chinese will be three deep at that point. i vote for greenland.

  38. Those who predict the economic rise of China or India forget one wrench that could easily gum up their works: expensive oil.

    But it will effect all of the potential powers equally, which will pretty much negate the effects relative to each other.

    If you, and you alone, have your salary cut in half tomorrow, you’ll be at a financial disadvantage compared to other people you know. But if EVERYBODY has their salary cut in half tomorrow, nobody’s going to gain any economic upper hand.

  39. Jennifer: your “peak horse” comment is still high on the “best comments” list, too!

    🙂

  40. “But it will effect all of the potential powers equally, which will pretty much negate the effects relative to each other.”

    Take France vs. America. Industrial output per barrel of oil at producers is probably comparable (France maybe a bit ahead due to less use of oil for electricity). But the big difference is going to be what happens to the French of American WORKER.

    This is obviously going to be a case of “sucks less” at best – since French producers are going to be hurt when American consumer demand craters; but they’ll still be better off than the American producers will. The French worker isn’t going to see his cost of living go up as much, since he doesn’t use anywhere near as much oil to get to work, heat his house, etc. Thus, FrenchCo has less pressure on wages or can keep better workers longer than can AmericanCo, whose workers are struggling to get by since they live in the exurbs and drive SUVs. AmericanCo is hurt two ways – less consumer demand for product (since consumer demand has cratered) AND hurting workers either pushing for higher wages or having to find other jobs.

  41. plus the new power in india would give rise to the question: whom would they call when they need to call the help desk?

    The year is 2018. Deepok Dasgupta calls the Help Desk.

    DD: Hello?

    HD: Welcome to our customer care help desk–

    DD: Oh, bloody Bodhisittava on a stick!

    DD: Please note that our menu options have changed. Press one for …

    (Deepok listens to all menu options, then in desparation hits 9 “for all other issues.”)

    HD: Thank you. Please hold for the next available customer care representative.

    [Sitar music]

    HD: Thank you for holding. Your call is important to us. Please continue holding, and the next available customer care representative will be with you shortly.

    [Sitar music]

    HD: Thank you for holding. Your call is important to us. Please continue holding, and the next available customer care representative will be with you shortly.

    [Sitar music]

    HD: Thank you for holding. Your call is important to us. Please continue holding, and the next available customer care representative will be with you shortly.

    [Sitar music]

    HD: Thank you for holding. Your call is important to us. Please continue holding, and the next available customer care representative will be with you shortly.

    [Continue for 25 minutes]

    HD: (clunk, clunk) Howdy! How kin I help y’all?

    DD: (inwardly) Shit! A foreigner who can barely speak English!

  42. I think I rewrote that last one three times and it still sucked. Let me try a much simpler avenue, building on your example.

    If you and I both earn $1000 per week, and you spend $20 a week on oil (gasoline and heating) while I only spend $10 a week on oil, then doubling the price of oil hurts you a lot more than it hurts me.

    Aha!, most people would say, but the Europeans pay more for gasoline than we do. Yes, per gallon, they do. But they use a hell of a lot less of it too, and are quite well adapted to the current (high) price.

    In other words, gas going from $5 to $6 per gallon hurts them a lot less than gas going from $2 to $3 per gallon hurts us.

  43. stevo!

    go cards!

    i’m now against highways because my grand uncle lost his job when the superhighways connected chicago and minneapolis. dammit. displaced workers. but there’s a silver lining: blowhard assholes from texas have a future 🙂

  44. “Peak horse?”

    M1EK–
    I agree, but I’m thinking in terms of military might, not how comfortable the average citizen will be. Expensive oil will hit the various militaries equally hard.

  45. from some discussion about oil prices and your point about someone who was of the “global warming is false but it’s a good thing anyways” crowd. the analogy was about moving west and the great planes and surviving back then.

  46. Drf–

    Oh. I remember explaining why peak oil wasn’t going to be an easy transition the way horse-to-automobile was; I guess Peak Horse came about from that.

  47. “The French worker isn’t going to see his cost of living go up as much, since he doesn’t use anywhere near as much oil to get to work, heat his house, etc. Thus, FrenchCo has less pressure on wages or can keep better workers longer than can AmericanCo, whose workers are struggling to get by since they live in the exurbs and drive SUVs.”

    This is where the city planners come it; to save yo’ kids’ asses.

  48. joe,

    No, its to ruin our lives.

    M1EK,

    You’d be surprised just how often (and how much) your average Frenchman drives, and how fast suburban growth is in France.

  49. M1EK,

    That is assuming that they survive the trip to “hypermarket.” 🙂

  50. “You’d be surprised just how often (and how much) your average Frenchman drives, and how fast suburban growth is in France.”

    No, I wouldn’t. The average Frenchman drives a pittance compared to the average American, and he does it in a far more fuel-efficient car to boot.

  51. There is a second civil war between the “Red” and “Blue” states.

    Except that states aren’t really “red” or “blue” by more than a few percentage points. Look at the voting map on the county level.

    There are some scenarios that might work:

    • Right Wing Christian fundamentalist takeover of Congress and the conversion to a “Christian” government sparks a revolution.
    • Far Left Nader Ecological fundamentalist takeover of Congress and the conversion to a “Gaia” government sparks a revolution.
    • War on Drugs/Terror sparks a revolution.
    • Severe winter and interruptions in the power supply forces the abandonment of cities and the rural backlash thereto.

    But my favorite is Niven’s Fallen Angels, where the ‘danes* take over and the SciFi afficiandos revolt.

    * ‘danes as in “mundanes.”

  52. Jeff P, we’ve already got the encyclopedia, right? Wikipedia! Of course we’d better make sure we can keep a server running after the power goes out.

    Cut to image of monks in the next dark age dutifully transcribing crumbling Wikipedia printouts, which have become the revered classical knowledge from the last golden age.

  53. If the US doesn’t implode, then I really can’t see a real unipolar force emerging from any of the current crop of contenders. China could become a serious rival, but given the wealth stratification they’ve been undergoing, their existance would still depend mostly on the US and other countries going along and letting them take the steps that they need to keep playing at this whole Communism fad. Periodical outbursts from Beijing notwithstanding, the domestication of China is actually proceding at a decent pace. The worrisome thing is a collapse happening before they fully realize how dependent every nation in this day and age are on one another.

    As for China starting a war as a population control measure, it seems more likly to me that China would get into it with Pakistan or one of the other Middle Eastern powers that Japan, to be perfectly honest. Especially if the Muslims in the east decide to get tired of living under Beijing’s thumb and start asking their co-religionists for assistance. Both groups are the only ones with enough spare population at this point, for one thing. It also helps that the two are or could be more or less equal millitarily.

  54. The average Frenchman drives a pittance compared to the average American

    Not according to this (chart at bottom). Mexico might fit that definition, though. France looks to be about 70% of the US.

    It also has an interesting graph charting GDP and vehicle-miles of travel that I’ve never seen before.

  55. Expensive oil will hit the various militaries equally hard.

    From a purely (effect on the) military perspective, why does this matter? In the aggregate all militaries will be equally Weakened. The more powerful militaries will still be more powerful than all the lesser militaries even with their oil induced hardships(that all other militaries are suffering from too)

  56. all militaries will be equally Weakened

    The ones with easy access to oil won’t.

  57. M1EK,

    The average Frenchman drives a pittance compared to the average American…

    You are dead wrong (see Happy Jack’s link). Perhaps you should go live in France and notice the actual driving behavior of people there. I mean really, France didn’t build all those mega-lane freeways for nothing! And one has to wonder why they just built one of the most magnificent bridges on the planet? Because the enormous traffic through Millau was causing too many accidents! Why is that liberals like yourself have these bizarro fantasies about Europe and Europeans? I swear, its as bad as the conservative stereotypes of Europe.

    As to the issue of fuel economy, the fleet average of France is ~43 mpg, whereas in the U.S. its a little under ~30 mpg (I’m sure you will doubt these figures, just as you doubted my statement re: French driving habits – care to get burned again?). Then again, the French drive far more diesal vehicles than Americans do because the government taxes diesel less than gas, which explains why Parisian air is as bad as it is!

    Happy Jack,

    That’s because Mexico is poor. The more affluent Mexico becomes, the more people will drive. Folks like M1EK want to keep Mexicans poor of course (and everyone else too).

  58. Happy Jack,

    What’s funny is how the French government is having a shit-fit about the boom in SUV sales in France. There’s been a lot of talk of trying to tax them off the road, but so far no actual legislation.

  59. Clearly you know nothing. I know everything.

    If I say all french people use public transit then it’s true.

    And there are no SUVs in France.

  60. France vs. US VMT, the link I saw:

    http://www.sierraclub.org/sprawl/transportation/control.asp

    Quite a bit different than yours. I don’t know why the FHWA figures are so much higher. I haven’t been able to find anything particularly recent, but it does not seem possible that the US would have seen a drop in VMT from ’91 to ’97 and that France’s would have nearly doubled.

  61. Also, from BTS:

    http://www.bts.gov/publications/transportation_statistics_annual_report/2003/html/appendix_b/table_115_a.html

    Their numbers for VMT per capita are all over the place. Don’t know which set is valid; but the anectodal evidence from anybody who’s travelled overseas ought to lead you to be skeptical of anybody who claims that the French drive nearly as much as the Americans.

  62. “Folks like M1EK want to keep Mexicans poor of course (and everyone else too).”

    Hakluyt,

    My most sincere desire is that you be eaten alive by fire ants.

    HTH,
    M1EK

  63. Wonderful; hakluyt is free to spread whatever crap he wants, but somehow M1EK has fallen into moderation. Or the server’s broke. Anyways:

    “the fleet average of France is ~43 mpg, whereas in the U.S. its a little under ~30 mpg”

    This might be where you got your figure:

    http://www.greencarcongress.com/2004/11/average_fuel_co.html

    Read more closely and it says that the 29 probably applies just to cars. And, as a matter of fact:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_Average_Fuel_Economy

    “Overall fuel economy for cars and light trucks in the U.S. market reached its highest level in 1987, when manufacturers managed 22.1 mpg. The average in 2004 was 20.8.”

    Meanwhile, the French figure was 43 MPG.

    43.

  64. M1EK,

    Now you are just dodging your remarks. Even given the figures that you cite (from 1991 of all things!) it is not a “pittance” – unless the language that you use is so elastic as to be virtually meaningless. Face it, you are flat wrong on the level of French car use, and if you had ever been to France you’d know this from the mere anecdotal evidence of how much your French friends drive.

    My most sincere desire is that you be eaten alive by fire ants.

    You’re just pissed off because you know I am right.

    …but the anectodal evidence from anybody who’s travelled overseas…

    Which is of course different from actually living overseas. Your two week vacation whistle-stop tour of Europe isn’t going to tell you much regarding how Europeans live.

    …ought to lead you to be skeptical of anybody who claims that the French drive nearly as much as the Americans.

    But I never claimed that they did. But hey, putting an argument in my mouth is always far more fun than actually discussing what I wrote, which is set out here:

    You’d be surprised just how often (and how much) your average Frenchman drives, and how fast suburban growth is in France.

    Are you a liar or just an idiot?

    BTW, I am always going to be far more familiar with France and things French than you ever will be.

    mike,

    No, I am fairly certain I got the figure from an article in Le Monde. Also, your remark doesn’t address how dirty Parisian air is due to the way that the French get to that high fleet average – via diesel burning vehicles. I can see why you would dodge any argument on Parisian air quality though.

  65. M1EK,

    But they use a hell of a lot less of it too…

    Because diesel vehicles rule the roost in many European countries due to incentives used by European governments. Diesel car sales in countries like France and Germany outstrip gas car sales 2 or 3 to 1. So yes, Europeans use less gas, and this is much in part due to the different vehicular platform they use. That you are simply ignorant of this fact tells me something: you are talking out of your ass based on certain myths about Europe you and your fellow liberals have.

  66. “mike,

    No, I am fairly certain I got the figure from an article in Le Monde. ”

    And you’ve been shown to be full of shit by the links I posted.

    I’ll not bother with the rest of your garbage, unless you acknowledge that you did not disprove my claim in the slightest.

  67. “That you are simply ignorant of this fact”

    Where did you get the idea I was ignorant of the fact that Europeans use diesel a lot more than we do here? Oh, that’s right, you got it out of your ass.

    BTW, our family car is larger than most used in Europe and gets better mileage than almost all diesels. Diesel isn’t the only way to get good mileage, despite your implications.

  68. …how dirty Parisian air is…

    I was under the impression that the european car makers had managed to develop a cleaner diesel technology. Perhaps I’ve fallen for more of that wishful propaganda stuff.

    I would never make assertions based on my anecdotal evidence, but my cousin in Nice and my aquaintances in Paris, Frankfurt and Rome drive everywhere they can and avoid public transport like the plague. One lives and works in the Paris suburbs but drives downtown to meet friends and go out frequently and finds his car much faster and more convenient than the Metro or the bus system. I am constantly amazed by the number of Jeep Cherokees in Nice.

    I have friends in Toronto who say that TTC (the Toronto Transit Commission, possibly the best transit system in North America) stands for “take the car”.

    And most of my Australian friends drive everywhere because except in a few big cities they have no choice.

    I suspect that most people project there biases. I think I probably do too so I won’t condemn anyone for it.

  69. I do know the difference between “there” and “their”, but sometines I type one intead of the other.

  70. M1EK,

    This all boils down to what a “pittance” is in your eyes – if you believe that your figures from 1991 reveal a pittance then I’d say you are simply dodging the reality of the situation. People in France drive a lot and the primary source of most transportation needs for French people are cars.

    And you’ve been shown to be full of shit by the links I posted.

    You didn’t post any links on MPG. And mike didn’t show them to be “full of shit,” he showed them to be incomplete.

    Where did you get the idea I was ignorant of the fact that Europeans use diesel a lot more than we do here?

    Because you keep on talking about GAS! Someone with a modicum of knowledge in this area would carefully demarcate the two when discussing the issue. As you don’t that leads me to one conclusion – you simply aren’t aware of the difference.

    Diesel isn’t the only way to get good mileage, despite your implications.

    I didn’t imply that it was. I simply stated that the government of France favors one type of platform over another and that this in turn has led to very dirty Parisian skies.

  71. M1EK,

    Let’s deal with the issue more succinctly. Are you really going to continue to take issue with the following point?

    You’d be surprised just how often (and how much) your average Frenchman drives, and how fast suburban growth is in France.

    How much (and how often?) did you think that Frenchmen drove before you actually did some research on the issue (its clear that you’d never actually done any before today)?

    Isaac Bertram,

    I notice that there are more and more SUVs in Paris every year.

  72. Isaac Bertram,

    I was under the impression that the european car makers had managed to develop a cleaner diesel technology.

    Maybe. Nevertheless, Parisian air quality remains terrible. There was a big expose on this Le Monde a year or two ago when some measurements of air quality from the 1890s were compared to air quality today, and they were almost the same. Given that the 1890s were a period when coal (!) was used for all manner of things (from home heating to industrial uses) I think it shocked some people.

  73. M1EK,

    And you’ve been shown to be full of shit by the links I posted.

    Unless you are suggesting that the 43 MPG I presented is full of shit. If indeed my statement was “full of shit,” then so is mike’s.

  74. M1EK,

    I’ll not bother with the rest of your garbage…

    More to the point you don’t contest anything else I’ve written because you I’m right. For example, I never suggested that Frenchmen drive as much as Americans do, yet you claimed that I did. I wrote that they drive far more and more often than you realize and that is clearly the case given your “pittance” language.

  75. “Unless you are suggesting that the 43 MPG I presented is full of shit.”

    No, the “US vehicles get just shy of 30” is full of shit.

  76. “Where did you get the idea I was ignorant of the fact that Europeans use diesel a lot more than we do here?

    Because you keep on talking about GAS! Someone with a modicum of knowledge in this area would carefully demarcate the two when discussing the issue. ”

    Dear charming idiot:

    The original message posted by me was about PEAK OIL. What is something that gasoline and diesel have in common?

  77. M1EK,

    No, the “US vehicles get just shy of 30” is full of shit.

    In other words, I was partly wrong on exactly 1/2 of the statement about about MPG. I’m still waiting for you dig yourself out of your “pittance” claim, BTW. That should be entertaining!

    Dear fawning liar:

    This is exactly what you wrote –

    Aha!, most people would say, but the Europeans pay more for gasoline than we do. Yes, per gallon, they do. But they use a hell of a lot less of it too, and are quite well adapted to the current (high) price.

    Note that above this statement you mention oil in the context of two things: gasoline and heating oil! Again, its very obvious that you had no idea that Europeans drive more diesel vehicles than gasoline powered vehicles. Indeed, what you are hinting out in this statement of yours is that Europeans use less gasoline because they drive less due to the high gasoline taxes, but they largely use less gasoline because they are driving a different sort of vehicular platform!

  78. M1EK,

    What is a “pittance?”

  79. “I would never make assertions based on my anecdotal evidence, but my cousin in Nice and my aquaintances in Paris, Frankfurt and Rome drive everywhere they can and avoid public transport like the plague.”

    […]

    And the last time I visited Manhattan, my suburbanite friend (who was there for his wedding) drove us in three times from Queens in a minivan.

    SO NOBODY IN NEW YORK MUST USE TRANSIT!

    GMAFB. The stats on public transportation usage in Paris, for instance, are easily accessible.

    As for the idea that Paris “has” to ban cars, here’s an indication why they might want to do this from a purely pragmatic perspective:

    “Delano? pointed out that “private motorists, who make up a quarter of road users, use up 94 percent of Paris’s road surfaces.””

    http://www.pps.org/info/newsletter/june2005/paris

  80. SO NOBODY IN NEW YORK MUST USE TRANSIT!

    Hence my caution – viz “I would never make assertions based on my anecdotal evidence,…”

    I was not making assertions just observations.

    Jesus Christ, you’re a fucking dick.

  81. M1EK,

    BTW, this is the first time you have mentioned the phrase “peak oil.” Jennifer is the individual who mentioned “peak oil.” Do a search for “peak oil” or “peak” and you will see that I am correct.

    BTW, I found another error in your statements while looking through a search for the word oil:

    Industrial output per barrel of oil at producers is probably comparable (France maybe a bit ahead due to less use of oil for electricity).

    If you think that the U.S. uses much oil for generating electricity you are out to fucking lunch dude. ~1-2% of of all electricity production in the U.S. comes from oil-fired plants, and most of that is never put on the grid but is instead used for on-site use.

  82. M1EK,

    Which doesn’t make the Mayor’s claim true. More to the point, as I wrote above, those Parisians (who make up a minority of the folks actually living in the region) who can drive do so, despite all the incentives, etc. to keep them from driving. Which is why the Mayor wants to ban cars in “downtown” Paris.

    What is a “pittance?” Face it, Frenchmen drive far more than you ever realized and you’re just not brave enough to own up to your past ignorance.

  83. M1EK,

    Your inconsistency on the use of anecdotal evidence is fairly laughable. In one instance you argue that merely “travelling” to Europe is enough to demonstrate your claim, whereas when the anecdotal evidence points the other way you scoff at Isaac Bertram. Flip flop. Flip flop. Flip flop.

  84. M1EK,

    The stats on public transportation usage in Paris, for instance, are easily accessible.

    Right. 🙂

  85. M1EK,

    What is a “pittance?” Come on dick, tell me what it is in reference to a comparison of U.S. and French driving habits? 🙂

  86. “I’m still waiting for you dig yourself out of your “pittance” claim,”

    Compared to the 10,000 or so VMT per capita for an American, I think 4,000 is a pittance.

    And on your stupid gasoline vs. diesel – go back and re-read as “fuel” every time I wrote “gasoline”. You could just take me at my word that I know full well that they use a lot of diesel over there (hell, I’ve had to argue diesel pro/con vs. hybrid enough times by now).

    Or just be a pedantic ass and I’ll join the growing list of people who don’t want to deal with you anymore.

  87. http://www.megacitiesproject.org/network/paris.asp

    “Among commuters to work in the Ile-de-France, 37% travel by car, 43% use public transportation, and 20% use other means of transportation.”

  88. M1EK,

    Compared to the 10,000 or so VMT per capita for an American, I think 4,000 is a pittance.

    Right. The problem is that the VMT for your first link wasn’t 10,000, its under 7,000, and that is only link that actually compares the U.S. to France. Indeed, the 10,000 number refers to a link which has no information about France! None! Nothing. You are conflating this data in other words and trying to compare more modern data (2002) about the U.S. with data about France from 1991! How dishonest are you? Very it seems.

    And on your stupid gasoline vs. diesel – go back and re-read as “fuel” every time I wrote “gasoline”.

    Is this like your claim that you were discussing “peak oil,” when you actually weren’t? Your efforts here are hilarious.

    You could just take me at my word…,/i>

    I’ll take you at your original words, which indicate that you are ignorant of what Europeans drive.

  89. M1EK,

    …(hell, I’ve had to argue diesel pro/con vs. hybrid enough times by now).

    Which is inapposite re: your thoughts re: what Europeans drive.

  90. M1EK,

    I should say that’s the only link that you provide. Another link (from the DOT) provided by Happy Jack shows that as of 1997 French VMT was about ~70%-75% of what the U.S. VMT was.

  91. M1EK,

    “Among commuters to work in the Ile-de-France, 37% travel by car, 43% use public transportation, and 20% use other means of transportation.”

    Wow, you’d think for a country where only a “pittance” of people who drive to work, that an amount almost equal to those who use public transportation wouldn’t exist. Face it, Frenchmen drive far more than you ever fucking realized.

  92. “Face it, Frenchmen drive far more than you ever fucking realized. ”

    No, 37% was about what I figured. Thanks for keeping the thread alive by responding to yourself, though.

  93. M1EK,

    If 37% was about you “figured,” you’d think you’d have been more exact in your terminology. Instead you stated that Frenchmen (not just people in Paris and the surrounding burbs) drive as a whole (not just in their work commute) a “pittance” compared to Americans. You are caught in bullshit by your own language.

    Of course, given your willingness to manipulate numbers so as to make your case look more reasonable, I don’t expect much in the way of honesty from you.

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