Hurrah! Hurrah! For Vermonter Rights Hurrah!

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The Vermont secession movement's been kicking around for more than a decade (arguably for 200-odd years), but two of the secessionists scored their biggest platform yet yesterday with this column in the Washington Post. What's the current spiel?

According to urban planner James Howard Kunstler, "Anything organized on a gigantic scale… will probably falter in the energy-scarce future." Second, third-wave technology is as inherently democratic and decentralist as second-wave technology was authoritarian and centralist. Gov. Jim Douglas wants Vermont to be the first "e-state," making broadband Internet access available to every household and business in the state by 2010. Vermont will soon be fully wired into the global social commons.

You know, Kunstler isn't actually an "urban planner." He writes about architecture (and increasingly the collapse of society), but as he himself says, he has "no formal training in architecture or the related design fields." So he's as much of an urban planner as Robert Caro, who wrote a book about Robert Moses.

That's pedantic, but I wanted to have some qualm with the article. The rest of it's just great. See:

After the Great Flood of 1927, the worst natural disaster in the state's history, President Calvin Coolidge (a Vermonter) offered help. Vermont's governor replied, "Vermont will take care of its own." In 1936, town meetings rejected a huge federal highway referendum that would have blacktopped the Green Mountain crest line from Massachusetts to Canada.

Nor did Vermont sign on when imperial Washington demanded that the state raise its drinking age from 18 to 21 in 1985. The federal government thereupon resorted to its favored tactic, blackmail. Raise your drinking age, said Ronald Reagan, or we'll take away the money you need to keep the interstates paved. Vermont took its case for state control to the Supreme Court—and lost.

Homework assignment for the secessionists: Less Kunstler, more Spooner.

NEXT: C.R.E.A.M. (2008 Democrats Remix)

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  1. “Nor did Vermont sign on when imperial Washington demanded that the state raise its drinking age from 18 to 21 in 1985. The federal government thereupon resorted to its favored tactic, blackmail. Raise your drinking age, said Ronald Reagan, or we’ll take away the money you need to keep the interstates paved. Vermont took its case for state control to the Supreme Court — and lost.”

    I thought that was South Dakota

  2. I think the blackmail regarding the federal control of the alcohol-drinking age is by far the most backward thing ever. Especially since in college, everybody’s drinking by 18 (and before) anyway.

    I think e-townhall meetings are the future!

  3. That’s pretty funny when they write, “According to urban planner James Howard Kunstler….” Kunstler is a writer, not a urban planner. He has been wrong in just about every prediction he’s ever made, especially Y2K. The man has no credibility.

  4. But we do have an urban planner in our midst. This Moose would be very interested in his take on this!

    (and I promise I won’t yell, “DEMAND KURV” during the good scenes. Nor will I implore Lois Lane to “take it off” when she and Lana have that stare down at the end of Superman)

  5. I love it when someone makes a prediction, actions are taken to avoid what he predicts, and it works so well that whiners get to say “See, it never came to pass!”

    You see this with Y2K, the spread of AIDS, and acid rain. Massive, multi-year efforts by the public and private sector to implement solutions? What massive, multi-year efforts by the public and private sectors to implement solutions? All I know is, my computer still works, AIDS rates are declining, and lakes in upstate New York are coming back.

  6. Liberals have sworn to me that once a state secedes, slvery will be legal again.

  7. Aye, fight and you may die, run, and you’ll live. . .at least for a while. And dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willin’ to trade ALL the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take. . .OUR MAPLE SYRUP!

  8. “Gov. Jim Douglas wants Vermont to be the first “e-state,” making broadband Internet access available to every household and business in the state by 2010.”

    I’m confused. Isn’t broadband access availible to every household and business right now? I’m sure VT has the same choices between cable, DSL and Dish providers for those who want it. So…mission accomplished?

  9. Kuntsler is an interesting guy to read, if for no other reason that his amazing, and I do mean amazing, brand of pessimism.

    In a recent blog entry, he details how he was unable to enjoy a Hawaiian vacation because he had to drive places and found that people built things that he considers ugly.

  10. Welp, I guess we’ll just have to burn the secesh out of them like we did 150 years before.

  11. Of course if Vermont hadn’t been sucking on the federal tit for highway money like every other state, it could have kept its drinking age. I think that the drinking age blackmail by Congress is complete BS, but it is their money after all. Once the states started taking federal money, they should have known they were giving up their autonomy. Nothing comes for free after all. I would love to have seen just one state tell the feds to screw off and build their own highways. Yes, that would mean that they would be sending money to Washington and not getting anything back, but how much is your autonomy worth? I think it is worth more than the 20 cents a gallon gas tax or whatever it is.

  12. “lakes in upstate New York are coming back.”

    this one has been of particular importance to this citizen. Now sadly, many of the locals and summer occupants of the lake aren’t taking local steps to save it. sigh.

    joe – while what you’re saying is very true – when steps are taken to avoid a problem, since the outcome is “no problem”, it’s harder to grasp, and therefore you see the pooh poohing that you cite.

    There are also cases where the predictions are flat out wrong, but serve a side’s sacred interests. The “if we’re not fighting them in Iraq, planes will resume flying into buildings” or “we have to ‘DO SOMETHING’ now” in the ready, fire, blame, aim school of thought.

    It sort of comes down to the final scene in “Three Days of the Condor” where Cliff R. tells Robert R. “what do you think they would want us to do – then, not now, then”

    (forgot where this was going – got interrupted, saw something shiny, etc)

    PRoL: coming from ADM country, as long as they don’t take our KORN SYRUP, I’m jiggy. I think Vermont is the most over-fucking-rated place in the country *shudder*.

  13. I don’t know Joe. I read his Wikipedia biography here. Massive, multi-year efforts might explain some disasters averted, but for others it does not hold up. Dow 4000? Peak oil? And quotes like I doubt that the WalMarts[sic] and K-Marts of the land will survive Y2K is not automatically forgiven just because he credits the lack of a Y2K disaster to a secret cabal of big spenders fixing the problem in a heretofore unseen cooperative between public and private sectors delivered on a tight deadline.

  14. “According to urban planner James Howard Kunstler, “Anything organized on a gigantic scale… will probably falter in the energy-scarce future.” Second, third-wave technology is as inherently democratic and decentralist as second-wave technology was authoritarian and centralist. Gov. Jim Douglas wants Vermont to be the first “e-state,” making broadband Internet access available to every household and business in the state by 2010. Vermont will soon be fully wired into the global social commons.”

    If the future is going to be so energy scarce, how the hell is everyone going to have broadband? Don’t all of those giant servers that run the internet eat up a whole lot of energy? Moreover, how the hell is broadband and wiring into the “global social commons” whatever that is going to do anything but exacerbate the “energy scarce future”? I think there is a dissertation to be written on the neurosis of the self loathing westerner. I read the other day about some nitwit in Australia who is convinced that in a few years the human race will be confined to a “few breeding pairs” in the arctic because of global warming. He said it almost hopefully. The undertone of all this futuristic pessimism seems to always be that we are all horrible consumptive individuals who will some day pay for our sinful ways. There is a real eschatology of almost divine retribution to it.

  15. Interestingly, it’s the former president of Vermont-based Middlebury College who has taken up the banner of the 18-year-old drinking age and tried to make it a national issue again.

    That said, “Anything organized on a gigantic scale… will probably falter in the energy-scarce future.” ought to be setting off alarm bells in Reasonable-types’ heads. Small-is-beautifulism and decentralization as a mantra not just for decisionmaking but for all economic activity (“if we grow our own rice here in the dry mountains of Vermont, think about all the fossil fuels we’ll be saving by not transporting it from far away!”) are bpth market-unfriendly and silly.

  16. VM,

    At least every small town in Vermont doesn’t have a resident vampire, minion of the devil, or other creepy attribute. That’s not true for every state in the region. Or so I have read.

    Causation and correlation are always the same. . .when you have a vested interest in people believing that they are the same. It’s like presidents and the economy.

  17. “Small-is-beautifulism and decentralization as a mantra not just for decisionmaking but for all economic activity (“if we grow our own rice here in the dry mountains of Vermont, think about all the fossil fuels we’ll be saving by not transporting it from far away!”) are bpth market-unfriendly and silly.”

    It is also downright dangerous. For most of human history everyone in the world was subject to periodic famines because if crops failed in one area there was no way to move crops from other areas of the world to keep people from starving. If everything “goes small”, we could concievably be at the mercy of the climate again. Further, one need only remember the old parable of the hill people and valley people from first year economics class to realize how stupid that idea is. But unfortunately most people didn’t take or if they did they didn’t understand first year economics, so smart people who ought to know better put out stupid crap like this.

  18. swillfredo,

    I’m certainly not going to defend every prediction Kunstler ever made. And I don’t know what “secret cabal” you’re talking about – I was refering to the quite open efforts by the government, banks, and other businesses to fix their software.

  19. John,

    Part of what you quoted was from Kunstler, while the broadband bit is not. It was not the same person making those contradictory points.

    “But unfortunately most people didn’t take or if they did they didn’t understand first year economics…”

    DEMAND KURVE, right? 😉

  20. “Part of what you quoted was from Kunstler, while the broadband bit is not. It was not the same person making those contradictory points.”

    Fair enough Joe, I missed that. To be fair, surely Kunstler doesn’t actually believe that we can specialize in the future into small self sufficient units. That is just whacked.

  21. I do generally agree with Kuntsler that if oil becomes significantly more expensive we will probably find that our system is going to be in a lot of trouble. It’s not hard to imagine the difficulties suburban types will face if car travel becomes 300% more expensive.

  22. “If everything “goes small”, we could concievably be at the mercy of the climate again. ”

    yeah, but everything won’t get small. it’s simply unfeasible sans some kind of super disaster.

    however, any push towards local community sufficiency is probably a good thing. unless they’re like, nazis or something, and they want a local nazi school board so they can teach aryan genetic theory (aka intelligent blonde ambition).

  23. Doncha love that the only way a statist can see to implement “inherently democratic and decentralist third-wave technology” is through taxes and mandates?

  24. John and joe,

    I sometimes wonder whether terrorism, environmental concerns, increased localization of power distribution, and, perhaps, a desire for political power and taxation to be centered on localities rather than on national or state government might not result in the (partial) return of the city state. Albeit this time with domes.

  25. PL-

    Domed city-states? Hmm, if the dome is there to protect air and water (the precious fluids that out bodies require), perhaps there will be a centralized filtration system with a big button labeled SELF DESTRUCT.

    The movie scripts practically write themselves.

  26. joe,

    The sky-is-falling Y2K predictions were still coming on December 30, 1999. If the issue were resolved through the massive corrective effort, it is odd that the “experts” were not aware of it.

    Also, countries such as Ukraine which did practically zero to fix the Y2K problem did not experience any difficulties.

    Your larger point about self-non-fulfilling prophecies is valid, but doesn’t apply to Y2K. That was simply a secret cobol (get it?) of programmers looking for a good gig fooling government officials who don’t understand the underlying technology.

  27. “Fair enough Joe, I missed that.” Well, it wasn’t very well-written. Somebody needs a paragraph break.

    dhex writes: “yeah, but everything won’t get small. it’s simply unfeasible sans some kind of super disaster.”

    Correct. In practical terms, the argument about local food security is about redundancy and the expansion of choice. No is actually proposing that rice be grown in Vermont, or that Vermonters stop importing rice – just that they increase their production and consumption of local products as a percentage of their total consumption.

    If there was some sort of transportation price spike, it would be a lot easier for Vermoters to replace imported food with local food if there already is a local food industry that can expanded, rather than having to build one from scratch.

  28. thoreau,

    Don’t be silly. That’s completely implausible. Clearly, the button would be labeled, “Don’t Push this Button”.

    I’m not entirely joking about the city state thing. It occurred to me after 9/11 that cities might become a lot more interested in isolation from, well, everyone else if the threats grew large enough (say from biological or nuclear weapons). I’m not suggesting that the world could function very well without trade, etc., but the possibility of greatly enhanced security barriers seems reasonable. While I like the idea of decentralization as a general principle, I don’t advocate anything like this. . .unless I get a flying car and a silver toga.

  29. Ugh, “cobol of programmers.”

    “The sky-is-falling Y2K predictions were still coming on December 30, 1999. If the issue were resolved through the massive corrective effort, it is odd that the “experts” were not aware of it.” Why are you lumping together Silicon Valley software consultants, who were telling everybody that the Y2K problem had been pretty much fixed, with the militia types who spend the Fall of 1999 stocking up their bomb shelters?

    “Also, countries such as Ukraine which did practically zero to fix the Y2K problem did not experience any difficulties.” Countries such as Ukraine had much smaller computing infrastructure, and much less of their facilities dependent on computers. That which they did have was of much later vintage, meaning much of it was written from the beginning to be Y2K compliant.

  30. Y2K story:

    On December 31 of 1999, a friend of a friend who isn’t too bright suddenly realized that there might be some problems in the coming days. He decided he should stock up on water in case there was a collapse of infrastructure. So he went to the store and discovered that the bottled water was all gone, but there was plenty of milk available…

  31. That same night, I was at a party. They had the stereo going, some electric ovens, the space heater, etc. Around 11 pm (midnight on the east coast) they overloaded the circuit breakers.

    For a moment, I thought “Shit, I should have bought milk!”

  32. I don’t know what “secret cabal” you’re talking about – I was refering to the quite open efforts by the government, banks, and other businesses to fix their software.

    Exactly. It was Kunstler who said “a lot of that work and expenditure was going on in secret — big government agencies, big companies, and big utilities did not want to scare the public, queer their stock values, or let on about the difficulties involved in fixing the problem.”

    Link here

  33. Countries such as Ukraine had much smaller computing infrastructure, and much less of their facilities dependent on computers. That which they did have was of much later vintage, meaning much of it was written from the beginning to be Y2K compliant.

    Boy, some fresh tasty evidence would go well with that statement right about now…

  34. Another Y2K story:

    I spent the night of December 31, 1999 at a party in a camp in the Maine woods. (No electicity, no running water, an outhouse, etc.) We were a little disappointed when we drove out of the woods on January 1,2000 to find civilization still functioning.

  35. Any word as to whether the ppls rpblk of vmt will allow free importation of Brazilian (or Haitian) sugar cane?

  36. Randian,

    You want evidence that former Soviet Republics in 1999 were years behind us in computing technology?

    Really? That’s a tough one for you to believe?

    Wow. Tell you what, look it up yourself, and stop bothering me.

  37. In Albuquerque, the response to the Y2k thing was to buy lots of ammo. (Something like a 60% increase in sales for the year leading up to Y2k). At midnight, gun shots at a rate of many a second lasted for (I kid you not) 15 minutes solid in our neighborhood. I imagine those hunkered down in their bunkers could have easily believed that MadMaxWorld had arrived, guns ablazing.

    No emergency room reports of injuries from falling lead.

  38. I suppose I could spend a hour finding a link to a study demonstrating that the sky is blue, but you know what? I don’t think I shall.

  39. joe-

    Here’s one way you could do it: Go to some other thread and pretend to be worried that economic development in the third world will lead to them adopting (on a large scale) all of the old technologies that we used during our transition from rural to urban economies. You will quickly be reminded that thanks to technological progress the developing world can leap-frog technological generations.

    So go do that, and then cite everyone in that thread.

  40. “If the future is going to be so energy scarce, how the hell is everyone going to have broadband?”

    Wireless mesh networks is one technology that would work with little energy.

    Also, decentralization is the future. Cheap solar panels and wind turbines(I think we’ll see these in cities as well). A little longer term -home manufacturing.

  41. Domed city-states? Hmm, if the dome is there to protect air and water (the precious fluids that out bodies require), perhaps there will be a centralized filtration system with a big button labeled SELF DESTRUCT.

    The movie scripts practically write themselves.

    Logan’s Run?

  42. thoreau,

    Good idea. Maybe I should bring up telephone land lines in Africa.

    What telephone land lines in Africa?

    Exactly.

  43. http://www.ukrweekly.com/Archive/1999/489902.shtml

    The report, released in early November, states that where problems may emerge failure could result in limited service to people – what it calls “degraded system performance” – but that many of the problems should be resolved by manual operation. The report emphasizes that, as in other countries, the seriousness of a situation that could have been catastrophic if not remedied in time, was determined to be manageable simply because there are far fewer computers affected by the date rollover to the year 2000 than previously thought.

    “It was found that in Ukraine less than 1 percent were found to be date sensitive, with about the same percentage having Y2K issues – an unexpected but beneficial finding,” according to the report.

    The report also noted that where potential problems exist, Y2K counter-programs have been effective and that the training of Y2K personnel “was found to be very good.”

  44. joe-

    So, really what you’re saying is that you don’t want to go through the work to back up your statement.

    I’m cool with that. It just teaches me how to operate with you from now on.

    And, it’s pretty silly to assume that there was no (or very little) “non-Y2K compliant” computer technology running around the USSR…what do you think they were aiming their missles with, a compass?

  45. StMan

    Don’t forget wave energy, and new and nifty damless hydro power.

  46. Doesn’t anybody realize that urban development in India will lead to a billion people driving cars that get the same MPG as US cars in the 1960’s?

    (Just cite the responses as evidence that developing countries tend to skip technological generations.)

  47. Ayn

    Go to the above link

  48. joe,

    But that cuts both ways. With proper supervision and planning, Africa would’ve spent billions on land lines, just in time for wireless to rear its ugly head. And some advances don’t leapfrog–look at how China and India use much more polluting industrial technology than is state of the art.

    Along these same lines, I like the idea of distributed power, either in the form of home fuel cells (or efficient solar power, Mr. Fusion, whatever) or in beamed energy. The world may truly be transformed by such things, which could reduce the need (though not necessarily the desire) for concentrated utility infrastructures–water can be obtained from wells, power–see above, and information and communications are already delivered by satellite and wireless.

  49. And, it’s pretty silly to assume that there was no (or very little) “non-Y2K compliant” computer technology running around the USSR…what do you think they were aiming their missles with, a compass?

    Atleast give the credit of a sextant.

  50. “Doesn’t anybody realize that urban development in India will lead to a billion people driving cars that get the same MPG as US cars in the 1960’s?”

    That’s ridiculous; after global warming raises sea level 200 meters, they’ll all drive wooden ChrisCrafts!

  51. Also, Wyoming was the last state to raise the drinking age, in 1988, fully two years after Vermont caved.

    And Louisiana still has the best loophole for underage drinking, allowing 18-20 year olds access to bars making enforcement of the law difficult.

  52. I will go on record now predicting that “beamed energy” will not happen. It’s crazy that a liberal even mentioned it. We can’t have handguns, but we can beam huge amounts of energy to millions of homes with nothing to fear (and no enviros are going to care). Right.

  53. Wow, Neu Mejican is teh rulez of teh Googling!

    What you should learn, Randian, is that I know WTF I’m talking about.

  54. joe,

    Face it: you got lucky. Sometines the stuff we pull out of our asses is true, sometimes it’s truthy.

    Don’t get cocky, kid.

  55. de stijl,

    I did not “get lucky,” I knew what I was talking about. The state of computing in the former Soviet Union is hardly a secret.

  56. Uh…

    Joe – “All I know is…AIDS rates are declining”…

    Joe – “I know WTF I’m talking about”

    “According to UNAIDS estimates, the number of people living with HIV worldwide in 2006 was roughly 2.6 million more than in 2004. Approximately 400,000 more new infections occurred worldwide in 2006 than in 2004 (4.3 million compared to 3.9 million), and 200,000 more people died of AIDS (2.9 million compared to 2.7 million). ”

    http://www.pepfar.gov/pepfar/press/81385.htm

    CB

  57. The Real Bill,

    I’m the one who mentioned beamed energy. I am not a liberal, except in the classical/international sense. In fact, I’m still “registered”. . .like a handgun. . .as GOP.

  58. “I do generally agree with Kuntsler that if oil becomes significantly more expensive we will probably find that our system is going to be in a lot of trouble. It’s not hard to imagine the difficulties suburban types will face if car travel becomes 300% more expensive.”

    My worry level about this issue is hovering right around zero. When oil becomes more expensive than average people can afford, the switch to alternatives (biofuels, electric, hydrogen etc.) will be pretty rapid and painless.

  59. joe,

    I should have smilied. I was kidding. Kinda.

  60. When oil becomes more expensive than average people can afford, the switch to alternatives (biofuels, electric, hydrogen etc.) will be pretty rapid and painless.

    That’s a statement of faith if ever I heard one.

  61. Sorry PL, I thought (hoped?) that was joe. Still, it ain’t gonna happen.

  62. BTW, I’m still registered as “Free Spirit” in the “other” party category. (This was years before I realized I was a libertarian. I thought I was a liberal that thought most liberals were stupid. I was wrong about the former, but I still think the latter.)

  63. Cracker’s Boy,

    In the US. People who retroactively deny the AIDS crisis like to point to the predictions that it would become epidemic among heterosexuals in the United States.

  64. “When oil becomes more expensive than average people can afford, the switch to alternatives (biofuels, electric, hydrogen etc.) will be pretty rapid and painless.”

    It won’t be painless, few economic transitions are. But, that doesn’t mean that it will be catastrophic either. The extent of the shock depends on how the oil supply plays out. If oil production just nosedives over a few short years, then the pain will be huge. If it kind of peters out over decades, then you get a soft landing. Oil production could also be sustained long enough that other forms of energy become so cheap that they beat oil on its own terms and demand rather than supply peters out, in which case there wouldn’t be any economic adjustment. Which will be the case is anyone’s guess.

  65. IOW, John –

    It all depends on the DEMAND KURV for oil.

    (with apologies to VM).

  66. Thoreau, beg your pardon since this might be explained in the half or so of the thread I’m not reading, but…

    Go to some other thread and pretend to be worried that economic development in the third world will lead to them adopting (on a large scale) all of the old technologies that we used during our transition from rural to urban economies. You will quickly be reminded that thanks to technological progress the developing world can leap-frog technological generations.

    Doesn’t anybody realize that urban development in India will lead to a billion people driving cars that get the same MPG as US cars in the 1960’s?

    Forgive my inability to derive what exactly you’re mocking, but I’m not sure what you’re on about, so I’ll just ask straight questions.

    1) Are you arguing, suggesting, or implying that the developing world is going to “leapfrog generations” when they industrialize and exclusively use uber-green technology that doesn’t even exist yet?

    2) If not 1960 or 1970 cars ala South American factories, or even 2007 cars, roughly what model year? 2050 cars? 2100? And what year will these roll out? 🙂

  67. The issue, Eric, boiled down to whether developing countries were making significant use of 1970’s mainframe computers in 1999. joe suggested that to the extent that developing countries were relying on computers in 1999 they were mostly relying on machines of more recent vintage (i.e. Y2K compliant).

    Somebody asked joe to cite a source for this phenomenon of developing countries skipping technological generations, so I said that he should say something that would motivate other posters to make the same argument, and then cite them as his source.

    joe came up with the example of cell phones vs. land lines in Africa.

    How did we get to this from Vermont secession? I’m not entirely sure. I just remember that at some point Pro Libertate and I were talking about cheesy scifi movies.

  68. The issue, Eric, boiled down to whether developing countries were making significant use of 1970’s mainframe computers in 1999. joe suggested that to the extent that developing countries were relying on computers in 1999 they were mostly relying on machines of more recent vintage (i.e. Y2K compliant).

    Ah, OK. Couldn’t tell you with any certainty, myself. Of course, it’s not just 1970s mainframes that had that problem, and I think vulnerable 1980s vintage systems started showing up in places like India.

    Somebody asked joe to cite a source for this phenomenon of developing countries skipping technological generations, so I said that he should say something that would motivate other posters to make the same argument, and then cite them as his source.

    You don’t think that’s kinda patronizing, Thoreau? Joe knows how to troll and treat “libertoids” as one homogeneous group and demand that people defend claims someone else entirely made in wholly different contexts.

  69. The Free State Of Vermont would soon become a vassal of Le Republique de Montreal – in other words, French in every meaningful sense. Cheese eating, surrender-monkeyism twice removed.

  70. Well, Eric, it’s a fairly common observation (that developing countries frequently skip technological generations), and it’s frequently made around here (and I certainly consider it to be a useful and important observation in many of our discussions). So I was surprised when joe was asked to back it up. I suspect that in other situations a person would not be asked to back it up. So I playfully suggested that he get somebody else to make the observation.

    Just having fun.

  71. Well, Eric, it’s a fairly common observation (that developing countries frequently skip technological generations), and it’s frequently made around here (and I certainly consider it to be a useful and important observation in many of our discussions).

    You don’t think there might be some notable differences between setting up some cell towers and selling handsets and building a whole working industrial infrastructure?

  72. The technology in question was computers, which is closer to cell towers than, say, electricity generation.

    The one about cars was playful, an attempt to elicit the “You know, developing countries can skip technological generations” response.

  73. The computers one makes sense; the cars one doesn’t. I admit, I may have missed people arguing here that the developing world is going to leapfrog all the way to compliance with Gore’s C02 in their industrialization, but I’ve only seen the exact opposite, people arguing that Kyoto and such restrictions are unreasonable for the developing world.

    I was just asking.

  74. That should be “compliance with Gore’s CO2 recommendations in the course of their industrialization”

  75. thoreau,

    This may not be the first time that we’ve derailed a thread. Usually it’s to a completely silly topic, but somehow we’ve been circumvented back to seriousity. Just not of the original Maple Syrup variety.

    Is there any fructose in maple syrup? What makes it sweet, anyway?

  76. “In the US. People who retroactively deny the AIDS crisis like to point to the predictions that it would become epidemic among heterosexuals in the United States.”

    Joe, you know I’m slow. You said AIDS rates are declining. The United Nations says otherwise. I’m not sure who is a retroactive denier.

    Does that mean you DO know WTF you are talking about… or that you DON’T know WTF you are talking about. As previously pointed out, this thread has moved way off topic, but… I just get annoyed when somebody calls you out, and instead of responding, you get insulting.

    TIA.

    CB

  77. PL-

    I fear that an independent Vermont would become nothing but a Maple Republic under the rule of some Yanqui strongman. They might also serve as a conduit for smuggling illicit discounted pills from Canada.

    But, after a decade or so of corrupt rule, they’d no doubt welcome us as liberators, and throw flowers at us as we march through the streets of Burlington. Don’t worry, syrup revenue alone will cover the reconstruction costs.

  78. Yes, you are slow, Cracker’s Boy, but even you can understand the difference between within the United States and outside of it.

    Stop trolling, dipshit.

  79. BTW, could you please point out the “insulting” part in this?

    “Cracker’s Boy,

    In the US. People who retroactively deny the AIDS crisis like to point to the predictions that it would become epidemic among heterosexuals in the United States.”

    Thanks.

  80. And thanks, Joe. for proving my point. NOW I see where you said “in the United States”. My bad.

    CB

    “I love it when someone makes a prediction, actions are taken to avoid what he predicts, and it works so well that whiners get to say “See, it never came to pass!”

    You see this with Y2K, the spread of AIDS, and acid rain. Massive, multi-year efforts by the public and private sector to implement solutions? What massive, multi-year efforts by the public and private sectors to implement solutions? All I know is, my computer still works, AIDS rates are declining, and lakes in upstate New York are coming back.”

  81. it’s “insulting” because he doesn’t “get” it.

    You know, like using stats (correctly) or using big words. Or foreign languages.

    You know, “insulting”.

    *munches cheese sandwich thoughtfully. looks to horizon for a moment, thinking. nods. takes another bite.

  82. Guys, can we focus on what really matters here? The Maple Army is trying to establish an independent Vermontistan, threatening regional stability.

  83. We should fight them in Burlington so we don’t have to fight them at IHOP.

  84. We must fight them in Burlington or they will fight us in Bloomington.

  85. I find “Tell you what, look it up yourself, and stop bothering me.” to be somewhat insulting. (Not to me, to AR) Ayn Randian called your bluff and you blew him/her off. That and your “I know WTF I am talking about”.

    Play nice now. Or get back on your meds. (and Previewing before posting, suggests you COULD just share VM’s meds… dude’s high as usual.)

    CB

  86. DrT:

    the main worry there is that Phish will be the court “music” there. And Ben and Jerry will do Bartles and Jaymes style press conferences.

    Then the famous summit with Colonel Sanders and Orville Reddenbacher will end with a “whoever smelt it delt it” sawdust contest.

    Then the coalition to legalize eating yellow snow will sue under NAFTA to be allowed to export the stuff to Plattsburgh, NY, but they’ll get into a kerfluffle with the “Is Champ real” cryptozoology foundation.

    The tricky issue will be resolved in Belgium with the European Court for Proving that Soccer is Better.

    Then it really gets confusing.

    (depending on the “Bloomington”, that might work – if they’re at the Mall, they’ll start charging up a storm, so Equifax will gain a toe hold there, so we can take them over)

  87. thoreau,

    I say let Vermont secede. If we ever face a national security crisis due to a maple syrup embargo, we can always invade. They should be easy to beat.

    Maplelistas? Note that the Canadian flag has a maple leaf on it. Coincidence or vast northern conspiracy? After all, who destroyed the Old Man in the Mountain in New Hampshire? Vermont has never forgotten its lost days of independence, as the Vermont “Republic”.

    I don’t know about y’all, but I’m using powdered sugar and fruit on my waffles from now on. Down with the Green Mountain Boys!

  88. Dissenters will be publicly pickle-barrelled in Red Plaid Square.

  89. VM,

    Equifax? Never! Vermont doesn’t believe in credit reporting! Lenders should just assume that all Vermontites will pay back their loans!

  90. You got, Cracker’s Boy. When I assumed that people would get my reference to a predicted AIDS epidemic that didn’t come to pass, I figured they’d realize that I wasn’t talking about Africa.

    Next time, I’ll make sure to dumb it down for you. Oh, wait, no I won’t.

  91. PL-

    It gets complicated even more by the fact that a neighboring region of Canada has its own secessionist movement. Vermont secession could lead to a Canadian invasion. That wouldn’t be good.

    And then there’s the issue of the town in Vermont that tried to secede and join New Hampshire a few years ago. That would just bog us down in a sticky, syrupy quagmire.

    Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to secede.

  92. “That would just bog us down in a sticky, syrupy quagmire.”

    wait a sec. Throw in a few scantily clad nymphettes with guitars, you have a great party.

    Oooooh! *click* This is an “interstate commerce” issue isn’t it?

  93. A few scantily clad nymphettes with guitars, but no maple syrup, WOULDN’T be a great party?

  94. touche! touche!

  95. You know, a lot of these secessionist disputes can be traced back to mistakes made by British and French mapmakers long before the territory we now call “Vermont” existed.

    They should have had the lines drawn by some neutral third party like, say, the Ottoman Empire. Their mapmakers would have avoided these problems.

  96. Isn’t Vermont pretty much just the “6th borough” of NYC now? What’s the fuss?

    It’s amazing to think that there was a time when Vermont was known for liberty.

  97. …a lot of these secessionist disputes can be traced back to mistakes made by British and French mapmakers…

    Oh, right. Blame the surveyors.

    They always blame the surveyors.

  98. The British have a terrible time with drawing lines. Look at the Middle East or India. Or Vermont.

    I fear some sort of Pack of Maple between Vermont and Canada. Why, it could take the United States hours to defeat their combined might. Maybe even a whole day!

    The Green Menace is already spreading. Be mildly apprehensive. Be very mildly apprehensive.

  99. You guys are forgetting the other significant natural resource which makes Vermont famous; rocks. The farmers grow rocks in their fields, and harvest them for use in making fences and houses of worship. If Vermont secedes we expose ourselves to a grave risk of a stonewall gap!

  100. The decadent Vermont Teddy Bears in their enclaves on the coasts are not dead (although they are stuffed) – and may well mount what amounts to a fifth column.

  101. If Vermont secedes we expose ourselves to a grave risk of a stonewall gap!

    If there is a serious stonewall shortage it could very well lead to Stonewall riots.

  102. Is there a mutant, zombie Teddy Bear gap? Egad.

  103. “I do generally agree with Kuntsler that if oil becomes significantly more expensive we will probably find that our system is going to be in a lot of trouble. It’s not hard to imagine the difficulties suburban types will face if car travel becomes 300% more expensive.”

    But the relationship between that decentralization of economic activity and secession is… nonobvious, to say the least. The reasons for and against having a continent-sized nation-state really aren’t much affected by how expensive or cheap it is to drive across the whole thing… or even to ship goods across the whole thing.

    When the US first expanded to the Pacific, without railroads getting there first, transportation costs from one end of the US market to the other were vastly higher in real or proportional-to-GDP terms than I can ever imagine them becoming again. The size of the US wasn’t determined by cheap gas and the interstate highway system..

  104. VM,

    “touche! touche!”

    Easy there, buddy. The nymphettes are going to want a little extra for that.

  105. “Isn’t Vermont pretty much just the “6th borough” of NYC now? What’s the fuss?”

    I think Connecticut claimed that title years ago, followed by Rhode Island and Newark, NJ

  106. Nah, northern Rhode Island is South South Boston.

  107. That’s Rhode Island and Providence Plantations to you, buddy. I predict another secession over this.

  108. Hey, what’s with all all this anti-Rhode Island talk?

    I’ve got family in Rhode Island.

    And I’ll have you know, not one, I say, not one, has ever been indicted. 🙂

  109. Now, I can’t speak for the ones in Jersey. 🙂

  110. Let them secede. We will crush them, lay waste to their cities and their countryside. After Victory we wil rule them with appointed corrupt Negroes.

    Future Historians will regard this “Reconstruction age” as a glorious progressive paradise.

  111. joe, Neu Mejican:

    Lots of applications over here were found not to be date sensitive, either, even if they stored their dates in two-character format. Meaning, they wouldn’t shut down or fail catastrophically. There would be minor errors but nothing civilization-ending.

    I can Google, too. I quote this report:

    “Although the report noted that 1 to 3% failure rates were typical in unremediated systems, test failures that could indicate a possible impact on electricity production or delivery were extremely rare.”

    That’s unremediated systems, here in the good ol’ US of A, where we was all advanced technomologically and stuff.

    Rather a lot of the effort on Y2K was testing and finding nothing wrong. But testing costs money, hence the dollar figures spent.

    Oh, and as for the “recent vintage” stuff…at USAID, they were worrying about whether the PCs of recent vintage they had given to Kazakhstan were Y2K compliant–they weren’t–and whether they should replace them (they didn’t, though under the rules they should have).

    Just because a lot of money was spent doesn’t mean the problem wasn’t overblown. Lots of people wasted a lot of time and money fixing software that had very little business/life impact if the date flipped.

  112. This is, of course, the same Vermont that an entire county is trying to leave to join another state. Vermont is such an odd state it would have to be invented if it didn’t already exist.

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