Thursday, February 24, 2005

Mea Culpa

Mes Amis,
Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. [Veni. Vidi. Vici. All those years of foreign language in school and that’s all I can remember.] Your humble PVBlogger has been AWOL since last Sunday, allowing Library business to interfere with my retirement party. OK, so I’ve also played a good bit of bridge on the Zone. Friend Pam invited me to play in a tournament; we came in second, now I’m hooked. At any rate, I’ve been experiencing blog deprivation so here I am raring to go.

I’ll answer some of the interesting comments on the last few posts.

What Liberals Think About Poverty: Ralph ( asked about Star Parker, author of Uncle Sam’s Plantation. Star is also the founder and president of CURE, the Coalition of Urban Renewal and Education ( Remarkable woman! Anonymous, is an actual Republican who believes “global warming is real; let’s take some sensible action.” I heartily agree that freedom and individual responsibility are two sides of the liberty coin, and that Liberals are ruled by their feelings. My global warming strategy is cautious regulation (not Kyoto) coupled with aggressive technology development, ie the Bush energy policy. BTW, Anony, please sign your nick so I don’t confuse you with other Anony’s. Narrator accused me of using “funny statistics.” He claims that the University of Michigan poverty study is discredited by looking at rural Mississippi and Detroit. Sorry, but anecdotes don’t discredit scientific studies based on huge stats. I’ll also point to the US Treasury study that showed the same upward mobility. Look it up. And I was comparing American poor to middle class people in Europe. America is doing great, rich and poor alike. Only the 3 million chronically poor are in big trouble and we should help them. Many are caught in the welfare trap. Ralph answers Anony pointing out that Lib’s are not exactly feeling good by embracing the Kyoto restrictions. But remember, Lib’s love collective responsibility.

Global Warming Postscript: Anony frets that the global warming solution is always presented as “all or nothing.” Why not make individual choices like buying a car with better gas mileage? Again, Anony and I agree. I recently traded in my gas guzzling SUV for a Porsche. Aren’t I the internationalist?

Good friend and great American John Kolin and I are working on an opinion piece for the local rag (the Palos Verdes Peninsula News) about Republican beliefs. We felt that the commentaries written by News reporters about Democrats were slightly biased.


Blogger Ralph said...

Link you opinion piece if PV News is online. Arn't they now owned by LAT? or did I make that up.

9:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I write earlier:

"I actually cut my electric and gasoline bills in half. It wasn't hard. I just got rid of my old refrigerator, switching to a not very expensive Sears model. And when it came time to replace my two cars, I picked replacements with better mileage."

I was counting from my "worst cars." I started in the 70's with small cars, but was seduced by the 80's and 90's cheap oil. At one point my two cars were a Porsche 928s and a Jeep Cherokee, and then later a Camaro z28 6-speed and another Jeep Cherokee.

I think that Porsche got worse mileage than the SUV.

I really only came to the conclusion five years ago that global warming was real enough that hogs like that weren't justified.

So I stepped down now to a Honda S2000 and a Subaru WRX wagon. They both get low 20s city, and high 20s highway.

They are still fun cars. The S2000 especially so.

On my next batch of cars I think I can improve that again. Something like a Mini Cooper would fill the "sport" slot at higher efficiency ... and who knows maybe a hyrbird to replace the Subaru.

6:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Waking up a little more, and having another cup of coffee, I think I should pick up on that fragment: "Why not make individual choices [...]"

I think ultimately there will be two parts to this. I think cultural standards will move to put more value on fuel efficiency.

Unfortunately, the air we breathe, and the climate we leave our descendants, are something we all share in common. They are not "individual."

We might fall into the classic economic situation where some people (perhaps many people) do the right thing, but "free riders" can spoil it.

If I buy a Prius, and my neighbor buys a Porsche Cayenne (mileage 15 city, 19 highway), then my descendants are no better off.

The question, as in much of politics, ultimately comes down to one's view of human nature. If the safety (or quality of life) of our grandchildren depends on the concerted action of all of us today ... will "individual choices" be enough, or will some (hopefully gentle) legislative inducemnt be required?

Speaking as a believer in free markets, and as someone who distrusts government interference, I really wish we had taken a different turn in the 70's. Rather than dream up CAFE standards, guzzler taxes, SUV exceptions, and a hodge-podge of regulation - we should have gone with a simple fuel tax.

We could have started it small, but made it clear that it would increase over the next 30 years. Today we'd have smaller cars, probably the same out-of-pocket for weekly fuel expense, but also better national security, and so on ...

8:04 AM  
Blogger Ralph said...

I definitely agree with Anon that a gasoline tax is cleaner and more effective than the rediculous mileage regulations we currently have. My problem is in giving the government more money. They are sure to use it badly no matter what they might say or intend.
Re:Purchases it is fine to be personally accountable and make "wise" decisions but when those decisions get imposed on your neighbors who are making their own "wise" decisions.

8:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think there is a dividing line between idealists and pragmatists ... idealists will stick with a principle that actually injures themselves (or their descendants).

To put it in stark terms, I can afford a Prius. It would be a trivial expense for me.

But why should I?

As long as it is only me, and the few like me, I'm not really doing anything to improve the lives of my descendants.

The aggregate fleet mileage for the country contines to decline, and the per-capita fuel consuption continues to rise.

Why should I throw away money in that environment?

9:10 AM  

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