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May 31, 2004

Comments

i saw the film and 60 Minutes. Not sure which was scarier but the most moving was the Andy Rooney tribute to the fallen soldiers, all 800+ of them (as of airtime yesterday, more died today unfortunately). And what will we do about conspicuous consumption? Very little as a whole i'm afraid but some of us are determined to do what we can individually. And my kudos to Jake Gyllenhaal who actually managed to put in a nice performance and dodge wooden dialogue in a disaster flick (easier said than done as Quaid couldn't escape).

In the long history of mankind, there haven't been a lot of people humming and singing "Can't, stop, thinking about tomorrow".

On the positive side, there are probably more who are thinking ahead who are alive now than the total of all those thinking ahead since before we learned how to put an edge on a rock.

On the negative side, doesn't everyone on the part of the planet where cars are used already know that we have less than 100 years left of significant amounts of petroleum?

And the trees are disappearing. And the fish. And potable water.

Altruism doesn't seem to be a major survival instinct in homo sapiens.

"But I've got mine".

If the negative externalities don't get us the ever increasing price of gas will. The price troughs will never be as low as it was a couple years ago. The peaks will start breaking records in real dollars in the next couple of years (maybe longer as I don't know how the .25/gal of the thirties translates to today's prices). Its not that there isn't alot of oil for the taking but that extraction has reached something of a plateau. Conservation is our best solution for maintaining the fossil fuel economy until newer technologies start to take over.

That would be "Don't stop thinkin' about tomorrow".

Conservation is something to consider, but it's not going to fix the problem. The problem is the world is getting wealthier, as witnessed by the sudden increase in car ownership in China. Another problem, of course, is the world population is growing ten percent every seven years or so.

It's hard to cut back population without highly authoritarian governments, and when such government does pop up, it's largely unconcerned with population problems.

It's a problem, and one whose various solutions range from unpleasant to...extremely unpleasant. In the meantime, my current car is a thirteen-year-old Sentra and my next one will likely be something similar. But I'm a money-grubbing Republican; I expect more from the ecologically-minded Democrats.

BTW Edward, do you own a car? The logistics of car ownership in the big city are, fortunately, ones that I've not had to deal with. My brother lived in Chicago, owned a car, but had some sort of deal where he got free garaging. Possibly he just stowed it in the employee parking section at work. He rarely used it, in any event, because the El was within walking distance.

No Slarti, I don't own a car. Haven't since I lived in DC (dear me, 10 years ago now...damn, I'm getting old). I take public transportation, but then it's extremely convenient, so that's not a judgement about anyone who doesn't.

I will rent a car if I need one (and I'll admit, I once rented an SUV when I visited my family in Ohio and it was really fun to drive). Of course, I still "car-pooled" as much as possible during that visit and tried to make the most out of every gallon of gas. Old habits die hard.

"It's hard to cut back population without highly authoritarian governments..."

I think this presents a simplistic, and overly pessimistic, view of fertility rates. First of all, there is a large unmet demand in the developing world for family planning. You would think Republicans would be in favor of funding voluntary family planning efforts (rather than suggesting that command-and-control fertility policies were the way to go) but our government prefers to play domestic politics with international family planning.

On top of that, there would probably be even greater demand for family planning if took simple steps to promote economic growth in developing nations, such as lifting tariff barriers on textile imports or agriculture (including sugar). Economic growth, plus education aid, probably represent the most effective mean of reducing population growth.

Finally, I'd suggest it's a little disingenous to suggest that increasing population (or increasing development) is the problem when the 4% of the world population in this country consume something like 25% of the world's resources. It's true that a bunch of factors contribute here, but arguably the problem isn't the increasing population in developing nations (or their level of consumption), but our unsustainably high rate of consumption.

Back a little more OT, I think, Edward, you have to figure out when "conservatives" became more interested in extracting resources than conserving them. I think it in part probably traces back to a reaction to Jimmy Carter's suggestion we all wear sweaters in the house and not light the national monuments, and in part has to do with the evolution of the Republican party.

We've just started the process of shopping for a new car to replace our current 10-year-old minivan. I was hoping to get something with good gas mileage, but my wife is fairly insistent on having the extra space of a minivan. I did a bit of web research and got all excited when I found that Toyota makes a hybrid minivan, only to discover that they don't sell it in the US due to a perceived lack of market. So now that damn American gas-guzzling mentality is essentially keeping me from buying a more environmentally-friendly vehicle.

On the other hand, when I asked our local Toyota dealer about test-driving a Prius, he said there was a 10-month wait for them, so maybe Toyota has simply misjudged the market. He also has a long list of people signed up for the Highlander hybrid SUV, which doesn't even come out for another six months.

to jim in portland:

we actually have lots of trees. the policy question is whether to cut down the really old ones (like in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska), or whether to limit the harvest to trees planted for the purpose of being harvested. Demand for timber is one area where we can augment supply. (another real problem with timber is that consumers like the fancy woods, which is why Costa Rican rainforest is vanishing. very hard problem.)

a sufficient volume of sufficiently clean water is really just a matter of money. clean-up technologies can scrub just about everything out of the water these days.

but we are running out of fish.

and i loved the vp's apology in ADAT about misuse of resources. and the scene of americans wading the rio grande got a big cheer here in SoCal with a large latino audience.

cheers

francis

Blaming world population control problems on Republicans is laughable, you have to admit. Oh yes, the Chairman was a Republican plant.

If we hold a stable population in the US, and the rest of the world continues to grow at 1.4% per annum, then energy use of the rest of the world is going to grow at a little over one percent per year. And the more people we bring into this country, the faster our energy usage grows. Remember, too, that one of the reason prices are going up is that China's need for oil is on the upswing. Growth in usage in the single largest country in the world is something to pay attention to.

If you've got any specific ideas about conservation, please throw them out. Or, you could throw darts some more. Hey, I'll even grant you that it's all the Republicans' fault, and that Democrats never, ever drive SUVs, have personal jet aircraft, or do anything else to waste energy. Democrats are poor, humble, and always welcome the presence of alternative energy generation devices into their neighborhoods.

FDL, the best line in TDAT had to be when the newscaster announced that the US government had struck a deal with Latin American countries (who were not letting US citizens evacuate into their countries) and forgave all the Latin American debt. That prompted cheers in the NYC audience.

I'm not blaming "world population problems on Republicans" and I don't think that's a remotely fair characterization of my post.

I'm saying that there are concrete programs we could support that would reduce fertility rates, but the Republicans in Congress and the Administration refuse to support family planning programs that in any way are connected to abortion or to China (because of China's one child policy), and as a result there is unmet demand for family planning in developing nations.

Likewise, there are concrete steps we could take that would improve economic growth, and would very likely lead to a lowering of the fertility rate, but the Congress and the Administration are unlikely to take any of those steps either (see Mallaby's recent op-ed in the WaPo for an example).

If you want concrete examples of conservation in the US, we can discuss those too. First, I'd point out that (assuming my figures in the original post are accurate, which I wouldn't swear to right now), a 4% cut in our resource use (from 25% to 24% of worldwide resources) is equivalent to the entire increase in the rest of the world. Again, I no longer have data at my fingertips but I would guess the US could accomplish in the range of 15-20% cut in resource use with no significant effect on standard of living.

Now this does assume we start doing things like driving more fuel efficient cars, so if you think driving an Expedition significantly contributes to your standard of living, then we might disagree, but that estimate is largely based on doing the things we are doing, but doing them more efficiently.

So there's any easy first proposal for conservation -- tougher efficiency standards for everything from cars to water heaters to clothes dryers to air conditioners. There's been progress here in the last 10 years, but there's still a lot more room, and yes, I think it's fair to say that progress on energy efficiency standards has come in spite of, not because of, Republicans in office.

Again, you've basically blamed world problems on Republicans. You say you don't, but you turn right around and do it again. How a couple of hundred million can be held responsible for the action of the other 5 billion plus is a mystery to me. And to you, too, for all we can tell from the evidence given.

And then you pop out a few generalities about conservation. How, exactly? Do you think people don't know that conservation might help? Is it your intention to get conservation enforced by law?

The problem isn't that the world is getting wealthier. That's actually the best solution to the problem. As the wealth of other nations grow two things get to happen. First, the people there can actually care about the environment as opposed ot having to scrape for their next meal. Environmental concerns are a luxury when you're starving. Second, wealth provides for innovation. Businesses have money to put into development and equipment that is more efficient and environmentally-friendly.

We'd want the world to get richer because it's better for everyone when we do. It doesn't hurt environmental concerns that Europe isn't reproducing at a sustainable rate right now either. The continent is actually depopulating right now. Smaller families are also a sign of affluence. You don't have as many children because you don't need them to work the manual labor required to keep you alive when you're living in an agrarian society instead of one where technology does much of that work better.

"It's hard to cut back population without highly authoritarian governments"

I assume you mean 'in 3rd world countries'. The longer term solution is to make them not-3rd-world-countries, since there's a splendidly tight correlation between prosperity and reduced birth rates.

Of course, prosperity leads to consumption of resources without technology to make resource consumption more efficient. So let's work on that. Instead of. . oh. . cutting funding for UNFPA.

Slarti: Again, you've basically blamed world problems on Republicans. You say you don't, but you turn right around and do it again.

Mind-reading penalty.

(I assume you're attempting to read Doh's mind, since you're certainly not responding to what he's actually writing in this thread.)

(I assume you're attempting to read Doh's mind, since you're certainly not responding to what he's actually writing in this thread.)

Oh? Maybe I've missed his point. It looks to me as if:

1) You would think Republicans would be in favor of funding voluntary family planning efforts (rather than suggesting that command-and-control fertility policies were the way to go) but our government prefers to play domestic politics with international family planning.

2) I'm saying that there are concrete programs we could support that would reduce fertility rates, but the Republicans in Congress and the Administration refuse to support family planning programs that in any way are connected to abortion or to China (because of China's one child policy), and as a result there is unmet demand for family planning in developing nations.

3) Likewise, there are concrete steps we could take that would improve economic growth, and would very likely lead to a lowering of the fertility rate, but the Congress and the Administration are unlikely to take any of those steps either (see Mallaby's recent op-ed in the WaPo for an example).

and, finally,

4) There's been progress here in the last 10 years, but there's still a lot more room, and yes, I think it's fair to say that progress on energy efficiency standards has come in spite of, not because of, Republicans in office.

Are cases in point. I could argue counter to these, but the point remains that Mr. Doh (can I call you John?) has, in fact, and without any excessive interpretation on my part, lain a good chunk of our worldly woes at the feet of the Republican party.

We didn't invent the One Child policy, any more than we invented the notion that China could just breed the world's largest standing army. And I say again, the idea that less than two percent of the world's population can be held to blame for the problems of the remaining 98% is just laughable. Not to mention, unevidenced and unsupportable.

If this isn't responding to what he actually wrote, perhaps he used a sort of virtual disappearing ink, and I just missed what he really meant by all that.

"the idea that less than two percent of the world's population can be held to blame for the problems of the remaining 98% is just laughable"

While I don't necessarily hold to Mr. D'oh's views, I think you go too far in discounting them. We're not talking about a random 2% sampling here. We're talking about the most powerful nation on the planet. The US has enormous leverage in providing resources to and affecting the behavior of other nations. Whether we're 'responsible' for population growth is, in part, a question of how you define responsible. . in the same way that someone who has the power to stop a mugging but chooses not to might be 'responsible'.

...in the same way that someone who has the power to stop a mugging but chooses not to might be 'responsible'.

But...but...that would be violating the sovereignty of other nations. Wouldn't it?

And how, exactly, we were to have prevented the buildup of population in China and India in the last few decades is a mystery to me. As, I suspect, it is to you.

"that would be violating the sovereignty of other nations"

That's absurd. I'm sure you know why, so I won't bother going into it.

"how, exactly, we were to have prevented the buildup of population in China and India in the last few decades is a mystery to me"

Who said anything about the last few decades? I'm talking about now.
You might be interested in this link (warning: PDF). In particular, Figure 19, which details the age demographics of various regions. Note China's about to fall into a hole when it breaks a record for % of population at retirement age. Note sub-saharan Africa is inordinately young.

Related is this link (also PDF), in particular the parts about the 35% unmet need for contraception among married women in sub-saharan Africa.

Like I said, I'm not interested in going off about how it's our job to control population. I'm just saying it's incorrect to imply we have no ability to make a difference. Or to say that the Republican party's doctrine of eliminating internation family planning doesn't make a difference.

has, in fact, and without any excessive interpretation on my part, lain a good chunk of our worldly woes at the feet of the Republican party.

Oh, really? What it looks like to me is that Doh is pointing out that there are policies the Republican party could adopt that would be of genuine value to the world - but that instead, the Republican party is choosing to adopt/promote policies that are the exact reverse. That's what I get from reading what Doh actually wrote. Your assertion that he's blaming all these problems on the Republican party is pure mind-reading.

To make an example:

My neighbour runs a gas-guzzling SUV. (She doesn't, actually: this is a purely fictitious example.) She goes on longhaul flights whenever she goes on holiday. If I were to claim she was causing gas shortages, that would be foolish. But it's perfectly fair to say that her lifestyle is part of the problem: she uses up immense amounts of gas every time she runs her car and every time she goes on holiday.

Doh has asserted that the Republicans are part of the problem. Which is perfectly true. He has nowhere asserted that the Republicans are the cause of the problem, which would not be true. That's your own invention, and you are arguing against. You're normally pretty good at recognizing your own straw man, Slarti: what's the problem here?

There's a few underlying assumptions here that you're failing to take into account:

1) That anything whatever that we, as a nation, resolve to do will be of any interest at all to the rest of the world.

2) That anything that we, as a nation, actually decide to do will actually be allowed to put into practice anywhere.

2.5) That anything we put into action will get any non-negligible rate of participation in the country(ies) in question.

3) That the proposed actions (which no one has really made anything resembling a verifiable reference to, as far as I can tell) are acceptable to over half (and I'm playing fast and loose with how policy gets made, here, but if it's taxpayer dollars being spent, it's the taxpayers who get to approve how they get spent) of the population.

And I've probably missed a good deal more. This should be enough for the time being, though. This is not about strawmen, Jesurgislac. This is just you not understanding what I'm saying. It could be poor communication skills on my part; it wouldn't be the first time that's happened.

And the idea that we're somehow to blame because we refuse to support China's continuing cultural biases by subsidizing wholesale abortion is offensive. If you think about it for a while, it may occur to you that change might be required in one or two places in the world besides here in the U.S. Not saying we couldn't use an adjustment or two, mind you. And back to China again, there are serious issues that are already arising due to the imbalance between female and male population there. Do you think tipping them even more out of balance is something we ought to be shooting for?

Recall, too, that India attempted some sort of enforced birth control. This didn't work well at all. In order for widespread contraceptive measures to be effective, the population has to recognize and agree to the need for such measures. Hence my comment regarding authoritarian measures. The idea that people are just going to smack themselves on the forehead in the sudden realization that all they had to do all along was wear a sheath on their John Henry is just Pythonesque.

And, on the flipside, I agree that the aversion of the Republican party to advocate any sort of birth control is just asinine. Any true conservative ought to be able to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. I just think that particular brand of myopia has absolutely nothing to do with the situation we're now in, and has tenuous connection with where we go from here. And not to jump on the already-overloaded hack-on-the-UN bandwagon, but this is really something the UN ought to be involved in.

I encourage you to do some more research.
Nobody is talking about China. Nobody is talking about forced birth control. Nobody is 'blaming' the US for population (well. . maybe Doh was . he/she will have to address that him/herself).

"this is really something the UN ought to be involved in."
You mean like The United Nations Population Fund, which the House cut US funding for along partisan lines? And before you complain that the US shouldn't prop up the world (even though we should, it's in our best interest), we don't.

Whoops. Last link should be here

he/she will have to address that him/herself

Just so.

...the House cut US funding for along partisan lines...

A link would have been nice for that. But, taking you at your word, the UNFPA isn't about population control. It's not even about population planning by consensus. I'm not saying its objectives aren't praiseworthy, just that they are different enough from what I'm talking about so as to nearly be a change of subject. Population control does make it into their mission statement, but there's nothing in the way of concrete goals.

I’m sorry, I had a nice long post written but the computer ate it, so this’ll probably be a shorter, less clear version.

Slartibartfast, as others have pointed out, nowhere did I say that the U.S., or Republicans, are responsible for everything bad in the world, or even for current fertility rates. All I said was that if you want to reduce fertility rates (which your initial post supported) then the way to go about it isn’t forced birth control (which I understood your initial post to support, by its reference to “authoritarian governments”), but rather to meet the demand for family planning that already exists among poor families, and particularly women, in less developed countries. I suppose my position implies that fertility rates are somewhat higher than they would be if Republicans didn’t control Congress and the agencies, but my point is not that we are responsible for everything that happens everywhere, but rather that we could do some limited amout of good, and we’re not doing it.

I can’t tell from your later posts whether you agree with the proposition that it is in the best interests of the world (including the US) to enable every woman who wants contraception to have it, or whether you think it is “Pythonesque.” If you think it is a laughing matter, then I think you might want to click through sidereal’s link(s), and get more information about the availability of family planning methods to women living in less developed countries. It’s not as if contraception grows on trees, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.

Frankly, I don’t understand most of the “underlying assumptions” you identified. I don’t think it matters at all if the rest of the world is interested in our conservation efforts—they are in our own best interests economically and environmentally. Obviously, it matters if less developed countries are interested in our development efforts, but the UNFPA only operates where it is wanted, and it has no problems operating around the world (except perhaps to the extent that the lack of US funding prevents it from doing as much as it could). Furthermore, UNFPA’s mission is to give access to contraception to people who want it in large part because that is the most effective way to slow population growth. If you think promoting voluntary family planning is a change of subject from “cut[ting] back population” then I think we better just call it a day on this discussion.

Last, I’m sorry if my reference to “tougher energy efficiency standards” was not clear. I was referring to strengthening (and broadening) existing legal requirements for minimum standards for energy efficiency (including the CAFE mileage standards for cars and minimum efficiency standards for appliances such as water heaters, dryers, dishwashers etc.)

...which I understood your initial post to support, by its reference to “authoritarian governments”...

If I've ever said one word in support of authoritarian governments, please point it (or them) out.

If you think it is a laughing matter

Again, it should be crystal clear that I think it naive in the extreme to suppose that just because you, for instance, think birth control desirable and intelligent, that others in a position to benefit from said contraception will willingly practice it. Hence the Pythonesque reference. If you'd seen the movie you'd have understood the point.

Finally, you think it matters little if other nations are interested in or are convinced of the necessity of population control. To which I say this: it's either voluntary or involuntary. They either have to be convinced enough to practice, or they're going not going to do it. Which leads us to the authoratarian government remark. Which I'll admit wasn't in good taste, but I thought (wrongly) that no one in their right mind would take it at face value.

"you, for instance, think birth control desirable and intelligent, that others in a position to benefit from said contraception will willingly practice it"

"the proposition that it is in the best interests of the world (including the US) to enable every woman who wants contraception to have it".

Emphasis mine.

"If I've ever said one word in support of authoritarian governments"

"the way to go about it isn’t forced birth control (which I understood your initial post to support"

Emphasis mine.

"you think it matters little if other nations are interested in or are convinced of the necessity of population control. To which I say this: it's either voluntary or involuntary"

"Obviously, it matters if less developed countries are interested in our development efforts, but the UNFPA only operates where it is wanted,"

Emphasis mine.

Crap, Slarti. Are you even reading the comments?


I'd ask the same of you. Evidently you've failed to understand nearly everything I've said in this thread. In particular, you seem to be confused about my advocating authoritarian governments, when I've specifically swatted that one down on at least two occasions. What's the frequency, Kenneth?

Let's not get bogged down on the reference to authoritarian governments; I am happy to acknowledge that you didn't express any support for authoritarian governments.

But likewise I hope you take a closer look at my posts, because you seem to be pretty seriously misreading them.

More importantly, as a factual matter, I think it's objectionable to suggest that everyone who wants contraception in the developing world has access to it. The issue is not whether governments do or do not have a fertility policy-- it's about whether individuals do or do not have the ability to make their own choices (without certain constraints that poverty would otherwise place on them).

I never suggested you advocated authoritarian governments. I thought Doh hadn't either (To be pedantic I thought 'which' modified 'said', not 'forced birth control'), but on re-reading I'm unsure about that, so whatever.

My other complaints stand. There exists an unmet demand for family planning and contraceptives in areas with the most short-term impact on global population growth. That demand is being undermet because of policies advocated by Republican leadership. That's the point. Why you mix in forced birth control in India and China, I have no idea.

I suppose it stems from your original assertion that population growth can only be managed by authoritarian governments, which you have provided no evidence or analytical support for.

To save Slarti grief, I nominate Doh to carry the torch on this topic.

I suppose it stems from your original assertion that population growth can only be managed by authoritarian governments, which you have provided no evidence or analytical support for.

To save Slarti grief, I nominate Doh to carry the torch on this topic.

Once you've actually pointed to that assertion, I'll gladly comply. If you go back and read it (for the first time, I'd guess) you'll notice that I said no such thing.

That demand is being undermet because of policies advocated by Republican leadership.

And the silliness continues.

Your original post said "It's hard to cut back population without highly authoritarian governments..."

At this point I would hesitate to say what meaning you intended to convey, but it seems to me that "population growth can only be managed by authoritarian governments" is a fair paraphrase of this statement (although you go on to say that even those governments are not interested in actually controlling population).

If you want to learn more about the effect of Republican politics on UNFPA's budget, and the effect of cuts in UNFPA's budget on women around the world, you could start with this link, http://www.plannedparenthood.org/global/education/viewer.asp?ID=53.

Although I appreciate the honor that sidereal has bestowed on me, I think I might have to decline further torch-carrying simply because you refuse to engage in any reasoned discussion, in favor of simply characterizing every objection to Republican policies (or every description of the effect of those policies in the real world) as "silliness." I happen to believe policies do matter in the real world.

At this point I would hesitate to say what meaning you intended to convey, but it seems to me that "population growth can only be managed by authoritarian governments" is a fair paraphrase of this statement (although you go on to say that even those governments are not interested in actually controlling population).

At this point, I would go back and question my premises. But that's me.

The rest is going to have to wait; I've got third-world servants I have to go oppress.

You know, instead of demurring and snarking for a dozen posts you could actually just spell out exactly what you were trying to say then, since it obviously didn't come through the first time. It'd save everyone a lot of bandwidth.

I happen to believe policies do matter in the real world.

Well, yes. They do. So much is obvious. But if Slarti doesn't want to engage in reasonable discussion about the international effects of Republican international policy, we can't make him.

Well, I am attempting to address these things one by one, sidereal, but we can't seem to get by the bit about authoritarian governments. How can I expect you to understand the more complex points if you can't even get the simple ones?

Look: it's simple. Energy usage isn't going to decrease while world population is on the increase. It especially isn't going to decrease while the largest country in the world is increasing its energy demands, and that rapidly. The birth-control measures referred to elsewhere in this thread are a side issue; it's only going to slightly slow population growth.

UNFPA also suffers from PR problems. There's a perception (unfounded, possibly) that UNFPA's charter includes worldwide abortion on demand. This simply isn't going to fly with a sizable chunk of our population, regardless of whether you call them Republicans or something else. They didn't do themselves any favors (PR-wise) in Kosovo, either. There's much that's unworkable about UNFPA's approach, and those things need to be repaired, and soon.

As for snark, there's plenty of it going around. And sometimes it's more...polite I guess, to twit you than the engage in invective.

"At this point, I would go back and question my premises. But that's me."

I hope you do. Here are some of your premises that need to be questioned—

“It's hard to cut back population without highly authoritarian governments”

“Energy usage isn't going to decrease while world population is on the increase.”

“The birth-control measures referred to elsewhere in this thread are a side issue”

“There's much that's unworkable about UNFPA's approach.”

UNFPA also suffers from PR problems. There's a perception (unfounded, possibly) that UNFPA's charter includes worldwide abortion on demand.

Utterly unfounded, Slarti, as you'd know if you'd taken the trouble to enter two words into Google: UNFPA charter. Check out the Republican website that happens to come up first on the list.

Follow this up with the FAQ on UNFPA's website.

It doesn't look like it's UNFPA's approach that needs to be repaired: it looks like it's the nasty habit of passing on unfounded rumors without bothering to check the facts that needs to be repaired. Do you want to be part of the solution, or part of the problem?

Given that the two of you seem steadfastedly determined to misunderstand, I'm going to stop this conversation. There's only so many times I can re-clarify, only for it to be ignored.

Given that the two of you seem steadfastedly determined to misunderstand, I'm going to stop this conversation.

If I'm one of the "two of you", what exactly have I misunderstood about your position?

You asserted (falsely) that Doh was blaming world problems on Republicans.

You asserted (falsely) that UNFPA is pro-abortion.

In neither instance can I see that I misunderstood what you were asserting: indeed, you defended your claim about what Doh "really" meant quite assertively, despite mind-reading penalties.

There's a perception (unfounded, possibly) that UNFPA's charter includes worldwide abortion on demand.

You asserted (falsely) that UNFPA is pro-abortion.

Does . . . not . . . compute.

An assertion that UNFPA is perceived as pro-abortion is not an assertion that UNFPA is pro-abortion. Particularly when the person making the former assertion acknowledges that the perception to which he alluded may be unfounded. Unless the person making the latter assertion is spectacularly dishonest, which of course is obviously not the case.

An assertion that UNFPA is perceived as pro-abortion is not an assertion that UNFPA is pro-abortion.

Except that isn't just what Slartibartfast asserted, is it? You missed his editorial note: (unfounded, possibly) - which implies strongly that he never bothered to do the obvious: go look up the UNFPA website and find out for himself what UNFPA's policy on abortion is. If he had, he would have been able to say (correctly) that this is completely unfounded, but nonetheless a PR problem. That was what I was slamming in my previous comment: Slarti's failure to do some pretty obvious and very easy research. If he's prepared to slam UNFPA without ever doing the most basic and obvious research on them, plainly, he's making himself part of their "bad PR" problem.

Slarti's failure to do some pretty obvious and very easy research.

Ah, more in the way of erroneous assumptions. Is there some sort of quota that you're short of, in this respect?

Ah, more in the way of erroneous assumptions. Is there some sort of quota that you're short of, in this respect?

No, straightforward deduction, Slarti. You didn't know whether or not UNFPA supported abortion. A quick check on the UNFPA website would have told you that it didn't. Ergo, you failed to do some pretty obvious and very easy research.

I'm going to be ongoingly entertained by your insistence on just making things up, Jesurgislac. There's at least two flaws in your argument that I could point out, but I'm just going to let you continue to be wrong.

Except that isn't just what Slartibartfast asserted, is it? You missed his editorial note: (unfounded, possibly)

I'm going to risk a violation of the posting rules here, and ask if you are simply a pathological liar, mentally retarded, or maliciously ignorant, because there is not a fourth option.

Not only did I cut-and-paste his "editorial note," I then specifically called attention to it (Particularly when the person making the former assertion acknowledges that the perception to which he alluded may be unfounded.)

Given that, on what basis can you possibly claim that I "missed his editorial note?" Seriously -- I'm finding it increasingly impossible to take anything you say seriously, given your penchant for egregious misquoting, ignoring inconvenient facts, and simply making things up.

I'm going to be ongoingly entertained by your insistence on just making things up, Jesurgislac.

What exactly are you claiming I made up, Slarti?

There's at least two flaws in your argument that I could point out, but I'm just going to let you continue to be wrong.

*shrug* I guess you're in a corner with no way out but to deny everything. This seems a bit foolish to me: how about just admitting that you didn't think to look up the UNFPA website? This was foolish of you, but nobody's perfect.

Hmmm...getting kind of stormy in here.


Phil, I'm getting (unwisely) increasingly irritated with Slarti's persistent refusal on this thread to read and respond to what people are actually saying. I'm therefore going to walk away from this thread and cool down before I say something I'd regret. I would seriously recommend that next time you're tempted to break the posting rules, you do the same thing.

Actually, I'd rather have an acknowledgement from you that you lied, there, claiming I'd missed the words "possibly unfounded." (I'll even accept "sloppily failed to notice," since I'm one generous guy.) And I'll await the property owners' judgement on the posting rules, thank you. Your recommendation will be given proper consideration.

Posting rules ruling:

Well, technically we're long past "Be reasonably civil" here, but as you've each already realized a "time out" is the best approach at this point, though, let's call it a wash, shall we?

I'm likewise irritated. I'd be less interested if some others (besides Phil, I mean) could get even one of my various statements right, without adding whatever it is they thought it might mean, and whatever it is they thought it might mean about my level of knowledge, mental state, hormone balance, etc. I admit I did have some hopes for success in just pointing out erroneous statements, but I think I'm just going to have to give it up completely.

Name calling not limited to one person here, Slarti. But I agree, none of it interesting.

I've been monitoring the deterioration and hoped it would eventually end in a meeting of minds, but I'm close to simply deleting this thread (not having the power to ban anyone). Moe's the one with that power.

I'd suggest folks (and I do mean all of you) try to distinguish between individuals and overgeneralized ideologies here and remember that projecting may have been cool in the A/V Club, but it's always best to first suspect the person who misunderstood something was yourself. Most of the bickering here centers around "gotcha" and "no you didn't" type assertions. And quite frankly it's making the rest of us nod off at this point.

I should add, I don't think anyone earned a banning in this, but the nature of the issues being discussed (or not discussed, as it is) makes it volatile territory.

To think it all began as a post about not thinking about the consequences of one's actions.

on the power of the U.S.--we are 2% of the population, but we consume what, 30% of the resources? Which proves that we're richer, not that we're worse, but you cannot possibly deny our influence. We are largely responsible for fixing the CFC problem. California led the U.S., and the U.S. led the world. We have done worse than nothing on greenhouse gases. We are so far behind Europe on renewables it's ridiculous. It is absurd that our gas mileage is actually declining. And I can barely believe the stats on car trips and vehicle miles traveled per day. What else...we should not be subsidizing the coal industry. The big coal power plants in the midwest have been grandfathered out of the Clean Air act for three decades; it's time to stop it--the eastern third of the country is continuously out of compliance on health standards for ozone because of stuff blowing over from the west.

And in the developing world, there's a lot that's inevitable because of economic growth, but then there are absurd things like the Indonesia forest fires started by palm oil plantations trying to clear their land for a few bucks cheaper. So many acres destroyed, so many hospitalizations, such an absurd amount of pollution, and especially CO2--and they had terrible economic effects too, for everyone but a few companies. (We can do less about that, of course; I'm just illustrating that it's not a zero sum game between the economy and the environment.)

There are hard choices ahead, but there are also a lot of very easy choices that we haven't made, and we've been moving almost entirely backward since 2001.

All that said--don't get me started on environmental groups using this movie to "educate" the public.

oh, and as for disclosure: husband and I own one Honda Civic. Love it. 38 mpg allegedly; probably slightly less in practice. Drive it less than once a week, it's mainly for relative-visiting and vacation. But I live in a densely populated city so it's easy to be virtuous. Also, I don't like city driving. My next new car will probably be a hybrid. Use AC during hot weeks of summer, but not heat in winter. (My building is a brick oven.)

But look, many people need a bigger car and most need to drive more often than me. I prefer living in cities, and on the east coast which gets adequate rainfall; that that's environmentally better is just good luck on my part. The most conspicuous consumption--Hummers and Ford Expeditions in Manhattan, ORVs tearing up wildnerness and national parks, that sort of thing--pisses me off, but it's usually the policy decisions that make me crazy.

I've been monitoring the deterioration and hoped it would eventually end in a meeting of minds, but I'm close to simply deleting this thread

Wouldn't blame you if you did. The whole thing went pear-shaped some time ago, and effectively, we're doing nothing but tell each other what we think the other one said - and accusing the other of various sins if we disagree with the other's interpretation. Given that my second nitpick was a very minor point, I should have walked away from the thread at June 3, 2004 11:25 AM at least, and let it be.

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