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UK Moves Into 20th Century....(23 posts)

UK Moves Into 20th Century....TonyBlair
Apr 25, 2001 12:55 AM
Staggered to hear in a Lords parliamentary debate yeaterday that her Majesty's Glorious Britanic Government is to "consider" the matter of making it legal to have only a flashing LED rear light, as opposed to the current situation of having to have a solid one in addition/only. With progress such as this, we ought to be able, by the beginning of the 22nd centuary, to have real cycle lanes, rather than a few hunderd meters of dotted white line at the side of a major trunk road every few miles, which passes as the implimentation of an integrated transport strategy at present. Where will it all end, I ask myself - tax incentives for people who cycle to work rather than drive a whole 2.6 miles in their plantet destroying gas-guzzlers? Surely not - we demand a return to common sense...
cycle lines? whatzat?cyclopathic
Apr 25, 2001 6:19 AM
never seen one around here.

you guys lucky at least there're no rednecks throwing beer bottles and taking riders down with baseball bet.

PS and how about dogs? I've been biten twice this year
Magaret Thatcher Lives...MeDotOrg
Apr 25, 2001 7:10 AM the spirit of the man we Americans call "Dubya": George "W" Bush. The President's Chief of Staff is on leave from General Motors, his National Security Advisor just had an Oil Tanker named after her (No, I'm not kidding) and the President has spent his first 100 days undoing many of the environmental regulations of the previous 8 years: Allowing more arsenic in drinking water, abolishing regulations to clean diesel truck emissions, rejecting the Kytoto accords on greenhouse emissions, etc.

I suppose we can get some funding for Bicycle paths in the next four years, as long as we put tailpipes on our bikes and promise to pollute the environment.

Compared to George Bush, Tony Blair is a walk in the park.
You are sadly mistaken.Stutz
Apr 25, 2001 7:58 AM
If arsenic was such a problem, why did Clinton wait until three days before he left office to lower the standard? Bush did not raise the arsenic limit rather suspended the implementation until a scientific review could be performed on the new standard.

The head of the LA chapter of the Sierra Club drives a Chevy Suburban; hypocrisy is hypocrisy.

Oops, a little off-topic.
Mistaken about what?MeDotOrg
Apr 25, 2001 8:53 AM
I don't think I'm mistaken about anything I said. You are quite right that Clinton waited until 3 days before the end of his Presidency on Arsenic Standards, however, the proposed levels would have been those recommended by the World Health Organization and the European Union. But Bush's first 100 days in office have seen some activities that have nothing to do with Clinton's last days, among them:

Asking Congress to set aside part of the Endangered Species Act.

Broke a Campaign Promise to invest $100 million a year in a program for rain forest conservation.

Broke a Campaign Promise to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.

His new budget cuts funding for renewable energy resources 15% (I guess the new drilling in Alaska will mean we don't have to invest in Solar or Wind Power).

Bush friends in US-Congress under the leadership of Senator Frank Murkowski introduced a 325-page bill in the Senate that will reduce cash royalties to be paid by energy firms for offshore production when oil and gas prices drop below $18 a barrel (I guess Dick Cheney didn't make enought money last year). That means that the taxpayers have to subsidize our energy companies in case there is too much oil and gas on the market. The Administration has been remarkably quiet about the price-gouging going on in California...

Deputy Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman announced a relaxation of the field testing controls for 85% of genetically modified foods. Before she was appointed Deputy AG Secretary, Veneman was on the board of directors of a Monsato Affiliate.

There is ample evidence the George W. Bush has been hostile to environmental interests.
Danger, Danger Topic DriftStutz
Apr 25, 2001 9:40 AM
So much bombastic nonsense, so little time..
You made your original post sound as if big business executives were driving up in their SUV's and unloading arsenic into the country's water supply under the cover of darkness. The standard that is in place now is the same for eight years previous not, as you say allowing more arsenic in the water. There are many environmental standards that are different between the US and Europe, so what .

Gee, broken campaign promises -- what else is new? By the way, what technologies exist for reducing carbon dioxide? Hint: there are none except for turning the switch off to the power plant. The folks in California will like that.

I do agree with you about cutting alternative energy research funding. As long as they are true cuts (not just a reduction in increases).

Corporate welfare should end, but there should be a concomitant end of EPA grants to the Sierra Club and other Environmental Groups that turn-around and use that money to sue the EPA in court.

It seems to me that Bush has been hostile to your environmental interests as well as some of the others with big shiny offices in DC. Don't tell me that the rest of the environmental organizations are not acting in their own self-interest.

Unfortunately the only way most environmental groups survive is to identify a crisis du jour. You have a lot of corporations on one side saying nothings wrong and the environmental handwringers saying everything is wrong. Let science decide. I'd love to continue this but I fear Topic Drift, if you'd like email me at For now, I'm going riding.
We're too far off course, Captain, I canna pull her back!MeDotOrg
Apr 25, 2001 12:04 PM
The regulation proposed by the Clinton Administration would have reduced the acceptable level of arsenic in water from 50 ppb to 10 ppb. The regulation was not yet in place. So you are right in that the levels will be the same as they used to be. However the acceptable levels will also be 5 times greater than they would have been had Bush not acted.

Gee, broken campaign promises -- what else is new?

It sounds like your view of the American Political System is even more cynical than mine. You certainly appear to have less faith than I that George Bush would stand by his word.

By the way, what technologies exist for reducing carbon dioxide? Hint: there are none except for turning the switch off to the power plant.

There are technologies that can reduce carbon dioxide emissions at oil and coal fired plants. They cost money, electricity producers don't want to install them.

It seems to me that Bush has been hostile to your environmental interests as well as some of the others with big shiny offices in DC. Don't tell me that the rest of the environmental organizations are not acting in their own self-interest.

It seems like the crux of your argument is that everyone acts in his or her own self-interest and therefore there is nothing to get excited about. We all ask ourselves what difference it makes about who is in power. One thing that effects all Americans are the regulations that determine the amount of pollution allowed in the air we breath and the water we drink. Regardless of who lobbies for what and how much they get paid, we still have to breath the same air.

Unfortunately the only way most environmental groups survive is to identify a crisis du jour. You have a lot of corporations on one side saying nothings wrong and the environmental handwringers saying everything is wrong. Let science decide.

You are right about the crisis mentality. It affects not only environmental groups but every other lobbying organization. "If we don't stop Legislation XYZ it will mean the end of civilization as we know it". Fear is the biggest fund raising tool, no matter what the cause. "It ain't love that makes the world go ‘round, it's irritation".

It has been suggested that Bush wants to get all of his conservative agenda out early, so that at the end of his first term he can start positioning himself as a moderate, and people won't remember the first 100 days.

I'll still remember.
good responseSteveS
Apr 25, 2001 8:05 PM
I like the part about the bombastic nonsense. Very good. Personally, I could care less about California's energy problems except for my in-laws and the poor who live out there. With a little bit of research I would imagine that I could find a slant that says a vast part of California's energy problems came not from mean ol' PG&E but a common radicalized world view expressed through their elected politicians. Couldn't Willie Brown, Jerry Brown, Feinstein and Waters see this coming? If not, maybe they should be help responsible. So, some guy will remember what he considers are broken campaign promises,so what? I will remember the previous president and his anti-energy position as I pay the highest prices for gasoline ever in my life this summer.
Let the lefties put windmills in their front yards and maybe wear pyramid shaped helmets for "pyramid power." Weren't those ideas espoused by California greenies?
Gee, Stevemike mcmahon
Apr 25, 2001 8:27 PM
We've had a couple of governors out here since Gerry Brown: Deukmejian and Wilson. Both of them were Republicans. For every Willie Brown, Barbara Boxer, and Maxine Waters, we have had a Robert Dornan, Dana Rorbacher, and Dan Lundgren.
Apr 26, 2001 12:51 PM
You are entirely correct, there have been those Republicans out there, however, I do know which group typically represents an anti-business/anti-energy constituency and in general, the ones you mentioned probably didn't make a career of taking that kind of tack. Still, you are correct but with natural gas having hit $10 an mcf this winter, gasoline probably going to sell for over $2.00 a gallon commonly this summer, I know which party opposed a cogent energy policy and it wasn't that of Dornan, Lundgren, or Rohrbacker.

But hey, look at the good news, we can all ride bikes to work and for summer vacations, right?
Sometimes facts are relevant to opinionsMeDotOrg
Apr 27, 2001 5:58 AM
"I could find a slant that says a vast part of California's energy problems came not from mean ol' PG&E but a common radicalized world view expressed through their elected politicians. Couldn't Willie Brown, Jerry Brown, Feinstein and Waters see this coming? If not, maybe they should be help responsible."

California's utility deregulation laws are STATE laws. You want to blame the problem on two FEDERAL representatives and two CITY mayors.

FYI, the deregulation legislation was signed into law in 1996 by Governor Pete Wilson, who (the last time anybody heard from him) was a Republican. He did so with the blessing of PG&E, who supported the legislation.

A lot of Democrats and Republicans couldn't see it coming. After the deregulation legislation was passed PG&E and SoCal Edison began selling off California oil-fired power plants - TWICE as many as the Public Utilities Commission recommended they should. Energy producers were reluctant to invest in new power plants until they were certain what would happen to the price structure after deregulation. PG&E accepted holding prices steady at the same time they were divesting themselves of the plants that could help ensure their supply. They thought prices would go down, or at least not go as high as they have. They gambled wrong.

I would point out that the original advocates of deregulation and privatization (whether it be banks or utilities) are always the largest consumers: big businesses. The deregulation of banks and utilities in the U.S. has cost taxpayers well over half a trillion dollars. In other words, the greatest unearned government handouts are caused not by the constituents of politicians with "a common radicalized world view" but big businesses.
Sometimes facts are relevant to opinions2SteveS
Apr 27, 2001 8:12 AM
I could certainly do the research but it is not worth my time, but if you want to pretend that Willie Brown didn't spend the majority of his elected career in STATE government and as the single most powerful voice in the STATE, so be it. And of course, Jerry left the governor's mansion long ago, but he certainly doesn't hesitate to speak up on a national basis, did he speak up against this legislation? Feinstein and Waters are some of the prominent voices speaking as your STATE is now begging/demanding FEDERAL help for your STATE's problems. Funny that no other state has the problem of energy brown-outs as the Golden State. (Hey, "Golden State"-isn't that from the golden brown the vegetation turns in summer? Then all that nice landscaping is "greened" from the water taken from neighboring states) Price controls, as the very poorly written de-regulation passed in California with limits on the pass through of costs, I can guess which group pushed for such a decision, intrinsicly stupid from a business standpoint. Now, with a call or two, or a little internet work, I can find out who pushed that bill in terms of sponsorship and who were backers of a poor business practice and for what reasons. I stand by the comment on the radicalized world-view common in California and the point is, whether state law or not, your representatives didn't do a very good job of anticipating this problem. I see that California has approached FERC to keep a cap on prices charged California on power this summer; STATE problems seeking FEDERAL help. California has a very vociferous anti-business/anti-energy element that is effective in controlling your state's policies. Ain't no other states problem but yours.

I would point out that the philosophy that advocates state controls and state centralization of ownership is that of socialists and socialism and their biggest single group example of failure was Communism, with all sorts of nice anti-competitive price controls. From East Germany all through the former Soviet Union, almost a complete collapse. They are asking for Federal help too, from the U.S. government. The difference is that large numbers of those countries now see the error of their previous policies. And the lost wealth from their inability to be productive is pretty much uncounted, but the culprit here again was not "big businesses" but yet again, another failure whose source was a radicalized world-view.

So try some other form of power, solar, those nice windmills at Palm Springs, or maybe Star-Power generated by a Hollywood celebrity with a radicalized world-view. They generate a lot of heat but will not help you much with light.
Sometimes facts are relevant to opinions3MeDotOrg
May 1, 2001 5:17 PM
Let me get this straight: Even though Big Business and Republicans are the biggest advocates of deregulation, Democrats who had nothing to do with the legislation, in fact were not serving in State Government at the time the legislation was passed are to blame. It's partly their fault because some of them used to serve in state government before the legislation was passed. If California has such a "vociferous anti-energy element that is effective in controlling your state's policies" how was deregulation legislation passed in the first place?

Interesting idea, comparing the government-regulated monopolies in communications and energy distribution to Communism. I don't remember anyone complaining that we were living in a Communist State before Judge Green gave the death sentence to Ma Bell. I do remember that the Bell System was regarded as the finest telephone service in the world.

And while a lot of Californians complained about their utility bills before deregulation, how many would support deregulation now? When is the last time you heard someone talking about how much better they like the Banking or Airline industries since deregulation?

People say "let the market decide" as if "the market" were a conscious entity which always made the best decision for the people of a society. The market "decided" in 1929. The market "decided" in 1988. I don't remember any Republicans screaming against the regulations that helped protect their investments that were passed subsequent to those crashes.

The point is that industries should neither be totally regulated nor totally unregulated. (Read the history of the oil industry in the U.S. Oil producers in Texas pleaded with the government for regulation.) What you want is enough regulation to control runaway price/demand situations (which is what we have now) without killing the profit incentive.

What has happened to Utilities in California (as well as what happened with S&L deregulation) is very poorly written legislation that did not correctly anticipate what would happen in the transition from a highly regulated to a loosely regulated environment. Part of that, as you correctly point out, is that inablity of the utilities to pass along the cost of the energy they are purchasing. But the point I'm trying to make is that one of the major reasons that Utilities are paying high prices is that they sold off energy production capabiliy which would have enabled them to produce electricity for less than they are buying it now.

I'm not comparing PG&E with East Germany, I'm comparing PG&E before deregulation with PG&E after deregulation. I think my model is a little more relevant.
Price Gouging in California???RightWinger(forthemostpart)
Apr 25, 2001 9:53 AM
Let me get this straight. Cailfornia enacts measures that limit its ability to produce enough power for the state, and other neighboring states are supposed to bear this burdon?

Hey I have an idea, I hate mowing lawns, plus the lawnmower omits "dangerous" bi products into the atmosphere, so I'm gonna get rid of my lawnmower. Why don't you bring your big Snapper over and mow my yard for me.
California had and does have enough powerMeDotOrg
Apr 25, 2001 11:15 AM
The problem was that during the period prior to deregulation, PG&E decided that they would sell off many of their power plants. Outside power companies have definitely taken advantage of the situation.

The energy crisis in California didn't start with environmental regulations, it started from a combination of very poorly written and understood utility deregulation legislation, coupled with some very poor long-term planning by (most notably) Pacific Gas & Electric.
California had and does have enough powerCliff Oates
Apr 25, 2001 11:32 AM
I read an intereesting story in one of the local papers (CC Times or SJ Merc) the other day talking about how the independents were holding back reserves to guard against failures. Apparently, these guys are contracted to sell their power at such a high rate that they can't afford to miss their contracts, the penalties are just too high. So they're trying to perfect their reserve positions by withholding a significant amount of generation capacity as insurance their contracts. The higher the prices go, the higher that reserved capacity gets.

I wonder what the equilibrium point is? Reserve 100% and generate nothing? If this market is not dysfunctional, then I hope I'm not around when it gets really screwed up...
Quote in Today's LA TimesGeorge Carlin
Apr 25, 2001 11:51 AM
"I'm tired of these self-righteous environmentalist, white, bourgeois liberals who think the only thing wrong with this country is that there aren't enough bike paths," he writes in an excerpt from one of his more popular routines. "The planet is fine. The people are f---ed!
"The planet isn't goin' anywhere, folks. We are! We're goin' away. ... And we won't leave much of a trace. Thank God for that. ... Maybe a little Styrofoam. The planet will be here, and we'll be gone. Another failed mutation, another closed-end biological mistake."
Um, yeah, so, anyway, these LEDs...(nm)TonyBlair
Apr 25, 2001 11:29 AM
The law is just catching up with reality...gromit
Apr 26, 2001 12:08 AM
The reality is that LED flashers are better than the continuous light specified by UK law. Local police would much rather any lights than no lights so noone ever gets stopped.
I actually think that this shows a lot of common sense on the part of our government, along with reducing VAT on bikes and making it possible to claim milage allowance for business travel when cycling.
Right, but wrong....muncher
Apr 26, 2001 1:38 AM
You're obviously right about lights, but I have been stopped for LEDs in London - didn't get a ticket - I think I looked so agahst that it put the dibble off his stride.

Also, I have been stopped for overtaking on the inside - in London on my then daily commute. Line of traffic at lights, me going up the inside to the front next to the curb (didn't go through the lights). Lights changed, heard siren behind - pulled over to let what ever it was through - turned out it was a fat useless rozzer in a plain car after me. Tried to do me for it, citing some uttler rubbish about "danger to motorists". To my part slight shame, part great satisfaction I just said something along the lines of "you'll have to catch my first, you useless fat sweaty git" and cycled off. Pathetic, isn't it?
Pathetic indeedzelig1
Apr 26, 2001 4:25 AM
I ride every morning along the Thames Embankment and I've not yet been hassled for my blinking light. That being said, after a life of riding in the States, I come to London where they pass, as David Duffield would say, left, right and center. How many times do I have motorcyclists and worse yet, those geeks on scooters, brush by as they try to get ahead of traffic by passing on the left? More than one near punch up has occurred. And yet, the MP's just ignore the stuff or as in your case, give you some stick. Its beyond me.
Apr 26, 2001 7:14 AM
Don't even get me started on scooters - where does it say that you never have to look before you pull out between traffic on a scooter?

MPs - even worse - I used to ride back across Parliament Square from Embankment towards Battersea daily - the place you could almost guarentee a car right out in front of you (generally with a fat dibble stepping out right in front of you with his hand up in your face as if you had Damon Hill's brakes on your bike)? Yup - House of Commons car park exit. Even had 10 bellies Prescot do it to me in a Rover once (he was in the back, but still his fault in my opinion)....
Pathetic indeedmuncher
Apr 26, 2001 7:41 AM
Z - MJ and I ride out sometimes down in Surrey - roads/trails whatever - want to hook up some time?