Monday, February 11, 2008

[Hasso Hering] Free Double Whammy! Plus Bonus Snark!

It's been some time since I did this... *cracks knuckles*


Editorial #1: I don't want to wear no stinkin' seatbelt:

The right question is: Why is the state making officers do something as ridiculous as stopping motorists on the streets and highways, exposing themselves to the usual hazards of traffic stops and subjecting motorists to the heart-pounding experience of seeing the flashing lights go on behind them?

Interesting - I wonder if Hering thinks that pulling people over for speeding, running red lights or other similar infractions is any different, since ALL require doing something as "ridiculous" as stopping motorists on the road?

Better yet, are police officers supposed to simply not enforce this law? I mean I have plenty of criticisms of police practices, but Hering gets points for being completely incomprehensible.

It makes my brain hurt.

Oh yeah:

The few drivers who don’t use their belts now and then, and who ignore the warning bells, do not represent a public hazard. Whatever danger they represent is only to themselves...

Can I just call bullshit? If the claim is true, does that mean Hering just implied that people who don't wear seatbelts deserve to be hurt? I hope not.

In any case, the banality of this editorial is more than made up for in the comments section. At least now I know Hering has fans, or at least ideological allies. The totality of the comments submitted so far, unedited for your reading pleasure:

Bill wrote on Feb 11, 2008 3:15 PM:
" The nanny state has spoken: do what we say is good for you or else face the consequences. "

Willpower wrote on Feb 11, 2008 4:39 PM:
" The fascist state speaks with police. Of course Albany cops aren't bothering with DRIVING VIOLATIONS. Safety and courtesy are too hard to track down i suppose."

Barefoot wrote on Feb 11, 2008 5:48 PM:
" [quote]
The few drivers who don’t use their belts now and then, and who ignore the warning bells, do not represent a public hazard.

OH REALLY? So- you are also against helmet laws, Hasso? "

Lash Goldenrod wrote on Feb 11, 2008 6:02 PM:
" The right question: Why does the state need to coerce us by imposing seatbelt use? Everybody knows it's the smart thing to do so virtually all of us voluntarily buckle up. The government doesn't have to make this choice for us. H.L. Mencken said, "The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it." Seat-belt laws are government at its most arrogant. "

178 wrote on Feb 11, 2008 7:42 PM:
" Everyone know it's the smart thing to obey the speed limit on the freeway so why bother enforcing that law?

Wow. Just wow.

OK. Moving on to editorial #2: Completely ignoring the issue you bring up in your own editorial.

First, the setup:

An editorial here last week backing the idea of a liquid natural gas terminal in Oregon set off a wave of letters, several of which appeared Saturday. How could anyone favor importing this form of energy, they all more or less exclaimed. Don’t we all know this would just extend our dependence on fossil fuel, and foreign fuel at that? Pipelines would have to be built. And the danger!

You get that? Dependence on fossil fuels and foreign oil.

OK. Now check out the entirety of the rest of the editorial and tell me where Hering addresses the 5,000-lb gorilla in the room:

Liquid natural gas is a perfectly harmless form of energy. Tanks of LNG have existed at Newport and in the heart if Portland for years. Stored LNG is not under pressure, and if a tank should spring a leak, the liquid turns back into gas and escapes to the air.

We already live with fuel and gas pipelines. And the lower Columbia is a busy international shipping lane where a few added tankers wouldn’t even be noticed.

And as for LNG raising the price? If domestic natural gas is available and cheaper than imported LNG, utilities won’t buy it. Imports would stop.

In short, the objections to LNG may be loud, but they make no sense. (hh)

That's right. He completely omits it. And then he has the gall to claim that the objections "make no sense."

Damn, that's good. Or ballsy. Or arrogant. Or - perhaps - just really bad editorial writing.

Immediate Update: The commenters take Hering to task about the safety of LNG storage in no small way, shredding what little material was actually in the editorial. Check it out.


Russ said...

I don't think Hasso is saying they deserve to get injured, but it is THEIR choice to buckle up. So if they are in an accident, and not buckled up, they choose to take the consequences, which may include injury or death. I agree, the government should let us make our own choices, but Hasso is wrong when he says it doesn't affect others. A lot of them may be uninsured, or even insured, but the costs of their care will be on all of us. Same with the helmet laws. As long as they flippin' leave my trans fats alone...

IE said...

"As long as they flippin' leave my trans fats alone..."

russ, thanks for the morning belly laugh.

Dennis said...


I think it's worth examining why we make the choices we make in those arenas where this sort of "the government should leave me alone" argument comes up.

It seems to me that this only happens when people want to do something dangerous.

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