Barlow essay on Burning Man and Schwartzenegger

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Tiara
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Post by Tiara » Thu Oct 30, 2003 12:22 pm

Stuart said something that I think is worth repeating:

"I would have the law say 'thou shalt not externalize costs'"

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Re: geek 101

Post by blyslv » Thu Oct 30, 2003 12:59 pm

TestesInSac wrote: But those who reflexively call for regulation based on politics or the suspicion of perfidy are exactly the wrong people to write the regulations, and sadly, they're the ones who seem to drive the regulatory process.
The concept of "natural monopoly" isn't bandied about much these days...

My experience with regulation is that those who would regulate based on the "suspicion of perfidy" have a point, but that they are generally too disorganized, or more usually under funded; to be very effective in regulatory proceedings. For example, there are many smaller ISPs in my state that are regularly raped by the large telephone companies -- they can't get an interconnection agreement for 2 years, then they get one finally and find that the service is awful, and when that gets cleared up (sort of) they receive ~100 page bills that are virtually indecipherable. When the bills aren't paid because it looks like there is double or triple billing going on, service is cut off. I've seen this happen a lot. Sometimes I have breakfast with an ISP owner and she bends my ear and ruins my digestion with tales of perfidy and incompetence. When I say hire a lawyer and get something done, the conversation ends. However she finally did take my advice and she is getting somewhere. It is expensive, frustrating and a huge waste of time, but she is not going out of business like many other ISPs in New Mexico.

The sad fact is, that if you are running a corporation in a regulated industry (telecom or electricity for the most part) the dictates of acting in an "economically rational" manner force what many would consider to be sleazy behavior. For example: Universal Service. This is the policy of guaranteeing a phone line to just about anyone. (98% penetration in America is pretty awesome.) This was created by having the dense urban populations subsidize service for the rural folks, a pattern that is repeated in many sectors of the economy. This is the system we have created/inherited. But it is breaking down as the incessant call for huge profit trumps everything else.

And finally, I think that the large telephone corporations have created exactly the regulatory regime they wanted. It is cumbersome, complex, and discourages input from "average" citizens. It protects what are essentially monopoly profits and actually discourages a lot of competition. How many people can say they have a choice in local phone service? Only those people that live in dense urban centers. Yet the chimera of de-regulation and competition is used in largely rural states to justify what turns out to be monopolistic and anti-competitive monopoly behaviour.

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Post by TestesInSac » Thu Oct 30, 2003 1:43 pm

See, that ISP story illustrates, at least to me, the need for accountability, not new regulation. The law needed to punish/deter the behaviour you describe exists, I think, else the lawyer would have nothing to work with.

Oddly, I think there's less recourse for dealing with overbearing/indifferent/arbitrary city/state/fed officials than there is for dealing with such behaviour in businesses.
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Post by aforceforgood » Fri Oct 31, 2003 4:42 pm

Patience wrote:
aforceforgood wrote: b) Our other choices were to elect a bigot who would've handed California to Mexico on a silver platter, or another career politician.
A "career" (read: actual) politician would do fine, over a guy whose best asset is his ability to flex.
If you're referring to Bustamante-MECHA, he showed just how able a politician he was with his ludicrous, "let's solve the budget problem by doing exactly what got us into the mess- spending more of the people's money instead of cutting back on obviously out of control spending", "tough love" plan. Which is to say, he showed us that he was a total fuckwit, hoping to get elected by fuckwits. And a bigot to boot.

So what exactly is your specific objection to Arnold, aside from the fact that he's untainted by the career politician thing?

And just so we don't have the same discussion about political inexperience, how much political experience is required to see that spending more money than you have is not financially responsible?

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Post by rogue agent » Fri Oct 31, 2003 6:17 pm

aforceforgood wrote:So what exactly is your specific objection to Arnold, aside from the fact that he's untainted by the career politician thing?
He's a proto-fascist serial molester who at his most unguarded says things like "most people just want to be controlled". There are some character issues that just plain make you unfit for office no matter what, & he's got them in spades.
And just so we don't have the same discussion about political inexperience, how much political experience is required to see that spending more money than you have is not financially responsible?
It's the 5th largest economy in the world. I'm not a Bustamante supporter, hell I'm not even Californian. But putting Arnold in charge of it is just irresponsible.

And let's be honest. You elected Pete Wilson is what you really did. Arnold's just for show.

RA
Last edited by rogue agent on Fri Oct 31, 2003 8:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by PetsUntilEaten » Fri Oct 31, 2003 6:45 pm

my silly 2 cents -

If you watch "Pumping Iron" its impossible to say that Arnold isn't the devil - and not the cute sexy version either.

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Post by PJ » Fri Oct 31, 2003 8:22 pm

PetsUntilEaten wrote:If you watch "Pumping Iron" its impossible to say that Arnold isn't the devil...
I've never seen it. From what I've read about it I'd been supposing that it's more of a work of fiction than a documentary.

I've seen his Conan the Barbarian movie though. He seemed pretty barbaric in that one but I've not read any complaints from editorialists that the acting was representative of his real-life persona.

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Post by aforceforgood » Sat Nov 01, 2003 8:52 am

For it to be watchable, I would think they'd have to inject some kinda drama into it, otherwise it'd be, what, 2 hours of guys working out. That would be about as interesting as watching long distance runners run. Which is to say, not at all.

What specifically are you referring to pets?

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Post by Guest » Sat Nov 01, 2003 11:57 am

aforceforgood wrote:So what exactly is your specific objection to Arnold, aside from the fact that he's untainted by the career politician thing?
He said I am an environmentalist, then he sprainted "CAR TAX" on the side of a car, and used a 2.5 ton wrecking ball to demolish the thing in a parking lot, to a crowd of cheering spectators. I'm not faulting the crowd, I probably wouldv'e enjoyed the car-smash thing too, in another context, and with some old shitbox instead of a brand new car. But smashing a car to bits is not the mark of an environmental leader, even outside the point about cars' roles in environmental problems.

He's experienced in the same thing that career politicains are assumed to be...Lying.

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Post by PetsUntilEaten » Sat Nov 01, 2003 12:16 pm

aforceforgood wrote:What specifically are you referring to pets?
Arnold is definately going above & beyond the call of duty in terms of mind games. Specifically when Arnold sits down with a young Lou (later to become "the Hulk") & his family and precedes to chat, smile & undermine him with backhanded compliments. Arnold laughs about doing so to the camera later - in a very "Did you see that?" kinda way.

Not to mention that everyone seems to be all puffy with stereriods.

Seriously worth a watch.

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Post by rogue agent » Sat Nov 01, 2003 1:33 pm

abeerinthemorning wrote:He said I am an environmentalist, then he sprainted "CAR TAX" on the side of a car, and used a 2.5 ton wrecking ball to demolish the thing in a parking lot, to a crowd of cheering spectators.
He says he's an environmentalist and he owns 5, count em 5, Hummers.

And nobody called him on it.

RA

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Post by joel the ornery » Sun Nov 02, 2003 3:13 am

Time will tell whether Arnold the Governor can govern.

Time will tell.

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Post by aforceforgood » Sun Nov 02, 2003 1:03 pm

Is it just me, or do other people find that hummer argument to be disingenuous and a typical example of class resentment and sloppy thinking? I'd be willing to pillory someone for driving such a resource hog if there was a clean option available.

Like for instance an electric car that had comparable performance to a gas car, AND was powered by electricity generated by wind or solar collectors, not voltage generated by a gas-burning plant.

Why not direct your criticism towards a more worthy source; i.e., pressuring the government to create a favorable climate for these types of power generators to be built?

If you don't bitch about that, for sure it will never get built. Whereas bitching about Arnold's cars is less likely I think to inspire him to start driving an electric car, and even if he did, it would have a negligible or zero effect on the total pollution problem.

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Post by Don Muerto » Sun Nov 02, 2003 1:25 pm

Arnie giving up his hummers is not going to fix the environment, -that is true. However, <u>he</u> is calling himself an environmentalist while piloting one of the least environmental cars available on the market.

What does this say about his words vs. his deeds? What does it say about the choices he makes?

It's a totally valid point. Electric, hybrid and plain old high-mileage internal combustion cars *are* available to Arnie and they all work fine. Obviously they do not do what a hummer does, but that is the choice: Is the environment or your status and image more important?

I think the answer is obvious when it comes to Arnie.
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Post by Rob the Wop » Sun Nov 02, 2003 1:44 pm

aforceforgood wrote:Like for instance an electric car that had comparable performance to a gas car, AND was powered by electricity generated by wind or solar collectors, not voltage generated by a gas-burning plant.
It depends upon your definition of "comparable performance". You will quickly find that if you are looking for an electric car to go very long distances, or have any type of hauling power- you won't get it. You eventually run into a battery weight versus available power issue.

I've made the descision to buy an electric vehicle. I'm awaiting it to arrive, unfortunately- the company itself is seeming somewhat shady at this time (the owner says they are having production problems- we'll see in a couple weeks whether he's honest). Most driving done (75% from the website) is less than 25 miles per day. Most trips are less than 10 miles and have one person in the car (work, groceries, restuarants, friends, etc.). The Gizmo has a 45 mile range (figure 30 worst case in cold weather) and can go 45 mph. It holds one person and has 10 cubic feet of space for cargo (or a small other person). I will use the Forester (yah it's an SUV- but it gets 30mpg) for long trips or hauling big loads (have trailer). But most of my driving will be with the Gizmo around town.

Oh and 90% of my power comes from hydro-electric, which was my deciding factor for the purchase. Plus we have an awesome electric light rail for trips to Portland.

Fuck.

Now I'm starting to sound like a fucking hippy.
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Post by aforceforgood » Sun Nov 02, 2003 2:46 pm

Don Muerto wrote:It's a totally valid point.
So would be pointing out that his clothes aren't made out of hemp, and on and on about minutiae. What I'm trying to say is, shouldn't we be more concerned with big-picture, more important issues like building the infrastructure for electric cars.

And it just seems to me that those who are bringing up this issue are those who are opposed to him for whatever their reasons might be, and are digging to find some issue that will resonate with people to pillory him with, and I'm sick of the mudslinging. It doesn't accomplish anything, and fosters an us-versus-them mentality.

For that matter, anyone who drives a gas car is guilty of the same thing, to a greater or lesser degree. Are we supposed to give up our cars and start riding 3-wheeled bikes everywhere or be guilty of the same sin? A friend of mine who drives a 71 vw van is fond of sarcastically saying, "VW vans are good for the environment!" with a wry smile on his face as he putters down the road belching blackish/grey smoke. I can't even imagine some hippy type taking him to task for his pollution. And where is the condemnation of senior citizens driving around huge motorhomes? Give me a break. Obviously those raising this criticism in reference to Arnold are motivated by more than pure environmentalism.

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Post by rogue agent » Sun Nov 02, 2003 4:04 pm

aforceforgood wrote:And it just seems to me that those who are bringing up this issue are those who are opposed to him for whatever their reasons might be, and are digging to find some issue that will resonate with people to pillory him with, and I'm sick of the mudslinging. It doesn't accomplish anything, and fosters an us-versus-them mentality.
Given that he's not a career politician with a record of service, policy & voting to examine, we have little to judge Arnold on except his personal behavior. About the only thing we're sure he's in favor of based on his record, and I say this with all due seriousness, is personal fitness. When he starts rolling out some specific policies, we can start taking that into account; until then, what else have we got?

RA

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Post by PJ » Sun Nov 02, 2003 4:52 pm

All the grousing about the comparative environmental benign-ness of automobiles directly powered by a supply of petroleum they carry, or by electricity no matter where it's generated (even by hitherto-undemonstrated tankered fuels such as hydrogen) is moot.

Crude oil sells for between $20US/bbl and $30US/bbl. It rarely spikes above that point as the Saudis have determined empirically that to be the pain point above which US consumers begin conserving.

An important and often-overlooked fact is: Mideast and Russian oil companies can produce and deliver crude oil to the market for under $2US/bbl! They have tremendous margin down into which they can cut the wholesale price of crude oil and still be fantastically profitable. Until alternative power sources can compete economically with petroleum that's even more of a bargain than what the market presently provides, it would be foolish and counter-productive to mandate it.

A possible argument against this is: "What we want is perfect environmentally-benign transportation and we must eliminate petroleum-powered cars to do that." But automobiles continue to get cleaner as well as more efficient every decade, while simultaneously improving in reliability and longevity. Why not continue along the path of improving the already excellent value petroleum-fueled internal combustion powered automobiles provide, especially since petroleum-derived liquid fuels are likely to represent the most economic means of transportation for the foreseeable future?

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Post by Don Muerto » Sun Nov 02, 2003 4:56 pm

aforceforgood wrote:I'd be willing to pillory someone for driving such a resource hog if there was a clean option available.
Well, I guess you threw me off with this one then. When do you plan on starting to pillory Arnold?

The problem doesn't come from him not wearing undyed hemp, not using soaps, or making the <u>most</u> environmental decisions every time.

The problem is he is *selling* himself as an environmentalist while making the <u>least</u> environmental decisions in his choice of vehicle. Maybe the guy pours his motor oil down the drain too, -who knows? What we do know is that given a choice in cars he chooses a large number of very UNenvironmental ones over the ones that would help demonstrate that he is an environmentalist.

I think that says a lot both about his environmental views and his political savvy.
Everyone is entitled to be stupid, but some abuse the privilege.

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Post by PJ » Sun Nov 02, 2003 5:17 pm

Two minutes spent watching California traffic on any highway indicates that, as a group, Californians don't give a damn about minimizing their environmental impact via their choice of automobile. Nearly every automobile has a single occupant; almost none of those automobiles are Geo Metros or Honda Civics.

A politician that tells Californians that he's going to mandate the end of overly-large, high-performance, comfortable, or stylish automobiles is a politician that could never be elected to any California office.

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Post by Don Muerto » Sun Nov 02, 2003 5:29 pm

It's absolutely true. Nevertheless, no amount of *other* hypocrites absolves you from your own hypocrisy.

Let's ask it straight out:

<b>Do you believe that Arnold Schwartzenegger is going to do more for the environment than he has to?</b>

I believe that is the mark of an environmentalist, and my answer regarding Arnie is 'no.'

Oh, and having lived in Atlanta for a time, I can tell you that CA *does* actually drive smaller cars. It's practically against the law not to drive a large SUV in GA.
Everyone is entitled to be stupid, but some abuse the privilege.

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Post by rogue agent » Sun Nov 02, 2003 5:31 pm

PJ wrote:Why not continue along the path of improving the already excellent value petroleum-fueled internal combustion powered automobiles provide, especially since petroleum-derived liquid fuels are likely to represent the most economic means of transportation for the foreseeable future?
Because we're up against Peak Oil & the sooner we wean ourselves off our rapidly dwindling petroleum reserves the less painful it will be? We've got quite a few global resource crises* on the horizon, how about we start working on at least one if them?

RA

*1) Peak oil
2) Global warming
3) Ocean fish depletion
4) Fresh water allocation

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Post by aforceforgood » Sun Nov 02, 2003 6:21 pm

rogue agent wrote:
aforceforgood wrote:And it just seems to me that those who are bringing up this issue are those who are opposed to him for whatever their reasons might be, and are digging to find some issue that will resonate with people to pillory him with, and I'm sick of the mudslinging. It doesn't accomplish anything, and fosters an us-versus-them mentality.
Given that he's not a career politician with a record of service, policy & voting to examine, we have little to judge Arnold on except his personal behavior. About the only thing we're sure he's in favor of based on his record, and I say this with all due seriousness, is personal fitness. When he starts rolling out some specific policies, we can start taking that into account; until then, what else have we got?

RA
Well, let's see, we have his fiscal responsibility in that he used his movie earnings from early on to invest in real estate. We have his intelligence in dealing with a hugely democratic and political powerhouse of a family, and his ability to market himself to them as well as the public. But nobody wants to talk about that, his naysayers want to nitpick about what kind of car he drives. Here's I have to say about that; I'll take you seriously when you do. In other words, come up with a real issue.

And for that matter, if I were Arnold, and promoting myself as a tough guy movie action hero, I could rationalize driving a hummer because it would be part of my business to project a tough, able image. There are plenty of others driving cars, so I wouldn't necessarily feel guilty over adding an extra .0000000000000000001% to the overall pollution stats.

Here's the really important thing, IMO- what exactly is there to gain by complaining about what car Arnold drives?

And no one's explained to me yet why we're not attacking those evil senior citizen bastards for driving their huge motorhomes all over willy nilly. Obviously they're bitter and aware that they don't have much time left and are doing it on purpose to screw the rest of us. And all those damned poor people who drive old smoky cars are in on the conspiracy too. Let's attack their sorry asses and make em all ride the bus or skateboard to work too. In fact, every other person driving their car is doing it just to pollute my air. (I need to drive mine for business, so I don't count.)

You bastards.

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Post by Guest » Sun Nov 02, 2003 6:42 pm

Don Muerto wrote: Electric, hybrid and plain old high-mileage internal combustion cars *are* available to Arnie and they all work fine. Obviously they do not do what a hummer does, but that is the choice: Is the environment or your status and image more important?
Ya' know, i always liked hummers when they first came out in the military market. Seemed eminently utilitarian. Ambulance, troop carrier, throw a howitzer in back...it could do it all.

Now the commercial version carries a maximimum of four people. My Chevy could carry five, and could've carried six if I could've afforded the bench seat in front.

Petsuntileaten pointed out, he's a disingenous liar.

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Post by aforceforgood » Sun Nov 02, 2003 6:48 pm

I still say the real problem is those evil senior citizen bastards.

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Post by Don Muerto » Sun Nov 02, 2003 6:52 pm

aforceforgood wrote:Well, let's see, we have his fiscal responsibility in that he used his movie earnings from early on to invest in real estate. We have his intelligence in dealing with a hugely democratic and political powerhouse of a family, and his ability to market himself to them as well as the public. But nobody wants to talk about that, his naysayers want to nitpick about what kind of car he drives. Here's I have to say about that; I'll take you seriously when you do. In other words, come up with a real issue.
A real issue like your clairvoyant view into the Schwartzenegger/Kennedy/Shriver family dynamic? It is not hard to make money when you have money, -particularly not in the 70's-80's California real estate market. The guy got lucky and became a movie-star, I don't think this makes him some kind of genius.
aforceforgood wrote:Here's the really important thing, IMO- what exactly is there to gain by complaining about what car Arnold drives?
Arnie is such a zero politically that there is absolutely nothing to point at. No record, no history to speak of, -nada. The few things he has done do not look good, i.e. his US English support, prop 49, and a history of misogynist behavior. He should be so lucky that people are fixated on his fleet of converted, 8mpg military vehicles.

You never answered my question. Do you think Arnold is an environmentalist per the definition given above?
Everyone is entitled to be stupid, but some abuse the privilege.

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Post by Kinetic II » Sun Nov 02, 2003 7:03 pm

rogue agent wrote: Because we're up against Peak Oil & the sooner we wean ourselves off our rapidly dwindling petroleum reserves the less painful it will be? We've got quite a few global resource crises* on the horizon, how about we start working on at least one if them?

RA
Rapidly dwindling? I don't have cites in front of me but the last set of articles I read that covered the Russian reserves indicates we ahve another 200 years worth of petroleum that we can access NOW. Couple that with advances in exploration and extraction techniques along with hybrids and other advanced technologies and I really don't see a crisis. Pollution...yeah, maybe. But that challenge can be tackled. Again I don't see a problem.

Civilized, non-flaming enlightenment is always welcome.

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Post by aforceforgood » Sun Nov 02, 2003 7:11 pm

Don Muerto wrote:
aforceforgood wrote:Well, let's see, we have his fiscal responsibility in that he used his movie earnings from early on to invest in real estate. We have his intelligence in dealing with a hugely democratic and political powerhouse of a family, and his ability to market himself to them as well as the public. But nobody wants to talk about that, his naysayers want to nitpick about what kind of car he drives. Here's I have to say about that; I'll take you seriously when you do. In other words, come up with a real issue.
A real issue like your clairvoyant view into the Schwartzenegger/Kennedy/Shriver family dynamic? It is not hard to make money when you have money, -particularly not in the 70's-80's California real estate market. The guy got lucky and became a movie-star, I don't think this makes him some kind of genius.
So he gets no credit from you for making an obvious good investment? And it does differentiate him from your typical hollywood actor whose idea of fiscal responsibility is to either blow $$ on parties, boob jobs, things to put up their nose, or a huge mansion.
Don Muerto wrote:
aforceforgood wrote:Here's the really important thing, IMO- what exactly is there to gain by complaining about what car Arnold drives?
Arnie is such a zero politically that there is absolutely nothing to point at. No record, no history to speak of, -nada. The few things he has done do not look good, i.e. his US English support...
There's lots of mexican people who favor their kids being taught english too so they can get ahead in the US business world, but they don't get any press. In fact, opposition to this typically comes from those who have entrenched interest in mexicans staying illiterate and poor-Bustamante and the owner of Univision (Spanish language TV channel) are two who spring to mind.
Don Muerto wrote:You never answered my question. Do you think Arnold is an environmentalist per the definition given above?
I think your definition is self-serving and flawed. But to answer your question, I think Arnold will press for environmentally sound policies, yes, especially if he's pressed to by people. He's someone who desires the people's approval. I'm saying let's make that work to our advantage, not gossip like a bunch of old ladies about what car he drives.

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Post by Guest » Sun Nov 02, 2003 7:14 pm

PJ wrote:What we want is perfect environmentally-benign....
Okay, not gonna happen.

Try and figure out a pair of perfectly environmentally-benign shoes and you'll see what I mean.

Bike parts come in a plethora of small disposable plastic bags, etc.

Consciousness of negative impacts should not be a reason to adopt paralysis as a life strategy. I've come close enough to that myself to know that is not the way past anything but ....the far past.

What I was trying to say is not that Arnold is likely to fail to be a solution because the drives a hummer, or a station wagon, or a prius, or a new bicycle, or an electric wheelcahir, or a plastic skateboard, but that he will fail to be a solution because he will lie through his teeth.

I'll admit, right here and now, that I'm too scared to watch Pumping Iron (as PetsUntilEaten wisely suggested) because I remember the scene I saw a decade ago when he told Lou Ferigno to grunt during his poses. That's the kind of crap I don't like about Arnold. Not what kind of car he drives. That he smiles at his rivals, as he crushes their spirit.

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Post by PJ » Sun Nov 02, 2003 7:26 pm

abeerinthemorning wrote:i always liked hummers when they first came out in the military market. Seemed eminently utilitarian. Ambulance, troop carrier, throw a howitzer in back...it could do it all.

Now the commercial version carries a maximimum of four people. My Chevy could carry five, and could've carried six if I could've afforded the bench seat in front.
My minivan seats seven, plus carries their luggage behind the back seat. While getting ~40mpg. But unlike a Hummer nobody ever got laid because they drive a minivan.

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