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10 November 2008 @ 08:13 am
In order to distract myself from my disgust at the displays of poor loser syndrome over Prop 8 (*), I'm jumping on one of my other favorite soap boxes: diesel.

You want to talk mileage? We were getting 50 miles per gallon at high speed. Our fuel economy would blow away any of those hybrids.

Seriously. Diesels in Europe have been regularly getting 50+ miles to the gallon for years now. They have lower emissions than standard gas engines, and I'd have to double check, but I think they're at least on par with hybrids. Lots of time has passed since they were first introduced, and are no longer the horrible, smelly, noisy monstrosities that we remember from the 80's. In fact, these days you can't always tell from the outside what type of fuel the vehicle's got inside. So seriously, give diesel a chance! It's a lot more cuddly than you think. Even the guys on Top Gear say so.

*steps off the soap box*

(*) Yes, I'm as disappointed as the next person that it passed. But part of democracy means that there are times when you're in the minority. For the purposes of keeping order in society, sometimes you get to put up with things you don't agree with. Prop 8 detractors, I'm sorry, but this is one of those times. Please accept with grace that the people have voted, and your choice is not in the majority. Welcome to democracy. It beats the alternatives.
Yuusadayuusada on November 10th, 2008 09:03 pm (UTC)
While they have lower CO2 emissions, the high compression & temperature conditions of Diesel engines mean they emit higher levels of nitric oxide, otherwise known as NOx. NOx is a smog generating compound and may be a cause of acid rain as well.

The next generation of Diesel engines are going to include technology such as Daimler's BlueTec which involve scrubbing the engine emissions using a urea solution or an oxidizing cat and particulate filter to cut down on the NOx. The lack of these systems would mean that a Euro Diesel engine fails to meet California emissions standards, and if a car fails to meet "50 states" emissions, most manufactures won't bother to sell here. These new engines are only now starting to come close to hitting the market.

As you might suspect, I've looked into this before. If the MINI Cooper D was sold here in the states, I would trade in my Cooper S in a quick second. Alas, unlike all the manufacturers listed in that article, MINI doesn't seem to be moving in that direction.

Edited at 2008-11-10 10:09 pm (UTC)
Sandpanthersandpanther on November 14th, 2008 01:57 am (UTC)
Up until recently California's had restrictions that make the sale of diesel passenger cars illegal. Alas. Such an unfortunate lack of vision, that. I mean, if Jeremy Clarkson can be convinced that diesels aren't so bad, surely Joe Average Californian could be too?

Good to know on the emissions info. And good to know who my local diesel expert is!
Max Kaehn: Politicsslothman on November 11th, 2008 03:19 am (UTC)
The phrase “tyranny of the majority” was not coined idly.
Sandpanthersandpanther on November 11th, 2008 05:24 am (UTC)
The alternative is... tyranny of the minority?

I never said democracy was fair to everyone. (Believe me, being a conservative in one of the most liberal areas of one of the most liberal states teaches one quickly how to deal with usually being in the minority.) Similarly, I'm not saying that Prop 8 is morally right, nor just. I will say, however, that the rule of the game in this case is "he who has the most votes wins." Complaining about it now just seems petty to me.

(Keep in mind, I'm pretty darn lawful. So I defend rule of law even when the dice don't role my way.)

To your point, democracy's greatest weakness is that it is law by lemmings. Just because the majority of the people think something's a good idea doesn't mean it is.
Max Kaehn: Brainiacslothman on November 11th, 2008 05:31 am (UTC)
The alternative to the tyranny of the majority is constitutional democracy, such as our own, which provides protection of the rights of minorities even when opposed by the minority. (e.g.: The rights granted by the First Amendment, or the equal protection clause in the Fourteenth Amendment.)
fresnefresne on November 11th, 2008 03:56 am (UTC)
Well, at the moment the 8 protests serve a multiple purpose of putting pressure on the CA Supreme court to hear the 3 lawsuits sooner than later (civil rights aside, it's questionable that's legal to amend the State constitution without going through a 2/3 vote of the legislature - representative republic and all that), put momentum behind these sorts of legislation (which are probably doomed, but interesting), and provide momentum for a pro-gay marriage initiative a few years down the road. If the current stats hold, (see prop 22% versus prop 8) it could pass in about three-four years.
Sandpanthersandpanther on November 11th, 2008 06:10 am (UTC)
Surely there must be some way of keeping the issue in the public (and the Court's) mind without coming across as a group of people whining because they didn't get their own way. Unfortunately, all that protesting outside of churches is doing is proving all the worst expectations of those who are in favor of this law. Social change doesn't happen because one person goes to another and says "what you believe is wrong". And protesting like that against a law enacted through proper due process subtracts credibility from one's stand. I'm saddened that an issue that deserves all due sober consideration is being cheapened by what can very easily be perceived as sour grapes.

(And what's with this protesting outside of churches thing? I thought people originally came to this country so they wouldn't be persecuted for their religious beliefs?)

This law is ultimately doomed to being overturned again in the courts, and frankly, I'm in awe that anyone thinks there's any doubt on it. There is simply too much judicial precedent for it to rule any other way. (Again, the irony of California voting in favor of Obama in the same election as Prop 8 passes is really not lost on me.)

Yeah, and what is with passing a constitutional amendment with a simple majority? That's just completely nutso, and, if it's in fact legal, needs to be rectified -- after the damage from Prop 8's been undone. While I have perfect confidence that the next time this issue comes up for a vote, it will resolve differently, I'm not sure it will be done by a 2/3 majority. That likely will take a good deal more time, and I think it unkind to make those affected by this law wait that long. This particular issue is a generational thing, and it will take time for the older generations to work their way out of the system. Compare how completely ludicrous it would be to put a Jim Crow law on the ballot now, as opposed to seventy years ago or so. Let another thirty years pass and I predict voters then will find this particular proposition as preposterous as we would now find requiring a literacy test as a requirement for voting rights.

Oh dear. I'm thinking that the people proposing that legislation aren't realizing that there's a large difference between "supporting" and "not objecting to", and that one doesn't obligate compliance to the other. If legislation like that is put before Utah voters and the Mormon church doesn't lobby against it, then it's being true to their statement of having no objection for rights for gays and lesbians without ever encouraging its members to donate time and means in support.

I think what bothers me about legislation like that is the intent behind it. The proposals themselves seem like good and just causes in and of themselves. And yet the motivation behind bringing them doesn't seem to me to be in order to secure equal rights, it seems to be to get back at a group people are mad at. Legislation like that could be a dowry of equality, compassion, and respect. But being driven by an urge to find fault like that flavors any possible victory with bitterness. A shame, since it would be a worthy victory.

fresnefresne on November 11th, 2008 07:26 am (UTC)
I don't know, maybe we are coming across as whiny. I was talking to someone at my church on Sunday about the march in S.F. on Friday. She didn't want to go with her daughter until things settled down, but thought if it did that it would be wonderful experience for her daughter to participate in. Another man went because after spending the weekend out in the rain holding signs, harrassed by cops and Yes people, he felt the forward momentum was too great to break so suddenly. I didn't want to go because I wanted to have a nice birthday dinner. March and lobster mac and cheese don't mix. And in any case, I want to do what I wanted to do in the first place, read Leviticus and write.

It's odd for me to read about the protests in front of Saddleback Church in Southern California. I used to go to church there. The minister seemed nice enough, if far too fundamentalist for me. Nice music program though.

The blame game is unfortunate, but may die down. Or not.

The pilgrims who fled religious persecution turned around and persecuted anyone who disagreed with their beliefs. People are funny that way.
Sandpanthersandpanther on November 14th, 2008 01:51 am (UTC)
Maybe the sound bites aren't conveying the protests' intents very clearly. Unfortunately, when I hear "protest against Prop 8" after the election I wonder what, exactly, is being protested. That Prop 8 passed? The initiative system? Democratic voting? Some of those, for all that they're a real pain in the butt, are things that I'm really invested in seeing stick around. (Though I will consider suggestions of improvements on the system...) Votes going the opposite direction of how one wants them to is part of how the democracy cookie crumbles. It seems pointless to me to protest after the cookie has crumbled that it crumbled wrong. The cream puff of that opportunity has flown, and it only flies in one directly. Rather than protest the way it flew, it seems to me more useful to come up with a strategy for securing the next puff.

I remain completely baffled by protests in other states. Why are people in New York protesting a California ballot measure? What are they trying to accomplish? Registering their disapproval of California? (As if that were in doubt...?)

The pilgrims who fled religious persecution turned around and persecuted anyone who disagreed with their beliefs. People are funny that way.

*sigh* So untidy, doing things like that. It upset the logical and natural order of my universe, and makes my brain throw "out of cheese" errors. I wish they would stop doing that. I don't like being out of cheese.