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Archive for the ‘Arnold Schwarzenegger’ Category

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I have a few catch-up items for everyone today in honor of Al Gore’s appearance yesterday before the House Committee on Global Warming (hasn’t congress heard it’s called ‘Global Climate Change’ now? ‘Global Warming’ is so last year.)

The VP has been recently dubbed “The Goracle” by his army of the faithful. [Because let’s be clear, despite varying evidence for and in opposition to global climate change/warming, it is a matter of faith. Just as Christians have faith that Jesus is God and he will return to judge the quick and the dead, and just like Buddhists have faith they can work to expunge all bad vibes in order to obtain enlightenment, and just as Muslims believe they can subjugate the entire world and establish sharia law throughout the land, the global climate change religionists believe man is primarily responsible for global warming and the fate of the planet due to our actions and/or inactions–science can often be another form of provable and improvable doctrinal creed.] The faithful seem to overlook The Goracle’s obvious and environmentally damaging hypocrisies, most recently evidenced in his egregiously wasteful personal energy policies at his own mansion in Tennessee, and including the plane zips from state to state, country to country in a private jet delivering his Academy Award winning slide show to the eco-zombies of the world, when he could just as easily travel commercially much of the time.

But oh, as he claimed in yesterday’s hearings, and as he’s previously self-extolled, he’s living a ‘carbon neutral’ lifestyle through the purchase of ‘carbon offsets,’ or credits, from an enviro-friendly company that specializes in that sort of nonsensical diddle.

But even an organization that specializes in carbon offsets has no clue how they actually function to reduce specific amounts of carbon dioxide (human only I assume despite that fact that humans are not the leading cause of CO2 production.) Dan Skopec, Undersecretary for California Environmental Protection Agency, is a man who represents the cheerleading effort behind carbon footprint reduction, while ensuring that Arnold Swarzenegger’s and Dianne Feinstein’s environmentally unfriendly lifestyles are made to look much less horrific than they actually. Recently interviewed for the John and Ken Show on KFI 640 in Los Angeles, Skopec confessed, after repeatedly dodging the question, that he, and the scientific community as a whole (at least the tree-hugger variety), have no idea how many trees it would take, and how long they would need to remain standing, in order to offset the billions of tons of C02 we produce. The concept of Swarzenegger and Feinstein and The Goracle spending $10 to buy the right for a single tree to offset the gobs of carbon dioxide they produce in just one private jet trip is comedy. The fact that they obviously spend more (probably) for multiple trees with no clue as to what is officially necessary in order to actually reduce their ‘carbon footprint’ is an absurdity to the point of tragedy.

So send me $10 and I’ll nail the bill right to the tree in my back yard (if I did in my front yard, someone might steal the money and you wouldn’t gain anything)–you’ve just purchased the right for my tree to reduce your CO2 emissions. How much? Like Mr. Skopec above, I have no clue. But it can’t hurt can it? Yet that’s how most scams seem to function, and stating that global warming is the major emergency of our time as Gore claimed yesterday lends more credence to those who do not question what they’re told and their willingness to buy into a scam without thinking for themselves.

But all this matters little to the mindless legions who follow The Goracle. Like an apoplectic discharge, they punish those who don’t exactly buy into the global warming theory, while choosing to ignore billions of years of undocumented, unrecorded evolutionary earth history–ice core samples, yeah–that has shown the earth transforming, evolving, metamorphosing, and arguably transmogrifying (yes, Mother Nature, you can be an ugly bitch sometimes) throughout the eons, warming and cooling.

Of course, what all of this really boils down to here are new taxe increases for everyone courtesy of the Al Gore global warming conspiracy and his next bid for President of the United States in 2008. Still, I’d vote for him over George W. Bush any day of the week (of course, I’m kidding.  I would simply abstain.)

Anyway, here’s a fantastic documentary produced by the UK Channel 4 titled The Great Global Warming Swindle. Proceed further down the page for more news stories.

 

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Here’s a NYTimes piece from a week ago. Though a little old, it’s interesting.

From a Rapt Audience, a Call to Cool the Hype

Hollywood has a thing for Al Gore and his three-alarm film on global warming, “An Inconvenient Truth,” which won an Academy Award for best documentary. So do many environmentalists, who praise him as a visionary, and many scientists, who laud him for raising public awareness of climate change.

But part of his scientific audience is uneasy. In talks, articles and blog entries that have appeared since his film and accompanying book came out last year, these scientists argue that some of Mr. Gore’s central points are exaggerated and erroneous. They are alarmed, some say, at what they call his alarmism.

“I don’t want to pick on Al Gore,” Don J. Easterbrook, an emeritus professor of geology at Western Washington University, told hundreds of experts at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America. “But there are a lot of inaccuracies in the statements we are seeing, and we have to temper that with real data.”

Mr. Gore, in an e-mail exchange about the critics, said his work made “the most important and salient points” about climate change, if not “some nuances and distinctions” scientists might want. “The degree of scientific consensus on global warming has never been stronger,” he said, adding, “I am trying to communicate the essence of it in the lay language that I understand.”

Although Mr. Gore is not a scientist, he does rely heavily on the authority of science in “An Inconvenient Truth,” which is why scientists are sensitive to its details and claims.

Criticisms of Mr. Gore have come not only from conservative groups and prominent skeptics of catastrophic warming, but also from rank-and-file scientists like Dr. Easterbook, who told his peers that he had no political ax to grind. A few see natural variation as more central to global warming than heat-trapping gases. Many appear to occupy a middle ground in the climate debate, seeing human activity as a serious threat but challenging what they call the extremism of both skeptics and zealots.

Kevin Vranes, a climatologist at the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado, said he sensed a growing backlash against exaggeration. While praising Mr. Gore for “getting the message out,” Dr. Vranes questioned whether his presentations were “overselling our certainty about knowing the future.”

Typically, the concern is not over the existence of climate change, or the idea that the human production of heat-trapping gases is partly or largely to blame for the globe’s recent warming. The question is whether Mr. Gore has gone beyond the scientific evidence.

“He’s a very polarizing figure in the science community,” said Roger A. Pielke Jr., an environmental scientist who is a colleague of Dr. Vranes at the University of Colorado center. “Very quickly, these discussions turn from the issue to the person, and become a referendum on Mr. Gore.”

“An Inconvenient Truth,” directed by Davis Guggenheim, was released last May and took in more than $46 million, making it one of the top-grossing documentaries ever. The companion book by Mr. Gore quickly became a best seller, reaching No. 1 on the New York Times list.

Mr. Gore depicted a future in which temperatures soar, ice sheets melt, seas rise, hurricanes batter the coasts and people die en masse. “Unless we act boldly,” he wrote, “our world will undergo a string of terrible catastrophes.”

He clearly has supporters among leading scientists, who commend his popularizations and call his science basically sound. In December, he spoke in San Francisco to the American Geophysical Union and got a reception fit for a rock star from thousands of attendees.

“He has credibility in this community,” said Tim Killeen, the group’s president and director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, a top group studying climate change. “There’s no question he’s read a lot and is able to respond in a very effective way.”

Some backers concede minor inaccuracies but see them as reasonable for a politician. James E. Hansen, an environmental scientist, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and a top adviser to Mr. Gore, said, “Al does an exceptionally good job of seeing the forest for the trees,” adding that Mr. Gore often did so “better than scientists.”

Still, Dr. Hansen said, the former vice president’s work may hold “imperfections” and “technical flaws.” He pointed to hurricanes, an icon for Mr. Gore, who highlights the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and cites research suggesting that global warming will cause both storm frequency and deadliness to rise. Yet this past Atlantic season produced fewer hurricanes than forecasters predicted (five versus nine), and none that hit the United States.

“We need to be more careful in describing the hurricane story than he is,” Dr. Hansen said of Mr. Gore. “On the other hand,” Dr. Hansen said, “he has the bottom line right: most storms, at least those driven by the latent heat of vaporization, will tend to be stronger, or have the potential to be stronger, in a warmer climate.”

In his e-mail message, Mr. Gore defended his work as fundamentally accurate. “Of course,” he said, “there will always be questions around the edges of the science, and we have to rely upon the scientific community to continue to ask and to challenge and to answer those questions.”

He said “not every single adviser” agreed with him on every point, “but we do agree on the fundamentals” — that warming is real and caused by humans.

Mr. Gore added that he perceived no general backlash among scientists against his work. “I have received a great deal of positive feedback,” he said. “I have also received comments about items that should be changed, and I have updated the book and slideshow to reflect these comments.” He gave no specifics on which points he had revised.

He said that after 30 years of trying to communicate the dangers of global warming, “I think that I’m finally getting a little better at it.”

While reviewers tended to praise the book and movie, vocal skeptics of global warming protested almost immediately. Richard S. Lindzen, a climatologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, who has long expressed skepticism about dire climate predictions, accused Mr. Gore in The Wall Street Journal of “shrill alarmism.”

Some of Mr. Gore’s centrist detractors point to a report last month by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations body that studies global warming. The panel went further than ever before in saying that humans were the main cause of the globe’s warming since 1950, part of Mr. Gore’s message that few scientists dispute. But it also portrayed climate change as a slow-motion process.

It estimated that the world’s seas in this century would rise a maximum of 23 inches — down from earlier estimates. Mr. Gore, citing no particular time frame, envisions rises of up to 20 feet and depicts parts of New York, Florida and other heavily populated areas as sinking beneath the waves, implying, at least visually, that inundation is imminent.

Bjorn Lomborg, a statistician and political scientist in Denmark long skeptical of catastrophic global warming, said in a syndicated article that the panel, unlike Mr. Gore, had refrained from scaremongering. “Climate change is a real and serious problem” that calls for careful analysis and sound policy, Dr. Lomborg said. “The cacophony of screaming,” he added, “does not help.”

So too, a report last June by the National Academies seemed to contradict Mr. Gore’s portrayal of recent temperatures as the highest in the past millennium. Instead, the report said, current highs appeared unrivaled since only 1600, the tail end of a temperature rise known as the medieval warm period.

Roy Spencer, a climatologist at the University of Alabama, Huntsville, said on a blog that Mr. Gore’s film did “indeed do a pretty good job of presenting the most dire scenarios.” But the June report, he added, shows “that all we really know is that we are warmer now than we were during the last 400 years.”

Other critics have zeroed in on Mr. Gore’s claim that the energy industry ran a “disinformation campaign” that produced false discord on global warming. The truth, he said, was that virtually all unbiased scientists agreed that humans were the main culprits. But Benny J. Peiser, a social anthropologist in Britain who runs the Cambridge-Conference Network, or CCNet, an Internet newsletter on climate change and natural disasters, challenged the claim of scientific consensus with examples of pointed disagreement.

“Hardly a week goes by,” Dr. Peiser said, “without a new research paper that questions part or even some basics of climate change theory,” including some reports that offer alternatives to human activity for global warming.

Geologists have documented age upon age of climate swings, and some charge Mr. Gore with ignoring such rhythms.

“Nowhere does Mr. Gore tell his audience that all of the phenomena that he describes fall within the natural range of environmental change on our planet,” Robert M. Carter, a marine geologist at James Cook University in Australia, said in a September blog. “Nor does he present any evidence that climate during the 20th century departed discernibly from its historical pattern of constant change.”

In October, Dr. Easterbrook made similar points at the geological society meeting in Philadelphia. He hotly disputed Mr. Gore’s claim that “our civilization has never experienced any environmental shift remotely similar to this” threatened change.

Nonsense, Dr. Easterbrook told the crowded session. He flashed a slide that showed temperature trends for the past 15,000 years. It highlighted 10 large swings, including the medieval warm period. These shifts, he said, were up to “20 times greater than the warming in the past century.”

Getting personal, he mocked Mr. Gore’s assertion that scientists agreed on global warming except those industry had corrupted. “I’ve never been paid a nickel by an oil company,” Dr. Easterbrook told the group. “And I’m not a Republican.”

Biologists, too, have gotten into the act. In January, Paul Reiter, an active skeptic of global warming’s effects and director of the insects and infectious diseases unit of the Pasteur Institute in Paris, faulted Mr. Gore for his portrayal of global warming as spreading malaria.

“For 12 years, my colleagues and I have protested against the unsubstantiated claims,” Dr. Reiter wrote in The International Herald Tribune. “We have done the studies and challenged the alarmists, but they continue to ignore the facts.”

Michael Oppenheimer, a professor of geosciences and international affairs at Princeton who advised Mr. Gore on the book and movie, said that reasonable scientists disagreed on the malaria issue and other points that the critics had raised. In general, he said, Mr. Gore had distinguished himself for integrity.

“On balance, he did quite well — a credible and entertaining job on a difficult subject,” Dr. Oppenheimer said. “For that, he deserves a lot of credit. If you rake him over the coals, you’re going to find people who disagree. But in terms of the big picture, he got it right.”

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Returning as the ‘Goracle’

Gore brings his message on global warming — and a reincarnated image — to the Capitol.

By Faye Fiore and Richard Simon, Times Staff Writers
March 22, 2007
WASHINGTON — The doors swung open and he made his entrance with cameras clicking, the wooden politician denied the presidency and derided as “Ozone Man” was coming home to the Capitol. But this time they called him a movie star and likened him to a prophet.

Al Gore left Washington seven years ago bowed by the 2000 presidential election and a little disgraced in the eyes of his party — couldn’t he at least have won his home state?

 

But he returned Wednesday reincarnated: the subject of an Academy Award-winning film, a nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize, a 58-year-old guy who, slightly grayed and a little puffy, can share a stage with Leonardo DiCaprio and still manage to be the center of attention.

The onetime congressman, senator and vice president was back, this time to testify about global warming. The Oscar for “An Inconvenient Truth” — the documentary about his traveling slide show on the ravages of climate change — doesn’t even belong to him; it’s the director’s. But it has pushed Gore into another orbit in Washington’s universe. People started lining up as early as 7 a.m. to get a glimpse of him.

“This is the most dangerous crisis we have ever faced,” Gore told a joint meeting of two House panels in an impassioned appeal for bold action. (He later repeated his case on the Senate side.) “This problem is burning a hole in the top of the world…. We need to turn the thermostat back down before that melts.”

Gore, who arrived in a new hybrid Mercury, sat beside a stack of brown boxes filled with 516,000 messages — collected over the last few days on AlGore.com — urging “real action.”

“There is a sense of hope in the country that this United States Congress will rise to the occasion and present meaningful solutions to this crisis,” he said. “Congress is a repository of hopes and dreams of people all across this Earth.”

As the morning hearing convened on the House side, the repository of hopes and dreams spent several minutes bickering about where the committee members should sit and how much time they had to speak.

They appeared to divide pretty much along party lines. Democrats hailed the “Goracle,” who saw this coming 30 years ago, and Republicans dismissed him as an alarmist.

Among Gore’s ideas: a pollution tax, an immediate freeze on carbon dioxide emissions with sharp reductions in future years, stricter vehicle miles-per-gallon rules, a moratorium on construction of highly polluting coal-fired power plants, a strong global climate-change treaty and the creation of a federally operated “carbon-neutral” mortgage association that would serve as incentive for building energy-efficient homes.

“I listen to you sometimes in wonderment,” said Rep. J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), predicting that Gore’s proposals would cost “tens of thousands of jobs and more empty factories.”

Rep. Ralph M. Hall (R-Texas) complained of an “all-out assault” on energy sources that are crucial to economic and national security.

In the confrontational camaraderie for which Washington is famous, Hall and Gore happily reminisced about the time they went to a meeting on Hall’s boat, then Hall accused Gore of “flirting with the death of the energy industry.”

Gore acknowledged his proposals faced serious obstacles.

In calling for a pollution tax, he said, “I fully understand this is considered politically impossible, but part of our challenge is to expand the limits of what’s possible.” He urged his former colleagues to “walk through that fire.”

The day will come, he said, when future generations either ask, “Did they think it was perfectly all right to keep dumping 70 million tons every single day of global-warming pollution into this Earth’s atmosphere?” or “How did they find the uncommon moral courage to rise above politics?”

Gore spoke mostly without notes and seemed more comfortable in his skin than when he was as a presidential candidate, even with a clot of photographers squatting in front of him. A notorious policy wonk, he touched on subjects such as light bulbs and the Arctic ice cap, which, he said, is melting even faster than previously thought and could “completely disappear in as little as 34 years.”

“If it goes, it won’t come back in any time scale relevant to the human condition,” he warned as his wife, Tipper, nodded in agreement behind him.

Members of both parties, who generally poke at their BlackBerrys during long committee hearings, appeared to pay attention.

The exchanges were sometimes confrontational, especially at the Senate hearing, where Gore dueled with one of the chief congressional skeptics on global warming, Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.).”It seems that everything is blamed on global warming,” Inhofe said. “Last summer we had a heat wave and everyone said, ‘Oh, that’s proof it’s global warming.’ Then we had a mild December. ‘Oh, that’s proof that global warming is taking place.’ … How come you guys never seem to notice it when it gets cold?”

But Gore held firm, noting that a manatee showed up off Memphis last summer.

“First time ever,” he said. “It got too hot in southern Florida. I’m not making this up. Another one showed up off of Cape Cod, first time ever. Nature is on the run.”

Later, Gore invited Inhofe to breakfast to discuss the issue “without the cameras, without the lights.”

Much as he did in “An Inconvenient Truth,” Gore reduced the science to simple metaphors.

When asked whether the United States should be taking drastic action when China and India were greater polluters, Gore explained that the U.S. accounted for 23% of carbon emissions and “like a bucket with a hole in it, you can still use the bucket, but it’s a lot more efficient if the hole is plugged.”

Outside the House hearing room where Gore spoke, a crowd waited for him to emerge. Three high school girls from New Jersey snapped his picture for their school newspaper, saying that he looked taller, older and more confident than they expected.

Gore left through a side door, missing an impromptu ditty by what sounded like a Dixieland band and members of the antiwar group Code Pink, attired in boas and assorted hats. He was nonetheless mobbed by photographers and squeezed into an elevator to escape.

“Run for president!” somebody hollered, just as the doors closed.

At the end of the day, after Gore finished his testimony before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), the chairwoman, called Gore a “role model for us all.”

Gore thanked her and asked, “Now, you don’t give out any kind of statue or anything?”

Dan Skopec, Agency Undersecretary

Dan Skopec – California EPA

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It’s been recently established that ex-VP and ecological warrior Al Gore uses over 20 times the amount of energy than the average American consumes, thereby illuminating a copious magnitude of hypocrisy on a man who had freshly been honored with the best documentary feature Academy Award for the runaway hit that is his global warming-cum-environmental treatise slash slideshow, An Inconvenient Truth.

Again, I’ve always been rather partial to Gore, and I really don’t mind inherent hypocrisy because honestly, as I expounded upon in this post, everyone is a hypocrite (myself included) and all hypocrisy is inherent. My central problem with Al Gore’s particular brand of hypocrisy is the fact that he’s fucking Al Gore: politician, celebrity, activist, and self-proclaimed internet architect. If he were just some guy spewing vomitous, mindless, unsolicited, insipid, and uninformed opinions in a blog on the internet that is rarely read by anyone (hmm… sounds sort of familiar), then his hypocrisies wouldn’t even register as a blip on my radar. But because he’s Al Gore (and not just any run-of-the-mill Al Gore mind you, but prognosticator and grand soothsayer to the follies of mankind in regards to global warming) we as the people of the world, Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, expect the mighty almost-president to damn well practice what he damn well preaches. If he doesn’t commit to his publicly broadcast enviro-ideals, then I simply expect him to shut-up about this particular issue.

That’s not too difficult to ask, is it? It’s not like I’m pushing Mr. Gore to go live in a cave. Far from it. I would never expect that. I’m simply suggesting that as a result of his hypocrisy, he’s irreversibly cast-adrift some serious respect many have held for him, including myself, and he earnestly needs to sit down and think about how he can live his life by the code he’s urging everyone else on the planet to adopt. I would suggest looking towards Ed Begley Jr. as a good role model, and I’m being completely serious here. If you want to live your life as environmentally politically sound as possible, then you can’t do better celebrity-wise than Mr. Begley Jr. Here’s a man who would rather drive cross-country in his electric vehicle (which he does quite often) than pollute the atmosphere with copious amounts of jet plane causing carbon dioxide.

And speaking of jet planes, it appears we have a new enviro-hypocrite in the political/public arena. My own California Senator Dianne Feinstein apparently uses her wealthy husbands’ private jet to ferry her back and forth across the country–from Sacramento, California to the nation’s capital in Washington D.C. According to the L.A. Times article below…

A single cross-country round trip on a Gulfstream IV, or GIV, the model owned by Feinstein’s husband, churns out about 83,000 to 90,000 pounds of carbon dioxide, experts say. By contrast, on a per capita basis, the average American produces 50,000 pounds from all activities in an entire year.

That’s almost twice as much carbon dioxide produced in just one cross-country trip. It would take me almost two years to produce as much CO2 that Feinstein craps out in one trip to the D.C. and back. So assuming she were to fly hither and thither say, around 100 times a year, which would not be out of the realm of possibility for someone like Feinstein who works in the nations capital but calls California her home, our senator would excrete close to 9 million pounds of CO2 in only one year. Ack! How can my poor, defenseless atmosphere stave off such a fiendish attack?

Of course the article also lists California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger as another particularly vocal enviro-hypocrite–the attitudinizer (yes, it’s an actual word) so to speak. But now a new, previously unheard of, pseudo-phrase has been thrown into the mix, created I’m assuming to excuse those who evangelize eco-friendliness while engaging in behavior that is unequivocally eco-hostile, such as Schwarzenegger’s exhortations of energy conservation despite his unbridled love affair with the Hummer–a decidedly mother nature-terminating, gas guzzling behemoth. What is this new phrase? Carbon offsets.

So what are carbon offsets? According to the always reliable Wikipedia

A carbon offset is a service that tries to reduce the net carbon emissions of individuals or organizations indirectly, through proxies who reduce their emissions and/or increase their absorption of greenhouse gases. A wide variety of offset actions are available; tree planting is the most common.

Proper to the LA Times article, apparently Feinstein has already been purchasing carbon offsets for a while now, while Schwarzenegger is intending to buy into this scheme imminently. And though it appears purchasing carbon offsets is a relatively inexpensive proposal, allowing the buyer a certain sense of inflated ego and magnanimity, the results are a bit questionable. I don’t mean to imply that planting trees offers no real benefit to the environment, but to offset the damage caused by brutal enviro-terrorists like Feinstein, Schwarzenegger, and Gore proves a daunting task indeed.

In order to right the damage done by only one Feinstein trip to Washington D.C., one would have to plant 1,800 trees. So what if the carbon offset organizations simply don’t have enough time or man-power to plant 1,800 trees in one go? Well, one could simply plant a much more manageable number–say 90 trees–but those trees would have to be managed for 20 years before they offered a return on only one Feinstein jet trip. Assuming Feinstein probably makes around 100 Gulfstream IV private trips back and forth, a carbon offset team would be required to plant 180,000 trees per year in order to battle the gross injustice Feinstein commits against the environment.

So are these carbon offset companies actually planting 1,800 trees per every flight Senator Feinstein embarks upon? I somehow doubt it, and this seems nothing more than a deflection scheme designed to allow the powerful and wealthy to continue their environmentally damaging behavior while they persist in preaching and condescending to the rest of us how to live our lives ecologically sound while admonishing us when we stray from their politically correct, beneficent path.

Refraining from what one preaches is harder to cover up than it seems.

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Politicians’ flights called wasteful

Schwarzenegger and Feinstein preach energy efficiency but often fly fuel-gulping small jets.

By Paul Pringle, Times Staff Writer
February 28, 2007

Sen. Dianne Feinstein offers plenty of tips on how California households can combat global warming, such as carpooling and running only a full dishwasher.

But one bit of information Feinstein declines to share is the number of times that she flew last year on her husband’s Gulfstream jet, which burns much more fuel per passenger-mile than commercial airliners.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger also has asked constituents to do their part to conserve energy — including cutting summertime power consumption — even though he takes to the skies on leased executive jets.

Aides say there is nothing contradictory between the pro-green pronouncements and the flying habits of the Democratic senator and Republican governor.

Some environmentalists aren’t so sure.

“There appears to be a discrepancy between calling on people to make personal reductions and using a private jet that exacerbates the problem,” Clean Air Watch President Frank O’Donnell said.

Flying on a Gulfstream rather than an airliner is like driving a sport utility vehicle instead of riding a bus, O’Donnell and others say.

A single cross-country round trip on a Gulfstream IV, or GIV, the model owned by Feinstein’s husband, churns out about 83,000 to 90,000 pounds of carbon dioxide, experts say. By contrast, on a per capita basis, the average American produces 50,000 pounds from all activities in an entire year.

Nonetheless, Feinstein and Schwarzenegger intend to continue their noncommercial flying ways because their jobs demand a flexibility the airlines can’t match, spokesmen say.

Schwarzenegger’s office said he and a jet-leasing company are establishing a “carbon offset” program for the governor and fellow customers, retroactive to Jan. 1. Carbon offsets are bought from organizations that plant trees and support renewable energy enterprises, among other measures, to offset greenhouse gases produced by the buyers.

“This is big news,” Schwarzenegger spokesman Bill Maile said of the governor’s undertaking with NetJets, the leasing firm.

Feinstein, however, got the jump on Schwarzenegger. She began buying carbon offsets last year to partially cover the travel on the GIV, and will purchase enough offsets this year to compensate for all the trips, spokesman Scott Gerber said.

He added that Feinstein took “numerous” commercial flights in 2006, but flew mostly on the GIV. He balked at disclosing the tally of her Gulfstream journeys.

“We’re not going to get into specifics,” he said.

Noncommercial aircraft and other carbon-related indulgences have caused politicians considerable turbulence recently.

A conservative group has condemned Al Gore for racking up an average monthly electricity bill of $1,200 at his Nashville mansion last year while championing the anti-global warming cause. A Gore spokeswoman said the former vice president invests in renewable energy to offset his electricity use.

As part of an ethics push, the House and Senate are toughening restrictions on lawmakers who fly private jets, though exceptions for members and spouses who own planes are under consideration.

Earlier this month, Republicans accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of requesting a large military jet to fly her and family members between the capital and her San Francisco district.

Security protocols grant Pelosi occasional military flights because she is second in line to the presidency. Her office said she had only inquired about an aircraft with enough fuel capacity to make the trip nonstop, and would fly commercial if necessary.

Pelosi flew on private jets seven times in 2006, her spokesman said. “She made every effort to travel commercially whenever possible,” Drew Hammill said.

Sen. Barbara Boxer says she took four trips on private aircraft last year, one with multiple stops over 2 1/2 days.

“If you can take a commercial plane to get where you need to go at the time you need to be there, you should do it,” she said in an e-mail. “If not, you have to look at alternatives such as trains, fuel-efficient vehicles, buses, and in some cases, private planes.”

For that last option, Feinstein reimburses her husband, Richard Blum, for use of the jet, Gerber said. Blum bought the GIV for about $23 million in 1999. The reimbursements are based on a first-class commercial fare, with more than 90% of the money coming from Feinstein’s personal funds and the rest from campaign coffers, the spokesman said. Last year, the reimbursements to Blum totaled about $73,000, he said.

But a GIV’s operating expenses are much higher than a first-class booking. A round-trip Los Angeles-Washington flight on the Gulfstream burns about 4,500 to 5,000 gallons of fuel at a cost of roughly $20,000, depending on local pump prices, said Jeff Beck, a veteran corporate pilot. And that doesn’t include pilot fees, maintenance and parking bills.

“It’s the least environmental thing that politicians can do,” Beck said. He said Gulfstreams devour so much fossil fuel per passenger that “it’s like they’re throwing dinosaur bones out of the tailpipe.”

A coast-to-coast, first-class ticket on a major airline goes for about $1,200 to $2,500, round trip, according to a sampling of three airlines’ prices Tuesday.

A Boeing 767-200 airliner burns about 1,550 gallons an hour — three times as much as a GIV. But the larger plane typically can seat about 180 passengers, as opposed to a GIV’s 12 to 14.

Eric Carlson, executive director of Carbonfund.org, a nonprofit that sells offsets, said it would charge $229 to cover the emissions from the GIV round trip.

Schwarzenegger flies a variety of leased jets, which cost his campaign $733,000 during the three months ending last September. Maile said the governor digs into his own pockets for some flights.

He also said Schwarzenegger has converted one of his Hummers to biodiesel fuel, and plans to install solar panels on his house. His other three Hummers remain gas hogs.

For her part, Feinstein drives a hybrid Lexus sport utility vehicle when she is home in San Francisco, Gerber said. But she drives a Lincoln Town Car in Washington.

Not that the eco-crowd is eager to criticize Feinstein and Schwarzenegger, who are generally viewed as key supporters of the growing movement to curb emissions.

Representatives of some environmental groups either would not comment on the two politicians’ penchant for private jets, or suggested that allowances could be made in their circumstances.

“Given the exigencies of the campaign trail, if not the demands of governing of a large state, it may not be realistic to expect elective officials to fly commercial all the time,” said Jon Coifman, spokesman for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

But O’Donnell, of Clean Air Watch, invoked a loftier ideal:

“It is fair to hope that our political leaders will lead by example.”

The image “https://i1.wp.com/www.nndb.com/people/535/000023466/feinstein-official7-med.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

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https://i1.wp.com/www.indybay.org/olduploads/sb1160rallymadera.gif
For those who believe that all of the illegal immigration protests of late last Spring and early summer were not detrimental to the pro-illegal immigrant movement, aside from the obvious evidence, one need only look to the recent smack down that transpired with Assembly Appropriations Committee in the Democratic Assembly last week concerning the re-up of the always-doomed-to-fail drivers licenses for illegal immigrants bill (SB1160), brought to the floor once again, and for the seventh time by Senator, moron, and illegal immigration supporter, Gil Cedillio. Well, at least he’s persistent.

Senate Bill 1160 died earlier than anyone expected. The fact that it died in the AAC must be a huge slap to the face of moron Cedillio, especially since the previous iteration of the bill made it all the way to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s desk the preceding year before it was terminated by our state leader. There wasn’t even vote. Oh yeah, Cedillo’s pissed. See?

“It is absolutely unacceptable,” he said. “My intention and my commitment is to move this bill to the floor. We have the right to have this bill debated, voted on, and moved to the governor’s desk.”

Senator Moron, sorry to burst your the little bubble you live in where illegals dance in gumdrop fields with cotton-candy clouds and rainbows where leprechauns stash their pots ‘o gold, but that isn’t going to happen, at least before elections in November, and most likely until the end of the year. The Republicans and the Democrats both know that this is the politically charged issue in California this year. They will not jeopardize their positions, especially for your moronic propositions.

From the SacBee

…in order for the legislation to be resurrected, the Appropriations Committee would have to meet again — which is unlikely because that would require a two-thirds vote of the Assembly.

Another interesting comment came from Cedillio’s fellow moron, Assemblywoman, Judy Chu, a Democrat from Monterey Park.

She said, “I held the bill with hopes that the Legislature can come back later when the issue can be dispassionately discussed in a way that will allow us to solve the difficult and myriad public safety problems posed by unlicensed drivers and counterfeit IDs.”

Um, the debate on illegal immigrants’ right to apply for a California drivers license is a passionate one. Judy, there will never be a time when this issue can be discussed sans passion. Rationally perhaps. But minus passion? Of course not.

And here’s a suggestion. Upon finding illegal alien unlicensed drivers, arrest them. Maybe even, god forbid, deport them. If there’s one thing I and many other Los Angeles residents noticed during the Day Without an Immigrant protests, the freeways ran smoothly and efficiently. Congestion was no where to be seen on most LA highways. It was a glorious day. I say, bring on more protests.

Moron Cedillio was of course pissed at his fellow Dems including Judy, and the infamous Speaker Moron, illegal alien lover, and general insano, Fabian Nunez who surprisingly sided with the majority in this instance by agreeing to shelve SB1160, at least for the time being. Nunez may be a moron, but he isn’t entirely stupid. He knows as well as anyone, even though, and especially because he’s a member of the Green Party, that elections are swiftly approaching, and if he wishes to maintain a hold on his position some political acquiescence will be prudent.

But ultimately, why did the Dems decide not to vote to pass this if-you’re-in-support-of-it-you’re-insane bill? Because even though they know that if it were to find its way to the governor’s desk, there would be no way in hell Schwarzenegger would ever sign into law such a ridiculous bill. He’s already proven as much by vetoing the same bill last year. And those legislators who support the bill in their little illegal alien loving hearts, fully understand that the majority of California voters, not to be confused with California residents, are adamantly opposed to licenses for illegals.

Oh, but isn’t the governor’s seat up for grabs this November as well? Don’t illegal immigrants and their supporters have a hope that this bill will be passed if someone else were to become the new California Governor? Hardly. Despite the fact that the moron Phil Angelides supports driver licenses for illegals, the issue is moot because there’s no way in hell he will win in the upcoming gubernatorial election. The man is too out of touch. Of course, there’s a chance I’ll be proven wrong, but somehow, I seriously believe that I will be proven right in the end. The incumbent will continue his reign as Governor, and as a result, no drivers licenses for illegals.

More from the SacBee…

…Cedillo argued there has never been a better time for the legislation, comparing it to civil rights laws that passed during the height of passions in the 1960s.

“This is the best year to move this bill, (which) has the broadest support it has ever had,” he said.

“In the spring, millions of people marched for the rights of immigrants, including driver’s licenses.”

Hello! Cedillo, you are truly a moron. How can this bill have “the broadest support it has ever had” if it didn’t even make it to a vote on the assembly floor? It was scooped like poop from a litter box and flushed down the toilet. How much less support can there possibly be for your precious SB1160?

Apparently, and as I’ve said, there was an enormous backlash due to the illegal immigration protests and marches last Spring as was made evident concerning this issue and how quickly it was stamped out on the Assembly floor.

And speaking of marches, protests, rallies, and circus sideshows, it looks as if we’re in for more this coming Labor Day, courtesy of, once more, “Larry” Nativo Lopez. Again, I was very pleased with all of the protests/marches because they managed to illuminate to many Californians and Los Angeles citizens how detrimental illegal immigration is and continues to be to this state and this country. So bring on more protests, because you’re only hurting yourselves.

https://i1.wp.com/www.johnandkenshow.com/blogimages/ArnoldLicense.jpg

Immigration politics stall license bill

By Aurelio Rojas — Bee Capitol Bureau
Published 12:01 am PDT Friday, August 18, 2006

Fearing a voter backlash this fall, Democratic lawmakers Thursday derailed legislation to allow illegal immigrants to obtain California driver’s licenses.For the eighth consecutive year, legislation pushed by state Sen. Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, that has provoked deep emotions on both sides of the immigration debate has apparently failed.

Unlike last year, when the legislation was vetoed by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger — who had vowed to do so again — Democrats in the Assembly pre-emptively shelved Senate Bill 1160.

This time, the measure died without a vote in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

“My intention and expectations are to move the bill to the (Assembly) floor and to the governor’s desk as soon as possible,” Cedillo said.

But in order for the legislation to be resurrected, the Appropriations Committee would have to meet again — which is unlikely because that would require a two-thirds vote of the Assembly.

Cedillo blamed Speaker Fabian Núñez and election-year politics for Thursday’s development. A spokesman for Núñez said the decision was made by Assemblywoman Judy Chu, D-Monterey Park.

“My understanding is, it was the decision of the appropriations chair not to bring up the bill,” Núñez spokesman Richard Stapler said.

In a prepared statement, Chu noted that she has voted for the legislation several times because it would improve public safety.

“However, it has come to a point where a rational, productive debate on the issue on the floor is now highly unlikely,” she said.

“I held the bill with hopes that the Legislature can come back later when the issue can be dispassionately discussed in a way that will allow us to solve the difficult and myriad public safety problems posed by unlicensed drivers and counterfeit IDs.”

Earlier this month, Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, who supported the bill, suggested it might be wise not to give more fodder to Republicans who oppose the measure.

Democrats in tight legislative races also feared they could feel the wrath of voters if they voted for the bill in the charged atmosphere surrounding illegal immigration this year.

State Treasurer Phil Angelides, the Democratic nominee for governor, has endorsed the measure.

But Cedillo argued there has never been a better time for the legislation, comparing it to civil rights laws that passed during the height of passions in the 1960s.

“This is the best year to move this bill, (which) has the broadest support it has ever had,” he said.

“In the spring, millions of people marched for the rights of immigrants, including driver’s licenses.”

SB 1160 would create special driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants that have a different appearance from regular licenses.

The immigrant licenses would not be valid for identification or purposes other than driving.

Republicans contend issuing such licenses would weaken efforts to stop illegal immigration. In 2002, Gov. Gray Davis signed another license bill introduced by Cedillo that would have allowed illegal immigrants to obtain regular licenses.

But during the 2003 campaign in which Davis was recalled, Schwarzenegger criticized the measure.

Shortly after he was elected, Schwarzenegger signed a bill repealing it, saying he would sign a revised version as long as it contained stronger security provisions.

Last year, however, Schwarzenegger said he wanted to wait until rules are developed under the federal Real ID Act of 2005, which requires every state to issue driver’s licenses that comply with a national standard.

His administration is still awaiting formulation of the regulations.

Cedillo argues the Real ID Act allows illegal immigrants to obtain a driver’s license. He maintains that the governor has the authority to come up with a compromise in the interim.

“My bill conforms to federal law,” he said, noting illegal immigrants would not receive regular licenses. “I’m going to keep fighting for it.”

Illegal-immigrant license bill crashes

By Edwin GarciaMEDIANEWS SACRAMENTO BUREAU
Inside Bay Area

SACRAMENTO — California’s illegal immigrants won’t get a chance to apply for driver’s licenses anytime soon, based on the surprising decision Thursday by a powerful legislative committee that effectively shelves the measure yet again.

The Assembly Appropriations Committee, which typically announces decisions with little discussion and without a roll call vote, put the measure on hold. In political lingo, however, the action signifies the bill has all but died — unless committee members agree to reconsider over the next two weeks, which typically doesn’t happen.

This was the seventh time in seven years that Sen. Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, tried to pass the measure, which would establish a special license for the state’s more than 2 million undocumented drivers.

His most recent efforts have been passed by the Legislature only to be vetoed by governors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Gray Davis. This time the bill was shot down by a Democratic-controlled committee.

Political insiders suggested the measure was too controversial for an election year. The bill is opposed by Republicans — and a majority of voters — who say it would reward people breaking immigration law.

Republican Schwarzenegger, who is running for re-election, has said he would veto the bill. His Democratic opponent, state Treasurer Phil Angelides, supports the measure.

Appropriations committee chairwoman Judy Chu, D-Monterey Park, said she “strongly supports” the public safety premise behind the bill, but said a “rational, productive debate” on the Assembly floor was unlikely.

“I held the bill with hopes that the Legislature can come back later when the issue can be dispassionately discussed in a way that will allow us to solve the difficult and myriad public safety problems posed by unlicensed drivers and counterfeit ID’s,” Chu said in an e-mailed statement.

“As far as I am concerned, this issue is not dead and I would encourage my colleagues to continue to advocate for a fair and sensible solution.”

The response angered Cedillo.

“It is absolutely unacceptable,” he said. “My intention and my commitment is to move this bill to the floor. We have the right to have this bill debated, voted on, and moved to the governor’s desk.”

Assemblyman Chuck Devore, R-Irvine, said the committee made the right move, considering the bill is unpopular with the voting public. Slightly more than half of California’s adults oppose giving licenses to illegal immigrants, according to a Field Poll released in March.

“I think they understand this is a little bit of a political hot potato,” Devore said.

Mike Spence, who has led a statewide effort to bar illegal immigrants from receiving licenses, was surprised the committee held the measure, SB1160, which previously was approved by the full Senate.

“Obviously they know that a majority of Californians oppose licenses for illegals,” said Spence, president of the California Republican Assembly. “And they didn’t want to give the governor an issue in vetoing it, because they know this hurts Angelides because he’s on the wrong side of immigration in California.”

The national president of the Mexican American Political Association chided Democrats for keeping the bill from moving forward.

“They represent themselves as the party of opposition to anti-immigrant politics of the Republicans and they’re demonstrating that they’re no different in essence,” said Nativo Lopez, who belongs to the Green Party.

Jose Sandoval, who has led a San Jose-based drive to gather thousands of signatures in support of licenses, said the effort organized by Voluntarios de la Comunidad will continue.

“The people are going to feel very sad about this situation,” he said, “but they won’t give up.”

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NOTE: Please excuse the excessive cursing and venom in the following editorial.

Mobile conversation
Look! It’s a stupid asshole on her cell phone.

You stupid motherfucker. Get off your damn cell phone if you’re driving your damn car (I’m not talking about you, Poopy .)

This is probably my biggest pet-peeve when it comes to drivers and driving in Los Angeles–morons with a cell phone in their hand, their fist to their ear, and one hand on the wheel all while speeding down busy freeways and surface streets so they can get to the nearest Starbucks as quickly as possible for their double-latte caffeine enema.

I ride a motorcycle, and the majority of the times I’ve almost been involved in a collission have been a result of assholes not paying attention to what they’re doing because they’re chit-chatting away on their little cellular tumor box. I truly believe cell phones are the major distracter while driving, and the leading cause of assholism in drivers.

People just don’t pay attention and they don’t care. It’s so very easy to run to the store and pick up a head-set for your phone. Why not do it? Oh, yeah! Because you’re an asshole. I forgot.

But forget about bad driving for a moment how about the fashion statement made by that headset or wireless Bluetooth earpiece?

“I’m not going to walk around 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with one of those things in my ear,” said Thaddeus Breaux, a project manager from Los Angeles. Breaux said his girlfriend uses a hands-free headset and he doesn’t exactly like the look.

Thaddeus Breaux, project manager from Los Angeles, you, my friend, are an asshole. You are also a stupid motherfucker. When you buy a bluetooth or a standard headset, they do not physically graft the device onto your ear. There is no painful surgery involved in order to attach the earpiece to your flesh. Miraculously, it works sort of like a pair of pants. You can actually put it on, and then remove it at your leisure. That’s amazing isn’t it, asshole?

James Banks, a Los Angeles attorney, also has problems with a ban, and thinks the safety concerns are overblown.

“I think it’s no more distracting than listening to the radio, no more distracting than changing CDs and all that navigational system junk,” he said.

James Banks, Los Angeles attorney, you sir, are an asshole. Wouldn’t it be nice to have one less distraction then? Wouldn’t the world be a better place if you’d just admit that you’re an asshole and go buy a headset? Come on, asshole. You’re an attorney. You probably rake in the dough. Go buy a headset you stupid motherfucker.

But Panzella wondered how much safer phones with headsets really are. “You have to still look down to dial the number. Using a cellphone is definitely a distraction,” she said as her own phone rang, as if on cue. Her friend was calling to explain she was stuck in Westside traffic and would be late for their lunch date.

Panzella, you stupid asshole. Did you know that bluetooth headsets allow you to simply say out loud the name of the person you want to speak with? It’s true. Then like magic, the number is dialed, and within moments you can be chatting with your stupid asshole friend in Westwood.

But perhaps you don’t have a fancy phone that features bluetooth technology. Then I would suggest upgrading your phone. If you don’t feel like going to that trouble, then go down to the fucking store and spend $10 on a standard headset. Sure, you still have to dial the number in while driving, and that is distracting, but at least you won’t be distracted by the cell phone shoved in your stupid fucking ear for the next 40 minutes. You’ll even be permitted to drive with both hands on the wheel. Wow!

And, on a side note, to all you single assholes zipping around in your stupid fucking SUV’s while yapping on your cell phones. Fuck you!

Patched in
Wow! Another stupid asshole on his cell phone. And he’s in an SUV! Kewl!

Limit Cellphones in Cars or Just Let Freedom Ring?

By Bob Pool and Lynn Doan, Times Staff Writers
July 14, 2006
He doesn’t own either a cellphone or a car. But Jim Love was taking a proposed restriction on phone use in cars personally Thursday.

“I’ve been hit twice by women talking on their phones on this very street,” the retired computer worker said as he watched traffic pass on busy Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks. “The last one knocked me down. They just kept yakking and kept driving on.”

The debate over Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s support for a ban on the use of hand-held cellular phones by motorists was the buzz at the Sherman Oaks Starbucks and beyond.

Two camps quickly emerged: those who already use hands-free devices and think it’s reckless not to, and regular cellphone users who vigorously defend their behavior as actually being safer than pulling a headset on and off.

Then there were those who thought it was a good idea as long as it applied to someone else.

“L.A.’s way too crazy and wild a place to be pulling people over for talking on their phones,” said Charles “C.J.” Jacobson of Sherman Oaks, a producer of TV commercials. “Maybe there should be a permit system. There’s a slew of professionals who need to use cellphones in cars. But soccer moms don’t need to be doing it.”

While some fear that driving in California would change forever if state lawmakers prohibited drivers’ use of hand-held phones, the lessons of other states that have adopted similar rules might offer pause.

New York, with much fanfare, banned hand-held cell use three years ago. Though authorities issued more than 142,000 citations for illegal cellphone use the first year, a state survey found that half of all New York drivers thought it “was not likely at all” that they would be stopped.

And a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, an independent auto safety research center funded by insurers, found that drivers obeyed the law the first year but went back to their old behavior by the second year.

“I’ll use my cellphone on speaker phone when cops are nearby,” Harry Beck, a New York City transportation analyst, admitted via cellphone from New York. “If they aren’t, I use it normally.”

New Jersey officials said they don’t even keep statistics on cellphone tickets because officers rarely issue citations.

Connecticut and the District of Columbia have also outlawed the use of hand-held cellphones while driving. And California is one of several states considering such a ban.

“My family lives in Pennsylvania, and they’re going to do that very soon back there too,” said Heather Panzella, an elementary school teacher from Huntington Beach who was waiting for a friend on a Westwood Boulevard corner at noon Thursday.

But Panzella wondered how much safer phones with headsets really are. “You have to still look down to dial the number. Using a cellphone is definitely a distraction,” she said as her own phone rang, as if on cue. Her friend was calling to explain she was stuck in Westside traffic and would be late for their lunch date.

“She was driving. She wouldn’t have been able to pull over to make a call. Just look at this traffic,” Panzella said.

Indeed, critics of the proposed ban argue that hands-free models aren’t much safer. Motorists must still dial the number and can still get distracted by calls while driving.

“A hand-held ban seems to send the message that hands-free is OK,” said Russ Rader, spokesman for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, adding that studies by the group found that cellphone use of any kind increases the likelihood of accidents. “You send the message that it is safe, which is not the case.”

James Banks, a Los Angeles attorney, also has problems with a ban, and thinks the safety concerns are overblown.

“I think it’s no more distracting than listening to the radio, no more distracting than changing CDs and all that navigational system junk,” he said.

L.A. resident Pam Tyler thinks the legislation is a step in the right direction, though her feelings are even more extreme. She programs her cellphone to automatically direct all calls to her voicemail. The message begins with: “I can’t take any calls right now because I’m probably driving ”

“I have huge, huge antipathy for people driving while on their cellphones,” she said. “They run red lights and they can’t stay in their own lanes.”

But forget about bad driving for a moment how about the fashion statement made by that headset or wireless Bluetooth earpiece?

“I’m not going to walk around 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with one of those things in my ear,” said Thaddeus Breaux, a project manager from Los Angeles. Breaux said his girlfriend uses a hands-free headset and he doesn’t exactly like the look.

Robert Nehmadi, owner of a Sherman Oaks cellphone store, says that newer wireless headsets are getting smaller and less noticeable.

“Like this one,” he said, pulling it from his ear. “I’d forgotten I was even wearing this.”

Nehmadi, of Woodland Hills, said he favors a law restricting the use of hand-held cellphones by motorists.

At a Jamba Juice shop, 21-year-old fashion model Erin Miller acknowledged that newer cellphone services, such as the text messaging she does with her “Sidekick” phone, can be distracting while at the wheel.

“But I need a phone when I’m driving to get directions,” she said. “And I usually only message ‘OK’ to answer a text message when I’m driving.”

Nearby, cellphone hit-and-run victim Love and his buddies continued their phone-ban debate outside the Starbucks on Ventura Boulevard near Van Nuys Boulevard. “The law’s a good idea, but it’s not enforceable,” Love said. “You’d have to have a cop for every car. It’s not going to work.”

A bill that was approved by the state Senate in May would make driving while using a hand-held cellphone an infraction punishable by a $20 fine for the first offense and $50 for subsequent ones. Schwarzenegger’s endorsement of the idea is seen as a big boost as the state Assembly considers it next month, though it could still face a fight from the cellphone industry.

Cellphone user Bela Flasch, a retired airline worker, shook his head. He uses a hands-free earpiece when he is driving and predicted that a law with some teeth to it could persuade other motorists to do the same. “The fine they’re talking about is way too small,” he said. “Twenty dollars for the first offense? Make it $100.”

Tablemate Henry Dillon, a retired government worker, scoffed at that. “A hundred’s too high,” he said. “Arnold’s finally getting on the right track on something.”

Former produce dealer Pete Fettis suggested a compromise: a $50 fine for the first holding-the-phone-while-driving offense. “I scream at people to put their hands on the steering wheel when I see people making turns in big SUVs while holding a phone to their ear,” he said.

On Thursday, it seemed this was one cellphone conversation that wasn’t about to end.

*

(INFOBOX BELOW)

Cellphone Q&A

What does the proposed California legislation actually ban?

It would ban the use of a hand-held cellphone while driving a motor vehicle except for during emergency situations. It would be legal to use hand-free cellphones while driving.

*

Is there a fine for violators?

Violators would be fined $20 for the first offense and $50 for every subsequent offense.

*

Why do proponents believe hand-held cellphones are unsafe for drivers?

They cite studies and statistics showing that drivers on cellphones are more likely to get into accidents than those not using them. They say cellphones distract drivers from the road. In 2005, the California Highway Patrol reported 1,098 auto accidents, including six fatalities, caused by drivers holding cellphones.

*

Do others disagree with the proposed ban?

Yes. Critics say a ban on hand-held cellphones gives the wrong impression that using a hands-free set while driving is safe. They say drivers using hands-free phones still must dial and are susceptible to distractions. The CHP last year reported 102 crashes caused by motorists talking through a headset or intercom.

Source: Times reports

*

Times staff writer Hemmy So contributed to this report.

Currently watching:
I Stand Alone
Release date: By 05 June, 2001

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