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A noise annoys

By Tom Toles



Extreme Wrestling with commenters

A commenter yesterday accused liberals (me) of heedlessness regarding unintended consequences! Could the timing on THAT accusation be worse? The GULF SPILL, brought to you by MARKET FORCES! The WALL ST MELTDOWN brought to you by UNFETTERED CAPITALIST TITANS! The OBESITY EPIDEMIC brought to you by the PROCESSED FOOD INDUSTRY ONLY GIVING AMERICANS WHAT THEY WANT!

I would be inclined to think the commenter was merely another practitioner of the cynical right wing tactic where they accuse their opponents of exactly the crimes of which they themselves are guilty, but we have no cynics in these parts, only thoughtful readers who are trying to shed light on the policy debates of the day. So I will reply with raised-pinky politeness when I say that YOU ARE INSANE.

I did get a good (hard) question a while back that I ducked at the time. After I implied that perhaps some safety measures may have been skirted on the Deep Horizon well, a commenter asked me exactly which systems and devices were insufficient, down to the make, model and serial number of every part and process. Now obviously the question was designed to flummox me on precise technical grounds, which it did, but I knew someone would come to my rescue, which they have.

The blind shear ram had known weaknesses and was insufficient as fail-safe without backup. Blind shear ram is a great set of words and will henceforth be understood as a wrestling move employed by my commenters against me. But note, you will need more than that. --Tom Toles




By Tom Toles  | June 23, 2010; 12:00 AM ET
Categories:  GOP  
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Posted by: tradeshoes04 | June 24, 2010 10:58 PM | Report abuse

oops sorry Jon I skimmed your post and missed "child labor laws, the Civil Rights Act, overtime, the 40-hour week... all (gasp) Liberal ideas." Yes these are mostly social goods that do have a positive effect. Things have been taken quuite a bit farther since. (And who gets a 40 hour work week?)

Posted by: jmcdavisum | June 24, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse


You are confusing Liberal with liberal. Liberalism comes from the Latin word liberalis which menas of freedom. The wonderful developments that you list come from classsic liberalism and have very little to do with today's social liberalism. Classic liberalism is all about the freedom of the individual. Social liberalism requires the tempering or some would say trampling of liberty for a "greater" social good. The problem that many have with this is that a tipping point is reached society's potential begins being diminished for a greater mediocrity or worse.

Posted by: jmcdavisum | June 24, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

It really is hard to resist, "Tom, liberal ideas brief well, but don't last long after implementation." Really?

How about the 1st amendment?
Or the 3rd through 10th? (The 10th maybe has had some unintended consequences, but still.)
The 13th, 15th, 19th, 21st (prohibition was every bit as effective as the War on Drugs, but it only took us 15 years to figure that out), 23rd, 24th and 26th amendments, child labor laws, the Civil Rights Act, overtime, the 40-hour week... all (gasp) Liberal ideas.

Seems like they've lasted a while, anyway, and haven't exactly ruined the country yet.

In point of fact, most of the above represent exactly the things American citizens are proud of and citizens of other countries ENVY.

"Don't last long..."
What's more, we're not done, yet... Not by a long shot.

Want unfettered Capitalism with basically no government interference and none of those awful "Liberal" ideas? Really? Try living in Haiti.

Posted by: jonroesler | June 23, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

gary4books: "People chow?" Is it made from real people? Heh. Thanks for the chuckle, Gary4brooks!

No,you're thinking of Soyulent Green. People Chow is made up of dogs and cats. :)

Posted by: ATrueChristian | June 23, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Mr Toles, your comments about what we're reaping now as a consequence of what we've sewn (the "unfettered capitalism, etc) reminds me of how amused I get when the right starts drooling at their prospects in November and in 2012. If people could turn their short attention spans back just 18 months or so and remember what 8 years of a Republican White House and 12 years of a Republican Congress brought us, with all the deregulation, pre-emptive wars, and pork-barrel spending (Bridge to Nowhere anyone?), they might recall that at the end of 2008, this country was taken to the brink by glorious Republican policies. I ask, what will change if they get power again? The fact that Obama has carried on some of those policies upsets me to no end, but at least he's trying to fix some of the mess. But such a mess will not go away in 18 months time.

So, IF you get the power back in the next election cycle Republicans, remember that the election cycles that follow those, unless you change your tune dramatically, will show a pendulum swinging even farther left in response to your idiotic free-market-rules-all idiology, and you will bring about an even deeper liberal response and public outcry. There's a reason Dems took power and held it for decades after the great depression. Be careful what you wish for...

Posted by: PrairieDog60 | June 23, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

You don't see any irony in bringing up the "Wall Street collapse" when defending the left's ignorance of unintended consequences? Fannie and Fred at the behest of those such as Mr. Frank essentially mandated the creation of a hugely irresponsible subprime market. There was obviously no shortage of malfeasance and bad judgment in the private sector. How anyone could accept 30 to 1 or even 40 to 1 leveraging of these exotic and incredibly complex investment vehicles is beyond me. Still though banks would have never made the bad loans that caused everything to crumble had the government not insured and made profitable bad decision making.

Posted by: jmcdavisum | June 23, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

"The alcoholic hurts everyone around them. The obese person only hurts themselves."

No the obese person hurts those they fall on or step on (ride a Metrobus sometime). They drive up the cost of health care for all. That is the reason many companies subsidize gym memberships. A healthier corporate group means lower health insurance premiums.

Posted by: BootmanDC | June 23, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

blogs...everyone single one of them. And sometimes CAPS are necessary. I'm sorry your neighbors feel the need to run their refueled mowers at rude!

To BradG re: obese persons hurting only themselves...not true. They hurt us all physically and financially. Do you know how many people it takes to transfer a 500lb person from big boy wheelchair to big boy stretcher to a big boy bed? Do you know how many people it takes to pick up a 500lb person from the floor who has fallen? Do you know how many people it takes to change a 500lb person's adult brief (aka diaper)? Simple procedures that could be done as an outpatient require hospitalization where they have all the big boy stuff! All those people/accommodations cost $$$ and back pain (which we can't claim on workman's comp)... just a nurse weighing in.

Posted by: cathdubois | June 23, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Now that we have all this Texas Tea gushing into the Gulf of Mexico and polluting the gulf's environment and ruining people's business, what is the Tea Party's solution to this problem? Surely, they don't want the government to clean it up - that requires big government. Surely, they can't want the government to compensate businesses and individuals - that requires more taxes. And they certainly can't want the $20 billion BP escrow account, since that would violate BP's right to due process. So how would the Tea Party solve all these problems - tea bags to mop up the oil and free tea for those out of a livelihood?

Posted by: BootmanDC | June 23, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Actually the other day I heard the best description of the bottom line problem regarding the gulf oil spill.... our technology to drill in deep water has outpaced our ability to deal with a potential accident.
But clearly, we can all ultimately thank the leftist environmental nitwits for pushing exploration from the relative safety of onshore and shallow water sites to the deep oceans. Gotta love those unintended consequences!!!!

Posted by: Shrimper | June 23, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps if Mr. Toles reads it in the Post ( he will see that a process in the Sun (astronomical) can change our climate and perhaps start an ice age. If so, we may want to warm the Earth and credit the increase of CO2 and a protective measure.

I have never denied that CO2 makes it warmer. I just wanted to ask if that was good or bad. In some cases it could be good to warm the Earth. In other futures, we might want to cool the Earth.

But those with the same solution to all problems are silly.

Posted by: gary4books | June 23, 2010 8:00 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Toles, do you think that President Obama will make a decision on General McChrystal today? Or will the President ponder deciding to waive the decision in favor of deciding to decide if he wants to decide to decide his decision? President Obama, Fearless Leader, Man of Action, deciding whether or not to decide.

Posted by: bobbo2 | June 23, 2010 6:32 AM | Report abuse

yeah that is true, major brands do give out free samples of their popular health products best place to get yours is tell your friends and family too

Posted by: lisasusan23 | June 23, 2010 4:40 AM | Report abuse

Well, Mr. Toles, check this interchange of opinions about the article "Business Leaders Say Obama's Policies Stiffle Growth":

XXXX wrote:
ZZZZ wrote:
Exxon paid $0.00 in taxes this year on 42,000,000,000 in profit last year.....something is very wrong with that fact.

There is nothing wrong with that. I would call it a smart tax strategy! It is business. ExxonMobil is not in business just so it can pay taxes to the US. Just like you do not work just so you can pay your taxes. I am sure if you could you would be happy to reduce the size of your tax bill.

That's the way the American citizens think about corporate greed, it's natural and they share the greed. That's why you can't expect that the public will put pressure to control these corporate criminals.

We are doomed.

Posted by: coqui44 | June 23, 2010 12:39 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Toles you simply want more Government control. Every problem, every crisis has to have a Government solution. In many situations our Government has had the power to prevent or solve problems and has failed miserably. Failure does not warrant more power. That seems to be the argument from the Left. After a problem occurs and the Left stops jerking it's communal knee it gives the same old response, we need more Government. No we don't. We need to learn and move on. And your comment about processed food companies giving people what they want? What business survives that doesn't give people what they want? The only thing that survives by not giving people what they want is Government. Everything in moderation is the answer to your obesity question. Simple, honest, correct. What would the Government answer be? I am more concerned about an obese Government than I am about an obese person. Freedom has it's responsibilities and it's consequences. When Government steps in Freedom suffers.

Posted by: bobbo2 | June 22, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for the double post, but I couldn't resist:

gary4books: "People chow?" Is it made from real people? Heh. Thanks for the chuckle, Gary4brooks!

Posted by: whiteflame128 | June 22, 2010 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Toles, once again I must take you to task, and beg politely that you disable the caps lock key on your keyboard.

Sir, I'm sorry that I didn't listen to what was no doubt your very well-informed opinion. I had trouble reading it. The punctuation got in the way. Please forgive me if I have no idea what exactly you were talking about. If you could repeat, sir, the core of your topic and argument in a quieter tone, I might hear you better. I'm sorry--it's my fault, you see, as I am hard of hearing and certain typing ranges are outside of my hearing range.

I'm afraid to say, sir, that it appears your blog has been hijacked by the very commenters that have so beleaguered you, since I cannot distinguish your professional writing from their amateurish comments. I do enjoy your political cartoons, because I love satire, and I like the double-punch technique you use with the corner sketch, but when I come to your blog for further illumination, I find I am getting yelled at. Now, sir, I realize that most humorists take a dim view of politeness, but it might be that a calm voice is more readily heard than a frantic one.

And, dear sir, does it occur to you that this sort of rhetoric is precisely that which the extreme conservatives (whom you so often lampoon) use? But of course, extremists look the same, no matter which side of the spectrum they may fall on. An extremely brilliant light is as blinding as extreme darkness, and both are equally useless in avoiding a stubbed toe. Not that I'm calling you extreme, of course. Oh no, dear sir, I would not do such a thing--I only say that your rhetoric in this blog risks having you confused for an extremist.

I do hope that you regain full control of your own blog soon, Mr. Toles. When you speak calmly, I will listen receptively.

Posted by: whiteflame128 | June 22, 2010 9:08 PM | Report abuse


Come on. It is not a time for "fool proof food."

We got to each plan our own diet and manage our weight. That takes exercise and some care for our health. Processed food is fine, if used according to the directions. You can eat well and healthy at McDonald's or even Subway. And spend less money, too.

Just got to think when you do it.

Just got to think.

You want fool proof?

Why not have Congress mandate "People Chow."

Posted by: gary4books | June 22, 2010 9:07 PM | Report abuse

"Could the timing on THAT accusation be worse? The GULF SPILL, brought to you by MARKET FORCES!"
Or rather distorted market forces caused by government imposed liability caps that distorted the actual cost of the risk involved in drilling
Or rather market forces once again being distorted by artificially low interest rates as per policy the Federal Reserve that operates at the behest of the government. Or the fact that it was implied that large institutions such as Freddie and Fannie were 100% backed by the US Government which created moral hazard. The Government encouraged the risk through decades of interference in the "free market"
This is true. But then you have to think of the moral aspect. Should the government decided what people can eat? On a related note shoulde we bring back Amendment XVIII? The alcoholic hurts everyone around them. The obese person only hurts themselves.

Posted by: BradG | June 22, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Tom---Blind Shear Ram sounds like something one needs to be wary of while sleeping in a barracks with a lot of strange men. But your right that was the last safety system that failed before the well blew. Obviously, like on many other offshore wells there should have been a backup system in place. Especially when drilling so dangerously deep and the type of gas pressures expected. But many other mistakes were made that led up to this blowout. The complete truth about how extreme the damage done is also being downplayed.

I am one who looks at the political arena objectively as an Independent. I find that most politicians are noise makers with only their own personal objectives in mind. Politics should have never been allowed to become a big business instead of actually representing those who individually voted them into office. It is also the most deceptive business ever created. "How do you know when a politician is lying? When his lips are moving." I wonder how much different our government would operate if Lawyers were not allowed to run for elected office?

Posted by: JONAHandtheFISH | June 22, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

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