This Does Not in Any Way Imply That All Climate Deniers Are Obnoxious Blowhards

November 23, 2013

Obnoxious drunken, nicotine spewing blowhards make it their business to insert themselves in a stranger’s business and tell him that he shouldn’t be “minding other people’s business”.

GreatergreaterWashington:

Last night, a cyclist nearly hit a van blocking the L Street cycletrack and decided to report it to the police. That’s when he met Fred and Fran Smith, the husband-and-wife heads of a conservative think tank who started berating him for “minding other people’s business.”

Rob, who tweets as @the_baseband, captured the interaction on his helmet camera and posted it online yesterday. It not only shows the need for more public education about cycling laws in the District, but also the divisive attitude some have towards cyclists, even when they’re following the law.

Rob was turning left from 19th Street NW to L Street when he almost slammed into the back of a white van parked in the lane. He walks his bike onto the sidewalk and can be heard calling the police, when a woman approaches and asks if he’s going to report the van.

As Rob reads out the license plate of the truck over the phone, an older man in a suit walks over and the two begin screaming at him. The two are later identified asFred Smith and Fran Smith, founder and board member of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank that promotes free-market economics and denies global warming.

The interaction is brief, but it says a lot about lingering attitudes towards cycling and cyclists in DC. While the driver of the van broke the law by parking in a bike lane, it happens so frequently that people like Fred Smith either assume that it’s acceptable, or that it’s not actually a bike lane.

When Rob explains that he almost hit the van, Fred yells, “The truck is not in the bike lane at all!” He walks out into the street, points to the striped buffer between the bike lane and the general traffic lanes, and says that’s the bike lane.

It’s also interesting the way that Fred and Fran immediately try to paint Rob as the aggressor for trying to report the driver, chiding him for “minding other people’s business.” Fred makes multiple assumptions about Rob, saying he “hasn’t worked a day in his life” and is “mad” at the driver for not being a cyclist.

I won’t go into whether someone who goes to a”think tank” every day actually knows about real work.

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51 Responses to “This Does Not in Any Way Imply That All Climate Deniers Are Obnoxious Blowhards”

  1. dumboldguy Says:

    If it’s not O-Log one day, it’s E-Pot the next—-can Dave Burton be far behind?
    Obviously not, as this strand illustrates. I must say, however, that “one-note Dave” has outdone himself here with his repeated insistence on bringing up the “poor little bald guy trying to keep from starving by selling flowers” while PARKING IN A WAY THAT IS DANGEROUS TO HIS FELLOW MAN AS HE SEEKS RICHES. At least Dave did not bring up the fact that sea level rise is not accelerating—thank you, Dave.

    Of course, Dave has completely missed the point of the post, thus requiring the rest of us to educate him. (That may be his goal—keep everyone wasting time on a side issue while the CO2 level keeps going up—he succeeds in his trollness yet again).

    Having logged some 35,000+ miles on a bicycle and served as a volunteer trail patrol member on the W&OD trail in northern VA, i could tell many stories about how easily folks can get injured, even on rail-trails with no cars (except at road crossings). I will tell only two.

    I had to stop riding on the country roads in northern VA once suburban sprawl caused the traffic level to grow—after the third or fourth time that some fool in a F-150 or Escalade brushed my left arm with his rear view mirror while passing me, I now ride on trails almost exclusively. My worst experience was coming down a hill on Wisconsin Avenue in DC at about 25 miles per hour, alongside a long string of parked cars (which was in itself a bit dangerous because of the propensity of idiot drivers to “door” bicyclists). I was staying out away from the cars and looking ahead for occupied cars when a DC MetroBus overtook me, swung out, moved alongside, stayed there, and proceeded to squeeze me against the cars. Riding at 25 mph with your right handlebar missing rear view mirrors by inches and your left almost touching the side of a bus is quite the experience—I glanced up at the passengers and they were horrified, I looked ahead into the bus rear view mirror and the driver was looking back at me and GRINNING. I managed to drop back and extricate myself from the “death zone” and tried like hell to catch the bus, but it was apparently an express and I couldn’t. I would have attacked the driver if I had caught him, and I think a judge would have let me walk after hearing from the witnesses.

    Now that I have digressed a bit, back to Dave. So, Dave—tell us again why you are setting up a straw man here and trying to distract us? The point of the post was that the Smiths are obnoxious and ignorant pigs, “think tankers” who “mooch” on society, and climate deniers—generally despicable people—why do you defend them?

    And an invitation to Dave. Come to northern VA and stay with me. I will provide you with a bike and guide you on some rides where you will meet many people like the Smiths and the the poor-little-man-selling-flowers. I will also visit you in the hospital if you survive the encounter with them. If not, I will ship your body home to your family at my expense.

    • daveburton Says:

      That DC Metro bus driver should have been reported. He & his behavior were reckless, dangerous, and perhaps intentionally cruel.

      The bald guy with the flower stand was none of those things. Rob’s viciousness toward him was shameful and indefensible.

      • j4zonian Says:

        When people park in bike lanes it forces cyclists to swing outside the bike lane into the car lane. Especially in the conditions shown–night, business, visual clutter everywhere– this is extremely dangerous and puts the cyclists’ lives at risk. Car drivers, about half of whom now seem to be on the phone and half of those manifest road rage at the tiniest inconvenience or perceived deviation from what THEY think is acceptable, are often not paying attention nearly enough or willing to slow down enough to adjust.

        Drivers are, like most people in the US, unconscious as they proceed through their lives–unconscious on every imaginable level. Many don’t seem to notice there’s a bike lane–as an example, I was nearly doored tonight by a woman standing IN the bike lane, facing away from oncoming traffic (me) who opened her car door suddenly without looking. Apparently she thought the marked lane (big bike silhouettes painted on the road) was for her protection in opening the door, so she wouldn’t have to pay attention and could still avoid being killed by cars. It’s a common mistake.

        In their unconsciousness, car drivers may still be vaguely aware that there is a bike lane. Some may even be paying attention; both types expect the cyclists to be IN the bike lane and nowhere else (this despite the fact that virtually everywhere cyclists are also allowed outside the bike lane whenever they deem it necessary). Since the car drivers expect the cyclist to stay in the bike lane, and since 75-90% of non-grid-locked car drivers are going over the speed limit and too fast for conditions (while not paying attention and as mentioned, either talking or texting) bike lanes with cars parked in them are actually less safe than no bike lane at all.

        The truck was endangering the lives of cyclists and the least objectionable option is to report it. The driver deserves to have the truck ticketed and towed–at the very least. To refer to someone reporting a dangerous crime as “vicious” is utterly absurd as well as being shameful and indefensible.

        The couple…

        • j4zonian Says:

          My post seems to have been truncated.

          The couple, not knowing anything about the situation and apparently not understanding that reporting a crime and a dangerous situation so that it can be fixed are good things, decided to do what they make their living doing: increasing danger and strife in society.

        • dumboldguy Says:

          Well said, J4. Why do you understand all that while daveburton doesn’t?

          • j4zonian Says:

            Because I’m attached to reality. Because I adhere to a philosophy and belong to a political party that doesn’t benefit from denial–of science, reality and the need to ban fossil fuel vehicles. And daveburton apparently is and does none of those things. Pity.

      • dumboldguy Says:

        “PERHAPS intentionally CRUEL”? Lord love a duck, Dave! You think the bus driver SHOULD have been reported but that Rob’s behavior was “vicious, shameful and vindictive”? (and you have been wasting our time pursuing that idiotic assertion). What is wrong with you? What in life has damaged your sense of priorities so badly?

        It would have been nice if someone on the bus had called the police and reported what was beyond “reckless and dangerous” and actually almost attempted murder. I couldn’t catch him, nor could I read the very small number painted on the back of the bus as it sped off. I DO regret that I couldn’t catch him, because the ambulance crew that would have been needed would surely have gotten his data so that I could report him, and I could have gotten names of witnesses. What he did was a firing offense and a violation of law, and I would have followed through on both.

      • daveburton Says:

        Correction: upon reexamination of the Google street view photos, I think the bald guy was just a passerby. I think the flower seller is seated at the far end of the flower stand. The images are not clear enough to tell what he looks like.

  2. dumboldguy Says:

    Dave, if we go back far enough, perhaps we could find photos of that intersection before it was paved and there were piles of horse manure everywhere (also a metaphor for your rantings). Those old pics would be just as relevant to the present discussion as those you posted.

    “My guess is that D.C. only recently converted the parking lane to a bicycle lane”?
    DUH—it could have been done years ago or only that morning and the flower seller would have been just as guilty.

    “Does anyone else here have any compassion for the little guy trying to earn a living? Or am I the only one?”?
    Double DUH—the transparent hypocrisy of that one is amazing—you have NO compassion for the little guy, Dave. You’re just having a good time wasting our time.

    “That’s got to be a hard way to earn a living”?
    FYI, DC and other cities are full of street vendors and truck vendors who seem to be reasonably happy and successful as they “work hard” to make a living. Otherwise why would they do it? They could always go work at Wal-Mart or Mickey D’s for less than a living wage, couldn’t they?

    • daveburton Says:

      You did see the photo of the little old bald guy with his makeshift flower stand right next to the “2 hour parking” sign, right?

      I think that, even if you won’t admit it, most of you must know or at least suspect that:

      1. Rob F. LIED to the police about almost colliding with a “very dangerous” parked van. It wasn’t dangerous, and he didn’t almost collide with it.

      2. The very place where the van was parked is a perfectly safe place to park, and was, in fact, a “2 hour parking” zone until recently.

      3. As Rob admitted in his now deleted July 31 tweet, the conversion of parking lanes to bike lanes is not about safety. (It’s about the political clout of liberals, which, in DC, is approximately infinite.)

      4. The reason Rob deleted his July 31 tweet is because it was inconsistent with his current narrative.

      5. The flower stand guy was there first. Parking his van there while loading and unloading used to be perfectly legal (and perfectly safe) until the City changed the rules on him.

      6. What the City of Washington DC did to the flower stand guy, and many others like him, was heartless and unnecessary. It happened because guys like Rob have clout at City Hall, and guys like the flower stand guy don’t. Making a living selling flowers on a street corner in the DC heat is not easy, and the liberals who run Washington DC made it harder.

      7. The flower stand guy and the FedEx driver park where they do out of necessity, while loading and unloading, while trying their best to make a living, despite the best efforts of the DC politicians to make it impossible for them to do so.

      8. It would have been neither easy nor safe for the flower stand guy to lug his stand and flowers and umbrella across the street.

      9. The Smiths’ protest had nothing to do with their own interests. It was motivated by their personal decency and their compassion for someone less fortunate than themselves. Rob lacks that compassion… and, apparently, so do the liberals here.

      10. “Bleeding heart liberals” are, sadly, an endangered species, if not already extinct. So what if you liberals put a little old man out of business? He can “always go work at WalMart or Micky D’s.” Or die and decrease the surplus population.

      • dumboldguy Says:

        daveburton continues to demonstrate to all of us his true colors with his mindless insistence on keeping this thread alive. What was a small but interesting “throwaway” posting illustrating how ignorant and despicable people like the Smiths can be has gone way “over budget” because of Dave. The piece was successful at showing us why we consider the Smiths and their ilk to be the enemy (as if we didn’t already know they were), and should have faded by now.

        Perhaps Dave is trying to keep us from looking at other more meaningful posts by keeping us here? He is clueless, of course, because folks ARE looking at the other posts and having a meaningful dialogue there.

        So, perhaps those of us that engaged Dave are doing the rest of the “Crockers” a favor by playing Dave’s game and keeping him here? I for one will keep playing—-I DO dearly love the idea behind “If one is thought to be a fool, one should not open one’s mouth and remove all doubt”. I will help Dave continue to show the world that he lacks credibility. (Of course, it would never occur to Dave that his behavior on this thread will likely impact his credibility on others. Or maybe he doesn’t care, because he is not a serious commenter, but rather just a game player?) Let’s look at the logic fails in some of the “10 points”.

        1. Rob F. LIED to the police about almost colliding with a “very dangerous” parked van. It wasn’t dangerous, and he didn’t almost collide with it.
        (Keep repeating that irrelevancy and maybe someone will believe it)

        2. The very place where the van was parked is a perfectly safe place to park, and was, in fact, a “2 hour parking” zone until recently.
        (But now it’s a bike lane and is NOT perfectly safe”)

        3. As Rob admitted in his now deleted July 31 tweet, the conversion of parking lanes to bike lanes is not about safety. It’s about the political clout of liberals, which, in DC, is approximately infinite.
        (Also irrelevant, and a deliberate distortion of what the tweet said)

        4. The reason Rob deleted his July 31 tweet is because it was inconsistent with his current narrative.
        (Really? Just another unsubstantiated opinion on your part)

        5. The flower stand guy was there first. Parking his van there while loading and unloading used to be perfectly legal (and perfectly safe) until the City changed the rules on him.
        (Yes, key words are “used to be legal and safe”—-not any more)

        6. What the City of Washington DC did to the flower stand guy, and many others like him, was heartless and unnecessary. It happened because guys like Rob have clout at City Hall, and guys like the flower stand guy don’t. Making a living selling flowers on a street corner in the DC heat is not easy, and the liberals who run Washington DC made it harder.
        (Dave’s politics are showing. Could it be that he is a non-science believing, right wing troll who really doesn’t give a rodent’s rear end for “the little guy”?)

        7. The flower stand guy and the FedEx driver park where they do out of necessity, while loading and unloading, while trying their best to make a living, despite the best efforts of the DC politicians to make it impossible for them to do so.
        (More politics in an attempt to distract from the real issue)

        8. It would have been neither easy nor safe for the flower stand guy to lug his stand and flowers and umbrella across the street.
        (Why not? The stand was made of easily carried bits and pieces and flowers are not cinder blocks, the “umbrella” was fabric, and he has eyes and a brain to help him be safe. Instead you continue to maintain that he should be allowed to break the law and endanger bicylists?)

        9. The Smiths’ protest had nothing to do with their own interests. It was motivated by their personal decency and their compassion for someone less fortunate than themselves. Rob lacks that compassion… and, apparently, so do the liberals here.
        (More politics injected. People who make their living behaving in a NON-decent and NON compassionate way are heroes to Dave rather than the greedy ultra-conservative liars-for-a-buck that they are. I am far from a “liberal”, Dave, but compared to you and the Smiths I am a flaming socialist-marxist-communist. I am beginning to “lack compassion” for YOU, Dave—anyone who continues to display such functional illiteracy and willful ignorance deserves little).

        10. “Bleeding heart liberals” are, sadly, an endangered species, if not already extinct. So what if you liberals put a little old man out of business? He can “always go work at WalMart or Micky D’s.” Or die and decrease the surplus population.
        (More irrelevant politics. Yes, in the world of social Darwinism, all those things are options. And you and the Smiths don’t really care, because what this is all about is that you have a hard-on for those you perceive as “liberal bicyclists”. If It had been some K street lobbyist in a Lincoln who had come around the corner and collided with the van, you would be singing a different tune.)

        I APOLOGIZE FOR TAKING UP SO MUCH SPACE AND WON’T DO IT AGAIN. DAVE WAS BEGGING FOR SOME HELP THOUGH, AND I AM “COMPASSIONATE”.


        • I think Dave is doing us all a favour. His mindless numbskullery is on show for any lurkers as a demonstration of the loony right mindset. He’s doing an excellent job and should be applauded.

        • daveburton Says:

          humbleoldguy says, “1. Rob F. LIED to the police about almost colliding with a “very dangerous” parked van. It wasn’t dangerous, and he didn’t almost collide with it. (Keep repeating that irrelevancy…”

          You’re talking to a conservative. We do not think that lying to the police (or to anyone else) is ever an “irrelevancy.” We think it is a sin.

          I’ve noticed that liberals don’t ever seem to be bothered by lying. If lying bothered them, they would be troubled:

          * that Reid and 51 other Democrats in the U.S. Senate just lied blatantly about the Senate rules, to overturn the parliamentarian’s ruling, which every one of them knew was actually correct.

          * by “living breathing Constitution,” and “emanations & penumbras” excuses for transparently dishonest judicial rulings.

          * by the Obama Administration’s continual lying, about just about everything, like Benghazi, “if you like your plan you can keep it,” and even the new deal with Iran.

          * by the fake “97% climate consensus.”

          Etc., etc.

          But I had hoped that at least one of the liberals here might care a little bit about a poor flower vendor, who’s just tying to make an honest living.

          Rob obviously doesn’t. In fact, he’s out to hurt the little guy. But I hoped that someone else on the Left might still have a heart.

          I guess there’s not even one “bleeding heart liberal” left, at least around here. Sadly, these days, liberalism doesn’t just mean endorsement of lying, it also means heartlessness. Those are two of the biggest reasons that I am a conservative.

          • j4zonian Says:

            Speaking of lies…

            and Crocodile tears…

            What crap, daveb. Give it up; no one’s buying it.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            Dave finishes his parroting of right wing talking points with: “Those are two of the biggest reasons that I am a conservative.” As usual, Dave misses the point entirely. I again recommend The Republican Brain by Mooney to all who would hope to understand why there are “Daves'” in this world. Of course, it could just be that Dave is simply a WIFI (Willfully Ignorant Functional Illiterate—translation—dumb and that way on purpose). Many conservatives are, because they operate from a base of BELIEF and FAITH rather than rational analysis of fact.

            That is what leads Dave to keep arguing irrelevancies and moot points. He is foolish enough to inject the concept of LYING into the discussion, and brings out the dead horses of Benghazi and how the DEMOCRATS are to blame for the dysfunction in Congress, to say nothing about Obamacare, the FAKE 97% consensus, and (Lord help us) “the living breathing constitution”, the interpretation of which by the (lying) majority of the SCOTUS has given us Citizens United. Deliberate lying is almost exclusively the province of the right wing, Dave, as opposed to the occasional mistakes made by liberals (which they try to rectify).

            Dave says he: “….had hoped that at least one of the liberals here might care a little bit about a poor flower vendor, who’s just tying to make an honest living”. Too bad Dave and his fellow conservatives don’t appear to care about the “poor” folks who depend on SS, Medicare, Medicaid, SNAP, and other government supports because it is so hard to make an honest living. The corporations and greedy rich have destroyed their jobs, siphoned off their income and wealth, and won’t pay them a living wage.

            I am reminded of that famous line from the Fugitive, when Tommy Lee Jones says in response to the fugitive’s plea. “I don’t care”. Dave, we don’t care either—about your mindless blatherings, that is—we DO care about the safety of bicyclists and the need to educate parking violators about their responsibilities as citizens, as well as the obnoxious behavior of folks like the Smiths.


          • Dave knows because only liberals lie and he is no a bigot.

      • daveburton Says:

        Correction: upon reexamination of the Google street view photos, I think the bald guy was just a passerby. I think the flower seller is seated at the far end of the flower stand. The images are not clear enough to tell what he looks like.

    • daveburton Says:

      And…

      11. Washington DC drivers routinely ignore the city’s traffic laws. They drive 20 mph over the limit, unless it is physically impossible to do so, and the police ignore it. But Rob wants the police to come out and ticket some guy for a parking violation? He’s nothing but a vindictive liberal jerk.

      • dumboldguy Says:

        Drivers everywhere in the DC area “routinely ignore the traffic laws”, as I suspect is the case in many places with horrendous traffic jams, as we have here. Dave is apparently ignorant of the fact that not only do the police NOT ignore that fact, but that DC is one of the most aggressive cities in the nation at making money off driving “violations”. It’s great for them because most folks driving in DC are from MD and VA, and have no political power with which to fight back. It’s also good for the environment in a roundabout way, because anyone who can take mass transit or commute by bike does so to avoid driving. We have a rather large number of bike commuters here.

        Draconian parking regulations and fines have long been a major source of revenue for DC, and they are now working hard to install speed and red light cameras everywhere. Yes, Dave, Rob wants the police to come out and ticket some guy for a parking violation, and they may even show up fast enough and do it (not always the case, unfortunately). Rob, unlike you, understands what it means to “do the right thing” and help make the world a better place.


  3. Regardless of hte merits of this particular instance, the name Fred Smith rings a bell.

    1994: Thanks RJR for $150K.
    “On behalf of everyone here at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, I would like to thank you for Philip Morris’s $150,000 contribution.”

    2000: Smith to RJR: please give $$
    “As per your conversation with Jay Rao, I am sending you a quick note to follow up on RJ Reynolds’ possible contribution to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, CEI . As you know, RJR’s continued support and your personal involvement has meant a lot in our battles over the
    last 16 years . But of course, the war is far from being over and CEI still needs your continued backing as we tackle the issues emerging in the new millenium. Our work, I believe, is important both for America generally – and RJ Reynolds specifically.’

    As per Fakery 2, PDF p.39, CEI was #4 on teh list of $ from Philip Morris, but obviously were getting it all along from RJR.

    So, for decades Smith begged money for tobacco companies, helping them kill children very slowly, the only way they stay in business. An CEI is still at it, this time via Bill Frezza.


  4. […] 2013/11/23: PSinclair: This Does Not in Any Way Imply That All Climate Deniers Are Obnoxious Blowhar… […]


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