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Obama Derangement Syndrome At National Review?

Rutte

National Review’s Kevin Williamson, makes this observation regarding the above photograph, which shows Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who showed up to a meeting with President Obama today on his bicycle:

Barack Obama showed up at his meeting with Dutch PM Mark Rutte with his usual caravan of armored limousines and the like.

Dutch leaders not only are better at republican manners than ours are — no caesaropapist trappings for Mr. Rutte — but also offer a standing rebuke to American cultural practices by reminding us that it is possible to ride a bicycle without special shoes, a helmet, or spandex.

This is, of course, a ridiculous comparison.

First of all, the security retunie surrounding an American President is huge. It has been for more than 50 years now ever since John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. The bubble became even more restrictive in the wake of the attempted assassination of President Reagan in 1981, the Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995, which resulted in the permanent closure of Pennsylvania Avenue to vehicular traffic, and the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. After Barack Obama became President, the Secret Service increased protection somewhat due to documented threats against him and his family. None of this was Barack Obama’s choice, nor was it the choice of any other person who has served as President before him. Indeed, perhaps he’d would prefer getting around D.C. on a bike like Prime Minister Rutte apparently does. But that’s simply not possible in today’s day and age and, in any case, the Presidential security bubble did not begin with Barack Obama and it will not end with him either.

Second, with all due respect to our friends and allies in Amsterdam, the President of the United States is quite obviously a more high value target to terrorists than the Prime Minister of The Netherlands.

Third, Williamson ends his piece with a gratuitous and wholly unnecessary slap at President Obama over this photograph taken during one of the Obama family’s Christmas holidays in Hawaii. Yes, making fun of the President for riding a bicycle while wearing a helmet. Very mature.

Finally, pointing to Prime Minister Rutte as some example of “republican” values is quite ironic given the fact that he is the Head of Government of a nation whose Head Of State, King Willem-Alexander. The Netherlands, in other words, is a Constitutional Monarchy, not a Republic.

The only thing I can conclude from all of this is that even a relatively reasonable conservative like Williamson finds it obligatory to dip into the crazy well of Obama Derangement Syndrome from time to time. One wonders what William F. Buckley would have to say about all of this.

Related Posts:

About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Nick says:

    Of course, conservative approval of the Netherlands has its limits. After all, this is the Prime Minister of a country where Rick Santorum would have you believe that elderly hospital patients are routinely euthanized by the evil State-run healthcare system if they forget to put their “do not kill me” bracelet back on after taking a shower.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  2. Ben Wolf says:

    Reads more like a shibboleth than Williamsons’s true opinion. I wonder how much of this sort of thing stems from desire to hang onto one’s job or social position rather than being heartfelt.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  3. Ben Wolf says:

    Doug, I hope you and your family are getting by and moving forward.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  4. C. Clavin says:

    DM commenting on someone else’s ODS???
    Pot, meet kettle.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 16

  5. LAgraves says:

    My GOP parents keep telling me that William F. Buckley saved the
    GOP from possible craziness…I have recently decided to agree with them!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  6. @Ben Wolf:

    Thank you Ben. Things are going about as well as one can expect I suppose.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  7. @C. Clavin:

    You really have no idea what you’re talking about do you?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 2

  8. Kylopod says:

    One wonders what William F. Buckley would have to say about all of this.

    Presumably he would have handled it the same way he did in fact handle Clinton Derangement Syndrome: by pooh-poohing it and engaging in false equivalence. In a 1995 article, he attacked Clinton for going after Rush Limbaugh. Buckley conceded that Limbaugh “induces hatred” and that “if I were a liberal, I would hate him,” but he went on to suggest that FDR and Truman did the same thing to the other side. He made it sound as if Limbaugh’s only sin was being mean to liberals, and he made no mention of Limbaugh’s lies or conspiracy-mongering. So please spare me this “Golden Age of Conservatism” crap. The fact is that one of the supposed giants of intellectual conservatism in the 20th century was more than willing to become an apologist for extremists.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 30 Thumb down 0

  9. john personna says:

    He doesn’t actually indict Obama, rather American culture.

    Though oddly he goes after American bicyclists, rather than American assassins.

    (Even there he misunderstands, spandex is limited to racers and road fitness riders. In my town we also have beach cruisers, ridden with shorts and flip-flops.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  10. john personna says:

    Oh, and in related news, a GOP candidate thinks it is a good idea to shoot up a copy of the Obama care bill, with guns, in an ad.

    American culture indeed.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 0

  11. sam says:

    “caesaropapist trappings”

    One wonders what William F. Buckley would say about that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  12. Scott says:

    Of course the bike-friendly country of The Netherlands gets nothing but derision from the right. The thought of sharing the road with bicyclists enrages the yahoos. You need a helmet because there are people out there who want to hurt you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  13. C. Clavin says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    Did you copy that from an old Jenos comment? His fall back was always that anyone who didn’t agree with him didn’t know what they were talking about. Standard response from those with no self-awareness.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 7

  14. @Scott: Both as a pedestrian and a driver, I constantly have to put up with bicyclists that refuse to follow a single rule while riding.

    I’ve seen bicyclists cut from the sidewalk to the road and expect drivers to come to a complete stop because they’re self-entitled assholes (looking at you, students of VCU). As a pedestrian, I’ve had to jump out of the way to be avoid being run down by bicyclists riding on the sidewalk.

    In short, there’s a reason that people hate bicyclists.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 3

  15. Rob in CT says:

    Wait, I thought promoting bicycling was a namby-pamby hippy thing. It’s so hard to keep up with Conservatism, what with it being against anything liberals are for/for anything liberals are against/down with whatever Obama did today, updated daily. It reminds me of the days after Sandy Hook, when suddenly Conservatives wanted to arm union thugs incompentant fools teachers.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 1

  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The only thing I can conclude from all of this is that even a relatively reasonable conservative like Williamson finds it obligatory to dip into the crazy well of Obama Derangement Syndrome from time to time. One wonders what William F. Buckley would have to say about all of this.

    Forgive me, but I have to observe that Buckley was a conservative first, a human being second. In light of that, I can only say that he would have drank deeply and often from that same well.

    @LAgraves:

    My GOP parents keep telling me that William F. Buckley saved the GOP from possible craziness…

    Recent events show that he didn’t, he merely delayed the descent into schizophrenia.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  17. C. Clavin says:

    @Rob in CT:
    Right? They all love Russia and Putin now. But Obama is a tyrannical despot. Amazing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 3

  18. C. Clavin says:

    @Timothy Watson:
    As with all gross generalizations…don’t judge all cyclists by a few. Don’t get me wrong…I know cyclists that behave just exactly as you describe…but it’s not all of us, by any means.
    And of course, don’t get me started on most automobile drivers. I always say that driving is like sex…everyone thinks they are great at it, and most people don’t have a clue.
    Two inherently different vehicles are forced to share the same space. Conflicts will happen.
    Potential solutions lie with more bike lanes…which Republicans always fight…and counter-intuitively, more cyclists. Areas with more cyclists have fewer incidents.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 4

  19. mantis says:

    even a relatively reasonable conservative like Williamson

    Ah, the reasonable conservative who stole a woman’s phone at the theater and threw it across the room because she was looking at it, and then was shocked when he didn’t receive a round of applause for his efforts. Then, rather than being embarrassed of himself, he brags about it. At least he didn’t shoot the woman, as another conservative recently did for the great crime of looking at a phone. I guess that would be unreasonable.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 31 Thumb down 1

  20. Tyrell says:

    I don’t understand why it takes two 747’s to take the president overseas.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 11

  21. But that’s simply not possible in today’s day and age and, in any case, the Presidential security bubble did not begin with Barack Obama and it will not end with him either.

    Is this actually true? I don’t blame Obama at all for the security situation since the SS seems to be completely out of control, but it’s far from clear that the level of security used is actually necessary. Much of it seems to be based on “elephant repelling rock” logic.

    Second, with all due respect to our friends and allies in Amsterdam, the President of the United States is quite obviously a more high value target to terrorists than the Prime Minister of The Netherlands.

    Except that unlike the US, the Netherlands actually has had a prominent politician assassinated recently. The Dutch just didn’t completely freak out about it the way we would have.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  22. mantis says:

    @Tyrell:

    I don’t understand why it takes two 747′s to take the president overseas.

    That’s because you don’t seem to be able to count. There is a lot more than one person on those planes.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  23. mantis says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Except that unlike the US, the Netherlands actually has had a prominent politician assassinated recently

    You do realize this is not an argument against increased security, right?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  24. James Pearce says:

    @Timothy Watson:

    Both as a pedestrian and a driver, I constantly have to put up with bicyclists that refuse to follow a single rule while riding.

    That’s because most of the rules for bicyclists will get you killed.

    Also:

    As a pedestrian, I’ve had to jump out of the way to be avoid being run down by bicyclists riding on the sidewalk.

    This is pretty much how it is for cyclists on the roadway. Except instead of jumping out of the way of a bicycle, you’re jumping out of the way of a multi-ton vehicle made of metal and glass with gasoline-fueled horsepower behind it.

    Not saying that your observations aren’t a problem. Just that they’re a problem several orders of magnitude less significant than the issues facing the hated biker class.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 4

  25. Rafer Janders says:

    @Rob in CT:

    Balloon Juice commenter “cleek” had the best working definition of conservatism: “today’s conservatism is the opposite of what liberals want today: updated daily.”

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 1

  26. Scott says:

    @Timothy Watson: That may be true; however, here’s a statistic:

    U.S. cyclists are three more likely to be killed than German cyclists and six times more than Dutch cyclists, whether compared per-trip or per-distance traveled. (Reuters, Aug. 28, 2003, by Maggie Fox)

    Here in Texas, it is a terrifying thing to share a 2 lane country road with no shoulders with an F150.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  27. Rafer Janders says:

    @Timothy Watson:

    I’ve seen bicyclists cut from the sidewalk to the road and expect drivers to come to a complete stop because they’re self-entitled assholes (looking at you, students of VCU). As a pedestrian, I’ve had to jump out of the way to be avoid being run down by bicyclists riding on the sidewalk.

    All true. And by contrast, I’ve never seen an erratic and entitled driver cut across lanes or come to a sudden stop, and I’ve never had to jump out of the way of a car trying to gun it through the crosswalk….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3

  28. john personna says:

    @Timothy Watson:

    Bullshit. As a walker, and a driver, and a bicyclist, I know that all three groups can be asses, and it only takes a different kind of ass to generalize it into tribal warfare.

    My tribe good, your tribe bad, eh Tim?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

  29. grumpy realist says:

    @James Pearce: If we really wanted to have people on bikes, we would have dedicated lanes physically separated from the cars. Which is what I remember seeing in Holland for the most part.

    The other problem with bikes is that they are a bit weather-dependent. You’re not going to be using one during a standard Midwestern winter.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  30. john personna says:

    @Scott:

    I notice that when I walk along 2 lane roads in many rural areas that F150 overtaking will move all the way over and fully take the oncoming lane, to give the walker a full lane.

    I call that civilized.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  31. john personna says:

    @grumpy realist:

    We have 3 levels of support here in California. We do have dedicated, separate, bike trails. We also have painted bike lanes. And when those end we have “Share The Road” signs.

    And yet, we still have complainers. I know of a big open 4 lane road, with painted bike lanes, but enough extra room that it could be 6 lanes. Some (strongly tribal) drivers actually complain when bikers ride there.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  32. al-Ameda says:

    @Timothy Watson:

    I’ve seen bicyclists cut from the sidewalk to the road and expect drivers to come to a complete stop because they’re self-entitled assholes (looking at you, students of VCU). As a pedestrian, I’ve had to jump out of the way to be avoid being run down by bicyclists riding on the sidewalk.

    In short, there’s a reason that people hate bicyclists.

    Here in San Francisco, down near the waterfront and in the financial district and SOMA, every mode of transportation – pedestrians, cyclists, cars, buses, street cars, joggers, skateboarders – competes for use of nearly every inch of street pavement or sidewalk. No one is without fault.

    As a pedestrian I find that the safest way to cross a street is to jaywalk in the middle of the block – at least there you can see who might run you down. The least safe place to cross the street is the crosswalk.

    That said … play on.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  33. john personna says:

    @al-Ameda:

    Here in San Francisco, down near the waterfront and in the financial district and SOMA, every mode of transportation – pedestrians, cyclists, cars, buses, street cars, joggers, skateboarders – competes for use of nearly every inch of street pavement or sidewalk. No one is without fault.

    Sure there are people without fault, people within each “tribe” who try to ride, walk, or drive safely.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  34. Pinky says:

    Just for clarification – Williamson wasn’t discussing republican forms, or republican values, but republican manners. That’s consistent with his recent article about the State of the Union address, which I had recommended on this site. Likewise, his comment about caesaropapist trappings wasn’t a condemnation of President Obama as king, or as pope, or as king of the popes. It was about trappings.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  35. al-Ameda says:

    @john personna:

    Sure there are people without fault, people within each “tribe” who try to ride, walk, or drive safely.

    You’re right, there are about 10 or 12 people in each category who try to travel or transport themselves safely.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  36. john personna says:

    @al-Ameda:

    It isn’t that bad. Even riding on a tight section of PCH I’d say only 1 in 12 cars was dangerous as it passed me.

    There is a lot of weirdness in this thread, but in the world as well.

    I was once on a Sierra Club hike, down a narrow trail. We met 3 or 4 bicyclists. Each one stopped fully when they saw us, said good morning, and chatted as we walked by. Here’s the thing though … when we got past them one hiker said “they hate us as much as we hate them.”

    Understand that and you understand the tribalism.

    A bicyclist can be fully safe and courteous and someone will see them as the other, dangerous, to be hated.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

  37. john personna says:

    @this:

    Well, idiot downvoter, I think your down votes demonstrate, prove, my case.

    You aren’t dumb, you know that a good bicyclist, or driver, or walker, can be … good.

    You just CHOOSE to group the good with the bad, to treat the whole tribe as bad, because you get off on it.

    The tribalism, and having an enemy who is “all bad” in your mind just feels good to you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  38. john personna says:

    If there is anything that makes me think America is just sick, beyond hope, it is a bicycle thread.

    It is the most efficient form of land transportation in the history of the world, and confers health benefits and longer life on the user. It is win-win all the way around.

    But it’s ok to hate because … weird psycho shit.

    And not just weird psycho shit but socially acceptable weird psycho shit.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 3

  39. C. Clavin says:

    @john personna:
    + 10

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 6

  40. C. Clavin says:

    @C. Clavin:
    How do I get a down-vote for supporting JP’s comment…which got an up-vote????

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 7

  41. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Just ’cause I felt like it. ;-)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  42. Al says:

    @C. Clavin:

    I’ve got one guess.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  43. al-Ameda says:

    @john personna:

    Well, idiot downvoter, I think your down votes demonstrate, prove, my case.
    You aren’t dumb, you know that a good bicyclist, or driver, or walker, can be … good.

    For the record JP, I +voted your observation.

    For the most part I’m a pedestrian or a long-range commuter, and as a driver I do NOT play passive aggressive games with cyclists, I share the road and keep my distance from cyclists where possible and pass when it is safe to do so. Also, I live in an area where many, many people cycle and there are often big weekend rides and/or rallies. Generally, San Francisco is a somewhat vexing place for all modes of transportation – there is too much aggressiveness on the part of vehicles and cyclists..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  44. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: That was for you, @C. Clavin: ;; — ))

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  45. C. Clavin says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    Thanks!!!!!!
    Nice to be loved….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  46. PJ says:

    @C. Clavin:

    How do I get a down-vote for supporting JP’s comment…which got an up-vote????

    Perhaps you should have quoted the comment you gave +10 to? That might be the reason, since it’s not really clear from your comment which of JP’s comments you supported, to find that out one would have had to click the link.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  47. john personna says:

    @PJ:

    Maybe you can help me understand which are the “good” comments and which are the “bad.”

    Why would an absolutely true story like this get down-votes?

    A bicyclist can be fully safe and courteous and someone will see them as the other, dangerous, to be hated.

    I was there, it happened. The hikers sniped at the smiling friendly biker as soon as they were past. They even told stories of other, unsafe, cyclists that made them hate them all.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  48. Oy, starting from the beginning:

    @C. Clavin: Perhaps, admittedly, my sample size of self-entitled asshole bicyclists is mostly composed of self-entitled asshole college students.

    @James Pearce:

    This is pretty much how it is for cyclists on the roadway. Except instead of jumping out of the way of a bicycle, you’re jumping out of the way of a multi-ton vehicle made of metal and glass with gasoline-fueled horsepower behind it.

    I have no problem with sharing the road, I have problems with bicyclists that think they’re both entitled to use the roadway and the sidewalk and both pedestrians and drivers are supposed to come to a complete stop whenever they want to go someplace.

    @Scott: What’s the causality/injury difference between German/Dutch drivers and American drivers? I wager that Americans are more likely to be injured regardless of transportation method, due to driving habits, vehicle safety, infrastructure quality, etc.

    @Rafer Janders:

    All true. And by contrast, I’ve never seen an erratic and entitled driver cut across lanes or come to a sudden stop, and I’ve never had to jump out of the way of a car trying to gun it through the crosswalk….

    Except that the chance of me killing the driver of a motor vehicle while driving 25 mph if he pulls out in front me is < 1%. What's the chance of me killing or critically injuring a bicyclist (none of whom bother to wear helmets) if I'm unable to stop when he jumps out in front of me from the sidewalk, in violation of state law?

    And, if I'm a pedestrian, who's going to win a bicyclist v. pedestrian contest? I'm pretty sure it's going to be the bicyclist.

    @john personna: See previous comments.

    @al-Ameda: My experience in Richmond, Virginia around the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University would suggest otherwise.

    Anything else, guys?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  49. Tyrell says:

    @mantis: Yes, I know that. But are that many needed ? Two plane loads ? What are all those people for?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  50. mantis says:

    @Tyrell:

    What are all those people for?

    They’re there to annoy conservatives. Until a Republican becomes president, when it will again become treasonous to ask such questions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  51. john personna says:

    @Timothy Watson:

    So you paint all bicyclists with rule breaking punks, and you think that makes you rational.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  52. john personna says:

    (We know Timothy has irrational concerns because we know that bicyclists DO have longer live expectancy than drivers. If they were all throwing themselves in front of his car, that could not be possible. They’d be dead.)

    High life expectancy confirms low risk in cycling

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  53. john personna says:

    @this:

    If you are just messing with me, with the -1, that’s one thing. But if you think it makes sense, you need your head examined.

    You just down-voted DATA, a study that made my case that bicycling, as I say above, “is the most efficient form of land transportation in the history of the world, and confers health benefits and longer life on the user. It is win-win all the way around.”

    The web is wall-to-wall with similar studies and outcomes. You WON’T find data that bicycling is inefficient, bad for the user, or causes reduced life expectancy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  54. john personna says:

    The Top 7 Health Benefits of Cycling

    4. Cycling is good for your lifespan: Bicycling is a great way to increase your longevity, as cycling regularly has been associated with increased ‘life-years’, even when adjusted for risks of injury through cycling.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  55. grumpy realist says:

    @john personna: I just can’t imagine trying to bike in Chicago suburbs in one of our typical 4-5″ snowfalls.

    Bikes really only work in moderately good weather, which is one of their problems. The other problem is that they’re going usually 10-20 mph slower than the rest of traffic, which is why drivers curse and cuss, especially if there isn’t any room to get around them.

    Hence my comments about dedicated and separate bike lanes. And yes, I’ve commuted by bike myself, both in the US and in Japan.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  56. john personna says:

    @grumpy realist:

    I think I have a fairly good knowledge of US wide conditions. There are some places I wouldn’t ride, and am surprised that others do. Of course there are many, many, places I would ride.

    Now, to go all serious on you, are you suggesting that national policy be based on Chicago conditions?

    Are you sure they are in fact typical?

    (#growuppeople)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  57. john personna says:

    Of course, according to the City of Chicago:

    Chicago has a national reputation as one of the best large cities in the United States for bicycling. The City of Chicago has achieved this goal by investing in bicycling infrastructure and promoting education, awareness and advocacy.

    Chicago currently has more than 200 miles of on-street protected, buffered and shared bike lanes, many miles of off-street paths (including the 18.5-mile Lakefront Trail), more than 13,000 bike racks, and sheltered, high-capacity, bike parking areas at many CTA rail stations.

    The Chicago Streets for Cycling Plan 2020 calls for a 645-mile network of biking facilities to be in place by 2020 to provide a bicycle accommodation within half-mile of every Chicagoan

    Data, a bitch.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  58. john personna says:

    Maybe this is what the Internets, and hangouts like OTB, are for, right?

    Places where you can have stubborn opinion, impervious to data or education.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  59. al-Ameda says:

    @john personna:

    Chicago has a national reputation as one of the best large cities in the United States for bicycling. The City of Chicago has achieved this goal by investing in bicycling infrastructure and promoting education, awareness and advocacy.

    and ….. I have direct anecdotal evidence to support that. My daughter (who bikes often) visited college friends in Chicago, up at Northwestern, and she was shocked at how bike friendly Chicago was. She was able to bike from Evanston down to various Chicago lakeside parks without much difficulty at all.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  60. PJ says:

    @john personna:

    Maybe you can help me understand which are the “good” comments and which are the “bad.”

    Why would an absolutely true story like this get down-votes?

    You may have misunderstood my comment.

    C. Clavin asked why his comment supporting your comment that got up votes did get down votes. I pointed out that it was unclear from that comment which comment of yours that he supported unless one actually followed the link.

    It had nothing to do with whether your comments were good or bad or why they got up or down votes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  61. @john personna: None of the research at that link deals with American cyclists that I see.

    It’s always nice to see that fundamentalist furor that I’ve come to expect from certain bicyclists.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  62. john personna says:

    @Timothy Watson:

    Let me say first that it is a very typical pattern for someone to say “I don’t like your data.”

    “I don’t have any of my own of course”

    “so I’ll just stick to my prejudice.”

    So go ahead, hang on to the idea that Danes are a different species or something.

    Or better find some US data of your own, nimrod.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  63. john personna says:

    @Timothy Watson:

    Found it for you, lazy.

    One US study found that men who walk or cycle to work were half as likely to be obese (Gordon-Larsen et al. 2009). Another US study found that every additional kilometre walked per day is associated with a 4.8% reduction in obesity. In contrast, every additional hour spent in a car each day is associated with a 6% increase in the likelihood of obesity (Frank et al. 2004).

    In a meta-analysis of 80 large cohort studies, people who received 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per week have a 14% reduction in mortality, while people who received 300 minutes of physical activity experienced a 26% reduction in mortality.

    Bottom line:

    Studies conclude that the health benefits of shifting to active transportation outweigh the health risks – by at least a 15:1 ratio.

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  64. john personna says:

    (That’s called putting yourself in a box, Timothy.)

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  65. @john personna: It’s not my job to find data to support your argument.

    And none of your data disproves my personal experience having to dodge asshole bicyclists and the dozen or so examples of me almost getting in accidents commuting to a city for a little more than two years.

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  66. john personna says:

    @Timothy Watson:

    So let me get this straight, you who said “nice to see that fundamentalist furor” are talking out of your ass, right?

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  67. john personna says:

    Note to readers, this is a demonstration of a phenomena documented in behavioral circles.

    You may recall the experiment. They took some people with weakly differing views on some topic (maybe global warming) and educated them, gave them data.

    They hoped, somewhat optimistically that people would learn.

    It turns out no, which is why I was somewhat caustic above, I saw it coming.

    Data that bicycling is good will actually make someone like Timothy double down, and believe the opposite.

    At least in the short run. We can hope that in 6 months or so it will soak in, and he will come around.

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  68. john personna says:

    Go ahead and mark it down, moron, in an exact parallel of global warming denial.

    How can I believe global warming when it is cold outside?

    vs

    How can I believe bicycling is safe, when I see an unsafe rider?

    In both cases the observation may be correct, but it is hardly a complete data set.

    I actually learned this week that the original quote was “the plural of anecdote is data”, rather than the oft-cited “is not.” The original makes much more sense. Grumpy’s observation in Chicago may be correct, but it is not complete. You need to add Al’s daughter’s observation, and thousands upon thousands more to make a complete picture of bicycling in America.

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  69. john personna says:

    So whoever has totally lost this argument, but downvotes because they still want to hate the truth.

    As I said above …

    If there is anything that makes me think America is just sick, beyond hope, it is a bicycle thread.

    It is the most efficient form of land transportation in the history of the world, and confers health benefits and longer life on the user. It is win-win all the way around.

    But it’s ok to hate because … weird psycho shit.

    And not just weird psycho shit but socially acceptable weird psycho shit.

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  70. grumpy realist says:

    @john personna: The existence of bike paths does not mean that they will be used in the middle of the winter. What I am saying is that in states that have relatively nice weather year round (San Fran doesn’t get that many snowfalls, I imagine!) you’re going to have more people inclined to use bikes.

    What I HAVE seen often–and really detest–are the large number of bicyclists here in Chicago who whiz through red lights and come far too close to pedestrians in the crosswalk. Their riding habits seem to be: “I can do whatever I damn well please.”

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  71. john personna says:

    It is really sad that you all ignore the global warming parallel, reject actual data, and insist that personal anecdote trumps all.

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  72. john personna says:

    Wow, some moron has this thread on alert so that they can immediately down vote truth.

    There is data, and as noted above cyclists live longer, not shorter.

    No number of down votes will change that data.

    Being in a bike is healthier, in general, than being in a car.

    Anecdotes and isolated but memorable incidents notwithstanding.

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  73. john personna says:

    Seaking of data:

    “The 677 pedalcyclist deaths in 2011 accounted for 2% of all traffic fatalities during the year.”

    It is your tribal bullshit to concentrate on the 2 percent better than the 98 percent.

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  74. john personna says:

    The Psychological aspect is obvious. You want to believe risk is concentrated with cyclists. In reality, the approximately 30,000 auto deaths per year are (1) more likely to get us, and (2) something we really don’t like thinking about.

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  75. john personna says:

    Another good data driven analysis here.

    And you wonder why I don’t respect you down voting freaks.

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  76. john personna says:

    So what is your psychology? Do you do any introspection?

    Do you want “good feelings and prejudice” at the same time?

    That is, you want to feel good about yourselves while rejecting actual data about transportation safety?

    I think that’s it, and you want me to be “nice” while allowing you your irrational beliefs.

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  77. john personna says:

    very related

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