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« The long tales | Main | Hammer of the Scots - Josh 201 »

Senator Paul on his water closet

Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky takes a bureaucrat to task for enforcing her preferences of lavatory (and light bulb) on him. Fantastic stuff.

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Reader Comments (79)

Absolutely brilliant, I could listen to much more of that very refreshing outburst of frustration.
Any idea what the 10th amendment isanybody?

Feb 8, 2013 at 10:10 AM | Unregistered Commenterpesadia

Goodness does that man love the sound of his own voice. He must be getting too much fawning.

Feb 8, 2013 at 10:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Page

Brilliant. The world is full of these busybodies. The woman is a hypocrite. That senator should be in the Whitehouse.

Feb 8, 2013 at 10:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Ms Hogan is definitely a pod-person.

Feb 8, 2013 at 10:17 AM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

People should be free to select which laws they obey. Fantastic idea!

What is the point of resource efficient toilets anyway? Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky clearly has problems with his, therefore all resource efficient toilets are pointless and Ms Hogan is a fascist.

Feb 8, 2013 at 10:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterAdrian

Amen. And I'm not even religious. :-)

Feb 8, 2013 at 10:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterWill Nitschke

I thought his point was that people should be free to choose which toilets they buy, not which laws they obey. Have to listen to it again.

Feb 8, 2013 at 10:30 AM | Registered CommenterPhilip Richens

Although not a fan of new lightbulbs etc, you can apply his argument to anything from murder to slavery.

The argument is not that given the assumption something is harmful, should you try to legally restrict it, of course you should. The argument is with the assumption not the consequence.

As long as people keep arguing the minutiae of consequences, nobody gets anywhere,

Feb 8, 2013 at 10:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

Philip Richens: Adrian is behaving like a troll of the worst kind - trying to distort the message. The senator was complaining solely about these busybodies preventing people having a choice in their lifestyle, nothing to do with the law.

Feb 8, 2013 at 10:34 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Great stuff. The clash of the elected representative and the unelected bureaucrat. She remained smug, complacent and uninterested. Says it all, really.

Feb 8, 2013 at 10:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Fowle

Feb 8, 2013 at 10:15 AM | John Page

Goodness does that man love the sound of his own voice. He must be getting too much fawning.

Maybe he does, John, but you have to agree with everything he says!

Please, please, please let us see more like him being allowed to air our (what he says relates to ALL of us) grievances so eloquently.

Feb 8, 2013 at 10:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

10th Amendment

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

It is supposed to limit the power of the Federal Government.

Feb 8, 2013 at 10:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

The senator is talking about markets and free enterprise and the freedom of the individual to choose using whatever criteria he deems appropriate. In what used to be called the "Free West" this was the ideal situation. We have been sleep walking into a totalitarian state run by faceless unaccountabl;e beaurocrats for 30 or more years; more power to his elbow (and those like him).

TBYJ that is a red herring, The point is that like the Toyota Pious and bio-fuels the things he is specically complaining about, curly light bulbs and minimal flush toilets are not as green as they seem. You could say, taking another meaning of the word, that the senator is not as green as he is cabbage looking. If you'd listened to what he said you'd have known this.

Anyone who is really concerned about the environment would agree with his other points about exporting jobs (he didn't mention to more environmentally hostile manufacturing plants) and the "carbon miles" involved in shipping the stuff back again.


Feb 8, 2013 at 10:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS


I agree completely with you about some 'green' products being less green than what we had before, but his argument was specifically that we should not legislate, but convince by persuasion.

Feb 8, 2013 at 10:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

I'm looking forward to car boot season starting up soon as my stocks of global warming inducing light bulbs are getting short!


Feb 8, 2013 at 11:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

I have a water efficient toilet. It does not work. It needs to be flushed (a minimum) of three times, whereas the old one was never flushed more than once.

Consequence? I use more water.

Hurrah! Greenpeace has made the world a worse place.

Feb 8, 2013 at 11:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-Record

I agree with almost all Sen.Paul has to say. I wonder if this particular "hearing" was quite the right place to say it, procedurally, ( I think he was probably supposed to be asking questions, rather than going on) but then I realise I do not care. What he says needs to be said often and everywhere.

Feb 8, 2013 at 11:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Savage

Video not available to me here in Oz,

Feb 8, 2013 at 11:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterOrkneygal

I'm pretty sure that there are similar (lavatorial) problems in Germany, where, apparently there is insufficient water going down the drains to flush waste products through the drains. The upshot being that there are odours permiating through the drains and they have to be flushed every so often. This means using special equipment and water from an external sourse.

Feb 8, 2013 at 11:47 AM | Unregistered Commenterpesadia

Senator Rand Paul just spent five minutes giving Ms Hogan exactly what she wanted... confirmation of her own power. The senator may have felt some satisfaction in telling Ms Hogan what a busy body she is - but not nearly as much satisfaction as Ms Hogan felt in hearing it.

A counterproductive exercise.

Feb 8, 2013 at 11:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter S

What he really points out, is that some people can turn their personal believes into laws, not because they know better, not because they make sense in all aspects, not because their ideas represent the best compromise, but because they occupy positions of power.
And usually bad and badly implemented policies will never be revoked.

Why should the use of water be restricted other than by the price or cost to provide it. The water that goes into a habitation leaves the same habitation in the same quantity. People in lacking of water e.g. in drought regions will never see any of the water you don't use to flush your toilet; they couldn't care less whether you flush your toilet or not.

Feb 8, 2013 at 12:11 PM | Unregistered Commenterbenpal

Now THIS is what I'm talking about. To all those bleating statist busybody drones who found fault with what he was trying to say, your time is coming to an end. She was almost lost for words to the extent that her reply to him almost sounded like an operational manual for a home appliance. The left will only win when the truly stupid are in the majority.

Feb 8, 2013 at 12:12 PM | Unregistered Commenterceetee

ceetee, the truly stupid are already in the majority. He wasn't telling her off, it was the whine of someone already defeated.

Feb 8, 2013 at 12:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

Yep, the Greenies and Lefties are well known for reaching their cold, clammy hand inside your shower and turning off the hot water and putting the cold on "trickle". This is what you get when the lot of them suffer from Dunning-Kruger syndrome couple with their sophomoric logic.

Really glad I voted for Rand Paul. It's a dream that he might be the GOP candidate for President in 2014 to run against "What difference does it make" Hillary.

Feb 8, 2013 at 12:19 PM | Unregistered Commentercedarhill


I’ve also just had a new, modern toilet installed. It is dimensioned “to save water” which just means that everything is a bit smaller and it invariably blocks up at the drop of a ... er ...

Like you, even when it does not cause a total block it often has to be flushed several times before everything is gone.

Evidently I am not alone in suffering. Don’t they test these things before putting them on the market?



Feb 8, 2013 at 12:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Well

They are tested by greenie vegetarians who do rabbit dropping slush, not on the slabs laid by your average meat eating male.

Feb 8, 2013 at 12:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

If a regime or a structure is free, there are endless opportunities for regulation, rule-making and busybody-ism.

No mortal force can fight the irresistable force of busybodies going about their work, expanding, growing and consuming freedom.

Feb 8, 2013 at 12:29 PM | Registered Commentershub


+ 1

Feb 8, 2013 at 12:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterN.Tropywins

Where do you stop with this type of legislation? Persuasion includes the purchase cost and subsequent running costs, when you're on a water meter a single flush of 7 litres opposed to two or more flushes at 4 litres is a simple sum. A light bulb that consumes 40% of the power, but only lasts twice or three times as long as one that costs a fifth is also a simple choice. Particularly as we seem to agree that the initial environmental outlay for the light bulb is greater, the disposal is certainly more problematic. The majority of people are driven by simple economics and their morals, persuasion should not be a problem if these things work.

Diesel cars are now a marginal choice due to legislation, this is a debatable situation - particulates etc. However the initial cost has been increased by adding complexity, FAP and DMF failures of one or both that unusual in the life of a diesel car. Multiple sensors for other and legal requirements make for expensive repairs in what used to be a long lived engine type. So much so that the last time I loked Honest John was suggesting that for many people a petrol engine was the economic choice. These and additional computerisation would probably not have been added but for legisation.

BTW I agree getting lead out of petrol and paint was a good idea, however I suspect legislation wasn't really necessary in either case as most people don't want poison in their life (puzzles over curly bulbs and Hg)


Feb 8, 2013 at 1:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

I wonder if there is a BS standard for toilet flushes....

Feb 8, 2013 at 1:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

ceetee, the truly stupid are already in the majority. He wasn't telling her off, it was the whine of someone already defeated.

No it was someone pointing ou crass stupidity to a religious fanatic.

Feb 8, 2013 at 1:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Yes, he was point it out, but did he have the power to actually force her to stop doing it? No.

Feb 8, 2013 at 1:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

The lightbulb thing was a classic of how this sort of thing turns out in practice..
Not only are curly fluorescents now SOOOOOO last decade, but even at the time that the legislation outlawing incandescent lamps was put in place, LEDs were being developed apace.
The EU/UK government had the opportunity to take all the best advice from the lighting industry - which would surely have resulted in a 'moretorium' to allow/encourage LED development.
Instead, we have these godawful lamps which do NOT emit the equivalent light which they are supposed to; and many do not even last the stated number of hours.
Then we come to disposal. As we all know, we are supposed to take them to the local council tip, where the PhDs which staff it are supposed to have a separate bin for their 'safe disposal'. Does it happen - honestly..? Nope. Its a lightbulb - it goes in the bin. So we are now building up a nice little problem of mercury in landfill sites, which will find its way into our drinking water.
Cue the government's overworked Department of Unintended Consequences....

Feb 8, 2013 at 1:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

They are tested by greenie vegetarians who do rabbit dropping slush, not on the slabs laid by your average meat eating male.

See, they promote vegetarianism as well! Multi-purpose toilets!

Now, if they intoned "You are a plague on this planet" every time you pushed the lever, it might help, er, hmm, needs more work, that idea.

Feb 8, 2013 at 1:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

He does have the power to stop her. He is a legislator and legislators are the only ones with that power.
Now how long it will be before those of a like mind are in a majority is open for debate — a lot of Americans had hoped it would be last November but they picked the wrong candidate to try to dump Obama. Quite a few of us looking from the outside thought Paul should have been the choice but the big bucks said otherwise.
But the more Paul and people like him make this argument the more fellow-legislators and the electorate will start to put their heads above the parapet.
I've compared the situation before with the aftermath of the Princess of Wales' death. It wasn't until one of our number at the local rugby club said "Is it just me or ...?" that the dam burst and many (a majority? who knows) were able to say they also felt the whole thing was overblown.
In the long run it just takes one!

Feb 8, 2013 at 1:27 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

How far away do you think we are on that? I've been hoping for it for ages, but I think people have just stopped caring. It's not that their natural skepticism is about to burst out, just that they don't care any more.

Feb 8, 2013 at 1:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

Good stuff. Rand Paul 2016.

Feb 8, 2013 at 1:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin

So far everyone has praised Sen. Ryan's message, but what's really interesting is her reply. Rather than explaining why convincing us to conserve (rather than legislating us to conserve) may or may not work, she talks about how bipartisan the laws have been to date.

We don't care how bipartisan bills are. The only thing Americans know is that when DC is "bipartisan", we need to grab our wallets. CFL lightbulbs don't work as advertized in many of the fixtures in our house (especially any enclosed, ceiling mounted fixture, as they overheat and burn out fast). Low flow toilets, high efficiency furnace requirements (which the EPA has even backed away from now)...

And it's not just efficiency issues. About 10 years ago, every gas grill that uses propane had to be retrofitted for new tanks. Why? DC said it was a safety issue, where some tanks were being overfilled and ran the risk of exploding. But how many tanks really exploded due to overfilling? I've never found the statistics used to justified the replacement of every propane tank in America.

The cynic in me says that some propane tank lobbyists are behind it all... :-P

Feb 8, 2013 at 2:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterDean

A juvenile performance from Rand Paul. If he doesn't like the legislation he should work to get it changed rather than abusing a bureaucrat. Linking the choice of light bulbs to abortion was particularly pathetic,

Feb 8, 2013 at 2:06 PM | Unregistered Commenterpotentilla

Sorry TBYJ, I have more faith in humanity than you do. Most people I believe have an innate common sense. Mandating toilet types or light bulb specs based on some ethereal concept of "common good" I suggest is stretching credibility to all except the most closeted ivory tower academic cloud dweller. Our problem I believe is that our elected leaders no longer listen to us common rabble (and by extension, our collective will and intelligence, which is really what a democracy is). Too many of our leaders are poor, poll driven scared little rabbits who can't make bold decisions without the input of countless advisers and PR "experts". Politicians, bureaucrats and academics with their appeals to authority without the slightest sense of empathy are despised. People get sick of being treated like shit as recent historical events so clearly show. They will respond. Tyranny never lasts. To others, don't mock the Rand Pauls of this world. His indignation is borne by self respect and given that he speaks for those who put him there, he fulfills his duty. That is exactly what I would expect my elected representative to do. If you're voting for a surrogate parental figure I suggest you move to Venezuela or similar. If you can't be bothered voting go straight to North Korea, don't pass begin and don't collect your $200.

Feb 8, 2013 at 2:28 PM | Unregistered Commenterceetee

It is said that my Grandfather called the WCTU the Water Closet Testing Union. I'm too young to verify it.

Feb 8, 2013 at 2:41 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

How do I vote for that man?

Feb 8, 2013 at 2:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

You could be right about people having stopped caring, mainly because they feel isolated and unable to influence the course of events. I worry if that is true since if it is the earthquake that will eventually follow will be all the more violent for not having a legitimate outlet.
The political class are busy building up the same head of steam (sorry about the mixed metaphors) that the Capetians did in 18th century France and for the same reason, namely they believe that they have a form of divine right to govern and that the ballot box is at best an irrelevance and at worst antithetical to good government. The Civil Service is of much the same opinion.
You could not insert a cigarette paper between Cameron, Clegg and Miliband and though the nuances may change the essential monopoly on power will continue.
It would be fascinating to see what would happen in the (highly unlikely) event that UKIP were to win the next election. I doubt the government (would be allowed to) last six months.
But sooner or later, James, sooner or later ...

Feb 8, 2013 at 2:44 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

I've always been of the opnion that climate alarmism will be something we look back on and realise isn't here any more, rather than a catalcysm. Not to say I don't have fantasies about hauling some of these characters into court, but I know it will never happen.

Feb 8, 2013 at 2:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

I'm hoping for a resolution somewhat on the model of the recognition of Prohibition as an error.

Feb 8, 2013 at 3:08 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Way too narrow. Societies have found manifold manners of recoiling from error, many non-cataclysmic, some sadly so. We'll say I'm hoping for a non-cataclysmic, yet effective, resolution.

Feb 8, 2013 at 3:12 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Though unfounded fear was used to instill the guilt, I fear the guilt will remain even past when alarmism is dead. It is difficult to aver that man has no effect on climate, and facile to manipulate the meaning of some effect.

Feb 8, 2013 at 3:16 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

How long will it be before the greens start campaigning for the return of the earth closet?

Earth closets and Great Stinks
The science of Victorian sewage
Philip Strange 8 August 2010

Feb 8, 2013 at 4:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

I have just replaced a curly lightbulb with another curly lightbulb after the first one lasted about a year (possibly longer as life tends to flit by these days) - and not the 7 years promised on the package, but who keeps a receipt that long? The second bulb was incredible for the first few flicks of the light switch, but has faded away rapidly and now takes longer to reach max strength. It will be interesting to see how long this one lasts. I have tried those daft WCs at other people's houses and hate spending the extra time waiting for the cistern to fill again ready for the second/third flush. I do have a shower head that sucks in air and is supposed to use less water and I like it, but my other half hates it and insists on having an ordinary showerhead in the other bathroom.
I defintely give these silly lightbulbs the thumbs down and won't install a watersaving WC.

Feb 8, 2013 at 4:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterGrumpy

Two issues:
1. The subject of the 10th Amendment was raised in the hearing AFTER this conversation; but it is entirely relevant. The Constitution, as originally written, enumerates a finite list of things the FEDERAL government can do, in contrast to what the states and the people themselves can decide.
The writers of the Constitution felt they were very clear in the initial version, but the states and citizens wanted more protection from future expansion of federal authority and as a condition of approval, demanded 10 amendments (the Bill of Rights) that were much more explicit, in order to avoid any future confusion about what the proposed Federal government CAN'T do. (Ratification of the Constitution was a decade long process.)
Per the constitution and the 10th Amendment, regulating energy efficiency is clearly out of the purview of the federal government.

2. Some energy regulations were enacted through the legislative process, but many were "end runs" around congress (e.g. most EPA regulations) after a proposal had been turned down by the legislature. The President has been quoted many times as saying "..if congress won't act, then I will.". Now we are talking about a clear separation of powers violation.

Dang, that pesky Constitution!

Feb 8, 2013 at 4:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeorge Daddis

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