Atlas Flushed
March 11, 2011 11:48 AM   Subscribe

"Frankly, my toilets don't work in my house. And I blame you, and people like you" [YT].Senator Rand Paul accused Energy Department official Kathleen Hogan yesterday of offering consumers more choice in reproductive decisions than in household appliances.
posted by Rykey (214 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Fucking idiot. Goddamn is it insulting to compare low-flush toilets to reproductive rights.
posted by odinsdream at 11:50 AM on March 11, 2011 [55 favorites]


No one knows what it's like
To have bad toilets
Like I do
AND I BLAME YOU


Great post title btw.
posted by AugieAugustus at 11:51 AM on March 11, 2011 [12 favorites]


You know what? I kind of agree with Rand Paul here. If the goal is to keep water consumption in line with the actual environmental and long-term conservation goals for water, why not just price water appropriately?
posted by mr_roboto at 11:52 AM on March 11, 2011 [7 favorites]


Sometimes choices need to be steered in order to benefit the greater good rather than individual interests.

And if Rand's toilets don't work, I can point him toward a 1-gallon low flush toilet which I purchased at Home Depot for a lower price than a lot of other less efficient models which has yet to fail on any single flush.

Maybe he needs to stop with the rhetoric and shop for quality products.
posted by hippybear at 11:52 AM on March 11, 2011 [24 favorites]


If your low-flush toilet isn't working well, the most likely reason is that you are producing way too much shit.
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:53 AM on March 11, 2011 [187 favorites]


This is what you get when you let a guy self-accredit himself as a "doctor" and allow him to continue to practice. The arrogance blooms like an Outback Steakhouse onion.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:53 AM on March 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


The Energy Department offers reproductive choices? Are they picking up the slack for abortions and birth control now that PP is de-funded?
posted by spicynuts at 11:53 AM on March 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


Maybe if Rand Paul was less full of shit, his toilets would work.
posted by lefty lucky cat at 11:53 AM on March 11, 2011 [13 favorites]


This is such a disgusting political ploy. If Hogan didn't address the issue, then the spin is "see, the government can't even get one toilet to work! how do they expect to run a country?" And if Hogan addresses the issue, then it gets bogged down (no pun intended) in the specifics on one person's (probably invented) situation rather than the broader issue of regulation.

I also hate the disingenuous attitude towards low-flush toilets since they're actually a pretty good regulation. Everyone needs a toilet, so the regulation will affect a lot of people. Lowering the cost of flushing the toilet (by using less water) will not lead to people flushing significantly more often (unlike, say, more fuel efficient cars leading to people driving more). And this kind of regulation is necessary because the direct approach (taxing water) is extremely regressive.
posted by jedicus at 11:53 AM on March 11, 2011 [8 favorites]


Beaten to the punch! Bowl. As it were.
posted by lefty lucky cat at 11:53 AM on March 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why not just price water appropriately?

Yeah, fuck the poor.
posted by mhoye at 11:54 AM on March 11, 2011 [27 favorites]


Rand Paul is an idiot. A useful idiot for the powerful.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 11:54 AM on March 11, 2011


Let me make this very clear, Rand: Our species is going to fucking die without these regulations. They're not nearly as good as they need to be.
posted by odinsdream at 11:54 AM on March 11, 2011 [7 favorites]


Why not just price water appropriately?

They tried something like that in Alabama
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:55 AM on March 11, 2011 [9 favorites]


Our species is going to fucking die without these regulations.

Ah, no...only the sub-species classified as "PO". The rich will remain.
posted by spicynuts at 11:55 AM on March 11, 2011


Why not just price water appropriately?

Yeah, fuck the poor.


Yeah, pretty much this. Every libertarian idea seems like it's actually pretty good until you work through it... and then they all boil down to fuck the poor.

Also, in many places there's simply no more fresh water to be had at any price, so you must conserve it. If even a few people had mega-toilets the water supply would run out.
posted by GuyZero at 11:57 AM on March 11, 2011 [37 favorites]


If the goal is to keep water consumption in line with the actual environmental and long-term conservation goals for water, why not just price water appropriately?

We could do that, but it's a regressive tax on the poor. Now you might say, well, why not just give the poor a water tax rebate or something? The problem with that is that increasing the cost of water also increases the cost of other things, like food, that disproportionately impact the poor. So now we also have to spend more on food stamps, increased the earned income tax credit, the child credit, etc. It gets complicated fast.

Of course, we could tax all kinds of stuff appropriately, like water, fuel, electricity, and garbage, and then simplify the entire welfare state by switching to a guaranteed minimum income plus universal single-payer healthcare. That would be efficient and workable. But it's also completely politically untenable, whereas low-flush toilets are the kind of thing we can actually accomplish. It's not enough, but it's all there is right now.
posted by jedicus at 12:00 PM on March 11, 2011 [40 favorites]


It seems, to me, less than politically astute to pick a fight where your opponent is given such an easy opportunity to point out how this just goes to prove how full of shit you are.

Because really, the guy is just asking for it.

and then they all boil down to fuck the poor.

Which, while loathsome, is still fractionally better than the far right's mantra of "fuck you, got mine."

Or not. Come to think of it, they both suck a lot.
posted by quin at 12:00 PM on March 11, 2011


Grrrrr. And I love how he is left to rant in peace, but then he asks for her response and continually interrupts her, showing none of the respect she showed him.

Plus, he's attacking her on the wrong grounds. He asks if she's pro-choice, she says she is pro-choice of light bulbs, and then he takes her answer to mean she's somehow on one side or the other of the abortion issue.

Rand Paul is an idiot. His recent interview on The Daily Show was nothing but a mass of repeated buzz-words and catch phrases and he didn't bother to respond thoughtfully to any of Stewart's actually thoughtful responses to the obviously over-rehearsed talking points he came into the studio with.

Here, Rand. Since you're incapable of doing this yourself, here is the toilet we have in our house. It's not thousands of dollars. It's under $200, and oh look! The Home Depot website even says there's a rebate available if you buy this toilet! Meaning, what? That there are persuasive incentives in place to get people to buy it, no threats of jail or anything.

What a fucking grandstanding asshole.
posted by hippybear at 12:01 PM on March 11, 2011 [12 favorites]


I also hate the disingenuous attitude towards low-flush toilets since they're actually a pretty good regulation.

They are if they work. If you have to actually flush them four or five times to get rid of the shit, they aren't as good as they seem.

That said, I firmly believe America has better plumbing products than we do in the UK, so perhaps your low flush toilets work as advertised. I mean where the fuck in the UK can I buy one of these?

posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:03 PM on March 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is that the Lenin Mark II Communist Sit 'n' Shit, hippybear? Looks nice.
posted by Mister_A at 12:03 PM on March 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Maybe this extra-high-flow toilet would suit you better Senator?
posted by Kabanos at 12:04 PM on March 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Oh, and look! It's made by American Standard, IN THE U.S.!
posted by hippybear at 12:04 PM on March 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't think that anyone is forcing Rand Paul to use low-flow toilets. I think if he's having real issues with getting even the toilet to take his shit, he might want to look into a dual-flush toilet.
posted by JauntyFedora at 12:05 PM on March 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


"You won't let us buy what we want to buy. You take away our choices.."

Waaaah. Would you feel the same if we wanted to buy cocaine by the truckload, or teenage hookers?

We live in a society, you fuckwad. All of us have a responsibility to the rest of us. To claim that you have a right to literally shit in as much water as you desire while others can't get enough reliably clean water to drink is the epitome of self-centered self-righteous fuckitude.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 12:05 PM on March 11, 2011 [61 favorites]


Why not just price water appropriately?

This, of course, depends on where you are, but it ends up frequently being "fuck the farmers" more than "fuck the poor". Where I am (New Mexico) the vast majority of water goes to farming; letting the free market decide on water prices would end up dramatically changing how local farming works and would, basically, end up reducing the government subsidies we give our farmers (you know, the ones that make us competitive in an international market and drive down the price of goods for people in countries where farming is a much larger chunk of their income).

My dad has been covering water policy for a while now and if there's anything I've learned over the dinner table in the past few years it's that these issues are *way* more complicated than low flush toilets or letting the invisible hand deal with water.
posted by NoraReed at 12:07 PM on March 11, 2011 [9 favorites]


Oh no, this is the one I really wanted.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:07 PM on March 11, 2011 [6 favorites]


Waaaah. Would you feel the same if we wanted to buy cocaine by the truckload, or teenage hookers?

I dunno about him, but I certainly would be okay with you buying cocaine by the truckload or hookers of the over-18 variety.
posted by Justinian at 12:07 PM on March 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


Full of shit? Talking over other people? Re-directs arguments as they please?
Sounds like your new Pres, folks. My condolences.
posted by LD Feral at 12:08 PM on March 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I really don't like using bad language against people, but that guy is really an ignorant asshole.
posted by facetious at 12:08 PM on March 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


I owned some terrible low-flow toilets in the 90s (remember that episode of King of the Hill where they got a new toilet and it took 7 flushes to clear? It was like that). I think the problem was insufficient regulation - toilets are already subject to certain regulations, so why not insist that they will actually empty the bowl in one flush?
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 12:09 PM on March 11, 2011


THose are some dope-ass toilets, PeterMcDermott.
posted by Mister_A at 12:10 PM on March 11, 2011


If Hogan didn't address the issue...

That's actually got me as annoyed as Paul himself. Maybe it was the tone of the session, or she's taking the high road, or something... but damn, I can't understand why she didn't set him straight on a few key issues:

"Reproductive choice is a completely different choice than one's choice of hardware store items."

"There is not now, nor has there ever been, a free market in this country."

"If you think the absence of regulation is a good thing, then it is you, sir, who does not care about the consumer."

"Letting business voluntarily decide to work against its own interests BWAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAA..."
posted by Rykey at 12:11 PM on March 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's a dumb comparison, anyway. There are only a handful of legal choices for reproductive control, all of which are tightly regulated; there are umpty-ump billion different low-flow toilets, restricted only by how much water they move. These range from $80 models at Home Depot to Toto-branded tech miracles that'll use some of that water to wash your ass for you. Hogan's comment at 4:05 (wearily: "I can help you find a toilet that works") is precisely the response his little tirade deserves.

In short: if the toilets "don't work" in Rand's house, he should blame his own failure to fulfill the personal responsibility of homeownership. Perhaps he should stride boldly to the nearest place of commerce and ask some titan of industry to assist him.
posted by vorfeed at 12:13 PM on March 11, 2011 [10 favorites]


I really don't like using bad language against people, but that guy is really an ignorant asshole.

Don't worry, he's actually arguing that government policy is discriminating against ignorant assholes, as he is unable to find a functional toilet to serve his needs. So, in a way, it's not being mean, as much as recognizing the underserved needs of asshole-Americans around the nation.

(In theory, if it wasn't government regulation, but businesses choosing not to serve him functional toilets on the basis of race, religion, gender or sexual preference, he'd be totally OK with it...)
posted by yeloson at 12:13 PM on March 11, 2011


This impresses me more than 2 lbs of carrots.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 12:14 PM on March 11, 2011


I was watching that hearing, and it was a sight to behold. The other senators in the committee had to keep asking him to stay on topic. The hearing was about lighting, and had nothing to do with toilets. Let me repeat that: Nothing. To. Do. With. Water. Or. Toilets. (Which is only vaguely inside the purview of the Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources)

Forget his other derails. NONE of it was on topic, or even pertinent to the committee he was sitting in.


Later on in the hearing, the GOP also brought forth a number of libertarian-leaning lighting designers who were evidently unaware of the fact that incandescent bulbs are not being made illegal under the current legislation scheduled to go into effect in 2012.

However, there are lumen-per-watt conditions that will go into effect then that will effectively outlaw many current 100W bulbs. Fortunately, halogen bulbs meet the efficiency requirements, are readily available, and fairly cheap. In fact, the high-profile projects mentioned by the GOP's celebrity lighting designer *all* made extensive use of discharge/arc lamps, LEDs, and halogens. It's unlikely that any of them made use of conventional incandescent bulbs smaller than 150W (Bulbs that consume more than 150W are exempt, as are 3-way bulbs, outdoor bulbs, "rough duty" bulbs, plant lights, and appliance bulbs)

Outdoor installations almost exclusively use discharge/arc lamps for quite a while now, while indoor theatrical installations have used halogens almost exclusively for ~30 years now, thanks to the fact that you can cram far more lumens into a smaller fixture with less heat and power (and simple/cheaper optics). None of these things will be made illegal under any proposed legislation, and high quality affordable dimmable light fixtures will continue to be available for homeowners.

The legislation is only targeting incandescent bulbs being used where they are egregiously unnecessary. By reducing lighting-related power consumption, we're burning less coal, requiring fewer transmission upgrades, and releasing less mercury (and radiation) into the atmosphere, even when you consider the minuscule Hg content present in CFLs.

Also, Rand. Couldn't your staffers have requested a 16:9 copy of that video before uploading it to Youtube, rather than stretching out a SD copy you inexplicably captured over the cable TV system despite having a massive (and free) TV Studio and editing facility at your disposal? We spend a lot of money to film those hearings in 16:9 720p, and our cameramen, directors, and editors all take great pride in the work that they do. It seems silly that you don't want to take advantage of the resources you already have available to improve your public image.

You can watch the entire hearing here. (In the correct aspect ratio)
posted by schmod at 12:15 PM on March 11, 2011 [37 favorites]


THose are some dope-ass toilets, PeterMcDermott.

The Danse One looks better still. Why oh why can't we buy these products in the UK?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:15 PM on March 11, 2011


My god, there are so many toilet flushing videos on YouTube
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 12:15 PM on March 11, 2011 [10 favorites]


How hard is it to run an ad campaign that goes like this:

"Senator Rand Paul isn't smart enough to make his own toilets work and wants to waste billions of gallons of clean water and billions of dollars as a result. Should you really vote for him?"

It just doesn't seem that hard to turn this around.
posted by poe at 12:16 PM on March 11, 2011 [42 favorites]


I feel like the real issue is that Japan is way ahead of us in computerized toilet technology and nobody is talking about that.
posted by empath at 12:20 PM on March 11, 2011 [6 favorites]


This is such a disgusting political ploy.

Precisely. "Government regulations cause our toilets not to work" is one of those things we all "know" yet none of us actually experience. I don't think anyone under the age of 40 has even seen anything other than a 5.0-per-flush toilet in their entire lives. But it's a nice myth, if you're against government regulation, to think that someone, somewhere, is buckling under the government bootheel of toilet water regulations.

I'm a homeowner responsible for his own toilet maintenance. How come I don't run into the same problems Rand Paul has?
posted by deanc at 12:22 PM on March 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm beginning to think the only hope we have is to add a minimum IQ to the eligibility requirement for legislators.
posted by odinsdream at 12:23 PM on March 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


He can't even buy the right kind of toilet, the low flow kind with a piston action. Why does anyone listen to him about anything?
posted by Cranberry at 12:26 PM on March 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Classic. Kinda like how the post office doesnt work, even though all evidence is to the contrary or government couldn't even run "Cash for Clunkers" so they should just close up shop. These are just talk radio style tallking points to bog down the issue and score points with the base.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:26 PM on March 11, 2011


odinsdream: "I'm beginning to think the only hope we have is to add a minimum IQ to the eligibility requirement for legislators."

I suspect Congress wouldn't be so eager to pass that requirement into law, though.
posted by zarq at 12:28 PM on March 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


GURGLE RAND PAUL
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:28 PM on March 11, 2011 [35 favorites]


poe: How hard is it to run an ad campaign that goes like this:

"Senator Rand Paul isn't smart enough to make his own toilets work and wants to waste billions of gallons of clean water and billions of dollars as a result. Should you really vote for him?"

It just doesn't seem that hard to turn this around.


I want to say it's because his opponents take the high ground, and something about wrestling with a pig. Except this pig isn't minding his own business, wallowing in the mud and keeping cool. No, this pig has already run into you while you were walking by, and is now trying to smother you so no one can hear you shout.

When fighting a pig in the mud, the only way to fight is fight dirty.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:28 PM on March 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I find it troubling that the government allows women to have abortions but doesn't provide me with a choice if I want to take a starship to Antares.

In support of Paul Rand I am sending him a case of Ex-lax.
posted by JJ86 at 12:29 PM on March 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


odinsdream: I'm beginning to think the only hope we have is to add a minimum IQ to the eligibility requirement for legislators.

But IQ has nothing to do with it - it's about his messages over all others. Why bring in abortion into an ENERGY DISCUSSION? OK, toilets are about conservation, as are lightbulbs, so I can see that tangent, but abortion? FFS. We know you have a message to push, but this isn't helping your causes.

Except it might, when you clip out the good parts and keep out the parts that make you look like a loon. Which is what he (or someone supporting him) did.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:32 PM on March 11, 2011


Antares is so last year.
posted by spicynuts at 12:32 PM on March 11, 2011


I have great admiration for the young lady in the background who managed to control her urge to laugh at the idiot in front of her. I couldn't stop laughing when he said,"it costs thousands of dollars to retrofit them with some kind of jet stream...". I have installed a toilet and my wife,my father, my uncle, and my father in law all have to. I think we all missed the jet stream retrofit.
posted by Tashtego at 12:37 PM on March 11, 2011


Why not just price water appropriately?
Yeah, fuck the poor.

There are some things you could do to make it less regressive. For example, tiered pricing: The first X gallons used each month cost $Y per gallon, $Z per gallon thereafter. Or it could be adjusted based on the number of people in the household.

I still have my doubts about whether it's an advisable policy, but there are certainly ways to mitigate it somewhat.
posted by jcreigh at 12:38 PM on March 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Consumer level water used, from what I've always been told, is so completely insignificant in comparison to industrial uses, that discussion of taxing household use is pointless. Is that still the basic understanding?
posted by spicynuts at 12:40 PM on March 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sad to see someone caught in this vicious cycle brought on by overregulation. First, they force him to stockpile pre-ban toilets with overcapacity tanks, which causes stress-related constipation, requiring more stockpiling, etc. When will the federal government learn that the assault-toilet ban is hurting America?*

*Paranoia-related constipation affects 1 in 2 Republican men. Please, talk to your doctor.
posted by [citation needed] at 12:41 PM on March 11, 2011


I live in the Willamette valley, and if there's one thing we aren't short of here, it's water. But I have to use a low-flush toilet because Phoenix is short of water.

...um, why was that, again? How does it help?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 12:41 PM on March 11, 2011


Best part of this video: The three aides behind him, trying not to laugh.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:43 PM on March 11, 2011


I live in the Willamette valley, and if there's one thing we aren't short of here, it's water. But I have to use a low-flush toilet because Phoenix is short of water. ...um, why was that, again? How does it help?

That's not the only reason. For one thing, it also reduces the load on municipal drinking water and sewer systems, which keeps costs down for everybody in your area.
posted by jedicus at 12:45 PM on March 11, 2011


I genuinely wonder if he really believes what he's saying. If he's that far out there, yikes.
posted by ambient2 at 12:46 PM on March 11, 2011


If he's that far out there, yikes.

He is. But pity him, don't hate him - he's suffering from last-stage Libertarianism.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 12:50 PM on March 11, 2011


If he's that far out there, yikes.

He is. As Benny Andajetz observes, he's a useful idiot for the powerful.
posted by Rykey at 12:50 PM on March 11, 2011


Jinx!
posted by Rykey at 12:51 PM on March 11, 2011


Consumer level water used, from what I've always been told, is so completely insignificant in comparison to industrial uses, that discussion of taxing household use is pointless. Is that still the basic understanding?

It depends on what you mean by "basic understanding". Do you mean the understanding generally available to the population, or the understanding for people who actually care to know even a slight bit about this topic?
posted by odinsdream at 12:51 PM on March 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Consumer level water used, from what I've always been told, is so completely insignificant in comparison to industrial uses, that discussion of taxing household use is pointless. Is that still the basic understanding?

Domestic use accounted for 7.4% of water withdrawals in the US in 2005 (1% outright plus 58% of the public water supply, which accounts for 11% of all water withdrawals). That compares to about 31% for irrigation and 49% for thermoelectric power generation (i.e. steam turbines). (source [pdf]).

So domestic use is a small fraction, but it's not completely trivial, either. We should do more to reduce irrigation, though, specifically ending subsidies for water-intensive crops.
posted by jedicus at 12:52 PM on March 11, 2011 [6 favorites]


I would like to personally thank the good people of Kentucky for making me feel so much better about that whole Governor Ventura thing.


The good senator is an ignorant fuck!
posted by The Violet Cypher at 12:54 PM on March 11, 2011


Here's the real bullshit -- not Paul, but the reaction. I just played through the video, and the official begins her response with ...

"I think the appliance standards..."

Appliance standards? Jesus. Does no one have any chutzpah? This is a Senate hearing. The Energy Department people that go before the Senate should be the best of the best. The tip of the fucking spear.

"Yes, Mr. Senator, I have something to say. ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR GOD DAMNED MIND? What is wrong with you? You have drawn an equivocation between reproductive rights and energy regulations on consumer goods. That is not only patently offensive, but completely irrelevant to this committee. You are WASTING YOUR COLLEAGUES' TIME, you are wasting my time and you are making this body look foolish with misplaced, ham-fisted rhetorical tactic."

And then just get up and walk out.

Lose your job? Maybe. Actually, as a federal employee, it's probably impossible to lose your job this way. But you'd gain instant, lasting fame for doing the right thing.

"Do you know what's waiting beyond that beach? Immortality! Take it! It's yours!"
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:55 PM on March 11, 2011 [21 favorites]


"Frankly, my toilets don't work in my house. And I blame you, and people like you"

Frankly, I think you need some psyllium in your diet.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:55 PM on March 11, 2011


I live in the Willamette valley, and if there's one thing we aren't short of here, it's water. But I have to use a low-flush toilet because Phoenix is short of water.

...um, why was that, again? How does it help?


Alright. Let's examine this for a moment. Let's assume there's no water shortage at all, and that you live in an isolated water system all alone.

Here's what I don't understand. Why would you want to use more water than necessary for this function? And clean water at that? It's absolutely insane. Do you not pay for water? Even on the most self-serving level you're saving money.
posted by odinsdream at 12:56 PM on March 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


Why would you want to use more water than necessary for this function? And clean water at that?

I don't want to use more water than necessary. I want to use as much water as is necessary rather than what the government is imposing on me: using less than is necessary.

And the other question: why is this requirement being imposed on me by the government? Even if I do want to waste water, it doesn't represent a threat to the other people in this area, so why is it any of the government's business?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 12:59 PM on March 11, 2011


Even if I do want to waste water, it doesn't represent a threat to the other people in this area, so why is it any of the government's business?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 3:59 PM on March 11 [+] [!]


BA HA HA HA HA HA HAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. Oh wait, you mean in the hypothetical example fantasy land?
posted by spicynuts at 1:01 PM on March 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Toilet not working? go to gop conventiion and share the shit
posted by Postroad at 1:01 PM on March 11, 2011


Even if I do want to waste water, it doesn't represent a threat to the other people in this area, so why is it any of the government's business?

Ding! Dumbest thing said today. You're our winner. Johnny show him the barren dystopia he's won!
posted by Babblesort at 1:02 PM on March 11, 2011 [6 favorites]


And the other question: why is this requirement being imposed on me by the government? Even if I do want to waste water, it doesn't represent a threat to the other people in this area, so why is it any of the government's business?

*sigh*

It's the same reason there are speed limits and limits on how much mercury you can put in Snickers bars.

It's because if the government has to pay to clean up the mess, they reserve the right to tell you how to do stuff in the first place.
posted by GuyZero at 1:05 PM on March 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sometimes I wonder if these fantastical loony-birds who listen to Glen Beck and support Rand Paul actually exist. I see that they do....
posted by Go Banana at 1:06 PM on March 11, 2011


Even if I do want to waste water, it doesn't represent a threat to the other people in this area, so why is it any of the government's business?

Before I answer that question, let me ask you one -- do you have your own personal well? Or do you draw from your community's municipal water supply?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:06 PM on March 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


You know what would probably save more water if government regulations allowed, a two flush toilet.

Handle one could be for number one using only one gallon of water and handle two could be for number two using two gallons of water. If handles one and two were each used once per hour, the average flush would use 1.5 gallons per flush, which is better than the inflexible government mandate of 1.6 gallons per flush. I would guess that in a typical home, handle one would be used 5 to 10 times as often has handle 2, and the water savings would be pretty material and get the job done.

I know this sounds like I have given this way too much thought and I probably have, but inflexibility of the 1.6 gallons per flush mandate is keeping more efficient toilets from being used. Yes, there are two flush toilets available, but with a maximum flush of 1.6, there is no incentive to use one. Rand is right, the current law, at least as it is currently written, should be flushed.
posted by otto42 at 1:08 PM on March 11, 2011


I dream of the c-span moment where some undersecretary just looses it entirely against one of these idiots. and another thingthe NPR fundraiser who was caught on tape bashing these tea party idiots was right.
posted by humanfont at 1:11 PM on March 11, 2011


He lives in the Willamette valley. Water is a non-existent problem for the area, and it's not clear to me on a quick search that there are any aquifers that would make his conservation help anyone anywhere else. In Portland itself are drinking fountains that run nonstop.
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:11 PM on March 11, 2011


You know what would probably save more water if government regulations allowed, a two flush toilet

They make 'em.

There are tons of retrofit kits available, too.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 1:14 PM on March 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Why should I care if the water utility can't meet demand? I've got my own well so it doesn't affect me? The state has no right to send Men With Guns to moderate my consumption.

Wait, what? The same aquifer you say? Oh, my. What's a water right? I'm entitled to pull from the stream that runs through my land! You can't confiscate my water. Wait, you mean that the amount of water I'm entitled is spelled out in the deed to my land? And that by exceeding my allotment I'm in effect stealing the property of other people who paid for the water right associated with their own land?

Man, I suck at libertarianism.

Why yes, I do have a well. And the island I live on is experiencing a dramatic drop in the water table. And I know that the city water utility does have annual limits for residential customers.

At what point did we, as a nation, stop considering the figure-of-speech "poisoning the well" to be a bad thing?


On preview: otto42, I speculate that you have never been to Europe. Or the plumbing aisle at Home Depot.
posted by stet at 1:14 PM on March 11, 2011


Okay. So we've established that Williamette Valley is home to a never-ending supply of cool, clean water. Fine.

So if you don't mind, we of the tri-state water feud will be running a pipe across the country to take advantage of your aquatic bounty.
posted by grabbingsand at 1:16 PM on March 11, 2011


My question, BrotherCaine, was from a place of "if you do have your own well, it truly is only your own water you're wasting -- so, yeah, in that scenario you have a point."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:16 PM on March 11, 2011


I live in the Willamette valley also. And me (and occasionally my seven year-old, go figure) produce some epic, prodigious turds that would make a sea cucumber roll over for a look if they were set out on the benthic floor. But I've never had an issue just using a half decent Toto from Home Depot. I really can't believe anyone cares about this issue unless they are trying to save money on trash service by sending their milk jugs through the system.
posted by docpops at 1:18 PM on March 11, 2011


On preview: otto42, I speculate that you have never been to Europe.

You don't even have to go to Europe. Try the Caribbean.
posted by spicynuts at 1:19 PM on March 11, 2011


Chocolate Pickle asks: And the other question: why is this requirement being imposed on me by the government? Even if I do want to waste water, it doesn't represent a threat to the other people in this area, so why is it any of the government's business?

Do you draw water from a well that you drilled on your property and do you have your own septic field to dispose of wastes? If not, then the government is supplying you with services and can set requirements on those services.
posted by JJ86 at 1:19 PM on March 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


The fees you pay for water service typically cover not just the cost of treatment and delivery, but also maintenance of both the water and wastewater infrastructure (because generally, water in = water out). Industrial users typically do pay higher rates than residential, partly because their higher demand results in bigger pipelines, but residential water use is subsidized, to a certain extent, in a lot of areas. Usually everything zoned residential pays the same rate. Commercial and industrial users pay higher rates, either by estimated usage, or some sort of audit in the case of large volume users.

The toilet thing is an old right wing trope. There may have been a kernel of truth to it at some point, but in general it's not the case anymore. Anecdotally, I've heard of some issues with sewage conveyance under extremely low flow conditions, but in general, cities are trying to keep excess water out of their sewer systems. Usually sewer backups are from lack of maintenance, overcapacity or improperly built systems.

but it ends up frequently being "fuck the farmers"

It depends on whether they have water rights, or not. Some farmers are selling or leasing their rights, rather than actually drawing water for irrigation.
posted by electroboy at 1:20 PM on March 11, 2011


"if you do have your own well, it truly is only your own water you're wasting -- so, yeah, in that scenario you have a point."

No, not really. I can't drill into Oak Ridges Moraine aquifer north of Toronto and just start pumping water out as I please. There's aren't just magic water fairies at the bottom of wells.
posted by GuyZero at 1:20 PM on March 11, 2011


Low flow toilets work just fine.

Really.

Anyone who says otherwise is either lying or has something very, very wrong with them.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:21 PM on March 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


"if you do have your own well, it truly is only your own water you're wasting -- so, yeah, in that scenario you have a point."

But it's not true.

If you have a well, you draw from an underground aquifer. If you draw from an underground aquifer, you're pulling water from the same source as everyone else who has a well that taps that aquifer, as well as anyone downstream of that aquifer who may use a spring that it feeds.

Here in the Spokane area, we draw most of our water from a couple of aquifers rather than using river water. (Thanks to current and historical mining operations upstream, there's a lot of heavy metal pollution in the Spokane river.)

Recently, a train refueling depot started leaking diesel into the aquifer. This caused a MAJOR shitstorm. Not because they were only polluting their property, but because it was going to endanger the water supply for nearly a half-million people.

Water is a lot more complicated than a lot of people realize.
posted by hippybear at 1:21 PM on March 11, 2011 [8 favorites]


So if you don't mind, we of the tri-state water feud will be running a pipe across the country to take advantage of your aquatic bounty.

You god damn Californians stay out of my wat.... wait. Georgia, Florida and Alabama?
posted by Mister Fabulous at 1:21 PM on March 11, 2011


You know what would probably save more water if government regulations allowed, a two flush toilet.

They do allow for this. In fact, I've been seeing more and more of these dual-flush toilets in Santa Fe businesses -- I'm guessing in another 5 to 10 years they'll be required by city ordinance.

oh noes I've just imagined the future and it's like a boot stamping on a human ass -- forever
posted by vorfeed at 1:21 PM on March 11, 2011


it's like a boot stamping on a human ass -- forever

it's like a plunger in a toilet -- forever.
posted by GuyZero at 1:24 PM on March 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


My toilet, crafted in a secret gulch, is made by RearDone Steel. It is powered by a Galt engine that can evacuate a libertarian's body mass in seconds, and could easily handle the mass of shambling feces that comprises Rand Paul.
posted by benzenedream at 1:24 PM on March 11, 2011 [7 favorites]


Sure thing there are dual-flush toilets. We have one installed in our downstairs bathroom.

And really, the modern low-flush toilets are a world better than the ones from even 10 years ago. They're powerful and well designed. Frankly, the two new toilets we put in over the past 3-4 years work better than any of the old high-gallon models they replaced.

There's this woosh, and suddenly everything is gone. Really, modern technology, improved the flush toilet. Who'd-a thunk?
posted by hippybear at 1:25 PM on March 11, 2011


Low flow showerheads still kinda suck though. I had no idea until I moved into a really old house with a really old shower.
posted by electroboy at 1:27 PM on March 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Actually, as a federal employee, it's probably impossible to lose your job this way. But you'd gain instant, lasting fame for doing the right thing.

I sincerely doubt both of those things. At the very least, you'd be asked to leave the room, and would commit career suicide in terms of ever advancing beyond your current position (and, really, it's very damn possible to fire federal employees if their supervisors can come up with just cause to do so).

Committee hearings, despite being occasionally interesting, are simply not followed by the American public (or even most journalists for that matter!). This hearing took place over 24 hours ago, and we're only hearing about it now, because Rand Paul's office inexplicably wanted to publicize this tirade, thinking that it would make him look good (wtf?). If nothing else, then the sheer volume of hearings drowns out anything particularly exciting. There were about 14 of them yesterday (at one point, there were 11 going on at once). Some pretty interesting stuff in hearings, and on the floor doesn't even get picked up by the media.

If you are in fact interested, the hearings can be watched live online, and are usually posted as archives a few hours after they've completed (Flash. Sorry iPhoners). Because there are so many of them, C-SPAN usually doesn't provide coverage, unless it's a particularly relevant or high-profile event.

Also, Senate committee hearings are not open debates between panel members. They are for giving testimony, and if anything are more similar to a trail than what you'd consider to be a "debate." The sort of argument/confrontation that everyone here is fantasizing over would be prohibited under the rules of the Senate. The only "open" debates the Senate has are in the chamber, between Senators, and even those are very highly structured (and to be honest, increasingly rare -- the Senate floor is 95% empty about 99% of the time that it's in session)

Forgive me -- my understanding of the Senate rules is not the *best*. If a political wonk wants to jump in and correct me or elaborate, please do so.
posted by schmod at 1:29 PM on March 11, 2011


This is a perfectly reasonable concern for an ophthalmologist, afflicted by a an unkempt patch pubic hair sprouting out of the top of his head.
posted by Huplescat at 1:29 PM on March 11, 2011


I hereby declare that all large dumps may now and forever be known as a Rand. All in favor say aye.
posted by The Violet Cypher at 1:29 PM on March 11, 2011 [7 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos: My well draws from the same aquifer as the public utility and my septic field drains into the same. Variations in the water table are as important to me as they are to my neighbors across the street who are connect to city water.

And I see that a bunch of other people have said the same thing, but I'll note that my well is in the PNW on the rainy side of the Cascades and that, despite a record wet year, the aquifer is still in danger.

The water table and water quality issues became viscerally real to me the first time I took the cover off my (Ca. 1901, hand-dug, you-can-see-the-water-level) well and reflected on the fact that it's about 100' downhill of my septic field and 150 yards from my neighbor's well.

We're all in this together.
posted by stet at 1:29 PM on March 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


The maximum flush on dual flush toilets is still only 1.6 GPF. There is no incentive to switch out a standard one flusher for a dual flush if its going to do the same thing with number two.
posted by otto42 at 1:31 PM on March 11, 2011


You know, we could let market forces dictate water prices, then provide subsidies to those with lower incomes. Markets don't always equal "fuck the poor".
posted by downing street memo at 1:31 PM on March 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Christ, what an asshole!
posted by ericb at 1:31 PM on March 11, 2011


Anybody up for registering buyrandpaulatoilet.com?
posted by Nanukthedog at 1:34 PM on March 11, 2011


There is no incentive to switch out a standard one flusher for a dual flush if its going to do the same thing with number two.

Sure, well, there might be. I mean, a dual flush toilet still won't cost more than $200, and installation is pretty simple to do yourself. And if the savings is, say, .5-.7 gallons per flush on the urine flush cycle, then you're actually doing a world of good by saving that per flush, especially in a multi-family household when you can't follow the "if it's yellow let it mellow, if it's brown flush it down" rule from the old days.

If you're replacing any toilet older than 10 years, you're foolish NOT to choose the dual-flush model when you make your choice. Anything else is just basic selfishness, which isn't an admirable trait. Mister Rogers taught me that.
posted by hippybear at 1:35 PM on March 11, 2011


otto42, the new WaterSense certified dual flush toilet standard solves that by making the average of the high and two low flushes 1.28 gallons the same volume as the single flush certification. So they got it right the second time.
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:36 PM on March 11, 2011


You know, we could let market forces dictate water prices, then provide subsidies to those with lower incomes.

Which is sort of what happens. The residential tier pays lower rates than commercial or industrial users. If municipalities are serious about water use, they can always set a ceriling on the residential volume, so that if you really are wasting water you'll have to pay a higher rate for it.
posted by electroboy at 1:36 PM on March 11, 2011


There's nothing quite so annoying as flushing a toilet seven! times or asking for a coat hanger to break up the turd when you are over at someone else's house. I know most low flow toilets work fine, but don't tell me there aren't some sub-par ones on the market in the last decade.
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:39 PM on March 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


There is no incentive to switch out a standard one flusher for a dual flush if its going to do the same thing with number two.

The estimate for me to sink a new well is $16,000. For one house. No idea how much it's going to cost the city if they need to drill a new one. I'm sure they'll raise property taxes enough to cover it, though. No matter how much you or Rand Paul want to pretend, water is a common resource. We *all* share it.

And now I'm going back to work.
posted by stet at 1:40 PM on March 11, 2011


but don't tell me there aren't some sub-par ones on the market in the last decade.

The miracles of a unregulated, free market in toilet design.
posted by GuyZero at 1:42 PM on March 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


The maximum flush on dual flush toilets is still only 1.6 GPF. There is no incentive to switch out a standard one flusher for a dual flush if its going to do the same thing with number two.

It should be abundantly clear by now: If you have a 1.6 GPF toilet that isn't working right, you have a poorly designed toilet. Get a new fucking toilet. It's not the government's fault that the manufacturer couldn't design it properly and meet regulations at the same time. There are plenty to choose from that do work just fine.
posted by odinsdream at 1:44 PM on March 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Eh, not really. It's a regional resource. Sometimes they're very large regions, but a drop of rain falling in Australia doesn't end up coming out of my tap in Baltimore in any meaningful way. Your expensive new well doesn't mean anything to me unless you're drawing out of the same aquifer.
posted by electroboy at 1:45 PM on March 11, 2011


He must be full of even more shit than me - I can top the water line on my 1931, deep-sump W.C., and it still goes buh-bye on one flush.

What this really tells us is that he's one of those fuckers that has to use half an industrial roll of TP even on those pre-emptive shits that you get a clean wipe on the first try. So next time you run to a public stall only to find there's no TP, BLAME RAND PAUL!!!!!

Creep.
posted by notsnot at 1:49 PM on March 11, 2011


"No matter how much you or Rand Paul want to pretend, water is a common resource."

And the 1.6 GPF mandate wastes water. A little flexibility on the part of the Feds could save this common resource. Standard toilets waste a gallon of water each time number 1 is flushed, which happens multiple times a day and two flushes are often needed to make number 2 go away. This is a waste of water because the law is poorly written.
posted by otto42 at 1:51 PM on March 11, 2011


This is a perfectly reasonable concern for an ophthalmologist, afflicted by a an unkempt patch pubic hair sprouting out of the top of his head.

It's not even his real hair.
posted by T.D. Strange at 1:51 PM on March 11, 2011


We live in a society, you fuckwad. All of us have a responsibility to the rest of us.

Libertarians will never ever understand such a complex concept.
posted by notreally at 1:52 PM on March 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


And the 1.6 GPF mandate wastes water. A little flexibility on the part of the Feds could save this common resource. Standard toilets waste a gallon of water each time number 1 is flushed, which happens multiple times a day and two flushes are often needed to make number 2 go away. This is a waste of water because the law is poorly written.

I don't think anyone here's argued that 1.6 should be the MINIMUM water required per flush.
posted by odinsdream at 1:53 PM on March 11, 2011


Nor is it the required volume per flush. It's the maximum.
posted by hippybear at 1:56 PM on March 11, 2011


I replaced a 40-year old water hog of a toilet that clogged on a regular basis with a 1.28 gallon toilet that has never once failed to work perfectly. I have no doubt that there are some poorly designed toilets out there, but there's this thing called the internet that allows you to look stuff up before you buy.

Rand Paul reminds me of the people who complained about CAFE standards for more efficient cars -- the gummint is trying to emasculate us, we don't want cars that take two hours to get up to freeway speed, etc.
1967 Mustang with a 390 cubic inch engine: 0-60 in 7.4 seconds, top speed 115mph, less than 20mpg.
2010 Hyundai Genesis with a 122 cubic inch engine 0-60 in 6.9 seconds, top speed 137mph, 30 miles per gallon.

Engineers are amazing wonderful people -- you give them design constraints and they come up with solutions.

If Rand Paul can't figure out how to take care of this problem I feel sorry for his constituents. But we all know that what is really happening is that he is a lying sack of shit who is so desperate for a rhetorical club that he stoops to this.
posted by Killick at 1:57 PM on March 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


And, um... once again... if it's taking two flushes to get rid of your feces, then you have a poorly designed toilet. You can get one that actually works for under $200.
posted by hippybear at 1:57 PM on March 11, 2011


No, his point is that the 1.6 gallon regulation should have been more flexible for dual flush to encourage people to spend the $200 extra (or whatever the dual flush costs) to save more water. The EPA figured this out with their water sense certification which allows the high use flush to use more than the standard toilet flush as long as the average of two lows and a high is 1.28 gallons. It's a far cry from saying they didn't get it completely right the first time around to saying Ron Paul is right though.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:00 PM on March 11, 2011


You know, all this has inspired me to go buy a dual-flush kit for my old, probably super-wasteful toilet. I may also buy a curly light bulb or two... send help if the black helicopters show up to constrain my choices!
posted by vorfeed at 2:03 PM on March 11, 2011


It should be abundantly clear by now: If you have a 1.6 GPF toilet that isn't working right, you have a poorly designed toilet.

An awfully good point. Why isn't otto42 outraged at incompetent toilet manufacturers who have sold him a defective product? Why is this the government's fault? Is it because private manufacturers are never to blame for anything? If you don't like your toilet, buy another one. There are plenty available, in this big, free country of ours. Don't blame the government for your lack of interest in comparison shopping. If the government regulations did not exist, you would likely still have bought a poorly-working toilet.
posted by deanc at 2:03 PM on March 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Dual-flush toilets cost about $100 more than a single flush toilet, not $200. You can get them made by American Standard, made IN AMERICA, for around $300. They even have a $200 model at Home Depot, which isn't much more money than a single flush model.

Too much talk without knowledge.
posted by hippybear at 2:05 PM on March 11, 2011


otto42: "You know what would probably save more water if government regulations allowed, a two flush toilet.

Handle one could be for number one using only one gallon of water and handle two could be for number two using two gallons of water. If handles one and two were each used once per hour, the average flush would use 1.5 gallons per flush, which is better than the inflexible government mandate of 1.6 gallons per flush. I would guess that in a typical home, handle one would be used 5 to 10 times as often has handle 2, and the water savings would be pretty material and get the job done.
"

Try this. Up for 1.1 (number one) and down for 1.6 (number two).
posted by notsnot at 2:05 PM on March 11, 2011


"1967 Mustang with a 390 cubic inch engine: 0-60 in 7.4 seconds, top speed 115mph, less than 20mpg.
2010 Hyundai Genesis with a 122 cubic inch engine 0-60 in 6.9 seconds, top speed 137mph, 30 miles per gallon."

In order to meet emissions regs the industry produced awful, grossly underpowered cars for much of that interim, from the early 70s through the mids 80s. Cars with horrible hp-to-weight ratios that struggled to climb moderate grades.

Yeah, it got worked out eventually, and it was worth it, but not without a generation of shittastic cars.
posted by aerotive at 2:06 PM on March 11, 2011


And, um... once again... if it's taking two flushes to get rid of your feces, then you have a poorly designed toilet. You can get one that actually works for under $200.

If the way my toilet functions is such a concern to you, would you mind buying me one?
posted by 2N2222 at 2:06 PM on March 11, 2011


Sure, as soon as I can end this nearly 3-year period of unemployment, I'll buy you a toilet. It'll be less than $300, so I can probably afford it out of my first check. I'll MeMail you for your contact details as soon as I have an income.

Don't think that I won't.
posted by hippybear at 2:08 PM on March 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


You'll have to install it yourself, however.
posted by hippybear at 2:09 PM on March 11, 2011


Low flow toilets work just fine.

Really.

Anyone who says otherwise is either lying or has something very, very wrong with them.


as other's have mentioned, this really isn't true. Many older low-flush toilets don't completely clear and even newer ones sometimes don't. part of the problem is that they are trying to solve two problems with the low flow:

a) everything flushes
b) there is enough water in the bowl that there aren't any "streaks".

You could make a maximally efficient low-water flush if you allowed streaking (and changed toilet habits so everyone gave the bowl a quick scrub afterwards see: Germany)

and then there's the question of septic tanks:

many rural and semi-rural areas do not have public sewer systems. many of these septic systems were first put in when the Cleveland river was catching on fire and have been retrofitted since then. Many states have upgraded their septic system regulations. However, there is no money to support homeowners trying to follow these regulations. Thus, when work needs to be done on a septic system many homeowners discover that instead of a $2,000 job, it's a $30,000 job to comply with regulations. These are the people Rand Paul is talking to and this *is* real.

Fun fact: in many areas when it rains too much the storm drains backflow into the sewer system and raw sewage is drained out into the rivers. Since the golden era of turning our rivers into chemical-laden sewers many government rules have been passed. However, there has never been sufficient government funding to implement those rules. Obama should have come out with a new Clean River's Act and given federal funding to all of those sewer retrofit projects in the name of stimulus, because right now across the country home owners are seeing property tax hikes and sewer rate increases to pay for EPA mandated changes.

The point is that it isn't enough to advocate for government regulation. If regulations are implemented badly or without funding it makes the whole business of government look bad and people like Rand Paul can make hay over it.
posted by ennui.bz at 2:10 PM on March 11, 2011


In a way, he has a point.

It looks like they're attacking the problem from the wrong angle; instead of actually describing the problem (too much water use) and passing legislation based on that, they're describing a specific symptom, toilets that use more water than they think is appropriate. They're passing laws that don't actually address the real problem, and imposing cost and inconvenience on everyone to do so.

Seems to me that it would be better to legislate very high rates on residential water use past a certain volume. It's pushing the actual problem down to end-users, who can address it millions of different ways, each of which best fits their specific problem set (total usage, needs for water, available budget for new equipment.)

For instance, I use very little total water, because I have no pool and don't water my lawn. I don't even come close to hitting the baseline 'free' water use allocation. And I happen to like high-flush toilets, because they work better; they flush more thoroughly, and stay cleaner. It doesn't particularly matter if I have high-flush toilets. I'm not the problem. But, nonetheless, I'm being directly and personally inconvenienced by this legislation.

Maybe, once Mr. Paul was presented with the goal of not using more than X gallons per month, he might choose to keep his 'wasteful' toilets, but then water his lawn less frequently. Or, possibly, he'd rather water and then use a thimble to flush.

Lightbulbs were mentioned upthread -- that's a good example of doing it right. Light-emitting devices, in 2012, will be required to reach at least a particular level of efficiency. They're not ruling out any particular technology, they're just stating technical requirements. Any manufacturer that can meet them can sell their lightbulbs. That puts competition and innovation to work.

Legislate for the outcome, not the process. Force people to achieve goals, don't force them to achieve them specific ways.
posted by Malor at 2:11 PM on March 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


If the way my toilet functions is such a concern to you, would you mind buying me one?

For fuck's sake, people aren't required to buy new toilets if they're happy with them. If you're not happy with yours, fucking replace it. Nobody's "concerned" about your specific toilet. If you don't have a complaint about it, just carry on!
posted by odinsdream at 2:14 PM on March 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


And I happen to like high-flush toilets, because they work better; they flush more thoroughly, and stay cleaner.

This is completely, utterly untrue. You can easily prove this yourself if you're at all interested in doing so.
posted by odinsdream at 2:17 PM on March 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


And I happen to like high-flush toilets....

Lightbulbs were mentioned upthread -- that's a good example of doing it right. Light-emitting devices, in 2012, will be required to reach at least a particular level of efficiency. They're not ruling out any particular technology, they're just stating technical requirements. Any manufacturer that can meet them can sell their lightbulbs. That puts competition and innovation to work.


This doesn't make any sense, you could easily say "And I happen to like incandescent bulbs... the light is warmer. And anyway, I don't have a big screen tv and an electric dryer so what does it matter. "
posted by ennui.bz at 2:17 PM on March 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nobody's "concerned" about your specific toilet. If you don't have a complaint about it, just carry on!

On the contrary, reading this thread, it appears quite a few folks are very concerned about low flow toilets, and my ability to buy one. So much so, hippybear himself volunteered to buy me one!
posted by 2N2222 at 2:17 PM on March 11, 2011


I didn't volunteer. You asked me to buy you one, and I said I would. Big difference there.
posted by hippybear at 2:19 PM on March 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


As much as I am loathe to give Mr. Paul even an inch of sympathy, part of the issue here is that the federal government is trying to regulate what's really a local issue. The Feds can't set local water prices. But they can make these crazy toilet efficiency laws which makes them look like they're doing something. The same is true for lightbulbs - the Feds mandate efficiency standards because it's all they can do.
posted by GuyZero at 2:19 PM on March 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


> Too much talk without knowledge.

Finally, a more up to date replacement for "In God We Trust."
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:20 PM on March 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


I didn't volunteer. You asked me to buy you one, and I said I would. Big difference there.

Which is still a huge deal of concern on my behalf, as to odinsdream's point.
posted by 2N2222 at 2:23 PM on March 11, 2011


However, there has never been sufficient government funding to implement those rules.

That's solely a lack of planning by local governments, who have decided that deferring sewer maintenance and investment in infrastructure is a good way to save money. The EPA also provides low interest loans for water quality improvement.

Obama should have come out with a new Clean River's Act and given federal funding to all of those sewer retrofit projects in the name of stimulus

The EPA has been forcing cities to fix their sewer systems by suing under the Clean Water Act for years now. New legislation just isn't necessary. And quite a bit of the stimulus did go towards water/wastewater projects, I worked on some of them. The problem is that since it was limited to "shovel ready" projects, only a small number qualified. A bunch of design work was fast-tracked to qualify.
posted by electroboy at 2:24 PM on March 11, 2011


It's kind of depressing to read an entire thread of people making fun of Paul for saying that government regulation has costs. This is exactly the argument he wants to have and it's the other side to: "raise taxes on rich."

You'd think after 30 years of conservative domination in this country you'd take a look at what Reagan wrought and realize that response isn't going to work.
posted by ennui.bz at 2:25 PM on March 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Rand Paul doesn't understand his own argument.

This isn't about Big Government telling us what to do because they hate us.

It's because sane, rational people agree that resources on this planet are NOT unlimited, and wasting these resources as if there's no tomorrow is personally, nationally and globally irresponsible. Every time that fucker flushes his toilet he uses more water than some people get in a day. And he doesn't understand that, not at all.

The reproduction angle he is trying so cleverly to exploit? Well guess what, Rand? Resources aren't unlimited. Government allowing us to NOT have children when we don't want them reduces strain on the environment. There is zero hypocrisy here. It's the same god damn argument either way.
posted by caution live frogs at 2:26 PM on March 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


You could make a maximally efficient low-water flush if you allowed streaking (and changed toilet habits so everyone gave the bowl a quick scrub afterwards see: Germany)

German Toilets
posted by homunculus at 2:27 PM on March 11, 2011


It's kind of depressing to read an entire thread of people making fun of Paul for saying that government regulation has costs. This is exactly the argument he wants to have and it's the other side to: "raise taxes on rich."

No, we want people to internalize costs that have previously been avoided as externalities; i.e. water is free. No, water is not free and you must pay to upgrade appliances to use water more efficiently.

Basically Libertarians complain whenever we tell them they're not allowed to have their sheep eat all the grass on the commons.
posted by GuyZero at 2:27 PM on March 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Lots of reading comprehension fail in here. Otto42 wanted a dual-flush toilet where the #2 flush was 2 gallons, because the average of all flushes would probably be less than the mandated 1.6 gallons, or more efficient than a single-flush 1.6 gallon toilet.
She/he knows that dual-flush toilets are available for purchase.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 2:28 PM on March 11, 2011


That's solely a lack of planning by local governments, who have decided that deferring sewer maintenance and investment in infrastructure is a good way to save money. The EPA also provides low interest loans for water quality improvement.

Nope. It's because it's expensive, especially in a dying rural economy. My town just recently did this and water rates jumped by almost 20%. It's going to put the last remaining paper mill out of business.

The EPA has been forcing cities to fix their sewer systems by suing under the Clean Water Act for years now. New legislation just isn't necessary. And quite a bit of the stimulus did go towards water/wastewater projects, I worked on some of them. The problem is that since it was limited to "shovel ready" projects, only a small number qualified. A bunch of design work was fast-tracked to qualify.

Quite a bit was not enough. They could have put the entire stimulus in water and sewer projects. Shovel ready was used politically within the administration to make sure the stimulus wasn't too big.
posted by ennui.bz at 2:29 PM on March 11, 2011


It's kind of depressing to read an entire thread of people making fun of Paul for saying that government regulation has costs.

I'm not sure that's what a lot of us are making fun of. For me at least, it's his notion that somehow not regulating markets will solve more problems than regulating them.

...that, and the idea that being pro-choice in reproductive matters somehow implies being pro-choice absolutely, in all matters.
posted by Rykey at 2:34 PM on March 11, 2011


I'm not sure that's what a lot of us are making fun of. For me at least, it's his notion that somehow not regulating markets will solve more problems than regulating them.

I have come to the conclusion that libertarianism is pure dogma, disconnected from reality, as much as old-school communism. it has nothing to do with what works. It's about deciding what's right and then doing that regardless of the consequences.
posted by GuyZero at 2:37 PM on March 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Rick Perlstein on the right-wing obsession with manly toilets
posted by jonp72 at 2:44 PM on March 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Rand Paul sure knows about water. He really is an Aqua Buddha.
posted by elephantday at 2:46 PM on March 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


I live in the Willamette valley, and if there's one thing we aren't short of here, it's water. But I have to use a low-flush toilet because Phoenix is short of water.

...um, why was that, again? How does it help?


If you're still curious, it's because there are two alternatives for toilets, something almost entirely sold in interstate commerce, given that many areas are more or less forced to put water-use restrictions into place.

(1) The Feds preempt everyone else and declare "This is the ONE TRUE REGULATION for toilets in the US. All toilets must meet this regulation, and all other regulations are void."

(2) There is an unholy patchwork of conflicting regulations across states and localities. If you want to make a toilet that's legal for sale in Oregon, then you have to add various whatevers to it to make it legal in California. But by making a toilet legal for sale in California, you render it illegal to sell in Arizona. And toilets legal in Arizona must contain features that make them illegal in all other states. Etc.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:46 PM on March 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's because it's expensive, especially in a dying rural economy.

Dying rural towns aren't entering into consent decrees with the EPA. They're hitting major cities first. Some smaller cities are proactively upgrading their systems, but it's not because of the EPA yet. If your city needed a wastewater plant upgrade, chances are they needed it 20 years ago and didn't float the bonds to make it happen.


Shovel ready was used politically within the administration to make sure the stimulus wasn't too big.

No, shovel-ready was used to put people back to work immediately. Depending on the size of the city, a sewer project can take 10 years from the beginning of the study to the start of construction. The first few years employs a few engineers and some inspection firms, which aren't particularly stimulative.
posted by electroboy at 2:46 PM on March 11, 2011


Rick Perlstein on the right-wing obsession with manly toilets

The Patriot Collection
posted by electroboy at 2:48 PM on March 11, 2011


homunculus: You could make a maximally efficient low-water flush if you allowed streaking (and changed toilet habits so everyone gave the bowl a quick scrub afterwards see: Germany) German Toilets

They used to be like this but that's no longer the case really. Almost every toilet I've seen on my recent trip back home does not have a shelf. And almost all of them are dual flush.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 2:49 PM on March 11, 2011


Dying rural towns aren't entering into consent decrees with the EPA. They're hitting major cities first. Some smaller cities are proactively upgrading their systems, but it's not because of the EPA yet. If your city needed a wastewater plant upgrade, chances are they needed it 20 years ago and didn't float the bonds to make it happen.

Nope. This was just to retrofit the storm drains so that they didn't backflow into the sewer system and because the system drains into a big name river the EPA was involved... though it hadn't reached consent decree stage yet.

Again, it's really self-destructive to try to downplay the costs of government regulation. It makes liberals look really out of touch.


No, shovel-ready was used to put people back to work immediately. Depending on the size of the city, a sewer project can take 10 years from the beginning of the study to the start of construction. The first few years employs a few engineers and some inspection firms, which aren't particularly stimulative.


But these projects are going forward regardless and I bet they could do a lot of retro-active funding which would put money directly back into municipal budgets to keep layoffs down. They didn't do this because third-way Democrats are a lot closer to Rand Paul vis a vis the free market than their base is comfortable with or even really aware of.
posted by ennui.bz at 2:53 PM on March 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


gain, it's really self-destructive to try to downplay the costs of government regulation. It makes liberals look really out of touch.

Government regulation, in this case, being defined as not letting you shit in the river.
posted by electroboy at 2:56 PM on March 11, 2011



Government regulation, in this case, being defined as not letting you shit in the river.


Exactly, most people don't even get that the water you shit in is exactly the same as the water you are drinking. "Conservation" is pretty close to "conservative." No one wants to have shit floating down the river which is one of the reasons why these projects are happening. But the Feds have never really put up the money for the Great Society programs that were supposed to renew the New Deal: Vietnam was expensive.

We could have the same discussion about funding "Special Ed."
posted by ennui.bz at 3:06 PM on March 11, 2011


Democrats are a lot closer to Rand Paul vis a vis the free market than their base is comfortable with or even really aware of.

Agreed. Health care, infrastructure, organized labor, foreign policy, and education would look a lot different in this country if this were not the case.

Although that is NOT to say that the Dems and the Republicans are the same.
posted by Rykey at 3:07 PM on March 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm including the Clean Water Act as part of the "Great Society" program even though it was passed in '72.
posted by ennui.bz at 3:12 PM on March 11, 2011


ROU_Xenophobe

Or (3) The feds come up with 2-3 levels of certification for toilets and urinals and leave it up to the states/municipalities which to put in place given their requirements.

Frankly, I'd like to see a lot more centralization of standards at the Federal level in all fields/industries, but with the requirements for adherence varying by state. Maybe a bit of federal funds tied to better adherence by states, but less one-size-fits-all solutions. I'd especially like to see a development of curriculum resources for schools at the federal level, maybe even an open-source textbook digital library.

I'm aware that ramming through one-size-fits-all approaches at the federal level is often the best hope we have for environmental progress with the political arena as it stands now. Don't confuse utility with efficiency though, especially given that long term political backlash in small states can change the political landscape out of proportion to the population of those states.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:14 PM on March 11, 2011


Yeah, sure, that too.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:22 PM on March 11, 2011


Why can you get an abortion, but I can't buy enriched uranium!?!?!
posted by mrgrimm at 3:41 PM on March 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm glad most everyone hear believes the 1.6 GPF rule minimizes water waste versus all other alternatives. If a government agency or the right member of congress came up with the rule, it must be flawless. Similarly, if the wrong member of congress is against the rule, it still must be flawless.

Many mefites here seem to think that the intent of the law is more important than the results, regardless if a better law that results in less water wasted can be implemented.

Typical Mefite: I get why dual flush toilets waste less water, you can already buy dual flushers, you are not smart.

Average America: I know dual flushers are available. But the maximum flush is still only 1.6 gallons.

Typical Mefite: Why don't you buy a dual flush toilet then to conserve water?

Average American: I don't care about conserving water and it is very cheap and dual flushers cost $100 more than regular toilets.

Typical Mefite: You are selfish and probably racist.

Average American: Calling me selfish doesn't save any extra water.

Typical Mefite: How about in order to make you save water, we tax water at a much higher rate.

Average American: How about you come up with something that is less regressive and complicated.

Typical Mefite: How about we pass a law requiring you to replace your standard toilet with a dual flush when the standard has to be replaced.

Average American: Because my standard toilet is made of high strength porceline and will probably last 25 years.

Typical Mefite: If you don't care about saving water, and you won't need another toilet for 25 years, what kind of inducement would you need to buy a dual flush, a tax credit? a fine?

Average American: I would buy a dual flush if I had the option of flushing 2.5 gallons on occasion. I would buy a new one tomorrow.
posted by otto42 at 3:43 PM on March 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I went to a very interesting seminar on water conservation policy in North America recently, and here is the takeaway:

-Pricing water does not change consumer use and ends up being an additional revenue stream for government but does not succeed at conservation
-Industrial water use is actually plateauing and water use is becoming more efficient due to increase in other industrial costs (specifically, oil)
-Low-flush toilets have demonstrated (yet again) that top-down policy change is the most effective mechanism to achieve conservation
-Rand Paul is an idiot
posted by mek at 3:45 PM on March 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's kind of depressing to read an entire thread of people making fun of Paul for saying that government regulation has costs.

That doesn't seem to be what he's saying. He seems to be saying that there should be no restrictions whatsoever on consumer behavior.

And that's fucking loony.

Of course government regulation has costs. And we need to spend more on regulation, not less.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:45 PM on March 11, 2011


I can't believe no one's mentioned the brick in the tank (or the modern equivalent b/c bricks decompose too easily ...).

Or only flushing poop? I stay hydrated and don't flush pee. That saves a literal shitload of water (I hope).

Toilet flushing constitutes about 40% (!) of US household water use. Every little bit helps!

Also, fill up empty plastic bottles with water and fill up your freezer to save energy there!

This has been this week's edition of Energy Saving Tips with mrgrimm!
posted by mrgrimm at 3:52 PM on March 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm glad most everyone hear believes the 1.6 GPF rule minimizes water waste versus all other alternatives.

I don't think anyone here has really said that, have they? We may not be experts on toilet water usage, but we can have an opinion on whether or not the federal government can regulate water use in toilets. No?

The amazing amount of water wasted by toilets has always fascinated me. I hope this video blows up.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:55 PM on March 11, 2011


I used the brick in the tank method for decades. Sadly, a lot of those toilets don't really give you enough water pressure oomph to flush well using that method. The modern low-flush toilets are engineered to deliver bowl-clearing pressure with minimal water use.

Still, if you don't want to drop the money on a new toilet, it's a great method.

And freezing water bottles to fill up the freezer and help it hold temperature is GREAT.
posted by hippybear at 3:56 PM on March 11, 2011


He seems to be saying that there should be no restrictions whatsoever on consumer behavior.

And that's fucking loony.


The crazy thing is that's exactly what he's saying. The Libertarian philosophy is that the "market" and "business people" know what's best. If there's a market for low-flow toilets they will magically appear. That concept is actually probably correct - what he doesn't mention is that there won't be a "market" for low-flow toilets until we're out of fucking water. (And then the manufacturers should, according to Mr. Paul, be able to charge what the market will bear and refuse to sell them to you if you're a minority.)
posted by Benny Andajetz at 3:58 PM on March 11, 2011 [7 favorites]


Average American: I don't care about conserving water and it is very cheap and dual flushers cost $100 more than regular toilets.

With you there, otto42. Against free market principle, Americans seem to think that there are no hidden or additional costs when you skimp on inefficient infrastructure investments. I think they should pull up their bootstraps and spend a few months at the library really learning those principles instead of just following a fucking guideline written by experts whom they employ to do these sorts of things for them.

Then they can realize that their exposure to potential fluctuations in water prices, which are very likely in the near future, are offset by better investments, and then they can buy the goddamn 1.6GPF dual flush toilet anyway and end up spending more money than they would have invested in the first place, or wait until the water prices are so high they can no longer afford to upgrade their toilet, and spend a few years full of terrifying smells in the summertime. Now that they've learned their lesson, in ten or twenty years when they buy their next toilet they can make another irrational decision based on emotional political baggage that also costs them more in the long run.

See, it's all about the rationality of the market. I can't wait to see what happens when we apply this efficient mechanism to electricity. Hot damn, it should be a good show.
posted by notion at 4:02 PM on March 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


The right hates the light bulb plans too, BTW.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 4:15 PM on March 11, 2011


The right hates the light bulb plans too, BTW.

The right hates anyone telling them to do anything.

Almost as much as they love to tell women what to do with their bodies or non-heterosexuals who they can marry or people who seek altered consciousness what they can put into their own bodies.
posted by hippybear at 4:19 PM on March 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm glad most everyone hear believes the 1.6 GPF rule minimizes water waste versus all other alternatives. If a government agency or the right member of congress came up with the rule, it must be flawless. Similarly, if the wrong member of congress is against the rule, it still must be flawless.

This misses the point of the discussion while also insinuating that people's opinions are politically motivated rather than based on a desire to see better conservation. I'm sure if you asked, you'd hear that many of us think the existing standard is flawed, or even not stringent enough. That's not what this discussion is about.

It's about a member of congress suggesting that the very existence of regulations is un-American and thus insinuating that these regulations shouldn't exist in our country. In his world, you could literally sell a continuously-running toilet, just so that bowl will be sparkly clean.

Those of us on the other side of the issue live in a world with a finite amount of potable water, aquifers being sucked dry, and people going to war against one another over water rights. We recognize that even flawed legislation has a place, and are seeking to improve it through whatever means.
posted by odinsdream at 4:30 PM on March 11, 2011


Those of us on the other side of the issue live in a world with a finite amount of potable water, aquifers being sucked dry, and people going to war against one another over water rights.

Finite amount of potable water? Really? Peak water?
posted by 2N2222 at 4:40 PM on March 11, 2011


Hmmm... maybe if we just improve conservatives' bathroom experiences, they'd be less grumpy.
posted by Flunkie at 4:43 PM on March 11, 2011


Yes, peak water: "The world's supply of fresh water is running out. Already one person in five has no access to safe drinking water. Click on the map to read about some of the world's water flashpoints." Although that is already 11 years old.

So, from 2008: "As demand for freshwater soars, planetary supplies are becoming unpredictable. Existing technologies could avert a global water crisis, but they must be implemented soon"

And, finally: The Ten Biggest American Cities That Are Running Out Of Water

posted by GuyZero at 4:44 PM on March 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


Man, I really loathe Rand Paul. He has that artificial calm demeanor while he spews horseshit and equivocation. Dangerous bastard.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:44 PM on March 11, 2011


Hmmm... maybe if we just improve conservatives' bathroom experiences, they'd be less grumpy.

They've already tried the wide stance... what else is left?
posted by hippybear at 4:52 PM on March 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


GuyZero:

The world's water supplies are not necessarily affected by American toilet law. And while potable water may be scarce in those American cities, it does not appear to be a finite resource, as odinsdream said.

The worldwide problem of potable water is beyond the scope of this thread, even if some of the factors are the same.

As pointed out earlier in the thread, water rights and pricing are extremely complicated. No matter what happens with water pricing, someone gets screwed, because the market is largely distorted by a variety of regulatory policy, representing all kinds of interests. No matter what, someone's artificially low water bill discourages actual conservation. As someone who's grown up in Southern CA, and currently lives in L.A. I'm quite aware of the situation.
posted by 2N2222 at 4:53 PM on March 11, 2011


Finite amount of potable water? Really? Peak water?

Wars have been fought over potable water. Even Mark Twain has been quoted as saying "Whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting over."

And that was before a world with 6 billion people and huge industrial needs for water.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 4:54 PM on March 11, 2011


Wars in the US over water are less likely these days.

Considering that we're talking about American toilets, bringing the rest of the world into the equation seems superfluous.
posted by 2N2222 at 5:00 PM on March 11, 2011


Finite amount of potable water? Really? Peak water?

Yes, we are rapidly depleting our supply of drinkable water and water suitable for irrigation. For example, groundwater levels in the Chicago-Milwaukee area have declined over 900 feet since 1864. The High Plains or Ogallala Aquifer that covers most of the Midwest is another example of a threatened major water source.
posted by jedicus at 5:14 PM on March 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Wars in the US over water are less likely these days.

Right.

Already the Colorado River doesn't reach the Pacific Ocean much of the time. Just wait until the Phoenix metroplex doesn't get everything it thinks it deserves for its lawns and golf courses and gated community water features and starts questioning whether those upstream really deserve the water rights they've had for generations.

On a related note, look at what's been going on closer to where you live, in California's central valley, where there have been heated disputes about irrigation water rights for more than a few years now.

There won't be "wars" insofar as armed insurrection, but wars of other sorts are being fought daily about who has enough water and whether people have the right to use what they are taking.

Did you know it's illegal to collect water in a rain barrel in Colorado and Utah, because of concerns of downstream water rights?

These fights are only beginning. Believe me.
posted by hippybear at 5:15 PM on March 11, 2011 [9 favorites]


These fights are only beginning. Believe me.

So not "war", so much as fights. Well, color me surprised. Whoda thunk American politics would be prone to fights? And only the beginning? What else do you see in the crystal ball?

People who really think water is such a rare resource need to advocate selling it at a rate proportionate to its scarcity. All the low flow toilets in the world will not fix such a deficit until it starts to hurt users where it counts. In the pocketbook. As long as water is doled out like, well, water, it will be used recklessly and in excess.
posted by 2N2222 at 5:45 PM on March 11, 2011


Would you prefer state militias being formed and attacks happening across the AZ/UT/CO borders to having fights of other sorts?

Because I surely wouldn't. But the cause and issues remain identical.

And if you're looking to the invisible hand of the free market to solve the problems of water scarcity in the southwest, you're simply asking for a lot of poor people to die in order to make your world comfortable. I guess the end result is the same either way. Those who can't end up dead, and those who can end up surviving.

I'd much rather see people start thinking of their neighbors as their brothers and working to make it work for everyone. Seems a much better approach. But then, I'm a hippie whose views can be easily dismissed.
posted by hippybear at 5:49 PM on March 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Anyone who says otherwise is either lying or has something very, very wrong with them.

I've got two dual flush low-flow toilets. Both from different manufacturers. Both installed within the last three years.

Both of them regularly block and need the application of a plunger to clear.

I know that there's nothing wrong with me, because I never have this problem with hotel toilets. Nor did I have the problem prior to the replacement of my old toilets.

I don't deny that the toilets I have are probably badly designed. However, I'm not sure how you're supposed to figure that out before you've bought the damn thing and had it installed. And how many are you supposed to replace before you say 'fuck it' and replace them with an old fashioned nine gallon gusher?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:49 PM on March 11, 2011


Regulation Lax as Gas Wells’ Tainted Water Hits Rivers
posted by homunculus at 5:50 PM on March 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


So not "war", so much as fights.

Watch your feet. Backslide that fast and you'll sprain an ankle.
posted by mrgrimm at 5:54 PM on March 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't deny that the toilets I have are probably badly designed. However, I'm not sure how you're supposed to figure that out before you've bought the damn thing and had it installed. And how many are you supposed to replace before you say 'fuck it' and replace them with an old fashioned nine gallon gusher?

Maybe you should read some consumer reviews. There is also this whole industry of plumbing professionals who have online communities and spend their days immersed in this shit. They will be happy to give you very specific advice related to your shit flushing problems.

I've replaced two toilets in my house. The first was with a $40 1.6gpf special from home depot, this plugs up constantly and can't handle anything other than urine. I've been too lazy to replace it because we also have the Toto 1.28 gpf toilet in the other bathroom. This toilet cost significantly more but was recommended by various people who I know and trust.
I returned hone After summer potluck at a friends house. At the potluck Id gorged myself on pasta and spicy meatballs for hours. For desert ice cream and about 20 high fiber oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. This mixture was combined with a reasonable quantity of beer.I don't deny that the toilets I have are probably badly designed. However, I'm not sure how you're supposed to figure that out before you've bought the damn thing and had it installed. And how many are you supposed to replace before you say 'fuck it' and replace them with an old fashioned nine gallon gusher? At home sometime later I dropped an enormous log that coiled itself up in the bottom of the bowl, then a couple more of those emerged in a firery fashion. After this was a great deal of brown soupy pastey shit that came out. Ass wiping required large amounts of toilet paper, a couple of baby wipes, and a Tucks medicated pad. The Toto handled this epic poop wihtout complaint in a single flush as ai stood back and watched.
posted by humanfont at 6:12 PM on March 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Now I no longer have to feel ashamed when my huge shits back things up. It's the busy boddies who are to blame! Not that entire x-large pizza I ate all by myself!
posted by Brocktoon at 6:44 PM on March 11, 2011


People who are against increased efficiency that also works better -- while being better for the whole community? And they're Elected for that?

I moved from an old standard 5 gallon toilet to a new 1.4 gallon efficient toilet, and I - an accomplished toilet-blocking Mastah - have clogged that thing fewer times in the last year than I used to in a week with that old water-waster. Efficiency FTW.
posted by ldthomps at 7:03 PM on March 11, 2011


Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, eh? Frank Capra was a great propagandist, and far-right noisemaking seems cut from that template, with added congitive dissonance, cynicism and going for the 'fuck YEAHs' from the hoi-polloi. The agenda: give us even more power over your lives.
posted by nj_subgenius at 7:32 PM on March 11, 2011


We could do that, but it's a regressive tax on the poor. Now you might say, well, why not just give the poor a water tax rebate or something? The problem with that is that increasing the cost of water also increases the cost of other things, like food, that disproportionately impact the poor. So now we also have to spend more on food stamps, increased the earned income tax credit, the child credit, etc. It gets complicated fast.

This is a huge cop-out. It's not terribly complicated to increase the EITC. Politically difficult, perhaps, but not complicated.

It's true that the current system is more politically viable than pricing + progressive transfers, but so what? Leave that to the politicians. My hope is that if enough people keep advocating good public policy, then it may become popular enough to become politically feasible.
posted by ripley_ at 8:16 PM on March 11, 2011


I think we all have to be careful about labeling someone a "fuckwad," an "idiot," and an "asshole" because he or she has an idea that we find outlandish. Perhaps the manner in which he went about explaining it is what engenders so much vitriol in the comments.

Many of us probably see merit in his overarching idea (i.e., less government meddling). This idea just isn't particularly wise given the nature of our limited energy and natural resources.

I have always thought that Social Security was a bad idea and that I should have the right to keep all of that money and spend it on glass dolphins, the collected works of Thoreau, or put it into my own personal savings. His idea is the meddlesome nature of government intervention.

And on that salient point, I agree totally.
posted by bengalsfan1 at 8:41 PM on March 11, 2011


At some point, someone will explain the link between reproductive rights and Rand Paul's inability to use a toilet. I fear that day.
posted by Not The Stig at 8:46 PM on March 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


For the record, I don't label Rand Paul an asshole because he has an idea I find outlandish. I label him an asshole because he made sure he had silence while he had his full say, and then asked his questionee for her statement in response, and then interrupted her repeatedly while she tried to express herself clearly.

That, and because he used trick questioning with false results to equate her response that she was pro-light-bulb-choice to the idea that she was in the abortion-is-okay camp, which was never in her answer.

THOSE things, and those things alone make him an asshole.
posted by hippybear at 9:08 PM on March 11, 2011 [7 favorites]


I find Rand Paul an asshole because he's full of shit. Even David Letterman put him in his place.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:17 PM on March 11, 2011


Entirely aside from this idiotic American politician, people actually do buy and "smuggle" regular toilets from Canada into the US to circumvent the low-water-usage toilet regulations. Hey, what do you do for work? "I AM A PROFESSIONAL TOILET SMUGGLER".
posted by thewalrus at 10:42 PM on March 11, 2011


RuPaul is sending silent dog whistles.

As mentioned by schmod@3:15, the hearing was about lighting.

- anti abortion, dog whistle
- government is too big, they're in my kitchen, in my bedroom and in my washroom, dog whistle

The out of context 5 minute derail clip is posted from cable tv in SD, not 720p, 16:9 to YT, doin' my job voters, grin. Marketing is working fast and furiously, sir.

A grandstanding marketing piece for the man who gave him that large brown envelope stuffed with cash for the Republican cause.

He's pissed he can't buy 6 gold plated toilets as befitting a man of his stature. Those pedestrian low volume models just don't tie the room together well.
posted by alicesshoe at 11:05 PM on March 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't deny that the toilets I have are probably badly designed. However, I'm not sure how you're supposed to figure that out before you've bought the damn thing and had it installed. And how many are you supposed to replace before you say 'fuck it' and replace them with an old fashioned nine gallon gusher?

There are good, independent, scientific reviews of toilets that assess their ability to consume large quantities of "stuff." example

I'm sure that either there are European equivalents, or if you had to you could figure out which model numbers are the same and use the American toilet tests.
posted by Forktine at 3:15 AM on March 12, 2011


I think we all have to be careful about labeling someone a "fuckwad," an "idiot," and an "asshole" because he or she has an idea that we find outlandish. Perhaps the manner in which he went about explaining it is what engenders so much vitriol in the comments.

Rand Paul is a fuckwad and an idiot and an asshole because his belief system is all about "me" and never about "we". "We" is just not a viable concept to him. "We" is just a repressive force.

He's free to believe that, of course. But he intends to apply that philosophy to the laws of this country. A philosophy that leads him to believe that the Civil Rights Act was an abomination against "me". That, in my book, is a fuckwad and idiot and asshole.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 4:51 AM on March 12, 2011


I just set up a monthly donation to Planned Parenthood. Free market baby!
posted by freecellwizard at 6:56 AM on March 12, 2011


Oops, I think I meant:

Free market, baby!
posted by freecellwizard at 6:57 AM on March 12, 2011


Maybe you should read some consumer reviews. There is also this whole industry of plumbing professionals who have online communities and spend their days immersed in this shit. They will be happy to give you very specific advice related to your shit flushing problems.

That's exactly how I found all those awesome American high-efficiency toilets. However, as I said in my very first comment, UK plumbing just isn't doesn't seem advanced as its US equivalent.

I might be wrong, but the last time I looked, we really didn't have a big community of UK plumbers online with whom you can consult regarding the finer points of toilet efficiency. From what I can tell, the older guys who took their craft seriously don't hang out online -- don't have the IT skills, whereas the younger ones just want to whack something in and get the dough and move on to the next job ASAP.

That said, a solution may be at hand in the not-too-distant future.

None of which should be taken to mean that I don't agree that Rand Paul is not a fuckwad and an idiot. I just wanna find some decent toilets that do what they're supposed to do.

And don't even get me started on replacement windows...
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:08 AM on March 12, 2011


Took your advice and searched for a British plumbing forum. Evidently, it isn't just me:

> Searched Google and all the best toilets seem to be US based
>
> e.g. Gerber Ultra Flush or Toto
>
> Don't seem to be able to buy strong flushing toilets in the UK

Well the yankies are scared of splash back big time, so they have their
crappers fill up with water so their butt nuggets dont have too far to drop,
and they dont splash water onto their barking spiders (ok, i know it's
really they dont know what a bog brush is for)

Hence their flushing systems work differently to ours, they seem to send a
jet of water down the back of the S bend to start a vacuum that will suck
the water and dookies out the pan, the water that comes in from the top is
mainly to re-fill the pan again.

German bogs have that shelf to allow them to impress their mates with the
size of the brown trout they just did, so when they are flushed the water
pushes the bovril bullets off the shelf like a waterfall, their bogs used to
be flushed directly from the mains too, no cistern, and their mains pressure
is bloody high, so no chance of floaters.

Over here we just splash water around the rim, and hope it will push the
monkeys tails round the bend as the water exits the pan,
usually works unless the missus plonks those bloo loo things in the cistern,
and the wrapper gets sucked up the syphon and blocks the water exit holes.
then there's these people put those stupid hippo bags in the cistern to be
green, and instead of one flush it takes 3 to send the mud shark out to sea.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:32 AM on March 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty sure that we'll be quite embarrassed trying to explain to our grandchildren that we used to have contraptions specifically designed to mix excrement with potable water. Composting toilets and incinerating toilets are both viable alternatives.
posted by Authorized User at 10:58 AM on March 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


I've been choosing energy efficient bulbs for years because they last longer and lower my electric bill. I'm not sure why Rand would make a different choice. And if he really wants a toilet that can handle his shit, he's welcome to buy an older house. My 1951 ranch has such a toilet (though I'm seriously considering replacing it as it will again lower my bils).

Like a typical objectivist, Rand would rather make self-indulgent, reactionary speeches than actually attempt to solve a problem.
posted by TrialByMedia at 11:40 AM on March 12, 2011


But the Feds have never really put up the money for the Great Society programs that were supposed to renew the New Deal: Vietnam was expensive.

It's not the Feds responsibility to keep you from polluting. The Clean Water Act (which was not part of the Great Society, saying it doesn't make it so), was passed 40 years ago. The fact that your city is just getting around to fixing its sewer overflows is a problem with your local government.
posted by electroboy at 4:53 PM on March 12, 2011


Someone needs to make a video contrasting Rand Paul saying he wants to choose his own toilet with the weslyan kids wanting to choose to have access to planned parenthood.

Frankly, Rand Paul, in my state it's hard to get access to prenatal care/birth control/safe abortions, and I blame you, and people like you.
posted by lab.beetle at 8:42 PM on March 12, 2011


Utility meters and central billing (water, electricity, and gas) could be a lot smarter than they are. For example, you could be billed nothing at all for the first X liters of water multiplied by the number of people living in your place, on the assumption that everyone has a basic right to a certain amount of clean water. Everyone, rich or poor, gets what they need to drink, cook, bathe, and shit for free or at a low cost. After that, however, it's luxury consumption and you ought to pay a lot more per liter than you do now, though it ought to be adjusted for household income. When Joe Smith takes an extra shower, it might cost him the price of a six pack. When Bill Gates takes that extra shower, it might cost him the price of a brewery, but that money goes towards supplying that free basic water to everyone.
posted by pracowity at 10:44 PM on March 12, 2011


Now on the other hand, energy efficient bulbs are pretty much a scam, at least they are here in Finland. If it's not summer, every house is being heated, which means the wasted energy from lightbulbs is not wasted. It might not be as economical as heating by heat pump or some other means, but it's definitely not wasted. During the summer days are so long that you need to use your lights a lot less.
posted by Authorized User at 5:40 AM on March 13, 2011


That makes no sense. The energy is still "wasted" because it's not being directed towards the most efficient method of heating. By your logic, you should choose massively inefficient computers and household electronics because the heat produced as a byproduct of surfing the internet can be used as a secondary heat source.
posted by electroboy at 9:46 AM on March 13, 2011


That makes no sense. The energy is still "wasted" because it's not being directed towards the most efficient method of heating.

Indeed and you are still going to get some net savings in energy use. But the effect is vastly reduced by the heating costs.

However after reading more about energy-saving light-bulbs it seems that technology has catched up and the increased lifespan and more reasonable cost of energy-saving lightbulbs allows you to make savings even in our climates. Previously I was working under the assumption that energy-saving light-bulbs took more energy to manufacture and cost more and this was only off-set by the energy savings, however this does not seem to be the case any-more.


By your logic, you should choose massively inefficient computers and household electronics because the heat produced as a byproduct of surfing the internet can be used as a secondary heat source.

None of these has the same usage profile as lighting.
posted by Authorized User at 1:24 PM on March 13, 2011


The energy is still "wasted" because it's not being directed towards the most efficient method of heating.

Especially in Finland, which has district heating, but for electric heat it's as efficient as any other electric heat source.
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:25 AM on March 15, 2011


Electric heat source, as in electric resistance. Heat pumps are much more efficient, and run entirely on electricity, although they may not work very well in places as cold as Finland.
posted by electroboy at 7:20 AM on March 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


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