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House passes energy plan despite ridicule over bike commuter benefit

Posted by on August 6th, 2007 at 2:39 pm

[See below for YouTube version of McHenry's statement.]

Poster that accompanied a statement on the House floor by Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) who said bicycles were a, “19th century solution to a 21st century problem.”

Last Saturday the House of Representatives passed Energy Independence legislation that amends a section of the IRS code to include “bicycles” in the definition of transportation covered by the qualified transportation fringe benefit.

Introduced earlier this year by Congressman Earl Blumenauer as H.R. 1498, the provision calls for a $20 monthly benefit for riding a bike to work.

However, according to Blumenauer, even this modest amount sparked some heated opposition — even ridicule — from other House lawmakers.

Patrick McHenry, a republican from North Carolina stood alongside the poster above and said bicycles were an “antiquated” solution to our energy crisis. He posted the video of his speech on his website with the title, “Congressman McHenry Slams Democrats’ Antiquated Energy Plan.”

Here are excerpts from his statement on the House floor:

Rep. McHenry

“A major component of the Democrats’ energy legislation and the Democrats’ answer to our energy crisis is, hold on, wait one minute, wait one minute, it is promoting the use of the bicycle.

Oh, I cannot make this stuff up. Yes, the American people have heard this. Their answer to our fuel crisis, the crisis at the pumps, is: Ride a bike.

Democrats believe that using taxpayer funds in this bill to the tune of $1 million a year should be devoted to the principle of: “Save energy, ride a bike.”

Some might argue that depending on bicycles to solve our energy crisis is naive, perhaps ridiculous. Some might even say Congress should use this energy legislation to create new energy, bring new nuclear power plants on line, use clean coal technology, energy exploration, but no, no.

They want to tell the American people, stop driving, ride a bike. This is absolutely amazing.

Apparently, the Democrats believe that the miracle on two wheels that we know as a bicycle will end our dependence on foreign oil. I cannot make this stuff up. It is absolutely amazing.

Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you the Democrats, promoting 19th century solutions to 21st century problems. If you don’t like it, ride a bike. If you don’t like the price at the pumps, ride a bike.

Stay tuned for the next big idea for the Democrats: Improving energy efficiency by the horse and buggy.”

Wow. I can’t even imagine how I would respond to this if McHenry was my representative. Thank goodness we’ve got Earl huh?

UPDATE: Someone YouTubed the video of McHenry’s statement…

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Comments
  • Brad August 6, 2007 at 2:52 pm

    It looks like the GOP\’s national health care solution is \”Drive SUVs, Get Fat, Die of a Massive Coronary\” and \”Drive More! Kids Like Asthma!\”

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  • Duane August 6, 2007 at 3:14 pm

    hmmm… about another poster? a montage perhaps, of a traffic jam (new fuels won\’t change this) enveloped in hazy smog, along with an accident and a hearse with the words \”40,000+ killed each year\” and a group of overweight kids and adults. add mr mchenry\’s photo and words to the effect that state \”why change what works?\” if i had the capability, i\’d create something like that to fight back.

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  • Meghan August 6, 2007 at 3:27 pm

    This sort of ridiculous attitude is why I don\’t live in a bike-UNfriendly community anymore.

    I grew up in the Kansas City area, and this sort of rhetoric is, sadly, still the reigning school of transportation thought there. If you ask people there, bikes don\’t belong anywhere but on a suburban cul-de-sac, being ridden by an 8 year old.

    I\’m so tired of it…

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  • N.I.K. August 6, 2007 at 3:27 pm

    \”Antiquated\”, says he who relies on a late 12-century invention to aid his vision handicap, instead of opting for the schmancy deal with the lasers. McHenry\’s smug, hypocritical jowels ought to be the first bit of fuel on the fire when the revolution comes. :P

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  • David Dean August 6, 2007 at 3:35 pm

    Yeah, and thank goodness his constituents aren\’t my neighbors.

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  • Michelle August 6, 2007 at 3:40 pm

    I have lots of things to say about this goofball McHenry, but also YAY FOR THE PASSAGE OF THE BIKE COMMUTER BENEFIT ACT! Nice work, Earl.

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  • JDB August 6, 2007 at 3:46 pm

    Mr. McHenry,
    Very cool picture. Is that an early model Bakfiets? Until there is a run on Honey Nut Cheerios, I will not have any problem affording fuel to get to work. I feel sorry for you and the people of North Carolina’s Tenth Congressional Distict you (mis)represent.

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  • Tbird August 6, 2007 at 3:58 pm

    Does anyone have the email address of Mr. McHenry? It seems he might like to hear exactly how important bicycling is to all of us. Even though he is not our rep, he is part of the US legislative body, which enacts, or in this case ridicules things that effect all of us.

    Meghan- I hate to be a Nay sayer, but you do live in a bike UN-friendly community: It\’s called the USA.

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  • Meghan August 6, 2007 at 4:03 pm

    TBird: Okay, well, I\’ve long ago stopped thinking that the rest of the country might be my community. (I seem to share few beliefs with the rest of them, somehow.)

    And plus, I thought Oregon was rapidly headed for status as our own separate country. (After all, The Daily Show calls Oregon \”California\’s Canada\”.)

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  • dennis August 6, 2007 at 4:04 pm

    Sounds like the dipwad\’s auditioning for FOX radio for when he eventually loses his seat.

    For only $1 million, if we can get more people to ride bikes and free up the roads, we are getting a steal as compared to the cost of creating and updating roads.

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  • Tbird August 6, 2007 at 4:15 pm

    Meghan- I hear ya…Unfortunately we are connected to them, I\’m even related to a few.
    \”California\’s Canada\” I like that.

    Seriously though, we need to send this Knuckle Dragging Crony a few emails to let him know his kind are an \”endangered feces\”, oh I mean species.
    go to this link:
    http://mchenry.house.gov/Contact/

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  • Mark C August 6, 2007 at 4:19 pm

    This guy has been spending way too much time listening to Rush Limbaugh. He sounds just like Rush, with all of the \”ladies and gentlemen\” and such.

    Maybe McHenry is auditioning to be Rush\’s fill-in when Limbaugh is sick or in rehab.

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  • tom August 6, 2007 at 4:21 pm

    why does it not surprise me that this beacon of good judgement comes from the south?! ironic that his state also relies on 400 million from TOBACCO revenue too.

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  • Peter W August 6, 2007 at 4:22 pm

    Thats awesome news (the bike part, not the ridicule)!

    So, anyone know when and how we start using this benefit? Can I use the $20 towards a new U-Lock?

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  • Alison August 6, 2007 at 4:27 pm

    Woohoo! Good job to Earl and the rest of the house for passing this good sense bill.

    Sadly, McHenry\’s comments reflect many American\’s belief that it is a birthright to drive, despite the fact that walking and/or riding a bike in some situations makes more sense (i.e, it\’s healthier, cheaper, more efficient). It demonstrates that we have a ways to go to shift that thinking. Luckily, Portland and other bicycle-friendly communities are here to show how it can be done.

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  • andy August 6, 2007 at 4:27 pm

    Jonathan included a link to McHenry\’s website in his post; there\’s a \”contact us\” link within there. Contact away!

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  • Tom August 6, 2007 at 4:31 pm

    \”The miracle on two wheels that we know as a bicycle will end our dependence on foreign oil. It is absolutely amazing!\” -it sure is…

    Stay tuned for the next big idea for the Democrats: Improving energy efficiency by the horse and buggy.” -very inefficient, we would never…

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  • encephalopath August 6, 2007 at 4:36 pm

    “Save energy, ride a bike.” Um…yeah. That statement is self-evidently true, isn\’t it?

    If that\’s the best bike opponents can come up with then we are in pretty good shape. McHenry\’s tone is mocking but he isn\’t making an argument that has any weight at all.

    It\’s like he\’s ridiculing the use of anitbiotics to combat bacterial infections: \”19th century solutions to 21st century problems.\”

    Well does it work or does it not? It works… we win.

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  • offset August 6, 2007 at 4:41 pm

    If Rep. McHenry has spent any time outside this country, he would have realized that the rest of the developed (and undeveloped) countries rely on bicycles as a part of a comprehensive transportation plan.

    Besides, some of the best solutions to our societal problems come from ancient concepts and ideas.

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  • JDB August 6, 2007 at 4:46 pm

    Actually Mr. McHenry\’s site won\’t let you send an email unless you are from his district and have a zip code like 28602, 28603, 28653, 28680. Sorry guess we\’re out of luck.

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  • Andy August 6, 2007 at 4:50 pm

    Yet another reason to be glad to be living in Earl\’s state, and not Patrick\’s.

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  • greenkrypto August 6, 2007 at 4:55 pm

    Bikes and Mass-transit are no substitute for energy-wasting 9-seat SUV\’s, now are they? I\’m willing to bet Mr.McHenry has never ridden a bus either. The positive health and environmental effects of riding a bike to work are far greater than the puny \”monthly benefit\”…let\’s get real!

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  • Phil August 6, 2007 at 5:01 pm

    A gold star goes to the first person to ID a $1 mil federal pork earmark that his rural district gets.

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  • a.O August 6, 2007 at 5:14 pm

    @ #9 & #11:

    The Daily Show debated whether Oregon was best characterized as California\’s Canada or Washington\’s Mexico and ended up concluding that the best description was Idaho\’s Portugal.

    Anyway, what can you say about a guy like McHenry. The word \”douchbag\” comes to mind, but I\’ll be more polite and simply say he\’s as wrong as he possibly could be…so wrong I don\’t even know where to start.

    I hope that, in addition to pissing you off, attitudes like this inspire you to take an even more active role in your government. We need to get thinking like McHenry\’s (if you can call that thinking) out of government as soon as possible.

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  • nuovorecord August 6, 2007 at 5:24 pm

    \’Democrats believe that using taxpayer funds in this bill to the tune of $1 million a year should be devoted to the principle of: “Save energy, ride a bike.”\’

    The federal budget is an estimated $2.3 TRILLION, this guy is foaming over $1 million. You can understand why the Democrats regained control of Congress in \’06. The fact this idiot got elected is a sad reflection on the state of North Carolina.

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  • arosvelte August 6, 2007 at 5:26 pm
  • Jan August 6, 2007 at 5:52 pm

    I live in DC. Unfortunately staffers at representative offices delete email coming from non-constituents. You\’re more effective telling your own state representative to publicly ridicule him on the house floor. That way it\’s part of the public record, and news media pick up on it and may force him to clarify his stupidity. That would be satisfaction !

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  • joeb August 6, 2007 at 6:10 pm

    If you want to be more offended, look at this 31 year old congressman\’s profile (includes references to pork and an endorsement from Tom Delay). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_T._McHenry

    I wanted to hear what people from NC are saying, but I haven’t found bikeraleigh.org.

    Nice to find this NC bicycle advocacy site though http://www.humantransport.org/bicycledriving/

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  • Todd B August 6, 2007 at 6:48 pm

    Yes he was complaining that 1/16,000 of this bill was being applied to bike transportation.

    $20 a month vs. the almost $200 one can write off for parking a car.

    Yes thanks you Earl and others who supported this effort…but it is still so small of a benefit as compared to the transit and parking tax write offs. (Why so small Congress?)

    (Note: It is less than what City of Portland offers its employees to bike to work, but 200 percent more than what the City of Vancouver provides – as a comparison.)

    Do not go out and spend your $20 yet…it has to be signed into law first..or Congress has to outvote the President\’s veto.

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  • Graham August 6, 2007 at 6:58 pm

    \”Democrats believe that using taxpayer funds in this bill to the tune of $1 million a year should be devoted to the principle of: \’Save energy, ride a bike.\’\”

    One MILLION dollars? Wow, with that kind of money the federal government could pay for, oh… 7.38 minutes in Iraq?

    What a complete tool. N.C. must be bursting with pride.

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  • Ken August 6, 2007 at 7:20 pm

    20$ a month?? Awesome!

    In one year I can afford to slow and go through one stop sign down by OMSI!

    In all seriousness it is cool to at least to have bikes included. This rep McHenry looks like a few rides on a bike would do him some good.

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  • Andrew August 6, 2007 at 7:35 pm

    The $1 million in taxpayer funds that Rep. McHenry got all blustery over is about the same (on a per-district basis) as the more than $2,000 of taxpayer money he spent getting a flat-screen TV for his office.

    Here\’s a link to a recent newspaper article that shows his priorities for spending:

    http://www.journalnow.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=WSJ/MGArticle/WSJ_BasicArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1173352264277

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  • Martha S. August 6, 2007 at 8:14 pm

    ……..WOW. That was the most impressively idiotic thing I\’ve seen in a suit since… well, the last time I saw our president. Seriously, that is some serious and impressive stupidity.

    On the bright side, yay! Even more savings for those of us actually capable of realizing that the general norm is not necessarily the best way to do something.

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  • Russ August 6, 2007 at 8:36 pm

    Brad..i love that…let\’s see what his speech would sound like if we applied it to healthcare, shall we?

    A major component of the Democrats’ healthcare legislation and the Democrats’ answer to our obesity crisis is, hold on, wait one minute, wait one minute, it is promoting healthy eating and exercise.

    Oh, I cannot make this stuff up. Yes, the American people have heard this. Their answer to obesity and the coronary disease, is: Eat healthy.

    Democrats believe that using taxpayer funds in this bill to the tune of $1 million a year should be devoted to the principle of: “Stop obesity, eat healthy.”

    Some might argue that depending on diet and exercise to solve our obesity crisis is naive, perhaps ridiculous. Some might even say Congress should use this healthcare legislation to create new miracle foods, bring new gastro-intestine surgeries on line, liposuction, GMO\’s, but no, no.

    They want to tell the American people, stop eating, get exercise. This is absolutely amazing.

    Apparently, the Democrats believe that the miracle of healthy living that we know as a diet and exercise will end our obesity crisis. I cannot make this stuff up. It is absolutely amazing.

    Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you the Democrats, promoting 19th century solutions to 21st century problems. If you don’t want to get fat, don\’t eat. If you don’t like heart surgeries, get some exercise.

    Stay tuned for the next big idea for the Democrats: Solving our energy crisis by riding a bicycle.

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  • John C August 6, 2007 at 8:59 pm

    Of course the republican congressman would mention clean coal and nuclear power. He\’s towing the line of who pays him, and is a mirror of Tom Delay. So no surprise with the comments. The big surprise is that \”the baby congressman\”, at age 31, has no sense reality and has been convinced that the two bad ideas mentioned above are good ones. Wow! Thank god for Earl B, and all the other good representatives we have.

    One more note. I moved from Portland to Oahu recently. Not bike unfriendly, but definitely not Portland. Lots of weekend riders but not to many commuters. Anyhow, I take my daughter to school every morning on the extracycle. The drivers see me every day going to the store, library, etc.on the bike, so they know it\’s doable. It has turned heads and a lot of people have asked me about it. People realize there is another way then the car when they have a good example. All it takes is to spark the mind, then the rest will follow. Especially in places that are not like Portland.

    (Sorry about the long post).

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  • joeb August 6, 2007 at 9:33 pm

    \”The drivers see me every day going to the store, library, etc.on the bike, so they know it\’s doable. It has turned heads and a lot of people have asked me about it. People realize there is another way then the car when they have a good example. All it takes is to spark the mind, then the rest will follow.\”

    John C, add some pouring rain and it was people like you demonstrating the doable that turned me into a year round bike commuter. There must be thousands more like me that just need to see the example. And I hope more examples creates even more momentum. Who knows, maybe McHenry in 5 years and 50 pounds…

    I get all the benefit I need without the $20/month break. But if planes, tanks and automobiles are being subsidized, hey, I\’ll take the $20 and distribute it back into the local brewereconomy.

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  • Dan Kaufman August 6, 2007 at 11:24 pm

    I told my great-uncle Joel who just happens to be from Lenoir (in Sen. McHenry\’s district) about this fool who represents him. He copied me the missive he sent.

    \”By ridiculing bicycles as means transportation you actually come off sounding like a fool. The majority of our of auto trips our single occupancy commuter trips. The bicycle is the most efficient means of transportation for this kind of trip. This truth does not change just because it was invented in the 19th century. Are the teachings of Christ less relevant because they are 2000 years old? Of course not! And when this country truly sacrificed during WWII one of the main things people on the home front did was to conserve fuel. Guess which 19th century invention many folks used? The bicycle. I guess we were just a bunch of fools to be ridiculed by the likes of you.\”

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  • Todd B August 6, 2007 at 11:34 pm

    Aloha John C…did you find house on Oahu in one of the flater and more bike friendly neighborhoods? And have you checked out the HBL (Hawai`i Bicycling League) over in Kaimuki off of 9th Ave.?

    -Todd (formerly of Kaimuki)

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  • Martha S. August 7, 2007 at 2:23 am

    Glad to hear that someone knew a constituent of this guy, and to hear that said constituent said something about this.

    And Russ? Thanks for that. I\’d been festering in anger for a bit before I read that… it really helped me to calm down a bit and at least laugh at this.

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  • Matt August 7, 2007 at 8:08 am

    Regarding the 19th century, in which century exactly does he think the automobile was invented?

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  • nuovorecord August 7, 2007 at 8:33 am

    Russ, #34 – Great post! Love the snark! Can\’t wait to read the next in the series, \”Beat poverty, work harder.\” :)

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  • Jean Reinhardt August 7, 2007 at 8:51 am

    I bring you Republicans and other opponents of alternative transit, advocating the MASS TREASON that is automobile-based road systems. These folks must really hate the United States of America a whole lot to want to keep buying oil from the Islamofascists who are waging war on us. I ride a bike because I enjoy it and want to keep my American cash out of the hands of religion-warped Islamic psychotics. Obviously, if you oppose bike lanes, light rail, sidewalks, etc., you want to help more American dollars flowing to Al Qaeda. Hate your country? Drive more!
    You could say that the genuine America-haters lost this one.

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  • mtmann August 7, 2007 at 8:55 am

    I read this and immediately tried to fire off a reply to Rep. McHenry. Stymied, of course, by not being a constituent. Cooled down a bit and sent a letter to Earl B. with the request he deliver it to his colleague.

    What I find most…disconcerting, I guess, is the dismissiveness in his comments. As some posters have implied, those of us who use bikes as transportation teach by example and that\’s how the revolution will be sustained and grow. I\’m reading the book Team of Rivals, about President Lincoln and his cabinet. One thing I\’m learning – that Lincoln was a master at – was that no one ever had his mind changed by being told he was wrong. I think Representative McHenry needs to take a ride with Earl and a nice working vacation trip to Portland. I\’ll even buy him a beer after the ride.

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  • David Feldman August 7, 2007 at 9:09 am

    Jean above makes an interesting point–why is the \”conservative\” position re transit one that is in support of the transportation mode that channels direct financial aid to our country\’s geopolitical enemies? Why isn\’t it the right wing in the US that is supportive of bike lanes, sidewalks, buses, and train tracks? Curious, ain\’t it?

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  • sheldon August 7, 2007 at 9:25 am

    I laughed when I read the rep\’s comments. I\’m economist by training and doing some back of the envelope calculations I figure riding my bike to and from work is worth about $15,000-20,000 per year for me. This is from cost savings due to not owning a car, not paying for a health club membership and time savings.

    Oh and I love the Daily Show\’s comments about Oregon being California\’s Canada. I don\’t have cable, but I came up with that analogy as well. As a Canadian now living in PDX the similarities are eerie. The attitudes of your typical Canadian to the US are pretty much identical of those of a typical Oregonian to California.

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  • Brad August 7, 2007 at 9:27 am

    Because the GOP is largely bankrolled by corporate concerns in the oil, automobile, and the energy trading industries. They keep middle class America frightened of terrorism and then encourage us to drive and shop to \”protect\” our way of life. Who wouldn\’t love the message \”Want to thumb your nose at terrorists? Go to the mall in your new Chevy Suburban. That\’s how freedom rolls!\”

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  • Angela August 7, 2007 at 9:38 am

    Yikes. I love my home state and although it brings us nuts like this and plenty of tobacco (I\’m the granddaughter of a tobacco farmer) the Tarheel state also gave us the likes of Appalachian bluegrass, Charles Kuralt and the Squirrel Nut Zippers, among other great things. And it was 15 years ago in Chapel Hill where I first lived car-free and traveled solely by bike – inspired by the bike culture there. But damn it – this is why I live here in PDX now! The truly brave souls are the ones who are still there, pounding away at folks like this trying to make a change. Sadly, the conservatives back home are just louder and far more idiotic, and the more progressive minded folks are simply tired of having to yell louder. I agree – urge Earl to speak up against him and get it on the public record.

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  • andy August 7, 2007 at 9:49 am

    While Charlotte is not technically part of McHenry\’s district (thanks, gerrymandering!), his district almost entirely surrounds Charlotte.

    Here\’s a link to the local newspaper opinion page. Give it to \’em:
    http://www.charlotte.com/opinion/story/23556.html

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  • ML August 7, 2007 at 10:03 am

    Sir, *moderated*. Thinking such as yours is what has gotten this country into the mess that it\’s in. (Leave it to the republicans to botch things and be proud of it) I am from N.C. and am wondering how you got elected in the first place. Hopefully it won\’t happen again!

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  • John C August 7, 2007 at 11:20 am

    I am writing the Charlotte paper today, thanks for the link! I am also going to write my congressman in Hawaii to pass the message on to McHenry, now that this is my home.

    Todd, I bought a place in Hawaii Kai, and I joined the HBL the day I got here! BTW, Kiamuki kind of reminds me of Hawthorne with BC Burrito and the older neighborhoods.

    Aloha

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  • vespabelle August 7, 2007 at 12:42 pm

    Dan, your great uncle TOTALLY RULES for that letter.

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  • Dan August 7, 2007 at 1:13 pm

    \”Some might even say Congress should use this energy legislation to create new energy, bring new nuclear power plants on line, use clean coal technology, energy exploration, but no, no.\”

    Once they invent nuclear and coal-powered cars, you all are going to feel really foolish for riding bikes instead of paying corporate welfare to the most corrupt sector of our economy. Just you wait and see. This technology should be clearing the experimental stage any decade now.

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  • Matthew August 7, 2007 at 2:50 pm

    \”Once they invent nuclear and coal-powered cars, you all are going to feel really foolish for riding bikes instead of paying corporate welfare to the most corrupt sector of our economy.\”

    They invented coal powered cars in the 19th century. They fell out of favor for ethanol and vegetable oil powered cars, made by Henry Ford and Rudolf Diesel (respectively,) in the early 20th century.

    And nuclear power is more than 50 years at this point, and don\’t get me started on hydrogen, it has been around since the universe was formed. I insist on that we have a completely new fuel system made this century for our energy problems, and McHenry apparently agrees.

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  • Antonio Gramsci August 7, 2007 at 3:10 pm

    I just wrote this to Earl B:

    Your illustrious young colleague from North Carolina Mr. Patrick McHenry has recently been ridiculing you for getting an amendment to the recent energy bill passed that extends tax credits to cyclists.

    You might want to compliment Mr. McHenry on his genius by marvelling at how he has discovered that bicycles are a useless and antiquated \”19th century\” solution for energy efficient transportation. Somehow this insight of his has eluded thousands of people here in Portland, Oregon, and millions more people throughout northern Europe and other countries who ride bikes daily to work and school, many of which countries enjoy significantly higher standards of living, health, and life expectancies than most Americans.

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  • Minda August 7, 2007 at 3:32 pm

    If McHenry is ridiculing using antiquated technology to solve our problems, let\’s have a conversation about the internal combustion engine…

    Brad, your last comment reminds me of a campaign against \”the notion that shopping is a reasonable response to human suffering\” (www.buylesscrap.org).

    I\’m going to write Earl and thank him!

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  • Keith Walker August 7, 2007 at 5:18 pm

    This guy reminds me of Rick Santorum (ex senator PA-Rep.), a modern day toady who will do the bidding for his party, no matter how foolish it will make him look.

    I guess McHenry doesn\’t own a bicycle. He also must have slaves from his tobacco plantation carry him everywhere, because walking is an even older invention than the bicycle!

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  • rixtir August 7, 2007 at 5:28 pm

    Now, now Minda, the internal combustion engine is only six years older than the \”safety bicycle.\” ;)

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  • Phil Hanson (a.k.a. Pedalphile) August 7, 2007 at 5:36 pm

    If only more of our elected officials were like Earl Blumenauer and fewer of them like Patrick McHenry, whose ignorant comments stem from the fact that he hasn\’t yet lived that part of the 21st century when fossil fuels become scarce and prohibitively expensive, and whose lack of vision prevents him from seeing the possibilities inherent in low-tech, inexpensive solutions.

    Continuing a tradition started by Bush 43 and dick Cheney, Republican arguments of late are little more than sound bites showing a marked lack of substance; instead, they rely on ridicule and disparaging remarks to belittle their opponents, as McHenry so adequately demonstrates. It\’s this lack of logic and critical thinking that\’s eroding confidence in Republican leadership.

    But then, it occurs to me that this is probably a good thing, especially if it hastens the end of US Empire building and government by corporatocracy. The sooner the empire falls, the sooner Cascadia will emerge, like a phoenix, from the ashes. Then, bikes will be the rule rather than the exception.

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  • rixtir August 7, 2007 at 5:39 pm

    Republican leadership

    The new \”jumbo shrimp.\”

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  • a.O August 7, 2007 at 5:43 pm

    \”The sooner the empire falls, the sooner Cascadia will emerge, like a phoenix, from the ashes. Then, bikes will be the rule rather than the exception.\”

    Hell, yeah! Home rule. Phil, how soon can we secede?

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  • Graham August 7, 2007 at 5:51 pm

    Bikes actually promote economic health, a point that was highlighted in a post just a few weeks ago, about the white paper, \”Portland\’s Green Dividend\”

    http://bikeportland.org/2007/07/16/portlands-green-policies-add-26b-to-local-economy/

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  • hanmade August 7, 2007 at 8:34 pm

    Actually this moron gave us a great idea: lots of \”ride a Bike\” posters with a plus theme in each one: \”Ride a Bike, beat traffic\” with a shot of bikers passing cars stuck in traffic. \”ride a bike, meet a girl (boy)\”, using the photo Patrick gave us. \”Ride a bike, get healthy\”, well, you get my drift. The Dems should jump on it.

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  • Aaron August 7, 2007 at 9:40 pm

    So I put in a false address (you have to in order to send this guy commentary. Here\’s my letter, and the address I used (if you send one, be sure to use a different house number).
    **I am deeply disappointed in your mockery of Rep. Blumenauer\’s energy independence legislation to the IRS code. Your entire argument against his legislation was that the bicycle is “19th century solutions to 21st century problem.” Correct me if I\’m wrong, but isn\’t coal a 19th century solution? And hasn\’t coal and nuclear proven to be impractical for the past 50 years? As an architect I recall a design competition in which architects were asked to develop a design which would communicate the dangers of radioactive waste FOR 10,000 YEARS.
    I ride my bicycle to work several times a week, and everyone I work with comments on my chipper demeanor on those days. I\’ve never been admitted to a hospital because I\’m in fantastic health, and I estimate a savings of at least $300 a month from gas/repairs. I have continually watched us fall behind major centers like Portland, Oregon and Boulder, Colorado in quality of life and I am starting my plans to move out of this state and take my tax dollars to Oregon instead. You may be a representative, but you obviously do not represent MY interests. I hope that you learn to pull your hands away from your eyes and look at the reality of our country as we continue to slip behind Europe and Asia. We can\’t continue apply 20th century arguments to 21st century dilemmas.**
    5520 Clearlake Dr
    Hickory, NC 28601-9485
    Use a similar address to send a letter.

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  • Matt Picio August 8, 2007 at 7:45 am

    Dan (#37) – Your great uncle rocks! That message is a textbook example of how to talk to conservative Christian Republicans. When making arguments, you need to make it relevant to them – and your great uncle did that quite effectively.

    As a side note, barring a wholesale replacement for gasoline, declining oil availability will force us back to at least the 19th century in terms of technology, so a 19th century solution is not only NOT ludicrous, it\’s actually quite appropriate. You start with what works, and make improvements from there.

    Mankind has done quite well with his own muscle power for 3 million years (or at least 6,000 – 11,000 years for those who base their history off faith and holy texts rather than science). There\’s no reason why it can\’t work again, and the health benefits are immense.

    Congratulations to Earl and those who got this thing out the door.

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  • martin August 8, 2007 at 9:09 am

    It\’s actually the Colbert Report, not the Daily Show that refers to Oregon as Idaho\’s Portugal, et al.

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  • martin August 8, 2007 at 9:38 am

    Oh, and if you don\’t want to go through the Windows Media Player hell on Rep. McHenry\’s site, here\’s the youtube version:
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=Ip8nozp7vs8

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  • JE August 8, 2007 at 9:52 am

    One of the best threads ever John and gang.
    1: Politians are like the monkeys at the zoo and the GOP are by far the funniest to watch. That\’s why Earl wears the bowtie: he\’s smart and serious so he needs the visual shtich.

    2:Republic of Cascadia website
    http://zapatopi.net/cascadia/
    Highlights include the Sasquatch Miltia, and saving the endangered Tree Octopus (so rare it\’s never been seen). The RoC includes all of the PNW, but I say Oregon should lead the way and succeed on it\’s own.
    This website is only half serious of course (see item #1), but this would give us the luxury, when/if we elected someone really embarrassing, of simply saying to the world, \”Well…it was all just a joke anyway.\”
    Posted at 20.310 Universal Metric Time

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  • Mauricio Babilonia August 8, 2007 at 11:00 am

    McHenry earned a B.A. in history in 1999 from the University of N.C., worked for a media consulting firm DCI/New Media and on George W. Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign before running for office himself.

    He is the youngest member of Congress, and his voting record is considered extremely conservative. Among other things, he voted against renewal of the Voting Rights Act earlier this year.

    Check out where he gets his money

    So, remind why we care what this *moderated* thinks?

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  • Eric August 8, 2007 at 11:12 am

    This is an example of where your govt. can\’t really help you. I think this bill is a waste of effort. If you ride to work like I do, you save a lot of cold hard cash and reap multiple rewards besides. We don\’t need more govt \”solutions\” or handouts. Just getting representation a stakeholder in transportation planning and spending would be enough. I don\’t need $20, I need long term efforts to improve transportation planning that includes me, a cyclist. I used to vote Republican because they were fiscally conservative. Now I have have no one to vote for. It seems like local support for bicycle commuters is a more likely solution than depending a federal handout. Aren\’t those feds busy enough with Iraq squabbles and ensuring adequate pork wrangling?

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  • Matt Picio August 8, 2007 at 11:32 am

    My only concern is that the \”cyclists don\’t pay their way\” crowd will use this as ammunition.

    It may not happen anyway – the bill needs to be reconciled with the Senate version and Bush is already threatening a veto.

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  • Joseph August 8, 2007 at 12:08 pm

    For those of you who would like to help Rep. McHenry find other work, here is a website where you can donate money that will go to Rep. McHenry\’s eventual opponent for his House seat. Not only is he an anti-bike troglodyte, but he supports the war, unrestricted property rights (a la Measure 37) and has scant respect for civil liberties. All-in-all, a dangerous man, who should be turned out in 2008.
    http://www.actblue.com/page/fightforbikes_mchenry

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  • Joseph August 8, 2007 at 12:17 pm

    Psych! The actual web address is:

    http://www.actblue.com/page/fightforbikes

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  • Phil Hanson (a.k.a. Pedalphile) August 8, 2007 at 2:49 pm

    rixter (#60): 20/20 hindsight tells me I should have written \”Republican (mis)leadership.\”

    a.O (#61): Secession is not in the game plan if we want to avoid similar consequences to those that occurred during the last major attempt by states to secede from the Union. (1860 – 1865). The Empire must fall, first. But, hey, not to worry; Bush and dick Cheney are on it, and together they\’ll bring down the country faster than a full-scale revolution ever could–and with a 100% certainty of success, at that.

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  • Gene August 8, 2007 at 3:19 pm

    Eric #70 says: \”I don\’t need $20, I need long term efforts to improve transportation planning that includes me, a cyclist.\”

    I agree, and it\’s not even really $20. My understanding is that we will have an opportunity to use pre-tax dollars to pay for cycling expenses. The savings will depend on what tax bracket you are in. Maybe $3-4. Almost not worth the effort to apply. However, be sure to consult your tax attorney or accountant.

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  • [...] Porland: House passes energy plan despite ridicule over bike commuter benefit[See below for YouTube version of McHenry’s [...]

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  • True Colors August 10, 2007 at 8:07 am

    [...] sure to read the full post from BikePortland.org to find out the true colors of Representative Patrick [...]

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  • Liza Pratt August 10, 2007 at 8:56 am

    I am embarrassed to have Congressman McHenry representing North Carolinians with statements like those. Unfortunately (or fortunately?), I am not in his district and cannot contact him through his webpage, but did my best and contacted my representative encouraging support for bike/ped issues.
    McHenry certainly does not represent us all.

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  • Dan Kaufman August 13, 2007 at 9:38 am

    Hooray for uncle Joel!

    Here is a downloadable quicktime version of McHenry\’s \”ridiculous and naive\” bicycle speech http://blip.tv/file/get/PDXK-McHenryBlastsBicycles295.mov

    Next, I plan on sending the speech to as many bicycle stores in his district as possible. I am sure they and their customers will be happy to know that Rep McHenry thinks they are ridiculous and naive.

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  • Patrick August 14, 2007 at 10:51 am

    I found an old Website that listed the following e-mail address for him as patrick.mchenry@mail.house.gov, although he may have since shut this down since he probably get\’s a lot of people outside of his district expressing frustration with him.

    Someone has also started a site to give money to his next Democratic opponent

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  • Patrick August 14, 2007 at 10:52 am

    Forgot to include that Website:

    http://www.actblue.com/page/fightforbikes

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  • Mike August 15, 2007 at 3:37 pm

    One 19th century solution to this particular 21st century problem comes to mind: a muzzle for people whose mouths generate noise rather than reasoned arguments.

    Unfortunately, I think this sort of shallow emotion-based soundbite “argument” is what typically passes for debate these days in our country.

    Perhaps he should consider Steve Jobs’ interesting analogy, that a computer is like a bicycle for the mind in how it increases our potential. Are there many people a better representation of the 21st Century than Jobs?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ob_GX50Za6c

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  • Pawnstorm August 21, 2007 at 2:03 pm

    [...] I ran across this quote earlier today over at Bike Portland, and even though I usually don’t do the whole political thing (I don’t particularly [...]

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  • Thomas Brock September 10, 2007 at 5:07 am

    I\’m going to begin biking to work in October. It\’s a 12 mile each way ride and should take about 45 minutes.

    I ask that you, and any interested readers, join me in a quest to educate Mr. McHenry.

    Please visit my blog for more information.

    http://blogs.brocknet.net/brocklog/?p=2268

    Thomas Brock

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  • Brian September 11, 2007 at 7:13 pm

    unfortunately this douchebag represents my area ( i use the term \”represents\” loosely of course)….and as you would imagine there is nothing around our area promoting the use of a bicycle. Nothing to promote new trails, or parks, or hell some bike lanes to get to work without being flattened. He\’ll be getting a letter soon.

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  • Greg September 26, 2007 at 10:54 pm

    Unfortunately I must agree with Representative McHenry. Ever since I was a child I was promised many wonderful things by corporate America and TV. Now I\’m wondering where is my robotic maid and why a garbage fed, fusion powered, flying Delorian is not in my garage. Dammit I want satisfaction, NOW!

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  • red neck March 5, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    I\’m shocked to hear partisan mudslinging coming from such a progressive place as rural North Carolina! Given that McHenry\’s constituents include Indian motorcycle and the NASCAR Technical Institute, should we be surprised at a lack of bicycle advocacy?

    From mchenry.house.gov:

    \”Mooresville is the second largest city in the district and the fastest growing. Known as “Race City USA,” Mooresville is home to several NASCAR teams and drivers including Dale Earnhardt, Jr.\”

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  • Tonginchic March 6, 2008 at 12:57 am

    Whoa there…

    Sorry to re-unbury this thread, but I must take exception.

    Bike commuters can be NASCAR dads, too.

    My 4 year old doesn\’t know who the heck Eddy is, but he does a mean Biffle impersonation.

    ;-)

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  • Donald March 6, 2008 at 1:00 am

    Damn.

    forgot to update the name field.

    I really should be asleep now…

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  • mark May 26, 2008 at 8:27 pm

    good thing that jackass didn\’t make much of an impression on the rest of Congress with his ridiculous speech.

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  • Meridian July 17, 2008 at 7:01 am

    The link below will allow you to write Representative Patrick McHenry without stating your constituent status:

    http://www.congress.org/bio/id/132688

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  • Jackie July 22, 2008 at 6:44 pm

    I\’m having a hard time e-mailing this video response to Mchenry. Does anyone know his e-mail address?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0Nk2fI_rvg

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  • [...] Thanks to Alan at EcoVelo for the pointer on the Bikes Belong film, and thanks to Carlton Reid via Twitter (@carltonreid) for digging out the link to the Congressman’s video and its transcript on Bike Portland. [...]

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