Monday, March 29, 2010

I like it, too....

From over at The Smallest Minority, where I found:

We have a lovely T-Shirt idea expressing our deep admiration for ObamaCare. Want.

I don't make any money from it either, but a good idea is worthy of sharing.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

On boxes...

Many of us believe that the recently passed Health Care Reform bill is disastrously ill-advised, will severely compromise the quality of health care available to Americans, is unconstitutional, and will create an over-reaching and authoritarian bureaucracy.

As Americans, our response is anger and to recall our national antecedents. We are, after all, a nation founded by freedom-loving rebels that were anything but peaceful, ghandi-esque, protesters. They shot folks, blew them up, and wreaked seven different kinds of havoc upon the British and their sympathizers.

Repeatedly, when the people of our nation have felt they were ill-represented by their elected officials, we have seen uprisings and rebellions with the little dispute in the 1860's known as the "Civil War" simply our most enthusiastic attempt at the project.

That is our heritage. When push comes to shove, we don't just roll over. We fight back, and we don't play particularly nicely when we do. Tar and feathers aren't just a myth, and I somehow suspect more than one congress-critter over the decades of our nations existence has been subjected to one form of rather grim "constituent appreciation party" at one time or another.

That said, tempting as it may be, going for the gusto is a bit premature. Social and business shunning of congress-critters and their families - all good. Refuse to speak to them beyond the absolute necessities, refuse to do business (even so slight as selling them food or beverage) with them, fire their spouses and children without notice - all fine.

They knew, or should have known, that politics is a rough game and they were putting their families in the pot even as they climbed in. In short, their own damned fault. Hire the kids and spouses back only if they repudiate the offending critter, publicly.

Even show up at their houses, wave picket signs, and under no circumstances set foot up their expensively manicured lawns.

But violence is a tad premature. Violence and threatened violence done clumsily and ill-timed definitely does more harm than good, and is iffy even when done right. Little sub-rules like "don't telegraph your punches" and "dear god, use anything except a gun" also pop to mind.

I hearken back to the old meme "soap box, ballot box, bullet box". I'd add a couple of more boxes, important ones - make it "soap box, ballot box, judicial box, con-con box, bullet box" and I'm a fair amount happier.

As far as ObamaCare goes, the soap box has (at least for now) failed us. The ballot box is next, come November, and it's our next hope of avoiding major badness.

At the same time, a fair amount of litigation against various elements of ObamaCare is firing up and in the current judicial environment there's no small reason for hope on that front. And it's not like Obama and SCOTUS have been holding a love fest of late.

Should both the ballot box and judicial box fail us, there remains one more obscenely high risk non-violent approach before it all turns to slime. The Constitutional Convention. The mere threat of such a convention persuaded Congress in 1933 to generate an Amendment repealing Prohibition - because the alternative was so horrible to contemplate. The problem with a Con-Con is that you throw the gates wide open - it's ALL up for grabs, and nothing is sacred - a master reset switch, if you will. Ask yourselves...would you like a Constitution written by either Obama or Fred Phelps? Or Rev. Jeremiah Wright? Con-Con is a scary bad thing, only marginally better than armed revolution.

The worst-case scenario, revolution, is best saved for "all else has failed, we're screwed anyway, with darned little left to lose" kinds of situations. We're not there yet. We haven't exhausted all our other and less horrible options. The problem with revolutions is that even if you win, there are always those who want to extend "emergency powers" for "just a little bit longer" (which, oddly, tends to turn into multi-decade periods)...and if you lose, you are well and truly screwed at an entirely new level.

Let's start organizing the ballot box - gathering electable candidates, planning brutally effective campaigns, and run that option before we move on to grimmer possibilities.


Off to contest a "traffic" ticket..

Or, more accurate, "your papers, please" citation. Was pulled over a few weeks ago for not having tabs displayed (when a 15 second check of DOL records would show that, SURPRISE, he has valid paid up registration!). Instead, a citation for "Not Displaying a Valid License" was issued...

Now, I'm not really in favor of making street cops play revenue agent. Not particularly in favor of said cops then not taking the 15 seconds to use the perfectly good terminal located in every SPD patrol car to, oh, say check if the license was valid.

So, day off from work to begin the process of either (a) getting the ticket tossed in a pre-trial hearing, or (b) proceeding to trial. In either case, getting $124 from me will likely end up in the city spending $1,000 or more. I'm a bit irritated, and anything that pushes the city that much closer to bankruptcy is probably a good thing in my eyes.

Points of the day:

1) Ordinance states "valid license", says nothing about displaying tabs. Neither does the authorizing RCW. W/ Current registration being in place at time of citation, I'm thinking valid license was, in fact, displayed.

2) Penalizing me for the officers failure to perform a simple registration check prior to taking pen in hand is an inequitable event.

Frankly, I'm a lot more confident of #1 than #2, as arguments of "this is too bloody stupid to be allowed to stand" seldom get much traction as far as I can tell.

As bonus points, if it goes to trial I'm asking for the presence of both the citing officer and his ride-along, the citing officers last 5 years citation records related to this particular offense cross-correlated to how many motorists actually had valid registration at time of citation....with an eye towards suggesting *all* members of that class should have any fines resulting refunded.

The whole thing makes me a bit cranky, and so, off to City Hall I go....grrr.

Update: Eh, they took me in early, the Magistrate wasn't having any, offered me $50.00 off, and I was tired. Rather than pissing away another day, took the discount and ran once assured that it wasn't a moving violation and would not hit my insurance. Already regretting not pushing forward to trial on principal.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Health Care - FUBAR

We are, individually and as a nation, about to have a kumbaya-grade "we are so screwed" moment.

The ObamaCare bill had grand aspirations. Regrettably, those expectations did not and do not reflect either economic or human reality, no matter how nobly motivated.

In the short term, what we can all hope are unintended consequences, are likely to include:

1) Significantly fewer practitioners, particularly in higher risk specializations, e.g., Obstetrics and Emergency Medicine as MD's in those fields facing diminished compensation make the logical choice to work in areas that allow them lesser liability. This trend has already been going on for some time - this bill will only accelerate it. Other MD's, unwilling to tolerate the increased paperwork and expense (yes, juggling paper costs money) even as compensation is reduced, delayed, and denied. Some polls of physicians estimate as many of 40% of today's practitioners considering leaving the health care professions.

2) Businesses that could not afford health care for employees before, certainly will not be able to now, and will in many cases fold in the face of the requirements of the new bill - taking employees (and slower moving owners) from "just getting by" to the joys of poverty and unemployment. Most of these newly unemployed workers would not agree that food stamps and unemployment are an improvement in their condition.

3) Taxes. We will see taxes. Oh my, the taxes. And they will strike at a time when businesses are particularly vulnerable, during a major depression - giving us another wave of newly unemployed as borderline and small businesses, who employ so many Americans and are so often the start-ups where innovation and invention occur, go under with greater or lesser damage to the economy as the invested money goes down the rat hole of bankruptcy.

4) As we see fewer practitioners, and fewer diagnostic tests are permitted, we will see more mis-diagnosis and less desirable end results, particularly in complex cases.

5) Because of the Chicago-Style backroom thuggery employed, and the blatant disregard of the Constitution, we will see a yet deeper divide in the social polity of the United States, a divide that grows so vast as to cause an objective observer to wonder if it can ever again be healed.

It was a nice, not perfect, health care system while we had it. We had better patient end-results than any other health care system on the planet - the true measure of how well the system works. Today, our elected leaders have taken a huge step towards gracing us with Phase I of the British National Health Service, nightmarish abortion that it is.

God/dess help us all.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Stupid should hurt...

Now, I'm not talking about folks that due to injury/heredity/misfortune are simply not quite bright - they can't really help it, and picking on them is, at absolute best, not nice. One doesn't put them in charge of physics departments or complex ordnance, but again, not their fault.

I'm talking about those folks that are, at least allegedly, of average intelligence or better - capable of, at least in theory, intelligent action. Folks who, by virtue of their position, if they are remotely responsible should be capable and willing of studying history as a factor in their weighty ponderings and deliberations involving what really constitutes "a good idea to legislate". Hint: the list is awfully darned short.

Instead we have a group of ninnies, congress-critters, that are rushing towards their own political doom even as their leadership chivvies them into one great lemming-like leap off the public precipice in passing ObamaCaretm.

We have the National Health Service (here, here, here, here, here) of formerly great Britain to look to as a great and horrible example of what ObamaCaretm will give us, even before the cronyism and corruption kick in. With the accountability of the courts largely applicable only to physicians in private practice, such neglect and abuse prospers in an environment where meeting "management goals" is of greater importance than patient care.

Already, we hear that perhaps a third of doctors are considering entirely leaving the practice of medicine should health care reform pass. And then there are those who will take one of my former doctors (who I'd still be seeing if he wasn't 1200 miles down the road) path of refusing all insurance - private or public - and practicing medicine for cash on the barrelhead, up front, at rates comparable to local attorneys. He was happy to provide patients with documentation (at an hourly rate to create additional documentation or perform extra tests demanded by insurers), but his focus, as he put it, was "medicine, not paper-juggling".

Between the two phenomenon, if ObamaCaretm passes, we're in for a fairly rocky road even before we consider organizational responses. E.g., Caterpillar has already noted that from what they can tell from what's been disclosed, that the FIRST YEAR of ObamaCaretm will cost them One Hundred Million Dollars (or more).

Now...using Caterpillar as our example... We have a large company, in a depressed economy, in a particularly depressed segment (heavy equipment) with unionized (and costly) labor about to take a $100,000,000 hit if this thing passes. Because of the economy, they can't jack up prices to compensate for new expenses and still stay in business - folks won't buy products at those prices. Because they like to eat, simply shutting down isn't especially palatable. Moving production abroad and cutting in-country staff to the bone...well...that does make sense, with shutting down a valid "Plan B".

Now, consider this hitting the broader business community, particularly smaller and more fragile businesses. This is not unlike hurling a torch into a oil refinery and expecting calm and relaxation.

Stupid should hurt. And ObamaCare and its supporters are malignant tumors upon the body politic, finding specious reasons to sabotage or evade deliberation whenever possible, hiding legislation from analysis, and utilizing a distasteful combination of buy-off's and bribery sprinkled with constitutionally doubtful maneuvering (Slaughter Solution, anyone?) to ramrod through legislation despised by the vast majority of the American public.

How should stupid hurt? Well, elections are coming up and the first step is to make sure that every single pro-ObamaCare Representative or Senator up for election has an electable opponent - a solid threat to their re-election.

In disciplining a politician, one cannot be subtle. To my friends in the medical profession, those that remain in the the profession (as opposed to going on semi-permanent sabbatical) - desperate times call for desperate measures. Should you find yourself so emotionally distraught that you cannot summon the proper detachment and objectivity required to treat patients when faced with a CongressCritter (or their family member(s)) that voted for ObamaCare - I certainly would not be able to blame you - after all, if you can't summon that objectivity, you are required to step aside, are you not?

For the rest of us, public shunning and condemnation of these scoundrels and their families on a risk-analysis basis (if it's going to put you starving in the gutter, in jail, or otherwise shoot you in the foot...perhaps some restraint might be wise).

The best hope here is to turn up the heat, not give up the fight. There is, if naught else, repeal.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Mississippi...not just Southern Hospitality & Tolerance

In recent news, it seems the Itawamba County School Board in Mississippi is so threatened by the notion of a lesbian couple attending spring prom (one of them wearing a tux), that after prodding to lighten up by the ACLU, they chose instead to cancel the entire event.

A few thoughts. Like it or not, holding proms is not a primary or even core function of schools. If a school board, for whatever reason, wishes to host a prom at a school - so be it. Similarly, if they don't, so be it.

If you challenge the way an organizer or host does things, or the rules they set, they are well within their rights to simply fold their tent.

Activism is not risk-free. Your opponents may well decide that rather than dealing with you and/or your issues they would rather fold their tent and go home - as is their right. If they do, you are left with either doing without or throwing your own party.

Suck it up, and start planning a better party without the petty bureaucracy and micromanagement imposed by the average school board.

That the Itawamba County school board chose to act in a petty and bigoted fashion is without doubt, and that their choice of response was reactionary at best (likely subjecting the girls in question to serious hostility from their classmates) and reprehensible. But simply being vile is not a legal matter, per se.

Again - throw a prom, a better one that's bigotry-free and that allows students a maximum of freedom while providing the structured environment necessary to ensure student safety and a minimum of negative consequences (i.e., steps should likely be taken to keep vodka out of the punch bowl and post-prom pregnancies to a minimum).

Correction: Mississippi, not Missouri

Saturday, March 13, 2010

It's good to remember....

What ones opponents think of this pre-Obama piece that pulls no punches, the editorial staff of the Seattle Stranger cut loose and tell us what they really think of folks who aren't members of their PC political clique....

I'd suggest that that the Stranger staff merely express plainly what the vast majority of progressive liberals feel in their heart of hearts, and are simply too politically aware (or gracious) to come out and declare publicly...

A good read of this screed is a worthwhile primer on the respect in which these urban progressive liberal elitists hold us, and a fair explanation of many of the actions of the present administrations in Washington and Olympia.

After that good read - remember that voting season is coming up, and that any of us can help out by either volunteering for a candidate - or just plain running for office.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Warden Decision - Does not revive Seattle Parks Ban

In regrettably bad journalistic practice, stories such as this proclaimed that as a result of Warden v. Seattle today, the Seattle Parks Gun Ban was revived. The journalist did, at least, get the part about the Chicago case right, and the likelihood that post-SCOTUS on that, it will be something of a moot point. Still, bad reporting and poor practice.

The case in question, Warden v., that you'll be seeing on KOMO tonight is *not* the one that the SAF triumphed over Seattle in a month or so back. That case remains a triumph, and the Parks Ban remains quite thoroughly dead.

Warden was the Gent from Kent who marched into the SW Community Center to get "standing" to sue, and based his case before the Federal Court on Second Amendment and Section 24 of Article I of the WA Constitution. This is what was shot down today. Thankfully, Warden did not address the Pre-emption issue, thus it was not *available* to be shot down.

Chan, et al. v. Seattle, etc was the case brought before the King Co. Superior Ct. by the SAF, NRA, and several individual plaintiff's against the city...and its' primary argument was that Pre-Emption (as described in RCW 9.41) precluded Seattle from enacting a gun ban on city property. The judge took that argument, and ran - ruling that not only did pre-emption preclude the city from such a ban, but that the city was subject to both the provisions of the Federal & State Constitutions.

The Federal decision in Warden case today was unfortunate, and may fail on appeal - undoing a great deal of the misfortune in today's decision. While technically more or less correct (following the current trend of decisions in the 9th Circuit), todays Warden decision claiming that neither the Washington nor Federal Constitutions applied to the City strikes me as neither original, good, nor intellectually honest. Good law often comes from trial court judges with the courage to rule contrary to precedent when the conflict between statute and constitutional provision(s) is this astonishingly clear.

The critical element of the SAF case ruling (the judge enjoining the city from enforcement or displaying signage) remains intact, and the 2A and WA Constitutional issues are *debateable* - only time will tell.

I am not an attorney, not even for pretend. None of the above consists of legal advice, and only a full-bore ninny would consider it so. For legal advice, see an attorney, not me!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Caption That Picture - 2.0

This is too much fun...let's try this one, folks...what is the strange man saying?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Caption That Picture.....

We are THIS close? My ______ is SO small? Whatever was he saying? Caption it yourself....

Free Speech - only for those we like?

In a ringing endorsement of a stunningly hypocritical view of the First Amendment, actor Sean Penn (known for his equanimity, unusually logical analysis of complex situations, and patriotism) recently declaimed "Every day, this elected leader is called a dictator here, and we just accept it, and accept it" said Penn, winner of two Best Actor Academy Awards. "And this is mainstream media, who should -- truly, there should be a bar by which one goes to prison for these kinds of lies."

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

On a more serious note...

I like where I work. I like the folks I work with. For the most part, I even like the customers. I get good benefits. I believe, if perhaps for what some folks would consider the wrong reasons, in the core mission of the operation both as a profit-maker and a socially good thing.

But I just did my taxes.

I don't *want* to go anyplace else, employment-wise. On all but a single front, it's a pretty good gig at many, many levels. But the numbers are calling me stupid, and I'm having a difficult time with counter-arguments.

For the moment, the best strategy is to give my best every day...and keep my eyes open.

And local job market wasn't all that special even before the WA legislature decided it was better to pass a 390-million economy-buster tax package than make the tough but necessary cuts to the state budget.

Testing for Effect

Well, RobAllen over at Sharpest Marble suggests the ultimate hit generator is a image of a revolver with testicles while commenting that the best the anti-gun crowd has to offer in the way of arguments are genitalia jokes - what with being bereft of logic and analytical thought.

JayG, on the other hand, of Marooned in Massachusetts (poor man), suggests that writing of the mighty idiocy of gun laws in the Peoples Republic of Massachusetts is even more potent in generating new readers. Verily, the gun laws of Massachusetts do indeed make little sense, being composed largely of equal parts of idiocy, malice, hoplophobia, and auroch dung...but there's a reason folks are bailing the hell out of that state.

And then Ambulance Driver is always a good read...and once you scroll past his show report, there's a tidbit that most journalists need tattoo'd on their foreheads...

Monday, March 8, 2010

WA State Senate Vote on 390 Million Tax Hike

The Senate Roll Call List of those voting on ESSB 6143 (The "Let's Kill All Hope of an Economic Recovery" $390 million Tax Hike Bill). Asterisks have been placed before those Democrats who voted Yes and are up for re-election November 2, 2010. Vote'm out.

State Senate
Bill No.: ESSB 6143

Description: 3RD READING & FINAL PASSAGE. Relating to revenue and taxation.
Revised for 1st Substitute: Modifying excise tax laws to preserve funding for public schools, colleges, and universities, as well as other public systems essential for the safety, health, and security of all Washingtonians.
Date: 3-7-2010
Yeas: 25 Nays: 23 Absent: 0 Excused: 1

Voting Yea: Senators
Name, Party, District, E-mail address
***Jean Berkey D (38)
Lisa Brown D (3)
***Tracey Eide D (30)
***Darlene Fairley D (32)
***Rosa Franklin D (29)
Karen Fraser D (22)
***Randy Gordon D (41)
James Hargrove D (24)
Brian Hatfield D (19)
Mary Margaret Haugen D (10)
***Ken Jacobsen D (46)
Jim Kastama D (25)
***Karen Keiser D (33)
***Adam Kline D (37)
***Jeanne Kohl-Welles D (36)
Rosemary McAuliffe D (1)
***Joe McDermott D (34)
***Ed Murray D (43)
***Eric Oemig D (45)
Margarita Prentice D (11)
Craig Pridemore D (49)
Kevin Ranker D (40)
Debbie Regala D (27)
Phil Rockefeller D (23)
***Paull Shin D (21)

***Note: Senators who voted YES and are up for re-election November 2, 2010

Voting Nay: Senators
Name, Party, District, E-mail address
Randi Becker R (2)
Don Benton R (17)
**Dale Brandland R (42)
Mike Carrell R (28)
**Jerome Delvin R (8)
Mike Hewitt R (16)
**Steve Hobbs D (44)
**Janea Holmquist R (13)
**Jim Honeyford R (15)
**Claudia Kauffman D (47)
**Derek Kilmer D (26)
Curtis King R (14)
**Chris Marr D (6)
**Bob Morton R (7)
Linda Evans Parlette R (12)
Cheryl Pflug R (5)
**Pam Roach R (31)
Mark Schoesler R (9)
**Tim Sheldon D (35)
Val Stevens R (39)
Dan Swecker R (20)
**Rodney Tom D (48)
Joseph Zarelli R (18)

Excused: Senators
Bob McCaslin R (4)

**NOTE: These Senators voted NO on this huge $390 million tax hike and are up for re-election on November 2, 2010.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Mass Transit: Outmoded & Counterproductive

Living anywhere near an even moderately sized burg, the bleating of the brainwashed elitists of the "it's for your own good, you poor beknighted dear" set on the topic of mass transit is hard to escape.

They claim that the world will come to a screeching halt in a transit Armageddon if vast transit operations aren't put into place, that the poor will be unable to find a way to get around, and that the pollution from those damned individual vehicles will kill us all - and that cramming folks onto hugely subsidized trains and buses (that can never, ever, be owned or operated by private individuals or organizations) is the one true path to urban (and which, on principal, must be inflicted on rural and suburban residents at great cost and inefficiency for largely "moral" purposes).

The usual red flags of shenanigans in progress are typically in full flight and easy to pick out in such discussions - "European cities are doing it", "it's for the children", "you want to be a world-class city, don't you?". On observing such phrases, one should immediately don chest waders as truth, logic, and sanity are likely to be departing shortly in the face of a deluge of cattle by-products.

We seldom see serious discussion that not only that the car isn't the enemy (more on that later), but that mass transit typically either introduces or intensifies a number of environmental, economic, and social problems at vast cost to the involuntary taxpayer - and are normally run as a bottomless money-losing entitlement, a semi-permanent drain of the public purse.

The myth of the "private vehicle as the tool of evil" seems to have begun in the smog-ridden cities of Southern California in the initial days of the environmental movement and been perpetrated by the surviving hoary old dinosaurs of the founding days of that movement and their semi-religious disciples.

Combustion supported vehicles do, indeed, pollute. What the transit proponent fails to consider is that trading a bunch of what, today, are comparatively clean-burning gas vehicles for filth-spewing multi-passenger diesel and bunker-oil driven rigs is not precisely a screaming victory for the environment.

As subways, trains, and buses around the world have shown us - each mode of mass transit, even as it moves people inflexibly and inefficiently according to bureaucratic schedules and rules rather than convenience and efficiency, concentrates large(ish) groups of people in confined spaces for extended periods with no convenient method of egress and minimal to wholly inadequate security, ventilation, and but the dampest of sops thrown at comfort.

Even at the victim loading stations, one sees enhanced criminal activity as we observe potential victims waiting about to be abused and molested by the local criminal element that is drawn like a fly to honey. Yet, the muggings and beatings and fun that typically continue unencumbered by transit operators virtually immune from liability for their own facilities don't stop at the bus or train door - they just become less escapable when the door closes, securing potential victims in an enclosed environment with their predators, prevented from degenerating into a full-out "feeding time at the zoo" environment only by the fundamental cunning of said predators in realizing that even the most foolish and ideologically blinded prey will eventually figure out a situation is bad and stop showing up to be abused if one goes too far.

Yet amidst the enhanced risk of victimization by the two-legged critters, passengers are immersed in a seldom-cleaned rolling petri dish of every variety of contagious crud currently extant in the population being coughed, hacked, sneezed, and spat into a potpourri of stagnant humid air and cramped quarters no better than a 19th century hospital ward before sanitation became a popular concept.

Even as these smoke-spewing, crime-ridden, engines of infectious disease and victimization roll down the road or rail they add yet another benefit - they are great big massive beasties, slow to stop, and when they fail to stop, likely to inflict far more severe damage and injury on persons and property when they squash said persons and property like insignificant bugs - which, to a vehicle of that mass, they pretty much are.

As a bonus to all of the considerations above, by the very nature of their existence, the various forms of mass transit are locked into inflexible lowest common denominator shackles of politically driven schedules and routes with efficiency and convenience of the passenger (or their employer) running a distant second or third to the political drivers of the agency in question.

That very inflexibility makes mass transit less than optimal for a free society that wants a nimble and adaptive economy resistant to the boom/bust cycle - slow-moving bureaucracies adapt poorly to employers changing hours and and days to meet service and production needs on a daily basis - creating costly delay and complication for employees.

When any other reasonable option exists, these mobile boondoggles typically see minimal usage by persons with any other option (unless said person has some ideological axe to grind "it's GREEN!" - maybe if you catch the smoke and particulates in *just* the right light...), leading to campaigns to coerce potential victims into using the unpleasant and inconvenient behemoths - reducing parking availability, reducing traffic lanes for private vehicles, refusing to build or maintain roads, and punitive taxation of private vehicles.

These bullying proponents of crime and disease, even if forgiven on the grounds that they are "just trying to reduce pollution" fail to consider that increasingly (Coda, Volt, Wheego, BYD, Tesla, etc) freeway speed and neighborhood electric vehicles are not only available - but offer at far greater efficiency a cleaner solution than the smog-generating road-whales. And, as far as I can tell, more cheaply.

The individual zero emissions vehicle gets folks where they want or need to be smog-free*, on the individuals schedule, with greater safety for not only the individual but everyone in their vicinity (if something goes wrong and there's a crash, it's a SMALLER crash), and at hugely lower cost to the taxpayer than the mobile boondoggles - preserving and promoting the flexible mobility that has long been not only a hallmark but an engine of the uniquely American economy.

Subsidizing, as Oklahoma has, the purchase of Zero Emissions Vehicles (particularly for the economically challenged folks who are often forced to drive ancient smoke-spewing hulks in ill repair, thus garnering more environmental bang for buck by retiring said hulks) is a cheaper and healthier solution than buying more buses. Restoring general parking and providing parking with charging stations for electric vehicles begins to repair the damage that the anti-parking nazi's have done to the downtown business cores of our cities (Umm...go to mall w/ free parking? Or go downtown and be hassled by parking enforcement, pay obscene amounts for inconvenient parking, etc?) and begin reducing ONE reason for urban sprawl (suburbs - less hassle for folks doing *what they want*, owning and operating their private and convenient vehicle).

In Western Washington the siren song of mass transit has lured in sufficient dollars, infrastructure, and inertia that progress to repair the damage will be slow - even in a region uniquely unsuited for practical mass transit. If naught else, too many folks have publicly imbibed the kool-aid and are loathe to publicly admit the possibility of error.

But in a time of economic depression, when governmental agencies are running huge deficits at all levels, perhaps this is one sinkhole where the losses can be somewhat stanched, incrementally, over time by de-funding and privatizing transit - allowing routes and systems to stand or fail on their own, driven by demand, without taxpayer subsidy and charging riders something approaching actual operational costs per mile. And ending at least this one form of bullying and bully-ragging propaganda.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

On Public Transit, and $$

Cutting service on Sundays in Snohomish County is a good start. Ending operations between midnight and 6 A.M. is a logical second step. Raising fares by $1.00 across the board is a good third step. If necessary, reduced mid-day services and reducing rush hour services to once every TWENTY minutes is worthwhile.

To make up for the deficit, allowing the return of privately operated public transit lines as either subscription or pick-up services may fill the gap. Or folks can drive electric cars - Wheego, over at, is releasing a freeway speed EV for under 40k in July, apparently.

Running transit at not just a dead loss, but a horrific loss is a bad idea at any time - but especially during a economic depression. If it's cheaper to buy each rider an electric car and sell the buses - then let's do that. If it's more affordable to sell the buses to private operators and allow them to charge market rates - let's do that.

What we can't do is cripple individuals and businesses, the very engines of economic recovery, by nickel and diming them to death with new taxes every time a badly administered boondoggle runs short of cash - yet again.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Sad news...and a reason I enjoy that last video so much...

One of CrankyProf's students was driven to suicide by, by her account, a grossly dysfunctional family that disowned the young man.

I will repeat my comment here that I left over at Cranky's blog:

It saddens me more every time this tragedy *repeats*.

If the young man’s partner is up to it, invite him to the funeral with you – by preference, with the largest and scariest sorts of your acquaintance to keep y’all from getting lonely.

Not just sad, but angry to the point of being perfectly willing to be socially unpleasant, violate a few taboo’s, and dole out vindictive verbal wrath if even slightly crossed.

My condolences at losing your former student, to his partner on losing his lover, and may his family come to a full and complete understanding of their essential vileness – and live long, miserable, guilt-ridden lives contemplating said vileness.

Go. Read Cranky's post. And, vindictive sort that I am, I hope someone prints out Cranky's post and the comments and nails them to the chapel door.

Status: Peeved

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

On a different note...

Someone dear, an ex, fired this my way...enjoy (or not) I'm still busy giggling...