Category: Etcetera

Double Standard

Following along the same vein as my previous post about Indiana’s new Religious Freedom law, and Hal’s followup, I found this interesting.

Jack, of Castle Rock, Colo., is making national headlines over an experiment he conducted in the wake of attacks on Christian business owners who refuse to provide services for same-sex marriages.

Last year, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission ruled that the Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood unlawfully discriminated against a gay couple who wanted a wedding cake. Jack Phillips, the owner of the cake shop, is a devout Christian, and his attorneys argued that to force him to participate in the gay wedding would violate his religious beliefs.  The Civil Rights Commission saw it differently.

So if Christian bakers who oppose gay marriage are compelled under law to violate their beliefs – what about bakers who support gay marriage? Would they be compelled to make an anti-gay marriage cake?

 Jack, who is a devout Christian, asked three bakeries to produce two cakes – each shaped like an open Bible. On one side of one cake he requested the words, “God hates sin – Psalm 45:7.” On the other side he wanted the words, “Homosexuality is a detestable sin – Leviticus 18:22.”

On the second cake he asked them to write another Bible verse: “While we were yet sinners Christ died for us – Romans 5:8” along with the words “God loves sinners.”  And finally, Jack wanted the bakers to create an image – two grooms holding hands, with a red “X” over them – the universal symbol for “not allowed.”

Now if you read the national news accounts of Jack’s experiment – you would’ve read that he wanted gay slurs written on the cakes. But that wasn’t true.

According to the commission’s own report, there’s no mention of Jack using any gay slurs – unless you consider Bible verses to be gay slurs.

Mark Silverstein, the legal director for Colorado’s chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, accused Jack of wanting obscenities written on the cakes.  “There’s no law that says that a cake-maker has to write obscenities in the cake just because the customer wants it,” he told the Associated Press.

Does the ACLU consider the Bible to be obscene?

As you probably guessed, the bakeries rejected Jack’s request for what some would call “anti-gay” cakes.  “If he wants to hate people, he can hate them not here in my bakery,” Azucar Bakery owner Marjorie Silva told 7NEWS. She called the writing and imagery “hateful and offensive.”

So Jack filed a discrimination complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission – just as the gay couple did in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case.  Using the commission’s logic – if a Christian baker is forced to violate his beliefs, shouldn’t all bakers be forced to violate theirs, too?

Absolutely not, says the Colorado Civil Rights Commission.  It ruled that Azucar did not discriminate against Jack based on his creed. It argued that the bakery refused to make the cakes because of the “derogatory language and imagery,” The Denver Channel reported.

Seems like a pretty clear double-standard to me.  One cake maker was forced by the government to defy their beliefs.  The other cake baker was not forced by the government to defy their beliefs.  Because one was for religious reasons, and the other wasn’t, that makes it OK somehow?  The freedom of religion is guaranteed in the US Constitution.  Shouldn’t that make it even more sacrosanct in this regard?

 

Religious Freedom in Indiana

Perhaps you’ve heard about all of the hullabaloo going on in Indiana over a new law that the Governor there signed this past week.  Now Celebrities and National Politicians are getting involved.  Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer’s Twitter Page has been quite active in retweeting condemnations of the new law.  Presumptive Democratic Front Runner Hillary Clinton had this to say:

Sad this new Indiana law can happen in America today. We shouldn’t discriminate against ppl bc of who they love.

 Ashton Kutcher, Miley Cyrus, and many other celebrities are being quite vocal in their condemnation of this new law.  Even the Indiana Pacers felt it necessary to have a press release on the new law.  And now companies are getting involved.  Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff has been very adamant over his condemnation, and has started calls for boycotting Indiana over this new law.  Leadership in other companies including Apple, and Yelp are also putting in their two cents. condemning the law as discriminatory.

So what’s the  problem with all of these people coming out against this new law?  Well, hypocrisy of course.

First off, I would be willing to bet quite a bit of money that none of the people I mentioned above have actually read the new law.  You can read the entire law here.  The part that people appear to be having a problem with is this text:

Government may burden a person’s exercise of religion only if it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person —

(1) furthers a compelling governmental interest; and

(2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.

Oops.  I’m sorry.  That is part of the Federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act signed into law back in 1993.  Here’s the text from the Indiana law:

A governmental entity may substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion only if the governmental entity demonstrates that application of the burden to the person: (1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and (2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.

Seems almost identical.  In fact, the Indiana law is largely based on the Federal law.  Yet many people are being vocal about the Indiana law, but mum about the Federal Law.  I ask – why?

Do you remember the aforementioned esteemed Senator Schumer from New York who does not like the Indiana law?  It turns out that he was actually the main sponsor of the Federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act back in 1993, which passed both houses with almost unanimous majorities.  And Hillary Clinton?  Her husband, President Bill Clinton at the time, signed the bill into law and was very supportive of it (you can see a lovely picture of him signing it, with Senator Schumer looking over his shoulder at the link).

What this law basically says is that the Government should be held to a very high level of proof before it interferes with someone’s free exercise of religion. This judgment is shared by the people of the United States as well as by the Congress. We believe strongly that we can never, we can never be too vigilant in this work.

It was signed specifically to protect Religious Freedom from Government intervention.  Which is exactly why the Indiana law was passed.  But Hillary didn’t just support her Husband and this 1993 law (which she does in her book, “It Takes a Village”).  In 2005 as Senator Clinton, she supported the “Workplace Religious Freedom Act.” which was co-sponsored by amazingly unlikely allies John Kerry, and Rick Santorum.  It was designed to protect the religious freedoms of employees from employers, but has yet to be passed into law.  So why is she against the Indiana Law again?

Legally there is virtually no difference between the Federal Law and Indiana’s law except that it applies specifically to that State and its government instead of the /Federal Government.  And Indiana isn’t alone in this type of law.  19 other states already have RFRA laws on the books, all based on the Federal law.  Why is nobody calling for boycotts on those other states?

So why shouldn’t CEO’s of companies like Salesforce, and Apple condemn the Indiana law, and call for boycotts?  They do billions of dollars of business in China.  China, which is not only a religious freedom nightmare, but it is also a place where there are no laws protecting against homosexual discrimination, that does not recognize gay marriage, civil unions or anything close to it, and where it is illegal for homosexual couples to adopt.

Whether or not you support the law, I guess all I’m saying is that these people and organizations need to think before they open their mouths.

Technical stuff

Hi. I’m sorry I let the blog technically malfunction so often and for so long. Working on fixing it. I just wanted to explain where I am stuck right now.

  • I think I have restored the author writing tools to working order.
  • Something I did broke the registration form completely. At one point I was able to register a new account for myself, but now it;s broken again. Still working on that.
  • Comment form now has a 90% working editor. The link button does not pop up and become useful yet. Something in the customization from the redesign ages go is interfering between the preview and the link buttons.

I don’t have a ton of time to devote to this, so if I can’t get it working soon, the odds are that I will scrap the entire design and all customization and install a new wordpress theme and enough plugins to get it working, then turn it over to Hal and Alex or whoever we all decide is a good technical admin. Fingers crossed that I can find the frigging cuplrit. It’s something in the AJAX vs JQuery stuff. I hate blog software.

*EDITED TO ADD*

I do not know what the fuck is going on here and to be honest I can’t devote the time or money to fix it. Everything I tried broke something else and when I tried to put it back the way it was I broke the entire site. Hence this new blank template. I’m ready to turn this over to someone else and see if they can fix it and get things running in a useful way.

In the last ten minutes I have had 5 6 emails telling me new users registered. ALL SPAMMERS. Registration has been turned off for now.

I’m not going to deal with this for very long, so y’all need to decide fairly quickly what is going to happen to this blog. I’m pretty much done. I’ll work with someone to hand it over. I can still host. I just cannot work on it.

The Insurance, er, The Tax Man Cometh

One of the consequences of having the Obamacare penalty tax penalty tax: the IRS is going to be asking some questions:

As many as 3.4 million people who received Obamacare subsidies may owe refunds to the federal government, according to an estimate by a tax preparation firm.

H&R Block is estimating that as many as half of the 6.8 million people who received insurance premium subsidies under the Affordable Care Act benefited from subsidies that were too large, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

“The ACA is going to result in more confusion for existing clients, and many taxpayers may well be very disappointed by getting less money and possibly even owing money,” the president of a tax preparation and education school told the Journal.

Obamacare subsidies are paid out based on your income. But it is difficult to predict income in advance, especially for those in the low-income brackets where jobs and income tend to be a bit more variable. As a result, several million people are going to find themselves with an unexpected tax bill because they made more money than they predicted. This was entirely foreseeable, of course, which meant the Administration did nothing to account for it.

In other tax-related news, the “Cadillac Tax” of Obamacare is kicking in. This means that many businesses are looking to cut insurance costs to avoid paying the tax. The best way to do this is to increase deductibles and co-pays so that your employees use less healthcare and your rates come down.

Guess who’s not happy about that:

“Deplorable, deeply regressive, a sign of the corporatization of the university.” That’s what Harvard Classics professor Richard F. Thomas calls the changes in Harvard’s health plan, which have a large number of the faculty up in arms.

Are Harvard professors being forced onto Medicaid? Has their employer denied coverage for cancer treatment? Do they need to sign a corporate loyalty oath in order to access health insurance? Not exactly. But copayments are being raised and deductibles altered, making their plan … well, actually, their plan is still extraordinarily generous by any standard:

The Harvard profs are having kittens because they will have to make $20 copays, meet a $250/$750 deductible and pay 10% of costs up to a maximum of $1500/$4500. I hate to tell them but that’s still a very generous plan.

The irony, of course, is that Obamacare was cooked up by Harvard, pushed by Harvard experts and implemented by a Harvard Law grad. Harvard faculty have overwhelming supported the President and Obamacare. So what this amounts to is our educational elites having a temper tantrum because they’re going to have to eat at the commoner’s table, if you can imagine such a thing. But instead of dealing with the reality, they’re insisting that we should be able to cut costs without cutting care.

McArdle again:

Instead, they persist in our mass delusion: that there is some magic pot of money in the health-care system, which can be painlessly tapped to provide universal coverage without dislocating any of the generous arrangements that insured people currently enjoy. Just as there are no leprechauns, there is no free money at the end of the rainbow; there are patients demanding services, and health-care workers making comfortable livings, who have built their financial lives around the expectation that those incomes will continue. Until we shed this delusion, you can expect a lot of ranting and raving about the hard truths of the real world.

Especially when those hard truths get applied to the ruling class.

Sony Caves In

Unbelievable:

Sony Pictures Entertainment has dropped its plans for a Dec. 25 release of “The Interview,” a crude comedy that prompted a threat of terror against theaters.

The cancellation Wednesday afternoon came as the largest United States and Canadian film exhibitors said they would not show the movie.

In a statement, Sony said: “We respect and understand our partners’ decision and, of course, completely share their paramount interest in the safety of employees and theater-goers.”

On Wednesday afternoon, AMC Theaters, citing “the overall confusion and uncertainty” around the film, joined Carmike Cinemas, Cinemark and Regal Entertainment in dropping the film. Together, those exhibitors control more than 19,200 screens across the United States. Smaller American chains and Canada’s Cineplex Entertainment also canceled the film.

The film, a comedy, depicts a couple of journalists recruited to kill Kim Jong Un. North Korea made threats this summer about the film. And a week ago, Sony’s computers were hacked, doing massive damage and releasing all kinds of private information1.

This week, there have been threats of further attacks including 9/11-style attacks, although Homeland Security doesn’t think those threats have any substance behind them. There is also more evidence that North Korea was indeed behind the attacks. Theaters have pulled the movie, terrified of the potential liability. And Sony has now cancelled the premiere.

Several things to pick apart here. Assuming that the attacks and threats did indeed come from North Korea, this is the sign of a regime losing its mind. Of all the things to get worked up over, a stupid Rogen-Franco comedy has to rank pretty low. Had the Norks ignored the movie, no one would have watched it. It would likely have sunk without trace. Now, everyone knows about it.

Second, while the actions of the movie chains and studios is somewhat understandable (one chain is already dealing with lawsuits over the Aurora shooting), it’s still cowardly. Yes, no one wants to get killed over a stupid Seth Rogen movie. But once you start giving terrorists veto power over our culture, you might as well just pass Sharia law and get it over with. In fact, one studio has already cancelled a film over this.

Third, I think the stage for this was set with The Innocence of Muslims debacle. That movie was stupid and offensive and deliberately provocative. But when the Obama Administration blamed it for terror attacks and pleaded with YouTube to yank it; when nitwit Professors wrote op-eds supporting censorship, they sent a message: threats work. Here’s Ken White, responding to efforts to censor the anti-Islam video:

We can’t cave on this in the face of demands that we censor. We can’t. Today it’s bigoted videos. Tomorrow it’s any representation whatsoever of Mohammed. What is it after that? Women depicted out of hijabs? Allowing female anchors to question men on the news? Why, if cultural censors are given the power to demand censorship of that which they find offensive, would they grow a thicker skin rather than a thinner one? Why, if barbarians are told that we will censor our societies and betray our fundamental principals if they kill innocents, would they stop killing innocents? (Yes, I said barbarians. I don’t mean Muslims. I mean people who believe that violence is justified by speech the don’t like. That includes not just extremist Muslims, but their Western apologists.)

To be fair, there are no indications — yet — that the Obama Administration is playing a role here. But they should be playing a role in zealously defending the right to free speech and promising a response to anyone who tries to silence bad speech with threats, destruction and violence.

The more I turn this over, the more I think we are headed for some kind of conflict with North Korea. It may not be a conventional war, but it just might be. Assuming the Nork connection is accurate, this is the sign of a disturbed regime and a disturbed leader. A confrontation with him is coming. Caving in to his petty egotistical needs is only going to make it more likely. This is a sign that we need to beef up our anti-missile defense and increase our surveillance and intelligence assets within and around North Korea. And we need to do it now.

Meanwhile, here’s a clip from some braver film-makers:


1. Most of the stuff released is fairly trivial gossip about movies and movie makers. The most controversial, supposedly, was an e-mail exchange between Sony execs about meeting President Obama, where one suggested to ask him if he liked Django Unchained, Twelve Years a Slave or other movies with predominantly black casts. This was branded as racist. I’m reluctant to call anyone out on private e-mails to begin with. But that aside, I’m still having a hard time working up a mad over it. It seems fairly trivial on the racism scale.

I am CRomnibus, Hear Me Roar!

While we weren’t watching, Congress quietly passed a continuing resolution/omnibus bill to avoid a government shutdown and fund the government through FY 2015. The bill basically keeps spending flat and funds everything except the Department of Homeland Security, which will be the stage for a fight over Obama’s immigration orders.

I don’t have a problem with the budget, per se. Flat spending is OK, especially with revenues growing. Addressing the long-term problem is going to require entitlement reform, which is unlikely to happen while Obama is in the White House. But, as I said a month ago, I’d prefer the Republicans put together a reform package to balance the budget long term and force Obama to veto it.

What’s really gotten attention, however, are the riders on the bill, which are laws unrelated to the budget itself. I’ll go through them quickly.

  • The most controversial is the effort to block marijuana legalization in DC. It forbids the DC government from funding marijuana regulation. I think you can probably guess that I hate this provision. The DC voters decided to legalize pot. It’s ridiculous for Congress to override them like this and a worrisome sign that Republicans are going to fall on the wrong side of history. Again.
  • The bill increases the limits on what people can donate to political parties. I don’t really have a problem with this since organizations can give tens of millions if they want.
  • They have given some schools flexibility in how they meet the new nutrition requirements for school lunches. Considering that I think these new requirements are based on junk science and are going to leave active kids starving, I’ll take this baby step on the way to repealing the regulations completely.
  • They blocked the EPA from adding the sage grouse to the endangered species list. I don’t know much about this issue, but my impression is that the grouse is declining but not in danger of extinction.
  • They forbad the government from spending money painting portraits of government officials and committee chairs. Good. Let them pay for their own damn portraits. We pay them enough.
  • They extended the time that incandescent bulbs can be manufactured. Considering that I’m typing this by the dim light of a worthless CFC bulb, I’m fine with this.
  • They required the WIC program to include more fresh veggies. Sure.
  • They forestalled requiring truckers to get more sleep. I’m supportive of this law because I know someone who was nearly killed by a sleepy long-haul truck driver. This is one of those rare times I think the incentives are lined up badly and we need a regulation. Not that I expect truckers to obey it anyway; a trucker friend once showed me how to fake the logs to make it look like you’re getting the required sleep.
  • Some clean water rules are delayed in farming areas. Sure.
  • Gitmo prisoners can’t come to the United States. I’ve indicated that I would prefer these guys be tried, but that idea isn’t going anywhere.
  • They rolled back a provision of Dodd-Frank that forbids banks from using FDIC-backed money to trade in derivatives. This was one of the few Dodd-Frank provisions I liked. If banks want to play financial games, that’s fine. But I don’t want to have to bail them out when it inevitably blows up in their faces.
  • The bill blocks the IRS from targeting certain groups. This is fine, but I don’t see any reason why the IRS would obey a second law forbidding them from doing what they’re already doing.
  • The bill mandates sexual harassment training for Hill staffers. Sure. Everyone else in the country has to get sexual harassment training. Why should Congress be exempt?
  • So, a mixed bag overall. But what’s hilarious is that the liberals are screaming bloody murder over this, as if attaching unrelated riders to a budget bill is something that was invented this week. Our government has constantly done this. There’s even a phrase for it: land-mine legislation. Huge encroachments on our liberty are passed this way all the time.

    And to complain about the DC marijuana initiative being shut down this way is blazing hypocrisy. Yes, I think it was a bad thing to do. But when Barack Obama used the “stimulus” bill to shut down the DC Voucher program, we didn’t hear a peep out out of the liberals. So should the government of DC only have sovereignty when they’re doing something you like?

    I think we know the answer to that.

    Abolish the IRS – PUH-LEASE!

    There is no more feared an organization in this country, nay the world, than the IRS. I have had to deal with them and was all but told that you were guilty until you could prove beyond the shadow of a doubt otherwise. I won, but I paid an arm and a leg to get there, and never got the money back. Stories of people browbeaten by IRS tyrants abound. No mistake or omission is permitted when you are in their gun sights. So you can understand how it galls me to find out that an organization with this kind of tyrannical overreach now claims that they are bereft by problems that prevent them from proving their innocence.

    The IRS must go already. It’s a political weapon of the left and the political class, and nothing else. Americans are getting fucked over by these crooks and criminals. Abolish it and make the people working for the IRS live off government assistance. I doubt they can hold a real job anywhere outside government, anyway. And don’t forget to throw the Obama administration in jail. If I am guilty till I prove to the IRS that they are fucking idiots, then the same should apply to Black Jesus and his disciples. Implement a flat tax. No more loopholes. It will fix a lot of the political graft machine as well. And that’s why it won’t happen. The crooks are firmly in charge of things.

    Born on the Fifth of July

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    So, yesterday, we celebrated Independence Day, recognizing the birth of out great nation and the courage of the men who took on the world’s greatest empire to be free of oppression. Despite my general curmudgeonliness about many things, I do love the Fourth. I read the Declaration of Independence each Fourth of July and spent the hour before the fireworks talking to Sal 11000 Beta about our history and what it all really means (the iPad was out of juice).

    Today is the Fifth of July. And on the fifth of July, we clear away the beer cans and fireworks and return to a nation that is doing far more to us than George III ever imagined.

    For example, we live in a nation in which 80,000 SWAT raids are launched every year, only 7% of which involve an active shooter or similar situation. One- to two-thirds of these raids turn up no contraband of any kind. If you’re thinking that statistic sounds a bit murky, you’re right: hundreds of police agencies told the ACLU they were no under obligation to even reveal the number of SWAT raids they launch every year. Some of them have put these raids under the command of a private agency and declared information about them to be “trade secrets”. These raids can result in things like blowing holes in two-year old children.

    We live in a nation where the Administration, when pressed to explain how they can claim the authority to drone strike Americans in foreign countries who might be terrorists, release a heavily redacted memo to justify their actions. That justification essentially amounts to “because terrorism”.

    We live in a country where the NSA has now admitted that it shares an unknown amount of information with the FBI. The nature of this data is not clear but it is unlikely that it all involves counter-terrorism. And we know that the DEA has used similar information to bring drug charges and then lied about where they got the information from.

    These are just a few examples of what is going on in the Land of the Free. I have chosen them because they are so far outside the pale — military raids on civilians, military attacks on Americans and universal surveillance. But would anyone doubt that our federal government has also “refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good”? That it has “erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance”? That our government, when its agents do wrong, goes about “protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States”?

    The thing is, we don’t have to fight a long and brutal war to change this. We still have the power of the vote and, more importantly, we still have the power of our voice. We have shown, in recent years, that we can be powerful when we try. Over the last few years, we curbed runaway spending, stopped SOPA and have turned the tide in the War on Drug (although the dark forces behind all three are relentless, and they will keep pushing until they get more spending, less internet freedom and more drug raids).

    We can stop this leviathan of a state without a shot being fired. But we need to focus on fighting it instead of each other. When politicians see the Tea Party and Occupy attacking each other instead of their common foe, they laugh. We have to stop caring whether the person agitating about a bad government policy is a Republican, a Democrat, a libertarian, a communist or a crypto-monarchist. If “our side” supports a bad policy, we still have to oppose it. And if “the other side” opposes a bad policy, we should make alliance with them, at least on that issue. We can wash our hands after the threat to freedom is squashed.

    Let July 4 remain a celebration. But let July 5 be a day we push harder to regain our essential freedoms. Let the rest of the year be a commitment to re-establishing our independence.

    Valar Morghulis

    Rich kicked off a discussion of Games of Thrones when last year’s season ended. Given the huge ratings, I suspect we have even more people watching it now. This season wrapped up last night with an absolute barn-burner of an episode for a barn-burner of a season.

    [Spoilers ahead]

    I must say this was my favorite season so far and not just because it was the first I was keeping up with in real time. We are finally seeing the pieces of GRRM’s chess game moving into position, with plot threads being resolved or dramatically changed. We saw the erasure of not one but two Lannisters, a possible resolution of the Wildlings plot and some real movement on Bran’s plot thread. Moreover, I think things are set up for some huge plot developments in the future. I don’t know where we are headed, but it should be a fun ride in seasons 5 and 6.

    Some scattered thoughts:

  • One of themes emerging from the series, referenced explicitly in episode three, is what it takes to be a king. It’s not enough to be a good and honorable man, as we saw with the Starks. There is a certain ruthlessness and pragmatism that comes with it. Tyrion showed this in his tenure as Hand. Daenarys is learning this now, after her disastrous start in Season One.
  • Another theme is that there is no black and white in Game of Thrones, only shades of gray. Characters are complex and can do good things one day and bad things the next. Jaime has become the embodiment of this. A lot of people were disappointed with the rape scene, thinking it undid all his character development. But Jaime has always been a mix. He’s both the man who saved King’s Landing and the man who shoved a small boy out of a tower window for discovering he was screwing his sister. Jaime’s character is often highly dependent on who he’s with. Tyrion and Brienne bring out the best in him. Cersei brings out the worst.
  • I think we can inscribe Peter Dinklage’s name on every acting award this year. He had numerous scenes this year that just took my breath away — the trial, the conversation with Oberyn, his final scene with Tywin. Dinklage has taken what I understand to be one of the favorite characters of the books and made him even better.
  • Speaking of Oberyn. I really liked him and Pedro Pascal’s performance was great. Episode eight was like a punch in the gut. But … he accomplished two out of his three objectives. In Game of Thrones, that’s not bad.
  • Now that Cersei is effectively ruler of the Seven Kingdoms, I expect things to go downhill very fast.
  • I hope Jorah finds a way to work himself back into Daenarys’ good graces.
  • Fans of the books who are upset that their favorite scenes weren’t in or things have been changed need to get a grip. GRRM is heavily involved in the series and has no doubt played a role in the changes. Reading interviews, I think one of the reason the books are taking so long is that he wrote himself into a corner (the “Meereenese knot”). Tolkien did this too but Tolkien had the luxury of going back and revising the earlier books before they were published to avoid the corners. I think some of the plot changes to the TV series are designed to avoid the mistakes he made in the earlier books and accelerate the story. We may therefore get an ending in 7 or 8 seasons instead of 14.
  • Anyway, post your thoughts.

    Know What You’re Doing, Or Take The Bus

    A reoccurring theme in many of my posts, a personal pet peeve (but you guys already knew that) is bad driving. Being proficient in the operation of the automobile is lost art. Any bozo can turn on the ignition, operate the gas peddle and brake, and steer, but for the true professional, mastering the intricacies of the perfect balance (performance and safety) it’s not just getting from point to A to B, the style in which the journey is taken speaks to the man himself.

    A few years back when I taught my son to drive (calculating stopping distances at different speeds, visual horizon, space cushion, real wheel cheat, front end swing, afterwards he commented that he could now drive the space shuttle) a selling point for his pursuit of excellence in this area was that any girl with him could see the mastery at which he handled his wheels and would naturally assume that the same care and technique would be delivered between the sheets.

    Many factors have gone into the diminution of driving ability over the years, but mostly folks never really learned how to drive in the first place. And now with the advent of cell phones, it is worse than ever. When ever I see a boneheaded move on the highway, the majority of the time the driver has a cell phone in his hand, giving that total attention to the detriment of his driving. I know it’s against the law, where are the cops when you need them?

    Clever PSA’s can be used to address the problem, here is one that just ran out of Hong Kong;

    Car companies (all of them) should spring for regular PSA’s, it’s just good business and will minimize liability claims when accidents do occur.

    The gold standard for clever PSA’s was this one that ran a few years ago;

    Anybody that does not wear his seat-belt is dumber than dirt, and beyond selfish if he has a family. This one was out of the UK, maybe because they drive on the wrong side of the road (wankers) they have more than their fair share of accidents so safety is big. Here is another one out of the UK;

    Ugh, drunk drivers, don’t get me started.

    Google is testing a car that drives itself, for many this is just what they need. For my oneself, I will be one of the last hold outs, refusing to relinquish an appreciation for the handling of a fine tuned automobile.