Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Happy Hour

enjoy

What Matters Is What I Think

There are several reasons I tend to not comment on Israel-related program activities, but a big one is that the opinionating reaches meta at light speed, that so much commentary is more of a pose than an attempt to actually influence events. It's punditry-as-narcissism at its worst. What matters isn't the dead or the security issues, it's how I, personally, feel about that! (chait, not loomis)

The Worst Intersection

Much of central/south Philly (and much of the rest) is a simple North-South/East-West street grid, but there are some exceptions, and this intersection is where it all goes to hell spectacularly. Hopefully the improvements improve...

The Worst Person In The World

Rush Limbaugh

Afternoon Thread

enjoy

Motherfucker, I Want More Iced Tea

The ghetto is a place of the imagination.

Really Dumb Ideas

There are a lot of things wrong with implementing a VMT tax. And, frankly, part of the problem is this stupid obsession with technology. The only cheap/efficient way to do it is to have it be recorded off your odometer at your annual car inspection (assuming your state has such a thing), with the fee being collected by your licensed mechanic and then passed onto the state as a part of your inspection fee. There's no need for GPS monitoring. That's both stupid and weird. But that's potentially a big annual bill for people. Much better to collect it bit by bit in the largely invisible way it is done now.

Currently gas stations collect/remit gas taxes. There are a relatively small number of them. Collections and enforcement is a pretty simple process. Adding an entirely new taxation/monitoring/collections/enforcement authority for the entire population is madness. Going to send out the car boots for nonpayment? File civil suits and liens? Revoke licenses? What?

The idea that you can't increase the gas tax but you can add an exciting new and complicated and invasive fee is madness. Just increase the damn gas tax. Yes in our electric car future that might be a problem, but it's a problem that's a long way away.

(ht reader a)

But We're Having A Pretty Cool Summer Here

Climate change isn't really one of my issues. Not that I don't think it's an issue, it's just that it's one of those things I don't pay enough attention to in order to have even pundit level of knowledge about. Can't be a fake expert about everything! Still it's an issue.

Morning Thread

Read The Halifax Examiner with your first cuppa. Some good stuff there for everyone.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Late Night

Rock on.

Grifters Gonna Grift

It's what they know.

Stop The Salmon

A lot of "bad bicyclist" behavior doesn't really rise above annoying, and a lot of it is, if not actually legal, often preferable to drivers whether they know it or not (responsible rolling stops in certain situations). But bike salmon are the worst.

I Didn't Do It

The real crime isn't that we're horrible, it's that you're pointing out that we're horrible!!!

Afternoon Thread

enjoy

Pretty Quiet

I remember being lectured by the usual suspects about how if I was a peacenik who didn't think we should intervene in the Libyan civil war then I must come up with my OWN PLAN for SOLVING THE PROBLEM or whatever.

So, uh, what's the plan now?

A huge fuel depot in Libya's capital burned out of control on Monday, set ablaze in fighting between rival militias that has driven the country to chaos three years after the NATO-backed revolt that toppled Muammar Gaddafi.

Nowhere Man

Obviously GPS maps/directions are a wonderful tool, but it doesn't surprise me that drivers who entirely rely on them might not have much of a clue about where they are, that they never really form a mental map of the area. It's one thing if you're looking at your movement on the map, but that's not something you can really do when you're actually driving. Audio turn-by-turn instructions alleviate the need to actually know where you're going.

What Could Go Wrong

I'm amazed how little discussion there has been, over the years, about how maybe sending immense amount of weapons to regions supposedly filled with bad people who want to kill us wasn't such a good idea. Yes I know we were spreading peeance and freedom and in order to do that nothing was more important, after painting schools, than arming and training the local military (I'm not saying this makes any sense, but it was The Plan.) You know, I would have thought "free guns for Muslims" might have upset the Pam Geller wing of the Republican party a bit more than it did, but...
Over the past decade, the U.S. has poured unimaginable amounts of money into training and equipping Afghanistan’s army. Now, the Department of Defense office in charge of auditing the process is saying many of the 747,000 weapons given to the ANSF have gone missing and could end up fueling escalating attacks by Taliban insurgents if they fall into the wrong hands.

Baby, Inc.

I can't say I really understand what motivates people to go through this stuff, but these kinds of experiences must be horribly common.
Jonathan C. Dailey, a lawyer in Washington, wired Planet Hospital $37,000 in December 2013, the first installment on a contract for a single mother in Mexico to carry his child. He and his fiancĂ©e flew to CancĂșn to leave a sperm deposit at the clinic that would create the embryo and to visit the downtown house where their surrogate would live while pregnant. They picked a “premium” egg donor from the agency Planet Hospital sent them to. But nothing happened.

“It was just outright fraud,” said Mr. Dailey. “It’s like we paid money to buy a condo, they took the money, and there was no condo. But it’s worse, because it’s about having a baby.”