Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Licensing bicyclists? Not yet.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports that the city's government has come up with a money-making scheme to license bicyclists.

In general, I'm not a big fan of licensing bikes. It's not because I'm a biker myself and don't want to give the government any more of my money. It's because the infrastructure is not set up to permit bikers to get from here to there in a safe, easy, reasonable manner.

A biker who strictly follows the rules of the road to the letter 100 percent of the time will either not get anywhere or will get killed or maimed. As someone who averages 1500-2000 miles a year on such devices, I can tell you this is an indisputable fact.

A few examples...

Turning left legally requires bikers to get into the same turning lane as motor vehicles. In many places, particularly soulless suburbia, this means taking your life in your own hand. If you live in this area, try turning left from Route 9 (going north) in Queensbury on to Aviation Road using the legally correct lane. Make sure you have a friend nearby to call 9-1-1.

Another good example is stoplights. Many of them will not turn green if only a bicycle is waiting because its sensors do not recognize the bike, thus leaving the biker with no legal option.

Governments should not 'pull a Cuomo' on this one. If they insist on this money grab, upgrade the infrastructure first. Make it so bikers can follow the law safely and efficiently before enacting such a scheme.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Romney disses veterans

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney found himself in a bit of bother after a video was leaked of him calling 47% of Americans leeches. Conveniently, he said there is also 47% who will vote for the president no matter what and who are dependent on government.

My dad is one of those 47% apparently. Retired, I doubt he earns enough to owe income taxes. He's also an Obama supporter. He also has eyesight thanks to the 'socialized medicine' of the veterans administration.

I guess that makes him one of those dependent on government parasites Romney referred to in his little ivory tower speech to his fellow superrich sponsors.
My dad spent his life working and paying taxes. He even spent a few year sin the military preserving Romney's freedom and privilege. He still works part-time, though I don't know if it's enough to owe taxes. And I mean he does actual work, not living a cushy life off investment and inheritance income like Romney. He probably pays a higher percentage of his income in taxes than the quarter billionaire dad gets a little bit back of what he’s paid into the system now that he’s older, he has absolutely no reason to apologize for that to someone like Romney or his fellow superrich sponsors. If anything, Romney should apologize to my dad and others like him. I’ve never been an Obama supporter but Romney’s seriously making me reconsider.

So if my dad gets a little back of what he's put into the system now that he's older and his health isn't what it used to be, he has absolutely no reason to apologize to Romney and his fellow oligarchs. If anything, Romney should apologize to my dad and those like him.

Monday, September 17, 2012

An inconvenient truth

Earlier this month, The Post-Star's Will Doolittle published a blog entry regarding a Syracuse Post-Standard article on the Adirondack Park Agency and the Adirondack Club and Resort in Tupper Lake. Doolittle, a long time harsh critic of the Agency and of green groups, criticized the central New York daily for shallow, 'he said, she said' journalism. He goes on to add further 'context' that the Syracuse paper should have, in his opinion, included about how the environmentalists were wrong.

I left a comment on the blog saying that Doolittle was essentially attacking the Syracuse paper for not pushing his personal viewpoint. I also pointed out that the shallow 'he said, she said' transcription (not journalism) is a staple of most newspapers and broadcast outlets, including The Post-Star itself. Maybe that's why the daily doesn't do any reporting on Fred Monroe's taxpayer-funded anti-APA activist group.

I guess the comment hit too close to home. The comment has not been published more than two weeks later.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Clinton-worship sad indictment of modern Democrats

It’s sad, yet telling statement about the modern Democratic Party that the most popular politician among its faithful remains Bill Clinton, the guy who jettisoned what remained of the party’s progressive roots and sold it out to the highest corporate bidders.

He babbled on about ‘patience’ but it’s a lot easier to make argument when you make hundreds of thousands of dollars a pop for a single speaking gig.

And while partisans may have selective memories, it’s worth remembering that the reckless deregulation that facilitated the 2008 economic crash was signed not by an evil Republican but by a Democratic president... one William Jefferson Clinton.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Paralympics > Olympics

Even though hardly anyone cares about it because there’s far less crass jingoism and commercialism surrounding the games, elite Paralympic athletes are a heck of a lot more impressive than any Olympic athlete.

Yeah, Michael Phelps is a great athlete. But I’d like to see how fast he could swim without using his legs.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Democrats brag about how little they’ve moved the bar

The Health and Human Services secretary just bragged to the Democratic convention that under ObamneyCare, private health insurance companies are now required to spend at least half of every dollar you pay in premiums on actual health care or else they send you a refund check. “This is what change looks like,” she intoned.

So an insurance company can still spend as much as 50 cents of every dollar you are now compelled by law to give them on themselves and their stockholders and we’re supposed to believe that this is some sort of revolutionary advancement?

That the Democrats feel the need to brag about setting the bar so ridiculously low really only highlights the need of a real progressive political option.