Archive forPolitics and Government

WTFPalo Alto and Mt. View Drivers?

Okay. Yeah.
So I wasn’t going to complain about this after the first two times. But in a third incident, I feel compelled to tell my tale.

First, a PSA, Automobile operators: Do not pass a vehicle when it is occupying a lane, unless you use a passing lane. This means at stoplights too! Yes, there is a queue at stoplights, believe it or not.

What do I mean. Well. So twice recently, I have been hit. Nothing to worry about. I was stopped at a stoplight, in the middle of a lane, which is not only entirely legal, but safer and less confusing to those who realize a bike is a vehicle. But twice, automobile operators have decided to attempt to maneuver their automobile around me when there isn’t enough space to do so. They end up not knowing the exact size of their car, and their mirror strikes me. And I’m like WTF. Sometimes I give them a look and a shrug that screams WTF.

A third time just yesterday, I was biking down Castro St. In Mt View. Sure, it doesn’t have a bike lane. But it is not a controlled-access highway, anything but. I am allowed to bike on it. Anyways, I was stopped at the California St. stoplight behind an automobile. It was working fine, like things usually do. Then an automobile came up behind me and was moving to the left and coming real close. I saw the light turn green and intending to avoid a collision between the car behind me and myself, I began moving forward. Unfortunately, the car ahead of me did not start when the light turned green, and smack! I rear-ended it. Yes, me, a cyclist rear-ended a car. Tee hee. I didn’t really get a chance to ask them if they were ok. I imagine they were, since they drove off without hassling me. Maybe they didn’t even feel the bump. Anyways, I felt awful, because I shouldn’t be hitting cars. But also I was pissed. Cars shouldn’t be hitting me, and I shouldn’t have to *worry* about that if I’m biking by the law.
So don’t hit me!
Next automobile operator that hits me, however lightly, gets a chance to give me their insurance info to pay for my doctor’s visit to make sure I’m still healthy and pay for a bike tuneup to make sure my vehicle is still road-safe. I’m not being a bitch, I just dont’ wanna get hit.

Oh also. In general Palo Alto and Mt. View drivers are pretty damn good about treating cyclists properly. Some of you take hell of care (you follow slowly behind me even when its a wide right lane or I’m in a bike lane, or let me go at an all-way stop even though you got there first, etc.). Most of you simply treat cyclists like the vehicle operators we are.


Out Now

They had their chance. They screwed up and didn’t protect our nation, and the people gave them a chance. They got their USA PATRIOT act passed, now they’d never have to miscommunicate again.

This proves that this administration is not fit to run our country.

Politics has nothing to do with this. This administration has proven itself incompetent and unable to run our country in times of disaster. You want patriotism: I say my country is too important to allow this administration a third strike before we call them out. Get them out now.

Comments (4)

This guy is a total Boehner!

As CNN says, DeLay’s replacement is little better than DeLay. Then again, I suppose if I was being given hundreds of thousands of dollars for something, I’d want to keep it legal. That’s the problem here. I don’t know how to fix it, maybe we need a separate body that legislates what congresspeople can and can’t do, but we need some way of avoiding these (blatant) conflicts of interests. I mean, this isn’t even smoke-filled back room junk, this is wine, dine, and fly me about the world.

All I know is, Congress is spending too much damn time talking about itself. This kinda shit makes me rip my hair out. This isn’t politics, this isn’t debateable, it is a conflict of interest. Private citizens should not pay for members of the government to learn certain information. The government should be in charge of getting its members, including congresspeople that information, if it is indeed necessary. If that includes flying them to Belgium, well then its important enough that its worth it. Oh well. At least Boner is informed about Belgium and Scotland.


Don’t raise gas tax.

WTF! What is he talking about! Of course raise gas tax! Then people won’t buy as much gas, and might take public transportation, walk, bike, hop, crawl, or cartwheel wherever they are going.

Well, uh.

Sure, a gas tax would decrease some people’s fuel consumption. In fact this NYT article reports that an extra 28 pennies per gallon would decrease consumption by 10% for 14 years. That basically means we get an extra year’s use out of our supply per 10 years we keep an increased tax.

But the problems here are two-fold. First off, it’s a flat tax. People at all income levels have to drive (yes, sometimes people have to drive). Rich folks will soak up the new tax, perhaps with a few grumbles. But others will have to budget it into their weekly lives. It’ll certainly stop some from driving as much. But some won’t have a choice. (There are many reasons for this, and it’s not just location: what if they have kids in school, and the only way to get home in time to cook them dinner is by driving, as public transit would drop them off an hour later? We don’t want to deprive kids from getting a home-cooked meal, do we? etc.) Ok, so it’s unfair.

Also, say we raise gas tax now. What happens when the majority of cars finally do use alternative sources of fuel. Then states, and perhaps the feds, will enact disincentive taxes. No this isn’t just any ol’ red state, this includes Cali-fucking-fornia. The fact is, gas tax is already a dependable source of tax revenue for state and federal governments. And it’s not just for mass transit: less than 1/5 of federal gas tax goes to mass transit. Most of it goes to highway maintenance and construction, but throughout the history of federal gas tax, a whole lot has gone to general funds and deficit reduction.

If gas tax is increased, government dependance on gas tax will increase too. It will be harder to encourage use of hybrids, because they’ll have to use (more and more) disincentive taxes to cover the differences. In fact, as more people began to use hybrids, the shock to tax revenue would grow, and so would the disincentives. We’d see a leveling off in use of hybrids, maybe even a regression.

No, i’m not crazy, I understand highways need maintenance, and so as more and more people aren’t paying gas taxes, new sources of funding will be needed to maintain them. But these new sources shouldn’t prevent people from switching to hybrids, and the like. In the short run, an increased gas tax can’t be the way to decrease long-term gas consumption.


It doesn’t even work!

Ok, not only is spying on citizens without a warrant illegal in this country, but, according to NYT, it doesn’t work! Apparently the masses of data given to the FBI by the NSA generally lead to innocent people. They are hard pressed to find cases where they gained any information about actual terrorism. Etc. Etc.

In addition the “leads” coming in to the FBI are just masses of unprocessed data. There is no real way of telling what exactly the “suspect”’s connection to anything terror is. It looks like a lot of FBI footwork is being wasted on, yes (classic), innocent schoolteachers.

Now, those in favor of the domestic spying program ask us for a better way to do it. My first suggestion would be to use the warning and leads you have to actually stop the plots, which the FBI and other gov’t agencies seem to already be decent at, (read: “Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States.”).

Next, they’re obviously not dropping eaves on every citizen of America, that would probably require all of us to be in the NSA, and then terrorists would also be moles, and we’d have a 24 on our hands. That means they have reason to spy on certain people. Now, for the moment I will turn a blind eye to how they figure out who fits the profile (loaded word alert). But if you really think you need to spy on these people, get your damn warrants. It is not that hard. Especially when they have a secret court that will let them pay for thier warrants with plastic. (get it? its like a credit card for warrants…whatever).

No, Messrs. President and Vice President it’s not easy, but if it all were as easy as you want it to be, we wouldn’t need a government.

Comments (1)

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