atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#1089: I just should not read the damn paper.

Today's Chicago Sun-Times has a couple of doozies in it.

There's a story about speeding in construction zones. Illinois has some draconian laws regarding speeding in construction zones: the first offense is a fine of $375. The second is a fine of $1,000 and a 90-day suspension.

What gripes my wagger about this is that if you actually try to drive the speed limit--even if you assiduously stick to the right lane--you will be tailgated dangerously close and have other unsafe, aggressive moves perpetrated on you, all because you had the gall to obey the law. Everybody knows that the speed limits are just suggestions, after all.

Hell, driving above the speed limit in the right lane you'll get tailgated; the guy following you will drive so close you won't be able to see his headlights because he is in a hurry and you are blocking him. (Never mind the fact that the right lane is supposed to be the slow lane, and that it's not your fault the other lanes contain vehicles that are also going slower than Mr. Anus. It is all your fault.)

And what prompts me to mention all this is a comment from a freaking police officer: "District 15 Sgt. Jim Jenker told 45 mph drivers to be patient--driving slower has a domino effect.

"'If a driver travels at 45 mph or lower, it will in turn slow down others.'"

You know what? It's not the public's job to enforce the law. When citizens try to enforce the law, they call that "vigilantism" and it's generally regarded as a bad thing.

You are supposed to obey the law, yes; but if obeying the law gets to the point of endangering your safety, what do you do? I'm not kidding; while driving to my niece's graduation on Saturday I went 60 in the 45 zone and still had people tailgating me and whipping past me at much higher speeds.

Sure, driving slower has a domino effect; but the people who have to slow down are infuriated when they have to drop their speed by a few miles an hour--as if it made any damned difference whatsoever.

My brother, who fancies himself a great driver, is one of those folks who tries to drive faster than traffic, zigzags all over the road, zips down a line of cars to jog into a space near the head of the line, tailgates slower drivers, etc--and once complained that people in front of him were breaking the law against driving "slow" in the left lane.

Posted limit: 55 MPH. His speed at the time of his complaint: 65+ MPH.

This is the kind of thing I'm talking about. "Speed limit 55" is a suggestion; "don't drive slow in the left lane" is a law which must be obeyed--and my brother isn't a stupid man, either.

If the State Police were more than an occasional presence on the highway, things might be different; people would for damn sure slow down for construction zones if they had better than an approximately random chance of being punished for breaking the law. But most of the time, a reasonably observant driver does not even need a radar detector to avoid penalties for speeding, not on Illinois' superhighways, because the cops are rarely present--and when they are, usually they already have a victim and are safely occupied.

An increased presence of police would make things safer. Not vigilantism.

* * *

Then there's an editorial about gay marriage. The first paragraph speaks in glowing terms about how nice it is that a few judges decided a law--passed with the approval of the people of California--is "unconstitutional" and therefore void.

...then it says that a governor of another state, directing state agencies to recognize as legitimate gay marriages performed in California, exceeded his authority, that he legalized gay marriage "by executive fiat".

What's the difference?

"We...see this as an issue which can't be forced on a deeply divided nation." What? Why not? You're happy that a court decided to force it on California, in spite of the fact that the people of California wanted a ban on gay marriage. A handful of judges made that decision. So if a governor in New York decides that a gay marriage in California is also legal in New York, what's the difference? Why can't he make that kind of decision? You admit that it's a decision you like, so why don't you support it?

After all, if the will of the people is wrong, does it really matter how it's subverted, as long as the progressive position wins out?

I don't know--that seems to be the kind of thinking from many on that side of the aisle, so I fail to understand how they can be against this. "Abuse of power"? People on my side of the aisle have been arguing that making law via judicial fiat is an abuse of power, and have been doing so for decades.

"State legislatures should at least attempt to build concensus and public support, and then courts can then weigh in."

Sure. Because, after all, if the state legislatures don't do the "right" thing--as was the case in California--the courts can make whatever law they want to.

* * *

Robert Novak today writes a devastating piece about Scott "I'm a Sorostitute!" McClellan's book. "The bland book proposal McLellan's agent unsuccessfuly hawked to publishers early in 2007 is not the volume now in bookstores. How and why McClellan changed is a story so far untold."

Simple: a Soros-owned publisher told him, "Look, you want to write a book and make money? This is what you have to say." And McClellan said to himself, "Self, WTF, I like money."

* * *

Krauthammer writes about how green is the new red. Someone, years ago, referred to die-hard eco-nazis as "watermelons: green on the outside, red on the inside", and it's an apt methaphor I've used lots since hearing it.

* * *

Oh, this is nice. They call it "jailbait" for a reason. But how much burden does the adult carry? If a girl claims to be 18, and you--as an adult man--have sex with her, and you then learn she's 13--is it your fault?

Apparently the answer is "yes". So before you have sex with that girl, ask to see her driver's license.

These two quotes are magnificent, taken together:

"'One of the reasons for the law is the fact that minors have poor judgment,' said Jerry Dean, the girl's father."


"Dean's family admits Alisha still stays out late and has yet to delete her misleading MySpace page."


* * *

Last night I watched some anime:

El Cazador
Code E
Da Capo
Hayate no Gotoku

The latter two series, ep 25 of each; the first three, ep 1. I'm watching Code E again because the sequal is starting in July! :D

I was going to watch Lamune ep 1 as well, but there are three versions of it on the hard drive and I guess I picked the wrong one. I downloaded three different batches but stopped two of them because they were taking approximately forever to download, and I think I picked one of those--"invalid file". *sigh* So, next time.

Anyway, I think I like Mokke and El Cazador. The latter is a SF-western set in a "world and time far away"; the first episode was pretty entertaining and cute girls are always a big plus.

* * *

Here it's 3 PM and I haven't done shit today. I haven't even mowed the front grass.

I got the back grass done in 40 minutes yesterday, including trimming with the push mower, which is damn fast. I love the riding mower.

The Awesome (the push mower) decided that it would no longer be self-propelled, probably in protest of being superseded; when I tried to engage the drive the front wheels would lock solid and not move, not even when I pushed the thing.

I still have to work out how to turn around when I reach the end of a row. The obvious choice is simply to drive in circles, but due to the configuration of foliage in the "East 40" that ends up looking like a Formula 1 track.

WTF, am I that damn lazy? Turning the steering wheel on a tractor is much easier than pushing a lawn mower--even the Awesome--so what's my beef?

Anyway, the front grass will take about 10, 15 minutes. So with the riding mower, I've chopped a 90-minute job down to about 55 minutes, which is not at all bad. That'll really be a blessing when it's 90 degrees outside.

* * *

Saturday morning, I saw a Corvette of recent manufacture, and the owner of the car had put a sticker on the rear bumper that said "LS1".

You know what? That's like proudly proclaiming that your Corvette has an engine in it. The LS1 is the base engine offered in the Corvette.

It's true that there is an option; simply check the "Z06" box on the order form and you'll get the so-called "King of the Hill" Corvette. It'll cost you--ten or fifteen thousand extra, as I recall, but I could be wrong--but you'll get a Corvette which outperforms the ordinary Corvette.

Or ship it to Lingenfelter--assuming they're still in business--with a check for $50,000, and they'll make your Corvette able to go 200 MPH.

The LS1 is a good engine, don't get me wrong, but if you've bought a Corvette it's nothing to brag about, as everyone else who bought a base Corvette (that's an oxymoron if I ever saw one) has the exact same thing.

Now, put "Z06" on the back of your 'Vette, that's another story...but if it's not actually a Z06 Corvette, you're going to get laughed at.

You know, if you're driving a bright red Corvette, isn't that enough of a penis extension for you? But it's not all that impressive--lots of people own Corvettes--and most people don't even know what "LS1" means anyway. The few people who do know what it means aren't going to be impressed by the fact that the guy is driving a car with a stock engine in it, and the 99% of people who don't know what it means won't be impressed either because it's just a couple letters and a number.

I should be used to people doing stupid things to customize their cars by now, damn it. Once you've seen a car ruined by the addition of a 9" lift kit and 25" wheels, anything else should merit a shrug.

I once saw a Pontiac LeMans--the rebadged Kia, I mean--given the lowrider treatment, with extra-wide wheels. WTF.

Next to stupid crap like that, a little "LS1" sticker on a Corvette should be nothing.

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