atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#1858: Bernanke? BERNANKE?

Ben Bernanke is Time's person of the year? Why? know, I'm not so sure I want to know the answer to that. I need my brain cells, and I have a feeling that the answer to "why Ben Bernanke" would kill 'em by the billion.

Apparently Obama was in the running; how did he lose to Bernanke? Was it his Afghanistan policy?

* * *

Dennis exults in a good week.

* * *

Cop fired. He was speeding without lights and sirens--84 mph--and hit another car, and the people in the other car died.

Neither this article nor the one linked say what the posted speed limit was in the area where the cop was speeding. A shopping mall area--the speed limit could be anything from 30 to 45 MPH if it were in Illinois.

Watching the video several times, and keeping my eyes on the right side of the video frame, I saw a speed limit sign go past that said "40" on it. So this cop was going forty-four miles an hour over the speed limit in a non-emergency situation.

Watching the video we see that the victims of this cop's arrogant behavior ("I'm a cop; I don't have to obey the speed limit!") made a perfectly legal left turn in front of him. In all probability the kid driving the car did not realize the cop was driving so fast. (The video came from another police car which hit 72 in that 40 zone shortly before the collision.)

Even kids who are safe drivers--yes, there are some!--don't have the experience to recognize when an oncoming car is moving too damn fast. The kid can be excused, because who the hell is expecing any oncoming car to be driving at twice the posted limit? It's a mistake anyone could make.

If that cop had been driving somewhere close to the posted limit he could have pulled them over and ticketed the driver for failure to yield or some nonsense, and the kid would have had a chance to learn from his mistake. But because of the cop's excessive speeding, those kids are dead.

Firing's too good for him; I'd say "vehicular manslaughter" charges are in order, myself.

* * *

Speaking of speeders: Sorry, Neal; I disagree.

Neal Boortz is upset that Georgia has a new penalty for people who drive faster than 85 MPH on superhighways and over 75 on two-lane roads--an extra $200 fine--and explains why.

I'm not sure what the speed limits are in Georgia for the big roads, but I do know that federal guidelines say that you can't have a two-lane road with a limit higher than 55. If you're driving 20 MPH over the limit on a two-lane highway, you deserve to be ticketed for it.

Look, the speed limit is the speed limit. Just because everyone on the road is breaking the law does not mean the law is invalid; clearly the penalty for speeding is too low and it needs to be raised. If you can't drive in the right lane at the speed limit without causing all the things Neal says will happen, then something needs to be done about enforcing the law and making penalties that stick--or else the law should be repealed entirely.

Controlling speeding is really pretty simple; the hard part is the politics.

1) Ban radar detectors. Ban any device intended to help people skirt the law. No LIDAR or radar detectors allowed means people don't know when there's a police car just around the curve.

2) Mandatory sentences for speeding. The first offense in a set period (six months, a year, whatever) can be given a lenient sentence, as everyone makes mistakes, and we want the first offense to be a reminder: obey the speed limit. (Unless the driver was speeding excessively, in which case the second offense penalties apply.) Court supervision, yada yada.

The second offense brings a harsher penalty: a good-sized fine, mandatory and immediate placement of the offense on the driver's record, no court supervision.

The third offense means a big fine ($1,000?) and losing your license for a year. No exceptions.

You make it harsh and you make it stick, and people will stop speeding.

* * *

So did you hear Dingy Harry Reid say that the Senate will go right up to Christmas Eve if it has to in order to pass ObamaCare?

If I were a Republican Senator, I would say, "Hey, I'm a Republican! You guys don't need me here for your socialized medicine circle-jerk. You guys enjoy yourselves; I'll be at home sipping eggnog."

I honestly don't know why the GOP doesn't just back off and say, "We're not voting for any of this. The Democrats have control of both houses of Congress and they don't need us. If they want socialized medicine that badly, they should be able to accomplish it without our help. They certainly have not wanted any of our help or input so far."

I'm not kidding; the Democrats can't get their shit together because it's a crappy bill that no one likes--no one but the President, who needs it in order to be able to show that he actually did something during his first year in office. (State of the Union speech is coming up, don't you know, and his base isn't going to like "We're moving forward in Afghanistan." Those people wanted all wars over on 1/20/09.)

But it seems some Democrats are getting heavy-handed with trying to make some Senators fall in line. Closing Offutt Air Force Base would be a hard knock for Nebraska.

The big deal right now is that the Senate has "gutted" the bill, that the public option has been removed--but it really hasn't.

We haven't seen Reid's bill yet. Reid wants an up-or-down vote on his bill but hasn't produced so much as a single page of the thing. (What happened to "transparency"?) We don't know what's in it, and if he has his druthers Reid will keep it that way until after the thing has been voted on. They are saying that the bill now contains no public option nor a medicare buy-in, but there's no proof of that one way or another because we can't see the text of the bill.

Voting on a bill which is still being written means once the thing's been passed, then Reid can say, "Here's the bill we passed!" and we're stuck with whatever he's decided to include in the thing, up to and including party hats for every Democrat in the United States. Public option, fascist health care, the whole schmeer in government hands and under government control.

What? There'd be nothing anyone could do about it. Once you have cast a vote and a measure has been passed, you can't un-vote for it. "Dirty tricks" don't matter to someone who is after total control of 1/7th of the largest economy in the world. The Democrats who oppose this crap could whine and moan about it, but they'd lack the votes to do anything meaningful about it.

The Democrats know they have to do this now if they are going to manage to do it at all in the next four years. They know it, because next year is an election year and they have to back away from this highly unpopular bullshit as fast as they can in order to save their seats--and at that they know there are going to be casualties. If they want to avoid hemhorraging seats they've got to pass it now, because next year they can't support anything as controversial as this.

Nancy Pelosi is telling her minions that next year the House won't vote on anything controversial before the Senate does--she wouldn't be saying that if she thought the American public was behind all this nonsense. Democrats can read polls too.

"If it's so unpopular, why are they doing this?" You might ask. Democrats are doing it because they want the power. 1/7th of the American economy is not chicken feed, and Congress derives all its power from the power to tax and spend. If government controls the health care industry, they can control everything else.

How about levying taxes on dangerous or unhealthy things? Right now there's no good legal authority for it; but if Congress has to meet a medical budget every year, all kinds of things that have an impact on health could be taxed:
* Motorcycles
* soft drinks
* fast food
* antique cars
* red meat
* boats
* sports equipment
* BBQ grills--
"Sports equipment?" You ask incredulously. "But that would encourage exercise, which is good for you!" Yes, exercise is good for you. But people who go skiiing or snowboarding can sustain injuries. How many people drown in water skiiing accidents every year? Do football players manage an injury-free lifestyle?

Guns can be considered "sports equipment". Expect new and draconian limits on guns as a way of cost-control for ObamaCare.

"Antique cars"? Older cars don't have the safety equipment newer ones do; they are less safe than new cars, for various reasons. (Racing--sanctioned racing--will see increased taxes, too.)

Under the exact same legal theory which the government currently uses to justify seat belt laws, helmet laws, and high taxes on cigarettes, the government will be able to justify limiting, prohibiting, or taxing anything which might possibly have an affect on a person's health.

It's about power and control.

"It doesn't do the Democrats any good if they lose Congress," you protest, and you are partially correct; add the words "right now and you're completely correct. It doesn't do the Democrats any good right now if they lose control of Congress, even if they do get this abortion passed into law. But right now is only right now, and sooner or later the Democrats can regain control of Congress--and when they do, they'll be there to stay.

* * *

The idea of a deposit on drink containers is not new. But I'm not even remotely surprised that the California government is so broke it can't pay that deposit back. ET makes a good point that it's essentially a tax.

In a larger sense, it points out everything that's wrong with how government handles money. Social Security, for example: there is no "trust fund", no "lockbox"; every dollar government takes in is thrown into a general fund and spent. The IOUs accumulate in the SS "lockbox" but an IOU is not cash. Now the government is broke--beyond broke--and Obama and the Democrats are piling on the debt.

At a time when the single largest demographic in US history is on the verge of retiring, expecting that money to be there.

Yeah, this is going to end well.

* * *

God love George Will. "And the president pushing this agenda has, with his incontinent hunger for attention, seen his job approval vary inversely with his ubiquity." "Incontinent hunger"? George Will is literate enough that I know he wrote what he meant to write, so that's just a hell of a phrase: Obama is so eager for attention he's practically pissing himself.

And Will sums up what Republican strategy ought to be rather nicely in his last paragraph:
Republicans can win in 2009 by stopping the bill, or in 2010 by saying: Unpopular health legislation passed because of a 60-40 party-line decision to bring it to a Senate vote. Therefore each incumbent Democrat is responsible for everything in the law.
* * *

It's 3 PM on the Thursday before Christmas. I'm sitting here wishing I had the energy to do something constructive. *sigh* Oh well.

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