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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Rant and Raves at Car Talk

This week, I was browsing the Car Talk website and found this crazy argument against speed limits . Does this guy even understand what he is proposing? How dumb can you get?! Who is to determine who is good enough to drive at those high speeds any way? This guy most be a spokesperson for the oil industry and gets a huge bonus for his contribution to their bottom line. Just read what this attorney has to say.

The Demon Speed Limit

A Guest Rant by Lee Estes, Attorney

Dear Wackos,

I felt it was about time for me to speak up on behalf of all speed-loving red-blooded Americans. No, I don't mean amphetamines. I mean high-speed driving. A truly American art form. I know Europeans practically invented formula one racing, but speed in Europe is limited to the well-heeled. In America speed is truly democratic. Everyone can drive fast. And until 1974 everyone did. But then the government paid off the Arab states to deprive us of oil so the feds would have an excuse to shove the 55 mph speed limit down our four-barrel Holly carburetors.

So why am I telling you two? That should be obvious. Along with all of the other questionable "information" and "advice" dispensed on your show, you are also the NUMBER ONE national whiners about speed. HOW MANY times have I had to sit and listen to you wring your hands when some poor schmuck who, in the mistaken belief you will help him, mentions his automotive problem is more prevalent at higher speeds, and instead of being helped has to listen to you proselytize about demon speed. 1 A hundred years ago you two would be complaining about rum or prostitution or some other positive human good. But today, with the government having destroyed just about everything else that is fun, you two liberals have decided to pick on speed.

The real question is, Why this presidential campaign? Merely being liberals is probably sufficient. Alternatively, this may be your way of ingratiating yourselves with NPR and its generally liberal agenda. Of course, you have announced your tandem run for the presidency. Your tirade against vehicular speed could be nothing more than the typical politician's trick of manufacturing an issue. Regardless of why, I think you two have overplayed your hand this time.

Speed limits are in the news. And the question is how much higher they will go and when. 2 For once, common sense seems to be prevailing in this country. I would like you to consider the following points during the great upcoming speed limit debate that will sweep the country. In fact, if you jump on board and make this part of your presidential campaign, your victory will be assured.

Rule of the Dumbest Guy

This is one of the great guiding principles of human civilization. It appears in many forms and guises. Its application to the subject of speed limits should be obvious. Even to a couple of wackos like you two. Since a speed limit is intended for the "common good," 3 it must be set at such a speed that even the WORST driver (i.e., the dumbest guy) can safely negotiate the highway. Even if he's driving a 1963 Dodge Dart. 4 By definition almost ALL of us are not the WORST driver on the road. Therefore it is absurd, ridiculous, immoral, and unconstitutional to expect the rest of us to crawl on our mechanical bellies at speeds so slow anyone over the age of 18 will expire from advanced age before even the shortest trip can be completed.

Speed Limits Are Advisory Only

Traveling better than 30,000 miles per year, mostly in Michigan and none of it anywhere near the posted speed limit, I have made a startling discovery! Speed limits, at least in Michigan, are strictly advisory! They don't mean a damn thing. I discovered this through numerous occasions while traveling well in excess of the posted limit and being observed in flagrante delicto by a trooper who did NOTHING. It didn't take me too long to figure this out. We can drive whatever speed we want. This can mean only one thing: Our "boys in blue," "Michigan's finest," etc., know perfectly well speed limits are an act against humanity. They don't drive at the speed limit, so why should they expect us to! But that doesn't keep them from trying to fool us.

The posted limit is merely a suggestion. Suggested by the state police. Suggested, based on the Rule of the Dumbest Guy. Let's face it, police officers know how to drive fast. Faster than their recommended speed limits. They just put those ridiculously low numbers up to try and slow us down so they have all the fun of going fast. Don't fall for it. The speed limit is advisory only and you do not have to obey it.

Let us consider:

Stupid Arguments in Favor of Speed Limits

High speeds are dangerous.

HOGWASH! Driving as fast as possible makes me feel good. It's probably the only time I'm awake when I actually feel good. Maybe it's the endorphins. I don't know. But I do know I feel focused when traveling at triple-digit speeds. The degree of control over a car necessary to do this requires some degree of skill, and knowing I can do that makes me want more. It certainly gives me a well-deserved feeling of superiority over all those '63 Dodge Dart drivers I keep running off the road.

BALDERDASH! Why would high speeds be dangerous? First, the only criterion we use for deciding whether a given speed is "high" or not is the posted speed limit. 5 When you grasp this, you will hear the sound of one hand clapping.]. If we take the speed limits off, there will be no basis for saying what is high or low speed. Therefore, since high speed will no longer exist, high speed cannot be dangerous.

ROWRBAZZLE! 6 So what if high speeds are dangerous? Who wants to live forever, anyway? Especially if I have to do it driving the double nickel while ensconced in a Yugo for all eternity. No thanks. Give me a 200 mph wheeled bullet and a bridge abutment every time. Where's Achilles when we need him? 7 Hasn't anyone ever heard of live fast, die young, leave a good-looking corpse? Now there's an honest philosophy of life. I grew up in the sixties. In Detroit. Cruising Woodward Ave. and Bloody Telegraph, two streets well deserving of their reputations. If you couldn't move fast you were run over. Talk about improving the breed. Today most people are more worried about the number of cup holders in their econo-box than the horsepower. Or the quarter-mile time. WHERE ARE OUR PRIORITIES!?

Lower speed limits save gas.

Who CARES!? What's the point of saving gas? Denying ourselves the right to burn every gallon we want just means some future generation will use it. I say, better us than them. The sooner we burn ALL the gasoline, the sooner someone will have to take responsibility and produce an alternative fuel that is truly ecologically friendly. Let's face it, gasoline exhaust and the atmosphere don't mix. The sooner we burn up all available gasoline, the better. And what better way to burn gas than by going as fast as possible when our vehicles have their lowest fuel efficiency?

Great Arguments Against Speed Limits

This is America. The land of the FREE and the home of the BRAVE.

Well, that just about says it all. There are few things more "American" than cars. There is nothing more "American" than fast cars. What the hell is the purpose of being free and brave if you don't take advantage of these opportunities? Like anything else--"use it or lose it" Taking the speed limits off (at least on the Interstates) would be a great opportunity for everyone to exercise their all-American freedoms. Maybe if people started feeling more FREE and more BRAVE we would see other changes as well. I predict that if speed limits were banned, the rate of voter turnout in off-year elections would at least double. Illiteracy would be eliminated. 8 All crime would be eliminated.

Nobody obeys the damn things, anyway!

The logic of this argument couldn't be more perfect. Why do we make illegal what we all want to do? What sense does this make? Is this some kind of Freudian 9guilt trip in which we put ourselves through a catharsis of driving absurdly slow just to prove we're not as bad as we already know we are? This is too nuts even for characters like you two.
The proof of this argument lies in a Department of Transportation study performed at the expense of the American taxpayer. 10 As reported in Motorcyclist magazine, the DOT performed a simple study of the influence of posted speed limits on real-world behavior. What did a million or so taxpayer dollars find? Simply that there is little correlation between the posted limit and how fast people drive. People drive at the speed they feel most comfortable. During the study DOT measured actual speeds on a stretch of road. Then they raised, lowered and finally removed the speed limit signs all together. In each test the average speed remained the same!

What Should We Do Now?

All speed limits, at least on the interstates should be removed. Police officers currently being used for traffic enforcement should be reassigned to more useful tasks. Arresting criminals would be a good start. And, as Americans, we should all start breathing a little deeper and remembering what it means to take our own lives into our own hands and be responsible for ourselves. Instead of the government coddling most of us now depend on.
Removing the speed limit is not a license to maim and kill other citizens. No one has that right, and no one is suggesting we should have it. I am suggesting that speed limits are simply one more unnecessary intrusion into private lives by the government. Specifically, a government that thinks it knows how to live YOUR life better than YOU do!
Overall, I would give your show a 9.5 because it's got a good beat and is easy to dance to.

Lee Estes Attorney
P.S. I happen to know the real Attorney Cheatham you two always malign. If you want to meet him I can arrange it. No kidding.
1 How's that for a sentence.
2 Raising the speed limit is an acceptable stop gap measure before total removal.
3 A true nonsequitur if ever there was one.
4This is, admittedly, redundant, since what else would the dumbest guy drive.?
5This is heavy stuff Zen Master. When you grasp this you will hear the sound of one hand clapping.
6Pronounced rowr-bazzle. A guttural sound intended to express one's outrage at all the bone-heads and cretins whose whining constantly suck the life out of you.
7I know he's dead. That's the point. If he wasn't dead, we wouldn't remember him anyway.
8At least the crime of "excessive speed" with all those messy points.
10Who else?

First of all, most Americans cannot afford the kind of cars that can safely handle that kind of speed. Especially with the economy in the kind of shape that it is in, with good, high paying jobsbeing outsourced overseas. BMWs and Mercedes are more than a little out of reach for the average American.

Second, most American roads are not built for that kind of speed. The interstate system, as it was originally envisioned, was loosely based on the German Autobahn. The problem is that Americans like things cheap. This includes our road system. Our road system is roughly half as thick as the German system.

Third, Even if they could afford BMW and Mercedes, most Americans are not trained to handle the speeds that the author is proposing. When I took driver's education, it only lasted four weeks. That is simply not enough time behind the wheel to really learn how to drive. It is true that anybody can drive fast. Not everyone can do it safely. Add to that the fact that many are too distracted (cell phones and such) to really pay attention to what is going on outside their cars. These people usually are too distracted (again cell phones) to pay attention to where they are going any way, driving or riding bikes or even walking!

If you really like driving fast, the best place to go would the German Autobahn. Go as fast as you want on roads built to handle the speed. Smooth as a baby's bottom.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Blackberry as "Crackberry"

In addition to cell phones, there is another device out there that other people are becoming addicted to. It is the ubiquitous Blackberry, and it has become so large a part of our society that people have started using their Blackberries while driving their cars. As if there is not enough to distract your attention from the road. It is as though people are addicted to being connected to the world. It may seem that time behind the wheel is down time, but the exact opposite is true. Time behind the wheel requires a certain amount of responsibility and, whats more, it is also a privilege. Here is an interesting on the subject.

Blackberry email devices can be so addictive that owners may need to be weaned off them with treatment similar to that given to drug users, experts warned today.

They said the palmtop gadgets, which have been nicknamed 'crackberries' because users quickly become hooked on them, could be seriously damaging to mental health.

The study, carried out by New Jersey's Rutgers University School, claims the Blackberry is fuelling a rise in email and internet addiction, with sufferers able to survive only a few minutes without checking for new mail.

One key sign of a user being addicted is if they focus on their Blackberry ignoring those around them.

The gadget, which combines a phone with internet access, was launched in 1999 and quickly hailed a lifesaver, allowing fraught businessmen to access their emails anywhere.

It quickly gained a huge celebrity fanbase which includes chef Gordon Ramsay, footballer Freddie Ljungberg and model Lizzie Jagger.

But the effects of becoming addicted to the device can be 'devastating', said Professor Gayle Porter who led the study.

She added: 'Employers provide programmes to help workers with chemical or substance addictions. 'Addiction to technology can be equally damaging to a worker's mental health'.

Imagine, an electronic device with the addictive of a narcotic. Businessmen just cannot seem to be able to put them down. The wireless companies and makers of the Blackberry are just like drug cartels, making a killing of them.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Major Scammer Alert!!!!!!!!!!!

I just got this email from a company called Plug in Sales.If many of you have seen their sales pitch, they used it before. Theirs is the same information as a company called Fast 2 Cash. Many of their appraisals are exactly the same. They just use a different name.

Friday, August 18, 2006

The power of imagery

Hezbollah and Hamas are not stupid. They definitely know how to use the power of imagery. People believe what they see on television. And what they see on television is so easy to fake. Anybody who knows anything about special effects can fool most people. Just ask the people who thought that the Earth was being invaded when The War of The Worlds was broadcast over the radio in the 1930s.

These people just can't stand the thought of a free, democratic nation who happens to be doing better economically than they are.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The trouble with the Middle East

The Middle East is home to some of the most intolerant Islamic fundamentalists in the world. They always feel that the only solution to their problems is the elimination of the Isrealis, whether they be Hebrew Isrealis or Arab Isrealis. All these nutcases live for is the killing of Jews and Americans (and whoever else they don't agree with).

So what is their solution?

Their solution is the destruction of Isreal. Of course, Adolf Hitler had the same idea, as did the Japanese. Any body remember what we did to both of their countries? Hmmm?

We pretty much leveled Nazi Germany. The Japanese got the Bomb.

In the Six Day War, in 1967, Egypt, Syria, and Jordan had the bright idea to attack Isreal. They almost won. But in the end, they got their butts handed to the on a plate. That is when Isreal took the Golan Heights. They had to do this to protect their population.

Again, in 1973( the year I was born), Jordan, Syria, and Egypt attacked in what is now known as the Yom Kippur War. It was called that because the militaries of these three countries attacked on the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. The war started the same way, and ended the same way.

Now, forward to 1982, the same countries attack Isreal again. But this time, something was different. Isreal just rolled them from the start.

Could it be that their fundamental hatred of Isreal stems from the fact that every time they attacked in the past, Isreal was able to fight them off? Or could it be the fact that, while their economies are crumbling, Isreal's is growing?

Next to the United States, has the second largest economy in the world. Per capita, they have the most phds in the world. The Isrealis also lead the world in the number of start-up businesses. What have their Arab neighbors done to better themselves?

The answer: Hamas and Hesbollah.

Now, it is true that in their native countries they provide food for the needy. That is a great humanitarian organization at work. It is the other part that is causing the problem. That is the militant side. That is the side that calls for the destruction of Isreal and America. And it is Hesbollah that has brought this war upon Lebanon. If Hamas and Hesbollah had not attacked Isreal in the first place, Isreal would not have had to attack into Lebanon.

That is the problem with these Islam Fundalmentalists. They never seem to learn from their past mistakes.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Big Brother has arrived

For the conspiracy theorists, heed this warning: Big Brother has been here for years! Time Magazine has posted this article. It concerns the use of EDRs or Event Data Recorders that record car data in the 20 seconds preceding a collision. The data is used to determine the events leading up to an accident and determine who is at fault. I think that you will find this interesting.

It was nearly 11 on a balmy June night in Muttontown, a New York City suburb. Two teenagers raced fast cars down a tree-lined thoroughfare. The 19-year-old, home from freshman year at Tulane University, steered a new Mercedes with a license plate that read 4MRNICE. The 17-year-old, a high school junior, accelerated a two-year-old Corvette. At an intersection, within a second of each other, both cars smashed into a red Jeep, killing a nurse and her fiancé. At the hospital, one of the youths told a detective they were driving 50 m.p.h. to 55 m.p.h.

But unbeknownst to the teens and their families, there was a hidden witness to the race. A palm-size microcomputer, embedded in the Corvette's air-bag system, revealed that the car was traveling 139 m.p.h. The data, downloaded by police after the vehicle was impounded, convinced a grand jury to indict the youths on murder charges, based on "depraved indifference to human life." In the end, they pleaded guilty to manslaughter and assault, and are now serving a three-year prison term. "The minute the prosecutors had the speed from the 'black box,' they upped the charges to murder," says Richard Slade, whose son Blake was driving the Mercedes. "They had what they needed to force a plea down our throats."

Few Americans realize that their cars can tattle on them. But among those in the know--civil libertarians, law enforcement agents and consumer advocates--a debate is surging over the black boxes technically called event-data recorders (EDRs). While some welcome them as a safety measure, others fear them as an Orwellian intrusion. Nearly one-third of vehicles on the road today--and 64% of this year's models--contain the little-noticed chips and sensors. Unlike flight recorders on airplanes, these microcomputers don't capture voices, but they can retain up to 20 seconds of data on speed, braking and acceleration in the lead-up to a crash. For virtually all Ford and General Motors cars, and for a few models from other automakers, accident investigators can buy a modem-like device to plug laptops into EDRs and download the information.This week, the Federal Government is expected to issue rules requiring automakers to standardize the recorders and make the information uniformly downloadable with commercial software. Thus, some manufacturers who have guarded black-box data as proprietary will have to make it accessible. In a nod to critics, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration would also mandate that the devices be disclosed to car buyers.

The new regulations are likely to make the black boxes better known and therefore even more controversial. Some consumer advocates, such as Public Citizen's Joan Claybrook, want tougher rules compelling automakers to install EDRs in every car because objective crash data will lead to the design of safer cars and highways. Privacy activists want the government to prevent police and insurance companies from checking drivers' black boxes without permission. "We have a surveillance monster growing in our midst," says Barry Steinhardt of the American Civil Liberties Union. "These black boxes are going to get more sophisticated and take on new capabilities."

Such fears have prompted 10 states, beginning with California in 2004, to pass laws obliging automakers to tell buyers if their vehicles have recorders; the laws also restrict the downloading of data without car owners' consent. Eleven other states are considering similar legislation.

Meanwhile, in Congress, Representatives Mary Bono, a Republican from California, and Massachusetts Democrat Michael Capuano are sponsoring a House bill that would allow people to turn off their recorders--a provision that would require a complex redesign of air-bag systems. If EDRs are eventually installed in cars that can retain more than several seconds of data, says Bono, "information could be collected about our driving habits, and we might not even know it is happening."

Actually, such electronic snooping is already occurring in a limited way. Some transport companies equip their trucks with black boxes that can continuously record the hours and driving patterns of employees. Similar monitors are used by fleet owners for company cars. And parents can purchase devices for their teenagers' cars that capture up to 300 hours of data, downloadable onto a personal computer. Even more intrusively, the software can trigger alarms when the teenager exceeds a certain speed. But automakers would find it too expensive and unpopular to routinely install long-term recorders, insists W.R. Haight, an EDR expert and the director of San Diego's Collision Safety Institute: "Only paranoid alarmist pinheads suggest this technology could be expanded to spy on our everyday driving."

Nonetheless, privacy advocates are concerned that black boxes combined with global positioning systems, which will soon be common in automobiles, could lead to real-time surveillance, with police issuing speeding tickets for infractions never witnessed in person and insurance companies raising rates based on electronically supervised driving patterns. In what some see as a slippery slope, Ohio-based Progressive Insurance has offered 3.6 million customers the possibility of a $100 annual rebate if they install black boxes that gather six months of data and share that information. The theory: drivers proven safe should pay lower premiums.
But what if companies eventually demand access to EDR data before insuring your car? Last year North Dakota and Arkansas passed laws barring the use of black boxes to set rates or settle claims. What's important is to have a choice of whether to be monitored, says Robert Talley of the National Motorists Association. "Sometimes you just like the idea of being free in a free country."

But while politicians debate exactly how to deploy the devices, police and prosecutors are embracing them as a revolutionary tool. And in at least 19 states, judges have admitted the data as evidence in criminal trials. In Arizona, a Roman Catholic bishop was convicted in a hit-and-run accident after his car's black box showed that he had braked before impact, indicating that he had seen the pedestrian. A Massachusetts woman was sentenced to two years in prison after her SUV skidded on ice and hit a tree, killing her passenger. The car's recorder proved she was traveling 58 m.p.h. in a 40 m.p.h. zone. In Georgia, after a train hit a car, the lone auto survivor sued the railroad for $12 million. But a jury threw out the case when the car's EDR revealed it had halted on the tracks before the crash.

Black boxes exonerate drivers too: a Fort Myers, Fla., man was acquitted of reckless speeding, despite a witness's testimony that he was traveling over 90 m.p.h., because his truck's black box registered only 60 m.p.h.

In a Nassau County, N.Y., courtroom last year, almost everyone wept when Blake Slade and Kyle Soukup were sentenced to three years in prison. The youths cried as they apologized. The families of the betrothed who died in the Muttontown crash spoke of justice and forgiveness. Even the judge dabbed his eyes and choked up.

But the prosecution and the defense remain bitterly divided over the role of the black box. Slade's father Richard calls it "a violation of civil rights," while the assistant district attorney, Michael Walsh, praises it as "the strongest piece of evidence in the case." Neither had heard of EDRs before the crash, but today both agree on one point: motorists should be aware that their cars have recorders, and it's to be hoped that the knowledge will encourage them to drive safely. "Otherwise," Slade warns, "the black box can come back to haunt you."

If someone is not doing anything wrong, they should not have anything to worry about. Some people who have gotten used to getting away with whatever they want while driving their cars. Needless to say, those days will soon be long gone. People won't be able to lie their way out of getting a ticket.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Some funny pictures

I was searching for content for this blog when I came across these pictures. I thought these would make an interesting addition to my blog. These photos, though quite funny, show the dangers of driving while talking on a cell phone.