Friday, March 6, 2009

How To Drive

Today, I'm gonna steer clear of politics and the economy and the like, as I want to carefully structure my future posts to increase the clarity and effectiveness of my argument..

I declared my relative political naivete in my opening post, and I'm trying (I really really am!) to pour myself into it. I'm studying many different perspectives, and I encourage all to do the same. A good place for that would be my friend Eric Stein's blog. America was built on diversity of political perspective. We have many viewpoints, and most of us have the same desired end result. A prosperous America. (definitions of which certainly vary). No one I know, however, wants to live in a disastrous, failure of a country.

How To Drive a Car.

Look- I'm going to take it for granted that you know how to open the door, start the car, and actually make it move. Changing gears, braking, accelerating.. this is not what I will address. If you don't know those things.. well- this isn't for you.

I don't own a car. I walk and take public transportation most of the time, and I drive. I borrow my sister's car when necessary, or my girlfriend's truck, and I belong to Zipcar's car-sharing service. I drive much less than this time last year, but- I'm still on the roads enough to know what I'm talkin' about. These 'helpful tips' you'll read were once taught in public and private driver's education classes, but either are ignored, forgotten, or possibly, just plain aren't taught anymore. Many of these will be dismissed by the reader with a simple, "I know this stuff. Common sense!"

If you practice these, maybe you could help enlighten some other folks?

  • Your turn signal indicates to other drivers that you wish to move your car in a specific direction. NOT that you actually are moving in that direction. They can see that without your turn signal. I see many people trying to change lanes, looking for the opening in the mirror, turning their head, even muttering, 'C'monnnn, lemme in.. lemme in..' All the while, their hand is hovering on the turn signal lever. THEN, when the opening is there, they turn the signal on and move over. WTF? How does this make sense? Logically, the turn signal will create the opening. Don't expect the other drivers to read your mind, or see you strain and swerve to get in. Indicate your desire to move with your indicator. Used 'after the fact' when you're already moving to the space is gratuitous. If they can't see your entire vehicle moving into the lane in front of you, well then- a blinker won't fix that.
  • If you are not the fastest driver on the road, or are moving slower than the rest of traffic flow, stay out of the left lane. It is not for you. Drive in the right lanes, and when you come upon a driver slower than you, signal, then pass on the left. Once you've overcome the slower driver, return to the right lane in front of him and continue. Repeat. Don't be one of the sticklers in the left lane hollering, "the speed limit is 60, buddy!". Let the faster guy behind you pass. Don't force him to pass on the right. It's less safe to do so in left hand drive vehicles. If a driver comes up behind you in the left (fast) lane, don't be offended if he flashes his lights, as this is understood road etiquette to ask for you to move right. If they flash you, he or she is communicating. They understand there's no mind reading...
  • I see drivers get angry when merging drivers drive all the way up the merging lane to the very end, and then 'barge' their way in. Why is this? Probably the offended driver who is being 'intruded' upon merged into that lane far sooner than their offending counterpart, and has waited much longer to reach that merge area. (Thinking this is the right thing to do.) Usually, the reaction is to make it difficult for the driver who waited less time and drove to the end of the merging lane. This is just stupid. Why would traffic engineers design and construct a merging lane that wasn't intended to be used to the fullest? Do they allow an extra 500 feet that only assholes are supposed to use? People who block the merging lane trying to get in early and wait longer makes no sense at all, and it impedes traffic flow further. Use the whole merge lane. That's why it is there. Don't punish others for your stupidity.

Anyone have more 'tips' to add? I'd love to hear your 2 cents..

Sunday, March 1, 2009


I want to continue some of my thoughts from my last installment before I move on to new topics.

I am a libertarian. Any of my facebook friends would know this, as I am often wont to scream it from my soapbox. I am also a Libertarian. That capital letter distinguishes the political philosophy, which is very broad in it's definition, from the organized political party, which is much more narrowly defined. All Libertarians are libertarian, but not the other way around. For more info on the party, visit, or explore the Cato Institute, which is very much aligned with the party. The Libertarian Party fits me closer than any other of the non-major parties philosophically. I am, at least for now, encouraging you to explore your options to the donkeys and the elephants, be it us Libertarians, or any other. I may, and most likely will, encourage you to 'go to the light' and get behind the LP. For now- anyone but the 2 biggies!

I mentioned the 'throwing away your vote' argument posed by the keepers of the status quo. I've found a nice little analogy for this in one of my online groups-

Suppose for a moment you are a death row prisoner facing execution. It is known that you have a 46% chance of dying by lethal injection, a 49% chance of frying in the electric chair, and a 5% chance that you will escape unharmed. Would you choose one of the first two options, simply because one of those is the more likely outcome?

Also in my last post- I was a bit vague about the Republicans (especially concerning the W administration) and why people hate them enough to vote whatever Democrat the donkeys put in the race. Well, all I can tell you is what bothers ME about them..

First- and I'll just touch on this until I learn more, and as always opposing viewpoints are welcome and encouraged.
Bush gave $350,000,000,000 to the banks with the 'promise' that they'd lend it to the American people, American businesses, and each other. The Bush 'Stimulus'. Well, they didn't loan it, and we said, "Dang!". No oversight, no plan in place to ensure they acted as promised. The money's now gone, and WE are on the hook for it. The banks need more money now to survive, and they're gonna get it in the form of the newly created TARP, the Troubled Assets Relief Program. Similar to the Bush setup, but with much more oversight, restriction, and enforcement. If a bank takes the TARP money, well, essentially the federal government is now a business partner, and they'll 'make sure' the money flows into the economy. This is the 'Nationalization' of our banks (read: Socialism). I am against this whole thing, but, If powerless to stop it, I'm certainly glad it's being carefully watched. (How careful? Watched by whom? I'll give my thoughts on that either later in this post, or an upcoming one.)

Second- the whole foreign war/big 'defense' budget scenario typical of elephant regimes. $.30 of every tax dollar goes to our nation's defense budget. I am a proponent of a small peace-time military, and calling upon every able-bodied person to help defend America in times of war, when we are threatened, or attacked. This is how it was during the World Wars. World War II was already being waged without us. We didn't 'jump-in' to save anyone, we were attacked before we entered the 'Big One'. We had a small voluntary military in peacetime, and, as when we were attacked on 9/11, the patriots came out and we were united as a nation to fend off the scourge that picked the fight. This is the 'militia' the Founding Fathers described in the 2nd amendment to our constitution. Every citizen is a member of the militia. We ALL have an obligation to defend ourselves, and our non able-bodied fellow citizens; our country. I am pro-draft in wartime, because the American people are more apt to fight for a genuine cause, i.e. our own safety; the preservation of our freedoms, than any BS war the federal government wishes to engage in, if ALL of OUR sons and daughters were called up to fight. The Viet Nam War protests, the largest wartime protest in this country's history, abruptly ended when the draft did, not when the war ended. If all of us or someone close to us is called up to go fight a war, you can bet the protest will be much larger, unless Americans are comfortable with the cause we are fighting for. WWII- we were attacked. Americans decided we needed to do something about it. Not just Congress. All Americans. Viet Nam- different story. Americans were right to decide this war wasn't a cause worth fighting for, more specifically sending OUR sons and daughters to fight for. It's easier to send someone else to fight. But 'not ME!' Everyone was affected. Not just our 'troops'. Stopping the spread of Communism. As if Ho Chi Minh's next target for consumption was US, the U.S.A. No organized military in the world would DARE attempt an invasion of the U.S. Americans know this. Cowardly attack us, yes, but invasion, attempted takeover, no. Vietnam was a Bullshit war, and when they drafted Americans to fight it, widespread protest occurred, because "it might be me that goes next and I'm perfectly safe here at home. No one is attacking us here". Viet Nam War protests were much larger than the protests of the Iraqi War. That's because it's easier to send 'troops' overseas, than it is the rest of our sons and daughters. We do not need to interfere with other nations, friendly, rogue, or in-between. (Militarily that is- I'm a proponent of free world trade) Our meddling in foreign nations' own affairs is a big part of why we were attacked on 9/11. I believe that third of our tax dollars is better spent here at home, NOT keeping a military presence in 150 countries in the world, with bases numbering more than 1000.This only sounds radical in the sense that the feds have manufactured consent in America. How often is Switzerland threatened by terrorism? Are they under 'Orange Alert'? They have the same 'western' freedoms we do. I will expand on why and how we became a country in a constant state of war since WWII soon. Of course, it's mostly economic. A large, full time military was once a boon to the economy, and now we must keep it up for fear of real (and yes, painful) change. Anyone got a war that needs fighting? If not, we'll find one. Someone needs protecting, somewhere..
What do YOU think? I am interested in all viewpoints. That being said, let's get Bin Laden, try him, and get the f*** out of foreign countries.

Something I heard on the Dave Ramsey show on Fox Business channel (the first and only time I've seen his show) that I agree with wholeheartedly- What, other than our military, which is chock full of brave, dedicated great men and women, does the federal government run efficiently? I can't think of anything. This is who we want running our banks and major corporations? This is who we want to provide our health care? Oversee spending? Gimme a break.

In future posts: the IRS's extortion, endless expensive government regulation, and our President's timeline for troop withdrawal from Iraq (excluding the 50000 that are staying.)

See y'all next time. Thanks for reading, commenting, and rollin' with me.