Electric cars

While I’m on the subject, everyone goes on about how an electric car saves you money, and officially the .GOV is pushing companies to try to find a way to save oil (at least they keep saying they are), but there’s a side to getting rid of gas burning cars (or any kind of fuel burning vehicle) that I think the general public tends to forget about.  The federal government, and most (if not all) states, make quite a bit of money off of gas taxes that are paid at the pump.  So what happens when that source of income dries up? 

Well, things like this.  At first glance it makes sense.  You use the roads you  should pay a tax to help pay for repairs…..right?  But how are they going to collect this information? 

Most, if not all, new cars already have a black box of some sort that records a few seconds of data in the case of a crash, but in order to track your miles driven it would have to keep track of much more AND send that information off to the government periodically.  You don’t even have to be paranoid to see ways for this to be abused, and thats just by the folks who would legally have a right to the info.  What happens when some crook figures out how to access the data and uses it against you in some way?

Addicted to what now??

Go and read Marko’s post:

I’m not addicted to oil. I’m addicted to being able to drive into town on my own schedule. I’m addicted to being able to haul home a week’s worth of groceries with two little kids in tow without having to wait for the fucking bus with eighty pounds of filled plastic bags in my hands. (That’s disregarding the fact that I live out in the sticks, and the nearest bus stop is four miles away, which is one hell of a hike with the aforementioned two little kids and week’s worth of groceries.)

And that pretty much sums it up.  Ok, I don’t have kids, but public transportation doesn’t run anywhere CLOSE to where I live, sure I could bike to the closest stop, but it’d be an hour ride one way, then, since the public transportation system here sucks, it would be a couple hours on the bus to get where I’m going, and considering what winter looks like here its rather not an option between November and April.  Rinse repeat for the ride home.  Sure I could put baskets on the bike to carry stuff, but again, there’s no where that close to ride too.  Closest pharmacy (that carry’s some groceries at a high price) is a 15 minute drive away, closest grocery store is a 20 minute drive in the opposite direction.  And yes, thats DRIVING, in a CAR, mostly at speeds of 55mph.  Ok true it was my decisions to buy a house in the boonies, but the closer in to the city the more cramped you are, the smaller the house, and the more it cost so that didn’t make sense either.

They get around to making an electric car that I can charge off a wind turbine or solar panel in less than 8 hrs, that’ll run more than long enough to not only get me to work and back but also run some errands in between,  THEN I’ll buy an electric car.  In the mean time even the hybrids are so high priced as to be ridiculous and don’t get THAT much better gas mileage then my Caliber that I bought for about 1/2 the price of the hybrid!

Internet Access as a Basic Human Right

Apparently the UN has decided that internet access is a basic human right. 

First off a little disclaimer.  I am firmly in the group that MUST have internet access.  If I can’t check my email at least a couple times a day I got into withdrawal (really, I get irritable, and snappy, and no one wants to deal with me), and never mind not being able to wander through the various sites I regularly visit.

But do I think that internet access is a basic right?? No!  You don’t need internet to survive, withdrawal symptoms or not. 

Having said that, do I think our government has the right to shut down the internet itself, or any website on it, without having proved that the site broke the law?  Nope!  Now from what I’m reading that may be what the UN was trying to get it when they made this decision, but a “basic human right” it is not!

It just keeps getting worse……

I hope you don’t live in Newton County IN:

According to Newton County Sheriff, Don Hartman Sr., random house to house searches are now possible and could be helpful following the Barnes v. STATE of INDIANA Supreme Court ruling issued on May 12th, 2011. When asked three separate times due to the astounding callousness as it relates to trampling the inherent natural rights of Americans, he emphatically indicated that he would use random house to house checks, adding he felt people will welcome random searches if it means capturing a criminal.


So a few days ago I posted about how in Indy the state SCJ decided it was illegal to resist police entering your residence without a warrant.  And I commented about how I wasn’t moving to Indiana anytime soon.

Yah, so in today’s news I see this:

The high court case tested the reach of the Fourth Amendment guarantee that police enter a home only when they have grounds to suspect wrongdoing and get a warrant from a judge.  A key exception — at issue here — arises when police believe evidence is being destroyed or some other emergency is underway……..The question for the Supreme Court was whether police may enter a home based on those “exigent,” or urgent, circumstances if officers have essentially created those circumstances, for example, by causing occupants to panic and try to destroy drug evidence by flushing it down a toilet…………….Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the majority, said police act properly if they “do not gain entry to premises by means of an actual or threatened violation of the Fourth Amendment.” Alito stressed that residents do not have to open their door to police, but if they generate suspicious noises inside, they create grounds for officers to enter……….Occupants who choose not to stand on their constitutional rights but instead elect to attempt to destroy evidence have only themselves to blame for the warrantless exigent-circumstances search that may ensue.”…………Dissenting alone in Kentucky v. King, Ginsburg wrote, “In lieu of presenting their evidence to a neutral magistrate, police officers may now knock, listen, then break the door down, nevermind that they had ample time to obtain a warrant.”

So basically the police knock on my door, announce they’re the police, and then hear a noise they deem (in their professional opinion) to be suspicious they now have grounds for breaking and entering.  Regardless of whether or not I was actually DOING anything illegal.  Yah, I have a problem with that.

Dog Specific Legislation

Last year (2010) a city not to far from where I went to college enacted a piece of breed specific legislation.  Specifically that any “pitbull” must be muzzled when leaving the house.  Now I did scan the law itself, but I didn’t read every line, I’m not a lawyer and legaleze gives me a headache, so I’m not going to promise I’m getting every single fact right.

Also, before I go any further, this is one of those “hot button” type issues, SO, if you’re going to comment or enter discussion here on this topic keep it polite.  Flaming, or posts that I decide approach flaming too closely, will be deleted.  If you’re one of those folks who supports your side of the issue so staunchly that you cannot even see someone comment on the other side with out trying to prove them wrong as firmly and loudly as possible because “they’re WRONG!!!” don’t bother to post here.  I’ve yet to see one of you who doesn’t descend into flaming eventually.  I will delete your posts.

If you still want to read further click below.
At some point in the last year Worcester MA decided that they had too big a problem with dog attacks and decided the best way to combat the problem was to require all “pitbulls” to wear a muzzle in public.  Various places promptly went up in flames as comments and discussions on the topic became heated.

During one of those discussions I pointed out that the legislation won’t work if for no other reason than that the average person, including the average police office and animal control officer CAN NOT correctly ID an American Pitbull when one is set amongst a group of similarly built dogs.  Another person, a dog owner, responded that “muzzles weren’t so bad…so what was the harm”  and besides, they’re not going to enforce the law like that, its just so that “they have another fine to throw at the owner” in the case of another problem cause after all its the owners that are the problem.  I stopped posting any further in that discussion at that point because it was very clear that that person, along with a bunch others, were simply never going to get the point.

Because its a proven fact, a HUGE percentage of other breeds/crosses are regularly mistaken as pitbulls.  There was even a case where a pedigreed Lab was mistaken for a pitbull by both witnesses AND animal control (I can’t find the link to the case online right now, it was a few years ago so its probably archived at this point, if someone knows where to find it let me know please).  Which means that first of all a large percentage of those “pitbull” attacks are likely done by other breeds, and 2nd there’s no way to reliably be sure that your dog won’t be “determined to be a pitbull” by the appropriate authority and that the judges won’t side with that authority because, afterall, they “are an officer of the law and therefor know what they’re doing” (seriously, judges do that, they aren’t supposed to, but they’re human).

The 2nd issue I have is that breed specific legislation DOESN’T WORK.  Yes a person attacked, or just plain bitten, by a pitbull, pitbull cross, or rottweiler/cross (or one of several similar breeds) is more likely to sustain serious injury or death.  They are generally very strong dogs.  But if you compare the overall number of attacks by pitbulls to the overall percentage of the breed population, the number of attacks isn’t that much larger than by other breeds.  That other poster was correct about one thing, its the owners that are the real problem.  The reason being that once the problem owners finally decide that owning a pitbull (or other problem breed) isn’t worth the legal hassle (a fact that some of them never learn) they just go get a different breed of dog, treat it the exact same way, and end up with the exact same problems with the new breed of dog.  Many of the cities that have had breed specific legislation in force for a while have NOT have a signifigent drop in dog bites or attacks.  They may have had a drop in attacks by the specific breed, but not overall, and in some cases the overall number of bites/attacks has actually gone UP.

If you really want to solve your dog bite/attack problem by changing your laws do something intelligent.

First of all enforce (or create and then enforce) your leash laws.  Create actual penalties that mean something for when dogs that are caught off leash off the owner’s property or in otherwise non-off leash areas.  Many cities that are creating breed specific legislation already have leash laws that they don’t enforce until its to late for the dog’s victim (or the dog themselves when they get hit by a car).

Second change (or create) the dog leash and BITE laws to be specific to the owner not the dog.  Yes a dog that attacks other dogs or people needs to be retrained at the very least.  I have no problem with that and think it ought to be required after-all maybe the owner just hasn’t a clue how to train their dog and needs help.  But what about the owner who owns a string of dogs that have bitten or attacked other animals or people?  Keep track of THAT record and by the 3rd or 4th offense by the OWNER (regardless of how many dogs are actually involved) there should be serious penalties (beyond being told no more dogs, cause seriously? They don’t care if the law says they can’t have another dog any more than they care that the law says they aren’t supposed to have a pitbull in some cities), penalties beyond a monetary fine, something approaching mandatory jail time.  And then enforce it. 

Ok, I guess I did rant afterall!