Re: In the comments

1

I saw an old friend recently, who came down with MS since we were in college. She had the first flare up at age 25, and recovered to 95%, as she put it. She had another flare up about three years later. This time, she was in denial that it was actually MS, and emphatically turned down the steroids that prevent demyelinization during the attack. She describes herself at being at about 60% now, physically.

She is now very philosophical about the immaturity and denial that cost her so much of her physical ability, permanently. I'm kind of in awe of how one would wrap their mind around that kind of mindfuck - that in the course of coming to terms with a condition, you might do extreme damage to yourself and then have to also come to terms with that, too. It's hard to blame oneself objectively and also forgive oneself.

This obviously happens in other more typical ways - drug/alcohol abuse, bad choices - and I don't have any pithy conclusion, except that I was struck and moved by her story.


Posted by: Ladybird Johnson | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 8:23 AM
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She is now very philosophical about the immaturity and denial that cost her so much of her physical ability, permanently. I'm kind of in awe of how one would wrap their mind around that kind of mindfuck...

Hey, it beats the alternative.


Posted by: Opinionated Steve Jobs | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 8:25 AM
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1.3 I am not accepting with particular grace just now my failure to be more ambitious in/smarter about my professional life and set myself up to have options when my 40s rolled around. A certain amount of moping is occurring, and nothing even demyelinated, hypochondria keinahora.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 8:34 AM
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This is a thing that makes me rather shy about probing people on their backgrounds--fear that I will hit upon some deeply poor judgment from their past that had real negative consequences (concern not in force when I've been drinking or having fun).

Someone (nat? ajay?) did a calculation of how many people at Mall of America on any given day had killed someone. My version is the number of people who had done something really stupid , or bad or thoughtless that fucked them or someone up really badly (some overlap with the "killed someone" population, of course).

I guess the "I was texting 'I love you' when I killed two kids people are the exemplars.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 8:40 AM
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"I was texting 'I love you' when I killed two kids

About 18 months ago a cow-orker permanently disabled a bicyclist when he hit her with his car while she had the right of way crossing through an intersection while he was talking on his phone, and he hasn't seemed able to come to grips with it, and vascillates between what appears to be remorse and blaming her for having the audacity to ride a bike on a busy road. He's become a big anti-cycling advocate because he considers them a "danger" on the roads. He also talks about this frequently when you get him in a casual situation with a few drinks in him. It's unsettling.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 8:51 AM
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Isn't he facing charges or something?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 8:55 AM
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5,6: A perfect setup for this NYTimes piece, "Is It O.K. to Kill Cyclists". (Which I thought would show up here sooner or later.)

Take it away, Tweety.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:02 AM
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But yes, 5 is the kind of thing I was thinking of.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:03 AM
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No. He did pay her medical bills (or rather, his insurance company did), but that's all.

(Do people usually face charges for auto accidents? Unless there's alcohol or something like that involved, I didn't think so.)


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:03 AM
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6: "We do not know of a single case of a cyclist fatality in which the driver was prosecuted, except for D.U.I. or hit-and-run," Leah Shahum, the executive director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, told me.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:03 AM
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9 to 6.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:04 AM
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Distracted driving should be punished much more harshly than it is. The other day I saw a cop texting while driving, FFS. I was tempted to honk and holler, but cop.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:07 AM
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9, 10: I guess the people getting charged around here have all been drunk or ran.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:08 AM
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And there is something undeniably screwy about a justice system that makes it de facto legal to kill people, even when it is clearly your fault, as long you're driving a car and the victim is on a bike and you're not obviously drunk and don't flee the scene. When two cars crash, everybody agrees that one of the two drivers may well be to blame; cops consider it their job to gather evidence toward that determination. But when a car hits a bike, it's like there's a collective cultural impulse to say, "Oh, well, accidents happen."

This seems wrong. In auto/bike collisions, cops still consdier it their job to determine who was at fault, and blame is assigned to the driver if the driver was at fault. But--just as with any auto accidents--that doesn't typically carry any criminal penalties.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:10 AM
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9.1 is probably wrong, actually--I'd bet his insurance company paid something above the medical bills, for pain and suffering at least and probably also as a general monetary settlement. I don't actually know the details of that. But still, she's paraplegic.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:14 AM
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(Do people usually face charges for auto accidents?

In this country, if you're talking on the phone, and especially if you injure someone, yes. Even if you don't hit anyone, it's illegal. If you do hit someone, it's an aggravating factor for dangerous driving.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:19 AM
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Talking on his phone and she had the right of way sounds like at least borderline criminal to me. Depends on the state, depends on the exact circumstances, but reckless driving is a thing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:19 AM
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7: I nominate a second because I'm in too good a mood right now.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:21 AM
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17: well, sure, it's the sort of thing that wouldn't *stun* me if it were prosecuted, and it probably should be, but I think in most towns it's still extremely unlikely to be prosecuted without additional aggravating factors.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:22 AM
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Curious -- does he have his license? In NYS, I'm pretty sure he'd have a year or so of revocation for that -- he'd get it back eventually, but there'd be a non-driving period.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:24 AM
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It's criminally reckless to talk on a phone while driving? Even while using a hands free device? Please explain where in the US this is true.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:25 AM
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In auto/bike collisions, cops still consdier it their job to determine who was at fault, and blame is assigned to the driver if the driver was at fault. But--just as with any auto accidents--that doesn't typically carry any criminal penalties.

I think it's pretty clear from the statistics that the situation is very, very different for car/bike and car/car collisions. Unless you think that no one is ever prosecuted for driving into another car, no matter how recklessly they were driving, as long as they were sober and stayed at the scene.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:25 AM
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a bunch of Freds

??

Urban Dictionary is not helpful as to etymology.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:25 AM
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BikeSnob calls silly recreational bikers wearing too much Lycra Freds. I don't think the term exists off his blog.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:26 AM
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21: It's only illegal to text here. And it's hard to prove you were texting and not entering a phone number to make a call. I suspect that will change shortly.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:26 AM
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21: Hitting someone who had the right of way while you're on the phone is what makes it reckless.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:26 AM
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24: it does, but only in competitive road cycling circles.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:28 AM
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It's criminally reckless to talk on a phone while driving? Even while using a hands free device? Please explain where in the US this is true.

In Hawaii, if you are under 18.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:28 AM
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One of the NYC car-on-sidewalk accidents he mentions in that post killed the grandchild of one of my mom's (former) close friends. Stupid cyclists.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:28 AM
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Most deadly car-car accidents that result from distracted driving don't result in criminal prosecution, unless someone is also drunk.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:29 AM
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It's criminally reckless to talk on a phone while driving? Even while using a hands free device? Please explain where in the US this is true.

Nowhere for adults per NCSL but in some places for teens. Any use of cell phones is prohibited in lots of school zones, though.

I wouldn't be opposed to a near-complete ban. Because I hate freedom.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:29 AM
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And, of course, it should be criminally reckless to talk on the phone while driving, since it is so for being drunk, and talking on a phone is just as bad if not worse.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:29 AM
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Unless you think that no one is ever prosecuted for driving into another car, no matter how recklessly they were driving, as long as they were sober and stayed at the scene.

I thought that pretty much was the case.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:30 AM
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And in many states, if you are either a novice driver or a bus driver.
http://www.distraction.gov/content/get-the-facts/state-laws.html


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:30 AM
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Doesn't "hands-free" not actually make a difference? It's the distraction that's the problem.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:30 AM
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It seems like I remember reading around the middle of the last decade about a case in one of the Carolinas where a driver saw a guy cycling on the side of the road with his small child in tow, and was so enraged he stopped to berate him. The situation escalated until the driver produced a gun and shot the cyclist. The bullet damaged the helmet, but thankfully did not actually touch the cyclist. IIRC he was either acquitted, or the charges were dropped, largely on the basis of the driver being an Iraq war veteran and a volunteer fire fighter; basically a good ol' boy who was just having a bad day...

Googled around for it a bit, but couldn't find it. Anyway, yes, in America is your life has no value while you are on a bike.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:30 AM
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26 -- please cite some authority. Ordinarily, just being distracted and going into the right of way would be negligent, but not reckless, and I can't see why infringing on the right of way would change the driver's mental state to criminal culpability.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:31 AM
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I believe 30 is true, as well as being shocking and shameful and wrong.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:34 AM
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The guy who got out of his car and stabbed a cyclist was charged.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:34 AM
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Please explain where in the US this is true.

Chapel Hill, NC


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:35 AM
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20: no, his license was not suspended.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:39 AM
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I eagerly await Halford's excoriation, but in the meantime, Richard Cohen just can't stop:

Today's GOP is not racist, as Harry Belafonte alleged about the tea party, but it is deeply troubled -- about the expansion of government, about immigration, about secularism, about the mainstreaming of what used to be the avant-garde. People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York -- a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children. (Should I mention that Bill de Blasio's wife, Chirlane McCray, used to be a lesbian?) This family represents the cultural changes that have enveloped parts -- but not all -- of America. To cultural conservatives, this doesn't look like their country at all.

Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:42 AM
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Other thread, Sir Kraab.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:43 AM
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I shall away.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:46 AM
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42: If he had noticed that The President of the United States is biracial, it might have occurred to him that mixed marriages don't make people with "conventional views" gag.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:52 AM
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45: I'm pretty sure Cohen understands that people with "conventional views" didn't vote for Obama.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:55 AM
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It's just a little odd to use the phrase "conventional views" when you mean "the views of recently unfrozen cave people."


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:57 AM
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This seems wrong. In auto/bike collisions, cops still consdier it their job to determine who was at fault, and blame is assigned to the driver if the driver was at fault.

Amazingly, in auto-bike collisions the cops hardly ever determine that the auto was at fault.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:59 AM
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Anyhow, I don't have much of a problem with banning cell phone use completely so as to constitute reckless state of mind while driving. But we haven't done that yet, and if we're going to have a ban people should know about it, so I don't see a justification for prosecuting Urple's buddy (assuming that we have the facts that would be relevant for a charge of criminal vehicular assault).

That bicyclists get injured in accidents but drivers don't get prosecuted isn't some grand anti-cyclist conspiracy; normally, accidents don't result in criminal prosecutions. If you could show that drunk drivers who hit cyclists aren't prosecuted, or that drivers who intentionally or recklessly provoke cyclists and hit them aren't prosecuted (this last one seems like more of a possibility; I know of one local case where a guy was prosecuted, but there may be other examples) it would be a different story.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:00 AM
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Is 48 really true? Why would that be?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:01 AM
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it is so for being drunk, and talking on a phone is just as bad if not worse.

This is not actually true, in as much as one can put down a phone, but one cannot sober up instantaneously.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:03 AM
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Anecdatum: When I was hit from behind and knocked on my ass while crossing a busy intersection, the driver didn't even get out of the car despite my having had to limp to the sidewalk, dragging my bike. She barked at me from the window that I'd better call an ambulance, because by god she wasn't going to open herself up to a lawsuit. When I expressed my incredulity at this to the cop who eventually showed and asked if it was just okay to go around hitting cyclists, his response was hey, you know, there's no accounting for the things people do. I took a small insurance settlement for damage to my bike, but in retrospect I'm sorry I didn't hire a personal injury lawyer and thoroughly ratfuck her.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:05 AM
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51: do you not know how words work? If you put down the phone you aren't talking on the phone while driving, are you?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:07 AM
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That bicyclists and pedestrians get injured in accidents but drivers don't get prosecuted isn't some grand anti-cyclist conspiracy, it's just a shameful, wrong state of affairs that ends up disproportionately affecting the people who are doing the least damage.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:09 AM
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It's like the paradox about how abstinence works as birth control. At any moment when abstinence is actually being used, it's 100% effective. On the other hand, people whose only plan for birth control is abstinence get pregnant fairly often.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:09 AM
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As bike snob has said many times, if you want to murder somebody in NYC, by far the easiest way to get away with it is to hit them with your car.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:09 AM
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Strict liabilty for damages caused while driving an automobile seems obvious. It's probably not sufficient, but anything less is crazy.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:11 AM
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Don't worry. Some murderers still value things like style and technique and the personal touch.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:11 AM
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55: I don't think any birth control method is 100% effective.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:12 AM
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There should be (and some states have proposed) extreme fines for opening your door into a bike, like $10k and 10 days in jail. Entirely the driver's fault.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:12 AM
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A woman who used to be in my lab suffered significant brain damage two years ago when a truck jumped the curb onto the sidewalk she was walking on and hit her. Stupid cyclists.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:13 AM
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Do people here support criminal prosecutions for negligent car accidents that result in injury generally? Like, every incident of negligent driving that hurts someone is a crime? Or only where the driver is drunk or texting or using a cell phone? Should the same rule extend to any negligent injury caused by someone on a bike? Just trying to get a sense of the consensus here.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:15 AM
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There was a cabbie in New York recently that crippled some tourists in times square (took a woman's legs off, I believe) while trying to hit a guy on a bike. He wasn't charged, since he was only trying to hit the cyclist (and missed). Bicycles are a menace!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:15 AM
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Isn't 57 basically the system we have, with no fault auto insurance?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:16 AM
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I support it for death or serious (disabling) injury. Which sort of takes bikes out of the equation, since bike accidents almost never cause serious injuries to anybody but the cyclist. (Feel free to cue the anecdotes -- my dad broke his arm whena dude on a bike running a red hit him -- but the stats won't back you up.)


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:17 AM
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I certainly believe 61 but 63 seems improbable.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:18 AM
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I mean, insofar as I support criminal prosecution at all I support it, I guess. But cars are obviously deadly weapons and should be legally treated as such.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:19 AM
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62: There's a line between 'negligent car accidents' and 'accidents that occur while you're breaking the vehicle and traffic laws'. Now, not every one of the latter should be criminal -- people do run stop signs, and so on. But if the way you're driving is in violation of the law, and you injure someone, then I think it's always at least close to the point where considering criminal liability is appropriate.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:19 AM
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So, you're speeding a bit over the limit, turn to look out the window, hit a car making a left turn and injure someone and people are criminally liable? Better start building more prisons.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:20 AM
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66: here you go.

He did have his cab license suspended for a month.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:21 AM
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63 may have been tendentiously described, but it's a real story.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:21 AM
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Is 48 really true? Why would that be?

Cyclists are nuisances, haven't you heard?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:21 AM
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Oops, shoulda been a link.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:21 AM
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Here's the one that mentions the bicyclist connection:

Faysal Kabir Mohammad Himon, the 24-year-old cabbie with a checkered driving history, said the wreck was a horrible accident. And he blamed it on an angry bicyclist who he says was banging on the hood of the cab before he lost control.

"I'm not sure what happened next," Himon told The News. "I was up on the curb."

Having a bicyclist banging on your hood shouldn't make you lose control of your car, really.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:23 AM
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64: in states that have no fault insurance, yes, at least to the limit of insurance coverage (which with minimum coverage often isn't very high). But that's not all states and I'm reasonably sure even in no-fault states, the driver isn't actually liable in a civil suit (for damage in excess of insurance coverage) unless the driver was negligent. So it's not quite strict liability. Which, again, even strict liability isn't sufficient, but we should obviously at least have that.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:23 AM
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He didn't say it was the biker 's hands banging on the hood. More likely the head, shoulders, legs, etc.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:26 AM
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Another interview with the cabbie:

"He was in my way and I got upset, so I gave him notice that I wanted to pass through," he said, meaning he leaned on his horn.

"He started pounding on my car with his hands and was yelling things at me. I suddenly felt like I had to get out of there. It was becoming a bad situation. So I accelerated to get in front of him."

At that point, Himon went on, "everything becomes cloudy" as he crashed into Green, who was munching a hot dog with her best pal, Keshia Warren, at the northwest corner of Sixth Avenue and 49th Street, near Radio City Music Hall.

"I don't know how, but I just lost control of the car," Himon said. "I was in shock.When I crashed, I didn't even see the lady. At first, I didn't think I hit anyone, then I saw her foot by my car. I can't get it out of my mind."

Actually, 63 wasn't all that tendentious.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:27 AM
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All this talk of bicyclists getting grievous injuries is inspiring me to stay in my car, where its safe.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:29 AM
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"Nothing like this has happened to me before," Himon said.
What a prince!


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:29 AM
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The problem is that people view driving anywhere anytime as a right. Since people will challenge losing their licenses at the drop of a hat, the only tool for protecting public safety is charging reckless drivers (drunk ones only today) with crimes.

There's no middle ground between "you can't get behind the wheel" and "you are a criminal."

Partly this is a problem because driving is pretty heterogenous-- country roads, suburban traffic in a familiar place with basically predictable traffic flows and so predictable demands for attention, city or highway traffic demanding constant attention and navigation and judgement, these are really different from each other. But there's one license regime, and usually people bring one set of attitudes to driving (it is a necessity and my right).

The real terrorists are local politicians who make bad zoning laws, prosecute them for the predictable carnage that results.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:34 AM
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I haven't been on my bike (hardly at all) for over a year. I blame Newt and his jogging-related demands.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:34 AM
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Strict liability for any auto accident not bounded by insurance limits would be ... interesting, in an immiserating people sense.

If 77 is true, it is odd that the guy wasn't prosecuted.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:36 AM
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Maybe we need "three strikes and you're out" laws for automotive accidents or violations. Three infractions and your license is gone for good. Sorry. If you live too far out in the suburbs and don't have access to public transportation, you'll have to arrange carpools or buy a horse to ride.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:39 AM
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Strict liability for any auto accident not bounded by insurance limits would be ... interesting, in an immiserating people sense.

??

I suspect it would just cause people (with assets to lose) to buy higher insurance coverages, which is what they should be doing anyway. They're operating very dangerous machinery in public. If they hurt someone, they should have to pay for it.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:41 AM
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Three infractions?? I'll bet most people here get at least 3 infractions every 5 years. Maybe you mean three infractions of a particular severity? But people do get their licenses suspended or revoked for such things pretty often.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:43 AM
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85: Hm. I don't really drive (I have no idea what my lifetime mileage is, but really low), so having a clean record doesn't mean anything. But I don't think either of my parents (still not heavy drivers, but Mom had a weekly commute to JFK, and we had a beach house that we drove back and forth to, as well as driving while we were out there) ever had a moving violation. (Mom certainly speeded plenty, but in a "the speed of traffic" kind of way).

I guess I thought that ordinary drivers really didn't get moving violations -- maybe one or two lifetime, but three in five years sounds extreme to me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:47 AM
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85: I've had one infraction in 17+ years.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:47 AM
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The UK has a points system for minor infractions. Speeding, etc. Once you hit 12 points in a 3 year period, you lose your license.

https://www.gov.uk/penalty-points-endorsements/endorsement-codes-and-penalty-points

It'd be pretty easy to hit 12, if you were irresponsible.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:48 AM
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I'll bet most people here get at least 3 infractions every 5 years.

What? Seriously?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:48 AM
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(And I was literally asleep at the wheel at the time, so deserved to be pulled over.)


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:48 AM
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For what it's worth, I've been driving for 23 years, and have never had a point on my license.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:48 AM
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In a practical sense, strict liability would entitle anyone involved in any auto accident that resulted in serious injury to go after 100% of the assets of the driver, regardless of the driver's fault. Of course you're right that people would insure but it would drive insurance rates for middle class people through the roof, for the benefit of? And do you have any evidence that car accident victims are substantially undercompensated in a no-fault insurance system in a way that would be remedied by a strict liability system? I guess you cold view it as a kind of extremely draconian driving tax designed to prevent people from driving at all, but it would be a system that would produce some wildly inequitable results.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:48 AM
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I have zero infractions in 20 years. Now let's correlate our records with SAT scored!


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:49 AM
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extremely draconian driving tax

This seems like a very odd way to describe drivers paying for injuries that they cause.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:50 AM
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Now I'm really curious about Halford's driving record.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:50 AM
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There's a difference between a "moving violation" and an infraction. Ever been cited for a nonworking taillight? A rolling stop?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:51 AM
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94 -- I meant that you would make driving unaffordable, since you'd have to obtain insurance protection covering all of your assets for any traffic violation, regardless of fault.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:52 AM
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Infractions depend on the enforcement density. Drive through a speed trap, get cited.

Again, as with driving, traffic laws are in reality heterogenous-- safety, revenue generation, and NIMBY impulses are all mixed together, but there's only one formal outcome. Actually, that heterogeneity is starting to change with red light and speed cameras that impose a fine but not a punishment, which I view as a positive development. Mandatory dashcams or GPS logging with local storage of trajectory would be IMO a positive development.

I like Dan Gusfield's book about attitudes towards drunken driving a lot.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:53 AM
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A parking ticket is an "infraction."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:53 AM
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96: No, I haven't. But sure, we can exclude non-working taillights from the three strikes and you're out law. This is after all modelled on the extremely successful "three strikes and you're out" criminal law. I'm pretty sure that only applies to felony offenses, not misdemeanors. We can quibble about where the line should be, but, sure, serious offenses only.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:53 AM
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Ever been cited for a nonworking taillight? A rolling stop?

While I see what you mean about the first of these (yes, it's a safety matter, no, it doesn't mean you're a dangerous driver), isn't a "rolling stop" precisely "not stopping"? Which sounds like a moving violation to me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:55 AM
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Take a look at the UK list linked above. It's worth looking at how various offenses get scored. Parking violations and certain other similar things don't result in penalty points, and are enforced purely through fines.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:55 AM
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At least in my state, a consistent record of serious driving violations (multiple moving violations) results in a suspended license. I guess it's not "permanently" revoked.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:56 AM
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What percentage of people with suspended licenses continue to drive, I wonder. 70? 80?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:57 AM
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Typically in the UK it wouldn't be permanently revoked. Points on your license expire, and bans are usually for fixed periods, although lifetime bans happen.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:57 AM
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At least in my state, a consistent record of serious driving violations (multiple moving violations) results in a suspended license. I guess it's not "permanently" revoked.

It's not permanently revoked because soft-on-crime liberals refuse to get tough with these criminals. We need law and order on our streets!


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:57 AM
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Well, obviously permanently revoking their license would solve that problem.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:58 AM
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Rolling stops can in fact be quite dangerous for pedestrians (particularly children) and cyclists (who occupy the part of the road being rolled into).


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:58 AM
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Unless you count the jaywalking ticket, I have 0 infractions in 17 years. Also zero warnings.

I was pulled over once my first month with a license because my parents forgot to put the registration sticker up. I did have one minor accident (hit a pole in a parking garage at very low speed).

Speed limits on many highways should be slightly higher (55 is too low for most highways). But other than going 63 in a 55 there really is no good excuse for more than one violation every 10 years.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 11:01 AM
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What percentage of people with suspended licenses continue to drive, I wonder. 70? 80?

I know a guy whose license has been suspended in multiple states who flies to Canada, where his parents live, once a year or so to renew his license there (claiming he lives with his parents) so he can use that to drive in the US. He also only drives rental cars, just keeping them for months after the date he's supposed to return them and paying whatever exorbitant rate they charge him. At one point the Prince/ton police had a warrant out for his arrest because of all the fines he owed for moving violations. He's one of the most respected professors at the Insti/tute for Adv/anced Stu/dy, but has interesting ideas about traffic laws.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 11:03 AM
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I think the only-driving-rental-cars thing may have had something to do with not being able to get insurance for owning a car, although it may have just been his unusual sense of what constitutes a "distraction from what's important".


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 11:07 AM
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I've had drivers freak out at me at times when I'm on my bike, 77 freaks me out. Note to drivers: if I'm riding on a street with no bike lane or shoulder I will ride several feet from the edge. The same applies to parked cars. If I need to go into a middle lane for a turn, I will do so.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 11:10 AM
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Don't ride on parked cars regardless of how far from the edge.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 11:16 AM
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Number of points on my licence: 0
Number of times I have been challenged to a duel by an enraged taxi driver: 2


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 11:21 AM
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Two separate drivers, or does this one guy just firmly believe that you've besmirched his honor?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 11:27 AM
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One was named Rand, the other Paul.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 11:29 AM
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Two separate drivers. And I think it was more a challenge to fisticuffs in each case. Maybe I should have accepted and, as the challenged party, insisted on my choice of weapon. I think my chances would be good with pistol. I saw Skyfall recently and was cheered to see that my 10m grouping with pistol is about a third the size of James Bond's.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 11:29 AM
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As it was I simply explained that I would love to stick around and break their arms, but it would make me late for work.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 11:30 AM
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my... is about a third the size of James Bond's

This seems like an odd thing to bring up, but I suppose modesty is commendable.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 11:32 AM
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Maybe we need "three strikes and you're out" laws for automotive accidents or violations. Three infractions and your license is gone for good. Sorry. If you live too far out in the suburbs and don't have access to public transportation, you'll have to arrange carpools or buy a horse to ride.

This would be a very bad idea. It would be disproportionately enforced against people of color, for one thing, and it would have a much bigger impact on poor people than on rich ones. (I mean, I bet it would be disproportionately enforced against people of color. That's been the case with various street safety laws around here, which is why we no longer have bike licensing - it was being used to harass people of color and seize their bikes.)

I bike to work or on errands virtually every day year round.

One thing I wonder about taxi drivers and truck drivers - would accident rates go down with better working conditions? What if you were, for instance, a refugee from a war-torn country who had been through all kinds of shit and who was working under tremendous pressure as a cabbie or a trucker? Some people who hit cyclists are totally unsympathetic, but I can't help but wonder about a lot of them. Someone in my wider social circle was killed by a drunk driver last year. He was a working class Mexican immigrant - and he is getting charged pretty hard, probably because he's not white or rich. (Also, of course, the cops blamed the girl to the newspapers for being killed because she wasn't wearing a helmet, even though there was no indication that her injuries were the kind a helmet would have prevented - it was like "we can't decide who we hate more, poor people of color or leftie cyclists").

I used to bike on the street a lot, but I've really changed my habits in the last couple of years - I use our greenways as much as I can, even on very short trips.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 11:36 AM
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It seems like I remember reading around the middle of the last decade about a case in one of the Carolinas where a driver saw a guy cycling on the side of the road with his small child in tow, and was so enraged he stopped to berate him.

It was in Asheville, NC. Shooter was a firefighter. That helped him in court. He got four months for assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill. Link.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 11:41 AM
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One thing I wonder about taxi drivers and truck drivers - would accident rates go down with better working conditions?

This seems like exactly the kind of thing that's hard to enforce without being punitive. The guy in Times Square was probably stressed and tired and working under terrible conditions. But how do you enforce shorter hours without taking him off the road when you catch him having worked too long, if you see what I mean. I lean toward heavy regulation and don't worry too much about the individual sad cases, but it's a tradeoff.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 11:47 AM
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The Bucchere case in SF was another interesting one. Here the vehicle operator was charged and convicted for killing. Link to an early, pre-conviction, story.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 11:51 AM
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117

You mean in the scene where Bond is recovering from alcoholism and would not have been approved for field work except that the evaluators lied for him?


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 11:52 AM
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I had a roommate who drove a cab; he would work insane 30-, 40-hour shifts. But he would keep alert with speed, so no worries.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 11:53 AM
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You could heavily regulate the hours that drivers are allowed to work. For taxi drivers, you could set fares such that it's not hard to earn a living wage while not driving like a psychopath. For truck drivers, you could limit their mileage. In crowded cities, severely limit the size of trucks that are allowed to make local deliveries. Lots of things to do besides intense criminalization.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 11:55 AM
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125: So Tom Friedman gets most of his information about the world from sleep-deprived speed freaks?

Yeah, that sounds about right.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 11:56 AM
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I would be curious to know what proportion of distracted driver accidents are caused because they are tired and/or overworked. My instinct is that it would actually be quite low.

Now that I'm biking on the streets, it is insane to me the number of drivers who are simply not looking in the direction their car is moving (or about to move). Probably at least a third.

I suppose if I wanted to posit a role for being tired/overworked in causing accidents, it is that normal drivers can be distracted/ignorant, but have the reflexes to recover before causing an accident, whereas tired drivers don't have that buffer.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 12:02 PM
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it is that normal drivers can be distracted/ignorant, but have the reflexes to recover before causing an accident, whereas tired drivers don't have that buffer

Isn't this basically the problem with drunk drivers too?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 12:08 PM
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128. My first impulse was to disagree, but I think that you are right


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 12:13 PM
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The other thing is that when you are tired, you can get so much angrier. Of course, maybe that taxi driver who drove up on the sidewalk is just an asshole - a cursory google didn't pop up much about him - but maybe he's a person with a hard life who carries a lot of anger and when he's tired it is harder to control.

I mean, a lot of resentment of cyclists comes from the misperception that we're able to bike because our lives are so easy and we have so much free time - that it's just a spoiled rich person thing to do. Or it comes from people who have a lot of [often justified!] class resentment floating around, and even if they know in their hearts that this doesn't have much to do with cyclists, they pin it on us because it feels good to have someone to hate. Admittedly, there are plenty of asshole cyclists who are probably rich - at least, they have really expensive bikes and a lot of gear. But there's also a lot of working class cyclists, especially immigrants (at least around here) who bike because it's cheap and fits into an irregular schedule.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 12:19 PM
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126: This is all correct, but the kind of non-criminal regulation you're talking about is still going to be hard on the taxi/truck driver, who's usually an independent contractor. Violators are going to eventually lose their licenses to do that kind of business. I lean toward doing it anyway, but there are going to be sad stories from people who were repeatedly caught driving 20-hour days, but now can't earn a living if they can't be a self-employed cab-driver anymore.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 12:21 PM
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82: From the same article in 77, it sounds like the police may yet bring charges, so I wouldn't jump to any conclusions about what the ultimate outcome might be:

In Tuesday's Midtown accident, the third-year hack was hit with only a summons, but he could be on the hook for felony charges once the investigation is completed, cops said yesterday.
"The investigation is going forward," Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said. "Collisions, accident investigations, take some time. It takes some time to do that and reconstruct the scene."

Posted by: Dave W. | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 12:23 PM
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That was from August. I searched, and the latest story I could find was October 3, at which time he still hadn't been charged.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 12:32 PM
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128.1: I had occasion a couple years ago to look closely at the data on this w/r/t truck drivers. The federal DOT says that fatigue is "involved" in something like 13% of fatal truck crashes (don't recall if the rate was different for non-fatal crashes), but that's of course a superset of crashes caused by fatigue or that could have been avoided but for fatigue, and there's no consensus/clear data on the latter figure (or at least there wasn't as of a couple years ago).

132: That's already the situation for truck drivers, who are limited under federal law in the number of hours they can work, and the subset of those hours that can be spent behind the wheel. Various civil penalties for violations, including commercial license suspension. Enforcement of course can be tricky since it involves reviewing logs prepared by the driver.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 12:39 PM
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But don't you guys want to discuss the first comment? Maybe there's not much to say about it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 12:39 PM
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If driving oneself to work were considered part of the workday, i.e. under the jurisdiction of OSHA, I suspect it would be banned for being too deadly.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 12:48 PM
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136: It seemed very much more sad than something I wanted to discuss.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 1:05 PM
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I've managed to get a number of citations in 40 years of driving, including one for insufficiently diligent logbooking when I was a truck driver. Most recent citation, I think, was in Holland, which was a total pain because you have to pay by bank transfer, and my bank couldn't do it. I had a Dutch friend pay the fine, but he missed a late fee, and then months later I got detained in the Amsterdam airport while changing planes. Not the biggest pain, though: I got a speeding ticket in NC, and lost it, only to have Maryland refuse to renew my license more than 10 years later because Florida had a record of the unpaid ticket in its computers. NC no longer had any live record of the thing, so it took some doing to work out how to pay the fine . . .


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 1:06 PM
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161: I resent everyone on the roads in DC.

Cyclists will run a red light or stop sign and nearly run me down when I'm trying to cross the street, take me by surprise going the wrong way in a one-way bike lane, bike on the dashed line between lanes of traffic, and when I'm driving behind them, go over to the side, leaving me slightly less than enough room to safely pass them instead of taking the stupid lane like they're supposed to.

Inattentive car drivers have nearly smacked into me a few times (and then yelled at me for crossing at a crosswalk when I had a "walk" sign and they had a red light), but actually they're pretty predictable most of the time and I don't feel like I'm in much danger, since generally the worst thing that happens is that they cut in front of me, closer than would be reasonable. Mostly it's an annoyance, like when I actually stop at four-way stop, and the orthogonal traffic decides this is their opportunity to sneak another car through, instead of complying with the law. Or when one or two cars will notice that there's a line of cars in the "go straight" lane, but no cars in the "turn left" lane, and attempt arbitrage, only to get stuck at the intersection with me behind them, because unlike me, they don't actually want to turn left.

Buses are worse - they don't seem to stop, no matter what. I would have been struck by one if another pedestrian hadn't yanked me out of the way, because again I expected to be able to cross safely at a crosswalk when I had the light. Silly me.

But pedestrians are terrible too. They will walk halfway across the street and then stop - it is apparently impossible for them to believe that a car they are not already in front of might yield the right of way, so they just stand there, like a stray cow. They will be in the middle of the fucking road and try to wave me on, as if that were even slightly legal or safe or considerate.

I miss driving in New York, where at least some of these things haven't happened to me.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 1:15 PM
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Buses are worse - they don't seem to stop, no matter what.

There's little signs for where they stop.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 1:17 PM
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136: I do sort of want to, but I'm trying to do cheerful Moby-style comments rather than being Buzzkill Thorn. Because fuck!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 1:20 PM
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The greatest good, Benquo. There are a lot of people on those buses you're inconveniencing.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 1:20 PM
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it is apparently impossible entirely reasonable for them to believe that a car they are not already in front of might yield the right of way, so they just stand there, like a stray cow.

Fixed.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 1:20 PM
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Or, no, 144 didn't work. Entirely reasonable for the them to believe that a car might *not* yield.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 1:21 PM
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141: They have the little signs, but the buses don't always stop there either - which is a different sort of problem.

144: I'm not talking about halting before I've come to a stop. I'm talking about standing there for an additional several precious seconds of my time, while I sit there waiting. And pausing again, in front of my car, to say "thank you" or wave.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 1:25 PM
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So yes, I do assign blame for the initial pause to other asshole drivers. But if you don't start moving once the car's stopped for you, that's your own fault.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 1:26 PM
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142: Be a buzzkill, unless it'd bring you down yourself. It is an interesting topic -- that there are life-changingly bad decisions out there. I've pretty much gotten away clean with everything stupid I've ever done (there's some drunken climbing buildings when I was in college that I look back on in horror and thankfulness that I'm not dead or paralyzed.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 1:28 PM
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life-changingly bad decisions

Oh god... is that what this thread is for?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 1:31 PM
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I think the best route to forgiveness I could find is:

Well, humans do dumb things and this kind of denial is one of the ways humans do dumb things.

I was human at the time I did that to myself.

I would forgive another human do did a similar dumb thing.

I should forgive myself.

But I also hope that I wouldn't make a mistake in that category. Or at least know I was making it and choose it for explicit reasons.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 1:33 PM
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If driving oneself to work were considered part of the workday, i.e. under the jurisdiction of OSHA, I suspect it would be banned for being too deadly.

Several years ago I was having a conversation with a guy working at what was then the only wine store in my area. He and his wife were from LA and had recently moved to NYC because his wife got some good corporate gig. While talking about how he liked NYC he said he was constantly worried about his wife walking home at night from the subway, and how he didn't understand how people could be expected to do such a dangerous thing on a regular basis. I asked about her routine in LA - it was a 45 min drive each way. He did not take kindly to my attempts at explanation that his wife's ten minute walk in Fort Greene/Clinton Hill was quite a bit safer than her old commute.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 1:48 PM
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I'm right in the middle of my own life-changingly bad decisions and I'm already working hard on the "time only flows in one direction" mantra my college mentor used to push on me. It would probably be harder to have a clear-cut decision that could have been made better, so at least I'm not stuck with that yet. I don't think.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 1:57 PM
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I do wonder a fair amount if I would have been happier as a civil engineer than as a lawyer. Or a cop. Or driving a garbage truck. Or a shepherd -- I'm very fond of border collies. But when I play back might-have-beens, it's the leaving MIT for U Chicago. I don't regret quitting physics; I really wasn't quite interested enough in it, I think. But designing sewage treatment plants, or sea walls, or something, looks awfully appealing in retrospect.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 2:03 PM
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152: You're in a mess right now that means hard decisions, but nothing you do is the sort of unforced error that the person in comment 1 inflicted on themselves. There are going to be times when none of the available options are good, but that doesn't make the bad outcome your fault for picking what looks like the best one.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 2:07 PM
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||

Hey look, Rolling Jubilee bought and forgave a shitload of debt.

|>


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 2:08 PM
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151: I'm almost never in cars now that I've moved to a walkable town/walkable job. I do, however, find myself frequently enraged and/or terrified while walking. I'm fairly sure the UK has fewer pedestrian-vehicle accidents than the US, but I constantly feel like I'm going to die. It mostly boils down to the fact that I'm used to wider streets and greater distance between myself and the cars, to having right away at intersections (you do sometimes here, but not at the main road I cross) and to the completely irrational and awful parking habits. For instance, yesterday while walking to work in heavy rain, I encountered a car parked halfway on the pavement/sidewalk. There was so little space available to me - in part because of an overhanging tree - that I had to contort myself around the car and put my hand on it to squeeze through. I got soaked. (There was a driver and a passenger in the car. I GLARED. If only looks could kill...) This wasn't a legal parking, but it is very common on that stretch of road.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 2:08 PM
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(there's some drunken climbing buildings when I was in college that I look back on in horror and thankfulness that I'm not dead or paralyzed.)

It always depresses me when I think about activities which are relatively common, and which have no bad impacts for most people who engage in them, but have serious negative consequences for a small number of them -- whether that's injury or a felony conviction, or what have you. It just seems so unfair; everybody makes bad decisions, some people don't suffer at all, some people suffer a little bit, and some people have the world fall on them.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 2:10 PM
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154: Yeah, but steroids suck too and she probably thought she knew what she was doing in refusing them.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 2:14 PM
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That reminds me. I wanted to ask the doctor to get me prednisone. But I forgot.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 2:20 PM
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It always depresses me when I think about activities which are relatively common, and which have no bad impacts for most people who engage in them, but have serious negative consequences for a small number of them

This seems to describe most of the things people do in the course of their daily lives.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 2:23 PM
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Wait we're not allowed to make bad decisions that result in bad consequences now?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 2:34 PM
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Wait we're not allowed to make bad decisions that result in bad consequences now?

As the saying goes, "knock yourself out."


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 2:37 PM
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You're getting this all wrong.

This is a thread about forgiving ourselves.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 2:42 PM
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I thought that was the "Things We Are Bad At" thread.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 3:05 PM
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I'm bad at biking.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 3:07 PM
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re: 156

The UK has one of the lowest accident rates in the world. I mean really really low. As in, about 20% of the US rate.

4th lowest in the world, according to wiki. With the other three all tiny not-really-countries. It's easily by far the lowest rate for larger countries.

People do park like lunatics, though.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 4:41 PM
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Well sure, it feels so weird to drive on the wrong side that everyone's extra careful.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 4:51 PM
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I imagine there's a load of explanations for why that should be. Safer cars, tighter law enforcement, very strong social taboos against drink driving, more rigorous testing, perhaps?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 4:54 PM
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168: useful public transit, reasonably dense development patterns, expensive gas, well-distributed pub system?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 4:56 PM
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166: The trends in automobile safety worldwide over the past 40 years are pretty amazing. The US was lowest in fatalities/mile* in 1970, has improved significantly since then, and yet has been overtaken by just about every developed country in the world (some such as France and Japan starting from a much, much higher rate). This chart is from 2007, and I think the exhibited trends have continued since then.

*Since more miles driven per capita in US than many countries (esp in 1970), this understates the relative rates of auto death as an overall risk factor compared to those countries.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 4:56 PM
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Seriously bars that you have to drive to are possibly the stupidest invention in history. Possibly.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 4:57 PM
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Safer cars???

That one I don't get. I have no real explanation, and 168 probably explains most of it, but here's my attempt at a bullshitty one that I'm just making up: a lot of driving through old villages and the like just slows people down and makes people conscious of traffic laws. There's a name for asystem of traffic safety principle whose name escapes me now, but the general idea is that removing things that make driving in some sense "easier" also forces more attentive driving and lowers the accident rate. My mental image of driving in England is highways with fairly low set speeds plus a lot of poking about in village/suburban roads not really designed for auto traffic. That could force safer driving habits overall. In other words the experience of Paren in 156 is a safety feature, not a bug.

Countries with more recent and "better" (in the sense of designed to be easier) auto infrastructure might avoid this problem, and probably even in continental Europe there's more ease-of-auto-specific design.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 5:01 PM
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Any lay explanations should account for the trends in the link in 170.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 5:05 PM
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WOONERF


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 5:06 PM
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Any lay explanations should account for the trends in the link in 170.

Then 169 clearly fails! As does 172, of course. Probably it's a combination of social penalties about drunken/bad driving, heavy driver training, and social norms about speeding and the like.

Most of the global trend (but not the loss in relative US position) in the declining fatality/mile is probably explained by changes in safety features from auto manufacturers.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 5:11 PM
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171: For sure. Look at the 2nd table here. I wish they had the rate per miles driven, but in 2011 the top 5 3-hour time blocks in terms of total US traffic fatalities were:

12 - 3 AM Saturday 995
12 - 3 AM Sunday 955
9 PM - 12 Saturday 889
6 - 9 PM Saturday 884
9 PM - 12 Friday 801

I'm sure the miles driven for those periods are well below many other time periods. (And even 3 - 6 AM Saturday and Sunday are relatively high, and hardly anyone is driving then.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 5:14 PM
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From a previous link, the rural fatality rate is about 2.5x the urban rate (per mile). So population density does appear to explain some of it.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 5:15 PM
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175: And I suspect per 176, that the drunken weekend night driving has put a higher floor on the US trend. It would nice to see the time period data from a number of countries--I'd guess not nearly the dramatic increase.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 5:17 PM
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re: 172

The UK has a lot of motorways. The speed limit on this is 70 but the de facto speed limit is more like 90. Most people on the motorway, even in the 'slow' lane, are averaging over 70, and most extra-urban single-lane roads that aren't residential will have a 60mph speed limit. Those little country lanes you are thinking of: 60mph limit.

re: safer cars: SUVs and the like are terrible death-traps, as you know. Smaller cars that have to adhere to Euro-NCAAP standards are generally going to be safer.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 5:17 PM
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177: I wonder if you are thinking of the one I linked over at CT once (and may have done here as well). It shows higher accidents rate in US cities, but less injuries and fatalities. My summary from the CT thread:

This paper(pdf) sums it up nicely for the US on that point. They decompose "fatal crashes/mile driven" into: "all crashes/mile driven" × "crashes with injuries/all crashes" × "fatal crashes/crashes with injuries". The ratio of rural to urban for these three are =0.67, 1.12, and 2.99 respectively (overall ratio is 2.23). Somewhat more likely to crash per mile driven in cities, slightly less likely to be injured in that crash, and much less likely for those injuries to be fatal.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 5:20 PM
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No, I was referring to the link in 130, but that definitely adds more information.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 5:23 PM
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Yes, the point about the SUVs is a good one. That alone might be sufficient to account for the change of relative position of the US even in a climate of globally-much-more-safe driving.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 5:23 PM
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Figure 2 in that paper is great. If people think teenagers are a menace, wait until they see the numbers for old people. The article makes a compelling case that if you can't start driving until age 16, you definitely should be forbidden from driving after age 80.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 5:25 PM
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"Euro-NCAAP standards"
The NAACP is in to car standards now? Those people have their fingers in everything.


Posted by: Opinionated Richard Cohen | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 5:29 PM
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183: Ah, had not really looked at that before. Old men, a menace in the voting booth and on the road.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 5:29 PM
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And since rural drivers drive more, it translates to about a 6x higher rate of fatalities per capita in rural areas.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 5:34 PM
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Yes. About half of the classes from my high school had a kid die in a crash within a couple years of graduation. These were classes of under 30.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 5:40 PM
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We should just eliminate rural areas and replace them with bison -- it's the answer to everything.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 5:58 PM
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Ken Jackson once explained that living in cities is much safer for young people* than living in the suburbs or rural areas. The reason? A much lower incidence of traffic fatalities. I could tell you more, but I've committed to getting paid for the content I generate.

* I thought he meant all young people, but I now wonder if, like Richard Cohen, he meant white people.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 6:00 PM
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From some googling around, it looks as if international differences in the treatment of drunk drivers are also significant. Not so much in the formal law or level of penalties, but with the frequency of testing -- the UK has higher initial penalties, but also much more frequent roadblocks, so your likelihood of being caught on any individual instance is higher, even if the ultimate penalty for, say, killing someone in a drunk driving incident is lower. That's pretty consistent with the Mark A.R. Kleiman theory about how to deal with addicts -- frequent testing, not harsh but unlikely consequences.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 6:01 PM
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That last was confusing -- penalties in the UK are actually lower if you, say, hit and kill someone as a drunk driver. But your chances of being tested on any given night's driving, and suffering an immediate consequence, are higher.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 6:02 PM
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188 -- We had a dinner guest a couple weeks back who's a big cheese at the CMR, and they're pretty serious about some big bison restoration. Along with APR.

They're patient, playing a long game. And ranching is getting less and less popular among kids these days.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 6:14 PM
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I grew up in South Dakota. More than 90% of the place could be turned into buffalo prairie without 95% of the population noticing.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 7:17 PM
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That's pretty consistent with the Mark A.R. Kleiman theory about how to deal with addicts -- frequent testing, not harsh but unlikely consequences.

But to Homo economicus, a 25% chance of a 2-week prison sentence, and an 0.1% chance of a 10-year prison sentence, are interchangeable! What, are you saying people don't maximize their marginal utility?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 7:24 PM
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193: Nebraska is slightly more populated in the rural areas.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 7:44 PM
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194: wait! you forgot to discount the distant utils lost! That's why it should be .1% chance of 20 to life, like a proper third strike.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 7:57 PM
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I grew up in South Dakota.

How has this odd fact never come up before?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 8:08 PM
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What is odd about being from South Dakota?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 8:18 PM
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197: It certainly has (many of these for instance)

Or is this a M/tch China thing?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 8:18 PM
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What is odd about being from South Dakota?

The lowness?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 8:20 PM
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Give it time (% of farm operators over 65 by county--big chunks over 40%). The southern plains are actually the most striking but not that many anywhere are less than 25% elderly.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 8:27 PM
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200: By my count the 6th highest low point among the states and 13th in average elevation


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 8:32 PM
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197: I feel like I've been fairly open about my shame.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 8:35 PM
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200: My wife (from Connecticut) often notes how strange it is that she wound up marrying a South Dakotan. (Taking the U.S. population as a whole, her odds were 1:448.)


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 8:38 PM
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Some guy carved white faces on the Black Hills, causing Richard Cohen to avoid the state.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 8:39 PM
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South Dakota is awesome. I believe a wise Unfoggeder once called it America's Roadside Attraction.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:03 PM
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Plus, they sell bottle rockets.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:15 PM
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Mmmm, 3rd degree burn fireworks.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:26 PM
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Do they still? I haven't been back in years.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:31 PM
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Roman candle games of chicken are the best. But maybe that should be on the 'stupid dangerous things we've done' thread.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:36 PM
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The UK isn't always that pedestrian/bike friendly:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravelly_Hill_Interchange

I speak as a son of the town that called itself the Motorway City of the 70s, of course (marvel at the bit where there is a slip road on the wrong side!):

http://www.cbrd.co.uk/histories/lirr/


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 11:36 PM
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Yes - the things that make the UK safe for drivers tend to make it unpleasant for pedestrians and cyclists in the suburban countryside. Those twisty country roads with room for two cars to pass but nothing much else, and people commuting along them at 60mph ...
Similar problems appeared with the "bike superhighways" in London, where it was hoped that painting sections of the road blue would magically make cyclists safe and visible almost as if there were physical barriers keeping cars and lorries out of them. Completely terrifying and quite often lethal.
I split the roads round here very sharply into bike and car roads, although they all look similar on the map, and I would never cycle along the commuter routes.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 1:23 AM
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172: From my perspective, Halford has it right re: increased attentiveness. Driving in the UK takes a lot more work, outside of the motorways, than driving in the US. There is always something to pay attention to, whereas in the US you can get away with putting your brain on auto-pilot. (Until you hit something, of course). I know that I *am* safer, I just don't *feel* safer.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 1:29 AM
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213: Yes - I find driving in the urban US completely terrifying much of the time but this is because I am surrounded by American drivers. Driving in the rural bits, or in Sweden, I can do almost everything on autopilot. I just worry about elk. That really isn't true in England.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 1:52 AM
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"Driving in the rural bits, or in Sweden, I can do almost everything on autopilot. I just worry about elk. That really isn't true in England."

No one has to worry about elk in England, because our elk are all taken care of by the National Elk Service.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 2:29 AM
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On a related note, I have finally managed to optimise my daily commute by finding a route that has no bike lanes whatsoever, but, pace 212, also no traffic and very few traffic lights. Much safer.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 2:30 AM
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216: Have you discovered Cyclestreets? It's a pretty good starting point for route navigation in London and elsewhere around here, though it does have a weakness for designated cycle tracks. The guys who do it are very responsive to feedback. I got into OSM editing through that site, but we also discussed at some length what could be done about particularly dangerous rural roads, without coming to any huge conclusions.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 2:55 AM
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****ELK!***


WEREN'T EXPECTING THAT, WERE YOU?


Posted by: OPINIONATED ELK | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 3:17 AM
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Meanwhile, fascinating customs of my quaint tribal homeland and its childlike natives department:

http://metro.co.uk/2013/11/12/premier-inn-guest-hurled-racist-abuse-with-fire-extinguisher-hose-up-his-bottom-4184507/


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 3:25 AM
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Re 211

Heh. The M8 in Glasgow also has an exit on the wrong side, in a deep concrete trench.

Also, the M876 around where where I grew up has, I kid not, a zebra crossing.

http://www.pathetic.org.uk/current/m876/


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 3:26 AM
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219:
The court was told Small had travelled from Sheffield to make a deal on a used car. Perhaps he was celebrating a bargain.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 3:36 AM
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http://www.cbrd.co.uk/motorway/m876/


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 3:37 AM
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Raise you. http://www.pathetic.org.uk/current/m606/

If anything the photos understate the weirdness. For something like 30 years it ended with a line of old oil drums.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 3:54 AM
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WEREN'T EXPECTING THAT, WERE YOU?

No... but I wasn't worrying about it.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 4:26 AM
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219: "Prosecutor Izolda Switala-Gribbin..." oh, you're just making names up now. Sounds like one of the Twelve Red-Bearded Dwarfs.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 4:27 AM
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The joys of cycling in London.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 4:44 AM
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Driving in the UK takes a lot more work, outside of the motorways, than driving in the US.

For example, in UK cities and towns, instead of having street signs the names of the streets are on little plaques 20 feet up on the sides of buildings, or etched into curbstones.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 6:01 AM
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226: yeah, I saw someone who'd gone down near Marble Arch too. No obvious injuries but an FRV in attendance. I think it's the bright sunlight this morning - it was shining right down the road into your eyes as you went south.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 6:08 AM
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Oxford is quite bad, too. Narrow streets, a lot of cyclists. Quite a few of the cyclists are really really _bad_ cyclists, too. Someone was killed outside my previous office because they went through a crossroads, against the lights, while on their phone and got run over by a lorry.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 6:11 AM
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Bad cyclist comments not by way of absolving drivers, but a lot of these roads are traffic controlled, and generally only have buses, bin lorries, and the like, and non-through traffic.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 6:12 AM
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I was coming to post something very like ttam's 179, but he beat me because I was actually driving it all first (Machynlleth in mid-Wales to Kew in four hours: Google Maps says it should take 4hrs 1 minute yay me!)

(Also this means that Google Maps must take into account the 90mph de facto speed limit: the motorways were very uncluttered and I was cruising at 90 for a lot of the time, basically keeping up with the light traffic round me. I would be seriously surprised if anyone had got pulled over -- we'd all be bang to rights of course but it is the unspoken convention.)

ttaM also mentioned the initial driving test being much more rigorous: which is what I always heard but I don't know if it's true (I believe the UK one is tougher than it was when I took it also).* I failed mine twice, once for being too timid at an intersection, once for cursing ripely under my breath when I went up on the pavement when I was reversing round a corner to park.

*I'm old enough to remember that a hazard of driving as a teenager where I grew up was little old ladies who'd started driving before the test was mandatory, who had therefore never actually been tested. The one across the road, who drove until her death at c.97, was more or less blind, and so tiny that her car looked as if it had no driver.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 6:34 AM
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...once for cursing ripely under my breath when I went up on the pavement when I was reversing round a corner to park.

I'm not sure exactly what you mean by this, but reversing around a corner doesn't seem like a good idea.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 6:41 AM
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Posted from my car.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 6:44 AM
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I agree! But it is a test requirement. (It's not a blind corner.)


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 6:45 AM
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re: 232

It's a standard part of the UK driving test. You pull up on one street, and then reverse round onto another at 90 degrees (or so). They are checking you can control the car while reversing, maintain a safe distance from the kerb, use your mirrors properly, be aware of other cars that may initially not be visible, etc.

I failed my test first time on that move. I did it fine, but part way through another car came along and I would have blocked part of his route if I had continued. However, they waved me on. So I completed the move. The instructor told me that I should have ignored him waving me on, as he had right of way, and I should have stopped, let him through, and then continued.

Other standard moves: hill start, 3-point turn, parallel parking, etc. Lsat we discussed this it turned out that now they only do a selection. When I did the test, they did them all. Now the paper/theory component of the test is harder, though.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 6:46 AM
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reversing around a corner doesn't seem like a good idea.

It's kind of useful if you want to park in a car park. Either you reverse round a 90 degree corner to get into the space, or you turn 90 degrees going forward and park nose-in (DEPRECATED) and then you have to reverse round a corner to get out.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 6:47 AM
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There were no compulsory tests until 1934, so someone who's 97 still might not have taken one. Also, tests were suspended during WWII, so there's another batch of scary old people.

When my dad (who never took a test in his life) got out of PoW camp, he was sent on leave for a bit and then rejoined his unit in Hamburg. At this point he hadn't been behind the wheel of a car for three years. His colonel, who he had never met up to that point, greeted him with, "Ah, Young, hope you had a good journey, can you drive?"

On being assured that he could, the colonel continued, "Then would you mind taking that tank transporter to Munich?" So he did.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 6:51 AM
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I am still pretty bad at reversing into parking spaces. When I was young, people like me were publicly mocked and shamed.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 6:52 AM
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236: I guess I didn't think of a parking lot as having a "corner." Still, parking nose-in is the most common way here. Some places have signs forbidding reversing into spots.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 6:57 AM
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re: 239

We had this conversation recently. All the Brits, iirc, are strongly in favour of reversing in.* The US people either don't favour it, believe it to be very hard, or think it's redundant as parking spaces are either really wide, or built at an angle to the street to facilitate driving in front-ways.

* I tend to find myself wanting to kill arseholes parked front-end-in across two spaces at a jaunty angle.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 6:59 AM
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I basically couldn't parallel park until I was maybe 30 or so. I could park along the curb but if I had to fit in between two cars, I usually needed a couple of tries. Not just a couple of forward-back turns, but pulling all the way out and starting over. I assume I've gotten better now. Possibly, I just stopped driving so much.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 7:01 AM
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I guess also driving up a street that's just barely wider than your car, and then finding yourself forced to reverse back up it, is a more common thing in enlightened medieval-streeted Britain.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 7:01 AM
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re: 241

For a while I lived in a very narrow, heavily parked street in Glasgow, where I had to do a lot of parallel parking into spaces not much longer than my car, and where the narrowness of the street made the angles really tight. So I got quite [very] good at it.

But for years in England, I basically never had to parallel park, as everywhere I parked regularly had wider spaces or off-street parking. The ability completely atrophied, as I discovered when I moved to our current house, which again is on a narrow street and requires tight parallel parking. I'm OK at it again now, but for a few months I was taking a couple of goes each time to get it parked properly, including sometimes having to pull all the way out and then go back in again.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 7:04 AM
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When I was in high school, I'd drive up everyday nearly late and park in the crosswalk so I didn't have to take the extra time to walk from a legal space. It was sort of a pointless abuse of privilege, which I now regret (slightly), but really convenient.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 7:07 AM
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You should always park nose-out rather than nose-in, because you might need to leave in a hurry.

I grew up on a street like that in 243, as a result of which I became the finest parallel parker in the entire world.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 7:10 AM
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I am a good parallel parker, but I probably improved when we had our Mini, because it was just so goddamned satisfying to fit into a space that no other car on the road could fit into.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 7:11 AM
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Says who.


Posted by: Opinionated Smart Car | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 7:12 AM
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re: 246

Old mini, or new mini? Because new minis are surprisingly big. Particularly the new Mini Countryman, which is stupidly big for an ostensibly 'small' car.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 7:15 AM
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I'm not going to explain mild hyperbole to a car.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 7:15 AM
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248: new mini, but not the countryman, which is idiotic. Remember, cars are bigger here.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 7:16 AM
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re: 250

Yes, I was struck repeatedly by the pointless bigness when I was there. Huge cars with relatively tiny interiors, and lots of pointless bulk.

Just checked the specs on the current mini, as I was curious. Bit surprised that the current standard model is slower [0-60 time] than my 10 year old Peugeot 206, which has a smaller engine. Of course the sporty ones are _much_ faster, but I would have expected the standard 1.6 mini to have been quite pokey.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 7:20 AM
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I am (or was?) a very good parallel parker, because Chicago, and I was doing it in a Volvo 240DL wagon, so it was like I was moving sideways. (What a stupid car that was. Sigh.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 7:22 AM
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The Mini for people who hate Minis!


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 7:28 AM
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251.last: it's surprisingly heavy (or maybe not that surprising since it's a BMW on some level). It didn't feel slow, though, at least with the manual.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 7:30 AM
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Huge cars with relatively tiny interiors, and lots of pointless bulk.

It's not pointless. It protects you from cyclists!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 7:31 AM
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re: 254

Just checked some UK review websites and they said the same. Quite sluggish based on paper specs, but doesn't feel like it when driving. Whereas my car is actually quite fast for a non-sport-model small car but is pretty noisy at higher speeds, and feels a bit unrefined, iykwim. That said, it'd still handily beat the standard mini in a drag race.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 7:32 AM
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Huge cars with relatively tiny interiors, and lots of pointless bulk.

Side-impact air bags and cupholders.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 7:38 AM
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I split the roads round here very sharply into bike and car roads, although they all look similar on the map, and I would never cycle along the commuter routes.

Agreed: there's no easy way to find out whether a minor road in the countryside is a quiet backwater that's good for cycling, or a nightmarish rat-run with a constant stream of heavy goods vehicles with sleep-deprived drivers coming past your elbow at 60 mph. (The same road may be both, depending on the day of the week and the time of day.) And often there's just no good route that doesn't go miles out of the way: for example, Cambridge to Norwich is about 60 (flat) miles for cars, but 70 (hilly) miles by any remotely cycle-friendly route.


Posted by: Gareth Rees | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 7:39 AM
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|| A new enemy for Halford. And Sen. Brennen is a grain farmer, I think. |>


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 7:51 AM
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Whoa. Everything I hate in one package.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:29 AM
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"Trying to bring back the buffalo in big herds across Montana is like bringing back dinosaurs. And who wants dinosaurs in Montana? I certainly don't."

Sen Brennen is utterly out of touch with his constituents. I cannot believe that there is a single true-born Montanan out there who doesn't want dinosaurs in Montana. Even I - and I do not have the good fortune to be Montanan true-born - think it would be a fantastic idea. The ranchers could ranch them, the hunters could shoot them, the outdoorsy types could watch them migrate in great herds through the breathtaking high mountain passes for which the state is justly famous, the townsfolk could profit mightily from dinosaur tourism, and everyone could get massive federal dinosaur subsidy cheques.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:38 AM
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In Idaho, meanwhile, they would provide a watertight answer to the question "Do you really need that 66mm anti-tank rocket for 'self defence'?"


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:43 AM
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