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etc. - a little of this, a little of that - by Oliver Del Signore

Archive for the ‘Law’ Category


Was it corruption, incompetence, or both that ruined this man’s life?

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Was it corruption, incompetence, or both that ruined this man’s life?

Former Pennsylvania psychologist says he reported child molestation, lost license

Jim Singer, formerly a psychologist working in Pennsylvania, said that he reported a case of child molestation in 1986 to Pennsylvania’s Child Protective Services agency, and not only was his report ignored, but soon after, in retaliation, the Pennsylvania Psychology Board prosecuted Singer and eventually removed his license to practice psychology.

Former psychologist Jim Singer

As the aftermath of the Penn State University molestation scandal unfolds, most observers believe that if the proper authorities had been alerted to the crimes much earlier, many children could have been saved. That’s not always the case, says Singer.

Speaking exclusively with The Daily Caller, Singer said that most of the same Pennsylvania government agencies that were outraged over the PSU scandal — Child Protective Services, the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, and the Pennsylvania State Police — all ignored and buried his report of child molestation.

In 1986, Singer was working as a psychologist at the Dubois Regional Medical Center in Dubois, Pa. During a session with a female teenage patient, Singer said the patient revealed to him that she was being sexually abused by her father. Upon having two more medical professionals confirm this, Singer said that he reported the abuse to the state’s Child Protective Services agency.

TheDC has exclusively acquired a letter from one of the two medical professionals, Dr. Albert Varacallo, vouching for the veracity of Singer’s claims.

“If all this seems hard to believe,” Varacallo wrote to then-Pennsylvania Gov. Bob Casey, Sr. in 1991, “I agree with you … the events of the past three years have proven to me that this nightmare is indeed a reality and not just Mr. Singer’s imagination from the stand point of any health professional, once he knew all the facts.”

“While the state is supposed to provide immunity for reporters,” Varacallo wrote, “it actually prosecutes those who seek to protect the rights of children.”

Click Here to read the rest of the story.

This is purely conjecture, but what I think happened, after the alleged abuser was informed of Dr. Singer’s report and given his identity, is that he turned to someone pretty high up in government who either put pressure on various agencies or arranged for false reports to be generated and acted upon.

While I feel badly for Dr. Singer, I feel worse for the children who may not have had their cases reported, as the law requires, because the health practitioner knew what happened to Singer and did not want to be similarly treated by the state agencies.

It’s been twenty-six years since Singer filed that report. How many children have suffered horrendous abuse because nobody would do anything to save them?

If I had my way, a very lot of people back then and now, would spend a lot of time in prison for dereliction of duty and abuse of authority.

But then, I’m not a Pennsylvania child welfare bureaucrat or worker. What do I know?

Is anyone more familiar with this case or similar cases elsewhere?


Start the conversation on guns? Sure, let’s talk.

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

As many of you know, I live in The People’s Republic of Massachusetts and, each morning, read The Boston Globe (aka The Democratic Party Newsletter). So you will understand my lack of surprise at the recent columns calling for yet more gun control after a psychopath shot up a theater in Colorado. One columnist, Derrick Z. Jackson titled his column, yesterday, “Start the conversation on guns.” Follow the link to read the whole column, but here are two excerpts:

After the 2011 Tucson massacre that left six people dead and 13 wounded, including Representative Gabrielle Giffords, President Obama called for a “common sense” discussion “to prevent future bloodshed.” Can we have that discussion now, in the wake of the Aurora, Colo., massacre at a movie theater that has taken 12 more lives and left 58 more people wounded?

Conventional wisdom in most of the news coverage and reaction from politicians would indicate not. But the national conversation needs to start, and it needs to be led by the presidential candidates. This may be difficult because Obama now allows guns in national parks, and presidential challenger Mitt Romney has fled from his Massachusetts record on gun control. But once upon a time, they could have been political allies on this issue.

Obama and Romney should do their duty to spark a discussion. So, too, should Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown and challenger Elizabeth Warren. Warren has been silent about guns in the wake of Aurora, though on paper she supports a federal assault weapons ban. Brown says he remains in favor of Massachusetts’ assault weapon ban but does not support a reinstatement of the federal ban.

A national discussion could start with assault weapons and limits on ammunition purchases. The alleged shooter at the new Batman movie in Aurora purchased 6,000 rounds of ammunition on the Internet. This week, a man was arrested in Maine with several guns in his car, including an AK-47, and police later found more weapons and 8,000 to 10,000 rounds of ammo. He said he had taken a loaded gun into a Batman movie.

It’s not difficult to see Jackson wants the conversation to be about more restrictive gun legislation disarming more Americans. I’d like to see the conversation go in a different direction. Here’s what I have to say to Mr. Jackson.

Yes, Derrick! By all means. Let’s start the conversation.

Let’s talk about making guns as easy for law-abiding citizens to obtain as they are for criminals and psychopaths to buy on the black market.

Let’s talk about ensuring that all able-bodied men and women across America are able to purchase and carry-concealed handguns so the next time a James Holmes starts shooting, lots of people are armed and ready to stop him before he kills twelve and wounds scores more.

Let’s talk about teaching our children from a young age how to handle and respect firearms and how to shoot accurately.

Let’s talk about reviving the concept of a citizen militia that is armed with weapons equal to or greater than those issued to the conventional military.

Let’s talk about making life so damn dangerous for criminals to try to assault someone or break into homes they’ll be lining up for honest work.

Yes, Derrick, let’s start the conversation, but let’s not waste our time talking about what has not worked for generations and will never work, even if you and your ilk manage to ban all firearms. What folks like you seem to be immune to understanding is that criminals and psychopaths do not care about laws. That’s what makes them criminals and psychopaths. And they will always be able to obtain guns of all sorts as long as they exist anywhere on Earth.

Let’s talk about all of us facing reality for a change, instead of wallowing in the delusion our grand utopian ideals make even one whit of difference to anyone but ourselves.

By all means, let’s talk about things that will make a difference, that are proved to make a difference.

When you’re ready for that conversation, Derrick, let us know.

What else would you add to the conversation about guns?


A solution to the drug war problem that benefits everyone

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

Congratulations to this week’s Comment Contest winner — Mandi.


Below the fold on the front page of The Boston Globe Democrat today is a story about a prison inmate accused of running a multi-million dollar illegal drug ring from the slammer. Fourteen people were arrested. All for providing to a group of consumers a product the consumers clearly want and are willing to pay for. The story is here, if you are interested in the details, but it’s not this story I want to talk about today. The story was just the inspiration for an idea that would end the absurdly wasteful, destructive, and deadly war on drugs and provide benefits to every single person in the nation, drug user or not.

I don’t think I’ll get any argument about pointing out that providing recreational drugs to people who want them is a multi-billion dollar industry. In addition, the illegal drug trade has probably produced more well-paying jobs in America than the trillions in stimulus money Our Dear Leader has thrown away. But it’s a dangerous job. You could be captured by the government or killed by competitors or the government. Still, despite all the risks, the rewards are so great, that whenever government arrests one dealer, another steps right in to take his or her place. Which is why the drug war fits perfectly into the classic definition of insanity — doing the same thing over and over expecting a different outcome.

But I have a solution and I think it might be a good one.

Most recreational drugs, especially narcotics, cost next to nothing to produce and could be sold very profitably for a low-enough price to allow those who become addicted to live with their addiction, including holding down a job. Such was the case before government stuck it’s nose into the drug trade. Were all drugs legal to sell, those doing the selling would stand to reap huge profits. So, let’s legalize all drugs, regulate them, and designate the existing drug companies as the exclusive providers. And in return for the multi-billion dollar windfall, the companies will have to sell their medicinal drugs for a set percentage over production costs.

What will happen if we do this?

The cost of medicinal drugs will be sharply reduced, which will benefit everyone. Medicare and Medicaid expenditures will plummet.

The violence associated with the drug trade will end.

Addicts will no longer need to rob and steal in order to support their habits, A job at Burger King will pay enough to keep them high when they’re not working.

Government will no longer be killing innocents when they smash down the doors of wrong houses.

Billions will be saved by not having to incarcerate anyone for selling or using drugs or committing crimes to get the drugs.

Tax-paying jobs will be created at all levels, from manufacturing through wholesaling through distribution down to retail. And let’s not forget the local, state, and federal inspectors who will be checking to make sure the products are of advertised purity.

And speaking of taxes, think of how much new tax revenue will be generated, taxes that can go toward helping addicts, if such is society’s desire, or toward other worthwhile endeavors.

Is there a downside to this plan? If so, I’m not seeing it.

Some will say that legalizing drugs will just create more addicts and further burden society. I think more people will indeed experiment but I also think anyone who really wants to experiment can easily do so now given that most recreational drugs are readily available in most places. And some will suffer due to the lack of quality control.

What do you think?

Would you be willing to let drug companies produce recreational drugs in return for lowering the cost of your Lipitor and other medicinal drugs?

Do you see a downside to the plan that I’ve missed?

And if all currently illegal recreational drugs were legalized, which would you try, if any?


What do you know — a judge who can read the Constitution!

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

Congratulations to this week’s Comment Contest winner — Elizabeth Martin.


Those who lament the ongoing destruction of rights and freedom in America often point to politicians and judges who apparently are incapable of understanding the plain, simple English  in the United States Constitution. We all saw one horrendous example of that last Thursday, when the Chief Justice tortured all logic, reason and language to twist his way into supporting Obamacare. But today, I’m pleased to report that in New York, there is at least one judge who may actually have a copy of the Constitution and who appears to have read it.

Fed. Judge Rules Churches Can Stay in Schools for Now

A federal district judge says the city can’t evict churches that have been renting space for Sunday worship services. It’s the latest in a case that has gone back and forth between different courts, with a different result each time — but ultimately little change.

District judge Loretta Preska issued an injunction that allows religious groups to continue to worship in public schools.

Lawyers for the church groups argued that since schools allow student groups to hold prayer meetings and other religious activities on site, it should not be denied to church group when school is not in session.

Judge Preska on Friday again agreed with them and upheld their right to worship.

Click Here to read the rest of the story.

I don’t dare predict what some judge in a higher court will rule one day, but Judge Preska got it exactly correct.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The New York and other states’ laws or rules that prohibit religious organizations from using or worshiping on public property are all based on the big lie that the words above don’t guarantee freedom of religion but freedom from religion. It’s a lie that’s been pushed on America for far too long and I’ve never understood how anyone who got through the sixth grade could not see that it’s a lie.

Laws like those in New York violate not one, not two, but three separate parts of the First Amendment, quoted above.

1. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

Congress, and by extension all government, may not favor one religion over another or prohibit the practice of any religion. Even Scientology.

Can government force everyone pray in school? No. Can they stop everyone from praying in school? No. Want to put the Ten Commandments on the wall of your courthouse? Fine, provided you don’t try to stop someone else from putting their commandments, or whatever, on the wall, too. It’s simple. Equal access, equal freedom to all.

2. or abridging the freedom of speech

Clearly prayer is speech. Do I really need to explain any further?

3. or the right of the people peaceably to assemble

Again, pretty simple. If your group wants to peaceably assembly in a school classroom once a week to worship L. Rom Hubbard, green aliens, Norse Gods, or anything else, and you can pay the rental fee, why is it the business of anyone else? You can even gather and discuss the non-existence of a deity to your heart’s content in the classroom next door if that’s your thing. Equal access, equal freedom.

The beauty of the Constitution the Founders gave us is that it provides the greatest amount of freedom to the citizens of the nation.

I understand the selfish and greedy and evil reasons why some people want to limit or take away that freedom.

I don’t understand why so many of us have let them do it for so long.

The Founders would long ago have taken up arms and shot the bastards.

We sit around watching Jersey Shore and Dancing with the Stars.

Your thoughts?


Truth? Facts? Innocence? What do they have to do with anything?

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

Truth? Facts? Innocence? What do they have to do with anything? Apparently nothing when there is political hay to be made, as in the case of George Zimmerman.

In case you were in a coma and missed it, Zimmerman is the guy who shot and killed Trayvon Martin a few months ago. Despite all reported evidence indicating Zimmerman told the truth about the incident, including that Martin attacked him as he was walking away and had him on the ground where he feared for his life, Zimmerman was arrested, forced to post bail even though he was not a flight risk, and has been systematically vilified by much of the media and the likes of race-pimps Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.

Now it appears there is even more evidence indicating Zimmerman’s innocence — a lie detector test Zimmerman passed and prosecutors had before they decided to bring charges.

George Zimmerman Passed Police Lie Detector Test Day After Trayvon Martin Killing

Trayvon Martin – George Zimmerman

A day after killing Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman passed a police lie detector test when asked if he confronted the teenager and whether he feared for his life “when you shot the guy,” according to documents released today by Florida prosecutors.

According to a “confidential report” prepared by the Sanford Police Department, Zimmerman, 28, willingly submitted to a computer voice stress analyzer (CVSA) “truth verification” on February 27.  Investigators concluded that he “has told substantially the complete truth in regards to this examination.”

Zimmerman, the report noted, “was classified as No Deception Indicated (NDI).”

Click Here to read the rest of the story.

Why is this purely political prosecution of Zimmerman going forward despite all the evidence he’s told the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth from the moment the police arrived on the scene?

Because Zimmerman is half-white and half-Latino while Martin was black.

From the very first moment, this case has not been about a crime, but about race, about the opportunity to brand a “white” guy as racist.

Here’s something odd — if being half-white is enough for Zimmerman to be considered white, how is that half-white Barack Obama is considered black?

Would Zimmerman be facing trial if he was black and Martin was white, or half white? Or if Zimmerman was only a quarter white, or an eighth?

Based on what I’ve read about the case, I believe Zimmerman confronted Martin that day because Martin was a black kid in a place where Zimmerman did not think he should be. But I also believe Martin attacked Zimmerman and was shot as a result. Perhaps there exists evidence to the contrary to which I’m not privy. But so far, not one shred has emerged.

I say it’s high time the political harassment of Zimmerman ended, this whole case was closed, and we move on to something more important, like getting that white guy out of the White House.

What do you say?


Sorry, but life isn’t fair, so get over it.

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

I had to check the date at the top of the newspaper this morning to make sure I hadn’t slipped into a time warp and landed on April Fools Day.

US judge rules Netflix subject to disability act

A federal judge in Springfield has ruled that Netflix and other online providers that serve the public are subject to federal disabilities laws, a decision that could require TV shows and movies streamed over the Internet to include captions for the deaf or other accommodations.

On Tuesday, US District Judge Michael Ponsor rejected Netflix’s argument that it is exempt from the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA. He declined to dismiss an ADA lawsuit against Netflix for failing to provide captions on much of the content it streams to subscribers.

Web-based businesses did not exist when the disabilities act was enacted in 1990, the judge wrote, but the US Congress intended the law to adapt to changes in technology, and it should apply to websites.

The complaint was filed by the National Association of the Deaf, the Western Massachusetts Association of the Deaf and Hearing Impaired, and Lee Nettles, a staffer at the Stavros Center for Independent Living in Springfield.

Nettles said Netflix discriminates against the hearing-impaired, forcing them to to avoid its streaming service and pay for more expensive DVD rentals to ensure the movies and TV shows they rent are equipped with captions. “It has to be equal accessibility to all people using it,” he said. “It has to be 100 percent equality.”

Click Here to read the rest of the story.

100 percent equality. Think about that for a minute.

If everything in life has to be made 100 percent equal for everyone…

— Professional sports should be forced to change their rules and practices to accommodate overweight couch potatoes who want to play pro basketball, or baseball, etc. Instead of choosing players based on ability, we should have random drawings from a pool that includes everyone who wants to play.

— All bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers should be unisex.

— Movie producers should be forced to provide “descriptive service” (essentially, a verbal description of what is happening onscreen from moment to moment) for every movie. And all old movies on DVD should be recalled so both subtitles and descriptive service can be added to accommodate those who are blind as well as those who are deaf. For that matter, they’ll also have to figure out something to accommodate those who are both deaf and blind.

— Comedians should be forced to take time to explain each joke after they deliver it for those humorously challenged, or too slow, to get it.

— Websites should be forced to provide descriptive service for each of their web pages. No matter that it would effectively bankrupt many of the companies behind the sites.

— We should eliminate elections entirely, since the ability to smile and raise money and lie come easier to some people than to others, which makes the election process inherently unfair. As with sports, each position should be chosen at random from a pool of people who want the job. The same with judges and all other public positions. It should not matter that a person has no experience with electricity. If he or she wants to be an electrical inspector, he or she should have a fair shot at the job. And there’s even precedent for that since that’s the standard we applied in the last presidential election.

The only thing I think would have to be exempt from the 100 percent equality rule is reproduction…unless scientists can figure out way for women to impregnate men and for men to carry and deliver babies. But everything else should be fair game for it.

Yes, I know how stupid all that sounded, but it is no more stupid than forcing Netflix to do things it determines will not be profitable just to accommodate a small number of subscribers.

The plain, simple fact is that life is not fair. If it was, I’d have a voice like Frank Sinatra’s, looks like Matt Damon, a physique like David Beckham, a bank account like Bill gates, and be hung like a porn star.

But life is not fair. It never was and never will be. And these efforts to force fairness are absurd and destructive as well as being unreasonably costly in many cases.

I’m sorry that some folks are deaf or blind or have mobility issues or are intellectually challenged or anything else that hold holds them back. But my disability should not create an obligation on you or anyone else to do anything. I believe we should help in any way we can if we are so inclined, and I believe the vast majority of Americans would do so willingly, but forcing everyone to pay for other people’s problems is what lay at the root of the decline of America and most other nations in the civilized world.

Life is not fair. It’s time we all accept it and get over it.

What do you think? Am I being unreasonable again?

What other things would have to be “fixed” to accommodate 100% equality?


No, you are NOT Americans

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

Below, you’ll see the cover of this week’s TIME magazine.

I’m sure everyone pictured on the cover are decent, hardworking folks who only want the best for themselves and their families.

But they are NOT Americans, unless they mean they are Central Americans or South Americans.

They are not undocumented workers. They are not economic refugees.

They are criminal aliens who have no respect for American law.

The cover, of course, is TIME’s response to Our Dear Leader’s proclamation that effectively offers amnesty to a million or more illegals who were brought here as children. It is a slap in the face to every young American and to every young person who is here legally. With the economy still swirling around the toilet, Obama just effectively told young Americans and legal immigrants, “Sucks to be you, but my political future is far more important than your economic or social stability. You’ll just have to get used to all the criminal invaders driving down wages and taking jobs that should have been yours.”

Honestly, I do feel badly for the young illegals. They were burdened with parents who put them in a terrible position by bringing them illegally to a place they should not be. But my feelings do not change the facts.

Criminal invaders calling themselves Americans is an insult to every immigrant who waited their turn and came here legally, my father included.

If  TIME is willing to accept that those people on the cover are Americans, *Just not legally, then surely they’ll support me in my contention that I’m a retired billionaire, *Just not legally, and cut me a check to make it true.

Hey, if the scam works for them, why can’t it work for me?

So…what are you, *Just not legally?


Four on firearms

Saturday, June 9th, 2012

Interesting firearms-related columns today from my favorite news site.


Excellent advice, including the single most important piece you’ll ever read.

Legal Advice on Deadly Force From The Witness Stand
By Ernest Emerson

I’m not a lawyer so take it for what it’s worth.

So what do you do if you are caught up in a deadly force scenario?  Let me state again.  I am not a lawyer.  But, I have been on the witness stand for the Los Angeles Prosecuting Attorney Office.

The first thing that I want to tell you is this.  Hold up your hand and say right now, out loud.  I will not lie. Now repeat it.  I will not lie. If you do not want to go to prison for something you needed to do, do not exaggerate, do not stretch the truth and do not lie, even once.  Leave that to your attorney (no offense).

The aftermath of a violent act, a deadly act, is like a play.  There are villains, there are bad guys, there are heroes and there are extras on the set.  In fact, you may even really be on film.  You never know.  Play your part well and you’ll get the Oscar, play it bad and you’ll get free room and board for life.

Click Here to read the rest of the story


I say yes. Do you agree?

Should every family own a gun?
By Lisa Bedford, The Survival Mom

Anti-gun rhetoric has been a fact of my life as long as I can remember.  As a new mom, I even tried keeping toy guns out of the house, because I had bought into some of the myths surrounding gun ownership, such as:

1) Accidental gun deaths are bound to happen with a gun in the house.

2) A gun-free home will keep kids safe from guns.

3) If kids play with toy guns, they will grow up to be violent.

All of those are nonsense, of course, but as a mom, all I wanted was for my children to be safe.  My husband wasn’t exactly on board, and I knew that.  As a lifetime member of the NRA, he has always been vocal in his support of the Second Amendment and our right to own firearms, if we choose.

I suppose I could continue to tiptoe around the issue of firearms, but I am convinced that every survival minded family must own at least one gun, train their children in gun safety as well as in shooting skills, and that a firearm should be part of their preparedness plan..

Click Here to read the rest of the story.


As if anyone reading this today really needed to be convinced…

The Armed Citizen: Proof Guns Save Lives
By The NRA

A Michigan man was at home watching television with his family when an intruder ripped open the house’s storm door, began beating on the inner door and demanded entry. Homeowner Mark Goodman retrieved his personal firearm and held it up to the window. The intruder fled immediately, “like he had seen a ghost,” according to Goodman. (Macomb Daily Paper, Macomb County, Mich., 4/29/12)

Miguel Lopez Hernandez, 25, and an armed accomplice entered Kelly Jewelers. The accomplice produced his handgun, ordered the store manager to get on the floor, then tossed a roll of duct tape to Hernandez. The manager, however, was quickly able to retrieve his own handgun. The armed assailant dashed out the door upon seeing the firearm, leaving Hernandez armed only with the roll of duct tape. Hernandez was arrested and is under investigation for aggravated robbery; his accomplice remains at large. (KSL 5 News, Midvale, UT, 3/10/12)

Click Here to read the rest of the story.


Which are you? Which do you want to be?

On Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs
By LTC(Ret.) Dave Grossman, RANGER, Ph.D., author of “On Killing.”

One Vietnam veteran, an old retired colonel, once said this to me:  “Most of the people in our society are sheep. They are kind, gentle, productive creatures who can only hurt one another by accident.”

This is true. Remember, the murder rate is six per 100,000 per year, and the aggravated assault rate is four per 1,000 per year. What this means is that the vast majority of Americans are not inclined to hurt one another. Some estimates say that two million Americans are victims of violent crimes every year, a tragic, staggering number, perhaps an all-time record rate of violent crime. But there are almost 300 million Americans, which means that the odds of being a victim of violent crime is considerably less than one in a hundred on any given year. Furthermore, since many violent crimes are committed by repeat offenders, the actual number of violent citizens is considerably less than two million.

Thus there is a paradox, and we must grasp both ends of the situation: We may well be in the most violent times in history, but violence is still remarkably rare. This is because most citizens are kind, decent people who are not capable of hurting each other, except by accident or under extreme provocation.

They are sheep. I mean nothing negative by calling them sheep. To me, it is like the pretty, blue robin’s egg. Inside it is soft and gooey but someday it will grow into something wonderful. But the egg cannot survive without its hard blue shell. Police officers, soldiers, and other warriors are like that shell, and someday the civilization they protect will grow into something wonderful. For now, though, they need warriors to protect them from the predators.

“Then there are the wolves,” the old war veteran said, “and the wolves feed on the sheep without mercy.” Do you believe there are wolves out there who will feed on the flock without mercy? You better believe it. There are evil men in this world and they are capable of evil deeds. The moment you forget that or pretend it is not so, you become a sheep.

There is no safety in denial.

“Then there are sheepdogs,” he went on, “and I’m a sheepdog. I live to protect the flock and confront the wolf.”

Click Here to read the rest of the story.


Life in the Fast Lane

Monday, May 28th, 2012

A Monday Rerun

In some parts of the nation, they call them Diamond Lanes. In other parts they might call them Fast Lanes, or Commuter Lanes, or Carpool Lanes. What they should be called is Traffic Jam Lanes and they are an always-visible reminder of how bad government is at solving problems.

The idea was encourage people to carpool to relieve the massive traffic tie-ups most large cities experience during rush hours. But as always happens when do-gooders impose their visions on the rest of us, the law of unintended consequences reared it’s always ugly head. Instead of reliving traffic jams, these liberal icons to failed urban planning usually make them worse by forcing the same number of cars into fewer lanes, thereby extending commute times as they increase the pollution spewing from vehicles forced to idle for longer periods in bumper-to-bumper traffic. And this stupid, failed scheme to manipulate drivers plays out nationwide every day, or at least, every workday.

I got to experience it twice the other day.

I was taking Mrs. Blogger to visit her mother, a drive of about 75 minutes that requires I pass through Boston, Massachusetts. You might remember Boston as the town that spent well over 20 billions dollars to build a 3.5 mile tunnel under the city, a project that was supposed to cost only $2.5 billion when the scheme was sold to the voters. But I digress.

The trip entailed a ride down Interstate 93, a road that is invariably backed-up for seven or more miles during the morning commute. For that reason, we waited until 10 AM to leave, expecting all the daily drivers would be planted at their desks for the day.

As we approached the spot where the Fast Lane begins, I looked ahead and saw the traffic in the other lanes we zipping right along. I mentally congratulated myself on waiting to start the trip, but then decided to try out the Fast Lane anyway, which I could do since vehicles need only two people in them to legally use the lane.

We’d not traveled much further than I’d earlier been able to see when the traffic in the other three lanes came to a stop. I congratulated myself again on my good luck at having the impulse to try the Fast Lane. But somewhat over a mile later I was confused. The traffic in the other lanes was moving fine again, but we’d not passed any accident or work crew that might have caused a curiosity slowdown further back. Then I realized the problem.

To create the Fast Lane and the barrier island that prevents the wrong-thinking masses who commute alone from crossing over to the Fast Lane, what used to be a four-lane elevated highway that matched the four lanes of Interstate 93 had been reduced to three lanes, plus the concrete barrier. What was causing the traffic jam further back was three lanes of traffic having to weave themselves down to two lanes.

Meanwhile, I and two other cars continued to zip along in the nearly empty Fast lane. What a great system, eh?

Suffice to say the same sort of thing happened later in the day as I returned, with four lanes being squeezed down to three to accommodate the Fast Lane.

These feeble and useless attempts at social engineering drive me crazy. It would be bad enough if they tried this stuff, then stopped when it became clear it wasn’t working, but socialists and other true-believers will never admit any idea of theirs is garbage, which is why we’ve had to deal with these Diamond Lanes for over 30 years now.

Why do we endure this foolishness, this bureaucratic bungling and refusal to acknowledge failure? Have we really become such a nation of sheep that we actually enjoy having our wallets shorn to support mindless, useless money and time wasters? Sure seems like it.


Should people with no income be able to get credit cards?

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Should people with no income be able to get credit cards?

The question seems like a no-brainer. After all, if you have no income and you charge stuff to the card, how will you pay for it?

If I ran a credit card company, I certainly would want folks applying for credit to show me how they planned to pay back the money my company will advance for them for their purchases.

Does anyone think that is an unreasonable position to take? I didn’t think so.

But… (and you just knew there had to be a “but.”)

But what if that person with no demonstrable income is a married, stay-at-home mom?

Wait, you say. She has an income. Her husband is working and brings money into the house.

True, but it is his income. Not hers.They may consider it “their” money, but the law may see it differently.

If Visa issues the card solely in her name, knowing she has no income, and she refuses to pay the balance, they’re stuck if they can’t go after the husband because he didn’t co-sign for it. Even if they can sue, a lawsuit to collect a few thousand dollars would likely cost more than that in lawyer’s fees.

Regardless of the of the logic and reasonableness of the policy, some stay-at-home mothers are up in arms about the unfairness of it, and I sort of understand their position. But I also understand the credit card companies’ position and the reason for the law that mandates it.

Some women may consider it discriminatory, but it is not, as it would apply equally to stay-at-home dads with no income.

Those causing a ruckus about this issue are simply wrong. If they want to accomplish something positive, they could work to have the law recognize all spousal income as joint for all legal purposes, so that if either spouse defaults on credit, the credit issuer will have legal recourse.

Should that come to pass, it will be interesting to see what will happen some day when a stay-at-home husband of a high-income woman applies for a lot of credit and runs all the cards up to their limits.

What is your take on this issue?

Should the law require credit cards to be issued to people with no income?

And how does your state view spousal income? Or does it even address the issue?






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