I got the most amazing parking ticket today, while I was parked perfectly legally on a city street in Lincoln, Nebraska.
What’s so amazing about it?
Well, pretty much every piece of information listed on the ticket is incorrect.
1. I was parked at the corner of 12th Street and F Street; the ticket says I was parked at 11th and F.
2. The license plate number is correct, but the registration expiration is wrong by an entire year. That explains why I was ticketed for an invalid registration, but the correct month and year (7/13) are actually on the license plates themselves (front and back).
3. The vehicle information is wrong: I drive a white 2012 Toyota Camry, not a tan Toyota Prius. I used to drive a tan Prius, but I traded it in for the Camry back in November … which is also when I switched over the plates and registration. Apparently that information wasn’t updated in one of the databases used by police.
Now … if you’re keeping score at home, the officer placed this ticket, which was written for expired tags on a 2010 tan Prius, on a 2012 white Camry with tags that were clearly not expired.
One thing I learned while I was contesting the ticket, which is amazingly still pending and which didn’t involve an apology for completely wasting a half hour of my time, is that members of the police force routinely wander around the city, running the license plates of legally parked vehicles to see if there’s any reason they could possibly ticket them. And, apparently, sometimes they ticket them even when there isn’t any conceivable reason.
I got pulled over on the interstate this morning.
This is noteworthy because it never happens, even though I drive the Lincoln-Omaha corridor a lot each week. I typically listen to a podcast, set the cruise control for three or four mphs over the limit since it changes three or four times during my drive, and just stay in the slow lane. I give myself plenty of time to get to my office hours; in fact, I’m there early enough that I park about a mile and a half away and walk to campus.
Today, I was pulled over by a state trooper at exactly the point where a 55 mph construction zone turned into a 65 mph non-construction zone. He’d been driving in the left lane and I’d been driving in the right lane for about ten miles; I’d been slightly behind him (and behind another car in my lane that was ahead of him) for miles and I eventually passed him just as a new lane opened up to my right. I was going 58 mph. I merged into the new lane and turned off the cruise control to get off the interstate at the upcoming exit, about a quarter mile ahead. Then the lights went on behind me.
Now here’s the best part:
He comes over to my car, asks for my information, but doesn’t mention why I’ve been stopped. So I ask, “Was I doing something wrong, officer?” His reply, “Yes, a bunch of things.” He then takes my information back to his car, returning five minutes later to issue me a warning for speeding.
So, of course, I asked him how fast I was going. His response was that he could tell me but then he’d need to give me a speeding ticket rather than a warning. He assured me, “You were going well over the speed limit because I was going 55 and you passed me.”
Yep. 58. And there was another car driving ahead of both of us for ten miles, almost certainly going 60 mph since neither of us was passing it.
So, thanks for the warning, officer. I think we all learned a lot from this experience.
So … here’s an actual thing that happened this morning here in Nebraska:
A Lincoln Valentino’s restaurant became a drive-thru when a man crashed his car through the front door and then ordered a pizza.
The crash happened Wednesday just before Noon at the restaurant located near 70th & Vine Streets.
The woman who called 911 and Lincoln Fire and Rescue said the driver ordered the pizza while he was waiting for emergency crews to arrive.
I am now the proud long-term renter of this vehicle.
I don’t feel nearly as smug driving it as I felt in my Prius, but it’s far more practical and I am getting to be very old.
There are so very many things wrong with these six minutes of audio from Rush Limbaugh’s entertainment program.
All of it, of course, centers on the notion that business is entirely responsible for everything good in America and government only serves to impede the wonderful things that businessmen can do. When President Obama claims that the owners of businesses actually benefit a great deal from being part of a country with a government that undertakes major projects on behalf of the citizenry, this is — for Limbaugh — patently false. And the evidence? Henry Ford.
Every time. It’s Henry Ford every time.
That guy did it all himself. He made cars all by himself, he invented the assembly line all by himself, he educated himself and then, in turn, educated all of his workers by himself, he actively fought (with weapons) against union organizers all by himself, he was a virulent anti-Semite and a supporter of Adolf Hitler all by himself … and so on.
The amazing thing about Ford is that without him we wouldn’t have roads and bridges, two of the very things that Obama keeps mentioning as important government contributions to American business. Without cars, which were built entirely by Henry Ford without a lick of help from the government, there’d be no roads or bridges. At least that’s Limbaugh’s take on things.
Too bad about the railroads; they’re just a minor government-financed project that likely had no impact on the United States in any way. Indeed, it’s almost certainly the case that all of Ford’s raw materials came from the city of Detroit and thus nothing ever needed to be moved anywhere. Right?
But, anyhow, my favorite part of Limbaugh’s latest rant is that whenever he doesn’t have an explanation for something the government did that assists the owners of businesses, he just claims that Obama hates that part of the government or the country.
A good example is the internet. Rather than attempt to refute the idea that the internet assists business and wasn’t created by the businessmen themselves, Limbaugh simply notes that hates the military and Department of Defense. This is pretty amazing, given that the single most serious complaint liberals have about Obama is that he has whole-heartedly embraced the military and military options like drone warfare over the past four years.
But the problem, at bottom, is that I’m listening to this endless stream of nonsense and trying to make sense of it. For most people who regularly listen to Limbaugh, it doesn’t actually matter if it makes sense; all that matters is that it confirms what they already believe to be true.
And that’s the last part of the clip:
I think it can now be said, without equivocation — without equivocation — that this man hates this country. He is trying — Barack Obama is trying — to dismantle, brick by brick, the American dream.
There’s no other way to put this. There’s no other way to explain this. He was indoctrinated as a child. His father was a communist. His mother was a leftist. He was sent to prep and Ivy League schools where his contempt for the country was reinforced. He moved to Chicago. It was the home of the radical left movement. He hooks up to Ayers and Dohrn and Rashid Khalidi. He learns the ruthlessness of Cook County politics. This is what we have as a president: a radical ideologue, a ruthless politician who despises the country and the way it was founded and the way in which it became great. He hates it.
The thing that’s so interesting to me is that this actually resonates with people. Millions of people. They listen to this and they think to themselves — or they say to their friends and co-workers — “Yes! This is exactly what’s wrong with America: The President hates this country!”
So what I want to know is this: What would my life have to be like in order for this to resonate with me? Would I need to make a lot more money every year? Would I need to actually own a factory? Would it help if I hadn’t spent so much time in a classroom?
I’m guessing that none of this would help, that plenty of Limbaugh’s listeners make the same amount of money that I do — maybe a little bit more or a little bit less — and that plenty of them are well-educated (and by public schools, even).
So, again, why does all this nonsense about socialism and birth certificates and perfectly self-sufficient corporate overlords resonate with them and not with me?
I ask because I’m honestly trying to figure out how to talk to people who are certain that it’s Obama and not Limbaugh who’s the radical ideologue. Because, regardless of the outcome of the November election, it’s going to be important — at some point — for Americans to figure out how to talk to one another across the chasm that Limbaugh helped to create and that keeps him living his outrageously opulent lifestyle.
How are we going to find any common ground on which to stand?
(Source: The Huffington Post)
For the past week, I’ve been driving around in the pick-up truck pictured above. This has amused a great many people for several reasons, not the least of which is that it was a replacement while the other vehicle pictured above was in the body shop to repair damage incurred when someone backed into it in a parking garage.
I’ve used it to take my child to day care, to get a hair cut, to go to an appointment, and to buy groceries. As it has been Spring Break, I think I drove twenty miles all week. To refill about an eighth of the tank, I spent $15. This much money would fill half the tank of the Prius and it would probably take two hundred miles to use it up. And, of course, each time I got in or out, I felt incredibly self-conscious. I knew I didn’t belong behind the wheel of a pick-up and I had the feeling that everyone around me knew it too. I’m not sure why anyone who isn’t hauling a ton of rocks every day would buy such a vehicle.
I’ll say this much for the experience: There’s nothing like driving a giant American-made stereotype to make one realize how much of a left-wing, tree-hugging, Prius-driving stereotype one truly is …
This video of Ford employees putting together Model T automobiles is posted here largely for my “Liberalism and its Critics” students, who seem to have become Marxists — at least from a rudimentary analysis of their most recent essays — and thus would benefit from watching the proletariat in action.
I do find it interesting that people complain about $3 a gallon gas with a $4 cup of coffee in their hands.
So says Politicalprof, the fourth political science professor on Tumblr (and the only one with whom I’m not personally acquainted).
The quote comes at the end of a lengthy reply — mostly about how prices are set and what it actually takes to make a gallon of gasoline — to a question about the price fluctuations of gas. And, to my mind, it raises all sorts of fascinating questions about people’s preferences and expectations.
By and large, we expect cheap gas and we don’t ever really stop to think about what “cheap” really means. But — as Politicalprof points out — $3 for a gallon of gas is actually pretty cheap in the grand scheme of things. And it’s especially cheap if you think about what it gets you. In my case, I can probably use a single gallon of gas for a couple of weeks; this isn’t hyperbole, either: my car gets somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 miles/gallon and I drive it very, very infrequently because I walk to work. I drive a lot more than I did a few years ago, but my new car is also a lot more efficient.
We seem not to have built up a set of expectations with regard to coffee, though. At least not as a society. To my mind, a cup of coffee is nothing more than a fleeting pleasure; it’s great when it’s hot but it’s really only hot for a few minutes and, if you haven’t finished it by then, you’re probably not going to. Now, I have no problem buying coffee at a local coffee shop — I do it twice a week when I hold morning “Coffee Hours” to meet with students — but I can’t remember a time when I paid more than $2 for a cup or when I didn’t enjoy a free refill. But, then, I’m also not someone who prefers “designer coffee” over a cheaper alternative; I find Starbucks undrinkable but I don’t at all mind McDonald’s.
Everyone has a different set of preferences, obviously, but mine seem to revolve around the length of time that I can enjoy a good or service that I like or need. I wouldn’t pay the ungodly sum charged by Starbucks but I have no problem paying whatever the price at the pump happens to be … even if prices climb to the point where a gallon of gas is more expensive than Starbucks’ most expensive, whip cream/chocolate/caramel-topped, thousand calorie dessert beverage.
As a college professor and native Detroiter, I talk to my students a fair amount about the auto industry and the problem that arises from the likely inability of the Big Three CEOs to actually build a car themselves. The example comes in really handy when lecturing on Marxism and alienation. Thus, the sentiment expressed here really resonates:
There’s something truly appealing about seeing every last little piece of a car deconstructed and laid out neatly. Automobiles are fascinating machines, with tons of tiny pieces that do unexpected things, with each part serving a purpose. And knowing that every functional part of a car is the result of a century of hard work and refinement is kind of awe-inspiring.