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I am The Cyberwolfe and these are my ramblings. All original content is protected under a Creative Commons license - always ask first.
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Archive for the 'Politics' Category

Orlando

Posted in Politics on June 13th, 2016

For all of those who say they have no words, I have a few.

People have died because their country has failed them. The signs were there, but they went unheeded. Many people in the shooter’s life (I won’t name him here, he gave up his name to commit atrocity, he is merely the shooter…) many people have said he was angry, he would go off on angry, homophobic rants and there were mentions of his violence. A co-worker went to their boss and said ‘hey, this guy’s got problems’, but his words were unheard. Family saw his anger and heard his words, yet did not think they were enough reason to force him to seek help or counsel.

Congress has failed to see wisdom, lobbyists have failed to see anything but their paychecks, and people have died. Friends, neighbors, families have all died because this shithead shooter and others like him were legally able to buy assault weapons. Not hunting rifles, not target guns, assault weapons.

Me? I like guns. Guns are good for hunting, for target practice, for just shootin’ tin cans. They’re good for self- and home-defense. I believe people that enjoy these activities should be able to pursue them.

But I also believe that there is no righteous purpose for owning something like an AR-15, or any of the similar weapons out there. These are not hunting rifles, they are not target rifles, they are only good for one thing, and that is terrorizing the humans around you. (Not “your fellow humans”, because if you’re terrorizing them, you have nothing in common with them. You’re just a fucking asshole at that point, not a human.)

Look, I’ve read my history and I understand what was going on when the boys with the pens sat down and argued around a table for weeks penning the Constitution and the Amendments. At that time, and for the years following, the Second Amendment made a great deal of sense – take the arms from the people, and they become subjects, just like they were under the English kings.  Those days are looooooong past though. An armed militia to keep the government yoke in check doesn’t work anymore, because the United States military has more guns than whatever God you believe in, our police have militarized themselves, and there’s no fucking way the populace is ever going to mount a successful armed rebellion against the government.

Not. A. Chance. In. Hell. The South ain’t gonna rise again, dickhead, just give it up.

So. What do we do now?

We get off our asses, pull our thumbs out, and make some changes.

You, and you, and yes, you over there in the corner – go outside, knock on your neighbor’s doors, and talk to them. Get to know them. Try to understand them. I know meeting people is scary, but these are the people that will be closest to you when the zombie apocalypse finally lands, so get to know your team. Find out if they need help, or counsel, or just a damn shoulder to cry on over a beer.

Congress: it’s time to stop taking money from the gun lobbyists that are allowing the people around you to arm themselves with assault weapons and make a stand for sanity. Ban assault weapons. Require sane background checks for all gun purchases. All of them. Gifts too – nobody gets a gun without a check. Come up with something similarly sane for the purchase of ammunition, because really, you don’t need 4000 rounds of 9mm. For those that want to carry a sidearm in public, first you have to pass a psych evaluation, and there needs to be a yearly checkup. This includes police, FBI, DHS, and all the other T.L.A.’s out there.

Manufacturers: First, stop selling assault weapons to civilians. Then build a safe gun. This is the 21st fucking century here, why isn’t there a smart gun yet? The idea is out there, the tech was put forth at one time, and some paranoid assholes shot it down. Trot that sucker on back out here, and let’s make it work. Embeddable RFID chips are easy and safe to use, and can’t be taken away from someone easily or lost. Use this as the basis for your system, and then make it rock-solid. Put a camera in every gun as well so you take a picture every time you fire – instant evidence to support your case for self-defense or defense of others.

Most importantly, and this applies to everyone on this rock: anything or anyone that tries to convince you that killing people that aren’t trying to kill you first is wrong. And I mean actively, fundamentally, 100%, no-two-ways-about-it fucking WRONG.

Stop and think.

Good for the goose…

Posted in Politics on July 27th, 2014

To all of you self-entitled pedestrians and bicyclists that assume the law doesn’t apply to you: if it is OK for you to break the law, then it’s OK for me to break the law. Remember that when you see me accelerating at you while you’re running a red light.

Seriously now, let’s look at this. If a car runs a red light, he’s a madman, but if a bicycle runs a red, it’s somehow supposed to be OK? If there is room for the bicycle to run the red, then arguably a car with faster acceleration can make it through as well. Maybe I should run those reds alongside you?

For all of you peds that shout “pedestrians have the right of way”, that just means that if I hit you, I will get a ticket. It does not mean you have carte blanche to cross whenever you want. Yes, yes, I know Oregon has a rule that lets peds cross without a crosswalk, but that only applies if you can manage to be more than 150 feet from an intersection on a back road somewhere that doesn’t have crosswalks. City blocks are 200 feet long. Here’s some of the relevant City codes:

PORTLAND CITY CODE
16.70.200 Pedestrians.
16.70.210 Must Use Crosswalks.
No pedestrian may cross a street other than within a crosswalk if within 150 feet of a crosswalk
.
16.70.750 Penalty.
(Amended by ordinance nos 165987 and 176394, effective April 17, 2002.)
Violation of this Chapter is an infraction punishable by a fine not to exceed $150
.
(A) Except as provided below, violation of this Chapter is an infraction punishable by a fine not to exceed $150
.
(B) Violation of sections 16.20.470, 16.70.510 A,16.70.210, 16.70.220 and 16.10.060, is punishable by a fine of not more than $500, or by
imprisonment not exceeding 10 days or both
.

That’s right, kids, crossing without a crosswalk is punishable by a fine of up to $500 and/or 10 days in jail. The only reason you’ve never seen anyone get a ticket from this is the fact that there just aren’t enough cops to enforce it.

Some days I really miss my old Plymouth with the 400-inch engine. Power-braking that while revving the engine was a sure way to clear the crosswalk instantly. Nothing says “move” like a 3-ton car experiencing 6 inches of  torque roll.

 

Here’s a great reference for pedestrian traffic laws in Oregon

TWA: Two-Wheeled Assholes

Posted in Life, Politics on April 28th, 2011

It’s been a while – time for a little rant.

Portland is known far and wide across the land for their progressive take on public and alternative transportation. Those of you that live or visit here know that the city is quite proud of it’s Pro-Bicycle stance and the things they have done to make things easier for bicyclists.

What they have not done, however, is sat all the damn bikers down and explained to them the laws actually governing their use on public roadways. This has gotten to the point that your average bicyclist thinks that none of the regular traffic laws apply to them. You want to know what the absolute rarest sight in Portland is? A cyclist stopping at a stop sign.

So, without further ado, this page lists all of the ordinances that exist in regards to riding a bicycle on public streets and sidewalks. I’ll be going through the most important ones to explain and amplify.

814.400 Application of vehicle laws to bicycles. (1) Every person riding a bicycle upon a public way is subject to the provisions applicable to and has the same rights and duties as the driver of any other vehicle concerning operating on highways, vehicle equipment and abandoned vehicles (minor exception follows).

(2) Subject to the provisions of subsection (1) of this section:

    (a) A bicycle is a vehicle for purposes of the vehicle code; and
    (b) When the term “vehicle” is used the term shall be deemed to be applicable to bicycles.

What this means to you: You must obey ALL traffic laws (not just the ones you want) and you must stop at all stop signs and red lights (California Rolls are not allowed.) Most importantly, the Oregon Driver’s Manual clearly states for motorcycles and mopeds that a full stop is defined as ceasing all motion and putting a foot down on the ground. Don’t do that wobbly shit where you try to balance on the pedals, and for fuck’s sake, if I have to sit my car at the light until it turns green, then so the fuck do you.

If any biker ever saw a car pulling the same stunts they do in traffic, the biker would be appalled and calling the driver all sorts of interesting names. Same thing goes both ways assholes, and every time I see you sailing through a red light with barely a glance or a break in stride, I want to go home and mount paintball guns on my car so I can hose you down.

814.420: Failure to use bicycle lane or path; exceptions; penalty.

(1) Except asprovided in subsections (2) and (3) of this section, a person commits the offense of failure to use a bicycle lane or path if the person operates a bicycle on any portion of a roadway that is not a bicycle lane or bicycle path when a bicycle lane or bicycle path is adjacent to or near the roadway.

What this means to you: This is very simple, and they list some reasonable exceptions. Basically, if you aren’t avoiding an obstacle or preparing to make a turn to the far side of the street, then keep your ass in the bike lane. The City/County/State Department of Transportation spent good taxpayer money to mark out those bike lanes, and the rest of us taxpayers expect you to use them.

This next one really pisses me off, because they’ve gone and misquoted the law on a bumper sticker. The sticker says “Bicycles Allowed Full Lane ORS 814.430(2)(c)”. Well the “(2)(c)” is the small section of the law they’re quoting, but the ORS in question reads:

814.430: Improper use of lanes; exceptions; penalty.

(1) A person commits the offense of improper use of lanes by a bicycle if the person is operating a bicycle on a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic using the roadway at that time and place under the existing conditions and the person does not
ride as close as practicable to the right curb or edge of the roadway.

(2) A person is not in violation of the offense under this section if the person is not operating a bicycle as close as practicable to the right curb or edge of the roadway under any of the following circumstances:

    (a) When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle that is proceeding in the same direction.
    (b) When preparing to execute a left turn.
    (c) When reasonably necessary to avoid hazardous conditions including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards or other conditions that make continued operation along the right curb or edge unsafe or to avoid unsafe operation in a lane on the roadway that is too narrow for a bicycle and vehicle to travel safely side by side. Nothing in this paragraph excuses the operator of a bicycle from the requirements under ORS 811.425 or from the penalties for failure to comply with those requirements.
    (d) When operating within a city as near as practicable to the left curb or edge of a roadway that is designated to allow traffic to move in only one direction along the roadway. A bicycle that is operated under this paragraph is subject to the same requirements and exceptions when operating along the left curb or edge as are applicable when a bicycle is operating along the right curb or edge of the roadway.
    (e) When operating a bicycle alongside not more than one other bicycle as long as the bicycles are both being operated within a single lane and in a manner that does not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.
    (f) When operating on a bicycle lane or bicycle path.

Ahh, so the revised statute in fact deals with the penalties of improper lane use! Subsection 2 paragraph ‘C’ there clearly states (in conjunction with the main paragraph) that you are allowed to use more of the lane when avoiding an obstacle – which is understandable. But go back up to the beginning, and the statute starts out saying that if you are bicycling slower than other vehicle traffic, you need to be riding close to the curb, not slowing down the whole lane.

And don’t forget the reference to ORS 811.425 – the full title of that one is “Failure of slower driver to yield to overtaking vehicle“. Yep! That’s right folks, if you can’t keep up with normal traffic, get your ass to the curb and let traffic pass you. You DO NOT get to lollygag and slow the rest of us down. Also, if you can’t keep up, you need to get out of the middle lane of those one-way streets Downtown. (Three days in a row I’ve been stuck behind some twat in the wrong gear going half the speed of everyone else while in the exact center of the middle lane.  Going downhill on 4th. Fucker.)

And don’t forget about this guy.

Here’s an easy one to wrap up:

814.440: Failure to signal turn

This one is as typically long-winded as the others, but the gist is simple: you are supposed to signal for 100 feet before a turn or stop – even if you are stopping for a red light or a stop sign. I have seen maybe three bikers EVER who signaled a turn, and only one that signaled a stop.

So, all you bikers out there: you want a safe road to ride on? You want to stop worrying so much about getting clipped by a car? Then stop riding like assholes and follow the laws. You are NOT a special and unique snowflake, and riding a bicycle does NOT mean that you get to do whatever you want.

Oh, and you pedestrians out there, I don’t want you to feel left out – you’ll get your own rant in a day or so.

Off-Broadway (Security) Theater

Posted in Life, Politics on January 12th, 2011

So today, Da Wolfe did his civic duty and showed up for Jury duty, and was pissed off inside of 45 seconds. Jury duty is of course served in a courthouse, which is high on the list of places you’ll be subjected to what people say is keeping us safe – the mass-annoyance of everyone who has to go into the building.

This wasn’t always so, as evidenced by the design of the building, which has an entryway juuust wide enough to put an X-Ray luggage scanner into, so the prep area where one is supposed to put their keys in the bowl is in this tiny vestibule that is almost outside – which today meant 2 degrees above freezing while I was forced to divest myself of jacket, cell phone, keys, thumb drive, change, bluetooth headset, cap, wallet, watch, belt and my fucking shoes.

Thank you, oh shoe-bomber for that last bit you fucking asshat.

Then I got to sit around until noon, when they let us out for lunch. “Oh, and you get to use the Employee Entrance when you come back!” (She said it with Capital letters) “It’s easier than the public entrance.” Cool, I thought, I only have to want to rip their heads off once today.

Riiiiight.

The Employee Entrance? 10 feet down the sidewalk, only it doesn’t have the vestibule, so I’m taking off my jacket, cell phone, keys, thumb drive, change, bluetooth headset, cap, wallet, watch, belt and my fucking shoes a second time with a freezing-cold breeze blowing up the back of my shirt.

Y’know, if this is all to ensure my safety while I’m in the building, I’d rather be mildly unsafe. And I sure as shit won’t be flying anytime soon, because there’s no way I’m getting through airport security without punching someone.

Huzzah for Judge Pitt!

Posted in Politics on September 27th, 2010

This makes me happy.

[Judge Emory A.] Pitt wrote: “Those of us who are public officials and are entrusted with the power of the state are ultimately accountable to the public. When we exercise that power in public fora, we should not expect our actions to be shielded from public observation. ‘Sed quis custodiet ipsos cutodes’ (“Who watches the watchmen?”).”

Thank you, Your Honor, for having the intelligence and wisdom to see to the heart of this matter. May all of your brothers and sisters of the black robe agree with you.

Your Gub’ment At Work

Posted in Life, Politics on August 24th, 2010

Got a letter from a lawyer’s office today, which is always a bit freaky. “what the hell did I do?” you think to yourself.

It turns out, it was more of what I didn’t do. Apparently, in 2004, I was supposed to have paid $9 in income tax and didn’t. (News to me, I have no recollection of 2004 at all). So, since I was so late with it, they added a $10 penalty.

And hired a legal firm to collect.

Now, it probably took said legal officers about 15 minutes to set up an account in their system for me, print out the letter, hand-address an envelope, run it through the postage meter and then drop it in the OUT box. With my understanding of the average legal fees, that probably cost the county $25 to collect $19.

Oh, wait, make that $18, there’s a discount for paying online. I hope the County gets a bulk discount for the other 20,000 people that owe them 10 bucks.

Okay, I understand that the legal firm is probably only charging the County a percentage of the funds collected, but still. It seems kind of a silly way to go about it, since the County could just as easily have tasked an intern with calling or mailing people to let them know they owe something before sending them to collections.

Cuz really – 6 years, and this is the first I’ve heard of it? Oi.

Texans re-writing history

Posted in Politics on May 16th, 2010

Okay boys and girls, time to pay attention: the Fundies are doing their damndest to rewrite the schoolbooks that our children will be reading for the next ten years. See this post from February and this newer post for more details, but here’s the gist:

The two states that buy the most textbooks are California and Texas. The California school board can’t put a majority together due to their own diversity, so they don’t really have much of a say in the big picture.

In Texas, on the other hand, the fundamentalist religious groups have managed to secure a majority of positions on the state Board of Education, and have an almost free reign on what they want to put in the curriculum. Since Texas buys so many books, the publishers like to limit their own work and so will endeavor to just publish one version of their textbooks – built to meet the Texas guidelines.

Yes, this is the part where you get scared.

And this is where you go to contact your local State Representative to say something about it. Speak loud and speak often my friends, or your children may have some very different views of the world.

Those silly Brits

Posted in Life, Politics on October 8th, 2009

So any of you out there who have been paying attention to the other side of ‘The Pond’ know that England is awash in CCTV cameras, watching millions of people all the time. What you may not know is that those cameras, which were purchased and installed by the Government in an effort to abate crime, well, it turns out those cameras are hardly ever watched.

At all. Over 4 million of the little buggers, and only one in a thousand or so actually gets watched in any meaningful way. So, what’s a country to do with all this built-in surveillance?

Why, they should launch a Reality-TV spinoff out of it, of course!

Internet Eyes is the brainchild of three gents who want the people who run the cameras to pay 20 a month to have those cameras uploaded to a game server. Game players will then log in and watch the CCTV feeds, hoping to spot a crime in progress. If they see one, they then report it and the operator of the camera can investigate. Players who help catch the most criminals each month will win cash prizes up to 1,000.

So the first question that comes to my mind (which was also mentioned in the article): what’s to stop criminals from signing up as players, and using all of that juicy surveillance footage to case out a target?

“Oi, look! That’s old Bisby’s store on the feed! There’s the man ‘imself, too! Wait, what’s this? He’s pulling a painting off the wall…and look! There’s ‘is safe!”

Brilliant!

Recognition – I has it

Posted in Politics, Work on June 23rd, 2009

So the Bossman takes a moment this morning to read my response to La Grenouille to the entire crew at our weekly meeting. Said crew makes approving noises, and then Bossman slides a fifth of Captain Morgan’s Private Reserve across the table at me.

I love my job.

JFK Filling the Well

Posted in Life, Politics on October 15th, 2008

Carrie Vaughn is one of my current favorite authors (she writes about werewolves – go figure) but she recently posted an article comparing Obama to Kennedy that raises some good points.

…I heard something like this: I dont like either candidate. I want to vote for someone Im excited about. I want to vote for someone like Kennedy.

But in 1960, John F. Kennedy was not Kennedy. He was a young upstart senator with the audacity to run for president against an established, experienced politician. And to, astonishingly, win.

That age mention is one of my major sticking points. It seems that politics is the only career where you are not expected to retire by 65 or even 70 years old. Sure, these people have lots of experience to guide them, but they are also (in many cases) hopelessly blinded by that same experience and less able to see the changes around them.

Why did 9/11 happen? Because old men couldn’t grasp the true possibility of the event. It had never happened before, and it was inconceivable in their hearts that someone could do such a thing.

Why has nothing the government has done to protect us really done anything more than inconvenience and upset the people they are trying to protect? Because those years of experience have made them forget what it is like to believe in something so completely that nothing else matters. When you were a teenager, or even a 20-something, when you fell in love you fell all the way. No holding back, no brakes, the pedal went to the floor and stayed there until you crashed.

The people we are currently fighting are in love with their beliefs, and they are deep in the throes of a teenager’s love. They will not listen to reason, they will not compromise, and they will not give up til their dying breath. And the current establishment has no idea how to deal with that. They have forgotten what it is like.

We need a younger generation in power so they have a better chance of dealing with change and understanding the world around them. This is the way monarchies have been operating for centuries – the old King dies or retires, and the young King steps forward. Yes, he is guided by the experience of his older advisors – but it’s still the King’s decision.

This evolution in government has powered some of the greatest nations the world has known, and it is time we remembered this. America was built upon a revolution with the idea that Revolution may be needed in the future to change things. Let us face a simple fact: there is no possibility of a successful revolution in the United States today. There are too many people, and the government has too many resources at its disposal for any group of Americans to overthrow the government without the aid of an outside military force. This just won’t happen without bloodshed on a massive scale.

Our only hope for change then lies within the system itself. It will take upstart young Senators and the people who vote for them to bring out any significant change in this Nation. If you don’t like the way things have been and are currently going, you must exercise the one Right they have not truly hindered yet and get off your ass and vote.

Either that, or figure out how to build a practical stardrive so we can get the fuck off of this rock.

Yeah, I thought so. See you at the polls.