Sunday Morning Open Thread:

I'm cheating a little bit this morning - working while keeping an eye on Stage 8 of the Tour de France, which has a mountaintop finish in the Alps.

Later, I'll be watching the World Cup final. Full preview post around noon.

Open Thread.

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    Speed Cameras (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by squeaky on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 07:07:05 PM EST
    Turns out that they have little effect on fatalities or crashes, but major effect on government coffers. Basically a speed tax.

    Speed cameras raked in more than £87million in a year but have failed to make a significant impact on road casualties.
    Figures released today reveal that while revenue from cameras has soared, the decline in the accident rate has actually slowed since they were introduced 20 years ago.
    The revelations will raise concern once again that they are simply cash cows for the Government.


    Meanwhile, here in the USA... (none / 0) (#11)
    by EL seattle on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 11:04:00 PM EST
    ... there's this recent report.

    I wonder if anyone (a university or think tank) is doing a full study on this, looking beyond localized anecdotes.  Drivers don't seem to like "yellow light cameras", but I think that some fire departments might still think that they're an effective way to reduce trauma calls to certain intersections.  A complete number crunching might help determine where things really stand.  


    Yeah (none / 0) (#12)
    by squeaky on Mon Jul 12, 2010 at 12:43:27 AM EST
    I remember that move by Napolianito, and was wondering when they would get rid of them. The money goes to the state, and that is not good for local business.

    From Nov 2008

    Over the past month other cameras have had their lenses covered with multiple yellow notes with the phrase "honest mistake" written on them. This is a subtle dig at camera operator Redflex which had argued that the importation, marketing and use of certain radar equipment in violation of federal law was an honest oversight. The Post-It Notes refer to a July incident where Redflex angered the office of Secretary of State Jan Brewer (R) which had been investigating a citizen's complaint against the company. According to Brewer's office, a Redflex employee "wrote a short response to the complaint on a post it note," making light of an official inquiry into the company's falsification of legal documents.

    Angering Brewer may turn out to be a serious mistake for the Australian ticketing company. Current Governor Janet Napolitano (D) was responsible for pushing the freeway speed camera program through the legislature to help deal with a mounting budget deficit. Early next year, Napolitano is expected to resign and head the US Department of Homeland Security for the Obama administration. Brewer would then assume the role of governor for the remaining two years of Napolitano's term.

    Also the police are generally against these measures because catching speeders by hand, is a big part of local business..

    Lawmakers have also noticed that voters sent a strong message against the speed camera program by electing Paul Babeu as Pinal County Sheriff. Babeau's campaign signs bore the message "End Photo Radar." Arizona Republican Party Chairman Randy Pullen on Wednesday called for the removal of cameras. As more motorists are hit by the photo tickets, the number of angry phone calls to local politicians has increased.

    Oh, and for Napalotino it was always about the money:

    Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano announced on Friday her expectation that the state's new freeway speed cameras would generate $90 million in net profit for fiscal year 2009, plus $34 million for the private companies selected to operate the program. In the following year, what the state labels "non tax increase revenue generation" will jump to $120 million, plus $45 million more for the ticket vendors, for a total of $165 million. After 2010 revenue is expected to exceed this amount significantly as the program grows beyond 100 fixed and mobile speed cameras and high occupancy vehicle lane (HOV) ticketing cameras are brought online. The state currently faces a $1.3 billion deficit.

    "This budget shortfall is an opportunity to make government more efficient and effective," Napolitano said in a statement touting a budget that "does not raise taxes."..

    Not safety:

    A study documented a 54 percent increase in rear-end collisions and a 9 percent increase in injuries from rear-end collisions as a result of the cameras' use.

    Although Napolitano has been consistent in maintaining the primary motivation for the program has been traffic safety, her budget called for an expansion of camera ticketing into traffic offenses that do not endanger other motorists

    Oh, and don't forget about the insurance companies, they cash in too:

    Insurance companies such as the American Automobile Association (AAA) have backed Arizona's speed camera program. Each photo ticket in the state carries license points allowing insurance companies to raise rates on ticket recipients, generating hundreds of millions in additional revenue. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has also called for expansion of photo ticketing programs nationwide.

    It's Sunday Brother... (none / 0) (#1)
    by kdog on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 08:14:08 AM EST
    that ain't cheating, that's trying.

    Speaking of tryin', now that the Shinnecocks are through with the humiliating federal recognition process, they can hit the courts again to get some of their stolen land back.  Give us pale-skins hell, dear Shinnecocks...lord knows we've got enough golf courses and millionaire excess...take some back.

    Sensible ruling... (none / 0) (#2)
    by kdog on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 08:21:22 AM EST
    frustrates authoritarians in PA.  Link

    Ya have to actually drive drunk to get a DUI...go figure!

    Does anyone else find (none / 0) (#3)
    by andgarden on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 08:55:10 AM EST
    that getting to their comments page here is painfully slow?


    I was having problems... (none / 0) (#5)
    by kdog on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 09:45:55 AM EST
    when TL's server was acting up, but workin' like a champ for me now.

    Well (none / 0) (#6)
    by squeaky on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 02:09:07 PM EST
    One thing to try, if you are using a Mac, is to go to activity monitor which is in your applications/utilities folder and quit the flash player (safari internet plug in).

    I have found that that sometimes speeds things up.

    But I have not had any problems since the server problems ended.


    Can someone answer this? (none / 0) (#7)
    by NYShooter on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 02:47:14 PM EST
    If two cars get into an accident and the driver whose fault it is is not readily apparent, but one of the drivers is DWI or DUI, is there an automatic presumption  of guilt towards the tipsy/drunk driver?   

    traffic law (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Peter G on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 08:46:27 PM EST
    is state-specific.  You can't get even a general answer to that sort of query from the lawyer-members of this community without specifying the state.  And even then, you probably won't get any useful responses.

    Well (none / 0) (#27)
    by NYShooter on Mon Jul 12, 2010 at 01:47:41 PM EST
    I wouldn't know where to begin. Certainly there are attorneys who specialize in DUI/DWI cases who could shed some light on my query. The reason I ask is that I have a problem with the whole stigmatization of these terms. Setting up dragnets, forcing thousands of innocent drivers to submit to various self-incriminating acts in the hope of finding one intoxicated driver defines the
    "slippery slope" term, IMO.

    I remember reading a news article where two cars were involved in an accident where both drivers were killed. The direct cause of the accident, meaning who was at fault, could not be determined. However, for insurance/survivor purposes, the court placed blame on the driver whose blood alcohol level exceeded the limit.

    Now, I agree that, statistically, drunk drivers would cause more accidents than sober ones, but we all know plenty of lousy drivers, drunk or sober.

    Arbitrarily affixing blame to the one whose blood test scored higher just doesn't seem right to me.


    Pipe Bomb Explodes Oil Exec Home (none / 0) (#10)
    by squeaky on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 10:11:27 PM EST
    A seemingly anonymous gift left on the front porch of a Houston home owned by an oil company executive has the city's affluent population of oil profiteers on edge this weekend, after that package exploded and seriously injured a 62-year-old woman.


    Khadr Military Tribunal (none / 0) (#13)
    by squeaky on Mon Jul 12, 2010 at 01:00:51 AM EST
    Now, a strapping 23-year-old, he appears before an Army judge Monday to tackle a thorny question: Is Guantanamo's youngest and last Western captive equipped to defend himself on war-crime charges punishable by life in jail?

    The Toronto-born Khadr, in an act of disgust and defiance, fired his lawyers last week. Sometimes, he says he'll be his own lawyer; sometimes, he says he'll boycott the tribunal....

    But Canadian counsel Nate Whitling, a Khadr legal advisor, said the firings were long in coming.

    ``He just doesn't want to participate in this charade anymore,'' said Whitling. ``He thinks it's an unfair process and he's just done playing their game, basically.''


    Whitling disagreed with Canadian reports that said Khadr fired his team in disgust because they brought him government offers of a plea agreement in exchange for decades in prison. Defense lawyers are obliged to present any prosecution proposal to their client.


    Roman one (none / 0) (#14)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jul 12, 2010 at 09:10:25 AM EST
    Great News (none / 0) (#17)
    by squeaky on Mon Jul 12, 2010 at 11:05:19 AM EST
    the United States had failed to provide the records of a January hearing in Los Angeles County Superior Court that would have shown the judge in charge of the Polanski case in 1977 agreed that "the 42 days of detention spent by Roman Polanski in the psychiatric unit of a Californian prison represented the whole term of imprisonment he was condemned to."

    Wonder why the US decided to not provide the above mentioned document?  


    I would guess (none / 0) (#19)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jul 12, 2010 at 11:21:57 AM EST
    because it would have done exactly what they said it would do.

    Because it would show (none / 0) (#21)
    by JamesTX on Mon Jul 12, 2010 at 11:26:36 AM EST
    he was lied to and has served what the court told him he would have to serve. In the U.S., that doesn't matter anymore, because anyone assumed guilty of child sex is not afforded any rights and is assumed fair game for any injustice -- regardless of double jeopardy or statutes -- just as long as they go to prison for ever and ever and ever (and now they can be held indefinitely even after serving their sentence). That movement has reached full maturity now in the U.S., and it is no longer even questioned. It is institutionalized. Too bad for the U.S. that the rest of the world doesn't seem to see it that way.

    amen (none / 0) (#22)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jul 12, 2010 at 11:27:54 AM EST
    Yeah (none / 0) (#23)
    by squeaky on Mon Jul 12, 2010 at 11:50:14 AM EST
    The US as great defender of liberty, justice and freedom.....  hilarious when the US propaganda is shown up to be just that...

    Basically it is like a card game and the US was caught cheating so the other players called the game off and walked.


    Note the underlying (none / 0) (#24)
    by JamesTX on Mon Jul 12, 2010 at 11:55:25 AM EST
    attempt to incite the rabid American torture-and-kill-child-rapists crowd by a changing array of writers in New York Times:
    Specifically, the Swiss wanted to determine whether the 42 days Polanski already served in a Los Angeles jail would have been considered sufficient time served for having sex with a minor.
    If I understand correctly, the point would be to see if procedures were followed, not whether it was "considered sufficient time served for having sex with a minor." The point would be whether he served what the result of his legal process determined he should serve. I am glad "the Swiss" will probably not catch that because they probably don't understand the American concept of "due process except for those people." They probably don't understand that this really means "Hey guys! Look at this! The Swiss think people should get 42 days for raping a child! What is wrong with those Europeans? Let's see some anger! Let's see some protest! Let's get somebody!"

    Yup (none / 0) (#26)
    by squeaky on Mon Jul 12, 2010 at 12:03:11 PM EST
    Some things never change: Politics is at the heart of it all, just as it was back in '78.

    The alleged crime, the alleged criminal, and the alleged victim, all vehicles for Politician's careers, and by politicians I include career prosecutors.


    marked for death (none / 0) (#15)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jul 12, 2010 at 09:13:01 AM EST
    Happy Now? (none / 0) (#18)
    by squeaky on Mon Jul 12, 2010 at 11:08:48 AM EST
    Are you going to send him your submission? Anyway he is on a government hit list anyway. Makes sense that he would want to kill those who support his being on an assassination list, albeit indirectly.

    odd they (none / 0) (#20)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jul 12, 2010 at 11:23:34 AM EST
    would target her.  she withdrew from the project and basically denounced it.

    OK (none / 0) (#25)
    by squeaky on Mon Jul 12, 2010 at 11:58:46 AM EST
    Missed that, I mis-read it as Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki puts 'Everybody ...... on execution hitlist

    And she was right to back away from the ugly hate-fest she uleashed, and her regret shows that she has a brain and heart.

    And I do not think that it is odd that they would target her, as much as I find death fatwah unconscionable. She is the responsible party, and her regret did nothing to change the anti-muslim hate she unleashed.