Are we Driving Towards the Ditch?

In the immediate years before reaching the age of 16, I had many teachers remind us that driving was not a right. “There is no place in the laws of the United States of America that guarantees each and every person the right and freedom to drive a car,” they would state. It is up to us to prove we are capable in order to make use of the privilege.

Were they teachers trying to instill fear and responsibility into us? Yes. Of course they were. But I remember taking my written test for my driver’s license, and it was a far cry from a privilege. As soon as I answered the first 14 out of 20 questions correctly, I was free to tear up the streets with a lean, mean, potentially killing machine. That’s right, 14 correct answers, a quick drive around the block with an officer, and I was off!

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed that it was simple enough to be able to drive. I had been driving all types of vehicles since I was a kindergartner (snowmobiles, boats, cars, trucks, ATVs, mopeds), so driving a car was simply the next progression towards true mobility. Even at 16 and wanting the formalities out of the way, it still seemed too simple. All I had to do was take this one test and I was good for the rest of my life to drive on any street in this country. Again, assuming I followed the rules. But what are the rules, and are we going about fixing driving in the wrong ways?

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New Words to Old Feelings

I’ve never been able to specifically put into words why I do not believe that guns should be an unchecked guarantee. Yes, the Second Amendment (arguably) guarantees all Americans the right to own firearms. Yes, part of the success of American’s battle for independence was because of gun ownership. Obviously, guns have changed a bit since 1776.

Those words I was looking for were found this evening. Walking into the Metro from work, I was greeted by a police officer. And when I say police officer, I mean a Washington, DC cop outfitted in clothing meant for full-on warfare. I have no idea how much extra he weighed because of all of the extra uniform pieces, but what truly stuck out was what he was holding with both of his hands while his eyes shot back and forth: a really, really big gun.

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So you want to join the revolution?

The biggest problem I see with the Occupy Wall Street movement is that politicians are doing their best to ignore it, completely unlike the Tea Party movement. Also unlike the Tea Party, this movement is based primarily outdoors. Well, winter is coming and people aren’t going to be able to stay on the streets with the same tenacity.

So what’s next?

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At least we know that Scott Brown won’t be a Senator in two years.


A Senate Republican, after the GOP declares war on earmarks, gives in to the enemy!

(From MSNBC, via the AP)

Senate Republicans’ ban on earmarks — money included in a bill by a lawmaker to benefit a home-state project or
interest — was short-lived.

Only three days after GOP senators and senators-elect renounced earmarks, Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl, the No. 2 Senate Republican, got himself a whopping $200 million to settle an Arizona Indian tribe’s water rights claim against the government.

Kyl slipped the measure into a larger bill sought by President Barack Obama and passed by the Senate on Friday to settle claims by black farmers and American Indians
against the federal government. Kyl’s office insists the measure is not an earmark, and the House didn’t deem it one when it considered a version earlier this year.

But it meets the know-it-when-you-see-it test, critics say. Under Senate rules, an earmark is a spending item inserted “primarily at the request of a senator” that goes “to an entity, or (is) targeted to a specific state.”

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