Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Minority Can Really Screw Things Up

The other day I was reading an article in the WSJ called, Honk if You're an Aggressive Driver, which was about some states' efforts to fight the problem of "aggressive" driving.

My initial impulse was to make a blog post setting out the thesis that the largest cause of aggressive driving are the passive aggressive drivers who clog-up the passing lane. They may be going close to the posted limit, but are far below the prevailing speed for that lane.

I decided, partly due to not being able to locate the print edition in the recycling bag, to find the online version. Once I got there, I perused the comments and changed my mind a bit about the post. The comments ran about 10:1, most drivers complaining about people who squat in the passing lane and a small minority of self-righteous pricks (guess which side I am on) who essentially say that they can be in any lane they want as long as they are at, or close to, the speed limit.

The problem is that it only takes one out of ten drivers to royally screw-up a highway. So often I have seen 1/2 to 1/4 mile-long traffic clogs caused by the concatenation of 2-3 slow cars blocking all three lanes. Around here (New England) the posted speed might be 65 (when it is 55 the lane speeds are pretty much the same FWIW). The leftmost lane will have a prevailing speed of 80, the middle 70 and the right 65. The clog happens because many citizens prefer to cruise in the middle lane to avoid traffic entering and exiting on the right. Then a motorist going 66 will pass (on the left) a driver in the middle going 65. The roads out here are usually pretty full, so a lot of traffic will pile-up behind the 66 MPH car while he takes a couple of minutes to pass. The delta speed in the left lane is 14 MPH and in the middle it is 5 MPH.

Oddly, the right lane is often quite empty and aggressive though it may be, I have passed traffic clogs consisting of hundreds of cars, by zooming along in the right-most lane.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Why should BP pay for an Obama decision?

I had read about this in the WSJ and wanted to comment on it but Taranto beat me to it:

Obama: You'll Pay for My Decision! "The Obama administration's latest anti-BP volley is a call on the oil giant to pay up big time--not just for economic damages from the Gulf spill but also for lost wages of workers idled by the president's drilling moratorium," Politico reports. This column has no brief for BP, but for the president to demand that the company pick up the tab for his political reaction to the accident takes chutzpah to new heights

I would still like to expand on this for the kind of people that have trouble with easy concepts like Supply and Demand for instance.

1. Let's say that the 6-month moratorium on deep water drilling is justified: There is some flaw in regulations which made the current blow-out nigh inevitable. This flaw is not the fault of BP. In fact, it would be just the misfortune of BP that they happened to find the flaw first, they kind of helped the rest of the industry to avoid this mistake. As an aside: Just to gauge how reasonable a 6-month moratorium is. How would you feel about a similar ban on building jetliners as a reaction to a plane crash?

2. After a 6-month investigation it is determined that the current regulations were fine and should remain unchanged. We would then conclude that the half-year ban on drilling was a mistake--one made by Obama, not BP.

Either way, there is no rational basis for charging BP with lost wages due to the ban. In addition, why just lost wages? Are there not many other expenses to be considered? What about the capital costs of idle equipment, money already paid for leases on drilling areas and so forth? The current administration is sometimes accused of being Socialist, this has been debated far and wide elsewhere. It is interesting that when they look at the consequences of the drilling ban they only consider lost wages and not the (almost certainly higher) corporate losses. It is like they think labor is the only factor in production

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Day Of Three Motorized Devices

The Lawnmower: I made sure it would start before investing the time into taking the blade off for sharpening, reattaching the drive belt and fueling it up. Then I mowed a good part of the lawn.

Weed-whacker: I always get this to start, but had to fill-up both spools with new line. Then trimmed the borders.

Leaf Grinder: Started it first, then hauled it down to the front area to grind-up branches from the pine tree I felled over the Memorial Day weekend. It usually starts, but I like to make sure before moving it around since it is very heavy and our place is hilly. The work was slow, but I got through a substantial volume of branches before running out of fuel. I have more gasoline available but this was a good stopping point since it was just enough time to shower and go to our 2nd grader's portfolio party.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

The weather outside was frightful...

So the weekend was filled with cooking.

I got 6 whole chickens from the store and cut them into parts:

--Odds and ends for broth and dog treats. --Wife marinated breast fillets for grilling and leg-thigh pieces with tandoori spice for oven cooking or grilling. We had the back pieces encrusted with corn flake crumbs and baked for dinner last night.

Wife made a batch of some 10-dozen meatballs.

I made a batch of spaghetti sauce.

I even made a batch of cranberry sauce, which we use like jam year-round.

For dinner tonight we had a pork rib roast. My wife purchased a large one which I cut in half. Then she spiced-up both--one for the freezer and one for the oven.

All in all, we should have some easy meals ahead of us. This is good since weekdays are a mad rush from the start of each day 'till the end.

Harvested from the garden today

Rainy and gross all day long, but there was a little break of sunshine so I ran out and got these. Rose, Peony and Strawberries.

Feel bad for the next-door neighbors: They are all set-up for some kind of big party (I think a HS graduation) and they have been getting rained on all day. They do have a pavilion installed, so they have an outdoor place to huddle when the rain is especially fierce.

Dahlia models her new glasses