Jan 23, 2009

For Megan and Annie, a shot of my new toaster. She's a beauty. The older I get the more I seem to slip toward anarchy. I've become reflexively suspicious of the motives of everyone in authority. I expect the worst and I am rarely surprised these days. While the echos of, ...ding dong, the Bush is gone.. still hang in the air, I find that a major consulting firm, tied to prominent Democrats, has been identified as having given counsel to Gov. Blago about how to best sell the President's former Senate seat. Democrat or Republican, it matters little. The skunk smells the same. The past eight years have clouded that reality, but the next eight should clarify things. I do not doubt the President's resolve to bring about change, but I do not underestimate the will of the powerful to resist him. Open a dusty closet in any hall of government, local, state or federal and there will be a bipartisan stampede of rats out of the light and back into the shadows. But back to the subject of anarchy. A debate is raging all across Arizona, including Hooterville, over the spread of traffic cameras. This is an old argument in many places, but in the desert it is the latest. By way of disclaimer, I will disclose that I don't speed as a rule, except when I am moving at the pace of traffic. The last speeding ticket I received was in 1969 and that was for going 45 mph in a 35 zone. In Arizona, because of a quirk in the law, you must be going faster than 11 mph over the posted limit in order for a camera to snap your picture. Then, they send you a ticket and you are supposed to pay up. Most people don't, until they are tracked down. Merle Wayne Sneed has no argument with enforcing the speed limits, but I do have have a big issue with cameras. I really have issues with hiring private companies to run them. Particularly when many speed limits are set by the politicians, rather than the traffic engineers. We have a four-lane thoroughfare here in Hooterville, stretching from the University to the East side, where the speed limit is set at 30 mph. Traffic flows faster, making it easy pickings for the radar camera guys. The speed limit is set at 30, not for traffic safety reasons, but because the University-area crowd has their hand in the pocket of their friends in City government. Cars whizzing by at 40 are a menace in the eyes of the pretentious. The first rule of economics is, production increases when the price is high enough. Pay these companies enough and they will produce plenty of pictures. But, the bigger issue is the idea that I'm under surveillance when I am just going about my business. It turns out that our authorities are not only taking pictures of speeders, they are taking streaming video on a 24/7 basis. They are keeping this video for months, "just in case they need it", according to a spokesman. The authorities are quick to point out that these cameras are for "public safety" reasons and not revenue generation, which is just a happy byproduct. A camera can catch speeders at a rate a 1000-fold times that of an patrol officer. If public safety is our goal, we can carry things to a lot of undesirable, yet logical ends. If a camera on the roadway is good, isn't one on every corner better? Wouldn't we be safer if we were monitored more closely. Perhaps a camera trained on every house, or a GPS in every car. After all, if you're not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about. Do you? Things in this blog represented to be fact, may or may not actually be true. The writer is frequently wrong, sometimes just full of it, but always judgmental and cranky

11 comments:

bella rum said...

This is a topic of concern here too. We have a very busy intersection near a mall. Cameras will be going up soon. Authorities claim they wish to reduce the number of accidents. The caution light is so short at this intersection that if you start as it turns red, it's very difficult to get through it before it turns red. Studies have shown that a reduction of accidents occurs when the length of time for the caution light is increased. I dunno, but I do know one thing for sure. Our City is about to make a sh*t load of revenue from those cameras, because that light turns red before half the cars at that intersection can get through it.

Megan said...

Be glad you don't live in Britain. I just looked it up and there are cameras EVERYWHERE there.

Kurt said...

I am doing something wrong, right now.

It's not about public safety. If it were, they would ticket people who weave in and out of traffic and PASS ON THE RIGHT, and not just pick off one person who is going the speed of the traffic.

Anonymous said...

Ireland has cameras too. Big Brother is watching, so don't follow any of Kurt's bad examples.

Reya Mellicker said...

Big Brother is real - there is no such thing as privacy. I figure my credit card company knows more about me than I do.

One thing I'm so relieved about is the fact that I no longer own a car, which means I rarely drive which means I am a much happier person than I would otherwise be.

As for humans and corruption? Same as it ever was, Merle. Same as it ever was.

Squirrel said...

Much of the area I cruise around in is still rural, but it's only a matter of time. I drove over to our local lake this morning--beautiful, as yet it is unspoiled by "government cameras"

e said...

Where I live, cameras are the norm at specified intersections...What bothers me is the pat downs people now have to endure at stadium sporting events! Not only is Big Brother watching you, now he can touch as well!

Barbara said...

I love a good toaster and that one is indeed a Cadillac!

Cassie said...

Great toaster.Yes,those traffic cameras are awful.Your blog is funny.Thx. (An ex-hardware store gal!)

Coffee Messiah said...

Cameras? Not here and I'm sure it'll be quite awhile before it ever happens.

Besides, everyone here knows your busy-ness more than you do, even when they don't know you! ; (

It's a fact, as we found out when we had our busy-ness......

Isn't life grand? ! ; )

Cheers!

Annie Ha said...

I like toast.