An Education in DC Driver’s Ed

Driving Old LadyNormally cost is the last consideration when an unelected bureaucracy is in pursuit of “safety.” No price is too high, particularly if business or conservatives are footing the bill. Even if only one child, polar bear or glacier is saved by the expenditure, it’s a small price to pay.

The only exceptions to this rule appear to be abortion mills and driver education.

In the former saving the child is hardly a priority and the toleration of a few fly–by–night operators is a small price to pay for “reproductive choice,” even if the “choice” may occasionally prove fatal for both parties. While for most families driver education simply represents a government–approved opportunity to get junior out of the house, with any actual education being a bonus.

That’s why the Washington DC Department of Motor Vehicles’ decision to require all future driver’s license applicants to “complete a private driver education course” came as an unpleasant surprise to Councilwoman Mary Cheh.

Cheh is one of those leftist busybodies that should never be allowed to wield any power not connected to a three–prong plug. If the story in the Washington Post said the DMV was limiting the educational requirement — that can cost almost $1,000 — to commercial operators or Trump supporters there would’ve been no repercussions.

Cheh is, after all, the councilwoman who spearheaded the requirement that every cab company in the District to paint their vehicles in an identical color scheme, approved by Ms. Cheh — an unnecessary expenditure that ran hundreds of dollars per vehicle. Cost is no object even for esthetic goals if Cheh approves.

Certainly safety is a frequent justification when the left wants to spend our money. Still, since this is DC, you can almost be certain that someone in DMV management has a relative that just opened a driving school and said school has just coincidentally received the DMV’s seal of approval for its rigorous motoring instruction.

But that’s not what bothered Ms. Cheh.

Evidently she was concerned because the impervious DMV bureaucracy acted without consulting her and consequently she missed an opportunity for media attention. She’s making up for that by holding hearings in the near future.

What’s surprising is not the unilateral, heedless implementation of the new rule, that’s standard operating procedure for government at all levels in the Age of Obama. What’s surprising is that DC government cares about the document in the first place.

DC is a sanctuary city for illegal aliens. Complete lack of citizenship papers is no problemo, so why are the same politicians and bureaucrats so uptight about operating a car? If the illegal’s mere presence in the District is proof enough for the likes of Cheh that the individual belongs, why shouldn’t the act of sitting behind the wheel of an automobile be proof the individual has a right to be there, too?

These days it’s not possession, but presence that’s nine tenths of immigration law.

Frankly I’m glad Cheh manned (is that insulting for a feminist politician?) the barricades this time, because the design of the DC driver “education” was so poorly thought out, it guaranteed failure.

The program consists of 30 hours in the classroom and 8 hours of behind–the–wheel practice, presumably with an instructor. That’s exactly backwards. My research tells me there are zero instances of people sitting in a classroom being killed in an auto crash, but there are thousands happening on the street.

The ratio should instead be 8 hours in the classroom and 30 on the road. There the instructor could introduce the fledgling driver to the mystery of the turn signal and explain how it’s not just for turning, but comes in handy for lane changes, too!

Then there’s the speed limit. The number on the sign is the theoretical maximum and not an average. Zooming up to 80 in the far left lane and then dropping back to 50 mph while you take a call doesn’t give you an average speed of 65, it just makes you an inattentive fool alternating between tailgating and constipating the traffic flow.

And that’s only two of the many suggestions I have for the curriculum. Maybe if she reads this, Councilmember Cheh will invite me to the hearing.

Hospital’s Kremlin–Like Secrecy Suffers a Breach

Last week I wrote about the failure of Obamacare to reduce the number of uninsured. Today’s number of uninsured is about the same as it was before Democrats passed Obamacare. The only difference now is being uninsured is no longer synonymous with low income.

breaking bad hospital costDemocrats are spreading the pain!

Obamacare policies are so expensive and the deductibles so high that middle–income families are dropping their coverage.

If you missed last week’s column or just want to refresh your memory, please click here.

Health insurance is expensive because government at all levels — federal, state and local — interferes with the market’s price–setting mechanism and consequently consumers are not in the least cost conscious.

The analogy you’re probably most familiar with is the comparison between health insurance and car insurance. Experts point out car insurance is there to cover major expenses and emergencies and that’s why Jiffy Lube doesn’t send the oil change bill to Travelers.

If it did you would be choosing between paying for your car insurance and your child’s college tuition. The analogy is good in other ways, or as the tech types say: It’s scalable. Car insurance/health insurance can also produce a comparison in the area where the real cost pressure originates — the hospital. As a matter of fact, if car crash repair worked that same way hospital stays, no one could afford ObamaRepair, either.

So where am I going with this analogy? Why, to enlightenment! See for yourself by clicking on the magic Newsmax hyperlink below and read the rest of the column.

Thanks.

http://www.newsmax.com/MichaelShannon/Obamacare-Hospital-Hospitals/2016/04/22/id/725327/

From the Stalls of Montezuma: A New Front in Culture War

Trans Bathroom CartoonNorth Carolina has a reputation for going the furthest in the pursuit of a lost cause. The Gettysburg battlefield features a monument carefully placed at the “high watermark of the Confederacy” where the 26th North Carolina came to within ten paces of the Union position in The Angle before being driven back.

That Civil War conflict took place on 11,500 acres of Pennsylvania farmland. North Carolina’s latest battle is being fought stall–to–stall in public bathrooms around the state.

Hostilities commenced when the governor signed a bill requiring people using public restrooms to patronize the facility that corresponds to the plumbing noted on their birth certificate. From the reaction of the Gaystapo one would have thought the new law required a public declaration followed by a TSA–style body cavity inspection.

Realistically passage of the law would not affect the bathroom destination of most of the population. Cross–dressers and transvestites are no doubt already sneaking into women’s bathrooms. What the law meant is the state would not give its official blessing to switch–sitting and if a switch–sitter was caught in the act, so to speak, there would be consequences.

The law allowed business and individuals to set their own bathroom regulations, up to and including playing fruit basket turnover.

For a few days it was the usual Christians versus the licentious affair until PayPal entered the fray. The Internet payment company made a big production out of cancelling a 400–employee planned facility in Charlotte.

CEO Dan Schulman began his moral preening by declaring, “Becoming an employer in North Korea, (whoops, typo, should be Carolina) where members of our teams will not have equal rights under the law, is simply untenable. The new law perpetuates discrimination and it violates the values and principles that are at the core of PayPal’s mission and culture.” He added his decision, “reflects PayPal’s deepest values and our strong belief that every person has the right to be treated equally, and with dignity and respect.”

This is the same domestic cheap PC–PR point–scoring that had Apple fighting the FBI over a phone used by a terrorist.

Normally I would insert an analogy here to point out Schulman’s cheap moralizing, but it’s so difficult to find any real convictions in an executive like this — other than a commitment to making money and a vague, extremely flexible secularism — that constructing relevant analogies is extremely difficult.

For example, PayPal has no trouble doing business in Saudi Arabia where the penalty for homosexual behavior, to say nothing of switch–sitting, is significantly more stringent than in that hotbed of hate North Carolina.

But I’m going to try. Let’s say Schulman gets a call from the front desk that informs him there’s a nice man named Nevada Starshine who has decided his persona is a mistake and he really identifies as Dan Schulman. And oh, yes, he wants to use the toilet in the real Schulman’s office.

That puts the bathroom on the other foot. Based on Schulman’s statement he can’t say it’s a case of mistaken identity, because that fails to treat Starshine’s delusion with “dignity and respect.” Sure the lobby Schulman is mentally ill, but so is someone who says the DNA factory made a mistake and they are a man trapped in a woman’s body.

Schulman is one of those cultural Marxists who have no problem imposing burdens on law–abiding citizens at the expense of their rights (see: Common Sense gun laws). It’s fine to demand North Carolina allow men to use the ladies, but hot–swapping his own seat is a toilet too far.

And where does Schulman draw the line?

National Review found a Norwegian woman who claims she’s a cat trapped in a woman’s body. Will the state be forced to supply litter boxes for tabbies like her? Or should the Arizona woman interviewed by the Telegraph who says she’s really a dragon be allowed to demand a horde of gold to sit upon?

These unfortunate “trans” types are mentally disturbed people who need treatment instead of the indulgence preferred by Schulman and other business “leaders.” The latest is the porn site XHamster that according to The Huffington Post has banned North Carolina porn aficionados.

Using somewhat fuzzy logic the site says, “Judging by the stats of what you North Carolinians watch, we feel this punishment is a severe one. Back in March, we had 400,000 hits for ‘Transsexual’ [and] ‘Gay’ 319,907 times.” So it appears XHamster is punishing what people claim are the “victims” of the law.

That sounds like cutting off your nose to spite your face, which is a surgery where even the “trans” community draws the line.

Obamacare’s Fundamental Transformation that Failed

Obamacare this is going to hurtObamacare’s individual mandate is the lynchpin of the act. This provision that forces all citizens to buy health insurance — regardless of age, medical history or obvious death wish — is so important Chief Justice John Roberts prostituted his position on the court to uphold its obvious illegality.

The individual mandate was touted as the mechanism that would cause 20 million or so uninsured to finally get health insurance and stop burdening leftist consciences.

Without the individual mandate forcing the young and healthy to buy insurance so their premiums can subsidize the old and sick, the system falls apart. The revenue from health care frequent flyers is simply not enough to begin to cover the cost they impose on the system.

Just as socialism forces the hard–working to support the lazy, socialized medicine uses the premiums of the healthy to pay for the sick.

The theory was, if you can dignify this collection of wishful thinking and compulsion with that term, a large fine for not having insurance would be enough to coerce the uninsured into the system, thereby spreading the cost over a much larger revenue base.

Only the uninsured aren’t necessarily going into the system AND the Ferguson Effect could well mean the scofflaws won’t have to pay the fines either. The whole, depressing tale can be yours by clicking the magic hyperlink below. You won’t be sorry.

http://www.newsmax.com/MichaelShannon/obamacare-mandate-insurance-healthcare/2016/04/15/id/724106/

Now Humans Are Just Along for the Ride

Google self driving car lucky buttonI have seen humanity’s future and it is cargo. Not shipping cargo, but being cargo. One cannot pick up the newspaper without discovering a new area of transportation where human control will soon be superfluous.

I don’t know whether to blame the auto–pilot or Roomba.

So much of flying today takes place while the aircraft is on auto that some safety experts believe the human pilots are at a disadvantage — due to lack of hands–on practice — when they have to seize control in an emergency.

AP reports Government Motors is working on a self–driving car in cooperation with Lyft that will automatically apply for a government bailout when the car is involved in a crash. Even better, if any of the humans at fault are illegal, the car’s CPU will file an emergency asylum request.

Google is hard at work on a self–driving car just perfect for anyone that’s ever considered human cannonball as a career option. The control freaks there are lobbying Congress to grant the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration “special, expedited permission” to allow it to sell cars that don’t have steering wheels or brake pedals.

Even if you refuse to relinquish your steering wheel until its pried from your cold, dead, flattened hands — programmers can still affect your driving experience. Daimler, a major auto manufacturer from the country that gave the world the Panzer, is part of an umbrella body in Europe working on the self–driving truck.

AFP says the concept is called “’truck platooning’ similar to concepts with self-driving cars” only there will be two to three trucks driving in a convoy where the lead truck determines the route, speed and who gets mashed on the way — much like the elephant march in the movie Dumbo.

Think of a traffic jam that has the power to move independently and is never cleared.

Melanie Schultz van Haegen, a cheerful EU bureaucrat, speaks with certainty when she says, “Truck platooning will ensure cleaner and more efficient transport. Self–driving vehicles also contribute to road safety because most accidents are caused by human failure.” Meaning regardless of how it occurs, any time a “truck platoon” runs over your car, it’s your insurance rates that will be increasing.

There’s no refuge on the ocean either. The Telegraph has discovered Rolls’ marine unit is developing “drone ships.” These automated leviathans are destined to be controlled from land bases as they cruise from port to port. Rolls predicts the S.S. GetOutofMyWay will be in commercial use by the end of this decade.

“Sensors such as radar, lasers and computer programs will allow the ships to pilot themselves, with shore-based captains taking over if there is a problem or for complex docking procedures.”

Don’t let that reference to “complex docking procedures” get your hopes up for maintaining a modicum of control in your robot vehicle. The Israelis are working on taking that away, too.

Israel21c found the Unitronics Group is automating parking garages. Here’s how it works: If the programmers at Google approve and you’re allowed to go there in your self–driving vehicle, the car is directed into a 20’ X 20’ entry bay. At which point you need to step lively, because a “Unitronics robot scoots under the car, engages the wheels and lifts the vehicle” into it’s parking spot.

No speed–demon valet parking attendants. No cellphone–under–the–ear idiot banging their door into your car. No car burglaries.

To retrieve the auto you swipe a credit card through the terminal and if your carbon footprint for that day is low enough, the car takes you home.

No wonder the Mail Online predicts if current trends continue — lack of exercise, gluttony and the common belief that a 16 oz. bag of Fritos is a single serving — “by 2025 18 percent of the world’s men and 21 percent of women will be obese.”

You may not even be able to use a Lark scooter to get to your car, if your waist is too large. But tech can solve that problem. Amazon is building robots that can load even the biggest cargo into the proper transportation. And Prime members will be able to choose between headfirst or feet first.

Apple’s Potemkin Privacy Suffers a Breach

Apple and fingerprintsThe bad news is Tim Cook’s privacy chastity belt is starting to itch in a spot where it’s embarrassing to scratch in public. The good news is if he forgets his password or loses his touch ID finger, the FBI can help him unlock his iPhone.

You may recall the Apple CEO made a big production out of refusing to comply with a court order to help the FBI extract the data from an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino Islamic terrorists.

I wrote about initial developments in the controversy here.

In a letter to the public Cook characterized his refusal to cooperate as a principled stand for personal privacy, “Customers expect Apple and other technology companies to do everything in our power to protect their personal information, and at Apple we are deeply committed to safeguarding their data.”

So they’re breathing a sigh of relief from Brussels to Mosul. But then the FBI, of all organizations, had to rain on the privacy parade.

Learn how Cook put himself in a box that’s entirely of his own making by clicking on the magic hyperlink below.

http://www.newsmax.com/MichaelShannon/Apple-Cook-FBI/2016/04/07/id/722821/

 

Trump Incoherence Spreads to Pro–Life Supporters

Pro-Life-3-being-pro-life-5715537-460-527It’s rare to discover an individual in public life whose verbal gaffes are so contagious they spread to the normally circumspect, but Donald Trump has that effect on people.

Trump was giving one of his let–it–all–hang–out interviews during a townhall conducted by Chris Matthews. Poised like a drunken Wallenda, Trump teetered from question to question. This time the slip was abortion — after all it was MSNBC. Trump was asked his stance on “reproductive health.” This is a term used nowhere outside the abortion industry and evidently it means escaping any consequences that might result from a woman’s poor decisions.

Trump said he’s pro–life with three exceptions: Rape, incest and the life of the mother.

Matthews pressed and asked what Trump thought the law should be regarding abortion. If Trump would cut into his tweeting time for a couple of hours to take a basic media training session, questions like this are easy. He simply says, “Chris, I just answered that. I think abortion should be illegal except in the case of rape, incest and the life of the mother. And I think the federal government should leave the specifics to the individual states.”

Since preparation is not a word normally associated with Trump, he didn’t give that answer. Instead he wandered down a series of dead ends and rabbit trails until Matthews demanded, “…should the woman be punished for having an abortion?”

Instead of replying, “Chris, that’s a hypothetical question and answering it should be left up to the individual states,” Trump does a Lewandowski and says yes, there has to be some form of punishment for the woman. He didn’t specify if it should be fines, jail time or five minutes with his campaign manager.

Trump’s discourse on women has included sexual orientation, BMI index, adultery and that time of month, so reproduction was just a matter of time. What was interesting about opening up this new front in the war on women was the panic he caused in the pro–life community.

Mike Huckabee, a Trump supporter, said he “found myself just recoiling. I never have heard that we want to punish the woman. She’s punished enough.”

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, declared, “…punishment is solely for the abortionist who profits off of the destruction of one life and the grave wounding of another.”

Yet both of these statements are morally incoherent.

By this reasoning, if a mother drives her two–month–old unborn child to the abortionist to have it killed she is in no way culpable, but if she waits and drives her two–month–old baby to the executioner she’s guilty of murder.

That’s exactly what the pro–abortion lobby says! It contends rules are different for humans until they cross the plane of the cervix — and if you’re Obama, not even then since that’s another border he doesn’t recognize.

Or as Hillary so delicately put it: “The unborn person doesn’t have constitutional rights.”

Please name me another category of law breaking, other than immigration, where you can aid and abet the commission of a crime and not be held criminally liable. These abortion doctors aren’t cruising La Leche meetings slipping Rohypnol into the punch. At the very least these women are co–conspirators.

And don’t bore me with protests about the inseminator. If the male is as much as part of the killing process as he is of the creation process, then hook him up, too.

Jim Sedlak, vice president of the American Life League, says that pre–Roe he can find no evidence a mother was ever prosecuted for having an abortion. His organization’s position on future law is much more logically consistent regarding the culpability of the mother.

“Our basic position is that if abortion is made illegal then the intentional killing of the human being in the womb would be homicide and it should be treated like any other homicide. The local DA would determine who is culpable and who isn’t. In most of the cases we would assume the mother would not be prosecuted. But let the law take its course.”

Giving mom a free pass is more sympathetic and gets you better media coverage, but it’s not consistent and it’s not the truth. To paraphrase Randy Alcorn: Truth without mercy breeds self-righteousness and legalism. Mercy without truth breeds deception and moral compromise.

Throwing Money Down a Metro Hole

metro-cartoonThose wacky guys and gals at the Washington, DC Metro system are at it again. It’s quite an experience having the largest mass transit system in the world run by an improv group. Just last week the head of the Metro board proposed shutting down one of the lines for six months so maintenance that should have been done years ago could be completed.

Mass transit suddenly becomes Missing transit.

Construction and maintenance has never been a strong point for the Metro. God help us if a Metro executive ever moves into the airline industry. Which reminds me, airlines and Metro have some things in common.

Passengers are at their mercy, you’re wedged into aluminum tubes with strangers and you’ve always got an ear tuned for the cry of “Allahu Akbar!”

There are also more prosaic similarities and that’s what this week’s Newsmax.com column concerns. How Metro wasted years and millions on a communication project while airlines made money from theirs.

Click on the hyperlink below. I promise it won’t be time wasted.

http://www.newsmax.com/MichaelShannon/AT-T-Cellphone-Washington-D-C-/2016/03/24/id/720765/

 

Republicans Advocating Mob Censorship

Trump ViolenceI wonder what Ted Cruz hoped to gain from blaming Donald Trump for the leftist mob that forcibly shut down his rally in Chicago?

You would expect this confused moral inversion from squishes like Marco Amnesty and John “The Apostle” Kasich, but not Cruz.

Formerly he was a staunch defender of the 1st Amendment, going all Voltaire on anyone trying to censor speech. Turning on a dime to gain a news cycle on Trump doesn’t do anything to dispel Cruz’ unfortunate image as an opportunistic professional politician.

Why does Cruz choose to do the work of the mainstream media and the left who want to subvert everything for which he claims to stand?

There are events in contemporary America that go hand–in–hand with violence. Take Hip–Hop “music.” Here in the DC area many venues won’t host Hip–Hop concerts because of recurrent violence associated with the fan base. Trump’s fan base has impressed even the New York Times with its good manners: “The Trump supporters I interview are almost unfailingly courteous. In the snaking lines of traffic that precede his events, they smile and wave and allow me to cut in front of them. And they politely answer my questions…”

So how is it Trump’s fault when the Hip–Hop base invades his rally and causes violence?

And why is Trump’s base always described as “angry” and Bernie’s as “idealistic?” If Trump people are so “angry” and violent why aren’t they breaking up Bernie’s events? Where are the shouters and stage rushers at Hillary’s wakes?

This unprovoked anger and violence is a product of the leftist mob, not Republicans.

The same people that smashed car windows with Trump stickers in Chicago. The same creeps who vandalize a Trump supporter’s home in Gainesville, VA by spray painting her house. The same pajama fascists caught spray painting penises in a university chapel along with the word “Trump.”

This is the group Ted Cruz is temporarily abetting?

Let’s reverse the situation. Picture a group of pro–life demonstrators who get to reeling with the feeling and invade a Planned Parenthood abortion mill. They block the inner door in the waiting room and force Bible tracts on waiting customers. There is pushing and shoving and an employee is accidentally hit in the head with an illustrated, hardback copy of the New King James Bible, a surefire concussion inducer.

Would the media criticize Planned Parenthood for inflaming Christians by demanding taxpayer funds for its abortion mills? Would the media cite provocative, veiled language, particularly the word “choice” in connection with the death of the unborn? Would the media ask why Planned Parenthood insists killing the unborn much longer than is allowed in Europe? Would the New York Times condemn abortion supporters for calling Christians fanatics, theocrats and misogynists?

Don’t make me laugh. The only time the victim is blamed is when the victim is a Republican or white.

Cruz is a smart fellow, I wonder if he really thinks leftist violence is only associated with Trump? He hasn’t had protest problems because his crowds have been too small. Leftist narcissists follow the media and the media follows Trump. That situation changes this fall if Cruz is the nominee.

Then Cruz gets the crowds and he gets the leftist mob that will say he’s now the bigot, the racist, the xenophobe and the chief warrior against women. Ted will find himself in a real Martin Niemöller situation.

The statement Cruz should have made after the planned attack on the Trump rally is easy enough to write: “Anyone that has watched even one of the Republican Presidential debates knows that I have disagreed with Donald Trump on both his choice of language and his policies. But I stand shoulder–to–shoulder with Mr. Trump in defense of the 1st Amendment, which protects free speech and most particularly speech with which we disagree. These leftist protesters have every right to stand outside and lawfully voice their disagreement with Donald, or myself for that matter. But when they invade a Trump rally with no other goal than to gain attention and prevent the audience from hearing what Donald has to say, I draw the line and they should suffer the consequences for breaking the law.”

There, that wasn’t so hard was it?

Donald Trump to the Rescue, Again

Once again Donald Trump is unafraid to say what professional politicians are too timid or too consultant–bound to express. In a single statement Trump summed up exactly what middle America is thinking, regardless of potential media backlash.

And the response of the surviving GOP presidential candidates only serves to show once again how out of sync they are with the electorate.

Thursday, Trump was asked about the upcoming debate in Utah sponsored by Fox News and Lunesta.

His reply freed us from hours of repetition, pandering to mailmen and incessant mentions of Ohio. Trump declared, “I think we’ve had enough debates. How many times can the same people ask you the same question? . . . I won’t be there, no.”

I know just how he feels. Since about the 8th debate I’ve been DVRing because I can only endure watching in small doses.

There’s more humor, insight and vituperation that can be yours by clicking the hyperlink below and reading the rest of my Newsmax.com column:

http://www.newsmax.com/MichaelShannon/Kasich-Ohio/2016/03/18/id/719817/