Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Setting the Tone for the Day

Some relevant sections of New York's Vehicle and Traffic Law:

VTL § 1110(a):  "Every person shall obey the instructions of any official traffic-control device applicable to him placed in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, unless otherwise directed by a traffic or police officer, subject to the exceptions granted the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle in this title."

VTL § 1102. "No person shall fail or refuse to comply with any lawful order or direction of any police officer or flagperson or other person duly empowered to regulate traffic."

There is this one 4-way intersection not too far from my home.  One of the streets comes in at an odd angle, and it is a cul-de-sac with about 9 homes, plus a driveway that accesses the rear lot of a business establishment.  This street gets a very short green light, and the cycle of the traffic light skips this street every other time.  I have never timed it, but I would guess that in a three minute period, this street might get 15 or 20 seconds.  It is rare that more than 3 cars are waiting for a green to exit this street on to the main highway.  The residents of this quiet street apparently are quite content with the arrangement.

But today, there was a crew doing some work on the main highway, so they routed eastbound traffic through the business's parking lot, around to the back driveway, and onto this street.  And a flag crew (two flagmen and one flagwoman) directed the traffic through the intersection.

Now, according to the two relevant sections of New York's Vehicle and Traffic Law, whenever there is a duly authorized person directing traffic, the duly authorized person trumps the traffic light.  Indeed, this is the law in most if not all states.

So what happened?  I was in the line of cars that was directed through the parking lot of the business, and through that intersection.  And the delay would likely have not been too significant -- Except for the two shmucks who insisted on waiting until the light turned green, while disregarding the flagwoman's directives to drive through the intersection and onto the main highway.

What should have taken four minutes at worst took about nine or ten minutes.

And that was about 10 AM.  I shall not now detail the other frustrations, caused by various and sundry stupid idiots, that punctuated my day today.

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Monday, February 16, 2015

It is Wrong to Gloat over Someone Else's Misfortunes

And so, I am not gloating over someone else's misfortunes.  But sometimes, the act of not gloating presents some formidable challenges.  Like when the person who is now incurring the misfortunes is (A) a soapbox global warmist who, not too many months ago, dressed me down and called me a stupid ignoramus for believing that the fears of global warming are grossly exaggerated and that the anthropogenic component of any supposed changes in weather and climate is minimal; and (B) this person lives in Boston, which is now on the receiving end of some very, very frigid winter weather, the likes of which have not been visited upon the city in many, many years.

So no, I am not gloating over my wife's Cousin Diane being stuck in Boston and getting her buns all frozen by weather conditions that are the antithesis of global warming.

Diane, I know that Long Island isn't all that much warmer than Boston (though we have gotten much less snow these past weeks), and it certainly isn't the tropical paradise of Miami.  But if you and Marc and the kids want to visit us on Long Island for whatever respite it gives you from the cold weather in Boston, we would certainly be pleased to have you as our guests.

And if you don't mention anything about the ambient outdoor temperatures, then neither shall I.

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Friday, February 06, 2015

Another Turning for Congressional Democrats?

Interesting things are happening; not all of them bad, by any stretch of the imagination.  Been preoccupied, will continue to be preoccupied, and really shouldn't be wasting too much time in recreational activities, blogging included.

Nevertheless ...

Now the Congressional Democrats are wringing their hands over the question of whether or not to boycott Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's upcoming address to Congress.  Boehner invited Netanyahu to address Congress, a prerogative, so says the White House, reserved for the Executive Branch and not the Legislative Branch.  And now, Obama is applying some no-so-veiled pressure to the Democrats in either chamber to absent themselves from Netanyahu's address.

It certainly is their right to do so.  But, pray tell, how many of those congresscritters who now are entertaining even the slightest suggestion of a thought to do so were questioning the propriety of NYPD rank-and-file's turning of their backs upon New York City's Commissar de Blasio during the funerals of slain NYPD officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu?

Turning on Blaz was labeled as disrespectful; on Netanyahu, not so much.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Snowed In on Long Island

I have mixed feelings about Governor Andrew Cuomo's Executive Order banning ALL travel by non-emergency personnel on roads in selected New York counties, including my own on Long Island.  On one hand, it does smack of prudence and intelligence, and it certainly is good advice to stay off the roads if you don't have to be on them during this current blizzard, which has credibly threatened to get worse in the coming hours.  And by not being on the roads, you are one less stranded motorist the emergency personnel will have to rescue or recover.

And quite frankly, it is the excuse I need to not go in to teach tomorrow (though my college is also closed anyway).

On the other hand, it does have more than a minor component of nannyism.  I have been on Long Island for 20-something years, but before moving here, I had lived in an area where the type of snowfall we are going to get over the next 24 hours is hardly unheard of.  The population of Long Island, and the governmental authorities here, don't know how to deal with any snowfall in excess of 6 inches.  And because they depend upon Nanny for so many things, it makes them susceptible to despotic control.

I have some paperwork to do, so we'll keep ourselves entertained.  If we really get bored, we can always read some Robert Service poems aloud to one another.  My wife, as a hospital physician, is technically an emergency person; whether she is actually called in to the hospital is not a sure thing at this point.  And if my hip pain subsides, I might take a walk out in it all.

But never mind us; my Yooper cousins are, no doubt, laughing with derision at Andy Cuomo as he leads the struggle against what amounts to an ordinary breath of fresh air for them.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Cloud on the Agudath Israel has a Filthy Silver Lining

Recall that the posting of 30 June 2011 discoursed about the chickens coming home to roost at the poultry farms of the Agudath Israel of America (and also passingly mentions the Catholic Church, the particulars of which are deferred to those having greater expertise than my own on the organization).  The thesis was that those two organizations were getting payback for abandoning the high ground of morality, even as they asserted the morality arguments for their positions (which happened to be with respect to the New York same-gender marriage legislation).  The posting specifically mentions the Agudath Israel's political entanglement with the now soon-to-be-ex New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

Well, today, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York has announced the arrest of Shelly Silver on various corruption-related charges. The announcement gives links to the Criminal Complaint and the Seizure Affidavit.

Shelly is, of course, presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.  It does seem, however, that there are multiple money trails that the prosecutors are prepared to reveal at trial; the case against Mr. Silver seems quite strong.

I reassert my contentions that any organization that purports itself to be the guardian and defender of the moral high ground cannot long maintain its credibility by insinuating itself under the bedsheets of the corrupt and immoral politicians.

It does not take much clairvoyance to predict that there will be repercussions in various and sundry places.  It may prove very interesting to see who else Shelly takes with him in his descending trajectory.  Keep this one on your radar screens.

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