Sunday, June 15, 2008

Drivers Beware

One of the changes made by Republicans after they took control of Congress in the 1994 elections was to get rid of the national speed limit. Many states were then able to raise their speed limits, and they did. Some traffic safety groups complained that this would lead to increased accidents and deaths on our interstate freeways. Remarkably, accidents actually dropped after the speed limit was raised. Why? It turns out that what causes accidents is more related to differences in speed that how fast you are going. With a higher speed limit, vehicles are more likely to be driving at about the same speed.

Why do I mention this? Congress hasn't passed another national speed limit. However, we are dealing with a similar situation because of choices made by drivers and trucking companies in response to high gas prices. Many drivers realize that they can save money by driving slower and have chosen to do so. Also, trucking companies are requiring their drivers to slow down in order to save money, or in some cases, actually place devices on their trucks that won't allow them to surpass a certain speed. This means that there are lot of cars and trucks that are driving slower, while others (those who value getting somewhere quickly over saving money, I suppose) continue to go fast. Thus, we have a similar situation to pre-1995 where there are large differences in the speeds of vehicles on freeways. I predict that by the end of the summer we will see a spike in traffic accidents as a result.

Drive safe.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Rest in Peace, Tim Russert

Tim Russert was the toughest questioner in the news media today. I appreciated that, even though he was a liberal Democrat, Democrats were not given a free pass on his show. His questions to them were just as tough as those to Republicans. Also, the amount of time Russert spent preparing for each interview was legendary. He will be missed.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

And the Winner Is...

In my ongoing presidential straw poll, the winner is "somebody else" with 62% of the vote. McCain is a distance second with 25% and Clinton and Obama tied for third with 1% each. Now that Clinton has pulled out, I've started a new poll with the third party candidates included. Since it won't be an option on election day, I'm no longer including "somebody else" as an option. You have until November 5 to register your vote.

Thank You, Hillary

Senator Clinton has been the subject of much criticism recently. She was condemned by many in her party for her "Non-concession" speech last Wednesday. In addition, she has been criticized, especially by the media and Obama supporters (one and the same?), for not pulling out of the race earlier. Much of this frustration also came from those who had simply grown tired of the race and wanted it to be over.

I would like to offer a different perspective. Clinton should be thanked for staying in the race until all the states and territories had a chance to vote. Think about how remarkable this race has been. Everyone who is a Democrat or lives in an open primary state got a chance to vote in a genuine contest!

In every presidential primary since I was eligible to vote the race was over by the time it got to my state, except for this year. Unless you've lived in one of those early primary or caucus states most of your life, this is true for you too. I wonder how many of those who wanted Clinton to pull out already had their chance to vote? I wish more candidates would stay in the race longer, as Clinton did. If candidates must endure the public pounding from the media for doing so, however, they will likely succumb the pressure, for few candidates have the cojones of Hillary Clinton.