And not a moment too soon

Respondents to Oklahoma City’s annual survey (you can see it as a PDF, if you’re so inclined) are generally pleased with city services with a couple of notable exceptions: the transit system is inadequate, and the streets are worse.

One of the worst streets, however, is about to become less so:

Look for the work to start in January on rebuilding four miles of May Avenue between NW 36 Street and Britton Road. Roadbed will be reconstructed, wheelchair ramps will go in at 14 intersections, and the street will be resurfaced with asphalt. Drainage will be improved on the west side of May between Summit Place and Britton.

Drainage would first have to exist in something other than Public Works’ imagination for it to be “improved.” I’ve always assumed that this was their way of telling southbound drivers that they’ve just left The Village.

Cost of the project: $3.8 million. That’s $950,000 a mile. And they’ll have to do it again before the decade is out. The Feds — meaning, of course, people from Fairbanks to Fargo to Philadelphia — will put up 80 percent of that.

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That’ll do, pigs

Bill Quick has changed his mind on term limits:

There was a time when I opposed term limits, on the theory that the right to vote guaranteed the application of term limits if constituencies desired to do so. In other words, while term limits might automatically remove “bad” legislators and executives, they might also force the removal of “good” ones against the wishes of their supporters.

I no longer feel this way.

We have created a political and cultural situation — or, rather, the progressive movement, expressed through both of our major parties, has created it — that more or less guarantees the impossibility of removing any legislator at the federal level, no matter how atrocious their record or behavior, by means of the ballot. Only in the smallest and most egregious instances do we ever see malefactors in high office removed by vote, and even when that happens, voting districts have been so gerrymandered that a more or less carbon copy is guaranteed to achieve succession. And in the end nothing ever changes, and the progressive project marches ever onward to greater and greater power, and greater and greater tyranny.

We’ve had term limits for a while here in Soonerland, and while they haven’t been an unalloyed joy — some of the replacement pols have been even more disappointing than their predecessors, and it sometimes seems that the revolving door between lobbyists and legislators is moving faster than ever — I still prefer them to the alternative. At least the replacement pols will be replaced themselves in due time.

Then again, P. J. O’Rourke might have been right all along: “Term limits aren’t enough. We need jail.”

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Take that, fanboys!

A fairly tepid review by Derek Kreindler at The Truth About Cars of Jeep’s new Cherokee drew a call from someone at Allpar.com, perhaps the largest Mopar fan site, to have TTAC barred from future Chrysler press events.

To which Jack Baruth, in his capacity as TTAC Editor-in-Chief pro tempore, replies:

When the administrator of a major Mopar fan site calls for Derek’s voice to be silenced because he doesn’t like the review, what he is in effect saying is this: “I value the sales success of a Chrysler product over the individual experience of Chrysler owners.” He’s siding with the corporation, not the driver. I suppose that’s fine for some people. It doesn’t wash here. The English car magazines used to whitewash the failings of cars like the Rover Metro and Jaguar XJ6. Today the companies that made those products are in non-British hands. Because you cannot lie and whitewash your way to success in the automotive business. In the long run, the customer will find out. Every cheat, every slip, every cut corner, will eventually show. You cannot wallpaper a bad product forever. Eventually, the truth will come out and the manufacturers will fail. If you love Chrysler, then you’d better hope that they make a good car. That’s all that can save them.

TTAC will continue to give positive reviews of Chrysler products — when the product is good. When that is not the case, we will continue to alert our readers to problems. We do not apologize for that, we will not walk that back, we will not change. If that means that we are no longer invited to evaluate Chrysler products, we will rent Chrysler products. If that means that we don’t get to party with the cool kids, we can live with that.

The Allpar poster, I am told, is not actually an admin on the forum.

And lest anyone think Kreindler is all ate up with Mopar hate, this is the end of that review:

The current Grand Cherokee is my favorite SUV at any price. All trim levels, from the lowliest Laredo to the insane SRT, shine with excellence. I wish I could say the same for its baby brother.

First few Google hits for “TTAC hates”: domestics generally, the Ford Focus dual-clutch automatic, the XAP Zebra (damn!), Lexus, the Ford Fusion, the Volkswagen Eos, VW TDI models generally — and we’re still on the first page. Evidently nobody’s happy.

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Maybe a little truth

But this time, it’s mostly dare, and as you’d expect, some of those dares are marginally disgusting, albeit still funny.

SDK, incidentally, stands for Settle Down Kids. I think.

I saw the original Little Brother Fake Tweet, although I didn’t recognize it as such. (And really, this one would have seemed more likely, but it happened after the fact.)

Also this week, since RB is back in school: essential school supplies.

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Quote of the week

Voyager 1 has left the solar system, and as major achievements go, this one has its drawbacks:

Anyone else bothered by the fact that we sent a thing into space that contains a map to its origin planet and an open invitation?

“Hi, we’re a barely space-faring civilization that you could probably conquer and subjugate with your equivalent of a Boy Scout troop! Here’s a map to our home planet. Stop by anytime!”

Oh, they will.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Same old, only samer and older

Does this sound like you? Because it definitely sounds like me:

[T]here are a couple of blogs I’ve been checking in on periodically over the last couple of years. It doesn’t matter how long the span of time is between my visits because their latest post says exactly what they wrote three months ago. It’s a deafening and nauseating regurgitation of glowy self-effacement. Personal disclosures and shock-jock phrases are the de rigueur for bloggers.

They think if they abandon discretion they will prove how genuine they are. And, even if we’re not convinced, we might hang around long enough to observe the train wreck. For a blogger, that means traffic and we’ll do anything for hits, right? We’re constantly trying to figure out how to be awesome, how to go viral.

Let’s see. What was I talking about three months ago?

Dead to rights, folks; I haven’t changed a thing. The train wreck goes ever on.

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The short version

Does this meet the disclosure requirements of the Securities and Exchange Commission?

Then again, do disclosure requirements even mean anything anymore?

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Scrubbing the scribes

On the off-chance that some of you are curious about my none-too-secret side activity, here’s a look at where a lot of it happens:

I’ll vouch for, um, much of that.

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License with the plates

The first book of Nephi, which opens the Book of Mormon, as told by Will Truman:

God tells Lehi to get the heck out of Dodge (Jerusalem) because there is some bad stuff coming. Lehi tries to round up his family, but a couple of his sons (Laman and Lamuel) object. God picks Nephi, the youngest (at the time) son, as his favorite. This causes much trouble and murmuring with the other brothers. Laman and Lamuel are tagged as bad apples, though God (through Lehi and/or Nephi) alternates between telling them that they are bad apples and that they should behave. There is another son, Sam, who seems to be a swing vote between good (Nephi) and evil (the other two). God gives Nephi some shapechanging powers and gives them a magic compass. After some time in the wilderness, Nephi builds a boat and they sail off to America.

That murmuring can get you into a lot of trouble.

As I recall — one of my best buds in the Service was LDS — the descendants of his brothers, Nephi envisioned, would be a “dark, and loathsome, and a filthy people, full of idleness and all manner of abominations.” Mind you, this was written before MTV.

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Neither shalt thou haze

Leipzig University issued this rule just in time for the fall semester, 1495:

Statute Forbidding Any One to Annoy or Unduly Injure the Freshmen. Each and every one attached to this university is forbidden to offend with insult, torment, harass, drench with water or urine, throw on or defile with dust or any filth, mock by whistling, cry at them with a terrifying voice, or dare to molest in any way whatsoever physically or severely, any, who are called freshmen, in the market, streets, courts, colleges and living houses, or any place whatsoever, and particularly in the present college, when they have entered in order to matriculate or are leaving after matriculation.

Senator John Blutarsky was not available for comment.

(Via Pejman Yousefzadeh.)

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Thanks to our BFF Vlad

A reasonable stance on the Syria deal, courtesy of the Crimson Reach:

1. We don’t attack Syria, which would be pointless, wasteful, kill innocent people, possibly unconstitutional (given what I assume would be a “no” House vote), risky, and of course — by design — accomplish nothing tangible.

2. Lefties get to go around pretending that the “deal” is real and the [chemical weapons] ban it imposes is meaningful, that the Russians are a trustworthy partner, and that this is a victory — in short that this outcome is what the Obama administration planned all along.

Which, in the final analysis, is fine with him:

I’ll do that trade all day long. I literally do not care about the politics or political-point-scoring angle of this. I do care about the not-using-our-military-to-engage-in-pointless-wasteful-attacks aspect.

I guess we’ll have to live with that.

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For future Pontifexcursions

I always thought it was a shame that the Pontiff never got to drive a Pontiac.

Pope Francis has already taken delivery of the official Popemobile, a modified Mercedes-Benz M-Class, but that’s really not his style, and he’s now gotten a personal vehicle more in tune with his tastes: a 29-year-old Renault 4 with a stick shift — I don’t think they made any with automatics — received as a gift from a parish priest in Verona.

To me, the niftiest aspect of the 4, which none of the wire services have mentioned, is that the wheelbase differs depending on which side of the car you’re measuring: the rear suspension consists of two full-width transverse torsion bars, and of necessity, one is mounted in front of the other. (The difference is 1.8 inches, the right side being the longer.) Since the 4 is front-wheel drive, this doesn’t matter a whole lot for handling, but it’s the sort of thing that sticks with you, and by “you” I mean “me.”

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The call of the Yankee dollar

The New York Mets are about to lose their radio flagship:

As reported by Neil Best of Newsday, the Yankees and CBS Radio are close to a deal that would put the Yankees on WFAN starting in 2014, a person familiar with the negotiations told Newsday.

The arrangement would bump the Mets off the station that has carried their games since WFAN’s inception in 1987.

Of course, it’s a matter of money:

The Yankees currently are carried by WCBS Radio, which like WFAN, is owned by CBS. The current one-year contract is believed to pay the team $13 to $14 million.

The Mets are believed to earn about half what the Yankees do in rights fees but have been a money-loser for WFAN, which inherited the team when it took over WHN’s 1050-AM signal in 1987. The Mets then moved down the dial with WFAN to 660-AM in 1988.

Where the Mets would end up is still unclear, though I’m betting on WEPN, the ESPN Radio outlet in New York at 98.7 FM.

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Technically, it’s raspberry

From this past Sunday, we have Christina Hendricks getting a front-row seat at Zac Posen’s show during New York Fashion Week:

Christina Hendricks at Zac Posen NYFW 2013

Whatever the color, I like it. Unfortunately, I couldn’t scroll down to see what sort of shoes she’d picked out. Then again, there is never Only One Picture at any given event:

Christina Hendricks at Zac Posen NYFW 2013

Joining her on the very antithesis of the Group W bench: Karen Elson, Molly Sims and Stacy Keibler.

And yes, that’s a subtle blonde wash worked into her hair.

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Legal cleanup

And another class-action suit settlement crosses my desk, though I stand to gain utterly nothing, instead of practically nothing, from it.

This lawsuit was brought by Plaintiffs Dawn Fairchild, Robert Nachshin, Brian Geers and Larry Gerrard (collectively “Plaintiffs” or “Settlement Class Representatives”) against Defendant AOL LLC, now known as AOL Inc (“AOL”). Plaintiffs allege that (1) the failure to inform them that AOL would insert e-mail footers in their sent e-mails and (2) the insertion of such footers, violate the law.

AOL denies Plaintiffs’ allegations and maintains that it acted in accordance with all laws and regulations.

The proposed Revised Settlement (“Settlement”) is on behalf of all AOL Members as of August 1, 2009 (“Settlement Class Members”). It resolves claims regarding advertising or promotional “footers” that may have been appended to the bottom of your e-mails by AOL.

This is the same case that you received a notice of in 2009. The Settlement was rejected on the ground that some of the selected charities receiving payments did not have a sufficient connection to the class and the subject matter of the lawsuit. The settlement has been revised to include charities that are connected to the class and the subject matter of the lawsuit.

AOL ceased its former practice of appending footers on or around August 1, 2009 and has not used them since that time. The proposed Settlement provides that if AOL re-establishes its former footer practice, it will provide notice to all Settlement Class Members of the footers and their ability to discontinue the footers via AOL Keyword: Footer and http://footer.aol.com and that, if AOL re-establishes appending footers to its Members’ e-mails, such notice will be provided to all new customers upon their registration of an AOL account.

The proposed Settlement provides that AOL shall make donations to several different charities totaling $110,000.

Mental note: Explain to these folks how to use a proper POP3 client with AOL Mail.

Anyway, Fairchild et al. v. AOL did in fact exist, and here’s the complete list of settlement-fund recipients:

Under the original Settlement approved by the Court, the Court awarded the lawyers for the Settlement Class $320,000 in fees and costs that they incurred over the course of this lawsuit. AOL has already paid these fees and costs, and the parties agree that no additional fees or costs will be sought in this case. In addition AOL will pay $110,000 in charitable donations and the costs of administering the Settlement, including the notice process. AOL’s payment of attorneys’ fees and litigation costs will not reduce any amounts paid or credited to the Charities.

Under the settlement, the Settlement Class Representatives do not receive any direct payment. Instead, AOL will donate money to the charity of each Settlement Class Representative’s choice. The relationships between the Settlement Class Representatives and their selected charities are as follows: (1) Dawn Fairchild is employed at her designated charity the New Roads School of Santa Monica; (2) Robert Nachshin’s wife is on the Board of Trustees of his designated charity the New Roads School of Santa Monica, (3) Brian Geers has previously personally supported his designated charity the Oklahoma Indian Legal Services; and (4) Lawrence Gerard has previously worked at his designated charity the Friars Foundation.

Mr. Geers’ charity of choice, as it happens, is right down the road a couple of miles.

A trip to AOLE-MailFooterSettlement.com will bring you a PDF version of the settlement, running 44 pages.

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Almost missed a stereotype there

Usually I screen-print Y!A stuff, but this is a bit long and I’d prefer the text to be searchable, Just In Case.

The question: “Is it weird to like My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic?”

Short answer: Maybe. But here’s the rest of it:

I would prefer a woman to answer this.

I am a 21 year old male, but I am not overweight or jobless. I am worried however that it is weird for me to like My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. I don’t own toys or merchandise from the show. I take it as it is: an entertaining cartoon much like Bugs Bunny or Sponge-bob (before it started to suck). Will women think it’s weird if they find out? I try to hide that part of my life.

Let me make it perfectly clear that I do not obsess about the show or anything. If it is on, I watch it. But I don’t go out looking for a DVD collection.

Not being a woman, I’m not going to answer this poor fellow directly, but I’ll say this much:

(1) I can cite no instance where a woman who might have been interested in me suddenly lost interest after discovering my own involvement with pony — which, in most cases, takes about 45 seconds to a minute.

(2) Buy a plushie. It’s not a guaranteed key to her heart, but you might be able to wedge the door open.

Incidentally, one of the Office Babes (Senior Division) showed up yesterday in a pony T-shirt, and a Generation ThreeMLP:FiM is Generation Four — pony T-shirt, at that. There’s always the possibility that the object of your affections has already been assimilated into the herd.

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