Road rage

Man and Woman on motorcycle in alley

So I was driving through Fishtown Friday night, and there was a hipster guy on a motorcycle (girlfriend on the back) who seemed to be driving a little erratically. (It was the weekend of the local beer festival, and I was afraid he was drunk.) A couple of lights up, the guy pulled to the left, as if he were making a left turn. He wasn’t. He turned right in front of me (I was trying to get past him), and I just avoided hitting him.

Thank God, nothing happened.

Except the guy starts screaming at me in a purple-faced rage. I said, “Hey, you pulled to the left and then you made a right without using your turn signal!” Because I wanted him to know that he almost caused an accident.

“You’re a fucking liar! I used my turn signal! You’re an asshole!” His girlfriend chimed in, too. The two of then were yelling all kinds of nasty stuff, and then it escalated.

“I’m going to spit right in your face!” he said, and made noises like he was getting ready.

“That’s assault, and don’t think I won’t file charges,” I said. I closed my window and drove off. I was quite shaken.

First of all, I don’t freak out at people on the road. What’s the point? I assume most drivers are doing their best, and sometimes you’re in a blind spot or whatever, and shit happens. Or almost happens. If I’m in a near-miss, my primary emotion is relief that nothing happened.

But this made me feel really unsafe. I guess I should be happy this guy didn’t have a gun.

He who makes the rules

Dodd-Frank Act Used In NY State Subprime Lender Lawsuit
Very, very interesting piece, and you really should read all of it:

As Obama begins his second term, all the talk in Washington is about whether ongoing congressional gridlock and soul-crushing partisanship will block the administration from achieving significant legislative victories, be they immigration reform, a big fiscal deal, or an infrastructure bank. But at least as important to the future of the country and to the president’s own legacy is whether that potentially game-changing legislation he signed in his first term—like the Affordable Care Act and Dodd-Frank, as well as a slew of other landmark bills—is actually implemented at all.

It may seem counterintuitive, but those big hunks of legislation, despite being technically the law of the land, filed away in the federal code, don’t mean anything yet. They are, in the words of one CFTC official, “nothing but words on paper” until they’re broken down into effective rules, implemented, and enforced by an agency. Rules are where the rubber of our legislation hits the road of real life. To put that another way, if a rule emerges from a regulatory agency weak or riddled with loopholes, or if it’s killed entirely—like the CFTC’s rule on position limits—it is, in effect, almost as if that part of the law had not passed to begin with.

As of now, there’s no guarantee that either Obamacare or Dodd-Frank will be made into rules that actually do what lawmakers intended. That’s partly because the rule-making process is a dangerous place for a law to go. We might imagine it as a fairly boring assembly line—a series of gray-faced bureaucrats diligently stamping laws into rules—but in reality, it’s more of a treacherous, whirling-hatchet-lined gauntlet. There are three main areas on this gauntlet where a rule can be sliced, diced, gouged, or otherwise weakened beyond recognition.

The first is in the agency itself, where industry lobbyists enjoy outsized influence in meetings and comment letters, on rule makers’ access to vital information, and on the interpretation of the law itself.

The second is in court, where industry groups can sue an agency and have a rule killed on a variety of grounds, some of which make sense and some of which most definitely do not.

The third is in Congress, where an entire law can be retroactively gutted or poked through with loopholes, or where an agency can be quietly starved to death through appropriations bills.

And here’s the really alarming part: rules run this gauntlet largely behind closed doors, supervised by people we don’t elect, whose names we don’t know, while neither the media nor great swaths of the otherwise informed public are paying any attention at all. That’s not because we don’t care what happens; we do. After all, millions of us spent the better part of a year closely monitoring the battles to pass Obamacare and Dodd-Frank. Remember? It was high drama! Every detail was faithfully chronicled in front-page headlines and long disquisitions on The Rachel Maddow Show; in countless posts by wonky bloggers, who dissected every in and out, every committee hearing, every new study about the public option or the Volcker Rule.

Shooters claim they were kicked off Bundy ranch

gadsden-flag

As the details come out about the Las Vegas shooting (they covered the bodies of the dead cops with the teabagger flag), one thing becomes clear. Once again, we can credit Fox News for their role in spreading political hate and violence across the land. The conservative sites (Fox News, Washington Times) this morning are describing the shooters as meth tweakers who were into conspiracy theories, but why are they being so modest? They should take the credit for their fine work!

After all, who did such a stellar job turning a deadbeat rancher into an oppressed hero? Who turned the Bundy ranch into a magnet for right-wing whack jobs looking for a focus? Who spreads lies and anti-government propaganda 24/7? Why yes, that would be those nice folks over at Fox News:

The shooters were a married couple thought to be in their late 20s who were new to the Las Vegas Valley, according to a law enforcement official close to the investigation. Police are looking into their links to the white supremacy movement and found swastika symbols during their initial investigation.

Residents of the Bruce Street apartment complex gathered outside the building to talk about the couple whose unit was being searched.

Several neighbors identified the man as Jared, while one called the woman Amanda.

Like many of the neighbors contacted, Krista Koch said she didn’t know the couple’s last names. She described them as “militant.” They talked about planning to kill police officers, “going underground” and not coming out until the time was right to kill.

Brandon Monroe, 22, has lived in the complex for about two weeks. He said the man who lived in the apartment that was being searched often rambled about conspiracy theories. He often wore camouflage or dressed as Peter Pan to work as a Fremont Street Experience street performer. A woman lived with him, Monroe said, but he didn’t see her as often.

They were weird people, Monroe said, adding that he thought the couple used methamphetamine.

“The man told Monroe he had been kicked off Cliven Bundy’s ranch 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas while people from throughout the U.S. gathered there in protest of a Bureau of Land Management roundup of Bundy’s cattle.” Jessica Anderson, 27, said. She lived next door.

From the Las Vegas Sun:

Residents at an apartment complex where it appeared the two lived together said they had a reputation for spouting racist, anti-government views, bragging about their gun collection and boasting that they’d spent time at Cliven Bundy’s ranch during a recent standoff there between armed militia members and federal government agents.

The duo also told people they planned to commit a mass shooting, said Brandon Moore, a resident of the complex.

“They were handing out white-power propaganda and were talking about doing the next Columbine,” Moore said.

It would have been helpful if someone had called the police, but hey, freedom!

VA GOPers buy Dem state senator to stop Medicaid expansion

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The lengths to which these scumbags will go to prevent poor people from going to the doctor’s!

RICHMOND — Republicans appear to have outsmarted Gov. Terry McAuliffe in a budget-and-Medicaid standoff by persuading a conservative Democratic senator to resign his seat, at least temporarily giving the GOP control of that chamber and possibly dooming the governor’s top legislative priority.

Sen. Phillip P. Puckett (D-Russell) will announce his resignation Monday, effective immediately, paving the way for a deal he negotiated that includes awarding his daughter a state judgeship and himself a job as deputy director of the state tobacco commission, three people familiar with the arrangement said Sunday.

Puckett, a senator since 1998, did not respond to calls seeking comment. But Senate Majority Leader Richard L. Saslaw confirmed in a brief telephone interview that Puckett would resign Monday. In addition, state Del. Terry Kilore (R-Scott), who is also chairman of the Tobacco Commission, confirmed that a “deal” has been reached and that the commission is ready to award the tobacco commission job to Puckett.

“If he is available, we would like to have him because of his knowledge of the area,” Kilgore said.

Puckett’s unexpected departure will give the GOP a 20-19 majority in the Senate in the midst of a partisan battle over whether to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. The issue has stalled state budget negotiations and has threatened a state government shutdown if the impasse is not resolved by July 1.

Thanks to Tony Munter Whistleblower Attorney.

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