Pay Tickets Or Die

The guy running for Mayor of Philadelphia as a Democrat will win the election, Philly is a Democratic town. And this guy has a great idea.

He wants meter maids to not only give out parking tickets, but since they’re out in the street anyway, other kinds of tickets as well. Like for littering and jaywalking.

Not to generate more fines for the city, of course. How could you think that? But because we want to keep the city clean, and walkers safe.

A couple of problems here, however.

Autos have license plates but individual litters and jaywalkers don’t. So to make sure the right people are ticketed, should we all be obliged to wear personal license plates on our backs and chests? In order to keep the city cleaner, and prevent traffic deaths from jaywalking?

Since some litterers and jaywalkers might object to being stopped on the street, and might even get violent, should meter maids be armed? And if a litterer, say, is shot trying to escape a littering incident, should the armed meter maid be punished or given a citation for bravery in the line of duty?

OK. You don’t like wearing personal license plates, and you don’t think arming meter maids is a great idea. How about a technology fix to make this great idea practical?

Facial recognition technology has made tremendous strides in recent years. Arm meter maids with these devices instead of guns, devices that record faces of litterers or jaywalkers, run it through computers that show their addresses, send them a fine bill by mail. And if they don’t pay off dun their wages or seize their property.

We don’t even need to depend on just meter maids to track these miscreants. Just install more street cameras than London has everywhere in Philly that are supposed to spot violent criminals and also use them on the littering and jaywalking front. And on the not waiting for a red light to change front. And the drinking beer that isn’t in a brown bag front.

Our soon to be new mayor of Philly has a great ticketing idea. Wonder what else he has waiting in the wings.

[My newest book is Gorilla Warfare Against The Bureaucratic State — Confessions of a Lefty Libertarian.]


Profundity Du Jour

Profundity Du Jour

Do things ever really change?

That question came to mind the other day when I happened to hear an old song by the Kingston Trio titled “Merry Minuet.” Written by Sheldon Harnick and recorded by the Kingston Trio in 1958, it was very popular that year. Here’s its opening lyric:

They’re rioting in Africa
They’re starving in Spain
There’s hurricanes in Florida and Texas needs rain.

So has anything really changed in the world since this lyric became so popular more than half a century back? Yes and no.

The world was then, was before then, and is now, full of man-made and natural disasters. So maybe you could say that nothing of consequence ever really changes accept for a few place names and different natural disasters. When you look at the magnitude of comparable events, though, it’s immediately clear that things have gotten very different indeed.

Rioting seems benign compared to the genocides and nutcake religious insanities being perpetrated in the Middle East and elsewhere. The starvation on view in refugee camps in so many places in the world today not only dwarfs hunger in 1958 Spain but worldwide hunger at any time since the end of WWII. As for hurricanes and droughts in Florida and Texas, look at what’s happening now climate change-wise from California to Calcutta.

So what’s really changed since the Merry Minuet appeared? Put it this way. Much more of the same old shit, greatly magnified.

My new book:

Energy Past And Future by Michael Silverstein

Energy Past And Future
by Michael Silverstein

Why do we raid the burial grounds
Of long dead creatures for coal?
For oil and methane from these old remains
Why are these are energy goal?

The sun and the wind, the motion of waves,
The heat ‘neath our feet underground;
Are there to be tapped, to be used, and enjoyed
Live energy sources abound.

We’ve gone from the horse for private transport,
Keep in touch in a host of new ways;
It’s time, truly time, for a better resort
Navigating the energy maze.