Archive for the ‘Social Commentary’ Category

Seattle Drivers are Horrible: A Rant

January 7th, 2011 No comments
Keep Right Except to Pass

Keep Right Except to Pass

Now I don’t want to get off on a rant here…

If you don’t want me to insult you, please stop reading here because there is a pretty good chance I will. I do apologize for this, but I just have to get this off my chest!

I commute around 30 miles every day. I hit both I-5 through downtown and I-90 over Lake Washington (and occasionally SR520 but really, that’s a nightmare). I see a lot of drivers. Most of them I do not like. Sorry Seattle, but you just don’t know how to drive. For some it is because they are jerks and just enjoy pissing people off but for most it is general obliviousness to what is going on around them. Regardless, it is selfishness.

Here is Washington State law:

RCW 46.61.100
Keep right except when passing, etc.
(2) Upon all roadways having two or more lanes for traffic moving in the same direction, all vehicles shall be driven in the right-hand lane then available for traffic, except (a) when overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction, (b) when traveling at a speed greater than the traffic flow, (c) when moving left to allow traffic to merge, or (d) when preparing for a left turn at an intersection, exit, or into a private road or driveway when such left turn is legally permitted. On any such roadway, a vehicle or combination over ten thousand pounds shall be driven only in the right-hand lane except under the conditions enumerated in (a) through (d) of this subsection.

Got that? For ANY road (and I would say especially for a highway) that has two lanes in the same direction, you drive in the right-hand lane. I would estimate that there are at least 5 times in my weekly commute where it is faster for me to drive in the right-hand lane because slow people are in the left-hand lane. That isn’t right.

I understand that with the sheer volume of cars on our roads, traffic is inevitable. Fine, I can handle that. What I cannot handle is the fact that so much traffic is caused because of slow people driving in the left-hand lane and blocking traffic behind them. If I can see where the wall of traffic starts, there shouldn’t be traffic: It is being caused by YOU (you know who you are… well you should anyway). I am consistently amazed when I see someone get on the freeway below speed and instantly move to the left lane; there is no reason to do that, at all. If there isn’t anyone in front of you for a decent distance, move over. If you see multiple cars (actually, even if it is just one car) behind you, regardless of your speed, you need to move right. The amount of traffic we have is completely avoidable.

Figure it out Seattle! You are driving a large hunk of metal down the road; you should not be oblivious to anything. Pay attention to your surroundings. Let traffic flow.

Ready for the rule of thumb that we ALL need to follow? Move to the right!

All that being said, Seattle? At least you aren’t Oregon drivers. ;)

Driving Flow Chart

Driving Flow Chart


Categories: Blogging, Social Commentary Tags:

You Remember the Constitution, Right?

January 7th, 2011 No comments

I thought I would mention a few posts from Power Line relating to the House reading the Constitution since they have some good stuff to say: Read it Again, John.

I thought it was a good idea for the Constitution to be read aloud on the floor of the House of Representatives as that body kicked off its new session. The reading reminded those present of the contents of our fundamental law and symbolized a commitment to adhere to that law.

But what seemed like a good idea turned out to be a great one. For instead of good naturedly going along with the exercise, or suffering in silence, a number of leftists publicly displayed their lack of comfort with, if not contempt for, the Constitution. Thus, the public received its clearest indication to date that the left regards the words of the Constitution as an impediment to its agenda.

Read the full post here. And Disowning the Constitution:

[S]ome Democrats, rather than fighting over who owns the Constitution, were publicly disowning it — in some cases symbolically and in others substantively.

The NY Times Explains the Constitution:

I’ve never understood what liberals mean when they say the Constitution “evolves.” They clearly don’t mean that it can be changed by amendment. Nor do they seem to be referring to, for example, the application of the First Amendment to the internet, even though the web is not a “press.” When liberals talk about “evolution,” it generally seems to mean making stuff up–but only liberal stuff, of course.

Read it all here. And finally: Are Liberals Coming Out of the Closet on the Constitution?:

Today’s New York Times editorializes on the Republican takeover of the House. You could paraphrase the editorial as “wah-wah-wah;” the paper basically cries over its party’s November defeat. But in the course of doing so, the editorialists are surprisingly open about their contempt for the Constitution:

A theatrical production of unusual pomposity will open on Wednesday when Republicans assume control of the House for the 112th Congress. A rule will be passed requiring that every bill cite its basis in the Constitution. A bill will be introduced to repeal the health care law. On Thursday, the Constitution will be read aloud in the House chamber.

Those who had hoped to see a glimpse of the much-advertised Republican plan to revive the economy and put Americans back to work will have to wait at least until party leaders finish their Beltway insider ritual of self-glorification. Then, they may find time for governing.

What? Yes, how dare bills be founded in the Constitution? How dare our guiding document be read aloud in the chambers of those that purport to legislate based on that guiding document? Read that full article here.

Now I have no doubt that this whole thing might be blown out of proportion. The folks at Powerline might just be too sensitive(?). I don’t want to offend anyone; I’m sure most democrats and liberals are strong supporters of the Constitution. I just think it is somewhat strange that many are making a big deal of this over on the Democrat side. Why do they have a problem with the Constitution being read? How is it a “presumptuous and self-righteous act”? They are writing laws and passing legislation based on this foundational document, I think they should be reading it all the time.

Categories: Politics, Social Commentary Tags:

N.T. Wright on Blogging: A Christian Ethic

April 25th, 2010 5 comments

'It's easier to be an asshole to words than to people.'

'It's easier to be an asshole to words than to people.'

I’ve finally had the chance to start reading Justification: God’s Plan & Paul’s Vision, N.T. Wright‘s response to critics of The New Perspective on Paul with specific discussion of Piper’s The Future of Justification: A Response to N. T. Wright. I’m sure I will have comments about the book at a later time (I do definitely fall into Wright’s camp when it comes to placing Paul and his theology firmly rooted in 1st century exilic Judaism), but right now I wanted to share what he had to say in the book’s introduction about blogging. His comments are both insightful and important reminders to those of us who interact in the blogosphere and call ourselves Christians.

It really is high time we developed a Christian ethic of blogging. Bad temper is bad temper even in the apparent privacy of your own hard drive, and harsh and unjust words, when released into the wild, rampage around and do real damage. And as for the practice of saying mean and untrue things while hiding behind a pseudonym - well, if I get a letter like that it goes straight in the bin. But the cyberspace equivalents of road rage doesn’t happen by accident. People who type vicious, angry, slanderous and inaccurate accusations do so because they feel their worldview to be under attack. Yes, I have pastoral concern for such people. (And, for that matter, a pastoral concern for anyone who spends more than a few minutes a day taking part in blogsite discussion, especially when they all use code names: was it for this that the creator God made human beings?) But sometimes worldviews have to be shaken. They may become idolatrous and self-serving. And I fear that the has happened, and continues to happen, even in well-regulated, shiny Christian contexts - including, of course, my own.

I hope you aren’t offended by the mouse hover/caption to the xkcd comic, but I found it particularly appropriate for Wright’s comments. In any discussion we have with people we run the risk of our hubris taking over. Humility is crucial and necessary. We should always presume positive intent of those in discussion and we should always write and speak with positive intent. It’s a good rule of thumb.

On Censoring and Double Standards

April 24th, 2010 2 comments

This business with Comedy Central, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, and censorship is completely ridiculous. I won’t discuss the whole thing, Powerline has up a post, Bleeping Muhammad, that has some great things to read. I want to comment on two things: 1) how cowardly Comedy Central is, and 2) the Muslim double standard.

In an age where people over use “Freedom of speech” to mean they can say whatever they want, it is surprising how quickly Comedy Central folded. I am glad that in the US we do have freedom to say what we want (while I do think many take that freedom too far), and usually media giants love to tout their freedoms. But under a little pressure Comedy Central couldn’t uphold that freedom any more. What is the most sickening is not even that they would censor parts poking fun at Muhammad, but that they censored a speech about standing up to intimidation and fear. What is that crap? That speech is exactly the thing that I would want my students (many of whom I KNOW watch South Park) to hear. The irony is ripe: Comedy Central is intimidated so they censor a speech about fighting against intimidation? Lovely.

The reason Comedy Central caved is because of a glaring double standard. Mock Christians and Jesus all you want, but Muhammad and Islam are off limits. What bunk. Imagine a Christian objecting (even threatening life) to someone mocking Jesus. They wouldn’t be taken seriously at all; no one would care. Could you ever imagine Comedy Central censoring jokes about Jesus of Christians? I wouldn’t think so because they don’t and they mock all the time. Why is this double standard allowed to persist? Christians have to just deal with mockery (which I am fine with, God can handle it), but Muslims can just cry “You’re being mean!” and suggest someone might go the way of Theo Van Gogh and Muhammad becomes untouchable. Ridiculous.

Go read Powerline’s post as well as Newsbuster’s “Jon Stewart Notes Blatant Double Standard on ‘South Park’ Mohammed Censorship” and Mark Steyn’s “Not Too �Hip� and �Edgy� for Censorship”. And if you were so inclined, you could take part in the Everybody Draw Mohammad Day on May 20th.

A Rocha - The Rock

December 10th, 2007 4 comments

Jesus called Peter the rock on which he will build his church. Well I am pretty sure that Jesus would have been on board with this rock as well: A Rocha (which means “the rock” in Portuguese).

The first A Rocha project began in Portugal in 1983. A field study centre and bird observatory was established near the Alvor estuary and it has now been visited by thousands of people from many parts of the world.

All over the world Christians are realising that important habitats and their wildlife urgently need protection and so, since 1994, new A Rocha projects have started in other parts of Europe, the Middle East, Africa and North America. The international cross-cultural strength of the Christian community has been making a unique contribution, not least as communities struggle to reconcile the need to protect biodiversity with their hopes for sustainable development.

A Rocha projects have a community emphasis, bringing together people from widely differing backgrounds to work towards common goals.

Two of my favorite people are back living in Canada: Andy is back at Regent preparing to join the Anglican ranks and Katie is working for A Rocha Canada.

Based in British Columbia’s lower mainland, A Rocha Canada is a national conservation organization working to show God’s love for all of creation. We work out our commitment to environmental action through community-based conservation projects, with a focus on science and research, practical conservation, and environmental education.

Andy has been very impressed by how A Rocha is trying to make a real impact in God’s creation. Not only that, but they are trying to find a realistic balance between living green and being aware of economic concerns. Katie is looking to raise support for this year and if any of you out there think A Rocha is a worthy cause (and it is), I invite you over to find out more about Katie’s role at A Rocha and ask her about supporting her. Christians need to be making an impact in the World that God has given us and this is a great, practical way that this can happen. Check it out! And here is a brief video introducing A Rocha:

Categories: Religion, Social Commentary Tags:

The Solution to Global Warming and Peak Oil? Math

October 13th, 2007 5 comments

The so called “energy crisis” may in fact be solved by simple math; specifically the math of money. The idealist in me would rather people live environmentally sound lives and be good stewards of the Earth because it’s the right thing to do. I am sure there are a number of people who wish I was “greener” (and I am sure I could be); I haven’t placed too much importance in some of the doomsday theories, but that doesn’t mean I don’ think we should do what we can to take care of our planet. That being said, it seems the reality of the global warming “problem” and the peak oil “crisis” is going to work itself out, not because of nutty environmentalists, but because it makes economic sense.

The world keeps spinning because of money it seems. I don’t have a problem with businesses, even big businesses; I think they are needed and necessary. I don’t even have a problem with them using the Earth’s resources (both space and energies). It makes sense that they will be influenced by the almighty dollar. Bottom line is crucial: they need to pay their employees, stock holders, decrease costs, etc. What is surprising is that this model of business will actually help the environment… if they let it.

Popular Mechanics recently came out with their 2007 Breakthrough Awards (all of which are extremely interesting). The reason for this post is one of the winners: Amory Lovins: The Prophet of Efficiency. Lovins and his “Think and do tank” Rocky Mountain Institute have been helping businesses move to soft energy technologies.

He is a pragmatic, pliers-in-hand visionary with a penchant for physics who spends his time engineering a future in which Americans stop burning fossil fuels, yet improve their standard of living. Getting there, he�s certain, is mainly a matter of tapping a nearly limitless resource�corporate pressure to cut costs and improve the bottom line.

The Daily Green has a good article on Lovins and the Breakthrough Award that you should also read: Why Global Warming and Peak Oil are Irrelevant: A Quick Look Inside the Very Full Brain of Amory Lovins (H/t to Sal).

Lovins and the team at the Rocky Mountain Institute have applied radical efficiency to help redesign more than $30 billion worth of facilities in 29 sectors.

If oil runs out next year, or in the next decade, that will matter less than the rise of competitive sources of energy in the marketplace. Petroleum will go the way of whale oil, which in 1850 was the world�s fifth largest industry, Lovins said. That powerful industry lasted precisely until coal-based oils provided a cheaper alternative to the common lighting fuel. You don�t hear much about whale oil anymore.

�Whalers were astounded,� Lovins said, �when they ran out of customers before they ran out of whales.�

Read the whole thing. And also check out Lovins’ PM Breakthrough Award article and video, PM’s guide to sustainability, and PM’s 3 Big Ideas for Efficient Big Business from Amory Lovins. Interesting stuff. I guess it just show you can be green in a variety of ways.

Oh, and also be sure to check out this brilliant idea: Shawn Frayne: The Nonturbine Wind Alternative: Windbelt, Cheap Generator Alternative, Set to Power Third World. This is genius. How has someone not come up with this yet? Simply amazing. And I like that his idea came from watching the Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapse.

Categories: Around the World, Social Commentary Tags: