Ted Rall

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Updated: 45 min 34 sec ago

Crime and Punishment and Punishment and Punishment

Mon, 06/29/2015 - 23:48

The man accused of the mass shooting of nine worshipers in a Charleston, South Carolina church faces an array of charges. Considering that he faces nine death-penalty counts, is there really any point to larding on additional counts, other than making ourselves feel better about ourselves? At a certain point, redundant justice becomes ludicrous.

SYNDICATED COLUMN: Welcome to the Machine, President Sanders

Mon, 06/29/2015 - 14:27

Rising in the polls, Bernie Sanders is already posing a credible threat to Hillary in the key primary state of New Hampshire. Having gone in one month from left-wing curiosity to serious contender, his confidence is soaring. He has gone from promoting himself as a mere symbolic tool to push Clinton to the left to predicting that he will win the Democratic nomination for president, and ultimately the presidency itself.

January 20, 2017.

“Welcome to the White House, Mr. President-Elec…I’m sorry—Mr. President. Hard habit to break. This way, sir — this is the Oval Office. If there’s anything you need, just let me know, sir.”

“I can’t believe I’m here.”

“You’ve made history, President Sanders. First socialist president! Very exciting.”

“Thank you, Henry.”

“Might I add also, sir, that was a very inspiring speech.”

“Thank you. So—what’s in store for day one of the Sanders Administration?”

“On your desk is a note from outgoing President Obama, as well as a stack of congratulatory messages from world leaders. You’ll want to get back to Putin, Pope Francis and Hollande right away, what with the situation in the Baltics and all.”

“Any meetings? Briefings?”

“Inauguration Day is traditionally a light schedule, so that you and the First Lady have time to prepare for tonight’s balls. So here’s what we’ve got scheduled for you for today:

“3:00: Meeting with a dozen CEOs of major corporations. You’ll have to reassure them that you’re a reasonable, mainstream Democrat, not the crazy-eyed barracuda-toothed left-winger you campaigned as. Make ‘em comfy, or else the markets’ll tank when they open Monday morning.

“4:00: National security briefing. Baltics, Seychelles, Golan Heights at the top of the agenda. You already met the Joint Chiefs during the Transition, but they’re going to want to hear that you’re not rocking the boat with any major changes in foreign policy. Our allies need to know that U.S. policy is consistent, that we’ll honor our treaty obligations and ongoing security arrangements. Iraq and Afghanistan assume that ‘total withdrawal’ stuff was just campaign rhetoric; you’re going to have to confirm that.

“4:40: Treasury Secretary Krugman wants to bend your ear about that minimum wage increase you promised.”

“What does Yellen think?”

“The Fed won’t sign on to any raise higher than $15 per hour, scaled up no sooner than 2023.”

“But that’s below the inflation rate. People need relief; the economy needs stimulus.”

“That’s true, Mr. President, but the bond market—”

“I know, I know, I read Clinton. He wasn’t president of the United States; he was the president of the bond market. Fine. Reschedule my 4:40 with Paul…add a few supply-siders into the mix. For balance.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Anything else?”

“The daily 5 o’clock in the Situation Room, sir. CIA is 70% sure they have Abu Ghanar in their sites. They’re going to want a UAV termination authorization tonight. We could move that up to 4:40 to let you and the First Lady relax before dinner, or you could meet Mr. and Mrs. Springsteen before their performance.”

“Ghanar?”

“The new #2 of the Islamic State of Iraq, Syria and Jordan (ISISJ).”

“(Sigh) okay. Oh, look at the time.”

            “This way, sir.”

            “Gentlemen! Thank you for coming today. It’s nice to finally meet you. Mr. Schmidt, an honor to meet you. Google is doing great things. Mr. McMillon — I appreciate the recent moves you’ve made to help workers…I won’t hold Wal-Mart’s backing of Senator Clinton against you. Now, if you don’t mind, let’s get right to it. As I said during my campaign, the economy is broken. It’s harder than ever for hard-working people to make ends meet, let alone get ahead. The top 1% are earning 99% of new wealth. Income inequality and long-term unemployment are soaring. It’s not just wrong — it’s bad for the overall economy because it reduces spending and contributes to the imbalance of trade. So it will come as little surprise to you that I’m going to take steps to increase fairness. Yes, Mr. Cook?”

“First, I’d like to offer you my congratulations. Your victory is inspiring. However, I’d like to take this opportunity to urge you to support the proposed Trans-Global Trade Agreement. TGTA is absolutely essential to the continued health of the tech sector. Second…”

(Ted Rall, syndicated writer and the cartoonist for The Los Angeles Times, is the author of the upcoming book “Snowden,” the first biography of NSA whistleblower Edward J. Snowden. It is in graphic novel form. You can subscribe to Ted Rall at Beacon.)

COPYRIGHT 2015 TED RALL, DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

On Sacked Nobel Tim Hunt: The Trouble with Being PC

Mon, 06/29/2015 - 11:07

Originally published by ANewDomain.net:

Want to know when political correctness crosses the line from noble social justice war to unfair censorship? When someone gets fired for saying something unrelated to their job.

That is clearly the case with Tim Hunt, a 72-year-old Nobel Prize-winning biochemist who was forced to resign from his post as an honorary professor at University College London after he brainfarted some sexist comments at a scientific conference in South Korea.

“Let me tell you about my trouble with girls,” Hunt said.

“Three things happen when they are in the lab: You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticize them they cry.”

Social media went crazy, and that’s fine: a Two Minutes Hate is exactly what Twitter is for.

And, to be charitable, what Hunt said was stupid. You don’t have to fall in love with your female colleagues. It is, or it should be possible, to note silently and with a pokerface said colleague’s hotness, and then get back to work. But, really. Can’t we open our minds a little?

What Tim Hunt said isn’t that terrible: After all, people do hook up at work, and you’d have to be an idiot to argue that women don’t cry more than men. Plus, Tim Hunt is 72. Not old old, but old enough not to know the finer points of political correctness.

In context, Hunt’s words, though archaic, are harmless. And Hunt was an honorary professor. He didn’t run a lab. And he was in no position to hire or fire anyone — specifically, he wasn’t in a position to hire or fire any women.

If free speech means anything, it guarantees the right to mouth off about whatever, without having to worry about having your career trashed — especially when what you mouthed off about isn’t even related to the job you stand to lose.

I feel this stuff personally. After 9/11, when my political cartoons were controversial because they opposed Bush and his wars, I didn’t fault the newspapers, like The Washington Post and New York Times, that dropped me. The editors were cowards, yes, but they had that right.

But when Men’s Health, which didn’t run my political work, got rid of my cartoons about men, sex and relationships, now that pissed me off.

On the other side of the coin from the Tim Hunt case are those of former LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling and ex-Harvard president Lawrence Summers.

Sterling and Summers’ remarks were far more offensive than Hunt’s comments.

Summers, the ex Harvard honcho, said women don’t have the “intrinsic aptitude” for science and engineering.

And former LA Clippers owner Sterling told his girlfriend that her other (black) boyfriends weren’t welcome at his (supposedly public) games: “You can sleep with (black people). You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want …the little I ask you is … not to bring them to my games.”

Summers was forced down and Sterling was pushed out, and that’s fine. As president of the most prestigious university in the United States, Summers held power over thousands of women faculty, staff and students. How could they work for him, knowing that he thought they were stupid?

And, more importantly, how can Summers, the now-former president of Harvard, be so stupid as to think that women are dumb at math? On the grounds of low intellect alone, he deserved to get canned.

As for Sterling, he owned a professional NBA team. Many professional basketball players are black, as are many of its fans. It would have been an abomination to continue to allow a racist to own a team whose stars included many African-Americans — all of whom would have to wonder if they were being discriminated against by their boss.

This is neither the first time nor the last time we will see this, but it must be said: The sacking of Tim Hunt is something that politically correct Internet “warriors” ought to be ashamed of.

Trainer Troops in Iraq? Doomed to Failure

Mon, 06/29/2015 - 11:04

Originally published by ANewDomain.net:

President Obama is deploying 450 troops, trainers of Iraqi soldiers, back to Iraq. To fight ISIS this time. The media says this sort of half-measure, neither big enough to make a difference but not nothing, either, reflects the wisdom of compromise. Because “both sides” will criticize.

Both sides are right. It’s a stupid move doomed to failure.

Gay Troops: Equal Opportunity Fighting. Yay.

Mon, 06/29/2015 - 11:02

Originally published by ANewDomain.net:

Marking the total integration of lesbian and gay soldiers into the U.S. military, the Pentagon has announced that gay and lesbian troops will be covered by the equal opportunity policy that prohibits firing Americans due to their sexual orientation.

Bipartisan Scum

Sun, 06/28/2015 - 23:37

Normally at odds over everything, Congressional Republicans cooperated with President Obama. Again. Once more, it was a jobs-killing free trade ageeement, the TPP. Why is it that the only time the two parties get anything done is in order to screw us over?

SYNDICATED COLUMN: Are Millennials the Most Ageist Generation Ever?

Thu, 06/25/2015 - 13:46

Ever notice how those who complain about being victims are themselves at least as likely to be perpetrators of the same offense? Examples that come to mind for me include the United States and Israel, two countries that portray themselves as targets of terrorism while carrying out wars of aggression whose death tolls far exceed their own losses. You’ll no doubt think of your own examples.

We’re seeing this projection at work with Millennial ageism. The Millennial generation is the most ageist in memory, yet the online media outlets they dominate discuss a problem that, if it really exists, pales in comparison: ageism against Millennials. But, like American presidents’ assertions that the United States has to protect itself against the world when, if anything, it’s really the world that needs to protect itself against the United States, it’s a joke.

Millennials’ status as members of the biggest generation in history – numbering more than 83 million, they have officially beaten the Baby Boomers – ensures that they will have a lot of power over American politics and the workplace, especially as they get older.

Which, if current experience serves to predict the future, they will abuse.

As I have written, ageism – the old-fashioned kind, by the young against the old – is endemic to Silicon Valley, the highest profile business sector controlled by people in their 20s and low 30s. Moreover, it’s normative: everyone thinks it’s OK. So OK do they think it is that national business magazines even publish articles saying it’s “smart” not to hire older Americans because they’re “dumber.”

I call it the old-fashioned kind of ageism because young-picking-on-old discrimination hasn’t been a thing since the “youth culture” of the 1960s and 1970s. Back in their hippie days, Baby Boomers in their 20s were so mean to their elders that they even made a movie whose plot involved putting people over 30 into concentration camps. As they got older, Baby Boomers flipped the switch, deploying their power as employers to discriminate against Generation Xers. Now that the Boomers are finally fading into the demographic mists, their Millennial children are beginning to repeat that half-century-old pattern, marginalizing and refusing to hire Gen Xers.

Ah, the great psycho of life.

While thinking about and researching this essay, I turned my critical eye to myself and my Gen X contemporaries. When we were in our 20s, didn’t we look down on older people? When we got a chance to hire and fire, didn’t we discriminate against those we viewed as boring and out of touch?

Not really.

Sure, we had more in common with members of our own age cohort than those older than us. But we didn’t look down on older folks…though many of them made fun of us (if they noticed us at all) and would rather let a job go unfilled than hire us.

I remember, for example, working as a staff writer for P.O.V. magazine. Almost all of us were in our 20s and 30s — not because management rejected older writers, but because older writers already had jobs elsewhere. But when editor Randall Lane brought on legendary sportwriter-barfly Bert Sugar as a columnist, not only did no one hold his age against him – he was pushing 60 and looked closer to 80 – everyone thought it was cool to add him to the team. Not just because he was “old school,” which we all admired, or despite his age, but because we appreciated the value that comes with experience. He had stuff to teach us; we wanted to learn, and hoped that some of that glory might rub off on us.

Compare that to the unceremonious departure of Mark “Copyranter” Duffy, 53, from BuzzFeed. Dude was the smartest man in the office; they fired him for being old.

I’ve never been into her music, but the cruel reception of Millennial-dominated media outlets to Madonna’s insistence on continuing to use sex to market herself at age 56 has me admiring her spunk (and, actually, finding her physically hotter than she was back in the 1980s). Also, I have to contrast the viciousness to the way that we Gen Xers treated older pop and musical figures at the same age.

As a record reviewer in my late 20s and early 30s, I can’t recall a single instance of an older rock or pop musician or group being dissed simply because he or she was old. If you sucked, you sucked. If you were good, you were good. If anything, our default mode was to tend to respect anyone who had stuck around for a while. We didn’t exactly respect our elders — as Gen Xers, we didn’t respect anyone, not even ourselves – but we didn’t disrespect them either. For us, it made perfect sense that punk rockers like The Clash admired old glam guys like Ian Hunter of Mott the Hoople.

That “rather die before I get old” crap was from the 1960s, not us.

The tendency of Millennials to denigrate their Gen X and Boomer elders is probably hardwired into the demographic reality of belonging to a big, dominant generation. One of the ways you feel good about yourselves is by picking on smaller, weaker groups. No matter what I or anyone else writes, even if every Millennial in the world reads it, there’s virtually no chance it will reduce their ageist tendencies.

Still, it’s sad. I think about my former literary agent and friend Toni Mendez, who died 12 years ago —at work — at the age of 95. She was more vibrant and interesting and outrageous and intelligent than a thousand typical 25-year-olds combined, and I still miss her terribly. Those 30-year-old gatekeepers in Silicon Valley and elsewhere who think that everyone over 35 has nothing to contribute are screwing themselves too, and leaving money on the table.

(Ted Rall, syndicated writer and the cartoonist for The Los Angeles Times, is the author of the upcoming book “Snowden,” the first biography of NSA whistleblower Edward J. Snowden. It is in graphic novel form. You can subscribe to Ted Rall at Beacon.)

COPYRIGHT 2015 TED RALL, DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

Saddam vs. Clown Car

Wed, 06/24/2015 - 23:16

There are 28 declared and likely-to-declare Republican presidential candidates, a dozen of whom might be viable. On the Democratic side, there are 3, of whom only one, Hillary Clinton, stands a chance. Democrats ought to be ashamed of the lack of democracy in their party, which hasn’t had a contested primary since 2008, yet they’re making fun of the GOP “Clown Car” instead.

A Criminal Justice System

Tue, 06/23/2015 - 23:20

Many municipalities across the United States charge prison inmates for the cost of their own imprisonment, often at rates similar to those charged by hotels. When they get out, most cannot pay because they’re indigent, so they’re rearrested, and rejailed for nonpayment, and charged even more.

 

The A La Carte Society

Sun, 06/21/2015 - 23:19

Many lefties, me included, won’t vote for Hillary Clinton because she supported the Iraq War, a mistake for which sbe has never apologized, and has doubled down upon with her actions destroying Libya, now a failed state. But some self-described liberals are willing to overlook this egregious crime of morality and politics.

SYNDICATED COLUMN: If Rachel Dolezal is a Liar, What is Barack Obama?

Fri, 06/19/2015 - 15:49

Rachel Dolezal, the former Spokane leader of the NAACP who was born white but pretends to be (or “identifies as”) black, is widely assumed to be a lying con artist, suffering from psychological problems, or both. Many Americans, especially blacks who suffer at the hands of systemic racial discrimination, were furious at what they saw as Dolezal’s lack of — forgive me — skin in the game.

Unlike dark-skinned African-Americans pulled over by racist policemen for a broken taillight, she could opt out any time. Indeed, she did exactly that when she sued her alma mater, the historically black Howard University, for race discrimination — because she was white.

Dolezel has stepped down from her unpaid post where, by all accounts, she did a magnificent job. But what about another case of racial slumming that is not dissimilar from Dolezal’s, but far more prominent?

I speak here ­— though few others dare — of President Obama.

Obama, as everyone knows, had a black Kenyan father and a white American mother. Growing up in Hawaii, where so many people have multiple racial identities that they call themselves “chop suey” or “poi dog,” meaning “mixed” or “mutt,” Obama chose to sublimate his white ancestry and identify as fully black because he didn’t want to be, as friends remember, a “tragic mulatto” who had to suck up to whites.

Choosing which half of your family you prefer to identify with isn’t unusual. My mother is French and my father is American of German ancestry. I feel very French — I speak and read the language, listen to French music, follow French news, have dual French-American citizenship. I always assumed that was because my father wasn’t around while I was growing up, so he lost his chance to influence me. (But I’ve never denied his paternity, or the parts of my personality I believe came from him.)

Anyway, Obama’s situation was the reverse of mine. Like me, he was raised by his mom. The time he spent with his father could be measured in hours. If he’d followed the path of least resistance in terms of cultural influence, he would have identified as white. Instead, he took on the race of the father who left him.

Granted: race is a largely a cultural and political construction. Still, within the racial construct in which Obama and I (we’re almost the same age, and went to Columbia at the same time) grew up, he was and is biracial.

            Why’d he ditch the biracial moniker?

The Census Bureau began identifying multiracial Americans in 2000. (You check off two or more boxes for race, as applicable.) In 2000, 6.8 million Americans declared themselves as having mixed-race ancestry. Not Obama — in 2010, as President, he declared himself solely African-American.

Sorry, mom.

How is this different than Rachel Dolezal? Both of them identify themselves as blacker than they are genetically: Dolezel 100% more, Obama, 50% more. Why is Dolezal, an obscure woman who worked hard to fight for blacks, catching more shit than Obama, arguably the world’s most powerful man, who has been roundly criticized for sitting on his hands when black Americans come under attack, as they did in a Charleston church this week?

If Dolezeal is “transracial,” as she told an interview, so is Obama.

“I think his choice [to declare himself African-American and not biracial] will have political, social and cultural ramifications,” Michele Hughes, president of the Chicago Biracial Families Network, said after stories about Obama’s census declaration appeared. Certainly, it sent a message to biracial children: the president of the United States is ashamed of his biracial heritage, and maybe you should be too.

“Aren’t people supposed to fill out their census forms accurately? Why else are we doing it? If everyone put down on the form how they “identified,” I don’t know what kind of count we’d wind up with, but clearly it would not reflect the racial makeup of the United States. As many have argued, race is an almost useless construct, so that might not matter, except in one very important area: If every biracial person chose one race, as Obama did, or as people had to do before the forms were changed in 2000, the census would portray a society more divided than it actually is,” Elizabeth Chang, who identifies as biracial (and actually is biracial) wrote in The Washington Post in 2010. “If the most powerful person in this country says that because society thinks he looks black, he is black, it sends a message that biracial children have to identify with the side they most resemble.”

It also endorses the hoary “single drop of blood” rule, which dates to slavery and dictates that if you’re 0.1% black, the law, and American culture, considers you 100% black.

As I said, I’m not personally vested in this discussion. But I dislike hypocrisy, particularly in the context of media pile-ons against average citizens while objectively much bigger targets stand around watching, untouched by the flinging mud. If Dolezal is scum for lying about her race, so is Obama.

Half-scum, anyway.

(Ted Rall, syndicated writer and the cartoonist for The Los Angeles Times, is the author of the upcoming book “Snowden,” the first biography of NSA whistleblower Edward J. Snowden. It is in graphic novel form. You can subscribe to Ted Rall at Beacon.)

COPYRIGHT 2015 TED RALL, DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

 

Trans-Liberal

Fri, 06/19/2015 - 06:19

Months after declaring her presidential candidacy and decades after entering political life, Hillary Clinton delivered a speech in Roosevelt Island, New York in which she came out as a liberal. Given that this is a major departure from her history as a right-wing Democrat, how can progressives who have walked the walk all along deal with this leftie-come-lately

Beau Biden and David Goldberg Are Dead, But…Who?

Tue, 06/16/2015 - 10:47

Originally published by ANewDomain.net:

Even if you’re a news junkie, you probably never heard of Dave Goldberg or Beau Biden before they died. Yet both are at the center of a national mournathon.

Goldberg’s and Biden’s deaths marks the further advancement of celebritization. Millions of Americans care about people after they die – people whose existence they were completely unaware of prior to their demise – simply because they are related to someone famous.

Goldberg, 47, was the husband of Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, most known for her book “Lean In,” which advises women to be more assertive in the workplace. Just over a month ago, he fell off a treadmill at a hotel in Mexico, probably after a heart attack, and struck his head. (I write “probably” because there were a ridiculous number of conflicting reports about the cause of death.) Goldberg had been the CEO of SurveyMonkey, a relatively obscure Silicon Valley startup.

Beau Biden was the son of Vice President Joe Biden. He was unknown outside Delaware, where he was a former state attorney general. He died of brain cancer at age 46.

Both deaths were sad. It is usually unfortunate when people leave us, especially at a young age. (Not as much when they’re, say, war criminals.) In Biden’s case, it is impossible not to feel for the vice president, who apart from the fact that he works side-by-side with President Barack Obama seems to be a decent man, and in any case has suffered more tragedy than most by losing his wife and his young daughter in a car accident in 1972.

But let’s face it: 2.4 million Americans die every year. They leave behind spouses and parents and children and friends and colleagues who miss them and will never recover from their loss. Some of them die in terrible, tragic ways: hit by reckless drivers, murdered, killed in industrial accidents.

But 99.9999 percent of them never get national attention. If the widow of one of them posts something about their dead husband to Facebook, as Sheryl Sandberg did, it does not get coverage on CNN and MSNBC and Fox News, NPR and the New York Times and the Washington Post, as Sandberg’s clunky, poorly written and really not worth reading, essay did.

“A heartbreakingly beautiful and incredibly open tribute to her late husband, the Facebook chief operating officer is sharing what she’s learned about grief,” gushed the Post. Not since Judith Miller have I distrusted a newspaper this much.

When there is a funeral for one of the 99.9999 percent, the President of the United States does not attend, or deliver a eulogy (“his voice thick with emotion,” the Times said), and the event does not receive live national media attention, as Biden’s did.

Which is perfectly fine. Most people don’t make such a huge impression on a national scale that their death deserves to be marked by so much pomp and circumstance.

What’s weird – and make no mistake, it really is strange – is to see the deaths of unknown people elevated to national events simply due to their relationship with the rich and famous. If Biden died, I’d expect a state funeral. Sandberg merits an eighth of a page obit. Biden’s son and Sandberg’s husband? Not so much.

Until 2014, high profile deaths followed high-profile lives. Now, you don’t have to accomplish anything, at least anything that makes a public impact, to be grieved by the public.

If this goes on, it won’t just be those who are close to the rich and famous who get posthumously recognized, but those who know those who are close to the rich and famous. On and on it’ll go, until six degrees are achieved and we are all, fulfilling Andy Warhol’s prophecy, famous for 15 minutes.

But only after we die.

If you want to be sad about someone you never knew about, much less knew, that’s your business. But I’ve got a question for you: when the celebrities go on and on and on about how fabulous the dead man or woman in question was, how on earth do you know if any of it is true?

The Student Loan Crisis

Sun, 06/14/2015 - 23:43

Bankers issue student loans to 17-year-old kids. Who’s more irresponsible: the bankers who take a reckless risk? Or the 1 out of 7 impoverished students who default on their obligations?

Texting And Driving: What to Do If You Get Pulled Over

Fri, 06/12/2015 - 10:45

Originally published by ANewDomain.net:

If you’re a motorist, odds are that you regularly drive through a municipality that is one of the many currently engaged in a strict crackdown on “distracted driving”: using a mobile device to text, or talk on the phone without using a hands-free device.

A distracted driving ticket sucks. Fines are high, usually hundreds of dollars. Tickets add a lot of points to your record. (In New York, which suspends your driving privileges at 12 points, distracted driving costs you 5.) Your insurance rate, of course, may go up. And unlike other moving offenses, judges are refusing to vacate tickets for these offenses, even if you have a clean record and a good traffic lawyer. Nabbed recently for using the speakerphone to talk because my headphones were busted — yes, that’s against the law — my kickass lawyer was lucky to get it knocked down from 5 to 2 points, for turning without proper signaling.

Oh, and if you get two of these suckers in 18 months, say goodbye to your license for at least a year.

I’ll spare you the lecture about the perils of distracted driving. You’ve seen other drivers do it, oblivious and therefore a danger to themselves and others. If you’re honest with yourself, you know your driving goes to pot when you do it.

I’m here to clear up some confusion about distracted driving laws, and what to do if a cop pulls you over.

Let’s Clear Up A Few  Things

One thing a policeman told me, and I bet you didn’t know this, is that in many states you’re not allowed to block both ears while driving. So if you’re like me, and you use white iPhone earbuds, you can only use one if you live in New York. Leave the other dangling. In Pennsylvania, go ahead, use both. If you’re not sure about your state, go with one — it’s safer anyway.

There is a common misconception that it is legal to, say, fire off a text message while sitting at a red light. As long as the engine is running, you’re vulnerable to a distracted driving ticket. Cops actually lurk at busy intersections because it’s easier to catch you there!

“Distracted driving” isn’t just about phones. Anything that takes away your attention from the road — applying makeup, reaching around for something, petting your dog, anything — subjects you to one of these tickets.

Here’s How They Caught You

Cops complain that this law is hard to enforce. How are they supposed to know what you’re up to inside your little metal and glass box, flying down the highway at 55 mph? But they’re trying.

Many police departments have purchased undercover, unmarked trucks that allow them to look down, where you’re looking down, at your lap. (Never mind that the cops are distracted themselves!) If you notice a “friendly” trucker matching your pace, look out.

Unmarked cop cars are key to enforcing this law. In Massachusetts, for example, three out of four infractions were issued this way.

Cops look to see if you have both hands on the wheel. It’s not a foolproof system, as the California man who baited his local enforcement by driving around with one phoneless hand on his face can attest (his ruse worked). I myself got pulled over by a very confused cop for talking on my phone — though I didn’t have one with me at the time. I was talking to my passenger, old school. He let me go.

What To Say If You Get Pulled Over

It’s not illegal to lie to traffic cops, so you don’t have much to lose by telling a fib. Bear in mind, however, that if you challenge a texting- or talking-while-driving ticket, the police can subpoena your phone records before your court date, which will reveal what you were up to at the time of the stop.

Still, given the fact that judges are going to hit you hard no matter what, you don’t have much to lose by claiming that you were doing something totally legal on your handheld device.

That’s right: legal. In some states, including California, there are clear exceptions to the distracted driving law. Courts have ruled that you may use your cellphone’s GPS in these states. So, when you get pulled over, before you grab your license and registration, fire up the GPS and have that running before the officer approaches. When you open the window, and he mentions your phone, say you were using your GPS. I’d do this even in a state like New York, which does not have this exception, because courts haven’t settled the issue yet — and it might convince the judge to reduce or throw out the ticket if you go to court (which you always should).

What To Do If You Get a Moving Violation

Call. A. Lawyer. It’s usually cheaper to pay a lawyer than to pay all the fines.

Flibanserin: Female Love Drug Leaves A Lot to Be Desired

Thu, 06/11/2015 - 10:44

Originally published by ANewDomain.net:

The FDA is about to approve Flibanserin, which is being marketed as the “Viagra for women” who want to increase their libidos. Yet the effects are reportedly small, just 0.3 on a scale from 1.2 to 6.0. (Who comes up with these scales?)

And users report some rather significant side effects …

Hillary on Instagram

Wed, 06/10/2015 - 23:38

The Hillary Rodham Clinton campaign is now on Instagram, with a light joke about “Hard Choices”: a reference to a photo of her pantsuits in red, white and blue. It’s part of the effort to make a politician with blood-soaked hands look like just another ordinary American grandmother…and it just might work.

Mike Huckabee Gets Schooled about Trans People

Wed, 06/10/2015 - 10:42

Originally published by ANewDomain.net:

2016 Republican presidential candidate and former FoxNews personality Mike Huckabee is getting slammed for comments denigrating trans people by implying that their sexuality and gender identity is a matter of fickle personal choice rather than psychologically inherent.

Gays Get the Right to Murder Muslims and Steal Their Oil Too

Tue, 06/09/2015 - 23:49

For the first time, the Pentagon has announced that gay and lesbian troops cannot be fired for their sexual orientation. So much for Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell! But trans people still don’t have the right to murder Muslims and steal their oil.

FIFA, We Hardly Knew Ye

Tue, 06/09/2015 - 10:42

Originally published by ANewDomain.net:

Sepp Blatter resigns! Who? A corruption scandal surrounding FIFA, the governing body of professional international soccer, would devastate our view of sports were the United States the least concerned about soccer.