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New It IS another way to snoop on the general population
The trouble is, we already live in a endemic surveillance society, that is run by the most incredibly corrupt people money can buy. As soon as the insurance companies offer them a cheeseburger or something of equivalent value, we will have to turn over the information to the insurance companies too. For bacon on the cheeseburger, they might mandate an automatic reporting system, only so they can make the roads safer, don't you know. For a coke and fries on the side, they might get a GPS hooked to it so they can find out how fast you were going in that school zone last week. Far fetched? Then why don't they use the systems that have been in the cars for the last 20 years? There are already ways in place to track traffic patterns and road usage trends. It seems a lot of trouble and expense to solve a few more traffic accidents a year. So, who benefits? Not the consumers of the product, that's for sure.
If nothing else, this is just another step in a bad direction. Probably no gulags just yet, but it is a power grab by untrustworthy bureaucrats.
New People can voluntarily give the info to insurance cos now.
http://www.progressi...on-questions.aspx It uses a dongle that plugs into the OBDII port that almost all recent cars have. Other companies have similar programs.

There are gizmos that let you reset the "Check Engine Light" and read lots of information already - e.g. http://www.amazon.co...ime/dp/B000AAMY86 There is software out there that lets people read and reprogram the things on their own, too. E.g. http://www.ross-tech.com/ If you are paranoid, you can wipe the data every day or something and stick it to The Man if you want.

There is nothing new about the Senate bill AFAICS. It's just an update to what's been out there for years.

There are good reasons for the government to mandate standard car data ports and standards for the minimum amounts of information recorded. It's not a plot to track people.

There are already lots easier ways for The Government to track people. They don't need to mandate data collection standards in vehicles to do so. Box using that as a reason to never buy a car again strikes me as silly. There are more important conspiracies to worry about. ;-)

FWIW.

Cheers,
Scott.
New I will let you ride my truck after the emp explosion :-)
Any opinions expressed by me are mine alone, posted from my home computer, on my own time as a free American and do not reflect the opinions of any person or company that I have had professional relations with in the past 55 years. meep
New It wouldn't be any better off.
EMP would take out the power grid so gas pumps wouldn't work, in addition to possible effects on your truck's wiring, alternator, etc.

EMP doesn't just affect electronic devices - http://www.fas.org/n...ntro/nuke/emp.htm

You'll have to give me a ride on your horse. ;-)

Cheers,
Scott.
New Fuck your Subaru
I've a horse outside.

http://www.youtube.c...tch?v=ljPFZrRD3J8
New Catchy. :-) Thanks.
New I guess you have a lot more faith in the corrupt than I.
I have an abiding sense that when corrupt gasbags cooperate with each other, it bodes poorly for those of us who don't own a piece of them. I used to thing that there could be as many as a dozen honorable members of congress (both houses.) I now think that number is wildly optimistic or base 3 at best. damifiknow. I don't have a good feeling about it though.
New I think there are few truly corrupt people in government.
Few that rise to the level of, say, Rita Crundwell, the Comptroller of Dixon, IL who allegedly stole $30M from her town's treasury.

But I can't read people's hearts any better than I can their minds. I don't know their motivation; I like to think that they push policies that they agree with, not out of desire for financial gain but because they think it's the best way to go (even when it's not). Most of the people in high positions of government could make much more money on the outside.

Cheers,
Scott.
New Re: more money on the outside.
There is the problem in a nutshell. Why do you think they do K Street and Wall Street's bidding? Because they know where they are going next. "Public Service" has become a resume builder for their real careers which start after they leave office.
New I don't think it's that simple.
Someone can get quite a bit of power after 6-12 years in the Congress or Senate. Why do they stick around for 30+ if it's so easy to cash in on their contacts and so forth? They stick around for the power to make policy, not for the chance at future riches.

Chris Dodd makes a decent living heading the MPAA - $1.5M/yr according to Wikipedia. While he was in the Senate he probably averaged 10% of that. He's not going to make up his "lost" earnings in his remaining lifetime - he could have made a lot more than $150k a year during those 30 years.

Lobbyists give donations because they want government contracts and favorable treatment in the law. Since we don't have a reasonable public financing system for public office, and since mass-market advertizing is so expensive, and since the "franking" budgets are relatively tiny (and not available at all to challengers), public officeholders are receptive (or at least give the appearance of being receptive) to lobbyists arguments. But they wouldn't vote that way (on the whole) unless they already had that inclination.

You think money or a promise of a good job would get McConnell or Whitehouse to change their minds on a vote? I don't. They'll be fine after they leave office no matter what the lobbyists want and they're not motivated by the desire for riches.

My $0.02.

Cheers,
Scott.
New Oh, my goodness.
The former Senator from Wall Street is your example of a non-corrupt politician? Sure, most of the ones that stay are power mongers reaping huge rewards from the real power in this country ("The owners" that the late George Carlin spoke about).
“Candidly, those who count on quote ‘Hollywood’ for support need to understand that this industry is watching very carefully who’s going to stand up for them when their job is at stake.”

That was a veiled warning. But then, what did that darn Dodd do? Here’s the money quote: “Don’t ask me to write a check for you when you think your job is at risk and then don’t pay any attention to me when my job is at stake.”

http://www.zdnet.com...cs-as-usual/11152
Think he only started doing that sort of thing after he left office? Think again.
"This seems a straight-up quid pro quo. Dodd helped his apparently crooked friend and seems to have received a cut-rate real estate deal on a property in Ireland in exchange. Moreover, it appears Dodd attempted to cover up the gift by failing to disclose it on his financial disclosure forms. To put it mildly, this type of behavior clearly does not reflect well on the United States Senate. We hope the Senate Ethics Committee does a thorough and speedy investigation. Federal prosecutors also need to take a look at this, as knowingly filing false financial forms is a crime," stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

http://www.judicialw...christopher-dodd/
New Meh.
Dodd is no saint. I don't take JudicialWatch as an unbiased source - YMMV.

He's not in the same league as Balgo, or Rita Crundwell, or the folks who ran Bell, CA, or ... That's what I call Corruption. And that's ignoring the fact that even those examples are small-time compared to examples one could easily find over seas.

There are levels of gray in this stuff that get washed out when one talks about Corruption in Congress. People who leave Congress usually need to earn a living (the congressional pensions are good, but hardly lavish). People are hired for their expertise, knowledge and contacts. Unless we have a law that elected officials must work for universities or think tanks after they leave office, most are going to end up working for companies that want to make more money than the person costs.

Would robust public financing reduce a lot of these problems of apparent quid-pro-quos? I like to think so. Would it eliminate them? No, because one person's quid pro quo is another person's pushing something because it's the right thing to do.

Cheers,
Scott.
New How about the Washington Post?
Nearly 5,400 former congressional staffers have left Capitol Hill to become federal lobbyists in the past 10 years, according to a new study that documents the extent of the revolving door between Congress and K Street.

The data published by the online disclosure site LegiStorm found close to 400 former U.S. lawmakers also have made the jump to lobbying.

The report, which tallies a greater number of workers moving between Congress and lobbying than found in previous studies, underscores the symbiotic relationship: Thousands of lobbyists are able to exploit experience and connections gleaned from working inside the legislative process, and lawmakers find in lobbyists a ready pool of experienced talent.

Of the 5,400 lobbyists with recent Hill experience, the study found that 2,900 were registered to lobby on behalf of clients this year. Twenty-five powerhouse firms and organizations employ 10 or more former Hill workers. The largest number are at the Podesta Group, followed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which employs at least 21.

...

The study also documents the reverse movement, finding 605 former lobbyists who have taken jobs working for lawmakers in the past decade.

“For every person the American people have elected to sponsor legislation of public benefit, special interests have more than one former legislative advocate now working on the inside in Congress,” said Jock Friedly, founder of LegiStorm. “That represents a large network of people to influence decisions and to provide valuable intelligence.”

In the House, the study found at least 11 former lobbyists working on the Republican staff of both the Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means committees. Democratic members of those committees together employ five former lobbyists.

http://www.washingto...xPYROK_story.html

Then, of course, I might be forgiven for being a little more sensitive about this since the complete and utter idiots of my home state re-elected Dan Coats to the US Senate. And don't get me started on Dan Quayle.

If there were any question where lobbying ranks in popularity these days, the attacks on former senator Dan Coats of Indiana over the past week provide a pretty clear answer.

Coats, a Republican who served in Congress for nearly 20 years, is preparing a run to win back the seat occupied by Sen. Evan Bayh (D). National Republicans see an opportunity to target Bayh for his support of President Obama's stimulus and health-care plans.

The problem for Coats is that he spent a good part of the past decade as a well-connected Washington lobbyist, ...

The former senator has had scores of corporate lobbying clients over the years, including health-care firms (Amgen, United Health Group, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America), bailout recipients (Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch) and communications companies (BellSouth, Sprint Nextel, Verizon). Another past client is Cerberus Capital Management, where Dan Quayle -- whose seat Coats took over in the Senate -- is a top executive.

http://www.washingto...010021003529.html
New Not much better.
The WP isn't much better than a right-wing rag in its political and economic coverage these days. ;-)

Anyway...

5400 over 10 years. Out of how many? That post doesn't say.

http://en.wikipedia....ngressional_staff In the year 2000 there were around 24000 people who could be called Congressional Staff (I don't know where the article got 14000). 5% turnover a year is 1200 people a year. 540 people a year (5400/10) is around 2% becoming lobbyists every year. Is it really a huge problem? Without context we can't know. Is it really a problem if some junior staffer leaves the government and goes to work for the AAAS or the IEEE or Greenpeace or some university consortium or Consumers' Union and is a registered lobbyist? The story doesn't say. "Lobbyist == BAD!" is the message.

Sure, there are people who will gladly sell their position to the highest bidder. See Randall "Duke" Cunningham. They're rare, though.

Be careful what you wish for. People who aren't bribe-able are generally extremely wealthy already. Do we only want plutocrats running our government? I don't. Do we only want people who go to government as their last job? I don't.

Cheers,
Scott.
New definitions, definitions...
Legitimizing and legalizing bribery so that they can pass out bribe checks on the house floor before a vote could be a case in point. I would say making bribery a routine occurrence is corrupt. YMMV. I would consider taking the bribes corrupt. YMMV. Playing games like "Who's the bad majority member this week?" so that most of the majority pols can claim to vote for a bill knowing that it won't get enough votes to pass. Passing bills in the house for looks, knowing that they will never pass the senate, or vice versa could be considered corrupt. I think so. YMMV. These guys constituency is money. The suckers who vote for them are just counting tokens. Corrupt? I think so. It's all how you define it.
New Yup.
New Drum on Progressive's program.
http://motherjones.c...nitored-all-times

On the bright side, you can get a 30% discount on your insurance rate! When you consider that most of us are willing to turn over practically our entire private lives to online companies in return for a free song from the iTunes store, that's probably pretty enticing. Welcome to the future.


Heh. I scooped Kevin. ;-)

Cheers,
Scott.
     make 2014 the last year to buy a new car - (boxley) - (22)
         I think car computers have done that for about 20 yrs now... - (Another Scott) - (21)
             who was that? Government motors? - (boxley) - (20)
                 Meh. It's only a difference of degree. It's not Big Brother. - (Another Scott) - (19)
                     FWIW, BIg Brother is mostly a difference of degree. -NT - (drook)
                     Oh c'mon - (crazy)
                     It IS another way to snoop on the general population - (hnick) - (16)
                         People can voluntarily give the info to insurance cos now. - (Another Scott) - (15)
                             I will let you ride my truck after the emp explosion :-) -NT - (boxley) - (3)
                                 It wouldn't be any better off. - (Another Scott) - (2)
                                     Fuck your Subaru - (pwhysall) - (1)
                                         Catchy. :-) Thanks. -NT - (Another Scott)
                             I guess you have a lot more faith in the corrupt than I. - (hnick) - (9)
                                 I think there are few truly corrupt people in government. - (Another Scott) - (8)
                                     Re: more money on the outside. - (mmoffitt) - (5)
                                         I don't think it's that simple. - (Another Scott) - (4)
                                             Oh, my goodness. - (mmoffitt) - (3)
                                                 Meh. - (Another Scott) - (2)
                                                     How about the Washington Post? - (mmoffitt) - (1)
                                                         Not much better. - (Another Scott)
                                     definitions, definitions... - (hnick) - (1)
                                         Yup. -NT - (Another Scott)
                             Drum on Progressive's program. - (Another Scott)

The revolution will not be televised. You can apt-get it from the usual mirrors, however.
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