RantFever 4

I pontificate but not in the pejorative sense of the word.

Archive of Rant Fever 3, 2, 1, & Beta

Posts in December 2010

So ends the year of Jane Austen

by: Abinadi Ayerdis | on: 2010-12-24 20:56:25

My friends, the year of Jane Austen has come to an end. I have finished Persuasion. My thoughts on the novel, brief as they are, can be found here.

I want you all to know that I officially am a fan of Austen. She is a great writer. So, there's that.

On another note, I had so much fun reading and discussing Austen with y'all, I thought that I should make another goal for 2011. The only question is, what should I read?

I've spoken about this with a couple of people. I want to open up that discussion to the ranters and have y'all opine on what we could read for 2011. Here are my ideas so far:

  1. Non-fiction. Self-help books. There are tons of these. And I think the genre has a stigma, but there are plenty of must-reads here. Consider -- How To Win Friends And Influence People or The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
  2. Non-fiction. Biographies. Maybe presidents of the United States. Maybe famous economists. Maybe famous authors.
  3. Fiction. Russion novelists. All their books are huge, so it would probably be one book every three or four months.
  4. Fiction. French lit. Victor Hugo, anyone?
  5. Fiction. American lit. This one is interesting. There is a lot to choose from. It could be Hemmingway, Vonnegut, and Hawthorne. Or it could even include some non-fiction like Thereaux and Emmerson. Think about it.
  6. Fiction. Latin literature. Some great writers here. We'd have to read translations and you'd have to trust me. But think about Cisneros, Garcia-Marquez, Anaya, &c.
So there it is. Thoughts?

Said Last Night

by: Justin Mills | on: 2010-12-23 11:38:48
"That was a weak high-five for an otter."

Photography is Not a Crime and Red Light Camera Update

by: Justin Mills | on: 2010-12-09 12:46:13

First, a link to an article on video cameras and the police, by Reason editor Radley Balko:


Another article by Radley Balko on red light cameras:


During the elections, the citizens of Houston voted to remove the red light cameras. As radio commentator Michael Berry pointed out, this was despite the fact that there were was almost no advertising against red light cameras and numerous radio ads and newspaper ads in favor of keeping the red light cameras. The radio ads featured police officers, a Houston fireman, and a man who told a sob story about his niece dying in an accident caused by running a red light. As Berry points out, Houston citizens weren't falling for the "public safety" ruse.

However, the City of Houston has been wishy washy on how to go about removing the cameras. Their concern is that they are legally bound in a contract to keep the cameras. Of course, the common refrain from citizens is that they voted, they are the ultimate authority, so screw the contract. We'll see how well the city handles this issue.

EDIT: The contract/vote issue is going to federal court today: http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/story?section=news/local&id=7833337

ATS (the red light camera operating company) is claiming the vote was "illegal."

"We have a valid contract. There is a legitimate legal question as to whether a referendum vote can cause the city to walk away from a contract," said Mayor Parker. "We've asked a federal judge to help mediate this." (KTRK)


Baytown citizens also voted against photo enforcement, and, to solve the contract problem, the City of Baytown subsequently passed an ordinance requiring a police officer to be present at the intersection when a photo ticket is issued. Since Baytown can't afford to station officers at the intersections, the tickets will cease to be issued, the revenue will cease, and the contract won't be extended.

To this day, photo traffic enforcement in America has never survived a public vote.

Now we just need a public vote in Humble, and in Tomball (where I live and work, respectively).


Good Citizens

by: Justin Mills | on: 2010-12-09 12:27:33

In my opinion, a good American citizen should carry some combination of the following items (if not all):

1. The Holy Bible

2. A pocket Constitution

3. A videocamera

4. A handgun

5. A pocket knife

6. A handcuff key

7. Basic mechanical tools