There I was, doing my “adventure shopping” at Wegman’s, picking out some nice treats for me and the family when at the checkout I was refused the purchase of my alcoholic beverages because my driver’s license had expired. What just happened? I had to say goodbye to the Fox Barrel Perry, and the Goose Island Honker’s Ale. Doggone-it! My birthday (the expiration date) was three months ago, and I’m quite sure I have been carded since. Massachusetts in its infinite wisdom stopped sending license renewal reminder notices to its subjects to show that they were cost-conscious (they saved a million bucks), and it was never on my radar, unlike the other trappings of useless bureaucracy: a state inspection sticker on my windshield and a vehicle registration (there is also an excise tax on vehicles in Massachusetts that can interfere with all your renewals if you do not pay it). But wait a minute? The cashier still let me pay by credit card, which by rights should have a valid ID to corroborate the name on the card, right? So now you know my license is expired, but it’s ok as ID to run my credit card, but not to buy alcohol? Have I got that right? Not sure I could vote with the expired license (probably only if voting Democrat!).
Anyway, thanks to the vast powers of the internets, I find out that I am a criminal in our fair Commonwealth, and if pulled over for anything, I could be arrested and have my car impounded if the officer on the scene feels like it! I quickly tried to renew online and found that I couldn’t because my picture hadn’t changed in a while, and I need an eye test. Great! I printed out the application and was about to jump in the car and drive over to the RMV (conveniently located two towns away on a freaking toll-road). But then I thought, hey: wouldn’t they just cite me for driving with an expired license to get there? The vultures that run our state are always on the prowl, ready to squeeze some more bucks from generally law-abiding citizens. If I were an illegal immigrant , I would be welcomed with open arms, given food stamps, welfare, and probably a car of my own. Me? Fines. Potential for court dates. Oh, you have some weed on you at the DMV? Don’t worry about THAT , cuz that’s legal, too (provided you aren’t packing too much). Glenn Reynolds’ Ham Sandwich Nation is alive and well here in the Bay State – criminalization of everything in our society leaves a lot of room for prosecutorial discretion. I’m a rule follower and was very flustered by the whole thing today – in other words “easy pickings” for the revenue agents that run my state. People like me get rattled, and will show up and be honest, and be punished, while people knocking down old ladies for their prescriptions and various other criminals aren’t stressed out much at all. Would my Mom be disappointed? – “You’ve been arrested for driving with an expired license? I don’t think I’ve ever been so disappointed in you. A common criminal. Let me finish this joint and I’ll come pick you up”. (Totally kidding there). The Cranky Hubby indicated that I am no worse off today than I have been for the last three months, except that now I know my license is expired. Damned rational lawyers! I punted on the whole thing, and will go to the RMV first thing tomorrow.
UPDATE: I boldly went to the local RMV to renew my license. Yeah, I DROVE there. There was no line (though I was still required to take a number), and I was called up to the desk right away. I gave the nice lady my paperwork, and looked at it, punched some things into the computer, and said “So what are we doing today?”. I said I was renewing her license and she said, “A duplicate? This license doesn’t expire until 2018, you’ve got a long time to go, sweetie”. Aghast, I looked at my license and sure enough – expiration date 2018. I am sooooo stupid. In my wallet were TWO licenses: the old one and the new one. I gave the Wegman’s cashier the old one, and the registry lady the new one. What a nuisance. She said, “I could take your money, but I don’t know if that’s what you really want”. So, I was not in fact a criminal, I was just stupid. As for my ranting about the RMV, I guess I am so together and on top of things, that I obviously renewed my license without a little reminder. I just happened to forget all about it. I guess the process must have been really easy, since I don’t even remember doing it. The Cranky Hubby said he was rubbing off on me, and closed with “Stupid is not a crime. You are free to go”.
I went online to update my credit card information to for my speed pass, and received a message about updating my password. Here are the new requirements:
Passwords must contain at least eight (8) characters.
The password must contain at least one of each:
•upper case letter (A-Z)
•lower case letter (a-z)
•special character (~,!,#,%,^,&,*)
Hmmm. These requirements are way stiffer than say, my BANK or BROKERAGE services provider. Don’t tell anyone, but my new password is “llkjh458&^$ijhkiABC”. It will be easy to remember. Leave it to the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles to take the security of your personal information very seriously. On a related note, I just received someone else’s speed pass information in the mail (name, address, licence plate info, payment info, etc). Hard copy. Which means that my info was sent to somebody else. Way to go, RMV!
BOSTON: Massachusetts legislators have banned chocolate milk from public schools in the Commonwealth beginning in the 2012-2013 school year, as part of its “Superior Parenting for You (SPY)” campaign that targets making better choices for your children, because parents are completely unqualified to do so. One of the stated goals of the SPY program is to “provide consistent, state-mandated guidance in as many areas as possible for the children of our Commonwealth”, and to “maximize the state’s positive influences as much as possible during the school day”. “We are giving parents a helping hand in this crazy, stressful world” boasts SPY Director Nina “Nanny” Rousseau. Critics claim that the ban of something innocuous like chocolate milk may cause public school children to seethe with anger when they find that their private school brethren can still swill down the calcium, vitamin, and protein-laden chocolately goodness, causing concerns about widening the gulf between the “haves and have-nots”. Massachusetts parents need not worry, though: public schools can still distribute condoms and birth control pills without your consent, and in some cases provide gynecological services without parental permission. Private schools can’t do THAT. These education professionals know what they are doing, so just stand back and let them work!
Raynham, MA: The Bugermeister Miesterburger has declared “No more Sledding” in the little hamlet of Raynham. It seems that 20+ inches of snow plus a gigantic hill behind a middle school equals sledding, and it must not be tolerated! Sledding down the hill eventually leads sledders to where there are cars, and it’s simply too unsafe. Officials have ordered new signs for the area, but the town says that signs cannot be posted until the ground thaws out. Blessed are the sign-makers, they shall inherit the earth. (Note: this story was on FOX news before I read it in any local media).
So what if Provincetown schools OK’d a measure that would allow school nurses to distribute condoms at ALL public schools (even elementary level schools). Everyone’s overreacting. It’s not like they’ll be distributed in the cafeteria with school lunch, or in the latest school telephone directory. The kids can formally request one from the school nurse when they go in for their head lice-check, or when they go get a band-aid for a teensy boo-boo, or when they lose a baby tooth and want one of those little treasure chests so they won’t lose it on the bus on the way home! The schools aren’t required to notify parents when they’ve distributed the condoms, but it seems to make sense since recent scientific evidence suggests that many children become sexually active after losing one or more baby teeth during the school day, or after having head lice. Coincidence? I think not. Two birds, one stone, yadda yadda.
….unless you pull the ripcord! We can keep hurtling to our detriment toward the cold, hard, ground, or we can slow down the pace of our descent, giving us time to figure out the best way to land and start over. Pulling the ripcord can only be done by electing Scott Brown to the US Senate. Any way you slice it, he’s the answer to most of our ills right now, and will send the message that the days of backroom deals, bribes, government takeovers, and outright thuggery are over. REMEMBER TO VOTE!
Look. I’m as giddy as the next guy with the fact that there’s actually a very close race to fill Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat in Massachusetts. Did you hear that? Massachusetts could lose TED KENNEDY’S senate seat to a REPUBLICAN. It’s surreal. Anyway, everyone wins by electing Scott Brown to the Senate (throw him a few bucks if you can; consider it an investment).
Let me explain: You don’t like the health “reform” bill? Of course not, nobody on either side of the aisle does, and an all-encompassing distaste for the bill could be a more unifying issue to ordinary Americans than national security. Everybody hates the prospects, and all for very different reasons. If we elect Scott Brown, in the immediate term he counts as the 41st vote against the bill, in any form. Phew – the nation would thank us, while Congressional Democrats will scapegoat us as the reason why their swell deal didn’t pass. I’ll gladly take the blame! Now as for the medium-term risks: he’ll only sit for two years, so think of it as a short-term hedge investment. This may slow down or completely railroad any other bone-headed schemes dreamed up by Congress that will put us in the poor house (Cap and Trade, Crazy Climate Crap, Taxes on the Taxes for the Taxes?). You stave off some really bad economic plans, and can kick him out in two years after our President and our Congress have been dope-slapped back to reality. If you’re a Democrat, it’s a hedge strategy that just may keep you in the majority in both houses with this year’s mid-term elections (blame Scott Brown and the Republicans for why the “reform” won’t pass). Suffer the Republican for two years, until you get some better leadership that isn’t so ass-backwards.
But the real reason to vote for Scott Brown, is that if you elect Martha Coakley as the 60th rubber-stamp Senator, there is the very real possibility that any chance of economic recovery will be squelched by the greedy self-interests in Washington, and cause our downturn to linger for at least the first half of this decade. That leaves a lot of ground to make up, worst of which could mean that your kids, even if well-educated, won’t find good jobs after you’ve mortgaged your home for their college tuition. Add it all up, and here’s the scariest part: your children may never move out of your house. Think seriously before you pull that lever, fill in that dot, punch that button, or however the heck we vote around here. Scary, isn’t it?
The Massachusetts legislature this week chose not to take action to toughen the state’s driving and licensing laws to address the seemingly endless instances of incompetent senior citizens driving on our roads. Luckily, most incidents result in property damage, but in some instances personal injury occurs, usually with no cognition of the events by the elderly driver. One representative said “there is little support for age-based testing at this point”. In lieu of toughening licensing and road test laws, the state has issued a mandate for all seniors to have a senior booster seat in their vehicles. The registry of Motor Vehicles believes that most of the “newsworthy incidents of perceived elderly carelessness are accompanied by drivers who actually cannot see over the dashboard”. Governor Patrick has approved of federal stimulus (TARP) funds to be used to subsidize the senior booster seats. Drivers who qualify will receive a seat free of charge. The state department of transportation along with the Registry of Motor Vehicles will publish the guidelines next week, along with announcing where seniors should go to get their boost. A new public awareness program will also be launched, called “Help Boost Them Up, Before they Mow You Down”. The state acknowledges the early costs of the program to be upwards of $158 million, half of which will be paid for by TARP funds, the other half of which will come from the new Booster Tax, that will add $5.00 to each new child booster seat sold in the Commonwealth. Booster seats are currently required for all passengers under the age of 10, until they measure 4’9″ tall.
Here in the affluent suburbs, the police log reported in the paper is somewhat of a joke, because even if there was a major drug bust that included a meth lab being run out of one of the elementary schools, it wouldn’t be in the papers. Here is last week’s police log from my town:
7:10 a.m. Summer St. After Police Department reported a giant swan in the area, police located the web-footed waterfowl at 30 Summer St. Wildlife officials reported the swan to be a juvenile which resides at Stearns Mill Pond, where it was expected to return.
1:39 p.m. Longfellow Road. Woman reported her husband, who left their home in his car, had been trying to harm her. In pursuit, police stopped and arrested Yeganeh Sabet, of 35 Longfellow Road, and charged the 51-year-old with domestic assault and battery.
9:56 p.m. Boston Post Road. Police charged Wanderson R. Lobo, 35, of 202 East Main St., Apt. 2, Marlborough, with unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and speeding.
9:56 a.m. Old Sudbury Road. Resident reported a storm drain was blocked/full.
2:47 p.m. Powers Road. Police reported strong winds took down large power lines and the area had no power.
10:51 a.m. Moore Road. With power lines and no power reported in the area, police used barricades to shut off Moore Road.
4:51 a.m. Dutton Road. After a resident reported a large tree had fallen and blocked the road, police noted a limb was also stuck in the electrical wires. They notified NStar, and the highway and fire department.
5:31 p.m. Maple Ave., Resident reported someone broke into and took items from 34 Maple Ave. Police are investigating.
3:22 p.m. Horse Pond Road. State Police Crime Lab reported a transformer on fire. Rte. 20 had no power.
Now here’s just a sample of the 544 kick-ass calls answered in one weekend by the police of Tracy, California; these are pretty detailed and more interesting than most things on television (warning: there are no giant swans or blocked storm drains in this set):
4:17 a.m.: A caller reported seeing a woman clutching her chest and screaming on the 1700 block of Southbrook Street.
9:52 a.m.: A caller said a tall guy at Bonfare Market, 15 E. Grant Line Road, was giving him a hard time. The market owners told the tall guy to stay off the property or be cited for trespassing. The owners said the tall man’s parents asked them to refuse selling the guy any alcohol because he has a mental disability. Police gave the tall, mentally ill man a warning.
11:17 a.m.: A caller said a man approached him at Walmart, 3010 W. Grant Line Road, and pulled a car stereo and cell phone out of his pants to sell to him. The seller allegedly told the caller that the items were stolen and mentioned how some security cameras at the superstore were broken. Police arrested the 32-year-old seller, who had a criminal history, on suspicion of shoplifting.
11:22 a.m.: A caller reported that a driver almost T-boned an ambulance at Tracy Boulevard and Schulte Road.(not sure what T-boning is)
1:36 p.m.: A 17-year-old boy was reportedly “tearing up the house” on the 1600 block of Waverly Court, his parents told police
9:55 p.m.: A caller said someone broke into a house on the 3400 block of Castle Court. Several household items and the family dog were taken, the caller said.
4:02 a.m.: A woman who reported hearing the alarm sound at her home on the 700 block of New Haven Drive said she armed herself with a handgun and would check out what triggered the alarm. It turned out to be an alarm malfunction, according to dispatchers.
11:35 a.m.: A woman said someone knocked on her door at about 1:30 that morning and when she woke up, she found a dead tree on her doorstep on the 200 block of Kelley Mist Court. (strange mob warning?)
4:30 p.m.: A caller reported finding a pit bull tied to a tree next to a sign that said “free dog” around Barcelona and Cypress drives. (was that an offer, or an instruction?)
5:56 p.m.: A caller said a big guy at Food Maxx, 3225 N. Tracy Blvd., grabbed a 3-year-old girl by the hair and dropped her into a shopping cart. An officer spoke to the parents who said they were disciplining the girl for putting candy in her pocket.
6:21 p.m.: An elderly woman called to complain about a neighbor with a noisy motorcycle on the 2000 block of Standridge Road. The woman was advised before to call the non-emergency number, but she keeps calling 9-1-1, dispatchers said. She said she’s entitled to continue calling the emergency number because she is ill.
10:43 p.m.: Police issued a warning to a man on the 200 block of Ramona Way after several people complained about extremely loud music coming from his backyard. The man said the music calms his dogs, but agreed to lower the volume anyway.
11:12 p.m.: A caller asked police to check up on a “creepy” man at Chevron, 3775 N. Tracy Blvd. The man said he was feeding stray cats behind the gas station.
3:04 p.m.: A woman on the 300 block of Rodeo Way said she had been getting sexually explicit text messages from someone she didn’t know. Police contacted the sender, who said he thought he was sending them to a girl in his class. (oh dear)
3:06 p.m.: A caller said a man at Hirsch Elementary School, 1280 Dove Drive, was trying to hit someone with a crow bar. When police arrived, they determined it was just a verbal argument. Police said the two people agreed to end the dispute that “started over a paper airplane getting thrown.”