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The Cookiepus Conspiracy

Mindless ramblings, leading to perfect clarity.
Friday, August 30, 2002
New York. A lot of people don't drive in this city - because it's kinda tough to find parking, and congestion is frequent. As Fry said on Futurama in one of the earlier episodes: No one drove in New York, there was too much traffic.

Because of that, we have a workable public transportation system. As long as there's "too much traffic," people will resort to the subways and busses as the faster, cheaper, and headache-free way to travel around.

In Cleveland, on the other hand, just about nobody uses public transportation, even though it's somewhat developed. Why? Because you can get anywhere by car, trouble-free. If Cleveland ever got to be as congested as NYC (they are really spoiled over there. I once had a passenger observe that "whoa, we're in the middle of rushour traffic" while we were going about 85 on the freeway, with other cars driving no less than 50 feet appart from each other. That's "rushour?") then people would take the bus / tram more, which would cause those things to get developed more.

A couple of days ago, MAYORBOB posted a link to a site with some dude's theory of traffic congestion. The dude's revolutionary solution is that driving slower and giving yourself more space to the next car decreases the odds that you'd have to stop - which is how the bottlenecks begin. DUH!

All in all, that's how people drive in Ohio. Very polite drivers, generally keeping distances, and not seeming to be in a rush. Since that type of driving mentality is prevalent, they tend to not cause themselves to get suck on the freeway for no reason.

In New York, on the other hand, agressive driving is prevalent. Sometimes there's no other way to drive than to be a jerk, racing that cabbie for lane space when you suddenly realize there's someone double-parked in yours. If you've ever driven in New York, you'd know that this style makes you do a lot of stop-and-go shit, exactly the cause of congestion.

The "solution" would be for everyone to relax, slow down a little and keep some distance. We certainly have wide enough avenues and expressways in this city to not have congestion all the time. But if everyone did that and, as Carburator Magazine sometimes says "driving is a pleasure in Your City", then more people will go "the fuck am I going to take the train for, let's hop in the old Buick here."

Sunday, August 25, 2002
Why is the US so selective with immigrants who want to be citizens when it gives away full priveledges to anyone who just happened to be born here. Wouldn't it make some sense to keep certain citizenship priviledges until people took an oath, served in the army, etc?

I'll tell you why. Because the country is defined by its citizens rather than vice versa. People shape this country, by voting, by being creative, etc. That's the whole point - you can be born in America of the 1940's, and in 1960's change its face totally. If citizenship was selective, then who's to say that it won't be kept away from people unless they subscribe to some conservative view?

Being selective with immigrants is OK. You do want to make sure their loyalties are to the new nation (and of course having them swear the oath does nothing to really change their hearts).

As for your last question, we do have something like that. At the moment we do not have or need a draft. When we did have one (Vietnam, and before that) then it was assumed that part of your citizenship duty is to cary arms for your nation, whether you swore an oath as an immigrant (like me) or whether you were born here. What was the punishment for draft dodging? Prison? As far as I know, after you've been to prison you're not allowed to vote, which does deprive American criminals and draft dodgers the full voting privileges.

Also consider the experience of Johny Walker. He was born here and has been afforded the rights and priveledges of an American citizen, up to the point where he fought on the side of America's enemies. As far as I know, his behaviour deprived him of many of his rights. So while we give our citizenships to all who were born here (which by the way I think is the definition of Citizenship) we certainly don't have a problem taking away some citizenship aspects of people who warrant this: folks who commited treason, criminals, etc.
In his book Year 501, Chomsky talks about American companies using patent law to rip off the 3rd world - namely, by charging them for using genetically engineered grain, while we ourselves do not pay royalties for using grain and other crops meticulously bred by generations upon generations of 3rd world farmers.

Chomsky neglects to notice a vital difference. Americans don't sue foreign people for wearing t-shirts and jeans or eating apple pie. As American as those three things are, these concepts don't belong to anyone, so while we can hypothetically say "those bastards are ripping off our culture" (somethings you never hear Americans bitch/boast about, by the way, despite our culture being the most imitated,) we don't try to collect royalty payments. If you can trace origin to a culture but not a person, I think it's fair to assume the thing to be in public domain.

If an individual foreigner can prove ownership of a strain of rice, or a melody, or whatever, then by all means he should get in touch with an American lawyer and get some representation. On the other hand, to say that we're ripping off a different culture is meaningless.


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