Recently by Becky Akers: Yet Again, What's Sauce for the Goosed Isn't for the TSA
Anyone who has ever driven — sic for "sat in traffic" — in New York City would agree that speed is not a problem here. Quite the opposite, in fact: thanks to Our Rulers' incompetence when it comes to building and managing roads, the Big Apple's big jams are as legendary as Charley Rangel's corruption.
That would explain why New York's potentates are slowing the flow even further. Yes! Idling at the intersection while the light changes from red to green 14 times is insufficient torture for serfs: Mayor Mike "the Nanny" Bloomberg and his execrable "Transportation Commissioner," Janette Sadik-Khan, want us waiting as those demented Christmas trees flash 25 or 30 times so we all know who's boss. This while the leeches glide about town in the limos we buy them after "police escorts" clear the streets of mere taxpayers.
No matter: our dictatorial dimwits are foisting "slow zones" on a City that is one gigantic "slow zone." Or, as the mainstream media puts it, "The city is expanding its campaign to stop speeding drivers cruising through the streets of the five boroughs." Oh, right: as if we could speed. Ergo, the limit of 30 mph — yep, you read that right: 30 measly miles per hour. Politicians run for re-election faster than that. Tell me, does 30 mph meet anyone's definition of speeding other than Nanny's? — will shrink to 20 mph. Ha! Drivers caught in the endless snarl that is New York City wish they could zoom along at 20 mph. Meanwhile, lest the serfs rebel against their betters' stupidity, the risibly misnamed "speed bump" will also bedevil these zones.
"Slow zones send a strong message to drivers that our neighborhoods are not shortcuts and speeding on our streets is really a matter of life and death," Saddam Hussein-sorry, Sadik-Khan opined. Saddam has targeted 13 localities for her "strong message"; does she maintain a home in all of them, or is she merely a reflexive socialist when she speaks of them as "ours"? By which, of course, she really means they're "hers." But don't take my word on her power-lust. Instead, listen to an expert on the topic, one whose own hunger for authority has him trying to decree what movies we watch while his cameras watch us: "Dov Hikind, a New York State assemblyman … said of Sadik-Khan[,] u2018Listen, the commissioner enjoys having the freedom [sic] she has. At night she dreams of these things, and the next day she does them'…" No wonder New York's avenues are a nightmare.
Our Rulers force us to waste more time behind the wheel with the same excuse they cite whenever they impose their whims: to protect us. Saddam steadfastly repeats that mantra even as her subjects denounce her department for distorting and exaggerating statistics. She alleges that "a pedestrian hit by a car going 40 m.p.h. had only a 30 percent chance to survive. Those struck by a car at 30 m.p.h., she said, survive 80 percent of the time. At 20 m.p.h., the figure climbs to about 95 percent." I am unable to confirm these "facts" anywhere: as far as Google is concerned, Saddam pulled them out of the air. ("Transportation for America" supposedly posts a chart showing "Pedestrian survival rate by vehicle speed," but its figures differ considerably from Saddam's. In any event, I failed to find said chart on T4A's website. And even if I had unearthed it, T4A is hardly an unbiased, scholarly source: it lobbies for "housing, business, environmental, public health, transportation, equitable development and other" special interests; its "vision" encompasses "less need to drive.") No matter: advertisements of Saddam's claims sprinkle the City on our dime, indoctrinating victims to shrug at her tyranny.
The "slow zones" come atop another of Saddam's preferences: bike lanes. About six years ago, her department began reconfiguring streets, swiping an entire lane of scarce asphalt from drivers and awarding it to cyclists — though there are far fewer of the latter and they're far less taxed, too. In a City where neighborliness is as rare as competent bureaucrats, this further segregates citizens into the groups Progressives adore, then pits them against each other: bikers vs. drivers vs. pedestrians. Or, as a writer for New York Magazine explains, "…in crowded New York, space, and convenience, is finite. Any alteration is an exercise in redistributionu2014to give to Column A, you have to take away from Column B." Actually, when Leviathan controls the resource under "alteration," that's true everywhere, not just in "crowded New York." You'll never read of a shortage of restaurants or cars or computers because the private (albeit regulated) market supplies them — so far. But New York Magazine emphasizes the moral behind every move Saddam, Bloomberg, and Our other Rulers make: "We are going to have to learn to accept a decrease, however minuscule, in our individual freedoms." Oh, indeed. And it ain't so minuscule.
Bike lanes and slow zones may content Saddam but not her führer. Mayor "Nanny" Bloomberg also craves "speed cameras…" And "he's furious that the state Legislature won't give him the green light" — so furious he's plumbed new depths of hypocrisy and double standards. Quoth the totalitarian who considers it his business how much soda we drink, the quantity and quality of the fat we eat, and where we smoke, "The first argument is it's not [the state's] business, it should be the business of the city." Yo, Nanny: you listening to yourself?
Apparently not, for he obliviously continued, "The city should be in charge of its own destiny." Yeah, Nanny, we empathize. We want to be in charge of our own destinies, too, rather than ceding them to you. But when we suggested last month that in one such tiny area, the amount of soda we imbibe, we should decide for ourselves, you responded, "[I]f government’s purpose isn’t to improve the health and longevity of its citizens, I don’t know what its purpose is." Call me crazily consistent, but that implies you ought to kowtow to Albany's orders as obediently as you expect us to kowtow to yours.
Then came the clincher. Here Nanny exceeded even his own record for illogic, profound distortion, mendacity and incoherence: "That's why we had the revolution in 1776," he pontificated. "There's no difference why should the city not be in charge of its own destiny…"
Now you know the reason farmers died at Lexington and Concord, Nathan Hale hanged, the Signers pledged their "lives, fortunes, and sacred honor," militiamen risked everything to defy the government at Saratoga, and Continental volunteers starved at Valley Forge: so that Nanny Bloomberg could rob drivers more outrageously than he already does.
July 13, 2012
Becky Akers [send her mail] writes primarily about the American Revolution. Her novel set during the war will be published this summer.