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Comment Re:This reminds me of the Cold War... (Score 1) 1040

Let's recap, fuckface.

Okay. I believe it went

  • I pointed out about six fallacies in a parent post.
  • You called me a fuckface and threw in some new numbers on 1 of the 6 items.
  • I took your numbers and recalculated.
  • Then you called me a fuckface again and dug up some more numbers.

Does that bring everyone up to speed? Good. Let's continue.

If you look at the left side of the graph, your case falls further apart. [Note: right side, but okay.] Urban to urban, your case nearly collapses as the factors vary from 2.5 to 7 (e.g., 9.08 for auto/urban and 65.15 for 80k truck/urban).

The right side with the 9.08 and 65.15 is an attempt to introduce some fuzzy math about "social costs" ("Includes pavement, congestion, crash and noise. Excludes pollution." [Emphasis mine]) I reject this column since it's nearly impossible to accurately determine how they arrived at these numbers. Instead we'll focus on actual pavement costs. In which case the cost ratios are somewhere between 21 (small trucks vs cars) and 819 (big trucks vs cars); Given that these only go to 1 decimal place, it's possible that car costs are in the range [0.05,0.14] and still round to 0.1 cents per mile.

A hypothetical auto owner driving 20,000 miles per year at 25 mpg, and paying $100 in registration fees, ends up paying about $397 per year. So on average, looking at federal and state taxes, a tractor-trailer combination trucks pay about 35 times what a typical auto would pay based on national averages.

Given that the average driver in the US drives about 13,000 miles their costs are around $300/year and not $400. (Note that I'm making my own case worse). So the average truck pays 13900 / 300 ~= 47 times what a car does.

Lastly, your wiki link is unclear. You have gone from "road wear" to "bridge damage".

I was citing the diagram for weight distribution between the axles of a semi, and nothing else. I'm sorry you got confused by that.

So IN CONCLUSION, what you've shown is that if we look at only "urban interstate" traffic, ignore "rural interstate" traffic, and assume that an average semi weighs no more than about 25 tons (as opposed to the 40-ton maximum that shipping companies aim for) then and only then do cars and trucks break even. In all other cases, trucks pay less (proportionally) than cars do. Unless you want to venture from the confines of actual road costs and try to include fuzzy concepts like "societal costs". But I'm sure a guy of such rigorous devotion to hard data wouldn't want to do that.

So now that you've dug up all this data to help me prove my point, what's next?

Comment Re:This reminds me of the Cold War... (Score 1) 1040

[no it isn't, fuckface]

Greetings and salutations to you, too. I see you're bringing a dizzying intellect to the table. Taking in account your FIRST TWO FACTORS and the per-axle weight distribution here (6T in front, and CARGO/4 per drives and trailer axle), the 50,000lb truck from my earlier example does a trifling 2,396 times the damage to the road as an average 2-ton car. A fully-loaded truck would do 4,308 times the damage as a single car.

Support your opinion with some honest to goodness first-hand research and don't just parrot what you read.

Indeed. Now that we've done it your way and shown that the truck merely does 2,400 - 4,300 times the damage as a single car, what's next? Are you going to argue that the taxes and fees paid by the working-class Joe on his car are proportional to the taxes and fees paid by the shipping company? I pay about $75/year in federal gas tax (10K miles / 25mpg * $0.184/gal), plus another $125 in state vehicle registration, taxes, and fees. Does each semi truck pay $180K (less weight, gas only) - $860K (fully loaded, gas+fees) per year for road upkeep? (This is using your math, remember?) And please show your math.

Comment Re:This reminds me of the Cold War... (Score 4, Informative) 1040

Federal income taxes are deducted from state income taxes.

Wrong. Backwards. State income taxes are a line item deduction from your federal income taxes. Increased state taxes result in less federal income. (See Schedule A).

Strange that states that charge a sales tax with no income tax are doing much better than those that rely in income taxes. Compare Florida to Michigan. Compare Texas to California.

Comparing anything to California is invalid because California has so many Constitutionally-mandated spending requirements and Constitutionally-prohibited tax sources that it's basically a given they're going to be broke year in and year out. What about Nevada? They have no income tax at all and are currently facing a $1.8 billion dollar deficit on a $3.6B budget; that's even worse than the federal government, as a percentage of money spent.

I drive on the local interstate much more than the top 1%. Sure, those interstates bring products to my local store, but I buy them from there, so I benefit from that as well.

Okay, let's look at that. That truck bringing groceries to your store can weigh (legally) up to 40 tons, but let's conservatively say it weighs 25 tons. That's 12.5 what a good-sized car weighs. Taking into account that road wear is proportional to the fourth power of weight, and one semi bringing groceries to the store causes as much wear and tear as 24,414 cars. Do you think that semi pay 24,000 times as much in taxes and fees on a per-mile basis as you do? If not, then business owners are getting a lot more out of their road and fuel taxes than you are.

My bank account is FDIC insured, just as the rich guy's, but I don't have over $250,000 in any account, so I'm 100% covered; rich people are not.

If you honestly think that anyone well-to-do keeps more than $250,000 in a single savings account then you'd make the world's worst financial advisor. Even the moderately wealthy have their money tied up in investments (not FDIC-protected) and their savings spread across multiple financial institutions in order to minimize risk. That's not even taking into account that the FDIC is broke, and the institutions where the rich keep their investments just get a direct federal bailout when they go under. So in summary:

  • You were wrong about the tax deductions
  • You mislead about the efficacy of income taxes versus sales taxes
  • You used a misleading metric for "benefit" in a few cases, and
  • You have no idea how to invest, and when banks go bust the working-class get screwed while the investing-class and upper-class get a bailout.

Would you like to be wrong about anything else today?

Comment Not conclusive (Score 5, Insightful) 930

While this is a useful data point, it's not conclusive. If the root cause is some electronics error whose symptoms are a sudden acceleration and (according to two victims) no response to the brake, it's not surprising that the black box -- presumably using the exact same input controlling the engine -- would claim that the accelerator was fully pressed and the brake was untouched.

Comment Re:As a parent of two children... (Score 1) 756

I whole-heartedly support your philosophy of turning what works in your house into a law that applies to everyone. For example, in my house the mother of the kid has sex with me on a regular basis. Clearly there should be a law stating that in these situations, women who have children should sleep with me.

Comment Re:How accurate are these data? (Score 1) 81

Completely true.

In 2005 the state of Virginia wanted me to fork over AT LEAST $3,000 (!) to get per-precinct turnout figures. Not per-precinct results; those were free at the State Board of Elections website. But if you wanted to know actually how many voters showed up at each precinct they said it would take 4-6 weeks and "reproduction costs" would be between $3,000 - $5,000 for them to send me a CD with the PDFs. They had per-county/city turnout results (also on the website). But apparently getting it down to the precinct level was going to be a massive undertaking, requiring one staffer to spend three to five weeks full-time collecting this data and then another week to digitize it and send it out.

United States

Submission + - FBI wants you to help solve 36-year old mystery (

coondoggie writes: "In what is likely the last push to solve one the most notorious crimes of this century, the FBI this week opened previously sealed files and unseen photos on the now 36 year old Dan (DB) Cooper hijacking case. In November 1971, between Seattle and Reno, Cooper parachuted out of the back of an airliner he'd hijacked with a bag filled with $200,000 in stolen cash. He's never been found, though some of the stolen money was recovered. This week the FBI Special Agent Larry Carr put out new information and a release looking for further public help in solving the 36-year old mystery. "This case is 36 years old, it's beyond its expiration date, but I asked for the case because I was intrigued with it," Carr told the New York Times. Carr, a federal agent based in Seattle who usually investigates bank robberies, and who was 4 when the hijacking occurred. "I remember as a child reading about it and wondering what had happened. It's surreal that after 36 years here I am, the only investigator left. I wanted to take a shot at solving it.""

Submission + - Tax on camera storage to benefit RIAA

An anonymous reader writes: "New levies proposed for iPods and memory cards": The Canadian government is proposing that the common, portable, digital storage mediums (DVDs, CDs, compact flash, SD cards, etc) be whacked with a levy to reflect their use in piracy and that the money from that levy goes guessed it, the music industry. If it were just CDs, I might be happy, but solid state storage is just a bridge too far.

Submission + - New York judge grabs all Brooklyn RIAA cases

newtley writes: ""I wonder how many of the defendants think the settlements were 'equitable'?" That's Recording Industry vs The People on news that a New York judge has decided only he and another judge should preside over Brooklyn cases. Judge J. Trager, "has denied the motions by the defendants in two Brooklyn cases, Maverick v Chowdhury and Elektra v Torres, for random judicial assignment of RIAA cases," it says. Trager holds, "the cases should all continue to be assigned just to himself and Magistrate Judge Levy". In this decision denying the defendants' motion, "Judge Trager said that (a) many of the defendants have retained the same attorneys, (b) there have been approximately 350 RIAA cases in the Eastern District of New York, and (c) Magistrate Levy has brought about 'equitable settlements'," says RIvTP's Ray Beckerman."
The Internet

Submission + - Bell Canada DSL service throttles P2P arbitrarily

Dembonez writes: The fine folks over at have compiled some great details on a very dirty deed. That is, Bell Canada as a DSL ISP is following the lead of Comcast in the US and Rogers up in Canada by throttling P2P traffic. Beyond what the other two are doing, Bell are imposing bandwidth caps for 'unlimited' service subsribers, stating that they've gone over the allotted bandwidth restriction for the month. Of course, nowhere in their terms of service do they outline what that restriction is for unlimited users. It gets better, though! Bell being an ILEC have 3rd party reseller ISPs. If you were to leave Bell after being identified as a heavy user, they'll deny any of their 3rd party resellers from signing you up! Bell being as big as they are, they have 3 of the 5 seats on the committee for fair competition in Canada. This means that it's highly unlikely that any complaint about unfair business practices or false advertising would be quashed. If you're in Canada and using Bell, send them a message... and go elsewhere. Want to know more? TFA:

Submission + - Judge Rules Investigation Into CIA Tapes Legal (

TDarwin writes: Many may know that the Bush Administration, through the Justice Department, tried to stop the investigation into the destroyed CIA interrogation tapes by saying that the incidents didn't happen in Guantanamo and therefore were not protected by previous orders to keep any evidence of the treatment of Guantanamo prisoners. On December 19th, A Federal Judge ruled that this was not the case and that the investigation into the tapes' deletion could continue. For more, see this article from Al Jazeera.

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