And if that doesn’t work they’ll call it puppy stomping

I don’t know why I keep looking for signs that the GOP has passed over the event horizon of idiocy. Just when you think they’ve reached the heart of the blackhole of stupid they find a worm hole into another dimension of dumb where there’s an even bigger blackhole of idiocy. The GOP in my home state provides Exhibit Eleventy Million (via the Washington Post):

The Maryland Republican Party has climbed aboard an effort to petition to referendum the state’s recently passed speed camera legislation.

Um ... I thought you were the party of law and order. Or at least, law and order for thee, but not for me, even if I’ve been getting a little too friendly in a lavatory. Of course, I suppose this could this be some sudden concern for the Constitutionally protected rights of Crab State citizens. Bwahahaha! I’m just messing with you.

“This is another tax being placed on the citizens of Maryland,” said party Chairman Jim Pelura.

OK. Say what you like about speed cameras, or any other form of law enforcement that usually results in a fine (rather than jail time). It is not a tax, no matter how much you scream. No. Really. Shut up and take your meds.


(Yes, I’m having technical difficulties. Xposted at 300. Also.)

Posted by Hunger Tallest Palin on 05/05/09 at 09:24 PM • Permalink


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To be fair, cities, counties, and states do use increased fines and fees as a sort of backdoor tax, to get around the legal difficulties of actually asking people to pay for the stuff they use.  State parks’ parking permits, city parking tickets, court costs, etc. are all ways for a government in a pickle to raise a bit of scratch.  They’re mostly just as disingenuous as the “fuel surcharges” the airlines used, or the various itemized costs on your phone bill.  Just as you should factor your operating costs into your widgets’ prices, governments should factor their operating costs into their taxes. 

Yasha Levine lays it out in full hyperbole here.

Comment by sean on 05/05/09 at 10:10 PM

sean, oh puhlease.  While I agree that some increases in fees, etc. are backdoor tax increases, the best way not to get a photographic speeding ticket is NOT TO SPEED!  And, yes, I’ve gotten a couple of these and I paid up because I knowingly gambled with the law and the law won.  Grow up, people.  Photographic devices that aim to increase compliance with existing laws are not inherently evil or unfair or a new tax. They’re just better ways of enforcement.

And Yasha Levine does not get my sympathy because she/he also lost and is now whining big time over it.

Mar—My bad, honestly.  I deleted the “except red light cameras” disclaimer I had originally included with my post.  Would taking another $5 or $10 onto the ticket have deterred you any more?  Does your area have streets where it’s okay to park except 12PM-3PM on Thursday on one side and 12PM-3PM on Friday on the other, with serious parking competition?  Any normal human being not rich enough to afford off-street parking will get whacked from time to time.  Red lights apply to everyone equally, but much of the silliness only applies to people too poor to buy themselves free (parking) or for whom it’s not an issue (petty crime).

As for Yasha Levine…  It’s the Exile.  You have to read him like Duncan Black or Matt Taibbi—an awesome rant wrapped around a grain of truth.  Besides, Yasha deserves at least a bit of sympathy for doing time in one of our inland nouveau shanty towns out here in SoCal.

Crap.  “Tacking”, not “taking.”

Nice scree in the opening para. I can feel the seething from here. Some emotions like dread are totally useless but anger is underrated and certainly can be a useful source of inspiration.

I hate the speed cameras too, but I agree that calling them a tax is just plain silly.

And they really serve a very limited purpose. People learn very quickly where the cameras are and slow down in those areas, but then speed right back up.

They’re attached to vans here and they move them around.  They do put up a warning sign about a block away but most people don’t seem to notice.  And they do use them where speeding is an issue like residential streets that get used as shortcuts by commuters and school zones.

I’ll agree that calling them a tax is very lame - the republicans seem to remove any seriousness from any term they throw around by overusing it (tax, socialism, etc)...either they have a very limited vocabulary or are just too-simpleminded in their quest to invoke straw bogeymen to stoke fears in their mindless zombie followers.

That being said, I don’t think the speed cameras are really that effective - they have been an issue here in Ohio for a long time and a majority of the court cases here have shown that their ability to be a deterrent was overrated, there were many problems in their readings and that the real purpose behind most of their implementations was a way to increase fine revenues.

I disagree, after having been a victim of several speed traps in Marin County set up precisely to nab motorcycles, it’s a fucking TAX.

Also in the great white city of Piedmont, CA, where all the very rich white people incorporated their own city in the middle of Oakland, they set up a speed trap in the morning for those entering Piedmont.

Piedmont is a bedroom community. The only people entering in the morning are landscapers, cleaning crews, maids, painters, carpenters who do mansion support.

Meanwhile the Lawyers’ Porsches scream out of town toward the Bay Bridge, while the Mexicans are pulled over coming in by the dozens.

In the evenings they reverse the
direction of the traps.

It’s a tax.

More specifically it is a toll.

One of the greatest achievements of the Mongol Empire is when they opened a land trade route from the Pacific to Eastern Europe, they eliminated banditry and highway men, and they also eliminated any tin pot Princes from extorting any tolls or taxes from users of the road.

They did so by fatally killing the shit out of them, which works every time.

I agree it is a toll and completely an unnecessary fee-based income scheme and I’m completely against it.  I still think calling it a tax is somewhat disingenuous and just waters down the focus on real tax reform issues.

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