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Posts posted by gwilson

  1. Why has this thread died?

    If you're still interested in cars (exotics, customs, etc) check out a friend of mine's new site, www.egarage.com . They've already been sourced more than once on Autoblog and Jalopnik and have some exclusive content on ultra exotics like the new SSC Tuatara. The site is amazing, the content is amazing, the guys that run it are pretty epic too.

  2. Thank you for posting your thoughts...you bring up a lot of good points. (and welcome back...?!)

    Thanks for the thanks. lol

    I check in from time to time. I've been suffering from some health issues lately that have kept me from poking around forums. I've also been dealing with some pretty serious legal problems which are finally getting sorted it seems. It isn't ideal, but at least I might be avoiding jail, which is always a plus. lol It will teach me not to trust people who have proven multiple times in the past that they aren't worthy of my trust.

  3. First off I agree with you for the most part, this is just a revenue generator and questionable on affect to public safety. But i don't agree with all your points...

    Aren't these just treated as any other non-moving violation? You can appeal them.

    That does not negate the due process argument.

    The City is your accuser, and you can confront them.

    No, when I get a speeding ticket, if I take it to court, the officer who issued it can be cross examined. The city, or a camera, cannot be.

    I've made several right turns on red and no had any problems. I only know two people that have gotten tickets and they were legitimate.

    I also was creeping at 4am on my way to work, basically let go of my brake when i saw the cross street go yellow with no one within miles. the flash went off, but i didn't get a ticket. they check the speed for every incident before generating a citation.

    I know people who have gotten tickets for them, and I've got no reason to doubt them. It could have to do with placement of the cameras or the triggers. The fact that they happen at all is another strike against them.

    there are a 1000 other distractions while driving i would say are worse, maybe your area has some ridiculous flashes but the ones i have seen are not startling at all.

    That doesn't mean we should legislate #1,001.

    Interesting, you can beat them? that's good to know. Exactly how fast do you need to go?

    I have the opposite concern, i see people slamming on the brakes when a light turns yellow. Because they are afraid of the red light cameras they are stopping when they shouldn't and causing accidents.

    I didn't say they actually beat them. It doesn't stop dumb people from doing dumb things though.

    The establishment of a precedence is the scariest part of this.

  4. I'm sure it has been mentioned, but I'll rattle of my list of issues with allowing these red-light cameras. Some are Constitutional, others are safety related, others are just based in what I feel is right and wrong.

    Off we go...

    First, the cameras violate my right to due process.

    Second, I do not get to confront my accuser.

    Third, the cameras don't work. I know several people who were in the process of making legal traffic maneuvers but were ticketed anyway (legal right-on-red turns for example).

    Fourth, safety. More than once I've been startled by the flashes going off while driving. At 610 and Westheimer, the flashes have caused two accidents that I know people involved in them. Near my home, my father also ended up curbing his car because the flash not only scared him causing him to flinch, but made him unable to see momentarily causing him to curb the car which resulted in a blown out tired and scratched rim (plus possible mechanical damage).

    Fifth, accidents are caused by people trying to beat the cameras. There have been studies showing more accidents at intersections with cameras, caused by "beaters" as well as the flashes. There have been conflicting studies showing the intersections are safer. I don't know who to trust frankly. The university or non-profit that does the study or the company with a vested interest in keeping the cameras up.

    Sixth, they are wrong. They have been put up under the guise of public safety, but in the end, the ultimate goal is revenue. So the city uses tax payer dollars to pay for and install, maintain and operate technology who's sole purpose is to fleece the tax payer. It is somehow ok because it is supposedly only bad people who run red lights? No.

    There are other reasons, but in the end, the one that matters is the voters of Houston do not want them. They proved this, voted them out and now the city counsel has taken it upon themselves to ignore the voters (the judge's decision did say that the vote wasn't valid because it violated the city's charter, but there was no order to reactivate the cameras).

    I could be convinced to remove my objections to the cameras if certain concessions were made. Such as signage leading up to every intersection with a camera notifying traffic that there is one. Second, that the cameras be adjusted so that they cannot see inside the vehicle (as of now, two photos are taken, some actually shoot inside the vehicle, where I have a reasonable expectation of privacy). Third would be that the cameras be monitored by a qualified police officer. Perhaps five cameras per operator. When a camera is triggered, the officer is notified (he'd be watching them live as well) and a 30 second playback is queued up and played for him so that he can verify the accuracy of any citation written, and he would have to be present in court for all all court dates for those tickets as the accuser/witness. Fourth, the flashes need work. They are too bright right now and too startling. Fifth, better calibration. If you enter the intersection under a yellow light, the cameras will tag you. This is not legitimate. Also, I don't know about others, but I was always told in Driver's Ed that if you cannot stop at an intersection without "shifting the contents of the vehicle" you were supposed to continue through. So perhaps more than two shots are necessary to form a full assessment about whether the charge is legitimate.

    In regard to RedScare's commentary about us being more worried about the Patriot Act, you're absolutely right. We should be worried about that. That does not mean we should not be worried about this as well. There is a perfectly valid "slippery slope" argument here (one of the few places it applies). If we allow these cameras, what will we allow next? Speed cameras are already in use in numerous places in this country, and those are wrong wrong wrong a well. One of the primary purposes of a police car on the side of the road manning a speed trap is deterrence, not just revenue. Revenue is supposed to be tertiary. A bi-product of the deterrent and safety measure if unheeded. It is a short step from these cameras to cameras that can and will be used to track citizens (check Las Vegas for example). We already have HPD cars with a camera that reads and runs every license plate it sees, without any cause to do so.

    Liberties are taken most effectively in increments, not in fell swoops.

    • Like 2
  5. I'm not sure why an income gap is a bad thing.

    There are always going to be rich and always going to be poor. By comparison, the poor in our country (for the most part) would be considered wealthy in quite a bit of the rest of the world. They might be eating Top Ramen and living in cruddy apartments, as I was 20 years ago, but that was something my family was thankful for. That isn't to say there aren't others who are worse off, homeless, etc. The difference is, here, they have far more of a chance to change that circumstance. Having worked with the homeless for going on a decade now, I was surprised how many of them actively make the choice to maintain their circumstances.

    I also feel as if the constant discussion of an income gap is meant to shame the wealthy. Why shame those who determined their own circumstances? For most, they built their wealth themselves. That isn't something to discourage. To tell someone who did not allow the circumstances of their life determine or limit their reach that they should feel bad or they don't carry enough of the load is insulting to them. We really do live in one of the few places on the planet where someone has the ability to go from being homeless to being a millionaire with the right attitude and the willingness to make opportunities.

    I've been poor, I've been well off, I've been poor again. I just don't see, as someone who has seen both sides of the coin, how it is anyone else's responsibility.

    • Like 1
  6. Hey, don't be dissing analog clocks! I have one in my vehicle. :wacko:


    Infiniti M, I presume.

    I love the analog clock in my QX. Too bad it is too low to be of any real use. I've had several cars that had analog clocks in them in the past 10 years.

  7. Boy, I wouldn't be too sure. VW has proven a lot more interested in expanding its portfolio than worrying about competition with itself. They also have Bugatti competing in the high-end market, and Skoda and, to a lesser degree Seat compete with VW.

    Yes, but they don't have apples to apples competitors within their brand.

    Seat and VW aren't direct competitors.

    VW > Audi > Bentley

    Porsche > Lamborghini > Bugatti

    Skoda and Seat have automobiles in similar segments, but they aren't direct competition.

    Them buying Ferrari would give them two ultra-competitive brands in the same market.

    What they might do is simply buy an equity stake to piggy back on Fiat's most profitable brand.

    Fact is, we won't know until the silly Europeans do something silly. I think it would be tragic though. Part of what has kept both companies innovating is their competition with each other (Lamborghini and Ferrari).

  8. Autoblog has a rumor that VW is interested in buying Ferrari from Fiat.

    This isn't likely to happen considering that VW owns Lamborghini.

    If they do... I wonder what kind of effect this will have the designs of both VW and Ferrari.

    In the unlikely event that it were to happen, it would be combining of engineering rather than design.

  9. lol, I have an 08 QX56 and love it. I looked at every other SUV on the market and it was the most comfortable with the best toys at the time and I liked how it looked. Mine is quite a big a way from stock right now though.

    That said, the exterior styling on the new one is, different to say the least. I went and saw it in person this past week (went and looked at a few other ridiculous cars as well like the Aston Martin Rapide, Panamera Turbo and the new Jag XJ...all of which I like), and it looks much better in person. The interior, however, is possibly one of the best I've ever seen.

    I like the CL, but that wood steering wheel looks so cheap (their wood wheels look odd in general) and there is (I never thought I'd say this because I love wood trim) waaaaay too much wood in that thing.

  10. I say we do a Happy Hour at the Hideaway on Dunvale. You guys get to come to my side of town rather than me trapsing all the way over to foreign soil!

    How about NEXT Thursday? If enough people are down, I'll call up and get them to set up it.

    • Like 1
  11. Hey, G !!!!

    wtf, you should stop by more often.

    Hey girlie!

    I know, but I've been crazy busy. I've only really been participating on one forum and I barely really post there anymore. I'll start visiting more often, I promise!

  12. If it weren't for that fact that traditionally, Puerto Ricans and Mexicans hate each other, I'd be afraid she would use her seat to abolish all illegal immigration laws (not that they are being enforced).


  13. TRCC never stopped any Joe Blow builders anyway. A guy I used to work with, and with him I've been accused of being on collusion with, has ripped off numerous customers and when one company went belly-up, he just started another and moved on with it. All you need is someone willing to put their name as the agent too if you manage to get yourself black-listed.

    It seemed, honestly, to be more of a revenue generation scheme than anything else. Guess I can save myself a few hundred bucks this year re-upping.

  14. Has no one even touched on the ruling on the FD tests? That is a pretty big deal in my opinion. Throwing out promotions for qualified people because unqualified people didn't pass the test is a bit ridiculous. It doesn't matter if the test is slanted or biased. In fact, they should be biased. Biased to determining QUALIFICATIONS. I certainly don't want someone who is unqualified in that position.

    I have been meaning to dig in to some of her past cases, but haven't had the time.

    Historically, how many of those nominated first are ever actually seated? I would venture a guess that he might be floating this very liberal minority woman out there, knowing she is going to get shot down, so he can be seen to make a concession with a slightly less liberal candidate.

  15. Add to that, btw, that in varying religions and stories of creation, 85% of the planet's population believes in divinity of some sort and a creation story of some sort. The 15.2% of us who believe in nothing are going to presume to tell the remaining 84.8% that we are nuts?

  16. But doesn't he ask legitimate scientific questions, not necessarily related to creationism? If evolution is a gradual change process... how can some evolutionary tracks be vertical in nature, as he claims? Why are there "spontaneous" fossil records that cannot be traced back to other records, as he claims? If we indeed did evolve from monkeys... then why are there still monkeys? (said unknown stand-up comedian). It would be interesting to hear the scientific rebuttal to his arguments vs. just dismissing him as a religious crazy person that believes in nothing but creationism.

    Those who should be answering that question general just dismiss people who ask that question entirely. They don't know any better than we do. When will these gits (on both sides) realize that creationism and evolution are NOT mutually exclusive. They can coexist just fine. One can address the empirical parts only without ever touching on the divine parts and vice versa and never contradict the other. That said, I don't think creation should be taught in schools simply because different religions have different versions of creation. Teach the bits that are proven, not the bits that are theoretical (which is still an awful lot of it whether people want to admit that or not)

    Churches are for preaching. Schools are for teaching.

    You're right. Preaching isn't done only by the religious though. Slamming down someone's throat that creation is asinine and cannot possibly be true and that anyone who believes in it (which is the vast majority of the planet mind you) is an idiot is just preaching of a different type. Minds are closed by parties on BOTH sides of this subject, which is ironic since those who are actually scientists, if they truly believe in science, cannot possibly rule out the possibility of divine participation in the creation of life.

    Here is another thing to consider. Even if science addresses the questions he asks, which aren't unreasonable to ask in the slightest, it still does not rule out creation nor does it make creation and evolution mutually exclusive.

    In my very simplistic explanation of things, evolution is the process of creation.

  17. THE CLOISTERS is an extremely high end resort in Sea Island Georgia. I really don't understand Texs developers and their infatuation with taking names from high end and famous establishments around the country and slamming them on tract home developments on our Houston praries.

    But at least it's not a Harbor or Harbour or Bay or something lame like that. At they could and should use "sugar" in it somewhere.

    The name most likely has nothing to do with the resort in Georgia any more than the resort in Georgia has anything to do with the Cloisters in NY. Cloistures conjures an image of luxury and classic design for most people, which is why they are probably using the name on something that isn't actually a cloisters.

    The Cloisters in NY is one of my favorite pieces of architecture.

  18. We aren't allowed to say that anymore. We tried that, and it turns out markets manage themselves into oblivion. Businesses buy up competitors, grow too big to fail, then get rescued with tax money and impose the worst aspects of command economies on those tax payers. As soon as that money was transferred, all of the old capitalist dogma lost all credibility.

    People seem incapable of seeing the glaring similarities between this and the Soviet brand of socialism.


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