You Gotta Have Your Priorities

This just makes me want to scream:

Thousands of rape investigations are bogged down in Texas because of untested evidence, but a lawmaker has proposed a bill that would use public crowdfunding to help pay for testing and fix the backlog.

In the first legislation of its kind, the lawmaker, Representative Victoria Neave, a Democrat from Dallas, introduced the bill in February to solicit donations of $1 or more from people when they renew or apply for drivers licenses. The money would underwrite a grant for the Department of Public Safety to test what are commonly called “rape kits,” which consist of evidence samples including hair, semen, fabric fibers and skin cells.

“It was an issue that we thought was really important,” Ms. Neave said in an interview on Tuesday. “We know that women don’t always get to the point of reporting the incident, and when they have the courage to voluntarily undergo the test, that takes a lot of courage.

“My view is that the least thing we can do is make sure that we get these kits get tested,” she said. “We owe it to them.”

IF ONLY THERE WAS A MORE RELIABLE WAY FOR LEGISLATORS TO MAKE SURE THAT PRIORITIES LIKE THIS ARE FUCKING FUNDED WITHOUT HAVING TO RESORT TO BEGGING. I know I heard of a way to do this. Gosh, how could it be done.

BTW- part of rape culture is not taking rape seriously enough to TEST THE FUCKING RAPE KITS that women go through hell to provide to authorities.






135 replies
  1. 1
    wenchacha says:

    Whoa there. How about all the men who are abused by women. Huh? How does this government-promoted donation help the MEN???

    p.s. Obvs, men can also be raped.

  2. 2
    jeffreyw says:

    I think bake sales – State organized and sponsored bake sales is what you are looking for, eh?

  3. 3
    LAO says:

    I feel it’s necessary to repeat myself — sometimes, you get what you vote for.

  4. 4
    Halcyan says:

    and it happens SOO often, wenchacha. Practically equally, right?

    John Cole, what are you anyway, some kind of FEMINIST?

    <3

  5. 5
    Thru the Looking Glass... says:

    But… but… Jesus! And Freedom! And guns!

  6. 6
    hovercraft says:

    Small government!! What’s the big deal, everyone knows that there are very few “real” rapes anyway, it’s just chick who tease men and change their minds, why destroy men’s lives over some bitches who can’t face up to the fact that their sluts? No better to let the “evidence” rot in an evidence locker till it’s too degraded to be of use. WIN.
    If they had their druthers all government would be funded this way, the lottery is a poor tax supposedly endorsed by the state because if funds things like schools and in some cases roads.

    I hate these people, I really, really hate them.

  7. 7
    Geeno says:

    @Thru the Looking Glass…: Is that like “Lions .. and Tigers … and Bears!” ?

  8. 8
    The Moar You Know says:

    “It was an issue that we thought was really important,”

    Few issues are more important.

    “My view is that the least thing we can do is make sure that we get these kits get tested,” she said. “We owe it to them.”

    Not like this. Tie the failure to test around the necks of the GOP and let them see if they can stay in power. If they can, well, then Texas society doesn’t give a shit about rape victims and testing the kits would be for nothing anyway.

  9. 9
    chopper says:

    do the tests determine if it’s a ‘legitimate’ rape?

  10. 10
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    After Trump drives off all the Mexicans these god fearing REAL Americans (as in white, male, Republican, Evangelicals) are FORCED to hire because of socialism then no more TRUE rapes, right?

  11. 11
    TenguPhule says:

    @chopper: Wrong test. That’s the aspirin between the knees test.

  12. 12
    TenguPhule says:

    IF ONLY THERE WAS A MORE RELIABLE WAY FOR LEGISLATORS TO MAKE SURE THAT PRIORITIES LIKE THIS ARE FUCKING FUNDED WITHOUT HAVING TO RESORT TO BEGGING

    But taxcuts are more important!

    /GOP everywhere

  13. 13
    SenyorDave says:

    Maybe our predator-in-chief could address this issue?

  14. 14
    bystander says:

    Texas’s failure to take rape seriously is not just a disservice to Texas. When they fail to process rape kits, they let down every police effort to arrest rapists in other states. Ask Mariska Hargitay.

    I love Joe Barton telling his constitutents rape is a local matter, not a national issue.

    Funny, it worked so well for Chris Christie. Enjoy!

  15. 15

    @The Moar You Know:

    Not like this. Tie the failure to test around the necks of the GOP and let them see if they can stay in power. If they can, well, then Texas society doesn’t give a shit about rape victims and testing the kits would be for nothing anyway.

    Pretty much.

  16. 16
    rikyrah says:

    Making American Automobiles Unpopular Again. https://t.co/oYdc68faVE

    — meta (@metaquest) March 15, 2017

    Pres. Trump expected to announce rollback of Obama-era auto emission and fuel regulations during visit to Michigan. https://t.co/OmV6AVZAqQ pic.twitter.com/H4V00aaA37

    — ABC News (@ABC) March 15, 2017

  17. 17
    NorthLeft12 says:

    “My view is that the least thing we can do is make sure that we get these kits tested,”

    I was going to suggest that “the least we can do” be trademarked as part of the GOPs new motto, but then I realized that this proposal was by a Democrat. Some may say that I am being harsh when I suggest that this Dem is the poster person for everything that is wrong with the Democratic Party, but good glorioski is it not possible to suggest that the state government of Texas do their effing job and process these kits?!! FFS!

    I would love to have a look at the state expenditures on LEO and Justice related expenditures and see how many tanks, armored cars, crowd control tech, and how much was paid out in false arrest, prisoner abuse, police brutality, and wrongful death cases. I’m sure that would more than cover it.

  18. 18
    LAO says:

    @chopper: That legitimately made me laugh out loud.

  19. 19
    prob50 says:

    More Texas legislative news: Rep Jessica Farrar (11-term DEM) has introduced a satirically aimed bill requiring that before a man could receive an elective vasectomy, colonoscopy, or Viagra Rx , he would be required to undergo a “medically unnecessary rectal exam and magnetic resonance imagining’ and wait at least 24 hours. It would also require the state of Texas produce and informational handout for men seeking vasectomies, colonoscopies, or Viagra just as it does for women seekingan abortion. It would be titled “A Man’s Right to Know”, and include artistic illustrations and require an attending physician go over it with the patient.

    She has also suggested a $100 fine for “masturbatory emissions” that aren’t directly deposited into a woman or collected and stored “for the purpose of conception with a current or future wife”.

    The full article was on page A6 of today’s paper edition of the LA Times. I suck at linking so you’re on your own there.

  20. 20
    Miss Bianca says:

    @chopper: I almost hate to say that I think this wins the Internets for today!

  21. 21
    Lyrebird says:

    @LAO: I’d guess that is less on target here than for the coal miners losing safety protections. Why? I don’t have the crosstabs, but I think under 35s or maybe just under 25s in TX voted overwhelmingly for Clinton and surely some (not all) of the crime victims were young, the people who endured these kits are all women (lower T support), and on a national level women of color are more at risk so probably quite a few of these women were from a 80 to 90%-Clinton supporting demographic.

  22. 22
    hovercraft says:

    @LAO:
    While I agree with this sentiment, the backup of rape kits is a problem in most states, this may be an extreme financing mechanism but this is a problem even in states where we don’t vote for crazy people. Even in NY State has 1,622 and NYC has 17,000 untested kits according to End The Backlog. This is a problem of how society and prosecutors view rape. The latter knows that getting a conviction is hard and the former basically puts the victim on trail.

  23. 23
    realbtl says:

    @rikyrah: Just saw that. If I’m a Japanese or European car maker I’m thinking there is a big market in saying FU, we’re keeping the mpg goals.

  24. 24
    hovercraft says:

    @rikyrah:
    The glimmer of hope with this is that people are looking for more efficient cars and the big three know that to get into most overseas markets they need maximum efficiency. They are also smart enough to know that no matter the level of denial with this bunch of morons efficiency is their future. States like CA will not roll back their efficiency standards and as they have the biggest market, they will lead the rest of us till the federal government is back in the hands of people who can read.

  25. 25
    El Caganer says:

    @NorthLeft12: You do realize that it’s Texas we’re talking about? What she’s suggesting is probably the only way testing would ever get done there. If a woman doesn’t have the sense to be strapped in a stand-your-ground heaven like the Lone Star State, why, she’s just asking for it.

  26. 26
    TenguPhule says:

    @NorthLeft12:

    is it not possible to suggest that the state government of Texas do their effing job and process these kits?!! FFS!

    Republican controlled. Sadly, the D proposal is BETTER then the status quo.

  27. 27
    Brachiator says:

    @hovercraft:

    I hate these people, I really, really hate them.

    Victoria Neave is an attorney and a Democrat and a recently elected state representative. She just seems to be young and stupid. It happens a lot in Texas. Also remember, no state income tax. Many people there don’t even think about the state as being a source of a solution.

  28. 28
    Gelfling 545 says:

    @NorthLeft12: She has probably despaired of that happening in anything like a timely manner.

  29. 29
    LAO says:

    @hovercraft: Interesting link. (NYC — Had 17K untested kits in 1999, which were cleared by 2003). It’s a nationwide problem, no doubt. What shouldn’t be an issue, as it appears to be in Texas, is that the processing of rape kits is a proper use of government resources. (I’m not suggesting you disagree with that). I’m sick and tire of dealing with republican pseudo-libertarians.

  30. 30
    LAO says:

    @Lyrebird: I “read” you and you make a fair point. However, I have little sympathy for Texas residents. Much like Kansas, it is a republican utopia of low taxes, few government services or virtually no labor protection.

  31. 31
    Thru the Looking Glass... says:

    @Geeno: Kinda… yes? Maybe?

  32. 32
    TenguPhule says:

    @Brachiator: Not stupid. Just desperate. Its Texas, remember. Democrats have no power there.

  33. 33
    hovercraft says:

    @LAO:
    I feel your pain, but you should know the only legitimate uses for government resources are, police, incarceration, and keeping women in their place. I’m exaggerating but just barely.

  34. 34
    randy khan says:

    @Brachiator:

    Look, I hate the idea that testing rape kits ever would need to be crowdfunded, but I hate the idea that they’d never get tested more. So if she can get a bill through that creates a dedicated source of funding for that in a state that refuses to use tax money for that purpose, more power to her. And if she can’t get it through, well, it shines a bit more light on the misogyny of the Texas government.

  35. 35
    Bess says:

    @hovercraft:

    The glimmer of hope with this is that people are looking for more efficient cars and the big three know that to get into most overseas markets they need maximum efficiency.

    There’s more than a glimmer of hope. Within five years (possibly by 2020) battery prices should have fallen enough to allow manufacturing of EVs to be less than similar model gasmobiles. Add to that up to $3,000 annual savings in fuel costs.

    If we want to personally do something about global warming then I would suggest we, when possible, delay any new car purchases until we can purchase cars that don’t use petroleum. If you really need a different car now then opt for a used one that can give you three to five years of good service. Put the extra money aside for your first EV.

  36. 36
    Feathers says:

    @NorthLeft12: Hmm. Methinks a law saying that all rape kits must be processed before a police department is eligible for any Federal cop toys is an excellent approach for solving the problem.

  37. 37
    hovercraft says:

    @Brachiator:
    I’m actually not blaming her, she seems to be doing this out of desperation, I meant the legislature that won’t allocate funds to something this important. I would say that maybe the exposure this proposal has generated will shame them into it, but this is Texas, where Bush, Perry and Abbot are proudly claimed as native sons.

  38. 38
    Formerly disgruntled in Oregon says:

    @Brachiator: So you don’t see this as a clever way to bring attention to the injustice, both to the # of untested kits, and to the inability to get gov’t funding for just about anything?

  39. 39
    zzyzx says:

    @Bess: I’m dubious about the battery claim there. In the same way that fusion power always seems to be 30 years away, good batteries are always 5 years away. I’d love a good electric car that could be charged in a sane amount of time.

  40. 40
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @SenyorDave: You mean the Admitted-P*ssy-Grabber-in-Chief? Hmmm. Doubt it.

  41. 41
    LAO says:

    @hovercraft: Your exaggeration is so slight, as to be almost unnoticeable!

    What really bugs me is that the failure to process rape kits demonstrates the hypocrisy of the “law and order” types. If you really cared about law and order, then this would be a priority. It’s hard to beat DNA evidence.

  42. 42
    gene108 says:

    @rikyrah:

    “We’re going to work on the CAFE standards so you can make cars in America again,” Trump said. “We’re gonna help the companies and they’re gonna help you.”

    From the link.

    Because the rest of the world buys bigger, less fuel efficient cars than what we sell here in America…

    It’s like these guys, who came of age in the 1970’s, never really got out of that decade’s way of thinking. Big cars good, small cars bad. Iceberg wedge salads good, arugula bad (WTF is it anyway?)…and so on…

  43. 43
    gene108 says:

    @Bess:

    Infrastructure isn’t their to support EV’s. I live in a condo. It’s about 200+ feet from my front door to my parking lot. I have no means to charge an EV at home, let alone powering stations for longer trips.

    As long as we rely on the fossil fuel industry to provide the infrastructure to support long road trips by car, we will never have enough infrastructure in place to make EV’s viable for most people.

  44. 44
    boatboy_srq says:

    One step closer to “all the government you can afford”…

  45. 45
    Spanky says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    Tie the failure to test around the necks of the GOP and let them see if they can stay in power. If they can, well, then Texas society doesn’t give a shit about rape victims and testing the kits would be for nothing anyway.

    How many more elections do you suppose this test of Texas society should span?

    They’ve already had that test. The results are obvious.

  46. 46
    greennotGreen says:

    Anyone here watch Rectify (series on the Sundance channel)? I mention it because the sort of main character (it’s an ensemble cast) was in prison where he endured at least one gang rape. He was telling his brother-in-law about it, and the brother-in-law made light of it. So our hero knocks him out, pulls the BIL’s pants down and pours coffee grounds on his butt.

    There was no penetration, there weren’t multiple actors, and the victim was unconscious for the unpantsing and coffee-pouring. And yet he was profoundly traumatized.

    I think that’s part of the problem with the lack of seriousness with which our society addresses rape. It largely doesn’t happen to men, and most of them can’t imagine what it would be like. If a woman wasn’t a virgin, and she wasn’t killed, what’s the big deal, right?

    BTW, if you haven’t seen Rectify, the entire series is on Netflix. Best thing I’ve ever seen on television, and I was a major Buffy fan. (Not remotely the same genres.)

  47. 47
    japa21 says:

    @gene108: Gee, it’s almost as if the American car manufacturers aren’t making any vehicles. What the hell does Trump think they have been doing. This is not about the automobile industry, only about the fossil fuel industry.

  48. 48
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Unless criminal activity has something to do with harming the rich (see Madoff, Bernie) it’s really not all that important.

  49. 49
    Goku says:

    Does anyone notice anything weird with Google right now? The language of the tabs at the top look like their in Russian to me.

  50. 50
    Bess says:

    @zzyzx:

    I’m dubious about the battery claim there.

    I can understand that. Battery prices have been falling incredibly rapidly and it’s getting little coverage in the media.

    A report in Ward’s Auto dated February 7th says EV battery prices are falling faster than expected and could be lower than the magic $100 per kilowatt-hour mark by 2020. Ward’s correspondent John McElroy says he learned some interesting things while talking to industry sources at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

    He writes, “Back in 2010 the Department of Energy set a cost goal of $125 per kilowatt hour for an EV battery pack by 2022, because that would make electric-propulsion systems equal to the cost of an internal-combustion engine. In addition to individual cells, the battery pack also includes the supporting structure, cooling mechanisms, and battery management systems. At the time no one saw a clear path of how to get to that cost. But at CES, several EV experts told me the DOE’s number is turning out to be a very conservative goal. They assured me those costs will be under $100 before 2020, and not long after that they will go down to about $80 per kilowatt hour.”

    cleantechnica.com/2017/02/13/electric-vehicle-battery-prices-falling-faster-expected/

    GM is now paying LG Chem $145/kWh for battery cells. Add about 20% to turn cells into battery packs. With the opening of the Tesla/Panasonic “Gigafactory” Tesla’s price for a complete battery pack should be well below what GM is spending.

  51. 51
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @hovercraft:

    This is a problem of how society and prosecutors view rape. The latter knows that getting a conviction is hard and the former basically puts the victim on trail.

    As far as the prosecutors are concerned, if they can’t get a W on their scorecard, quickly, it’s a loser. Justice be damned, we need that W. To advance our careers.

  52. 52
    hovercraft says:

    @gene108:

    It’s like these guys, who came of age in the 1970’s, never really got out of that decade’s way of thinking. Big cars good, small cars bad. Iceberg wedge salads good, arugula bad (WTF is it anyway?)…and so on…

    They really like big things, guns, cars, what’s that they say about everything being bigger in Texas? It’s almost like they’re trying to compensate for ………… something, maybe they all have small hands or something.
    We’re dealing with an immature bunch of 13 year olds, my parents said it’s bad for me and don’t want me to do it, so I’m going to show them, it is too good and then they’ll see. I wish we could say Darwin will take care of them, but unfortunately now that their in charge they could take us all down with them.

  53. 53
    hovercraft says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:
    Sad but true, oh and I meant “trial” not trail. Oops.

  54. 54
    catclub says:

    @realbtl:

    If I’m a Japanese or European car maker I’m thinking there is a big market in saying FU, we’re keeping the mpg goals.

    There is a good chance California will keep the regs – and that will be a heavy weight on the carmakers, since Cal is a huge market

  55. 55
    Bess says:

    @gene108:

    Infrastructure isn’t their to support EV’s. I live in a condo

    Over 50% of all American drivers now have an outlet they can use to charge an EV.

    Utility companies are beginning to assist with installation of outlets in apartment/condo and workplace parking lots. SoCal Edison is aiming at installing 30,000 outlets over the next few years.

    Once the dam breaks and people start buying EVs in significant numbers expect property managers to provide charging outlets. Rentals with outlets will rent quicker and for more money than those without.

    As for the ability to drive long distances with an EV, it’s not a problem now with Teslas. Open this page and scroll down to see where there are now Superchargers and then click to see how many there should be at the end of the year.

    http://www.tesla.com/supercharger

    In addition to Supercharger stations Tesla has now installed thousands of Destination Chargers. These are places to charge that charge at a lower speed than Superchargers. Many/most are at hotels where drivers can charge overnight. They charge at a rate of about 50 miles per hour.

    http://www.tesla.com/destination-charging

    Tesla is leading the way but other manufacturers will play catch up. GM now has a long range EV and Nissan is soon to increase the range of their Leaf significantly. Most likely non-Tesla manufacturers will rely on other companies to install ‘generic’ chargers. That’s now happening.

  56. 56
    hovercraft says:

    Education Dept. employee Kevin Eck (@kevxindy) was apparently not a @HamillHimself fan.
    Referring to Hamill’s comments to the Daily Beast about Trump’s cabinet being “a who’s-who of really despicable people”, Eck responded with: “Stick to playing Han Solo’s short little bitch”.

    Mark Hamill‏Verified account @HamillHimself · 17h17 hours ago

     More

    Mark Hamill Retweeted andrew kaczynski

    An Education Dept. employee @kevxindy should know short/little is redundant like Russian colluding/traitor or pus.sy grabbing/sexual predator

  57. 57

    @Bess: Great idea, however there are some people that cannot use a plug-in EV. They’re called renters, they don’t have access to a place to plug in their cars because they park in a carport or on the street where there’s no metered power. Until there’s metered power in the places they park their cars for long periods of time or recharging traction batteries in EV’s is measured in minutes not hours, you’ve left out a whole segment of the driving population.

    Of course, there are people like me that couldn’t put off buying replacement automobile since the existing one ceased to work.

  58. 58
    J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford says:

    The easiest way to get Texans to fund the testing of rape kits to is tell them that the kits need to be tested for illegal Mexican rapist DNA.

  59. 59
    Lyrebird says:

    @LAO: Yeah, I can see your point(s) for sure. The “they voted for this” formulation is one that I do have trouble with — someone said something similar re: Ohio restricting abortion access… 14-yr-old molested girls/young women/etc are not the majority of abortion seekers, but they exist, and they can’t vote.

    Sorry if you got some grumps meant for the other commenter (stale stale thread).

  60. 60
    misterpuff says:

    Here’s a clue Texas Legislature: Look at your state’s name and flip the vowels. Its not a dirty word, I swear!

  61. 61
    Aleta says:

    Proposing to raise money at the DMV seems kind of smart. It says women’s lives are more important than the legislature’s actions. The priority is completing the tests, since identifying a rapist may save future victims.

    If the proposal passes (big if), it will increase rape awareness (maybe reporting), which is good for prevention. It’d be best if the funding was already sufficient, but it’s not, and not just in Texas.

    Some places are relying on private donations. At least this involves the public. After awhile the direct measurement of support and the publicity at the DMV might affect the legislature’s allocation of money.

  62. 62
    randy khan says:

    @BillinGlendaleCA:

    As another comment points out, charging stations are proliferating. I’m beginning to see more of them in parking garages in downtown DC, for instance, and they also are beginning to be offered as amenities in rental apartment buildings as well. It’s going to take a while until they’re ubiquitous, but it’s starting to happen.

  63. 63
    zhena gogolia says:

    I called Ryan’s number. You get a recording of him saying, “We want to make sure this House works for the people who sent us here.” So I prefaced my message with, “I’m not one of the people who sent you there, but I’m a citizen of the United States of America, and I’m a taxpayer, and I want my taxes to go for health care.” What a slimy creep. What a disgusting message to the people of the USA. He’s only there for “the people who sent him there.”

  64. 64
    Bess says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:

    there are some people that cannot use a plug-in EV. They’re called renters, they don’t have access to a place to plug in their cars because they park in a carport or on the street where there’s no metered power.

    True. Something like less than 50% of all US drivers don’t currently have an outlet where they park. But over 50% do. And more outlets are being installed every day. There are some curbside metered outlets and more will appear. Remember, we’re in the very early days of the transition to EVs. Just this year are we able to purchase “moderate” priced long range EVs. GM is now selling its Bolt and Tesla should start production on its Model 3 in July.

    there are people like me that couldn’t put off buying replacement automobile since the existing one ceased to work.

    Understood. But if you do need a replacement car consider a used lower range EV. If you live in a multiple car household do you ever encounter days when both/all cars drive more than 60 miles? If not, then you could make one of your cars a used Nissan Leaf. Used prices are very good. When you add in the fuel and maintenance savings they are bargains. Use the EV for the longest daily drive if it’s within reasonable range. Use the gasmobile for the shortest daily drives and long trips.

    Some people really don’t drive long distances. The furthest they drive is the airport or train station. For them a low range EV could be very usable. (There are always rentals if the need for a long distance drive pops up.)

    I’ve been following posts by a Nissan Leaf owner in Florida. She does not have a place to charge where she lives and has been charging (almost always) for free at places like grocery stores and the gym she uses. She’s simply figured out where public chargers are located and has built her daily schedule around them. Sometimes she plugs in and takes a long walk or reads while charging. Or goes to a coffee shop that offers wifi.

    Remember, these are the early days. When gas powered buggies started appearing on US roads people who wanted to take longer trips would carry extra cans of gas with them or even ship a supply ahead by horse and wagon. Over a shore time the infrastructure for gasmobiles developed. The same thing is happening for EVs.

  65. 65
    TenguPhule says:

    @LAO:

    It’s hard to beat DNA evidence.

    You’re not familiar with rape cases in the legal system, are you?

    They’re royal bastards only topped by white collar crime in terms of trying to make the case unless the woman is killed or visibly brutalized to the extent that the pictures look like something out of a horror film.

    Between unsympathetic judges and idiot juries, the conviction rate is a sick joke.

  66. 66

    @randy khan: Sure, I’ve seen a few recharging stations here in California. My point is that until they’re everywhere, and I mean curbside on your street, there won’t be a mass migration to EV’s. I’m not opposed to EV’s, I’d love one, but I have no place to charge it and I see no movement towards the installation of charging stations on my block. I did replace my auto about 2 weeks ago with a hybrid.

  67. 67
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @zhena gogolia: Good for you. I don’t curse but boy would I be tempted to leave a few choice words on Ryan’s voicemail. Whew!

  68. 68
    Cacti says:

    Happy news.

    Geert Wilders’ neofascist party soundly defeated in Netherlands election.

    Does not win a plurality of seats.

  69. 69
    rikyrah says:

    Trump, Not Health Care, Imperiled His Own Agenda
    by Martin Longman March 15, 2017 2:21 PM

    It kind of makes me laugh when people pretend that the Republicans in Congress need their numbers to add up in order to pass legislation. Still, the CBO says that the House bill to repeal Obamacare would create substantial savings. And, even if most of those savings would immediately be squandered on giving rich people a tax cut, the GOP is relying on the extra money to pass tax reform that will—you guessed it—give rich people more tax cuts.

    As a result, GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, who sits on the Joint Committee on Taxation, the Committee on the Budget, and the Committee on Finance, says that if the health care bill fails, the Republicans “won’t be doing any tax revision.”

    This is presumably because there are enough budget hawks in the Republican Party that they can’t pass deficit-driven trickle-down economic policies, but that’s really something that remains to be seen. If the hangup is nothing more than budgetary chicanery that is unconvincing even to post-factual Freedom Caucus members, I’m not so sure it’s a fatal obstacle. Or, at least, they’ll be more inclined to go deeply into debt to finance tax reform than they would be to finance Trump’s infrastructure plan or education reforms.

    In any case, the narrative is going around that Trump’s entire agenda will be imperiled if the congressional GOP doesn’t stop squabbling and get on with stripping health insurance from 24 million people. But, consider how imperiled his agenda is right now, and pay special attention to who is to blame for that.

    As a candidate for president, Trump promised that he would work with Congress to pass legislation that would dramatically cut taxes, spur $1 trillion in infrastructure investments, significantly expand school choice and make it easier to afford child care. And he promised he would get started on all that — and six other pieces of legislation — in his first 100 days, according to a “Contract with the American Voter” released shortly before Election Day.

    Now past the 50-day mark, only one of those bills — the House GOP health-care plan — has been introduced…

    …Other promised 100-day bills included a sweeping crackdown on immigration, including a southern border wall paid for by Mexico; a new system of tariffs to discourage companies from relocating abroad; and reforms aimed at reducing “the corrupting influence of special interests on our politics.” No such measures have been introduced.

    As far as I can tell, the U.S. Senate isn’t inclined to enact Trump’s tariff plan and they don’t seem too keen on paying for the Mexican border wall since the Mexicans were supposed to pony up for that. The immigration crackdown is being done by executive order, and that’s tied up in court. And I haven’t heard a peep about a lobbying or ethics bill.

    It’s not like the Senate Democrats are filibustering these bills. The bills don’t yet exist. And they’ll need 60 votes in the Senate, which means that at least 8 Democratic senators will have to support Trump’s plans. So far, though, the Democrats are showing no signs of cracking their resistance.

  70. 70
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford: And that the victims are White women. I doubt they care about women of color.

  71. 71
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @rikyrah:

    So far, though, the Democrats are showing no signs of cracking their resistance.

    That’s very encouraging. They’ll have to hang tough and together through the mid-term elections of 2018. And it’s also very encouraging that Trump isn’t getting to jam through his nonsense agenda.

  72. 72
    humboldtblue says:

    So you think, say, a state legislature should address this issue in a meaningful and impactful way?

    Whoda thunk?

  73. 73
    Aleta says:

    @rikyrah:

    the narrative is going around that Trump’s entire agenda will be imperiled if the congressional GOP doesn’t stop squabbling

    Yeah, because then TrUGH can blame the congressional GOP for his failures. So that rumor is also a threat.

  74. 74
    Yarrow says:

    @Cacti: Fantastic news. Good for Netherlands for leading in the effort to beat fascism.

  75. 75
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Bess:

    gas powered buggies

    There’s the tell in your whole line of argument. Blithely dismissing the real needs of urban-dwellers (there is no on-street EV charging in Brooklyn) is one thing, but assuming that everyone needs a personally-owned automobile that sits idle 90+% of the time really misses the coming changes in transport. A large portion of people, especially young urban people, want transportation, not a car. Short-term rental (a la Zipcar) is becoming a lot more practical, and would be the right answer for many. Combine that with autonomous driving, so that if a bunch of cars end up in the “wrong” place they can form a caravan and drive themselves back to a “better” place during idle time, and with more data-driven usage analysis, and you’re changing the “driving” model in much more substantive ways than just substituting ICE’s with EV’s.

  76. 76
    efgoldman says:

    @Halcyan:

    and it happens SOO often, wenchacha. Practically equally, right?

    I tend not to be charitable, but I take it as sarcasm.

  77. 77
  78. 78
    TenguPhule says:

    @rikyrah:

    And I haven’t heard a peep about a lobbying or ethics bill.

    Nor will you ever.

  79. 79
    randy khan says:

    @Cacti:

    Geert Wilders’ neofascist party soundly defeated in Netherlands election.

    Best news I’ve heard today.

  80. 80
    sukabi says:

    @LAO: of course it’s a law enforcement responsibility..it’s called evidence collection. What other criminal offence requires the victim to bear the full brunt of the cost of collecting evidence or the cost of processing that evidence?

    Do the victims or their families of murders, assaults, burglaries ect have to wait until the state decides to collect and process evidence?

    This is a choice that is being made every day by law enforcement and the people who budget for evidence collection / processing …

  81. 81
    efgoldman says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    Texas society doesn’t give a shit about rape victims and testing the kits would be for nothing anyway

    The voters there consistently choose a leg and constitutional officers who’s prime directive is to fuck over women, and not in a good way.
    And they won’t even pay taxes to pave their goddamned roads or keep towns from exploding.
    Yes, you get what you vote for, or in the case of Texas, what you don’t bother and stay home for.

  82. 82
    Yarrow says:

    @Thru the Looking Glass…:

    Are we heading towards a show down?

    Yes. Yes, we are. Trump accusing Obama of wiretapping him has caused problems for Republicans in Congress. They know he’s wrong and they can’t stand with him because it’s an obvious untruth and they’re too scared of their base to disavow him. He put them in an awkward place and he’s going to lose/losing allies in Congress as time goes on.

  83. 83
    Stephen Finlay says:

    A major reason for the nationwide (and continent-wide, I believe) failure to test rape kits is that the labs spend all their time and money testing drug samples, in order to lock up such horrendous people as medical cannabis users. The drug samples have to be tested quickly in order to determine whether there really is an illegal drug there, in which case they will get a conviction, keep their numbers up, and then get another Byrne grant or armoured personnel carrier. There is no money in prosecuting the rapes, so they can wait forever.

  84. 84
    efgoldman says:

    @NorthLeft12:

    I’m sure that would more than cover it.

    Not to mention to pay for all the costs of more executions than all other states combined.

  85. 85
    randy khan says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Atrios would beg to differ with you, but personally I think Atrios doesn’t really understand how fast the technology is evolving.

    It’s going to be really interesting to see how transportation systems evolve over the next, oh, 25 years. I can see a real shift towards more use of shared services, with fractional ownership or some other arrangement, but I also can see that the possibility that people will stick to wanting to own their own cars for quite a long time. My car, for instance, has a bunch of stuff in it that’s useful to have in a car, but unrelated to driving (umbrellas, shopping bags, charger cord for my phone, etc.), and I’ve got it set up for my phone and with my favorite radio stations on the presets. In other words, ownership brings convenience, and people who own cars today may not be as likely to go with car sharing in the future, slowing the transition. (Heck, if you have kids and car seats, the argument for your own car is much stronger.) People who don’t own cars now, on the other hand, may feel like they aren’t giving anything up.

    And, of course, much of this is dependent on how fast the infrastructure develops and even who develops it.

  86. 86
    rikyrah says:

    Trump declares end to non-existent ‘assault’ on US auto industry
    03/15/17 04:15 PM—UPDATED 03/15/17 04:29 PM
    By Steve Benen
    One of President Obama’s most important economic successes was rescuing the American auto industry from collapse. It makes remarks like these, reported by TPM, that much more ridiculous.

    President Donald Trump on Wednesday claimed that he ended “the assault on the American auto industry,” though the actions of President Barack Obama’s administration are widely understood to have saved the industry.

    “The assault on the American auto industry, believe me, is over. It’s over. Not going to have it anymore,” Trump said in a speech at the American Center for Mobility near Ypsilanti, Michigan. “I kept my word.” Trump said that he has “followed through on his promise, and by the way many other promises.”

    The Republican president assured his audience that he’d help improve auto production through a new “task force” that would look for possible regulations to eliminate. Evidently, that includes Obama-era fuel-efficiency standards, which in Trump’s mind, represents an “assault.”

    Even by this president’s standards, today’s boasts in Michigan were pretty odd. For example, for all the talk about Trump “keeping his word,” he didn’t actually do anything today in terms of substantive changes. As the Associated Press reported, today’s move, which has no immediate effect, requires the EPA “to determine no later than April 2018 whether the 2022-2025 standards established are appropriate. If the EPA determines they are not appropriate, the agency will submit a new proposal next year.”

  87. 87
    Thru the Looking Glass... says:

    @Yarrow:

    He put them in an awkward place and he’s going to lose/losing allies in Congress as time goes on.

    This situation seems to be picking up speed…

    We had this earlier today…

    House intel chairman: No evidence of wiretapping claim

    President Donald Trump’s claim that former President Barack Obama ordered the wiretapping of his phones ran into headwinds on several fronts Wednesday, as three top Republicans said they’d seen no evidence of the assertion.

    Ouch…

    And what will come out if Republicans keep poking at this?

    House Intel Committee Wants To Know If Trump Staffers’ Calls Were Intercepted

    House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-CA) is concerned that the intelligence community may have abused its surveillance authority if it collected information about President Donald Trump’s staffers during the 2016 race.

    Uh… suppose it turns out that one of the European governments was the one who caught the exchanges with the Russians? Republicans can’t claim that was illegal, can they? They keep poking at this shit and poking at it, lord knows what might finally find the light of day…

    Quick, Mr President… to the Twitter Machine!

  88. 88
    efgoldman says:

    @hovercraft:

    this is Texas, where Bush, Perry and Abbot are proudly claimed as native sons.

    Like Sanctus Ronaldus before him, W is now a rino squish who couldn’t get elected governor or AG of Texas

  89. 89
    Brachiator says:

    @Formerly disgruntled in Oregon:

    So you don’t see this as a clever way to bring attention to the injustice, both to the # of untested kits, and to the inability to get gov’t funding for just about anything?

    Clever? No.

  90. 90
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Cacti:

    УРА!

  91. 91
    efgoldman says:

    @Formerly disgruntled in Oregon:

    you don’t see this as a clever way to bring attention to the injustice

    It is, but the RWNJs still won’t do anything about it.

  92. 92
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @hovercraft: Kevin Eck should know better that go picking fights with The Joker.

  93. 93
    randy khan says:

    @Thru the Looking Glass…:

    Also, it’s a problem for the Republicans if the exchanges were picked up during routine surveillance of *Russian* targets, i.e., people the IC already thought were spies or persons of interest for other reasons. Then you have to ask why the people in the campaign were talking to them.

  94. 94
    efgoldman says:

    @japa21:

    it’s almost as if the American car manufacturers aren’t making any vehicles.

    And by the way, aren’t three of the biggest auto plants in the country turning out Toyotas, Nissans. and VWs? Do you suppose Amber Asshole even knows that?

  95. 95
    bemused says:

    @rikyrah:

    Oh man, as if Americans have been begging for their vehicles to get less miles per gallon!

  96. 96
    Dick Woodcock says:

    When that POS Bill Schuette was running to get re-elected as Michigan’s Attorney General, he ran a commercial with him sitting in front of a bunch of boxes that represented un-tested rape kits. He promised if he was re-elected that he would make sure that they were all tested.
    I wanted to reach through the TV and choke him.
    Let me repeat, when he was running to get RE-ELECTED. It was your f’n job to do in the first f’n place, and NOW you promise to do it? GAH!!!

  97. 97
    Thru the Looking Glass... says:

    @randy khan: I was under the impression that while surveilling Russians was SOP, if American intel caught an American on the line, they had to stop the surveillance unless they had a FISA wiretapping permit… which I believe is why Nunes is asking if something illegal was done, no?

    So suppose the exchanges in question were actually recorded by a European entity? If Republicans keep poking at this, they might find out something they really didn’t want to know…

    ETA: Is there any chance someone like Nunes will bring a FISA wiretap into the public eye?

  98. 98
    cosima says:

    @jeffreyw: First thing I thought was the old ‘bake sales for bombers’ bumper stickers (not sure if you’re old enough to remember those, but they were a big thing way back when).

  99. 99
    Bess says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Blithely dismissing the real needs of urban-dwellers (there is no on-street EV charging in Brooklyn) is one thing, but assuming that everyone needs a personally-owned automobile that sits idle 90+% of the time really misses the coming changes in transport.

    There was no blithe dismissal in my comment. I acknowledged the fact that the charging infrastructure we need is only (roughly) halfway in place. But given that there are about 200 million cars on US roads and over half of all US drivers now have a place to charge there’s plenty of room for EV uptake over the next few years. We’re adding charge points daily and once EV sales take off outlets will also take off.

    People who want to drive an EV but have no place to charge will start pushing landlords, employers, and municipalities to install outlets.

    And I said nothing about everyone needing a car in the future. My personal expectation is, that once we have autonomously driving cars (within the next five year), personal car ownership will drop to about 25% of what it now is.

    Let’s say you are someone who has a car that is used for little more than commuting to work/school. That you can arrange to be picked up at your door and dropped off where you are going for less than the cost of owning a car. Why wouldn’t you opt for a robotaxi?

    The company that owns the robotaxi can haul you to where you want to go and then use the car much of the rest of the day to haul other people. If, on average, an individual robotaxi has five passengers per day then the “cost of ownership” is spread over five people. Operating costs per mile should be approximately equal for a robotaxi and personally owned car. (Some additional cost if there is significant repositioning/running without passengers.) It should be easy to build in company profits while keeping the cost per rider/mile lower than personal ownership. Parking, maintenance, and charging issues disappear.

    Because robotaxis would be controlled by a computer system it should be easy to create “spontaneous” carpools. For an even cheaper rate you could agree to share your ride with up to three other people who are heading the same direction you are going.

    I expect we’ll see new car designs created to haul four passengers, each with their own workstations and power/wifi connections. And some larger 8, 12, 20, … passenger autonomous vehicles providing rides when there are larger numbers of people on the same approximate route.

  100. 100
    Brachiator says:

    @randy khan:

    It’s going to be really interesting to see how transportation systems evolve over the next, oh, 25 years. I can see a real shift towards more use of shared services, with fractional ownership or some other arrangement, but I also can see that the possibility that people will stick to wanting to own their own cars for quite a long time. My car, for instance, has a bunch of stuff in it that’s useful to have in a car, but unrelated to driving (umbrellas, shopping bags, charger cord for my phone, etc.), and I’ve got it set up for my phone and with my favorite radio stations on the presets. In other words, ownership brings convenience, and people who own cars today may not be as likely to go with car sharing in the future, slowing the transition. (Heck, if you have kids and car seats, the argument for your own car is much stronger.) People who don’t own cars now, on the other hand, may feel like they aren’t giving anything up.

    Lots of good points here.

    I will be very curious to see how this actually develops, and if it really becomes popular. I see all kinds of practical objections. I don’t want to share a car if I don’t know what you’ve been doing in it. Shared responsibility for cleaning? Shared responsibility for damage, accidents?

    I guess these hurdles can be overcome, but it reminds me of a tech podcaster who slowed down big time on home automation because friends who were house sitting could not turn off the lights or open the doors. The set up was fine for a theoretical single person who lived alone and had no family or friends or pets, but not cool for a real human being living in the real world.

  101. 101
    raven says:

    @cosima: Old enough! THAT is funny!

  102. 102
    efgoldman says:

    @Goku:

    The language of the tabs at the top look like their in Russian to me.

    They tried to get into your microwave but it was blocked, so they took the easy way in.

  103. 103
    The Moar You Know says:

    A major reason for the nationwide (and continent-wide, I believe) failure to test rape kits is that the labs spend all their time and money testing drug samples, in order to lock up such horrendous people as medical cannabis users.

    @Stephen Finlay: Those accused of the heinous crime of using recreational substances get the FREEDOM™ of paying for their own tests. Doesn’t cost the government a dime.

  104. 104
    Thru the Looking Glass... says:

    @randy khan: Toyota’s starting to test these little farkers

    I’d definitely drive one in the city… not so sure about freeway driving though…

  105. 105

    @Bess:

    People who want to drive an EV but have no place to charge will start pushing landlords, employers, and municipalities to install outlets.

    People won’t by an EV if they don’t have a place to charge it. Landlords, HAHAHAHAHA.

    Here in beautiful downtown Glendale we have about 100 charging stations at the most,

  106. 106

    @Brachiator: My home is automated and works fine, unless the internet goes down.

  107. 107
    Yarrow says:

    @Thru the Looking Glass…:

    I was under the impression that while surveilling Russians was SOP, if American intel caught an American on the line, they had to stop the surveillance unless they had a FISA wiretapping permit… which I believe is why Nunes is asking if something illegal was done, no?

    What I’ve read is that they don’t stop the surveillance, but they aren’t supposed to look at/report what the American citizen is saying unless they have a warrant, or something like that. But they have to at least look at some of it to know who else is on the line. If that person says something questionable, then it’s right to the court for a warrant.

    The question Nunes is trying to get at is, did Obama ask for surveillance on Russians and others who weren’t really targets in order to spy on American citizens. Kind of a back door into spying on Americans through what, if abused, could be a loophole. Also, did Obama ask our allies, like the British, to spy on Russians here, which would then include spying on Americans because our allies aren’t bound by the same rules of not being permitted to spy on Americans.

    In other words, they want to muddy the waters because they know Trump is deeply involved with the Russians and probably has committed criminal and even treasonous acts and they themselves may be as well. So they want to toss the blame around.

  108. 108
    randy khan says:

    @Thru the Looking Glass…:

    I seem to remember Adam Silverman talking about this, and this is based on my recollection, but I may have it wrong. My understanding is that, in general, the policy is not to stop recording (and probably this is because they don’t actually listen to the surveillance in real time), but to stop reviewing a conversation if they determine a U.S. citizen is involved. However, they log those conversations so they can be retrieved if necessary.

    ETA: Or, you know, what Yarrow said.

  109. 109
    Brachiator says:

    @Bess:

    Let’s say you are someone who has a car that is used for little more than commuting to work/school. That you can arrange to be picked up at your door and dropped off where you are going for less than the cost of owning a car. Why wouldn’t you opt for a robotaxi?

    Cost, availability, reliability. Even with the ability to order goods via the Internet, people do more than commute to work/school. You have travel for shopping, entertainment, emergencies, etc.

    Robotaxis may solve the first mile/last mile problem of picking a person up at a desired point and delivering them to a desired point, but if call time/wait time is not very good, the value of this thing falls very quickly.

    I also wonder how many vehicles you actually would need to provide good service and where these things will be stored when not in use. Sometimes I imagine that empty vehicles would just be zooming around on the roads until called for, just stopping now and then for fueling and maintenance.

  110. 110
    A Ghost to Most says:

    Bess’ points are very valid for a lot of us non-city folk.

    My forty mile round trip to work would be perfect for an electric car, especially since there are charging stations at work. I do it now for 1gallon of gas in my Prius, so not worth changing over.

    Trump talking about the Auto industry is about as credible as when he talks about the energy industry; he’s a decade or more behind. It plays well with the base, I imagine.

  111. 111
    ingressus sum says:

    Perhaps a few Attorneys General going for a ride on the “silver stallion” might help break the logjam of untested rape kits.

  112. 112
    Bess says:

    @randy khan:

    My car, for instance, has a bunch of stuff in it that’s useful to have in a car, but unrelated to driving (umbrellas, shopping bags, charger cord for my phone, etc.), and I’ve got it set up for my phone and with my favorite radio stations on the presets. In other words, ownership brings convenience, and people who own cars today may not be as likely to go with car sharing in the future, slowing the transition. (Heck, if you have kids and car seats, the argument for your own car is much stronger.)

    How much of that stuff do you actually need? So much that you couldn’t put it in a small backpack/duffle? I’ve got a travel umbrella that’s no larger than two water bottles placed end to end. I’ve got a large shopping bag that stores about the size of a baseball. (Check out Chico Bags. I carry it in my camera bag when I’m traveling. Very small, very lightweight, very strong.) A charger cord? Robotaxis should have USB outlets so all you would need is a cord, not a power brick.

    Radio presets should be no problem, that’s just programming. You’ll have an account with the robotaxi company so when you climb into one of their cars the car radio should be set to your preferences. If you’re sharing the ride with others then you’re likely to use buds and your cellphone so that you can listen to what you want to hear.

    If you need cars with child seats then the company could send you one. Just like you may need a van to haul a large purchase, a pickup to haul a sofa or refrigerator. Or a designed “scenic drive” car with lots of glass and a refer and microwave. Or a car optimized for wheelchairs.

    Obviously some people will be reluctant to move away from personal ownership. That’s fine. If they want to pay extra then it’s a personal decision. But for most people I expect personal ownership won’t happen.

    Think about the people who live in the “bad part” of town and find it very difficult to get a taxi to work or the grocery store/doctor. The problem is driver safety. With autonomously driven cars that problem disappears. The robotaxi arrives at your door, locked. Only you can unlock the doors and make the car operate.

    The days of waiting at bus stations and making multiple transfers end. People on limited budgets will be able to carpool to where they need to go for a very reasonable price. No more one or two hour commutes across town for people who don’t earn enough to afford a car.

    Driving to a grocery store which offers better selections and prices becomes affordable. Taking a family member to the doctor will no longer mean loading a sick person on a bus but stepping into a comfortable vehicle that delivers you right to the door.

  113. 113
    Brachiator says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:

    My home is automated and works fine, unless the internet goes down.

    How do you accommodate friends, family, pets?

    Also, what do you do if the Internet goes down?

  114. 114
    Thru the Looking Glass... says:

    @Yarrow: @randy khan:

    The question Nunes is trying to get at is, did Obama ask for surveillance on Russians and others who weren’t really targets in order to spy on American citizens.

    Sounds a bit like ‘the fruit of the poisoned tree’ thingy…

    “Yeah, you heard this but you can’t use it because you got it illegally”

    That makes sense as a strategy on Republicans’ part…

    There’s gotta be SOME WAY we can discredit this mess…

    If they get super-duper-duper lucky they can maybe 1) clear Trump, 2) possibly get material on the Russians buried, and 3) blame Obama…

    I would not put it pass them in the least to be hopefully angling towards an outcome like this…

  115. 115

    @Brachiator:

    How do you accommodate friends, family, pets?

    I can add others to the automation system, I’m not sure how pets would be a problem(I have 2 dogs and have a doggie door).

    Also, what do you do if the Internet goes down?

    Most manufactures have figured out that you need local control, mine has limited local control, but if the internet goes down you’re SOL(as it did Monday). But, 98% of the time it works great. I pull my phone out of it’s dock and lights go on, I leave and the doors lock, I get home and the front door unlocks, when I go to sleep I put the phone in the dock and all the lights go off and the doors all lock.

  116. 116
    Aleta says:

    My cat keeps walking on the master controller and resetting the whole house.

  117. 117
    Thru the Looking Glass... says:

    @Yarrow:

    The question Nunes is trying to get at is, did Obama ask for surveillance on Russians and others who weren’t really targets in order to spy on American citizens.

    How could they prove Obama did it for this reason?

    Or would this be a verdict from the Court of Outta Our Asses?

  118. 118

    @Brachiator:

    How do you accommodate friends, family, pets?

    I can add others to the hub/app. The dogs haven’t mastered turning the lights on and off, yet.

    Also, what do you do if the Internet goes down?

    I have some lights that are not automated as a backup and many of the devices can be manually operated.

  119. 119
    Bess says:

    @Brachiator:

    Cost, availability, reliability. Even with the ability to order goods via the Internet, people do more than commute to work/school. You have travel for shopping, entertainment, emergencies, etc.

    Robotaxis may solve the first mile/last mile problem of picking a person up at a desired point and delivering them to a desired point, but if call time/wait time is not very good, the value of this thing falls very quickly.

    I also wonder how many vehicles you actually would need to provide good service and where these things will be stored when not in use.

    “The last mile” if people are now using public transportation for their commute. All the miles if they are now driving.

    Robotaxis become public transportation. For those who want to travel at a lower cost they could ride in a vehicle with 4, 8, 12, 20, … seats. Let’s say you now live in a ‘burb and drive 30 miles RT on a typical day. Unless you have a very unusual schedule there will be others starting in roughly the same location and heading in the same direction. We could see smaller robotaxis that sweep through your neighborhood and deliver you to a larger commute vehicle for the longest part of the trip.

    Or they could deliver you to existing public transportation systems (light rail) and then go to work in the neighborhood taking kids to activities and adults to the grocery store/wherever.

    Wait times should be minimal. With computer control of the system an adequate number of cars should be within five minutes of where you are almost all of the time. Computers will be able to predict normal and abnormal needs. They will know how many people need a ride from your neighborhood to downtown or another area on a daily basis. They should know that there’s a big ballgame or other event that will boost needs.

    Keeping a car within close range doesn’t mean sending a car from across town. It means shifting the closest unused car to your block and filling in behind it by shifting other waiting cars. Central Control can keep a ride just a few minutes away. As soon as you request a ride the system should start any needed adjustment so that a robotaxi will be available for your neighbor. Think about having one waiting car per block. It’s replacement would be only one block away.

    With autonomously driven cars, privately owned or robotaxis parking problems should basically disappear. The car you take to get to your downtown, limited parking destination can then drive itself a couple of miles to a parking lot. It’s likely that robotaxi companies will establish parking lots/garages in the “cheaper” parts of town. At those sites they can recharge and clean vehicles not is use.

    The number of cars needed should be considerably less than what we now use. Spontaneous carpools should greatly reduce the number of single occupant cars we now see on the road. By offering low demand time discounts some use should be time-shifted away from high use times.

  120. 120
    cosima says:

    @raven: Has JeffreyW been around the block? I know there are a few youngsters on BJ… If my rusty old memory serves me correctly, I was seeing the ‘won’t it be a great day when the gov’t has to hold bakesales for bombers’ 20+ years ago… Half my brain went after I had LittleC, so it could be more recent than that, but I really wasn’t paying attention to that stuff before my girls were born (27 yrs)…

  121. 121
    debbie says:

    Ohio has had this same issue with many thousands of rape kits not being tested for lack of funds. In fact, this is why Rich Cordray (now with the CFPB) lost his reelection race for Ohio AG in 2010. The Ohio GOP made lots of noise about Cordray’s “negligence,” and DeWine rode the wave and was elected as the AG.

  122. 122

    @Bess:

    For those who want to travel at a lower cost they could ride in a vehicle with 4, 8, 12, 20, … seats.

    I believe those are called buses.

  123. 123
    Bess says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:

    I believe those are called buses.

    Oops, forgot to close the text block…..

    Cars, vans, minibuses, and buses.

    The point here is that the ‘system’ can utilize all sorts of vehicles, including cargo vans, pickup, wheelchair assist, etc., to meet the need of the moment.

    Need a 12 passenger van with 10 child seats? You might have to order it up a few hours in advance in order to give the company staff time to install the child seats, but you could order up one for the next day to take your preschool group to the zoo.

    Got a group of people who use wheelchairs and want to travel somewhere? Order up a cargo van that has wheelchair lockdowns and a lift gate. The next day someone could be using the van to haul their household goods to their new digs. Or haul produce from the farm to the weekly farmer’s market.

  124. 124
    randy khan says:

    @Bess:

    My comments are mostly about how long a transition would take. But I do think you have something of a rose-colored glasses view here on some of it. It’s just more convenient to have an umbrella sitting in my car, or bags for groceries, or a charger cord that I don’t have to remember to disconnect and take with me when I leave (although in that case, I can imagine having cords that are installed in the car permanently as a solution). Child seats, as I understand it, often are adjusted to fit the specific child, and you don’t really want to have to do that every time you bring the kid along for a ride, or get used to a different model of car seat every time you go somewhere. Even the presets will require adaptation, not to mention that, for instance, some people have Sirius/XM and others don’t. These are all minor, fiddly things, but collectively they’re why having your own car is more convenient (and desirable) than using a shared resource. (Not to mention that I can junk up my car all I want and not feel guilty, or that I can buy something I’m taking to my office and leave it in the trunk.)

    And, of course, there will be substantial advantages for a lot of people, who will be happy to adopt autonomous, shared cars if they are more convenient and cheaper (or comparable in price) to their existing alternatives. I agree with you that, for instance, a shared autonomous vehicle is a better choice than a bus/rail commute (again, assuming comparable cost and that it’s not just available to middle class and above income levels as a practical matter).

    All that said, I still that the speed of the transition will be dependent on how fast people who currently own cars decide that it’s better on the whole not to own them. I’m betting the over right now.

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    Brachiator says:

    @Bess: Thanks for taking time to reply. I think I see more issues, and the need for more vehicles. Robot cars could create a demand where each member of the family wants to take a car some place different. Instead of mom or dad doing commuter duty, they each take a robotaxi to go to work, and the kids could take different cars later. By the way, new rules and laws may have to be passed to determine when a minor can ride alone in a robotaxi. But in theory a kid could ride to school. Maybe you have to come up with a preset route so the kid can’t use a car to run away from home.

    I think that there would be problems with multiple people making claims on a vehicle, as well as problems with theft, vandalism, passenger messes, etc. Shifting people from smaller vans to larger transportation vehicles as they commute gets into the general problems of mass transit, a hard problem for municipalities to get right with bus and train drivers.

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    wuzzat says:

    @Stephen Finlay: @Stephen Finlay: I agree with the sentiment that law enforcement prioritizes drug use over just about everything else to the detriment of all. However, in most state forensics labs the people testing the drugs and the people analyzing the rape kits are not the same people. Rape kits go to DNA analysis, aka the molecular biologists. Drugs go to the chemists.

    Honestly, part of the reason for the backlog is that the labs themselves are underfunded — those biologists and chemists aren’t making anywhere near patrol officer money — and understaffed. On top of that, burnout rates are high. Spending a large portion of your life running rape kits and providing expert testimony at rape trials in a world where “look at how short her skirt was” is still one of the first weapons in a defense attorney’s arsenal tends to take a psychological toll.

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    Bess says:

    @randy khan:

    The time frame is an unknown.

    Will battery prices reach $100/kWh by 2020? If so, the cost of manufacturing EVs dips below the cost of manufacturing ICEVs.

    Will autonomously driven cars be on our roads within the next three years? If so, Uber and Lyft are ready to utilize them. Uber has tried to buy a significant number of self-driving EVs from Tesla and GM. GM bought Lyft so they are ready to go.

    Do I know if those milestones will be reached by 2020? Of course not. But people in the industry are making those predictions. Elon Musk has reported that he has been riding in a self driving car at moderately high speeds already. Tesla has a video online showing one of their cars leaving the parking lot, driving around town, driving on the freeway, returning to the lot and parking itself and finding an empty parking space.

    These are all minor, fiddly things, but collectively they’re why having your own car is more convenient

    Yes, but the real issue is how much is it worth to you to not have to find a workaround?

    How much will people pay in order to leave their fast food trash in the car? (The workaround is to have trash receptacles at drop off points.)

    assuming comparable cost and that it’s not just available to middle class and above income levels as a practical matter

    The cost per mile for a shared ride should be less than fueling and maintaining an ICEV. If someone is driving now then shared robotaxis should save them money. Clearly robotaxis will be cheaper than current taxis, driver costs are by far the largest part of taxi fares.

    It might be necessary to assist lower income people with fares for necessary trips. We now heavily supplement most city buses. Think about the people who leave the cheap part of town and travel out to the ‘burbs to do housekeeping, childcare, lawn work. We could see vans and minibuses picking up larger numbers of riders and delivering them. They could get rides to the doctor/dentist “validated” along the lines of how some providers and stores now validate parking.

    I’m someone who is really looking forward to robotaxis. I’m over 70 and live ‘way out in the mountains’. As the years go by driving skills deteriorate. Now I generally have to stop for a nap on longer (four hours or more) drives. I’d be very happy to turn the driving over to the car. And while I used to really enjoy driving it’s rarely fun any longer. Roads are now too crowded, even in the boonies. And one has to be on constant alert for other drivers, especially with smartphones/texting.

    We go to town roughly twice a month and know the day we are going well in advance. If we’re going to someone’s house for lunch or dinner it’s arranged well in advance. We take long trips (two weeks to two months) a couple of times a year. We know when we need to get to the airport and not having to deal with/pay for parking would be wonderful.

    While I wouldn’t expect a robotaxi to be waiting within a mile of my house at all times I can deal with phoning ahead 15 or 30 minutes before I need to ride. In the country you just keep an inventory of waiting cars, just spaced further apart than what you’d do in the city.

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    Bess says:

    @Brachiator:

    new rules and laws may have to be passed to determine when a minor can ride alone in a robotaxi

    Sure. We’re not likely to let people put one year olds in a robotaxi by themself. But most eleven year olds should be fine. Let the parent set the route and lock the doors from both inside and outside. (Unlock doors in an emergency.) Allow parents to monitor their child via video for the entire trip. Give parents a ‘panic button’. Give the underage riders a panic button to alert their parents. Things along those lines. You could even allow parents to control door locks for situations where their child needs to wait for an adult to escort them to the final destination.

    I think that there would be problems with multiple people making claims on a vehicle, as well as problems with theft, vandalism, passenger messes, etc.

    The robotaxi company is going to know who you are.

    There will be some system (password, cell phone signal) that will unlock and start cars. No one should be able to grab the ride you’ve ordered.

    Once you’ve unlocked the car then you’re responsible and known. Leave a mess and the next user is either going to rat you out or take the risk that the following rider reports them for the problem. Some drunk barfs in the car? Phone it in and the company should send you a replacement, toot sweet.

    Shifting people from smaller vans to larger transportation vehicles as they commute gets into the general problems of mass transit, a hard problem for municipalities to get right with bus and train drivers.

    Expect those larger vehicles to be self-driving as well.

    Because the entire system will be centrally controlled the computer will know what size vehicle to send to specific areas. If they get an unusually large request for shared rides from point A to point B they can send a larger capacity vehicle. Larger capacity vehicles can be distributed around the area, just in smaller numbers and further apart.

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    tarragon says:

    @Bess:

    The robotaxi arrives at your door, locked. Only you can unlock the doors and make the car operate.

    Unfortunately the last guy puked in the back.

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    J R in WV says:

    @hovercraft:

    “Even in NY State has 1,622 and NYC has 17,000 untested kits”

    I hesitate to point out that if NYC has 17,000 untested rape kits, then NY State has 18,622 untested rape kits. According to the the math and political boundaries.

    WAIT! No, I don’t hesitate. So there!

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    Bess says:

    @tarragon:

    Unfortunately the last guy puked in the back.

    And this is a problem how?

    Your eleven year old can’t tell you that the car smells like barf? If he/she suffers from anosmia then you might have to walk them to the car in order to protect yourself. If necessary then do video recording when your child is in the car. That will let you prove that they didn’t hide a raw fish under the seat.

    All these barf/shopping bag “problems” are simple problems to solve.

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    randy khan says:

    @Bess:

    There are a lot of assumptions built into your analysis. I’m not saying you’re wrong (except that I sincerely doubt that the infrastructure necessary for widespread use of autonomous cars – properly designed roads and the radio facilities, in particular – will be in place anywhere near 2020).

    I personally am looking forward to autonomous vehicles, too, and am hopeful they will be widely available and on the roads before the time I and my wife can’t drive ourselves. But I think it will be a close call, and I expect the time when I can’t drive to quite a while away.

    One more thing: When you say that the little problems are easy to solve, that’s true in theory, but in practice getting people to change what they do is not that simple. People will pay a lot to be comfortable in their lives.

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    Bess says:

    @randy khan:

    There are already autonomously driven cars driving on the road. They need no road modification. There’s no need for any sort of radio service. EVs like the Tesla use the cell phone system.

    What is needed is detailed mapping which Tesla is now doing with the EVs they have on the road. For about a year after the Model 3 is released all Teslas produced after 2015(?) will be actively mapping wherever their drivers go. Tesla already has about 1.5 billion miles of road data. That number will rapidly increase as the Model 3 goes into production. By the end of 2018 Tesla expects to be producing EVs at the rate of 500,000 per year.

    There’s a video of a self-driving Volvo making its way along an unmarked, unpaved road. It drives a bit slow the first time but on sequential runs the speed is roughly what a human would drive.

    As for transition time, by 2020 Tesla hopes to be producing 1 million EVs per year. The other manufacturers may contribute another million or so. (BYD and other Chinese manufacturers may be producing a few million per year.) That’s going to be a modest percentage of the number of new cars manufactured per year. People who are reluctant to switch to an EV won’t hurt the uptake. There should be more than enough willing people to suck up all production for a few years.

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