Monday, June 12, 2006

I'm still alive

For the handful of you who might be interested, I just returned from a fantastic vacation in North Carolina's Outer Banks. I might bore you later in the week with some pictures of my baby girl eating sand.

In the meantime, I'm sure you are riveted by the news that Ben Roethlisberger was injured in a motorcylce accident, which was the first news story I heard upon my return to Steeler Nation. I hope he's OK and that in the future, he'll wear a helmet. But I happen to agree that the law should not require him to. The government has no responsibility to save you from yourself.


Blogger Sean McDaniel said...

welcome back...but thank god big ben has a health plan that will cover his medical care...just imagine how your money and mine would have to pay for the tens of thousands of dollars the hospital will charge for his care if he wasn't covered...

sure, helmet laws do take away the individual's right to live recklessly...but it also increases the likelihood that the rest of us will have to foot the bill to pay for the emergency care of some ass without health insurance.

who knows, with a helmet, BR might have walked away with some cuts and bruises. not a busted jaw. it all adds up. and someone has to pick up the check.

hell, if he doesn't have to wear a helmet, why does he need insurance? oh, wait, that's protect you and me from his right to not protect himself from himself.

one last thought...driving in PA is a privilege that is granted by the state...and the state gets to set the guidelines for that privilege. my feeling is that if bike riders don't like helmet rules ... get behind the wheel of a car and buckle up...oh hell there's another one of those big brother rules.

10:24 PM

Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

Very valid points, but taken to the extreme, the same logic could be used to outlaw smoking, drinking, eating Big Macs, etc. Personally, I wouldn't lose sleep if the state reversed itself and once again required helmets. I just have no problem with people being able to go without them.

8:52 AM

Blogger Sean McDaniel said...

actually, it's not that extreme. you support universal health care, which in most forms REQUIRES everyone to carry medical insurance. but please explain to me how i'm putting myself at the risk of any personal injury if i choose not to carry that coverage?

i just can't see how you can say it's the individual's right in once instance to make a decision that could very well result in a serious personal injury but not the individual's right when it comes to saying NO to health care coverage.

maybe the solution is this...let's borrow a piece of that Mass. UHC legislation that allows individuals to opt out but pay a penalty for doing so...maybe the same should apply to helmetless bike riders. let's slap a $100 "right to choose" fee on their heads, where helmets should be.

as for smoking, drinking and pigging out on big macs, that's a right we all don't have to get a license from the state to indulge in those activities.

10:50 AM

Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

It is reasonable to believe that because operating a motor vehicle is a privilege granted by the state, then the state has the right to impose whatever restrictions it sees fit on how one operates that vehicle. I don't necessarily agree with it, but it is an intellectually sound argument. But it is a far different argument than saying that individual acts of self-destruction should be restricted because they carry direct or indirect social costs.

Obviously, I'm not a true libertarian, or else I wouldn't be arguing in favor of universal health insurance. I believe that we have to make trade-offs sometimes between individual liberties and the common good. Yes, I do believe our current health care system is unsustainable in part but not solely because it encourages healthy, young and/or wealthy people to opt out, driving up costs for everyone else. One solution, ala Massachusetts and Switzerland, is to require everyone to purchase insurance.

But it is a pretty generous leap of logic to then argue that to also keep down costs, we should require people to wear motorcycle helmets or wear seatbelts. Yes, those people who do not are increasing their risk of injury and death, but again, so are people who smoke cigarrettes, or eat too many cheeseburgers, or drink excessively. (One could argue that those who engage in risky behavior are actually saving society money, by dying sooner and not exhausting old-age benefits. George Will makes that case all the time when people discuss the social costs of cigarrette smoking.) Many of those people probably have good insurance plans. Establishing a causal connection between something like increased health costs and helmetless motorcycling riding is not impossible, but it does get tenuous.


7:49 PM

Blogger Sean McDaniel said...

damn, i don't know what to say about the sopranos...that last episode was sort of dreamy, flat out literal and edgy...the last few minutes were about as tense as anything i've watched in ages. what i need to do now is waste about 3 days re-watching all the episodes in chunks of threes and fours.

something things really seemed like weak links...phil's heart attack...carm's lost of interest in ade...christopher's relationship with the real estate agent

but i loved agent harris tipping off tony and aj's retort to tony when he saw the piece of jewelry aj bought his girlfriend...and there's way more to the girlfriend than meets the eye. i know lots of online speculators thinks she's an fbi plant. but i don't think the feds would involve a kid in the scheme...but she's after more than aj's affection and attention.

and what about those arabs showing up again!

as for the motorcycle helmet might be another ballgame if the rumors about number 7 not having a license to ride a bike in PA.

for the life of me, i still can't understand why i have to buckle up to drive a mile to the giant eagle...of course i understand the safety issues...but really, why not helmets for bikers? other than they had a lot of lobbying support.

9:56 PM

Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

There was supposed to be another FBI agent introduced this season. And that was a great comeback from AJ. I also loved how he bribed those guys to go away.

I liked the episode. It grew on me as it went along. Michael Imperoli (sp?) and Nurse Hathaway were excellent. Christopher is a great character, because while he can be a delusional, self-destructive moron, no one understands Tony better than him. He's also self-aware enough to steer himself away from the edge of the cliff, no matter how many times he careens toward it.

I'm not sure how to feel about the Phil storyline. I liked how Silvio and the others warned Tony that perhaps it wasn't such a good thing to lose Phil, and the audience knew that it was his associates, and not Phil, that wanted to rub out Tony. My whole problem this season with Phil is how we suddenly learned his cousin was married to Vito. Why was that never a factor last season? It was too much of a contrivance.

But I like the character. He's a reminder of something that Silvio said last season, only in reference to Johnny Sack--some guys are better as number two.

8:37 AM

Blogger Sherry Pasquarello said...

i was wondering, if you hit someone on a motorcycle and it's your fault or judged to be partially your fault and it could be proven that the rider would have suffered only minor injuries if he had been wearing a helmet, could it be argued that the driver of the car should be charged with a lesser offense even if the motorcycle rider died? people have died in fights when they've been knocked down and hit their head on the sidewalk. i'm just curious.
of course the driver would still probably feel guilty for the rest of their lives no matter what, but i'm just wondering.

10:14 AM

Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

We'd probably need a lawyer to answer that question. It might be a factor in a civil lawsuit, but I'm guessing that any traffic citation or other charge you receive would be unaffected.

10:50 AM

Blogger Sherry Pasquarello said...

thanks. sometimes a question just sticks in my mind.

11:18 AM

Blogger Sean McDaniel said...

i did some online sleuthing...the driver's husband is a doctor who works for a downtown law firm that specializes in medical malpractice and auto accident cases. should be interesting.

now for those sopranos...there's always a ton of stuff to be discovered in a re-watching. the thing about the brooklyn crew is that there's always an ambitious sidekick ...johnny and carmine...phil and johnny ...and now that little guy and phil.

the vito/phil relationship was one of many contrivances this season...way more than any other year. but one of the best lines when vito died was when phil said...i loved him like a brother in law.

i agree that christopher is really the only other character in show who could carry an ongoing story line. he can articulate his thoughts (at least the writers let him) than Tony, who's more intuitive.

but delusional...they all wear that tag.

12:53 PM

Blogger Maria said...

"carm's lost of interest in ade"

That didn't bother me, in fact, I was amused by that storyline. It goes to Tony's need for both control and instant gratification. Let Carm have her 'toy' (real estate biz) but when it interferes with his dinner, he can't wait to break the toy. Then, when he doesn't like Carm's new 'toy' (Ade), he resurrects the old 'toy.' What a manipulative jerk!

5:07 PM

Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

It also speaks to Carmella's character. She's not really concerned with Adrianna--she's bored. In many ways, Carmella is one of the show's least likeable characters. Remember when Tony gave her the Louis Vitton purse full of cash before she went to Europe, and she said that she didn't tell him she loves him often enough? As the saying goes, we already know what you are, we're just haggling over price.

7:33 PM

Blogger Maria said...

Well, they do deserve each other.

We also know the depth of Carm's character (skin deep) in that she's the one who gave up trying to search for meaning in her life/question her ties to the Mob (her stabs at spirituality) while Tony has at least stuck with his shrink.

9:06 PM

Blogger Maria said...

One thing about that last episode: it may make me finally get a turntable that works as I only have "Moonlight Mile" on LP...

9:10 PM


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