Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Left Continues to Ramp Up Its Frantic Attacks on Ride Share Companies

And the liberal left continues it's attacks on the Uber and Lyft ride-sharing services. It's amazing to watch how "progressives" defend the status quo, especially when it's their status quo. And wouldn't you know it would be the city of San Francisco leading the charge.

These new ride-sharing services having expanded rapidly, capturing a consumer market long ignored.
It is a market transit has been trying to figure out for a long time. In some parts of the country, especially in rural areas with aging populations, up to 20% of citizens over the age of 16 cannot drive a car or do not have access to one.  It's too expensive to run buses around to pick them up. Most live too far from bus routes for that to be a viable option. What Uber and Lyft have done is create a clever way for regular folk to make a little money hauling their neighbors who cannot drive around on errands they cannot accomplish with fixed public transit systems.

I'm one of those customers Uber was designed for. Without them I'm left with unaffordable, often unpleasant choices for purchasing transportation services. So, of course the left wants to take Uber down. They are hoping to force people to move into town next to bus lines. You think I'm kidding? I've sat in on the meetings and that's precisely the goal. 

Politically, I can see why the left would want that. They keep losing elections to people living in small towns and rural America.  I guess they figure if they can force us to move into human hives, walled up in cities, we'll just naturally become liberals.  It seems to be working for the Democrat party certainly.

"So, why don't you just call a cab?" Uber detractors ask. Okay since you asked:

(1) Cleanliness - I've never ridden in a dirty Uber car. I've seldom ridden in a clean taxicab.

(2) Cost - Taxi rides cost half again as much. I can give the extra to the driver as a tip and it's clear profit for him. Uber doesn't require or even encourage customers to tip, but I usually give 20-25% or more to my driver because the service is really really good. I give it to him in cash and since he doesn't have to report it to Uber, well, the IRS doesn't have to know either. I'm a big fan of the black market. Cab drivers meanwhile demand a tip for rides in unclean vehicles, that take too long and are overpriced.  So I have to tip drivers who often don't earn it AND the cab company and Uncle Sam take a piece of it from the drivers.

(3) Atmosphere - I have never had an unpleasant ride in an Uber. The last two consecutive cab rides we had with the taxi service, our driver yelled at someone on the phone in Farsi all the way to our home. My wife said it felt like being abducted by terrorists. I kept waiting for him to yell "Allahu Akbar!" and drive into a crowd of people. Honestly. It was an unpleasant trip.

(4) Drivers - I've never had a driver who didn't like his job with Uber. And I ask them how they like their jobs. Most are doing it as a second job or using it to make their car note. They choose their hours and pick their customers. Our cab drivers don't seem nearly as happy. Though some cabbies seem to be making the best of it, I don't detect a lot of joy like I do with the Uber guys.

(5) Satisfaction ratings - With Uber you get to rate your driver and the quality of the ride. I've yet to give anyone less than 5 stars with Uber. Also my driver rates me as a passenger. Since my wife and I are already nice people by nature, we seldom have any trouble getting a ride. I suspect I've got a five star rating too. The Uber drivers see that and are more comfortable picking me up than a customer who is nasty to drivers and gets a consistently low rating. With taxis, you take what you get, both driver and customer. That explains why the Uber experience is better I think.

(6) Availability - I've waited for hours for a cab to come and find me. I think with Uber my longest wait was 20 minutes on a busy late Friday afternoon. It's usually under ten minutes.

So the killjoys in San Francisco and other liberal cities want to take Uber down. They are under the mistaken impression that if Uber goes down, customers will accept less attractive transportation options - options that pay a piece of the action to the city. What they miss is that if customers don't have an easy affordable way to get around, they don't patronize shops and restaurants and other businesses in town that DO pay taxes to the city. Transportation done right can feed local business if you don't try to gouge people for a piece of the action. Liberal city leaders remind me a lot of a criminal syndicate in the way they operate. I can imagine the council meeting where they hired Arnold "One Ear" Giovanni to "....make 'em an offer Uber and Lyft can't refuse."  Except they can refuse and have already abandoned more than one unfriendly town, much to the dismay of merchants and consumers, between whom, business has since fallen off.

© 2017 by Tom King

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Still the "Greatest" Generation

There's been some second-guessing out there among the blogs on this Memorial Day with regard to whether or not we should have bestowed the title "The Greatest Generation" on our WWII veterans and the Americans who grew up during the pre-boomer age. Predictably this is, in large part, coming from the left side of the aisle, or as I prefer to call them, "The Sameness Coalition."  Apparently, our fathers weren't so great or they would have spent more time in therapy after they came back from the war.

"God bless 'em," as our grandmothers used to say before they criticized someone's actions or opinions. The precious snowflake generation learned their craft at the feet of second generation spoiled children of the Greatest Generation. In an effort to rub out the horror and privation of war, the Greatest Generation sought to shield their own children from the ugliness of war. They were, in a couple of words - over-protective and it shows. Their grandchildren are a gang of precious snowflakes who need safe spaces and regular counseling just to deal with the horrors of not always getting their way. 

It's hard to blame our parents for that. War is, as they say, hell and who wants your children to experience the trials the you went through. Their instinct was to protect us from all that. Leftist academics made it worse by telling us not to "stifle" our children's creativity, though Dr. Spock, not the Vulcan one, himself once expressed regret that parents may have taken him too literally after a group of protestors trashed his campus office. Our parents eagerly overprotected their kids on the advice of counsel. They'd seen the worst that man could do. Who wants their children to see that.

In our grandparents' day, one simply did not come home from the war and dump a lot of horrific stuff you experienced in battle on your loved ones. It was thought to be a parent's and especially a father's duty to stand between home and the ravening wolves that circled menacingly out in the darkness. So they took up their posts as human shields as they believed was their duty.

These were tough men and they handled their "angst" the way that American men do (or at least did). They didn't want to dump a bunch of emotional rubbish on their families. Some repressed, which is not good, but many simply handled it alone or with trusted friends. I knew an Air Force colonel who used to land C-47 on jungle strips during the Vietnam war. He said it sounded like a popcorn popper inside the plane with all the small arms fire striking the plane as they came in. He had never told his family about it. He did tell us at the day hab program he went to after his stroke. All we did was let the guys talk and talk they did. We were safe to talk to. We heard some incredible stories and many times these stories had never been heard by the children and families of these brave men.

To lessen the value of their courage simply because they didn't run home after the war looking for safe spaces and counseling is shameful, but that seems to be the direction this argument is taking us. Our fathers weren't great because they didn't express their emotions and visit therapists?  What a flying load of horse manure!
The "Greatest Generation" is not a misnomer. These guys did a hard and ugly job because they had to. They did it without self-pity and whining. They bore the burden of it with dignity.All of them believed that was how it was supposed to be done. They protected their families not only from the enemy but from the horrors of war even after the war was over and done.

I honor them for that.

© 2017 by Tom King

Saturday, May 27, 2017

BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW: Irene Morgan Paved the Way for Rosa Parks

Bet You Didn't Know This:
By Source, Fair use,

In 1944, A twenty-seven year old Seventh-Day Adventist black woman, Irene Morgan, made the gutsy decision to refuse to leave the "white" section of an Interstate bus and was arrested in Virginia under state segregation laws eleven years before Rosa Parks' famous refusal to give up her seat on an Alabama local bus. She was a little more spirited than Rosa however. She kicked the Sheriff in the groin when he tried to arrest her!

She landed two highly skilled lawyers on her defense team, one of whom was no less than future Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall. Irene won her case before the Supreme Court. In 1946 in a landmark decision, the Court ruled that the Virginia law was unconstitutional, as the Commerce clause protected interstate traffic. 
Irene's stubborn singular defense of her rights strengthened the WWII era U.S. anti-discrimination law prohibiting segregation on all interstate transportation and influenced public opinion against Southern racist segregation laws. Unlike Rosa, whose protest was part of a planned challenge of the segregation laws, Irene simply stood up for herself all on her own. With Irene, the NAACP was running along behind her shouting, "Wait for me I'm your leader!"

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irene_Morgan
  2. "Morgan v. Virginia (1946)". www.encyclopediavirginia.org. Retrieved 2015-11-04.
  3. Lamb, Yvonne S. "Irene M. Kirkaldy; Case Spurred Freedom Rides," The Washington Post, 13 Aug. 2007: n. pag. Print. 
  4. "Morgan v. Commonwealth (June 6, 1945)". www.encyclopediavirginia.org. Retrieved 2015-11-04.
 © 2017 by Tom King