πŸ“· The testimony of Doctor Ford versus Judge Kavanaugh

If you watched the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh earlier this week, you will have clearly noticed the differences between the two hearings. Ford was docile and polite whereas Kavanaugh was angry and combative.

The other striking difference between the two testimonies was the content of each person’s responses. Ford made an attempt at answering every single question she was asked. Kavanaugh, on the other hand, dodged or otherwise avoided answering questions at numerous points.

Below is a chart created by Vox which visually illustrates the difference between the two testimonies. If you click through to their article, clicking on the sections of each person’s testimony will expand to display the transcript of what was spoken at that point in time.

Vox transcript chart
Every time Ford and Kavanaugh dodged a question, in one chart [Vox]

🀬 California gas tax repeal

I believe the argument to repeal the increase in the California gas tax coming to the ballot this November is weak.

Currently, the state gas tax is 30 cents per gallon. Let us pretend that I drive a fair amount and put 300 miles per week on my car. If my car gets 25 miles per gallon, I need to put 12 gallons of gas in my tank each week. The state tax on 12 gallons of gas is $3.60. With this amount of driving, my contribution in state taxes totals $14.40 over four weeks, roughly one month. That’s essentially the cost of signing up for a family plan on Spotify.

How much tax is in a gallon of gas?
Gas tax: What Californians actually pay on each gallon of gas [The Mercury News]

While $15 a month does not sound like much to me, I understand how some families could be affected by that expense. At the same time, roads do not build themselves and there is a strong argument to be made that people who use roads should fund their maintenance.

However, Proposition 6Β does not repeal the California gas tax. Prop. 6 instead repeals the 2017 increase of 12 cents per gallon. That’s what we are fighting over here. A mere 12 cents. If I run the same numbers from the pretend situation above but this time to calculate what Prop. 6 would save me, the total comes out to $5.76 per month.

Saving me $5.76 per month would mean roughly $50 billion over the next 10 years would no longer be available for state and local road programs, public transit, and traffic congestion improvements. The repeal is not worth that cost.

While California ranks near the top among states when it comes to tax on gas, the United States ranks only behind Mexico when it comes to countries with the lowest gas tax. When the U.S. first started building roads for automobiles, the tax on gas covered the expenses needed for construction and maintenance, but that is no longer true. Gas taxes and vehicle fees in the United States do not cover the expenses associated with our roads. But this is not a terrible situation.

Even if you and I do not drive, we receive a tremendous amount of benefit from our road networks. We live in a nation where access to goods and services is unrivaled anywhere else. In most urban and semi-urban locations, emergency services can be at our front door within 5 minutes. A well-maintained road network clearly benefits everyone.

In this age of extreme partisanship, it is important to recognize the spectrum of our positions so that we can come to fair conclusions that benefit society in the long run. It does not make sense for drivers to pay for 100% of our road network and neither does it make sense for them to pay an insignificant share. The answer lies somewhere in the middle.

From my position, driving is not taxed heavily enough considering the costs of road maintenance and the numerous other externalities it generates, climate change being a large one. I fear that Prop. 6 moves California even further away from the position where it should be when it comes to taxes on gas.

🧠 TIL about 8645

You may see the number 8645 or 86/45 around for another couple years and I’m here to tell you what it means.

8645

Well before Trump became a household name, an American slang term existed called “86” or “eighty-sixing”. When used as a verb, 86 means getting rid of something, ejecting someone, or refusing service. While no definitive origin for the term is known, there are several possible origins.

When paired with 45, the number of Donald Trump’s presidency, 8645 or 86/45 indicates support for getting rid of President Trump.

🀬 No such thing as sexual assault in AK

The following story occurred in August 2017.

A 34-year old man namedΒ Justin Schneider picked up a hitchhiking 25-year old Native American woman from a gas station in Alaska. After driving a ways, he stops on the side of the road and asks her to get out of the car to help him with something. He then proceeds to strangle her into unconsciousness while saying that he is killing her. Once the woman is unconscious, Schneider masturbates and ejaculates over the woman. Eventually the woman regains consciousness and calls 9-1-1 to report the attack.

Following Schneider’s arrest, he accepted a plea deal where pleaded guilty to a single count of second-degree felony assault. This came with a sentence of two years in prison “with one year suspended”, meaning he only gets one year in prison. However, between Schneider’s arrest in 2017 and now, he has been confined to his home under house arrest. Therefore, the judge considered Schneider’s house arrest time served, declaring that Schneider would not have to serve time in prison.

The prosecutor, Anchorage Assistant District Attorney Andrew Grannik, emphasized that he made the plea deal because Schneider had no prior criminal record and seemed amenable to rehabilitation…

β€œThat’s the reason why I made the deal that I made, because I have reasonable expectations that it will not happen [again],” Grannik said. β€œBut I would like the gentleman to be on notice that that is his one pass. It’s not really a pass, but given the conduct, one might consider that it is.”

Where is the charge of attempted murder? Where is the charge of sexual assault? How is a single count of assault and a sentence of one year under house arrest adequate punishment? I fear that stories such as this one are why my generation has grown up with a lack of faith in the American legal system.

Man accused of kidnapping woman and masturbating on her is given β€˜one pass,’ won’t go to prison [The Washington Post]

Former Eagle River man who strangled woman reaches plea deal with prosecutors [Alaska Star]