PR-to-English translation of the announcement of new NYS license plates


New York State Commissioner of Motor Vehicles and Chair of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee David J. Swarts today unveiled the “Empire Gold” license plate which will be issued to most vehicles registered in the state beginning in April, 2010.

Our committee spent eight months trying to come up with something that looked like “work”, and the only thing we agreed on was this ugly-ass license plate. You know, the same one we got rid of 20 years ago.

“The bold colors of the new license plate reflect New York’s force and its resilience,” said Commissioner Swarts. “These new plates, in the official colors of the State of New York, will help maintain highway safety, reduce the number of unregistered and uninsured vehicles on our roads, and generate $129 million in General Fund revenue over two years, which will help address the State’s financial crisis.”

We could probably help the budget crisis by reinstating a more progressive tax structure and reducing graft, inefficiency, and corruption. Or we could just nickel and dime you schmucks for $129 million, because even though it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the $12 billion deficit, it still looks like we’re “doing something”.

State Police Superintendent Harry J. Corbitt said, “License plates are a fundamental tool of law enforcement that has been enhanced in recent years through a variety of technologies that improve their readability, especially under low light conditions. The State Police has worked cooperatively with DMV to ensure that the new plates will continue to serve the law enforcement community effectively.”

Oooh, they’re shiny! And reflective!

“This project will benefit law enforcement efforts, and therefore enhance public safety, in several ways,” said Denise E. O’Donnell, Deputy Secretary for Public Safety and Commissioner of the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services. “For instance, nearly 300 police agencies in New York State are currently deploying approximately 500 computerized license plate readers (LPRs) that enable authorities to quickly identify vehicles that have been stolen or used in a crime. These new plates will ensure that the LPRs are as effective as possible.”

Oh my god, we are laughing so hard that you people let us get away with buying all this crap.

DMV will begin issuing the new plates for registration renewals that expire in May 2010. Customers renewing their vehicle registrations in person in a DMV office, over the phone, by mail or through the Internet, will receive their new Empire Gold plates in the mail. Customers completing an original over-the-counter registration transaction will receive their plates immediately. [ . . . ] A plate fee of $25.00 will be added to the registration renewal fee. Single plate registrations (e.g. motorcycles) will be charged a plate fee of $12.50. Motorists registered in the Passenger (PAS), Commercial (COM), Motorcycle (MOT) or Trailer (TRL) registration classes will have the option to keep their current plate number/letter combination. Those with vehicles registered in other classes may also have this option. The registration renewal invitation will tell motorists if this option is available. Those choosing to keep their current plate number/letter combination on the new Empire Gold plate will be required to pay a $20.00 fee. Those motorists holding a personalized plate will automatically be re-issued the same number/letter combination on their new plate. Because they currently pay an annual personalized plate fee, they will not be required to pay the $20.00 fee. Most plates with the New York skyline banner across the top of the plate will begin to be replaced by the new Empire Gold plate in April. Custom picture plates will be replaced at a later date. The DMV will also be electronically sharing updated plate number information with EZ-Pass so that motorists who participate in that program will not have to do so.

We’re making the entire process as obtuse as possible so that we can smack you with additional fees and fines when you inevitably fuck it up the first time. Good luck!

posted 11/10/09 at 3:40pm to Local, Politics, The stupid, it burns, WTF? · 0 replies · permalink

A Profound Cultural Illness

Representatives of the government torture innocent citizens into unconsciousness, on camera, in United States courtrooms with tasers. They use them on prisoners and on motorists and on political protesters and bicycle riders, on mentally ill and handicapped people and on children. And it’s happening with nary a peep of protest.

America’s torture problem is much bigger than Gitmo or the CIA or the waterboarding of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. The government is torturing people every day and killing some of them. Then videos of the torture wind up on Youtube where sadists laugh and jeer at the victims. It’s the sign of profound cultural illness.

-Digby, guest blogging for Glenn Greenwald at

I read everything Digby posts on Hullabaloo, but her philippics on the rising abuse and misuse of tasers always hit me especially hard. Go read this entire piece at Salon. I can’t guarantee it won’t turn your stomach—in fact, I hope it does—but it’s essential reading for anyone who has even the slightest concern about the creeping authoritarian state.

posted 8/11/09 at 10:13am to Our Doomed Planet, Politics, The stupid, it burns · 0 replies · permalink


I am constantly astounded by the number of people I encounter who are simply incapable of understanding satire, irony, or any subtle form of sarcasm.

I should not be surprised by it, and yet I am.

posted 6/8/09 at 12:32pm to Slightly Too Long For Twitter, The stupid, it burns · 0 replies · permalink

The Onion: 17-Year-Old Thinks She’s Getting Into Photography

The Onion: 17-Year-Old Thinks She’s Getting Into Photography


After wasting an afternoon taking pictures of a broken tricycle, moss on trees, and the shadow of a wrought-iron fence, Churchill Alternative High School senior Jessica Ivers falsely informed family and friends Saturday that she was getting into photography. “I love the way real film looks,” said Ivers, who has owned the old single-lens reflex 35 millimeter camera for exactly one week…

So what’s the right way to get into photography, then?

According to most critics on Flickr and and such, the process is as follows:

-Be older than 45 and start every photography conversation with “I’ve been doing this for 25 years, and…”
-Have a lot of expensive current gear, as well as some expensive vintage gear.
-Talk about that gear in purely technical terms at all times.
-Understand that your gear is the Right Gear, and everyone else’s is the Wrong Gear.
-Be pedantic about every minor detail of your lenses, and make sure to commit every spec to memory including, but not limited to, exact weight in grams, focus throw, and circle of confusion.
-Never use squishy words like art, interpretation, aesthetic, composition, or beautiful. Photography is for technicians, not creative people who don’t know the proper way to use their gear.
-Have a full portfolio of technically perfect but visually lifeless photographs. Wide landscapes, mountains, trees, and deer are popular subjects.

I think that’s a pretty good starting point.

posted 6/8/09 at 12:16pm to Photography, Snark, The stupid, it burns · 0 replies · permalink

Fighting off the Randroids

Please indulge me for a brief moment while I temporarily shed my normal costume of snark and mount my rhetorical high horse to make a statement that I am very tired of making, yet one that seems to be necessary once again.


Atlas Shrugged is a novel, and a tedious one at that. It is tortured fiction, and nothing more. It is not an effective societal blueprint for pouty glibertarians who are still angry that their mommies never let them stay out past their curfew, they didn’t get the toy they really really wanted for their 12th birthday, and their fraternity of choice didn’t let them into the pledge class freshman year.

Grow. The fuck. Up.

Thank you. Now, back to the snark.

posted 5/30/09 at 9:42am to Books, Our Doomed Planet, Politics, The stupid, it burns · 0 replies · permalink