In the arena of global cyberspace California is often laughed at as being either another planet or a trendy micro-culture that is an oddity unique unto itself. The unfortunate reality is that California is often a bellwether for what can and often does spread across the country and not infrequently the globe. The good, the bad, the ugly and just plain strange stuff that finds a genesis in California has the potential to become ubiquitous. Hair styles and fashion are insignificant in the larger scheme of things. However, bad legislation, political correctness, and incremental reconditioning are all elements that should not be ignored. Forewarned is forearmed.
Recently the topic on my radio talk show was a specific and significantly onerous California bill entitled AB 2068. Why should you care? Because this real bad Assembly bill has already PASSED the Assembly. That embarrassing reality sparked Assemblyman Tom McClintock to observe, "This bill passed Thursday with a bare minimum of votes. I served notice of reconsideration because of serious issues that were suggested in the debate, that I feel require further elaboration."
Incrementalism, bureaucrats and camel's noses all immediately came to mind. After reviewing the bill I was reminded of two old items I have had on my Web page for years. The first item is "How Specifications Live Forever" and like so many significant items floating in cyberspace, the author is unknown.
was that size used?
Because that's the way they built them in England, and the U.S. railroads were designed and built during the Industrial Revolution by English expatriate engineers to accommodate English-built locomotives.
did the English build them like that?
Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the pre-railroad tramways, and that was the gauge they used.
did they use that gauge then?
Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tooling That they used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing.
why did the wagons use that odd wheel spacing?
Well, if they tried to use any other spacing the wagons would break on some of the old long distance roads in Europe and England. This was due to the old wheel ruts worn into the road.
who built these old rutted roads?
The first long distance roads in Europe were built by Imperial Rome for the benefit of their legions. The thoroughfares have been used ever since.
The initial ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying wagons, were first made by the Roman war chariots. These chariots were designed to be pulled by two horses hitched side-by-side. In order to roll smoothly, the chariot wheels had to be spaced far enough apart to avoid the hoofmarks left by the horses, yet not protrude past the flanks of the horses to prevent entanglement with opposing traffic or roadside vegetation. Since the chariots were made for, or by Imperial Rome, they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing.
we have the answer to the original question.
The U.S. Standard Railroad Gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches derives from the specification for an Imperial Roman army war chariot. Two thousand years later, and a continent away, the track layout of the entire U.S. railway network is based upon the fact that Imperial Roman chariots were made to be just wide enough to accommodate the rear-ends of two warhorses.
and bureaucracies live forever. So, the next time you are presented with
a specification and wonder if some horse's ass is responsible for it, you
may be exactly right.
Please note that ostensibly what the dunderheads in California's bill mill are doing is attempting to LEGISLATE a specific magazine article into LAW.
Some of you may be nonplussed and figure magazine articles are often better crafted and better researched than some of the silly laws that get passed so hey, why not? The "why not" is in what the paper says. Pay attention because there will be a test.
This bill establishes criteria in which physicians are REQUIRED to inquire of KINDERGARTNERS the following:
Remember that this has ALREADY passed the California Assembly. However, as onerous, noxious and bloody nosey as this is, it is not new. Goals 2000 and Outcome Based Education included an element called "Parents as Teachers." Sounds pretty tame and positive. However THAT program consists of an in-home visit to determine if your child is "at risk." Again, if the rigged questionnaire establishes your child as being "at risk," some big brother bureaucrat will "intervene" to mitigate the risk. I recall that when I first reviewed the program there was a long list of broadly phrased questions, which seemed to be designed to establish EVERY child "at risk." The federal questionnaire was even more intrusive than this recent California effort.
The Department of Education apparently hasn't gotten around to updating their web page but you can gain some insight into the pretensions of your federal educrats by reviewing the site.
McClintock noted that "history offers us too many examples of what happens, sometimes very rapidly; children are used by the state to report on any suspicious activities of their families or neighbors."
He goes on to note: "This bill in its original form, would have imposed this program on the public schools. It was narrowed to children in public health programs, BECAUSE their parents depend on county health services and can't complain. But the INTENTION to expand this to every child can be clearly found in the original draft of this measure, and no doubt we will soon be presented with legislation to expand what then will be an existing program." This isn't paranoia, it is reasonable analysis based on standing operating procedures. We see big government do this all the time. It is the finesse of incrementalism. Get the camel's nose in the tent, nibble around the edges, settle for a little now, a little more later, until eventually, inevitably, the ultimate large scale objective is realized.
McClintock concluded by saying, "This bill has already passed this house. But sometimes we make mistakes, and that is why we have the motion to reconsider actions that may have been taken too hastily.
"Sometimes we make mistakes ..." talk about a grossly inadequate means of articulating a stark and damning reality.
kind of incremental conditioning reminded me the oldie but goodie. Time
and space preclude my pasting in the whole story, but those of you so inclined,
please read 'The Wild and
Free Pigs of the Okefenokee Swamp.'