Saturday, May 12, 2018

Some Drive-By Commentary For Your Saturday

     Yes, these “assorted” pieces have been getting more frequent of late. Gotta go with the Muse, y’know, and lately the Muse has been saying a lot of mysterious stuff. (I’m still trying to figure out how to “Buy Xerox at 9.75.”) So kick back and savor a noodle or two from this Mongolian cluster buffet.

     Longtime Gentle Reader Daniel Day clued me in to this outrage:

     NEW HAVEN — School officials said a child built a toy gun out of Lego at the Jepsen Magnet School in New Haven Thursday.

     School administrators called police to the school after the child made the gun and started pointing it at the other kids.

     Will Clark, COO of New Haven Public Schools released the following statement:

     “School leaders and local police partners were able to investigate and resolve the issue internally with use of restorative practices. Appropriate steps were taken at the school level to insure the safety of all students and to impress upon the students the seriousness of engaging in positive peer interactions while avoiding conduct that may pose risk or concern to others. All children need to feel safe and secure within the learning environment and we all have a role to play to make that happen.”

     No other details were released.

     Ignore “COO Clark’s” psychodrama and his self-protective gobbledygook. He probably read it from a preprinted note card. The intention is pandemic throughout the “educational community,” and screamingly obvious: Hate and fear guns, little children. Guns are inherently evil. They stalk us in the night, marauding through our communities, taking lives and shattering families like yours. Don't even dream about owning a gun, much less using one. Do you want your mommy and daddy to live, or do you want them to be killed by some hateful, awful gun?

     I don’t want to hear about how “most of the teachers and administrators are doing their best.” No, they are not doing their best — not if they stand by, mouths shut, eyes averted, and hands in their pockets, while this sort of infamy is perpetrated by their not-so-good colleagues.

     I haven’t paid a lot of attention to Undersecretary of State Heather Nauert until recently. I think she deserves a closer look:

     CNN’s biased host Chris Cuomo probably thought he was going to have the State Department spokesperson Heather Nauer on the ropes but it worked out with his take down.

     “The Iran and Israeli situation… is there any concern that pulling the United States or threatening to pull it out of the Iran deal precipitated or helped provoke the actions that Israel is pointing out now in terms of missiles that were launched from Syria into the Golan heights?” Cuomo asked during CNN’s “New Day” on Friday.

     She said that is “unbelievable”.

     “You know, it’s unbelievable that some would try to blame the United States for Iran’s actions,” the Acting Undersecretary of State said.

     “It’s unbelievable that others would try to blame Israel for this. Iran is responsible for many bad acts around the world.”

     Excellent. Iran is currently under the thumb of a bunch of crazy Islamic theocrats – I know, I know, eschew repetition and redundancy and saying the same thing in different ways – and is completely immune to rational persuasion. Nothing the U.S., Israel, or anyone else might do, short of turning Tehran into a glassine parking lot, could affect the ayatollahs’ decision making. They are irrationally evil.

     Nauert was forthright and perfectly clear, which is to be expected of an important appointee in an Administration with a Peace-Through-Strength / America-First foreign policy. At least one national tyrant has already learned that this is not the way to deal with the current Administration:

     Recently, the auto industry has been emphasizing the welter of “tech” in its new cars: basically anything other than how well they function as transportation devices. This would suggest that there’s nothing more the industry can do to improve cars’ fundamental function. That’s obvious nonsense, but what other conclusion could we draw from the emphases of the recent spate of car commercials?

     Similarly, it would seem that the fundamental function of the telephone – i.e., to facilitate clear conversation over distances – has taken a back seat to all manner of other considerations. Suddenly your phone is expected to be a multifunction entertainment, organization, photographic, videographic, and Internet access device; its ability to make and take calls has come to seem vestigial.

     Meanwhile, pedestrian deaths in traffic accidents are up sharply:

     Pedestrian deaths have jumped 46 percent since reaching their lowest point in 2009, as pedestrian crashes have become both deadlier and more frequent. The increase has been mostly in urban or suburban areas, at nonintersections, on arterials — busy roads designed mainly to funnel vehicle traffic toward freeways — and in the dark, a new IIHS study shows. Crashes were increasingly likely to involve SUVs and high-horsepower vehicles....

     From 2009 to 2016, the largest increases in pedestrian deaths occurred under the circumstances that historically have seen the highest numbers of pedestrian fatalities. Pedestrian deaths increased 54 percent in urban areas, which include both cities and what most people consider suburbs. They also increased 67 percent on arterials, 50 percent at nonintersections and 56 percent in the dark.

     The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recommends a great many things – better road design, reining in speed increases, improving vehicles – but doesn’t say a word about the welter of things incorporated into the “tech” around us that contain strong inducements to focus on them rather than our surroundings.

     It’s actually rather easy for a pedestrian to avoid being hit by a car: simply don’t walk in front of a moving one. Similarly, a driver who’s paying proper attention to the road will find it easy to avoid hitting (most) pedestrians. But such attentiveness has fallen sharply, and I am totally convinced that the major reason is distraction by “tech,” whether in the pedestrian’s hand or the cabin of the car.

     I own two cars, one a 2011 Mercedes S550 and the other a 2009 Corvette. They contain substantial “tech.” Whichever one I’m driving, I rigidly refuse to look away from the road while I’m in motion. (I also own a cellphone of the most primitive sort. It makes and takes calls, and virtually nothing else. I seldom even turn it on.)

     Why risk life and limb – your own or someone else’s – to tune to a new radio station or to compose a text message?

     That’s all for the moment, Gentle Reader. Chores, fiction, and assorted other non-bloviationary considerations shall now be addressed. Have a nice Saturday.


MMinWA said...

Recently driving with a 28 year old 600 miles to Denver was a real eye opener as he must have checked his phone every 2-3 minutes or less. How many feet does your car cover in 3-6 seconds going 75mph? Lord.

It was fooking nerve racking.

I had to work in DFW last year and broke down and got a smart phone with Ms Google Maps. That lasted 3 months and I still have a year left on this damn contract at $85/mo. As soon as it's over, back to my flip phone.

paul scott said...

haha this is great > "eschew repetition and redundancy and saying the same thing in different ways"