Wednesday, July 27, 2011

NY's Nanny State

I do not condone texting while driving but this new recently signed NYS law is just plain stupid.

The law allows police to make texting while driving a primary offense. Meaning they can stop you just for that, whereas previously you had to make another traffic violation & then they'd tack the texting onto the other violation. According to news reports, law enforcement will be enforcing this law in unmarked vehicles.

In no particular order, why I think this law (of strengthening it) is stupid...

1. The state already has a "driving while distracted" law on the books. Making texting while driving illegal (or strengthening it) simply to makes it more sexy.

2. If texting while driving is supposedly more dangerous than drinking & driving, how come they do not also include pedestarians mindlessly walking while texting or those riding their bicycles while texting? Would not those equivalents not be the prohibition on open alcoholic containers or "driving while impaired," respectively?

I bring this up because there have been plenty of times where I've slammed on my breaks because some mindless pedesterian walks out in front traffic while they're texting. If god forbid I hit them, MY car insurance rates go up.

I walk to a lot of place locally. No fewer than 3 times since the spring has some idiot bicyclist nearly collide w/ me (or actually has) because, wait for it, he was fiddling w/ his phone.

Considering the Whitehall PD arrested a drunk guy riding a lawn mower, its not like it'd be that far of a stretch. What's the max speed on those mowers, maybe 20 mph at most? My bicycle riding fiend of a brother probably averages a faster speed than that.

3. Below is a picture of my GPS, m phone, & my iPod.

As you can see, they're all pretty much the same size. The officer can legally ticket you because he THINKS you're texting, even though you're not.

Also, two of these devices are legal while the other is not. If I were ever to be taken the traffic court, could the cop be sure that what he saw the driver doing at 65+ mph, really was texting?

4. Why single out texting?

If listening to NPR's Car Talk is any indication, people do everything from shaving w/ an electric razor to pouring coffee from their thermos to fiddling w/ the radio (I'm certainly guilty of that) to changing their clothes to painting their nails to feeding their kid (who's in the backseat) to tying their necktie to reading a map to...well, you get the idea.

All of these done were while driving. Why are the cops not cracking down on any of these practices?

5. I touched on this earlier but I have a problem w/ HOW the state plans on enforcing this measure.

If law enforcement is going by visual sight. Would that not mean they'll be targeting cars that are low to the ground & vehicles w/ nontinted windows?

6. Texting while driving is not something I condone. I admit it DOES take ones attention away from where its supposed to be, on the road.

However, I believe this new application of the law will make the practice worse. Instead of texting at 12 or 1 o'clock on the steering wheel where the driver can be sorta aware of the road using their perphieral vision, it'll be shifted down to 6 o'clock where its below the windowline & basically in the driver's lap.

I also believe we'll shortly see an entirely new industry crop up that will enable drivers to do their texting legally, just as we saw w/ the 2001 NYS law ban cell phone use w/ your hands.

7. The state is trying to change driver behavior by targeting the device that distracts them. This is the latest example of Albany's short-sightedness. Instead of cracking down on the actual behavior (not being attentive at what they're doing) & maybe even strength preexisting laws, they target the method in which drivers are being distracted.

Lawmakers & safety advocates point towards NY's 2001 law banning hand-held cell phone use while driving yet by 2004 the rate of useage was back to pre-ban levels. This simply reinforces comedian Ron White's signature phrase, "Ya can't fix stupid."

8. Its funny in that pathetic sorta way how everything gets compared to drunk driving. Cell phone use is worse than drinking & driving. Texting is worse than drinking & driving. The health effects of smoking impairs you more than drinking & driving. Transfats are worse for the body than drinking & driving.

Drinking & driving has become the bogeyman to be invoked if a DIFFERENT health & safety issue needs addressing. Think of it as someone invoking the "Nazis" or "Hitler" in a political or morality discussion.

9.Let's cut to the chase.

NY State has something to the tune of an $8 billion budget deficit. Strengthening an already silly law of prohibiting a practice people do, will generate fines. Fines generate revenue. New revenue will help close the budget gap. I'm COMPLETELY fine w/ all that.

Just don't try & give a load of BS that "its all for the public good."

In other news...

This was Jenni, doing a random wander-around shoot at the Albany Plaza.


Feel free about commenting on any part of this, if you so desire.

Monday, July 18, 2011

WAMC Fundraising Questions

NPR's WAMC recently held their latest fund-drive for $1 million in listener donations. Considering that they run these infernal fund-drives at least once a quarter (it certainly seems like more), that'd mean they get $4 million a year.

I know they have to factor in for rate of inflation, increased programming fees, decreased financial support from Congress but would that not effect EVERY NPR station proportionally the same? Yet member stations like NCPR (based in Canton, NY) & WRVO (based out of Syracuse) have only sought 1% per quarter than from what they were asking in 2002 yet WAMC has sought a 400% increase than what they were asking over the same time period.

So this begs the question, what exactly is WAMC using all that money for?

I ask because usually when times are tough such as these, nonprofits either make do w/ what they've got (therefore making the money stretch) or they ask for a livable less or cut their bloated overhead expenses.

Because of HOW all NPR stations conduct their fund drives (they keep going whether its for 7 hours, 7 days, or 7 weeks until they meet their goals), the station isn't compelled to take a hard look at their fiances.

Considering Alan Chertock's, WAMC's CEO & Chief on-air personality, ego would put Narcissus to shame, I'd question as whether he really cares. Don't believe me, here's a 3rd party report of the station playing "We Shall Overcome" & "Imagine" when they finally met their latest fund-raising goal. Sorry but I don't think Pete Seeger & Lennon pictured greed in being something to be proud of.

In other news...

This is Brittany, taking part in my "Abandonment Adventure" Series.

Unfortunately, this shoot got cut short from the cops shooing us away. :(


Feel free to comment away if you so desire.