Tag Archives: urban news

DUI

Over the next couple of days, I’m going to post some of the articles that I have written for the Urban News over the past several months. Let me know what you think. –

dui

It is time for us to get serious about drinking under the influence. We continue to treat this problem as if it were a college prank. It ain’t. We are talking about life and death. It is a privilege to drive a car, not a right. I believe that cars are a necessary part of being an American. There are only a few places in this country in which you can get around without a car. Everywhere else, you need a car; therefore, you need to adhere to the rules that each state has which govern who can drive a car.

A 20-something with 2 small children in his pickup truck is driving too fast on his way to Wal-Mart. His reflexes are impaired from his daily usage of methamphetamines. He doesn’t see the red light, or he believes that he can just run it. Halfway through the intersection, he slams into the driver’s side door of a Mini-Cooper. The 53-year-old mother of two is sitting in the front passenger’s seat, She is wearing a seat belt, but is killed instantly. What makes matters worse is that this killer was arrested 18 months earlier for driving under the influence when he hit several park cars. No one was injured in that crash. How many times does he have to kill or injure someone before we understand that cars can be used as deadly weapons when the wrong person is behind the wheel?

In 2013, over 32,000 people died on American roads. 32,000 is a lot of people. The good news is that we drive safer cars and more and more of us are surviving crashes. Alcohol is estimated to be involved in somewhere between 50 and 90% of motor vehicle crashes. This doesn’t include other mind-altering substances like methamphetamines, oxycodone, Valium, anti-depressants or any of a number of other drugs that dull the senses and slow the reflexes.

Trauma Surgeons, like me, have been trying to get the American public NOT to say “motor vehicle accident.” An accident is something that really can’t be prevented. A toddler running with a drink in his/her hand will spill it. That really isn’t preventable. As long as toddlers have drinks in their hands, they will spill. On the other hand, driving a car is different. There should be some thought going into the basic operation of a motor vehicle. Sometimes, we are driving too fast for the conditions. Sometimes we aren’t paying attention. Before you back up, you check your mirrors and look behind you before you backup. Right? I think that automated cars will be great help. They will be doing all of the basic “thinking” for us. Many of the crashes that we see today will be eliminated. Unfortunately, none of us can go and buy a Google car tomorrow. (I think that the Google Car will be great for some of us who have some issues will reflexes and eyesight.)

Ethan Couch is the boy who has been labeled by the media as suffering from Affluenza (being given too much by his parents). Couch was 16 years old when he was involved in a motor vehicle crash. He killed 4 people and injured 2 others. His alcohol level was a sobering 0.24, 3 times the legal limit. The judge thought that this was some type of minor offense. Ethan got no jail time. He got 10 years’ probation. What is that? If I drove my car across the judge’s lawn, I promise you he would give me more than just probation. Now, Ethan is back in the news because he is running from the law after having been caught on video drinking at a party. Can someone do the right thing and throw this guy in jail?

Look, there are tons of injustices in our society. There are some things that we really can’t figure out. This isn’t one of those situations. If you believe in justice, then folks who take mind-altering substances and then drive a car deserve to be thrown in jail for a good, long time. If we lean toward “being nice” and allow these folks to go scott-free, then aren’t we saying that the lives that were stolen had no value? To me, life is a gift and should be valued.

Mitt Romney lies – same as it ever was

(I wrote this for the Urban News several days ago. I wrote it before the vice presidential debate.)

One candidate’s views change with the wind

The new wave band, Talking Heads, had a song called “Once in a Lifetime.” There was a refrain in that song in which the lead singer, David Byrne, hauntingly sang, “Same as it ever was, same as it ever was.” As I watch the debates, I was thinking just that: “same as it ever was.”

Just a few months ago, I wrote a column for the Urban News that was entitled “Lies and More Lies,” in which I outlined Mitt Romney’s loose affiliation with the truth. I’m sure that President Obama as he stood at the lectern during the Wednesday night debate thought about saying, “I’ll start speaking when you say something that’s true.”

When you think about it, it’s kind of amazing that someone would stand up in front of the American people and tell not just one lie but, instead, a whole host of lies. In this article, I cannot recount all the lies that Mitt Romney told just in that 90-minute debate: the newspaper cannot give me enough space. But national fact checkers have come up with at least 27 separate instances where Mitt Romney simply did not tell the truth. Here are a few of them.

Romney stated he’s not going to raise taxes on middle-class families. Okay. Maybe he decided, just before he went on stage, that the tax plan on his own website was garbage and that, starting then, he would run on some other tax plan. Maybe that’s because the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center analyzed the one on his web site and said it cannot be balanced without raising taxes on the middle class. Continue reading Mitt Romney lies – same as it ever was

Clearing the Air

(I wrote this last month for the Urban News. Enjoy.)

I was all ready to follow up last month’s article with another one on the economy. I was going to spend a good deal of time revealing through solid data that austerity does not work. We can not cut our way to prosperity. In short, the Austrian austerity folks are wrong, as I’ll explain more next month. But for now, I would like to clear the air and address some of the lies, rumors, and misstatements that are dominating the news media.

Birtherism and Racism
A few weeks ago Mitt Romney “jokingly” stated, “No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we (my wife and I) were born and raised.” Mitt Romney’s statement got me thinking: Why would Barack Obama be hounded about his birth certificate and Mitt Romney isn’t? Both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama had fathers who were born outside of the United States. Both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are highly educated. They both obtained advanced degrees from Harvard University. Yet, for some reason, it is okay to openly question Barack Obama’s origins, while it is automatically assumed that Mitt Romney was born right here in the good old USA. Is it impossible to believe that a black man could be born in this country, educated in this country, and rise to become President of the United States?

Our Bloated Government
Just the other day Sen. Rand Paul asserted that one of the reasons our economic recovery has been so slow is that we have a bloated government. According to this Kentucky optometrist, there are just too many people on the government payroll. This story plays into the Republican mantra – (paraphrasing Ronald Reagan’s famous line) that “The Government Is the Problem.” The truth is, if the government were to keep growing at the same rate it grew under George W. Bush, we would have 1.5 million more government employees. Just this simple act alone would push the unemployment rate below 7%. Over 600,000 government employees (federal, state and local) have been laid off during the Obama administration. This is a fact. A huge number of those layoffs have occurred in “red” states, where Republican legislators and governors slashed budgets and eliminated tens of thousands of teachers and other public employees – then, having deliberately increased their state unemployment rates, they blame President Obama and the Democrats in Congress for the loss of jobs. Continue reading Clearing the Air