Saturday, 28 June 2014

08:41 – Another front-page article in the paper this morning about the death of the child in the school bus incident, this one describing how the prosecution’s case fell apart. Everyone seems to agree that the prosecution was not at fault and did the right thing by going for the misdemeanor plea deal after the case ended in a mistrial. I disagree. I think they should have dismissed the charges and let the guy walk. They had no evidence that he’d committed any crime whatsoever, and strong evidence that what the driver had claimed happened was exactly what had happened.

All of that said, this guy is a moron. Who else drives at 45 MPH past a stopped school bus with its yellow lights flashing? Any normal person in that situation would take his foot off the accelerator, slow down, and be ready to brake. This guy just blew past the bus at 45 MPH, struck the child, and tossed his body 125 feet. So, we have a dead child who’d done nothing wrong and two adults who at the very least showed no sense. One of those adults will spend 30 days in jail, which at least may give him the opportunity to think about what happened. And then there’s the school bus driver, whose actions in turning around and sitting stopped with only the yellow lights flashing were in violation of policy and were at least in part responsible for the child’s death. As far as I know, she faces no disciplinary action, let alone termination.

22 thoughts on “Saturday, 28 June 2014”

  1. Agreed across the board, as I remarked the other day in my own scribbling, though summed up much more succinctly here today. If he’s gotta do 30 days in jail, so should the bus driver. They both totally sucked that day.

    80s again here today; back out to yard work in the cool breeze off the lake.

  2. How about the people who put the bus driver back behind the wheel after she’d been fired? Don’t they deserve some jail time?

  3. Gee, MrSteveF, you have no mercy. Surely the bureaucrats and staffing managers at the organization, presumably the school system for that town/city/county, are utterly blameless and cannot be faulted, esp. for their demonstrated commitment to “workplace diversity,” as was illustrated by their rehiring of the aforementioned operator despite her manifest disabilities. Have you no shame, sir?

    Failing any semblance of actual justice in that case; I would, if I lived down there, post pictures of the driver who sped past the bus, the bus driver herself and the people who put her back behind the wheel. I’d put the pics up as pseudo Wanted posters, with further identifying information and the facts of the case. Would have to be anonymous, of course, to avoid slander and libel laws, but it could be done. (via net and posters slapped up around the area) We need to do the same for all these renegade abusive cops, too, and the brass and town and city fathers and mothers who allow and enable their depredations.

  4. No need to simply put up Wanted posters on a website. Check out “Assassination Market” in a web search. There’s a bitcoin-denominated service by exactly that name, as well as others.

  5. Not sure if the death penalty is warranted in this case.

    But hey, lots of potential targets with money on their heads and it seemeth to me as though the right targets are at the top of the list. It’s gonna cost a lot more than the figures given, however.

  6. This can only happen in the Soviet Union, er, Florida:

    A Florida veteran who is facing foreclosure for insisting on displaying a small American flag in a flower pot on his front stoop is telling his homeowner’s association to “bring it on.”

  7. Initially I thought, tough twinkies; he read the rules when he bought his place there but apparently they changed the flag display rules on him recently and he wouldn’t go along. So that’s a problem for the lawyers, I guess, a changed contract. But if I was him and the flag was so goddamned critical, I’d go ahead and put up the pole like the new rule sez and display it that way. Of course they might still be dicks and change the rules again.

    The moral: don’t buy a home that’s part of an association like that, if you don’t wanna play be whatever rules the majority dreams up.

    I hope he’s got a lawyer, ’cause those fines are piling up, way more now than the cost of the pole. Stupid all the way round.

  8. Agreed with all others on the school bus incident. I have mentioned here before that I am freaked by things that do not appear normal, far more than others around me. A school bus stopped — whatever the lane, mine or the other — would bring me to a dead stop, unless it was parked against a curb. Another one that freaks me to inaction, is when my-direction traffic gets a green light, but nobody goes. Am I missing something they saw/heard?

    I do believe we are waaay behind other countries in lacking the alert emitted by car radios when emergency vehicles are in close range. This should also be activated when near school buses collecting/dismissing kids.

    However, I do not think parents and school officials are blameless in this, though. My observations are clear that even high school age kids RUN across street lanes when getting off school buses, and there should be a concerted effort to train kids not to do that. There was in my day. ‘Walk, don’t run’ applied at every street crossing, and back then, a great many downtown streets had a police officer overseeing traffic and pedestrians and any kid running would be immediately admonished. Does anybody else remember when police officers carried some kind of switch device that they plugged into the traffic signal box and controlled it from button pushes as they held it in their hand while directing traffic? Those were especially prevalent during the Christmas rush, which was a mere 2 weeks before Xmas back then.

  9. “A Florida veteran who is facing foreclosure for insisting on displaying a small American flag in a flower pot on his front stoop is telling his homeowner’s association to “bring it on.”

    If it were me in Florida, I’d hire one of those household security services…..George Zimmerman.

  10. Chuck, Chuck, Chuck; how many times I gotta tell ya? Everything is better now here. We got rid of all that old nonsense of teaching kids common sense and having cops even out on the street, let alone controlling traffic signals.

    Ah, yes, Zimmerman Security Services. Keep an eye on the condo in case one of the commie homeowners’ association clowns tries to swipe the flag from the flowerpot. Get into a tussle, roll around on the ground a bit, and then shoot the bastard. Proven concept.

  11. All Vets should move to the southern border states and set up residency on the Mexican border. Feel free to fly Old Glory and lock and load.

    And Pelosi just “wants to bring all those kids home with her.” She’s a multimillionaire many times over. She couldn’t even spring for some new panties, diapers and formula. Let the taxpayers pony up.

  12. Chuck W, I don’t like the idea of car radios emitting anything I don’t want: in other words, give me the option to turn such warnings OFF. Some of my cars don’t even HAVE radios, and of course none of my motorcycles do. The fallacy here is that eventually the auto driver will be blamed for something that should be the responsibility of the emergency vehicle driver. For example, headlights on motorcycles required to be ON at all times. When one is OFF or failed, the bike operator is sometimes blamed, at least partially, for a mishap, even if the light was irrelevant. In the eyes of the progressives, no nonconforming deed goes unpunished. This is just another loss of liberty, IMO.

    Let’s not even consider Center High Mounted Stop Lights, another feel-good item that has never been proven to reduce rear-end collisions. And, notice many of new cars that have glaring LEDs on the front. Are these a proven safety item (outside of Scandanavia, where it seems to be in perpetual twilight) or just a vanity symbol? We get all this nonsense instead of effective nonglaring headlights.

    I feel better now!

    First post from Mint 17 KDE, just loaded earlier today. It seems pretty good, except that LAN file sharing needs attention.

  13. “All Vets should move to the southern border states and set up residency on the Mexican border.”

    Too damn hot. Venomous reptiles. Bugs. Too much sand and dust. Tornadoes. Dust storms. Too damn hot.

    “She’s a multimillionaire many times over.”

    She’s just there for the photo ops, corral some new present and future voters, take some payoffs and kickbacks from narcotrafficantes and pretend to be a Roman Catholic.

    “First post from Mint 17 KDE, just loaded earlier today. It seems pretty good, except that LAN file sharing needs attention.”

    IIRC, Chuck finally got file sharing to work between his Mint box and a Windows box. Or maybe that was someone else. Or maybe I’m senile, on LSD again, and in another dimension, I forget.

    I have Mint something or other on another desktop here that I haven’t fired up in a while; should probably do so, check for updates and find out which one it is. Oh now I remember; it ain’t a desktop; it’s a laptop. Fedora 20 is on the desktop I haven’t fired up in a while, either. Both probably have scads of updates waiting. Just did 130+ updates on this Windows 8 box, a reinstall after continued hassles with 8.1 and 8.1 Pro. Will have to forget BitLocker and use the last version of TrueCrypt for encryption purposes, I reckon. But everything else seems to be A-OK again.

    Mrs. OFD gone tomorrow to assist MIL with painting and mulching ops at the house the latter has on the market with an immediate buyer it seems, a dude from Kalifornia.
    The latter also sez that when she sells that house, she’ll spring for a downstairs bathroom for us here, which will make it easier for her when she visits and also for us as we totter into frail decrepitude and decay.

    I’ll be on the house and yard details.

  14. An alert on the radio, when emergency vehicles are around? I’ve never run across that, but it doesn’t sound like a good idea. If people are listening to the radio, be it music or news, and this ist interrupted every time a police car, ambulance or school bus is on the next street over? This will irritate the bejesus out of folks.

    A much better bet is to encourage the autonomous cars. These are now inevitable – the only big hurdle remaining is fixing up the legal landscape.

    I’ve heard about the warning system y’all have on your mobile phones – thank god that hasn’t reached us here yet, at least, I’ve never seen such a thing. That’s a system just crying out for abuse by the powers-that-be. Sorta like the mobile phone “kill switch”, designed to disable stolen phones. Once this exists, just wait: it won’t be long until the government kills mobile phone of criminals, then of suspects, then of entirely innocent people…

    – – – – –

    The Florida case has nothing to do with flags and veteran status and everything to do with “giving little people a little power”. HOAs are just chock full of little people. The guy making the fuss is an idiot: he bought a home there, he has agreed to follow the rules, and I’m sure there’s a clause in the contract allowing the rules to change.

    – – – – –

    Center high-mounted brake lights. For some reason, I have very good memories of this whole story. They originally tested these for effectiveness by mounting them on 100 New York taxi cabs. Those cabs were rear-ended a lot less than the rest of the cabs. I think the reason I remember this is because I was in high school, taking science courses, and even to me it was glaringly obvious that there was no control case.

    The lights reduced accidents simply because they were unusual and attention-getting. In order to have any sort of valid study they also needed 100 taxi cabs with something else – anything else – glaringly unusual. Glue a pink elephant to the roof, paint the license plate neon green, anything. They didn’t do this, so the study was fundamentally flawed – but was used as the justification for requiring these lights in all new cars.

  15. I am not necessarily against the ability to turn the radio alarm off, but not for the sole reason that it constitutes some kind of invasion of privacy issue. If that alarm would have saved that poor little kid’s life, who was running home to have a good rest of the day, then it should be mandatory for everyone, IMO.

    Fact is, I have a similar complaint, because I have always made one motion out of getting into the car and sweeping my hand with the keys into the ignition and starting the car, THEN closing the door and fastening seat belt. This makes the seat-belt alarm go off every single time I get into the car. In one car, to defeat that, meant killing the seat-belt signal for all occupants, which is not likely a good idea, because I use a seat belt and want others riding with me to do the same — or else not ride as passengers with me.

    Moreover, my cars have always been quiet models (no jeeps or trucks), and I often run the radio loud enough to hear plainly (not just as noise background, like many people do) and that car radio alarm in Germany (radios in cars are mandatory in Germany) I am quite sure saves lives, and would do so here. I loved it. With streets narrow and congested and intersections often having obstructed views, it gave just the right warning when emergency vehicles were in the area. (BTW, the alarm does not go off when the siren is blocks away; it is activated when the emergency vehicle is quite close. Whatever the electronics, it is able to discern whether the siren is approaching or leaving, and stops almost immediately once it passes.)

    Of course, few people drive a lot in Berlin, but out of 10 years there, I think that warning went off maybe 3 or 4 times when I was driving. It is not a raucous sound, like the weather warnings here, but a soft, gentle low-pitched tone that alternated frequency like the “doo-dah” of European sirens. It did, in fact, interrupt all radio transmission, but I was always glad to have the warning. Also, there were FAR fewer sirens in Berlin than even here in Tiny Town (pop. ~7,500). Sirens here blare several dozen times a day; but we were on a hospital route for ambulances in Strausberg, and many days there were no sirens at all (emergency vehicles did not use sirens unless it was a true, life-threatening medical emergency — unlike the farmer boys who love those sirens and drive fast on EVERY run here in Tiny Town). A heavy day might have 2 or 3 sirens, and they were usually from carrying multiple people from accident scenes one after another.

    As I have many times mentioned before, I am more in line with Greg on regulations. This free-for-all that some libertarians call for, is not sensible IMO. If society is going to live together closely, there have to be rules. If you want to see them operate more-or-less sensibly, then live in Germany for a while. I am probably closest to the anarchism that Emma Goldman describes. It is NOT life with no rules at all. Her “anarchy” describes the people pushing against government, not a world with no government. It is a society that puts ordinary people first, and strives to keep organizations from trampling over workers by giving them power and rights in running the organizations they work for, in order to be free from involuntary slavery which our country lets people and organizations with wealth buy. With the works councils that Germany has, Emma’s vision is pretty much how life operates there. Management there does not WANT to make big changes without getting input from the works councils first. Financial investment does not trump worker rights nor squash worker input and demands in Emma’s world.

    However, I agree that there needs to be statistical support for things like high-mounted brake lights and even changes to headlight illumination — I am almost blinded by the super-white light many new cars now use at night. Nevertheless, there is no doubt in my mind that those high-mounted brake lights give me advance warning of what cars ahead of the one ahead of me are doing. I often can see the beginning of slowdowns 2 and 3 cars ahead of me with those lights. Depending solely on the car in front of me, who is often holding a phone to the ear at 70 mph is just plain unsafe. Their reaction times are unquestionably slowed by talking on the phone while driving fast.

    I also like cars that have the brake lights that flash rapidly when the driver is braking hard. That is a kind of haptic-like sensory feedback (visual, though) that communicates useful information.

    In networking with Mint 17, there was a fix I employed, which involved installing a package and implementing some kind of additional DNS abilities. It was in a list of fixes on a Mint forum with a ‘networking with Windows’ topic, and was 2 or 3 down the list of things to try. I posted the link here recently, so try searching this site for that using “Chuck” in your search terms. I have had no problems whatever since implementing that fix. I can now see Linux, Mac, and Windows machines on networks at home and in the radio office, with no problems at all.

    Permissions, owners, and groups are the bear in Linux. I really think one has to have had some Unix programming experience to truly understand the how and why of those issues. Those I know with programming experience can work quickly through permissions problems that prevent something from working properly. The rest of us have research in store, looking for the fix.

  16. Samba started working spontaneously; now I remember that was the case on earlier versions of Mint. Thanks for the networking fix, I will find it and try it.

    Right about the CHMSL taxi study. I remember an SAE article about that. Also, one Detroit engineer who said the government can mandate anything, whether effective or not. It is all profitable and non competitive.

    My perspective on emergencies is somewhat different because I live in a small remote community. We barely have a rush minute! Like OFD, I live near a lake, but it is dry. In fact, it is about as different here as I could imagine. Home sweet home.

  17. The latter also sez that when she sells that house, she’ll spring for a downstairs bathroom for us here, which will make it easier for her when she visits and also for us as we totter into frail decrepitude and decay.

    A drunk guy with a shovel, a hammer, nails and some 2x6s?

    Of course, what would be nice is a full master suite with a new bathroom for the master and a new bathroom for the rest of the house.

  18. BTW, when you do add that new potty, good luck with your local hysterical society. They will probably insist on architectural review with 1850s bricks, plumbing and all that good stuff. Oh wait, plumbing in the 1850s was a chamberpot that was emptied out the nearest window. Nasty!

  19. The local historical society here will not be inspecting the procedures. The only thing we gotta worry about when the time comes, is when we demolish the existing back porch and put in a nice deck; the state just set up new regs for property owners within 250 feet of the shoreline; we may have to fill out some paperwork or something, we’ll see. Their concern is protecting lakeshore vegetation and drainage which is also our concern.

    As for emptying chamberpots, I never tire of informing Mrs. OFD that the whole world is my bathroom.

  20. OFD, you ought to pee on the side of your MIL’s car. If it’s good enough for our four-footed pets just-as-good-as-human companions, it’s good enough for you. And just think how the smell of piss on the tires will cover up that nasty rubber smell.

  21. I may have already done that once or twice back in the day when I was still slugging down the joy-juice and worshiping Lord Vodka. Inadvertently, of course.

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