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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Mark Grace on serving time in jail: ‘It’s my fault’

Dutch courage is Grace under pressure.

“In this world of blame game, it’s like Democrats and Republicans blame each other, countries blame each other … (but) I did this,” Grace said Monday after throwing batting practice to Diamondback minor leaguers. “The Diamondbacks didn’t do anything wrong. The cop didn’t screw me. The judge didn’t screw me. The prosecutor didn’t screw me. It’s a lesson learned, and especially out here. These laws out here, they don’t mess around. I knew that.

“You can sit here and make all the excuses you want. But at the end of the day, it’s my fault. I did it, and I’m going to pay my debt to the state of Arizona and be done with it. And it will never happen again. I can promise you it will never happen again, because if it happens again I’m going to prison for like two years, and my children deserve better than that. My friends deserve better than that.

“I’m going to be better for it. It sucks. I’m not going to kid you. But you know what? I’m a big boy, and I always try to teach my kids accountability, so I have to be accountable, too, and accept the fact I made a bad decision and I’m paying the price for it.”

...Grace isn’t sure if he’ll get another broadcasting job but said he enjoys working with young players who need coaching. The hardest part so far has been missing his sons, Preston and 12-year-old Jackson, playing against each other in a youth baseball league game.

Both of the youngsters understand he’s paying a big price for his mistake.

“They know it, they get it and they understand it,” he said. “I’m setting a bad, yet good example for them. If you break the law, you pay the price. ‘Don’t do what Dad did.’”

Repoz Posted: March 12, 2013 at 09:13 AM | 329 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cubs, diamondbacks

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   101. zonk Posted: March 12, 2013 at 09:57 PM (#4387371)
I have an occasional beer with lunch - the beauty of working for Europeans, I guess.

Years ago during my table waiting and bartending days, a buddy of mine picked up a double shift -- but made the mistake of joining us for lunch and drinks across the street. One of the cooks - a big, orca dude - was also going back for the evening and my friend made the mistake of trying to stick with him, beer for beer (IIRC, he even took the lead).... 200 lbs in weight difference and your job requiring you to talk to people not in the hilarity turned out to be quite the detriment.

Sadly, I only got to hear about it the next day -- but my understanding is that the manager finally had enough when my friend began disrobing at a table.
   102. cardsfanboy Posted: March 12, 2013 at 10:14 PM (#4387378)
Wow, the people in these studies must be shitty drivers


I know plenty of drunks who say the same thing.
   103. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: March 12, 2013 at 10:21 PM (#4387380)
It was something new to me, being in the military and retail, neither of which allowed drinking at all during work hours, it was somewhat refreshing.


We always had beer in the ready room fridge. The rule was, when the last flight of the day landed, you were good to go.
   104. base ball chick Posted: March 12, 2013 at 11:12 PM (#4387395)
Jack Carter, International Man of Minstrelry Posted: March 12, 2013 at 05:38 PM (#4387161)

Look, I'm all for more and better public transportation. but getting rid of private autos is such a ridiculous impracticality, that it's silly to discuss it.


Having lived in a successful community where there was no private automobile ownership, I find your comment, frankly, silly.


- jack
that might could work successfully in a small, closed community where everyone knows everyone well. it's like an extra large family

it wouldn't even work on our block. i wouldn't trust the other people to not smoke, drink, do drugs, have guns, etc in the "community" vehicle. and this isn't even getting into the question of how we all gonna go to different churches on sunday morning. or take kids to school. it doesn't work

and you can't carry even a few days worth of food and dry goods for a family of 5 or 6 on any public transportation
   105. Austin Posted: March 12, 2013 at 11:43 PM (#4387411)
I think U of C is definitely an outlier and also being urban, such schools are always a bit different in that city cops could theoretically arrest your ass if you act a fool in the wrong place.

At Princeton (and, come to think of it, it's about to be ten years since I was a freshman), it's just the old people with flashlights unless you get into a fight or need to be hospitalized.


The thing is that although the school is urban, it employs the second-largest private police force in the country, which patrols an area extending several blocks past the edge of campus in each direction. The Chicago police happily leave the area alone and turn their attention to other, more crime-ridden spots. So what actually ends up happening is that the campus is placed in a bubble with officers who are instructed to break up parties when they get too loud or too wild, but who never (and I mean never) cite students for underage drinking or public intoxication. I despise the fact that the school does this, because the university police sure as hell don't give the same special treatment to the poor, black residents of Hyde Park; it's only the students and other white residents (almost all of whom are associated with the university) who benefit. Even setting aside the moral repugnance, you can guess what this differential treatment does to the relationship between the university and the working-class community surrounding it.

We had a nickname for hospitalization. It was called being "PMC'd," as in Princeton Medical Center. But if you were only vomit-y and not unconscious, you'd usually just get McCosh'd, which was the health center on campus. It was possible to be McCosh'd (because your friends could carry you there) and have the staff determine PMC was needed.


This past summer, one of my apartmentmates brought back a party from one of his friend's places and ended up drinking to the point that he was barely conscious. We had to call an ambulance, but we were shocked to discover that the University of Chicago Medical Center is closed to ambulances between midnight and 5 AM (apparently, they don't want to deal with the uninsured people with severe trauma and drug overdoses that are disproportionately common at these hours). So he went instead to a hospital in one of the poorer areas of the South Side. One of his "friends" who accompanied him to the hospital (who, of course, was still very drunk) made a complete ass of himself, accusing the hospital of doing a bunch of unnecessary procedures to extract as much money as possible from him and his insurance. The staff had quite a low tolerance for this type of inflammatory nonsense and asked him to leave. Thankfully, he did. Never before have I so badly wanted to tell someone to go #### himself. Unfortunately, I never got a chance to, as I haven't seen him since that night.

Anyway, the amount we drank in college was not at all wise or healthy (and then I decided to live in South Korea for two years afterwards; talk about frying pan and fire, alcohol-wise). We usually had a handful (actually it was usually 7) of shots before we went out and drank (awful) beer all night (and smoked.. things). But I did all of my schoolwork and graduated on time (not all of my friends can say this, but some of the ones who can't are making a lot more money than I do in my nonprofit life, ha).

With all that said - and I don't think much has changed, since I go back once a year and find my "old" ass can't hack it for more than a weekend - no one ever drove after drinking, ever. Because there was nowhere to drive to. And everyone (97% of us) lived on campus.

Horrible for livers (and waistlines), but at least we never had issues with DUIs. Also, because of our bizarre social club deal, we didn't pay out of pocket for drinks on or near campus (we paid - or had them paid for - by semester ahead of time), so it was a lot easier not to think about how many you had. Those 7 shots would eat my budget, aside from the fact that, even at only 26, I absolutely cannot do very many (and drinking slowly is a lot more fun, because adulthood is a good thing).

(Mind you, I am 5'5' and not very heavy.)

It wasn't uncommon to pick up a 30 pack for yourself and expect to drink the whole thing on a Saturday, and not as any kind of contest.


I have no idea how it's possible to have so much alcohol on a regular basis, or at all for that matter. I don't drink, but at 5'8", 120 lbs, I can tell you that I would be quite unconscious and possibly dead. It would also be ####### expensive. So I guess it makes sense that at Princeton, one of the reasons people drank so much is that you were effectively incentivized to get your money's worth.

Ha - ya think? I went to Northwestern. We were almost like a real college environment compared to you guys.


Hey, we do have a large number of "normal" college students. There are many aspects of the culture here that I don't like, but it's entirely possible to join a frat and surround yourself with people who will give you a pretty standard college social life.

My college years included plenty of booze, including Friday afternoons where everyone in my major congregated in the building's lounge and drank dollar Heinies courtesy of the departmental budget. And drove home, of course.


The chemistry department here does that for its graduate students, but (a) chemistry is probably the field with the strongest remaining "good ol' boy" culture, and (b) they don't do it for their undergrads.

I get a kick out of commercials showing people waiting for, or on the bus. They're usually very normal looking. I took the bus for several years and most of the passengers were people you wouldn't want to be near (me being an exception, of course). One day a guy flagged the bus down and got on complaining that he had just been shot (this was around 1 in the afternoon). You could see he was bleeding pretty good from the shoulder. So the bus driver called for an ambulance and the guy was sitting there in obvious pain. A couple of passengers tried to comfort him. Meanwhile we have to sit and wait for the ambulance. Some people were getting antsy, just wanting to get where they were going. Not me, of course...

If there were a high speed rail line that had a stop directly outside my front door and ran non stop to my day job, I would still drive. I have no desire to smell people and listen to them shout into their cell phones. Have fun with that.


Where on earth do you two live? Even on the South Side of Chicago, I've rarely been bothered by other people on the bus or the train. Seedy people that you would want to avoid are very rare, and the vast majority keep to themselves. People almost never shout, and I've literally never smelled B.O. from a fellow passenger. Is the bus-riding population much sketchier in smaller cities where those who can afford to avoid public transportation generally do so?
   106. Bhaakon Posted: March 13, 2013 at 12:36 AM (#4387431)
Where on earth do you two live? Even on the South Side of Chicago, I've rarely been bothered by other people on the bus or the train. Seedy people that you would want to avoid are very rare, and the vast majority keep to themselves. People almost never shout, and I've literally never smelled B.O. from a fellow passenger. Is the bus-riding population much sketchier in smaller cities where those who can afford to avoid public transportation generally do so?


I live in San Francisco, and it's a major issue there. Either its rush hour, and the system is taxed past capacity, or you get homeless people who use the local transit system as a place to sleep (and go to the bathroom, for some reason), beggar, and people hawking bootlegs. I get the impression that homeless people are less of a problem where the local climate makes it impossible to live on the street year round.
   107. Austin Posted: March 13, 2013 at 02:09 AM (#4387440)
Hmm. You may be right about that. There are a few homeless people with massive piles of blankets who seem to live year-round under rail overpasses, but they're certainly the exception. Then again, I'm not sure that homeless people comprise a large fraction of the questionable people on buses. Where would they get the money for the fare? Where would they be trying to go? There are occasional beggars and people hawking bootleg items, but I only encounter them once every... twenty trips, maybe? Not enough to be a real annoyance. It seems like people in Chicago are just better put together than in some other places, but I couldn't tell you why. Is there a better social safety net?
   108. Squash Posted: March 13, 2013 at 03:18 AM (#4387445)
But yes there have been studies on talking and driving, and they generally found that 1. talking to a passenger while driving doesn't really hinder your ability 2. That talking on the phone, regardless of whether it was with a hands free device, speaker phone or on the phone itself, is roughly equivalent to about .12 bac in performance. 3. That even after you quit talking/texting that up to 10 minutes later your ability to perform is impaired.

I've noticed that, for whatever reason, when I talk on the phone when I'm driving, even hands free, for whatever reason I'm somehow greatly, greatly more distracted than when I'm talking to someone sitting in the passenger seat, and that yes indeed I'm still not quite as alert a few minutes after. I wonder why this is - it would be interesting to learn what exactly drives this process. It's the same thing when I'm walking down the street, for example - if I'm on the phone I'm considerably less aware of my surroundings than if I'm talking to someone walking with me, sometimes detrimentally - I may forget to look both ways before crossing, you don't notice other people, etc. I suspect I'm not alone in this. They should hook someone up to an MRI or whatever and figure out which different parts of the brain are firing during the two modes of conversation.


I went to one of the small private schools on the East coast, which did have a few fraternities. I'd say about 15-20% of the student body was boozing heavily on a regular basis (of which I was one, often) but it felt like significantly more were because that 15-20% made up the more loud/wider social group kids on campus. I'd be surprised to find the percentage at my school was that different really from other schools in general - it seems like for every dorm hall I know anything about or had/have visited, for every rowdy ####### roaming the place hammered there were three or four quiet kids in their rooms doing their homework or whatever it is they do. But that 15-20% sure can make a lot of noise.
   109. Squash Posted: March 13, 2013 at 03:22 AM (#4387447)
I live in San Francisco, and it's a major issue there. Either its rush hour, and the system is taxed past capacity, or you get homeless people who use the local transit system as a place to sleep (and go to the bathroom, for some reason), beggar, and people hawking bootlegs.

As a former SF resident, I can confirm that the buses in particular there are pretty crazy. Part of it's just that SF has a ton of homeless people, more than any other city I've been in, due to the very lenient for lack of a better word treatment of them there. As I recall they are/were getting subsidized Muni passes, so a lot of them just hang out on the bus.
   110. Bhaakon Posted: March 13, 2013 at 04:17 AM (#4387450)
Then again, I'm not sure that homeless people comprise a large fraction of the questionable people on buses. Where would they get the money for the fare?


Panhandling is an institution in the SF area. I don't want to pretend like I've studied it, but I wouldn't be surprised if someone with a good spot and a good schtick can get $30+ an hour (though I'm sure most earn far less). I don't know if it's like this elsewhere, but in San Francisco having a memorable panhandling gimmick will turn you into an local celebrity. I guess we just like creative forms of crazy (or crazy like a fox). Public transit here is only a couple dollars, though, so even the unsuccessful ones can probably scrape together enough for a ride with little effort.
   111. GotowarMissAgnes Posted: March 13, 2013 at 05:11 AM (#4387452)
Anyone who thinks the alcohol industry hasn't done a good lobbying job just needs to look at trends in tax rates on cigarettes and booze.
   112. Bhaakon Posted: March 13, 2013 at 06:01 AM (#4387454)
Anyone who thinks the alcohol industry hasn't done a good lobbying job just needs to look at trends in tax rates on cigarettes and booze.


How about comparing the number of dry counties to smokeless ones.
   113. Leroy Kincaid Posted: March 13, 2013 at 07:13 AM (#4387460)
Where on earth do you two live?

I do live in a crappy, smaller city. So my experience may not be typical.

I live in San Francisco, and it's a major issue there.

Saw something on TV recently about a guy in SF who had such a bad experience on that city's bus system he started recording and (I think) posting to youtube. They showed a brawl between two older ladies. He ended up getting a scooter.
   114. Greg K Posted: March 13, 2013 at 08:10 AM (#4387474)
What's the bus etiquette in various places?

In Toronto people seem to only talk to the bus driver to yell at him, whereas in Regina and Nottingham it is universally followed custom to thank the driver as you get off. One element in this is that Toronto buses have a separate exit door at the back, so there's not really any opportunity to thank the driver.

My best bus experience was probably Thanksgiving weekend in Regina. Bus service ended early because of the holiday, and I think I caught the very last bus of the day to go to my friend's for Thanksgiving dinner at about 5pm. I was the only guy on the bus, and the driver was expecting a pretty deserted route, so he offered to just drive me directly to my friend's door.

Worst bus experience* was probably having my bus get pulled over in Winnipeg for speeding, which caused a nice delay. As bonus idiocy when I eventually got off the bus, I left my laptop on it. So I had to chase it down the street and get it back.

Well no, my worst bus experience was sitting, extremely hungover, in the aisle of a greyhound type bus and then having the driver pull over somewhere between Brussels and Cologne to come back and yell at me in German for a while. But let's call this, the worst municipal bus category.
   115. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: March 13, 2013 at 08:15 AM (#4387478)
extremely hungover, in the aisle of a greyhound type bus

Don't drink and (let someone else) drive!
   116. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: March 13, 2013 at 08:42 AM (#4387488)
There are occasional beggars and people hawking bootleg items, but I only encounter them once every... twenty trips, maybe? Not enough to be a real annoyance. It seems like people in Chicago are just better put together than in some other places, but I couldn't tell you why. Is there a better social safety net?


The hawkers etc totally depends on what train or bus line you're taking. When I take the Green Line north from 55th, someone comes through selling something or panhandling on probably every third trip.

The lower homelessness level in Chicago is entirely a function of climate. You have to be hardy to survive a Chicago winter if you're truly homeless. Generally speaking, northern cities will always have less homelessness than their economics and safety net would suggest, simply because you can't survive the winter. A place like San Francisco is a real paradise by comparison.

Oh, and the U of C is a completely unique environment. You can't draw any conclusions about anything from it.
   117. tfbg9 Posted: March 13, 2013 at 08:47 AM (#4387491)
@88: 1979-1982

And in my day, Grass Roots was popular as well. What a gold mine.
   118. zonk Posted: March 13, 2013 at 08:59 AM (#4387497)
Given a choice between the bus and Chicago's El -- I'll take the El every time... I'm not anti-bus, but I think the perceived more... let's say, colorful nature... of bus passengers is more a function of capacity on the individual carrier. In an El car with shady characters, you can always just walk to the next car. On the bus, you're going to be watching or perhaps participating in the floor show whether you want to or not.

I've definitely had more dubious experiences on the El than a bus - but that's purely a function of using the former more often.

One other thing I've noticed on the El - there was a real problem with the shell game types, aggressive panhandlers, etc on the El 20 years ago. That dropped sharply in the late 90s/early aughts when the CTA got pretty aggressive about having live conductors walking the cars. With cutbacks - that sort of thing definitely seems to be on the upswing.
   119. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 13, 2013 at 09:15 AM (#4387504)

Those easy, effective mass transit systems only work in areas with crazy high density, where the drive is much longer than the mass transit alternative, and they still don't come close to paying for themselves.

Look I take Metro North every day; 45 minutes on the train beats 1:15 in the car. But, this summer we're moving to Jersey City, and you can be damned sure I'm going to drive 1 hour (on the days I can't work from home) rather than spend 1:45 on 4 separate train lines.

Even in the densest, most mass transit saturated city in the US (NY), lots of commutes don't work by mass transit.

For most of the US, public transit will always be less efficient than cars. We're spread out too much.


Well of course, we are spread out because of the mass proliferation of automobile use. Were many people to no longer use automobiles as much, we'd have denser cities.

Like I said, its not for everyone, but the fact is, outside of NY/Wash/Chicago and maybe a few other cities, you HAVE to drive. I'd just like it if we had more options, reduced driving overall, and reduced the amount of road fatalities.

Anyone who thinks the alcohol industry hasn't done a good lobbying job just needs to look at trends in tax rates on cigarettes and booze.


How about comparing the number of dry counties to smokeless ones.


I'm a bit confused. Haven't booze tax rates gone up quite a bit? Back when the states were hurting during the recession, nearly every state looked to increase alcohol taxes as a painless way to generate revenues.

The dry/wet county trend is almost always a local ballot initiative, I'm not sure how much lobbying goes into local efforts like that.
   120. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: March 13, 2013 at 09:28 AM (#4387509)
Well of course, we are spread out because of the mass proliferation of automobile use. Were many people to no longer use automobiles as much, we'd have denser cities.

Chicken, egg. This ain't Europe: America is a big, big country, with lots of space and lots of ambitious people who want as big a chunk of it as they can get.

As far as getting people to give up their cars: you and what army? That genie's been out of the bottle for a century, and barring $1,000 a gallon gas or this country becoming an eco-dictatorship, it's not going back in.
   121. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 13, 2013 at 09:34 AM (#4387512)

As far as getting people to give up their cars: you and what army? That genie's been out of the bottle for a century, and barring $1,000 a gallon gas or this country becoming an eco-dictatorship, it's not going back in.


The End of Car Ownership (in the Developed World, at Least)

When it comes to cars and young people in America, every trend line is pointing down-right. Car sales? Down 11 percentage points. License ownership? Down 28 percent. Miles driven? Falling fast. Car companies hope this is a peculiar outcome of the U.S. recession. But in fact, the move away from cars is bigger than the U.S. (and bigger than the recession).
   122. flournoy Posted: March 13, 2013 at 09:43 AM (#4387515)
What's Youth Got to Do with It? Exploring the Travel Behavior of Teens and Young Adults

Second, all 50 states have now adopted graduated driver’s licensing programs, making teen licensing more difficult and restrictive (with respect to time, trip purpose, and passengers) than in previous eras (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 2012). Third, unemployment rates during the current recession are highest for youth, thereby reducing journey-to-work and work-related travel and limiting the resources teens and young adults have to pay for non-work activities (and associated travel) of all types.


   123. zonk Posted: March 13, 2013 at 09:57 AM (#4387520)
Habits, though, no matter how they become habits do tend to become... well... habits...

   124. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: March 13, 2013 at 10:07 AM (#4387527)
121 - This is, in part, a response to higher gas prices / the perception that they will stay higher than they once were, right? Hard to substitute away from driving in the short term, but, given time, you can plan. If so, should be partly countermanded by rising mileage standards, no?

119 - I love public transportation, especially subways. Yet, I never use it and voted against a light rail initiative that would likely stop reasonably close to my house (3.5 mi or so)... just does not meet the needs of my current lifestyle / daily schedule + think the latter is impractical for a region (Research Triangle) with a lot of suburban sprawl.
Ain't that America...

I'm normally not persuaded by arguments like the following and suspect you folks wouldn't be either but... I'm totally convinced that I (as an individual, not a representative of my nation or anything) am more distracted by people talking to me in my car (especially if they're my children) than I am talking via a speakerphone (short of conducting a business meeting). I've never missed a turn or suddenly become cognizant that I was less aware of changing traffic patterns than I ought be from phone use, I can't claim the same when my kids are fighting.
(Obviously, laws should not be based on my beliefs about my driving.)

What about GPS software, is that too distracting to allow in cars? Or music players?
   125. Austin Posted: March 13, 2013 at 10:08 AM (#4387529)
As a former SF resident, I can confirm that the buses in particular there are pretty crazy. Part of it's just that SF has a ton of homeless people, more than any other city I've been in, due to the very lenient for lack of a better word treatment of them there. As I recall they are/were getting subsidized Muni passes, so a lot of them just hang out on the bus.


Aside from climate, in what ways are they treated leniently? Subsidized bus passes do seem like a well-intentioned but possibly bad idea.

Panhandling is an institution in the SF area. I don't want to pretend like I've studied it, but I wouldn't be surprised if someone with a good spot and a good schtick can get $30+ an hour (though I'm sure most earn far less). I don't know if it's like this elsewhere, but in San Francisco having a memorable panhandling gimmick will turn you into an local celebrity. I guess we just like creative forms of crazy (or crazy like a fox). Public transit here is only a couple dollars, though, so even the unsuccessful ones can probably scrape together enough for a ride with little effort.


That's interesting. I've never thought of panhandling as a lucrative profession, but I suppose when you stop to think about it, $1 every couple of minutes seems pretty realistic if you're in a crowded area. Even if you haven't studied it, I'd be curious to hear a couple of examples of interesting shtick.

The hawkers etc totally depends on what train or bus line you're taking. When I take the Green Line north from 55th, someone comes through selling something or panhandling on probably every third trip.


Yeah, I'm sure you're right about that. I predominantly ride the 6, and to a lesser extent the 55 and the Red Line. Those clearly aren't representative of all Chicago public transit, but when I've taken buses to other places on the South Side, they've been completely uneventful rides even though (or possibly because) I'm normally the only non-African-American on the whole bus. I normally don't take the Green Line, but that's purely because the area around the Garfield stop seems a little too sketchy even for me. When I have taken it, there have been noticeably more hawkers, and it certainly has a reputation as a location for shady activities, particularly late at night.

The lower homelessness level in Chicago is entirely a function of climate. You have to be hardy to survive a Chicago winter if you're truly homeless. Generally speaking, northern cities will always have less homelessness than their economics and safety net would suggest, simply because you can't survive the winter. A place like San Francisco is a real paradise by comparison.


Do you know of a good study on this? I tried looking up homelessness statistics for a few cities, but they're hard to compare because nobody seems to use quite the same criteria. It certainly seems right, though.

Oh, and the U of C is a completely unique environment. You can't draw any conclusions about anything from it.


Is it really that unique? At any rate, the undergraduate student body is rapidly becoming very similar to other top-tier private schools because (for whatever reason) applicants have started seeing it as interchangeable, not as some place full of hyper-intellectual weirdos. Do you know if there's anything in particular about the graduate programs that makes them different from similar ones at other schools? The economics department will continue to have an outsize influence for the foreseeable future, and the existence of the Core will probably discourage a certain subset of people from applying, but aside from those things, I find it pretty easy to envision the University losing most of its uniqueness within the next couple of decades.

Given a choice between the bus and Chicago's El -- I'll take the El every time... I'm not anti-bus, but I think the perceived more... let's say, colorful nature... of bus passengers is more a function of capacity on the individual carrier. In an El car with shady characters, you can always just walk to the next car. On the bus, you're going to be watching or perhaps participating in the floor show whether you want to or not.

I've definitely had more dubious experiences on the El than a bus - but that's purely a function of using the former more often.


So have I, but I take the bus much more often. I think the El is attractive precisely because there are more people on it, and in particular, more people with money. If you're panhandling or trying to sell something, you can easily walk the whole length of the train looking for easy prey. On a bus, not only are there many fewer passengers, but they also tend to be poorer, and fewer of them are gullible tourists. Plus, the driver is within range of sight and hearing, so in theory, someone could go up to him or her and complain.
   126. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: March 13, 2013 at 10:17 AM (#4387534)
I've never thought of panhandling as a lucrative profession, but I suppose when you stop to think about it, $1 every couple of minutes seems pretty realistic if you're in a crowded area.

There was an apparently well-heeled college student type who panhandled for a summer job in my neck of the woods a few summers back; his clothes were nicer than mine. I'd like to think he did poorly, but he stayed at it for a few months...
Alternately, I remember another, non-homeless guy, who would panhandle then donate the money to a local homeless shelter. He was retired and figured he could make more money to help people this way than through a regular job.
In any case, panhandling has to be more lucrative than, say, being a low level drug dealer.
   127. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 13, 2013 at 10:21 AM (#4387535)

121 - This is, in part, a response to higher gas prices / the perception that they will stay higher than they once were, right? Hard to substitute away from driving in the short term, but, given time, you can plan. If so, should be partly countermanded by rising mileage standards, no?


Perhaps in part. I think there are a number of things - (a) rise of light rail which is seen as more palatable mass transit than buses; (b) greater urbanization by younger people than before; (c) the rise of programs like Zipcar where you don't need to own a car to use it; (d) recession - young people have less money to spend. The Atlantic also had an article a few months ago about how younger people were not as interested in owning things (like cars and houses) and how cars were losing their status symbol in favor of things like tablets and smartphones. Its probably a combo of all these factors, and I don't think the trends are enough to make car use obsloete or anything, but I think it is a welcome trend that a boost in mass transit infrastructure could help even more.
   128. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: March 13, 2013 at 10:24 AM (#4387537)
i think all of those things matter - with the possible exception of light rail, as i don't know usage trends there.
   129. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: March 13, 2013 at 10:31 AM (#4387543)
in Regina and Nottingham it is universally followed custom to thank the driver as you get off


Well, I should hope so!
   130. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: March 13, 2013 at 10:35 AM (#4387550)
or this country becoming an eco-dictatorship

"becoming"?
   131. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: March 13, 2013 at 10:47 AM (#4387559)
or this country becoming an eco-dictatorship

"becoming"?


As long as people spray Roundup and Scott's stays in business telling people they need to dump chemicals on their lawn and people are convinced that throwing ground-up pallets with stain on them protects the ground around their trees and shrubs and people spray their houses with chemical pesticides, afraid that a few ants may get inside, the eco-Dictators have not won and aren't even close.

Hmm, and those anti-bacterial soaps ...
   132. Austin Posted: March 13, 2013 at 10:50 AM (#4387562)
There was an apparently well-heeled college student type who panhandled for a summer job in my neck of the woods a few summers back; his clothes were nicer than mine. I'd like to think he did poorly, but he stayed at it for a few months...


Even ignoring his success, I imagine it would be a very educational experience, although I'm not sure you'd learn much more from three months of it than you would from two weeks.

Alternately, I remember another, non-homeless guy, who would panhandle then donate the money to a local homeless shelter. He was retired and figured he could make more money to help people this way than through a regular job.


Now, that's interesting. It reminds me of the argument that if you have the ability, you should try to get a job in finance and donate half of your income to charity rather than work in something like a nonprofit. The idea is that charities by and large have the manpower, but not necessarily the cash, so you probably won't be any better than the guy you replace if you go and work for one, but the $250,000 you donate from your $500,000 job will be enormously useful.

One problem is that while the panhandling may raise money for the homeless shelter, it comes with a non-negligible cost: the irritation to passersby. I'm not sure how I'd try to quantify it, but it seems significant. Also, how do people respond to panhandling? Do they become more likely to donate money to charities, or less?
   133. jobu Posted: March 13, 2013 at 11:01 AM (#4387571)
The first penalty for texting while driving should be as high as the third for DUI. There should also be stiff penalties for eating/drinking (non-alcohol) while driving, driving when you haven't slept, and talking on the phone.

In reading this, I realized that one of the things that probably makes me relatively happy in life is that I can't think of a single law that I believe should exist that is also completely impractical and unlikely. There is no way, ever, that there will be laws against eating or drinking (non-alcohol) when driving. A restaurant with a drive-thru does 70-80% of its business through the drive-thru window. A good chunk of those meals are eaten in the car. If you were to chart the cup-holders per car over time, you would find a very strong upward slope. Time pressures are such that these things are not going to change.

I just have a hard time imagining going through life with a view of how the world should be that is so different from how the world is that I would ever suggest something so completely impractical and unlikely.
   134. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: March 13, 2013 at 11:14 AM (#4387582)
Now, that's interesting.

It was. He had a shopping cart full of musical instruments and would busk for funds ... was a really good guy. Eventually got some media coverage, so the 'irritability' factor may not have been as high here (though I'm certainly with you on that question in theory/aggregate).
how do people respond to panhandling?

Learned folks, avid googlers: your thoughts?

I just have a hard time imagining going through life with a view...

Me too. Can't hurt to float it, though that's obviously not going to happen (nor should it, imo).
I'm definitely on board with the idea that people don't take driving seriously enough (self included), but we ought to careful think through what that means and what's actionable.

I'm no enviromentalist, but 130 is pretty ridiculous.
   135. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: March 13, 2013 at 11:20 AM (#4387585)
This guy was inspired to turn his life upside down by spending his spring breaks on a buck a week.
   136. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 13, 2013 at 11:27 AM (#4387592)
how do people respond to panhandling?

Learned folks, avid googlers: your thoughts?


Typically with a curt, "nope". In Denver there's a large downtown walking mall frequented by panhandling teenagers. A more repugnant and pathetic lot you couldn't imagine, I think they're largely Juggalos.
   137. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: March 13, 2013 at 11:39 AM (#4387600)
Also, how do people respond to panhandling? Do they become more likely to donate money to charities, or less?


I never hand over money, and usually just say, "no, sorry". If someone asks for food, I'll offer them my sandwich or some fruit if I happen to be carrying my lunch.

In Atlanta, they have installed donation meters for folks to contribute to local shelters, but I don't know how effective they've been.
   138. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: March 13, 2013 at 11:44 AM (#4387604)
I meant "what do studies show," but - as always - I'm all for anecdotes.

I have an annual panhandling budget - it's fairly small and will buy meals, etc... outside of that budget on occasion. I'm rarely approached by people anymore (spend less time outside strip mall culture) + do not interact give / stop if my kids are with me.
   139. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 13, 2013 at 11:47 AM (#4387607)
I never give to panhandlers. A few times I have given money to the City Union Mission.

Who carries cash anymore anyways?
   140. The Good Face Posted: March 13, 2013 at 11:54 AM (#4387611)
Depends on how entertaining they are. A decent (or particularly awful) display of oratory or musical talent will often get a donation from me. Ditto a particularly good sign. Garden variety begging doesn't do much for me and I usually ignore those who engage in it. My wife is kind hearted enough for the both of us, so like a good American I've outsourced most of my charitable giving.
   141. Austin Posted: March 13, 2013 at 12:00 PM (#4387615)
Let me clarify what I meant. When people are exposed to a lot of panhandling, do they become more aware of poverty and start donating more, or do they just get annoyed and donate less out of spite? I'm sure it varies between individuals, but I don't know how to predict the reaction in the aggregate. Getting a survey of your personal reactions has been interesting, though.

For the record, I am occasionally suckered into giving away a few dollars, but I understand in general that it's one of the least effective forms of charitable giving.
   142. Swedish Chef Posted: March 13, 2013 at 12:11 PM (#4387624)
Also, how do people respond to panhandling?

No to Eastern European professionals, no matter how crippled or heartbreaking, the money goes to their handlers anyway. No to junkies. Maybe to plainly homeless people. Maybe to drunks who just actually may need the fare home (or go buy another bottle, see if I care). Maybe to teens, if they're not too aggressive. No to politicians or sects.
   143. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 13, 2013 at 12:14 PM (#4387628)
When people are exposed to a lot of panhandling, do they become more aware of poverty and start donating more, or do they just get annoyed and donate less out of spite?


No, I think a lot of them are hucksters and frauds.

When I see a lot of Salvation Army bell-ringers though, I do become more aware of poverty and I think that does get me to donate more.
   144. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: March 13, 2013 at 12:23 PM (#4387633)
carries cash anymore anyways?

farmers only deal with cash so i have always have cash on me. typically 1500 or so. cause you never know

as to panhandlers this isn't much seen in my rural area but i did help a guy whose truck had run out of gas by giving him a ride to the nearest station and then handing over 20 bucks so he could buy one of those plastic carriers and buy some gas. then i drove him back to his truck

no, i wasn't worried. the day i get jacked by someone 140 lbs soaking wet is teh day i deserved to get planted 5 feet under
   145. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 13, 2013 at 12:30 PM (#4387637)
no, i wasn't worried. the day i get jacked by someone 140 lbs soaking wet is teh day i deserved to get planted 5 feet under


Sad day you get lesson jiu-jitsu my fren.
   146. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: March 13, 2013 at 12:35 PM (#4387645)
as to panhandlers this isn't much seen in my rural area but i did help a guy whose truck had run out of gas by giving him a ride to the nearest station and then handing over 20 bucks so he could buy one of those plastic carriers and buy some gas. then i drove him back to his truck


An Asian guy gave my first wife & me a ride to the nearest gas station after we ran out of gas in the middle of the night on I-20 between Monahans & Pecos, Texas, while driving back to Phoenix from my mother's funeral in Arkansas 29 years ago, but he didn't give us a dime.

I was grateful as all hell at the time (it was exactly this time of year, almost to the day, & by god it got cold with the wind blowing like mad out there in the middle of Nowhere, West Texas), but now I'm miffed, dammit.
   147. Squash Posted: March 13, 2013 at 12:36 PM (#4387646)
Aside from climate, in what ways are they treated leniently? Subsidized bus passes do seem like a well-intentioned but possibly bad idea.

It's a combination of generous social programs as compared to other cities and the liberal atmosphere that leads to very lax enforcement of vagrancy issues and the like - the stuff Giuliani did in NYC would never fly in SF (or it might now at some point, as the issue has gotten pretty extreme). The Bay Area weather also draws a lot of people in because the winters are bearable and a lot of the homeless are of course living outdoors. Outside of downtown LA, which truly has more homeless than you will ever see in your life in America, SF has probably the most homeless you'll see per.
   148. Copronymus Posted: March 13, 2013 at 12:38 PM (#4387650)
Is it really that unique? At any rate, the undergraduate student body is rapidly becoming very similar to other top-tier private schools because (for whatever reason) applicants have started seeing it as interchangeable, not as some place full of hyper-intellectual weirdos.


When I was there about 10 years ago, the U of C showed up on one of those lists of Top Party Schools ahead of only the military academies and BYU. It's definitely an extreme outlier, although you're right that it's changing, and fast, thanks to the decision to increase the size of the undergraduate college. It's basically doubled over the last 20 years and that's had a huge impact on both the school and Hyde Park.
   149. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: March 13, 2013 at 12:42 PM (#4387653)
yr

old. broken down. bag of bones. but i have had lots of training in hand to hand over the years (from being in the service) and haven't forgotten how

so i would likely have someone make me a meal out of me but i would give myself a chance of getting a sandwich out of whomever
   150. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: March 13, 2013 at 12:46 PM (#4387654)
Who carries cash anymore anyways?


Try carrying around a pocketful of late-'80s baseball cards. Handing them out would be one way of getting rid of the things. (The cards, that is, not the panhandlers. Although that would probably work, too.)
   151. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: March 13, 2013 at 01:02 PM (#4387663)
Try carrying around a pocketful of late-'80s baseball cards. Handing them out would be one way of getting rid of the things. (The cards, that is, not the panhandlers. Although that would probably work, too.)


Pass out cards saying "A donation in your name will be given to the Human Fund"
   152. tfbg9 Posted: March 13, 2013 at 01:06 PM (#4387668)
I have in the last year or so given them a dollar,
every time I walk past a panhandler.
Unless I don't have a dollar bill on me.
I figure they need it more than I do.
It doesn'tbother me if they spend it on booze.

   153. zenbitz Posted: March 13, 2013 at 01:14 PM (#4387673)
ROBOT ELECTRIC CARS, PEOPLE
   154. jobu Posted: March 13, 2013 at 01:21 PM (#4387677)
Try carrying around a pocketful of late-'80s baseball cards. Handing them out would be one way of getting rid of the things. (The cards, that is, not the panhandlers. Although that would probably work, too.)

You could accompany that with a speech about how that Gregg Jefferies card once had all the potential that they themselves once had, and it now SEEMS to be as bereft of value as their own lives might seem but someday....well, it's pretty much going to remain the same. Kind of hard to complete the uplifting and motivational analogy there. Maybe cloning could come into play. Gregg Jefferies II is going to be REALLY good.
   155. zenbitz Posted: March 13, 2013 at 01:21 PM (#4387679)
oh and I guess ROBOT AUTO PANHANDLER DONATIONS as well.

I am pretty cheap but when I do give money to a pan handler it's always to the nasty drunken ones, crack hos, or junkies. I figure people who like saxphones and bucket drums will pay the other guys. I actually live in SF but rarely see homeless people. There is a guy I pass everyday who lives under the freeway by the caltrain station but he never asked me for money. There's an extremely poor but not homeless woman who lives across the street and asks me for money sometimes, I give her a buck or whatever if I have it. It's important to make friends with the people who hang out by your house all day.

She offered to let me block her driveway on street cleaning nights. [worse pickup line ever!]

My biggest problem with the under underclass in SF is the mofos who break my car windows to loot my glove compartment for ... nothing. The guys around the corner caught one of the guys who was doing that in our neighborhood, and I don't think they called the police... It was worse when I lived in SOMA though. Surprisingly, people in the Bayview don't #### with the white folks (although I did get mugged at gunpoint once in broad daylight on a Sunday afternoon). They sometimes shoot each other though.

Meanwhile... Santa Cruz is the violent crime capital of the US, 2013.
   156. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: March 13, 2013 at 01:31 PM (#4387686)
ROBOT ELECTRIC CARS, PEOPLE


And my irritation at being unable to find my copy of Juan Atkins' Wax Trax Mastermix CD before work this morning resurfaces ...
   157. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: March 13, 2013 at 01:32 PM (#4387687)
what's interesting is that i rarely recall encountering any form of panhandlers in nyc

is the city herding them up and shipping them off to another borough?
   158. zenbitz Posted: March 13, 2013 at 01:36 PM (#4387690)
@157 that's more or less what Giuliani did back in the early 90s. I think that was after they went on a mission to purge the subways of grafitti, but that might have been Dinkins.
   159. tfbg9 Posted: March 13, 2013 at 01:39 PM (#4387694)
is the city herding them up and shipping them off to another borough?


They tend to keep them out of areas frequented by tourists, as they city needs unfrightened tourists.

might have been Dinkins


Nope.
   160. Canker Soriano Posted: March 13, 2013 at 01:39 PM (#4387695)
My biggest problem with the under underclass in SF is the mofos who break my car windows to loot my glove compartment for ... nothing.

I have a friend who lives in SF - she said someone once broke into her car to steal a $5 disposable camera that she left on the seat. She's ordinarily meticulous about not leaving anything in the car, because people will take it as an invitation to rob you.

I moved into an apartment there maybe 10 years ago, and the first thing I was told was not to park on the street if at all possible - and if I did park on the street, to be sure to take everything out of the car, even things that were obviously worthless, because break-ins were rampant.
   161. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: March 13, 2013 at 01:40 PM (#4387697)
zonk

what's the resource for that violent crime mention?

i am pretty familiar with santa cruz and am sad to hear it
   162. tfbg9 Posted: March 13, 2013 at 01:41 PM (#4387698)
Go to Penn Station. Lots of people sleeping against the wall, panhandlers, etc.
   163. Srul Itza Posted: March 13, 2013 at 01:42 PM (#4387699)
I live in San Francisco, and it's a major issue there. Either its rush hour, and the system is taxed past capacity, or you get homeless people who use the local transit system as a place to sleep (and go to the bathroom, for some reason), beggar, and people hawking bootlegs. I get the impression that homeless people are less of a problem where the local climate makes it impossible to live on the street year round.


Honolulu has a massive bus system, and very, very little problem with homeless people riding the bus. Sleeping at bus stops, yes, but not riding the bus.
   164. tfbg9 Posted: March 13, 2013 at 01:43 PM (#4387700)
very little problem with homeless people riding the bus


Begs the obvious questions, I guess. Hows does a homeless person end up in Honolulu?
   165. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: March 13, 2013 at 01:49 PM (#4387701)
Hows does a homeless person end up in Honolulu?

most homeless are local and had a form of home before events put them on the streets. at least that is what my wife tells me and she is the social activist in the family
   166. Lance Posted: March 13, 2013 at 01:57 PM (#4387706)
I just wanted to add to the discussion of dealing with panhandlers, "Brother Don't You Walk Away" by The Hooters is a criminally unknown song.
   167. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: March 13, 2013 at 02:03 PM (#4387710)

Go to Penn Station. Lots of people sleeping against the wall, panhandlers, etc.


I presume they left awhile ago for the Mets' spring training camp.
   168. flournoy Posted: March 13, 2013 at 02:03 PM (#4387711)
I moved into an apartment there maybe 10 years ago, and the first thing I was told was not to park on the street if at all possible - and if I did park on the street, to be sure to take everything out of the car, even things that were obviously worthless, because break-ins were rampant.


Why would you (or anyone) choose to live in such a place?

There's currently several thousand dollars worth of stuff in my car, which is typical, and I'm perfectly happy to let it sit there since I know it's perfectly safe.
   169. bunyon Posted: March 13, 2013 at 02:07 PM (#4387713)
Honolulu's bus system is the nicest I've been on.

Isn't much/most of the homeless problem mental illness? I've not studied up on it, but have heard it from several sources.

I guess I'd include drug addiction in the list of mental illness.
   170. depletion Posted: March 13, 2013 at 02:11 PM (#4387715)
Hows does a homeless person end up in Honolulu?

There is almost no money in being a super long distance swimmer and rents in Honolulu are sky high.
   171. zonk Posted: March 13, 2013 at 02:19 PM (#4387723)
zonk

what's the resource for that violent crime mention?


Unless you're talking about 118 (in which, case, just anecdotal) - I think you've got someone else...

I will say this regarding Harvey's 149...

My grandfather was a lifelong farmer -- and I'm completely convinced that up until the day he passed, he could have easily beaten the crap out of me and any friends I had (and that includes a couple guys who were div 1 CFB linemen). Even once the arthritis slowed him down, he was just freaky strong. He wasn't a big guy -- 6 ftish, relatively normal solid build -- but a lifetime of farmwork makes one into a very tough customer.

I can still remember in my prime -- late teens and 20s -- helping out on the farm and getting frustrated as hell because he. just. wouldn't. get. tired.... Bailing hay, working around the farm, whatever -- it would always seem to turn into a sort of grudge match between him and my cousins/uncles to see who would finally be the one to call it a day and I don't think anyone ever got to the point of him saying that's enough for the day and anyone claiming we could get in another hour of work.
   172. Lassus Posted: March 13, 2013 at 02:25 PM (#4387728)
Having no clue how there could be homeless people in Honolulu betrays a certain lack of knowledge - or interest - regarding humanity.
   173. BDC Posted: March 13, 2013 at 02:25 PM (#4387729)
Panhandling: I refuse a lot of requests; in Texas (mainly in Austin but occasionally here and there in DFW) I have always refused panhandlers, who seem to me for the most part to be grifters on some level: they'll approach you, say something like "Can I ask you a question," and you really have to say, absurdly enough. "no," and walk on or get in your car or whatever.

I did give money to a panhandler at a bus stop in Manhattan a few months ago. This fellow was either a great actor or seriously mentally ill. He was shaking a cup of coins and overtly asking for more coins. It seemed to be his livelihood and his territory, He approached me again a few minutes later, I told him I'd already given, and he walked away. I guess I'm a moralist: he seemed helpless, and I have compassion for the helpless, not for people on the make.
   174. GotowarMissAgnes Posted: March 13, 2013 at 02:29 PM (#4387740)
How about comparing the number of dry counties to smokeless ones.


How about alcohol consumption and revenues to cigarette use and revenues?
   175. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: March 13, 2013 at 02:29 PM (#4387741)
zonk

i don't know if it's all the farmwork. i got the sh8t kicked out of me every day from age 7 or so until age 12 from either other kids at school or by my old man. i learned that you never lose your feet. that everything can be made a weapon. that you are better to stand your ground than run. then i had a growth spurt and the combination of work, constant fights and now an ugly demeanor bent on revenge made me someone you didn't want to cross. then i entered the service and they refined my combat skills (hand, gun, knife)

as i have said many times if not for my wife seeing something in me that nobody else did i would have evolved into someone who was involved in physical altercations escalating into someone's death by age 30 (mine or someone else). it was all but a certainty.

even now i recognize the signs when my self from long past is being stirred by circumstances. at that moment it takes a lot of self-control not to plant my cane the side of someone's head.
   176. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 13, 2013 at 02:29 PM (#4387742)
Hows does a homeless person end up in Honolulu?


Isn't it one of the poorest major cities in America?
   177. GregD Posted: March 13, 2013 at 02:38 PM (#4387748)
On Honolulu homelessness, this NYT article is a good start link
   178. tfbg9 Posted: March 13, 2013 at 03:55 PM (#4387818)
Having no clue how there could be homeless people in Honolulu betrays a certain lack of knowledge - or interest - regarding humanity
.


Thanks for the kind words.
   179. Canker Soriano Posted: March 13, 2013 at 04:37 PM (#4387843)
Why would you (or anyone) choose to live in such a place?

This was not a bad part of town, this was a quiet residential area. But that's San Francisco, or at least it was (and I don't think it's gotten better). Much of the city is dirty and relatively run-down. The homelessness problem is bad, the crime only seems OK because Oakland is so much worse. Of the people I knew when I lived there, probably 25% had run-ins with some kind of criminal element. Cars broken into, homes broken into, mugged, assaulted in the street, raped, etc.

There are great things about living there, but it's got all of the big city problems that you'd expect in a city. They do a good job of putting a better face on it for the non-residents than a lot of places do, though. One video of a cable car full of smiling tourists can whitewash a whole lot of urine-soaked sidewalks in the minds of people looking to spend their vacation dollars.
   180. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: March 13, 2013 at 05:00 PM (#4387851)
Is that really true, though? As in, "reliable studies show" true?

I haven't been able to find any of those studies that I used to cite. But yes there have been studies on talking and driving, and they generally found that 1. talking to a passenger while driving doesn't really hinder your ability 2. That talking on the phone, regardless of whether it was with a hands free device, speaker phone or on the phone itself, is roughly equivalent to about .12 bac in performance. 3. That even after you quit talking/texting that up to 10 minutes later your ability to perform is impaired.


"2." is simply nutty. Hands free talking is the equivalent of driving while blitzed? C'mon.

My other favorite study that I can't find, is a computer simulation that says that if 1 out of 5 people drive the proper breaking distance that a vast majority of gridlock would be reduced or eliminated. I thought it would be a good idea to start a movement where one day a week(based upon your last name in the alphabet) that you promise to drive at the proper breaking distance.


This, on the other hand, I couldn't agree with more. In addition to dealing with gridlock, accidents would decrease significantly. I've driven entire days where no one drives at the correct braking distance.
   181. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: March 13, 2013 at 05:07 PM (#4387854)
(based upon your last name in the alphabet)


Apparently, those of us whose last names are numbers or symbols aren't important enough to bother with.
   182. BDC Posted: March 13, 2013 at 05:07 PM (#4387855)
Hands free talking is the equivalent of driving while blitzed?

One plausible factor is that the passenger you're talking to can observe the road and if necessary scream, or something, whereas the person you're calling on the phone is by definition in another place altogether, sort of mentally transporting you there too.

I've driven entire days where no one drives at the correct braking distance

I saw a video awhile back where some clever person leaves a lot of room in front of himself and thereby pretty much singlehandedly dissipates traffic jams. I guess the theory there is that most delays are caused by people coming to a complete halt while changing lanes in congested conditions, rather than executing what's variously called a "zipper merge" or an "ant merge." I've taken it to heart. If nothing else it makes heavy traffic more interesting to negotiate.
   183. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: March 13, 2013 at 05:16 PM (#4387860)
Jack Carter, International Man of Minstrelry Posted: March 12, 2013 at 05:38 PM (#4387161)

Look, I'm all for more and better public transportation. but getting rid of private autos is such a ridiculous impracticality, that it's silly to discuss it.

Having lived in a successful community where there was no private automobile ownership, I find your comment, frankly, silly.



- jack
that might could work successfully in a small, closed community where everyone knows everyone well. it's like an extra large family

it wouldn't even work on our block. i wouldn't trust the other people to not smoke, drink, do drugs, have guns, etc in the "community" vehicle. and this isn't even getting into the question of how we all gonna go to different churches on sunday morning. or take kids to school. it doesn't work

and you can't carry even a few days worth of food and dry goods for a family of 5 or 6 on any public transportation


Sure, bb. I never said this is something that would work all across the country, or should be forced on a neighborhood, or whathaveyou. The original context (upthread from what you were quoting) was wrt trying new kinds of communities. God only knows what happened to reading comprehension on this site (not yours--yours is fine).

But, it's worth noting that we do exactly this, a form of communal ownership of vehicles, except we call it "Hertz" and "Avis" and "taxis" and so on. You can also screen (as rental car companies and car clubs do) for good driving habits. No one's compelling anyone to share a car with everyone on their street. Some ding-dong upthread (not you) was babbling about the seizure of private vehicles. No idea why. There are car clubs in every big city in the planet, clubs of the kind I already described. The point is, if we wanted a widespread effort to significantly reduce private auto driving and ownership, there are many successful models in place. If gas shot to $20 a gallon following an Israeli raid on Iranian nuclear facilities, like that discussed in another thread, and for various reasons stayed there, you'd see a whole lot of pooled ownership or at least pooled driving, which overlaps with pooled ownership.

I never argued for carrying a lot of stuff on public transportation, btw. That was someone else. I did that when I was in my 20s and even then it's no fun. You can't subject the elderly to that kind of thing.

Btw, the community I lived in at one point had 20 kids of school age and, yes, it works for that, too. The van took 8 kids, and 3 cars took the other 12. And, as I also mentioned, everyone had access to a car any time they wanted it. The hysteria (not yours) is unwarranted and foolish.

If you want to save a couple of thousand bucks a year in return for doing a little planning ahead, it's not difficult to manage. And if someone (not directed at you) doesn't want to, they don't have to.

Isn't freedom awesome?
   184. Blastin Posted: March 13, 2013 at 05:31 PM (#4387870)
I will say I love the subway (much more than the bus, because, traffic), but that's because I'm an NYC kid (and adult) and we always took the subway to school, to anywhere.

I take the bus to work now because it goes straight down from my apt to my (new) job.

There are plenty of cities where convenient subways (and better buses) would make them less awful (my lord, Los Angeles, why are you a thing?), but some places manage to work just fine.

Cities shouldn't be forced, of course. But there are plenty of places around the world where citizens don't really feel the need to drive to criss-cross a giant country. It's something we (not I, I hate driving, even outside of NYC) enjoy so we do it. And we're gradually doing it more safely, but, well, we need to stop texting.
   185. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: March 13, 2013 at 05:36 PM (#4387871)
Hands free talking is the equivalent of driving while blitzed?

One plausible factor is that the passenger you're talking to can observe the road and if necessary scream, or something, whereas the person you're calling on the phone is by definition in another place altogether, sort of mentally transporting you there too.


Agree that on a phone there is a sense of being somewhere else, but I have to say I've never seen a passenger (with me or anyone else driving) say anything that made getting into an accident less likely. I have had passengers scream in riven panic when I passed another car and literally one mile ahead another vehicle appeared in the oncoming lane. I didn't find that all that helpful.

I've driven entire days where no one drives at the correct braking distance

I saw a video awhile back where some clever person leaves a lot of room in front of himself and thereby pretty much singlehandedly dissipates traffic jams. I guess the theory there is that most delays are caused by people coming to a complete halt while changing lanes in congested conditions, rather than executing what's variously called a "zipper merge" or an "ant merge." I've taken it to heart. If nothing else it makes heavy traffic more interesting to negotiate.


I don't do it with the greater good in mind (people seem to regard keeping a safe distance as vaguely insulting, as though you're keeping them from getting where they want to go as fast as they can), but I do put more than the minimum sane distance between me and the car ahead of me. It's primarily self-defense. May be why I've been in one accident in my life while driving, where a station wagon pulled out of a parking spot, hitting the side of my VW as I passed, totaling it. I've been hit from behind three or four times, though.

I marvel at people who chronically tailgate and then become enraged because they're not going as fast as they'd like. Oh, and then they get to get enraged at the jackass behind them who's... tailgating them. I asked a gf once why she tailgated. She said, 'I want them to go faster'. I asked her if it ever worked. She said once or twice, in ten years, yes it did, and that I should stop asking such absurd questions.

My other favorite move people make is on four lane highways (two in each direction) with plenty of on ramps; people pass freely on the left giving the guy in the right hand lane no room to maneuver when the driver merging with traffic joins the highway. I'm pretty sure if you quizzed all drivers way better than half wouldn't be aware that passing at a ramp makes driving more dangerous. And the next time three drivers in a row signal correctly, I'll donate $100 to Dick Cheney's artificial heart fund,
   186. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: March 13, 2013 at 05:46 PM (#4387874)
From the linked article in 121. Fucking hippies:



Carpooling is the new rage in Europe, the New York Times reports this morning, where Paris-based BlaBlaCar and Munich's Carpooling.com are "global leaders in ride-sharing." The companies claim more than 6 million combined users (some overlap is probable), and their growth has even attracted the attention of Silicon Valley investors. Their success parallels Zipcar, the foundational American car-sharing company, which claims 700,000 members in the United States.

Who wants to invest in a hippie-dippie scheme to monetize carpools? Somebody looking at the bigger picture.

Maybe something like this picture, right there on the left. As the world's richest economies pack densely into cities to escape the new normal of gasoline prices, miles driven in passenger vehicles have either hit a ceiling or started to decline in the U.S., Japan, Germany, the UK, and France. Australia has seen the same decline in car travel. The most important detail in this graph is along the X-axis: The decline in average car miles isn't a recession trend. It's just a trend. In the U.S., the global capitol of car enthusiasts, total miles traveled peaked in 2004, the Economist reported, and per-person travel hit a peak in 2000.


The section quoted in post 121 mentioned the pronounced trend among younger people to share vehicles. I wonder if that has anything to do with social media, and a lesser expectation of privacy among people who grew up eager to share every single part of their existence with their cohort.

If you table for the moment the perfectly good, logistical reasons for owning your own vehicle, the psychological reasons are being able to indulge impulse immediately, and a sense of freedom, even though that 'freedom' requires working an additional x weeks each year in order to pay for a private vehicle.

There are plenty of necessary reasons to have a car or truck, but after necessity, the reasons are pretty shallow. Shared ownership doesn't mean you can't go for a Sunday drive in the country, it just means you have to either plan ahead a little, or take the small chance that the car pool will be empty when the impulse takes you. Then, gee, you might have to do something else or, god forbid, wait.

History is nothing if not full of paradigm shifts, and countries like India and China in particular would do well to aim for a shift in attitudes towards private car ownership sooner rather than later.
   187. theboyqueen Posted: March 13, 2013 at 05:58 PM (#4387877)
I lived in Oakland and parked on the street and my car would constantly get the locks messed up from people trying to break into it. The solution to this problem was to leave it unlocked.
   188. cardsfanboy Posted: March 13, 2013 at 06:03 PM (#4387878)
"2." is simply nutty. Hands free talking is the equivalent of driving while blitzed? C'mon.


To be fair, .12 is not blitzed. Here is one link to an article on a study about hands free driving.

But the only articles on a study I can find quickly compares hands free to driving .08 bac.
   189. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: March 13, 2013 at 06:16 PM (#4387885)

I've noticed that, for whatever reason, when I talk on the phone when I'm driving, even hands free, for whatever reason I'm somehow greatly, greatly more distracted than when I'm talking to someone sitting in the passenger seat, and that yes indeed I'm still not quite as alert a few minutes after. I wonder why this is - it would be interesting to learn what exactly drives this process. It's the same thing when I'm walking down the street, for example - if I'm on the phone I'm considerably less aware of my surroundings than if I'm talking to someone walking with me, sometimes detrimentally - I may forget to look both ways before crossing, you don't notice other people, etc. I suspect I'm not alone in this. They should hook someone up to an MRI or whatever and figure out which different parts of the brain are firing during the two modes of conversation.

I don't know if this question has been addressed, but I would suspect it's because the person you're talking to in the car is paying some attention to your behavior and the surroundings and can take cues from both. For example, they probably stop talking when you're merging onto the highway, when they perceive that you're stressed out behind the wheel, etc.

Also, hands free or not, the act of dealing with the phone is distracting. The most distracting part is looking down to dial the number, for example, although you can probably do that without speaking on most smartphones now.
   190. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: March 13, 2013 at 06:33 PM (#4387895)
I don't know if this question has been addressed, but I would suspect it's because the person you're talking to in the car is paying some attention to your behavior and the surroundings and can take cues from both.


Maybe so, but this presumes a level of awareness during a conversation in a car that people don't exhibit when not in a car.

re 188: not to go all Ray on the thread, but the linked article is incredibly vague. The studies referred to are not linked to, nor are the names of most of the studies mentioned either given, or given specifically enough to allow them to be found. There's no way to look at the methodology of the studies, and most or all seem to take place in Britain, which may not be meaningful but it doesn't help matters.

I was recently involved in a long study of some politically sensitive statistics and the bullshite completely drowned out the signal. For this kind of subject where emotions run high the data needs to be clear and convincing, and the methods used by the studies need to be explicitly given.
   191. cardsfanboy Posted: March 13, 2013 at 06:36 PM (#4387896)
re 188: not to go all Ray on the thread, but the linked article is incredibly vague.


I know, I wasn't really looking for the actual studies, didn't feel like putting the time in to find the studies. And it's not the study that I used to cite anyway(I don't think) Just pointing out some studies have been done on the issue, and they reached a certain conclusion.
   192. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: March 13, 2013 at 06:41 PM (#4387899)
@191: fair enough, of course. The standard here can't be peer-reviewed comments in professional journals.
   193. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: March 13, 2013 at 06:41 PM (#4387900)

Maybe so, but this presumes a level of awareness during a conversation in a car that people don't exhibit when not in a car.

Not really. It just presumes *some* level of awareness above and beyond that of someone who is on the other end of a phone connection and not actually in the car. I mean, when I'm in the passenger seat and someone is drifting in the lane, I point it out to them. If they're looking for an address or a street, I help them look. However, if I were on the phone with them, I'd just keep talking while they did those things because I wouldn't even know.

Yesterday, I was driving to a meeting when someone called me. I put him on speakerphone but the the conversation caused me to miss the directions given by my GPS and I took the wrong highway exit. If he had been in the passenger seat next to me he would have looked at the GPS and told me the turn, rather than just keep speaking.
   194. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: March 13, 2013 at 06:47 PM (#4387904)
Btw, one of the linked articles cites one of those situations where one or two egregious accidents are the spur to ban all cell phone use, even hands-free use. I get it, but I also generally deplore this kind of emotional response. An existing recommendation from the NTSB outlaws handheld devices by novice and young drivers, and would have prevented the pile up in Missouri that killed 2 and hurt 38. Unless there's clear and convincing proof it's necessary and productive, I prefer not to add regulations and restrictions. I have a libertarian heart and prefer more of a wild west society, but I know it wouldn't work. YMMV.

@193: For an alert, aware human being, it makes a difference. Stipulated.
   195. cardsfanboy Posted: March 13, 2013 at 06:52 PM (#4387905)
n existing recommendation from the NTSB outlaws handheld devices by novice and young drivers,


That is one of the most stupidest recommendations since someone told Lucas to add Aliens to an Indiana Jones movie. Young kids are the most adept at using a phone, it's second nature to them, sure driving skills haven't been acquired yet, but at the same time, adults using the phone haven't acquired the skills to use the phone. Either you ban it for everyone, or you don't, this half ass attempt is just stupid.
   196. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: March 13, 2013 at 07:02 PM (#4387910)
@195: I'd never assume the NTSB is doing the right thing, the smart thing, or the best thing. By now the purpose of the NTSB is the NTSB.

Cate Blanchett is pretty otherworldly. I'll give you that.
   197. Srul Itza Posted: March 13, 2013 at 07:15 PM (#4387918)
Hows does a homeless person end up in Honolulu?



Several sources.

Some are local people who just aren't making it. It is very expensive to live here, and some people cannot keep up. You are more likely to find them camping out along the Waiananae Coast and other places like that, than in town.

Some are people who came to Hawaii and couldn't make a go of it financially. Same problem. They tend to be in town.

And then there are the meth-heads, drunks and mentally ill.
   198. Srul Itza Posted: March 13, 2013 at 07:17 PM (#4387920)
Honolulu's bus system is the nicest I've been on.


And yet we are going to be spending Billions of dollars on an ugly, elevated train, with a very limited route. Really dumb.
   199. Canker Soriano Posted: March 13, 2013 at 07:21 PM (#4387923)
I saw a video awhile back where some clever person leaves a lot of room in front of himself and thereby pretty much singlehandedly dissipates traffic jams. I guess the theory there is that most delays are caused by people coming to a complete halt while changing lanes in congested conditions, rather than executing what's variously called a "zipper merge" or an "ant merge." I've taken it to heart. If nothing else it makes heavy traffic more interesting to negotiate.

I try doing that some mornings in traffic. What I've discovered is it's virtually impossible to leave that much space from the car in front of you, because every time you get close to achieving that level of distance, someone will just jump in front of you, thinking that this is suddenly an open lane.

And I love my hands-free phone. I agree the worst part could be the dialing, but with speed-dial on the center console, I can call anyone with one button push. (I know that the car has voice-activated something or other as well, and if I learned how to use it, I could probably get the car to push that button for me.) It's worse than not talking on the phone in the car, but it's better than trying to drive with the phone mashed against your ear.

While it's a nice idea that all calls from cars should be banned, it will never happen. Once the technology moves forward like that, it going to be very difficult to eliminate it completely. It would be like trying to turn off the internet.
   200. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: March 13, 2013 at 08:23 PM (#4387953)
Interesting.
I'm much more engaged with an in person convo than with one that's telephonic - making occasional eye contact, making non-verbal gestures, etc..., versus just going on auto pilot (talking wise, not driving wise). (I am also not a good single tasker, so I have to listen to music or something to keep my eyes on traffic, rather than on advertisements, architecture, and general whatsit).
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