Texting is a humongous problem for adults and teens. Because of the dangers I devised a game to determine how much texting while driving occurs in certain areas.
It turns out, cities are the worst. Here’s how the game works: Record one point for a car, two points for a truck, three points for a tractor-trailer, four points for a motorcycles and five points for bikers.
From the game data, I think you need to tell teens about the dangers of texting and driving.
Drill, baby, drill
The president has just granted Shell Oil drilling rights in the Arctic Ocean (5-12, A1, “Obama backs Arctic drill”). Yeah.
What? Drill where sperm whales sperm and walruses walruse? Isn’t that environmental genocide? Why tarnish an already challenged legacy with this apparent turnabout?
Russian President Vladimir Putin is attempting to lay claim to undersea mineral rights throughout the Arctic. He has even claimed Comrade Claus’ home so that he and his oligarch buddies can get all the Christmas presents under their tree.
Granting Shell these rights puts a line in the sand. But isn’t allowing Shell to destroy this delicate biosphere as bad as letting Putin do it?
With oil at current prices, Shell is not going to exploit the most expensive drilling opportunity in the world anytime soon. In fact, recent developments in domestic land-based production have lowered already much cheaper costs by more than 25 percent.
Add to that the potential for Iran to add 1 million barrels a day to world supply. Shell will not be braving 50-foot waves for years to come if ever. But there is now a marker. And Putin knows it.
All he needs now is to alienate Big Oil along with the rest of the world. Granting these rights was a wise move.
Uber out of Kansas
Uber has been banned from picking up people in Kansas, not for doing something wrong, but for doing everything right (5-6, A4, “Uber is pulling out of Kansas”). A century-old monopoly can’t compete in today’s world, so instead they sought to ban the competition.
Sadly, too many politicians were eager to please them and, with the passage of this travesty of a law, sent a message to the world that new and innovative ideas are not welcome in Kansas. They didn’t care that they snuffed out hundreds of jobs, reduced choices for many citizens who have few options to get around town as it is and certainly reduced the safety of our streets because there are no Uber drivers to take people home after the bars close.
To the many Uber riders in Kansas, I’m sorry I can’t pick you up in this state, but I can certainly deliver you to your destination no matter where it is.
To these shortsighted lawmakers, I will only say, we are Uber and we vote.
Schools cut back
The Kansas school superintendent who recently faced funding cutbacks that caused her district to make changes in their expenditures, summed it up nicely at the end of the article: “Schools face what families do when it comes to paying the bills and spending money. ‘When you and your family have $10 left in your bank account to get you to Sunday, do you go out for ice cream? No, you hunker down, get frugal, and think about another way.’”
We all know ice cream is not necessary to our children’s health and well being, we’d go without if necessary. When did being “frugal” become a negative way to live? Would thinking about what is truly necessary in the education of a child and what expenditure is unnecessary, be such a bad way of thinking through fiscal responsibility?
As an educator, I care deeply about education. But, I believe there is a lot of spending that has little to do with education.
I won’t hold my breath for a published list of what many districts will decide is nonessential in the education of their students, but my guess is it’s a long list.
I related well to Bob Unell’s cartoon, regarding the question of how youth, in this case a young man in Baltimore, learned his violent behavior. (913 Opinion, 5/6/15) The cartoon depicts a youth’s mother slapping him around and spraying him with profane outbursts.
My first reaction was, “What could be expected if this is the typical parental response to an offspring’s bad behavior?” It might quite naturally predict that the young person’s learned violent behavior would be his first response in a conflict.
But there are some extenuating circumstances here, I think. From young people I have taught, I have learned that often parents, especially mothers, raising children alone in a threatening neighborhood, use corporal punishment as a way to get the children’s attention and equip them to deal with the outside violence they will certainly encounter.
Far from resenting this, these young people understand it. Unfortunately, it often has a down side, and that is making violence in kind the first learned response.
Hopefully, as more parents realize the effect early parenting has on future behavior, and more education in this area is provided to those who need and want it, a more peaceful society can be created without casting blame on those who are trying their hardest to do the best they can with the limited resources they have.
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