No criminality was suspected and the unidentified driver was not charged. Witnesses tell the Daily News that Abbott was biking “through a construction site” near Powers Street when she “suddenly lost her balance near a pile of loose wood on the street after a car horn honked and she turned her head.” Abbott, who was wearing a helmet, fell toward traffic and was run over, according to witnesses.
It is not okay to just run over people like this. If there is debris in the street from construction and a tropical storm, you have to drive slowly enough so that if those circumstances (plus an unidentified horn honk) conspire to throw a cyclist riding in front of you off her bike, you can stop in time to avoid ending her life.
This brushing off of weekly avoidable traffic deaths as not being “criminal” has got to stop. It doesn’t matter what you want to call it or how much the accidental killer of the week was a Good Person, it’s a vital public interest and it’s the government’s job to determine if someone’s negligence caused a death. The fact that this determination is never made unless a motorist was fully drunk or fled the crash area tells us that government is just not doing that job at all.
Here is an interesting essay that wonders about the essence of neo-conservative doctrine. I like the author’s conclusion that “…the real destructiveness of neoconservatism is to infuse in so many Americans a belief in the transformative power of U.S. action abroad: the belief that our government and military can trigger predictable changes in the socio-political dynamics of only dimly-understood states on the other side of the globe in such ways as to render the international security environment more stable and safe for Americans (and, it almost goes without saying, for American primacy). “
This was the great stealth triumph of the GW Bush administration, to convince Americans that our security depended on military interventions anywhere on the globe that seemed to disagree with our primacy. That has given us a defense budget swollen almost beyond imagination and has contributed to the deficit that is draining funds away from education, health, critical infrastructure and on and on.
How much real security have we purchased with this gigantic outlay of resources? The true legacy of GWB and the neo-cons is that it is considered slightly treasonous, certainly unpatriotic, even to raise the question, particularly in political campaigns.
The trigger for this calamitous policy was 9/11, and its impact still silences critics who would venture to question the cost-effectiveness of our military culture. Future historians will not be puzzled by our militarism. That happens in the best of societies. But they are likely to be surprised at how little we even discussed what we were doing and what effects it might have.
Most Americans, I suspect, do not feel more secure because of our invasion and occupation of Iraq. But still, it is confounding to realize how little a trillion dollars will buy you these days. Even for a country as rich as ours, it is hard to imagine just misplacing a sum of that magnitude without apparent thought or intelligent debate.
Just how difficult is it to connect the dots of an armed, pugnacious foreign policy and empty coffers at home?
“ROTHSTEIN (8/29/11): Central to [Brill’s] argument is the claim that radical change is essential because student achievement (especially for minority and disadvantaged children) has been flat or declining for decades. This is, however, false. The only consistent data on student achievement come from a federal sample, the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Though you would never know it from the state of public alarm about education, the numbers show that regular public school performance has skyrocketed in the last two decades to the point that, for example, black elementary school students now have better math skills than whites had only 20 years ago. (There has also been progress for middle schoolers, and in reading; and less, but not insubstantial, progress for high schoolers.) The reason test score gaps have barely narrowed is that white students have also improved, at least at the elementary and middle school levels. The causes of these truly spectacular gains are unknown, but they are probably inconsistent with the idea that typical inner-city teachers are content to watch students wrestle on the classroom floor instead of learning.”—From The Daily Howler
“Yes, even in New York City, car culture is deeply rooted — so we are pleased that Khan and her team are trying to undo the damage of decades of automobile hegemony. Does Khan always succeed? Of course not. But she is fighting a battle that must be fought if we hope to regain control of our streets and neighborhoods.”—Enough is enough! (via n8han)
“Complex systems are ones with a large effective number of strongly-interdependent variables.
This excludes both low-dimensional systems, and high-dimensional ones where the variables are either independent, or so strongly coupled that only a few variables effectively determine all the rest.”—Cosma Rohilla Shalizi (via isomorphismes)
Using only minimal data, no computers, and mostly rather simple math, the men and at least one irrepressible woman (three cheers for Emily Noether!) of the early 1900s did more to move physics towards its goal a fully completed theory than have the entire sum of men, women, data, theorizing, and of course massive computational power that have followed in the years since.
So what does that say about net intellectual efficiency since the early 1900s? Is it possible that, like a field of candy surrounding a hungry child who should be looking for real food, much of this data and power has become more of a distraction than a help?
The Federal Transit Administration estimated last year that it would take $77.7 billion just to bring the nation’s aging transit systems into “a state of good repair.” But the survey released this week said that many systems are falling further behind.
Three in 10 in the survey said they had put off buying new vehicles. Two in 10 said they had delayed construction projects, and another two in 10 said they delayed maintenance.
Michelle remembered why she stopped calling. “[Detective Almonte] was like, ‘Listen, you should be lucky you’re alive.’ ” This was the last time she spoke with anyone from the department. “It’s like you can play Grand Theft Auto in the streets and hit real people and ditch your car and that’s allowed,” she said. “Honestly, I feel like the only way that this case would have gotten more attention is if I’d been brain dead or physically dead.”
I want to live somewhere that this doesn’t happen.
“This is where we are at now. Decline is not something we need to fear or forestall, it has already happened. America is not in decline, it has declined. A nine-hour wait at a well-built, well-staffed, well-resourced medical center for treatment of a serious condition is decline. As a traveler seeking urgent care, I’ve been seen more quickly in similar facilities in both Africa and Europe.”—To a Medical Center in Fresno (via n8han)
Romney isn’t as much fun; his style is not so much mangling the facts as putting his foot in his mouth, and that’s more Gail’s or Maureen’s sort of thing than mine. - Paul Krugman
And this is how the Times fails us. No one wants to pay for “analysis” of foots in mouths. Foot in mouths? Foots in mouth? Also, no one learns anything from such analysis. Why doesn’t Gail or Maureen report about health care? About issues that actually confront real Americans.
When Stefan Hoyle, 19, was caught clutching a stolen violin as he was arrested in the aftermath of the looting in Manchester, he told police he “had always wanted” to learn the fiddle.
He was sentenced to four months in a young offender’s institution for theft by a Manchester judge. His parents wept as the judge said it was an “absolute tragedy” he had thrown away his life in such a way. The unemployed teenager had never before been in trouble with the police.
This is pathetic. It is also hard to read. Who knew that English legal terms were so different?