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Mar. 4th, 2005

America is a 3rd world country, in effect, now. Not out of desperation, but out of self imposed political limitations. That we've let ourselves reach this point should be a wakeupcall for voters. Compared to the rest of the world we have:

Inferior, overpriced, and limited selection of medications.

Healthcare that's virtually impossible to afford for a large percentage of the population.

Excessive industrial pollution with the governing bodys applying all critique to the areas that DONT pollute and turn a well paid blind eye to the ones that do. (Power plants and the farm industry continue to dump craploads into the air while our cars output cleaner air than they input and the EPA is still demanding more out of automakers. California will poison groundwater and give people cancer stuffing MTBE into gasoline for that extra 1/10th of a percent cleaner emission. We prove that MTBE causes cancer and poisons the groundwater, California accepts it, and IT STILL GETS PUMPED every day.)

A government so irate it attacks other countries "pre emptively" (But there were clearly WMD.. not)

"Dumbed down" driving skills, no promotion for greater driving intelligence. (In Africa, it's common to just drive and swerve to avoid other cars, there are no real 'lanes' to speak of) We get a "defensive driving" mentality, which really is just an illusion of skill. "defensive driving" is really just "passive driving" .. whereupon you do not pay attention to anything going on around you. This driving in a vacuum doesn't promote accident awareness.

A police force that exists as a form of taxation. (Ticket quotas anyone?)

Dumbed down automobile selections, to prevent bad accidents with our poor driving skills. (Only in america does the Honda S2000 get ruined suspension to reduce the number of accidents by making it understeer like a pig because americans aren't taught how to deal with an oversteer condition during driver education. In fact americans aren't aught ANYTHING about how a car handles and instead are educated on how to park and make a left turn)

Heavy religious biased government that favors one religion and discriminates directly against others. (That latest bill saw to that. You're not christian? Sorry. You're not hired.)

An economy that continues to push poor people into poorer living conditions, and the rich continue to reinforce their positions of being able to make more money.

An educational system that gets a bottom priority in federal funding. We'll fund a useless war but we're out of dough when it comes to schools. Unless it's a religious school...

I'm ashamed to live in america. The worst part about it is seeing the rest of the world advance, and seeing us convince ourselves that we're advancing when in reality we're retreating, caught up in a constant cater to the lowest common denominator. We have the illusion of liberty, the illusion of freedom, the illusion of choice. Fewer notice and still fewer people do anything but leverage themselves against it, supporting the problem, every day.

I read amazing articles written by extremely intelligent people about the nature of all this all the time. The information is out there! But noone looks for it. Noone cares. We've lost our spirit, our will. We've turned into zombies. The
majority of this country still believes that Saddam was responsible for 9/11.

America is the ubiquitous short-bus, full of retarded people who have no idea of the world that's passing them by.

Abadon hope all yee who enter. The "american dream" stopped being realized a long time ago.

Just my .02

- Keman

Comments

( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
wolffit
Mar. 4th, 2005 05:21 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry Rigel, there is probably a misunderstanding here.

What do you define as "defensive driving" ?

Allow me to explain what I have perceived it being and what others have told me they feel it is.

Pay no attention to the cars behind you. If someone rides your ass, ignore them. Do not move out of their way if you can.
Do nothing to influence the cars around you. Do not establish eye contact with other drivers, ever. Do not predict what other drivers will do. Stay in your lane, keep your eyes on the road ahead of you. Do not change lanes unless you need to in order to get to your destination. Do not exceed the speed limit, even if other cars on the road are all travelling above it. Do not use your horn. Do not respond to others using their horn. Do not extract any pleasure out of driving, do not have fun.

This may seem extreme, but quite honestly I've asked some of the more "dumb" drivers at places I've worked and this is their interpretation of what "defensive driving" means. It's twisted, and stupid. And probably not what /your/ definition is. I'll bet your definition involves using your head, planning ahead, and probably along the lines of SIPDE for motorcycles. Scan, identify, plan, decide, execute.

- Keman
(Deleted comment)
wolffit
Mar. 4th, 2005 06:51 pm (UTC)
Rigel, I must admit I'm partly to blame for Keman's view on defensive driving.

What I see regularly on my way to work is people who are afraid to drive. They have had the phrase "drive defensively" drilled into their heads so much, without any additional information as to what "defensive driving" means that they cause more accidents than they prevent. They creep across 5 lanes of traffic, blocking multiple lanes at a time because they think safe lane changing means to change lanes slowly, waiting until you have multiple car lengths of clearance. They drive 55mph in the left lane when everyone around them is going 65+. They change lanes and slow down, cutting off the person who was overtaking them and making that person slam on their breaks. They ride their breaks so you can't actually tell by watching their break lights if they're slowing down or speeding up or what. They make traffic worse by being so passive in their driving that they won't pass a truck on a 2-lane ramp when the truck is in the right lane going 15mph. Like sheep, they stop at a traffic light that has been made useless by a road closure, but has not actually been turned off.

These people are not driving defensively, they are driving passively, but they don't know the difference because nobody talks about the perils of passive driving. The ad campaigns attack "aggressive" driving as being bad, and promote "defensive driving" as being good, without any definition of what either term means. People equate aggressive with active, and defensive with passive, and only make the problem worse.

Keman and I both drive actively. We understand how our vehicles respond, how they handle, and drive accordingly. We monitor what vehicles around us are doing. If someone is driving recklessly, we get out of their way, we don't just grip the steering wheel tight and hope they don't hit us. If someone is driving in a manner so as to obstruct traffic, we go around them. I'd wager that a majority of the passive drivers out there would call our driving aggressive, when it is not.

More in next comment.
lynn_onyx
Mar. 4th, 2005 07:26 pm (UTC)
"Defensive driving" is wrongheaded because it casts the driving experience as a competitive battle against the enemy, not as a cooperative endeavor between the drivers on the road.

Agree, disagree?
wolffit
Mar. 4th, 2005 09:39 pm (UTC)
That's exactly it.

Defensive driving implies that you do the opposite of offensive driving. And if you don't want to be offensive, you do nothing to be offensive, which means doing nothing to engage the other drivers on the road.

Rigel asked about eye contact. Eye contact is extremely important. When you have eye contact with another driver, you know they know you're there. I'm sure Rigel is overlooking this. Think about when you see someone making a left turn in front of you. What do you do if they start turning and they're not looking at you? .... you're on the brakes, ready. But if they're looking at you? Sure you cover the brakes, but it's usually obvious they're just creeping out waiting for you to pass. Eye contact is extremely important in driving IMO.

- Keman
lynn_onyx
Mar. 4th, 2005 10:00 pm (UTC)
Yes! Nothing is more annoying than people who refuse to make eye-contact when they're supposted to. Some people are DELIBERATELY avoiding looking at you, and that makes the whole thing dangerous.

I sometimes think things must have been better in the old horse-and-buggy days, in which people moved slower in their vehicles, were not locked up in isolating little boxes, and could see what the other person is doing.
wolffit
Mar. 4th, 2005 06:51 pm (UTC)
Some select quotes from the pages you referenced:
  • Do not drive in the blind spot of other vehicles.
    Right. I cannot count the number of times I've noticed a passive driver sitting in my blind spot, because he's been too afraid to speed up or slow down just a little bit. My solution? Usually I speed up a bit until they're out of my blind spot. Sometimes I can't.

  • Use headlights at all times, even during the day.
    Right. Only problem is, headlights that are improperly aimed can be blinding, even during the day.

  • Drive in the outer lane on freeways. In case of a problem, you won't have to cross a lane of traffic to get to the breakdown lane.
    Okay, but not the left lane, please, if you're going slower than the rest of traffic.

  • Do not drive next to large vehicles longer than necessary. The driver may not see you, and a turning truck can suddenly cut off all exit routes.
    Sensible. Why are so many people afraid to move past the large vehicle?

  • Conversely, change lanes or pull over if tailgated. If that is not possible, slow down.
    Sure, because you're already going 55 in the left lane when everyone is going 65+. That's probably why you're being tailgated. Slowing down makes sense.

  • Avoid visibly damaged or defective cars. A history of accidents indicates that the owner has poor driving skills.
    *laughs* I think I'll count the number of vehicles that have accident damage on my way home from work.

  • A properly designed freeway on-ramp gives you the space to gain freeway speed before entering the traffic flow. Do not be tentative about accelerating to highway speed—the most significant danger is that caused by disparate vehicle speeds.
    *cries* Why, why, why do so many people merge onto 95/495 below the speed limit?

  • xcessive speeding (more than 10 mph faster than traffic flow) or traveling too slowly increases the dangers and difficulty for all.
    Note it doesn't say more than 10mph faster than the speed limit.

  • Defensive driving encompasses many different ideas and practices, one of which is understanding the effects your driving may have on others, and the results this can have on your safety and theirs.
    Too many people don't realize this. Or don't appear to.

  • In my state of Arizona, there is a law that if another driver approaching from your rear signals by lights or horn their intention to pass you, you must allow them to pass, giving way to the right if necessary to let them around. Many other states have similar laws.
    Would be nice if Virginia did.


    I think that's probably enough. :-)
  • lynn_onyx
    Mar. 4th, 2005 05:30 pm (UTC)
    zi_mugudarina
    Mar. 4th, 2005 05:34 pm (UTC)
    Sigh...no one seems to know the definition of "third world" anymore...
    huscoon
    Mar. 7th, 2005 03:11 am (UTC)
    An under developed nation.

    Of course, a good number of furs don't know the definition of "drama" and "closed-minded" either.
    (Deleted comment)
    lynn_onyx
    Mar. 4th, 2005 07:33 pm (UTC)
    Yes. It encourages a view of society in which everything is a zero sum game. For us to advance, we've got to trample on you. There's no sense of cooperation, because I just might miss my chance at The Big Riches if I were to help you out instead of thinking about myself.

    There's no common good, if everyone can become insanely rich almost by chance and determination; no motivation to pool together to make all of us happy instead of selfishly hoarding every benefit as a weapon in our battle to rise to the top.
    doniago
    Mar. 4th, 2005 06:46 pm (UTC)
    Well that's a downer...
    wolffit
    Mar. 4th, 2005 07:13 pm (UTC)
    This reminds me of a situation I've ran into too many times.

    It's the typical case of someone who feels that everyone else is driving too fast to be safe, so they drive slow. In the left lane. Someone comes up behind them, and decides to ride their ass. Person in front of them slows down. Person behind keeps riding their ass. Person in front decides to slam on the brakes to teach the person riding their ass a lesson. Person behind responds fast enough, but causes a chain reaction behind him of many people slamming on their breaks. Each person behind him tries to gain an extra 10-15 feet now. This waveform change cause a rapidly increasing effect, gaining energy. You see this on the highway a quarter mile back as the person in front of you LOCKS UP their tires, spontaneously. If you've wondered what caused it? This is one if the big ones. Lets dissect this situation.
    Person in front feels they're justified.
    Person behind feels they're justified.
    Person in front feels he's being safe. He's not. He's causing accidents.

    What the person in front doesn't realize, is that he's GOING AGAINST THE SOCIAL NORM. Which is that people do speed in the left lane. Go against the flow? You cause problems. In this case, you've caused accidents.
    Here's an easy benchmark to make. If you're in a lane and you move over a lane and every person behind you shoots by you, and this continues to happen and happens everywhere you go... guess what? You're the problem. Do we slow everyone down to cater to your inadequate skills or mental state of driving? No. You take public transit. A real drivers test would probably fail this person.
    Maybe we could be like Germany. Where drivers education requires CPR training, a couple thousand dollars, lots of testing, a requirement to learn how to drive a stick, and a very aggressive failure rate. Afterall ... why should it be easy for you to be able to get a license to drive a lethal weapon capable of killing many people at once? Probably because driving in this country is viewed as a right, not a privilage. We can't discriminate now. Unless it's a religious matter.. ... - Keman
    doniago
    Mar. 4th, 2005 07:34 pm (UTC)
    Driving Rant
    Are you _trying_ to channel 2? Heh, channel 2... :)

    Agreed, driving slow in the left lane is just plain stupid, unless you're trying and failing to move to the right lane, which has happened to me.

    I certainly have slowed down on roads with no passing lanes when I felt tail-gated, on the premise that either a) they'll figure out they're being an ass (admittedly at that point I'm being one too), b) they'll pass me, or c) they'll rear-end me (and with my car, I'd take the insurance and walk away happily).

    Slamming on brakes to teach someone a lesson is just a bad plan all around. And if you somehow think you're being _safe_ by doing that, you need your head examined.

    On highways (not always on local roads) I recognize and appreciate that the left lane is a passing lane...wish more people did. OTOH, while I will go faster in that lane, there are plenty of people inclined to go faster than I'm going. And to them I say 'fuck off, I'm not going to go faster just to please you, and I _am_ passing someone', and then I switch back to the right lane when I can.

    Can't say I'd favor the German model, as I really can't imagine making a case for people being _required_ to drive stick. Of course, living in VT where mass transit is barely an option, I have to say that while driving is indeed a privilege rather than a right, most adults holding down jobs really do need a car. God knows I'll have problems if/when mine dies and I don't have another one lined up.

    Oh well, I've got to get back to work...
    wolffit
    Mar. 4th, 2005 08:08 pm (UTC)
    Re: Driving Rant
    And to them I say 'fuck off, I'm not going to go faster just to please you, and I _am_ passing someone', and then I switch back to the right lane when I can.

    Which is the right thing to do. Unfortunatly, far too many people don't pass, and don't switch back to the right lane when they can.
    kyhwana
    Mar. 5th, 2005 01:03 am (UTC)
    "a requirement to learn how to drive a stick"
    In New Zealand there's now a different license for manuals and automatics. So if you show up to your driving test in an automatic, you're only licensed to drive an auto (At least on your learners/restricted, I don't think it applies to a full) and not a manual.
    bramblewolf
    Mar. 4th, 2005 07:58 pm (UTC)
    but galen is/was rightwing
    wolffit
    Mar. 4th, 2005 09:46 pm (UTC)

    Hhahahaahahahahahahahahaa.
    *pant*
    ROFL!

    He may call himself that, but I think anyone else who calls himself that would highly disagree and be insulted. :P

    Warning, Massively insulting: Everyone is born on the right, and with every bit of knowledge gained they end up closer to the left.

    This is not to say you're born George W. and die filming your own version of Farenheit 9/11. Extremist nutjobs exist in every flavor. Without them though, the next dude down on the totem pole would be an extremist. - Keman
    huscoon
    Mar. 7th, 2005 03:09 am (UTC)
    This would explain why the only age group Kerry won was the 18-29 year-olds in the last election. ;)
    lurene
    Mar. 4th, 2005 10:02 pm (UTC)
    I'll be going now.
    wolffit
    Mar. 4th, 2005 10:35 pm (UTC)
    Eh?
    huscoon
    Mar. 7th, 2005 03:07 am (UTC)
    Inferior, overpriced, and limited selection of medications.

    Hardly inferior. The reason for them being more expensive is the fact medications in the United States go through a vigorous testing before they are put on the market to make sure of their safety and the health risks involved in taking them. But, if you want to get medications from a third-world country with no supervisions, that's your choice.

    Healthcare that's virtually impossible to afford for a large percentage of the population.

    I'm self-employed, so I have to buy my own health insurance. And if you are curious, my health insurance is CHEAPER than my car insurance.

    Excessive industrial pollution with the governing bodys applying all critique to the areas that DONT pollute and turn a well paid blind eye to the ones that do.

    The biggest pollution producing countries in the world aren't in the United States, they are in south Asia.

    A government so irate it attacks other countries "pre emptively" (But there were clearly WMD.. not)

    Unlike the USSR (invading Afghanistan), Iraq (invading Kuwait), Germany (insert any European country here), North Korea (invading South Korea), North Vietnam (insert any southeast Asian country here), most African countries (invading each other).

    As for the WMDs, Saddam had them. Just ask Kerry in the late 90s and then-President Clinton. They knew that Saddam had WMDs. It's not the question of if Saddam had them, it's a question of where are they now.

    Heavy religious biased government that favors one religion and discriminates directly against others. (That latest bill saw to that. You're not christian? Sorry. You're not hired.)

    Tell that to the 16 Jewish senators currently in Washington including the highly influential Joe Lieberman. Of course, look at Stalin, Hitler, Mao, and Pol Pot, and you will see how atheists run their countries.

    An economy that continues to push poor people into poorer living conditions, and the rich continue to reinforce their positions of being able to make more money.

    You're forgetting that John Edwards' dad was a millworker. Of course, hard work pays off in America. The redistribution of wealth just creates laziness.

    An educational system that gets a bottom priority in federal funding. We'll fund a useless war but we're out of dough when it comes to schools. Unless it's a religious school...

    That would be why more money is being poured into the No Child Left Behind Act (co-written by Ted Kennedy) every year. As for religious schools, they recieve next-to-no funding from the federal government except for school vouchers.

    I'm ashamed to live in america.

    No one is stopping you from leaving.

    ( 21 comments — Leave a comment )

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    Galen
    wolffit
    Galen Wolffit

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