Swickard: Getting home safely in self-driving cars

© 2017 Michael Swickard, Ph.D.  “Baseball is like driving, it’s the one who gets home safely that counts.” Tommy Lasorda
            This last weekend there was a car accident which involved a self-driving vehicle. The media had a great visual of this car on its side. To our way of thinking that is never supposed to happen. It’s a self-driving car which should be programmed to stay out of accidents.
            The good news is that it wasn’t the self-driving car’s fault. But the car ended up on its side. That is never good. Seems the car ended up on its side after someone, a human, not another self-driving car, didn’t yield when it was a yield situation.
            Are we to assume self-driving cars are not going to get into accidents? Of course they will have accidents because they are out there with all of us humans. Regardless of the fact that self-driving cars will not be texting or talking to a spouse, the human other drivers do.
            Like Los Angeles Dodgers Manager Tommy Lasorda observed, it is the one who get home safely that counts both in the game of baseball and driving. When I took a defensive driving course the mantra was to arrive safely despite the actions of others. Even if you are a self-driving car.
            Imagine how hard it would be to sit in a self-driving car as it gets into an accident. What can you say since there is no one else in the car? In a regularly driven car you might resort to colorful language for a driver that gets you into an accident but if you are the only one in the car the best you can say is, “Shuckins!”
            Obviously, some statistician can point out that you will be many times safer if a knucklehead isn’t driving but there is that media picture of a self-driving car on its side to consider. And if you think that the self-driving car is doing something wrong, what can you do other than gasp?
            One time I was in a commercial jet taking off from Dallas when as we were heading onto the runway I noticed that the pilot had not engaged the flaps. Normally to take off or land the flaps are extended. Someone traveling with me noticed I was agitated.
            I mentioned the flaps to which this person just shrugged. Then the pilot announced, “Most times we use flaps to take off but for you pilots there are a few times when we have a no-flaps takeoff. This is one of those times.” I went whew.
            So, it may take a bit of trust to ride in self-driving cars, especially in traffic with the usual amount of human knuckleheads. I guess we could get used to it or perhaps some of us never will. It could be that we can consider what Will Rogers wrote, “When I die, I want to die like my grandfather who died peacefully in his sleep. Not screaming like all the passengers in his car.”


Poverty goes hand-in-hand with tyranny

© 2016 Jim Spence - Santa Fe, New Mexico is a city where political vipers are sent to say things that are untrue and do things that have never worked. New Mexico voters seem to like it that way. The proof is in the pudding. Voters in our state have chosen to be dominated by the Democratic Party for more than sixty years despite the fact that unlike our neighbors, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Texas, states that actually vote for a Republican-led legislatures sometimes, New Mexico has made sure Democrats run our legislature for more than sixty years.
Unfortunately, one party rule has worked about as well in New Mexico as it has in Cuba and North Korea. Economically speaking it has quite been thin in New Mexico for a long time with no relief in sight. This is true despite our state having better weather or more natural resources than each of our neighboring states.
The problem is simple. Democrats spread poverty in New Mexico like stage four cancer.
How bad are the most basic measures of future prosperity in New Mexico? The most compelling statistic is a measure of the lives of children. According to a recent study conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 72 percent of all babies born in New Mexico require the costs of their births to be covered not, by their moms and dads, but by Medicaid. Essentially, this means that three out of every four babies born in this state are being created by people who simply cannot afford to have them. In effect, they are created at taxpayer expense. This 72% "rate" is by far the highest rate of any state in the nation. The fact that only 28% of all babies born in New Mexico are born to females who can afford to be pregnant, is a direct result of Democratic Party domination of public policy for more than sixty years that encourages and fosters government dependency. Yes, Democrats are literally manufacturing a steady stream of people to live in poverty with their public policies.
Sadly, New Mexico has never been satisfied to simply populate Santa Fe with Democrats who keep repeating failed processes. New Mexico also sends some of our most stubborn and hypocritical jackasses to Washington.
Not surprisingly, perhaps the biggest hypocrite in the United States Senate these days hails from New Mexico. That would be Tom Udall. A few years ago Udall made the following statement regarding how despicable he thought filibustering of Supreme Court nominees was and why the Democrats were justified in changing Senate rules to stop filibusters:
“I think what our role is, is to step out there, advise and consent, and if we don't believe the person's qualified, if there's some real serious problem, vote against them. You remember Bork. He wasn't filibustered. He was voted down, 58 votes against him. People like Scalia, everybody says, oh, well, there are going to be more Scalias. Scalia passed unanimously. Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court passed with just three votes against her, 96-3. So the issue really is advice and consent, not with super majorities. Right now, we have the tyranny of the minority. And that's what we have taken care of."
Yes, you read that right. Tom Udall called the tactic of filibustering a presidential nominee to the courts, “The tyranny of the minority.” Those are very strong words of condemnation. Obviously this is a principle that Udall seemed to hold dear right?
This week Udall indicated he was going to be just fine with Chuck Schumer’s calls for a filibuster of Judge Neil Gorsuch, the same Gorsuch Schumer voted FOR when he need Senate confirmation a few years ago. Schumer is not alone in his previous vote FOR Neil Gorsuch. Also voting for Gorsuch was Senator Barack Obama, Senator Joe Biden, Senator Harry Reid, Senator Dick Durbin, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Senator Maria Cantwell, Senator Tom Carper, Senator Patrick Leahy, Senator Robert Menendez, Senator Patty Murray, Senator Bill Nelson, Senator Jack Reed, Senator Debbie Stabenow, Senator Ron Wyden. None of these same Democrat Senators, who are still in the Senate will vote for Gorsuch now, and most will support a filibuster.

We have plenty of poverty, tyranny anyone?