Sunday, September 19, 2010

Iran: kidnapper?

I have been wondering all week if I should post something about this. It’s been bothering me, because I don’t like to stay silent, but at the same time, I think my reaction may be extreme. Nevertheless, I think Iran’s actions with regards to the three hikers arrested last year and accused of espionage should at this point constitute a crime (specifically: kidnapping).


The hikers were arrested on a charge of espionage. They should have been tried, convicted and sentenced, or they should have been found “not guilty” and released. However, last weekend one of the hikers, Sarah Shourd, was to be released on humanitarian grounds (illness) prior to trial. Then suddenly there was a problem, and she was not to be released. Then there was an issue of a $500,000 “bail.”

I’m still not clear on whether or not that money was paid (I believe it was). However, paid or not, it cannot be called “bail.” I believe “bail” is a universal concept, and that concept is not “Get out of jail for money.” Some people may think it is, but bail is actually a way a government allows someone out of jail before trial while (attempting to) guarantee they will appear at trial. Appear at trial, get your money back. Don’t appear, lose the money. Bail has to be affordable, but too much to risk losing.

In Ms. Shourd’s case, bail was to be paid with no expectation she would appear at trial, or even return if tried and sentenced in absentia. I guess guilt is unimportant (especially if the charges are completely bogus, though I don’t know enough about the case to make that statement). More importantly, when you think about it, Iran is making a much worse statement here: We have kidnapped your citizens. Drop $500,000 in unmarked bills in the trash can marked “ransom” at the Iraqi border. Wait – who cares if they are unmarked? We are Iran…what are you going to do to us??

Please...opine...what should we do about such a horrible action/statement by a sovereign nation? I have my own opinions, and as I said, they are extreme.

So Cal Traffic

You know, I’m really not a violent person. I swear! But sometimes I wish I had James Bond’s car; I would use it to eliminate all the stupid people from the road.

About 10 years ago I was driving on the 15 out of San Diego. I was headed toward my dad’s house and had to pass through the Corona area. Traffic started to slow about 8 miles south of the 91 when some idiot decided he was the most important person in the world and didn’t need to slow down like the rest of us, so he floored it and swerved into the emergency lane doing about 80 MPH. Since this was Corona, there was a lot of gravel off to that side, and at that speed, he threw gravel into the air, showering all the cars in the two right-most lanes. Of course everyone had to slam on their brakes: some out of fear or surprise, others to avoid hitting the people slowing in front of them, and some out of caution because they saw brake lights and didn’t know what was going on.

I’m sure 99% of the US would agree with me when I say that the driver of that car was an ass; he intentionally did something illegal to save time, putting everyone else in jeopardy as well as making their commute both slower and more aggravating. But there are also a lot of people who do things they think are totally acceptable, but that actually lead to massive freeway slowing.

Despite what you may think, a gajillion cars on the road is not what causes traffic; driving like an ass is the number one cause of traffic. Yes, “a lot of people” are necessary for traffic, but simply “a lot of people” will not cause traffic. While driving like an ass on a 6 lane freeway with 3 cars on it will not cause a traffic jam, neither will a bajillion cars on the same freeway if they’re all driving safely. Some of those cars have to be driving like idiots to cause the slow-down. Over the next four days I'd like to blog about the most common errors that lead to traffic jams.