Sunday, April 3, 2005

Sunday Reading

  • How to cure road rage?

    TALLAHASSEE – Cruising in the fast lane may become a thing of the past for most Florida drivers, under a bill that’s on the fast track for approval by the state Legislature.

    Calling it the Road Rage Reduction Act, legislators want to make it illegal to drive in the left lanes of highways throughout the state. Violations would be considered noncriminal traffic infractions and punishable by fines and four points on the driver’s license.

    The House and Senate bills would require drivers to use the right-hand lanes of all four-lane highways at all times, unless they meet certain exceptions, among them:

    EXCEPTIONS

    • When passing another vehicle;

    • When no vehicle is directly behind them;

    • When congestion makes driving on the right impractical or highway design makes it necessary to drive on the left when preparing to exit;

    • When there are obstructions or hazards on the right.

    The list goes on.

    Supporters of the legislation say that clearing out left lanes and designating them as passing-only should ease tensions and episodes of road rage among drivers. Some say it could facilitate the flow of traffic in some areas and even make it easier to see speeders.

    “Occupying the left lane is a source of aggressive driving,” said Joseph Mosca, a Florida Highway Patrol trooper in Miami-Dade County.

    The rule would partially apply to drivers traveling on limited access roadways that have two or more lanes for each direction. Drivers in the left-most lanes of those roads would only be required to yield to any vehicle traveling at a higher speed by moving to the nearest lane to the right at “the first practicable and safe opportunity.”

    There is a difference between aggressive driving and what is commonly referred to as road rage, FHP spokesman Ernesto Duarte said.

    Duarte said that it takes two to tango when it comes to road rage. He said that the driver weaving in and out of lanes and “flicking people off” is not exhibiting road rage. That person is simply an aggressive driver. Road rage happens when two or more such drivers are aggressive with each other.

    One example, Duarte said, is when a car traveling in the left lane approaches another car from behind, and the driver in the rear flashes his or her lights in an attempt to get the car in front to move out of the way. The situation escalates to road rage when the driver in front starts slamming on the brakes instead of pulling over to the right lane and letting the other car pass.

    Now if they would only do something about the little old ladies in the twenty-year-old Corollas who tootle down US 1 at 25 mph in the left lane with their right turn signal on and the seatbelt dangling out the door making sparks.

  • Remember the war in Iraq?

    Insurgents assailed Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison on Saturday, launching waves of car bombs, rockets and gunfire in an hours-long onslaught that wounded 18 American GIs and 12 detainees, the U.S. military said.

    The attackers apparently did not penetrate the prison grounds, although some inmates were reported to have been seriously wounded. The second of two car bombs exploded as troops were trying to evacuate the injured after the first, the Reuters news agency said.

    Meanwhile, the possibility of defusing Iraq’s Sunni Muslim-led insurgency by drawing the Sunni minority into the country’s government and military appeared more remote.

    The Association of Muslim Scholars, the most prominent of dozens of groups speaking for disaffected Sunnis, distanced itself Saturday from an edict by 64 Sunni clerics and scholars the previous day that had encouraged Sunnis to join Iraq’s new security forces.

    In another setback for the government, efforts stalled to select a Sunni who would be widely accepted as parliament speaker.

    The U.S. military said between 40 and 60 insurgents attacked Abu Ghraib prison, west of Baghdad. U.S. forces still maintain a base and a detainee center at the sprawling complex, which became the focus of a U.S. military abuse scandal last year when photos emerged of American troops taunting naked, contorted Iraqi detainees.

    So now we’re into our third year of the cakewalk.

  • But all is not lost. Hope springs eternal, and memories can be sweet.

    NEW YORK — Tonight they return to the place where the magic unfolded on those cold October nights a little more than five months ago. The last baseball game at Yankee Stadium was played Oct. 20, 2004, which is now Boston baseball’s Bastille Day, a New England holiday commemorating the liberation of the suffering souls of Red Sox Nation.

    Tonight the world champion Red Sox play the Yankees again (weather permitting) and Sox fans who dare venture into the Bronx can cite the parade-day words of captain catcher Jason Varitek, who told them they can forever hold their heads high in future visits to The House That Ruth Built.

    We witnessed the ultimate demonstration of the alternate universe last autumn when it was the Yankees who folded and the Red Sox who broke the hearts and spirit of the arrogant New York fans. There will be no chants of “1918” tonight and no Yankee fans holding signs with the ghostly image of the great Bambino.

    As if this uber-rivalry needed any more hype, the Red Sox will send the 21st century Babe to the mound in the fat form of 41-year-old David Wells, a collector of Ruth memorabilia and a man who owns one of the best winning percentages in the storied history of the Yankee franchise. The portly portsider will wear the Babe’s No. 3 on his Boston jersey, channeling the Big Fella who pitched against New York the last time the Red Sox were defending world champs back in 1919….

    That’s for you, Beantown Girl.

    I love technology sometimes. The computer and DVD/VCR automatically reset their internal clocks. The cable box, however, is another matter. Oh, Comcast…