George W Bush Reminisces About His Father and Drunk Driving

11.11.14

This morning I was making Alexander breakfast and listening to NPR. George W Bush was giving an interview about the biography he wrote about his father. I was intrigued and every time W talks I like to listen. I want to know what made Reagan call him The Idiot Son (besides the obvious). Today he proved himself to be absolutely moronic and more than a little dangerous (but as it’s Veterans Day we already knew that about him).

If you’re not interested in listening to the full eight minutes you can begin around the 3:30 mark. This is where W talks about his “youthful exuberance” and recounts a time where he played tennis with Jimmy Alison, drank too much and then proceeded to drive home and run over the neighbor’s trash cans.

Can someone please explain to me when we started confusing drunk driving with youthful exuberance? Trash cans are significantly larger than neighbor’s dogs or children. Why is this is a story that’s told without shame? Deep shame and regret.

In just a matter of days my daughter will be driving independently. She will experience freedom and responsibility unlike ever before. Most of us have a story about a kid dying in a car. They didn’t wear a seatbelt, they drove drunk, they were texting or they got hit by a drunk driver. Thanks President. Your exuberance is really cool.

In 2010 32,999 Americans died in car accidents. In 2010 31,076 Americans died from gunshot wounds.

Which leads me to another conversation I wasn’t going to have but I’ve decided that it’s too important to ignore.

Yesterday I got an email asking me if I’d like to interview a founder of an app that would keep teen drivers safe. Here is an excerpt from the email:

Did you know? Sixteen-year-olds are 20 times more likely to be killed in a car crash than an adult. When you introduce bad habits like texting while driving it seems like those numbers can only get worse.

We know that it’s unrealistic for teens to completely disconnect from their phones while driving – not just because they need to keep up with their social lives – but because parents need to be able to stay in touch with them.

Can we please talk about all the ways you don’t need to be in touch with your teen? It’s really okay for them to be out of range for minutes, hours, days or even weeks. The cell phone doesn’t have to be a modern day umbilical cord. If your child is old enough to drive your child is old enough to not have to answer your frantic phone call every 20 seconds. Leave them alone.

The email goes on to say:

The company’s Caller ID Android app features Voice Cue and Text ID, which audibly announces who is texting or calling, whether the name is in the phone’s contact list or not, the moment the text or call arrives. Thus, allowing the driver to decide if the text is important enough to pull off the road and answer or ignore and continue driving safely.

Right, that’s what a 16 year old will do. Pull over.

My response to the publicist was the following:

Since I have a 16 year old this wouldn’t be useful. It’s actually illegal in California.
http://www.dmv.org/ca-california/safety-laws.php

Drivers Younger Than 18

It is no secret that teen drivers are significantly more likely to be involved in car accidents. The statistics do not lie. Teen drivers have less driving experience and are easily distracted by passengers, food, talking or texting on their phones― all of which increase the likelihood of causing a serious crash.

While keeping these facts in mind, the state has modified the laws to make sure all drivers younger than 18 years old do not use a wireless telephone, pager, laptop or any other electronic mobile device to speak or text while driving; this applies even if they intend on using a hands-free headset. The only exception to this new rule is in emergency situations to call police, fire or medical authorities.

And perhaps most gallingly their response was:

Thanks for your response. I read through the material you sent me and wanted to clarify about the app.

The beauty of it is that it doesn’t require a user to hold a phone, let alone text on it, to be able to stay in touch. The app audibly announces who is calling or texting. That way drivers can decide if they want to pull over to respond. A teen or adult driver could have their phone in the backseat of their car and still be able to stay in touch.

For families with teens we recommend setting up a system where perhaps if they receive three texts from Mom or Dad, then that’s the signal that they have to pull over to respond.

I hope this clarifies it! We would never encourage texting while driving or using a phone while driving.

I live in Los Angeles. Kids here need cars to get around, we’re spread out and we don’t have good public transportation. My friends with kids older than mine have taught their kids to either power their phones completely down before hopping in the car or to put the phone in the trunk and to never pair it with the bluetooth in the first place.

Bloggers, parents and friends in the tech community I am begging you to not support apps that “make it safer” for teens to manage their cell phones in the car. It’s a huge number of deaths and currently distracted driving is proving to be more deadly than drunk driving. There is no safe way for a teen to manage a cell phone in the car. It simply needs to be turned off.

george w bush long gone oval office

Fact Checking: LA Beaches are to Remain Fun

02.9.12

Last night I saw a story on the KPCC Website entitled No fun: L.A. county beaches to levy $1,000 fine for throwing footballs and Frisbees. Because KPCC is my local NPR affiliate and a trusted news source I assumed this was true. KCAL which is a less trusted, but trusted site nonetheless ran a similar story.

I trusted these news sources and became agitated. Los Angeles does NOT need to lose any of it’s tourism dollars. We cannot afford this sort of debacle. So I picked up the phone.

Tony Bell who is with the LA County Board of Supervisors assures me that county is not banning football or Frisbee playing on the beach. The real story is that there was an existing law in place that banned all sorts of play on public beaches and that it was recently revised. Essentially this is a modification to an existing law wherein IF you are playing ball or frisbee on the beach and the ball is repeatedly hitting people on the head or presenting danger the Lifeguard can issue you a warning — and then, if you don’t stop, you could receive a fine of up to $100. — NOT $1000!

A local news outlet ran the story without fact checking and the public was led to believe that there would be a thousand dollar fine for kids playing football.

I called the County Offices, less as a blogger and more as a ticked off citizen, starting with “I’m pissed.” and I got the above explanation. Further there will be motions on Tuesday that will eliminate some of the poorly worded language so the public can be assured that the beaches are, in fact, for families.

In reality someone presenting that sort of hazard could probably also be arrested for battery.

It seems that this is much ado about not that nothing, and in the future I will be sure to fact check even when reputable journalists break the story. I cannot over emphasize how disappointing it is to have been the first person to call the city and ask for details.

On Tuesday there will be a motion to reword some of this.

The following is the text of the ordinances that seem to be confusing are below. Out of context they appear to be rather Draconian. In context they appear to be written in legalese, which as we know is not meant to be easily deciphered.

UPDATE: Here’s another blogger who gets it.

KQED Forum Tomorrow Morning

10.26.11

I’ll be on The Forum with Michael Krasny at 9 tomorrow morning. We’ll be talking about kids and media. The show is on KQED the Bay Area’s NPR affiliate.

You may or may not be aware that the AAP has recommended zero screen time for children under two. I suppose I’m invited to add a little color as I cannot comprehend why the AAP would think taking such an extreme stance would support new parents. I’m pretty sure this Washington Post article led them to me.

forum with michael krasny kqed npr

If you don’t live in the bay area you can listen online at KQED.org.

Guests:

  • Ari Brown, pediatrician and lead author of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ policy on television and kids under two years old
  • James Steyer, CEO and founder of Common Sense Media, a San Francisco-based non-profit which conducted the survey on media habits for kids up to eight years old
  • Jessica Gottlieb, parenting blogger based in Los Angeles
  • Lesli Rotenberg, senior vice president of children’s media for PBS

Things I Want to Share With You

02.11.11

Actions:

If you watch PBS or listen to NPR, please consider showing your support by joining the following grassroots effort – http://www.170millionamericans.org/.

If you read my website understand that without Net Neutrality this blog will probably go away. www.TheInternetStrikesBack.org I am going to BEG YOU to please get involved in this absolutely critical issue. Please share your thoughts about Net Neutrality in the comments below. I’m too overtired this week to do it justice.

Books:

If you are married, no matter how long you will enjoy Spousonomics. I was lucky enough to get a galley copy and every marriage can benefit from a book like this.

Allison Gilbert wrote Parentless Parents, it is a beautiful tribute to parenthood and family. I was accidentally sent two copies, if you see me in person this week I’ll give you my extra copy. If you’re parenting without one or both of your parents this is an excellent resource, if you are parenting with your parents still around it’s an exceptionally well written book that will keep you grateful. Allison is someone who I have followed in social networks for a few years and she consistently gives more than she takes. Her compassion shines through in this book, and I am excited to support her.

Marsha Collier wrote The Ultimate Online Customer Service Guide this is a great resource for any business owner, marketer, or businessperson who cares about their customer’s satisfaction. (Marsha is a friend, but this isn’t that kind of book. This is quite simply a book that you need.)

Guy Kawasaki sent me a copy of Enchantment it’s a fabulous guide to making your brand the Apple of everyone’s eye. Pun intended.

I’m just finishing up the first Wallander book Faceless Killers. It’s divine, but I’m reading only a page a day, because I don’t want to be done. What fiction should I read next?

Blogs:

Gentlemen, if you’d like every day to be a steak and blowjob day you must read Nina’s post titled Crap Women Don’t Want For Valentine’s Day

You don’t have to be from Los Angeles to appreciate How To Live in Los Angeles it’s a fabulous post from a writer I hadn’t discovered before this week.

Networks:

I’ve joined Namesake.com and I really like it. Connect with me there. @Jessica

Thirteen

06.29.10

Thirteen years ago today Mr. G. and I were married under the chuppah.

We’ve had two apartments, three houses, two children, a handful of hamsters, two cats and a few dogs. We’ve read 4,748 issues of the LA Times together, we’ve shared more than 10,000 meals and at least twice as many kisses. We’ve overcome huge obstacles, and we’ve operated nicely as a team. My husband has supported my every endeavor with kind smile.

I returned from an interesting two day trip to Detroit, exhausted and dirty only to turn on cell phone and find out that my friend Cassie was interviewed by NPR today. I believe (though I’m not quite sure) that they read at least part of my letter to my twenty year old self. Today I would like share with one thought again, “Building something  side by side with a good man is infinitely better than being given everything by a not so good man.”

I have spent thirteen wonderful years with the most generous man a woman could ever hope to find. I imagine another fifty will be a lot of fun.