Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Anthony Weiner’s New Yorker Cover

LLOOLLLL, oh please, please do NOT vote for this man!

Screen shot 2013-07-27 at 3.43.12 PM

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July 27, 2013 Posted by | Communication, Humor, iPhone, Mating Behavior, Photos, Political Issues, Values, Women's Issues, Work Related Issues | , , | Leave a comment

The Official Worst Drivers in America: Miami

Slate.com has figured out which city has the worst drivers in America: Miami, Fla.

Slate looked at years of data about traffic accidents, automotive fatalities, alcohol-related driving deaths and pedestrian strike rates as indicators of bad driving.

Three out of the five cities with the worst drivers are found in the Sunshine State, with Miami topping the list as the absolute worst. Miami is first in auto fatalities and pedestrian strikes and, according to Slate, first in “obscenity-lace tirades of their fellow driver”. Fellow Floridian cities Hialeah, which comes in at number three, and Tampa at number four also seem to host a populace with a passion for running down pedestrians and fatal car accidents.

Miami shows up on more than just Slate.com’s worst list. The Huffington Post reported that Miami also had the most hit-and-runs in Florida last year, an incredible 35 a day. Transportation for America also ranked the most dangerous cities in America to drive in, with the top four all in Florida. Maybe Floridians should look into buying heavy-duty trucks and steering clear of sidewalks.

From the original report at Slate.com where you can read the entire article:

Adjusting the Allstate rankings for mileage this way has significant effects. Washington, D.C. remains the worst driving city using the insurance claims data, but Philadelphia surges to second worst. Hialeah drops seven places, from fourth to 11th.

Next we consider additional indicators. Car crashes are bad, but some accidents are worse than others. In July 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published automobile fatality data for major cities and metropolitan statistical areas from the year 2009. It’s useful for our purposes, but it comes with a couple of caveats. The researchers didn’t publish data for some of the smaller cities on our list. In those cases, we’ll use data from the larger metropolitan area. In addition, three cities (Boston, Newark, N.J., and Providence) had fewer than 20 fatalities, but the precise number is unpublished. We’ll assume that each of these cities had 10 fatalities, so we have a number to enter into the calculations.

Drunk drivers are bad drivers, and some cities have far more of them than others. Not all locales publish reliable data on drunk driving fatalities, so we’ll turn to the Century Council, an association of distillers organized to combat drunk driving. The group published the number of fatalities from alcohol-related car accidents in 2011. The data are, unfortunately, broken down by state rather than city. So, for our purposes, the sins of the state will be visited upon the cities. (New York City has reliable data, so we can use city-specific data in that instance.) We can’t adjust the statewide data for mileage, because our mileage numbers relate only to cities themselves. So DWI fatalities will have to be computed per capita, unadjusted for how many miles residents of a city drive.

Pedestrian strikes are another key metric. For this indicator we turn to the CDC’s WONDER, a searchable database of morbidity and mortality statistics. It’s a priceless epidemiological tool as well as a bottomless source of trivia. The most granular data on pedestrian injuries and deaths is by county.

You might object to the use of pedestrian injuries as a metric of driver incompetence, because some cities have far more pedestrians than others. That’s a fair point, but consider New York City. It is, by far, the most walked city in the United States. Two-thirds of New Yorkers either walk or use public transit to get to work. According to the website WalkScore.com, only 2 percent of New Yorkers live in neighborhoods where cars are necessary. While every pedestrian strike is a tragedy, there are fewer in New York than you might expect. Miami-Dade County, a significantly less walked city, had 20 percent more pedestrian strikes per mile driven between 2006 and 2010 than New York.

. . . . .

And now, America, on to the cities with your worst drivers.

No. 5: Baltimore. Baltimoreans just can’t keep from running into each other. They were outside the top 10 in fatalities, DWI deaths, and pedestrian strikes, but their rate of collision couldn’t keep them out of the top five overall.

No. 4: Tampa, Fla. Tampa doesn’t do any single thing terribly, but it is consistently poor: 18th worst in years between accidents, fifth in traffic fatalities, tied for 11th in DWI fatalities, and 10th in pedestrian strikes. If the city had managed to get outside the bottom half in any individual category, Tampa residents might have avoided this distinction.

No. 3: Hialeah. The drivers of Hialeah get into a middling number of accidents, ranking 11th among the 39 candidates. But when they hit someone, they really mean it. The city finished third for fatalities. They also have a terrifying tendency to hit pedestrians.

No. 2: Philadelphia. Drivers in the city of brotherly love enjoy a good love tap behind the wheel. Second-places finishes in collisions and pedestrian strikes overwhelm their semi-respectable 16th-place ranking in DWI deaths.

No. 1: Miami. And it’s not even close. First in automotive fatalities, first in pedestrian strikes, first in the obscenity-laced tirades of their fellow drivers.

A couple of other noteworthy findings: Californians did reasonably well. Although the Golden State had seven cities among our 39 candidates, only Glendale finished in the top half of the table. Louisiana’s two entries, Baton Rouge and New Orleans, finished 6th and 15th, owing to the state’s terrible record of drunk driving fatalities.

Washington, D.C., the whipping boy of the Allstate rankings, dropped to 16th, owing to low numbers of DWI fatalities. Boston drivers don’t deserve the torment they receive. They have few automotive fatalities and rarely kill people in alcohol-related accidents. It goes to show how flawed opinion polls can be.

July 27, 2013 Posted by | Circle of Life and Death, Civility, Cultural, ExPat Life, Financial Issues, Florida, Health Issues, Law and Order, Safety | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Touched the Hem of His Garment

Today’s meditation from Forward Day by Day touches on one of my very favorite stories – and its opposite. It’s all about the power of belief. The woman, suffering from bleeding, would have lived a terrible life, considered unclean, untouchable, and trying everything to be cured without success. Just a touch – one touch – and her illness is gone. Jesus is astonished and tells her that her faith has made her well.

In contrast, the people in his own village are skeptical. How can good ole Jesus, son of Mary and that carpenter, how can he be anything special? In the face of such callous disbelief, Jesus can do little.

SATURDAY, July 27

Mark 6:1-13. And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them.

What a contrast, in just a few verses. Yesterday the bleeding woman merely touched Jesus’ garment, and Jesus’ power streamed into her. Today he is home, and those who watched him grow up ask, “Just who do you think you are?” and the Son of God is stopped in his tracks, like Superman when he is exposed to kryptonite.
My field education rector preached on this passage a year ago, and I was spellbound by his ending. He asked, “If Jesus came to All Saints, would he be able to do deeds of power?” Then the rector got even more personal, asking, “If Jesus came to you, would he be able to deeds of power?”

Oh, how I hope so. I’m not sure how to have the faith that allows Jesus to perform deeds of power, but I can see what kind of behavior does. It is hopeful, brave actions that seem to open the way for Jesus to work; and it is arrogant, fear-based behavior that seems to block the way.

Lord, teach us not to fear the change you bring. Teach us to reach out to touch your garment.

When my Mother was still living on her own, there was a revolving guest room, and my sister left a CD for me there, as she departed and I arrived, which contained the song above. I want it sung at my funeral. It is a succinct statement of faith; it is the song of the bleeding woman who believes and is cured, and nothing is ever the same.

July 27, 2013 Posted by | Aging, Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Character, Community, Cross Cultural, Cultural, Experiment, Faith, Health Issues, Lectionary Readings, Living Conditions, Spiritual, Values | Leave a comment