Friday, October 23, 2009

"Smart cars" for drunks

The New York Times article, Progress on drunken driving, explains the advantageous uses of the "ignition-interlock devices" in California, preventing known drunken drivers from starting their car if that don't pass a built in breathalyzer test. I agree that this device would prevent many drunken drivers from hitting the road, but I do not think that the author posed his argument very well.

The idea of preventing drunks from driving is very appealing to the kind of reader that does not drink, has had an incident with a drunk driver, or is just worried about drunk driving in general, but for those that have been drunk while driving, this device probably doesn't sound too great. To them this device will feel like an encroachment on the privacy that American's seem to hold so dearly. The way that the article is presented, in a very condemning tone, seems to push the product only because it would prevent drunks from hitting the road. The article fails to mention any flaws in the system that one should know about, including short circuiting the system, or perhaps even using someone else's breath to start the car. I am also sure that a majority of voters will have been drunk while driving once in their lifetime, and therefore would reject this device if all they knew about it was that it stops you from driving if you don’t pass the test.

I do agree that drunken drivers are a big problem across all of America, and that this device would help limit their numbers, but I think that this article does a poor job of presenting this argument. The people of California will, of course, no base their vote on this single article, but when arguing for something this important, one should present all the facts.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Home Run Health Care

Health care has become a main topic of discussion in the white house ever since Obama has become president, but congress seems unable to settle on any aspect of the conflict. The editorial, “Time for Congress to step to plate", by Cecile Richards, talks about Senator Baucus’ bill on health care, and just on health care in general. She first talks about the failure of a bill, in her opinion, which was presented by senator Max Baucus. She then proceeds to write about her opinions over the health care subject. I agree with her opinions on both Baucus’ bill and health care in general. She describes the first as being a sacrifice bunt for others to work off of. He might not gain any ground with it, but he certainly opens the field for others. However, just because the field is open doesn’t mean that we are suddenly going to have a perfect “home run” bill presented to us. Richards’ other argument over how congress seems to be not taking any action over our health care situation. I agree that congress just seems to be stalled over petty arguments even though we need to make progress in this area before it is too late. Some of these opinions I had formed before I read this article, but even if I had no prior knowledge on the subject I think that the devices that Richards uses would still persuade us to agree with her. First, she uses the analogy of baseball to help us understand her points better. America is not as knowledgeable with the government as we used to be, so using baseball is a great way to catch attention and to provide an easy to understand explanation of the situation. Because of this analogy, I think her intended audiences are the regular citizens of the United States. If it were intended for people involved in the government already, then she wouldn’t need the baseball analogy for explanation. Even if I agree with her, however, there is nothing left to do but listen and wait for someone to finally pull ahead in this very heated debate over health care in the United States.