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July 31, 2013     Hays Free Press
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July 31, 2013

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THEY REALLY SAID THAT? "If we don't feed our teachers, they'll eat our kids." -Hays ClSD Superintendent Mike McKie, speaking about pay raises for HCISD employees Hays Free Press July 31, 2013 Page 3A Your car's black box: Friend or foe aybe you were never told. Maybe you just forgot. But you prob- ably don't think about your car "spying" onyou. According to the NewYork Times, there is a growing con- troversy over the fact that 96 percent of new vehicles sold in America (and 150 million older vehicles) contain an event data recorder, commonly referred to as a "black box." If the National Highway Safety Administration has its way, starting in September 2014, 100 percent of new vehicles will be equipped with the devices, which activate in the few sec- onds surrounding a crash or air bag deployment and collect a wealth of data about speed, brake position, seat belt use, whether you were mangling the words to "Blinded By The Light" and "Purple Rain," etc. The black boxes are invalu- able for helping automakers make safety improvements and fine rune their advertising ("A real turn-on for chicks who dig spontaneous combustion") and for settling court cases in which there is no eyewitness, but pri- vacy advocates are squeamish about the possibility of abuse by law enforcement agencies, insurers and other third parties. It does seem that if the manu- facturers and feds were proud of the devices, they would brag about them upfront, instead of burying news of their existence in a few obscure paragraphs of your owner's manual, along with other stuffyou never read, such as "Yes, it's a state-of-the- art sound system, but the people in the retirement home five blocks over probably don't share your musical tastes, jackass." Probably most of us at some time have momentarily exceed- ed the speed limit by five miles per hour while daydreaming, so it's creepy to think about the temptation for regulators to col- lect more data for longer periods of time. Of course some drivers overreact. ("I'm afraid the insur- ance company will twist the data to imply that I ALWAYS drive with my feet and moon bus- loads of nuns while approaching a one-lane bridge...") Conspiracy theorists really come all unglued about the possibilities. Their fears are probably groundless. On the other hand, if the commercials are all shot on a soundstage somewhere in the desert, the windshield wiper fluid is pure fluoride and the vehicle veers toward grassy knolls, all bets are off. Many of us have a different idea for using black boxes. Given that we've had more than a cen- tury to perfect mass production of automobiles, and given that we still get recall notices such as "By golly; somehow or another our Quality Control department overlooked 400,000 units that just might eject the driver's seat when you empty the ashtray...," maybe we should put the black boxes on the AUTO COMPANY EXECUTIVES to determine what it is they're doing wrong. Let us not underestimate the ability of software glitches to invalidate the results of the recorders. Black box advocates are quick to cheer the gradua- tion from an era of"he said, she said' controversies to an era of "he said, she said or the piece of electronic junk that someone programmed on a Friday after- noon while watching the clock for the start of a wild weekend said." Overall the recorders are a blessing and are here to stay, but no wonder some people would like to apply the brakes to the whole matter. Danny welcomes reader e- mail responses at tyreetyrades@ and visits to his Face- book fan page "Tyree's Tyrades". Danny's' weekly column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. newspaper syndi- cate. For info on using columns, please email Carl Dawson Bartley at or call 800 696 7561. WOlfING TO0000dl;R I00q'A D0tlBT, TRE BESTKIND OF 0000"TOIF00 WFI'dOUT.t My'David Cassidy' hair irst-wave baby boomers will begin turning 67 this year- and they re STILL imposing their ways on younger people, such as tail-end boomers like me. Though maybe I'm still upset about the David Cassidy haircut my sisters made me get in 1973. Like every teen gift then, my sisters were smitten with Cassidy. ,They exploit- ed my chief insecurity to get me to cut my hair like his. "If you part your hair down the middle and feather it over the sides, you'll be able to hide your big floppy ears," they said. And so it was that I would do the unthinkable: I would become the first kid in St. Germaine School to don the Cassidy look. I pedaled my bike three miles to the unisex hair salon. I approached the salon's owner, a cranky middle-aged woman with a cigarette dangling from her lip, and set a pile of crumpled bills and coins on the counter. "Make me look like David Cassidy," I said. She clipped and she cut, she styled and she set. She applied goops and sprays of every kind. When she finished, she turned the chair around so I could see in the mirror what she had done. I didn't look a whit like David Cassidy. I looked like Danny Bonaduce. I pedaled home as fast as I could and I hid in my room the rest of the day. I finally had to come out when my father called me down for supper. I took my seat to his right. He sensed something was off immediately. .......  GUESTCOLUM i L As he washed his burger down with man-sized gulps of Pabst Blue Ribbon, he kept looking over to me. "What the hell happened to your hair?" he finally said. "I got it cut." "But it's parted down the middle." "Yes." "Who parts hair down the middle?" "The unisex hair salon." "The uni-what?" ' place that cuts hair for both men and women." "You went to a lady's hair salon!" 'Tk unisex salon." "But your hair is parted down the middle!" My David Cassidy haircut was as pain- ful for my father as it was for me. Our suffering had a common source: first- wave baby boomers. Since the first boomer was born in 1946, boomers have been setting the pace. They've foisted their politics, their music and their clothing on younger generations. Now, as they begin pushing 70, they're foisting all kinds of problems on us. As millions retire, they will stop con- tributing to Social Security and begin receiving payments. Our taxes will surely rise to keep their cash flowing. That's because older boomers have the numbers to demand lots of govern- ment goodies from politicians eager to trade taxpayer dough for votes. Will hair transplants and facelifts be paid for by government-directed health- care programs? Though it's not like older boomers are broke. Dow Jones reports that many have amassed a fine nest egg- which they do not intend to leave for their kids. Some will sell their suburban homes and flock to resort areas in other coun- tries - further driving down the value of homes here, while driving up the home values elsewhere. To be sure, younger generations have spent their lives fighting off the influ- ence and agitation of the older boomers, and we've failed at every turn. It wasn't until my mid 20s that I finally got rid of my David Cassidy haircut. I told the hairdresser to try something modern and original. She cut my hair short and slicked it straight back. When she spun my chair around to show me her work, I was hor- rified by what I saw. I looked like Eddie Munster. Tom Purcell, author of'Misadventures of a 1970s Childhood"and "Comical Sense: A Lone Humorist Takes on a World Gone Nutty!" is a Pittsburgh Tribune- Review humor columnist and is nation- ally syndicated exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. This column was originally distributed in 2011. It is an excerpt from Purcell's book, "An Apple Core, a Toilet: Misadventures of a 1970s Childhood." Suicide or cunning self-preservation? 't's not often that one finds one's self eulogized while still emitting a pulse. .That's what happened, though, the other day in an amazing compilation in The New York Times. The subject: death by self-infliction of the Republican Party. The amazing thing was that all of the eulogizing was being done by Repub- licans. Jeb Bush. Bob Dole. Bill Kristol. Norman Ornstein. Say what?Well, let Mike Lofgren, longtime Republican aide on Capitol Hill, say it. With a bent that is hard right and hardening, the COP is "becoming less and less like a traditional political party in a representative democracy and becoming more like an apocalyptic cult "'" Or as the Times' Thomas Edsall put it, the COP appears intent on "ideological suicide." Too harsh? You decide. It was Jeb Bush who said that his father and Ronald Reagan would have a "hard time" getting nominated today, something seconded by former COP front-runner Dole. What these leading Republicans say is true. And, yet, what explains recent analyses causing Democrats' hair to stand on end - the prospect of a 2014 Republican Senate takeover? The Democrats clearly came out of 2012 as the party with a future - more acceptable to a nation of difference, of Latinots, of blacks, of gays and lesbians, of working stiffs. So how could the Senate possibly flip? Easy: The states where Democratic incumbents are most vulnerable - At- kansas (Mark Pryor), Louisiana (Mary Landrieu), Alaska (Mark Begich) - and those in which Democrats are retiring, Montana (Max Baucus), South Dakota (Tim Johnson) without viable replace- ments from their party, have all been predictably red states. The GOP needs six seats, meaning the Democrats may have to win in places where victory isn't assured, like North Carolina and West Virginia. The 2012 results project good times for Democrats long-term on a national stage. But on a regional basis, the GOP remains better than OK. Why? The reason is that we have two types of red states: In the South, generations of grievance against the party of Lyndon Johnson continue to prevail (as Johnson himself predicted) 50-plus years after passage of the Civil Rights Act. At the same time, in the sparsely populated West and sections of the Great Plains, we have many voters devoutly in- sulated from the concerns that brought, say, a Barack Obama to the stage. These voters may be connected to their neighbors, but as to the world, par- ticularly a world of difference, too many are connected by cable, or satellite, or Rush Limbaugh. Information? Trust Fox News, and local newspapers that regur- gitate provincial biases and worldviews. When the tea party-controlled U.S. House voted to strip food stamps from the farm bill, those who did so knew they would face no flak back home. Largely because of redistricting, their districts are safely Republican, ruled by white-flight suburbs; or in rural districts, they are ruled by land barons and Bill O'Reilly. Food stamps don't fit into those worlds; poverty doesn't, either. People of color? If they haven't been gated out, they've been gerrymandered out. So we can understand why Ed Rogers, who served both Reagan and George H.W. Bush, writes that the House is gov- erned by "ideological purists who think every issue and vote is black or white." His party, he says, has "lost the art of governing in Washington." Instead too many in the House have mastered the art of self-preservation in deference to starkly homogenous constituencies. And, so: Yes, the demographics of the nation are trending Democratic in a big way. The demographics of Congress (including the Senate), meanwhile, are trending toward something more insular and intractable. And you thought that was impossible. Longtime Texas newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. COMMENTS FROM THE WEBSITE The real problem is people call 911 to report a rifle. I guess they watch too many TV shows based in NY, DC or Chicago (with unconsti- tutional gun laws) and think they have been passed everywhere. -Craig Young on Openly carrying a rifle? What are rights? WHILE YOU WERE SLEEP- ING PART 2 In the Public Notice sec- tion of today's Hays Free Press there is an item for Kyle Planning & Zoning: "Texas Cinema Entertainment Center - Located on the east side of Kyle Crossing just north of Kohler's Crossing (Kyle Towne Center)". I don't remember the City Council offering them money to bring their business here? Was the Special Called City Council Meeting last month called so the Incentive deal could be passed before the Texas Cinema plans were public knowledge? Cui Bono? Something is rotten in the State of Denmark. Mr Brooks whose water am I carrying now? -Thomas Paine on Top 5 Kyle development agree- ments Milt's BBQ, please take note. Cash is a thing of the past. -PlasticRules on It's hip to be Square Wow! SO00 different! Grew up in Hays Country Oaks in the 80's. So many changes over the years. - Adrienne Hughes on Facebook re: video of FM1626 by Jo Hunter MANAGEMENT BARTON PUBLICATIONS, INC. Publisher Cyndy Slovak-Barton NEWSROOM Editor Kim Hilsenbeck Sports and News Reporter Moses Leos III Senior Reporter Andy Sevilla Community Columnists Sandra Grizzle Pauline Tom Columnists Bartee Halle Clint Younts Will Durst John Young Proofreaders Jane Kirkham Christine Thorpe OFFICE MANAGER Connie Brewer ADVERTISING Tracy Mack tracy@haysfreepresslcom Debbie Hall CIRCULATION/CLASSIFIEDS Suzanne Hallam PRODUCTION Production Mgr. David White Assistant Designer Zak Dennis Distribution Pete Sizemore Contact Us: FAX: 512-268-0262 BUDA 512-295-9760 KYLE 512-268-7862 METRO AUSTIN 512-262-6397 113 W. Center Street Kyle, Texas 78640