Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Whip Around

I filled in today for John Saucier as host of the Whip Around. Among the topics: 

 The latest on the accusations of misconduct while a teenager of Judge Brett Kavanaugh who is President Trump's nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Florence is no longer a hurricane and the weather is improving in the Carolinas. But the threat to life continues. 

The leaders of North and South Korea are meeting. Could an official end to the Korean War and denuclearization of North Korea be the result? 

Space X announces who its first commercial astronaut will be. For a trip around the moon! 

Burt Reynolds just died. And Sally Field is out with her memoir. 

How Fortnight and other video games are leading to divorce. 

Florida's Red Tide sparks a protest against Gov. Rick Scott. 

 And listen to the end for my favorite story out of Montgomery County, Maryland!

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Selfies save her life

We've heard cases of people dying because they weren't paying attention to what they were doing when they took selfies. But one Michigan woman says taking selfies actually saved her life.

Juanita Branch was taking photos of  herself to update her Facebook profile. But when she went back to look at the photos, she noticed something very disturbing.

"Each one got worse than the next one," Branch told Fox 2 Detroit. Noticing her face progressively drooping.

"I said, 'I think I'm having a stroke,'" she says.

A call to 911 and an ambulance arrives to rush her to the hospital in time.

Branch says people should stop making fun of those making selfies. Because taking them, she says, literally saved her life.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Siblings save family

This morning I produced a story for Fox News Headlines on SiriusXM 115 that I want to share with you now.

It had to do with an accident on I-75 near Tampa.

A brother and sister were driving a furniture truck and witnessed it. Thank God they did.

A car slammed into an SUV, forcing it off the road and upside down into a watery ditch. The car then sped away.

The brother and sister stopped and ran over. Inside the SUV was a father, a mother and an 11-day-old baby. Trapped. The water rising.

They tried to smash out the windows. No luck.

So the brother says to his sister, "we have to turn this car over."  And they did! Putting it on its side. Then, successfully, smashing out the windshield to bring the family to safety.

Miraculously, mom and dad were unharmed. The baby rushed to a hospital as a precaution.

The brother, in an interview with Fox 13 Tampa, discounting what they'd done. "If I was in that situation, I would want someone to come to my rescue," he said. "Honestly, I would want someone to help me."

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Calling the news media the 'enemy of the people' has consqequences

President Trump feels beleaguered. Under attack. From what he says is an out-of-control left leaning news media. Purveyors, he argues, of fake news. And now, labeled by the president as the ''enemy of the people."

These are emotive words. And while most Americans may be able to process them and discount them as political hyperbole, not everyone can.

As in the case of a California man. Who is charged with making a threatening communication against the Boston Globe and its staff.

And in so doing, borrowing Mr. Trump's ''enemy of the people" phrase.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Why are there so many mass shootings in the United States?

Yesterday, another mass shooting, this time in Jacksonville, Florida.

Of course, as follows every newsworthy multiple shooting, there comes the call for more gun control

Those on the other side of the argument point, for example, to Chicago, where there are no legal gun sales yet there have been numerous deadly weekends, the result of bullets flying through, mainly, two areas of the city.

But nothing in this debate addresses the question of "why?"

Haven't there been a lot of people owning guns in the past? But the number of mass shootings is much higher today than before.

It is true that the number of guns in the United States, per capita, is higher these days. Adam Lankford is a criminology professor at the University of Alabama. In his widely quoted study on the matter, he concludes it's the availability of guns that's to blame. But there's actually more to this statistical story.

While the number of guns in the United States may be so high that it even outpaces the number of people, that doesn't mean everyone owns a gun.

In fact, the number of gun owners in the United States may have actually decreased. Meaning there are more guns in the hands of fewer people. In other words, many people own many guns.

So while the number of guns has increased, the number of people in the population capable of committing mass shootings, is actually stable or even down.

So what has changed?

There are suggestions that this has more to do with people seeking their moments of fame (even in death) than the number of guns. This desire for public recognition, writes Robert W. Fuller PhD in Psychology Magazine, is actually a disease.

The arguments, both pro and anti-gun control, always start flying, sometimes even before the smell of gunpowder clears the air at mass shooting crime scenes. But perhaps our national debate should focus more on the root causes of these tragedies instead.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Rubbing a friend's butt can land you in jail

Most of us would agree, I think, that the #MeToo movement is a natural outgrowth of a too-long-held acceptance of men taking sexual advantage of woman both in and outside of the workplace. But I always thought it was the more egregious behaviors that got men in trouble. Think Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein and various TV folks whose names are well known.

But did you know that just rubbing a long-time friend's butt can land you in jail?

It happened to a guy who has been highly respected in the public health community.

Thomas Frieden is the former New York City health commissioner. And then was tapped to head the CDC - the federal Centers for Disease Control.

He was just arrested (and photographed during a perp walk) for allegedly rubbing the derriere of a woman he's known for more than three decades as she and others left his New York City abode after an evening of socializing.

It sounds like he's accused of letting a hand (or his hands) stray lower than what's appropriate during a goodnight hug.

But is that enough to land someone behind bars?

A friend of mine, who is also a former government official, thinks this is going too far. He asks if a guy should call the cops if a woman kisses him goodnight on the lips without first getting his consent.

I don't know if the police would take such a report seriously or not. But I can tell you that under federal guidelines, what Frieden is accused of could be construed as criminal.

The Justice Department's Office on Violence Against Women  defines sexual assault this way:

The term “sexual assault” means any nonconsensual sexual act proscribed by Federal, tribal, or State law, including when the victim lacks capacity to consent.

Of course, to my friend's point, it's interesting that this guideline is published by the Office on Violence Against Women. One might wonder if the same standards would apply if the roles were reversed, and it was a woman rubbing the rear end of a man under the same circumstances.

By the way, the laws on these matters vary from state-to-state.

Some people might think that Frieden is getting what he deserves if he did, indeed, touch his guest (and, to reiterate, friend for some 30 years) inappropriately  without her consent. But others, like my friend, wonder if the #MeToo movement has now gone too far.