Brief asides


POSTED: Thursday, November 05, 2009


Tell that to Hawaii's happy hapa kids

Keith Bardwell is out of a job, but he probably shouldn't look for one in Hawaii. Bardwell, the Louisiana justice of the peace who refused to marry interracial couples, resigned his post after being sued for discrimination. He was unrepentant in his one-sentence resignation letter, having earlier asserted that he was merely concerned that children of mixed-race couples have a hard time fitting in anywhere. That dubious claim of maladjustment is easy to disprove in Hawaii, with its long abundance of interracial families, including one that sent a son to the White House.



Crosswalks give illusion of safety

Here's a news flash: Crosswalks will not protect you from oncoming 4,000-pound cars or pickup trucks. If drivers don't pay attention and notice you in the sidewalk, there's no hope you'll be able to get to the other side of the street safely—even if street lights are in your favor. Yesterday's report of two separate crashes in which two pedestrians were run down in crosswalks illustrates this point. Take nothing for granted.



Where having the blues is a good thing

There are plenty of Web sites that offer suggestions on how to get rid of the blues—such as “;wallow,”; “;get moving,”; “;try smiling”; and “;listen to upbeat music”;—but who knew the color blue itself could help soothe a wounded psyche? Well, maybe it can't, as apparently there is no scientific evidence to that effect. But to help stop the alarming rise of people throwing themselves in front of its trains, the East Japan Railway Co. has installed blue lights above station platforms in all 29 of its stations along Tokyo's central Yamanote Line, used by 8 million passengers daily. The idea is that the blue lights have a calming effect. Let's hope it works. Last year, nearly 2,000 people committed suicide in Japan by jumping in front of trains, about 6 percent of such deaths nationwide, according to The Associated Press.