«

»

May 11 2019

Paperboy

Or perhaps I should call it News Delivery Specialist to pair with my Newsstand Delivery Manager cred which was a real job where I was in charge of 50 or so Retail locations on a weekly basis (I had other responsibilities too, I was full time). I have awards from the Columbia School of Journalism also (though not from that job, albeit the same publisher) so I think I’m above average qualified for a Journalist.

But Paperboy is not a real job (except in the sense of dutiful delivery with desultory demand for payment). My first real job was doing mall intercepts for a Consumer Research Field Service company (Do you you have pimples, oily skin, blemishes, white heads, black heads, or zits? What do you mean “No” you Pizza Faced Zombie?).

Opinion sampling is a kind of Gilmore tradition and Richard and my activist brother are still employed in the field. My magnum opus of coding was a Crosstabulation Program to process Survey Results. At the time this was done by specialist Data Processing Houses that charged Thousands of Dollars per run (COBOL and Hollerith Card Tech, I later was able to get my hands on a genuine 9-Track paid for by a client who wanted backwards compatibility). It was big, really big, including 10s of Thousands of lines of Data Entry, Import/Export, Data Maintenance (more difficult than it seems damn it, you need to screen for duplicates and while assigning a unique internal ID is the start of a solution, you need an in RAM Hash Table of Used/Not Used which is not trivial in 64K of CP/M) and a Report Writer, all of which required a user interface and not just a scripting language.

I don’t work at that any more and it’s because I’m just too damn good at what I do.

My last field gig was doing NHTSA breath tests, manning “voluntary” stations in a lab coat with a clip board and a safety vest and explaining to people (after I got them in the habit of mindlessly agreeing to a series of innocuous questions) that the Police were no longer involved (true enough) and we wanted them to give us a breath-a-lyzer.

Do I have to?

No. Not at all. You can drive out that exit right there and I’ll mark you as a refusal. We’re really doing this to test the efficiency of the Police (partly true, but in a bad way).

I’ll put it the way my Cataract Surgeon did, I’m only legally allowed to claim a 98% success rate but I’m really much better than that.

But I have Milgram scruples about abusing the authority of the lab coat and I was obviously uncomfortable about the job which also involved hours of commute and standing around late at night in whatever weather so my services became less essential and I’m not unhappy they did.

But what is persuasive coercion compared to the State Enforced kind.

Electronic Warrants And Roadside Blood Draws Are The New Normal For DUI Checkpoints
by Tim Cushing, Tech Dirt
Fri, May 10th 2019

A few years ago, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration brought down the heat on itself by teaming with local law enforcement to set up roadside blood/saliva draws. The plan was to compile data on impaired driving, but the “voluntary” sample stations were staffed by cops who flagged motorists down, leading many to believe this was just another DUI checkpoint.

I am not a Cop. I never have been a Cop. No Officer was part of our Survey Team. What they did when we were not around? Anyone can abuse a lab coat, I’m only surprized more don’t.

Now that the NHTSA is out of the picture, local law enforcement is taking care of this itself. Only it very definitely is mandatory and any data-gathering would be incidental to the real purpose of these checkpoints: arresting impaired drivers. It’s 2019 in America and we can only now proudly say we’re the Home of the Roadside Blood Draw.

With the legalization of marijuana use in several states, there’s a new form of impairment that can’t be caught with a breathalyzer. While there’s definitely a law enforcement interest in limiting impaired driving, there’s also a lot of fiduciary pressure to continue to bust drivers generate revenue even when the driver’s drug of choice isn’t alcohol… and the driver may not even actually be impaired.

This is leading to two things: an increase in electronic warrants sent at odd hours to judges who will likely approve any boilerplate sent from a DUI checkpoint… and a whole bunch of minimally-trained officers running roadside blood drives out of police vans.

The only thing keeping this from being even worse is a 2016 Supreme Court decision. Without it, these blood draws wouldn’t even have a hasty judicial scrawl at the bottom of a dozen pages of boilerplate authorizing Officer Nurse to take blood from drivers’ arms. Meanwhile, officers are touting the speed of this new dystopian feature as a win for the public, since the guilty parties will be able to processed into the criminal justice system in less than half the time.

I want to emphasize these are mandatory blood draws that can be screened all sorts of ways for DNA and other markers.

Oh, wonder, how many goodly creatures are there here?
How beauteous mankind is!
O brave new world, that has such people in ’t!- V i

Leave a Reply