Politics, open government, and safe streets. And the constant incursion of cycling.

Month: October 2007 Page 2 of 4

Invisible Rider

Found this bike in front of my house, yesterday AM. At first, I thought some kid had probably dropped a stolen bike. I thought I’d just haul it into my yard and report the serial to the Arlington PD. But when I picked the bike up, it became clear that it was very much the other way around – the bike dropped the rider. Ouch

As best I can tell, the rider’s laces (which you can see in the picture) got twisted around the pedal. This, in turn, took him down before tearing off. And he must have gone down *hard* – what you see here is not only a nearly bent off pedal, but a crank arm that has been bent back over the chainring and frame. Outside of the picture is a front wheel with a hub also pulled out of the forks. I expected to see blood on sidewalk, with a hit like that.

But nothing. Looks like the rider left under his own power. And the bike remains.

I’ve left it there in case he might want to come back and get it, but I’m doubting that it’s going anywhere. Much as it pains me to do it to a bike, it’s into the trash tomorrow. Absolutely nothing of value on this bike, and to repair and donate it would cost more (in even the cheapest parts) than to buy a new one at Walmart.

(Related: Invisible Riders. An excellent look at the people who form most of the market for this kind of bike. )


The US Army, proud purveyors of the execrable “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, is advertising on the (even more execrable) Tila “Did I mention I like boys AND girls” Tequila show. What, it’s all good until you enlist?

h/t to MJ

Huh. Tom Davis and me have said the same thing . . .

Not good for Tom, I think.

(Not really related: I suspect Tom Davis is a very smart and decent guy. I wonder if he’ll ever tell the story about what it felt like to have to compromise himself as he rose to power in an ever more ignorant and amoral party.)

E-Readers: Getting there?

While I’ve never owned (a dedicated) one, I sure am interested in the progress of “e-book” and “e-reader” technology. Sony’s latest is out, and it seems to be getting closer to decent. In considering the content availability (or lack thereof), I’ve realized that I really *would* find value in an e-reader. I read a lot of fiction that’s good, but not great. And far too much political and policy non-fiction. While I’m always glad I’ve read them, nothing in either class really deserves the increasingly rare space on my bookshelves at home. And I could never toss a book.* Being able to buy them in e-reader format would be well worth the price of the reader, I think. These are books where, as soon as the immediate value of the content has been consumed, I’ve not so much use for them. Let’s hope that buying them as e-books is an option, soon.

*Like many, I grew up with very specific ideas about how books should be treated. In my family, every book was something just short of a Torah. It should be respected, valued, and protected from harm at all costs. This is why my mother’s childhood books (Little Pokey Puppy, Doctor Dan) and my childhood books (The Fire Cat, Green Eggs & Ham) will soon be enjoyed by the next generation (don’t look at me). But I do have to say that my personal book rules have evolved. I never wrote in a book in college, but law school forced me into some pretty ugly desecration (which, frankly, is nothing compared to what I’d do to those case books now). Now, I’ll willingly dogear a page or lightly tick (pencil only) a particularly relevant or superbly written passage. But I’ll still look at you as if you were a serial killer if you lazily drop a book, break its spine, or tear a page. So my ideas with regard to books are malleable, but deeply rooted.

Support Planned Parenthood

Bitch, PhD knocks it out of the park with this post. Which you should read. The primer for this is the following graph:

Planned Parenthood services, 2005

Keeping it in the family

This is just . . . fascinating.

And not just because “His prices are insane!”*

*I suspect a very small subset of readers will get that reference, but they will appreciate it immensely.

The Army Airs Some Laundry

This New York Times article gives a much needed glimpse into the internal conversations going on at Ft. Leavenworth:

“home to the Combined Arms Center, a sprawling Army research center that includes the Command and General Staff College for midcareer officers, the School of Advanced Military Studies for the most elite and the Center for Army Lessons Learned, which collects and disseminates battlefield data.”

It’s far too short of an article (I’d loved to have seen a New Yorker-length treatment of the matter) and I don’t doubt for a minute that availability of the officers was carefully managed. But even with those limitations, it’s a good read. Take, for example:

[H]e questioned whether Americans really wanted a four-star general to stand up publicly and say no to the president in a nation where civilians control the armed forces.

For the sake of argument, a question from the reporter was posed: If enough four-star generals had done that, would it have stopped the war?

“Yeah, we’d call it a coup d’etat,” Colonel Fontenot said. “Do you want to have a coup d’etat? You kind of have to decide what you want. Do you like the Constitution, or are you so upset about the Iraq war that you’re willing to dismiss the Constitution in just this one instance and hopefully things will be O.K.? I don’t think so.”

Check it out.

The Original Reality Television

Prompted by the recent US airing of the most recent episode, I’ve started re-watching Michael Apted’s 7 Up series. It follows the lives of a dozen or so Brits from the age of 7 through 49. The first episode (7 Up) was filmed in 1964, and since then, Apted has attempted to include all of the original participants in an episode every seven years (e.g., Plus 7 (age 14), 21 Up (age 21), etc.) since then. It’s not only fascinating as a number of period pieces, it’s heartbreaking, as we watch the inevitable narrowing of life’s choices.

I imagine that the 49 Up episode will be available as a rerun on your local PBS station, but if it’s something that sounds interesting to you, you can find it at Amazon(or, as always, on the Internets).

Friday Notes

Let’s Abolish the Electoral College! (Salon story – sub req’d or sit through a quick ad). This is the the kind of stuff I wish we were spending our time examining and debating, instead of Torture: Hot or Not?

Guide to Bypassing Internet Censorship – this is an issue near and dear to my heart. In addition to being a free speech absolutist, I’m fanatical about transparency. That combination results in a deep interest in permitting unfettered communications via the Internet (I’ve even taken to running a Tor server). Check it out.

US: Switchboard to the World. Not unrelated to the previous post, Ryan Singal examines the infrastructure that routes so much of the world’s communications through the US (much to the pleasure of the NSA). (This is the subject of a project I’m working on, and hope to serialize here.)

Tom Friedman: The Clueless American? – For a couple of years, I shared a downtown parking garage with him, and often found myself standing next to him as we waited for our cars. This came well after the shine of The Lexus and the Olive Tree had worn off, but a bit before the full-blown ridiculousness of the past few years. So I never did bring myself to say anything to him. Now, though . . .

And with the usual disclaimer about DCist.com (a sad product, but the only game in town), and specific disclaimer about the actual author (he disturbs me in so many ways, his name not least among them), I present my favorite comment of the week, from Monkeyrotica:

Instead of giving DC back to MD, give it back to the Powhatan Tribe. That way, DC gets tax exempt status, casino gambling, and Sen. Brownback’s scalp.

Keep Bikes on the Continental Divide Trail

So I’ve been trying to cut down on talking about cycling here, but this is important. What follows has been stolen/modified from the IMBA site. I hope you’ll give it a minute and consider devoting a minute or two more to taking some action.

Mountain bikers may find some of the nation’s best singletrack off-limits if the Forest Service pushes through with a new directive. The agency wants to limit or prohibit bike access on the Continental Divide Trail (CDT), which runs the length of the country, from Montana to New Mexico.

The CDT includes the famous Monarch Crest, many sections of the Colorado Trail, well-known Steamboat Springs singletrack, important trails around Butte and Helena and much, much more.

So what can be done?

Take Action

Your strong voice is essential to saving epic rides along the CDT. The Forest Service’s proposal to restrict and prohibit mountain biking has been warmly embraced by some anti-bike groups, who are giving it their full support. All mountain bikers are urged to take action:

  • File Comments
    Formally file your comments with the Forest Service. IMBA’s simple form takes seconds and will submit your official comments. The deadline is October 12.
  • Spread the Word
    Rally your friends and ask them to echo your support for bike access on this outstanding trail. We need thousands of comments to hold out hope for continued access, so forward this to your riding friends across the country.
  • Help Maintain the CDT
    If you live or play near the CDT, consider organizing or attending trailwork days to help build and maintain this magnificent trail. Learn about volunteer opportunities near you.

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