You’re a Cyclist Who was Just Struck by a Car. Here’s Why it was Your Fault.

Chas Gillespie:

You didn’t signal properly.
I mean, no, I don’t have any “evidence” for that, but you must have done something wrong for an upstanding citizen like the driver of a Ford Focus that looks like it got into a fight with a forklift to strike you. The stats are on my side. Sixty-six percent of drivers routinely commit moving violations, compared with 5 percent of cyclists when they have somewhere safe to ride. That’s why I believe drivers.

Waterloo City Council Moves to Rapidly Repeal its Conversion Therapy Ban

The Courier, in an unbylined article:

Months after a conversion therapy ban was put in place, the City Council could repeal the divisive ordinance Monday.

A special session will be held at 4:30 p.m. in the council chambers of City Hall during which an amendment to the city code will be considered to repeal the conversion therapy ordinance. If the repeal is passed by the council and the rules are suspended to allow the second and third readings, the change could be adopted Monday.

The council approved a ban on conversion therapy within the city May 15 in a 6-1 vote, with Dave Boesen dissenting. Conversion therapy is the practice of attempting to change someone who doesn’t identify as heterosexual to become heterosexual.

The approval came months after the polarizing proposal was first introduced. People packed the council meetings where it was on the agenda with many making public comments in favor of or against the ordinance.

This story was published on a Saturday for a meeting called for Monday. Waterloo’s website doesn’t seem to indicate when the agenda was published (24-hour notice is required by law), but it would allow the council to immediately pass the repeal instead of taking the usual month and a half.1

Neither the article nor the agenda packet — which includes two pages of rules for public participation and an outline of city’s community vision — indicate why there’s a rush to repeal the ordinance.

What’s the rush to repeal something implemented just four months ago?

  1. Different city councils have different standards for when they’ll expedite action like this. I’m not familiar with Waterloo’s regular procedure. North Liberty’s council rarely waves readings, reserving it for cases where it is unavoidable, while Iowa City compresses the process with enough regularity that it has an appointed councilor with the move-to-suspend-the-rules motion language written down in a drawer at the dias. ↩︎

On the Reassessment of Parents

At this lake house, on this vacation with my parents and my child and their boyfriend and my brother and his girlfriend, there is a table tennis set.

I haven’t played a game with my child, as they recall, since they were 7 and taking swimming lessons at the local recreation center a decade ago. In their recollection, I am very good at table tennis.

I am very bad at table tennis. This is a long-standing fact, not due to a decline in a skill I once possessed.

Why I Picked My Bike

I’m always happy to talk up my ebike, which now has 4,000 miles on the odometer, and recently got a follow up email from someone looking at one asking how I landed on what I did. I thought it might be helpful here, too.

I have a Specialized Vado 4.0 (I think model year 2021) that I bought and have serviced at Geoff’s (we have bought a lot of bikes there over the years and like the folks there). My wife rides the step-through version of the same (I think if she were to do it again, she’d go with the traditional geometry). My kid rides a Specialized Como, which I wouldn’t choose for myself.

I landed here for a few reasons:

  • My notes from when I was looking ID’d that my primary use would be commuting and errands as a car replacement, and I decided I needed four things: battery capacity of at least 40 miles (to get me to work and back without battery anxiety); removable battery (our garage is unheated and detached and I have to bring it inside during winter because I can’t bring the bike in); fenders, racks and lights (for hauling stuff and safety during late fall and winter commuting); Class 3 (assistance up to 29 mph for practical speed needs)
  • I wanted to buy and get service locally, and that mostly meant an ebike from a traditional bike company like Specialized, Trek, Cannondale, etc.
  • While there are some very nice looking ebikes from folks newer to bikes, and their software was probably better (Van Moof, for example), I just felt better with the local connection
  • I read a lot of reviews and forums, and found pretty helpful and comprehensive
  • I’ve always been in the buy-the-most-expensive-bike-you-can-afford camp. Mine was $4K, before any panniers, locks, etc, but compared to what we were paying for gas, registration, insurance, etc., I feel OK. Selling our second car this year more than paid for our two ebikes
  • I don’t think I’m a particularly vain person, but appreciate some of the pretty touches: integrated battery, internal cabling, not-too-upright geometry 

I haven’t found anything I really wish it had that it doesn’t. The built-in, app-driven lock feature isn’t really much of a theft deterrent (I use a heavy duty chain). I wish it eased up on pedal assist when shifting. The stock pedals are kinda lame. The bottom bracket might be a little lower than ideal. It’s heavy and bulky and I can’t take it on trips. The kickstand feels a little flimsy for the bike, especially when carrying any sort of load.

But I really find it a joy to ride, and it reignited my love of biking. I still don’t ride much recreationally, but I feel alert when I get to work and have a chance to wind down on the way home.

On Iowa’s Abortion Ban Bill

This bill outlawing abortion before the point most people would know they are pregnant will not lead to the end abortions in Iowa.

This ban will lead to unsafe abortions.

It will lead to unhealthy women.

It will lead to babies, known to be unviable while still being carried to term, to die outside the womb.

It will lead to dead would-be parents.

It will lead to unwanted or unsupported children.

It will lead to rape survivors being responsible for raising their rapists children.

It will not protect the living.

Instead it will force Iowans into childbirth.

If we trust Iowans, we must trust them with their own bodies, planning their own parenthood and their own medical decisions. The majority of Iowans — your constituents — believe abortion should be legal and safe.

Please oppose this bill.

Gov. Kim Reynolds Calls Special Session to Ban Abortion

Press release from Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds:

Today, Governor Reynolds announced she will convene the General Assembly of Iowa on Tuesday, July 11, 2023, at 8:30 a.m. for a special session with the sole purpose of enacting legislation that addresses abortion and protects unborn lives.


A Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll from March found 61% of Iowans said abortion should be legal in all or most cases, while 35% said the procedure should be illegal in all or most cases.

Reynolds, previously:

“I trust Iowans to do the right thing.”

Republicans are Legalizing Child Labor After Nearly 80 Years of Protection

Academics John A. Fliter and Betsy Wood writing in The Conversation:

As scholars of child labor, we find the arguments [Iowa Gov. Kim] Reynolds and other like-minded politicians are using today to justify undoing child labor protections echo older justifications made decades ago.

In our view, Iowa has the most radical new law designed to roll back child labor protections. It allows children as young as 14 to work in meat coolers and industrial laundries, and teens 15 and older can work on assembly lines around dangerous machinery.

Teens as young as 16 can now serve alcohol in Iowa restaurants, as long as two adults are present.

U.S. Labor Department officials argue that several provisions of Iowa’s new law violate national child labor standards. However, the department has not disclosed a clear strategy for combating such violations.

It’s not ideal to have 16-year-olds serving booze late at night, and it certainly sets up situations where kids might be abused or exploited by both their employers and their employers patrons, but legalizing work in notoriously dangerous meat-packing plants and on assembly lines is irresponsible. As a nation we said no to this.

But, as our rural population shrinks and our overall population ages, conservative who oppose immigration have backed themselves into a workforce corner, and so increasingly need kids to fill dangerous jobs.

Reddit Goes Dark

Casey Newton at Platformer:

As a result, Reddit is a rare social product that has seemed to become more relevant over time, as a growing user base comes to appreciate its distinctive, human-centered approach to digital conversations. Another result, though, is a user base that feels uncommonly possessive of the product.

That history begins to explain the meltdownthat has taken place on Reddit over the past day, as thousands of communities go private — effectively taking themselves offline — to protest changes that will eliminate most third-party apps, and could threaten third-party moderation tools and research initiatives. So many forums went dark on Monday, in fact, that Reddit itself briefly crashed.

I was a late comer to Reddit — my account is just over four and a half years old — but is tied to a third-party app, Apollo, which will go away at the end of the month. After Twitter’s demise, Reddit had, in many ways, replaced it as my media diet to fall asleep to.

I don’t know how many users Reddit will lose, or if it will walk back any of its announced changes, but there was practically nothing to read this morning, so I deleted Apollo today and suspect I won’t return to Reddit in any meaningful way. The web experience really is that terrible.

There is Nothing New Under the Sun

Transitions can feel like celebration, growth, an unopened present. And like loss.

As another group of high-school seniors graduated and got ready to head out on their next steps, I was struck at how it can feel overwhelming and scary and joyful all at once. And we’ll do it again next year and the year after that and the year after that.

We can feel alone, and it can feel dangerous, but the path ahead is well trodden.

What has been will be again. What has been done will be done again. There is nothing new under the sun.