Friday, October 24

Progress Toward Bike League Policy

Bike League Progress
In my previous post on Bike League need to establish a formal and public policy towards the periodic and continuing persecution of cyclists and their encounters with the law, HERE, I noted that the League had been silent on the subject of Cherokee Schill in Kentucky. Well, that silence has changed, with a promise that there is more to come.

HERE, a League cyclist recounts his ride with Schill. For my loyal reader, be sure to read the many comments. There are some troll comments and some from people that look to see the worst in the law, or the league. After seeing this post, I knew it was time to update my own.

More recently, the League presented a post on its view of the legal situation, HERE. This newer post, made yesterday, also has a fair number of comments, and, what's more, there is less extremism in most of these. In this second post, there's a promise for "what's next." I haven't seen that one yet. I hope it includes some proper statement about League policy/procedure in addition to what the League intends to do in the Schill case. We shall see. At a minimum, this represents a qualitative improvement over its response in the Reed Bates case, recounted HERE. Perhaps we ARE moving forward.

For those particularly interested in the situation, there's an extensive analysis of Cherokee's dilemma, made by expert cyclists HERE. As might be expected, this last link also has a lot of interesting and mostly well-thought-out comments.

For the typical newspaper story, with typical newspaper story comments, go HERE.

Sunday, October 19

Two Fairs

No Big Tex Fire this Year
This year, I was fortunate enough to go to two different state fairs. First, we went to the “Washington State Fair.” In past years, this fair was officially known as the “Western Washington State Fair,” but most often people called it the Puyallup Fair. I’m not sure why they felt it necessary to change the name, but they did. More recently I went to the much larger “State Fair of Texas.” Both fairs are big shindigs, but they differ in many ways as well. Notable for the Texas fair is the presence of “Big Tex.” Despite the clothing logos on his outfit, Big Tex is somewhat a relic of a less commercial and elaborate past of the fair. I think that is part of his appeal. The fair itself seems to largely revolve around the large number of fried food vendors, commercial outlets, and major sponsors. As it turns out, Chevrolet is the official car of this year’s fair and Bud Light is the official beer. This is combined with elaborate show halls that date back to the depression era. Art deco is all around you.


Beer Sponsor at a Family Park in Dallas?
Typical Vendors in a Big Hall

Statue Watches from the Dallas Animal Hall
Still, there ARE other things that harken back to an earlier era. There were cultural dances, such as the Irish dancing my daughter participated in. In addition, if you looked long and hard enough, there were arts and crafts and animal exhibits. I never got the feeling that these were a major fair focus anymore, but they’re there.

Irish Dancers Outside the "Hall of State" at State Fair of Texas
 
Proof there are Arts and Crafts at the Texas State Fair

Texas Farm Humor at State Fair of Texas
The Washington fair, while it’s also gotten FAR more commercial over the years, has a lot more exhibits and displays that are clearly homegrown. I don’t think you’d find a hand-painted poster at the Texas fair warning about danger to your dog’s feet from hot asphalt. Nor would you find the Puyallup Mineral Club talking to passersby about their hobby.
 
Of Course, 87F Would be a Good Mid Morning Temperature around DFW, but THIS Sign was in Puyallup

These Guys Loved Answering Questions and Even Smiled for the Camera
While I think I prefer the smaller Washington Fair over its slicker and far larger Texas cousin. It may well be that we’ll get to go to the Gray’s Harbor County Fair and get to see the organic produce display that was grown by the “Hoquiam High School Grizzlies.”

Cow Milking at the Puyallup Fair (NOT a Competitive Sport!)

Lighthouse Collection on Display in Puyallup. I Saw NO Lighthouses in Dallas

Friday, October 17

Daily Uncommon Courage


Ebola Virus, from Wikipedia
Pretty much everywhere on the news lately is that Ebola has emerged in the DFW Metroplex. Somewhat lost amongst all the coverage are the stories of courage. That courage comes from the nurses who are the ones on the very front of things. Nurses are on the front line, every day. It's always been that way. If you live, thank a nurse.
 
Nurses are the ones who form the first and most visible caregivers for anybody who has to receive any sort of serious healthcare. Less well known is that nurses also seem to become the first “people to blame” when things get out of hand. In the case of the Ebola case in Dallas, the first thing we heard was a “breach of protocol” when we heard that a “hospital worker” (AKA nurse) contracted the disease. It was MUCH later when it leaked out that there really was no effective protocol in place, and that there was no effective equipment in place for several days after an active Ebola patient came for care. The nurses and other staff were constantly exposed to fluids from the patient, for at least a couple of days. Confirmation that this was the case came when the CDC approved air travel for a nurse that had been exposed. Now, even the hospital claims that CDC protocol changed quite a few times. Well, duh. A month later, we're finally actually GETTING a protocol in place.
 
There is a lot of hysteria going about now. Schools with no real danger are closing. Politicians are pontificating. The airline is disinfecting a plane. News programs are feeding the frenzy - panic, as always, feeds journalism. In the meantime, nurses continue to do their jobs and, really, mostly go beyond the call of duty. Daily uncommon courage. The two nurses that cared for the Ebola patient and now have Ebola KNEW they were in serious danger before they cared for the patient. They KNEW they didn’t have all equipment that might have reduced their risk. However, they had a patient in need and they cared for him anyway. It’s what nurses do. I’d be proud to be half as brave. If we are lucky, they’ll be the only two infected. However, I’m totally sure that many other nurses went into harm’s way as well. Mostly, we’ll never know their names unless they contract Ebola. Let's pray that few more are taken.
 
Let's keep things straight:
  • NO nurse violated any established patient care protocol that anybody has documented
  • NO nurse traveled in violation of what the CDC approved
  • NO nurse spoke as a member of hospital, government, or other sort of management
  • NO nurse union was present at any of the actual events that we're now hearing about in news reports
  • NO member of management, nurse union, or government has gotten infected
  • Nobody that urged the public not to overreact has gotten infected, not even "Judge" Jenkins
  • Hysteria and groundless fear don't help anyone
Full disclosure: my wife is a RN that used to be in critical/intensive care, and was later in hospice care. She got left exposed by two hospitals, and we were fortunate she never got blamed or dead due to those actions. Her experience is no exception. It is a common situation, since hospital management would prefer that the blame not fall on themselves, nor the doctors that drive their tenure. As I stated, amongst nurses, courage is common daily. Keep that in mind if you ever get sick. Salutations are in order…
 
The Nurse Speaking had her PPE AFTER the Caregivers that Contracted Ebola Showed Symptoms. What about THOSE Who Cared for the First Patient?

Saturday, October 11

Oddities in Ocean Shores

Dinosaurian Cyclist!
First off, I've adapted a hat I originally got for skiing for cycling. It works quite well. It may not be quite as stylish as a black balaclava, but it IS a higher visibility item for those dark mornings that have crept up upon us once again.

Secondly, not ALL of the oddities are due to yours truly. Seen in the local "wild" acreage was the "hut" shown below. I have no idea who put it up, or why, but it seemed pretty cool all the same...

Perhaps Indians Have Moved Back into Ocean Shores? Or Might the Yeti be Moving In?
 

Saturday, October 4

Policy the Bike League Needs

Today's Search on the Bike League Blog for Cherokee Schill
For those of you that have followed this blog since, well, since almost its very beginning, you'll recall that occasionally cyclists get on the wrong side of the law even though they are riding in accord with the law and in accord with safe practices. Chipseal was a fairly dramatic case. I was a bit more fortunate in my own minor incident. Still, it happens a lot. Blackhawk, CO tried to ban bikes. Now, Cherokee Schill is being prosecuted in Kentucky. Unlike Chip, Cherokee has made a lot of videos along the way, and rather than provide my opinion that she's really not doing anything particularly dangerous, I suggest that those interested watch a few.

THIS post is only tangentially about any of these cases. The Bike League elected NOT to get involved in the Chipseal case and has been criticized for that. Any Clarke stated that Chip was "not sympathetic" or words to that effect. Bike Texas also declined any involvement. So far, as seen in the photo at the top, there's not been much from the Bike League about Cherokee, though top notch bike lawyer Steve Magas has been involved.

Clearly, it is well beyond the resources of the Bike League to participate in all or even many cases involving cyclists. HOWEVER, I think a formal policy and process would be something that would be wise. Deciding to either get involved or NOT based on personal judgments of League management strikes me as dicey. I imagine there are some good lawyers that the League could consult, and a solid basis could be put together for actions ranging from ignoring something all the way up to helping fund an action. Such a policy should be made public, and probably posted on the League website. People wishing to contribute to a League legal defense fund might then also have a route to do so, though it probably would NOT be tax deductible. I expect that expenditure of significant league funds on legal actions would require some sort of board action or membership petition and would not be very common. However, for the league to be silent, I think they should reread Martin Niemöller and make a public policy:
 
First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak out.