Friday Reads — Condemn, Hug, Pedal, Speed, Repeat

Gov. Chet Culver totally said what we were thinking, didn’t he?

The past few days, reading developments in the Atalissa bunkhouse saga, we kept thinking, hey, for decades, bureaucracy at all levels failed these mentally disabled workers. Then, on Thursday afternoon, the governor issues a statement saying the exact same thing. Spooky. The Register carries news of the governor’s strong words and his promise to launch a new investigation:

Culver said that “while it’s hard to second-guess what did or did not take place in the past, one thing is clear: Every level of government bureaucracy has failed these men since 1974 … The fact that this was allowed to go on for decades is completely unacceptable. However, I will do all I can to make sure it will never happen in the future as long as I am governor.”

 “Unacceptable,” again, exactly what we thought.

Around these parts, just a few weeks ago, failing to return a library book was an offense worthy of cuffing and stuffing. Now, it’s provided a chance for the tardy borrower to meet and get a hug from the book’s nationally known author. It goes to show you never can tell.

The Gazette fronts news of the hug, between Shelly Koontz, who failed to return “The Freedom Writers Diary,” and Erin Gruwell, the book’s author. They met at a school gymnasium in Independence, where Gruwell talked to students and gave Koontz an inscribed copy of the book. Theft charges have been dismissed against Koontz. Her arrest, which made national headlines, prompted Gruwell to visit.

Years ago, my wife and I bought brand new bikes. We were going to tour the countryside, ride trails, shed unwanted pounds and wear dorky but necessary helmets. A few days later, we found out my wife was pregnant. The farthest those bikes have ever cruised was in a moving truck. Sigh.

But now, from Radio Iowa, comes word of Senate passage of the “Bicyclists Bill of Rights.” I might just have to take those bikes down, dust them off and hit the road.

The bill seeks to raise the profile of bicycle safety, with a few teeth. Motorists, for instance, could be fined for not giving bikes a five-foot berth on the road or for tailgating. Republicans complained that the bill gives rights with out adding responsibilities, like drunk biking penalties etc.

Senator Brad Zaun, a Republican from Urbandale, said he and his 11-year-old son ride their bikes together nearly every night in the summer, but Zaun thinks the bill is silly. “What’s next — the motorcycle bill of rights?”

Great transition, senator. Thanks.

A motorcyclist in Nebraska had his rights read to him. And he’s lucky to be around to hear them. The Omaha World-Herald reports  on Billy Flynn’s wild ride, a high speed chase that hit 145 mph:

Imagine what would have happened had the Lincoln motorcyclist accused of going 145 mph up U.S. Highway 77 hit a patch of gravel or a dead raccoon.

Authorities said the motorcyclist refused to pull over and led a Nebraska state trooper on a five-minute, eight-mile chase north of Lincoln.

That’s a rate of one mile every 37.5 seconds, an average of 96 mph.

During the chase, speeds reached 145 mph – 80 mph over the limit.

Dr. Robert Muelleman, director of the emergency department at the Nebraska Medical Center, said that if someone were thrown from a motorcycle at 145 mph, “it would most likely be nonsurvivable, helmet or no helmet . . . It would be a miraculous thing if somebody survived it.”

Your body stops, but your organs keep moving, he said.

 That last line sounds like me on the weekend. Have a good one.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Friday Reads — Condemn, Hug, Pedal, Speed, Repeat

  1. Tom

    After the laudable success of stopping the Dem’s union agenda, the Rep’s just can’t turn down an opportunity to shoot themselves in the foot by not supporting efforts to make biking safer. Guys! Wake up!

    Sigh.

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