Monday, July 31, 2017

Cambridge's Newest Death Trap for Bicyclists

Is this a new permanent traffic jam on Brattle Street in Harvard Square?

No the city has moved the curbside parking into the middle of the street in order to make room for a new bike lane.

What could go wrong by putting a two-way bike lane on a congested one-way street? Let's count the ways. Pedestrians aren't used to looking both ways to cross the street. Delivery trucks and double parkers are frequently blocking the bike lane. Car drivers are already mistaking the bike lane for a second car lane, and some inevitably will be fooled into turning down the street the wrong way.

But I predict the real killers will be passengers of parking cars dooring oncoming bicyclists as they pop out of the parked car. It's hard enough to teach drivers not to door you, forget about passengers, they aren't going to look.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Cambridge's Postmodern Sidewalk Experiment

I walked by as this section of sidewalk was being poured so I was surmised to find it hardened in this state the next day. What happened? Did a union crew take an ill-timed lunch break?

The city did eventually dig this out and repour, but it was funny while it lasted.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

We'll Always Have Paris When It Sizzles

The Weather Channel app on my iPhone declared today was a nice day for President Trump to pull the U.S. out of the Paris accord on climate change: Road conditions wet, running conditions ideal, and the temperature a very pleasant 71 degrees Fahrenheit.

If one thought to click play, there was also a video on the impending horribles of Trump pulling out delivered by a cute weather girl highly-trained meteorologist. Elsewhere on the internet, there is video of former Secretary of State and Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, who signed the accord for the U.S. back in December 2015, saying "kids will have worse asthma in the summer."

I'm afraid a great deal of the political problem in this country stems from confusing the question of whether something is happening with the question of what can feasibly be done about it. I have a friend with a beach house on the sand in a neighborhood behind a seawall. The wall was crumbling with age and the waves seemed to be getting higher. The town's solution was to build a higher wall. And what else could they do?

Does it help when some of the alarmists say we are already beyond the point of no return?

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Rockport on Memorial Day Weekend 2017

The town of Rockport, Massachusetts is a bit touristy, but the aptly named harbor still has some old school fishing boats and lobster pots.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Trump's Great Wall Sinks into the Swamp

Here's what Donald Trump said in his announcement speech on June 16, 2015:
I will build a great, great wall on our southern border. And I will have Mexico pay for that wall.
That promise became one of the hallmarks of his campaign, but got watered down in the Executive Order Trump issued on January 25, 2017 shortly after he took office:
"Wall" shall mean a contiguous, physical wall or other similarly secure, contiguous, and impassable physical barrier.
Parse the "other" substitution: Trump is now talking about building something other than a wall, "similarly secure" doesn't mean secure, "similarly impassable" doesn't mean impassable, and contiguous doesn't say for how far. Then here's what he said on Twitter this past week on April 23, 2017:
Eventually, but at a later date so we can get started early, Mexico will be paying, in some form, for the badly needed border wall.
The water is getting pretty murky with "eventually" and "in some form" as Trump's response to Mexico's highly predictable refusal to pay for his big, beautiful border wall. And Trump's attempt this past week to get funding from Congress has also failed, so there will be no "early start". Ann Coulter is livid but then she's no Yoda:

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Boston Skyline

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Picturing Republican Presidents for Next 24 Years

President Donald Trump gave what many regard as his first truly presidential speech to a joint session of Congress last night, but what struck me was that he was flanked by two men who could also become President:

If Trump serves two terms, his Vice President Mike Pence would be age 65 at the 2024 election. If Pence is elected President and serves two terms, current U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan would be 62 at the 2032 election. And if Ryan is elected President and serves 2 terms, that brings us to 2040, which would be 24 years.

I am not saying this is going to happen, I'm just suggesting that it could. Consecutive Presidents for 24 years from the same political party has happened once before. Democratic-Republican Party Presidents Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe were in from the 1800 to 1824 elections.

The Republican Party has had two 16 year runs: Grant, Hayes, Garfield, and Arthur from 1868 to 1884 and McKinley, Roosevelt, and Taft from 1896 to 1912. The Democratic Party's longest span has been 20 years: Roosevelt and Truman from 1932 to 1952.

What would it take to set the all-time record for consecutive Presidencies? In 2040, Ivanka Trump will be 59. Grandma Ivanka could be our first female and our first Jewish President.

Note: Some people would count John Quincy Adams in the Democratic-Republican run, but I do not, as the party had effectively collapsed by the 1824 election. But if Ivanka serves 2 terms in the above scenario, she would set the undisputed record.