What do progressives believe?

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) appeared at Netroots Nation Friday and explained it all to you.

Most true Americans believe these things, not the stuff that the Tea Party terrorists stand for, and …

Wait?! Wasn’t that the Incredible Hulk at the end? If we’re gonna fight, and Hulk smash, we will win.

Don’t break the law in Louisiana

On a per capita basis, Louisiana puts more people in jail than anywhere else in the world. For every 100,000 people, the Bayou State puts 1,341 in jail. (Click chart to enlarge)

l9KIi97For that matter, 36 other U.S. states put more people in jail than anywhere else in the world. Which means America is the country with the more people behind bars at 716 per 100,000.

According to the Prison Policy Initiative, the country with the next highest rate: Cuba (which we call a police state) with 510 per 100,000.

Apparently, Americans consider Americans the most lawless people in the world.

Brussels Express: A view from a bike

As one who’s bicycled in Brussels, I found this surprising because riding a bike was pretty convenient as far as I was concerned. I regularly rode from my commune in Boisford in the southeast part of the city by the forest to work near Park Cinquintanaire, on the side away from the European Union buildings. It was pretty much straight bike path the whole way. I never dealt with much traffic, even when I took an alternate route and went down side streets.

But to hear these guys talk, Brussels is a bicyclist’s nightmare.

Obviously, they have never been to the States.

But I do agree with them in one regard. The automobile drivers in Brussels are insane. And their insanity is encouraged by the law.

They have this amazingly stupid traffic rule called “priorité à droite.” That means that if your driving straight down a road a car approaching from the right has the right of way.

Crazy, right? But that’s not the absolutely psychopathic beauty of traffic in Brussels. Not every street has a stoplight or stop signs. In any direction.

The director of the city’s traffic management agency was once asked why that was, and his response was: “traffic signs cost a lot of money!”

So, drivers from sane parts of the world were constantly driving along and getting hit on their right side because “priorité à droits.” That’s why you see so many car accidents in this video. The law encourages them.

But I drove in Brussels for 6 years and never got into a car accident. I had to move to England for that to happen. There, I was going along straight and go hit on the left. Student driver.  My car, which I bought in Brussels, took a beating in England.

And note that the video says Brussels has 4 percent bicycle traffic. Compare that to the U.S.

us-cities-bicycle-commuting-chart.jpg.662x0_q100_crop-scale

Compared to the U.S., Brussels is overrun with bicyclists.
 

Is Batman suing Superman?

jcpot184vooxylrndjhh

I’m confused. What does “Batman Five Superman” mean? (via USA Today).

The director can’t say exactly how the relationship between the two superheroes evolves, “but suffice it to say there is a ‘v’ in between their names” in the movie title, Snyder says. He explains that having the “v” instead of “vs.” is a way “to keep it from being a straight ‘versus’ movie, even in the most subtle way.”

Oh. OK. It’s not a roman numeral. it’s a versus abbreviation.

I’m more confused. You use “v” instead of “vs” when you’re using versus in a legal case (i.e.: Roe v. Wade). Why is Batman taking Superman to the Supreme Court? Why do the filmmakers thing I’d want to see two hours of super litigation?

Like a girl …

After the Supreme Court ruling on whether women can control their bodies (the five old Catholic guys on the court say no), it’s time to think about the perception of women as weaklings who need a man to tell them what to do.

Which means it’s time to really reassess what people think when someone says, “You do that like a girl.”

 

The Idaho stop: a sane bike safety law

Most people who ride bicycles regularly in busy cities would completely agree with this law in Idaho:

Yes, you don’t go zooming into cross traffic on a bicycle. Who cares about a fine. You’d end up dead. A stop sign does mean a slow rolling through the intersection. And a stop light is the equivalent of a stop sign to a bicyclist. If nothing is coming, there’s no reason to wait.

Here’s a better explanation from Vox:

For drivers, the idea of cyclists rolling through an intersection without fully stopping might sound dangerous — but because of their slower speed and wider field of vision (compared to cars), cyclists are generally able to assess whether there’s oncoming traffic and make the right decision. Even law-abiding urban bikers already do this all the time: because of the worry that cars might not see a bike, cyclists habitually scan for oncoming traffic even at intersections where they don’t have a stop sign so they can brake at the last second just in case.

There are even a few reasons why the Idaho stop might even make the roads safer than the status quo. In many cities, the low-traffic routes that are safer for bikes are the kinds of roads with many stop signs. Currently, some cyclists avoid these routes and take faster, higher-traffic streets. If the Idaho stop were legalized, it’d get cyclists off these faster streets and funnel the bikes on to safer, slower roads.

I’ve ridden regularly in New York, Washington, Louisville, Brussels, Amsterdam and the English countryside. I use the New York and Washington bike share systems regularly. The safest roads are where there are designated bike lanes, which Amsterdam and Brussels have plenty of and are growing in the states. In a lot of these places, biking is faster than mass transit.

But finding the right combination of safe streets is critical, and the Idaho stop would add more safety. Take a look at the linked Vox article for a more comprehensive look at the Idaho law.