Category Archives: Important Society Issues

Fake News??? What to Believe??? – Helmets

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I got an email from “a reader”, which was someone I don’t know, that had some conflicting views about illegal immigration.  He sent me a link to a Fox News story about percentages of serious crimes done by illegal immigrate.

I responded giving a couple links to, what I view as more credible sources, that were pretty much the opposite of the Sean Hannity story.  But, it is a quandary.

All these sources and it is up to us to figure out what is correct.  I don’t think that used to be the situation.   The problem is that most of us don’t have the time, energy, or maybe even the interest, to do our own research to try to decipher the information.

That is the current state of our political system.  Different news outlets presenting conflicting stories.  “Our president”, tweeting incessantly.  Plus all the extraneous stuff.   It is crazy.

I was forwarded a link to a story about helmet use.  It was from The Guardian, a British outlet.  The title was

The big bike helmet debate: ‘You don’t make it safe by forcing cyclists to dress for urban warfare’

Subtitle –

The question of whether cyclists should wear helmets provokes fury – often from those on four wheels. But which has the bigger benefit: increased physical safety, or creating a better environment for people to cycle helmet-free?

Here is a link to the article.  

The article is pretty in-depth, trying to addresses many issues involving helmet usage, other than people whacking their heads on the pavement.

I am interested in this, since I just had a TBI from the very thing.  I wrote in a post that I was in a indefensible position.  I still feel that way.  But, it is way more complicated than what we all think.

According to The Guardian article, so many more things are involved in our safety than just the fact we put a helmet on our heads.  They cite studies that show that automobiles go closer to riders that wear helmets.  Another study that showed when mandatory helmet laws have been passed in different countries, cycling dramatically takes a hit.  And on and on.  You should just click the link and read the article.

Anyway, this kind of fits into the fake news deal.  It is very hard to change someones beliefs in subjects that seem straight forward.  Such as wearing a helmet riding a bike.  Seems pretty straight forward.

But as Chris Boardman states – “I understand why people wish to use them. But these actions seek to deal with an effect. I want to focus the debate on the cause, and campaign for things that will really make cycling safe. That is why I won’t promote high-vis and helmets – I won’t let the debate be drawn on to a topic that isn’t even in the top 10 things that will really keep people who want to cycle safe.”

He thinks he knows what makes cycling safe and says helmet usage isn’t in the top 10 of issues to address.  I have to agree with him somewhat.  Our overall safety has so many obstacles, it does seem that the helmet issue is so overblown and divisive.  I wonder what that is?

From a bicycling article about counterfeit gear.

Pretty Bad Air, Even though it’s been Windy

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There have been some pretty strong winds the last couple weeks.  I look forward to that because if the wind is going to be blowing over 15 mph, then there are burning bans.  By that I mean that farmers/ranchers and such can’t lite their grass on fire and let it burn.

I hate this.  I understand all the issues involved, but no one seems to be in charge of the whole process.  I’ve been riding back and forth to Lawrence on gravel, the last week, and all the burning along this road is people burning ditches and other grass that has nothing to do with cattle.

Burning permits shouldn’t be issued for ditches.  That is just laziness, plus most of the time, no one goes through the ditches first, so many plastic bottles burn too, which is really bad air.

Yesterday, in Kansas, a semi truck driver from Oklahoma, a 39 year old man, died of smoke inhalation when he drove into a fire, stopped, got stuck and tried to turn around.  This was on pavement.  It is so sad.  Obviously, there should have been something in place to change this outcome.

Since our new “president” has proposed big budget cuts for the EPA, this is probably only going to get worse.  I was thinking about it yesterday, as I was riding.

Nearly every stream and pond I ride by is full of algae.  This is from fertilizers and livestock waste.  These creeks run into the Kansas River, where all the cities along it gets their water.  This includes both Topeka and Lawrence.

I don’t get the whole plan.  I assume that both republicans and democrats alike, want clean water and air.  For themselves and their children.   We obviously need someone to ride shotgun over us to attain this.  People, left to their own, will not take personal responsibility for this.  So why cut the funds to manage these things.  So stupid, as Mr. Trump might tweet.

Anyway, it is going to be 70 again today.  And windy.  The burning ban, Red Alert Day, is only from 11am to 6 pm. so it is going to be a little smokey.  Like I said above, no one seems to be regulating it.

Burning the grass for cattle.

Then it gets smokey.

Burn map from a couple days ago.

Burn map when it is less windy. This is when it really sucks.

Credit Card Fraud

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I’ve spent most of the morning on the phone with American Express concerning an email I received saying something about activating a new card for Linda Smith.  It wasn’t my card number on the email and I thought that it was a fishing expedition. But, I decided to call American Express anyway, just to make sure nothing weird was going on.

As it turned out, they did issue a card connected to my account for Linda Smith.  Also for Irene somebody too.  So, the guy from American Express says he has to read me a statement for him to cancel those cards.  The statement is sort of long and one part was that I’m personally responsible for all the charges on the cancelled cards.

I interrupted him and told him I didn’t agree to that.  He said I had to agree if he was to cancel the cards.  I had a short conversation about how I was doing him/American Express a favor because I wasn’t planning to be responsible for illegal charges.  He told me that there were no charges, so I should just agree so he could cancel card.

Then he cancelled them and asked me if there was anything else he could do, saying he was all done.  I said yes, I’d like to know how this happened.  How a new name was added to my American Express account, actually two names.  I asked to talk to the fraud department.

So then I was on hold for a long time and finally a super nice guy answered.  I had to give all my information again and start all over.  He told me to look over my statement and make sure I made all the charges.  I had the statement up on my computer and everything was mine.

He said he was cancelling my account and sending me a new card.  So I was going to have to get a new online account and re-enter all the auto pays, bank accounts, etc.

Man, what a hassle.

I’ve had a couple credit cards stolen during my lifetime.  Once, I was racing in Europe and had a few credit cards.  When I got back to the US, I was looking for a card and couldn’t find it.  It wasn’t in my wallet, so I checked my backpack.  Not there, so I looked through my jersey pockets.  (Sometimes I carry a credit card in my jersey pocket, especially riding in Europe.)  Not there.

Finally I realized I lost it.  So I called the credit card company and told them I had lost the card.  The representative told me that I had close to $5000 worth of charges on it, all for Belgium and Holland.

And they were weird charges.  Beauty parlor, shoes, groceries, not big charges, just lots of small ones.  So I had to go over each and every charge and say that I didn’t make it.  It took a while.

I guess someone at one of the hotels must have went through my wallet, while I was riding, and took out one credit card, assuming I wouldn’t miss it, which I didn’t.  Pretty good crime really.

Anyway, I’m getting a new card tomorrow.  The American Express fraud guy told me I should probably change all the passwords to all my accounts, including email.  That is nuts.  I can sort of understanding how a card can be ordeed under my account number, but have a hard time figuring out how that would have anything to do with my email account.

But, I guess he probably knows better than me, so I should just do it.  The guy was super knowledgeable.   Could take a while.  Didn’t expect this morning to go this way.




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Okay, enough of this stupid shit that has been going on since our election.  I can almost not stand the news on a daily basis.  If you are comfortable with what has been going on, then you must either be an ass, arrogant, or ignorant.  Or all three. I guess, after reading Rod’s comment, total lack of concern could be an excuse.

I heard that Muhammad Ali’s son was held up at the Fort Lauderdale International Airport by immigration authorities.  Do you understand that?  Muhammad Ali’s son, who is Muslim, and an American, with a US passport, was detained returning from Jamaica with his mother.   The guy is a millionaire, inheriting a huge amount from his father’s estate.  And, once again, an American.   And his issue was his religion.  We can not tolerate this.

Now our immigration problem.  I’ve been looking around about immigration and the majority of our illegal immigrants work in agriculture.  The numbers vary, but up to 78% of farm workers in many states are undocumented immigrants.  And we don’t have enough.  

Please feel free to comment here about your experiences of having bad experiences with undocumented workers.  Jobs that you’ve lost, crimes against you personally. Any bad experience that you’ve personally experienced.  And use your real name when you comment.

I travel a ton and interact with lots of different people.  I’ve never had a bad experience or know of a crime against me, by an immigrant.   The “illegal immigrants” I’ve had the pleasure to meet, have been super nice, polite and, I think, add to the ability to live comfortably in our country.

Plus, who out there thinks building a very expensive wall is going to address the immigrant issue one bit? Anyone? 20 billion dollars well spent?

Mr. Trump is calling the deportation of immigrants a “military operation”.  Huh?

I don’t personally know a person that would like a job that is currently being done by a illegal immigrant.    Feel free to comment about the job you’d like to be doing, except for so many immigrants doing them.

We, here in the US, have many problems.  But the stupid shit President Trump has been addressing aren’t those problems.

Transgender kids.  Anyone out there had a problem here? Other than the kids that are struggling experiencing this?

How about dismantling the EPA?  I sure don’t like clean air or water.   Or all other environmental regulations.

How about not allowing certain press to attend daily briefings at the White House?  Or this “fake news” rhetoric?    I don’t think that Mr. Trump understands the need for press in our society.  If he is so worried about fake news, then he should just stop talking so much.

Americans, historically, have taken pride in being fair.  And treating others fairly.  At least trying to.  We’re doing neither now.  Just because we were born here, doesn’t make us entitled to treat others badly. Especially poor people, with little options.

Don’t be leaving comments about sticking to cycling here.  We all have a personal mandate to speak up for those that don’t have that ability.   President Trump isn’t doing that.  He is doing exactly the opposite.  He is a horrible reflection of what a true American is all about.

What he is trying to do, so far, isn’t what needs to be addressed in our country.  It is embarrassing on so many levels.  More than embarrassing, it is scary.

Want this job?

Trump – Not Playing Nice

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You might agree 100% with everything that President Trump has said and done since running for office and getting elected.  You think he is taking our country in the right direction.  That is fine.  But I challenge you to defend the way he acts.

He uses intimidation, arrogance, non-informed knowledge, and sloppiness to try to get “his” way.

I guess the easiest description is that he is just plain mean.  When someone says something he feels is incorrect, the guy lashes out at them via social media.  Or he tells one of his underlings to defend him, many times by just lying.  It is so wrong.

And worse than wrong, it is disrespectful of the office of President of the United States.  It makes our country look arrogant to the rest of the world.   Thus, it puts us, the citizens of the United States, in very bad light to others.  It reflects very badly on us.

The United States has historically been looked at as an empathetic country.  We tend to try to take care of people who don’t have the freedoms that we have.  I am proud of these actions. We were all lucky to have been born here, or at least end up here.

But that isn’t the case so much now.  If Trump doesn’t think that the national media is covering the acts of terrorism enough, then the guy doesn’t watch the news or read newspapers.  That is all I hear on a daily basis.  But he calls our media “fake” and they aren’t doing their jobs.

Sure, there is bad news people out there.  But outright lying to try to make your point makes the man looks either stupid or just confrontational.  I think it is the later.

I don’t think that politics is a good profession.  It is a very hard job and the people involved, usually, tend to be pretty thoughtful and smart.

I am sort of astonished that republican senators and house members have to sort of lie when being interviewed by the “fake” media. Maybe not lie, but sidestep the questions or say they can’t speak for the president.  Just because you are in the same political party as the guy, doesn’t mean you have to lower your standards to his.

I feel our politicians should always try to tell the true.  Don’t speak publicly if you’re going to lie. That is a pretty good mantra to have if you hold the job. That isn’t  always the case today.

When our politicians start lying to the people of our country, the system comes under pressure. And when our elected citizens start treating others very badly, then the whole problem is exacerbated.  That is where we are now.

This is an addition – This isn’t a left or right political deal.  This is a manors or moral compass deal.  We want our leaders to act the role of a leader.  Not a mean-spirited, egotistical weirdo that seems more interested in how he is portrayed by the media than actually doing what is correct, or what he feels is correct.  It is really basic, don’t be a dick trying to get your way.

I can’t understand why the smart, nice guys in Washington can’t explain to Donald that he is acting very badly and should try to play nicer.  Maybe they have and he’s just fired them.

Seems like the German media likes us a lot.


America First !

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What is that all about?  The guy has lost his mind.  That was a pretty depressing inauguration speech. I think we have become a much richer country because we opened our borders by buying and selling products internationally.  Not now, as of today.

I acknowledge, up front, this is a very divisive subject.  But, come on, don’t we expect and deserve  a president that has some intellect and thoughtfulness.

This is turning into more of a weird thing than most had imagined.  The current president is at war with the media, really the 4th arm of our government.  For some reason he doesn’t realize there is fact checking, actually more than that, there is actual recorded footage of him contradicting himself nearly each time he speaks.  Now he has a press secretary that mimics his actions.  It is nuts.

Obviously, I don’t like the guy.  And don’t try to say it was the best of 2 bad choices.  I’m not comparing him to anyone but himself.  His priorities and statements are ludicrous.

He is saying he is planning on cutting taxes to corporations today.  The response from one of the guys that covers bond ratings for all countries –

“Even before elections the U.S had the highest level of government debt of any triple-A country. If we add on top of that Trump’s plans to cut taxes by $6.2 trillion over the next 10 years that could add around 33 percent to U.S. government debt,” said Ed Parker, Fitch’s head of sovereign ratings for Europe, Middle East and Africa.

That means Trump’s plans to slash taxes could threaten the United States’ triple-A credit rating over the medium term.

And what’s with the statement, “America will start winning again, winning like never before.”,   I wonder if he even knows the definition to the word win.  We’re not in a game, or a war, with all the other people that live on this planet.  Historically, our country has been looked up to as the country that has empathy and looks after others.  Guess not so much anymore?

The purpose for politicians in our society is varied.  Recently, and especially during this election, it seems like there was a main objective  to win the election. That would explain a lot of political behaviour during the campaign, such as flip-flopping, which seems dishonest to some.

But after someone is elected, that needs to stop.  And it hasn’t. Kellyanne Conway phrased it “alternative facts”.  Pretty creative, but stupid.   And this tweeter thing is insane.  It seems that the guy is “at war” with everyone.  Can someone name one thing the guy likes?   Anything?

He hates Saturday Night Live, actors and actresses, the media, just about anyone that disagrees with what his views are.  It doesn’t seem normal.  It is a really bad trait for the leader of the free world.

I was hoping that he was going to surround himself with others that would help him get up to speed how this all works.  Nope.  He has surrounded himself with a team of advisors that have a combined net worth of more than $10 billion.  Many from the financial sector, those that he criticized during his campaign.

One of the first things he does as President is to sign an executive order to curb some parts of ACA.  That is health care related.  Affects about 30,000,000 Americans.  Where is the replacement plan?  Wasn’t the line repeal and replace?  Guess he’s just interested in the first part.

Wouldn’t you think that a non-politician, a businessman, would take a little bit to get up to speed about what the repercussions of executive actions would be?  Give it a little bit of time to understand the gravity of his decisions?  He has the most information available at his finger tips now.   And maybe not doing so many “victory tour” gatherings and, instead, spend every waking hour of the day understanding 100% of what needs to be done.   Guess not, once again.

I could keep going on and on.  Sunday, there were close to 3,000,000 people that thought their views needed to be heard.  So they went to the streets and “protested”.  They did this for various reasons.  But mostly to be heard.  This was the largest protest in the history of the United States.

Whatever you might think about her, Madonna made a speech and said she was tempted to “blowing up the White House”.  I guess now the secret service isn’t happy and is having a talk with her.   They want to know her intent.

According to an official, “If it’s characterized as inappropriate, then there won’t be any discussions with the U.S. Attorney. If it’s determined that there’s intent on her part, then there will be discussions with the U.S. Attorney and they’ll take it from there.”

They actually think that Madonna has an intent on blowing up the White House?  Kind of reaching here, aren’t we.

This is going to be a long four years if it has only been 3 days so far.  I can’t see this working out that well for our citizens.  Or people throughout the world.   It isn’t how it works nowadays.


Madonna has some explaining to do.


Which definition is he meaning?

verb successful or victorious in (a contest or conflict).
2.acquire or secure as a result of a contest, conflict, bet, or other endeavor.
1.a successful result in a contest, conflict, bet, or other endeavor; a victory.

60 Days for Killing a Cyclist ?

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Yesterday was the sentencing hearing for the man who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of my friend, Glenda Taylor.  Glenda was struck and killed by  Todd Kidwell at the Kansas State Time Trial Championships in June of 2015.

I didn’t go to the hearing.  I’m haven’t been feeling that good recently and really didn’t want to live the reality of what has already happened.   Lots of cyclists went there to support Joe, Glenda’s husband, and to support cycling in general.

I did see the sentence pretty soon after it was announced.  60 days in jail and 36 months probation.  Here is a link to the Topeka’s newspaper article about the hearing. 

I don’t understand the legal system.  I don’t know why this whole thing took so long.  I don’t understand the plea agreement for manslaughter.  I don’t understand a lot of things.

Todd Kidwell made some statements that seemed genuine.  He said, “I’m the reason Mrs. Taylor is not here.  I shouldn’t have tried to pass her.”  He also said that “I had a responsibility to Mrs. Taylor.  I know you probably hate me, you have every right to.  I need to make amends.”

Those are words that you want to hear, but impossible to digest.  At least for me.

I don’t know what is right.  A guy sitting in jail isn’t gonna bring back a life.  A guy saying he’s sorry isn’t going to do it either.   Glenda was a super person and didn’t deserve to be on this end of a tragedy.  She is missed by all.

Glenda after winning a medal at cyclocross Nationals.

Some of the friends and supporters of Joe and Glenda that made the trip yesterday.