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Breakfast links: Bike forward


New L St green paint design.
L Street bike lane begins: DDOT began work on the L Street cycletrack last night. The lane from New Hampshire to 12th will take 3 weeks to build and open in 2- to 3-block segments. DDOT has tweaked the design to add green paint in conflict zones. (DCist, BeyondDC)

Bike infrastructure saves lives: A Canadian study finds that bike injuries fall by half on streets with bike lanes and no parking, compared to shared lanes with on-street parking. Protected bike lanes reduce injuries by 90 percent. (Atlantic Cities)

Bike thief apologizes, advises: After Portland police recovered a stolen bike, the thief wrote an apology, gave the victim $10 for the broken lock, and advised him to buy a U-lock. (ABC News) ... Will the thief who took Mary Cheh's bike do the same? (DCist)

Ban big sodas in DC?: At an at-large debate, Michael Brown, Vincent Orange, and David Grosso all expressed support for a ban on large sodas like the one NYC Mayor Bloomberg has been pushing. The issue arose at an at-large debate. (Post)

Upper 14th Street wants density: Residents responded positively to DC's plan to redevelop 14th Street north of Columbia Heights with retail and art space. Residents surprised Muriel Bowser with support for more density. (City Paper)

Streetcar task force skips the public: All of the "citizen" members of the streetcar task force represent large real estate interests and institutions, while there are no independent, private citizens. Why? (RPUS)

Prince George's reconsiders widening streets: Prince George's planners might back off from proposals in a Greenbelt plan that would have prioritized super-wide streets over walkability. Greenbelt also wants more affordable and senior housing. (Patch)

Fight for transit funds: The McDonnell administration wants to change its transit funding allocations to reward agencies who save the most money, but transit groups say it would force unfair comparisons between very different systems. (Bacon's Rebellion)

And...: Early voting in DC has begun. (NBC4) ... See what it's like to live on a boat in Southwest. (City Paper) ... The WMATA board will review service standards again Thursday. (Post) ... Should DC's wards have their own flags? (Post) ... Join WABA now!

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Comments

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Given that the boundaries of wards shift with population changes, why would flags be appropriate? Or are we going to have disputed areas like Jammu and Kashmir or Senkaku/Diaoyu where we have multiple flags and turf battles?

by ah on Oct 23, 2012 9:06 am • linkreport

ah: That was exactly my reaction, too. Boundary drawing is acrimonious enough without needing to further cement people's connections to these arbitrary legislative divisions.

Can you imagine a flag for the Maryland 8th District? Seriously.

by David Alpert on Oct 23, 2012 9:18 am • linkreport

Association (VTA) and individual transit companies. Performance metrics are a great management tool but not a basis for allocating funds, said Linda McNiminy, executive director of the VTA. The DRPT proposal would pit transit companies against one another, make funding more volatile and ignore unique circumstances in each enterprise.

This makes it sound like when we take funding away from schools that don't meet their test scores.

We should absolutely measure performance, it helps us figure out what works well and what we should improve. We should fund based on need.

by drumz on Oct 23, 2012 9:18 am • linkreport

Also don't ban big sodas. Tax the per ounce after a certain threshold and you can curb use AND use it to fund things that can make people more active.

by drumz on Oct 23, 2012 9:20 am • linkreport

Bike infrastructure saves lives

Glad that someone quantified the obvious.

while there are no independent, private citizens. Why?

They did not pay of anyone. They did not give the right campaigns money. They do not have the right network.

the thief wrote an apology

Well, that's more than we get from big financial criminals.

by Jasper on Oct 23, 2012 9:28 am • linkreport

I agree with drumz on the soda issue. Not only is it difficult to enforce, but it is worse from an environmental standpoint (people will just buy 2 cups of soda, creating more waste than there would be in the first place).

by Vanmo96 on Oct 23, 2012 9:29 am • linkreport

Good point, drumz.

by m2fc on Oct 23, 2012 9:30 am • linkreport

The soda issue: recently I was at a business conference at a city in the midwest. I met a person with "Bloomberg" on his business card. He said the NYC soda issue was having tremendous impact on his business (rubber processing machinery!), that people refused to talk to him because of it.

Mr Bloomberg is a billionaire, and people need his news services; he is immune from the backlash. DC, which needs good relations with US citizens that are tourists and has no congressional representation, is not.

by goldfish on Oct 23, 2012 9:40 am • linkreport

@drumz
We should absolutely measure performance, it helps us figure out what works well and what we should improve. We should fund based on need.

Except their definition of performance is going to completely ignore the different roles that these public transportation agencies serve. The article outlines that pretty well. You're right that we should "fund based on need" but often that has little to do with these performance measures, especially when you are talking about a group of transit operators who serve extremely different needs/populations.

by MLD on Oct 23, 2012 9:40 am • linkreport

I find the bike study fascinating - it tends to line up with my own ride preferences mostly, and in particular I like that it recognizes both the differences in different categories of in road cycling - (major road vs residential, with on street parking vs without, etc) as well as the different categories of segregated facility. Its also not as anti-VC as its made out to be ( the better on street options overlap the weaker segregated options, and the upper left corner - the multiuse paths that newbie cyclists tend to like are shown as unsafe) though of course its in conflict with the more extreme versions of the VC camp (yes, GOOD bike lanes add safety , and a fortiori cycle tracks do, despite intersection issues). The infrastructure in the upper right BOTH increases safety AND is favored by the mass of cyclists, adding the "safety in numbers" benefit.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Oct 23, 2012 9:41 am • linkreport

MLD,

Exactly, and the governor's approach to transit always has me suspicious.

For example with WMATA the para transit service is one of the lowest returning services it has. However, since WMATA has to comply with the ADA it has to have it in some way. I'm all for figuring out how to make that section more efficient and higher returning but you can't justify getting rid of it because it doesn't meet a certain ROI. Saving money should be an ancillary goal to the main one of getting people where they need to be.

by drumz on Oct 23, 2012 9:46 am • linkreport

All of the "citizen" members of the streetcar task force represent large real estate interests and institutions,while there are no independent, private citizens. Why?

Because representatives of real estate interests and other interested institutions can be bribed to ensure that the streetcar is dragged out for as long as possible, ensuring its optimal (to a certain segment of the entrenched political class) state of being perpetually right around the corner yet not a threat to begin service anytime soon.

by Dizzy on Oct 23, 2012 9:53 am • linkreport

@Dizzy: I thought real estate people bribed politicians, not the other way 'round.

by goldfish on Oct 23, 2012 10:02 am • linkreport

Crackdown on scooters:

http://washingtonexaminer.com/district-to-crack-down-on-motor-scooters/article/2511447#disqus_thread

by Tom Coumaris on Oct 23, 2012 10:19 am • linkreport

RE: Sugary Drinks

Wasn't the intent of a tax on plastic bags partly to raise revenue for environmental issues; partly to avoid the "big government" rule of an outright ban? Or was it just the former?

I think an outright ban on sugary drinks goes too far in NYC goes too far toward an apparent "nanny state" situation. Instead: a higher tax could discourage some, still enable others, and provide an additional revenue stream toward healthcare services.

The issue should be discussed as a fiscal policy issue relating to healthcare: finely enumerating the costs to DC for treating illnesses arising from unhealthy diets as well as defining the role & impact of sugary drinks. Then approaching that issue in a manner of reducing costs to DC through various options; not acting on the basis of "we feel this is how our residents and visitors should live".

by Bossi on Oct 23, 2012 10:23 am • linkreport

@goldfish

It is, as I'm sure you know, a two-way street of influence-peddling and cronyism. The chicanery with real estate assessments resulting in massive underpaying of property taxes would be an excellent example of the favors the political class does for real estate interests. They are getting more return for their investment than just shady donations. Business interests play a major role in shaping public policy and opinion. Any politician worth his salt knows that shaping your domain requires a buy-in, or at least acquiescence, from businesses.

"The man is known for pro quo quidness / in (DC) that's how folks do bidness"

by Dizzy on Oct 23, 2012 10:38 am • linkreport

@Dizzy: I guess it is a matter of terminology. Business people bribe politicians with money or other tangible things of value; in return, politicians provide preferential treatment, votes, or other actions as a part of their official duties.

by goldfish on Oct 23, 2012 10:43 am • linkreport

if the streetcar is going to be heavily financed with taxes on developers and large commercial properties, than Im not sure getting buy - in from the larger citizenry is as important as buy in from the developers, BIDs, etc. IF they are going to finance it more broadly, and they have only gotten buy in from those interests, Mayor Grey is going to have to do the heavy lifting getting it through the Council.

As for prioritizing routes, if the focus is using the street cars for development, it makes sense to have these people involved. If the focus is on moving people, many of the objections to streetcars (vs buses) would come into play. Why spend that kind of money for marginal ridership gains if you are not going to be focused on development?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Oct 23, 2012 10:56 am • linkreport

Dizzy,
Your comment reminds me of an old joke Krushchev used to tell about communism that you might particularly enjoy. Here it is in modified form:

DDOT Planner: "Citizens, some of you doubt we will ever have a streetcar system. But I tell you, it lies just beyond the horizon!"
Smart Growther: "Comrade planner, what is 'the horizon'?"
DDOT Planner: "I'm glad you asked that venerable comrade. The horizon is the imaginary line where land meets sky, which has the unique property of always moving further away as you approach it."
Smart Growther: "Thank you comrade DDOT planner. Now I understand completely."

by TM on Oct 23, 2012 11:08 am • linkreport

@goldfish

Like I said, it's a two-way street, and the arrow of causation goes the other way as well: "politicians provide preferential treatment, votes, or other actions as a part of their official duties" in order to induce prominent businesspeople and other agents of influence to support their initiatives and help them carry out their agenda.

In this case, it is in the mayor's interest to ensure that the streetcar remains in eternal glass-half-full limbo. By packing this committee with people he knows he can buy off through favoritism in permitting, property value assessments, etc., he can ensure this outcome.

by Dizzy on Oct 23, 2012 11:10 am • linkreport

..or quote Orwell (1984): "streetcar planning has come to within measurable distance of its end."

by goldfish on Oct 23, 2012 11:11 am • linkreport

@TM

Хахахахахахахаха bravo bravo bravo!

by Dizzy on Oct 23, 2012 11:13 am • linkreport

@ goldfish:DC, which needs good relations with US citizens that are tourists and has no congressional representation, is not.

DC is also a city with a high diabetes rate, especially under older Washingtonians (though not as many as MD).

Percentage of Adults with Diagnosed Diabetes by Age Group, 2010
US/DC/MD/VA

Ages 18-44 NA 2.5% 3.0% 2.3%
Ages 45-64 12.2% 10.6% 12.1% 11.4%
Ages 65-74 19.9% 18.8% 23.8% 21.4%
Ages 75+ 17.9% 17.8% 19.7% 19.4%
Total 6.2% 8.0% 8.9% 8.1%
http://www.statehealthfacts.org/comparebar.jsp?ind=73&cat=2

So, you have to ask what is more important: public health or public relations?

by Jasper on Oct 23, 2012 11:30 am • linkreport

[crap, the table looked so nice in the arial comment box]

by Jasper on Oct 23, 2012 11:31 am • linkreport

Ban sodas, but do not regulate the carry outs which sell nothing but unhealthy food...great idea.

Also, the data presented pretty much shows that the diabetes rate in DC is on par with neighboring states. Comparing DC to the entire US is ridiculous without controlling for all sorts of factors, including race.

You want to impact the health of low-income people in city, especially those in Wards 7 and 8? How about coming up with a real strategy to fix United Medical Center? Oh wait, that will take real leadership and real ideas. A soda ban is much easier.

Wont' work, won't improve people's health, but is easier.

by dcdriver on Oct 23, 2012 11:53 am • linkreport

Um, guys, of course the real estate interests, all the people on the task force, are fully committed to streetcars. They aren't stupid, they know they'll make more money--although because of build out constraints, it's not like the opportunity in Portland or Seattle.

The issue with streetcars, for the most part, isn't with real estate interests, it's with backwards looking citizens.

It's true about the network though. Exec. branch people pretty much interact with the developers, not so much with people like me--and if they do, they know that they can't always rely on the result that they want.

But in the long run, not having regular citizens on the panel too, will subject the group to criticism.

As charlie said in a comment on my blog, we planners aren't going to the right cocktail parties... But then, and even if we were pouring the liquor, I'm not sure it matters.

by Richard Layman on Oct 23, 2012 12:01 pm • linkreport

You're all aware that NYC didnt "ban" sodas, just made certain large sizes illegal? This seems more like when cigarette vending machines (that sold 1 cig at a time) were banned than a "nanny state" issue. I hope DC follows NYC's lead on this one.

by Mt Vernon on Oct 23, 2012 12:06 pm • linkreport

Sometimes I purchase larger drinks with no intent of drinking it all in one sitting. I like having it as a "just in case" or for another time. Sometimes I even share the drink and it may be divided up even more than the serving size suggests. That kind of irresponsible behavior is what should be prevented or taxed.

by selxic on Oct 23, 2012 12:29 pm • linkreport

@ dcdriver: How about coming up with a real strategy to fix United Medical Center?

How does a good hospital prevent people having a bad diet and getting diabetes (II)?

Access to preventative care would, but that's one of the elements of Obamacare, not something that a city can do.

It is very easy to ridicule large-soda bans. However, doing so ignores the underlying problem, and ridicules public health policy at a city level.

It is somewhat contradictory that it is apparently completely normal to heavily regulate alcohol and drug sales [insert many many links to debates about alcohol licenses, permits, bar opening hours etc], while at the same time supposedly regulating sugar and fat are signs of a nanny-state, even though obesity, diabetes and related cardiovascular disease are much bigger health problems than alcohol and drug (ab)use.

by Jasper on Oct 23, 2012 1:26 pm • linkreport

Some of you are so far off with the soda thing, its alarming.

Nothing is getting banned.In NYC, you will still be able to drink as much soda as you want.

Theres no nanny state. No one is measuring your daily intake of soda and then stopping you when you reach a limit.

All it is is a very effective physiological play. People eat/drink more when theyre given more. 14oz may fully satisfy you, but if theres 15oz in front of you, youre likely to finish it off, as to not be wasteful. If you want 20oz? No problem, you can purchase that, you just need to make a conscious effort to get a refill or buy another.

The argument that "arent there more important things?" is also idiotic. You can say that for anything.

"Why is the city spending money on repaving, when people are getting shot!"
"Why is the city focusing on libraries when the schools need books!"

Idiotic. The city isnt a single person, they can focus on multiple areas and have multiple projects running simultaneously.

by JJJ on Oct 23, 2012 1:26 pm • linkreport

So the diabetes rate in DC is lower than either nationwide or surrounding states? Why is it a particularly compelling public health concern in DC, then? And, for that matter, how much does consumption of too much soda contribute to the problem?

by ah on Oct 23, 2012 1:28 pm • linkreport

Will "free refills" also be outlawed?

by Jim T on Oct 23, 2012 1:32 pm • linkreport

Why no citizens?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rent-seeking

by Michael Hamilton on Oct 23, 2012 1:50 pm • linkreport

@Jasper: Percentage of Adults with Diagnosed Diabetes by Age Group

... you need to then correlate this with how much sugar they consume. But according to the ADA, for type 2 diabetes it is primarily a matter of blood glucose. This suggests that it would be more effective to ban large amounts of carbohydrates of all types.

What people don't like about this is the judgemental and sanctimonious attitude toward what other people are eating. Like sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner, with a vegan telling you what to eat.

by goldfish on Oct 23, 2012 1:58 pm • linkreport

@jasper

"We are inappropriately involved in managing strangers' lives in other arenas" is not a convincing argument for giving greater control of our lives to the same geniuses that brought us DC Public Schools, WMATA, and the streetcar plan.

by Michael Hamilton on Oct 23, 2012 2:00 pm • linkreport

Access to preventative care would, but that's one of the elements of Obamacare, not something that a city can do.

Obamacare will not really touch the people we are talking about. They are on Medicaid. This is why we are talking about limiting the size of sodas and not gourmet cupcakes. This is a racial and economic issue. Poor, elderly and unemployed people are the ones that need to be targeted, not working people with health insurance.

The city can do a lot to help with preventative care. How about turning UMC into a clinical center (Mayor Gray's plan)? Oh wait, we must have a hospital in Ward 8, in fact, in the world of DC politics, a failing hospital (that bleeds the city dry) is better than a functioning primary and specialty care clinic.

How about improving the conditions at the city's health centers run by Unity? I would scrap that entire system and start over with new contracts and new people.

How about cutting the massive waste and outright fraud in the Medicaid program, which is run by the city. Start by giving EMS the power (real power) to deny transport for non-emergency cases. EMS is not a taxi service if you have non-specific leg pain or some other non-emergency condition. The city paying for a cab for these cases, a large part of the EMS load in DC, would be cheaper and more efficient.

Then give the ERs the authority to turn away cases that are not emergencies. The use of ERs as primary care clinics is massive drain on city and hospital resources. Set up a 24-hour urgent care center in the city to handle those cases (again much cheaper and more efficient then an ER).

How about spending money on real health education in the public schools? Simply changing the food in the cafeteria isn't enough. How about a field trip program to grocery stores (which exist in every Ward)? How about having older kids volunteer or shadow in the university hospitals to see the impact of health decisions on real people as well possibly get inspired to take on a career in the sciences?

The city can do a lot. Some things they are working on, but like everything else in this city, racial and "Ward" politics too often gets in the way. So instead of real change you end up with soda size limits and vegetables in the school lunches (which end up in the trash in most cases). Feel good measures that accomplish nothing.

When the city finally closed DC General, I had hope that things were going to change. Then we got the UMC mess and I was brought back to reality.

by dcdriver on Oct 23, 2012 2:05 pm • linkreport

@dcdriver: My kids have indeed gone on field trips to a grocery store. They have also had units on food and healthy eating.

by goldfish on Oct 23, 2012 2:07 pm • linkreport

@ goldfish

I am glad to hear that. Unfortunately, rather than proactively address this problem too many of our "leaders" like to play the race (and Ward) card and talk about "food deserts." Its always easier to blame "the system" I guess.

by dcdriver on Oct 23, 2012 2:22 pm • linkreport

Ban sodas, but do not regulate the carry outs which sell nothing but unhealthy food...great idea.

DC should start with a trans fat ban. That idea has already been tested, has been found to be more-or-less successful, and doesn't seem to infringe on liberties too much based on popular opinion. Many US cities/counties and some European countries already ban trans fats to varying degrees.

Maybe a large-soda ban would work well like the trans fat ban, maybe it will be a disaster. I'd prefer to let NYC figure that one out first rather than taking the risk of being the guinea pig.

by Falls Church on Oct 23, 2012 2:25 pm • linkreport

Part of freedom is the freedom to make poor choices. Banning sodas - or even certain size sodas - is stupid. Taxing it is fine. Educating people is better. But banning it is - dare I say it - anti-American.

Also, we should stop subsidizing sugar and corn syrup.

by David C on Oct 23, 2012 2:44 pm • linkreport

Bike Study

Seems to me that a reasonable interpretation of the study is that where people ride faster they are more likely to go to the ER after a collision/crash. Notice that the adjusted odds ratio is significantly and meaningfully higher (2.3) in downhill grades.

The study appears to be gated. So it's hard to assess the paper.

by Geof Gee on Oct 23, 2012 2:58 pm • linkreport

Part of freedom is the freedom to make poor choices.

Agreed but it's also hypocritical to ban marijuana while allowing things that are far less healthy to put into your body. Either we make everything legal, or if we have to ban anything, we start with the things that are worst for you.

Also, there's a big difference between a national ban, which would be unAmerican, and local bans. There's a long tradition in America, dating back to banning liquor on Sundays and other blue laws, of localities banning things that are incongruous with the character of their community. Plenty of places in DC ban sales of single cans of beer. Is banning sales of large sodas all that different? I'd say diabetes is more of a public problem than drunkards.

by Falls Church on Oct 23, 2012 3:22 pm • linkreport

@ ah:Why is it a particularly compelling public health concern in DC, then?

Because 8%, or 1 in every 12 Washingtonians suffers from it. I don't know what the average household size is in DC, but 1 in 12 patients means that more than 1 in 6 live with a diabetes patient. That's not a public health concern?

8% in diabetes is about equal to the number of HIV patients in DC. http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/in-dc-hiv-infection-rate-nearly-doubles-for-some-poor-black-women/2012/06/20/gJQAXIqKrV_story.html

@ Michael Hamilton:"We are inappropriately involved in managing strangers' lives in other arenas" is not a convincing argument for giving greater control of our lives to the same geniuses that brought us DC Public Schools, WMATA, and the streetcar plan.

So doing nothing is better?

@ dcdriver:Obamacare will not really touch the people we are talking about. They are on Medicaid.

Which is strengthened by Obamacare. Also, Obamacare will prevent future cases of neglected health.

This is why we are talking about limiting the size of sodas and not gourmet cupcakes.

I know cupcakes are all the rages, but the number of cupcake sellers is insignificant compared to the number of soda sellers.

The city can do a lot to help with preventative care.

It does not need to. Preventative care is a "free" (read no co-pays) part of the mandated health insurance that everybody will have soon.

The use of ERs as primary care clinics is massive drain on city and hospital resources.

Which will end when everybody has health insurance including "free" preventative care.

How about spending money on real health education in the public schools?

Good, but expensive idea. And, apparently happening. Banning something is free (for the city).

To be clear: I am not necessarily in favor of such a ban. However, I do not understand or can figure out for myself why limitations on alcohol and drugs are completely non-controversial, but limitations on sugar and fat are.

In other words: If drugs can be prohibited because they are a severe threat to health, why can't sugar and fat?

by Jasper on Oct 23, 2012 3:23 pm • linkreport

@ Falls church:Plenty of places in DC ban sales of single cans of beer. Is banning sales of large sodas all that different? I'd say diabetes is more of a public problem than drunkards.

You say it better than me.

by Jasper on Oct 23, 2012 3:25 pm • linkreport

Drumz: how do you calculate what counts as an ounce of soda?
1. Does it have to have sugar, bubbles etc? What if it has sugar but no bubbles. Does cold coffee count?
2. What is an oz? if I sell you 1 oz of syrup and 20 oz of carbonated water, and you mix, do I get taxed on the syrup or the total volume? Does the volume include ice? What if somone dilutes a soda with soda water (as my wife does)?
If I add soda to something, do you count the total or the amount of soda. (e.g. add a can of sprite to punch)

Believe me: these issues come up in drug sentencing all the time, and arrive at crazy results.

by SJE on Oct 23, 2012 3:29 pm • linkreport

how do you calculate what counts as an ounce of soda?

You call NIST to get the definition of an ounce, and you call the FDA for the definition of soda.

by Jasper on Oct 23, 2012 3:39 pm • linkreport

I was gonna do it based on cup size. And then wait for the lawsuits from people saying that the law discriminates against people who like their cups half-full (or half-empty).

by drumz on Oct 23, 2012 3:41 pm • linkreport

Agreed but it's also hypocritical to ban marijuana while allowing things that are far less healthy to put into your body

Well, I don't think marijuana should be illegal.

Plenty of places in DC ban sales of single cans of beer. Is banning sales of large sodas all that different?

Yes. The issues with single cans of beer are public intoxication and littering, not health.

The difference is that these laws are meant to keep you from harming me. Not to keep me from harming me.

by David C on Oct 23, 2012 3:58 pm • linkreport

Also, we should stop subsidizing sugar and corn syrup.
I don't think sugar is subsidized (sugar beats and cane). Maybe there's some tariff on imported sugar but i'm pretty sure (?) sugar beets and cane are not subsidized. Corn (hfcs) definitely is subsidized and that should end.

I agree with @Falls Church that a ban on transfat for public health reasons is reasonable. I agree with @drumz, @David C. & others that taxing soda makes more sense than banning it. there are already studies recommending the threshold tax/ounce to decrease consumption by kids. It works for cigarettes. A tax on cigarettes past a threshold saves lives.

by Tina on Oct 23, 2012 5:28 pm • linkreport

@Richard Layman: The issue with streetcars, for the most part, isn't with real estate interests, it's with backwards looking citizens.

The #1 backward-looking citizen is the mayor. He has no enthusiasm for streetcars, and is well aware of the planning shortcomings. After all, he voted against it, and only reinstated it after the overwhelming reaction from the readers of this blog.

by goldfish on Oct 23, 2012 6:31 pm • linkreport

Has anyone here been poor and felt poor and well felt hungry? Just wondering. When that has happened to me, I do - I go after the cheap calories, just because there is nothing worse than having no job, no money to buy a sirloin and green beans, and being hungry. These lifestyle things are good, I guess. But it's kind of not really changing the fundamental thing. Kind of like we're all working at Coca Cola, and while we ourselves have a nutritionist saying we should drink no more than one coke a month, we sure push like hell our product on everyone else. My analogy isn't perfect, but I'm talking or trying to talk about the larger world we exist in. Afterall, as some article I read today said, you do not see park ave doyennes drinking big gulps.

Maybe there is another problem, too.

by Jazzy on Oct 23, 2012 6:53 pm • linkreport

But let me acknowledge the glaringly obvious, as others have done before me, as Michael Pollan has pointed out, after WW2 there was a big decision about what to do with excess nitrogen. It was decided to use it as fertilizer and then later the corn subsidy was born. That corn needed a market.... etc etc.

by Jazzy on Oct 23, 2012 6:56 pm • linkreport

@ David C:Well, I don't think marijuana should be illegal.

Incorrect comparison. We're not discussing the sale of soda here. We're discussing limiting the sale of soda, just like pot would be sold only in small quantities to adults, if legalized. That is, unless you'd want to argue that pot should be sold in unlimited quantities to minors just like soda is.

The difference is that these laws are meant to keep you from harming me. Not to keep me from harming me.

Hmmm. I thought that hard drugs were banned exactly to keep you from harming you. Also, a lot of diabetes are hurting you, in your wallet, through your insurance premium.

@Tina:I don't think sugar is subsidized

Sugar is subsidized to give it a fighting chance against HFCS. And HFCS is massively subsidized through corn subsidies. In fact, corn subsidies are the major driving factor for the fact that Americans have to look hard for products with actual sugar in stead of HFCS.

by Jasper on Oct 23, 2012 9:02 pm • linkreport

@Jasper,

I didn't bring up marijuana, Falls Church did. So, I agree, it's not a good comparison.

I thought that hard drugs were banned...</>

Here again, you're getting confused. The law I was referring to was the law banning the single sales of beer. Not the criminalization of drugs.

a lot of diabetes are hurting you, in your wallet, through your insurance premium.

True. But if you get diabetes and treatment cost $10M. That only costs me a fraction of a penny. So that doesn't really give me the right to tell you how to live. Or if that is the threshold, then it means that I can dictate what you can eat, who you can sleep with, what hobbies you can participate in etc...

by David C on Oct 24, 2012 9:23 am • linkreport

Sugar Subsidies

AFAIK, the US does not subsidize sugar explicitly. We tax imported sugar as well as subject imported sugar to a quota. Both have the effect of drastically raising domestic sugar prices relative to the world market. Note that this is old information in my brain.

by Geof Gee on Oct 24, 2012 9:54 am • linkreport

@ David C:But if you get diabetes and treatment cost $10M. That only costs me a fraction of a penny

In the case of a $10M treatment, you pay $833.333 (1/12th), not fractions of a penny. We're not talking about a rare disease here. As discussed above, 1 in 12 people have diabetes.

BTW I have no clue where you get that $10M from - it seems rather high. A quick Google finds 174 billion: Total costs of diagnosed diabetes in the United States in 2007. Assuming full coverage by insurance carried by everyone, that's $174B/330M=$527 per American. As that assumption is way too conservative, you're paying more. $527 is not a fraction of a penny.

by Jasper on Oct 24, 2012 10:19 am • linkreport

Christ the blog has become boring. 3 out of 4 stories are on bikes?

by beatbox on Oct 24, 2012 2:59 pm • linkreport

On drinks:

I'd rather see the District encourage local fast-food joints to offer a discount (cup tax?) if patrons bring in their own moderate sized coffee mug or (bike holder sized?) water bottle to get drinks instead of using wasteful disposable cups. It would be great if these joints also simply added 100% natural no sugar added fruit juices (and OrangeJuliuses, frozen juice slushes) to their menus.

One cycletracks:

5th St NW (one way north) has a lot of reverse bike traffic going south against the bike lane and motorists. Despite the obvious hazard on a narrow one car/one bike lane street, it's widely agreed that it's still far safer than biking with the flow of recklesss speedracer motorists on NJ Ave, 6thStNW/Rt1, or 7th St where there is so much competition with buses and trucks and where the existing bike lane ends abruptly forcing southbound cyclists into one lane of south-bound traffic to risk their lives with buses and construction trucks. A 6thStNW/Rt1 cycle track would close a loop — connecting east/west Q&RSt bike lanes with the Pennsylvania Ave cycle track and 14th/15thSt cycle track.

by @ShawingtonTimes on Oct 25, 2012 8:08 am • linkreport

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