RIP Dr. Vincent Harding, civil rights leader, known for decades of “behind the scenes” social justice activism and work with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
and RIP William Worthy, reporter/ foreign correspondent drawn to forbidden datelines
I remember 1991. I was 11 years old, and a big basketball fan (Detroit Pistons, not the Los Angeles Lakers). Along with the rest of the world, I was stunned when Magic was diagnosed with HIV. My mother bought me his book, “What you can do to avoid AIDS,” the next year.
Thank you Magic, for your courage on behalf of people living with HIV, for the past 23 years.
Sarah Jacobs, 27, from Jacksonville, Florida, was hoping for a relaxing week-long canoeing trip in the Everglades National Park. It didn’t turn out that way. She had to pay $900 to get her 1996 Ford Explorer towed to Miami.
Over recent weeks, the road running from the entrance of Everglades National Park to its Flamingo Visitor Center has been filling up with the carcasses of vehicles missing their tires. The cause? A pack of renegade vultures have been gorging themselves on the rubber from park visitors’ cars, rendering the vehicles un-driveable.
Bill Smith, the president of the South Florida Vulture Association, stated, “I’m tired of all these cars in the Everglades. Last month, my cousin Jimbo got run over and killed by some guy from Raleigh in a Jeep Cherokee who was driving and texting while drinking a frappucino. It’s crazy down here. These cars need get the hell out of our national park.”
Smith added, “Not only are these drivers terrible, but I was reading the new IPCC report on global warming, and it’s horrifying! The ice caps are melting, water supplies are coming under stress, heat waves and heavy rains are intensifying, coral reefs are dying, myriad animal species are going extinct, and the world’s entire food supply is at risk. All so that some giant multinational corporations can make a bigger profit? Give me a break.”
Smith continued, after nibbling on a windshield wiper, “If people don’t stop burning so many fossil fuels, our entire planet is toast. The only solution is for people to start bicycling and making massive investments in public transportation and clean energy. We’re starting a social movement right here in South Florida. The South Florida Vulture Association is leading the way.”
Everglades rangers have distributed tarps and bungee cords to park visitors to protect their vehicles, but the vultures continue their rampage unabated.
The Everglades National Park’s superintendent, when reached for comment, said angrily, “I will restore law and order to this national park. These damn vultures better stop attacking our visitors’ cars, or we’re going to declare open hunting season on them! I think a vulture sandwich would taste pretty good on rye bread. At least we’ve still got the Second Amendment.”
In other news, a source has told us that the South Florida Vulture Association is the leading contender for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.
Vulture sentry eyeing visitors cars
The “Abilities Expo,” a trade fair of products for people with disabilities, recently came to Atlanta, and I spent a few hours checking out the recumbent tricycles. One company from Vermont, Rad Innovations, let me test drive their trikes. The trikes aren’t cheap (~$4000), but they are amazingly stable, fast, and fun. Anja, who works for Rad Innovations, assured me that the 27-speed trikes can easily get up and down hills. And some models have an electric motor built in to give an extra burst of speed. The advantage of recumbent trikes is they are more rideable for the elderly, people with disabilities, etc, than are normal bikes. I think this could be the future, if only our city streets could become safer for bicyclists (infrastructure=key)…
Atlanta is famous for being a city dominated by the automobile. Many people live in the suburbs and drive into in the city each day for work. Others live within the city limits but still drive because of difficulties getting around by bicycle or on public transportation. Lets say you want to travel from Georgia Tech, in midtown, to Emory, in Druid Hills. The two main streets you will use are Ponce de Leon Avenue and Briarcliff Road:
Here’s what you will see on your journey:
Not very fun, friendly, or safe for bikes. You’re competing with cars the whole way, and there’s no bike lanes.
Now imagine if there were protected bike lanes and intersections along Ponce de Leon and Briarcliff. Amazingly, that’s not as unlikely as it might seem. The PeopleForBikes Green Lane Project recently selected Atlanta as one of six new U.S. cities to join its intensive two-year program to build better bike lanes. The question is which Atlanta streets will get the lanes. My vote is for Ponce and Briarcliff: two crucial thoroughfares which crisscross the city.