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Showing posts from June, 2016

Towards a quantitative petition process

A bit of backstory. There has been an ongoing debate in Oak Park that is older than me living here about speed bumps. Love them or hate them, they are sometimes an appropriate treatment for a street. The Transportation Commission I'm on has, in fact, recommended them previously within the village (prior to me serving). But the Village Trustees have voted against allowing that particular tool for a variety of reasons. 
But this post isn't about speed bumps, per se. It's about a collection of engineering tools we're not currently using in our community...but could. Oak Park has traditionally stuck to certain items and certain procedures for residents to get those items on their block. As other cities around the nation/world get much more experimental with their traffic planning, we now have data to use about what works and doesn't work so that Oak Park could expand our options. 
The desire to develop a "Traffic Calming Toolbox" has also given the Transporta…

Talking to your kids about Trump

We take the kids to vote with us, they know how a bill becomes a law, that we elect our leaders at the city, state, and national level. I'm a member of a local advisory committee that helps decide about stop signs, crosswalks, parking rules. So my kids get a fairly healthy dose of civics already. They know history: Abraham Lincoln set the slaves free and we fought a war over it, the current President is Barack Obama and is from our state and the first with darker skin, and we fought the British for the right to not have a king. Not bad for a 4 and 5 year old. 
As I've discussed previously, we let our kids watch the news. In fact, they're surrounded by it. NPR is on in the morning when we wake up and Newshour is on in the evening when their cartoons are over. Other than a couple days ago when a lengthier conversation about abortion was about to begin (grownups arguing over whether a sperm and egg inside a mother has rights required too much backstory), I usually don't t…

If you want better kids, get a dog

I suppose the title of this post has a double meaning. On one hand, if you want the joy and hardship of taking care of another living thing maybe you should get a pet instead of procreating. (Better yet, get a plant.) But, no, I mean if you want to see an improvement in your kids' level of responsibility and behavior a dog may be the way to go.

That's completely opposite the usual logic, right? Most of the time, we question whether children have the level of maturity and intelligence to care, feed, treat nicely, train, etc.. I get it. I was right there where we had some serious doubts about how my 4 year old and nearly 6 year old would handle a 50 lb dog. When they were babies, we had another greyhound--a white with red brindle older girl--who tolerated them as long as we kept them far away from her. It wasn't mutual love by any means. But it was our family for awhile until the dog passed away. In the meantime, we've enjoyed several dog-free years which I now think of …

Why America lost its mind over a gorilla...

To start, let me be clear--this post is not about anybody's opinion about Harambe, the Cincinnati Zoo gorilla, and the incident where a small child climbed into his enclosure. I'm not here to tell you who was right or wrong. (But can we ease up on the mom...please?) No, I'm much more interested in why we're all having a debate about it. Because, let's be honest, this philosophical and moral debate is ten times more interesting than the damn "what color is the dress" argument we engaged in as a nation awhile back.

The Harambe controversy is beautiful for a number of reasons which fascinate me and I'll outline them below. The main theme is that the shooting of a gorilla with a child's life on the line highlights a "sweet spot" for our cultural battles. This one incident manages to find the very center where someone--most of us--can find others who agree and an argument to be made about the merits of whatever it is we're arguing in favo…