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On Other Blogs Today: A Difficult Choice, a Dangerous Bike Lane, and More

Our daily roundup.

By Erica C. Barnett June 21, 2013


1. In the New York Times, former Seattle City Council member Judy Nicastro tells the heartbreaking story of her decision to have an abortion at 23 weeks after doctors told her that her son—one of two twins she was carrying—would likely not survive. (The other twin, a girl, was born in 2011 and is "healthy and beautiful.")

Nicastro decided to tell her story, she writes, because of legislation that just passed in the U.S. House of Representatives banning many second-trimester abortions. Although the measure won't go anywhere in the Democratic Senate, Nicastro writes, "it is part of a trend toward restricting second- and even first-trimester abortions. Ten states have banned most abortions after 20 or 22 weeks; Arkansas, after 12; and North Dakota, after 6."

Related reading: The Times' incredible recent magazine feature about what happens to women who want abortions but can't get them—and what the consequences are for their unplanned babies.

2. Rutgers professor John Pucher, the keynote speaker at this week's urban cycling symposium at the University of Washington (where I also moderated a panel on the "war on cars") took a spin through downtown Seattle during his visit here and found it "extremely dangerous ... an accident waiting to happen," KPLU reports.

Citing the bike lane between parked cars and traffic on the left side of Second Ave., Pucher said, "We almost got doored several times; there were people trying to parallel park their cars right into the bike lane," he said. "What is there now is more dangerous than nothing.”

We agree. In fact, we named that particular lane "the worst bike lane in the city."

3. The sky isn't falling: Despite dire predictions that a law requiring businesses to provide paid sick leave would cause business to move elsewhere, lay off employees, or shut down, a new report finds that in D.C. at least, that has not been the case.

The Economic Opportunity Institute reports that the District of Columbia Auditor concluded that the district's 2008 paid sick-leave law has not caused businesses to leave D.C., did not discourage business owners from locating in D.C., and has increased the share of D.C. businesses that provide paid sick leave to their workers. 

4. As we noted in Fizz this morning, despite optimism in Olympia, there's a real possibility that the legislature could fail to agree on a budget by July 1, forcing a government shutdown.

The Everett Herald has a laundry list of some of the state agencies and services that would be affected, including the lottery (no lottery tickets would be sold or drawings conducted), criminal justice (prisons wouldn't accept new inmates, and most community supervision of ex-cons would stop); and parks (state parks would shut down and all camping reservations for early July canceled).

5. Watch out, Tom Douglas: The anti-rail lobby is coming for your lamb shanks with mushrooms and smoky nut-and-cranberry snack mix.

The Washington Post reports that U.S. Rep. John Mica (R-FL), a frequent Amtrak critic, derided the rail agency's efforts to provide healthier, more palatable dining options by consulting with chefs, including Douglas, saying, "Taxpayers would choke if they knew the costs of these gourmet meals."  

Amtrak has lost money on its food service, but not because their meals were "gourmet." Rather, government auditors found problems with waste, employee theft, and lack of proper government oversight. Pretty hard to blame better food for that.

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