The weather continued to be lousy this week, but we had plenty of good entertainment to keep us warm. Tuesday night we got more snow, as I had mentioned was predicted in my previous post. Wednesday morning, I was cruising the Web over a cup of coffee and ran across something interesting on a blog written by former Madison mayor Paul Soglin:
The bicyclists who braved the week's second storm [Tuesday] should be taken out and shot. Spare them and the poor driver, when they skid on treacherous streets and slide under the wheels of a truck delivering fresh vegetables.
I will give them a pass on the first storm. Not because it was not forecasted (it was), but because every one gets a little giddy and reckless with the season's first major storm.
Now, I'm not really sure what Paul is up to here. At first, I was pretty pissed off that he would say something that stupid.
So I gave the hornet's nest a pretty swift kick.
I posted links to his blog to the local bicycle list (Bikies) and to the Icebike list, which is international. Paul soon found himself with plenty of hits and more than a couple of comments. The next day, he posted Part 2 in an attempt to defend the indefensible. Then, George Hesselberg from the Wisconsin State Journal somehow picked up on the fracas and ran an article titled "Soglin feeling heat from bikers". The Capital Times chimed in later in the day with another article titled "Former Madison mayor criticized for suggesting shooting cyclists"
But golly, I have to say my absolute favorite thing of all was the moment when the clock radio alarm went off this morning at 6:30, and the AM radio station we listen to had the whole bloody mess as it's top story, complete with an interview with a rather sleepy Paul. You could almost hear his beadhead over the airwaves! The missus thought I was sobbing, but I guess that's what choking back laughter so one could hear the radio sounds like. Seriously folks, was this a slow news day, or what? Maybe we just needed some comic relief from the lousy weather.
Later, I just had to sigh—I mean, check out what Madison's city engineer had to say about Soglin on the local e-mail list:
Paul Soglin was supportive of our efforts to keep the major bike paths operational (particularly the SW Bike Path) during the winter, although some of his immediate staff questioned the expenditures.
[Let's leave aside for a minute that the Southwest Bike Path didn't exist during either of Soglin's stints as mayor—I think the engineer may have been thinking of another path.] So bicycling in Madison improved during Soglin's tenure, and Soglin himself does do some riding. Cyclists do owe the guy some respect.
But "taken out and shot?"
I can respect anyone's God-given right to complain. Nobody wants to be inconvenienced during a snowstorm, so if somebody wants to call cyclists stupid or crazy, which some are, I can deal with that. But the suggestion of violence? What's that about?
Well, later on word on the street had it that was that the whole shooting thing was Soglin's idea of a joke in response to the arrest of a teacher over in Cudahy for comments he posted on a conservative site called Boots and Sabers.
That's what I said. You can read about the teacher thing here. I'm not sure I get the connection (if there is one) or why Soglin chose to exersize his free speech by suggesting cyclists should be shot. Perhaps we'll never know.
Okay, that's enough pixels for this one. Tempest in a teapot!