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Afternoon Read: The Capital Bikeshare Column Heard Around D.C.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Washington Times columnist Tom Hurt’s piece deriding “Capital Bikeshare” as “broken-down socialism” has caused quite a stir in the D.C. blogosphere.

    City Desk called the column “totally bats---” while DCist used more temperate language as it called Hurt’s piece “a head-scratching rant that largely defies logic.”

    In his piece, Hurt ticks off the drawbacks of the bikeshare program and writes:

    "Unlike Sarah Palin or Tina Fey, or whoever it was, I really can see Russia from my front porch. Or, at least, I can see broken-down socialism.

    That is because across the street from my house on Capitol Hill is a loud, clanging “Capital Bikeshare” docking station. It is one of the locking ports for those fat, red communal bicycles you see peddled all over town by commune enthusiasts. (Say that fast, and it sounds like you are saying “commun-ists.”)

    The DCist responds:

    Russia? Communists? Red bikes? Good God, man. The Cold War ended over 20 years ago. If you're going to peddle (get it?) fear, at least get with the times. A link between Bikeshare and al Qaeda would have been much more appropriate and effective. Something about sleeper terrorists packing the bikes full of explosives and riding them—slowly—towards sensitive government sites.

    The DCist also attempts to refute some of Hurt’s legitimate complaints of the program which include the lack of bike docking spots at popular destinations during rush hour.

    Read the DCists full blog here.

    City Desk at Washington City Paper similarly critiques Hurt’s column and in addition to reiterating what the DCist had to say, added that the Washington Time’s columnist is sexist for referring to the bikes as "'girl bikes' for un-liberated women in skirts as well as these so-called “metrosexual” males everybody keeps talking about in these parts.”

    From City Desk:

    Those "girl bikes" are step-through frames that encourage riders to sit up straight so that they can see traffic. The step-through style also makes it easier to hop on and off a bike—convenient while you're wearing a skirt, but also convenient while you're wearing dress pants. And putting metrosexual in quotes, let alone even using the word? It only makes it seem as if Hurt just really wanted to write "homosexual."

    * The Maryland state university system’s Board of Regents approved a 3 percent tuition increase Wednesday for most in-state students.

    According to the Baltimore Sun, this is the third straight year the regents have passed a 3 percent tuition increase—a modest hike compared to states like California and New York.

    Tuition and fees at University of Maryland, College Park, for example, will go from $8,655 in 2012 to $8,908 in 2013.

    * The Virginia Retirement System says state and local government retirees will receive a cost-of-living adjustment of about 3 percent on July 1, but some of them may have to pay back their share of $28.7 million in overpayments made over the past three years because of a mistake the VRS actuary made while calculating the cost-of-living adjustment in 2009.

    According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, about 120,000 people may have to pay back their share at an average cost of about $239 per person.

    * Maryland legislatures launched a new task force Wednesday to better understand the implications of a recent court ruling that declared pit bulls to be “inherently dangerous.”

    The ruling—which has drawn criticism from animal advocates—would effectively hold owners of pit bulls or pit bull mixes legally responsible for bites even if the dog doesn’t have a history of violence.

    Via Washington Post:

    “This decision will have profound effects on dogs, dog owners, property owners, tenants and landlords,” House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Cavert) wrote in a letter to Gov. Matin O’Malley (D). “Therefore, we are appointing a Joint Task Force to study the court decision and make possible recommendations.”

    *Christian Wire reports that Missy Smith—who ran for the US House against Eleanor Holmes Norton in 2010—will be Randall Terry’s running mate in the presidential election.

    Randall Terry—a staunch pro-life activist—is running as a Democrat in several key states to help defeat Presidnt Barack Obama.

    His statement:

    "Missy Smith is articulate, unflinching, and beautiful. Her heartrending honesty about killing two of her own children makes her doubly formidable -- a true threat to the child killers and pandering politicians.

    "I know that her witness for the babies as a vice presidential candidate will reach millions of Americans, and hopefully be instrumental in causing Obama to lose several swing states. I thank her with all my heart for joining me in this campaign. If we are successful in our mission, Missy will go down in history as an American Joan of Arc."

    Missy Smith’s statement:

    "I killed two of my babies by abortion, and I know the private hell that millions of women live in day after day because of their 'safe legal abortion.' Abortion is murder, and I will do everything in my power to make it illegal.

    "No other person in our nation's history has done more to cause the killing of children as well as attack the Church and exploit women than Obama. The goal of our campaign is to cause a crisis of conscience in Catholic and Evangelical voters by showing pictures of babies slaughtered by abortion so that they refuse to vote for Obama. I know we can achieve this goal by using graphic pictures in our television ads in certain swing states, and hopefully cause Obama's defeat."