Slog AM: Seattle Has Reached Peak Car, the Bike Helmet Law Is Putting a Hurt on People of Color, Biden Wants You to Keep Paying Your Outrageous Student Debts



Yes, a president can't disregard enforcing border laws and magically erase student debt. Who knew?


Biden is indeed no Bernie, which is why he was able to actually beat Trump. The “socialist!” punches on Biden actually landed for a great many voters, but it could’ve been so much worse. I shudder when I think of how close Bernie got to the nomination, and how badly he would have been stomped on Election Day.

Also, I love my umbrella and the cozy pocket of dryness it provides. Enjoy your huddled shuffle through the muck while I saunter past with my magical force field.


I don’t know when this “Seattle doesn’t use umbrellas” thing started. But it’s not true. You can go look at old archived photos of rainy Seattle public streets from the early 1900’s through the early 1980’s and, guess what, almost everyone is carrying an umbrella.

Maybe it was REI (and Gortex) and “outdoor recreation” being so central to late 1970’s and 1980’s pacific Northwest identity. But city people used umbrellas.

Anyway. It’s so dumb.


Meanwhile, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez raised a million dollars for charities in Texas.

There you have it. The difference between "government can't do anything" Ted Cruz fascists and the democrats.

Bill Maher is frequently a blowhard, but he was spot on when he said "Republicans say government doesn't work? Yeah, when they run it it doesn't."

Cruz's defenders are saying what's he supposed to do? How's he supposed to help? Jesus... I don't know, how about try governing? Doesn't even occur to these rich, smug assholes to contact the red cross, or the salvation army, or anyone and ask, "What can I do? How can I help?" Nope, jet off to Mexico for a vacation.

Fucking fascists.


"Repeal the Bike Helmet Law: Why? For one, the cops use it to make trouble with black people, brown people, homeless people."
I am all for that repeal. When cops use a safety measure to bust civil rights, that measure has gotta go. There are ways to promote safety compliance that do not involve cops with guns.


Biden fucking sucks. Trump is to blame for sure and his followers should always remember that(but they wont). And Kamala -all cops are fascists and usually pretty dumb and she is no exception.


3 "Seattle doesn’t use umbrellas" is chic slang for "Seattle luvs barebacking!"


Responding to @2. Always great to read a schmacky comment. A refreshing burst of brain-cell activity.

In response to schmacky, I have to confess, living in Seattle has long since made me give up on umbrellas. OK, I have one at home I could pull out if I needed to, but they just end up being more trouble than they're worth. For me, the precipitation-related attire issue I can never quite resolve is shoes.


I grew up British, in Britain. Then I moved to Seattle, aged 40. Both places have about the same amount of rain, and both eschew the use of brollies. In the 1900s, most people didn't have cars and they did a lot more walking. Today, it's a pain to open an umbrella for the half dozen yard walk to your car from your front door, or from the car to the supermarket. Jackets with hoods are plenty sufficient.



Georgia Boot Romeos are the way to go: comfortable, easy to slip on-and-off, fully waterproof, with a solid Goodyear welt and rugged Vibram soles; you can even get high-top or steel-toed varieties. Not the prettiest thing to cover your tootsies, but they're durable, long-lasting and keep your feet dry.


No true Seattleite uses an umbrella.


@1 ICE isn't needed for border security dipshit. They are a rogue organization at this point, disobeying orders from the president, and need to be disbanded. Naturally since they are the worst of the worst people America has to offer you defend them.



A good, oilskin duster or jacket and a tweed cap is really about all one needs around these parts. I get why Gore Tex is fashionable with the REI/outdoor hi-tech set, but I find even with expensive jackets eventually the DWR layer wears out, despite repeated respraying, and once it starts delaminating, which they always do after a few years, they become essentially worthless. Plus, I absolutely hate draw-string hoods for keeping the rain off your head; it's like they just channel most of the water straight to your face.

Granted, oilskin doesn't breath as well, is stiffer, and requires periodic conditioning, but if well maintained will last a lifetime.


@10 -- "Jackets with hoods are plenty sufficient."

as are 10-gallon* &
wide-brimmed hats.

*inadvisable during most lightning storms


I'd bet the drop in car ownership from 2010 to 2020 is almost entirely attributable to Uber and Lyft, which unfortunately means the drop in cars registered in the city probably does not equate to a drop in actual traffic (pandemic notwithstanding.)


Thanks, @8, kind words are always appreciated. To be clear, I agree that umbrellas are not always practical—on wind + rain days, for instance. A solid, full-size, reinforced umbrella can put up with 90% of what the Sound typically dishes out, if angled appropriately. But on those occasions when the wind really swirls, a good shell and rain pants are the only options. Or just say the hell with it, embrace civilization, and stay indoors as much as possible.

As for shoes, your life will be changed by a trip to REI’s shoe section, where helpful, knowledgeable folk can offer a range of completely waterproof options tailored to your specific feet and level of exposure. I’m an Asolo devotee myself. They’re not cheap but they last forever. Also, wool socks are a must.


@12: Did I mention ICE? Is Biden defending ICE? No.

ICE is rouge. I agree. But there are laws, which every country enforces. Unfortunately, there is no other agency. Things can't be prefect.


COMTE @10, thanks for the shoes+rain tip. Adding that to the tail end of my list of life hacks.


17, do you not understand context? ICE was the topic reference in slog, to which you commented. Theres no way you can really be that dense can you? Your whole shtick has to be some sort of demented performance art.

"Things cant be perfect"

Things not being perfect would be not being able to accommodate all asylum seekers, or not being able successfully deport criminals. Those are imperfections. Our current border "policy" is just cruel and sadistic. You hand waving that away as a "whadda ya gonna do?" speaks a lot to your character.


The only time I feel like I want an umbrella is when waiting for the bus. Wow, I don't miss commuting. Watching 2-3 busses drive right by you while it's pissing rain is a prime umbrella scenario. My bus stop heading East was the last one and they were almost always delayed and/or full during foul weather.

@10 - Nice shoe tip!
@14 - 10 gallon hats? You are aware of the OR Seattle Sombrero right? :)


Those who insist umbrellas aren't "real Seattle" do know what a Bumbershoot is, right? :)

Seriously, I've never understood the hate for umbrella users (if indeed it's real, and not a media creation). Umbrellas are just a tool like any other -- sometimes the best one, sometimes not. If I have to walk just a few blocks in the pouring rain and don't want to bother getting all gussied up in rain gear, an umbrella is the perfect solution. If I'm going to be outdoors all day, I'll put on a waterproof coat and hat. If it's just misty and looks to stay that way, I usually don't bother with either one. Disagree? Please tell me precisely how I'm wrong.


Shit, Biden wants me to continue honoring my voluntary contractual agreement with another private party? WTF why didn't I just vote for Trump!


When did the ACLU jump the shark?

Was it in the 1970s when they defended Illinois Nazis?

Was it in the 1980s when they made it impossible to get crazy people the help they need?

Was it in the 1990s when they defended serial liar and drug addict Rush Limbaugh?

Perhaps it was in the 2000s when they made it harder for cities to keep drug users from camping out in their parks and on their sidewalks.

Whenever it happened the ACLU is as extreme and useless as the NRA.


RE: Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones profiting off the suffering of far less wealthy individuals... Here's the wonderful JJ holding a presser and pining for his team's return to greatness, or what he presumably intended to call the "glory days," but not quite succeeding to comic effect.


21, I don't like them because like with everything else Americans do, people buy umbrellas that are way bigger than they need, so it takes up valuable space on the sidewalk and since people are oblivious to the world around them they just end up banging into others. I also don't like using them because as someone who travels to stores primarily by walking, its nice to have both hands free when attempting to carry bags or whatever.


@19: Strange that I get heat for supporting the president you voted for (or did you?). Just wait for Biden's immigration reform bill and we'll chat about it then.


schmacky @16, thanks for the shoe tips. Gotta make my way to REI.

Per your point about the wind and umbrellas, as a Seattle resident I have learned two things:
A. Windproof umbrellas are wonderful.
B. There is no such thing as a windproof umbrella.


@20 well I wasn't but then
there's Outback's 'River Guide'

I like a hat I can
fall asleep under
in W. Washington...



There literally is another agency. It's called US Customs and Border Protection. It's been around since 1789.


I can see how an umbrella is superfluous if you're a bicyclist or one of those car dependent types but those of us who take the bus and walk two miles to work know you can be absolutely drenched some days. I'd rather be mocked for my double-canopy wooden handled umbrella (which fits in my bag) than walk around as an uncomfortable sopping mess.


@25 is right about umbrellas. Plus if you are taller than most people there is always someone trying to (or at best NOT trying not to) poke your eyes out with the pointed parts at the end of the little umbrella struts or ribs or whatever the hell they're called.


shall we all chip in and buy
Chas an Umbrella hat?

they're quite Stylish
they probably make them
to look like the Space Needle
would be my recommendation.


@26.. Now, now. don't be a pouty little bitch. You get heat simply because you post stupid shit.


So are we at the point now that any law whose impact deviates from racial statistics is labeled racist and needs to be removed from the books? First jaywalking and now bike helmets. Laws themselves can not be racist (unless they explicitly call out race) however the application of said law can be. If there is a valid reason for the law (e.g. public safety concerns) than we should keep the law and change the way its administered otherwise you might as well just remove all laws because I'm here to tell you there is not a single law on the books that is applied proportionally based on racial data. That being said can we start a study on the impacts of red light cameras? Those gotta go.


@34 -- "So are we at the point now that any law whose impact deviates from racial statistics is labeled racist and needs to be removed from the books?"

speaking of Books and racism there's this from the today's nyt:

The Book That Should Change How Progressives Talk About Race

Heather McGhee writes that racism increases economic inequality for everyone.

McGhee’s book is about the many ways racism has defeated efforts to create a more economically just America.

Once the civil rights movement expanded America’s conception of “the public,” white America’s support for public goods collapsed.

People of color have suffered the most from the resulting austerity, but it’s made life a lot worse for most white people, too.

McGhee’s central metaphor is that of towns and cities that closed their public pools rather than share them with Black people, leaving everyone who couldn’t afford a private pool materially worse off.

By Michelle Goldberg Feb. 19, 2021

lots more at


It usually drizzles so you don't need an umbrella, spare us the autistic rants, we get it. Use one or not, it is fun to make choices for yourself. What you shouldn't choose to do though, is wear an oilskin duster, a tweed cap, and/or a bunch of REI tackle you fucking dorks.


the top comment (and a Times Pick) from @35 above

As a retired educator, I have always been aware and angry about what racism costs us as a society. Racism (along with sexism) has kept the best and brightest in our society from reaching their full potential.

How many potential scientists, doctors, educators, trades people (who we desperately need) and others who might have made major contributions to the benefit of our society been thwarted because of these artificial constructs that we have accepted in America?

We waste minds, and talent because we have this notion of a zero sum game.

That somehow the “pie” is limited and if it is divided we all get less.

Why not just “grow the pie,” by making opportunities available to everyone.

And that means providing quality education.

It means having a decent social safety net that is supportive and has incentives for self improvement. Perhaps it means a universal basic income.

And yes why do we not have a national health care plan for everyone? Good health is imperative towards bettering society.

Yes, it will cost money. But the long term benefits
to America and Americans will more than pay for it.

And yes I am white. But my extended family, including my grandchildren represent almost every racial group. Maybe that is what it will take, for everyone’s family to look more and more like America. I have to hope for their sake, that we are capable of making a more just society with opportunity for everyone.

CMS; Connecticut



Reminds me a lot of my old Henshel Aussie Safari. The wife bought me an Outback Men's Overlander jacket for Christmas, which I'm loving and which has already received quite a bit of use so far this winter.



"ICE is rouge"? Ooh, what color? Burnt Umber? Byzantium Plum? Rosewood Pink?

Or were you perhaps trying to think of a different word, but didn't have the brains to sound it out first?



My oilskin duster and tweed caps have served me incredibly well - the duster in particular for nearly 30 years with virtually no significant wear-or-tear. They've been all over the Oregon and Washington Cascades and Olympic Peninsula, kept me dry and comfortable in all manner of inclement weather, including gully-washing downpours, freezing rain, and those long, slow, interminable late fall mountain drizzles. Considering the rater modest investment I've more than gotten my money's worth out of them, and no doubt will continue to do so for many years to come.


26, why is that strange? You are not supporting Biden. You are supporting a bad decision he is making because it is in line with your own terrible view of the world.


@41: Yes, I support Biden's judgement on the matter. Parse that as you wish.


@39: Having fun with my errors? OK.


when one works out of doors one's inclined to keep themselves dry or become rather unpleasant -- while getting wet once in a while is no big deal (IF you have a cozy car and/or a hot shower to go home to) one tends to invest in decent gear and if you Need to be seen you're prolly gonna go for bright yellow or orange and so so Sorry about your Fashion Rules, mr. Gucci, above -- when you run over me I'll Know who to Blame.


We waste minds, and talent because we don't make them wear a bike helmet while riding.


So confusing - Stranger writers are on board with the mask thing but not bike helmets? I think someone needs a trip to a rehab unit or a sheltered workshop - where those with head injuries go to while away their days. A severe head injury is forever.

Can anyone explain the contradiction?


Better to ramp up the many free and low-cost helmet programs than eliminate the requirement to wear one. If you are on public health insurance and smash your head, those costs are borne by all of us.


"Stranger writers are on board with the mask thing but not bike helmets?"

Maybe because wearing masks is for others' protection whereas helmets are only for the wearer's protection.

(not defending their position, just explaining)


@34 - if there is any law enforcement situation that IS enforced without regard to race, it is a red light camera. None of us like them, but you can't really argue that they are racially biased.

In terms of laws that can be differentially applied, anything that gives the police power to seize someone can be used for ulterior purposes. When I was a public defender, an old beat up car with a taillight out or a cracked windshield or whatever was known a "warrantmobile." It was clear that cops were using those kinds of things as pretexts to stop cars and see who was in there/could they see any drugs, etc. Much less common to see a drug case or arrest on a warrant starting with a stop of a newish Lexis or the like.

I suspect that helmet laws can also be used to stop certain kinds of cyclists and not others, or someone who looks suspicious. I've always thought that the answer was that the outcome of this kind of (likely pretextual) stop should be limited to the ticket for the bad taillight or no helmet or whatever, and not extend to a further search unless there is something that clearly presents a danger to the public (a gun on the seat, driver is hammered, or whatever) or the person turns out to be actively wanted. That would remove much of the incentive to make stops based on perceived characteristics of the person involved.


@47 is spot on. At least make it so there is no real excuse for not wearing a helmet. I cringe when I see a cyclist without one. Of course, I might feel differently if I needed a kidney.



We always have fun with your errors - on an average day we get a good half-dozen laughs each out of them.


@51: That's quite a stretch to say "we" as I don't recall anyone but you being so amused by them.


@53: Just have a little patience. I'm sure there will be humane immigration bill coming out of the Biden administration.


@56: I'm going to way out on a limb and say that it probably won't.


@49 are you sure about that? What if I told you there are 8 red light camera's located in North Seattle, 12 in Central Seattle and 11 in South Seattle I'm going to guess if you pull the stats based on where they are located you will find BIPOC communities are ticketed far more. While I'm sure those locations were chosen based on accidents and safety statistics could you not argue their placement is racist? That just shows you how dumb this can get though.

Your commentary is perfect in noting this is a training/administration issue not a case of a racist law. As noted by 47 if underprivileged communities are being ticketed more often due to financial resources than we should fund helmet programs. Removing a helmet law so everyone can suffer head injuries equally makes me wonder if the official who proposed this already suffered brain damage.



That's because you're too dense and self-deluded to even see them laughing at you - I count at least six commenters besides myself just on this thread alone who have probably had a good chuckle at your expense. So, basically 10% of all the posts here represent other people mocking you for your stupid, vacuous comments. Now, multiply that times the number of stupid, vacuous comments you post every day and perhaps then you'll begin to realize the true extent of your risibility.



Depends on whether you also want the miniature grappling hook-and-line feature.


Ugh, guess I'll weigh in....

So I'm a formerly competitive and still fairly serious "recreational" cyclist. I've raced both on and off-road, worked as a courier, and as an advocate, again both for on and off-road disciplines. I'm now in my mid 40's and have ridden probably well over 100,000 miles in my life. The helmet question is not terribly difficult. I wear one diligently when I'm riding off-road or in a relatively dangerous environment otherwise. If I'm just on my goofy ass cruiser and headed to the market or to a friends place? Fuuuuuuuuck no. Have I been in accidents? Fuuuuuuuck yes, some bad ones, for which I was glad I wearing a helmet. But no bad or serious ones on my way to the market, a mileage tally which easily runs into the tens of thousands.

Of course I'm not invincible and it's entirely possible some deranged lunatic will blow a stop sign at 50 mph and shatter my skull on my next ride, though the odds of this are infinitesimally small and certainly not reduced to zero regardless of whether or not I've got a foam padded shell strapped to my noggin, or even a law abiding pedestrian in a crosswalk. The great cycling blogger bikesnobnyc has adopted a policy that basically boils down to "wear a helmet when wearing lycra," which has served myself, and millions of others quite well thought the years.

In addition to everything else, helmet laws serve as an incredibly powerful deterrent to new cyclists, which is a shame.


@59: Well then, I suggest you stop provoking things like jumping on word/autocorrect errors with the volume you do on my politics. You're the cause of the reverberating cyber-rot, not me. I'm not a pouncer.


Umbrellas take up too much room in crowds.


And I'm sure people are ready to point out that helmet laws are likely intended to protect less skilled and/or experienced cyclists than myself, but keep in mind that there's just not a lot of scientific evidence out there to suggest such laws are heavily correlated with improved public health. For real, google it. The results are mixed, at best.

"Bike-share schemes improve safety - helmet laws do not."



Sleepy Joe isn't going to allow a free-for-all stampede at the border and he's not going to bail out the kids who didn't do their due diligence, didn't shop around, didn't do any kind of cost/benefit analysis or exercise so much as a soupcon of financial literacy (I guess they were too busy learning what pronoun to use and how to put condoms on cucumbers), and simply spent bucketfuls of too-easy student loan money (easy bc you can't use bankruptcy to walk away from them and probably had the 'rents co-sign) on useless basket-weaving degrees that will never pay enough to pay off the loan?

This is what sensible governance looks like, kiddies. There are no rainbow unicorns bearing cornucopias of free shit. Grow up, stub out the joint, and get to work.


There is a fair amount of evidence that helmet laws are counter productive. They discourage people from biking. The more people bike, the safer people are. At least, this is true for bikeshare systems. That doesn't really apply to us, because we can't seem to figure out how to implement one, even though lots of other cities have had them for years (hint: copy what they are doing). Anyway, here is the argument against helmet laws from a public safety standpoint:


well, we'd never Heard of
helmets (for bikes?) and
I turned out just Fine.


Biden wants to wipe out $10,000 in student debt. Most of the people who are struggling have less than $10,000 in student debt. If they wiped out $50,000 it would largely benefit the well off.

There are much higher priorities. Biden wants to make community college free. Again, that is the right approach. Then there is child care. Or ending hunger. Or building a decent transit system in every city and suburb in America so that people aren't dependent on cars. Oh, and then there are reparations (there is a much stronger moral argument for reparations than there is for absolving student loan debt). We can always circle back to the remaining $40,000 after we take care of far more pressing needs.


By the way, Bernie opposed reparations, while Biden supports the bill currently in the House. I guess Bernie is no Biden.


Bernie's Right way more
than he's Wrong unless
I'm missing something?


@61,64,66 all much better reasons to get rid of a helmet law rather than pretending the law itself is racist.


pass 'em out for FREE
but also require TWO YEARS
of involuntary employment for WE
the Peeps and teach Civics in EVERY
School and Well-Fund them ALL. too many
Billionaires making too Many Bad Choices. we
gotta spread the Wealth. Pronto. or maybe Bust.

and they'll likely be
better off if it isn't Bust.


President Biden should send the tuition bill for all those student loans to the universities that overcharged those students for billions of dollars. Consider the boost an amnesty project for students burdened by unsupportable debt would give to the U.S. economy. Universities should focus on educating students and paying the professors, not dishing money to the rich weirdo benefactors and administrators who run these academic enterprises and inflate tuition expenses to the detriment of students and taxpayers, who get stuck with the bill when students are forced into default and bankruptcy. Yes, everyone should have voted for Colonel Sanders and Tulsi Gabbard, that iconic Hawaiian beauty, or Kathleen Harrison, the self-help spiritualist and mystic, who was the most articulate and compelling candidate of 2020. Gabbard is hot, and publicly endorsed Sanders, so this would be a great leadership combo, with Sanders whooped up on Viagra, and Gabbard able to take the reigns at any moment should Sanders fall over and soil himself or pop a gasket. Gabbard pointed out at one point that Sanders embodies the Hawaiian concept of "Mahalo" as the epitome of gratitude, admiration, praise, esteem, regards, and respect for others. Biden-Harris is great, with handsome and articulate Biden, while Harris has intelligence with nice cleavage and pinchable fanny, although Sanders-Gabbard or Sanders-Harrison would have been more progressive and socialistic. For example, Sanders would shove a hot poker up the caboose of these greedy corporations like General Electric and British Petroleum with mind-blowing tax increases to offset the student loans for instance, not to mention the homeless problem and address national healthcare. Sanders, the socialist outsider, would hold corporations accountable for malfeasance with litigation and monetary punishments to compensate victims of global warming and product safety violations. Nevertheless, Biden is welcome respite from the green-orange hairy howler-monkey Trump, and even his commentary while looking out the window and scratching his nuts or using the commode is more meaningful and thought-provoking than the hostile rantings of Trump the Troglodyte.


@73: I would have read that if you had been kind enough to break it into paragraphs. Just sayin'.



Stop being such a whingey little hypocrite. Just because you soft-peddle your snark in low tones and wrap it in a thin veneer of vague equivocation, doesn't mean the rest of us can't see it for what it is. You're a right king pouncer, as much as anyone here - more than most, in fact - but your attacks come in the form of soft kitten mewlings expressing feigned moral indignation which you think the rest of us are too stupid to recognize, or worse, you're simply too cowardly and self-deluded to admit to yourself.

Don't bother responding: I'm finally taking P_H's suggestion and installing a TamperMonkey script so I no longer have to see any more of your incessant, peurile sobbing about your self-victimization, because let's face it, it must be the only way you get any sense of validation out of your sad, pathetic, lonely existence. I suggest everyone else do the same - I'll even provide the script once I'm assured it functions properly - because I can think of no worse hell for you than to be completely ignored.

Have fun weeping into the void, you insufferable man-baby...


@75: Good. Install the add-on. Anything to alleviate your obsession with me will be healthy and less embarrassing for you. If it fails and you keep carrying on, it's your own damn fault.


@75: Oh, and another thing COMTE (since you're not reading this anyway, so it will be for the record) your annoyance with my commentary isn't exactly sincere since you teed up Feb 17 PM Slog as @1 eagerly awaiting what I had to say about Rush Limbaugh - just like a spider.

As Shakespeare said, "The lady doth protest too much, methinks"

Hugs and kisses COMTE! (so glad to have majored in psych)


if you paid trumpf U
one red cent for your
psyching 'prowess' you
Really got took there dewey


Biden you dick, cancel my student loans so I can buy another $200 rain coat! You are who we thought you were.


@61 - I am not so worried about the "deranged lunatic" (although we have a few) but I AM worried about the person who carelessly pops their car door open in front of me. That is exactly the kind of hit that is going to snd me over the front of my bike. And head injuries happen whether you're going really fast or not. The last time i crashed on the road, I split my helmet up the front. Was only going maybe 10 mph (chain broke) but down I went. I can read, write, and feed myself now because I WAS wearing a helmet. No deranged lunatic required.

I see helmets as being a deterrent to two kinds of new riders: bikeshare users, because who owns a helmet but no bike, and those who "don't want to mess up their hair." The latter are very unlikely to ride for more that a week anyway as God forbid they'd sweat even a tiny bit on the way somewhere anyway. Many of that crowd will likely start riding e-bikes instead. That's great, but given the higher speeds on those there is zero excuse for no helmet.