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John B. Townsend II

Blog Entries by John B. Townsend II

The Lake Wobegon Effect and the Cell Phone Ban

Posted December 28, 2011 | 11:01:40 (EST)

It is that place in the theater of the mind, in the ether, and on the airwaves where "all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average." That's the status quo in the little town of Lake Wobegon and...

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Stop! In the Name of the Camera: Reducing School Bus Stop-Arm Violations

3 Comments | Posted December 13, 2011 | 11:31:54 (EST)

With an enrollment of 141,722 students, Montgomery County, Maryland boasts the nation's 16th largest school district.

Its armada of 1,273 yellow school buses transports 96,000 students daily. All told, the buses safely ferret their young passengers 100,000 miles per day. That's equivalent to...

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The Long, Hot Summer And Code Red Days

1 Comments | Posted October 25, 2011 | 20:59:49 (EST)

The once-dreaded idiomatic expression "the long, hot summer" regained a literal patina or shade of meaning during the summer months of 2011. Cities are no longer "aflame in the summer time," and even the venerable Farmers' Almanac predicted it would be a white-hot summer. Across these...

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Gridlocked: Staring at Brake Lights and Holding First Place

Posted October 4, 2011 | 19:47:47 (EST)

The term "gridlock" has a curious history. Appropriately, it first appeared in the traffic sense of the word in newspapers during the New York City transit strike in 1980. Although the word "gridlock" is vintage New Yorkese, only Washington could take the word and give it an entirely...

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The Fuel Tax, Toll Roads, And Washington's Protracted Silly Season

1 Comments | Posted September 27, 2011 | 17:35:20 (EST)

Like Charon the Ferryman who took the souls of the dead across the River Styx in the underworld, Virginia and Maryland are turning to tolls to build and maintain roads. How did it come to this? Look no further than to the motor fuel tax for important object lessons that...
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Trapped in the Drive-Through and Wasting Gas

Posted September 15, 2011 | 15:36:00 (EST)

That drive-through window at the bank or fast-food restaurant is part of the modern landscape. Even funeral parlors are opening drive-through windows for those mourners wishing to pay their last respects on the fly. They've been around since the 1930s, when the Grand National Bank in St. Louis,...

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