Category Archives: Look About

Thoughts On The Bailout

A few days ago, I tried to explain, in layman’s terms, how we ended up in this financial mess. I had this to say about the bailout:

We can debate whether or not this bailout should or shouldn’t occur (for the record, I’m against it), but in an election year, there’s nothing that’s going to derail this monster.

And it looks like today’s news proves that analysis correct momentarily premature. It’s clearly not in “stick a fork in it” stage yet, and you know that round 2 is on its way and will not be deterred.

So there’s still time to call it a stupid decision. I don’t have the time to devote to that today, so I’ll turn you over to the ever-talented Warren Meyer of Coyote Blog, who skewers the bailout plan. As they say, read the whole thing.

FacebookGoogle+RedditStumbleUponEmailWordPressShare

Mindless Rule-Driven Bureaucracy In Action

Blogger Megan McArdle has a problem. 16 years ago, in college at the age of 19, she was caught drinking underage in a bar in Pennsylvania, arrested, and convicted. At the time, she was a college student, without a driver’s license, and thus had no license to suspend. Since then, she’s gone on to live a productive and meaningful life.

But her past has caught up with her…

While consuming my one (1) beer, I was apprehended by agents of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. They called my parents, fined me, and made me attend a class on the horrors of underaged drinking (did you realize that drinking can lead to uncontrollable vomiting?) It was during that class, with the errors of my ways now readily apparent, that I made a pledge to myself to quit underaged drinking with all due speed. And on January 29th, 1994, I honored that pledge.

I thought I had put all this behind me. Indeed, I was so informed, when I completed my State of Pennsylvania Mandatory Alcohol Education Class; provided I didn’t reoffend, they said, the record would be expunged. We might consider the matter closed, and never speak of it again. With time, and perhaps a name change and a relocation to a town across the country, I might hope to live down my shame and become a contributing member of society once again.

Alas, they never told the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation that it was over. And thus, it is not over. I went to apply for a District of Columbia driver’s license this morning, only to be informed that I cannot, because the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania wants to suspend my driver’s license.

The problem, you see, is that at the time of my conviction, I did not have a Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Driver’s License. Indeed, I had no driver’s license at all, being one of those benighted city people who get their first driver’s license at the age of 23. The laws of the State of Pennsylvania, however, say that the Department of Transportation is entitled to suspend the driver’s license of anyone arrested for underaged drinking. And the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is, apparently, determined to exercise this privilege. Thus, the spectacle of a 35 year old woman being informed that she is about to have her driver’s license suspended for underaged drinking.

I’d love to offer some witty, snarky barb on this, but having knowledge of the soul-sucking bureaucracy that is the DMV, I can only offer my condolences.

A few months ago, I ordered personalized license plates for my wife. She’s starting a new business, and the plates have the name of the business. The ordering process was pretty simple, a small fee, and the knowledge that we’d have to wait 6-8 weeks for them to be delivered to the local DMV office for pick-up.

Then the fun began. We received the notice that the plates had arrived. My wife went to go pick them up. This should be a simple swap, as they’re already paid for and all she needs to do is remove the old plates (which I’d done for her the evening before), and hand them to a clerk for the new ones, which I planned to affix that evening when I got home from the office. So she grabbed our toddler son, stood in line, got her number, waited for her number to be called, and was then informed that she couldn’t pick up the plates… The owner of the car (me) had to be the one to do that. Well, some pleading [and crying] later, the lady behind the counter relented and was willing to offer the plates.

That’s when it got bad. My wife, unbeknownst to me, had allowed the insurance on her car to lapse. That puts us in violation of California law. Okay, mea culpa on that one— not that I care about violations of California law, as I could give two shits about their laws— because I don’t want the risk of my wife and child driving around uninsured. So they give my wife the plates (without registration sticker), along with a piece of paper saying the registration is suspended.

Now it’s crunch time. Given that my wife has a business to create, I decided I had better take over the insurance. So I immediately (within minutes of getting off the phone with her) add her car to my policy, obtain the proof of insurance document, and realize I’m going to need to burn my lunch hour the next day to straighten this out.

I have the documentation from the insurance company, picked up the documents my wife received from the DMV, I’m the owner of the car, and although I’ll have personal issues with paying any fees due to reinstating the registration, the fee is low enough that I’m not going to get worked up over it. Given that the DMV is the responsible organization, and they’re absolutely useless to deal with online, I figure that the best place to get this fixed is at the DMV itself. I have all my ducks in a row, they’re the party I must grovel before to appease the bureaucrats, and so over there I head…

After waiting in line, getting a claim check, waiting in a seat for my number in called, then waiting in line again at the window that was supposedly open, I’m informed that I cannot straighten this out at the DMV. Why would I think that I could do something like this at the DMV office? After all, it says clearly on the paperwork that my wife gave me that I should be calling the “California Vehicle Registration Financial Responsibility Program” to handle this.

I guess the DMV isn’t capable of conducting DMV work; they need an additional bureaucracy that is only available by phone in order to do their jobs. So I have to call them on the phone, only to find out that my insurance company has already informed them of my new insurance. Yet, I need to pay $14 over the phone to reinstate the registration, and then all is well.

Or not quite well. They can’t send me my tags through the mail. That would be too easy. Thus, I need to go back to the DMV (at least 72 hours after calling them, since apparently the DMV’s computer systems are 35 years old and just that slow) in order pick up the tags. Do I chance sending my wife to pick up the tags, since she doesn’t have a job requiring she be there from 8 to 5 every day? Not at all, because I’m the registered owner. Do I go to the CA DMV myself? Well, that’s difficult to do when I’m in the middle of three straight weeks of business travel, and typing this from a hotel room in Minneapolis.

So my wife has a properly-registered, properly-insured car, which is probably in violation of about 10 laws for her to be operating because it doesn’t have the pretty little sticker on the plates. I can only imagine what will happen if she’s pulled over in between now and the time I can get to the DMV, and the hell of hells that will cause.

Granted, I’m not facing the same license suspension as Megan McArdle. Her situation is both more ludicrous and more intrusive. But one must ask oneself– in exchange for all these hoops to jump through, all this paperwork one must compile, and the constant dealings with surly DMV employees who don’t give a crap whether they do their job well, has this made California’s roads any safer? No, it has not.

Rational Voters?

Over at Cafe Hayek, Don Boudreaux linked to his article discussing Bryan Caplan’s book, The Myth of the Rational Voter.

In the always-wonderful comments section, a commenter named Bret made this point:

So let me get this straight.

If I vote in a way that makes me feel fantastic and wonderful about myself and I really couldn’t care less if I’m poorer because of that vote, then that’s irrational? It would somehow be more rational to vote in a way that makes me feel miserable yet be a bit richer?

This sounds like rationalism run amuck to me.

What is missing here is that he’s not making a point about rationalism, he’s actually pointing out the flaw in democracy. Perhaps at the same time he’s pointing out a flaw in Caplan’s thesis, but when I read it I had to respond:

Bret,

You implicitly make a great point, but I think you’re drawing the wrong parallel here.

Rationalism could be defined as following the proper course of action to achieve your goals. The course of action which is most likely to achieve your goals is the most rational, the course of action least likely is the least rational.

So let’s say that the average voter’s stated reason for voting is to make things better. In that case, voting for a socialist policy is likely not to achieve his goals, despite the fact that he believes it will. In that case, his vote would be irrational.

In another case, let’s say the average voter’s true (revealed preference) goal is to feel good about himself and feel like he’s a part of the system. In that case, the vote which makes him FEEL best is the most rational, regardless of the outcome.

Note the difference. In the first case, the voter values outcome. In the second, the voter values feeling good. Your implied point is likely that most voters fall into the latter category, not the former.

And if anything, that’s an indication of the flaws inherent to democracy, not of irrationality. Because most voters care more about how they FEEL about their vote (despite professing to care about outcomes), democratic politics tends towards satisfying voters’ emotional needs, rather than realizing the most economically efficient outcomes.

I’ve posted previously that liberty is an end, democracy is a means, and I am only in favor of democracy in as much as it meets the end of liberty.

I think this is the flaw in Caplan’s thesis. He assumes that people are truly interested in using their vote to improve outcomes. I think most (like myself) have become so fatalistic about our inability to affect policy that we rarely believe our vote will change outcomes. Thus, we vote to make ourselves feel better, like we’re doing the right thing. If Caplan assumes that we rationally desire to influence outcomes, of course many people vote irrationally— meaning the policies they vote for won’t achieve the outcome they desire. If Caplan changes his assumption, though, to the same assumption I make— they vote the way they’ll FEEL best about— the votes are no longer irrational. The votes may not achieve the outcome they profess to desire, but the votes do improve their personal happiness, which is likely the true goal.

In Memory Of John Berthoud

John Berthoud was one of the unseen faces in Washington fighting the good fight for fiscal conservatism and lower takes. Since 1997, he headed the National Taxpayers Union, one of the premier lobbying groups in Washington that seeks to advance an agenda of lower taxes and lower spending.

Late last week, Mr. Berthoud died at his home in Virginia.

Dear Friends,

We are sorry to announce the passing of John Berthoud. As you may know, he has led both the National Taxpayers Union and National Taxpayers Union Foundation over the last 11 years. We have looked to him as a strong leader, compassionate friend, and a fierce fighter for freedom.

Pete Sepp, Vice President for Communications, shared his surprise, “John Berthoud’s death today was as sudden as it was shocking and saddening to all who knew him. His colleagues found him in peace at his home today. All of our staff, just as the entire policy community in Washington, are doing the best they can to cope with an irreplaceable loss.”

We give our sincere condolences to his family and friends and hope you will pay tribute with comments to our blog and facebook group. Sepp continued, “John was a true 21st century Renaissance man. He was a teacher, a mentor, a respected intellectual, and a lover of life. That’s what makes his passing all the more tragic.” Though we mourn the loss of a man and celebrate his amazing life filled with love, study, travel, and leadership, his cause and a hope for a brighter future lives on. We will press on with purpose and be thankful for his contributions to our own journeys.

Sincerely,

National Taxpayers Union &
National Taxpayers Union Foundation Staff

There are few men in Washington who devote their careers to something that actually helps the cause of freedom and liberty, which is why John Berthoud will be missed.

Did Larry Craig Really Commit A Crime ?

Notwithstanding the media circus over what Idaho Senator Larry Craig may or may not have done in a bathroom at the Minneapolis Airport, the question that remains is whether he actually committed a crime:

Why was Sen. Craig arrested? Is it really illegal to try to find a sexual partner in a public bathroom using code? How would that be any different than looking for a sexual partner at a dance club, be it using code, pick-up lines, or any thing else in your singles arsenal?

I suppose you could argue that most people don’t expect to be propositioned in a bathroom, and could be offended or humiliated should it inadvertently happen to them. But then, those people wouldn’t be privy to any foot-tapping codes, so it seems to me there’d be little risk of someone being accidentally propositioned.

Admittedly, Craig’s defense that this was all some mistake is utter nonsense. But, the fact of the matter remains, he didn’t actually have sex in public. He merely engaged in what one police officer interpreted as an invitation to further conduct. If that’s a crime, then either the criminal statutes of Minnesota need to be re-written, or the Senator’s decision to plead guilty was far too hasty.

The New Inquisition

This is just too funny for words: NASA Global Warming Data had “Y2K Bug”

I say again, the concept of current anthropogenic climate change; except in the case of localized micro-climates; holds no scientific water.

Honest scientists will tell you the same thing if pressed (and if their funding doesn’t depend on it), but the agenda politics of todays science (admittedly on both sides of the political spectrum, but generally on different subjects), prevents real, honest, science from occurring anymore; or from being reported if and when it is (the record of suppressing global warming debunkers is long and shameless at this point)

The honest numbers are simple. Global temperatures have risen an average of less than 1 degree centigrade since measurements started being taken. There is no “sudden and precipitous increase”. There is no hockey stick; it was a lie, and even the climate change people have admitted it. The ice caps aren’t melting, in fact in most areas they are thickening slightly. The sea level isn’t rising.

Since temperature recordings have begun, volcanic eruptions have put more carbon into the atmosphere, and caused more temperature change than all of human industry; but it wasn’t by increasing temperatures with carbon, it was by decreasing them with dust in the air.

The world has been far colder than today at times when there was far more carbon in the atmosphere; even without more dust. The world has been far warmer than today with far less carbon in the air.

The amount of anthropogenic carbon in the atmosphere is less than one half of one percent of all carbon (the vast majority is released by soil, and rotting vegetation); and considering how small a percentage of our atmosphere carbon and carbon compounds (between 0.03 and 0.06 percent. Not between 3% and 6%, 3 one hundredths of a percent); that amount is completely insignificant to climate change.

All existing climate change can be fully and scientifically explained by natural endothermic cycles, and the fluctuation in output of the sun (because earth is an exothermic system). The suns output has varied greatly over the course of human history (and of course long before), and periods of warming and cooling have tracked right along with that output.

The climate IS changing, and has since the moment the earth formed a climate. As near as we can tell (through Ice core samples and the like) there has never been a period of more than 200 years without at least a 1 degree change in global average temperatures.

The climate will continue to change on its own; and nothing humans do will change global climate significantly one way or the other… unless it’s something that actually would kill us all (incredibly massive particulate pollution over a high percentage of the earths surface – including the oceans – would do it. It would trigger massive warming, followed rapidly by an ice age; and likely kill all crops and food animals in the process, along with at least 80% of humanity, if not more).

That isn’t to say we shouldn’t attempt to develop better sources of energy, we should. We aren’t going to “run out” of oil, ever in fact; a basic understanding of economics would show that; but, oil is going to get more and more expensive as time goes on, and petroleum based fuels are inefficient, and do contribute to micro climate pollution.

In many ways, doing things greener IS in fact better. Saving energy is generally a very good thing. Not polluting is generally a good thing. When it isn’t, is when it destroys economies, prevents job growth, reduces food production, increases food prices, and all the other ways that forced greenism (I won’t even call it environmentalism, because it isn’t doing the environment much good), causes pain, suffering, misery, and general reductions in peoples health, quality of life, standard of living, and basic liberties.

“Climate change” isn’t about the environment; it’s about giving financial and political control to anti-western, anti-capitalists. It’s about punishing those rich capitalist nations and people, for not being poor socialists. It isn’t science, it’s a pseudo-scientific political movement and near religion. The adherents don’t need any proof, because they have faith; and any who challenge that faith must be burned as heretics in their new inquisition.

I am a cynically romantic optimistic pessimist. I am neither liberal, nor conservative. I am a (somewhat disgruntled) muscular minarchist… something like a constructive anarchist.

Basically what that means, is that I believe, all things being equal, responsible adults should be able to do whatever the hell they want to do, so long as nobody’s getting hurt, who isn’t paying extra

Irony, Thy Name Is Ted Stevens

Talk about bad timing:

There’s never exactly a convenient time to have one’s house raided by federal agents. But for Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) the impolitic timing Tuesday was exquisite: One day after the feds rummaged through his property on a corruption probe, he threatened to try to kill an ethics reform package.

Cracking down on private gifts to lawmakers, Stevens warned colleagues, would make it more expensive for him to travel the vast interior of Alaska on private jets.

No, seriously, he really said that. The day after his house was raided in a corruption probe.

Is One Of The Senate’s Pork Kings In Trouble ?

Senator Ted Stevens’ home was raided by FBI and IRS agents executing a search warrant

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Agents from the FBI and Internal Revenue Service on Monday searched the home of U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, an official said.

Investigators arrived at the Republican senator’s home in Girdwood shortly before 2:30 p.m. Alaska time, said Dave Heller, FBI assistant special agent.

Heller said he could not comment on the nature of the investigation.

The Justice Department has been looking into the seven-term senator’s relationship with a wealthy contractor as part of a public corruption investigation.

This could get interesting…..

The Heck With The Queen Of England

Tomorrow, a woman by the name of Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor-Mountbatten will be visiting the free and independent United States of America.

She calls herself Queen Elizabeth II.

As you may be aware, we fought a war about 229 years ago to liberate ourselves from her tyrannical predecessors.

Nonetheless, I am amazed at the fact that American citizens are so eager to abject themselves to a woman who is famous for nothing other than the fact than the fact that she is distantly gentically linked to a bunch of guys who beheaded people to establish their rule over the British Isles.

Jacqueline Bowens knows how to decipher the intricacies of life or death trauma, but the directives from Buckingham Palace have her flummoxed.

” ‘Day Dress’ for the women,” frets the Children’s National Medical Center vice president. “We’re thinking that’s Business Attire.”

“Or are we supposed to wear dresses?” worries Terry Orzechowski, the Washington hospital’s director of volunteer services. ” Can woman wear pants to meet the queen?”

“Have you ever seen a woman wearing pants and meeting the queen?” Bowens asks. Orzechowski doesn’t answer.

Today, on her private charter British Airways Boeing 777, Queen Elizabeth II arrives in Richmond, accompanied by her husband, Prince Philip. On Sunday, they will head to Washington with their entourage of 35 — a group that will not include a private chef but does include dressers and hairdressers.

Mastering the royals’ esoterica is sending American staffs from Richmond to Washington to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt into a fear-tinged tizzy. E-mails are pinging back and forth between the queen’s page and the director of the Virginia Governor’s Mansion. In the last week alone, 300,000 people have clicked on a special Virginia Web site, seeking info about the arrival of Her Majesty. At NASA, when Goddard officials offered a chance for 200 employees to simply sit in an auditorium with the queen, 900 responses immediately flooded back.

Okay, let’s get this straight people.

We won the Revolutionary War.

We owe no allegiance to the British Throne.

When it comes to the British Royal Family (to the extent you can call the Buckingham Place rendition of “Married With Children” a family) we owe them nothing.

No respect.

Nothing.

Is it nice that she’s visiting my home state ? Maybe.

But, frankly, I don’t think we need to fawn over this woman. Don’t genuflect. Don’t bow. She is not your superior. She’s just a nice (maybe) lady who lives in another country.

Originally posted at Below The Beltway

It’s Not About The Guns

With not even twenty-four hours passed since the tragedy at Virginia Tech, and already the New York Times has taken the lead in turning it into a political issue:

Yesterday’s mass shooting at Virginia Tech — the worst in American history — is another horrifying reminder that some of the gravest dangers Americans face come from killers at home armed with guns that are frighteningly easy to obtain.

Not much is known about the gunman, who killed himself, or about his motives or how he got his weapons, so it is premature to draw too many lessons from this tragedy. But it seems a safe bet that in one way or another, this will turn out to be another instance in which an unstable or criminally minded individual had no trouble arming himself and harming defenseless people.

Here’s a memo to the editors at the Times. Guns have been widely available for a long time. Fifty years ago, they were more widely available than they are now and gun control laws were unheard of. And yet things like this did not happen, at least not as frequently as they seem to now.

This isn’t about the guns, it’s about people. It’s about the failure of law enforcement to protect citizens. And it’s about laws that prevent people from even having the opportunity to defend themselves. And, most importantly, it’s about one man who was on a mission to kill. Gun control laws won’t stop a person like that, as events in Europe have confirmed more than once.

No, this isn’t about the guns at all.

Did Virginia Tech’s Policies Contribute To A Disaster ?

There is a back story to the horrible tragedy at Virginia Tech that hasn’t made its way into the public domain yet.

Virginia, as you may or may not know, allows it’s citizens to carry concealed weapons after obtaining a permit. However, Virginia Tech, along with many other college campuses, forbids anyone other than law enforcement from carrying a weapon on campus.

During the course of this year’s Virginia General Assembly session, bills were introduced which would have allowed citizens who have a valid CCW permit to carry their weapon on campus. As this story from the Roanoke Times, which was ironically published only one week ago, those bills went down to defeat:

A bill that would have given college students and employees the right to carry handguns on campus died with nary a shot being fired in the General Assembly.

House Bill 1572 didn’t get through the House Committee on Militia, Police and Public Safety. It died Monday in the subcommittee stage, the first of several hurdles bills must overcome before becoming laws.

The bill was proposed by Del. Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah County, on behalf of the Virginia Citizens Defense League. Gilbert was unavailable Monday and spokesman Gary Frink would not comment on the bill’s defeat other than to say the issue was dead for this General Assembly session.

Virginia Tech spokesman Larry Hincker was happy to hear the bill was defeated. “I’m sure the university community is appreciative of the General Assembly’s actions because this will help parents, students, faculty and visitors feel safe on our campus.”

Yea, right, safe.

First of all a few caveats, almost none of the students at Virginia Tech would have been legally able to carry a weapon yesterday to begin with. Under Virginia law, you have to be 21 to obtain a concealed carry permit. Nonetheless……the question remains, would things have been different yesterday if someone had been carrying a weapon ?

Frankly, I don’t know the answer to that question. From the information we’ve seen so far, it seems like the killer was both methodical and without fear. He sounds like a man on a suicide mission. Such a person probably would not have been deterred by one or two people with a gun, or by the thought that he might face someone who was armed.

Nonetheless, one shot might have made all the difference.

Remembering Another Horrible Massacre

There is no point in engaging in comparisons. Today’s tragedy at Virginia Tech will make it’s own mark on history (although I can’t help but wonder what the future might have been like if those 32 innocent people had not been murdered today).

Nonetheless, today is also Israel’s official acknowledgment of an act that will live in infamy as long as the human race exists:

JERUSALEM — Sirens sounded across Israel on Monday morning, bringing life to a standstill as millions of Israelis observed a moment of silence to honor the memory of the victims of the Holocaust.

The two-minute siren at 10 a.m. is an annual tradition marking Israel’s Holocaust remembrance day, which began Sunday evening and ends at sundown Monday. Pedestrians froze in their tracks, buses stopped on busy streets, and cars on major highways pulled over as the country paused to pay respect to the 6 million Jews killed by the Nazis.

Yes, there have been other genocides in human history worth remembering. But there is something especially brutal, methodical, even scientific, about the Nazi’s attempted extermination of every Jew in Europe that deserves special contempt.

A Monumental Tragedy At Virginia Tech

By now it’s all over the news, and the news just keeps getting worse:

Thirty-two people have reportedly been killed and more than two dozen others injured during a shooting rampage this morning at Virginia Tech, making it the deadliest shooting spree in U.S. history, according to law enforcement sources.

This is all that will be talked about on the news tonight, and probably discussed here and elsewhere in the days to come I’m sure. There is an obvious gun control/right to keep and bear arms discussion that will probably develop out of this story, but, for now, I would like it if everyone just followed Radley Balko’s advice:

I guess all I have to say is that what happened at Virginia Tech today is horrible and heartbreaking. Now’s not the time for debates about gun control or campus access, or security. Now’s the time for sympathy and grieving. What a terrible story.

There will be enough grieving across Virginia, and across the nation, in the days to come. Let’s leave the political debate for another time.

For those interested, I’m updating when I can with information from Virginia bloggers over at Below The Beltway.

Update: Similar thoughts from Rick Moran:

In a perfect world, gun control laws would have kept the weapons out of the shooter’s hands. Also in a perfect world, one of his potential victims would have been armed and cut short his quest for glory. Despite the fact we don’t live in a perfect world and there’s no sign of one emerging any time soon, we can count on the idiots in Congress and the media to start the political posturing, dying to make speeches and write columns telling us about how wrong the opposition is and how this shooting proves this or that about America, or Americans with guns, or violence in America, or how our schools are screwed up, or even blame the victims for not dodging the bullet that killed them.

I’m not near a television right now, and don’t have access to CNN, Fox or MSNBC, I’m sure that’s what’s happening already and that, tonight, Anderson Cooper, Larry King, Nancy Grace, Bill O’Reilly, Keith Olberman, and Sean Hannity, will all be using this tragedy to advance their particular positions.

I’m not saying that there isn’t a time and a place for a gun control debate, I’m just saying that perhaps we should wait for more than a day to pass before it starts.

Fighting City Hall….And Winning

Today’s Washington Post tells the story of a man who dared to take on one of Virginia’s largest counties on his own, and won:

The Great Virginia Parking Ticket Battle began with a burst of expletives one Saturday morning in October 2000, when Woodbridge resident Robert W. Eberth, a retired Navy captain, found a $35 citation on the windshield of his 1990 Ford Taurus. NO VALID STATE INSPECTION, it said.

Eberth had been ticketed under Prince William County Code 13-322, mandating up-to-date inspection stickers for vehicles parked on public roads. True, Eberth had allowed the Taurus’s registration to lapse. But he was saving the car for his teenage son and had parked it in the private lot of his apartment complex.

Eberth examined the ticket. He cursed a little more. Then he looked up 13-322 on the Internet.

“Something is very wrong with this picture,” he said to himself. He checked the box marked “contest.”

Over the next six years, representing himself in multiple court battles, Eberth took his parking-ticket dispute all the way to the Virginia Court of Appeals. Last month, he won.

A three-judge panel in Alexandria went even further than Eberth had imagined, ruling that Prince William had no authority to ticket vehicles with expired inspection stickers parked on private — or public — property. The ruling by Judge Robert J. Humphreys said state law prohibits only the operation of a vehicle with an expired inspection sticker, casting doubt on whether police anywhere in Virginia can ticket parked vehicles with expired stickers.

Because Prince William’s code dates to at least 1965, the ruling suggests that the county has been erroneously citing drivers for more than four decades. Since 2000 alone — the year Eberth got his first of three tickets — Prince William has written 29,871 citations under Code 13-322, for fines totaling more than $1 million.

Cheers to Mr. Eberth for winning one for the little guys.

New Libertarian Social News Site

Many of you are familiar with Digg.com, a news aggregator site where the actions of the community of readers propel “worthy” stories ahead of the rest. Essentially, they’re designed to separate the wheat from the chaff. Unfortunately, Digg has some inherent biases and a herd mentality that usually forces smaller blogs and news items, despite their worth, to be overlooked. That being said, several of us here have submitted stories there regularly, because every new reader which happens upon this site is valued.

Recently a new site devoted to the libertarian side of the internet has opened. Liberty Loop operates on the same sort of principle as Digg, but the content is mostly libertarian-oriented. It’s also a new site, so submitted stories are more able to rise to the top and be seen than on the larger sites, and based on it’s libertarian theme, the stories are likely to be seen by their true target audience. Check it out, I’ve been browsing a bit already and it looks like there’s some good content over there.

Hat Tip: Hit & Run

1 2 3 4