Friday 02 December 2005 : Unpredictability At The Airport
They are changing the airport security regime again: Under the new plan, more passengers will likely be subjected to secondary screening, and pat-downs will include arms and legs as well as the torso. More canine teams will patrol airports. Passengers also can expect more randomness at security gates so would-be terrorists won’t know for sure what they might see. For...
Tuesday 11 October 2005 : Central Planning In Maryland
“We’re suffering from our success as a great community,” Floreen said. “Our real estate prices are out of sight.” That’s Montgomery County (MD) council member Nancy Floreen, quoted in a Washington Post story about a new proposal to do something about Montgomery County’s lack of ‘affordable housing’. Montgomery County is a victim of its own success, Ms. Floreen says....
Monday 05 September 2005 : Insight From The Courtland Milloy Column
Today’s Courtland Milloy column, of all things, puts forth a good point of view on the debacle in New Orleans. The column is largely the story of one Michael K. Brackett Sr, a poor, presumably black man from Washington, DC. Michael K. Brackett Sr. was standing outside his apartment in Southeast Washington on Saturday, taking a break after hours of...
Friday 02 September 2005 : News Flash: Government Is Bumbling, Inefficient
Why on earth are we surprised that the government’s handling of the Katrina recovery is inept?
Monday 15 August 2005 : TSA Security Changes
Some proposed TSA rule changes make even less sense than the current rules do.
Saturday 02 July 2005 : Cause and Effect, Part II
In the Washington Post today: After returning from his job as a writer for the American Civil Liberties Union one evening this spring, William Potter grabbed an iron pry bar and, with a few whacks, demolished the kitchen of his Petworth rowhouse. I wonder whether he’s got a permit for that? For Potter, 25, this act of destruction was just...
Friday 01 July 2005 : Cause And Effect
The Washington Post says: The District’s skyrocketing real estate prices have fueled an increase in illegal construction as property owners across the city are building and renovating homes without obtaining the required permits, according to D.C. officials and a review of city records. But it occurs to me that in fact real estate prices in D.C. may be ‘skyrocketing’ because...
Sunday 15 May 2005 : Here We Go With The Fat Cat Bashing
There are a lot of interesting stories in last week's small-plane-over-Washington kerfuffle. The most interesting, possibly, is the reaction of a Fox News commentator and studio audience.
Wednesday 01 December 2004 : Just Say No To Government Networks
Philadelphia's plan for a free or low-cost city-wide wireless network is a nice one, but not the sort of things that governments can do well. Why does everyone think it's such a good idea?
Monday 15 November 2004 : China’s Bright Market Future, Part XVII
More of China’s glittering market-driven future, and the wonders of ‘reform’ there.
Wednesday 10 November 2004 : The Problem With Zoning, Part 735
Montgomery County, MD, uses zoning laws to exclude Wal-Mart, and they don't even bother to attempt to justify their move as having anything to do with what the zoning laws are for.
Monday 04 October 2004 : Racist Economic Development
The Washington Post writes:
Kwasi G. Holman, president of the Prince George's County Economic Development Corp., said he thinks African American entrepreneurs think they may have more opportunities in the black majority county. "The county executive places a priority on minority investors participating in the renaissance of the county," Holman said.
Of course, no federal investigation into this racist practice is forthcoming.
Sunday 13 June 2004 : Dr. Gridlock and the Police State
A story about the police in Richmond Heights, Missouri, inspired by today’s Dr. Gridlock column in the Washington Post.
Tuesday 30 March 2004 : Kerry Proposes Re-Introduction Of Involuntary Servitude
John Kerry proposes to force high-schoolers to work for the state for free, and to generously allow high-school graduates to work for the state for half the minimum wage.
Friday 12 December 2003 : Voting by Machine
Computer-mediated elections are the road to hell. Robert X. Cringely agrees with Tino.
Thursday 09 October 2003 : Hey Kids!
Hey Kids! Look out for the police state!
Wednesday 08 October 2003 : The War On The Poor (Housing Front)
Montgomery County, Maryland moves closer to its goal of completely outlawing poverty.
Friday 26 September 2003 : ‘Affordable’ Housing and Public Servants
Real-estate market distortions result in a suburban county having essentially no housing that the county's employees can afford the live in. The solution? Why, more distortion, of course!
Tuesday 26 August 2003 : EZ-Pass Compatibility ‘Useful’ After All
Virginia does an about-face on EZ-Pass
Wednesday 23 July 2003 : Housing Subsidies — For Transit?
Fannie Mae is allowing people to buy tract houses in the suburbs for higher prices, on the reasoning that they're 'transit friendly'. At the same time, they complain that housing prices are too high.
Thursday 17 July 2003 : The $204 Trillion Threat To Society
John Conyers and Howard Berman want to impose penalties on unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material that would result in more money in fines for one day's activity than the recording industry has made throughout its history.
Monday 14 July 2003 : Public Assistance
Last week, NPR's All Things Considered ran a story about Catherine "Coco" Means, a woman who has recently moved from a housing project in Chicago into section-8 subsidized housing. The narration is entirely by Coco herself. Aquanique is 6 years old. My baby girl, she is one years old. And her name is Unique. I got another one on the...
Tuesday 08 July 2003 : Equal Protection from Water Balloons?
A man has been charged with aggravated battery after throwing a water balloon at a fire truck in a parade and getting Representative Dennis Hastert wet. The man claims that he didn't know that Hastert was driving the fire truck. "He is third in line to the presidency of the United States. You won't forget it next time, will you?"...
Monday 07 July 2003 : Identity Theft
So many people are improperly arrested for things that others have done that the Commomwealth of Virginia is issuing Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free cards to victims of 'identity theft'.
Thursday 03 July 2003 : EU Airline Compensation, Redux
The EU's plan for compensating airline passengers when the airlines screw up will not work. Tino, drawing on something he said in February, suggests a system that might actually work to everyone's benefit.
Monday 05 May 2003 : The Problem With Non-Lethal Force
Increasing use of 'non-lethal force' by police might ultimately result in more violence, not less.
Sunday 13 April 2003 : Wackiness In Federal Court
An AP story in the Washington Post: The federal government argues that the First Amendment does not protect speech advocating illegal conduct. The argument is over a book, written by Irwin Schiff, which argues that Americans are not legally obliged to pay income tax. Not that the income tax is an abomination, or contrary to the principles on which the...
Friday 11 April 2003 : Toy Gun Idiocy
Wal-Mart is in trouble in New York state for selling toy guns that don't have the right markings. wal-Mart says that they only have to comply with federal law on this, and not with New York's specific regulations. Toy guns must have orange stripes along the barrel that cannot be removed, according to New York Law. But federal law requires...
Friday 28 February 2003 : More on ‘Public Drunkenness’
Despite budget cuts, Fairfax County still has enough money to prosecute people picked up in an extremely questionable December operation the goal of which was to arrest people who were allegedly drunk in bars.
Wednesday 26 February 2003 : Life in Washington
The Washington, D.C. government is startlingly inefficient.
Tuesday 11 February 2003 : Brunch in the Big House
The Virginia Department of Corrections plans to cut its budget by as much as 0.04% by feeding inmates only two meals a day on weekends and holidays.
Thursday 06 February 2003 : EU to airlines: Drop Dead!
This is insane. The Telegraph reports that the EU will require airlines to pay passengers the greater of 600% of the fare paid or at least £160, when they cancel a flight. Ryanair, which said that its average fare was £32, described the failure to link compensation to the ticket price as "ludicrous", and said fare rises would be inevitable....
Wednesday 05 February 2003 : Long-Haul Trains in the U.S.
There is talk, again, of cutting Amtrak's heavily-subsidized, money-losing long-haul routes. This is a good idea, but a better one would be to cut the subsidies to zero and to allow Amtrak to hire out operation of those routes, and the right to set prices, to anyone who wants to take a chance. One of the biggest obstacles to rail...
Wednesday 22 January 2003 : New York City Is Not Invincible
Mayor Bloomberg seems to not know, or care, that New York competes in a free market. If he makes the city too inhospitable, people will leave.
Wednesday 22 January 2003 : Dangers of Translation
Jacques Chirac is quoted by CNN today as saying "As far as we're concerned, war always means failure," which is an interesting point of view. Certainly, when international relations becomes a matter of people from one country shooting guns at people from another country, something has gone wrong. You might say that was means a failure of diplomacy, but saying...
Thursday 16 January 2003 : Drunkenness and The Law
Neo-prohibitionism, and what constitutes 'drunk' in Virginia.
Friday 10 January 2003 : Saving Money at the Virginia DMV
The Virginia DMV attempts to save money by making things less convenient for customers, while making no real sacrifice itself.
Thursday 21 November 2002 : Thoughtcrime Prosecution in Britain
Hate-crime laws are being used to harass people with merely unpopular, rather than hateful, opinions.
Wednesday 06 November 2002 : Paper ballots
Why do we insist on a high-tech solution when a low-tech one actually yields better results?
Wednesday 30 October 2002 : Homelessness and Markets
Well-meaning policies meant to reduce 'poverty' actually just outlaw the outward signs of poverty and result in the poor being materially worse-off than they would be in a more laisez-faire environment.
Tuesday 23 January 2001 : Campaign Finance
Vintage Tino! Not actually about campaign finance reform, but rather about how the seeming need for campaign finance reform is a symptom of the federal government not being very representative.
Wednesday 17 January 2001 : District of Columbia
Vintage Tino! Rejiggering federal taxes for residents of the District of Columbia would bring about a renaissance in that city.
Saturday 13 January 2001 : The U.S. Sugar Support Program
Vintage Tino! Sugar prices in the U.S.
Tuesday 09 January 2001 : Rates of Representation
Vintage Tino! Figures about the change in the rate of representation in the U.S. Congress following the 2000 census.