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The other day Virginia announced a pro-choice license plate to balance out the pro-life plate we've had for years.

On it's face, that's great news.  Especially given the retro-grade troglodytes we have for governor and AG now.

But at a deeper level, the pro-choice and pro-life plates just shows how stupid it is to have these kinds of plates at all.

Bumper Stickers Are Cheap
If you want to express yourself on the back of your car, buy a bumper sticker.  They cost a buck and even the smallest car on the market has room for a dozen of them.

Government should play absolutely no role in deciding what is and isn't an acceptable message for your rear end.  Having state sanctioned license plates for and against causes and organizations puts the state in the business of deciding which causes are allowed to have plates.  That's dangerous territory and it's something the government simply shouldn't do.

BTW, that goes for vanity plates too.  You want a plate that says "KNOW GOD"? No problem.  I wanted a plate that says "NO GOD"? No way.

Just for fun, here are some other things government shouldn't be doing.

The Overhead Bin
If you don't want to pay Spirit $45 for a carry on bag, don't fly Spirit.  No need to make a Federal case out of it.  

This latest fee crosses the line and is a slap in the face to travelers.  Our legislation will rein in the airlines and keep air travelers from being gouged every time they board a plane.

Sen. Chuck Schumer - NY

Thanks for the thought, Senator, but I'm pretty confident that so many travelers are going to say "That's just obnoxious" that Spirit will drop the fee all by themselves.  You can go legislate on some other important issue.

But what if travelers accept the fee?  That just means some people like the lower base fare and will put up with the fees.  If that's the case, what business is it of yours?

Interestingly, all the rhetoric behind the regulation is about keeping airlines from "gouging" families:

It seems that air carriers are crossing a line that will end of pricing middle class families right out of being able to fly, and that's not right. While airlines have a right to set prices, families should have the right to bring a change of clothes with them and not be gouged for it.

Sen. Robert Menendez - NJ

But the legislation outlawing these fees amends the tax code.  Could it be because the base fare is taxed at 7.5% and fees on "non-essential" services aren't taxed at all?

Just asking.

Snuff-chewing Baseball Players
Skoal is a legal product. Baseball players are adults.  Professional baseball is a legal business.  So why should Congress be sticking it's nose into smokeless tobacco use by baseball players?

Is it because of baseball's hundred year old anti-trust exemption?  Congress gave MLB an incredibly profitable cartel, so Congress gets to haul owners and players in to show-boat and express moral outrage every few years?  If that's the justification, please revoke the exemption and let C-SPAN get back to serious subjects.

Maybe it's because kids idolize and emulate baseball players.  In that case, the right answer would be to raise smarter kids who don't mindlessly ape the deadly habits of entertainers.

Too bad that requires a smarter breed of grown-ups.  Grown-ups who don't worship the jocks who used to beat them up in gym class and realize that being able to perform brain surgery is more important than being able to throw a ball.

It would also be nice if the grown-ups figured out that billionaire sports team owners don't need taxpayer funding to build stadiums for their billion dollar enterprises.

Want to know where the bad schools are?  Ask a Real Estate Agent.
Why does the Federal Government have any role in picking good and bad schools?  I have never in my life heard someone say, "We'd fix the bad schools, if only Washington would tell us which ones are bad."

Local governments already know which schools are bad.  Parents already know which schools are bad, for god's sake.  You can tell the good and the bad schools just by driving past them.

The Federal government, and maybe even the State government, have no better knowledge of school performance then the parents and local officials do.

The Feds have no better ways to find out and no better incentives to find out.  They do, OTOH, have an incentive to reward donors in the testing and test prep industry.

Don't Hassle The Babysitter
Big thanks to Colorado is the Shiznit for finding the link.
A couple of weeks ago Last year Michigan's Department of Human Services shut down an illegal day-care operation.  The offender wasn't keeping children in cages.  She didn't have blocked fire exists or broken toilets.  She wasn't even feeding them unapproved sugary snacks.

She was just watching the neighbor's kids before school.  She was a stay-at-home mom.  A couple of neighbors who worked outside the house would drop their kids off at her apartment in the morning.  The kids would play together, then SAH mom would take them all to the bus stop.

Total time the kids were in "day-care"?  10 minutes.  The WO moms would give SAH mom a couple of bucks a week for her trouble.

For that, SAH mom got a visit from Child Services and a warning to shut down her illegal "day-care" or face fines and jail time.  All for doing a favor for some neighbors.

I lost the link to this particular story, but that doesn't really matter.  You read that exact same story, from all over the country, every couple of months.

I'm not saying we shouldn't investigate day-care facilities when there is reason to believe there is something wrong with them, like evidence of crimes or health threats.  But when officials fail epically to use common sense, adopt moronic zero tolerance policies or ban hugging and high-fives you've got to ask yourself why these people even have jobs, let alone are allowed to make decisions about other people's kids.

Keep Your Nose Out Of My Food, Please
I'm sure you saw this one.  New York state senator wants to ban salt in restaurant cooking.

Why? Why? Why?  There's no such thing as second-hand salt.  Someone else's salt doesn't make my clothes stink.  I've never gotten into a cab that reeked because the last passenger ate too much salt.

So why should someone else's salt intake be my concern?  That should be between him, his chef and his cardiologist.

The justification is, of course, that some one who uses too much salt will strain the public health system.  Salt can cause high blood pressure and heart disease and those are expensive to treat.

True enough, but if that justifies regulating salt use in commercial kitchens where is the limit?  As long as there is a salt shaker on the table, I can always add more salt if the government approved food isn't tasty.  Better ban salt shakers in restaurants.

Then there's salty snacks and the salt shaker at home.  Ban them too, in the name of public health.  Maybe we should force everyone to take a monthly blood test and allocate a salt allotment based on their blood pressure and other health indications.

Too much TV cause high blood pressure (as does too much blogging for that matter).  Should we install sensors in people's pants to make sure they don't sit too much?  Your 4 hour a day Pooties habit could be putting a strain on the public health system.

Slippery slope arguments aside (though it's always fun to slide down a slippery slope), the NY salt ban is just stupid.  It's trivial for people to get around, it's intrusive beyond any justifiable reason and it won't accomplish anything.

Originally posted to VA Classical Liberal on Sat Apr 17, 2010 at 06:16 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Only one quibble. (6+ / 0-)

    By "illegal day care," I assume you meant a day care operation which had not been registered under whatever regulations were required by the local authorities.

    I'm not saying we shouldn't investigate day-care facilities when there is reason to believe there is something wrong with them

    Requirements to register or license such facilities at least lets us know they are there.  If we don't know they're operating, how would we know to check for problems?

  •  OK. :) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VA Classical Liberal

    I don't really have a problem with anything you said. Heh.

    And I'm pretty sure that babysitting deal was last year sometime, not a few weeks ago. I'm trying to remember where it is, but coming up short.

    Lack of preparation on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.

    by Colorado is the Shiznit on Sat Apr 17, 2010 at 06:24:32 AM PDT

  •  Plates and bumper stickers: (3+ / 0-)

    Free speech from the lazy to the bored with attention deficit.

    The well-known phenomena of psychological projection and confirmation bias account for 198% of conservative so-called 'ideas'

    by power2truth on Sat Apr 17, 2010 at 06:32:34 AM PDT

  •  If our public school bans hugging (6+ / 0-)

    we will have to find a private school for our daughter.  She is 4 and she loves hugging.  She says that she and her pal at pre-K hug during recess until they fall on their bottoms and they think it is great fun.

    Salt wouldn't be on the top of my list re:foods to control.  That said, I think labeling is good enough.  Some people need to know which items on a menu are loaded with sodium due to medical issues.  

    For the rest of us, I expect there is a healthy range and most people have days with more salt and days with less.  Some times I have to add the stuff (I like sea salt) and some times I have to spit stuff out because it is bitter with salt.

    •  Re: that hugging thing. (3+ / 0-)

      My daughter is not a hugger (I wish she was), but her friends are. They hug in school all the damned time.

      And I reflected on the stupid "no hugging" policy of some school boards recently, with this analogy:

      I used to work for a pharmaceutical company, as an assistant to a department. In helping out one of the scientists, I needed to go into the lab for about a week to look up some stats to eventually record on computer.

      There were a lot of dry ice bins in the lab. Upon opening the dry ice bin, there is a warning saying something really stupid like "DO NOT immerse your entire person in this container" and "DO NOT attempt to eat dry ice".

      I remarked to the scientist that these were dumb fucking warnings. She giggled and said, "Yeah, but if they put the warnings on there, you just know that some idiot tried to do this stuff. And, most likely, more than once."

      American society pays for the idiots. Goddamnit.

      Lack of preparation on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.

      by Colorado is the Shiznit on Sat Apr 17, 2010 at 06:48:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You have a list of food to control? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brooke In Seattle, ilex

      Not sure I like that idea. ;-)

      Here's two more food control stories.  A church in south west Virginia which had made specialty hams to sell as a fund raiser.  They'd been doing this for over 150 years.  Until they got fined for selling unregulated food products. And in NYC, there's a proposed ban on baked-sales for fund raisers.  Home-made cookies and brownies would be out because they are not regulated or inspected.

      But school would still be able to sell pre-packaged snacks and candies, like RiceKrispy brand marshmallow squares in mylar wrappers.

      I was going to include these, but I figured I'd made my point.

      Results count for more than intentions do.

      by VA Classical Liberal on Sat Apr 17, 2010 at 07:08:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  when NaCl is outlawed (3+ / 0-)

      only outlaws will have salt.

      Requiring disclosure of what is in something, so that consumers may make informed decisions, and punishing attempts at hiding data indicating the harmful nature of something (ie - smoking and the tobacco companies), is one thing. Going around and banning this or that "for your own good" typically seems to lead to way too intrusive government and general official busybodyness. The Left tends to do this for some things - nicotine, ethanol, saturated fats - while the Right wants to do it for others - pot, LSD, unapproved sexual activities. When such desires become expressed in law making bodies, all too oft the result is compromises where both sides pet Bad Things are restricted and controlled.

      •  You mean outlaws like Gandhi? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Britain did outlaw salt, or at least extracting your own salt, in colonial India.  They tried to force the Indians to buy their salt from only authorized British companies (the joy of colonialism and mercantilism).

        The Salt March of 1930 was one of Gandhi's most successful acts of civil disobedience.

        Results count for more than intentions do.

        by VA Classical Liberal on Sat Apr 17, 2010 at 07:23:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  My first instinct on (4+ / 0-)

    the carry on bags thing was the same - basically that congress ought to have better things to do than fake outrage on carry on charges.  Also that it would last about a week before the airlines that are trying it stop or go under.

    But as I've thought about it more I'm not so sure I'm correct. Seems to me that this is an attempt by the airlines involved to con people. Show low fares online when people are trying to compare fares then stick them with stupid fees when they show up to the airport. Based on what you've posted it also looks like a way of evading taxes.

    Sure, any airline executive worth a damn would be looking past that first bait and switch profit and understand that he or she is pissing off customers. But my own experience (significant) with corporate leaders is that almost none of them are capable of thinking past next week's quarterly report.

    Nudist Minorcan ancestors good with slingshots, invented mayo - family dynamic now clear

    by hpchicago on Sat Apr 17, 2010 at 06:46:43 AM PDT

    •  If fees are obvious, it's not a con. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wondering if, Anne Elk

      If the fees are only listed in 2 point type at the bottom of Spirit's web page, it's bait and switch, illegal and bad.  But if they are up-front and obvious, it's just giving consumers a choice.  Some people may like the low base fare, the convenience of early boarding with their carry on or whatever.

      Spirit will find out soon enough if the market wants that choice.  We don't need Chuck Schumer's help here.

      it also looks like a way of evading taxes.

      Evading is an ugly word.  The law says fares get taxed at 7.5% and fees aren't.  Why shouldn't Spirit or any other airline take advantage of the law, as written? How is what they did different from me pouring over my 1040 to squeeze out every last deduction?

      Are we under an obligation to structure our businesses and affairs so we pay the most tax  possible?

      Results count for more than intentions do.

      by VA Classical Liberal on Sat Apr 17, 2010 at 07:17:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I defy you to find Spirit's policy on overheads.. (3+ / 0-)

        anywhere near the reservations page or the place where people would normally buy their ticket online. I don't think it should be necessary for a person to hunt around all over a website to discern what fees they are going to incur. Furthermore, these fees rarely show up on compendium sites like Expedia, so most people wouldn't even know about them until they get to the airport.

        A smart person will eventually build a website that where you can check off the services you plan to use and then it will price out the REAL cost of the trip. That way, when Spirit decides that a $30 landing fee applies if you want to get off the plane, people will know up front.

        Its called consumer protection, and people like my mom shouldn't be victimized because they aren't savvy enough to piece together all the different fees.

        •  I just tried booking a flight. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          And you're right.  I didn't go all the way to check out, but while searching for and selecting flights, there were several places that said explicitly "All taxes and fees included."

          Bait and switch, it is.

          But my point still stands.  Bait and switch is fraud.  It's already illegal.  No need for Schumer's show-boating.

          And Spirit is under no obligation at all to set their prices to maximize their tax payments.  Period.

          Results count for more than intentions do.

          by VA Classical Liberal on Sat Apr 17, 2010 at 07:43:58 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Spirit is under no (0+ / 0-)

        obligation to maximize its tax payments. But evading is certainly what they are doing - ugly word or not. They've come up with a way of pricing that separates out what rational people consider part of the fare - bringing some stuff with you.  Exactly what percentage of people do you think fly anywhere without bringing anything with them? I suppose Spirit could make a zero fare and simply charge separately for seats, fuel, pilots, tires for the plane, wings, engines, etc. But the tax was clearly intended to cover the charge for those things - and the government should waste no time in correcting for its oversight and tax all of them as "fare".

        Nudist Minorcan ancestors good with slingshots, invented mayo - family dynamic now clear

        by hpchicago on Sat Apr 17, 2010 at 08:03:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  It's truely obnoxious behavior (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VA Classical Liberal, hpchicago

      And yes, at some point the market will take care of it, but passing a law against it might be the most popular thing the government ever does.

      "I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent."

      by Futuristic Dreamer on Sat Apr 17, 2010 at 07:47:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You recall Chicago actually PASSED a (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VA Classical Liberal

    foie gras ban.  Thank goodness it was overturned.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White

    by zenbassoon on Sat Apr 17, 2010 at 07:18:04 AM PDT

    •  The urge to save people from themselves (3+ / 0-)

      is one reason I am not a liberal, at least as the word is defined these days.

      Results count for more than intentions do.

      by VA Classical Liberal on Sat Apr 17, 2010 at 07:25:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think that was an animal cruelty issue (2+ / 0-)

        similar bans have been put forward in other cities on those grounds.  So saving the animals from people, rather than saving people from themselves.

        I've seen too many commenters here on Dkos and elsewhere types words to the effect "I'm a Progressive, and as a Progressive it is my duty to protect people from themselves."  On several occasions I pointed out that such feelings were expressed on the Right when it came to protecting people from certain types of sex and drugs, only to be told "that's different, people should be able to chose..."

        •  Excellent point. (0+ / 0-)

          Whether it's wing-nuts trying to protect me from Hell or progressives trying to protect me from hypertension, I say, "No thank you."

          Actually, I'm usually quite a bit less polite than just "No thank you."

          Results count for more than intentions do.

          by VA Classical Liberal on Sat Apr 17, 2010 at 07:47:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Save the small and weak instead... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Regulations which protect individuals from powerful corporations are examples of "good government".  So, insisting on seat belts in cars: good.  Insisting that people wear them: bad.

        I'm really tired of government intervention on behalf of multi-millionaires: Get rid of the "Death Tax"!  Deregulate the banks!  Incentives for manufacturers to move operations to China!

        Don't be a DON'T-DO... Be a DO-DO!

        by godwhataklutz on Sat Apr 17, 2010 at 07:53:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  why these people even have jobs (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VA Classical Liberal

    I've worked in a municipality for a couple of years and have worked with state employees. I can tell you that getting these jobs is tough, but once you get them, you can stay as long as you can keep your head down and play bureaucrat. The reason why you get bureaucrats shutting down SAT mom is because there is some rule on the books that some senior administrator--probably the state level director of health and human services--is enforcing. Why are they enforcing it? More than likely, some intolerable incident occurred that sparked a public outrage. The state then got involved, and since then everyone has been keeping her head down.  

    "All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others"

    by fitzov rules on Sat Apr 17, 2010 at 07:58:03 AM PDT

  •  Kind of a libertarian streak in this diary? (3+ / 0-)

    Don't you think it is government's job to ensure that consumers aren't gouged by a certain industry? What's going to end up happing is all the carriers will impose overhead bag fees.

    Yes, the should legislate baseball players using tobacco products, they are our kids role models and want to emulate them. Besides, MLB gets a lot of public monies in a verity of different ways.

    This particular baby sitter story is over the top, but of course government has a very important role in regulating daycares. Do you want kids eating rat food? Also, many many daycares get public vouchers, so they have to be accountable as well as providing a safe place for children.

    Salt, meh.. I guess I agree with you there, but the regulations against transfats are perfectly acceptable.

    "In a serious struggle there is no worse cruelty than to be magnanimous at an inopportune time." Leon Trotsky

    by HGM MA on Sat Apr 17, 2010 at 08:01:54 AM PDT

    •  What do you mean "kind of"? (0+ / 0-)

      The libertarian streak is a mile wide and 50 feet deep.

      I'm not an anarchist.  I don't want to shut down all government.  It performs many legitimate and valuable services.

      But when government messes with personal issues like these, it's a recipe for the truly stupid to happen.  See fitzov rules comment above.

      For example,

      Don't you think it is government's job to ensure that consumers aren't gouged by a certain industry?

      No I don't think that's government's job.  I think people can decide for themselves if they want to pay a particular price for an offered service.  That's part of being a grown-up.

      Besides, what exactly does "gouging" mean? Usually "They're charging more than I want to pay".

      Yes, the should legislate baseball players using tobacco products, they are our kids role models and want to emulate them.

      Sorry but this is your job.  Who your children are exposed to, who they emulate and what they chew is your responsibility.  Henry Waxman can't do it for you and he shouldn't try.

      Besides, MLB gets a lot of public monies in a verity of different ways.

      Which is an entirely different problem.

      Do you want kids eating rat food?

      Give parents some credit.  You think the vast majority of parents just toss their kids where ever?  

      The ones who do put their kids in really badly situations usually do so because they have no other options.  Brick-headed inspectors shutting down moms helping moms won't create more options for poor working moms.

      the regulations against transfats are perfectly acceptable.

      By what measure are they perfectly acceptable?  I'd love to hear your defense of these.

      Results count for more than intentions do.

      by VA Classical Liberal on Sat Apr 17, 2010 at 09:22:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Having spent the first 6 years of public school.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VA Classical Liberal the at that time segregated Newport News system, I can safely say that "knowing where the best schools" are by asking a Real Estate agent would have done absolutely nothing for my parents.

    "School choice" is a privilege reserved for those who have the economic means to change residences to chase that ephemeral goal. And I'm not even going to go into the roles that both real estate agents and developers have played in creating the landscape of separate and unequal education everywhere in this country.

    "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." -- Frederick Douglass

    by Egalitare on Sat Apr 17, 2010 at 09:01:51 AM PDT

    •  I wasn't talking about school choice. (0+ / 0-)

      That's a different issue.

      I was talking about all the grand-standing over NCLB and how it would find and punish the failing schools.

      This is ridiculous on its face.  Everyone already knows where the failing schools are.  Spending weeks every year teaching to a federally mandated test and then firing the teachers will not help improve them on bit.

      Instead, you get testing companies who are also test prep companies and states changing their standards and base lines to fake passing grades year after year.

      It wastes money and hurts kids.

      Results count for more than intentions do.

      by VA Classical Liberal on Sat Apr 17, 2010 at 09:30:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Indiana has an "In God We Trust" license plate (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VA Classical Liberal

    which caused a BIG fuss when it came out.  I think they had a place online to vote for choices of plates to offer and most people didn't know about it.  I sure didn't.  And of course, it would have been mentioned in church.  

    My only problem with it is that it should have been a vanity plate that people had to pay extra for, not one offered as a selection by the state.  

    It became a political statement to have the plates, not a spiritual one.

    "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." ~Albert Einstein

    by ParkRanger on Sat Apr 17, 2010 at 10:07:41 AM PDT

  •  boring libertarian claptrap. (0+ / 0-)


    airlines are common carriers in a highly-regulated industry -- though not highly-regulated enough, carter having turned the free market loose on it. if among those regulations, there is included a tax on what is considered "necessary", then it is entirely and inevitably the obligation of the regulating entity to define what is and is not "necessary". if you don't like their definition, too fucking bad for you -- necessities are defined by culture, not by physics, and if you're out of step with your culture's norms, deal. (as adam smith -- lord king god of the classical liberals -- pointed out 234 years go, under anything resembling a free-market system the only hope for material advancement on the part of the masses is to change the cultural conception of what constitutes "subsistence".) there is no reason to believe that the free-market solution provides the best option for either those with the resources and need to pay for carry-on "privileges", or for those without -- but it may very well provide the most profitable option for the carriers, in which case that will be the "solution" that the market chooses. well fuck that. airlines get to fly great big planes around in our airspace, fucking up the climate and the weather with their CO2 and their contrails, creating immensely irritating noise that degrades hundreds of square miles of otherwise prime living space, generating an implosion of civil liberties due to "security concerns", etc. etc. etc., because We The Fucking People find it useful to have their services. In return for all of those concessions, we get to tell them exactly how they will do fucking business. And you don't get to tell the rest of that we can't.

    And apart from the fact that blaming parents for the reality that human beings are human beings, and whether they are children or adults they will behave as human beings behave, the reality is that professional baseball players owe everything to a set of market protections created by the government, far beyond the anti-trust exemptions: copyright and intellectual property protections over broadcasting the games, over the team logos and other ultra-profitable gear, over the players' photographic images, over the software that drives the video games that portray the players, various subsidies involving the venues, etc. etc. etc.

    So, revoke ALL of the artificial, nefarious, illiberal, anti-liberty constructions that drive wealth into the bank accounts of baseball players, and i might consider allowing them to use tobacco during the public broadcasts of their games, sent out over the public airwaves -- bearing in mind that even the privilege of cluttering up the electromagnetic spectrum with those broadcasts is itself an enormous concession.

    You can blame the bureaucrats for the daycare thing, but from their point of view its pretty straightforward: if something happened to those kids under that circumstance, those bureaucrats would be hung out to dry. So they flag it, and let it make its way through the legal system. In the end, one hopes for a rewriting of the regulations that make it clearer what constitutes a "daycare", and what constitutes "doing a favor for a neighbor". The problem, as always, is that you're going to have people trying to operate businesses in such a way as to evade the definitions of the law -- which is, i must point out, a behavior you essentially endorse when arguing that Spirit has no obligation to maximize its tax burden. Well, somebody who wants to make money (or earn any other benefit) taking care of somebody else's children is similarly under no legal obligation to maximize their regulatory burden. Yes, the woman in this case provides what, to us outside observers, looks like an open-and-shut case. But the laws are as they are, and the bureaucrats should enforce them as they are, and leave it to the legislators (or the executives acting under authority of the legislation) to set the rules. That is how the system should work.

    The Feds may not have better methods than local officials of figuring out which are the best schools, but they certainly might have different and better reasons for doing so; and in either case, parents do NOT necessarily have access to adequate methods. The mere fact that real estate values chase schools with perceived highest value does not mean that they correlate in a precise fashion. (Yes, I know of counterexamples.) Local officials have all sorts of reasons for disguising from their citizens the true state of their schools -- including nefarious self-interests. Wanna fire a principal because he voted for Obama? Fine -- trump up some sort of performance-related charge.

    It's the same thing with teachers, by the way. We can create elaborate "objective" measurements in order to identify which teachers are incompetent -- and when we compare our rankings with the subjective evaluations of the principal, guess what: they're going to be very similar. At least, they will be if the principal is not an incompetent, and if the principal is honest with us. So why bother going through the costly exercise of objective measurement? It's simple: To protect teachers from incompetence and/or personal vendettas on the part of administrators.

    and vanity plates? hey, that's just the state doing what you advocate on the part of Spirit: segmenting the market so they can collect more money from people who are willing to pay more money for something that costs the state almost nothing.

    yeah, the salt thing is stupid.

    To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

    by UntimelyRippd on Sat Apr 17, 2010 at 10:09:13 AM PDT

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