I have always been a fan of third parties … here is one which is one day old, the
Pirate Party of the United States
. It takes its lead from Sweden’s Piratpartiet and has a clear “information wants to be free” agenda. Copyright and patents must have their uses, but clearly, they are being exploited for private gain and not the public good. I believe a good open debate on what is property and what property deserves the state’s monopoly of force to defend is warranted.
I would imagine if they thought about it, The Pirate Party would be for “free roads” too, though.
The proposed California High Speed Rail line would be more expensive than every other active HSR proposal in the country put together. While subsidized by everyone who pays the regressive sales tax, its users would have a higher than average income, so it is a subsidy from the poor to the rich. It would cost about $600-$1000 person or $2000-$3000 per California household before a single trip is made. This money could support about 20,000 teachers or police perpetually. For every $1 spent by the passenger, it would entail $4 in public subsidy, twice the annual expenditure of the State Transportation Improvement Program
The Box by Marc Levinson (no relation, despite the fact he writes books on transportation) is a new book on the history of container shipping. It is a fascinating account of this method of shipping’s birth in multiple places, but primarily fostered by Malcom McLean, through its growth and expansion, driving the evolution of both the ships that containers sail on as well as the ports at which they are transferred.
According to the Strib, the City of Minneapolis is trying to keep strangers out of alleys:A back-alley approach to fight crime in Minneapolis. The alleys will essentially become private streets for the residents.
From the article ‘”If you don’t live there on that block there’s no reason to be in the alley,” said Killebrew, who proposed the ordinance to the city attorney.’
Well I can think of reasons, namely taking a walk and looking at the backs of houses, which provides lots of entertainment for law-abiding folks in the summer, doubling the amount of entertainment that can be had from simply looking at the fronts of houses.
I just don’t understand how this is supposed to help. If you have already broken the law (or intend to), the alley ordinance doesn’t seem like much of a disincentive. Neighbors might now report more suspicious activity (where “strangers” in the alley are suspicious), but nosy neighbors are pretty good at that in Minneapolis already.
See enclosure and private road.
Via TechCrunch: SuperOyster: Monetizing the Waiting List, which is a lot like the idea of reservation pricing (See Appendix G) with trading. If only we could figure out how to make the transaction in a dynamically changing system with roads and cars.
An interesting article on the history and present state of traffic control, focusing on LA: Cabinet Magazine Online – Blocking All Lanes
I have just started watching The Thick of It on BBC Four and BBC America. A weird combination of Yes Minister and The Office, it hilariously captures the rise of public relations over substance in the bureaucracy. It reminded me of the politically hyper-sensitive reign of current Congressional candidateElwyn Tinklenberg as Transportation Commissioner in Minnesota during the Ventura administration.
My favorite quote of course is in Episode One when the then Minister of Home Affairs is being told to resign, and he suggests the Transport Minister resign instead, and the political aide says something like “We can’t fire him. Transport, that’s important stuff, you know, cars, trucks, roads” and the doomed Minister of Home Affairs says “I know what Transport is”.