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Dallas decides red light cameras work too well

Do red light cameras work too well? - Crime & courts- msnbc.com

The cameras stopped people from speeding, which dramatically lowered revenues. This is the problem when you base your budget on fining illegal acts. If people learn, your budget falls apart.

Last week, Dallas officials reviewed the numbers and decided that a quarter of the cameras they had installed to catch motorists running red lights were too effective. So they shut them down.

They are not alone. Faced with data showing that drivers pay attention to cameras at intersections — resulting in fewer ticketable violations and ever-shrinking revenue from fines — municipalities across the country are reconsidering red light cameras, which often work too well.

At the heart of the discussions taking place in city councils and county commissions is tension between the twin benefits that were touted when local governments began installing cameras about a decade and a half ago. Officials were promised that the cameras — which take snapshots of busy intersections, capturing the license plates of any cars that are running the light — would simultaneously save lives and generate millions of dollars in extra fines.

Larry Niven's solution for crowded hospitals: racist fear-mongering

Larry Niven: Larry Niven Tells DHS to Spread Organ Harvesting Rumors

Niven is on a government board of futurists that offer advice based on their experience as authors who professionally consider the future. Niven was asked at a conference about what to do about hospital overcrowding:

Niven said a good way to help hospitals stem financial losses is to spread rumors in Spanish within the Latino community that emergency rooms are killing patients in order to harvest their organs for transplants.

"The problem [of hospitals going broke] is hugely exaggerated by illegal aliens who aren't going to pay for anything anyway," Niven said.

"Do you know how politically incorrect you are?" Pournelle asked.

"I know it may not be possible to use this solution, but it does work," Niven replied.

In any case, all available research shows that hospitals are growing broke because of insurance company shenanigans. Not from illegal aliens, who by and large don't use hospitals for fear of deportation.

March 20, 2008

Will the Olympic torch get hijacked in SF?

Olympic torch visit sparks controversy in S.F.

I remember four years ago when my wife and I were living on Fell street in San Francisco. One night we were in our living room, watching TV or reading or whatever when flashing lights made us look out the window. There was a cavalcade of cops driving by outside, and crowds of people cheering. And then someone carrying the Olympic torch ran by under our window. It was very weird, and very awesome.

The Olympic torch is one of the most recognizable symbols of international unity, but when it passes through San Francisco on the way to Beijing next month, it might spark more controversy than global goodwill.

City leaders organizing the event are keeping secret even the most basic details, including its route and the time it starts, because of fears that protesters critical of the Chinese government will disrupt or stop it.

The city known worldwide for its spirit of protest and dissent has denied permits for demonstrators and plans to restrict them to "free-speech zones." People critical of China's human-rights record and spurred by the recent uprising and subsequent crackdown in Tibet are organizing alternative torch run events and rallies and, despite the restrictions, plan to line the route.

Air Force accidentally bombs Tulsa apartment

F-16's 'dummy bomb' slams into Tulsa apartment complex - On Deadline - USATODAY.com

"Federal authorities are investigating why a a dummy bomb traveling about 600 mph crashed into a building at a Tulsa apartment complex Thursday evening."

The news comes to us from the Tulsa World, which reports that a military pilot thought he or she had dropped the 25-pound "inert military ordnance" over Kansas. In fact, it hit a densely populated area in Oklahoma.

"Two or three feet over and it would have actually entered apartments," police Capt. Rick Helberg tells KTUL-TV.

"If your mother says she loves you, check it out." -- Chicago City News Bureau

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The Lesser Wisdom of Benjamin Franklin

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