The big environmentalist flip-flop

Environmentalists used to challenge the pronouncements of mainstream scientists and technical experts. Walter Russell Mead points out that things have changed:

when it comes to global warming, the shoe is on the other foot. Now it is suddenly the environmentalists — who’ve often spent lifetimes raging against experts and scientists who debunk organic food and insist that GMOs and nuclear power plants are safe — who are the pious advocates of science and experts. Suddenly, it’s a sin to question the wisdom of the Scientific Consensus. Scientists are, after all, experts; their work is peer-reviewed and we uneducated rubes must sit back and shut up when the experts tell us what’s right.

More, environmentalists have found a big and simple fix for all that ails us: a global carbon cap. One big problem, one big fix. It is not just wrong to doubt that a fix is needed, it is wrong to doubt that the Chosen Fix will work.


Annual "free" parking subsidy in US is $127 billion/year ? Yikes

Tyler Cowen in the NY Times:
it’s a classic tale of how subsidies, use restrictions, and price controls can steer an economy in wrong directions. Car owners may not want to hear this, but we have way too much free parking.

... Donald C. Shoup, professor of urban planning at [UCLA] has made this idea a cause, as presented in his 733-page book, “The High Cost of Free Parking.”

... the presence of so many parking spaces is an artifact of regulation and serves as a powerful subsidy to cars and car trips. Legally mandated parking lowers the market price of parking spaces, often to zero. ...

... Yet the law is allocating this land rather than letting market prices adjudicate whether we need more parking, and whether that parking should be free. We end up overusing land for cars — and overusing cars too. ...

As Professor Shoup wrote, “Minimum parking requirements act like a fertility drug for cars.”

... 99 percent of all automobile trips in the United States end in a free parking space, rather than a parking space with a market price. In his book, Professor Shoup estimated that the value of the free-parking subsidy to cars was at least $127 billion in 2002, and possibly much more. ...

As Professor Shoup puts it: “Who pays for free parking? Everyone but the motorist.”


Can citizens in Maryland record police? Asst. AG McDonald says in most cases they CAN

From the Sun, via NPR

Marylanders appear to have the right to record interactions with police officers with devices such as video cameras and mobile phones, according to an opinion by the state attorney general's office. The advisory letter was issued as several people face or have been threatened with criminal charges for taping police.

It's unlikely that most interactions with police could be considered private, as some law enforcement agencies have interpreted the state's wiretapping act, wrote Assistant Attorney General Robert McDonald. The conclusion is based on prior rulings and opinions of courts in other states.

Del. Sandy Rosenberg:
[The opinion] makes the point that there is no reasonable expectation of privacy when a police officer arrests a citizen, which makes it perfectly legal for a citizen to videotape or have an oral record of the arrest

The caveat:
The opinion does not carry the weight of law but is meant to guide judges and state agencies.