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Quick Hits

The start of the professional baseball season is here, and so our “rule 5” lady to the left reflects this time of the year. In case you have forgotten, our “Quick Hits” are short comments on stories that we believe are of note, but don’t work out to a full post.

With that said, here we go….

First, we want to note that our friend and radio buddy Steve Bussey of SteveBussey.com has a post up where he asks a crucial question in the Trayvon Martin / George Zimmerman case: “was there probable cause to charge Zimmerman?

The answer is “no.” This goes out to all the people who demand that Zimmerman be arrested (he was) and held in jail pending the outcome of the investigation. While the police have the right to arrest you (and once again, Zimmerman was arrested,) holding you and charging you are different things. In this country the government must have a legal reason to hold a person in jail.

Steve goes into the reasoning as to why the night of the shooting, the police had no such reason.





One of the things that always terrifies us about the government is how inefficient and sloppy it is. For those who always want the government doing more and more, we believe the government is rarely able to do anything correctly, and even worse, seldom cares whether it does or not.

Case in point is the tale of Anthony Garcia, a convicted murderer who received over $30,000 in unemployment checks while sitting in jail. Garcia, friends and family cashed checks for between 2008 and 2010, depositing a portion of the money in the prison account for Garcia, and splitting the rest amongst his girlfriend, his father and members of his gang.

[Spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said Capt. Mike] Parker said the unemployment money was “used to benefit a criminal gang.”

“Theft, drug sales and violent crimes are an integral part of the gang culture,” Sgt. Kevin Lloyd of the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau added in a statement. “We will continue to go wherever gang members and their associates commit their crimes. Our goal is to reduce violence and solve crimes and that is what we are doing. This investigation is continuing.”

Yeah. Why not continue to investigate how a guy sitting in jail is getting money from the taxpayers while you’re at it.






Speaking of being in jail, the city of Burnsville, Minnesota has managed to lock up the dangerous criminal Mitch Faber. Faber has since been released:

After two days locked up, a judge agreed Mitch should be released but required him to submit to electronic home monitoring. In Dakota County, that process requires participants — no matter what their crimes — to blow into a drug and alcohol device every time an alarm goes off.

If you are wondering what dastardly crime Faber committed, he was arrested for failing to finish installing siding on his house.

We are not kidding.

Mitch and his wife Jean say it all began back in 2007 when they received a letter from the city of Burnsville saying, in part, “you must complete the siding of your home.”

“We were in the process of finishing,” Mitch insists. “This wasn’t something that we were trying to avoid doing.”

But in 2009 there were two more warning letters, and in 2010 yet another–this time requiring Faber to appear in court. Burnsville leaders provided 5 Eyewitness News with these 2010 photos of the Fabers’ home as proof there was a problem.

“I was expecting maybe a $700 fine,” Faber said. Instead he was given an ultimatum — finish the siding or go to jail.

So Mitch returned to his house and he and Jean say they spent about $12,000 putting a stucco façade over the plywood exterior. They thought they were finally in compliance. They were wrong.

Faber was then taken into custody in November 2011 after Burnsville inspectors ruled the work was still not satisfactorily completed. A warrant for his arrest had been issued when, according to the city, Faber failed to turn himself in because the house was still not up to code. Faber is adamant it was.

To some extent, it doesn’t even matter to us whether the house was up to code or not. Unless that code insures that others are not at physical risk, the tin headed prosecutor and judicial system that locked this guy up should be dismantled.

Period.






Last but not least, we want to call your attention to the city leaders of Nashville, Tennessee who, after concluding they had solved every other problem, decided to pass laws dealing with limousine services.

Until 2010, sedan and independent limo services were an affordable alternative to taxicabs. A trip to the airport only cost $25. But in June 2010, the Metropolitan County Council passed a series of anti-competitive regulations requested by the Tennessee Livery Association—a trade group formed by expensive limousine companies. These regulations force sedan and independent limo companies to increase their fares to $45 minimum.

The regulations also prohibit limo and sedan companies from using leased vehicles, require them to dispatch only from their place of business, require them to wait a minimum of 15 minutes before picking up a customer and forbid them from parking or waiting for customers at hotels or bars. And, in January 2012, companies will have to take all vehicles off the road if they are more than seven years old for a sedan or SUV or more than ten years old for a limousine.

In essence, the government stepped in and set the price for a service. Not only does the price keep cut rate operators from entering the market, it is a case of government hypocrisy. As Mark Perry of Carpe Diem notes:

Interestingly, in the Nashville case the government supported the price-fixing behavior of the limo cartel, which pressured city regulators to set prices at a $45 minimum charge for any ride. The intention of the price-fixing was obviously to squash competition from the cut-rate newcomers, who were charging only $25 to take customers to the Nashville airport. But in another recent case, the government just sentenced auto executive Norihiro Imai to one-year in jail, and imposed more than $550 million in fines on several auto suppliers, for fixing prices on automotive heater control panels.

George Will notes such protectionism is against the Constitution:

But the Constitution, and especially the 14th Amendment, is supposed to protect the individual’s liberty, including economic liberty, from government’s depredations. One purpose of that amendment’s protection of “the privileges or immunities” of U.S. citizenship was to defend the economic liberties of freed slaves from laws restricting entry into trades and businesses — laws written to insulate white Southern businessmen from competition. But the amendment protects all the “privileges or immunities” of all Americans.

The limo owners who were the target of these new rules and regulations are suing the city and we hope they win.

After all, isn’t it time the government stops crony capitalism and actually lets people “pursue happiness” without the government putting measures in place to help one company over others, as well as artificially raising prices?

Is that too much to ask?





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