What’s government doing? Category


Posted On April 9, 2014By adminIn What's government doing?

What’s in a zip code?

When you see this headline, your first instinct is this must be about car insurance or whether the resale housing market has recovered in your area. Well, here’s a different reason to sing praises or curse depending on where you live. This is about the ride-sharing app provided by Uber and UberX. Yes, this app is proving to be a catalyst for all types of different discussion around the country. Let’s start with a simple thought. Over the years, cities have developed sets of sophisticated regulations to license and monitorRead More
Laws are laws and there to be enforced. Except over the last twenty years, there’s been little appetite to enforce many of the laws against the larger corporations. The federal and state authorities have preferred to give the companies no more than token penalties if they were too obviously caught in the wrong. Then a few crusading DAs began to take on some of the big boys. Slowly this has changed the landscape so that, as the Democrats continue in power, more prosecutions are being brought by federal authorities. It’sRead More
So here’s a very simple question for all of you interested in the process of developing a new product or service. There you are sitting around the table in your kitchen when lightning strikes. It’s a red hot idea, it won’t cost a fortune to make, and it will be easy to sell. You write it down and, as a precaution, you go talk to your attorney. At this point, bad news blights the originality of your idea. If you launch, your product or service will break several local, state,Read More
Since we live in a representative democracy, we vote for the folks to sit in “parliament” and represent us in discussions about every aspect of policy. Hopefully, everyone starts off with the basic facts. How these facts are interpreted is then up to the representatives who can be prejudiced when it comes to deciding what’s in our best interests. Since we vote for these people, it’s difficult to complain but there are times when it might be better if we could get rid of all of them and start over.Read More
Colorado had just celebrated two weeks of allowing licensed stores to sell marijuana for recreational purposes when along came the case of Keith Kilbey. He’s a typical twenty-three-year-old man and, to cement his place in the legal history books, he crashed his own car into a state patrol car and, as if he wanted to ensure he was noticed, the force was sufficient to push the patrol car into a second patrol car. The state police took a day to think about it and then a spokesperson boldly stepped forwardRead More
The way our constitution is supposed to work is very simple. We, the people, elect people to represent us. They make laws. When the local or state government makes them active, the law enforcement agencies leap into action. As from day 1, they are out on the streets looking for offenders. The opening blitz of tickets or arrests sends a message to the community. That no one is safe. Break this law and you will be issued a ticket. Fines will be payable. Change your behavior. Well, that’s the theory.Read More

Posted On February 3, 2014By adminIn What's government doing?

Ban Google Glass

As this article appears online, several hundred Explorers are living their lives testing Google Glass. In the last week, we’ve had the courts in California dismiss charges against a driver. The justification for this judgment was the lack of evidence the device was switched on. Just wearing a pair of spectacles is not a criminal offense. But if the device was switched on. . . well that would be different. It’s the same when it comes to copyright infringement. A cinema recently called in the cops and then the NationalRead More
Both at a federal and state level, government is supposed to work in a way that makes sense. On one side of the equation sits all the tax dollars collected. On the other side are a set of competing claims for spending. In the middle sit our elected representatives. The theory says these are the wisest people we voters could find to represent us when it comes to deciding how to spend the money. It’s a shame it doesn’t quite work in the real world. The representatives get stuck inRead More

Posted On January 23, 2014By adminIn What's government doing?

Utilitarianism rules

In the later part of the eighteenth century, Jeremy Bentham began to formulate a body of philosophical writing that’s become known as utilitarianism. This proved to be a major contribution to philosophy and can’t be summed up in a few sentences. However, one of the basic principles is a way of calculating when a particular course of action is justified. It’s called the principle of greatest happiness and believes action is justified when it causes the greatest “happiness” to the largest number of people. Curiously, it was picked up byRead More

Posted On January 16, 2014By adminIn What's government doing?

Pay the fine, or else!

So here’s a simple rule of cause and effect. If you break the law and a police officer catches you, you go to court and face punishment. Well. . . if only life was so simple when prosecutors are under pressure to clear cases and will often accept plea bargains for probation, community service or other less than penal outcomes. But here comes an interesting variation on the theme. This time, it actually has a reasonable justification. Way back in 2003, the county lawmakers of Minnesota felt they should makeRead More