Morning Links

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008
  • Video of car that apparently gets 300 miles per gallon.
  • Was Zora Neal Hurston a libertarian?
  • Ladies Home Journal wants your help in forcing the federal government to impose red light cameras on the states. I want your help telling Ladies Home Journal what they can do with their red light cameras.
  • Crap dogs. Ridiculing dogs that give dogs a bad name.
  • Dallas County, Texas hits 19 exonerations.
  • My colleague Katherine Mangu-Ward righteously trashes the airlines for spamming their frequent flier members with an anti-oil speculation campaign.
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  • 19 Responses to “Morning Links”

    1. #1 |  Michael Chaney | 

      Someone needs to follow the money trail on “National Campaign to Stop Red Light Running”. I’m guessing it leads straight back to one of these companies that are profiting from the cameras.

      Oh, wait, they’re not even trying to hide it:

      The Ladies’ Home Journal folks should be ashamed.

    2. #2 |  Thomas Blair | 

      Why would Southwest be signing on to this mess? The outcome will be more volatile (and likely higher) oil prices, which, given Southwest’s hedged position, is hurting Southwest’s competitors far more than Southwest. They have 70% of their oil hedged at $51/bbl for 2008 whereas their competitors are hedged for 20-30% at ~$100/bbl. Even given the fact that SW’s hedging percentage shrinks to 55% next year and 30% in 2010, they still have a significant advantage for the next two years. Given the current state of the airlines, two years might be long enough to force multiple bankruptcies among the other carriers.

      Can anyone conjecture why SW is signing on to this rubbish?

    3. #3 |  Thomas Blair | 

      +1, Michael Chaney. I hadn’t even bothered to follow the money. This is just rent-seeking, and shameless rent-seeking at that.

    4. #4 |  MacK | 

      Lets say South west makes $1m a year flying the planes, but they stand to make $67.82M off the oil deals, would this be a reason to sign onto this rubbish.

    5. #5 |  Highway | 

      The idea of ‘MPG’ is just not applicable to the Aptera. I’ve been following the development of the vehicle for a couple months, and I’d love to be one of the first to buy one. They aren’t going to be selling on the east coast for a while, tho.

      The Typ-1e is a full electric vehicle, and as such it doesn’t have a MPG figure. At all. And the forthcoming Typ-1h plug-in hybrid has an average of 300 mpg after 120 miles from starting with a full charge. A better value to use would be the constant 130 MPG it will get with the batteries not charged, but this also discounts the contribution of the ‘plug-in’ part of the hybrid. But for direct comparison to existing vehicles, that’s the better figure to use.

      Like I said, I think it’s a tremendous vehicle, and I’d love to have one. But I’m not moving to California to get one.

    6. #6 |  ceanf | 

      that 300mpg car looks like a death trap

    7. #7 |  Highway | 

      ceanf: Why? Because it’s designed to meet the same side-impact and side-intrusion standards that every other car does? Or has enough crush space in the front for a 45-mph impact offset crash? Or because it meets the same rollover standards that passenger cars do? All of these are true.

      Yes, it’s smaller than a SUV. And noone’s making you buy one. But I certainly would. And size-wise, it’s no smaller than other small cars that are around now, which are not considered ‘death traps’.

    8. #8 |  Xaq Fixx | 

      My e-mail to the National Campaign to Stop Red Light Running and Ladies Home Journal:

      Ms. Leslie Blakey & National Campaign to Stop Red Light Running,
      I encourage you to abandon this Campaign. While encouraged in the name of saving lives and preventing accidents Red Light cameras are often thinly veiled attempts at revenue collection, many times the technology doesn’t work, and that crashes and several studies have shown the opposite of your claims that accidents (both injury and non-injury) INCREASE with the installation of cameras.
      For information on the increases in accident and injuries I encourage you to view the studies published by researchers at University of South Florida College of Public Health which showed that “Rather than improving motorist safety, red-light cameras significantly increase crashes and are a ticket to higher auto insurance premiums” (emphasis mine) ( or the Virginia DOT which showed that “researchers found a “definite” increase in rear-end accidents and only a “possible” decrease in angle accidents. Most importantly, the net effect was that more injuries happened after cameras are installed.” (emphasis mine) (, likewise Portland, OR saw a 140% increase in accidents after cameras were installed ( An investigation in Cleveland has shown no significant decrease in accidents at camera enforced intersections, while some intersection did show a dramatic decrease those were offset by other intersections that show equally dramatic increases. (
      To read more about the problems with the technology, or the operators of the technology you can read more about Cleveland where motorist were able to prove the technology was flawed ( Many cities are shortening the length of yellow lights at intersections, in order to increase revenue, at the expense of safety ( The LA Times Reports that 80% of people ticketed by red light cameras are people making a right on red, and Mark Burkey, a researcher at North Carolina A&T State University who has studied photo enforcement collision patterns, said that he has never seen any studies even suggest that the cameras “would be a good safety intervention to reduce right-turning accidents” (,0,3445983,full.story)

      I do agree the driving can be dangerous, and the results of people running red lights are often tragic, but trying to force a nationwide adoption of a failed, and oft corrupt, program, is not only a bad idea, but morally reprehensible. I encourage you to continue working on ways to save lives, an honorable quest, but please try to find new, creative solutions they may be proven successful. I will be sharing this letter publicly in as many places as possible, and will also post your response, if you wish, wherever I am able to where my letter is published.
      Thank You,
      Xaq Fixx

    9. #9 |  Matt | 


      I really enjoyed the link about Zora Neale Hurston. I know your site is geared for current events, but few more links here and there about historical libertarianism and intellectuals is a good change of pace. Sometimes I need a break from the anger I feel from reading about police abuse and the totalitarianism of the present.

    10. #10 |  Michael Leatherwood | 

      I kinda like the Aptera. A bit pricey for a “motorcycle”, though. Those batteries really up the prices. A scooter would be just as fun and a heck of a lot cheaper (even with fuel costs included). Perhaps it will take off and good ol market forces will bring the price down. For my commute, it’d be perfect, even in the all-electric version. And are rearview mirrors THAT un-aerodynamic?

    11. #11 |  James D | 

      That car is interesting …. I’ve been following this local guy ( for years but he’s taking too damn long to get done :) But I bet his model will cost a lot less than that Aptera … that thing has way too many bells and whistles to be a simple/affordable car replacement. It looks more like they are going for the high-end, rich crowd.

    12. #12 |  Kid Handsome | 

      Here is how you actually get to the editors of the Ladies Home Journal.

      Send us an e-mail:

      Or write to:
      Letters to the Editor
      Ladies’ Home Journal
      375 Lexington Avenue, 9th Floor
      NY, NY 10017

    13. #13 |  Jeffrey Quick | 

      Something odd is going on here. There’s no link from the page to, and searches on that site don’t uncover any stories about red light running, red light cameras, or traffic cameras. Could they be referring to an ad they placed there? How culpable is lhj in this?

    14. #14 |  Another Mommy State plot? « The Quick and the Dead | 

      […] laydeez of the Ladies’ Home Journal want you to petition for more red light cameras So says Balko, and indeed the lhj logo is on the site. But it’s not linked, and I can’t find anything […]

    15. #15 |  Highway | 

      I think the main thing I see about the Aptera is that it’s both a proof of concept and a production vehicle. The $30,000 price tag is only a bit more than current Prius models, and is well in line with what I think is, at this point, a custom vehicle. Hopefully the production will scale as well as they think it will, but at only 2000 vehicles promised, sales only in California, and such performance orientation, it’s really not intended to be a mainstream thing yet. I think it’s definitely a front runner for the XPrize, tho.

      I think the big draw for a lot of people, including myself, is that it’s a vehicle that fills a niche that really isn’t filled by a production vehicle yet (kinda like the Honda Insight did): a commuter vehicle which has virtually no gas usage, and has advanced features like the full time climate control, powered by solar. And to go along with that, it has extremely distinctive looks. It’s something you’ll love or hate, but not something you can ignore at this point.

    16. #16 |  Adolphus | 

      The site Crap Dogs has always made me sad. Most of those dogs don’t ask to be made up, dressed, or posed the way they are pictured. They’d rather be jumping into laps, chasing squirrels, eating cat poop, rolling in mud, and licking their genitals and people’s faces (in that order!)

      In a just world this site would hold the owners up to ridicule, not the dogs.

    17. #17 |  CL | 

      From the Zora Neale Hurston article:

      “As if no day could ever come when that which went over the Devil’s back will buckle under his belly.”

      Was she a liberatarian? I don’t care! She’s a hero just for writing that line.

      And this, too:

      “I see, too, that while we all talk about justice more than any other quality on earth, there is no such thing as justice in the absolute in this word. We are too human to conceive of it. We all want the breaks, and what seems just to us is just what favors our wishes. If we did not feel that way, there would be no monuments to conquerors in our high places.”

    18. #18 |  Edintally | 

      17: The only problem I have with the last quote is that it assumes the past will always dictate the future. Hopefully, it won’t always be the case. I’m sure she allows for that somewhere in her writing.

    19. #19 |  Ben | 

      If you look closely at the linked site for the red light running, it says ‘as seen in LHJ.’ This leads me to believe either LHJ did an article on it or the stop red light running campaign placed in ad in LHJ; which in turn allowed them to say ‘as seen in.’