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Delaware markets in everything

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A 2003 Mercedes station wagon fetched nearly $420,000 at a Delaware auction last month—$6,800 for the car, $410,000 for the license plate.

“I wanted it,” says the tag’s winning bidder, William Lord. “I’m happy I did it.”

And who wouldn’t be? The plate reads “20,” a highly coveted low Delaware license-plate number.

The bidding was fierce. “I got caught up in the moment,” says Dr. Lord, 83, a retired dentist in Rehoboth Beach, Del. “My father and I used to go to auctions to buy cattle, machinery. There was nothing I liked better than looking at an opponent across the way and outbidding him.”

For a fringe of American drivers, having a fine car isn’t enough. They must have low license-plate numbers, too, and they’re fueling competition for the tags that can be relentless. In Delaware, a decadeslong obsession over tags with few digits has given rise to a vibrant private market.

This isn’t China, however, where lucky numbers are part of a longstanding cultural or even religious tradition.  May I be allowed to wonder whether the residents of Delaware have nothing better to spend their money on?  This point has at least been addressed:

“It’s a real part of who we are,” says state Transportation Secretary Jennifer Cohan. “We’ve got some loyalty to some strange things, and license plates is one of them.” A low number signifies one of two things, she says: deep roots or deep pockets.

“They are something people fight over a lot. A lot,” says Delaware divorce lawyer Marie Crossley. “It’s almost a badge of how Delaware you are.”

Here is the WSJ article, via the excellent Kevin Lewis.  And note: “The state has never used letters, thanks to a population under a million.”

The post Delaware markets in everything appeared first on Marginal REVOLUTION.

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kbrint
4 hours ago
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First I've heard of this outside Asia.
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Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Trees

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Click here to go see the bonus panel!

Hovertext:
Evolution is beautiful in general but a real asshole in particular.


Today's News:
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kbrint
3 days ago
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jlvanderzwan
3 days ago
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(many trees actually recognise their offspring and family members and share nutrients through the root system)
kazriko
2 days ago
(but all those other bastard trees that aren't immediate family members can starve.)
jlvanderzwan
2 days ago
(obviously)

A Win for Justice

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Congratulations to the Institute for Justice for an important victory against the abuse of civil asset forfeiture:

Today, the Institute for Justice dismantled one of the nation’s largest and most egregious civil forfeiture programs.  For decades, Philadelphia’s forfeiture machine terrorized its citizens:  throwing them out of their homes without notice, seizing their cars and other property, and forcing victims to navigate a rigged kangaroo court system to have any chance of getting their property back.  And the property and money forfeited was then given to the very officials who were supposed to be fairly enforcing the law.
After four long years of litigation, IJ cemented a victory for all Philadelphians this morning with two binding consent decrees in which city officials agreed to reforms that:
    1.  Sharply limit when Philadelphia law enforcement can forfeit property;
    2.  Prevent law enforcement from keeping what they seize;
    3.  Establish robust protections for the due process rights of citizens; and
    4.  Create a $3 million fund to compensate innocent people who were ensnared by the city’s abusive system.
My paper, To Serve and Collect (with Makowsky and Stratmann) suggests that this victory will not only reduce civil asset forfeiture it will also change police behavior and decision-making, altering the number, type, and racial composition of arrests.

The post A Win for Justice appeared first on Marginal REVOLUTION.

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kbrint
4 days ago
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Fuck civil asset forfeiture.
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Today I learned…

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How is it that mushrooms can appear so suddenly overnight or immediately after a rainstorm? It turns out that the fungus organism builds the mushroom structure ahead of time. All the cells are there, properly assembled, but very small, in a form called a primordium. When enough water is available, the fungus pumps it into the cells, inflating them like water balloons, and the mushroom pops up.

It's been very damp in Philadelphia of late.

The trunk of a tree, arising from
a missing patch in the sidewalk, with several columns of bracket
fungus protruding from its various sides. Close-up ground-level picture of
a cluster small, light brown mushrooms that have sprung up in the
mulch in a planter.

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kbrint
6 days ago
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Huh.
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Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - We Are Here

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Click here to go see the bonus panel!

Hovertext:
I am prepared to lend this speech to any commencement speaker free of charge.


Today's News:
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kbrint
17 days ago
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rraszews
17 days ago
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Ironically, this is all creationists think biologists do all day.

Begging the Question

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At least we can all agree on the enormity of this usage.
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kbrint
17 days ago
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Epic.
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3 public comments
davidar
24 days ago
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Literally.
alt_text_bot
25 days ago
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At least we can all agree on the enormity of this usage.
alt_text_at_your_service
25 days ago
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At least we can all agree on the enormity of this usage.
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