Autobahn Sniper Shot 762 Vehicles

A German truck driver has the worst documented case of road rage in history.

DC Has Worst Drivers But Safe For Pedestrians

The nation’s capital is the worst place to drive in the country. But it’s a surprisingly safe place to walk.

Pedestrian Safety: Preventable Deaths?

Thousands of pedestrians are killed in America each year. Are we doing enough about it?

The Negative State

William Easterly identifies the concept of the negative highway, inconvenient connections between Interstate highways seemingly created for the sole purpose of enticing people to shop at local businesses.

Bike Lane Backlash?

As bicycle advocates have been getting new lanes and other concessions in major cities across the country, a minor backlash has formed in reaction.

DC Traffic Guide

A helpful guide to the pleasures of navigating our nation’s capital by car, bike, or foot.

Drug War 101: Drug Control Budget

Ok, since there was some confusion generated by some of my previous posts on the drug war, let’s start to simply look at some basic information so that we can perhaps, over time, establish some foundational issues from which discussion can be held. My general position, so that it is clear, is that we are […]

Take Turns Traffic Sign

Ezra Klein points us to this Gary Lauder TED Talk on making driving more efficient: He correctly points out that roundabouts are much more safe, efficient, and cost effective than stop signs or traffic signals.  He acknowledges that sometimes they’re not practical and illustrates in amusing fashion why stop signs cost us a lot of […]

Misery Loves . . . More Misery

Matt Yglesias points to David Brooks’ assertion that “The daily activity most injurious to happiness is commuting” in order to tout a congestion pricing tax. Brooks doesn’t pivot from this into any real policy specifics. But the upshot of the commuting point is very clear—we should charge people a fee to drive on crowded roads […]

Atlantic Redesign: The Medium is the Message

Since hiring Andrew Sullivan and a slew of other already-established bloggers a couple years back, the Atlantic Monthly website has gone through quite a few design changes.  But last week’s total reorganization of the site into a series of channels, subsuming all the blogs except Andrew’s into what amounts to collections of links to archives, […]

DC Police Leave Stolen Car in Traffic for Week

Here’s a story you don’t see every day:  A stolen car was left parked in traffic — even facing the wrong way — in a busy DC thoroughfare for a week. WaPo’s Mary Pat Flaherty reports. For more than a week, the silver Mercury Grand Marquis sat abandoned in a traffic lane of 15th Street […]

Liberal Magazines Suffering Under Obama

If you’re trying to sell political magazines, you’re better off when your team is out of power and angry. Vanity Fair‘s Matt Pressman investigates this blinding flash of the obvious: The George W. Bush years were good for more than just oilfield-services companies and waterboard manufacturers. They were also a boon for liberal political magazines, […]

Replacing Cars with . . . Cars

Ryan Avent has been arguing that cars are wasteful for their typical use but that, since walking, biking, and the like are impractical for most of our daily commutes, we need instead to come up with some sort of miniature car. Even the smallest cars on the American market weigh a ton (a Mini clocks […]

Newsday Pay Wall Experiment Failing

Newsday‘s experiment with putting its content behind a pay wall isn’t going so well. In late October, Newsday, the Long Island daily that the Dolans bought for $650 million, put its web site,, behind a pay wall. The paper was one of the first non-business newspapers to take the plunge by putting up a […]

Airlines Can Keep Passengers Prisoner 3 Hours

The federal government is placing limits on the ability of airlines to mistreat customers. They don’t go nearly far enough. U.S. airlines could face stiff fines for stranding passengers aboard grounded planes for more than three hours, according to a regulation that officials said on Monday was aimed at upholding passenger rights. The Transportation Department […]

BRAC, Ft. Belvoir, and Northern Virginia Traffic

Virginia Congressman Jim Moran argues that the Defense Department ought to step up and pay for the increased traffic BRAC is about to bring to his district: The latest round of BRAC (Base Realignment and Closing) moves is poised to create a daytime nightmare of traffic congestion for Northern Virginia. Over the next two years, […]

The Money Value of Time

Matt Yglesias points to a recent IBM study trying to map much people hate commuting to work and points to this interesting chart: From this, Matt concludes that all manner of government policies could be framed as a way of reducing the pain of commuting: higher gas taxes, congestion pricing, and so forth. I simply […]

Who’s Reading What

Matt Yglesias notes that bloggers and others who write for the Web lack a luxury of those who write for print: “nobody has any idea who’s reading them.”  Whereas there are detailed metrics about pageviews on the Web, all print has to go on is circulation figures.  So they can blithely assume that their long […]

OTB Latenight – Traffic

Bikes and Cars

John Cole points to a new law in Colorado making it illegal for motorists to throw objects at bicycles.  Previously, it has only been a citable offense if one’s aim was good. Cole wonders, “What kind of twisted jackass throws something out of a car at a biker?” and several of his commenters note the […]

U.S. Life Expectancy: We’re Number 1

Tyler Cowen passes along a reader comment that, The difference in life expectancy between the US and Netherlands is often referred to as an example of how superior semi-socialized health care increases life expectancy. At birth, someone living in the Netherlands can expect to live 2.35 years longer than someone born in the US, but […]

DC Most Dangerous Driving City

Aaron Brazell passes along word that DC and Baltimore are the most dangerous driving cities, as calculated by Allstate Insurance.  Bengt Havorson has the list: The Safest Driving Top Ten 1. Sioux Falls, SD 2. Fort Collins, CO 3. Chattanooga, TN 4. Cedar Rapids, IA 5. Knoxville, TN 6. Fort Wayne, IN 7. Lexington-Fayette, KY […]

Four Day Week?

Over at his other digs, Dave Schuler muses, Is it my imagination or do things become very, very quiet on Fridays these days? I know that traffic at this blog drops sharply on Fridays which suggests to me that a lot of people read blogs from work and that they aren’t at work on Fridays. […]

Michael Jackson Dies, Kills Internet

Not sure this is BREAKING NEWS, as CNN does, but it’s amusing nonetheless: How many people does it take to break the Internet? On June 25, we found out it’s just one — if that one is Michael Jackson. The biggest showbiz story of the year saw the troubled star take a good slice of […]

They May Not Take Our Lives But They’ll Take Our Freedom

Richard Florida passes on this poster and statistics from Münster, Germany to illustrate “the different amounts of space taken up by different kinds of transit.” Bicycle – 90 sq. m for 71 people to park their bikes. Car – 1000 sq. m for 72 people to park their care (avg. occupancy of 1.2 people per […]


Tom Vanderbilt passes on and summarizes a new study by researchers at the Delft University of Technology that estimates the effects of “rubbernecking” in adding to traffic congestion after an accident at about 50 percent of free-flow capacity. As pictured above, a light truck overturned near the city of Apeldoorn. One lane (in the ‘bottom […]

Cars vs. Pedestrians

People in Matt Yglesias‘ neighborhood have petitioned to increase the amount of time pedestrians get to cross New York Avenue at 5th St. NW from 20 to 45 seconds and they’ve been rejected.  The rationale: DDOT is concerned that changing the walk time at this intersection may negatively impact pedestrian safety at this intersection further, […]

Transportation Pricing

Matt Yglesias explains why public transit should be free through an analogy: Say there’s no road between Washington, DC and Frederick, Maryland. You can go from the one place to the other, but it involves going way out of your way even though it could be a pretty quick trip on a direct road. What […]

DC Roads Close for Obama

One of the side discussions over the Blair House brouhaha has been that having the Obamas stay at the Hay-Adams Hotel would pose a major inconvenience for those who drive through that part of the District of Columbia, as roads around the hotel would be closed for security reasons.    With the hotel only three blocks […]

Can’t Peddle 55

Megan McArdle argues that drivers who exceed the speed limit in their cars have no right to get angry at bikers who run stop signs and red lights, weave in and out of traffic, and otherwise ignore traffic laws.  Plus, because bikes are smaller and slower, they’re not going to cause any harm: The reason […]

Google Walking Directions

Google Maps is beta testing a new “walking directions” feature, Alex Chitu reports.  Apparently, it’s just being tested  out on a small number of randomly selected users. Since I wasn’t among those selected, I was a bit dubious since I was unable to personally verify, let alone test, said service.  A quick search of another […]

Blog Linking Less Important?

Louis Gray believes the importance of blog linkage is declining, noting that, “I’ve seen traffic from other blogs to be driving an ever-declining percentage of visits to my site, swamped by social media tools, aggregation sites, and of course, Google search.” He offers three likely explanations: 1. People are relying on aggregators to find them […]

Homosexual Sets World Sprint Record

Tyson Homosexual ran 100 meters in a wind-aided 9.68 seconds at the U.S. Olympic trials today, in what would have been world record time. I mean, Tyson Gay. Leftie People For the American Way’s Right Wing Watch blog reports that, In addition to blocking traffic from websites they don’t like, it looks like the web-geniuses […]

Google Shuts Down Anti-Obama Blogs

Some Obama supporters are apparently taking advantage of Google’s terms of service to silence anti-Obama blogs, Simon Owens of Bloggasm reports. The company automatically shuts down sites upon receipt of TOS violation claims until they’re able to do a human audit, a rather slow process with given little priority on the free BlogSpot service. After […]

Network News Ignoring Iraq, Afghanistan

Reporters covering the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are having an increasingly difficult time of getting stories onto the network news, Brian Stelter reports for the NYT. According to data compiled by Andrew Tyndall, a television consultant who monitors the three network evening newscasts, coverage of Iraq has been “massively scaled back this year.” Almost […]

Wire Service Theft

Bernhard Warner brings an interesting perspective to the fight between the AP and the blogosphere over copyright law. In attempting to bolster the AP’s case, he actually weakens it considerably. To understand where the AP is coming from with this caveman approach to copyright enforcement, you have to understand what it’s like to work for […]

5 Reasons to Love $4 Gas

The gang at Foreign Policy wants you to know that, “Sure, it’s ruining the global economy and making everyone miserable, but there’s an underappreciated upside to the high price of oil.” They’d have to be awfully good to offset ruining the economy and making everyone miserable, no? Well, here they are: Slightly more people may […]

Decline of Political Blogs?

Aaron Brazell, who used to blog politics but now mostly does tech and social media, notes something interesting: While political blogs are blogging in terms of media coverage of the phenomenon, they’re actually a relatively small part of the story. It’s not just that, as we all know, personal diary blogs far outnumber others in […]

Senate Privatizes Restaurants

Tired of lousy food, inept management, and massive cost overruns, the Senate is going to privatize its restaurants. Like the House did during the Reagan administration. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairman of the Rules and Administrations Committee, which oversees the operation of the Senate, said she had no choice. “It’s cratering,” she said of the […]

Blogs Then and Now

Aaron Brazell is doing some research on the evolution of blogging in recent years and has asked for my input. [Update: The result, “Political Blogging 2.0,” is now up.] I started OTB in January 2003 and have seen a lot of change. I should note at the outset that my experience is almost entirely with […]

Public Transit Up, Driving Down as Gas Prices Increase

Proving that basic economic concepts like elasticity of demand and substitution of goods are not outmoded, the American public is responding to increases in gas prices by driving less and taking public transit more. Soaring gas prices are pushing more Americans to take public transit, with streetcars, trolleys and other light rail experiencing a 10.3 […]

Supreme Court Upholds Virtual Child Porn Law

The Supreme Court today upheld, by a 7-2 vote, controversial provisions of a child pornography law that made it illegal to promote material presented as child pornography even if the material in question isn’t actually child pornography. Or involve actual children. The ruling upheld part of a 2003 law that also prohibits possession of child […]

Journalism in a Post-Literate Society

In a recent speech at Harvard, TPM founder Josh Marshall argued that the competition from the Internet is killing newspapers but improving journalism. Stacy McCain, though, contends, “iIt’s not the Internet that’s killing journalism, it’s illiteracy.” Rather than former print consumers switching to digital media, “There is, instead, a shrinking readership of news, period, regardless […]

InstaPundit Moves to Pajamas Media

Pajamas Media has announced that Glenn Reynolds’ InstaPundit blog has moved to their servers. Today Pajamas Media shook the blogosphere with a major site development announcement: InstaPundit Glenn Reynolds is becoming a part of the PJM main portal. Reynolds, who averages more than six million page views per month according to Nielsen, was recently named […]

Pope Benedict Our German Shepherd

Henry Farrell recounts getting stuck in pope-security-related traffic, contrasts the differences between this trip and John Paul II’s 1979 visit to Ireland, and takes this photo: Henry muses that it “seemed to me to have dark undertones that were presumably not intended by the person who was waving it about.” Personally, I find the canine […]

Michael Chertoff Interview – Border Fence, RealID, and Alert Levels

As mentioned earlier, I had the opportunity to interview Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff this afternoon on his ordering environmental waivers to expedite construction of a fence along the U.S. – Mexico border and other issues. The summary below is a description, not a transcription, of the conversation, unless quotation marks are used. Noting […]

Britain’s Most Outrageous Parking Tickets

The Daily Mail has compiled a list of Great Britain’s ten most unreasonable parking fines of all time. Here’s a sample: It was a terrifying ordeal for Fred Holt, 77, when he went to the bank and two masked men burst in brandishing an axe and a machete. The robbers held the axe to a […]

Building Democracy, One Warlord at a Time

The Washington Post has a heartbreaking article which might as well be titled “The More Things Change…” regarding our current “progress” in Fallujah: [Col. Faisal Ismail al-]Zobaie, 51, knows the nature of the men in black masks. He is a former insurgent. Now, as the police chief, he has turned against the insurgency, especially al-Qaeda […]

Public Financing of Professional Sports Stadiums

Megan McArdle argues, not unreasonably, that “if the Yankees want a $1.3 billion stadium, they should pay for it themselves.” Instinctively, I agree. Practically, however, it’s not that simple. Big league sports franchises are an incredibly scarce resource and municipalities are willing to bid for the advantages, psychic and real, that attach to having one. […]

Coca’s Continual Comeback: This Time, Peru

Via the LAT: Peru sees cocaine making a comeback Peru’s cocaine industry, the world’s largest and most violent in the late 1980s and early 1990s, is again on the upswing. Plots of coca bushes, whose leaves yield cocaine, have increased by about one-third since 1999, to about 127,000 acres, according to Peruvian and United Nations […]

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