Do you ever sit down to write something, but fear holds you back? You start thinking, “I don’t know what I’m doing,” or “I should do more original research, I’m just regurgitating other people’s thoughts,” or “everyone will find out I’m a fraud.”
ratpag has these feelings, too. Then we read stuff like this and feel much better:
It may not seem like it, since it has only six comments, but for someone reason this guy’s blog gets blasted around the transportation world in Virginia and is actually read and discussed by legislators. Bacon himself writes the occasional op-ed for the Washington Times, which in addition to being the conservative answer to the Washington Post, was owned and operated for years by Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church. They did all those massive arranged marriages in the 1990s.
Bacon argues that Virginia is being unnecessarily restrictive on ride-for-pay companies like Uber and Lyft by daring to enforce existing laws. This is the dual crime of stifling innovation and failing to kiss Silicon Valley’s ass. Bacon’s convinced that if it’s new, it’s good, and if it’s tech-related, it’s very good. The best part is when Bacon vaguely accuses the DMV of a coverup:
According to the Washington Post, DMV claims the two companies are operating in violation of state law (although it’s not clear from the article what provision of the law they are breaking).
Since the Washington Post didn’t write his blog for him, and because looking up a law is too difficult for the guy who literally blogs about policy for a living, he interviews the DMV. Wait, scratch that, he quotes from the Washington Post’s interview with the DMV, and passes it off as his own:
Virginia DMV supports innovation. … DMV has been charged by the General Assembly to conduct a study of these transportation network companies. We are confident that the solution to transportation network companies operations will come out of the study and we hope that Uber and Lyft will actively participate in the study and be a part of creating the solution. In the meantime, Virginia DMV must fulfill its obligation to highway safety and enforce the law as it is currently written.
So DMV is asking Uber and Lyft to cease operations while it conducts a study. This quote could not be more supportive of the two companies who, ratpag repeats, are actively breaking the law. Bacon would prefer they be allowed to operate in the meantime, again, while actively breaking the law. Which law? Probably the one that requires them to have a permit.
And they can’t get a permit for a billion other reasons, such as their failure to register with local counties, adhere to local regulations involving hours of service, proper signage, and rates. They could try to pass as a contract passenger carrier (limousine), but that requires a minimum one-hour booking. ratpag isn’t saying the laws are perfect or makes sense, but they were written for a purpose. It was to keep taxi’s above board, safe, and honest. You don’t immediately roll over on regulation because one company seems legit and blesses you with their presence. Unless you’re Nevada—that’s like their “thing”.
While others attended the meetings, Google seemed to have a special seat at the table.
Bryant Walker Smith, who teaches the law of self-driving cars as a fellow at Stanford University, described one rule-drafting session where Google — not the DMV — responded to suggestions from auto industry representatives.
“It wasn’t always clear who was leading,” Smith said. It seemed to him that both Google and the DMV felt ownership of the rules.
Nevada probably would’ve invited German representatives to the Yalta Conference. ratpag’s been waiting 70 years to use that one.