Tag Archives: Hans Bader

EVs More Likely to Kill Pedestrians, Damage Roads and Bridges

by Hans Bader

“A recent study published by the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health found that drivers of electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrids are twice as likely to hit pedestrians compared to those driving traditional gas-powered cars, potentially leading to more fatal accidents. This conclusion came from a review of British road accidents. The study examined 32 billion miles of EV travel and 3 trillion miles of combustion-engine car trips,” reports Straight Arrow News:

The findings align with earlier studies conducted by U.S. federal agencies. In 2017, the Department of Transportation reported that EVs and hybrids pose a 20% greater risk to pedestrians. This risk increases to 50% during low-speed maneuvers such as turning, reversing and coming to a stop.

Researchers partly attributed these elevated dangers posed by EVs and hybrids to the relative quietness of these vehicles. Unlike traditional combustion-engine cars, battery-powered automobiles produce little to no noise, sometimes leaving pedestrians unaware of an approaching vehicle….The heavier weight of EVs makes the problem worse. Electric cars often weigh 30% more than their gas-powered counterparts. This is because of their large batteries, which can add upwards of 2,000 pounds in some models. This added weight increases the likelihood of fatal outcomes in pedestrian accidents.…Being hit by a car with an additional 1,000 pounds of weight increases the chance of a fatality by nearly 50%.

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Electric Cars Are Harder on the Environment than Gas-Powered Ones

by Hans Bader

“Electric vehicles release more toxic particles into the atmosphere and are worse for the environment than their gas-powered counterparts,” according to a study, reports the New York Post:

The study, published by emissions data firm Emission Analytics … found that brakes and tires on EVs release 1,850 times more particle pollution compared to modern tailpipes, which have “efficient” exhaust filters, bringing gas-powered vehicles’ emissions to new lows. Today, most vehicle-related pollution comes from tire wear. As heavy cars drive on light-duty tires — most often made with synthetic rubber made from crude oil and other fillers and additives — they deteriorate and release harmful chemicals into the air…. Because EVs are on average 30% heavier, brakes and tires on the battery-powered cars wear out faster than on standard cars.

Emission Analytics found that tire wear emissions on half a metric tonne of battery weight in an EV are more than 400 times as great as direct exhaust particulate emissions. For reference, half a metric tonne is equivalent to roughly 1,100 pounds. The most popular EV in the US, Tesla’s Model Y, boasts a lithium-ion battery that weighs in at a hefty 1,836 pounds. Another sought-after electric model, Ford’s F-150 Lightning pickup truck, also has an approximately 1,800-pound battery….

The study throws doubt on the practicality of the Biden administration’s EV mandates, which tout electric cars as “zero-emissions vehicles” in a quest to force two-thirds of new cars in America to be all-electric by the year 2032. California lawmakers have similarly referred to EVs as producing “zero emissions” because they don’t have tailpipes, per the [Wall Street] Journal, which added that the label is “deceptive.”

Electric cars still use tires made from petroleum that create particle pollution as they wear….“you have this downside of EVs that increases particle pollution. Air pollution is about what we breathe and the health effects…Tires are made up of a lot of nasty chemicals,” said Emissions Analytics chief Nick Molden.

Increased exposure to these toxins “can increase the risk of health problems like heart disease, asthma, and low birth weight,” according to the New York Department of Health…“A lot of it [chemicals] goes into the soil and water, affecting animals and fish. And we then go and eat the animals and fish, so we are ingesting tire pollution,” Molden added….Even so, California’s air agency used a model that assumes electric and gas vehicles have the same amount of tire wear when analyzing the effects of the ban [on gas-powered vehicles].

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Democrats Proposal to Cut Sentences Would Undermine Public Safety, AG Says

Jason Miyares

by Hans Bader

On February 27, Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares sent a letter to Virginia state legislators about a Democratic proposal to allow some violent offenders to receive sentence reductions previously available only to non-violent offenders.

Miyares asked legislators to prevent the proposal, passed by the House of Delegates on February 22, from going into effect, by adopting Gov. Glenn Youngkin‘s proposed budget item 390(R)(2).

“Cutting sentences for violent crime, especially in cases identified as a high risk for recidivism, is having a detrimental impact on public safety throughout Virginia,” Miyares wrote in the letter. “Aggressive sentence reductions for violent criminals and those with high risk for recidivism disregards past and future victims. Allowing such a practice is not justice, and it’s not safe.” Continue reading

Judge Uses Crude Statistics to Find Racial Profiling by Richmond Police

by Hans Bader

A judge recently found that the City of Richmond racially profiles black motorists, dismissing the indictment of a black convicted felon accused of illegally possessing a gun. The judge did not find that defendant Keith Moore had been treated differently than a similarly situated white motorist. Instead, he ruled that Richmond police stops are racially discriminatory, based on statistics showing blacks are stopped and arrested at much higher rates than whites; and based on Richmond’s past “history of discrimination,” such as racialized zoning and redlining, and the “Confederate foundations” of the Richmond Police Department. “The Court will not require Moore to provide evidence of similarly situated individuals to prove his selective enforcement claim,” wrote the judge.

This is likely to create big problems for the City of Richmond, potentially leading to many criminals being released from jail. If a judge claims racial discrimination happened, he should identify what policies are racially discriminatory, or give concrete examples of discrimination, so that the problem can be fixed.  But Judge Gibney failed to do that in his February 12 ruling in United States v. Keith Rodney Moore. So now the City is deemed guilty of discrimination, based on things no individual police officer can change (such as city-wide statistics), and things that literally no one can change (such as  the confederate origins of the police department and Richmond’s segregated past). If other judges follow this flawed ruling, other criminals can also have their indictments dismissed based on city-wide statistics, even if it is undisputed that they committed the crime for which they were arrested.

Although the judge cited statistical disparities, he did not cite any specific police practices that led to blacks being stopped at higher rates, as he should have done if police were actually at fault. In Smith v. City of Jackson (2005), the Supreme Court ruled that even unintentional discrimination (disparate-impact) cannot be proved through statistics unless “specific” practices are identified that caused the “statistical disparities.” The disparities themselves are not enough. Continue reading

Virginia Legislation Would Penalize Lack of Diversity in Firms Seeking Economic Development Aid

by Hans Bader

Virginia Bill Would Redefine Revenge Porn to Include Non-Porn, Making It Easier to Prosecute Politicians’ Critics

Susanna Gibson

by Hans Bader

Virginia’s revenge-porn law may soon be expanded to punish people for posting embarrassing, revealing images of public figures, such as politicians, if Virginia’s legislature approves HB 926. Doing so would violate the First Amendment, and invite lawsuits by civil-liberties groups like the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression or the Institute for Justice.

In 2023, the media and blogs covered the fact that a Democratic legislative candidate performed live sex acts on the pornographic web site Chaturbate. That information was leaked to the media, including The Washington Post. Blogs posted images of the candidate showing that she was undressed, but not showing her private parts or anything pornographic. The candidate, Susanna Gibson, lost a close race for the Virginia House of Delegates, but not before arguing that the leak of her porn to the general public was a “sex crime” for which people should be prosecuted under Virginia’s revenge porn statute. “Daniel P. Watkins, a lawyer for Gibson, said disseminating the videos constitutes a violation of the state’s revenge porn law, which makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor to ‘maliciously’ distribute nude or sexual images of another person with ‘intent to coerce, harass, or intimidate.’” But no prosecution was ever brought, perhaps because doing so would violate the First Amendment, and because it might be hard to prove the leak was done with the “intent to coerce, harass, or intimidate,” as opposed to educating voters about a candidate’s past.

Now, Delegate Irene Shin (D-Herndon) wants to rewrite the revenge porn statute so broadly that prosecutors will be able to prosecute not just the leaker, but also bloggers or journalists who posted publicly available images of Gibson showing that she was in a state of undress during her performances at Chaturbate. Continue reading

Virginia Bill Could Define Student Bullies by Race

by Hans Bader

Should students be defined as bullies partly based on race? A confusingly-worded bill just introduced in Virginia’s legislature seemingly classifies students as bullies partly based on racial differences between “the aggressor” and the victim, such as a “real or perceived power imbalance between the aggressor or aggressors and victim, including on the basis of the actual or perceived race, color, national origin, sex, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, ethnicity, religion, or other distinguishing characteristics of the victim.”

That language is found in HB 536, a bill introduced by Delegate Joshua Cole (D-Fredericksburg). It would add the language in italics to Virginia Code § 22.1-276.01, so that it reads:

“Bullying” means any aggressive and unwanted behavior that is intended to harm, intimidate, or humiliate the victim; involves a real or perceived power imbalance between the aggressor or aggressors and victim, including on the basis of the actual or perceived race, color, national origin, sex, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, ethnicity, religion, or other distinguishing characteristics of the victim; and is repeated over time or causes severe emotional trauma.

If Virginia adopted such legislation, it would create legal risks for school systems. If schools enforce a race-conscious definition of bullying, which applies (or not) based on the “race…of the victim,” that could be deemed by the courts to violate the rights of students defined as bullies based on racial considerations. School systems could end up being sued under the Constitution’s equal protection clause, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, and 42 U.S.C. 1981. Even rules designed to help historically-disadvantaged groups are subject to legal challenge when they classify students based on race or gender, as the Supreme Court made clear last year in striking down the race-conscious admissions policies of Harvard University and the University of North Carolina. Continue reading

Rent Control Bill Introduced in Virginia

by Hans Bader

A just-introduced Virginia bill, HB 192, would limit rent increases to “one percent over the Consumer Price Index” in places where the rental vacancy rate is “less than 10 percent,” if the “Consumer Price Index … is greater than five percent.” Virginia has a rental vacancy rate of about 4%, well below 10%, so effectively, this would be a statewide rent control law.

The bill does not allow larger rent increases even to pay for things like major capital improvements.

The bill, introduced by Democratic Del. Marty Martinez, is called the “Landlord and Tenant Fairness Act.”  It contains this rent-control provision:

C. If the rental vacancy rate for a locality is less than 10 percent during the previous calendar year and the Consumer Price Index as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor is greater than five percent, any rent increase imposed by a landlord shall be no greater than one percent over the Consumer Price Index.

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Not Every Teacher’s Salary Can Be Above Average

by Hans Bader

In the mythical Lake Wobegon, all the children are above average. But in real life, half of all people have to be below average, by definition. Half of all people are paid below average, especially in counties with very low living costs, where the vast majority of people are paid below the national average.

Still, no teachers union likes its members to be paid below average, even when they live in areas where the cost of living is below the national average, like Richmond, Amherst, Lynchburg, Roanoke, Harrisonburg, Staunton, or Waynesboro.

Nadarius Clark, a Democratic Virginia delegate, has introduced House Bill 187, which would require Virginia teachers to be paid at or above the national average for teachers. The bill “requires that public school teachers be compensated at a rate that is at or above the national average teacher salary…. ” The bill also requires that public school instructional and non-instructional support staff be compensated at a rate that is “at or above the national average salary for such staff.”

It is a bad idea for states to pass such laws. If every state passed such a law, teacher pay would be higher than for any other profession, and increase toward infinity, because states would be constantly increasing their teachers’ pay relative to other states so as not to be below the national average, and yet, many states would never reach the national average, due to other states increasing teacher pay first. (By definition, half of all states are going to be below average.) Continue reading

Virginia Might Legalize Abortion in All 9 Months of Pregnancy

Human fetus attached to a placenta. Source: Wikipedia

by Hans Bader

Virginia may permanently legalize abortion in all nine months of pregnancy by banning any regulation of abortion unless necessary to meet a compelling interest, and — more importantly — defining “compelling interest” to exclude the life of the fetus even after viability.

That is what is mandated by a state constitutional amendment that has just been proposed by the Democratic Majority Leader in Virginia’s House of Delegates, House Joint Resolution No. 1

Its text defines compelling interest to include only the health of the mother, not the life of a viable fetus, by stating that a “state interest is compelling only when it is to ensure the protection of the health of an individual seeking care.” Fetuses are not “seeking care,” only their mother is.

By contrast, even when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld abortion rights, it recognized that the state had a compelling interest in protecting a viable fetus, from being aborted in the third trimester of pregnancy. As a result, current Virginia law only allows an abortion in the third trimester to protect the health or life of the mother, when “the continuation of the pregnancy is likely to result in the death of the woman or substantially and irremediably impair the mental or physical health of the woman.” Continue reading

Democrats, Judges, and Higher Taxes

from Liberty Unyielding 

For generations, Washington State had no state income tax, because of anti-income tax provisions in its state constitution. But the Washington state supreme court recently upheld a classic example of an income tax — a state tax on income from capital gains — by making the absurd argument that a capital gains tax is an “excise tax,” not an income tax. That was nonsense. The IRS and all other states deem capital-gains taxes to be income taxes, because they are levied on the amount of income you make from selling an asset, such as shares of stock or the sale of your home. The state supreme court could not deny this, and seems to have been motivated by racial, rather than legal, considerations, in reaching its ruling. It claimed that Washington’s traditional tax system “perpetuates systemic racism by placing a disproportionate tax burden on BIPOC residents,” who pay a higher fraction of sales taxes than of income or capital gains taxes.

As broadcaster Jason Rantz notes, the state supreme court’s opinion “doesn’t read like a Court decision, but a press release from a pro-tax, anti-capitalist Seattle activist group. But that’s what the Washington State Supreme Court has become.” The state supreme court’s 7-to-2 ruling is in tension with the fact that, as the tax consulting firm RSM notes, “the IRS defines capital gains as income and the Washington capital gains tax relies on federal income tax reporting.”

If other state supreme courts similarly redefine income taxes as excise taxes, that could weaken tax limits contained in other states’ laws, such as Virginia law’s ban on income taxes levied by cities and counties. This Tuesday, Virginia is holding legislative elections. Virginia’s legislature picks the state’s judges, and Democrats are slightly favored to take control of the state legislature. When they last controlled the Virginia legislature, the Democrats expanded and packed the Virginia Court of Appeals. But the Virginia supreme court currently is split 4-to-3 in favor of Republicans. Residents of northern Virginia pay 3.2% less of their income in taxes than residents of neighboring counties in Maryland, because Maryland permits county income taxes, and Virginia doesn’t.

If Democrats win the Virginia elections Tuesday, they could pick judges who uphold taxes at odds with the state constitution. Continue reading

Electric Vehicles May Be Worse for the Environment than Gasoline-Powered Ones

by Hans Bader

Electric vehicles require enormous damage to the environment just to produce their batteries — 250 tons of mining is required for a single battery, according to Real Clear Energy. Switching to electric cars would require a radical expansion of mining across the world, and the minerals for the car batteries will be refined mainly using the coal-powered electric grid of China, the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases.

Yet states are starting to mandate electric vehicles. Nine states, including California, have now decided to ban gasoline-powered cars by 2035, requiring that all cars sold be electric instead. In 2021, Virginia’s Democratic-controlled legislature passed a law adopting California standards for Virginia vehicles, so Virginia also will ban gasoline-powered cars in 2035, unless that law is repealed, as Republicans seek to do (the Republican-controlled Virginia House of Delegates voted to repeal the ban on gas-powered cars in 2023, but the Democratic-controlled Virginia state Senate kept the ban in place). Continue reading

The Benefits of School Choice and the Risks in the November Elections

from Liberty Unyielding

The debate over school choice has tended to focus on whether students learn more as a result. But learning improvements from school choice are probably smaller than improvements in other dimensions, such as civic participation, law abidingness, and family stability later in life. Jason Bedrick of The Heritage Foundation notes that “School-choice policies even appear to foster law-abidingness and self-governance. A study by @P_Diddy Wolf & @Corey_DeAngelis found that students participating in Milwaukee’s school choice program saw significant reductions in criminal convictions & paternity suits.” Perhaps private schools have the ability to instill values in ways that the public schools do not.

“When it comes to civic knowledge and skills, 10 studies find a private-school advantage, six find no difference, and none find a government-school advantage,” Bedrick points out. “Some claim government schools are where people of all different backgrounds learn to live and work together. Yet, in the research on political tolerance—a virtue our nation needs direly today—show a 13-1 advantage for school choice over government schooling.”

In the public schools, “Teaching students a historically accurate understanding of our nation’s founding and the role of government is not a priority. Instead, instructional content too often centers on social justice, ethnic studies, and Marxist-inspired Critical Race Theory,” Bedrick says.

Since private schools spend less per student on average than the public schools, school choice also has the potential to save taxpayers a lot of money over the long run. Continue reading

Sex, Lies and Virginia Law: The Susanna Gibson Case

Susanna Gibson, Democratic nominee for the 57th District seat in the Virginia House of Delegates.

Republished with permission from the Liberty Unyielding blog.

“Susanna Gibson, a House candidate in Virginia, had sex with her husband in live videos posted online and asked viewers to pay them money in return,” notes USA Today. A recent video shows the Democratic candidate for Virginia’s House of Delegates doing sex acts. She allegedly also had sex with other people, not just her husband. Continue reading

The Sorry State of the ACLU of Virginia

by Hans Bader

The communist activist Angela Davis advocated abolishing prisons in the U.S., while supporting the incarceration of political prisoners in totalitarian communist regimes overseas. The ACLU of Virginia has touted Angela Davis’s stances in the past, such as in an April 4, 2022 tweet  quoting Davis.

Now, the ACLU of Virginia has returned to promoting these extreme positions, in addition to new ones. In an August 7 post, the ACLU approvingly featured an image with the message “Abolish Prisons,” “Abolish White Supremacy,” and “No One Is Illegal On Stolen Land,” accompanied by a tweet agreeing with this sign, and saying “That’s right, NO ONE.”

We do not all live on stolen land, contrary to the claim made by some left-wingers. A great deal of land was voluntarily sold to settlers by Native Americans. Law professor Stuart Banner’s book How the Indians Lost Their Land explains this. Some land changed hands through “consensual transactions,” and other land through “violent conquest.”

Banner is a mainstream, well-respected academic at UCLA Law School who may have been surprised by what he discovered about the large scope of voluntary transfers of land from Native Americans to whites. But the large number of land sales by Native Americans makes sense because North America was a much emptier place after European diseases wiped out most of the Native American population, leaving many Native Americans with plenty of land even if they ceded some of it to white settlers.

The ACLU’s apparent call to “abolish prisons” is also misguided, because peer-reviewed academic studies show prisons prevent many violent crimes and property crimes. One such study is “The Incapacitation Effect of Incarceration: Evidence from Several Italian Collective Pardons,” which found that reducing incarceration increased the crime rate. This article was published in the American Economic Review, which is a peer-reviewed journal. Continue reading