Citing the recent killings by U.S. police officers, Mother Jones' Jack Hitt points out that municipalities strapped for cash have resorted into turning police departments into a mean of generating revenue. Data reveals that law enforcement officers are now fining civilians for the most mundane and obscure of reasons, and more often than not targeting the poor and racial minorities.
"Essentially, these small towns in urban areas have municipal infrastructure that can't be supported by the tax base, and so they ticket everything in sight to keep the town functioning," said William Maurer, a lawyer with the Institute for Justice who has been studying the sudden rise in "nontraffic-related fines."
Take the St. Louis suburb of Pagedale, where, among other Norman Rockwell-worthy features deemed illegal, "you can't have a hedge more than three feet high," Maurer says. "You can't have a basketball hoop or a wading pool in front of a house. You can't have a dish antenna on the front of your house. You can't walk on the roadway if there is a sidewalk, and if there is not a sidewalk, they must walk on the left side of the roadway. They must walk on the right of the crosswalk. They can't conduct a barbecue in the front yard and can't have an alcoholic beverage within 150 feet of a barbecue. Kids cannot play in the street. They also have restrictions against pants being worn below the waist in public. Cars must be within 500 feet of a lamp or a source of illumination during nighttime hours. Blinds must be neatly hung in respectable appearance, properly maintained, and in a state of good repair."
|"It is not the first time that academic research has been used for brutal interrogations."|
|You're a Comic Sans Criminal|
|The Odd Thong Bandits!|
|In Spain, Linking to Copyrighted Material Gets You Six Years in Jail|
|Net Hoax Convinces Germany of Fake U.S. Suicide Bombing Attempt|
|How to Avoid Jury Duty|
|Why, Typewriters Are Alive and Well, Thank you|
|Flying into Pape station. #ttc|
|Fall is Coming|
|Bird Shit Advertising|
|Das Berliner Buchstabenmuseum|
|On Building Your Own Trebuchet|
|The (Very Scary) People of Public Transit|
|Japanese Robot Serves Ice Cream From Inside a Vending Machine|
|Revolution Islam Hacked|
|Go the Fuck to Sleep: A Children's Bedtime Book|
|“Bringing back the 'Don't' in 'Don't be evil'”|