Come to California and Travel Freely!

Paul Krugman is blogging about Cato’s latest Freedom Report, so I went over to take a look. California, once again, is ranked a dismal 48th:

Our low ranking, of course, is due to the fact that our taxes are high and we look poorly on businesses polluting our air and water. But as I browsed the various categories, I came across this:

What’s this all about? We were an absolute travel hellhole through 2012 but then suddenly jumped to paradise status in a single year. We currently score 0.007062 on travel freedom, whatever that means, but I guess it must be pretty good since it makes us #5 in the nation.

Drilling down, it turns out that our overall travel score jumped from -0.00707 in 2012 to 0.003676 in 2013. But why? Drilling down even further, their downloadable spreadsheet records only one change: our score on “Finger or thumbprint required for driver’s license”—although I can’t quite tell precisely what caused this since there seem to be two columns with two different numbers and only one of them changed. What’s more, as far as I know we still require a fingerprint to get a driver’s license. Can anyone help me out here?

In any case, what’s really weird about this whole thing is that apparently our travel freedom rank can skyrocket from #49 to #10 due to one change that’s somehow related to fingerprints on driver’s licenses. What the hell kind of travel freedom ranking is this, anyway? Texas is currently #50 and I’m afraid to even look at their raw data. Speed traps? Lots of civil asset forfeiture? Passports required if you enter the state driving a Prius? Lingering memories of Chuck Norris constantly kicking ass on Texas highways? It is a mystery.

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REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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