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Comment: Re:Do not want (Score 1) 189

by jratcliffe (#49488559) Attached to: The Car That Knows When You'll Get In an Accident Before You Do

Car companies are incredibly cheap so any extra complexity adds to the unreliability faster than the convenience.

Which explains why today's wildly more complex cars are also wildly more reliable than the much simpler cars of yesteryear.

Oh, wait, it doesn't.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03...

Comment: Re:Disbarring (Score 1) 118

by jratcliffe (#49480299) Attached to: Jack Thompson Will Be Featured In BBC Film 'Grand Theft Auto'

"There's no license to be a teacher, or a banker, or a police officer."

Teacher licensing is required in every state that I know of. https://www.teach.org/teaching...

Bankers definitely require licenses, at least those who deal with client money in any significant way (look up FINRA, for example).

For police officers, you have to be vetted and hired by a government agency (which is essentially getting a license) and typically take a an exam, you can't just declare yourself a police officer.

"If the bar was effective at keeping bad lawyers out, then we wouldn't have bad lawyers (ha)"

So, because the bar isn't perfect at keeping bad lawyers out, it's worthless? That's like saying that since seatbelts won't save you in all accidents, it's not worth wearing them.

"and if we believe in a free market (which, the last time I checked, lawyers charge money), then the market should be able to sort it out on its own"

We can believe in a free market but also believe in a regulated market, particularly for things where it's typically difficult for an ordinary consumer to judge value (hiring an attorney isn't like buying an apple), and where the implications of a bad "product" can be very very serious.

Regulatory capture is a real issue, and there are lots of areas where it's a major problem (Institute for Justice has done a lot of work on this), i.e. interior decorators, to take one example, but lawyers (like doctors) are something where a state licensing process does make a lot of sense.*

*It's worth noting that, even in those professions, I disagree in some cases with the degree of regulation involved, i.e. doctors limiting what nurses and physician's assistants can do, or lawyers trying to prevent "document preparers" from handling very typical, standardized situations. If you have a house, life insurance, and $50k in the bank, your spouse is dead, your two kids are grown, and you want to leave everything to those two kids equally, you don't need a lawyer to do your will.

Comment: Re:Disbarring (Score 1) 118

by jratcliffe (#49479815) Attached to: Jack Thompson Will Be Featured In BBC Film 'Grand Theft Auto'

So is teaching. So is banking. So is policing. So is being President.

And we require licenses for all of these, with the exception of the last.

Having a licensing process that ensures that practitioners are at least marginally competent, and a way to prevent the corrupt from robbing others

How does it do that? And how does it do that in ways that the law does not?

Upfront, through the bar exam, it shows that the candidate has at least a decent grasp of the law. On an ongoing basis, it provides a review process for activity that might not be illegal per se, but poorly serves the client.

Comment: Re:Disbarring (Score 3, Interesting) 118

by jratcliffe (#49479317) Attached to: Jack Thompson Will Be Featured In BBC Film 'Grand Theft Auto'

First off, a majority of states DO mandate membership in the state bar association (32 out of 50). Secondly, even in the states that don't, you can't just hang out your shingle and practice law - you need to be admitted to the bar by passing the state bar exam and being admitted to practice law in that state.

Law is a profession where an incompetent or corrupt practitioner can cause customers tremendous (and not readily correctable) harm. Having a licensing process that ensures that practitioners are at least marginally competent, and a way to prevent the corrupt from robbing others, is by no means unreasonable. We do require licenses for far too many things in this country, but this isn't one of them - if your unlicensed DC tour guide screws up, you end up getting bad info on when the Library of Congress was built, but if your lawyer screws up, you can end up losing your home, or going to jail, etc.

Comment: Re:Won't work in the US (Score 1) 62

by jratcliffe (#49442191) Attached to: Uber Finally Accepts Cash -- For Autorickshaws In Delhi

In Germany I doubt you find a cab that accepts a credit card.

Well, unless you consider Munich, Frankfurt, and Berlin to not be part of Germany, your doubt is very misplaced. I've used a credit card in taxis in all three cities. Not every cab takes them (although I can't remember ever having to go past the second taxi in the rank to get one, so I'd say at least 50%), and there's usually a fee (a Euro or two), but it's not at all unusual.

Comment: Re:Gaming the system (Score 5, Informative) 75

by jratcliffe (#49440827) Attached to: FTC Creates Office Dedicated To "Algorithmic Transparency"

It's perfectly legal to make a $10k cash deposit into or withdrawal from your bank (assuming that the underlying use/source of the cash is legal, of course). It is, however, definitely ILLEGAL to make a $9999 deposit for the purpose of staying below that $10k limit. It's called structuring, and can get you into a lot of trouble.

As an example, you sell a car for $13,000, and get paid in cash. If you go and deposit that $13k in cash in the bank, you're entirely kosher. It'll generate a currency transaction report, but they're not at all uncommon.

If, however, you deposit $9k, and then $4k, to stay below that $10k ceiling, you've just committed a federal crime. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

If you don't have time to do it right, where are you going to find the time to do it over?

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