- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 13, 2002

Noble: The Hawaiian government, for ending an expensive, mindless mailing that caused little but grief for motorists.
No, the mailings were not from Hawaii's revenue office, at least not per se. They came from Hawaii's Department of Transportation, which a few months ago set photo-radar systems aboard vans in cooperation with a private company, ostensibly to stem a statewide epidemic of speeding.
The vans were set rolling in search of robbery, er, revenue, from anyone they could catch speeding along Oahu's highways. The state and its private partner in crime then shared the substantial proceeds ($27 plus $5 for every mph over the posted speed limit) from the motorists unlucky enough to be caught by the "talivans," even if they were not in their car at the time.
This unfair, invasive attempt to grab a pot of drivers' gold so outraged the state's normally placid residents (the University of Hawaii's mascot is the Rainbow) that this week the normally progressive state Senate (composed of 22 Democrats and 3 Republicans) repealed the measure unanimously, the state House went along, and Hawaii Gov. Benjamin J. Cayetano ordered the program cancelled.
It's about time that one state put the brakes on a program that was driving drivers into Kodak moments of road rage. Now, if only the D.C. Council could take the same clue.

Knaves: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), for continuing an embarrassing, mindless mailing that should cause grief to everyone touched by September 11.
Maybe FAA administrators and database managers simply got a strong whiff of something confiscated from an "Air Colombia" inbound. That would explain why pilot correspondence is still being sent to the former apartment residence of Ziad al-Jarrah, the terrorist pilot of United Flight 93.
Both al-Jarrah and another hijacker, Marwan al-Shehhi, are still listed as aviators in the FAA's Airmen Directory. According to the al-Jarrah's landlord, Charles Lisa, the FAA sent al-Jarrah a reminder to have his regular fitness exam three months after September 11, and followed that with a newsletter.
This bureaucratic bungling would have been bad enough, but it was almost laughed off by agency spokeswoman Laura Brown, who told the New York Times (which broke the story), "What would a known terrorist do with public information that is nefarious?"
Hmm, that's a toughie, especially considering that known terrorist al-Jarrah died while attempting to use the public information available at flight schools to crash an airliner into one of the public buildings in Washington. It's time for the FAA to update its databases and ground its administrators.

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