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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GREAT JOURNALISM, SLOW FUNDRAISING

Our team has been on fire lately—publishing sweeping, one-of-a-kind investigations, ambitious, groundbreaking projects, and even releasing “the holy shit documentary of the year.” And that’s on top of protecting free and fair elections and standing up to bullies and BS when others in the media don’t.

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2) If you’re not ready to donate but you’re interested enough in our work to be reading this, please consider signing up for our free Mother Jones Daily newsletter to get to know us and our reporting better. Maybe once you do, you’ll see it’s something worth supporting.

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