Vanity Flare

For 20 years, California's motor vehicles department has issued aptly named vanity license plates to 1.1 million drivers who feel the need to show off their initials, spouse's name and favorite baseball teams to fellow travelers. While the state has always cast a cold eye toward entries that use nasty ethnic or sexual terms, more than 300 tags with variations of the words dago and wop slipped through. Responding to complaints from the Sons of Italy organization, California has issued an unprecedented recall of dicey plates that sport such titles as DUMDAGO, 14KWOP, DAGOGOD and TOPWOP. Some drivers were allowed to...

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