- Hashtag #ThanksMichelleObama trends on Twitter after high schoolers tweet it with pics of unappetizing lunch trays, provoking “shut up and eat what’s put in front of you” reactions from some who support the new federally prescribed rules. Maybe better to listen instead? [Kevin Cirilli, The Hill, Rachel Zarrell, BuzzFeed]
- “After suing a small California company for calling its eggless product ‘Just Mayo,’ Hellmann’s maker Unilever tweaked references on its websites to products that aren’t exactly mayonnaise either.” [AP/Tulsa World]
- Mark Bittman/Michael Pollan scheme for national food policy? Send it back to the kitchen, please [Elizabeth Nolan Brown]
- Johnny Appleseed, substance abuse enabler [Natasha Geiling, Smithsonian]
- One factor behind drive for new GMO non-browning potato: legal pressure against acrylamide, naturally forming browning component, by way of Calif. Prop 65 lawsuits and regulations [Guardian, New York Times]
- Costly, fussy, coercive: Minneapolis micromanages convenience food sales [Baylen Linnekin]
- No, FSMA isn’t worth the damage it’s doing to food variety and smaller producers [same]
Hans Bader has some clarification on one issue on which there’s been widespread confusion, on which the California law does not go to the extreme some would have liked [San Francisco Chronicle letter to the editor; earlier]:
“New law redefines consent at college” (Sept. 29) claimed that California’s new “affirmative consent” law regulating college sex “says that a person cannot give consent if they are intoxicated.” But it does not say this. What it actually says is that “consent” is absent when “the complainant was incapacitated” due to alcohol.
Most intoxicated people are not legally deemed “incapacitated” and can consent, as law professor Anne Coughlin and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education have noted.
Many happily married people have sex after drinking. While some liberal Democrats who sponsored SB967 wanted to ban sex between intoxicated people, the final version of the bill does not do so.
Admittedly, the new law is disturbingly vague in other ways. Its co-sponsor, Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal (D-Long Beach), said, “Your guess is as good as mine,” when asked how an innocent person could prove “affirmative” consent.
Hans Bader, Washington, D.C.
“California has a state law that prohibits for-profit companies from using volunteer labor.” That spelled doom for little Westover Winery in Castro Valley, which cleared around $11,000 in profits a year for its owning couple and used unpaid volunteers, many of them amateurs who wanted to learn the wine business. The state hit the business with $115,000 in fines and wiped it out, to the unhappiness of some of the displaced volunteers. [Scott Shackford, Reason; Rebecca Parr, Daily Review/San Jose Mercury News] More: A Debra Saunders column. And I mention this episode, along with the one linked below about a California law combating off-books contractors, in a new Cato post about how licensed and compliant businesses often support making government more powerful and invasive so as to go after the other kind.
- David Henderson has been blogging excerpts from Dan Okrent’s book on Prohibition, Last Call, including one on the origins of “Raines Law hotels” [Econlog] Also, the “law-abiding” kind of speakeasy; and would polite opinion today, as it did in the 1920s, assail Prohibition enforcement as draconian and intrusive?
- Obstacles to craft brewing [Matthew Mitchell, Christopher Koopman, Mercatus; Michelle Minton/DC Beer]
- Brown U. professor Dwight Heath on why drinking age should be lowered [WJAR]
- Feds go after hobby distillers [Jacob Sullum]
- When a liquor license sells for $425,000, as happened in Boston recently, it’s become virtually a taxi medallion [Ira Stoll]
- Maryland grain alcohol ban tripped up violin restorers, cake pros, craft bitters folk. Gee thanks, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health [WaPo] Much more about the center’s anti-alcohol crusader, David Jernigan [my Free State Notes] Tax dollars have enabled his crusades [Michelle Minton, Baltimore Sun]
- Profile of obscure Treasury Department official who “approves essentially every beer label in the United States” [Tim Mak, Daily Beast; coaster image, Flickr user Roger Wollstadt]
George Leef reviews a new book by John Compton, political scientist at Chapman University, on how evangelical anti-vice campaigns against gambling, liquor and other social ills helped undermine the Constitution’s curbs on centralized power, paving the way for later Progressive gains.
The tension between moral reformers who insisted on a virtually unlimited view of the “police powers” of government (i.e., to regulate in ways intended to protect the health and morals of the citizenry) and the Constitution’s framers, who feared the results of allowing factions to use government power for their ends, was crucial in shaping constitutional law during the 19th and early 20th centuries.
The book shows that by the time the New Deal’s aggressive expansions of federal power came before the Supreme Court, its earlier decisions in favor of approving legislation against liquor and lotteries had so undermined the defenses of property rights, contract, and federalism that it was nearly inevitable that the Court would cave in.
For example, when the Court decided the 1934 case of Blaisdell v. Savings and Loan, gutting the former understanding of the impairment of contracts clause, Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes cited an earlier decision on interstate shipment of lottery tickets which had acquiesced in a new extension of the police power, on the grounds that a previously sacrosanct constitutional barrier could be “qualified” when a state needed to “safeguard the interests of its people.” [Forbes]
Montana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Utah ban package sales on Independence Day. [Reid Wilson, Washington Post] Whether or not you live in one of those states, have a happy Fourth of July.
- The federal school lunch initiative as experienced by school districts in rural New York [Sarah Harris, North Country Public Radio]
- Europe’s Ugly Fruit movement wants to reclaim for consumers tons of food rejected for appearance, sometimes by marketers and sometimes by regulators [NYT]
- Expect uptick in food labeling suits after Supreme Court decision approving suit in Pom Wonderful v. Coca-Cola [Glenn Lammi, WLF; FedSoc Blog; more, Mayer Brown]
- “Biggest secret” of glutamic acid, of umami and MSG fame, “may be that there was never anything wrong with it at all” [BuzzFeed]
- Cottage food win: New Jersey lawmakers unanimously back right to sell homemade goodies [Institute for Justice]
- Celebrity-driven “Fed Up” film is “strident stalking-horse for a Bloombergian agenda” [Jeff Stier, Baylen Linnekin]
- Young persons, especially college students, drink much more than they used to. Right? Wrong [Michelle Minton, Andrew Stuttaford]
- Blockbuster “web accessibility” issue, with potential for massive disruption of online life, continues to drag on without action in Washington despite urgings from academics; but at Ninth Circuit’s behest, California Supreme Court will decide whether state’s Disabled Persons Act covers websites [David Ettinger, Horwitz & Levy] More: Amy Alkon and commenters;
- Federal district judge (E.D.N.Y.), suspecting foul play in multiple ADA filings, sends staff to investigate, but that’s a no-no as the Second Circuit reminds him [Josh Blackman]
- Noting “continuing paranoia and obsession,” Vermont Supreme Court rebuffs bar applicant claiming discrimination on basis of mental illness [ABA Journal]
- Just fine and dander: optician’s shop in suburban Detroit turns down worker’s request to bring service dog for generalized anxiety disorder, will pay $53,000 in settlement [EEOC]
- Attack on “sheltered workshops” fits into multi-front effort to extend reach of federal wage-hour law: “Landmark DOJ settlement with RI provides road map to disability-law compliance for 49 other states” [ABA Journal]
- Coalition politics counts: prominent disabled-rights groups [AAPD, DREDF, Bazelon Center, etc.] favor driving up cost of at-home attendants at expense of their own putative constituents [Benjamin Sachs, On Labor, on Harris v. Quinn amicus]
- “Alcoholism and the ADA: Not as clear-cut as you think” [Dan Wisniewski, HR Morning, on Crosby v. F.W. Webb Co.] “Playing golf and having sex are major life activities under the ADA” [Eric B. Meyer]
- Correctional Officers Bill of Rights (COBR) of 2011, developing out of AFSCME efforts to defend prison guards in western Maryland, and role it played in Baltimore jail scandal. Vital reading [Charles Lane, City Journal, Sasha Volokh; earlier; related Kevin Williamson on incident at NYC’s Riker’s Island in which mentally ill inmate was permitted to roast to death, responsible officer drawing 30-day suspension]
- Narrowly defeated effort to enact state False Claims Act becomes issue in Senate GOP primary [Frederick News-Post, earlier here, here]
- Citing federal guidelines, Howard County schools restrict special-event food [Ellicott City Patch]
- Judge rebuffs lawsuit by Montgomery County police union seeking to invalidate legislative measures inconsistent with its contract [WaPo] County council race “a ‘battle royale’ between the government employee and school system unions” [Seventh State]
- “Maryland Puts Up Roadblocks to Online Ed” which just happens to protect the state’s UMUC (University of Maryland University College) [The American Interest, Arnold Kling]
- Will Montgomery County finally get out of the liquor distribution business? [Bethesda magazine]
- And speaking of MoCo monopolies, its taxi near-cartel needs to go: “Uber provides a better service even without the regulation” [David Lublin, The Seventh State]