Those “most dangerous” toys lists are an easy way for news editors to fill space before the holidays, but could a note of strain be creeping in? One of the ten on this year’s list from Massachusetts-based W.A.T.C.H. (World Against Toys Causing Harm) is a recreational art dough that contains wheat (and warns of that fact for allergy sufferers). [AP]
Updating a post from five years ago (related), a New Mexico appeals court has upheld the dismissal on summary judgment of Arthur Firstenburg’s lawsuit against next-door neighbor Raphaela Monribot for refusing to turn off her cellphone, computer, dimmer switches, and other electronic paraphernalia, which Firstenburg alleged cause him injury because he experiences electromagnetic sensitivity, or EMS, an acute sensitivity to electronic radiation, a condition on which (per the court) he has been drawing Social Security disability payments since 1992. The trial court excluded the proffered testimony of Firstenburg’s expert witnesses on causation; without it, it found that his claims of causation necessarily failed for lack of admissible evidence. More: George Johnson, New York Times.
- Summary of bills passed in legislature [Washington Post] With legislative session over, bills that did not meet with favorable action include “source of income discrimination,” i.e., requiring landlords to accept Section 8 [unfavorable report, earlier]; curbing competition among hospices [unfavorable report, earlier]
- Dining allergy bill gets to conference committee stage, requirement that restaurants keep trained allergy advisers on hand watered down to county option [action, NFIB, AP after Senate passage, earlier]
- Crime and police bills that didn’t pass: requiring reports on asset seizures/forfeitures [Senate hearing, earlier]; police wearing of videocameras [amended substantially before House passage, unfavorable report in Senate]; castle doctrine and self-defense [unfavorable report, more];
- New school construction prevailing wage bill hurts communities and kids [Ellen Sauerbrey letter]
- Terms of final dog bite bill signed by governor: owner generally liable for bites to unoffending persons, can escape liability by rebutting presumption that it knew or had reason to know dog was dangerous, all breeds treated alike [AP, Baltimore Sun]
- Yes, Maryland legislators just decriminalized marijuana while banning grain alcohol and declining to lift the ban on raw milk;
- How does Maryland rank among the 50 states for property rights protections? Not well, that’s for sure [Freedom in the Fifty States]
- Truly awful proposal: “2014 HB 366 proposes to prohibit landlords from refusing housing vouchers” [Maryland Legislative Watch, earlier from other states]
- SB 409/HB1197 (Raskin/Hixson) would require restaurants to have at least one staffer on premises at all times with state-accredited training available to discuss food allergies with customers [MdLegWatch]
- House of Delegates panel passes O’Malley’s steep minimum wage hike, though with some amendments [AP, WaPo]
- Sunlight on one of the most dangerous law enforcement practices: SB 468 (Shank) would require state and local agencies to report on asset seizures/forfeitures [Maryland Legislative Watch, Baltimore Sun]
- HB 1253 would empower existing hospice operators to block new competitors through tightened certificate-of-need (CON) regulation [Legiscan, Del. Michael Smigiel, Marc Kilmer/Maryland Public Policy Institute].
- Steep hike in cigarette tax: thank heavens no one’s figured out how to smuggle contraband along I-95, I-70 or we might have trouble [J.D. Tuccille, Reason]
- I spoke Thursday in College Park at a panel on marijuana legalization sponsored by Students for Sensible Drug Policy with panelists Neill Franklin of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Toni Holness of the ACLU of Maryland, and Eric Sterling of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation, moderated by Rachelle Yeung of the Marijuana Policy Project. I discussed Cato’s 2010 study by Jeffrey Miron and Katherine Waldock, “The Budgetary Impact of Ending Drug Prohibition“.
A Hamilton, Ont., mother has filed a human rights complaint against her daughter’s elementary school, claiming it discriminated against the six-year-old for failing to accommodate her life-threatening allergy to eggs and dairy. The case … seeks to ban milk products and eggs from her daughter’s school.” …
Ms. Glover wants the allergens removed from the school, and school and board staff get human rights training. She wants to “bring to light the fact that children have the right to a barrier free education.”
“Anything short of that is discrimination,” she says.
Trying to order medications for a heart attack victim using electronic medical records, White Coat is frustrated to run into screen after screen preventing him from completing the order without addressing unlikely allergy issues (and thus protecting the hospital from liability):
For those of you who don’t know what alarm fatigue is, think of a car alarm. The first time you hear it going off, you run to your window to see who’s breaking into a car. Maybe you run to the window the second time and the third time, too. By the tenth time the alarm goes off, you’re thinking that the alarm is broken and someone needs to get that fixed. After about thirty false alarms, you’re feeling like going out there and busting up the car yourself – especially if the car alarm wakes you when you’re asleep.
It’s a concept with many applications beyond the emergency room setting, too, product warnings being just the start.
P.S. Dr. Westby Fisher has some related thoughts about the limits of trying to engineer physician responsibility through electronic records design.
- Tel Aviv: “City Workers Paint Handicap Space Around Car, Then Tow It” [Lowering the Bar]
- Editorial writer has some generous comments about my work on excessive litigation. Thanks! [Investors Business Daily]
- Nuisance payment: Toyota will throw $29 million at state attorneys general who chased bogus sudden acceleration theory [Amanda Bronstad, NLJ]
- “Iowa Woman Who Didn’t Break Allergy Pill Limit Law Charged with Crime Anyway” [Shackford]
- Cutting outlays on the nonexistent census, and other bogus D.C. spending cuts: in the business world, they’d call it fraud [Coyote, Boaz] Skepticism please on the supposed national crumbling-infrastructure crisis [Jack Shafer]
- Tassel therapy: “Lawsuit Claims Dancing in a Topless Bar “Improves the Self Esteem” of the Stripper” [KEGL]
- Was there ever an economics textbook to beat Alchian and Allen? R.I.P. extraordinary economist Armen Alchian, whose microeconomics introductory course for grad students I was fortunate to take long ago [Cafe Hayek, David Henderson, more, more, more, Bainbridge]
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass. was in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act because it failed to
* Continually provide ready-made hot and cold gluten- and allergen-free food options in its dining hall food lines;
* Develop individualized meal plans for students with food allergies, and allow those students to pre-order allergen free meals, that can be made available at the university’s dining halls in Cambridge and Boston;
* Provide a dedicated space in its main dining hall to store and prepare gluten-free and allergen-free foods and to avoid cross-contamination;
P.S. NPR report confirms demand from advocates for “gluten-free food [that] is prepared and served in dedicated areas.”
In Clyde Hill, Wash., a retired Seattle Mariners baseball player has won a ruling from the town that his neighbors must remove two trees that block what would otherwise be an “amazing view of Seattle’s skyline” from his property. “An appraiser hired by John and Kelly Olerud said their $4 million home would be worth $255,000 more if the rare Chinese pine and the Colorado spruce across the street were cut down and replaced with smaller plants. The Chinese pine’s value is estimated at more than $18,000.” [Seattle Times, Ilya Somin] In other tree removal news, an Ontario mother “is fighting to have oak trees removed near her child’s school, fearing that acorns could pose a deadly threat to students with severe allergies.” Local officials say it is unlikely the acorns would prove allergenic to a child unless eaten, which rarely happens given their extreme bitterness. The mother also says acorns “can also be used to bully and torment children.” [Toronto Star via Lenore Skenazy]