- Julie Gunlock, from her new book, on killer garden hoses [Free-Range Kids]
- “EPA and the Army Corps’ ‘Waters of the U.S.’ Proposal: Will it Initiate Regulatory Overflow?” [Samuel Boxerman with Lisa Jones, WLF]
- Federal rules governing land ownership on Indian reservations ensure waste and neglect [Chris Edwards, Cato]
- “Zoning’s Racist Roots Still Bear Fruit” [A. Barton Hinkle]
- Victor Fleischer: Pigouvian taxes on externalities beloved of economists, not so great as actionable policy [TaxProf]
- So economically and so environmentally destructive, it’s got to be federal ethanol policy [Hinkle]
- “Regulation Through Sham Litigation: The Sue and Settle Phenomenon” [Andrew Grossman for Heritage on a consent-decree pattern found in environmental regulation and far beyond; Josiah Neeley, The Federalist]
A federal energy mandate takes its toll on bystanders:
Now that the United States is using 40 percent of its crop to make biofuel, it is not surprising that tortilla prices have doubled in Guatemala, which imports nearly half of its corn.
In a country where most families must spend about two thirds of their income on food, ‘the average Guatemalan is now hungrier because of biofuel development.’ … Roughly 50 percent of the nation’s children are chronically malnourished, the fourth-highest rate in the world, according to the United Nations.
From Reason.tv, and new to us, at least, if not exactly new, with vignettes on reef reconstruction, ethanol subsidies, and child health insurance (via Hodak Value). And from Mark Perry, “Some Great Examples of Unintended Consequences from Wikipedia’s Listing for ‘Perverse Incentives.'” An example, from an economics text by James Gwartney and Richard Stroup:
In the former Soviet Union, managers and employees of glass plants were at one time rewarded according to the tons of sheet glass produced. Not surprisingly, most plants produced sheet glass so thick that one could hardly see through it. The rules were changed so that the managers were rewarded according to the square meters of glass produced. The results were predictable. Under the new rules, Soviet firms produced glass so thin that it was easily broken.
Don’t miss the rat-farming and dinosaur-bone examples, either.
Now why again do we subsidize the making of corn into ethanol at great cost? [Kenneth Anderson, Opinio Juris]
- “I did not know what kind of monster we were dealing with”: dramatic testimony from Judge Lackey on Scruggs corruption [Folo; and repercussions too]
- New at Point of Law: Pork-barreling Albany lawmakers shell out for just what NY needs, three more law schools; Sarbanes-Oxley unconstitutional? Ted goes after JAMA on Vioxx; sadly, appeals court overturns Santa Clara opinion that nailed ethical problems with govt.-paid contingency fee; legal aid lawyers, to subprime borrowers’ rescue? and much more;
- Cadbury claim: we own the color purple as it relates to chocolate [Coleman]
- A world gone mad: Innocence Project directors include… Janet Reno? [Bernstein @ Volokh]
- Not unrelatedly: Can a California prosecutor be held liable for wrongful murder conviction of man freed after 24 years? [Van de Kamp versus Goldstein, L.A. Times via Greenfield]
- With all his lawyer chums from Milberg-witness days, you’d think Ben Stein could have saved the makers of his creationist movie from stumbling into textbook IP infringements [Myers, again, WSJ law blog]
- Groggy from dental anesthesia, plus a half a glass to drink: then came the three felony DUI counts [Phoenix New Times, Balko via Reynolds]
- Shell says boaters had years of notice that mandated ethanol in fuel was incompatible with fiberglass marine gas tanks, which hasn’t stopped the filing of a class action [L.A. Times via ABA Journal]
- Terrorism asymmetry: “They say ‘Allahu Akbar!’ we say ‘Imagine the liability!'” [McCarthy/Lopez, NRO]
- Deborah Jeane Palfrey convicted [WaPo; earlier]
- David Neiwert truly born yesterday if he thinks Kevin Phillips is noteworthy for his record of being right [Firedoglake; some correctives]
- Update: $8M Greyhound verdict (Aug. 18, 2005) affirmed. [Serles v. Greyhound (6th Cir. 2007)] (Update to update: also Nordberg.)
- Hugo Chavez-wannabe Mississippi AG Jim Hood: $2.5M State Farm verdict is “drop in the bucket.” See also POL Jan. 16 and links therein. [Biloxi Sun-Herald]
- I’ve been saying this for a while: Enron litigation a search for deep pocketed-bystanders, rather than actual wrongdoers. [Houston Chronicle]
- Lawless LA: Deputies barred from foot chases now, so criminals know to run away. Lawsuit victim:
“I’m less proactive because I’m worried the next time I do something — who’s going to second-guess that?” [LA Times]
- Lawyer tries to sabotage clients’ immigration proceedings over $7000 fee dispute, gets slap on wrist. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]
- Forbidden words [Bader @ CEI Open Market]
- How bad US ethanol law hurts poor Mexicans [Cafe Hayek]
- Case for abolishing FCC [Slate (!)]
“An Iowa judge has denied unemployment benefits to a man who claimed discrimination after being fired from an ethanol plant for drinking ‘automobile fuel’ produced by the company.” Cory Neddermeyer, 42, was fired after being hospitalized with an almost fatal 0.72 blood-alcohol level after dipping into the 190-proof fuel at his employer, Amaizing Energy in Denison, Iowa. “Neddermeyer argued that his employer shared in the responsibility for the incident because the spill at the plant provided an ‘opportunity’ for him to drink. He also argued that Amaizing Energy was discriminating against him due to his ‘disease of alcoholism.'” (Clark Kauffman, “Man fired for getting gassed on spilled ethanol at work”, Des Moines Register, Jul. 9 (via Romenesko)).