Now this is welcome: the New York Times (via Ronald Bailey) has a column by George Johnson jumping off from the question of whether locating a giant telescope on Mauna Kea would unfairly desecrate the religious and ancestral heritage of (some) native Hawaiians. Johnson notes:
While biblical creationists opposing the teaching of evolution have been turned back in case after case, American Indian tribes have succeeded in using their own religious beliefs and a federal law called the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act to empty archaeological museums of ancestral bones — including ones so ancient that they have no demonstrable connection to the tribe demanding their reburial. The most radical among them refuse to bow to a science they don’t consider their own. A few even share a disbelief in evolution, professing to take literally old myths in which the first people crawled out of a hole in the ground.
In this turn back toward the dark ages, it is not just skeletal remains that are being surrendered. Under the federal law, many ceremonial artifacts are also up for grabs. While some archaeologists lament the loss of scientific information, Indian creationism is tolerated out of a sense of guilt over past wrongdoings.
Even some scientists bow and go along in the spirit of reparations, while admitting the loss to human inquiry and future knowledge. Earlier on NAGPRA and the Kennewick Man controversy here, here, etc.
- Obama pick for USDA nutrition chief advances food-as-social-justice theme [Politico, Free Beacon and more, Jeff Stier/Des Moines Register]
- Hawaii GMO battle is one the whole nation should watch [Mark Strauss, io9]
- “Overprotective Government, Overweight Kids?” [Lenore Skenazy]
- “Cherry wars: The crazy economics of Michigan’s favorite pitted fruit” [Bridge Magazine]
- “FDA’s Artificial Trans Fat ‘Ban’: A Dangerous Step to Control Personal Dietary Choices” [Daren Bakst, Heritage via Michelle Minton, CEI]
- And in the wings: FDA readies crackdown on salt as ingredient [AP]
- French law mandating disclosure of whether restaurant food is made in house isn’t going well [Baylen Linnekin, more]
- Supreme Court agrees to hear case in which feds claim right to ignore deadlines for suit-filing because of Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act (WSLA), passed in 1942 [my new Cato post, earlier]
- As we’ve advised before, don’t run 10K races while your claim of low-speed-crash injury is pending [Philly.com]
- Incentivizing complaint-filing: State Bar of California pushes “urgency legislation” empowering it to collect $2500 per enforcement action from targets of its efforts against unauthorized practice of law; association of non-lawyer preparers of legal documents calls it “a cleverly designed effort by the Bar to seek additional revenue from non-members of the Bar.” [Dan Walters, Sacramento Bee via KafkaEsq]
- Feds get earful on Hawaiian tribalization plan [KHON, Indian Country Today, more, earlier]
- BP: “Legal feeding frenzy continues four years after the spill” [Melissa Landry, The Hayride]
- Danke schön! “Overlawyered ist übrigens ein vorzügliches Blog, das sehr oft sehr gute Postings hat zu den Irrungen und Wirrungen des US-amerikanischen Rechtssystems” [Lawblog.de comment]
- There’ll always be a Berkeley: California city requires medical marijuana dispensaries to set aside some product for free use by indigent and homeless [Reason, KCBS]
“Dad Gets 1 Year Probation for Making Son Walk a Mile” [Hawaii; Free-Range Kids]
- Gabriel Kolko: “A historian who understood why big business wanted regulation” [Tim Carney, Washington Examiner, earlier]
- Thumbing nose at Hill, Interior Dept. moves to tribalize native Hawaiians by decree [Ilya Shapiro, NACRP, related PDF, Hawaii Free Press, also, background]
- Cellphone 911: “Safety Mandates That May Reduce Safety” [Coyote]
- Liability-expanding California decision: knowing breach of a material contractual provision may trigger state False Claims Act [Sidley] Plus Chamber’s ILR on state False Claims Acts and more;
- Feds to GM: write smoking-gun memos for trial lawyers’ benefit, or else [Daniel Fisher; more on $35 million NHTSA fine at WSJ, National Law Journal, background on Toyota]
- Child-grabbing in safety’s name: “CPS and Free-Range Parents” [David Pimentel 2012 via Free-Range Kids]
- Maryland Court of Appeals affirms denial of class certification over $29.64 wage garnishment [decision in Marshall v. Safeway, PDF via Michael Schearer]
- Worst article of the week? Cheering on tort lawsuits as a way to trip up legalized pot [John Walters and Tom Riley, Weekly Standard]
- Remember not long ago when they used to tout VA health care as a success story and model to be imposed on other health providers? [James Taranto, recalling Paul Krugman, Ezra Klein and many others; more thoughts from Coyote and Roger Pilon]
- Muscle and intimidation: union + allies surge onto Oak Brook, Ill. McDonald’s headquarters property, closing key management building [Bloomberg; related earlier here, here, here, etc.] Yesterday I got into a Twitter conversation with Tim Noah (defending the protesters’ action) and William Freeland (siding with my own view), culminating in this rather startling comment from a Center for American Progress/ThinkProgress reporter: “This entire convo backs up the point the private property law itself functions as gov’t cronyism for the wealthy.” Wow!
- Long, impassioned Ta-Nehisi Coates case for reparations [Atlantic, sidebar, Jonathan Blanks, my 2008 thoughts which eventually grew into a chapter in Schools for Misrule]
- “Insurers Demand $2 Million for Negligent Squirrel-Torching” [Holland Twp., Mich.; Lowering the Bar]
- R.I.P. left-wing historian Gabriel Kolko, whose project of de-mythologizing the Progressive Era won him a large libertarian fan base; initially contemptuous of that fan base, he came eventually to mellow with age and discern elements of common ground [Jesse Walker]
- Hard lesson for Congress to learn: “Hawaiians simply aren’t American Indians in the constitutional sense” [Ilya Shapiro, Cato, background]
If blaring your stereo around the neighborhood gets you sent up for disorderly conduct, do you risk seizure of just your radio? Or maybe your whole car? “Hawaii County Prosecutor Mitch Roth has lambasted the bill as ‘draconian.’ Meanwhile, state Sen. Russell Ruderman called SB 1342 ‘outrageous,’ telling Big Island Now that ‘we should have more safeguards, not less, to protect people from forfeiture abuses.'” [Nick Sibilla, Institute for Justice]
“Hawaii needs to rethink the ‘Steven Tyler Act.’ States can promote the right of privacy while ensuring freedom of speech.” [Josh Blackman/Ilya Shapiro, USA Today]
Protectionism for real estate agents [Coyote]:
In legislation that reminds me of stuff from the 1990s when businesses tried to fight Internet-driven disintermediation, Hawaii is proposing to force non-Hawaiians to use a local broker to list their rental properties. Apparently local residents can still list their properties on low-cost Internet sites, but folks on the mainland (also known as “the United States”) must use a high-cost locally licensed broker, who typically charge 50% of rental fees as a commission. … Only by structuring this law to apply to those annoying out-of-staters could it ever be passed.