- News on legal policy front: Center for Class Action Fairness, founded and run by longtime Overlawyered co-blogger Ted Frank, merging into Competitive Enterprise Institute, Ted and all [CEI]
- Arnold Kling isn’t cheering Brookings Institution’s defenestration of well-known economist Robert Litan at Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s behest. More: Sean Higgins, John Fund;
- Proposed anti-soft-drink laws favored by Michael Bloomberg & Co. have been mostly shot down, but New York Times eager to credit politicians anyway for the drop [more: Jacob Sullum];
- We interrupt the campaign season propaganda-fest with news of an actual issue sighting, on regulatory reform [Ira Stoll, Veronique de Rugy on Jeb Bush plan] After Obama initiative to eliminate red tape, agencies added $14.7 billion in regulatory costs [Sam Batkins, American Action Forum]
- Qualified immunity: “Shooting a 68-Year-Old Who Poses No Threat Violates Clearly Established Law” [Ilya Shapiro, Cato]
- If you’ve read Steve Teles’s article on upward redistribution (as you should), read Michael Greve’s reaction and Ilya Somin‘s too;
- East Texas judge throws out 168 patent cases in one fell swoop [Joe Mullin/ArsTechnica, related on popularity of East Texas among trolls]
- Tufts doc who wants to “eliminate” sweetened drinks is senior author on flawed new study on their health effects [Gil Ross, ACSH]
- Nick Gillespie interviews celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian (“In Praise of Free Enterprise Food”) and Whole Foods’ John Mackey. “Despite the strength of our local food movement, Kentucky joins Delaware and Rhode Island as the three most restrictive states in the country for cottage food sales.” [LEO Weekly, Louisville]
- Fears of toast-spread homebrew in remote communities: “Australia suggests Vegemite sales limit amid ‘alcohol abuse'” [BBC] More: less-sensational followup coverage h/t reader Mark N. in comments;
- You really ought to give Iowa-defiance a try: Rand Paul is latest candidate to oppose ethanol mandate [Rare]
- “Next Time Government Gives You Dietary Advice, Consider Doing the Opposite” [David Harsanyi] Multiple topping combinations + steep penalties add up to vexation for pizza makers under FDA menu labeling mandate [Savannah Saunders, Economics21; Veronique de Rugy, Reason] “Health Canada Gets it Right, While FDA Goes Further Astray, on ‘Added Sugars’ Labeling” [Glenn Lammi, WLF]
- “Federal Judge, Referencing FDA Order on Trans Fat, Permits State-Law Class Action to Proceed” [Glenn Lammi, WLF]
- Plaintiff says he bit into someone else’s gold tooth in his biscuit [Nick Farr]
That’s sugary drinks that Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the (notably activist) public health school at Tufts, is talking about banning. You didn’t really think it was going to stop with trans fats, did you? [Nicholas Bakalar, New York Times]
- Skull and crossbones to follow: San Francisco pols decree health warnings on soft drink, Frappuccino billboards [Steve Chapman]
- Judge criticizes feds’ punitive handling of AIG rescue as unlawful, but says no damages are owed to Hank Greenberg [Bloomberg, Thaya Knight/Cato, Gideon Kanner who predicted outcome, W$J]
- Congress resisting Obama/HUD scheme to force communities to build low-income housing [Jonathan Nelson/Economics21, Marc Thiessen, Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing or AFFH]
- California, following New York, proposes 50 hours of mandatory pro bono work for prospective lawyers [John McGinnis]
- Five part Renee Lettow Lerner series on historical role and present-day decay of juries [Volokh Conspiracy, introduction, parts one, two, three, four, five] Related: Mike Rappaport and follow-up on Seventh Amendment, Liberty and Law.
- Latest Scotland drunk-driving blood threshold: Drivers “warned that having ‘no alcohol at all’ is the only way to ensure they stay within the limit” [Independent via Christopher Snowdon]
- How not to argue for bail reform: Scott Greenfield vs. NYT op-ed writer [Simple Justice]
Outdoorsy Lake George, N.Y., has several local businesses with moose-related names. So “when John Carr, the owner of the local Adirondack Pub & Brewery, wanted to come up with a fun name several years ago for his home-crafted root beer, he settled on — what else? — Moose Wizz.” When he tried to register the name as a trademark, however, he drew a lawsuit from Canadian brewer Moosehead, which says the soft drink’s name and label of a grinning cartoon-like moose creates likelihood of confusion. [National Post]
- Our posts on the closure of California’s Westover Winery following punitive fines for letting customers volunteer continue to draw interesting comments, including one from a reader identifying himself as William Smyth, owner of the winery;
- FDA comes out with revised proposed FSMA rules, a preliminary look [AP] Agency only partially backs off restrictions on use of spent brewing grains as animal feed [Elizabeth Brown/Reason, WLF, earlier]
- “Cottage food” law success: “Texans Created Over A Thousand Local Businesses After Texas Eased Restrictions On Selling Food” [Nick Sibilla, IJ/Forbes]
- Artisanal salami maker eventually managed to persuade FDA that it should be permitted to ferment product at 72 degrees as the Italians do [WaPo] Craft sausage startup in Detroit “sort of operated under ‘do-things-until-you-get-caught” [Metro Times]
- Does drinking diet soda make you fat? [Daniel Engber, Slate]
- Kalona, Iowa maker of squeaky cheese curds cites mounting regulatory costs in decision to close (via Julie Gunlock) [Cedar Rapids Gazette]
- Bee colonies getting sick: indictment of modern humanity’s interaction with nature? [Timothy Taylor, Conversable Economist]
Eight of the twelve most affluent counties in the United States are in the Washington, D.C. area, and high among them stands Howard County, Maryland (Columbia/Ellicott City), where the celebrations tomorrow will be a bit constrained:
Some find it a damper on the festivities to bring Howard County’s Fourth of July fireworks into compliance with County Executive Ken Ulman’s December 2012 edict sharply restricting the sale of sweet beverages and high-calorie snack food at county-sponsored events. Under the regulations, which are “the first and only of their kind in the state,” at least “50 percent of packaged food offered at county events must contain 200 calories or less per portion”; prepared food, such as funnel cakes and soft-serve ice cream, is not covered. [Baltimore Sun via Quinton Report] The rules exempt the county’s “Wine in the Woods” event, held each May.
Whether or not the policy mirrors the preferences of voters in Howard County (and who knows, it might), it serves the function of affluence signaling in the conspicuously prosperous county. One reason families pay a premium to move to a county like Howard is the implicit promise that their kids will grow up with plenty of worldly, educated, skinny role models and that the government is not going to be run in line with the wishes of poorer or lower-status residents. Message sent!
[adapted from my Free State Notes blog]
In a 4-2 decision, New York’s highest court agreed with two lower courts that New York City’s attempted ban on sugary drink portions over 16 ounces exceeded the powers of the city’s Department of Health. [Bloomberg News coverage]
That’s exactly in line with what I wrote at earlier stages of the case. At the time, some national commentators did not seem to have checked out the actual reasoning of Judge Milton Tingling’s decision, which rested squarely on a distinctive 1987 New York precedent called Boreali v. Axelrod which had struck down the state health department’s attempt to regulate smoking in public places as beyond its properly delegated authority. The soda case was (as they say) on all fours with Boreali, and although the Court of Appeals could have overturned Boreali, as some academics urged, or found grounds to dodge its effect, as the two dissenters did, the court instead chose to apply the precedent as it stood. That confirms that the Bloomberg-appointed Board of Health, in its eagerness to assert powers not rightly its own, had casually broken the law.
One of the two dissenters was Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, the latest of many indications that he is inclined to pull the Court of Appeals away from many of the positions and habits that have given it a centrist reputation among state courts.
“Even pictures of food [at schools] have to have the federal government’s stamp of approval.” [Scott Shackford, Reason]
P.S. Speaking of marketing and paternalism, here’s Ann Althouse on the latest horrible Mark Bittman column.
- California Medical Association, which seems unruffled by growth of regulatory state when docs are not its targets, backs bill to require warning labels on soda [Governing, AP, Sacramento Bee, Monterey Herald]
- “The Farm Bill Came Surprisingly Close to Fixing Some Protectionist Regulations” [K. William Watson, Cato]
- “New York Alcohol Bill Benefits Big Business at Consumers’ Expense” [Michelle Minton, CEI; earlier; my upcoming Feb. 27 Bastiat Society panel in Charlotte on alcohol regs]
- Lawmakers to OSHA: hands off small farms [Insurance Journal, US News]
- States cheat the system through “heat and eat” food stamp scam [USA Today editorial]
- Why so few chickens are raised in Montana [Baylen Linnekin]
- Comic-book interpretation of Quebec’s great maple syrup heist, including background of legally enforced cartelization [Modern Farmer]
- Seen on “farm tourism” outing: “The USDA requires that only the farmer feed us” [Ira Stoll]
- Next frontier of public-health disapproval: grilled, smoked, and fried food? [Brian Palmer, Slate]