- Behind costly EPA crackdown on wood-burning stoves, a whiff of sweetheart lawsuits? [Larry Bell]
- Reminder: California’s Prop 65 doesn’t actually improve public health, makes lawyers rich, and harasses business [Michael Marlow, WSJ]
- “What I learned from six months of GMO research: None of it matters” [Nathanael Johnson, Grist]
- Eminent domain threatens store owner in Fire Island’s Saltaire [NYP]
- In case you haven’t seen this one: chemical content of all-natural foods [James Kennedy Monash]
- “The court ordered that the county pay the turtles’ attorneys fees.” [Dan Lewis, Now I Know]
- “On the government’s books, the switch [from steel to aluminum in Ford’s new F-150 pickup] is a winner because MPG goes up.” [William Baldwin, Forbes]
- Judge Kozinski, writing for Ninth Circuit panel, declares Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s harassment of whaling ships to fall under piracy law as covered by international treaty [Trial Insider, Julian Ku, Kevin Jon Heller, Eugene Kontorovich and more and yet more, SSCS’s black skull flag via Wikipedia]
- California Assemblyman Mike Gatto [D-Silver Lake] introduces AB 227, which would reform notorious Prop 65 by giving business 14 days to fix lack of warning before entitling lawyer to bounty [his blog, Dem caucus, Burbank Leader]
- Unintended, unsanitary consequences of plastic bag bans (Ramesh Ponnuru/ Bloomberg) And theft too? [Seattle Times]
- Writer who joined the circus for several days reports on Ringling Bros. elephant controversy: [Bill McMorris/Washington Free Beacon (quotes me), earlier]
- Study finds new CAFE fuel economy standards far less efficient than taxes in promoting conservation [Alex Tabarrok]
- Now Mark Bittman is being alarmist about cosmetics [ACSH, background]
- Overcriminalization looms large for Gulf Coast outdoor businesses, says TPPF’s Vikrant Reddy [FoxNews]
- Behind a YouTube anti-fracking video labeled “Hydraulic Fracturing turns gardenhose to flamethrower,” there’s quite a story [Star-Telegram]
- BPA-endocrine alarms: “Why Nick Kristof’s Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Us All” [Trevor Butterworth, Forbes]
- Incy wincy spider shuts down $15 million construction project [Fox]
- Regulatory Balkanization of gasoline market worsens price volatility [Morriss/Boudreaux via David Henderson; more, WSJ] Will CAFE sink GM? [Holman Jenkins via same]
- “After a fire at a massive oil plant in California, residents want compensation. But it’s not that easy” [Above the Law]
- “Dispatches from the Duke Conference on ‘Conservative Visions of Our Environmental Future'” [Jonathan Adler]
- Broadway, dark? “The high cost of closing Indian Point” [Lesser & Bryce, NYP]
- Bad move for GOP to call disappointed litigant as witness at Sotomayor hearing [Taranto via Barnett] Nominee’s disavowal of Legal Realism and identitarian/viewpoint-based judging should be seen as a victory for legal conservatism [Copland at PoL, related Examiner and NRO “Bench Memos”; Adler/WaPo; coverage in NYT] Why do Senators speechify instead of asking questions? “Why does the rain fall from up above?” [Althouse]
- “Illinois Law Dean Announces New Admission Policy in Wake of Scandal” [NLJ; earlier] “U of I Law School Got Scholarship Cash for Clout Admissions” [ABA Journal]
- Weird warning sign in Swedish elevator [BoingBoing; commenters there disagree as to whether the elevator in question is of an old continuous-motion type called a Paternoster which has fallen out of use in part because of its high accident risk, or an elevator of more conventional design but lacking an inner door]
- “Gambler Appeals; Wants More of His Money Back From Casino” [South Korea; Lowering the Bar]
- The price of one Ohio Congresswoman’s vote on Waxman-Markey [Washington Times via Coyote, who has a followup]
- “Want to live like tort king Melvin Belli?” [real estate listing in Pacific Heights; WSJ Law Blog]
- Fierce moral urgency yada yada: “Put nothing in writing, ever” advised Carol Browner on CAFE regs [Mark Tapscott, D.C. Examiner] Alex Beam zings Obama on signing statements [Boston Globe]
- Constitution lists only three federal crimes: treason, piracy, and counterfeiting. How’d we get to 4,500 today? [Ryan Young, CEI “Open Market”]
Chuck Hurley withdrew not because of the many liberty-hostile positions taken by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, but because of one of the issues on which he was right, namely, recognizing that there’s a tradeoff between fuel-economy-regulation-driven downsizing of vehicles and occupant safety, an inconvenient truth some environmental and consumer groups would rather not acknowledge. [National Journal, Fleet Owner, AP/Tacoma News Tribune]
A. Because protecting the UAW’s contract, and the entrenchment of auto dealers under horrible state laws, and the executives’ perks, and the CAFE-law irrationalities, and the various goodies a half-dozen other constituencies want to hold on to, is the whole point of structuring the bailout the way Congress is structuring it. You’re welcome. (Dec. 11).
P.S. At Forbes, Dan Gerstein wonders why Chrysler’s rich parent Cerberus deserves bailing out.
Under a regulation known as the “two-fleet rule”, automakers must meet CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards separately for their domestically produced and for their imported vehicles, rather than just hitting the same overall number through an average of both. The economics of production and transport tend to favor the domestic production of large cars and the importation of small economy cars. “For 30 years, to make and sell the large vehicles that earn their profits, the Detroit Three have been effectively required to build small cars in high-wage, UAW factories, though it means losing money on every car,” writes the WSJ’s Holman Jenkins, Jr. It’s “nonsensical” and “a naked handout to the UAW at the expense of the companies and their customers.” (“Yes, Detroit Can Be Fixed”, Nov. 5).
P.S. Of course the actual legislative responses we’re in for will probably be very different. Mickey Kaus: “So the UAW wants a $25 billion bailout and an end to the secret ballot … Because Wagner Act unionism clearly worked out so well for Detroit.”
Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) believes that government must force automakers to increase the fuel-efficiency of the vehicles they sell. Here’s part of a letter that he has in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal, explaining:
Your editorial opposing fuel economy standards (“Not So Grande CAFE,” May 8) that the standards amount “to the government dictating the kind of cars Americans will be able drive, even if those cars aren’t safe on the road.” This is wrong.
First, the goal of fuel economy standards is to enable Americans to drive the cars they want — but that the automakers aren’t producing. And what Americans want is the full range of vehicles available now, including SUVs, but with greater gas mileage. The technology exists to create those vehicles affordably, car buyers want them, and the nation needs them. The fact that they are not on sale is a classic market failure.
Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R., N.Y.)
House Committee on Science
Rep. Boehlert whips the term “market failure” about too cavalierly. The believable existence of genuine market failure requires an institutional setting in which a significant number of individual decision-makers each bears too few of the consequences of his or her choices — such as when, for example, an owner of a factory upstream pollutes a river in ways that harm downstream owners of riverside land because downstream owners have no effective way to enforce their property rights to an unpolluted river.
But the situation decried by Rep. Boehlert has none of the institutional prerequisites for “classic market failure.” If a sufficient number of consumers truly are willing to pay for more-fuel-efficient cars (as Rep. Boehlert asserts), surely at least one of the 20-plus automakers now supplying new cars to the U.S. market would discern this fact — and, out of pure self-interest, act to satisfy this consumer demand. After all, if increasing a car’s fuel-efficiency would cost an automaker $X and if consumers are willing to pay $X+Y for such a car, then profits are to be had satisfying this consumer demand.
Rep. Boehlert doesn’t divulge in this letter his source of information about this alleged consumer demand, but surely now that he’s unearthed this valuable information, automakers will act on it voluntarily — assuming, of course, that the information’s source is credible.
Alas, I suspect that Rep. Boehlert’s source of information on this point is not credible — for, again, if Rep. Boehlert’s claim were credible, automakers wouldn’t have to be forced by government to satisfy their customers’ demands.
The arrogance and conceits of Rep. Boehlert and his ilk make me want to vomit.