Liability roundup

How Hudson Yards connects to Harlem

What an amazing story: “Manhattan’s new luxury mega-project [Hudson Yards] was partially bankrolled by an investor visa program called EB-5, which was meant to help poverty-stricken areas.” The far West Side of lower Manhattan, not far from Tribeca, the Village, and Chelsea, is hardly known for its poverty, but creative subsidy seekers carved out an “area” that connected the Hudson Yards site, gerrymander style, through midtown and Central Park to public housing projects in Harlem. And presto: access to benefits meant to revive high-unemployment urban areas. [Kriston Capps, CityLab]

Reader David Link writes:

It’s only bad if you think the point of the Poverty/Industrial Complex is designed to alleviate poverty, rather than just being a set of white collar jobs programs. This gerrymander is a visual example of the usual, multiple links between poverty/social justice/community improvement rhetoric and the people who ultimately benefit. From what I’ve heard, it sounds like a good step for New York, and the only excess cost is to those who aren’t skeptical enough to accept the rhetoric.

King of the Hill (tech antitrust division)

Mar 2000: Palm Pilot IPO’s at $53 billion

Sep 2006: “Everyone’s always asking me when Apple will come out with a cellphone. My answer is, ‘Probably never.’” – David Pogue (NYT)…

Jun 2007: iPhone released

Nov 2007: “Nokia: One Billion Customers—Can Anyone Catch the Cell Phone King?” (Forbes)

A brief history of impregnable tech monopolies that were pregnable after all, from personal computers to music distribution to social media, by Geoffrey Manne and Alec Stapp [Truth on the Market][adapted and condensed from Cato at Liberty]

April 17 roundup

  • Estonia introduces artificial intelligence algorithms to adjudicate small claims disputes [Eric Niiler, Wired]
  • “The Connecticut Ruling: Another Attempt to Blame the Gun for Gun Crime” [Joyce Lee Malcolm, Law and Liberty on 4-3 Connecticut Supreme Court ruling finding state consumer law not preempted by federal PLCAA (Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act)] “But will the Supreme Court allow Connecticut to circumvent federal law?” [Scott Greenfield] Remington will seek certiorari review at U.S. Supreme Court [Dave Collins, AP/WTIC]
  • In Pennsylvania, there’s “a feeling that law firms can get judges fired” after a worker’s comp judge who angered “one of the state’s most politically connected law firms…quickly lost her job” [William Bender, Philadelphia Daily News]
  • Nanny staters vs. comptroller’s moves to modernize alcohol marketing regulation, no action on Sixth District gerrymander, Angelos asbestos bill tripped up, critics are right to oppose push to abolish child-abuse statute of limitation, heads should roll in business lobby after minimum wage fiasco, and more in a Sine Die (end of legislative term) roundup at my Maryland blog Free State Notes;
  • “Harm Reduction: Shifting from a War on Drugs to a War on Drug-Related Deaths,” videos of Cato Institute conference with Jeffrey Singer, Maia Szalavitz, Ed Rendell, Clark Neily, Jeffrey Miron, Michael Cannon, and others [parts one, two, three, four, Jeffrey Singer overview blog post] and related Cato podcasts with Daniel Ciccarone on prohibition as crisis driver, Scott MacDonald on heroin-assisted treatment, Darwin Fisher on supervised injection, and Adrianne Wilson-Poe on cannabis and opioid overdose;
  • “How Are State Supreme Court Justices Selected?” [Federalist Society Policy Brief video with Chris Bonneau and Brian Fitzpatrick]

Virginia lawmakers say no to Bloomberg embeds in AG’s office

I wrote in October about “a low-profile program in which a nonprofit backed by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg places lawyers in state attorney generals’ offices, paying their keep, on the condition that they pursue environmental causes.” Now the Virginia legislature has approved a provision apparently aimed at heading off the practice in that state, the relevant provision reading: “The sole source of compensation paid to employees of the Office of the Attorney General for performing legal services on behalf of the Commonwealth shall be from the appropriations provided under this act.” Chris Horner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute has campaigned against the practice. [Todd Shepherd, Free Beacon; Charmaine Little, Legal NewsLine]

Facebook now welcomes social media regulation

In a Cato Podcast with Caleb Brown, John Samples discusses his new Cato policy analysis, “Why the Government Should Not Regulate Content Moderation of Social Media.” One thing that changed just lately: Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, in the words of Nick Gillespie,

is explicitly calling for government regulation of specifically political speech on his platform and beyond. In his quest to limit expression on social media, Zuckerberg is joined not only by progressive Democrats such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) but conservative Republicans such as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), who are calling for the equivalent of a Fairness Doctrine for Twitter and similar services.

For those of us who believe in freedom of expression, this is a revolting development.

More: “Will a Free Press Cheer on Government Censorship of the Internet?” [Scott Shackford, Hans Bader] Several commentators note that having made Facebook the big success in its market, Zuckerberg can now ask for regulations that would tend to lock in its dominance by heaping compliance burdens on rising competitors [Coyote, Andrea O’Sullivan, Mercatus]

Labor roundup

  • Not headed to Gotham after all: “The RWDSU union was interested in organizing the Whole Foods grocery store workers, a subsidiary owned by Amazon, and they deployed several ‘community based organizations’ (which RWDSU funds) to oppose the Amazon transaction as negotiation leverage. It backfired.” [Alex Tabarrok]
  • “NLRB reverses course and restores some sense to its concerted activity rules” [Jon Hyman, earlier]
  • Among papers at the Hoover Institution’s conference last summer on “Land, Labor, and the Rule of Law”: Diana Furchtgott-Roth, “Executive Branch Overreach in Labor Regulation” discusses persuader, fiduciary, overtime, joint employer, independent contractor, federal contract blacklist, campus recruitment as age discrimination, and more; Price Fishback, “Rule of Law in Labor Relations, 1898-1940” on how reducing violence was a key objective of pro-union laws, anti-union laws, and arbitration laws; and related video; Christos Andreas Makridis, “Do Right-to-Work Laws Work? Evidence from Individual Well-being and Economic Sentiment” (“Contrary to conventional wisdom, RTW laws raise employee well-being and sentiment by improving workplace conditions and culture”) and related video;
  • Relief coming on NLRB’s Browning-Ferris joint employer initiative? [Federalist Society panel video with Richard Epstein, Richard F. Griffin, Jr., Philip Miscimarra, moderated by Judge Timothy Tymkovich; Philip Rosen et al., Jackson Lewis; earlier]
  • “Production company hires union labor after Boston officials allegedly threaten to withhold permits for music festivals. District court: Can’t try the officials for extortion because they didn’t obtain any personal benefit; the alleged benefits went to the union. First Circuit: The indictment should not have been dismissed.” [John K. Ross, IJ “Short Circuit,” on U.S. v. Brissette, earlier]
  • In 1922 a brutal mob attack resulted in the slaughter of 23 strikebreakers in Herrin, Illinois. Maybe something that should be taught in schools? [Robby Soave, Reason]

“The Terrible Toll of the Kidney Shortage”

“Many Americans die every year because they need kidney transplants, in large part due to federal laws banning organ sales. …an average of over 30,000 Americans have died each year, because the ban prevented them from getting transplants in time.” [Ilya Somin; Frank McCormick, Philip J. Held, and Glenn M. Chertow, Journal of the American Society of Nephrology] More: Michael Huemer (“I don’t know what ‘commodification’ is or why anyone should care about it. But it would have to be incredibly terrible to justify imposing death on people to prevent them from doing it.”); Emily Largent, Petrie-Flom “Bill of Health” (“unmet need for hearts, lungs, livers, and other vital organs” is also dire; “real-world test of regulated payments is needed”); Ike Brannon, Cato Regulation magazine (unneeded multivisceral transplants).