“A federal judge struck down California’s ban on foie gras, allowing restaurants to serve up the delicacy for the first time in two years.” He ruled that the ban infringed on federal authority. While restaurants now can import the delicacy from other states, a separate ban on producing it in California remains in place. [San Francisco Chronicle, SF Eater, opinion, Linnekin, earlier]
- Why eating local isn’t necessarily good for the environment [Pierre Desrochers and Hiroko Shimizu, The Locavore’s Dilemma via David Boaz/Cato, BoingBoing]
- “Can Behavioral Economics Combat Obesity?” [Michael Marlow and Sherzod Abdukadirov, Cato Regulation mag, PDF] Get cranberry juice out of the schools. Must we? [Scott Shackford]
- Portland might deem you a subsidy-worthy “food desert” even if you’re six blocks from a Safeway [City Journal]
- “Policemen eying giant iced-coffee I bought near 96th and Broadway. I’m imagining a future of ‘stop and sip.’ ‘Is that sweetened, sir?'” [Conor Friedersdorf]
- Crise de foie: California’s ban on livers of overfed fowl results in evasion, coinage of word “duckeasy” [Nancy Friedman]
- In defense of policy entrepreneur Rick Berman [David Henderson]
- The federal definition of macaroni [Ryan Young, CEI]
- How food safety regulation can kill [Baylen Linneken, Reason] We’ve got a nice little town here, don’t try to grow food in it [same] And the prolific Linnekin is guest-blogging at Radley Balko’s along with Ken and Patrick from Popehat, Maggie McNeill, and Chattanooga libertarian editorialist Drew Johnson.
- 3M sues prominent Washington lawyer/lobbyist Lanny Davis, says threat of bad publicity improperly used as lawsuit leverage [Above the Law, more, Legal Ethics Forum]
- House Oversight Committee report on expanding regulatory state;
- Does lefty talking-points dispensary ThinkProgress approve of silencing affirmative action critic Roger Clegg? Decide for yourself;
- Robin Fretwell Wilson and Jana Singer debate on scope of religious exemptions in law’s recognition of same-sex marriage [FedSoc Engage] New Heritage backgrounder on same topic cites my writing (in the course of disagreeing). Michael Barone on the politics of the issue, and why he supports the evolution of the law [Examiner]
- California: chefs to defy foie gras ban? [LA Weekly via Alkon, earlier on Chicago]
- “Massachusetts curbs lifetime alimony payments” [NY Times; Jennifer Braceras, Boston Herald] Many state child support formulas overstate cost of child raising [Bader]
- In the mail: new John Fonte book on transnational legal structures, “Sovereignty or Submission” [Encounter Books]
“Yes, I was a ‘duckeasy’,” confesses one restaurateur. “The repeal passed Wednesday over the shouted objections of the ordinance’s original sponsor by a vote of 37 to six after a council member forced it out of committee.” (AFP/Drexel “Smart Set”, May 15). We were among the many who criticized the Chicago government for banning the delicacy.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m quite happy with a state of the world where dogfighting is banned but foie gras isn’t. But I’m not persuaded that the good professor has made the case for a principled distinction. Discussion of this (and of the almost entirely unrelated Larry Craig case) after the jump:
Paging Professor Volokh, Ronald Bailey, and other libertarian bloggers: On what principled grounds can one distinguish between a ban on foie gras and a ban on dogfighting? If one accepts limits on the libertarian principle for animal cruelty, does that not imply that a democratic society can rationally choose to bar production of foie gras? I’m happy to have dogfighting outlawed. I’d prefer not to outlaw foie gras. Do I have any argument for the distinction besides my personal preference? Is it just the intelligence difference between dogs and geese? If so, why do we allow bacon? (Or does Deuteronomy have that last question right?)
Update: I’m late to the discussion apparently. Jim Henley, Julian Sanchez (who takes the hard-line view), and Megan McArdle (and Part 2); McArdle points to vegetarian libertarian Robert Nozick’s take.
Update from Alex Tabarrok: “After attending dogfights it’s rumored that on some nights Michael Vick would continue his bloody activities by dining on cow’s flesh. No word yet on whether prosecutors will be seeking additional prison time.”
- Arguments Merck won’t be allowed to make in Madison County Vioxx trial. [Point of Law]
- First Chicago foie gras fines. [Bainbridge]
- Sometimes med-mal plaintiffs deserve to win. [Times-Herald via Kevin MD]
- Curious about the Leonard Peltier pardon-seeking underlying the Geffen-Clinton-Obama split? (And where does Obama stand on pardoning Peltier?) [NPPA; TPM Cafe]
- The polite rejection letter [Parloff]
- Judge Jack to speak at Cardozo March 27. [Point of Law]
Did you think the city famed for Al Capone and the Prohibition speakeasies would roll over for an even sillier nanny-statism?
When the letter came from City Hall threatening punishment if he continued to serve foie gras at his North Side restaurant, Doug Sohn framed the warning and set it beside his cash register.
And he kept serving the fattened duck liver without a care. …
The city has sent warning letters to nine restaurants believed to have served foie gras but issued no citations, Chicago Department of Public Health spokesman Tim Hadac said. Letters are sent after a citizen complaint and are followed by a visit after a second complaint. Visits that turn up evidence of the banished dish can result in fines from $250 to $500.
But Mayor Richard Daley is no fan of the ban–just this week, he called it “the silliest law” the City Council has ever passed.
Perhaps that helps explain why the Health Department is in no rush to boost their compliance checks.
“In a world of very limited public health resources we’re being asked to drop some things so we can enforce a law like this,” Hadac said. “With HIV/AIDS, cancer, West Nile virus and some of the other things we deal with, foie gras is our lowest priority.” …
Some owners have tiptoed around the ban by serving the dish under alternate or code names (“I’ll have the special lobster” will supposedly score foie gras at one restaurant), but renegades say they’ll do what they must to fight City Hall. …
At first, [restauranteur David Richards] said, restaurant owners worried their access to foie gras would be limited, and they crafted plots to keep their supply flowing–like getting it mailed to a suburban address for weekly covert pickups. Such cunning turned out not to be necessary, he said. Richards still gets foie gras from the same distributor he always did, and no one seems to care that it is still on his menu.
“We look at it as a choice,” he said. “We live in a free-market society and if people are truly offended they won’t buy it. If they don’t buy it, I won’t buy it.”
Instead, he said, his foie gras sales have climbed, making him even less inclined to heed the law. …
Many of those most vocally opposed to the ban have coolly stepped away from the debate by ending their foie gras sales or at least coming up with names clever enough to obscure the issue. Available on the menu at Copperblue, for instance, is “`It Isn’t Foie Gras any Moore’ Duck Liver Terrine”–a testy nod to the alderman who sponsored the foie gras ban.
Though the $16 cost seems closer to the price of foie gras than simple duck liver, Copperblue chef and owner Michael Tsonton would not say whether he had merely renamed the illicit dish. In September, when still serving foie gras, he got a warning letter that he said he hung in his kitchen.
(Josh Noel, “Let ’em eat foie gras, they declare”, Chicago Tribune, Dec. 22 (via Noonan, who says he was thinking of opening a restaurant called “Foie Gras Fried In Trans Fat”)). The Tribune story lists the nine restaurants that have gotten warning letters, and I can personally vouch for one of my favorites, Bin 36, where a date and I had a fine meal during a January 2005 blizzard.
Correspondent R.C. directs our attention to the curious claim of “harm” by the last-named plaintiff:
Animal rights activists have asked a state judge to stop foie gras production in New York, saying the ducks used are overfed to such an extent that they are diseased and unfit for sale under state law.
The lawsuit, if it succeeds, could spell the end of foie gras production in America, a goal animal rights groups have long sought. The two Sullivan county farms that are defendants in the suit are the only foie gras producers in the country, other than a Northern Californian foie gras farm that may shut down under a California state law banning the industry….
The first challenge the suit faces is to convince a judge that the animal-rights activists who filed the suit have suffered enough harm to allow them standing to sue. The plaintiffs in yesterday’s suit offered several ways that they had been harmed by the foie gras industry.
One plaintiff, Caroline Lee, claims that the state’s regulatory departments are misspending her tax dollars by inspecting birds raised for foie gras production without concluding they are diseased. Another plaintiff, an animal rescue organization, Farm Sanctuary, claims its employees have been “aesthetically and emotionally injured” by being exposed to the “suffering” of abandoned ducks that they rescue from foie gras production. Another plaintiff, a New York restaurateur, Joy Pierson, claims that her decision not to serve foie gras has caused her to lose customers at her two Manhattan restaurants, Candle 79 and Candle Café, according to the complaint.
Reader Greg Dwyer of Oregon sends the following:
Yours is the website I have been continuously reading the longest and the one I most identify with. So I figured I’d tell you something. I recently celebrated the birth of my first son, Michael Gabriel. And he will not go through life padded in Nerf.
He is going to play dodge ball and tag.
I will let him eat trans fats and foie gras.
He can play Grand Theft Auto when he is old enough.
He will know that medicine is a risky business that doesn’t always provide perfect cures.
He is going to be able to shoot a gun well by the time he is 21 and I will take him to get his gun license myself.
Most of all, I will teach him that life is what you make of it and if he fails at something, he will have no one to blame but himself.
Loving father and non-victicrat,