- Put off by constant urine tests, eighth grader skips honor society [Duncannon, Pa.; my Cato post, PennLive]
- Wouldn’t you know when Mike Bloomberg does come out and say something excellent — about intellectual freedom in the university, as part of a Harvard commencement address — New York Times ignores him [John Leo/Minding the Campus, Dennis Saffran/City Journal]
- “Verbal or Written Permission Could be Required For College Sex” [L. A. Weekly]
- Hope for Camden students has come not from New Jersey’s massive Abbott school funding litigation, but from charters [Jim Epstein, Reason]
- “Schools have been getting less violent over the last 20 years,” much less violent in fact [Timothy Lee, Vox, Jesse Walker, Reason, Josh Blackman and Shelby Baird, SSRN, on the “shooting cycle”]
- Arnold Kling writes a commencement speech: “I am going to talk about community service … and why I am against it.”
- “Walking to School? Yeah, There’s a Federal Program for That” [David Boaz, Cato]
- “Go to Heaven, Bloomberg: The meddling ex-mayor thinks he is on a mission from God.” [Sullum] “De Blasio to resurrect attempt at NYC big soda ban” [Eric Boehm, Watchdog.org]
- The CDC connection: much of Bloomberg’s crew of public health officials has moved into the Obama administration, and has big plans [Jeff Stier]
- “The public health approach rejects the idea that there is such a thing as unfettered free will” — here’s Bloomberg paternalism boiled down nicely for you [Larry Gostin, Hastings Center Report via Scott Burris, Bill of Health (regretting “mass delusion of autonomy”)]
- Centers for Disease Control (CDC): if skeptical media call, tell ’em you’re not around [Zenon Evans]
- For her own good: “89-Year-Old Kicked Out of HUD Housing for Smoking Cigarettes” [Elizabeth N. Brown]
- “Longer Pub Hours, Fewer Car Accidents in England and Wales” [James Schneider, Econlib]
- Sally Satel on the benefits of e-cigarettes [AEI Ideas video] “The FDA Says E-Cigarettes Are Less Harmful Than Smoking” [Jason Koebler, Vice Motherboard]
- Reminder: SB 353, which would ban bringing of knives and other weapons onto private school property whatever the school’s wishes, up for hearing at 1 p.m. Wed. Feb. 26 [text, Senate, related Virginia] With Ninth Circuit’s Peruta decision, Maryland now one of only six holdout states to resist any recognition of gun carry rights [David Kopel]
- Slew of labor proposals moving through Annapolis would require employers to offer paid sick leave, push unionization on community college employees, and require employers to pay interns’ transportation costs. Study finds boosting state’s minimum wage would cost jobs [WaPo]
- Supremely irresponsible: state already hobbled by nation’s slowest foreclosure process, but NAACP, Casa de Maryland and Legislative Black Caucus demand six-month foreclosure moratorium on top of that [Washington Post; earlier on Maryland foreclosure law here, here (couple spends five years in million-dollar home without making mortgage payment), here, etc.]
- Review of recent developments in asbestos litigation in the state [Lisa Rickard, Chamber Institute for Legal Reform]
- Goodbye to another Free State tradition? Senate votes ban on sale of grain alcohol, with urging from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg nanny crew [Washington Post]
- Just say no to the Maryland Small Business Development Financing Authority [Mark Newgent, Baltimore Sun]
- Sen. Zirkin “litigates dog-bite cases on behalf of plaintiffs” and is player on dog bite bill [Insurance Journal]
Meanwhile, even former enthusiasts are beginning to give up on the “food desert” theory — opening a supermarket nearby does little to change unhealthy diet habits. So guess what’s next? Yep, calls for more and stronger intervention [Ann Althouse].
Stephanie Francis Ward at the ABA Journal covers the panel discussion I participated in yesterday on local paternalism at the ABA Midyear in Chicago. The other panelists were Prof. Sarah Conly of Bowdoin College, author of Against Autonomy: Justifying Coercive Paternalism, and Chicago Alderman George Cardenas, sponsor of a proposal to tax soft drink sales in the city. It was hosted by the ABA’s Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division and moderated by Hawaii land use lawyer Robert Thomas, who has much more at his Inverse Condemnation blog.
The phrase “evoked the ‘military-industrial complex’ about which President Dwight Eisenhower famously warned the nation in a speech days before he left office in 1961.” [Times-Union]
- As we warned at the time: Food Safety Modernization Act shaping up as severe burden for many small, local and artisanal producers [Tom Philpott, Mother Jones via Tim Carney, Dave Runsten and Brian Snyder, CivilEats]
- Bloomberg’s City Hall wants to keep secret the inputs to its food-scold policies. Open up, says Keep Food Legal [Reason]
- More coverage of Heritage food freedom panel I was on [Sihan Zhang, Scripps Howard Foundation Wire, Joe Daly/Accuracy in Academia, earlier]
- How shipping unions sunk food aid reform [Center for Public Integrity]
- California enacts a strong cottage food law, but needs to work on farmers’ markets [Baylen Linnekin; related on Texas]
- Law and public health profs inveigh against “Mountain Dew Mouth,” but is it a real thing? [Reason, Bill of Health, Andrew Sullivan]
- Canada’s OPEC-like maple syrup cartel fights thieves and legitimate competition alike [Lowering the Bar]
I’m back from a speaking swing through Nebraska. At the University of Nebraska College of Law in Lincoln, I spoke about food and drink paternalism as exemplified by Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s initiatives in New York, with Prof. Steven Willborn providing a counterpoint from a more liberal perspective. At Creighton University Law School in Omaha, I spoke (as I often do) on the ideological state of the law schools, drawing on my 2011 book Schools for Misrule, with commentary from Profs. Ralph Whitten and Sara Stadler.
Both events were well attended but I was especially pleased at the strong turnout for the talk in Lincoln on food and the nanny state, a new speech I hadn’t tried out before on a general audience. Here’s a description:
The public is increasingly in revolt against “nanny state” interventions, from Mayor Bloomberg’s attempt to limit soda sizes in New York, to efforts to ban Happy Meals in San Francisco. Some thinkers dismiss concern about paternalism as merely trivial and personal, not on a par with issues acknowledged as “serious” such as police abuse, free speech, surveillance, and the proper functioning of the legal system. Left unchecked, however, the project of paternalism quickly generates very serious problems in each of those other areas: it gives police and enforcers great arbitrary power, hands a special government megaphone to some speakers while stifling others, funnels uncomfortably personal information into government hands, and fuels abusive litigation. No matter what you think of potato chips, if your interests are in liberty and good government, you should be paying attention.
I’m next scheduled to speak on the food police Sept. 23 at a Heritage Foundation panel discussion with Baylen Linnekin, Nita Ghei, and J. Justin Wilson, hosted by Daren Bakst. Details here. More on my fall speaking schedule here.
Operationally, it may function that way, if Barton Hinkle’s analysis is right. That would at least explain why Mayor Bloomberg would feel confident about his consistency in favoring both, though it leaves unexplained why the left-right polarities in so many other quarters should reverse so sharply between the one issue and the other.