- U.K.: “People who have 2 or 3 drinks a night will be sent for liver scans under plans to crack down on ‘heavy drinking'” [Katie Gibbons, The Times via Christopher Snowdon, who comments: “The line between healthcare and punishment begins to blur.”]
- Why was Sofia Vergara sued in Louisiana? It’s the only state that accords status to an embryo as “juridical person” [Naomi Cahn, Concurring Opinions]
- Scope-of-practice restrictions for certified nurse midwives primarily serve as barriers to practice rather than having effect on health outcomes [Charles Hughes, Cato]
- Has veterinary care in US avoided the upward cost pressures of (human) health care, as is often claimed? Maybe not [Arnold Kling]
- “New Zealand to compensate organ donors” [Alex Tabarrok, Ilya Somin] Federal fisc could save billions in dialysis outlays by adopting reforms along similar lines [Sally Satel, Forbes]
- Hospital takes baby to wrong mom for nursing, upwards of $50,000 balm sought [Minneapolis Star-Tribune]
Some users swear by skin care products that employ walnut shell powder as an exfoliant, such as St. Ives Apricot Scrub, while others find the ingredient too abrasive and believe it injures the skin. How to resolve the disagreement? Run to court, of course [L.V. Anderson, Slate]
“If you’re wondering why our country seems so bizarrely fearful, here’s the answer: We absolutely cannot understand that risk is inherent in everything, even things that are outrageously safe, like eating cookie dough.” [Lenore Skenazy]
- No flavored milk for 5-year-olds: feds prescribe what day care centers may serve to 3 million kids [final rule via Elizabeth Harrington, Free Beacon]
- Andrew Jackson and alcohol access: “…whereas Whigs insisted that regulating morality was a proper function of government, Democrats warned that government intrusion into areas of private choice would violate republican liberties.” [John M. Murrin et al, Liberty, Equality, Power on Massachusetts “Fifteen-Gallon Law” of 1838, via historian Richard Samuelson on Twitter, and more]
- Eric Schneiderman takes his toll of fun: “Daily Fantasy Sports Stop Operations in New York” [Scott Shackford]
- Wyoming happy with results of food freedom legislation [Baylen Linnekin]
- Priors didn’t help, but yes, New Jersey’s gun control laws are such that the state will prosecute an actor over a prop gun used in filming a movie [AP/San Jose Mercury News; Carlo Goias]
- Hadn’t remembered the Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919, one of America’s strangest industrial disasters, had a Prohibition angle [Dylan Thuras, Atlas Obscura]
The federal seat-belt-law mandate was the result of a 1980s deal between Reagan-era Transportation secretary Elizabeth Dole (proof, long before Mayor Bloomberg, that nanny-state tendencies transcend partisan labels) and Detroit automakers, who calculated that regulating their customers would help stave off regulating their own design decisions. And now? Less individual liberty, more scope for police discretion, and in some states a taste for revenue: “In California, a single seat-belt violation can be as much as $490.” [Radley Balko] Earlier on mandatory seat belt usage laws here, here (“saturation detail” police stops), here, etc. (“doggie seat belt” laws), here (Germany: Pope in Popemobile), here, and here (England: Santa’s sleigh), among others.
Updating last Wednesday’s post — about how the federal Centers for Disease Control has advised that women of childbearing years not drink a drop of wine, beer or spirits unless they are on birth control — I did a longer post Friday at Cato at Liberty. Excerpt:
And yet I would have expected no less from a CDC headed by Thomas Frieden, formerly Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s public health czar in New York City. Under Frieden, an arch-enemy of salt, sugar, and guns, the CDC to the detriment of its focus on communicable disease has involved itself in topics from playground safety to suburban housing sprawl; has boldly employed federal tax dollars toward lobbying for changes in law; has set itself against all evidence that e-cigarettes (“vaping”) can serve as vital harm reduction for persons who would otherwise smoke; and much, much more.
“Women of childbearing age should avoid alcohol unless they’re using contraception, federal health officials said Tuesday, in a move to reduce the number of babies born with fetal alcohol syndrome.” [Liz Szabo/USA Today (“CDC: Young women should avoid alcohol unless using birth control”), Tracy Clark-Flory/Vocativ (with headline above)]
Rebecca Kukla, professor at the Kennedy School of Ethics, had the following comment, quoted in the Vocativ piece:
We don’t tell pregnant women not to drive cars, even though we are much more certain that there’s a nonzero risk to their fetuses from each car ride than from each drink. The ideal of zero risk is both impossible to meet and completely paralyzing to try to meet. The idea that the pleasures and routines that make up women’s days are mere luxuries that are not worth any risk whatsoever is patronizing and sexist, and it would also turn their lives into complete hell if really taken to its conclusion. It also imposes a much higher risk reduction bar on pregnant women than on parents of small children, for no apparent reason.
We have had numerous occasions over the years to remark on the direction in which Obama appointee Thomas Frieden has taken the Centers for Disease Control.
More: Alexandra Petri, Washington Post (CDC’s warning “incredibly condescending”).
Julia Vitullo-Martin in the New York Post and Joseph Bottum in the Free Beacon review Lisa McGirr’s new book “The War on Alcohol: Prohibition and the Rise of the American State.” “Is there another American story, another account of a major American era, that has been so completely hijacked and turned against its actual history?” writes Bottum. “The truth is that Prohibition, in its essence, was a deeply progressive movement.”
In the drive for alcohol prohibition in the United States, as in many other paternalistic crusades to this day, a major theme was to demonize business; that somehow helped in shaking the sense that the main point of banning something was to restrict the freedom of the customer. Memes absent, opinion cartoons were the most persuasive tool available. “In the late 19th century, the cartoonist Frank Beard (not to be confused with ZZ Top’s ironically clean-shaven drummer) was among the most influential of those illustrators. He was a committed ‘Dry,’ whose images of seedy tavern owners, corrupt officials, and neglected children gave the Prohibition movement a moral force and an instant visual power.” [Joanna Scutts, Tales of the Cocktail]
Meanwhile, yesterday was Repeal Day, celebrated each year as the anniversary of the nation’s rejection of the Great Experiment. As David Boaz recalls, Cato has done two discussions commemorating the event, including one with me last year. Here is the other, from 2008: