Posts Tagged ‘NYC’

“Whoppers with sleaze”

In today’s Washington Times: my take on the growing aggressiveness of “public health” officialdom in pushing scare campaigns about everyday consumption risks, including Mayor Bloomberg’s controversial new campaigns against sweetened drinks and (even more misleadingly) salty foods, as well as the FDA’s proposal to put corpse photos on cigarette packs. It begins:

The Puritans held that reminders of mortality had an edifying effect on the living, which is why they sometimes would illustrate even literature for young children with drawings of death’s-heads and skeletons. Something of the same spirit seems to animate our ever-advancing movement for mandatory public health. The Food and Drug Administration has just floated the idea of requiring cigarette packs to carry rotating pictures that would include corpses – yes, actual corpses – as well as close-ups of grotesque medical disorders that can afflict smokers.

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s superactivist Health Department has begun public ad campaigns about the health risks of everyday foods, including a controversial YouTube video portraying soda drinkers as pouring globs of shimmery yellow fat into their open mouths and – just out – an ad showing an innocent-looking can of chicken-with-rice soup as bursting with dangerous salt. Whether or not you live in New York, you’re likely to be seeing more of this sort of thing because the mayor’s crew tends to set the pace for activist public-health efforts nationwide; the Obama administration, for example, picked Bloomberg lieutenant Thomas R. Frieden to head the influential Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why should government use our own tax dollars to propagandize and hector us about the risks of salted snacks, chocolate milk or the other temptations of today’s supermarket aisle? The Bloomberg-Obama camp seems to feel that government dietary advice is superior to other sources of information we might draw on because (1) it’s more objective, independent and pure of motive and (2) it can draw on better science.

Whole thing here, and more on Bloomberg’s anti-soup crusade at the New York Post, Reason, and ACSH. More: My Food My Choice.

Gotham firefighters and racial hiring

At City Journal, Heather Mac Donald has an important article on the federal courts’ willingness to second-guess in great detail the hiring practices of the New York City fire department, in search of more hiring of black applicants. It is worth noting that fire departments are pressed to rely (and even perhaps over-rely) on written tests in assessing applicants’ suitability in part because traditional testing of physical skills such as the ability to wield a charged hose, get up a ladder quickly, and carry body-size weights has been extensively and successfully sued against by lawyers representing female applicants.

NYC’s outrageous Apple settlement

Among its most insidious features, notes Ira Stoll, is a $2.5 million cy pres fund earmarked for “corporate governance programs at 12 universities across the country,” and which will predictably encourage such academic programs, at law schools and elsewhere, to align themselves further with the agenda of the plaintiff’s securities bar and against the interest of actual shareholders at companies like Apple. I’ve got much more about cy pres law school slush funds in Schools for Misrule, forthcoming. [Future of Capitalism; Jim at PoL]

September 20 roundup

  • “Family sues for $25 million over death of Virginia Beach homeless man” [Pilot Online]
  • New paper proposes voucherizing indigent criminal defense [Stephen Schulhofer and David Friedman, Cato Institute, more]
  • “Why the Employee Free Choice Act Has, and Should, Fail” [Richard Epstein, SSRN]
  • Free-market lawprofs file brief in class action arbitration case, Concepcion v. AT&T [PoL]
  • Enactment of Dodd-Frank law results in flood of whistleblower-suit leads for plaintiff’s bar [Corporate Counsel, ABA Journal] “Will Whistle-Blowing Be Millions Well Spent?” [Perlis/Chais, Forbes]
  • Sept. 28 in House: “Congressional Hearing on the Problems of Overcriminalization” [NACDL]
  • Abusive-litigation angle seen in NYC mosque controversy [Painter, Legal Ethics Forum]
  • Snark alert: Mr. Soros does something nice for Human Rights, and Human Rights does something nice for him [Stoll]

On tonight’s John Stossel show (FBN)

I’m a guest on tonight’s John Stossel program on the Fox Business Network, on the subject of the consequences of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The show was shot live to tape yesterday in New York and was fascinating throughout; even those who think they know this subject well will learn a lot. I’m also quoted in John’s latest syndicated column on the same issue.

Among the highlights of the taping: a disabled-rights lobbyist defended several extreme applications of the law, including the notion that it might be appropriate to force networks to hire someone who suffers from stuttering as on-air television talent. We also shed some light on the state of California’s up-to-$4,000-a-violation bounty system for freelancers who identify ADA violations in Main Street businesses, and the case for at least requiring complainants to give business owners notice and an opportunity to fix an ADA violation before suing. (The disabled-rights lobby has managed to stifle that proposal in Congress for years.) Also mentioned: the suit against the Chipotle restaurant chain recently covered in this space.

Other recent coverage of the ADA here and here (cross-posted from Cato at Liberty). More: Amy Alkon notes some New York City examples from a commenter.