Thought for the day: the Philadelphia Eagles are 1-4. After how many losses and injuries would Michael Vick decide that one of his fighting dogs was over the hill and toss that puppy into a swimming pool with jumper cables clipped to its ears (via)? I’m not saying the Eagles should do to Vick what Vick did to his dogs; I’m just asking questions*.
Over at the Volokh Conspiracy, we discover that the EPA has been busy winning hearts and minds — on behalf of the Libertarian party, apparently — when one EPA agent manufactured charges against a blameless individual as a pretext for carrying on an affair with another EPA agent.
Turns out that Hubert Vidrine, accused by the EPA of knowingly storing hazardous waste without a permit, was (a) not knowingly storing anything without a permit and (b) wasn’t storing anything particularly hazardous to begin with. As the judge said in the decision:
During the investigation and prosecution, Agent Barnhill, who was single, lived in South Louisiana; Agent Phillips, who was married, lived in Dallas, Texas with his wife. Prior to and at trial, plaintiffs’ counsel consistently argued Agent Phillips used the Vidrine investigation as a cover, excuse and opportunity to facilitate his illicit affair with Agent Barnhill and to hide the affair from his wife. Plaintiffs consistently argued Keith Phillips manufactured a case, both in law and fact, against Hubert Vidrine, and carefully fed the AUSA and his supervisors only the information which would further that end and perpetuate the case, all to promote access to Agent Barnhill and perpetuate and conceal their illicit affair. Regrettably, the Court agrees with plaintiffs: this inappropriate and unprofessional behavior likely was, at least in part (if not in whole) a motivation for Agent Phillips’ continued pursuit of Hubert Vidrine, without probable cause, and certainly with a complete and total reckless disregard of Hubert Vidrine’s rights.
(Emphasis may or may not have been added by Orin Kerr over at the Conspiracy.)
But don’t worry guys, the courts got it right in the end. If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.
Next we head over to the Freakonomics blog for some European content:
- The Orwellian efficiency of a “being fat” tax (Steve Sexton)
The Danish government has apparently begun to tax saturated fat in (some? all?) foods. So grass-fed beef is more expensive now, while Coke and fries are relatively cheaper. Nice work there.
From Denmark we head off to Unqualified Offerings, where Thoreau goes wharrgarbl on drone-mounted star chambers and their eager supporters:
The Teabaggers were right: We really do have a death panel. Just not the sort of death panel that they were rallying against. And some of the people who wanted restraints on executive power when there was a Red boot stomping on a human face will serve as death panelists when there’s a Blue boot stomping on a human face. Just as the Teabaggers were silent for 8 years.
(In comments, Thoreau requests an appropriately humorous term for the Occupy Wherever protesters; something on par with “Teabagger”. I haven’t been able to come up with anything better than “Leftybagger”, although “Terminal Barista” has its mean-spirited merits. If you have anything better, why not go over there and suggest it?)
Finally, Will Wilkinson drags himself through a Samuel Freeman paper contrasting High Liberals and Classical Liberals — so you don’t have to. Such is the heroic sacrifice of the politeconoblogger.
The matter in question is whether the contribution of the guy who turns the wood on the lathe is “natural”, whereas the contribution of the guy who buys the wood and the lathe is “unnatural” — er, I mean, “institutionally dependent”. Wilkinson begs to differ:
That a certain set of events count as a “home run” depends on the rules of baseball, which is body of conventions that have force because we all agree that they do. The are no “natural,” institution-independent home runs. Likewise, that an Albert Pujols home run is a contribution to the production of a winning game of baseball is a dauntingly complex institutional fact. Albert Pujols can swing a lathed piece of lumber all day long and it won’t count as a contribution to the production of a baseball game unless it occurs within the matrix of institutional facts the constitute a game of baseball. I don’t see how running a lathe at the Louisville Slugger factory is different.
It’s a really good article; RTWT.
* If you pay property taxes in Philadelphia or income taxes in Pennsylvania, you’re probably paying Vick’s salary. Sleep well.