Abby Schachter on the War on Fun

Abby Schachter
reviews Bad for You: Exposing the War on Fun, a
nonfiction comic book by Kevin C. Pyle and Scott Cunningham, which
shows that virtually every popular amusement was considered
dangerous before it was widely understood and accepted. Chess was
going to distract kids. Comic books would turn kids against their
parents and cause “reading disorders.” TV was going to “hurt radio,
conversation, reading and the patterns of family life.” Video games
would make kids more violent. The Internet would “scatter” the
users’ “attention.” Parents do not, by and large, want to deny
their children fun, but as this comic illustrates, it’s easy to
fear what’s new and to wind up working against your kids’ best
interests.

View this article.

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A.M. Links: Possible MH307 Debris Spotted, Another Obamacare Delay, Secret Service Agents Sent Home After Night in Amsterdam

  • Malaysia’s acting transport minister says that 122 objects
    which could be debris from missing MH307 have been
    spotted by satellite.
  • Russia has accused Ukraine of
    refusing to let Russian pilots and passengers disembark
    from
    flights arriving in Kiev.
  • The
    Obamacare
    open enrollment deadline has been pushed back for
    those who say that they began the signup process but do not finish
    in time.
  • North Korea has fired
    two medium-range missiles
    , which landed in the sea between
    North Korea and Japan.
  • Three
    Secret Service agents
    have been sent home from the Netherlands
    after spending a night drinking in Amsterdam ahead of President
    Obama’s arrival.
  • A 74-year-old woman has been freed after
    spending 32 years behind bars
    for a murder she claims she did
    not commit.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter,
and don’t forget to
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up
 for Reason’s daily updates for more
content.

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Tesla vs. the Regulatory Status Quo in NJ

Via Geoffrey Manne, who teaches law at Lewis
& Clark University in Portland, Oregon, comes
this open letter
about New Jersey’s riidiculous ban on direct
sales of Tesla cars. For more on Garden State awfulness regarding
the sale of luxury electric cars,
read Ed Krayewski
.

The Motor Vehicle Commission’s regulation was aimed specifically
at stopping one company, Tesla Motors, from directly distributing
its electric cars. But the regulation would apply equally to any
other innovative manufacturer trying to bring a new automobile to
market, as well. There is no justification on any rational economic
or public policy grounds for such a restraint of commerce. Rather,
the upshot of the regulation is to reduce competition in New
Jersey’s automobile market for the benefit of its auto dealers and
to the detriment of its consumers. It is protectionism for auto
dealers, pure and simple….

In sum, we have not heard a single argument for a direct
distribution ban that makes any sense. To the contrary, these
arguments simply bolster our belief that the regulations in
question are motivated by economic protectionism that favors
dealers at the expense of consumers and innovative technologies. It
is discouraging to see this ban being used to block a company that
is bringing dynamic and environmentally friendly products to
market. We strongly encourage you to repeal it, by new legislation
if necessary.

The letter is signed by more
than 70 economists and law profs (full
text and signatories here
).

I wrote about attempts to ban or restrict new-model businesses
such as Tesla, Uber, and Airbnb for Time recently.

Read that here.
 

The move by New Jersey’s legislature to heap even more
restrictions on new ways of doing business is appalling and should
be denounced as such. The upside, though, is that such
anti-business activity forces legislators and “poltiical
entrepreneurs” (to use Burton W. Folsom’s excellent phrase) to
defend an indefensbile status quo. If the only argument you can
make against liberalizing a market (or social practice, such as gay
marriage) is essentially to say, “We’ve always done it this way,”
or “My profit will suffer,” change is on the horizon. It may take a
while – and it typically takes way too long – but such empty,
self-interested, and unpersuasive defenses of an exclusionary and
highly self-interested status quo ultimately start tumbling down
the minute they have to be articulated in public debate.

Speaking of cars and Jersey, here’s a jolt of what Garden State
DJs inevitably – and somewhat disturbingly – called “Bruce Juice”
to get your engines running this Hump Day morning: 

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Jacob Sullum on Fake Rights vs. Religious Freedom

According
to The New York Times, a case the Supreme
Court heard yesterday, involving a challenge to
Obamacare’s requirement that businesses pay for their employees’
contraceptives, “pits religious liberty against women’s rights.”
Similarly, last month’s controversy over an Arizona bill
aimed at protecting business owners from being forced to treat
homosexual and heterosexual couples alike was widely perceived as a
conflict between religious liberty and gay rights. Jacob Sullum
says both of these debates are more accurately described as clashes
between real rights and fake rights.

View this article.

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Brickbat: Fake Justice

Oklahoma County,
Oklahoma, deputies pulled over Delbert Dewayne Galbreath for a
broken brake light. After Galbreath admitted he also did not have a
driver’s license, they asked if they could search his car. They
found a bag containing 16 pieces of a rock-like substance and a
digital scale. They thought the rocks were cocaine. Galbreath
insisted they were Scentsy, presumably the washer
whiffs
 made by that company. Sure enough, a test revealed
they were not cocaine. But that didn’t help Galbreath. Deputies
charged him with suspicion of possession with intent to distribute
an imitation controlled dangerous substance, possession of drug
paraphernalia, driving under a revoked license and defective
equipment.

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Confessions Of A Pot-Smoking Police Officer, Firefighter And Youth Pastor


|||
Despite the increasing
nationwide popularity of legalizing marijuana, admitting use
for recreational or medical purposes, especially among certain
professions, still has stigma attached. Anti-marijuana groups often
point to studies that suggest long-term use could result
in a lack of motivation, seemingly claiming that there is no such
thing as a functional pot user.

However, according to several studies on
marijuana use in the U.S., at least 14 million Americans admit
to smoking pot regularly — and they can’t all be couch
potatoes.

The reality, as the secret-sharing app
Whisper suggests below, is that the marijuana users are much
more diverse than the “stoner” stereotype. They’re doctors,
teachers, preachers, computer programers, firefighters and even
police officers.

See them all here.

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Tonight on The Independents: David Boaz on SCOTUS, Rumsfeld Goes Ape, Polygamy vs. Gay Marriage, Veterans and Suicide, Sexy Aftershow, and Vote on Our E-Block Topic!

Set my people free! |||Because why not, The
Independents
on Fox Business Network tonight at 9 p.m. ET
(6 p.m. PT) in its fifth segment (or “E Block,” as such things are
known) will talk about either 1) President Barack Obama’s proposed
new
National Security Agency regulations
governing bulk data
collection, or 2) the president’s fretting about a
nuke over New York
. We will choose said topic based on how
people vote in a poll on the show’s Facebook page. Vote
early and often!

Today, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Sebelius v.
Hobby Lobby Stores Inc.
, a suit over a for-profit
corporation’s desire to exempt itself from a contraceptive-pill
mandate in Obamacare for religious reasons. Read Damon Root on the
case
here
and
here
, and the Cato Institute’s Ilya Shapiro
here
. Cato Executive Vice President David Boaz will be on to talk
about the case and also the broader question of religious-liberty
exceptions.

Prediction: Kmele won't find this racist. |||Former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld
yesterday told Fox News that “a
trained ape
” could do better than Obama in managing such
foreign policy tasks as securing a status-of-forces agreement with
Afghanistan. Leading to the obvious follow-up question: Is that
racist against George W. Bush? Joining to discuss are Party
Panelists Julie
Roginsky
(Democratic Party strategist) and Ellis Henican (Newsday
columnist), who will also weigh in on Capitol Hill’s new “Hip-hop
caucus
,” which intends to focus attention on the links between
climate change and racism. Also up for discussion: the Democratic
Party’s hot strategy to
demonize the Koch brothers
. (David Koch sits on
the Reason
Foundation
‘s Board of
Trustees
.)

Remember the Heritage Foundation kid in the “What’s
the Matter With Libertarians?
” episode who tussled with
Kennedy over gay marriage and polygamy? Well, Ryan
Anderson
is back for another round over government
marriage-recognition and morality. And fast-talking founder &
CEO Paul Rieckhoff
of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of
America
will be on to discuss the problem of veterans
committing suicide, and the policy of reducing the number of U.S.
military troops. Then comes the aftershow, which will be
live-streamed at this website.
Please send your tweets out to @IndependentsFBN; some
may be used on air.

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“I grew up castrating hogs on an Iowa farm”: Meet Senate Hopeful Joni Ernst

Via Hot
Air.

“I grew up castrating hogs on an Iowa farm.”

Joni Ernst is one of six Republicans running for a chance to
replace retiring Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). Writes Hot Air’s
Allahpundit:

Charles Cooke rightly calls it the greatest opening line to
a campaign commercial ever. The last line’s cute too, although the
temptation to say it while holding up a pair of shears must have
been tremendous. That’s the tricky thing about castration humor:
How far is too far? Is a sight gag ever acceptable? Having taken
the plunge by introducing testicles into the discussion, how do you
pull back from total scrotal commitment? These are questions every
savvy political ad team must wrestle with.


More.

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Reports of Four Loko’s Death Are Greatly Exaggerated. For Now.

You know how you sometimes read obituaries and the primary shock
comes from the fact that the person was still alive? That’s how I
felt when I saw this headline: 


Four Loko Alcoholic Energy Drink to Cease Production: Lisa
Madigan

Turns out that the news site, DNAinfo, or possibly Illinois
Attorney General Lisa Madigan, was confused about the terms of the
alcopop’s latest slide down the greasy pole. Four Loko limps along
after all.

The
settlement
actually allows continued sales of Four Loko, but
limits advertising to college students and underage drinkers,
including a ban on young-looking models in advertisements. Phusion
promises not to suggest that kids mix their product with something
caffeinated either. And the company will pay $400,000 to defray the
cost of the suit.

The decison was forced by a suit from 20 attorneys general.
Let’s pause for a name-and-shame: Thanks Massachusetts, New York,
Arizona, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas,
Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina,
Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Washington, plus the
city attorney of San Francisco!

Here’s Phusion Projects President Jim Sloan:

“While our company did not violate any laws and we disagree with
the allegations of the State Attorneys General, we consider this
agreement a practical way to move forward and an opportunity to
highlight our continued commitment to ensuring that our products
are consumed safely and responsibly only by adults 21 and
over.”

Four Loko hasn’t actually been caffeinated since 2010, something
Sloan must be damned tired of pointing out by now. It’s just a can
of not
especially high-proof sugary booze
, and has been for a good
while.

Want to feel especially sad? Here the last pathetic little bit
of fight that’s left in the company’s president:

“Phusion continues to believe, however, as do many people
throughout the world, that the combination of alcohol and caffeine
can be consumed safely and responsibly,” Sloan said.

In honor of this obviously true statement, the next time you
stir up an Irish coffee or sip a rum and Coke on a warm night, go
ahead and pour one out for the homies. Four Loko might not be dead
yet, but it’s hard to imagine meddlesome officials will leave this
particular horse alone until it’s well and truly beaten. 

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Tell Us: What’s Libertarian About Your Favorite Video Games?

"Final Fantasy XII," where you had to buy licenses just to wear clothes, is completely disqualified from this debate.June’s issue of Reason
magazine will be exploring the most popular recreational pastime in
America (and several other countries as well) – video games! Many
Gen-Xers have grown up with video games, and video games have grown
up alongside of them to become a cultural and marketplace
juggernaut. In “Video Game Nation” we’ll be analyzing what it all
means, looking at how self-described gamers describe their
political leanings, tracking games’ growth as a form of expression,
documenting the moral panics surrounding games in the days of yore,
exploring what we can learn about economics from games, and
interviewing a game-loving congressman who rallied his community to
fight some bad Internet-related legislation. We’re planning several
game-related videos as well.

We know there plenty of gamers among the Reason crowd, so we
want to incorporate your experiences with games if we can. Are
there games that you love that you find particularly libertarian?
What makes them so libertarian? Sound off in the comments, and
we’ll pick some cogent or interesting choices to go along with our
package. You can go back as far as you like in game history. If you
want to make the case that Q-Bert argues for looser
borders and freer immigration policies, more power to you. Think
outside the box, or the pyramid of boxes, as the case may be.

If you need to refresh your memory, check out Peter Suderman’s
2013
list of video games all libertarians should play
. What would
you add?

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