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Forget Frankenstein

Some proposals are so shocking and not common that, no matter how rational or sensible, we cannot legitimately call them “common sense.” Could this be one? You tell me. Congress is right now struggling to pass a highway funding bill. Authorized funding by the federal government on roads ends with






Finding the Right Balance

Fifteen or Fifty or Zero?

Washington Post columnist Catherine Rampell just stumbled into a truth. Raising minimum wages could be disastrous. Depending on the rate. While “Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley and a host of other well-intentioned liberals want to hike the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour,” she calls the proposal “badly misguided.” And






Law Corrupted

Why Police-State Tactics?

What do the War on Drugs, the War on Terror, and campaign finance law have in common? Police-state tactics. Most folks now understand how the War on Drugs and the War on Terror can erode civil liberties — but how does campaign finance law fit in with the other two?






Curmudgeon

C Is For Curmudgeon

Every writer can count among his loyal readers at least one curmudgeon. I have several. Today we consider the criticism of one special curmudgeon. Let’s call him “Mr. C.” Mr. C. agrees with my last several invokings of Common Sense. But he wonders, “Sure the [insert expletive here] of Republican






White labor and minimum wages

A British Puzzle

Most folks think minimum wage laws are there to help the poor in particular and everybody in general. But economist Scott Sumner, exploring “Britain’s new minimum wage: Is there a hidden agenda?” finds Britain’s new Tory double whammy of decreasing welfare payments while hiking mandatory minimum wage something of a






Lunchroom Black Market

The Pushers

When I was a teenager, my mom attended nursing school and became very interested in nutrition. This had consequences. She stopped buying sugary cereals, for instance. Well! We could not supinely accept this. My younger brother hid Cap’n Crunch and other stuff like that under his bed; and when we






Terror Warnings

Armed Americans

Scared? “July 4 terrorist attack on U.S. soil a legitimate threat, officials warn” — headlines the Washington Times. Scared now? Last weekend on Fox News Sunday, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mike McCaul (R-Tx.) expressed his extreme concern that “Syrian and ISIS recruiters can use the Internet at lightning speeds






Out of control cops

Marauding Cops

Policemen who perpetrate acts like those I am about to describe should be imprisoned. That’s not an anti-police statement, it’s a pro-law-and-order one. Anybody who vandalizes the property of innocent people and pointlessly terrorizes them, whether flashing a badge as prelude or not, should be arrested, prosecuted, convicted and punished.






NSA Hydra

Safety, Savings and Symbolism

How can the U. S. save $2.5 billion a year, reduce the federal workforce by 4,000 hires, and engage in a symbolic act of undoubted patriotism, all at the same time? Get rid of the Department of Homeland Security. Matt A. Mayer, a former DHS employee who claims to have






Magna Carta Nation

Under the Law, Not Beneath It

Celebrating the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta Libertatum this week, I noted how a document intended to serve the very upper classes, by limiting each others’ powers, led to liberty for all. The Nation, on the other hand, used it to excoriate the Citizens United ruling. “Magna Carta reminds






TSA

Political Theatrics

Our suspicions have been proved: the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) doesn’t secure much of anything; it is mere “security theater.” After revelations that TSA screeners failed to find weapons and other deadly contraband in 96 percent of tests, David A. Graham, writing for The Atlantic, asked “what kind of theater






Rand Paul vs. the Surveillance State

Rand to the Rescue

Nothing gets done in Washington? Tell that to Kentucky Senator and presidential hopeful Rand Paul. Last night, he single-handily “repealed” Section 215 of the Patriot Act, ending the federal government’s mass collection of our phone records. At least, for the next few days. On the floor of the Senate, Paul






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