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instant-runoff elections, Memphis, city council, government, term limits,

Graceless Memphis Politicians

“We could care less about instant runoff voting,” fibbed Allan Wade, the city attorney for Memphis, Tennessee. Wade was rebutting the recent Commercial Appeal revelation that Memphis’s “City Council worked behind the scenes to find a sponsor for legislation this year that could ban instant-runoff elections statewide.” After long relying

occupational, licensing, permission, unions, protectionism, regulation, license, law

The Winds of Regulation

Among the many goofy occupational licensing laws in these United States, Arizona’s licensing for professional blow-drying services is up there with the silliest.  “Under current law, using a blow-dryer on someone else’s hair, for money, requires more than 1,000 hours of training and an expensive state-issued license,” we learn at Reason. “Blow-drying hair

plastic straws, nanny state, fine, crime, California, freedom

The Last Straw

How much should we fine waiters who destroy our planet? For how long should they go to jail? I don’t know where you would hold such an evildoer after the earth has been destroyed. Or where he’d go when released. But we’re speaking hypothetically. Assume that planet-destroyers can be imprisoned

Deyshia Hargrav, superintendent, schoolboard, Vermilion Parish school board, free speech, government, local government, Lozman v. Riviera Beach, Florida, Supreme Court

Lock Her Up

“Who Are We?” I asked Sunday at Townhall.com. Today’s question: What have we come to? Under a seemingly click-bait headline in The Atlantic, “Can Government Officials Have You Arrested for Speaking to Them?” Garrett Epps examines last week’s outrageous handcuffing and arrest of a Louisiana teacher, Deyshia Hargrave, for speech

California, pension, crisis, canary, cage, coal mine, spending, taxes

Babylon Goes Broke

A few Babylonian, er, California cities going bankrupt — Stockton, Vallejo, and Bell — should be seen as more than dead canaries in a coalminer’s care. Indeed, you don’t need special prophetic gifts to see the dangers posed by over-promising cushy pensions to government workers. Californians are coming around. And

Al Franken, apology, resignation, exit, sexual, misconduct, disgrace, excuse, guilt

Where Have You Gone, Al Franken?

Today, finally, is the day. Barring some last-minute hijinks in the extended resignation ritual announced almost four weeks ago by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), the comedian turned cad turned politician turned pervert leaves his U.S. Senate seat. And hopefully keeps his mitts off other people’s seats to boot. Even without

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, boarding pass, United, airlines

Queen Sheila: Terror of the Skies

What’s all the fuss? Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex.) was escorted ahead of all the other passengers onto a United Airlines flight from Houston to Washington, D.C., taking seat 1A in first class. The congresswoman described it as “nothing exceptional or out of the ordinary.” Meanwhile, Jean-Marie Simon possessed a

Illinois, corruption, exit, vote with your feet, taxes

The Biggest Loser

Government is supposed to serve everybody . . . according to good, old-fashioned republican theory. But most governments serve some more than others. We can define as “corruption” any attempt to make government serve a few at the expense of the many — or the many at the expense of

Tim Eyman, doll, petition, taxes, Washington, initiative, democracy, voters

What Unlimited Government Costs Us

“Olympia can’t restrain itself,” Tim Eyman wrote the other day, a judgment on legislative irresponsibility hardly unique to the Evergreen State. Citizens around the country have cause to lament the difficulty of obtaining anything close to a good legislature. Too often the merely “bad” would constitute a significant improvement. Which

Doug Jones, Alabama, Roy Moore, election

Another Election “Against”

As I write, Democratic candidate Doug Jones has just taken the stage to declare himself the winner of the Alabama Senate race, the one in which Roy Moore became more infamous than famous, and better known for the worst kind of reasons. The final counts are not in, and I

Democracy — or Too Much Government?

The Democratic Party’s Unity Reform Commission met last week to concoct measures to pull the party from the brink of madness and oblivion. The commission’s main recommendation? Limit the role of “superdelegates” in the nomination process. Great — a first step I’ve long advocated. But the whole system needs more

Michigan Congressman John Conyers, scandal, resignation, term limits, nepotism, congress, experience

The Great Dood Drain of ’17

How can we expect the federal government to continue to function at its usual peak efficiency without the awesome 52 years of experience and institutional knowledge supplied by Michigan Congressman John Conyers? American government faces a congressional brain drain, Conyers’s resignation in the wake of accusations of sexual harassment not

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