• Elizabeth Warren and Josh Hawley Will Do Everything Necessary To Combat Coronavirus (Unless It Involves Deregulation)

    The central planners of both parties are recommending we do whatever is necessary to tackle the nation's shortage of medical devices and personal protective equipment (PPE), save for removing government restrictions on the manufacture of those goods.

  • Karl Hess: From Republican Speechwriter to New Left Radical to Libertarian Homesteader

    Karl Hess was a journalist, activist, speechwriter, and welder whose work managed to foreshadow both the Tea Party movement and Occupy Wall Street, sometimes simultaneously. As he grew disillusioned with even the militant forms of politics and started putting more faith in the idea of popular access to tools, he also foreshadowed the age of makerspaces and the internet. Forty years ago, a short documentary about him—Karl Hess: Toward Liberty—won an Academy Award. Now he is the subject of another...

  • California's Eviction Ban Will Worsen Current Economic Woes

    California Gov. Gavin Newsom recently issued an executive order that creates a statewide moratorium on evictions. Such orders are just a fancy term for an edict—something passed unilaterally by the governmental leader without the normal legislative process that includes public hearings, public votes and other checks and balances.

  • Just Mercy

    Fairly early in Just Mercy, an employee of the Monroeville, Alabama, district attorney's office encourages a young lawyer played by Michael B. Jordan to visit the nearby To Kill a Mockingbird museum. It's housed in the courthouse where Harper Lee's father worked, the assistant explains; you can see the place where Atticus Finch once stood. The sly joke, of course, is that Finch is a fictional character.

  • Uncanny Valley

    In 2013, Anna Wiener quit her coffee-fetching job in publishing to work in Silicon Valley. Seven years later, that choice brings us another entry in the glut of books about tech-world malfeasance.

  • Brickbat: Comedy Police

    In Liverpool, England, about 20 police officers descended on the Hot Water Comedy Club to close down a show being held in violation of ban on large gatherings. They were surprised to find the club already closed. Paul Blair, one of the club's owners, says someone saw a Facebook video of a show taped two weeks earlier and, despite it being made clear a number of times in the broadcast that the show was taped, that person assumed it was live and reported the club to police.

  • Fed. Court: Texas May Not Ban Medication Abortions, or Delay Abortions Past Viability,

    On March 22, the Texas Governor issued executive order GA-09, which delayed all "non-essential surgeries and procedures" until April 22, in order to preserve medical personnel's personal protective equipment during the coronavirus epidemic. The order applied to many different kinds of procedures, including abortions (except those necessary to preserve life or avoid serious threats to health).

  • Coronavirus Recovery Act Exempts the Fed from the Government in the Sunshine Act. Woohoo! (Really)

    Politico has an article today (titled "Recovery law allows Fed to rope off public as it spends billions") that brought to my attention a section of the recently enacted Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act: Section 4009 allows the Federal Reserve Board to conduct meetings through December 31, 2020 without regard to 5 U.S.C. §552b, the open meetings provision of the Government in the Sunshine Act. This provision is designed to require multimember agencies to have their meetings in...

  • OPEC and Russia Agree To Cut Oil Production To Boost Prices

    The Saudis and Russians have reportedly agreed to cut their petroleum production by 3.3 million and 2 million barrels per day, respectively, in a bid to shore up global oil prices. Other members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) are supposed to cut an additional 5 million barrels by next month.

  • Texas Teen Booked on Terror Charge for COVID-19 Snapchat Video

    A Snapchat video about spreading COVID-19 landed a Texas teenager in jail on terrorism charges, even though there's no evidence 18-year-old Lorraine Maradiaga actually had or spread the illness.

  • Will Coronavirus Fears Lead to an Assault on Gun Rights?

    Draconian bills to restrict self-defense rights have a life of their own in Congress. There's always one lurking in the background. Left to its own devices, it's unlikely to become law, but it's ready to be deployed if a high-profile crime or convenient crisis emerges to ease its passage. And that brings us to the Gun Violence Prevention and Community Safety Act of 2020, a far-reaching bill hovering in the legislative shadows as the COVID-19 pandemic breaks down barriers to authoritarian...