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VOL. 29, NO. 1 | WINTER 2016


Why and How Congress Should

Fight the Presidents Paris Climate
5 Treaty Power Grab
The Chipotle Effect BY MARLO LEWIS, JR.

P resident Obama claims the recently

adopted Paris Agreement on climate
change is not a treaty but rather an executive
agreementa pact he can approve on his
sole authority, with the stroke of a pen. Why
6 is he doing this? Because if he were to follow
the constitutional treaty-making process,
BY RYAN YOUNG and submit the agreement to the Senate for
its advice and consent, the treaty would be
The Improvisational Fed and
dead on arrival.
Unpredictable Regulations In fact, as I explain in a new CEI policy
paper, the Paris Agreement is a treaty. That
is the only reasonable conclusion based
on U.S. historic practice, the Agreements
potential costs and risks, its prescriptiveness
and ambition compared to predecessor
climate treaties, and international protocol

10 including recent instructions from the United

Nations Climate Change Secretariat to
the Conference of the Parties of the United
to keep all solemn promises, whether or not
BY JOHN BERLAU those are deemed legally binding. Under the
Nations Framework Convention on Climate Paris Agreement, nations honor their non-
How George Washington Change (UNFCCC). binding promises by turning them into bind-
Propelled Steamboats President Obama claims the Paris ing domestic laws and regulations.
Agreement is not a treaty because Americas Some in Congress, including some
emission-reduction commitments under it are conservative lawmakers, may be tempted to
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE non-binding. That is a non sequitur. Our dismiss the Paris Agreement as a paper tiger
emission-reduction commitments under the because it imposes no penalties for non-
A Federal Salt Experiment on Kids . . . . . . 4 UNFCCC are also non-binding, yet no one compliance. By doing so, they overlook what
disputes that the UNFCCC is a treaty. chiefly determines climate and energy policy:
CEI Remembers Justice Antonin Scalia. . . 5
The administration points out that only politics.
The Trouble with the NLRB . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 the Agreements procedural (reporting and Far from being toothless, the Paris
Putting the Brakes on Driverless Cars . . . 13 monitoring) commitments are binding, not the Agreement is the framework for a multi-
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. . . . . . 14 substantive (emission-reduction and climate decade global campaign of political pres-
finance) commitments. But for the United sure directed chiefly against Republicans,
Media Mentions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 States, that is a distinction without a differ- Red State voters, and the fossil fuel industry.
End Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 ence. Americans expect their government (continued on page 3)
Washingtons Dark Matter Regulations
by Clyde Wayne Crews, Jr.

I n a recent Gallup poll, Americans named the

government as the top problem facing our nation
for the second year in a rowgovernment beat out
According to White House data, there have been
222 executive orders since 2008, but 472 execu-
tive memoranda ranging from the mundane to the

the economy, immigration, unemployment, and even weighty. Other dark-matter items, including guidance
terrorism. The public is frustrated with everyone, from documents and other notices from the hundreds of
the President to Congress to politicians in general. federal agencies, are much more slippery. No one
This isnt surprising, considering that 2015 was even knows how many federal regulatory agencies
a banner year for government interference in there are, who works for them, or what they cost
Americans lives without their assent. The Obama American taxpayers. Agencies public presentations
administration issued 39 regulations for every law of guidance and their effects are all over the place.
approved by Congress. That wasnt a fluke. The Agencies have voluntarily acknowledged at
average ratio of regulations to laws under George least 580 significant guidance memosthose with
W. Bush was 17:1, less than half of Obamas 35:1 impacts of at least $100 million annually. Perhaps
record. Annually, federal regulations now cost the the most shocking volume of dark matter comes in the
economy about $1.9 trillion. form of public notices that have appeared in the
The president hasnt been shy about his willing- Federal Register: a whopping 524,251 since 1994,
ness to use his pen and phone when Congress dwarfing the 777 executive orders published during
wont pass the laws he wants. But formal regulations that time. Most public notices may be trivial, but
and executive orders are just part of his strategy. In policy makers really dont know whats all in there.
addition, as I detail in a new CEI report, his admin- Not all guidance documents or other dark matter
istration has often worked through what I call dark appear in the Federal Register.
matter: proclamations in the form of guidance docu- Congress needs to get a handle on the extent
ments, memoranda, bulletins, manuals, circulars, and of regulatory dark matter and what it costs us. At
even blog posts. the root of the problem of regulatory overreach is
Under the Administrative Procedure Act, most fed- Congress dereliction of its constitutional legislative
eral regulatory agencies must follow guidelines for power. To address this, Congress should require a
proposing and establishing regulations. This includes vote on all costly and controversial agency rules
public notice of a proposed rulemaking and a period including dark matterbefore they become binding
for the public to submit comments. The APA also on you and me.
created a process for federal courts to review these At the very least, Congress and future presidents
agencies actions and decisions. need to assert that all decrees by federal agencies
But when the executive branch uses dark matter, matter, not just those acknowledged and published
federal agencies circumvent Congress, the American as real rules. Dark matter needs to receive at least
people, the courts, and essentially all oversight. Such the same administrative scrutiny as ordinary rules
proclamations are not supposed to be legally bind- which themselves could use greater oversight.
ing, but if youre a small businessperson awaiting a The Constitution isnt perfect, but its better than a
permit or approval, theyre hard to ignoreassuming pen and phone.
you can find where they are published.

Publisher The CEI Planet is produced by the Competitive Enterprise

Lawson Bader Institute, a pro-market public interest group dedicated to
Editor free enterprise and limited government.
Marc Scribner
CEI is a non-partisan, non-profit organization incorporated in the
Editorial Director District of Columbia and is classified by the IRS as a 501 (c)(3)
Ph (202) 331-1010
Ivan G. Osorio charity. CEI relies upon contributions from foundations, corporations
Fax (202) 331-0640 Contributing Editor and individuals for its support. Articles may be reprinted provided
Keara Vickers they are attributed to CEI.
ISSN#: 1086-3036


Power Grab, continued
Specifically, the treaty is designed under Article II, Section 2 of the U.S.
to advance three political objectives: Constitution, the United States is not
1) Deter the next president, a party or bound to its terms unless
future Congresses, and even courts the Senate ratifies it. Absent Senate
from overturning the Environmental approval, President Obamas climate
Protection Agencys (EPA) so-called pledges to the United Nations are just
Clean Power Plan (CPP) and other administration proposals, not commit-
climate regulations, including some ments of the United States.
not yet proposed, by rebranding Congressional conservatives can
those policies as promises America ill-afford to duck this fight. The Paris
has made to the world. Agreement is central to President

2) Pressure future U.S. policy Obamas agenda to transform the
makers to make increasingly political landscape. To comply with
ambitious emission-reduction agreements demand for increas-
pledgesknown as Intended
Nationally Determined Contributions
ingly ambitious emission-reduction
commitments, all states would have
(INDCs)every five years starting in
2020, implement those pledges via
to adopt carbon-reduction schemes,
and federal policy makers would
ever-more stringent regulations, and have to impose keep it in the
pony up untold billions in climate ground restrictions on fossil-energy
financeforeign aid to subsidize production. Just as politics drive Help the Competitive
green energy ventures in develop- policy, so policy constrains politics.
ing countries. Why elect Red State politicians if We
Enterprise Institute
3) Make U.S. energy and climate the People are only allowed to have carry on its work for
policy increasingly unaccountable Blue State policies? generations by joining the
to Congress and to the American The sooner the counteroffensive
people, and increasingly beholden begins, the better. Blowback from the
R.M. Freedman society.
to the demands of foreign leaders, global warming movement will be
multilateral bureaucrats, international fierce regardless of when congres- In 2013, CEI established the R.M. Freedman
pressure groups, and their media sional conservatives make a stand. Society in honor of Robert M. Freedman,
allies. But if they wait until after the next a business owner from West Bloomfield,
To safeguard Americas economic president takes office, it may be too Michigan, who placed CEI in his estate
future and capacity for self-govern- late. By then, they could be accused and, in 2009, sadly passed on and gave
ment, congressional leaders must of blindsiding Americas treaty part- CEI its first legacy gift. We named the
expose President Obamas climate ners, undermining an extant agree- society in appreciation of his generosity.
diplomacy as an end-run around the ment, and upsetting expectations on Many of CEIs extended family choose to
Constitutions treaty-making process. which multi-billion dollar investments include CEI in their estate plans through:
They should do so before the presi- depend.
dent signs the Agreement on Earth To foil President Obamas cli- Bequests,
Day, April 22, at a United Nations mate coup, congressional leaders Charitable Remainder Trusts,
ceremony in New York. must call out his end-run around Charitable Lead Trusts, or as a
The centerpiece of this coun- the Constitution. They should do so
teroffensive should be a Sense of before the president signs the agree- Life insurance beneficiary.
Congress resolution emphasizing a ment and declares U.S. participation
clear and simple message: The Paris to be a done deal. If you make the decision to include CEI in
Agreement is a treaty, and therefore, your estate plans, please reach out and let
us know.

Marlo Lewis, Jr. ( is a senior fellow at CEI. He is author of

While these sorts of decisions should be
the new CEI policy paper, The Paris Climate Agreement Is a Treaty Requiring undertaken with the help of an estate
Senate Review. planner, Lauren Avey and Al Canata of
CEI can be a resource to you. You can
reach them anytime at 202-331-1010.


Bipartisan Bill Allows Government to
Continue Salt Experiment on Kids
Associationincreased risk of death. one-size-fits-all guidelines.
BY MICHELLE MINTON Similarly, two studies published in Without the sodium restriction, the
2014, one of which looked at urine school lunch program might have had

I n the scientific community, it is a

breach of professional ethics to con-
duct research on people without their
samples of 101,945 people in 17
countries, and a Danish meta-analysis,
found the risk of death was lowest
some positive effect on childhood obe-
sity. Schools in the program are serving
healthier foods, according to the
informed consent. But not for the federal among people with an average sodium CDC. But kids are also throwing away
government, it seems. consumption level between 3,000 and 56 percent more food, according to
In February, a Senate panel 6,000 milligrams a day. Guess what? researchers at the University of Vermont.
approved a bipartisan bill to continue a Thats how much sodium about 95 Serving more fruits and veggies
decade-long experiment in the nations percent of the human population has doesnt mean kids are eating more of
public schools. The Healthy Hunger- consistently consumed for at least the them. As a result, the program seems
Free Kids Act, which has the laudable last 50 years. to have had no effect on obesity rates.
goals of providing meals for underprivi- On the question of blood pressure, Rates fell in some age brackets and
leged students and fighting childhood the research isnt clear. Multiple stud- rose in others, but the shifts merely con-
obesity, forces schools to adhere to ies show a wide variation in reactions tinue trends already under way. Had
scientifically dubious nutritional guide- to altering sodium in the diet, which lunch workers been able to add salt (or
lines. In particular, the Acts require- suggests other factors might connect butter or cheese) to vegetable dishes,
ment for schools to limit sodium in meals sodium to blood pressure. Certainly, for they may have ended up in kids stom-
is unproven to improve health, and may somepeople who are deemed salt- achs instead of the trash bin.
actually cause harm. sensitiveincreasing sodium consump- A major problem for advocates of
Humans crave salt because its tion will increase their blood pressure. sodium restriction is that humans are
essential for the function of our bodies. But for others, it has no effect or can unconsciously driven to consume a
But government health agencies have even lower blood pressureeven when certain amount of salt. If kids arent get-
convinced people that we eat far too increasing sodium levels 12-fold. The ting the desired level of sodium in their
much of it. Problem is, the science on cause of this individual variation isnt school meals, they are likely seek it out
this issue is not settled. For over three known, but theories range from other in other foods, either at home or in vend-
decades, researchers have been dietary elements, like potassium intake, ing machines, and may actually end up
engaged in what has been called one which has been shown to lower blood eating more calories in an attempt to
of the longest, most vituperative battles pressure, to genetics and gut microbes. satisfy their bodys salt appetite.
in medicine. Targeting these other factors may Its time to end this ill-conceived
While the theory of sodium-induced more effectively lower blood pressure government experiment. The bipartisan
hypertension (chronic high blood and cardiovascular risk without the bill that funds the Healthy Hunger-
pressure) made sense, research is unintended consequences of severe Free Kids Act for an additional five
beginning to show that the relation- sodium restriction. Trials conducted by years delays implementation of the
ship between blood pressure and salt the National Institutes of healthknown sodium restriction until 2019. Until then,
is complex. It is not as simple as more as DASH, for Dietary Approaches to Congress should consider how kids in
sodium bad, less sodium good. Stop Hypertensionfound that people the real world respond to the programs
A landmark 2013 study commis- who cut out as much as 1,000 mil- restrictions, both in and out of school.
sioned by the federal Centers for ligrams of sodium a day saw only a At the very least, lawmakers should
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) one- or two-point drop in blood pres- ditch the programs scientifically
and performed by the Institute of sure, while simply switching to a diet questionable salt restriction and give
Medicine found that reducing sodium higher in fruits and vegetables reduced parents the opportunity to opt out of
intake below 2,300 milligrams a day it by three to six points. the experiment.
the maximum amount recommended by You might think the government
the CDC and other U.S. health agen- would let up on efforts to get Americans
cieshad no benefit, and that going to halve our salt consumption, in light Michelle Minton (
below 1,500 milligrams a daythe limit of this research, but no. The school is a fellow at CEI. A version of this
recommended by the American Heart lunch program is just one more tactic to article originally appeared on Inside
cajole us into following Washingtons Sources.


CEI Remembers Justice Antonin Scalia
CEI general counsel Sam Kazman on meeting Justice violated the law enacted by Congress, which gave
Scalia a few years ago: states the choice to either set up such exchanges
I met Justice Scalia only once. It was a brief themselves or stay out of the program. Although, ulti-
encounter at a reception a few years ago. I intro- mately the court decided against us, we took solace
duced myself and mentioned how much Id enjoyed in Justice Scalias scathing dissent in the plaintiffs
his footnote in Massachusetts v. EPA, the 2007 favor:
decision in which the Supreme Court held, 5-4, that This case requires us to decide whether someone
the agency could regulate carbon dioxide under the who buys insurance on an Exchange estab-
Clean Air Act. In his dissent Scalia wrote that, by the lished by the Secretary gets tax credits. You
majoritys logic, everything airborne, from Frisbees would think the answer would be obviousso
to flatulence, qualifies as an air pollutant. obvious there would hardly be a need for the
Then I took a CEI Durbin Dollar out my wallet. Supreme Court to hear a case about it. In order
Its a knockoff of a $5 bill with Lincolns face to receive any money under 36B, an indi-
replaced by that of Senator Dick Durbin, whose sup- vidual must enroll in an insurance plan through
posedly pro-consumer Durbin Amendment almost an Exchange established by the State. The
killed off free checking. Scalia got the joke immedi- Secretary of Health and Human Services is not
ately. Handing him the dollar, I mentioned that Id a State. So an Exchange established by the
always dreamed of being photographed bribing a Secretary is not an Exchange established by
Supreme Court justice. Scalia put his arm around my the Statewhich means people who buy health
shoulder, smiled and said, Im all yours. insurance through such an Exchange get no
money under 36B.
CEI senior attorney Hans Bader on the passing of
Justice Scalia in a letter to The Washington Post: Under all the usual rules of interpretation, in
Im saddened by the passing of Supreme Court short, the Government should lose this case. But
Justice Antonin Scalia. He applied the law faithfully, normal rules of interpretation seem always to
as written, rather than twisting it to cater to special- yield to the overriding principle of the present
interest groups, and that obviously made him many Court: The Affordable Care Act must be saved.
Mr. Scalias death dims the hope that the Ordinary connotation does not always prevail,
Supreme Court will act as an impartial interpreter of but the more unnatural the proposed interpreta-
the law rather than making the law up to suit ideo- tion of a law, the more compelling the contex-
logical fads. tual evidence must be to show that it is correct.
In a U.S. Supreme Court case decided last June, Todays interpretation is not merely unnatural;
King v. Burwell, CEI challenged an IRS regulation it is unheard of. Who would ever have dreamt
imposed under the Affordable Care Act that allows that Exchange established by the State means
subsidies on both state and federally established Exchange established by the State or the
health insurance exchanges. In CEIs opinion, the IRS Federal Government?


The Improvisational Fed and
Unpredictable Regulations
Agencies increasing tendency to it easy for central bankers to know
BY RYAN YOUNG regulate through non-transparent dark how they should react to a given set of
matter only makes the problem worse. economic conditions. It worked pretty

I mprovisation can be a wonderful

thing when performed by talented
handsthink Charlie Parker or Miles
As far as the Fed goes, the point is
not so much which rule a central bank
should adopt, but that it must have a
well when the Fed was following it, but
its attempts at managing the business
cycle are wrongheadedhubris at
Davis. The Federal Reserve, especially rule in the first place, and follow it con- worst, spitting into the wind at best.
for the past several weeks, has fancied sistently. Here are three possibilities. Another possibility that doesnt
itself an improvisational talent on that One is the Taylor rule, which the have those problems is Nominal Gross
level. But like most humans, Janet Yellen U.S. Federal Reserve followed for the Domestic Product (NGDP) targeting,
is no Charlie Parker. The Fed should better part of the 1980s and 1990s, most famously advocated for by Scott
consider a return to the Paul Volcker/ with good results. The Taylor rule raises Sumner. Instead of interest rates, NGDP
early Alan Greenspan adherence to a interest rates when growth and inflation targeting directly targets the money
defined rule. But that isnt the end of the are high, and lowers interest rates when supply itself. If NGDP goes up by 5
story. Any substantive Fed reform will growth and inflation are low. In other percent, so does the money supply, in
fail unless it is coupled with a thorough words, if the economy looks like it might lockstep. It attempts to keep each dollar
program of regulatory reform reaching be overheating, the Fed automatically describing the same amount of wealth,
through the entire executive branch. touches the brakes a bit. If it looks slug- which should result in stable, predict-
More complexity and an ever- gish, the Fed pushes the gas pedal, by able prices. Some central bankers
increasing stock of rules means less predictable, predefined amounts. prefer having, say, a 2 percent inflation
predictability and more uncertainty for The Taylor rule can even be sum- rate in perpetuity. Why someone would
businesses, investors, and consumers. marized in a single equation, making prefer such a thing is beyond me, but


the NGDP targeting equation can easily less long-term investment. which activist groups sue agencies
be modified to build in a small inflation Regulatory agencies have simi- for missing deadlines or not enforcing
or deflation as bankers wish. Again, the lar problems. Would you invest in a rules strictly enough. Since the agen-
important thing is not what the inflation 30-year project if you had no idea if cies are often on the same side, and
level is, but that it is steady, and the Fed the EPA would confiscate your land may in some cases collaborate behind
sticks to principle, even during a crisis. or finds some obscure rule to kill your the scenes, they are only too happy
There are significant measurement project? Thats why regulations to be to reach a settlement expanding the
problems with finding out exactly what simple and predictable. agencys power and authority.
GDP is at any given time, but an NGDP Fortunately, a number of reforms Other options include a regulatory
targeting rule is still far preferable to the are now winding their way through budget, similar to the spending budget
Feds whim on any given day. Congress. The Regulations from the the federal government is supposed to
A third possibility is the Friedman Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) issue each year. Each agency would
rule, named for Milton Friedman. The Act would require Congress to vote on have a budget of regulatory costs it is
Friedman rule deflates the currency at all executive branch regulations with allowed to impose, and must priori-
the same rate as the prevailing interest annual costs of more than $100 million. tize its rule enforcement so it doesnt
rate on government bonds. The goal The Searching for and Cutting exceed its cap.
is to make people indifferent about Regulations that are Unnecessarily Finally, automatic sunsets for new
keeping money in their wallet, versus Burdensome (SCRUB) Act could save regulations would automatically
a savings account. This means people nearly $300 billion per year if it works scrub old rules from the books unless
will make those allocation decisions as planned. It would set up an inde- Congress sees fit to renew them. This
based on economic efficiency, not pendent commission to comb through would prevent obsolete or harmful rules
the vagaries of inflation. Deflation is all federal regulations, and send from becoming immortal.
unsustainable in the long run, and cen- Congress a repeal package for an The Feds improvisational approach
tral bankers are hyper-wary of defla- up-or-down vote, with the goal of trim- does no favors to entrepreneurs, inves-
tion in general, ironically because of ming at least 15 percent from annual tors, or consumers. Nor does many
Friedmans own work. He, along with compliance costs, currently estimated regulatory agencies increasingly
Anna J. Schwartz, convincingly argued at $1.9 trillion. arbitrary and capricious approach.
that rapid deflation was the Great The All Economic Regulations are Just as the Fed should bind itself to a
Depressions single largest cause. Transparent (ALERT) Act would estab- predictable and stable rule, so should
Each of these rulesand there are lish a one-in-one-out rule similar to agencies embrace reform to keep their
othershas its own advantages and what Canada has had for several regulations as simple and predictable
drawbacks. The larger point is that the years. If an agency wants to issue a as possible.
Fed needs to follow some kind of rule, new rule, it must first get rid of a similar
and stick to it. Its free-jazz improvisa- dollar amount of old rules.
tional approach makes entrepreneurs The Sunshine Act would rein in a Ryan Young ( is a
and investors skittish, and results in far practice called sue-and-settle, under fellow at CEI.

Realclear Radio offers listeners a

fresh perspective on political and
social issues of the day through
informative interviews and dis-
cussions. Brought to you by the
Competitive Enterprise Institute
and RealClearPolitics, and hosted
by CEI Fellow Bill Frezza.
Learn more at


The Chipotle Effect: When Companies
Believe Their Own Hype
effort attempting to eliminate all GM trip to Switzerland to dazzle a confer-
BY FRED L. SMITH, JR. ingredients from its supply chain. By ence of fellow business leaders?
September, however, the companys The final burden is the problem of

I n late January, the federal Centers for

Disease Control and Prevention finally
closed the books on the investigation of
lawyers were responding to a lawsuit
alleging that they had failed, and had
misled customers with that claim.
a CEO who doesnt seem to be 100
percent behind his own product. Too
many corporate leaders seem to spend
the E. coli outbreaks at multiple Chipotle On the flipside, the company more time rehearsing their TED talks
locations last December. The news of has been unable to obtain steady than studying quarterly reports, but at
dozens (at one point thought to be hun- supplies of some of the ingredients least they are generally passionate pro-
dreds) of customers getting sick made that do meet their requirements, like moters of their own products. Steve Ells,
headlines nationwide and drove the non-conventionally raised pork. They Chipotles founder and co-CEO, has
burrito purveyor into a frenzy of apolo- even warned investors in 2014 that the often given off the aura of a corporate
gies and promises of improved safety. effects of global climate change might titan who is vaguely embarrassed to be
Other than telling us that people cause them to stop serving guacamole, in business at all.
have stopped getting sick, though, although The Washington Post quickly Ells, a Culinary Institute of America
government investigators dont seem to responded by reassuring readers that graduate, originally aspired to a career
be providing us with much information Chipotles guacamole isnt going in fine dining. As food writer Julie
on what caused the outbreaks. Chipotle anywhere (for now). Gunlock recently mused, Ells comes off
CEO Steve Ells attempted to reassure All of this puts additional burdens like an art school graduate who takes
customers and investors alike that due on the employees who are just trying to a desk job to pay the bills and regrets
to the companys increased emphasis make sure that customers get ade- scarring Americas landscape with
on food safety, the risk of another infec- quately served. First, the more specific yet another massive fast food fran-
tious outbreak was near zero. a corporate buyers requirements, the chise. Hardly the profile of a confident
Yet, whether it was the carnitas or more brittle the supply chain becomes. corporate leader. If it is true, as he
the cilantro-lime rice, theres good A lot of suppliers will be able to sell told the Huffington Post, that over the
reason to think it could happen again. you romaine lettuce and pork shoulder, years he felt a little guilty every time
The problem with Chipotle is much but if you can only use lettuce that is another Chipotle opened, it is perhaps
bigger than rules about which head locally grown and organic and pork no surprise the company has attempted
of lettuce is washed in which sink. Its that meets a laundry list of sustainability to locate its moral center in everything
about what happens when corporate requirements, that can lead to a series but the humble practice of selling good
marketing becomes more important of cascading shortages and delays if food at a reasonable price.
that the product itself. That problem can operations at any of those suppliers In fairness, there is nothing neces-
only be addressed by business leaders slow down. sarily wrong with a marketing strategy
understanding what a company like The second concern is one of man- that includes fluff or caters to trendy
Chipotle exists to accomplish in the first agement focus. If the message filtering consumer obsessionsif you deliver
place. through the company grapevine is that what you promise. To the extent that
Instead of focusing on actual food sustainable initiatives and PR oppor- Chipotles corporate culture has caused
quality, the company seems to have tunities with environmental groups are it to ignore critical operations, how-
been distracted by lifestyle trends the most important aspects of corporate ever, it has wandered into dangerous
and politically popular marketing culture, those will be the top priorities territory.
gimmicks. Last April, the company for every aspiring senior manager in
announced it had fully eliminated from the company. The more attention that is
its menu any ingredients that had been lavished on non-core tasks, the fewer Fred L. Smith, Jr. (
improved with genetic engineering. eyeballs will be watching out for the is founder of CEI and director of CEIs
Despite agreement among food safety non-glamorous but far more important Center for Advancing Capitalism. A
experts that genetically modified foods goals of food quality and sanitation. version of this article originally ap-
face no novel health risks, Chipotle Who wants to stay at home filling out peared in Forbes.
invested a large amount of time and reports on soil microbes when the rest
of the executive team is expensing a



Trey Kovacs Speaks on Capitol Hill on New Economy Labor Threats

On February 9, CEI hosted a Capitol Hill briefing on regulatory threats to flexible
work arrangements, job security, and entrepreneurial opportunities. CEI policy
analyst Trey Kovacs moderated the panel discussion, Regulatory Threats to Flexible
Employment and Worker Freedom: What Can Congress Do? Panelists discussed
what is at stake and what lawmakers can do to protect entrepreneurs, small business
owners, and their employees from burdensome regulations, from the National Labor
Relations Boards new joint employer standard to the Department of Labors new
overtime rule. Joining Kovacs on the panel were Eli Dourado of the Mercatus Center
at George Mason University; Bob Dorfman, owner and operatorWorld of Beer
franchises in Northern Virginia; and Angelo I. Amador, senior vice president and
regulatory counsel at theNational Restaurant Association.

Myron Ebell Discusses Impact of EPAs Clean Power Plan in Denver

On February 16, Myron Ebell, director of CEIs Center for Energy and
Environment, participated in a panel in Denver, co-hosted by CEI and
the Colorado-based Independence Institute, on thelatest developments
in implementation of the EPAs so-called Clean Power Plan ruleand
in our efforts to stop it. If implemented, the rule would shut down critical
sources of electricity, reduce consumer choice, eliminate states abili-
ties to determine their own energy futures, and endanger our strug-
gling economy. More than 150 organizations, including CEI and the
Independence Institute, and 27 states have filed lawsuits challenging the
rule, which is now winding its way through the courts. Also participating
in the panel was Raymond Gifford, a partner at the law firm Wilkinson, Barker, Knauer, LLP and a leading expert in public
utilities law,who provided in-depth analysis of what the Clean Power Plan means for Colorado.

Bill Frezza and Iain Murray at CPAC

On March 3, Bill Frezza,host ofRealClear Radio Hour and a
fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, moderated a panel
at the 2016 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC)
on the growing problem of cronyism in the American economy.
From regulatory barriers that stifle new competitors to subsidies
that transfer wealth to preferred businesses, policies that benefit
certain businesses do so at the expense of economic freedom
and the entrepreneurship it makes possible. Joining Frezza on
the panel were Washington Examinercolumnist and American
Enterprise Institute visiting fellow Tim Carney,Alison Fraser of the Charles Koch Institute, Matthew Mitchell of the Mercatus
Center, and Government Accountability Institute President Peter Schweizer. The panel, hosted by the Charles Koch Institute,
was recorded and broadcast onRealClear Radio Hour with Bill Frezza.
Iain Murray spoke on free trade on March 5, on the CPAC panel, How Free is the TPP? What should Congress do
about trade? He outlined the benefits of free trade and how trade agreements since NAFTA had moved toward being trade
management rather than free trade deals. Murray also noted that the Trans-Pacific Partnership excludes from its protections
one politically disfavored industrythe tobacco industry. Congress, Murray noted, should take a careful look at whether
the benefits of tariff reduction are outweighed by increasing regulation of non-trade matters. He was joined on the panel by
Bryan Riley of the Heritage Foundation and Denis McShane of the U.S.-China Trade Commission.


How George Washington Propelled Steamboats,
Americas First Great Disruptive Technology
spur the race to create a commercially that was sold throughout the colonies
BY JOHN BERLAU viable passenger and freight steam- and exported to Europe. No wonder
boat that culminated in Robert Fultons a new book on Washingtons business

I n 1787, two events changed the

course of history in Americaand the
world. And George Washington, who
celebrated vessels some 20 years later.
More importantly, as Americas first
great invention, the steamboat ushered
endeavors by historian Edward Lengel
is entitled First Entrepreneur.
As a businessman engaged in
two years later would become the first in an age of American innovation that trade, as well as a citizen concerned
U.S. president, would play an indispens- continues to this day. But none of this about the new nations economy,
able role in both. may have happened without a fate- Washington turned his focus after
One was, of course, the drafting of ful meeting in 1784 beween George the war to creating faster modes of
the U.S. Constitution to safeguard our Washington and James Rumsey, a transportation for people and goods.
liberties and create a federal govern- visionary tinkerer dismissed by many as In the fall of 1784, he traveled more
ment checked by separation of powers. a crackpot. than 600 miles from Mount Vernon,
The other, less well known event Only a few months earlier, in northern Virginia, to the western
concerns a mode of transportation that Washington had retired as general, part of the state (now West Virginia).
would not come into fruition until the after leading the Continental Army to Washingtons purpose was to inspect
next century: the steamboat. As we cel- victory over Great Britain. Setting an his properties and look for ways to
ebrate George Washingtons birthday, example by peacefully ceding power, shorten travel time through the then-
his championing of a pivotal inventor he was eager to get back to Mount formidable Allegheny Mountains, by
gives insight into what made the father Vernon, where Washington was less building both roads and canals. On
of our country so special. a gentleman farmer than an agri- his first stop in the town of Bath (now
In 1787, two steam-powered ves- cultural entrepreneur. Among other Berkeley Springs, West Virginia),
sels invented by two different men things, he acquired vast holdings of Washington became enthralled with
sailed short but successful voyages on real estate, pioneered crop rotation, a local inventor who was designing a
American rivers. These voyages would and built a flour mill that produced new boat to conquer river travel.
more than 200,000 pounds per year James Rumsey, a 41-year-old


jack of all trades and home builder, that steamboats would ever be a their fellow citizens. This elevated status
was part-owner of the inn in Bath practical form of travel. According to was reflected in the creation of the
where Washington was staying. When Sutcliffe, Franklin thought that steam U.S. Patent Office by the Patent Act
Rumsey approached him, Washington was not a strong enough force to move of 1790, a law championed by the
agreed to view a demonstration of boats upstream. recently elected President Washington.
Rumseys model boat that others had Yet, Washington kept an open Throughout his life, Washington
scorned and ridiculed. As Andrea mind. He arranged for Rumsey to be lent a helping hand to many creators
Sutcliffe writes in Steam: The Untold hired as superintendent of the Potomac and fellow entrepreneurs. After the
Story of Americas First Invention, Navigation Company, a firm chartered end of his presidency, Washington
before steam technology took hold, to improve Potomac River navigation would take another innovatoralso
many citizens viewed inventors as in which Washington was an investor. named Jamesunder his wing. James
self-indulgent crackpots, not pioneers Not only did Rumsey receive steady Anderson, Washingtons farm man-
of progress. income, he got the opportunity to test ager at Mount Vernon, had emigrated
But Washington viewed inventors boats in various parts of the Potomac. from Scotland and was familiar with
as visionaries desperately needed for When word got around of Rumseys the great distilleries there. Anderson
Americas economy to thrive. The next progress, it spurred competition to build thought, with the grains harvested in
day, Rumsey placed his mini-vessel, a passenger steamboat. Pennsylvanian its fields, Mount Vernon would be a
roughly the size of a toy boat, into a John Fitch was also able to gather great spot for a whiskey distillery. He
stream that flowed into the Potomac support for the steam-powered vessel convinced Washington, and soon the
River. Washington was awed as the he was building. When Fitch visited Mount Vernon distillery would become
boat propelled itself against a rapid Mount Vernon to ask Washington for the largest producer of rye whiskey in
current. an endorsement, Washington politely America.
Subsequently, Washington wrote a declined out of loyalty to Rumsey and Today, with major funding from the
letter of endorsement to help Rumsey warned Rumsey in a letter to speed up Distilled Spirits Council of the United
secure funding from investors and on building the steam-powered boat, States, the distillery has been recon-
patent rights from state legislatures as many people guessing your plan structed and is open to the public.
(there would not be a U.S. Patent have come very near the mark. Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens
Office until after the U.S. Constitution On August 22, 1787, Fitch dem- even makes and sells whiskey based
authorized one). Rumsey, wrote onstrated his boat on the Delaware on Washington and Andersons old
Washington, has discovered the art of River before the delegates attend- recipe. What better way to toast the
working boats by mechanism and that ing the Constitutional Convention in American innovation that George
this discovery is of vast importance. Philadelphia. He offered boat rides Washington shepherded in.
As Sutcliffe writes, Washingtons to the delegates, taking them a few Washingtons geniusin politics,
influence was golden when Rumsey hundred yards on the river and back. the military, and businesswas to see
approached the legislatures of Virginia Not to be outdone, Rumsey debuted the potential in Rumsey, Anderson, and
and other states. As then-Virginia his own steamboat on December 3 others and help them hone their talents
State Delegate James Madison would of that year on the Potomac River in to the benefit of their fellow citizens.
write to fellow future President Thomas Shepherdstown, Virginia (now in West In sensing and encouraging potential
Jefferson in 1785, when Rumsey had Virginia). Instead of just offering the in others, Washington stands as a
approached the legislature just a year equivalent of carnival rides, as Fitch role model not just for political and
earlier, the apparent extravagance had on the Delaware, Rumsey took military leaders, but for CEOs, venture
of his pretensions brought a ridicule several of the towns leading ladies capitalists, and angel investors. On the
upon them, and nothing was done. (including Mrs. Rumsey) on a two-hour federal holiday celebrating his birthday
But, Madison continued, when the river voyage. Though the boat traveled (and on his real birthday of February
legislators learned of Washingtons just six miles, the townsfolk had never 22), lets also celebrate George
endorsement, it opened the ears of seen anything like it. No one had. Washingtons role in nurturing innova-
the Assembly. Rumsey was granted Just as Rumsey and Washington tion as a private citizen and protecting
a patent by Virginia, as well as had envisioned, the steamboat the freedom to innovate in the public
Maryland and Pennsylvania. ultimately brought the country closer policies for which he advocated.
As his experiment progressed, together. And inventors were able to
Rumsey decided to use steam to power apply steam power to the nations first
his boata radical notion at the time. trains, mills, and factories. John Berlau ( is a
Benjamin Franklin, one of Americas As important, inventors in America senior fellow at CEI. A version of this
leading scientific minds, was skeptical now had the admiration of most of article originally appeared in Forbes.


Obama Should Rein In the NLRB
use the franchisors brand name and at risk of failure because of the new
BY TREY KOVACS benefit from the parent companys standard.
marketing efforts and tested business Unfortunately, we know why the

I n President Obamas State of the

Union address, he echoed a theme
that has been constant throughout his
Workers profited as well. Franchises
accounted for 10 percent of new jobs
Obama administration issued the
decision: to ease union organizing
campaigns. When a union organizes
tenure: How do we give everyone a in 2013 and 2014. Projections from a franchises employees, the parent
fair shot at opportunity and security in the International Franchise Association company will now have to negotiate
this new economy? show that the gross domestic prod- alongside the franchisee. McDonalds
One way he could work toward this uct (GDP) of the franchise sector will is already being charged with labor
goal in his final year in office would be increase by $521 billion or 5.2 percent violations as a joint employer, and the
to rein in the National Labor Relations in 2015, an increase over the $496 NLRBs general counsel has admitted
Board (NLRB), which has imposed billion generated in 2014. that the sole reason why our agency is
costly regulations that threaten to seri- But in August 2015, the NLRB involved in the McDonalds situation is
ously disrupt workplaces around the decided in its case, Browning-Ferris because there is a national campaign
nation and the greater economy. Industries, that franchisors are joint thats called the Fight for $15 that is
A key example is the NLRBs recent employers of the workers their franchi- being run by a fast-food workers alli-
change to the rules governing franchise sees hire, and thus can be held liable for ance that is seeking to raise wages in
businesses. For purposes of labor law, labor violations. the fast food industry to $15 an hour.
a franchisor and franchiseethink Browning-Ferris could have dire Wider unionization would not be
McDonalds corporate vs. the owner of consequences for the franchising indus- in workers best interest. For example,
a few McDonalds restaurantswere try. In the future, parent companies will an analysis by my colleagues at the
for decades considered two distinct have to decide whether the additional Competitive Enterprise Institute empha-
entities. This was common sense. A risk is worth it. Franchisors may choose sizes that unionization causes dead-
franchisee is an independent small- to operate stores themselves instead of weight loss: By raising the cost of
business owner who hires and fires franchising, which will limit opportu- labor, unions decrease the number of
employees and creates their schedules, nity for entrepreneurs and reduce job job opportunities in unionized industries.
and thus should be responsible for any creation. A new report from FRANdata, That, in turn, increases the supply of
labor law violations. which provides market data to fran- labor in the nonunion sector, thereby
In return for running the business chise industries, finds that at least driving down wages in those industries.
and taking responsibility for labor 40,000 small businesses operating Further, a recent Gallup poll shows that
relations, entrepreneurs were able to in more than 75,000 locations are nonunion workers are more satisfied
than their union counterparts with vari-
ous aspects of their jobssafety condi-
tions, recognition for a job well done,
flexibility of hours, and job security.
So if President Obama truly wants
American workers to be successful
and have a fair shot, then it is time for
SAVE THE DATE government to step aside and remove
harmful regulationsespecially when
the motive behind such regulations

A Night in Casablanca is to prop up the special interests of

labor unions at the expense of job
Trey Kovacs (
JUNE 2, 2016 JW MARRIOTT WASHINGTON, D.C. is a policy analyst at CEI. A version
of this article originally appeared at


Will Regulation Put the Brakes on Driverless Cars?
When the California Department different functions than unconnected
BY MARC SCRIBNER of Motor Vehicles began implement- autonomous cars, such as operating
ing the 2012 statute, problems soon platoons of automated vehiclesakin

F or the 1939 Worlds Fair, legend-

ary industrial designer Norman
Bel Geddes created Futurama for
became apparent. Padillas bill
contained a variety of misguided
mandates and restrictions, including a
to road trains. But these advanced
cooperative automated functions
require large infrastructure invest-
General Motors. It predicted that provision making it extremely difficult ments. Based on a recent Government
America would be connected by a vast for the DMV to authorize the opera- Accountability Office estimate, the
network of radio-controlled automated tion of automated vehicles without a cost of installing the necessary DSRC
highways by 1960. This was several licensed driver sitting in the driver seat roadside units every 300 meters along
decades premature, but we are rapidly ready to take immediate control. the 160,000-mile National Highway
approaching the reality of autonomous Manufacturer testing rules that went System to enable automated platoon-
vehicles, with perhaps just 10 to 15 into effect in September 2014 forced ing would require dedicating 10 to
years before self-driving cars are avail- Google to install a steering wheel and 20 percent of total federal highway
able to consumers. pedals back into its prototype, which expenditures (depending on the
On January 14, the Obama admin- was engineered to operate without replacement rate of vehicle-to-infra-
istration proposed spending $4 billion either. The draft rules for licensing and structure devices). In an era when it is
on automated vehicles over the next operations released in December 2015 hard to find the funds to fill potholes,
decade, in addition to fixing outdated would require that self-driving cars this is a nonstarter.
regulations. This could aid the develop- must allow a driver in the driver seat Yet, the Department of
ment and deployment of much safer, to take over at all times, effectively Transportation remains committed to
cleaner, and more efficient automobiles, outlawing autonomous taxis. mandating all newly manufactured
but only if the federal government learns The January 2016 announce- vehicles contain V2V equipment before
from the past mistakes of states and ment from the U.S. Department of the end of the decade. Automakers
avoids the technocratic approaches too Transportation appears to be a good support the mandate because they
often favored in Washington. start. By the summer, the National realize that V2V provides zero benefits
Googles 2010 announcement that Highway Traffic Safety Administration to early adopters. Some call this a
it had been quietly testing its self-driving is supposed to release voluntary best market failure. In fact, it is the market
car prototypes on public roads captured practices for developers, as well as a speaking: Consumers do not want to
the imagination of the publicand poli- draft model bill for states to uniformly pay for a technology that may only
ticians. Beginning in 2011 with Nevada, clarify the respective roles of state become useful years from now, if ever.
states started examining ways to recog- and federal governments. The admin- The Obama administration has
nize the legality of this new technology istration also promises it will consider signaled that it believes automated
and to regulate it. Since then, four other exempting developers from outdated vehicles will soon be upon us. This is
states and the District of Columbia have safety regulations or permit alternative good news. But expressing its support
enacted such laws. They range from methods of compliance. while simultaneously recommitting
Tennessees law that wisely prohibits Unfortunately, the same document itself to the V2V white elephant does
counties and municipalities from enact- says the administration will continue not inspire confidence given recent
ing local automated vehicle ordinances, supporting a flawed politically selected experience in the states. If it wishes
to Californias detailed technical regula- technology known as vehicle-to-vehicle to best promote automated vehicles,
tory regime. communications (V2V). As currently the administration should focus on
When California enacted its law envisioned by the Department of examining existing legal and political
in 2012, Silicon Valley cheered. A Transportation, V2V would rely on a barriers, not standing up new ones
signing ceremony for Gov. Jerry Brown protocol called dedicated short-range by attempting to politically shape the
was held at Googles headquarters, communications (DSRC), basically Wi-Fi technology.
with Google co-founder Sergey Brin for cars, which would send messages
and bill sponsor Sen. Alex Padilla such as hazard warnings to drivers.
looking on. Padilla has since become V2V is wholly distinct from vehicle Marc Scribner ( is
Californias secretary of state. automation technology, although con- a fellow at CEI.
nected automated vehicles can perform



Permanent Internet TSA Body Scanner Rule Fiduciary Rule Harms

Sales Tax Ban Passes Endangers Travelers Middle Class Investors

On February 11, the Senate voted Over the past four years, CEI has led The Department of Labor is attempting
to permanently extend the federal the fight against the Transportation to implement its fiduciary rule, which
prohibition on Internet sales taxes, by Security Administrations (TSA) illegal will devastate middle class inves-
sending the customs bill to President deployment of body scanners in air- tors by blocking access to investment
Obama. The customs legislation ports. The TSA deployed the scanners, choices and guidance for their 401(k)
contains the Permanent Internet Tax which are alleged to be ineffective s and IRAs. At the core of the Labor
Freedom Act (PITFA), long champi- in addition to being invasive, without Departments unprecedented move is
oned by CEI. The passage of PITFA following federal rulemaking require- the presumption that American savers
is a victory for taxpayers, said CEI ments. CEI won a federal lawsuit in are not smart enough to make good
Adjunct Scholar Jessica Melugin. It 2015 that led to the agency issuing investment decisions for their retire-
means a permanent ban of discrimi- its final rule. However, the TSAs new ment. The pending Obama adminis-
natory taxes on Internet commerce rule leaves much to be desired. The tration regulations could cost middle
and access that would have other- agency contradicts itself by arguing class savers $80 billion in lost savings,
wise been instituted by many state that body scanners do not increase imposing big regulatory barriers for
legislatures. It protects consumers passenger wait times relative to metal small investment portfolios, said CEI
from new andif telecommunication detectors, while relying exclusively Senior Fellow John Berlau. Congress
taxes are any indicationtypically on metal detectors for its expedited should act now to block implemen-
high taxes related to accessing the screening program, said CEI Fellow tation of the Department of Labors
Internet. Its permanence is a boon Marc Scribner. The agency fails to harmful fiduciary rule, which has been
for Internet users, innovators, and explain what happens to people who dubbed Obamacare for Your IRA.
investors. are so put off by the TSAs security
inspections at airports due to perceived
delays and privacy invasions that they
drive instead of flying. Because driv-
ing is much riskier than flying, the end
result is that the TSAs procedures lead
to deaths on the highways.


Vice President for Policy Wayne Ted Frank, head of CEIs Center this. And then part
Crews is cited on the growing for Class Action Fairness, dis- of the problem is
yearly tally of regulations: cusses the Walmart DVD class- its just inherent with
Unofficially, Mr. Obamas action settlement: the technology,
Administration has once again broken Appeals court delays held up the Scribner says.
its own record by issuing a staggering distribution of the booty, which is why February 23,
82,036 pages of new and proposed Mr. Frizell doesnt recall opting for National Public
rules and instructions in the Federal the gift card, which he did in 2011. Radio
Register in 2015. We say unoffi- But the long wait aside, the settlement
cially because Wayne Crews of the raises questions about the appropriate The Wall
Competitive Enterprise Institute, who way to resolve such matters. For some Street Journals subscription
tracks these regulations, warns that the insights, the Haggler called Ted Frank, news service for financial
final number will likely come down by a regular and vocal critic of the terms professionals cites John Berlaus
a few hundred pages when the official of class-action deals and a lawyer at warnings about the effects of the
National Archives tally is released, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a Department of Labors proposed
without the blank pages that sometimes Washington nonprofit organization. fiduciary rule:
appear in daily publication. Mr. Frank filed a legal objection to Early this month, the Competitive
January 1, The Wall Street Journal this settlement, arguing that the plain- Enterprise Institute said the rule, which
tiffs lawyers enriched themselves to the is expected to be released soon, would
Transportation policy expert detriment of consumers. To begin with, apply to people who give [financial]
Marc Scribner highlights a he said that claimants were steered advice to individual callers.
strange regulatory carve out toward the gift card because they John Berlau, who wrote the report
favored by Disney, until it threat- could request it online. To get a check, for the conservative advocacy group,
ened the companys ability to fly they had to send a snail mail letter. reiterated that notion in an article for
drones: So how many of those gift cards Forbes that has been viewed nearly
The technology is certainly exciting, have been cashed in? We dont know. half a million times. That stirred up the
but the regulatory process is atrocious, January 30, The New York Times conservative Twitter discussion.
said Marc Scribner, research fellow March 10, The Wall Street Journal Pro
at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Marc Scribner discusses the
Justifying the flight restrictions over perennial problems that Politicos Ben White highlights
Disney parks has always been laugh- plaguestreetcars on All Things the debate generated by John
able and was always a product of Considered: Berlaus work on the DOL
undue favoritism. This isnt really a mobility enhanc- fiduciary rule:
January 22, The Washington Post ing technology, says Marc Scribner, CEIs John Berlau responds to a recent
a research fellow at the Competitive Slate piece: Slate argued that the
Myron Ebell responds to the Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. fiduciary rule would never censor
U.S. Supreme Courts ruling that This is a government subsidy to prop- financial broadcasters, but maybe it
the Federal Energy Regulatory erty developers. should! As I write, this pundit would be
Commission overstepped its He points to other streetcar systems in clear violation of any fiduciary rule
authority to issue demand around the nation that never got up to that she report the contents of a regula-
response programs: speedincluding the D.C. Streetcar, tion accurately to her readers. She
The Supreme Court sends a clear which is set to begin carrying passen- says for instance it could never be used
message by ruling in favor of FERCs gers this weekend after years of delays. against Ramsey and others because lis-
power demand rule: Energy politics For months, empty cars have been teners dont pay him. Yet the rule refers
are a game that ignores both the rolling up and down H Street in an many times to compensation From any
rule of law and states constitutional extended safety test. Scribner blames source and direct or indirect
authority, Myron Ebell, director of the the troubled rollout on poor planning March 11, Politico Morning Money
Centerfor Energy and Environment at by the city.
the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a Part of the problem is, youre
libertarian group, said in a statement. dealing with bureaucracies that really
January 25, The New York Times didnt understand what all went into


Nonprofit Org.
U.S. Postage
Permit 425
Southern MD

Government Employee Skips Work for Years, Alabamas Last Dry County Legalizes Alcohol Sales
Nobody Notices On March 1, previously bone-dry Clay County,
Joaqun Garca had been employed by a Spanish city Alabama, began allowing limited sales of alcohol in two
government as a water treatment engineer since 1990. municipalities, following a voter referendum. Residents
When officials decided to give Garcia an award for his of Lineville and Ashland voted to legalize alcohol sales
long service, they noticed a problem: Garcia had not shown in their cities, 30 years after the last attempt to turn Clay
up for work in years. According to news accounts, officials County wet failed. Last year, restaurant owners in Ashland
believe Garcia had not occupied his office for six to 14 wanted to hold a pizza and beer night with non-alcoholic
years. After being confronted about his years of absence, beer. However, the county attorney warned the couple that
Garcia claimed he had been a victim of workplace bully- near-beer still contained a small amount of alcohol and had
ing on account of his familys radical socialist politics, but been purchased in a neighboring county and subject to that
feared to report the allegations because he had a family to countys alcohol tax, meaning serving an ODouls with
support. Instead, he cashed paychecks and did no work. A a slice in Clay County violated state law. This was the last
magistrate did not accept his excuse and fined him approxi- straw for the business community, who convinced the public
mately $30,000, the equivalent of one years after-tax pay. that prohibiting alcohol was driving commerce and tax rev-
enue out of the county.
Prominent Marine Biologist Sentenced for Being too
Close to Sea Otters TSA Stops High Heel Murder Conspiracy?
Noted California marine biologist Nancy Black has The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) rou-
been dealing with the absurdities of the Marine Mammal tinely touts how many guns it confiscates at checkpoints from
Protection Act for the past decade. In 2014, after a seven- travelers who forget to properly check their weapons. But
year court battle, Black was sentenced to three years of pro- they are unlikely to highlight one passengers experience.
bation and fined $12,500 after pleading guilty to feeding A woman attempting to fly out of Baltimore-Washington
killer whales from her boat. The prosecutor alleged Blacks International Thurgood Marshall Airport was stopped by
feeding risked causing orcas to mistake humans for prey, the TSA. In her carry-on bag, they found stiletto high-heeled
thereby putting boaters and swimmers at risk. In March, shoes featuring gun and bullet design elements. The agency
Black was sentenced to an additional year of probation requires that all guns and gun replicas be checked. The
after being photographed in her boat near two sea otters. woman attempted to check her shoes, but ended up leaving
One of her sentencing conditions was to remain at least 50 them with airport security to avoid missing her flight.
feet away from all marine mammals.