Aug 072011

The image (derived from Wikipedia Commons) is of a clay tablet that contains the prologue to Hammurabi’s Code.

The latest regulatory atrocity that made me go here is the Obama administration’s plan (now dropped, at least in this instance) to regulate pharmaceutical companies by forcing the resignation of executives it disapproves of.  (WSJ article:  “U.S. Drops Effort to Oust Forest Labs CEO”   The print edition headline was a less honest, less accurate one:  “Forest Chief Prevails Over U.S.”)

When I was a wee kid in elementary school (possibly as early as 4th grade) we learned that Hammurabi’s Code was an advance because people knew from it what the laws were and what the penalties were.    Now our leaders devise regulatory systems under which nobody can know what is required, and under which the best one can do is try to stay on the right political side of the authorities.    And this in an environment where the current administration has been willing to attack and threaten private businesses that make political statements that it perceives to be critical or contrary to its agenda.

People in our country used to understand about due process.  But now we have President who supposedly has an advanced degree in constitutional law, but who institutes a regulatory system that is about as far from any constitutional system as you can get.   And some headline writers for the WSJ don’t get it.

There is such a thing as good regulation and there is necessary regulation.  I’ve long wished that we could discuss good vs bad regulation rather than re-regulation vs deregulation.   But trying to regulate in the way Obama has tried to do here is likely to give all of regulation a bad name.

So to do my part to get the discussion back where it needs to be, I’ve instituted a new category of articles:   Hammurabi-Handedness.   That term is in part an allusion to related concepts, such as the invisible hand.    Hammurabi-Handedness refers to letting the invisible hand do its thing, but within a regulatory system that is as clear and well-defined as possible, and which minimizes waste and corruption.

Aug 062011


I hereby confer on the organizers and participants in Lemonade Freedom Day the Leviathan Ankle-Biter Award, to be enjoyed by them with all the rights and privileges pertaining thereto.

The big event is on August 20.  The web site is at   You can sign up on facebook

I must confess I’ve ridden past a couple of lemonade stands this summer without stopping, but I will be sure to correct that error on August 20 or any other day when there is an opportunity.

View Local Restrictions on Kid-Run Concession Stands in a larger map

Update:  Here is a Google Map provided by the Freedom Center of Missouri.  The Red markers indicate towns where kid-run concession stands have been shut down.   The Green ones are towns that allow kid-run concession stands without requiring a permit.   The Yellow ones are places that require kids to get at least one city permit.


Aug 042011

This photo is of a hole I was digging in my back yard several years ago.  It provided some very clean fill dirt for our new garage.   I dug it deeper than this before I was done, but unlike our national economy, I never dug it so deep I couldn’t get out.  It has since been filled in.

Speaking of digging ourselves in deeper, there is an interesting side to the left’s hysterical screaming of the last several days.   If you let them rage and rant long enough and loud enough, eventually they will scream off-message and let a bit of the truth leak out.   That seems to be what happened with Rep. Mike Doyle.

For a couple of weeks it was all about how to deal with the deficit.   We knew the left was not particularly interested in reducing the deficit, of course, because Pres. Obama wouldn’t even give up his $128 billion in walking-around money for the 2012 re-election campaign.     But they tried to sell the idea that higher taxes were needed in order to reduce the deficit.  A few of their own followers may even have believed it.

But now, Rep. Mike Doyle confirmed what we knew all along.  It wasn’t about deficit reduction.  It was about Democrats feeding their spending habit.    “We have negotiated with terrorists.  This small group of terrorists have made it impossible to spend any money.”

And did Vice President Biden try to steer Rep. Doyle back on message by reminding him that deficit-reduction was the object?   No, all he could do was agree that the Democrat opponents have acted like terrorists.

And if anyone thinks it was just one rogue Congressman, President Obama couldn’t help himself, either.   Now that there was no reason to restrain himself, he came out promoting more  of his wild spending plans, aka “key investments.”

See Michelle Malkin’s column, Back to Big Government-Spending as Usual