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Science, Technology, and Government

July 9, 2015 in Economics

By Judy

Science, Technology, and Government


Big GovernmentFree MarketsJuly 9, 2015Interventionism

Science, Technology, and Government

In this brilliant monograph, Rothbard deftly turns the tables on the supporters of big government and their mandate for control of research and development in all areas of the hard sciences.

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Redskins Victimized by Supreme Court License-Plate Case

July 9, 2015 in Economics

By Ilya Shapiro

Ilya Shapiro

Whatever you think of the wisdom in keeping the moniker of Washington’s professional football team, it should be uncontroversial that the Redskins name and logo is protected by the First Amendment. Similarly, while I agree with South Carolina’s imminent decision to remove the Confederate battle flag from its capitol, if someone wants to drive a bright orange car with that ensign painted on top, it’s their right.

After all, there are only a few categories of expression that the Supreme Court has held to be constitutionally unprotected: things like child pornography and incitement of violence. “Offensive” speech — however defined and whoever decides — isn’t on that list.

And yet, when federal district judge Gerald Bruce Lee ordered that the Redskins’ trademark registrations be canceled — because they “may disparage” Native Americans — he badly misinterpreted the scope of constitutional speech protections. Judge Lee mistakenly found that the federal government doesn’t have to protect the First amendment under the federal trademark statute and that registering a trademark constitutes government speech.

Reasonable people disagree about how best to structure intellectual property law, but it’s bizarre to think that every trademark, copyright and patent represents government expression.”

Judge Lee followed the lead of a flawed Supreme Court ruling ratifying the power of the Department of Motor Vehicles — of all government agencies — to police speech it considers “offensive.” The Washington Redskins are thus the first unintended casualty of Walker v. Texas Division, last month’s “Confederate license-plate case.”

In Walker, a five-justice majority ruled that the specialty plates Texas drivers can choose for their vehicles constitute state speech — and the state can control its own messages, including rejecting a proposed Sons of Confederate Veterans tag. This is so even though the license-plate program allows Texans to make their own designs, which has resulted in hundreds of plates expressing support for myriad nonprofits, businesses, and affinity groups.

By that logic, Texas has long endorsed Dr. Pepper, Re/Max and an assortment of burger joints. Both Longhorns and Aggies must have been dismayed that the Lone Star State had been officially cheering for the Oklahoma Sooners.

The ruling represents a fundamental misunderstanding: Texas doesn’t have to have specialty plates, but if it creates this money-making program, it can’t then censor speech it doesn’t like.

The same thing is at play with the Redskins: Reasonable people disagree about how best to structure intellectual property law, but it’s bizarre to think …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Rebuilding Radio Clinic

July 9, 2015 in History

July 09, 2015 5:00 a.m.

Radio Clinic was one of the 1,616 stores looted during the 1977 Blackout in New York City. In the days after the blackout, the chances of Radio Clinic’s survival looked pretty grim. In the wake of a large-scale disaster the precipitous event might be over; the fires put out and the hurricane waters receded. But for the small business owners whose stores were destroyed, the fight to survive was just beginning. Jen Rubin, the daughter of Radio Clinic’s owner, writes about her father’s experience after the Blackout.


The day after the looting, my dad stood on the sidewalk at Broadway and 98th Street contemplating the ruins of what, just hours earlier, had been Radio Clinic. It was seven in the morning, and while sporadic looting was still going on in other parts of the city, it was over on 98th street. Once assured it was safe to go inside the store, my dad walked to the back office to find a broom to sweep up the broken glass. The trapdoor to the basement warehouse was open letting him know the looters found the staircase to the rest of the merchandise. He didn’t see how the looters could possibly have gotten the large appliances up the steep sailor staircase, but he anxiously climbed down to check for himself. The hundreds of boxes of air conditioners were still there, abandoned in a heap by the foot of the ladder. The lack of an easy way out of the warehouse made all the difference. In the midst of all the bad news, the lingering heat wave was a kernel of good luck. If the heat had loosened its grip on the city in the days after the looting, Radio Clinic would never have made it. Even though Radio Clinic was decimated and everything was stolen off the commercial floor, the store still had a stockpile of air conditioners during a blistering hot week, when New Yorkers were desperate for them.

Surveying the wreckage that Thursday morning, my dad decided he would re-open by 9 a.m. on Saturday, just two days later. As my dad swept the shattered glass, his employees started to trickle in. The light and electricity were still out and there was no way to know whether it would be hours or days until the power outage was resolved. The …read more