Here are some of the important and interesting news stories and opinions from recent days.
Ginseng Raid: Based on a report by the Associated Press, this story seems bizarre: “West Virginia natural resources police say they have made 11 arrests and seized 190 pounds of dry ginseng that was illegally harvested.” Articles by the West Virginia Gazette-Mail and by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources offer additional details, yet still leave many questions unanswered. A few details: Ginseng dealers must be licensed, the harvesting season is tightly regulated, and “digging ginseng on public lands . . . is prohibited.” But does the raid in question pertain to ginseng harvested on public lands? On private property without permission? (I may have more details later.)
Salon Attacks Rand (Again): CJ Werleman of Salon claims that Ayn Rand’s view of free markets is a “fantasy,” a “constructed supernatural myth.” But the only fantasies at hand are Werleman’s own statements about free markets and about Rand’s views; see my article for the Objective Standard.
Illegal Horse Transport: To transport horses across state lines, you may need “health papers, CDL license and USDOT number among a list of other requirements,” In Stride Edition reports. Apparently the laws are being enforced more stringently these days. But why do such laws even exist? (Hat tip to Diana Hsieh.)
Islamic State Violence: Charles Krauthammer proposes that Islamic State posted videos of beheadings to “provoke America into entering the Mesopotamian war . . . [b]ecause they’re sure we will lose. Not immediately and not militarily. They know we always win the battles but they are convinced that, as war drags on, we lose heart and go home.”
Tech Revolution: “Imagine, if you will, sitting down to your morning coffee [and] turning on your home computer to read the day’s newspaper.” Check out this awesome 1981 news report.
Asset Forfeiture: John Yoder and Brad Cates, each a former director of the Justice Department’s Asset Forfeiture Office, write for the Washington Post: “As two people who were heavily involved in the creation of the asset forfeiture initiative at the Justice Department in the 1980s, we find it particularly painful to watch as the heavy hand of government goes amok. The program began with good intentions but now, having failed in both purpose and execution, it should be abolished.” Good for them.
Medicare Fraud: “Dr. Farid Fata . . . was charged with intentionally misdiagnosing healthy people with cancer and pumping dying patients with chemo to make money. . . . [He
was charged with running a $35-million Medicare fraud scheme that involved billing the government for medically unnecessary oncology and hematology treatments,” reports the Detroit Free Press. Hat tip to Paul Hsieh.
Methane Emission: “Lawmakers and natural gas supporters worry that outcries from environmentalists, led by the influential Natural Resources Defense Council, could led to a regulatory crackdown on methane, a potent greenhouse gas, this fall,” the Daily Caller reports.
Surveillance State: “Despite Apple’s Privacy Pledge, Cops Can Still Pull Data Off a Locked iPhone,” Wired reports (hat tip to Paul Hsieh).
Demon News: Little Green Footballs has some fun with Breitbart.com, which ran the bizarre headline, “Exorcists Warn of Danger from Oklahoma City Black Mass.”
Die at 75? Speaking of Breitbart.com, the site also features the headline, “ObamaCare Creator: Die at 75!” The article is by Ben Shapiro. The person in question, Ezekiel J. Emanuel, does write for the Atlantic (as Shapiro acknowledges), “I am not saying that those who want to live as long as possible are unethical or wrong.”
Beauprez on Abortion: As Jason Salzman reports, Colorado candidate for governor Bob Beauprez has gone from supporting “personhood” for zygotes to telling the Denver Post, “Nobody’s taking that [the right to get an abortion] away—that’s a false argument. That’s the law of the land. Some like me are personally pro-life, but I’m not going to deny what the law provides you.”
Climate Change: Climatologist Judith Curry claims that “evidence reported by the IPCC AR5 weakens the case for human factors dominating climate change in the 20th and early 21st centuries.” She discusses the “weak linkages between anthropogenic climate change and extreme weather, and the importance of natural climate variability.” Hat tip to Amanda Maxham of the Ayn Rand Institute.
Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Fibs: Sean Davis of the Federalist offers credible evidence that Neil deGrasse Tyson has made up a few of the quotes he’s used to mock people regarding their ignorance of math and science. This is interesting, and Tyson should check the accuracy of his quotes, but I think Davis is making too much out of the issue. My opinion about Tyson has changed 360 degrees (see the article for the reference).