Weekend Outrages, Saturday Edition

The ACLU continues the fight against phone companies who participated in warrantless wiretapping on the behalf of the federal government. Studs Terkel may be gone, but the lawsuit bearing his name lives on in appeals.

From the Whoever Heard of the Fourth Amendment Department (non-TSA Division): In May, the Supreme Court ruled that police with probable cause may conduct warrantless searches at their discretion to prevent the destruction of evidence. The lesson here being that if you’re smoking something illegal in your apartment and the police start banging on your door, do your destruction of evidence very quietly, which will certainly prevent the police from kicking in your door rather than going to the effort of calling for a warrant, waiting around until it’s granted, and then enforcing it. The good news is that, despite the worst economic downturn in two generations, door manufacturers and carpenters have seen a dramatic increase in business in the past few months.

Borrowed from Reason.tv: Some Michigan bar owners who have seen their businesses devastated by the state’s smoke-free law (which, conveniently enough, exempts big-money and high-traffic casinos) announced their intentions to refuse service to all lawmakers in protest. A particularly nice touch from the article:

“[Stephen Mace, director of the Private Property Rights group] said his group’s ban on lawmakers will have exemptions, just like the law does for casinos. He said rank-and-file lawmakers will be banned, but the head honchos — the governor, lieutenant governor and top members of the House and Senate — will still be allowed.

“In the way that the smoking ban exempted the casinos … the big guys get looked after,” Mace said.

The American Cancer Society vouches for the ban in the interests of public health, ignoring the fact that people who don’t want to patronize bars or restaurants that permit smoking don’t have to. This is why niches in the market exist–to cater to and, if they’re lucky, monopolize customers who are repulsed by cigarette smoke. Permitting public opinion to work via the market is insufficient, however, as is private industry’s tendency to cater to client preferences; instead, presumably healthier options must be the only options, regardless of how the public wants to spend its limited resources.
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