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OpenMarket: Michelle Minton

  • Cops to Destroy Rare Wine Collection in Pennsylvania

    August 22, 2014

    In the fifth century BCE, famous Greek tragedian Euripides supposedly said, “where this no wine there is no love.” This certainly holds true in present day Pennsylvania, which has one of the nation’s strictest alcohol regulatory regimes. And according to Tom Wark, executive director for the American Wine Consumer Coalition, Pennsylvania is “the worst state to live in if you're a wine lover." In Philadelphia, one man surely isn’t feeling the brotherly love after police raided his home and seized 2,426 bottles of rare wine—with an estimated value of more than $125,...

  • Newsweek’s Cover Story on Internet Gambling Plays Fast and Loose with Facts

    August 20, 2014

    Newsweek’s recent cover article on online gambling, “How Washington Opened the Floodgates to Online Poker, Dealing Parents a Bad Hand,” by Leah McGrath Goodman, has elicited a wide range of deservedly negative responses. The title alone indicates its blatant bias. However, Goodman’s one-sided article presents a good opportunity to dispel many of the falsehoods and...

  • Happy There’s-No-Such-Thing-as-Junk-Food Day!

    July 21, 2014

    Whomever it is that decides the dates for the ever multiplying obscure holidays apparently designated today, July 21, as “Junk Food Day.” While the origin and intended purpose of the day is a mystery, it’s a good opportunity to address the myth of junk food. I say myth because junk food is an oxymoron; there’s no such thing. There is food that is less nutritious or perhaps higher in calories than what people normally think of as “health foods,” but calling food “junk” implies that is without value. As Professors Stanley Feldman (of London University and the Imperial College School of Medicine) Vincent Marks of the University of Surrey, put it in their book Panic Nation,“[e]ither something is a food, in which case it is not junk, or it...

  • FDA’s Trans Fat “Ban” a First Foray into Controlling Americans’ Diets

    July 14, 2014

    Last November, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced its plan to revoke the “Generally Recognized As Safe” designation for partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), which would create a de facto ban on the additive that is still used in foods such as pie crust, pastries, shortening, frostings, and fried foods.

    Many health-conscious Americans make an effort to avoid PHOs or trans fats—carefully reading labels to make sure the disfavored fat is limited in their diets. The ingredient is already considered by most to be something consumed as little as possible, evidenced by the fact that Americans have voluntarily reduced consumption from an average of 4.6 grams a day in 2003 to around 1 gram a day in 2012. This, ...

  • Celebrate Food Freedom this 4th of July

    July 3, 2014

    “If people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.” –Thomas Jefferson

    By 1939, most Americans realized that national alcohol prohibition was a complete disaster. The “noble experiment” intended to solve societal harms linked with alcohol consumption was an utter failure and would foster...

  • FDA’s Salt Phobia a Waste of Money

    June 23, 2014

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced last week plans to phase in “voluntary” reduction in the level of sodium in foods produced by manufacturers and served in restaurants. I have “voluntary” in quotes because, despite the lack of an official regulation, pressure from an agency that could make it impossible for a business to stay in business is about as voluntary as putting a gun to someone’s head.

    Since the 1980s the FDA has recommended that Americans reduce their daily intake of sodium as a way to prevent the risk of high blood pressure, strokes, and other problems. But their constant harping on the sodium issue has done nothing to convince consumers to change. In fact, the level of sodium consumption hasn’t changed since the 1950s. It has remained...

  • Friday June 6th: Have a Doughnut for Freedom

    June 6, 2014
    Do you know what today is? If you said D-Day, you’d be right. But this year, June 6 also marks another, less well known occasion.

    National Doughnut Day, celebrated the first Friday each June, may seem like a silly excuse to indulge, but it has serious roots in American history. The holiday was created in 1938 by the Salvation Army to honor those who distributed doughnuts to soldiers on the front lines during World War I. At the time, the doughnut was a novelty to most Americans, but it quickly became a breakfast staple. So when did this beloved ring of fried dough become public enemy number one?

    Today, we’ve got a full-time “food police”—an array of bureaucrats, lawmakers, and public health advocates—going after doughnuts with taxes, laws, and brute force, all in the name of fighting obesity. The ultimate goal of these self-appointed guardians of our health is to get us to make...
  • Reihan Salam's Argument for Alcohol "Prohibition Lite" Doesn't Hold Water

    May 29, 2014
    In Slate recently, Reihan Salam argued that as America eases up on the criminalization of marijuana use it ought to consider ramping up the war against booze ("Alcohol Taxes Should Be Tripled: The war on drugs has been a failure. But the war on booze deserves a second chance")It’s a bold argument to make, but it doesn’t go far enough. Salam states, that “[t]he fact that alcohol is more harmful to society than marijuana is a reason to regulate alcohol more stringently...
  • No, Gov. Perry, a Ban on Internet Gambling Won't Protect the Internet or Individual Freedom

    May 22, 2014
    In an attempt to save face, Texas Governor Rick Perry is trying to justify his support for a federal online gambling ban by claiming that it’s the only way to protect e-commerce from government regulation. Criticism against Perry and other republicans has centered on the fact that the bill he supports was authored by the lobbyist of casino magnate and prominent GOP donor Sheldon Adelson.

    Additionally, the igambling ban would reverse legalization and regulation laws passed by states. Gov. Perry, a supposed defender of federalism, may have faced some...
  • Republican Internet Gambling Ban Undermines States’ and Individual Rights

    April 28, 2014
    Despite rhetoric that we need to “restore” the Federal Wire Act in order to protect states’ rights, Republican lawmakers are pushing a bill that would do the exact opposite. The bills would rewrite a U.S. federal law instituted in 1961, creating a de facto ban on Internet gambling, prohibiting states from legalizing and regulating the activity—something three states have already done with others in the process. Not only does the proposal trample states’ rights, but it will fail to eliminate illegal online...


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