Today in the News; July 30, 2012
MATTHEW YGLESIAS: “How to Ban Chick-Fil-A From Your City”
“I hope that friends of free speech will note that while the Constitution would almost certainly prevent Chicago from de jure banning Chick-fil-a on these grounds, it’s almost trivially easy for jurisdictions to abuse the extremely wide discretion they’re granted to de facto do the same thing. For example, there are 1,641 Chick-fil-a outlets in the United States and Chick-fil-a, as part of its owners’ socially conservative approach, doesn’t open on Sunday. So all a city needs to do is say that if a quick service restaurant with more than 1,500 branches wants to open, it must be open seven days a week. I’m fairly certain that wouldn’t restrict any businesses other than Chick-fil-a, and the reason to do it would be the owners’ outspoken right-wing politics, but the rule would be ‘content neutral’ so you’re OK.”
RAYMOND BONNER: “FDA’s Immoral Stance on Lethal Injection Drugs”
“When it comes to drugs used in executions, the FDA says it doesn’t check on their ‘potency, safety or effectiveness.’ […] The FDA even helped expedite a shipment of sodium thiopental to Arizona because ‘it was for the purpose of executions and not for use by the general public,’ the deputy director of the Arizona Department of Corrections wrote in an e-mail to his counterpart in California. This caused one death penalty lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, to say sarcastically that drugs ‘can be expedited if they are meant to kill someone, but apparently not if they are meant to save lives.'”
MERRILL MATHEWS: “EPA’s New Mandate: Pump Grass, Not Gas”
“If you think the government penalizing — or is it taxing? — people for not buying health insurance is bad, at least there are health insurance companies actually selling coverage. By contrast, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fined oil refiners $6.8 million last year for not incorporating cellulosic ethanol in gasoline — even though the product doesn’t exist.”
MARKETS – The Best Tech Stock of the Year Is…AOL?
“A year ago, AOL was treading water, barely breathing, while Groupon cruised into its IPO with the tailwind of media fawning. Now the former’s stock is up 100% and the latter’s is down nearly 80% in the last 12 months. ”
SPACE – Is Exploring Mars Worth the Investment?
“Is Mars exploration a good investment? It certainly doesn’t come cheap. It’s hard to calculate a total price tag, but over the 48 years that NASA has been launching missions to Mars, Americans have spent a significant sum. The Viking missions alone cost nearly $1 billion — in 1970s dollars. The twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity cost a total of about $1 billion to build and operate as well.”
LEGAL – Scalia says Supreme Court colleagues spar ‘without taking it personally’
“Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is downplaying reports of discord among the justices following last month’s decision to uphold President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.”