CPSIA update: Second-hand stores in the clear

posted at 9:40 am on January 17, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Earlier, I wrote about the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) and its impact on second-hand stores and small manufacturers of children’s clothing and toys.  I missed this update from the LA Times, but Lady Logician noticed it, which brings a little good news — and a little common sense — into the story:

After a barrage of complaints, federal regulators shifted gears Thursday [January 8th] and said they would no longer require that used children’s clothing, toys and other items sold at secondhand stores be tested for lead.

Thrift and consignment store operators had protested that they couldn’t afford to pay for the testing, and that doing so would require them to stop selling some goods or even go out of business. …

Officials with the Consumer Product Safety Commission initially said that thrift stores couldn’t sell any clothes, toys or other merchandise for children younger than 12 that had not been tested for lead starting Feb. 10, as required by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act passed by Congress last year.

Outraged thrift store owners blitzed the commission with objections, and on Tuesday the two-member panel gave preliminary approval of several measures to exempt products made from natural materials, such as cotton and wood, from the rules. …

On Thursday the agency backed away even more, issuing a statement saying that “sellers of used children’s products, such as thrift stores and consignment stores, are not required to certify that those products meet the new lead limits . . . or new toy standards.”

Second-hand sellers will still have to check merchandise against recall notices issued by the CPSC.  The commission refused to mitigate that law, which seems like a reasonable compromise with the thrift stores and resellers.  A simple on-line check is all that’s needed to clear merchandise for sale, while the original thrust of the law would have required the stores to test everything for lead and driven the costs far above any level that they could recoup in the sale of the products.

It’s important to note, as the CPSC explicitly did, that the commission hasn’t changed the law.  They have only decided how they intend to enforce it.  New management at the CPSC could come to a completely different conclusion at some point in time.  Unless Congress changes the law to exempt second-hand sales and natural materials such as cotton or wood, the retailers will find themselves right back in the same position.

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Maybe that’s what’s wrong with me… lead poisoning.

petefrt on January 17, 2009 at 9:43 AM

I think anything about this is only pertinent to those who refuse to take responsibility for themselves and have a propensity to file frivolous lawsuits. You should see what new frivolities an importer needs to implement during the year to bring in a container.

ericdijon on January 17, 2009 at 9:47 AM

Ed, I thought of you when I heard Clark Howard talking about it to a resale owner on the radio. He still suggested that they contact their representatives to make sure the language was clear. According to him they just don’t want those folks to become the depository of goods found unacceptable. Since you noted this happened on Thursday and I believe I heard it on Wednesday night it must be the fastest the government has acted on anything.

Cindy Munford on January 17, 2009 at 9:56 AM

My wife will so relieved. Thrift shops are her hobby.

Kafir on January 17, 2009 at 10:10 AM

There is still an important issue that has not been addressed and that is the craftsman or home based business that wants to sell craft items, either on the Internet or through thrift shops. If the materials used in the making of these items have been tested, like paint and cloth, why should the end product have to be tested again?

vegasguy on January 17, 2009 at 10:11 AM

Sooo… instead of fixing a broken law, they just decided they will not enforce it?

Simple breakdown of law and order… why does that sound so familiar.

And it will be interesting to see what happens the first time some thrift store is sued for a toy with lead in it being sold, because the law IS still on the books, just not enforced…

Romeo13 on January 17, 2009 at 10:21 AM

I think anything about this is only pertinent to those who refuse to take responsibility for themselves and have a propensity to file frivolous lawsuits. You should see what new frivolities an importer needs to implement during the year to bring in a container.

ericdijon on January 17, 2009 at 9:47 AM

“caveat emptor” is the first line of defense, but it’s insufficient in and of itself; how can you guard against things like melamine in cat food or baby formula, or (as was common at the turn of the century and is happening again in imports from Mexico and China) brightly colored lead dyes in candy?

Laws requiring country-of-origin to be stated on consumer containers (one of the laws about which you may be complaining) has helped my household tremendously. We discovered that soy sauce from China had contaminants, and switched to Kikkoman (made in Wisconsin) after identifying and throwing out the affected sauces.

I do not expect to have to test every foodstuff in my cabinet for lead — I expect that there are laws assuring that manufacturers cannot put the lead in there in the first place, and, if they do, laws assuring punishment for that type of behavior.

Each one of the laws we are seeing come onto the books is because some importer or another laughed and said “caveat emptor”.

This story is instructive. Note the attitude of fish importer “Fish King”:

“We’re definitely concerned about melamine, but by the time the fish gets to us, health issues should’ve been taken care of by the government agencies and brokers that we go through”

Contrast that against fish importer “Stavis Seafoods”, which does its own testing for melamine in the fish it imports, and you can just see another law coming onto the books to handle the likes of “Fish King”, who thinks that others ought to guarantee the quality of its products.

unclesmrgol on January 17, 2009 at 10:41 AM

Stupid way to deal w/ problems in the law: just ignore the secondhand store implications. Still waiting to hear about Indie retailers. Kid items are a large segment of the Cottage Industry products.

Mrs. Happy Housewife on January 17, 2009 at 10:56 AM

This is a stupid way to deal with the secondhand store implications: just ignore the law. Still waiting to see what’s done about the Indie retailers. Kid items are a large part of the Cottage Industry.

Mrs. Happy Housewife on January 17, 2009 at 10:59 AM

I see so many independent makers of products, like homemade toys for kids, they are being shut out.
This is just another “Road to Hell, paved with good intentions”. This will do nothing to help kids, but be disastrous to many families.
Basically, homemade products are being outlawed…pathetic.

right2bright on January 17, 2009 at 11:20 AM

Second-hand sellers will still have to check merchandise against recall notices issued by the CPSC.

Seems reasonable at first glance, but I still wonder about the practicality. How does the online check work? How specifically can toys without boxes or directions be identified? For example, if a doll is brought in, you might be able to get the manufacturer, but is there a manufacture date on it?

taznar on January 17, 2009 at 11:23 AM

“caveat emptor” is the first line of defense, but it’s insufficient in and of itself; how can you guard against things like melamine in cat food or baby formula…
unclesmrgol on January 17, 2009 at 10:41 AM

You may be right, but another simpler idea is to really prosecute those who break the laws…I mean really prosecute them. If someone dies, then the owner or president is held responsible for murder. Forget monetary damages, jail time is what they are most afraid of…example, this Madoff guy, should never be out on bail…he ruined hundreds of peoples lives with false promises.
If someone gets ill, then prosecute them for negligence, and whatever monetary damages there are, make jail time mandatory…you would see “executives” being a lot more cautious and less callous.
We have been too easy on white collar crime, that is also the crime that destroys peoples lives. And that is why these companies do what they do…they feel they are untouchable.

right2bright on January 17, 2009 at 11:26 AM

Don’t forget libraries. The ALA is already going after this law because as it currently reads, every library will have to test their books for lead or discard them.

http://www.ala.org/ala/alonline/currentnews/newsarchive/2009/January2009/cpsia.cfm

scotch amy on January 17, 2009 at 11:27 AM

Soft Tyranny.

Tim Burton on January 17, 2009 at 12:17 PM

It makes absolute sense to check secondhand goods against recalls. After all, recalls invariably happen against products already sold. Testing secondhand clothes makes NO sense in that they should already have been tested before going on the market initially – why check it twice?

Rare common sense in interpreting the law. I like it, we should do it more.

JeffWeimer on January 17, 2009 at 12:24 PM

They won’t change the law because they want control over the economy. This will have a negative effect; who wants to kiss up to the local CPS guy to avoid enforcement? Or, worry that a competitor reporting them to put them out of business.

PattyJ on January 17, 2009 at 12:25 PM

unclesmrgol on January 17, 2009 at 10:41 AM

I agree with you but I don’t agree for the same reasons. I’m not a student of the law but I think caveat emptor is more specifically appropriate to previously owned non-food tangibles. More or less, a buyer should know if his purchase operates before handing over the cash and accepting title. New goods, including food have a warranty of suitability that a buyer is entitled to have good faith in.

Requirements of importers for “Country of Origin Marking” are pretty much ambiguous and I think only required by Germany and the USA. If you study the link you can see its intent is specifically that – intent. I’m not against it and when appropriate, I follow the requirement. The importing issue that I’m miffed with is the implementation of “10+2” requirements that throw bones to those demanding that every container be opened and inspected but solve no problem that you and I are both concerned with.

10+2 will hurt good foreign-based trading firms by revealing their suppliers. Not all foreign manufacturers are capable of exporting and rely on traders for their existence. US importers will now be contributing to the amassing of a US Government database of where the goods are made – well ahead of Country of Origin Markings. Since our government makes their databases available to the public, goods will eventually creep higher in price.

As a country of consumers, we demand good pricing. There is nothing gained by paying a higher price for the object – no need to rebut with services gained as it is merely a point about the object. A vendor selling an object obtained at the lowest price can better afford good service for his customers than the vendor whose shopping skills are not as adept or global. With the exception of a few natural feed stocks that the USA is blessed with and intermediate commodities that enjoy, somewhat enjoy, patent protection or anti-dumping tariffs, most every basic material can be competitively procured from origins outside of the USA.

Interestingly, Europe is opting for protectionism in the “REACH initiative.” Their program is to keep it all in their backyard and if it must be imported the foreign manufacturer must pay the incredibly steep registration fees and continue to pay as business progresses.

I shop the world in my work and I much prefer doing business with the Asian nations above all others. Shopping for chemistry related to seafood happens to be on my list, but not a major concern. To correctly shop you must supply a specification detail that describes exactly what you require and what testing will be done to ensure the requirements are met. You cannot and I mean absolutely cannot leave any door open for your foreign (or domestic) supplier to think or take upon themselves to do anything different. I can name names of large corporations (and you can easily imagine who they are) that believe they achieve the lofty goal of importing humanely manufactured goods, goods free of toxins, and goods that meet the specification by distributing a document of what they expect to their contractors, stockholders and customers. They never go to production sight and make sure; they just print what the hope is occurring.

I enjoyed the article you cited discussing seafood. When I visit China I enjoy the seafood. China is just beginning to get with it in terms of refrigeration. Don’t expect ice in your water – you have to ask for it. In many restaurants you point to the animal you would like them to freshly prepare for your meal. That’s caveat emptor. The next inquiry you may have for the Fish King is about the chemicals he uses to keep livestock alive when they are in his possession. I don’t know the Fish King, but I know how seafood livestock is grown and kept alive in the USA.

ericdijon on January 17, 2009 at 12:42 PM

We have been too easy on white collar crime, that is also the crime that destroys peoples lives. And that is why these companies do what they do…they feel they are untouchable.

right2bright on January 17, 2009 at 11:26 AM

Agreed. But when my kids were younger, they tried the “you didn’t tell us I couldn’t do this” pre-law approach to explaining why some inane thing they’d just done was excusable. Sometimes the response had to be “well, I’m telling you now”, and other times “well, you ought to have known better” truism. Neither of these wiffle-ball answers work with our legal system — if there’s no law saying you can’t do something, you are free to do it. In fact, if there is a law saying you can’t do something, but the law doesn’t specify a punishment, you are still free to do it. To prevent bad behavior in our free-will society, there has to be a law.

And you are right — the laws need to be impartially applied. As for Madoff’s bail, I think someone has decided he’s not a flight risk — and I think they’re right, given the world-wide nature of his crime.

unclesmrgol on January 17, 2009 at 12:53 PM

Second hand stores ALREADY checked their toys against a recall list. That’s not all this law requires.

Waxman, Pryor, Rush & Rockerfeller have sent a letter to Nancy Nord (pdf) listing 4 major concerns: component testing, books, resale shops and the effect on small businesses.

Here’s a couple quotes:
“[being relieved of the testing or certification requirements does NOT] exclude [the item ] from the lead limits, which would continue to apply. Instead, such a determination would serve only to relieve the manufacturers of such materials or products from the testing and certification requirements established by the law.”

AND:

[we also encourage the Commission to continue to discuss their responsibilities under the law with thrift shop owners] …as they sell large volumes of apparel, it is critical to increase their understanding of the law in order to ensure compliance with the lead limits and proved them with guidance on appropriate measures of due diligence to avoid liability under the statute.

[Hmmm. It appears that the CongressCritters do not consider the 'clarifications' on thrift shops as clear enough, and they seem to be talking out of both sides of their faces here, and not entirely happy that thrift shops don't have to test- and they do threaten second hand stores with 'liability under the statute' if they don't comply, so they are not buying the Commission's assurances that they shouldn't be going after second hand stores.]

Julie Valeese, former spokesperson for the Commission also ‘clarified’ the rules for resale in an interview which you can watch here.

PLEASE watch it and see how she never answers questions.
She says mommy bloggers are spreading misinformation, so to correct that there needs to be clear concise explanations about the law. Then she says:
“What second shops needs to do and understand in term of their responsibility is they need to meet the law. The law does apply to them. How they meet the law is not defined in the legislation.”

How, exactly, can we be clear and concise about something that is undefined? We have to meet the law, but nobody can tell us how? She goes on :

“Resellers of children’s products need to have a certain level of confidence that their products meet the law, if they have a level of confidence that their product does not violate the lead limits, then they can sell those products. The intention, as we understand it, is not that they have to close their doors on February 10th.”

This is a straw man. The issue is not the intention, the issue is the law as it is written requires that it be applied retroactively to items in stock, and to anybody who sells or distributes children’s products, including thrift shops and libraries, and so whether they have to test items or not, they are breaking the law if anything they sell has lead of more than the new legal limit (which is small).
So the reporter, reasonably, asks her if there is a lead level limit they have to meet? Should they test everything?

Julie says yes, there are limits they must meet by law- (she does not say that’s just from February 10th through August, and in August it goes down again). Then she says:

“How a shop owner comes to their level of confidence is not defined in the legislation. They simply need to make a business decision at a level of confidence that the products they are selling meets the law. There is, there are any numbers of ways a consignment store owner may be able to meet that level of confidence. It’s not defined in the legislation but there are a number of ways they could do it.”

The reporter seems to me to be kind of frustrated that she still hasn’t really given the clear and concise explanation Julie said we had to have to combat the misinformation from the Mommy bloggers, so she asks again, and now Julie says:

“They can look at it and make an informed decision, call the manufacturer and ask, or they could test using, at a bare minimum, xrf technology, there are a variety of different ways but they should use their best judgement on how they reach that level of confidence.”

If resellers can simply LOOK at the product and decide it probably has no lead, then why can’t small crafters do the same? They actually know more about what went into their items than the thrift shop does.

And as Congress made clear in the letter above- they are still legally liable for violating the law against selling anything with more lead than the new limits, which go down again in August.

The repetitive testing of the same materials is also required by law and it’s asinine.
As the law stands, if seven crafters in my town go to the local crafting supply shop and buy seven balls of EXACTLY the same yarn and go home and each crochets an item to sell at a consignment store or an online venue like Etsy, they EACH have to pay for the yard to be tested (quotes range from 5.00 plus shipping for a testing process that will be illegal after August, to hundreds of dollars), and then they EACH have to pay more for the finished product to be tested, even if the yarn had zero amounts of lead.

After August, the testing is third party, and typically the testing destroys the item, so unique, one of a kind items have just legislated into the realm of felony behavior. This kind of expensive, burdensome, duplicate testing of exactly the same materials is inefficient and repetitive- the law should instead require that the makers of fabric, yarn, paints, and other raw supplies handle the testing.

It’s a badly written law, as the wrangling between Congress and the Commission demonstrates, as does the confusion in Congress about what the law means and who is covered.

DeputyHeadmistress on January 17, 2009 at 1:29 PM

ericdijon on January 17, 2009 at 12:42 PM

I can understand your concern about trade secrets, but I’m sort of at a loss as to how loss of trade secrets (thus allowing importers to go around the middle man traders) would cause the price of things to rise.

I’m not a protectionist, and my choice of foodstuffs was probably a bit untypical — thrift shops don’t generally sell food. But expecting them to at least review their holdings to assure that, as far as they can tell, no recalled child items are in their inventory, is not onerous in my opinion. As an example, we had a riding toy shaped like a banana from Little Tykes, and it was recalled — after we had thrown ours out because, after observing our children on it, we determined it was unsafe — apt to dump a kid on the pavement. The banana was voluntarily recalled by Little Tykes for the same reasons we observed. If we’d not known about the recall, that banana would still have been in good condition today (25 years later) and possibly in some thrift shop. The Cozy Coupe we bought (another Little Tykes toy made from the same very durable materials as the banana, and never recalled) is over 20 years old and on its fourth set of kids; it will eventually go to the Goodwill, St. Vincent’s, or some other thrift shop.

By the way, Little Tykes is an American company — and can we really expect that some Chinese toy manufacturer, subject to laws 30-40 years behind ours, will do as good? I think not, so it is up to the importer to do what the manufacturer may be unwilling or unable to do.

unclesmrgol on January 17, 2009 at 1:35 PM

We have been too easy on white collar crime, that is also the crime that destroys peoples lives. And that is why these companies do what they do…they feel they are untouchable.

right2bright on January 17, 2009 at 11:26 AM

How about government stay the F out of my business. If i buy some Ego waffles, and i get sick….. the CEO of EGO’s shouldn’t be put in jail, i shouldn’t get 1000 millon dollars – the solution is a simple one, its a free market solution – i will just not eat ego’s ever again.
Waffle house make u sick? don’t eat there. if enough people do not eat it they will either fix it problem or go out of business.

or – mr right2bright, the company’s could do expensive test on everything – and since humans make errors, replace everybody with robots/machines … so then you have high unemployment, higher cost of all goods, and your dollar wont be worth anything … but hey that CEO is in jail because 1 box of waffles was bad. Or lets say there is a chemical used in waffles, which is harmless to 1.59999billon people out of 1.6 billion people on this earth. But 1 kid in Nebraska has a rare condition that makes said chemical deadly to him . even though he is the only one in the world with said diseases, the CEO should go to jail for murder and out of business…. because he should of known and tested for that one kids rare/random condition… yeah f that

Lawsuits are what drove company’s out of the US , that and Taxes and stupid regulation…. we can not regulate china we can only “not buy” but unfortunately everything is made there due to government intervention into free markets.

Donut on January 17, 2009 at 1:37 PM

Second-hand sellers will still have to check merchandise against recall notices issued by the CPSC. The commission refused to mitigate that law, which seems like a reasonable compromise with the thrift stores and resellers.

THis is not reasonable, at all. After all, people buying second-hand items are supposed to understand that they must be checked out. Since the information for recalls and such is available to all, it is to the buyers to check, not the sellers.

Our country has really moved from “caveat emptor” to “caveat vendor”, and that difference will just kill us. Buyers are not excused from their responsibilities. At least, they should not be, but our pussified system has made it a lottery for buyers. Stupidity rules.

progressoverpeace on January 17, 2009 at 2:13 PM

We have the most poll driven spineless elected folks evah.So if we can back the bastards down on baby clothes imagine what we could do on taxes,Guns,Nanny stuff and the bailout. Get our money back from Darien, Conn.
Make sure you fax and call DC all day the 20th to jam the phone and cell lines. We can do as the Indians did under Ghandi,tell DC “we ain’t workin here no mo.”
John Gault part 2.1

Col.John Wm. Reed on January 17, 2009 at 3:09 PM

unclesmrgol on January 17, 2009 at 1:35 PM

Emphatically agreed. Thrift shops should perform due diligence on the goods they receive. Catch-22, not all objects will have an easily traceable history. If I drop off my macaroni objet d’art my grandmother made and spray-painted with lead-based gold paint that she made before September 2, 1977 then the shop is not able to ascertain its lead levels without reducing its value because no trail exists to describe the goods. If I donate my ’92 Ford F150 with 355,000 miles on it and all service records December 2007 to St Vincent’s and they in turn sell it to a Ford dealer (true story) a trail exists to describe the goods.

Fortunately, it is not onerous for thrift shops to research most branded objects and they should. (I imagine the not-for-profits are quite a bit more diligent than the private for-profit shops.) The reselling vendor has the ability to perform the task once per object and save their customers having to do the research each time a sale is repeated. This is not a big brother concept, I feel, but rather one of good service and added value.

Focusing on China and mid-level traders, it must be understood that there are manufacturers that cannot export, manufacturers that can export, traders that can export and traders that can manufacture. Many times cutting out the middle man reduces the number of suppliers. A reduction in the number of suppliers increases the profits for the manufacturer by absorbing the hole the middleman vacated. It doesn’t take long for the accountants in China to raise price to be 5% under US domestic prices. That is how that mechanism works.

The Chinese are honorable business people and strive to act in the utmost of efficiency. January 25 begins Chinese New Years and next week Chinese businesses distribute bonus checks to their employees based on increases gained from profits and efficiency. The distribution amount can range from 10 to 200% or greater of the agreed annual base salary. Making more profit is in the interest of the entire company body. If a US firm contracts manufacturing with a Chinese firm and does not spell out explicitly the bill of raw materials and the specification for each, the Chinese firm will take steps to improve their profits but will not do anything to jeopardize the manufacturing contract. If you don’t remove the ability for the Chinese to innovate then you have to accept the cost of your nearsightedness.

ericdijon on January 17, 2009 at 3:16 PM

Fortunately, it is not onerous for thrift shops to research most branded objects and they should. (I imagine the not-for-profits are quite a bit more diligent than the private for-profit shops.) The reselling vendor has the ability to perform the task once per object and save their customers having to do the research each time a sale is repeated. This is not a big brother concept, I feel, but rather one of good service and added value.

ericdijon on January 17, 2009 at 3:16 PM

If you believe that, then no government is needed. Let the retailer advertise that they do these checks (resulting in, of course, higher prices) and let the market determine if customers want to pay more so that some check has been done on a second-hand item.

progressoverpeace on January 17, 2009 at 3:29 PM

How about government stay the F out of my business. If i buy some Ego waffles, and i get sick….. the CEO of EGO’s shouldn’t be put in jail, i shouldn’t get 1000 millon dollars – the solution is a simple one, its a free market solution – i will just not eat ego’s ever again.
Waffle house make u sick? don’t eat there. if enough people do not eat it they will either fix it problem or go out of business.

And if you die, or are fired from work as a result of the bad waffle (I take it that, in your universe, employment is completely at-will), how would you expect to be “made whole” — by the good graces of the waffle’s manufacturer? I don’t know what Ego or Waffle House would really do in your universe, so possibly that’s the solution — the good graces of the manufacturer of the product that felled you is your total resort. But I don’t think you or your family can count on that.

Law (both civil and criminal) exist to allow the correct functioning of society without overt violence — to mediate the problems which arise between people. In the absence of the ability to “civilly” recover damages after the fact, the remaining available resort is to violence. That’s why war exists — it’s because there is no international legal system to speak of capable of moderating all interactions between peoples to the point where none need violence for resolution.

In other words, you lost this battle at the local level before you ever joined it — because very few people feel as you do, and, for better or worse, we happen to live in a democracy.

unclesmrgol on January 17, 2009 at 3:30 PM

Law (both civil and criminal) exist to allow the correct functioning of society without overt violence — to mediate the problems which arise between people. In the absence of the ability to “civilly” recover damages after the fact, the remaining available resort is to violence.

Law’s purpose has changed quite a bit. Nowadays, law is used for a plethora of other reasons (to save me from myself, to name one major reason for lots of new laws – to alleviate the illusory guilt of others is another big driver these days), and they form the bulk of new law.

That’s why war exists — it’s because there is no international legal system to speak of capable of moderating all interactions between peoples to the point where none need violence for resolution.

War exists because war is natural. You cannot outlaw war. That’s just utopian musing.

In other words, you lost this battle at the local level before you ever joined it — because very few people feel as you do, and, for better or worse, we happen to live in a democracy.

unclesmrgol on January 17, 2009 at 3:30 PM

We have turned into a democracy, against the will and hopes of the Founders, and that spelt the beginning of the end. The clock is ticking down … very rapidly as the idiot messiah is about to assume power.

progressoverpeace on January 17, 2009 at 3:35 PM

War exists because war is natural. You cannot outlaw war. That’s just utopian musing.

War is another word for a gang fight. I would agree it’s natural, just as I would agree that it would be natural to go kill the guy who nearly killed me by selling me a bad waffle, and who refused to compensate me for the resulting damage. In the latter case, we’ve got an artificial structure (law) which acts to create a referee who is more powerful than either protagonist, and in the former, an artificial structure (diplomacy) which is weaker than either protagonist. Both are attempts to compensate for what we consider to be an evil aspect of our natural instinct.

We have turned into a democracy, against the will and hopes of the Founders, and that spelt the beginning of the end. The clock is ticking down … very rapidly as the idiot messiah is about to assume power.

We are following the methods of government the Founders gave to us. If there is a failure, it is due to our imperfect Founders — for they surely were imperfect. As for Obama, we shall see. I believe he is a pragmatist, and will govern as such. But things must be really weak if your position is correct, and one person can completely destroy our system of government.

unclesmrgol on January 17, 2009 at 4:59 PM

War is another word for a gang fight. I would agree it’s natural, just as I would agree that it would be natural to go kill the guy who nearly killed me by selling me a bad waffle, and who refused to compensate me for the resulting damage. In the latter case, we’ve got an artificial structure (law) which acts to create a referee who is more powerful than either protagonist, and in the former, an artificial structure (diplomacy) which is weaker than either protagonist. Both are attempts to compensate for what we consider to be an evil aspect of our natural instinct.

It isn’t the law that does that, but the government’s monopoly of force that enforces the law. That could never happen on a global scale (not until we have colonies in space, at least), since empowered, peerless, competitionless entities are the worst creations one can ever imagine.

We are following the methods of government the Founders gave to us. If there is a failure, it is due to our imperfect Founders — for they surely were imperfect.

They surely were, but they made many important decisions that were correct. We have trampled over most of those.

As for Obama, we shall see. I believe he is a pragmatist, and will govern as such.

Evidence of any sort? I have tons of evidence pointing to the opposite, so I’d like to see what you have.

P.S. Don’t confuse cowardice with pragmatism.

But things must be really weak if your position is correct, and one person can completely destroy our system of government.

unclesmrgol on January 17, 2009 at 4:59 PM

Who said “one person”? It took 66 million idiots to put him in there. He just has to carry the torch into the barn. With the insane Congress we have (average IQ around 63) the barn door is open and waiting.

progressoverpeace on January 17, 2009 at 5:10 PM

yet, if you get sick from waffle house – they are punished by no longer having your business or any of the people that know you – and if you get fired from work for being sick, then you obviously are a democrat that calls in to work sick on a weekly basis and deserve it.

But we can get off waffles, think Mcdonalds , they had to pay 7 mil for a 70 year old vagina that got burnt – not because Mcdonalds was at fault, but because the woman was retarded.

Our laws are insane , and Strict Liability Tort laws will be the end of us

Donut on January 17, 2009 at 8:52 PM

We need term limits.
8 years on the House,, 12 years for the Senate.

JellyToast on January 17, 2009 at 9:27 PM

But we can get off waffles, think Mcdonalds , they had to pay 7 mil for a 70 year old vagina that got burnt – not because Mcdonalds was at fault, but because the woman was retarded.

Our laws are insane , and Strict Liability Tort laws will be the end of us

Donut on January 17, 2009 at 8:52 PM

Our laws are not insane. Our fellow citizens are in the single case you mention. There are plenty of other cases in which a person (or corporation, which is the same thing legally) harms another person, and restitution is required for the harm performed.

I happen to like waffles:

yet, if you get sick from waffle house – they are punished by no longer having your business or any of the people that know you – and if you get fired from work for being sick, then you obviously are a democrat that calls in to work sick on a weekly basis and deserve it.

But I don’t WANT to just deny them further business — I want to make sure that they never ever do this again, and I’m out of work and I need food. And I have proof (they pumped my stomach and they found a rare bacteria embedded in the waffle which makes half the organs in the body shut down, but those idiots at the waffle house claim they had nothing to do with it. And no, you guessed wrong because this is my universe — I’m not a Democrat, I’m a libertarian with about 30 guns (I actually don’t know how many I have because I belong to the Gun of the Month Club) — all loaded, and their safeties off, distributed through the house because you never know when you aren’t going to need one or two or a dozen suddenly. So I’ve got no job in spite of my dazzling attendance record and my great work ethic, and those fools over at the waffle house poisoned me and forced me into the hospital for a month!

Thanks to everyone else being of my political persuasion, there is NO COURT SYSTEM, so I get to deal with it myself.

There’s no rocket science at all to figure out my options, are there? Either waffle house is going to pay or they are all going to die (or maybe both), which of course means that I won’t patronize them any more, and nor will anyone else.

unclesmrgol on January 17, 2009 at 11:27 PM

By the way, if anyone from Waffle House is reading here, or anyone who patronizes Waffle House, this is all hypothetical.

I’ve been to plenty of Waffle Houses, have always had great food, and have never been poisoned with anything that remotely came close to shutting down all the organs in my body. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever been poisoned by a Waffle House. Now, if you want to talk about Der Wienersnitzel…

unclesmrgol on January 17, 2009 at 11:31 PM

If they enforce the laws selectively, then you and everyone else does business at their whim.

No, bad, bad, bad idea.

And speaking of lawsuits, who do you sue if you get sick or your child dies because of products that were “exempted” from the law by one of the enforcers?

Bad, bad, bad idea.

Merovign on January 17, 2009 at 11:33 PM

We need term limits.
8 years on the House,, 12 years for the Senate.

JellyToast on January 17, 2009 at 9:27 PM

There are good things and bad things about term limits. I think term limits fix a symptom, not a disease. The disease is bribery and graft. The symptom is the lock on the office by the holder taking the bribery and graft. I’d rather go after the root of the problem, which starts during the electioneering phase.

unclesmrgol on January 17, 2009 at 11:40 PM

Evidence of any sort? I have tons of evidence pointing to the opposite, so I’d like to see what you have.

1) Obama has backed off considerably from “out of Iraq in 18 months”. He now backs completely and utterly the treaty with Iraq negotiated by Bush.
2) He’s going to shut down Guantanamo by the end of his first term. Wow, four whole years to figure out where other than Guantanamo to put some of the most dangerous humans on the planet.
Two should be sufficient.

I’m certainly not an obama fan-boy (I’m pro-life), but there’s always this viewpoint on possibility:

There were new accounts being opened all the time. And why? Was it because of trust? Probity? An urge toward thrift? Was it because of anything that could be called worth?
No! It was because of Lipwig! People whom Mr. Bent had never seen before and hoped never to see again were pouring into the bank, their money in boxes, their money in piggy banks, and quite often their money in socks. Sometimes they were actually wearing the socks!
And they were doing this because of words! The bank’s coffers were filling up because the wretched Mr. Lipwig made people laugh and made people hope…

One can hope, and I do not underestimate the power of words. I don’t like Mr. Obama, but I do not wish him ill, because to wish him ill is to wish America ill. He will be my boss in just a few more days, and I will serve him as diligently as I am currently serving Mr. Bush.

unclesmrgol on January 17, 2009 at 11:53 PM

Come on Ed. Do you seriously think this horrendous piece of legislation is not going to be an absolute train wreck? This portends to be as big of a disaster as the Americans with Disabilities Act in terms of unintended consequences. I think I trust Walter Olson from overlawyered.com to have a better idea of the impact than the folks at the LA Times or government flunkees. Walter has a great opionion piece in Forbes (http://www.forbes.com/opinions/2009/01/16/cpsia-safety-toys-oped-cx_wo_0116olson.html).

This past Christmas, my company held a Christmas bazaar. Dozens of home-based businesses sold items intended for children. Thanks to this idiotic and unconstitutional piece of legislation, bazaars of this type are a thing of the past. We’ll only be able to buy the cute cloth train crayon holder from WalMart or Target, because they’re the only ones who will be able to afford the testing.

RedinPDRM on January 19, 2009 at 4:02 PM