Sheriffs talk tough on Second Amendment (unnecessarily)

A number of sheriffs around the country (Oregon, Kentucky, Missouri, Wyoming, New Mexico, Utah) have said they will refuse to enforce federal restrictions on private gun ownership that they find to be in conflict with the Constitution.

It seems like a bold threat, but it really isn’t. State and local law enforcement officials simply don’t have to enforce federal laws that they don’t want to enforce. That fact is not controversial. It is, however, a persistent issue in the federal versus state struggle over the marijuana legalization initiatives in Colorado and Washington. Those states have simply chosen to stop assisting the federal government. It may complicate the feds’ ability to enforce those laws, but it’s just not as confrontational an approach as media reports have suggested.

Robert Mikos discussed this in his new paper with respect to marijuana laws, but the principles related to how states and federal powers interact is one that holds significant implications for the right to keep arms and the President’s health care law.

Mikos and I discussed the marijuana initiatives for a Cato Daily Podcast. You can also watch the forum.

Tim Lynch and I also discussed gun restrictions and federalism in a Cato E-Briefing last week.

A Steak House … for Women

I’ve long said that if I wanted to go to a fantastic wings joint, I’d go to a fantastic wings joint. And if I wanted to go to a strip club, I’d go to a strip club. For those reasons (among others) I rarely go to Hooters, which has always seemed to be a less-than-satisfying hybrid of a wings joint and a strip club.

Enter STK, a steakhouse aimed at women. Judging by the video promotional material, it looks to be a steakhouse aimed at men who want to sidle up to groups of drunk women.

The branding on the company website reads – in descending font size – “Atmosphere / Temptation / Steak.” I simply can’t abide a place that puts the promise of sex before properly prepared red meat.

I have no doubt that it will succeed in the DMV, but that’s mainly because I have a fairly low opinion of the average D.C. guy. (via DCIST)

Did ObamaCare Shutter Lynn’s?

Like many other current and former Louisvillians, I’ve spent much of this afternoon reading reactions to the surprise closure of Lynn’s Paradise Cafe, one of the Ville’s most popular breakfast/brunch spots for two decades. I lived two blocks from Lynn’s for several years and I’m certain I contributed enough cash to help buy Lynn a few more Lay-Z-Boys. For that, I feel perhaps a bit justified in admitting this much: On a few hungover mornings, I probably snagged a few free cups of coffee from the large outdoor coffee dispenser implicitly reserved for waiting customers. There was always a line to get a seat at Lynn’s at brunch, so my thievery was likely never noticed.

The circumstances of the closure are quite odd. I’m sure as facts begin to emerge, we’ll get a better sense of what happened. The early read-between-the-lines narratives of the conflict seem to go something like this:

Why might Lynn be totally correct? A few reasons, though I’ll happily admit that I could be misreading the evidence presented thus far.

First, under ObamaCare’s state-initiated health insurance exchanges, employers could have to pay the IRS thousands of dollars for every employee to whom the employer fails to offer health insurance. Ah, but that’s got nothing to do with how employees get tipped, I hear you cry. Maybe. Maybe not. After all, employees typically pay for a portion of their own health insurance. And in a food-service industry where paychecks often come out to $0.00, that might well be a critical factor.

Second, Lynn’s COO Patty Schnatter told WAVE3 news that a new policy of requiring waiters/waitresses to carry $100 in order to tip out the rest of the waitstaff at the end of the evening was driven by the desire to make it easier for employees to file taxes at the end of the year and buy into insurance.

All of what I’ve just said is subject to revision since this is a very fresh story, but there are at least a few reasons to believe that a popular Louisville landmark’s closure is attributable to the health care policies championed and signed into law by President Obama.

If you have thoughts, please leave them in the comments.

UPDATE (01/13/12 08:00AM): I was asked how many people worked at Lynn’s. It’s a relevant question because ObamaCare (the Affordable Care Act) has certain triggers for employers with 15 employees and 50 employees or full-time equivalents. According to Winter, she employed 85 people, though it’s not clear how many were full-time equivalents. The point here is that the ObamaCare “tax” on employers who do not succeed at providing health insurance was likely among the front-and-center issues driving this whole conflict.

Another UPDATE: Steve Coomes argues the requirements for servers to tip out other workers with a revolving cash “bank” isn’t that big of a deal.