If you're a lover of small government and you want a real fright this week, join us for a look at some of the scary policies being crafted by bureaucrats in California -- where common sense in government is as hard to find as a ghost and local governments stagger like zombies (cause of death: pension obligations) as residents flee in fear of higher taxes and ghastly regulations.
California-based Watchdog contributor Steve Greenhut joins host Eric Boehm to discuss how local officials are badly mismanaging the water crisis in the Golden State, and how the long-promised high-speed trains connecting San Francisco to Los Angeles are already running behind schedule and over budget, no surprise.
Then, we sit down with Darren McKinney, a spokesman for Americans for Tort Reform, to discuss something really scary: Judicial Hellholes. He explains how attorneys general and rent-seeking personal injury lawyers have teamed up in many states to go after businesses for huge sums of money -- without regard for the public harm caused, including job losses and declines in tax revenue.
All that, plus a chilling Nanny State of the Week (literally!) and our weekly pack of hellhounds have the news from the states and statehouses on our Picks of the Litter!
Daily fantasy sports are big business, but are they also illegal?
In the wake of a scandal involving the two biggest DFS websites, DraftKings.com and FanDuel.com, government regulators in a number of states and Washington, D.C., are taking a look at how the games work and whether they should be classified as sports betting – and therefore they would be illegal in most states.
On this week's (abbreviated) edition of the Watchdog Podcast, Watchdog.org editor and in-house gaming expert joins Eric Boehm to discuss how the DFS scandal happened, what it means for the wildly popular games and whether government regulation is really the best thing for consumers who are playing the games.
As Kampis explains, some of the efforts at regulation are really attempts by state governments to force the DFS leagues to pay licensing fees to the state -- or, alternatively, to funnel their customers into state-run casinos instead of independent, online gaming sites.
The Democratic candidates for president got together this week for their first head-to-head debate, but all the candidates clearly have a lot of work to do.
Hosts Eric Boehm and Matt Kittle open this edition of the Watchdog Podcast with a countdown of the most cringe-worthy moments from the debate, including Hillary Clinton's un-ironic claim that Edward Snowden should be punished for putting national security at risk (when, you know, she's trying to avoid accountability for doing much the same thing with her personal email server) and Lincoln Chaffee's claim that he didn't know what he was voting for when he helped repeal the Glass Steagall Act in 1999 (he now supports bringing that law back).
What's the number one moment in our countdown? You'll have to listen to find out!
Then, Watchdog reporter Bruce Parker sits down to discuss Vermont's ambitious green energy plan, which will cost lots of money and disrupt lots of Vermonters' lives in the name of saving the environment. The only problem: it won't actually save the environment and won't produce a measurable change in global carbon emissions.
All that, plus our Picks of the Liter and Nanny State of the Week, on this edition of the Watchdog Podcast.
In San Antonio, Texas, food trucks have to get permission from brick-and-mortar restaurants before they are allowed to set up shop.
It's a rule that doesn't make much sense and certainly doesn't have anything to do with consumers' health and safety -- you know, the stuff government is supposed to be worried about. That's why it's being challenged by attorneys from the Institute for Justice, who say the rule simply isn't constitutional.
Arif Panjo, IJ's lead attorney in the case, sits down with Eric Boehm to discuss the case in San Antonio and other odd rules that limit food truck entrepreneurs' opportunities around the country.
At the top of the show, Boehm and Will Swaim take a look at a different area where government is intruding on the free market: the creation of rural broadband internet services, which are costly for taxpayers and provide little benefit to the general population.
In other news: The VA is under investigation for using whistleblowers' confidential medical records to target individuals who exposed problems at the agency and Republicans in Pennsylvania defeated the biggest tax increase in the nation this week.
All that, plus our Education Minute and Nanny State of the Week, on this edition of the Watchdog Podcast.