Issues in the News
Maryland lawmakers approve a statewide ban on smoking in bars and restaurants.
“[A recent Washington Post story] highlights the dirty little secret of smoking bans: that they are entirely created by state and local governments to meet the political ends of the anti-smoking advocates, not to promote public health. As I wrote when the DC smoking ban passed in January (the DC ban has an exemption like the Chicago ban, only the threshold is a much lower – 10% of sales that must be from tobacco retail), legislation that tries to make the anti-smoking zealots happy while making concessions to business owners fails in the single stated objective of the legislation, which is to promote public health, but it actually incentivizes the sale of tobacco products.”
The U.S. prepares to file complaints with the World Trade Organization over copyright infringement in China.
“The rapid progression of technology and, concomitantly, consumer attitudes and behavior, poses problems for the content industries’ dominant paradigms and business models as configured today. Enforcement costs for protection of old models—encouraged and calcified by congressional expansion of the length of copyright terms—are mounting. Some rights holders are now developing promising new business models that recognize these realities. To encourage this trend, lawmakers should consider dismantling regulatory barriers—particularly antitrust—obstructing the development of potentially superior alternatives to legal copyright protection.”
The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change releases the latest version of its report on the predicted effects of global warming.
“One of the baffling things about the IPCC Working Group II document released on Friday is how much it ignores mankind’s ability to progress. Time after time it fails to take into account any increase in adaptive capacity as the world gets richer. Essentially, it assumes we spend all our money on iPods while our feet get wet.”