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OpenMarket: April 2007

  • "Take me out to the partido de beisbol"

    April 4, 2007
    I've posted before on interesting snippets of trade data the Progressive Policy Institute publishes. This week's PPI topic heralds the Opening Day of the baseball season and celebrates the huge number of foreign-born baseball players on major league teams. According to PPI, 192 of the 750 players on this year's Opening Day rosters, or 25.6 percent, were born in other countries. Not surprisingly to baseball fans, the Dominican Republic leads in the number of foreign-born Major League players. Seventy-nine players — or almost one in nine — are from the DR. Baseball is a passion in the DR — nearly 800,000 children take part in organized baseball there — almost 10 percent of its total population of 9.2 million. Take a look at...
  • Apple, EMI Test DRM-Free

    April 4, 2007
    In the wake of the announcement by EMI (along with Apple) that its catalog will now be available on iTunes DRM-free and at twice the bit-rate, many techies and tech market watchers are predicting the end is near from DRM. It's probably true that EMI will reap the benefits of being the only company to drop DRM, for a while. Others will likely follow suit and drop DRM as well. I doubt this will hurt bottom lines as the majority of songs are still distributed via physical media, which has always been DRM-free, with rare root-kit powered exceptions (thanks, Sony)....
  • Koch on Management

    April 4, 2007
    I've been reading Charles Koch's The Science of Success recently. Koch himself, of course, is likely one of the greatest benefactors of the libertarian movement around the country. (In the interests of full disclosure, I should mention that I've done work for at least two organizations he has helped to fund.) Anyway, back to the book. A fair amount of it is an interesting, well-written personal account of how Koch Industries applies management principles that a lot of other good management books talk about: clear sense of mission, high ethical standards, and the like. At Koch, these are codified as "Market-Based Management." The book really shines, I think, in its discussion of Human Resources. Koch industries does three things that I think are interesting: 1) When a...
  • The Kelo Five Go Green

    April 4, 2007
    Our very own Chris Horner is in Human Events today on this week's Massachusetts v. EPA SCOTUS decision on the regulation of carbon dioxide as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act:
    The plaintiffs argued not just unique and demonstrable harm from climate change, but from sea level rise directly attributable to EPA declining to regulate emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) from new automobiles under the Clean Air Act. The EPA accurately claimed that no such authority is found in a plain reading of the act and -- citing the National Academies of Science -- that the science is quite uncertain. A 5-4 majority -- the “Kelo Five” -- concluded, however, that many factors other than statutory language and admissions of uncertainty are at play in such momentous times as these. They concluded -- without an...
  • PLA = Union Ripoff

    April 3, 2007
    Today's Washington Examiner features a very good editorial on the District of Columbia's consideration of Public Labor Agreements in its proposed $2.3 billion school facility modernization program. As the Examiner notes:
    Because Project Labor Agreements require that all construction workers be hired through unions, they typically result in budget overruns and higher costs. And while $2.3 billion is a lot of money, the city can't afford to waste a dime of it. Project Labor Agreements also make it difficult for small, non-unionized companies to compete... That's exactly what happened to several minority-owned District companies that were frozen out of bidding on their own hometown baseball...
  • Before Che, there was Leon

    April 3, 2007
    Slate features a great essay on Leon Trotsky by British critic Clive James, excerpted from his volume, Cultural Amnesia: Necessary Memories from History and the Arts. James provides a context in which Trotsky's name becomes practically interchangeable with that of Ernesto "Che" Guevara, history's most fashionable mass murderer. Trotsky, as is well known, was assassinated by icepick on orders from a paranoid Stalin, who could count on the assistance of a literary figure who remains revered today. Yet, as James rightly notes, such treachery doesn't render Trotsky sympathetic.
    Trotsky's murder was not only horrifying, it was untimely. Treachery made it possible...[Chilean poet and renowned communist]...
  • So Where do the Shipping Disasters Take Place?

    April 3, 2007
    They take place at home. Let me explain. In studies of regulatory policy, the international flags-of-convenience system for shipping often gets cited as an example of regulatory competition-in-laxity. Ever since some poorer nations like Liberia and Panama started registering foreign-owned ships under their own flags and subjecting them to lax or non-existant inspection standards, such standards have become more liberal around the world. For a variety of reasons (most prominently, the fact that "standards" were often ways of subsidizing domestic unions and shipbuilders) this is a good thing. But it's also a proveable fact that, even after adjusting for just about every variable under the sun, convenience-flagged ships prove more dangerous than their brethern regulated by first-world countries.  A new...
  • "Standing" on global warming

    April 3, 2007
    The Supreme Court's ruling on global warming is unfortunate for a number of reasons. It could lead to policies that would sacrifice jobs, economic growth, and even public health to the altar of global warming. And it may force policymakers to overlook genuine solutions to problems such as malaria and catastrophic floods wrongly blamed on global warming. As the four dissenting justices wrote, the states should not even have had standing to sue. Their damages were speculative, and, as even the British government's alarmist report by Sir Nicholas Stern acknowledges, regions with cooler climates such as that of Massachusetts could actually gain net benefits from global warming, such as more crops and less cold-related deaths. The Court played fast and loose with the Constitution's requirement that the courts only hear "cases and controversies" in which damages were actually shown. Small...
  • Bush vs. Gore

    April 2, 2007
    Snopes has the lowdown on a very interesting e-mail forward about the homes of George W. Bush and Al Gore. Worth a read. Of course, Gore buys indulgences carbon credits to atone for his "sins."
  • Supremes: More Power to EPA Bureaucracy

    April 2, 2007
    This morning the Supreme Court issued opinions in two “environmental” (actually, energy) cases with major implications, Massachusetts v. EPA and Environmental Defense v. Duke Energy (disclosure: I filed amicus briefs in both). I hope to have more comment later on the specifics of the opinions but for now note the following.


    First, both opinions...


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