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OpenMarket: May 2007

  • Department of Pre-Regulation

    May 30, 2007
    One of the highlights of our big annual dinner last week was our faux public service announcement from a future where nanny-state regulators have taken over. Behold, the terrifying possibilities of the Department of Pre-Regulation:

    Binary Data
    Credits (in no particular order) include: Erin Wildermuth, Cord Blomquist, Ivan Osorio, Brooke...
  • Limbaugh reads CEI letter on the air

    May 30, 2007
    A little bird tells us that earlier today Rush Limbaugh read John Berlau's letter urging the head of the Nobel Peach Prize committee to bestow the award, not on Al Gore, but on Rush Limbaugh. Mr. Limbaugh was nominated by the conservative Landmark Legal Foundation. As John Berlau argues in the letter:
    I can say without reservation that on one of the most important issues facing the world -- a threat far more immediate than global warming -- Mr. Limbaugh has made the greater contribution to public health. In fact, Mr. Gore's contributions regarding this issue, by contrast, have been detrimental to public health. This issue I'm speaking of is the epidemic of malaria in third-world countries. As you know (or should know), malaria kills more than one...
  • Crying Wolf: Demagoguing About Discrimination

    May 30, 2007
    Yesterday, by a vote of 5-to-4, the Supreme Court actually enforced the 180-day statute of limitations contained in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, dismissing an employee's claim that she had been subject to sex discrimination years earlier that affected her pay. For enforcing the plain language of the statute, the justices in the majority were denounced by the dissent, which speculated that they were "indifferent to the insidious way in which women can be victims of pay discrimination." Press accounts about the decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. have ...
  • Future Fred Greets You from 2107

    May 30, 2007
    For all of you who were unable to make it to CEI's annual banquet/gala/extravaganza last Thursday, here's the opening video. Fred greeted the crowd from the future, and gave us a few clues as to what we can expect from the next century.

    Binary Data
  • And we're the well-funded ones?

    May 30, 2007
    Banking firm HSBC is to give $100 million to various environmental groups to "respond to global warming." According to the HSBC press release, much of the money is to expand the size and influence of the environmental organizations:
    HSBC's US$100 million partnership - including the largest donations to each of these charities and the largest donation ever made by a British company - has significant programme targets and offers transformational support for the environmental charities. The donation will help to deliver increased capacity, help the charities to expand across new countries and research sites,...
  • Coburn's House friends also said no to Rachel

    May 30, 2007
    Angela, nice post and op-ed. But I've got some good news for you. Coburn isn't all alone in his crusade to stop Congress from honoring Rachel Carson. He has some good friends in the U.S. House of Representatives. There, in April, 53 representatives voted against naming the post office after Carson. Another 3 voted "present," which also often signals symbolic opposition to a bill. The bill passed the House anyway. Unlike the Senate, where a minority of Senators or even one Senator has tremendous power to block a bill, the House is pretty much run by majority rule. Still the fact that there were a good number of dissenters in the House may embolden some more Senators to join Coburn and just...
  • Of Cabs and Freedom

    May 29, 2007
    As Richard points out, D.C. has a pretty decent system for getting taxi medalions out. Last I looked into it--a few years ago--D.C. was one of only two major U.S. cities that doesn't ration medalions. (The other is San Diego.) Even a lot of smaller cities like Hartford, CT charge a lot for taxi medallions. The result is interesting: it's much easier to get a cab during rush hour than it is in other major cities, BUT it's nearly impossible to get a cab to come to an outlying location simply by calling. No company has been able to set up a decent dispatch system. But there are market-based workarounds. First-limo-like car service is surprisingly reasonable in D.C.--a trip to Dulles Airport in a chauffeured car that waits for you on both ends costs only about 50 percent more than taking the same trip by taxi. (In New York...
  • Like Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead, Rachel Carson is still wrong

    May 29, 2007
    CEI's Angela Logomasini gives kudos to Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Olka.) for his stand against honoring the 100th birthday of environmentalist icon Rachel Carson. Here's why.
    Carson used explosive rhetoric and junk science to advance an anti-technology agenda that turned many people against using all man-made chemicals. Most seriously, Carson inspired enough fear to prompt nations to discontinue using the pesticide DDT, even for malaria control. Before Carson completed her book, DDT played a vitally important role in the eradication of mosquitoes carrying malaria in Western nations and was making progress in other nations around the globe. This success was so great that DDT's discoverer, Paul Herman Muller, earned a Nobel Prize in Medicine, and the National...
  • No Cab For You!

    May 29, 2007
    In New York City, like in many U.S. cities, the number of licensed taxi cabs is strictly controlled. In order to operate one, you need what's called a medallion - a little metal shield you affix to the hood of your cab so that the regulators know you're official. At one time, this was a relatively inexpensive formality - in 1937, when the system began, a medallion would only have cost you $10, or approximately $140 in 2006 dollars. My, how times have changed. A recent sale of new medallions earlier this month set a new record: $600,000 for one of a pair bought by "a large corporate fleet operator." With prices like that, it makes it very difficult for a humble cabbie to aspire to own his own ride. Some...
  • CEI and the Online Video Revolution

    May 29, 2007
    Sam is understandably excited to have our "Underwear to the Undersecretary" campaign profiled in Cindy Skrzycki's Washington Post / Bloomberg column today:
    It was inevitable. In the Internet age, interest groups seeking influence in Washington are joining presidential candidates in discovering a new electronic tool to press their agenda: YouTube. "Send your underwear to the undersecretary'' urges the actress in the Competitive Enterprise Institute's stinging 66-second anti-regulatory video posted on YouTube, a free video-sharing site that is a subsidiary of Google. The video blames a 2001 Energy Department rule for an energy-efficiency standard that it...

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