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OpenMarket: May 2007

  • Consumer "Protection" Racket

    May 3, 2007
    D.C. Administrative Law Judge Roy Pearson is suing a Korean drycleaner couple for $65 million for losing his pants and posting signs that say "satisfaction guaranteed" and "same day service." (The drycleaners promptly gave him $150 for his pants, then offered him an additional $12,000 after he sued them, and ultimately located and offered to return his pants). He has a potent weapon for intimidation in the D.C. Consumer Protection Procedures Act (DCPPA). That poorly-written law allows a litigious plaintiff to recover thousands of dollars in statutory damages and attorneys fees even for conduct that caused no economic loss.
  • Chris Horner on Glenn Beck's Global Warming Special

    May 3, 2007
    In case you missed him last night:

    Binary Data
  • A Knight to Slay the Green Dragon

    May 3, 2007
    Our friend Peyton Knight had an (intentionally) hilarious op-ed piece in yesterday's Examiner, highlighting the (unintentionally) hilarious display of eco-hypocrisy in Vanity Fair's second annual Green Issue.
    As he points out, it's difficult to take seriously calls for simple living from a publication stuffed with full-page advertisments for thousand dollar handbags:
    The “green issue” is just over 300 pages of slick, glossy, un-recycled paper. But that's not all. The magazine devotes almost half (149 and...
  • Glenn Beck Takes on Global Warming Alarmism

    May 3, 2007
    Here's the transcript from last night's CNN/Glenn Beck special on global warming, which included our very own Chris Horner. Beck sets the tone of the program with his introduction:
    GLENN BECK, HOST: Welcome to "Exposed: The Climate of Fear." I want you to know right up front, this is not a balanced look at global warming. It is the other side of the climate debate that you don`t hear anywhere. Yes, Al Gore, there is another credible side. We'll get to Al Gore and his inconvenient truths about his movie in just a little bit, but I want to start with what we do know. The globe is getting warmer. In fact, it's warmed .7 degrees Celsius over the last 10 years. It's not up for debate, but there are questions as to why it's happening, how could the traffic it may be. Who is right? Who`s wrong? Unfortunately, when it...
  • Rep. Scott Garrett on Sarbanes-Oxley Reform

    May 3, 2007
    Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ) delivers remarks to the Center for Entrepreneurship's recent conference on "Entrepreneurs, the Stock Market and the American Dream."
  • KFC Lawsuit Thrown Out

    May 2, 2007
    A lawsuit against KFC for using trans fats in its fried chicken has been thrown out. In an appropriately sarcastic ruling, federal district judge James Robertson dismissed the lawsuit, observing that it was so meritless that it could not pass muster even under Washington, D.C.'s broad consumer "protection" law. The suit against KFC made little sense on health grounds. Trans fats, while unhealthy, aren't much unhealthier than traditional saturated fats. Moreover, fried chicken, which contains valuable protein, is far from the most unhealthy food. Kentucky Fried Chicken has a better protein-to-fat ratio than many common dinner items or restaurant meals. It's a lot healthier than foie gras. But since it's fairly cheap and lacks snob...
  • Environmentalism a religion? Naaaah!

    May 2, 2007
    Penn & Teller will need a new way to do their Gideon Bible card trick (for an explanation, read the book) at the Gaia Napa Valley hotel in California. As Bloomberg reports:
    Visitors to the Gaia Napa Valley Hotel and Spa won't find the Gideon Bible in the nightstand drawer. Instead, on the bureau will be a copy of ``An Inconvenient Truth,'' former Vice President Al Gore's book about global warming.
    Another thing they won't find is comfort.
    They'll also find the Gaia equipped with waterless urinals, solar lighting and recycled paper as it marches toward becoming California's first hotel...
  • Business groups support Korea trade pact

    May 2, 2007
    The U.S. Trade Representative's office just posted quotes from major corporations and business groups voicing strong support for the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement. The trade deal was concluded on April 1, 2007, and, as required by law, President Bush notified Congress of his intent to enter into this agreement. USTR advisory committees completed their reviews of the agreement, and their comments have been sent on to Congress, which must ratify the FTA. The April 1 transmittal to Congress just made the deadline of 90 days before the president's Trade Promotion Authority expires — June 30 -- which means that the agreement would face an up-or-down vote with no amendments. Don't expect an easy passage. With the mood of Congressional leaders toward greater protectionism, the...
  • WTO agriculture chair suggests ways to move stalled talks

    May 2, 2007
    In a paper circulated on April 30, 2007, the chair of the World Trade Organization's (WTO) agriculture negotiations set out his ideas on how to accommodate WTO members' positions to try to kick-start the stalled trade negotiations. Agricultural issues have been at the crux of the WTO's inability to move forward on the Doha Development Round through agreement among the members on improved market access, reducing or phasing out export subsidies, and substantial reductions in trade-distorting domestic support. Ambassador Crawford Falconer's paper sets out the disparate views of WTO members on these and other issues and suggests ways to achieve agreement. What countries are trying to reach consensus on are specific “modalities” in trade-speak terms. Those are the targets — the numbers and percentages of...
  • Nobel Laureates Say the Darndest Things

    May 2, 2007
    Alvaro Vargas Llosa, co-author of the now-classic 1996 primer on Latin America's statist political economy, Guide to the Perfect Latin American Idiot ("a book criticizing opinion and political leaders who clung to ill-conceived political myths despite evidence to the contrary"), revisits the region in the current issue of Foreign Policy, and finds that the Idiot is stil alive and kicking, with a few updates for the times.
    [T]oday's young Latin American Idiots prefer Shakira's pop ballads to Pérez Prado's mambos...But they are still descendants of rural migrants, middle class, and...


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