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OpenMarket: May 2007

  • Opposing Murder = Discrimination, Lawyer Says

    May 9, 2007
    Truth is stranger than fiction.  A restaurant owner told O.J. Simpson to get out of his restaurant, exercising his right not to associate with murderers on his own property.  Simpson's paid mouthpiece and lawyer, Yale Galanter, is now threatening to sue the restaurant and take away its liquor license.  He's claiming that the only reason Simpson could have been kicked out of the restaurant was his race.  After all, no one could possibly object to murder, right?   In Yale Galanter's world, you have to be a racist to dislike a murderer, if the murderer happens to be black.  People like Galanter give the legal profession its bad image. (A California jury found O.J. Simpson liable for murdering two people, including his ex-wife, in a civil case.  Citing clear and convincing evidence of malicious wrongdoing, it...
  • Eliot Spitzer Rebuffed

    May 9, 2007
    In a 3-to-2 decision, New York's intermediate appeals court dismissed most of former New York attorney general Eliot Spitzer's lawsuit against former New York Stock Exchange Chairman Dick Grasso for collecting an enormous $187 million pay package, finding that he did not have standing to raise a number of claims he made in his lawsuit. The majority concluded that New York State's law on nonprofits, by expressly providing certain specified remedies for excessive executive pay, impliedly excluded other sorts of remedies, such as lawsuits by the state attorney general. It rejected the dissent's position that the state attorney general has broad common-law powers to sue over any alleged violation of the law whenever he deems it to be in the public interest. It concluded that such a broad delegation of...
  • The Present State of America's Future

    May 9, 2007
    CEI gets a passing mention today in The Washington Times, but the story in question is really AFF's moment to shine: a profile of the organization and its fearless leader, David Kirby:
    The elegantly decorated room buzzes with young Washingtonians in business attire, chatting amiably beneath a glittering chandelier as they munch on tortilla chips and drink beer from bottles and wine from plastic cups. On New Hampshire Avenue, a short walk from Dupont Circle, a Wednesday evening in April finds an assortment of twenty- and thirtysomethings socializing on the second floor of the Fund for American Studies. It may look like a lot of other Washington parties, but this gathering of young political operatives, government employees, think-tank...
  • UN on biofuels -- implications and tradeoffs

    May 9, 2007
    The United Nations has just published a report that sets out some of the challenges and implications of the widespread production of biofuels. And it's a pretty good effort in asking the right questions and recognizing that there are tradeoffs involved in the push for biofuels. Titled “Sustainable Bioenergy: A Framework for Decision Makers,” the report focuses on the impact of bioenergy development on such issues as food security, the structure of agriculture, trade, foreign exchange balances, and energy security, as well as biodiversity and climate change.
    Yet, nothing human or ecological is straightforward. And so it is with biofuels, perhaps particulary liquid biofuels. Will biofuels push out food crops, raise food prices, and exacerbate food security? Will biofuels create unexpected negative rather...
  • Gas Prices a-Go-Go No More

    May 9, 2007
    Speaking of gas prices, from Wisconsin comes a story that illustrates just how stupid government can be in trying to meddle with prices (or most things for that matter). The state Department of Agriculture has ordered a gas station owner to raise his prices, after he offered discounts to senior citizens and to people supporting youth sports. The department's Trade and Consumer Protection division told BP gas station owner Raj Bhandari that the discounts he offered violated Wisconsin's Unfair Sales Act, which requires stations to sell gas for about 9.2 percent above the wholesale price.
  • You, too, can be a Concerned Scientist for $35

    May 8, 2007
    Today, Human Events reprints Iain's, Myron's, and my article on the Union of Concerned Scientists (which was first published in Capital Research Center's Organization Trends).
  • Gas Prices a-Go-Go

    May 8, 2007
    Tomorrow is the exhaustively-named House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming's hearing on high gas prices. According to Chairman Ed Markey, it would seem that the problem with high gas prices is the percentage of oil and gas that U.S. suppliers import from abroad. In the world of gas price demagoguery, of course, importing petroluem products from countries that produce them cheaper than we can isn't international commerce, it's "dependence of foreign sources of energy," which makes it sound as though we were fueling Crystal River with plutonium smuggled out of Pakistan.
    Shell arm leg...
  • Isn’t Poverty Even Filthier?

    May 8, 2007
    A massive ad campaign has been mounted in recent weeks within the Beltway to demonize coal. The ads show some rather unlikely models posing as if harmed by coal mining — grimy faces from a cross-section of America, most of whom have never seen a coal mine. The goal is to drive coal from the nation's energy system, a worrisome goal since over half of America's electricity is produced by this abundant material and is projected to produce an even greater portion of electricity in the future. There is not now a more readily available and affordable energy source. The truth is that the modern coal industry is vastly safer and cleaner than in times past and is continually becoming more so. The ads are apparently bank-rolled by natural gas producers, worried their products are becoming less competitive with coal. Only if coal is driven from the markets politically will they prosper — or...
  • Hate Crimes Hypocrisy

    May 8, 2007
    The ACLU has just jettisoned principle and sacrificed civil liberties on the altar of political correctness in supporting the federal hate-crimes bill. Historically, the ACLU has opposed many federal laws against crime, citing civil-liberties concerns, such as the Constitution's ban on double jeopardy (double jeopardy is when a person is tried twice for essentially the same crime). The ACLU feared that the creation of federal crimes would give prosecutors two bites of the apple, enabling a federal prosecutor to indict an accused person even after a state court jury has found him not guilty of a similar state crime. (A divided Supreme Court created a gaping loophole in the constitutional protections against double jeopardy, ruling in the Bartkus case that the double-jeopardy protection against being tried twice for the same crime only applies when both prosecutions are brought...
  • Charlie Crist: Populist

    May 8, 2007
    Florida continues its populist jihad against private insurance companies. On top of last year's legislation letting the state-owned Citizens Property Insurance Corp. compete outright for private customers while freezing rates, the latest crop of legislation goes further down the path towards socialized property insurance. Citizens is already Florida's largest insurer and will now grow even larger. The new laws also make it harder for companies operating in Florida to wall off their subsidaries and create "pup" insurance companies. Gov. Crist, who calls himself a conservative Republican, seems to love this. "I hear some groans from insurance lobbyists," Crist has said. "'Tough!' This is what's right. We work for the people." His...


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