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OpenMarket: June 2007

  • It's not like anyone could have foreseen it...

    June 28, 2007
    With national security worries about Iran everywhere these days, the gas riots there yesterday make the Ahmedinejad regime seem not only less fearsome, but just plain stupid. No, not crazy, stupid: stupid enough to be incompetent schemers, and stupid enough to try to fix a botched state intervention --  price subsidies -- with another intervention -- rationing -- to reduce consumption after those subsidies artificially inflated demand. Who knew?
  • FTC Moves to Protect Bandwealth

    June 28, 2007
    In a new report, Broadband Connectivity Competition Policy, the FTC routed the empty arguments of the "net neutrality" crowd, marking a significant victory for those who believe in competition and freedom on the net. Robert Kahn, the inventor of the TCP/IP protocol has referred to "net neutrality" as nothing more than a regulatory slogan. In a piece in The Register Kahn is quoted as saying "I am totally opposed to mandating that nothing interesting can happen inside the net." What kind of interesting stuff "inside the net" is Kahn referring to? One example is managing traffic, called packet prioritizing, so that emails and websites are brought from servers to our displays quickly. This does mean that peer-to-peer...
  • Is net neutrality a new religion?

    June 28, 2007
    Silly reactions to the Federal Trade Commission's new net neutrality report shouldn't be surprising, but I didn't expect the ridiculous-beyond-parody (over at Fark.com): "FTC shoots down net neutrality. RIP, Internet."
  • Rain Man, Regulator

    June 28, 2007
    Wired blogger Scott Gilbertson is upset about the Federal Trade Commission's report urging caution regarding net neutrality regulation.
    The Chairman of the FTC Deborah Platt Majoras says in a statement accompanying the report that “in the absence of significant market failure or demonstrated consumer harm, policy makers should be particularly hesitant to enact new regulation in this area.” In other words wait and see if it all goes south and then maybe consider doing something to fix it.
    Gilbertson is essentially criticizing the FTC for not considering every...
  • Supreme Court Overturns Race-Based Student Assignments

    June 28, 2007
    The Supreme Court has overturned the race-based assignment of students in Seattle and Louisville schools. (The decision can be found here). CEI filed an amicus brief arguing that schools shouldn't receive deference from the courts when they use race, pointing to the bizarre racial statements made by the Seattle Schools. CEI pointed out that the Seattle Schools, on their website, have falsely claimed that "emphasizing individualism as opposed to a more collective ideology" constitutes "cultural racism," that only whites can be racist, that it is racist to expect minorities to plan ahead the way white people do, and that colorblindness is bad. Chief Justice Roberts' opinion announcing the court's decision cites these statements, which were brought to the court's...
  • You Know You Need to Get a Life When...

    June 28, 2007
    ...you make the passage of an anti-Ladies Night ordinance your primary goal in life. That's the case with Coloradoan Steve Horner, who decided that Ladies Night promotions at bars were illegally discriminating against men. This led to a complaint to the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which...agreed with him. At the Commission's monthly meeting this week, they passed a resolution condemning Ladies Night promotions, helpfully suggesting alternate marketing strategies. Denver's alt weekly Westword has the story:
    ...the commission made it through the weightier agenda items involving truly horrendous instances of discrimination to item "VI a) Discussion and action by the Commission regarding ladies night." And it did take action: "Ladies' night promotions may not involve price differentials or...
  • AEI panel discussion about FTAs in the aftermath of the bipartisan deal

    June 28, 2007
    In the aftermath of the bipartisan deal between the Democrats and the Bush Administration, the question is whether the new enforceable environmental and ILO labor standards that are included in FTAs are the tipping point where they are overstretching into domestic affairs. Yesterday, AEI held an interesting panel discussion about this called “The Bipartisan Trade Bargain: Is the Deal Worth It?” According to Jack K. Veroneau, deputy United States trade representative, the answer is no. We had the same discussion when the Jordan FTA was negotiated in which both the US and Jordan committed themselves to enforce domestic laws. This was not the end of the world as many conservative commentators contended, and so will these provisions not be a problem. We need the labor provisions to offset disruptive effects of...
  • Racist School Policies Get the Supreme Smackdown

    June 28, 2007
    The Associated Press is reporting on the latest SCOTUS opinion from this morning, and as it turns out it's one on which we filed an amicus brief (PDF link). In its decision on Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District, the justices struck down the use of race by public school districts when admitting/assigning students to their various institutions. I'm sure legal maestro Hans will have much more to say later today (UPDATE: he has), but here's the quick take for now:
    The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected school diversity plans that take account of students' race in two major public...
  • A Plea for the Victims of Malaria

    June 28, 2007
    Today on CEI's Rachelwaswrong.org blog, Barun Mitra of the Liberty Institute (New Delhi, India) makes a plea for greater awareness about malaria's victims and the need for DDT. His comments are compelling and worth repeating here:
    It is good news that the demand for DDT to fight malaria is on the rise. Last year, India's government exported their first consignment of DDT in almost 20 years to Eritrea and Mozambique. This year they doubled their shipments from last year and expect orders from more African countries soon. The competition in the international market—China being the sole exporter in the past decade—has already brought the price down by almost a half. U.S. funds to fight malaria are being used by some of the African countries to explore the DDT option. Yet, DDT's life...
  • Oxus Gold's Dirty Little Secret

    June 28, 2007

    Lira Tantebeyava works for the women of Kyrgyzstan. Every day, she plots and executes strategies to bring equal rights to one half the people of that beautiful, mountainous country on the opposite side of the globe. She brooks sexism from no one in a society where it is cultural permissible for a man to kidnap a woman of his choosing to become his bride. Lira Tantebeyave is one tough hombre.

    Lira is also a loving mother of five: 1 young woman, 3 girls, and a baby daughter. She is the devoted wife of Sayakbai, a gentleman giant, man enough to respect his wife as an equal.

    Lira Tantebeyava was imprisoned in Talas City, Talas Oblast by authorities in the back pocket of the Jerooy gold mining company, a Kyrgyz subsidiary of Oxus Gold, a British multinational mining company. Lira had organized a rally against the mine, which the people of Talas, discreetly animist, despise...

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