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OpenMarket: June 2007

  • CNN's Frank Sesno on oil: Where's the price?

    June 11, 2007
    With the energy debate heating up, CNN chimed in on the issue over the weekend. The hour-long CNN Special Investigations Unit program, "We Were Warned: Out of Gas," provides alarmism worthy of its title. Anchor Frank Sesno begins the program with a scenario of terrorists -- shortly following a devastating hurricane in Houston that had destroyed oil facilities in Texas -- blowing up Saudi Arabia's two largest oil export terminals, sending oil above $150 a barrel and the world into an energy tailspin.
    MATTHEW SIMMONS, OIL ANALYST & AUTHOR, "TWILIGHT IN THE DESERT": I hear a gong. I heard a ticking clock during the 90s... SESNO: What is your worst case scenario? SIMMONS: My worst case scenario is so bad that you don't want to go there. SESNO:...
  • Environmentalism: Not Just for Dirty Hippies

    June 11, 2007
    Our old friend Tim Carney has a great piece up on the presumed conflict with being a conservative (or libertarian) and being an environmentalist. Or, to put it another way, why you don't have to be red to be a green:
    ...we ought to resist falling into the temptation many conservatives and libertarians face, and decide that concern for the environment or waste is a flighty thing for dirty hippies. Younger conservatives, used to being contrarians on campuses dominated by imbalanced lefties, find it cute to advocate paving the rainforests. One prominent center-right activist in town likes to joke in his off-the-record meetings, “Kill trees because trees killed Sonny Bono.” As jokes or barbs to rile up self-righteous debating partners, these might be fine, but we shouldn't forget that conservation and stewardship...
  • Public Accomodation in Cyberspace?

    June 11, 2007
    Since the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, almost anyone operating a public accommodation has been banned from discriminating on a wide variety of factors considered "immutable characteristics." Good arguments exist for and against this in law, but because it lets in more customers, of course, nondiscrimination is good for business anyway. With the exception of "reasonable accommodation" for the handicapped, however, people have never read the law to require that businesses make affirmative efforts to serve any particular group. To my knowledge, nobody has ever tried to force Allen Edmonds to make women's shoes or Victoria's Secret to carry men's underwear. Yet now it appears that some gay activists want to force eharmony.com to provide gay dating services. While I think...
  • Google's Squabble Over Desktop Search

    June 11, 2007
    Yesterday, The New York Times reported that the U.S. Department of Justice had come out against a complaint leveled by Google against Microsoft alleging anti-competitive behavior. Stephan Labaton of the Times described this move as, "The most striking recent example of the policy shift." The shift that Labton refers to is the shift away from the proposed breaking up of Microsoft, the world's largest software publisher, that started with an antitrust lawsuit brought against the Redmond, Washington-based giant in 1998. The Times piece goes on to point out that the Justice Department's...
  • Employer Association Cites CEI's 10KC on the cost of workplace regulatory compliance

    June 11, 2007
    A new report on workplace regulation compliance by the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations cites CEI's Ten Thousand Commandments. Of the businesses surveyed, a plurality supported Wayne Crews's proposal to require Congress to vote on major regulations, which it now delegates to agencies.
    Question 7: "Some critics of regulation want to require Congress to vote on all major regulations written by federal agencies, contending this would make legislators more responsible. Do you agree?" Right now Congress passes a law and then requires the relevant federal agency to draw up and enforce the regulations. Some conservatives want Congress to make the agencies submit their...
  • Thanks for the Cheap Diesel - Yours Truly, Europe

    June 11, 2007
    There are plenty of reason to dislike the tangled array of subsidies and mandates woven through the market for alternative fuels in the U.S., and here's another one from the Christian Science Monitor's Mark Clayton:
    Fast-rising worries over global warming have created a biofuel boondoggle. Called "splash and dash," "touch and go," or an unfair trade practice, it features biofuels traders who exploit a US tax credit, European drivers who get cheaper diesel fuel, and American taxpayers, who are footing the bill. It also illustrates a cautionary tale of how government incentives, no matter how well-intentioned, can sometimes be subverted into windfalls for the few....
  • Two new Osorio publications from CRC

    June 11, 2007
    My two most recent publications from Capital Research Center are now online. First up is the June issue of Labor Watch (co-authored with CRC's James Dellinger) on the teachers unions' fight for taxpayer-funded universal preschool, a policy that would guarantee the unions a bonanza of new members. Then there' s the April issue of Organization Trends, in which I profile the Washington Office on Latin America, a far-left outfit that never met an anti-American movement in the hemisphere it didn't like.
  • Jann Wenner is Insufficiently Green

    June 11, 2007
    The New York Times reports today that despite switching to what it calls "carbon neutral" paper for printing, Rolling Stone magazine is still getting attacked by activists for not changing over to recycled paper, despite the poor print quality:
    Just about every major magazine has made some sort of nod to global warming, and Rolling Stone plans to do so in its June 28 issue: on top of the requisite interview with former Vice President Al Gore and an essay by the environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the magazine will start printing on paper that is said to have less of a negative impact on the environment. But as Rolling Stone and others try to be green, they draw criticism from environmentalists who think that if this is walking the walk, it is doing so with a pronounced...
  • $1 a year men?

    June 10, 2007
    In large part because of tax policy, this AP story reports on the number of CEOs taking home token cash paychecks and making it up with stock options and other benefits. A lot of this has to do with a rather misguided congressional effort that limited tax deductibility for salaries over $1 million. Let me begin by saying that, besides letting private companies hand out whatever compensation packages stockholders and boards think proper, I think that salaries paid in private industry are not a public policy issue at all. When they lead companies to new heights, furthermore, its clear to me that CEOs deserve rewards that exceed $1 million. Although its not as lucid as simple cash payment, it strikes me that this $1 a year with lots of stock options method that the current tax code...
  • Overworked Brits?

    June 9, 2007
    A new study from the International Labor Organization came to some interesting conclusions about the percentage of people working "excessively" long weeks (more than 48 hours). Here's what caught my eye:
    In terms of those countries with the highest incidence of long working hours for 2004-05 (defined as more than 48 hours per week), Peru topped the list at 50.9 per cent of workers, the Republic of Korea [South Korea -EL] at 49.5 per cent, Thailand at 46.7 per cent (Note 3), and Pakistan at 44.4 per cent . In developed countries, where working hours are typically shorter, the United Kingdom stood at 25.7 per cent, Israel at 25.5 per cent, Australia at 20.4 per cent, Switzerland at 19.2 per cent, and the United States at 18.1 per cent.
    ...

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