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OpenMarket: July 2007

  • False Analogies from WIRED

    July 11, 2007
    Wired magazine's Scott Gilbertson summarized the FTC net neutrality report by quipping, "Wait and see if it all goes south and then maybe consider doing something to fix it." This is a false analogy. Certainly it's a good idea to fix something that's bound to break, but is net neutrality really like giving the car an oil change? It would be if we had reason to believe that we were racing toward the net equivalent of engine lock-up, but the evidence for such a scenario just doesn't add up. What evidence do we have? For more than a decade a net with many levels of access and many corresponding prices has meant more investment and a boon for all consumers. "If it ain't broke don't fix it," doesn't apply either. The internet not only isn't broken, it's growing at incredible speeds and bringing the rest of...
  • Greenhouse Gas Sanctimony

    July 11, 2007
    Al Gore was born into a wealthy family and lives high on the hog. But he is very preachy and sanctimonious about the little people needing to cut back on their standard of living in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and their "carbon footprint." But it's been estimated that Al Gore's own carbon footprint includes at least 239 tons of carbon emissions every year just from his residences (he owns three homes, including a mansion in Tennessee, as well as a large home in Arlington, Virginia), not counting all the tons of carbon dioxide he emits on his private airplane flights and political junkets. By contrast, according to a web-based carbon-footprint calculator, my family's carbon emissions last year were about 6 tons. (My home is located in the same...
  • Let Them Drink Tap

    July 11, 2007

    Some lawmakers maintain that energy needed to transport the bottled water is too high for the value that the product brings. Let everyone drink tap, they maintain.

    San Francisco and some other cities are taking a stand by removing bottled water from government agencies, and some restaurants are taking it off the menu too. This is pure silliness, but it gets much worse.

    Salt Lake City's Mayor Rocky Anderson...

  • Syndicated Vindication

    July 11, 2007
    Another CEI milestone - we've made it into the popular syndicated newspaper column The Straight Dope (the column has published since 1973 under the name Cecil Adams, though that's assumed to be a pen name for multiple authors). The topic this week is the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, with a reader wondering whether the arguments he's heard from "free market" think tanks about CAFE's deadly impact could possible be true. As it turns out, they are:
    Ever since the feds established the first Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards in 1975, we've heard griping from automakers, car enthusiasts, small-government types and some self-described safety advocates. The Competitive Enterprise Institute, a conservative...
  • What Passes for Good News in Washington

    July 11, 2007
    Break out the domestic sparkling wine - it's time to celebrate a new era of fiscal restraint! It seems the federal budget deficit for the fiscal year ending in September is only going to be $205 billion. That's down from $413 billion in 2004, in case you haven't been keeping track. At this rate, the Congressional Budget Office even thinks we could start seeing a 2012. Maybe. Meanwhile, as Wayne reminds us in this year's installment of 10,000 Commandments, estimated costs from federal regulation have hit $1.14 trillion. What's in your wallet?
  • $200 Billion Class Action Lawsuit Over "Light" Cigarettes Appealed

    July 10, 2007
    Today, the federal appeals court in New York heard the appeal of trial judge Jack Weinstein's decision to certify a $200 billion class action lawsuit against the tobacco companies for selling "light" cigarettes. Why Judge Weinstein was wrong to certify a class action in Schwab v. Philip Morris, and how his ruling would further enrich wealthy trial lawyers and their allies, is explained here.
  • Satellite (Radio) of Love

    July 10, 2007
    The FCC is currently presiding over the proposed merger of satellite radio companies XM and Sirius. And, to no one's surprise, a host of groups are clamoring for the feds to stick their regulatory snout into the proceedings and stop the merger from going forward. The haters in the crowd would have you believe satellite radio is a unique market that needs to have multiple competing companies, even if both of them are suffering massive operating losses:
    ...simply put, the two companies have been competing so fiercely with one another that costs at both have skyrocketed to unsustainable levels. In 2006 alone, Sirius and XM had combined losses of just over $1.8 billion The huge losses can be traced to Sirius and XM spending billions to...
  • Pelosi v. Dingell: Energy Policy Smackdown

    July 10, 2007
    The Hill has the latest today on the, shall we say, "evolving tensions" between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Energy and Commerce Chairman John Dingell. The question is how the House leadership is going to structure the major energy bill they all want to get passed before Fall. Some, like Pelosi, want it to be unbearably horrible, while others, like Dingell, would prefer it to be somewhat less so. In any event, the most entertaining part of this spectacle is the obvious contempt with which Dingell continues to treat Her Speakership. Take Pelosi's pet project, the Select Committee on Climate Change and Global Warming: a C-SPAN “Newsmakers” interview taped last week and aired on Sunday, Dingell revived his stinging criticism of the House Select Committee...
  • "Our Planet" has a MySpace page!

    July 10, 2007
    Turns out "our planet" has a MySpace page. I ask you: full of pomposity? Just puttin' that out there. I'm all in favor of a group promoting its cause, even if it's a woolly-headed, tree-hugging one. But one can cross a line of...what shall we call it? Good taste? The laugh test? Credibility? Sorta like creating a MySpace page for "God" (and, no, I'm not going to see if someone has!). Or, remember when the anti-tobacco forces actually copyrighted (or tried to?) "The Truth"?! Copyright the truth? Yeeaaah. Anyhow, turns out "our planet" strongly resembles a slick corporate campaign-- not yer typical MySpace profile, let me tell ya. Plugs for Google, Greenpeace, Think Organic, probably other enterprises. But, hey, at least they've had the good taste to disable the blinky-blinky picture comments so popular...
  • Myron Debates Global Warming on CNN (7/7/07)

    July 9, 2007

    Binary Data


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