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OpenMarket: December 2007

  • Bye Bye Birdie

    December 12, 2007
    Chicago's Health Committee is set to vote on a measure this afternoon that would prohibit residents from owning chickens as pets. Alderwoman Lona Lane, the ordinance's main proponent says that some chicken owners in residential Chicago create an unsanitary nuisance.
    There are residents within our ward who have neighbors raising chickens as pets. They're letting them run around in their backyards. Debris from the chickens is creating mice. The odor from the feathers is something they're not happy with,
    I could have said the same thing (almost word for word minus the feathers) about my neighbors during my freshman year of college. Those boys, like the chickens Lane seeks to...
  • Tate Modern museum -- where's the "precautionary principle"?

    December 11, 2007
    Read an article about precaution and risk — in the Arts section of The New York Times today. Seems that the Tate Modern museum in London has a new artistic installation: Doris Salcedo's “Shibboleth.” According to the Tate, the work concerns “the divisions between creed, color, class and culture that maintain our social order, precariously balanced as it is on the precipice of a chaotic void of hatred.” And what is this artwork? It's a 500-long irregularly shaped fissure in the floor of the gallery. It ranges from about one foot at its widest and is as deep as three feet. Turns out that...
  • How to keep them down on the farm (or wherever)

    December 11, 2007
    In its lead editorial today, the Wall Street Journal cited Environmental Working Group's farm subsidy database to show the vast amount of farm subsidies that goes to people who (a) aren't farmers, or (b) are among the wealthiest farmers in the country. Here is the WSJ's lead:
    Here's today's quiz: What do Scottie Pippen, David Letterman and Ted Turner have in common? Answer: None of them are farmers, but all three have received thousands of dollars in federal farm subsidies this decade. We could add to that list of non-farmer farm-aid recipients David Rockefeller, Leonard Lauder of the cosmetics firm, Edgar Bronfman Sr. of the Seagram fortune, and Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen. Our point is that you don't have to drive a tractor, plant seeds, or even...
  • 'Tis Better to Give *and* Receive

    December 11, 2007
    Just in time for the multi-holiday shopping season, Bureaucrash is here to solve all of your gift-giving needs. Tell that special someone how much you love them (and liberty) with a stylish Bureaucrash t-shirt or hoodie. Shirts are patriotically priced at a mere $17.76. Buy now! Click the video below to see spokesmodels Michelle and Alex demonstrate the product.

    Binary Data ...
  • Knicks Harassment Case Settled for $11.5 Million

    December 11, 2007
    Former New York Knicks executive Anucha Browne Sanders has settled her sexual harassment case against Madison Square Garden for $11.5 million. A jury found that she was harassed by Isiah Thomas. It awarded $11.6 million in punitive damages against Madison Square Garden, but had yet to award compensatory damages against it or Thomas. The jury's finding of harassment would very likely have been upheld on appeal. But its huge award of damages would almost certainly have been cut on appeal. Under Supreme Court precedent, punitive damages are not supposed to exceed compensatory damages by a large ratio. And the jury had not even awarded compensatory damages at the time it issued its giant punitive damages award. It is hard to see Sanders claiming more than a...
  • Chinese Coal and John Kerry

    December 11, 2007

    Richard McGregor reports in today's Financial Times that the China's energy demand continues to skyrocket, growing at an annual rate of 16.2 % so far this year. That's enough new power to surpass the total capacity of Great Britain, and 85% of it is generated by coal.

    Meanwhile, John Kerry is going around telling reporters that the US Senate cannot agree to any climate response that does not include China.

    The tension between these two stories is good news for people like me, who worry more about bungling bureaucrats trying to control my carbon footprint than I do about a million dollar Miami home endangered by rising seas a...
  • "Mortgage Bailout Just Makes It Worse"

    December 10, 2007
    The mortgage bailout proposed by the Treasury Secretary will just makes things worse in the future, explains Bill Fleckenstein at MSN's Money Central. Similarly, John Markman has a column entitled "Homeowner Bailout Is A Lousy Idea." CEI's John Berlau explained in a USA Today op ed how the bailout plan will "harm future borrowers" in the long run, as well as harm the economy and discourage investment. I earlier explained how the bailout is unfair and unjust.
  • Bipartisan Myopia About Torture

    December 10, 2007
    Sunday's Washington Post contained a story about how current congressional leaders, who have belatedly criticized the Bush administration for using degrading interrogation techniques tantamount to torture, privately knew about and tacitly approved of those techniques way back in 2002. They had no problem with torture when Bush was still popular. Now, of course, they claim to oppose torture, as the public has become more skeptical about the administration and everything it does. But their opposition only occurred after the use of torture came to light and created the opportunity for partisan political advantage. The use of torture has caused America considerable damage in its international image, making people other than the usual crop of America haters distrust us, and making...
  • The farm bill's sugar program -- sickeningly sweet

    December 10, 2007
    Today, as the Senate is scheduled to continue consideration of a new farm bill, The Washington Post features an editorial criticizing the bill and giving special mention to the expansion of the egregious sugar program, as well as corn-based ethanol production. Here's the sugar section:
    Under the pending farm bill, the U.S. sugar industry would get a 10-year, $1 billion program to prop up sugar prices by requiring the Agriculture Department to buy up excess production and resell it to ethanol producers at a deep discount. The idea is to protect American growers from Mexican competition after the...
  • Energy Bill Could Make Al Gore Even Richer

    December 10, 2007
    According to the Daily Mail, Al Gore left a London audience wanting more after one of his $6,000/minute climate speech. To be sure, the Goracle rakes in piles of cash with his climate schtick, no matter how boring it is, but his honorariums are chump change compared to what he stands to make as a green venture capitalist. The House recently passed an energy bill that would repeal $13 billion in tax breaks for fossil fuel companies and use the new revenue to fund alternative energy sources. Who is better positioned to reap these government handouts than Al Gore? Not only is he well connected to the Democratic majority in Congress, but his word is hallowed among the greens. An Oscar…A Nobel Peace Price…A thriving rent-seeking career—Climate...

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