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OpenMarket: October 2008

  • LibertyWeek 12: Hard Times in the Heartland

    October 15, 2008
    Your hosts Richard Morrison and Cord Blomquist welcome listeners back to another episode of LibertyWeek. The panel starts by reviewing movie news and taking notice of a major gathering of environmental journalists in nearby Virginia. News topics include the wildly fluctuating Dow Jones Industrial Average, the latest $250 billion worth of federal bailout money, an ongoing financial scandal in Congress, a new sex scandal in Congress, the future of FCC telephone deregulation, close antitrust scrutiny of Google and Yahoo and the latest in Olympic headlines. Also, your hosts extend special thanks to the audio wizardry of LibertyWeek’s technical director Ryan Young and the scheduling flexibility provided by blogger outreach guru Ryan Lynch.
  • Liberals Against Libertarians

    October 15, 2008
    That liberals wish libertarians to go away is, perhaps, not surprising. But the issue is much more serious than even Jonah Goldberg realizes. McCain's championing of "getting the monied interests out of politics" and Obama's pledge to eliminate their influence both amount to an attempt to eliminate economic interest groups (and, indeed, interest groups that are in any way allied with economic interests - such as independent free market groups) from politics. But, politics is about interest group influences. If economic interest groups are eliminated, only ideological groups are left - right and left groups driven by...
  • Unstoppable SuperState Stimulus, Part 2

    October 15, 2008
    Today's Wall Street Journal highlighted a new $300 political stimulus campaign. Keynesian demand-management has re-conquered economics as surely as Fall 2008 has cemented Alexander Hamilton's dreams for centrally managed governed finance. Today's global consensus: free markets cannot clear without government intervention. This year's dual stimulus “packages” foster political ends unrelated to actual economic recovery. Innumerable special interests benefit from an interventionist, mixed economy—and when things go bad, fundamental free-market reforms fly further off the table. As George Mason University's Richard Wagner points out, unconstrained democracy has a built-in bias toward deficit finance, so demand-side...
  • Green Spin and Bottled Water

    October 15, 2008
    Americans are well aware of the power of political "spin" during election years. But political spin is nothing compared to "green spin," perpetrated by environmental activists at the Environmental Working Group (EWG). They issued a report with data showing that bottled water is a safe option for consumers, but the group's hype suggests the opposite. The EWG-produced data demonstrate only trace levels of certain chemicals, all of which fall below very stringent levels that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Food and Drug Administration have found  safe.  Environmentalists, basically condemn the water by demanding absolute purity, something that simply does not exist in the physical world. The real issue should be whether our food and water pose more than negligible risks. This study shows that bottled water risks are...
  • Putting my money where Chevron's mouth is

    October 15, 2008

    Chevron has plastered a series of posters all over the Washington, D.C. metro system as part of an advertising campaign titled, “will-you-join-us?” Join Chevron how? By becoming an employee and helping Chevron produce the petroleum products consumers need? Nope. By buying Chevron stock and becoming a shareholder? No again. By joining the fight against anti-consumer policies like oil drilling bans and carbon cap-and-trade schemes? Not a chance.

    Each poster features an earnest-looking...

  • Cheney Diagnosed with an Abnormal Heart Rhythm

    October 15, 2008
    The 67-year old Vice President will be undergoing an outpatient procedure — an electrical shock — to restore his normal rhythm today at George Washington University Hospital.

    Binary Data
    You'd think with a Vice President with a history...
  • I'm Sorry, Your Candidate Is in Another Castle

    October 15, 2008
    The presidential campaign of a certain U.S. senator has just expanded the bounds of the political advertising universe with in-game ads inside popular EA gaming titles.
    Racing towards hope?

    Racing towards hope?
    The ads can be seen in nine popular titles, including "Madden NFL 09," "Need For Speed: Carbon," "Burnout Paradise." I'm assuming this is the first time the campaign has intentionally associated itself with that last phrase.
    For U...
  • FCC Might Actually Roll Back an Outdated Regulation!

    October 15, 2008
    If you wanted to communicate over long distances in real-time 25 years ago, you had little choice but to rely on your local phone company for carriage. Email and mobile phones were still oddities, and neither SMS text messages nor tweets had even been conceived. Federal regulators, concerned that some companies might not maintain a  high level of service, imposed reporting requirements so the FCC could monitor phone companies and ensure calls were being handled properly. Fast forward to 2008, and the traditional phone company is but one of numerous firms providing voice and data services...
  • Stopping "Badvertising" at Yahoogle.

    October 15, 2008
    As an indicator of how perverse wealth-draining antitrust policy has become, have a look at the "concessions" being squeezed out of Google and Yahoo on their proposed advertising collaboration. In the communications realm, it used to be that the heavy-metal infrastructure companies were regarded as monopolistic or potentially so. Then, wise regulators feared the Windows desktop surely was an essential facility to which competitors deserved access. Now, "mere" content companies are the monopolies. Think about it; websites--code!!--are being regarded as something regulators must oversee, as if our left-mouse-button no longer works...
  • The New U.S. Economy

    October 15, 2008
    How do you find work as a financial wizard today?

    Binary Data
    My friend and former colleague Radley Balko posts a video that captures the new economic reality in America.

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