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OpenMarket: January 2009

  • How to Sell a Bunk Bill: Marginalize the Opposition

    January 29, 2009
    Jesse Walker at Reason gives us a how-to guide on stifling the other side of any debate and finding success in Washington.  Of course, Reason Magazine has long been a proponent of open debate.  The real goal of Walker's article is to show us what tactics the "political mainstream" is using. Walker outlines the basic strategy:
    If you argue with those outsiders, you've made them a part of the debate. But you can't shut them up either. The goal then is to persuade everyone else that the dissidents simply don't deserve attention: that they're extremists, partisan flacks, or just not "serious."
    This sort of tactic is used all the time.  Mr. Obama seems to have adopted the version of this strategy made famous by Al Gore—...
  • SEIU Split in California?

    January 29, 2009
    Ousted officials from a Bay Area local of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) announced yesterday that they were forming a new union, and asked members to join. They were ousted from the local, United Healthcare Workers-West (UHWW), after a long-threatened takeover by the union's national office became official on Tuesday, as the local was placed in trusteeship, for alleged "financial malpractice." From the SEIU national office to claim such concern about corrupt practices now seems strange, particularly in California. A Los Angeles-based local, with which the national SEIU wants to merge UHWW, has...
  • Obama Distorts Ledbetter v. Goodyear Case, In Signing Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

    January 29, 2009
    In signing his first bill into law, Obama didn't let facts get in the way of a good story, or milking a political wedge issue. He falsely claimed that Lilly Ledbetter, whose pay discrimination claim was dismissed by the Supreme Court as untimely, worked at Goodyear "for nearly two decades before discovering that for years, she was paid less than her male colleagues for doing the very same work." Actually, Ledbetter knew by 1992, if not earlier, that she was being paid less than the male employees she claimed should have been paid the same as her. Small wonder that the...
  • Update on Green Stimulus: It Still Stinks

    January 29, 2009
    Both chambers agree with President Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s staff that the government should shower winners in the renewable energy industry with about $30 billion in taxpayer money.
  • COP, America's Financial Paper Tiger

    January 29, 2009
    The Congressional Oversight Panel (COP) recently issued a report on the TARP.  This report represents the second in a monthly series of reports to be issued while there are outstanding TARP investments.  While the COP report generated a lot of media attention drawing criticism of the TARP's expenditure and opaque process. However, the media did not cover how powerless COP really is.  In the full text of the report, the panel repeatedly states that Treasury did not answer many of its questions - either effectively or in entirety.  The tough questions did not get answered or were simply avoided. In the words of COP, they are "concerned that Treasury's initial response to our questions is not comprehensive and seems largely derived from earlier Treasury public statements."  Unfortunately, the panel is working as designed by the legislation laying out the TARP.  The COP simply does not...
  • Smoke for Me, But Not for Thee

    January 29, 2009
    Bars and restaurants here in Washington, D.C. have operated under a smoking ban for a little over two years now. As many bar owners have discovered, that ban is very strict - unless, of course, you're a member of the D.C. city council. According to this morning's Examiner, Ward 2 Councilman Jack Evans has introduced a measure to specifically exempt a private club of which he is a member - the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick - from the ban so they can continue to celebrate the feast day of their eponymous saint with both Irish whiskey and cigars, as they have in the past.
    The city's smoke-free law provides an economic hardship waiver for struggling bars and restaurants, Evans said, but it leaves no...
  • That Was Fast: Stimulus Passes House

    January 28, 2009
    The House of Representatives has just passed the $800-billion stimulus package which President Obama hopes to make a centerpiece of his administration's early economic policy. The bill failed to get Republican support, which is a hopeful sign that GOP lawmakers will not seek bipartisanship at all costs. Such an enormous spending bill deserves more debate than it's gotten. The Senate should be in no hurry to rush this through. For more on stimulus, see here and here.
  • Billy Powell, RIP

    January 28, 2009
    So they're down to one -- original member, that is. Lynyrd Skynyrd keyboardist Billy Powell, one of the last two surviving founders of the seven-piece band that arguably defined Southern rock, died in his home in Florida today. Skynyrd was so big that a plane crash couldn't kill them all -- and the surviving members carried on for years, even as others passed away after the crash. They spawned dozens of mediocre imitators, but Skynyrd themselves remain as fun to listen to as ever -- and not even living in northern Florida would I ever tire of them. As for Billy, if anything's for certain, he'll be remembered for one of the most recognizable piano parts in all of rock: ...
  • LibertyWeek 27: Blago in Absentio

    January 28, 2009
    Your hosts Richard Morrison and Cord Blomquist welcome you back to another episode of LibertyWeek, wherein we start by highlighting CEI’s new Agenda for Congress. After all, they need adult supervision from somewhere, right? We then take on the new rules for bailout spending at Treasury, Gov. Blagojevich’s no-show status at his own impeachment trial, and an interview with Bureaucrash Crasher-in-Chief Pete Eyre. Finally, we round out the program with some appropriately strenuous Olympic News. Listen here.
  • Chris Horner on Al Gore's Global Warming Testimony

    January 28, 2009
    [youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98g3ktSNBTs 285 234]

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