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OpenMarket: January 2009

  • Green for the Greens, Lumps of Coal for Everyone Else

    January 5, 2009
    Mark Tapscott, in today's Washington Examiner, explodes the propaganda from the "Reality Campaign," a coalition of leftist environmental groups, which has all but declared war on America's most abundant source of energy: coal.
    You've no doubt seen the TV spot where the guy in the hard hat steps through an industrial-looking door  into the desert and begins mocking “clean coal,” which he says doesn't exist. This clever advocacy campaign is courtesy of the imaginatively misnamed Reality Coalition of the Alliance for Climate Protection, League of Conservation Voters, National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Sierra Club. Despite the millions of private donors,...
  • Economy Worsens, Congress Gives Itself a Raise

    January 5, 2009
    Effective this week, Members of Congress will be making a $174,000, that's $4,700 more than last year and the 10th time in a decade that Congress has given itself a boost in pay.
  • The EU Propaganda Machine

    January 5, 2009
    Government propaganda is always irritating, especially because that means politicians are taxing citizens to pay for a snow job for those same citizens.  The European Union is no different than the U.S. in this regard.  The group Open Europe has published a new study detailing EU propaganda efforts:
    Open Europe has published new research which shows that the European Union is spending billions of euros a year promoting itself and its central aim of 'ever closer union'. In 2008 alone, it spent more than 2.4 billion euros. That is more than Coca Cola spends on advertising each year, worldwide. As well as a sophisticated information and communication strategy designed to 'sell' the EU and its political message, the EU also spends billions of euros a year on efforts to engender a common...
  • More Money For Your Mattress

    January 3, 2009
    America's biggest maker of mattress springs has been hard at work...in Washington. After all that work, the Department of Commerce is in bed with the bedding industry. Together, they're forcing everyone to pay double for their next mattress.
  • No Money in Washington, D.C.? No Matter!

    January 3, 2009
    Washington, D.C. is another world.  Today the company newsletter, otherwise known as the Washington Post, had an article entitled "U.S. Debt Expected to Soar This Year:  $2 Trillion Increase May Test Federal Ability to Borrow" on page one.  It explained:
    With President-elect Barack Obama and congressional Democrats considering a massive spending package aimed at pulling the nation out of recession, the national debt is projected to jump by as much as $2 trillion this year, an unprecedented increase that could test the world's appetite for financing U.S. government spending. For now, investors are frantically...
  • Prediction 2009: No Net Neutrality Regulation

    January 2, 2009
    Perhaps this is just wishful thinking, but I think that 2009 may see the death of calls for net neutrality regulation and may even see some of the most ardent supporters of neutrality soften their stances as it becomes painfully obvious that non-neutral arrangements for distributing content—especially large files like movies and digitally-distributed software—are the best way for the maturing Internet to deal with the accelerating amount of content online. But before I address why I think more proponents of neutrality regulation will be jumping ship this year, we should break down the neutrality debate into its constituent parts.  I think its most useful to think of net neutrality as three separate policy questions—one dealing with censorship, one addressing the issue of prioritizing traffic, and the other dealing with the physical architecture of the Internet. Censorship...
  • The Goldwater Century

    January 2, 2009
    When Barry Goldwater and Frank Sinatra both passed away in 1998, it felt to me like the 20th century was truly coming to an end. Wish we had them around now. Yesterday, Fidel and Raul Castro marked half a century in power -- so two generations of Cuban adults on the island have known no government but dictatorship at the hands of one Castro or the other. This is naturally offensive to anyone who values freedom and democracy in any meaningful sense, so, a good antidote to the Castro brothers' celebration of tyranny is the centennial of Barry Goldwater's birth. Blogger  Todd Seavey notes on Goldwater's 1964...
  • On Stalin's Endurance

    January 2, 2009
    In a recent poll conducted in Russia on who is the "greatest" Russian ever, Joseph Stalin came in third (after Alexander Nevsky, who repelled Western invadesr in the 13th century, and reformist prime minister Pyotr Stolypin). As disturbing as this result may be, it is, sadly, understandable. Russia has not gone through a process similar to de-nazification in postwar Germany. And many older Russians, having experienced the upheaval of the collapse of the Soviet Union, long for a time when their country was powerful and feared around the world -- while comfortably ignoring the political repression and poverty of the time. Arseny Roginsky, a Russian historian and human rights advocate, at a recent conference on the history of Stalinism, posited another...
  • Remember, the Government Wants to Manage Your Health Care!

    January 2, 2009
    Just think how wonderful it would be if government guaranteed everyone health care.  Just like in Great Britain! Just ask Lynne Neilson what she thinks of the National Health Service.  Reports the Daily Mail:
    An expectant mother gave birth on a hospital assessment room floor because busy staff failed to put her in a maternity unit bed. Lynne Neilson had been waiting for two-and-a-half hours when she went into labour standing up, clutching the side of a trolley. A midwife who arrived just as her daughter Orla's head appeared put down a disposable mat, caught the baby and unwound the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. Even then, Mrs Neilson had to wait a further hour before being transferred to the labour ward....
  • Irrational Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines

    January 2, 2009
    Massachusetts has long had some of the most excessive child support guidelines in the nation: for just one child, the father is ordered to pay close to 25% of his gross income, or more than 35% of his after-tax income, to the mother. This amount of money grossly exceeds the cost of raising a child, and there's no obligation even to spend the money on the child, rather than the mother. As a result, the father often has a disposable income that is just a fraction of the income of the mother's household. But excessive as the guidelines are, the state courts are now promulgating a child-support schedule that radically increases the rates by 60 percent for middle-class households where the...

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