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OpenMarket: April 2009

  • The Economics of Pirate Deterrence

    April 28, 2009
    How can we stop pirate attacks? By applying the law of demand. If something becomes more costly, people consume less of it. How to do this to pirates? Fire back.
  • Specter Switches, Says He'll Still Oppose Card Check, Then What?

    April 28, 2009
    There's nothing worse for an economy than uncertainty. Today, Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter has thrown large swathes of America's struggling economy into a guessing game, with his announcement that he plans to switch parties from Republican to Democrat. While he has indicated that he would not switch his vote on cloture against the so-called Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), he will likely be under pressure from his new fellow Democrats and organized labor to switch that vote, as The American Spectator's Phil Klein...
  • Strange Priorities: Government Fights "Indecency," But Not Shoplifting

    April 28, 2009
    The prosecutor in Contra Costa County, California won't prosecute shoplifters anymore, citing budget cuts. It's open season on retailers in that large suburban country. But rather than focusing on that, many prosecutor associations are stupidly supporting the federal hate-crimes bill, which would waste taxpayers' money by allowing people who have been acquitted in state court to be reprosecuted in federal court. The FCC is wasting time fining broadcasters for fleeting expletives under an indecency policy that is applied...
  • Well @#$%&, Supreme Court Upholds Ban on "Expleetive Deleetives."

    April 28, 2009
    In FCC v. Fox today, the Supreme Court upheld regulation of "fleeting expletives" on broadcast television. What should be "fleeting" is the nearly century old FCC itself, but it's desperately sought things to occupy itself in the 21st Century, and here's another success. They insist they're protecting my children. As Adam Thierer at the Progress and Freedom Foundation put it:
    While the Court decided this case on purely procedural grounds, its failure to address the constitutional issues at stake will leave the First Amendment freedoms of both media creators and consumers in this country uncertain until another case winds its way up to the court, which could take years.....[W]hat's the point of continuing to apply a censorship regime to one of the oldest...
  • Farewell Union Transparency

    April 27, 2009
    Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis repeals vital reporting regulations which allowed union members to know how their hard earned dues money was being spent by union bosses.
  • Federal Hate Crimes Bill Will Erode Civil Liberties and Undermine Constitutional Safeguards Against Double Jeopardy

    April 26, 2009
    On April 23, the House Judiciary Committee voted 15-to-12 to approve a dramatic expansion of the federal hate-crimes law. The bill, H.R. 1913, would add gender, sexual orientation, and transgender characteristics to a law originally designed to protect racial minorities. It also greatly expands the law's reach over local offenses typically handled by state prosecutors, by eliminating many jurisdictional limits. The bill would allow people who have been found innocent of a hate crime in state court to be reprosecuted in federal court. Many supporters of the federal hate crimes bill want to allow people who have been found innocent of a hate crime in state court to be reprosecuted in federal court, citing the Pennsylvania...
  • Enron-like Fraud by Government in Bailouts

    April 24, 2009
    The federal government is perpetrating Enron-style fraud against investors in its bailouts of Merrill Lynch and Freddie Mac. The Treasury Secretary and Chairman of the Federal Reserve forced the CEO of Bank of America to merge his bank with failing Wall Street investment bank Merrill Lynch -- and pressured him to keep the resulting losses secret, violating investors' rights under the securities laws. "Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and former Treasury secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. threatened to remove the management and board of Bank of America if it backed out of its deal to acquire ailing investment house Merrill Lynch late last year, according to documents released yesterday by New York Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo. Kenneth Lewis, Bank of America's chief executive,...
  • North Korea Adopts Floral Basket-Based Economy

    April 24, 2009
    Isolated from the rest of the world, Kim Jong Il's bankrupt North Korean regime appears to have stumbled upon a new gimmick to stay afloat: cornering the world supply of floral baskets. The North Korean government's propaganda front to the outside world, the pretentiously named Korean Central News Agency, regularly features sycophantic accounts of the Dear Leader. One true and tested cliche is the presentation of floral baskets to him, but today's batch of stories seems to set a record:
    Floral Basket to Kim Jong Il from Family of Zhang Weihua Pyongyang, April 23 (KCNA) -- General Secretary Kim Jong Il was presented with a floral basket by the family of Zhang Weihua, anti-Japanese revolutionary martyr of China, on Thursday on the...
  • Is Texas the new California?

    April 24, 2009
    Texas, once known for its oil tycoons and cattle barons, is now a stage on which renewable-energy moguls preen and strut. But whereas demand for Texas oil and cattle was market-driven, the State's renewable boom is a creature of politics.  Robert L. Bradley, Jr., an historian of political capitalism, chronicles the lastest chapter in the Lone Star State's patronage of Big Green here.
  • Obama: 100 Days of Lies and Broken Promises

    April 24, 2009
    Obama has asked the big three networks to give him a free hour of air time on his hundredth day in office. They have said they'll probably give it to him -- not surprising if you consider all the support they gave him in the 2008 election. One thing they probably won't do is ask him any inconvenient questions about all his broken campaign promises, like his pledge to enact a "net spending cut," his promise...

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