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OpenMarket: April 2009

  • John Berlau Debates Credit Card Fees and the Bank Bailout

    April 15, 2009
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  • Tea Parties and the Wisdom of Mobs

    April 15, 2009
    In The Wall Street Journal, Glenn Harlan Reynolds, of Instapundit fame, describes the ways in which today's "tea party" protests signal a new era of political activism.
    So who's behind the Tax Day tea parties? Ordinary folks who are using the power of the Internet to organize. For a number of years, techno-geeks have been organizing "flash crowds" -- groups of people, coordinated by text or cellphone, who converge on a particular location and then do something silly, like the pillow fights that popped up in 50 cities earlier this month. This is part of a general phenomenon dubbed "Smart Mobs" by Howard Rheingold, author of a book by the same title, in which modern communications...
  • A National Anthem for April 15

    April 15, 2009
    As Tea Parties brew across the land today, I'm reminded of the infamous "Tax Poem" chain email, or, spam, if you like. Set to music it could make quite the anthem I suppose. THE TAX POEM Tax his land, Tax his bed, Tax the table At which he's fed. Tax his tractor, Tax his mule, Teach him taxes Are the rule. Tax his work, Tax his pay, He works for peanuts Anyway! Tax his cow, Tax his goat, Tax his pants, Tax his coat. Tax his ties, Tax his shirt, Tax his work, Tax his dirt. Tax his tobacco, Tax his drink, Tax him if he Tries to think. Tax his cigars, Tax his beers, If he cries Tax his tears. Tax his car, Tax his gas, Find other ways To tax his ass. Tax all he has Then let him know That you won't be done Till he has no dough. When he screams and hollers, Then tax him some more, Tax him till He's good and sore. Then tax his coffin, Tax his grave, Tax the sod in Which he's laid...
  • Federalism and Opposition to Illegal Immigration Are Signs of Subversion, Obama Administration Claims

    April 14, 2009
    The Obama Administration's Department of Homeland Security has developed new profiles of potential terrorists. Its definition of "right-wing extremism" is so ridiculously broad that you yourself may be branded as an extremist! For example, being "dedicated" to opposing "illegal immigration" is considered a hallmark of right-wing extremism by a new DHS report. I'm a peaceful, Harvard-educated, constitutional lawyer married to an immigrant, but I am included in the list, too. That's because I urged curbs on "federal authority in favor of state or local authority,"...
  • "A good time to start liquidating"

    April 14, 2009
    How damaging would the so-called Employee Free Choice Act be to businesses? Enough to force some healthy companies into bankruptcy. Specificaly, EFCA's binding arbitration provision could lead to newly unionized companies being forced to assume unsupportable new pension liabilities. Thus explained Brett McMahon of the construction firm Miller & Long, speaking to bloggers at The Heritage Foundation today. EFCA supporters have tried to sell the legislation's binding arbitration provision as a guarantee of first contract. In fact, it's a recipe for a government-imposed contract. Under this provision, the company and the newly certified union have 90 days to negotiate a contract. If they have not reached a contract after that time, they must negotiate for another 30 days, at the end of which period a federally appointed arbitrator may step in and impose a contract. This creates...
  • Sacrificing Safety and Freedom for "International Law"

    April 14, 2009
    Piracy has flourished in the crucial shipping lanes off the coast of Somalia partly due to a treaty that the U.S. has not ratified yet -- but which is often described as "customary international law" binding on all nations. Partly as a result of the LOST Treaty, billions of dollars worth of cargo, and human lives, have been lost due to piracy. Harold Koh, nominated by Obama to be the State Department's chief lawyer, argues that "customary international law" like LOST is binding on the U.S., even when...
  • Supreme Inconsistency on Foreign Law

    April 13, 2009
    Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says that American courts should look more to foreign court rulings in interpreting our Constitution. But she herself does so only when it is ideologically convenient. For example, Justice Ginsburg cites foreign court rulings to advocate cutting back on the use of the death penalty. Some liberal lawyers go further, claiming that since most European countries don't have capital punishment, the death penalty must be against "customary international law" and the weight of world opinion (even though ordinary citizens in many European countries, like the United Kingdom, typically support the death penalty). But Justice Ginsburg, and American lawyers, tend to ignore foreign law and world opinion when it calls into question...
  • Liability Gone Haywire Down Under

    April 13, 2009
    An 82-year-old Australian grandmother says she is prepared to go to jail rather than pay a A$1-million (US$731,000) bill to clean up toxic chemicals spilled by her tenant.
    Opposition spokesman for the environment David Davis described the EPA [Environmental Protection Authority] as a ramshackle organisation that needed to be overhauled. He said toxic waste was leaking from the barrels and presented a risk to the local community of the light industrial area. "Because of the EPA's failure to act at an early point, failure to enforce regulations and failure to guarantee that toxic chemicals were not stored in capacities above what was allowed by permits, a landlord is now faced with a very difficult position," Mr Davis said. "The landlord here is being told she is responsible, despite her...
  • Phil Spector Found Guilty

    April 13, 2009
    Legendary music producer Phil Spector was convicted this afternoon of second-degree murder for the killing of actress Lana Clarkson. Schocking as the story might be, it shouldn't be that surprising that Spector's story would end like this. As MTV music writer Kurt Loder wrote in 2003, shortly after Spector's arrest:
    The Ronettes had started out as go-go dancers at a New York discotheque called the Peppermint Lounge (one of the Beatles' first stops on their first visit to the U.S. in 1964). Spector eventually married Veronica (Ronnie) Bennett, the group's leader. Much later, in a 1983 documentary by filmmaker Binia Tymieniecka that aired on England's Channel Four (from which I will liberally quote...
  • Tea Parties Should be More than Anti-Tax

    April 13, 2009
    Like the original, modern tea parties should NOT be just about taxes. Americans should protest the presumption that government has the right to do anything other than protect the individual liberty of American citizens.


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