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OpenMarket: April 2009

  • LOST to Pirates

    April 13, 2009
    The celebrations and congratulations over the U.S. Navy's rescue of Capt. Richard Phillips are well deserved and proper all around. Yet even after the jubilation has quieted down, piracy in the high seas remains a threat to global trade. That's important for the U.S. Senate to keep in mind when it again considers the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST), which, as The Wall Street Journal's Bret Stephens noted last November, could present some potential obstacles to American naval action against pirates. I wrote an earlier post about this, but this point is worth repeating:
    Article 110 of the U.N.'s Law of the Sea Convention -- ratified by...
  • Renewable Energy Not Necessarily Cleaner Than Coal

    April 13, 2009
    One irony of mandating renewable energy is that it isn’t necessarily any cleaner than coal.  One example of this is North Carolina’s mandate for renewable energy derived from chicken litter waste.   Chicken litter waste is composed of wood shavings and of course chicken droppings.  There are plans to build a chicken litter waste plant in North Carolina and one has already been built in Minnesota. As it turns out, burning chicken litter waste tends to produce a high level of particulates, high levels of carbon monoxide, high levels of nitrogen oxides, and a high level of arsenic.  The reason the plants produce high levels of particulates and carbon monoxide is because the wood shavings don’t burn as hot as coal and so there is often incomplete combustion.  The high levels of nitrogen oxides come from the fact the chicken waste is high in ammonia and urea.  In fact, chicken waste is...
  • LibertyWeek 38: Pirate Warriors on Deck

    April 13, 2009
    Your hosts Richard Morrison and Cord Blomquist are joined by special guest co-host Jeremy Lott for a very swashbuckling Episode 38 of LibertyWeek. We start with the rescue of Capt. Richard Phillips from Somali pirates by the U.S. Navy and Special Forces, look into the murky finances of AIG CEO Edward Liddy in Scandal Watch, and figure out what ISPs are up to...
  • Broadband Stimulus Plan: Spend First, Ask Questions Later

    April 13, 2009
    There has been some noise in technology circles the last week over the FCC comment period or Notice of Inquiry (NOI) in regards to the broadband Internet portion of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act otherwise known as "the stimulus." The NOI allows individuals, association groups, public policy organizations like CEI, and businesses to issue their comments, suggestions, advise—anything really—to the FCC.   This allows "the public" to describe how they feel like the funds should be spent and the best strategy to improve the state of broadband deployment in under-served an unserved areas. The comment period is intended to help formulate the National Broadband Strategy which is required to be completed one year from the recovery act being signed in to law.  This means that the strategy will come due around the 17th of February 2010. There is a major problem with the process...
  • Don't Change Interchange

    April 13, 2009
    Overstock.com President Jonathan E. Johnson recently penned an op-ed that appeared in The Washington Times last week in which he argued for government regulation of credit card interchange fees. I responded to his essay in a letter to the editor that ran in Sunday's Washington Times:
    Overstock.com President Jonathan E. Johnson III overlooks several important facts regarding credit card interchange fees ("Retailers, consumers squeezed," Opinion, Wednesday). Much of the $48 billion in interchange fees paid to credit card companies ends back in consumers' pockets in the form of credit card rewards. Frequent-flier miles, redeemable bonus points and cash-back programs are all...
  • Green Agitators

    April 11, 2009
    A 15-Year-Old on Global Warming April 10, 2009 Transcript from Rush Limbaugh show BEGIN TRANSCRIPT RUSH: Who's next? Alyssa, a 15-year-old from Holdingford, Minnesota. Is that right? Nice to have you on the program. CALLER: Hi, Rush. Thanks. I was going to tell you about a conference about cap and trade that I went to at St. Cloud State, Minnesota, and -- RUSH: Wait a minute. Wait a minute here, Alyssa. You're 15. CALLER: Yeah. RUSH: How did you end up going to a cap-and-trade seminar? CALLER: My dad got a couple of e-mails about it from Michele Bachmann, and I really wanted to learn more about it. RUSH: Oh, okay, so Michele Bachmann is your congresswoman? CALLER: Yes. RUSH: And so she did a town meeting seminar on cap and trade? CALLER: Hm-hm. RUSH: Oh, oh, oh, okay. So your dad...
  • Federal Budget Deficit Skyrockets; $163,000 More in Taxes

    April 10, 2009
    "The budget deficit increased by $192.3 billion in March, and is near $1 trillion just halfway through the budget year." It's going to get worse. The Obama Administration's proposed budgets would produce $9.3 trillion in red ink, more than double the $4.4 trillion in red ink that would have been produced by Bush's already huge budgets. Economist Michael J. Boskin estimates that Obama's plans will result in $163,000 in increased taxes in the future for the typical tax-paying family. Balanced budgets won't return even in the long run. Obama claims that a revived economy will eventually cut the deficit. But the Congressional Budget...
  • Jack Dreyfus, FDA Reform Pioneer

    April 10, 2009
    My colleague John Berlau wrote a nice obituary of mutual fund pioneer Jack Dreyfus that was published in Investor's Business Daily earlier this week. One thing John points out that few readers are likely to have known about Dreyfus is his long-time advocacy of more liberal FDA regulation of off-label drug promotion. FDA has the statutory authority to regulate promotional materials distributed by pharmaceutical companies about their products, and the agency imposes a near-total ban on distributing information about unapproved, or so-called off-label, uses. Once FDA approves a drug for any indication, doctors are free to prescribe it for any other use. The practice is so widespread that an estimated 60 percent of all...
  • AIG CEO Liddy owns millions in stock in bailout beneficiary Goldman -- Tim Carney blockbuster in DC Examiner

    April 10, 2009
    Everyone should read the blockbuster exclusive in today's Washington Examiner in which Timothy P. Carney confirms that AIG CEO Edward Liddystill owns more than $3 million in stock in Goldman Sachs.
  • Liberal Bootlicking

    April 10, 2009
    Members of the Congressional Black Caucus recently visited Cuba and licked Casto's boots, calling him an "inspiring" visionary and an "amazing human being." (Never mind that racism against people of African heritage is far more pervasive in Cuba than here. Much of Cuba's population is black. But how many of Cuba's Communist leaders are black? Almost none. It's no accident.) The Obama Administration has broken campaign promises repeatedly and lied about a Supreme Court case that it made a big campaign issue. Now, as Charles Krauthammer...

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