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OpenMarket: July 2009

  • Lesson: don't mix real and virtual worlds

    July 2, 2009
    Reuters today reported that an internet player on EVE -- a popular virtual world game -- stole virtual money, cashed it in for real money and now is banned from the game. According to the rules of the game, if the player, Ricdic, had stolen only the online money he wouldn't have been thrown out.  His venture into the real world for real cash got him excluded.  Here's that part of the story:
    Ironically, if Ricdic had merely stolen the online money he could have stayed in the game. But exchanging the virtual cash for real dollars broke the rules and CCP banned Richard's EBank accounts. "It unbalances the game," Coker said. Players can only buy virtual money with real money, or use virtual cash to pay for playing time, but they cannot exchange game money for the real thing.
  • Alexis Arguello, RIP

    July 1, 2009
    Three-time champion and Boxing Hall of Famer Alexis Arguello was found dead of a gunshot would this morning, at his home in Managua, Nicaragua, of which he was mayor, in what authorities are calling a suicide. What political repercussions, if any, Arguello's death may have remains to be seen, but the impact of his life and career upon my native Nicaragua is not in doubt.
  • Regulation of the Day: Saving the Children from Durable Products

    July 1, 2009
    How much safer will this rule make our children? How much more expensive will the affected goods be? How many people actually bother to send in those registration cards, anyway? CPSC isn’t saying.
  • America's Ranking Crisis

    July 1, 2009

    With every passing month, the United States falls further behind the global leaders in broadband Internet access thanks to a combination of market and policy failures...Our broadband problem is becoming a crisis. - Free Press, 2006 Much ink has been spilled over the claim that the US is "falling behind" in broadband. Most of that rhetoric centers around a single statistic: the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) ranks the US 15th in the world in broadband connections per capita. The accuracy of that ranking has been criticized (as have other measures of our alleged lag), but today we'...

  • Progressive Intolerance

    July 1, 2009

    It is truly amazing to me that some people who call themselves “liberal,” “progressive,” and “tolerant,” are so irrationally afraid and intolerant of anyone who holds a differing viewpoint to the degree that they feel the need to lash out, discredit and attempt to purge them from the intellectual discussion of ideas. Recently, I was shocked to discover that such people were trying to accomplish this by employing methods I thought hadn’t survived beyond the Nuremberg trials.

    I saw this spectacle when Keith Olbermann interviewed Janeane Garofalo on April 16th in which they discussed the phenomenon of the modern...

  • Can the Blogosphere Be Regulated?

    July 1, 2009

    The Federal Trade Commission seems to think so. A fresh set of proposed Federal Trade Commission guidelines, if approved this summer, would potentially allow the agency to police the relationship between bloggers and advertisers, forcing bloggers to disclose any revenue, gifts, or freebies they have received for publishing consumer reviews of goods and services. These guidelines mark the FTC’s first systemic foray into regulating the blogosphere, a Herculean task if ever there was one. An example, excerpted from the aforementioned guidelines:

    Example 7: A...

  • To Hell in a Handbasket

    July 1, 2009
    My innocent, childlike faith in the wisdom of the Internet has been ruthlessly shattered. Drag Me To Hell, which received widespread raves and a coveted 93% on Rotten Tomatoes, could not have been more disappointing. When unoccupied by grade school barf humor, director Sam Raimi spends most of his time pushing the rising-strings-followed-by-loud-noise trope to new frequencies. But while I came ready for my bowl of cinematic oatmeal, I was completely unprepared for the new lows of popular economics. The plot of Drag kicks off when our attractive protagonist, Christine, a loan officer at the local bank, denies an elderly gypsy woman a third extension on her mortgage. Cursed for eternity, Christine spends a few days second guessing herself until, realizing the illiberalism of her ways, she finally admits that...
  • More Risky, Low-Income Loans: Obama Asks Congress to Create a Harmful Consumer Financial Protection Agency

    July 1, 2009
    Banks will now be pressured to make even more risky, low-income loans. Obama has sent to Congress his proposal to create a politically-correct Consumer Financial Protection Agency. "The agency would be in charge of enforcing the Community Reinvestment Act, a law that prods banks to make loans in low-income communities." Government pressure on banks to make low-income loans was a key reason for the mortgage meltdown and the...
  • "If you like public housing, you will love public health care"

    July 1, 2009
    Best line this week -- should be a slogan for health care debate: "If you like public housing, you will love public health care." Read the opinion piece "Parsing the health reform arguments" by George Newman in the Wall Street Journal today for concise rebuttals of oft-repeated claims about government health plan.
  • More Welfare and Marriage Penalties from Obama and Liberal Congressmen

    July 1, 2009
    Not content with repealing welfare reform through the job-killing stimulus package, and proposing a massive marriage penalty in the tax code, Obama and his Congressional allies are now planning to make married and widowed taxpayers subsidize benefits for which they are not eligible, such as payments to households with out-of-wedlock births. For example, they are...

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