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OpenMarket: July 2009

  • Policy Peril Segment 1: Heat Waves

    July 27, 2009
    As announced last Friday, each day this week and next I'll post an excerpt of CEI's film Policy Peril: Why Global Warming Policies Are More Dangerous Than Global Warming Itself. The film is our antidote to Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth . If you want to watch Policy Peril in its entirety, click here. Today's segment is on heat waves. Gore and others claim that global warming will make heat waves more frequent and severe, leading to a massive increase in heat-related mortality. Click here to watch the Policy Peril segment on heat waves. Here's the text:
    ...
  • The Wall Street Journal on the Union Pension Debacle

    July 27, 2009
    Two weekend Wall Street Journal editorials sum up well the ticking time-bomb of underfunded union pension funds. First, the dire state of many union pension funds:
    On average, the asset to liability ration at so-called multi-employer plans, which union funds make up the bulk of, stood at 66% in 2006, according to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. By contrast, single employer plans, basically most company-provided pensions, were funded at 96%.
    And on who will pick up the tab when these plans implode:
    [T]his week the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation...
  • Put it in quotes: health care "reform"

    July 27, 2009
    Robert J. Samuelson has a hard-hitting column in today's Washington Post on the non-reform elements of the health care reform package.  He points out the inherent contradictions in the Administration's claims that health care can both be expanded to cover the uninsured and reduce costs.  As the Congressional Budget Office noted in its devastating assessment, the proposals don't represent fundamental changes and won't reduce future health spending. Samuelson says that in the president's advocacy for the Democrats' health care proposal, Obama has demonstrated "the ability to make misleading statements sound reasonable or sophisticated.  Still, they're misleading." Samuelson is no supporter of the current health...
  • Dems' Health Care Bill Looking Weaker by the Day

    July 27, 2009
    For the Democrats still supporting the health care overhaul, the blows just keep coming. As if the financial problems I described in a previous post were not enough to deter this fiscal suicide, the Congressional Budget Office has now said that a plan to offset the massive costs by putting an outside panel in charge of budget-cutting for other government health care programs will amount to savings of only about $2 billion over 10 years -- practically negligible in comparison to the final price tag, which is already expected to exceed $1 trillion.  For those who still consider this legislation financially feasible, that is a discount of 0.2%.  Oh boy, I can't wait to cut out the coupon! When the...
  • NEW VIDEO: Policy Translated

    July 27, 2009
    Often, the policy issues people here in D.C. talk about can cause the eyes of non-wonks everywhere else to glaze over. With that in mind, we've created a new video series: Policy Translated.  We take the complicated issues, add some irreverent subtitles, and bingo: instant comprehension. Information Policy Analyst Ryan Radia introduces the series:

    Binary Data...
  • UAW Gives Taxpayers the (Gettel)finger

    July 27, 2009
    Considering the enormous amounts of cash that the federal government has hurled at the auto industry since the start of the financial crisis, recipients of government largess in Detroit should at least have the common courtesy of telling taxpayers what they're doing with their money. Unfortunately, United Auto Workers boss Ron Gettelfinger doesn't seem to think that applies to him or his union. So kudos are in order to Rep. Jeb Hensarling for calling out Gettelfinger and the UAW on this:
    The lone member of Congress on an oversight panel reviewing the use of the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program criticized the decision of the United Auto Workers union not...
  • Health Insurance Reform: look at what does and doesn't work already

    July 27, 2009

    “One of the methods used by statists to destroy capitalism consists in establishing controls that tie a given industry hand and foot, making it unable to solve its problems, then declaring that freedom has failed and stronger controls are necessary.” ~Ayn Rand

    Most agree that the US health insurance market is in need of reform. However, there is a wide spectrum of beliefs about what the problems in the market are and the best way to confront them.

    Those who believe that the reason premiums are high and insurance is less available than...

  • The People's Phone

    July 27, 2009
    Venezuela's increasingly ridiculous strongman, Hugo Chavez, would be funny if not for the misery and repression he continues to impose upon his own citizens. From changing the name of the country -- he inserted the word "Bolivarian" in front of "Republic of Venezuela" -- to his weekly marathon TV rants, his self-aggrandizing antics border on the cartoonish. Now he wants to his government to dominate...the cell phone market. As the Guardian has reported:
    It is perhaps the world's cheapest mobile phone. It is the latest offering from Hugo Chavez's socialist revolution. And its name is derived from a slang word for penis. Behold the Vergatorio. Venezuela's president launched the handset on his TV show with a Mother'...
  • An Important, yet Little Noticed Civil Liberties Case

    July 27, 2009
    A friend currently in law school complained to me recently about the lack of public attention and media coverage that has been accorded to the Supreme Court case Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts, which he characterized as one of the most important civil libeties cases in recent history. But now at least one columnist has caught on to the significance of the case. The Washington Examiner's Barbara Hollingsworth ranks the Melendez-Diaz decision alongside the momentous Heller decision, which overturned the District of Columbia's gun ban.
    In this year's Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts decision, Justice Antonin Scalia has written another outstanding decision, but one that will make some conservative law-and-order types shudder. But any...
  • Radia reacts to Zittrain in NY Times

    July 27, 2009
    Mr. Zittrain proposes a “fair practices law” that would require companies to release personal data back to users upon request. Such a rule may sound workable, but purging specific data across globally dispersed server farms is no simple endeavor. Who is to pay for the implementation of such privacy procedures — especially for free services like Facebook or Twitter that have yet to turn a profit?

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