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OpenMarket: July 2009

  • Virginia's shutting down 19 Rest Areas along the interstates

    July 20, 2009
    Officials say they need budget savings and are even thinking of commercializing them. I thought big projects like these were “stimulus” and that we were supposed to be building even more to grow the economy. See ya at Sheetz.
  • In Which the Case for Antitrust Action against Telecoms Weakens

    July 20, 2009
    New research finds that U.S. telecoms are charging, on average, ten cents less per minute than their counterparts around the world. Tell me again why antitrust authorities are investigating telecoms?
  • Stimulus Surrealism

    July 17, 2009
    I am slowly being convinced that Obama's so-called "stimulus" plan is really just a piece of neo-Dadaist performance art. Today's evidence supporting my theory comes from The Morning Call in Allentown, PA:
    The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is spending $60,000 of its stimulus money on $2,000 road signs to highlight projects funded by the massive economic recovery package. The large green signs mark about 30 of what PennDOT calls ''higher visibility projects'' statewide. Each denotes the project is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and features the act's logo. Nationwide, several million dollars are being spent producing the signs.
  • Union Pension Fund Bailout Taking on a New Form

    July 17, 2009
    Senate Democrats and organized labor leaders are reportedly near a deal on removing the card-check provision from the s0-called Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). That provision, if enacted, would have made secret ballots in union organizing elections a dead letter. Naturally, it generated a lot of opposition. Having lost that public opinion battle, Big Labor is now trying to push through the other parts of the bill, including its bindig arbitration provision, which would subject newly unionized companies to the whims of a federally appointed arbitrator -- who is unlikely to be knowledgeable about a company's operations. Union chiefs and their Congressional allies are still trying to salvage some form of easier organizing method from the old card check provision's wreckage. As The New York Times...
  • "Farming" for dollars in the EU

    July 17, 2009
    Most of us knew that the European Union's system of farm subsidies, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) gives out huge amounts to farmers in the EU countries.  What hasn't been clear is that a lot of the monies go to businesses only tangentially connected -- if at all -- with farming. Now the New York Times has an in-depth article detailing how large sums of CAP money go to such businesses as asphalt manufacturers, and to such people as the Queen of England, Prince Charles and other royal and -- very wealthy -- individuals. Here's some NYT  information about the cost of these subsidies:
    The E.U. pays out more than half its annual budget, around €53 billion, in farm subsidies, four times as much as the United States. The subsidies cost each...
  • E. coli Happens

    July 17, 2009
    This story in the San Francisco Chronicle just shows the insanity of the conventional wisdom these days advanced by greens and anti-corporate farmers. They blame big agriculture for E. coli problems and some propose foolish laws and regulations that will simply create other problems. Despite claims to the contrary, profits don't cause microbes. And it's not big "industry" farming that is the culprit. Small farms and family farmers can have just as much difficulty—if not more--eliminating pathogens. E. coli just happens. And you can't stop it. Deer, "wild" pigs, mountain lions, every kind of mouse, rat, ground squirrel, and whatever wild animal can carry virulent microbes. Same with irrigation water. Same with birds flying over the fields. And the barren buffer strips that some have...
  • Keynes Remains Popular with Politicians

    July 17, 2009
    "‘What are you talking about, Joe? You're telling me we have to go spend money to keep from going bankrupt?’ The answer is yes.” - Vice President Joe Biden
  • Rep. McClintock and "California's Meltdown"

    July 17, 2009
    CEI and the Pacific Research Institute recently co-hosted a Capitol Hill briefing on "California's Meltdown" - the unprecedented combination of flawed economic, energy and environmental policies that have left the state with a massive budget deficit and facing even tougher times ahead. Our keynote speaker was Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA), a first term member of the House of Representatives but a 22-year veteran of the California state legislature. He was introduced by Director of Energy & Global Warming Policy Myron Ebell:...
  • CEI Weekly: Response to EPA Cover Up Increases

    July 17, 2009
    CEI Weekly is a compilation of articles and blog posts from CEI's fellows and associates sent out via e-mail every Friday. Also included in the Weekly newsletter is a brief description of CEI's weekly podcast and a feature on a major CEI breakthrough made during the week
  • Regulation of the Day: Endangered Snails

    July 17, 2009
    The sixteenth in an occasional series that shines a bit of light on the regulatory state. Today’s Regulation of the Day comes to us from the Fish and Wildlife Service ($2.32 billion 2008 budget, 7,960 employees). After a 12-month study, the Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that the desert valvata snail is not endangered. A proposed rule would remove it from the list of endangered species. For more information, see pages 34,539-34,548 of the 2009 Federal Register.

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