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OpenMarket: August 2009

  • No, Greenpeace did not predict an ice-free "Arctic" by 2030

    August 25, 2009
    A factoid is rapidly making the rounds in climate skeptic circles. By a factoid, I mean "A piece of unverified or inaccurate information that is presented to the press as factual . . . and that is then accepted as true because of frequent repetition." On the BBC program HARDtalk, reporter Stephen Sackur, in a combative interview with Gerd Leipold, retiring Executive Director of Greenpeace, accused Greenpeace of peddling exaggeration and alarmism about global warming. I think that's true, but Sackur, however unwittingly, built his case on false evidence. And now the unfounded claim that Leipold confessed to misleading the public is making the rounds at skeptical blog sites and conservative newspapers. Sackur cited a...
  • Elaine Chao: Union transparency "more important than Beck;" EFCA "terrible"

    August 25, 2009
    Today, at the Heritage Foundation blogger briefing, former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao described the union transparency requirements introduced during the Bush administration as "more important than Beck." The U.S. Supreme Court's 1988 decision in CWA v. Beck is crucial in protecting individuals' First Amendment right not to be forced to pay for speech or political activity with which they disagree. Under Beck, workers who are required to pay for union representation may reclaim the portion of their dues that are not used for representation purposes -- which usually means the portion of their dues used for politics. Of course, individual workers need to know precisely which portion of their dues is going to politics, which is why accurate and complete union...
  • Obama's Health-Care "Reform" Contains Hidden Tax Penalties for Unsuspecting Taxpayers

    August 25, 2009
    ObamaCare won't just raise taxes on the rich, and impose tax penalties on people without approved health-insurance plans. It will also dramatically change tax laws so that "taxpayers will be fined for honest mistakes," explains prominent New York tax lawyer James M. Peaslee. That's true even if the mistake resulted from a confusing tax rule, and the taxpayer "tried in good faith to comply with the law." (Keep in mind that the health-care bill backed by Obama is over 1,000 pages long, and some of its most prominent...
  • LibertyWeek 57: The Scandal That Wouldn't Die

    August 24, 2009
    Your host Richard Morrison welcomes back William Yeatman and Jeremy Lott for episode 57. We start with health care, cash for clunkers and an iPhone controversy and continue with the scandal that wouldn’t die and Olympic News.
  • Letting Illegal Immigrants Sink Health-Care "Reform"

    August 24, 2009
    Mickey Kaus, who voted for Obama and wants universal health-care, wonders why Obama is damaging his credibility and endangering his health-care reform proposals by lying about whether ObamaCare will cover illegal aliens.  He chides Congressional Democrats for trying "to sneak de facto health care for illegals through while showily saying the opposite," and Obama for offering "carefully-crafted phrases designed to offer false assurance" that illegals will not be covered.
  • Regulation of the Day 38: Carrying Letters

    August 24, 2009
    If anything qualifies as an anti-competitive practice, fining and jailing people for competing with you would certainly top the list. Which brings us to a little tidbit from the Code of Federal Regulations.
  • DOJ to Investigate Microsoft-Yahoo Search Partnership

    August 24, 2009
    As expected, The Department of Justice is launching an antitrust investigation into the Microsoft-Yahoo search engine partnership. As I've said before, this is not an antitrust issue.
  • Policy Peril Segment 10: It's a Moral Issue

    August 24, 2009
    Today's excerpt from CEI's film, Policy Peril: Why Global Warming Policies Are More Dangerous Than Global Warming Itself, offers a free-market perspective on Al Gore's proclamation, at the end of An Inconvenient Truth, that global warming is "a moral issue." Considered in the abstract, apart from its context in movie, this is a completely unremarkable statement. Just about all public policy issues can be described as moral issues, because they directly or implicitly ask us to decide whether a proposed course of action is fair or unfair, honorable or dishonorable, good or bad. However, when Gore says global warming is a "moral issue," he means something more. He means that combatting global warming is the overriding moral imperative of our time. He implies that if you are decent, self-respecting person, you have no moral choice but to follow his lead and  heed his...
  • More Legal Experts Say ObamaCare Is Unconstitutional

    August 22, 2009
    More legal experts are questioning the constitutionality of ObamaCare.  In today's Washington Post, two former Justice Department lawyers, David Rivkin and Lee Casey, argue that a central provision of Obama's health-care plan -- the "individual mandate" -- is unconstitutional, and beyond Congress's powers under the Constitution, such as its powers to tax and regulate interstate commerce. Earlier, other legal experts and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights criticized major provisions of ObamaCare, such as its...
  • Ameritrade Stock Spam Settlement briefing responses

    August 21, 2009
    Plaintiffs and defendants each filed responses yesterday in the Ameritrade suit. I have to say that I didn't expect the claim that the coupon for free software is not a "coupon."

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