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OpenMarket: October 2009

  • Why did Obama declared a swine flu "emergency" with no emergency?

    October 28, 2009
    As I note in my Investor's Business Daily article, swine flu cases in the last seven months, according to the CDC, equal about four days' worth of seasonal flu deaths during the season. There's no medical emergency except that emergency facilities are swamped with the worried well and the mildly ill. Why? Because of the Obama administration's first swine flu emergency declaration and the report from the President's Council of Science and Technology Advisors predicting up to 90,000 deaths. And guess what reaction this latest proclamation is provoking? So why did he do it? You might ask H.L. Mencken, who told observed that government, ever seeks "to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."
  • "Saving" Jobs Isn't Always Good

    October 28, 2009
    The Obama administration is patting itself on the back for saving the jobs of thousands of educators by doling out stimulus funds earlier in the year. But should we all cheer just because Ms. Frizzle didn't get the boot? Teachers, like all professionals, have no right to employment. In the private market people who are good at their jobs are in demand and courted with money. People who are bad either work for less money or have to find a different profession. This leads to high-performing workers receiving just compensation and bad employees get sacked. When it comes to your child's education, does that really seem like such a bad thing-should every teacher good or bad continue to teach or every ineffective administrator continue to clog up the system and waste taxpayer money? That is what the White House and the Dept. of Education assert when they pat themselves on the back for "...
  • Obama Signs Hate-Crimes Bill Into Law; Critics Say It Circumvents Constitutional Safeguards Against Double Jeopardy

    October 28, 2009
    Today, President Obama signed into law a bill that will dramatically expand the federal hate crimes law, enabling prosecutors to bring federal charges against people who were previously found innocent of hate crimes in state court.  The hate-crimes provisions were added to a defense appropriations bill, which the President signed in a White House signing ceremony this afternoon at around 2:30 p.m. The new law dramatically expands the reach of the existing federal hate-crimes law that was already on the books, by getting rid of the requirement that a hate crime affect federally-protected activities to be prosecuted in federal court.  It also adds sexual orientation, gender, disability, and transgender characteristics to a law that was originally designed to protect racial minorities. The hate-crimes bill was...
  • Regulation of the Day 67: Oysters

    October 28, 2009
    A new FDA rule requires oysters harvested between April and October to be sterilized before they are eaten. An unintended consequence is that the state of Louisiana is up in arms.
  • Another Bill to Block Net Neutrality

    October 28, 2009
    Net Neutrality's opponents are fighting back. Last week it was John McCain's "Internet Freedom Act," and yesterday, Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced a house version of the bill that would prohibit the FCC from imposing any regulations whatsoever on the internet or internet service providers. From her press release:
    "The internet is the last truly open public marketplace. Its openness is the key to its efficiency and success. Not all public spaces need to be...
  • Reps. Maloney and Adler push true bipartisan stimulus -- Sarbanes-Oxley relief

    October 28, 2009
    After months of talk about solutions that would rev up job growth and the economy, today the House Financial Service Committee may finally adopt a true bipartisan stimulus. Led by Democratic Reps. Carolyn Maloney of New York and John Adler of New Jersey, two amendments will likely be introduced to the Investor Protection Act that would truly stimulate the economy by partially liberating investors, entrepreneurs and innovators from the shackles of a seven-year-old “investor protection” law that has added billions in costs while providing little if any benefits to investors and doing nothing to prevent the recent financial crisis: the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. Maloney, whose most recent legislative accomplishment was the Credit Card Holders Bill of Rights that was signed by President Obama in May and hailed by liberal groups, has teamed with conservative Rep. Scott Garrett, R-N.J., to...
  • My Power Company Wants to Sell Me Climate Indulgences

    October 27, 2009
    I pay my power bill online, so whenever I get something from Dominion Virginia Power over snail mail it catches my attention. Usually, it's some notice about utility work nearby. However, the mailing I got today was unusual. It was an appeal to sign up for Dominion's Green Power initiative. The scheme appears simple enough. The mailer says, "When you sign up for Dominion Green Power, you add a little extra to your monthly bill which Dominion will use to purchase certified renewable energy certificates on your behalf." And what does the consumer get in return? Well, that's a good question. Dominion's Green Power Web page features a video that features a family that "pays an extra 1.5 cents per kilowatt hour, and the money is used to purchase renewable energy certificates to...
  • Secretary Chu's Befuddled Economics

    October 27, 2009
    Revised 10/28/09 At the first Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on S. 1733, the Kerry-Boxer "Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act," Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu explained the economic rationale for adopting a Kyoto-style cap-and-trade program. His argument, in a nutshell, goes like this:
    1. Reducing emissions globally will require a massive investment in "clean technologies" -- an estimated $2.1 trillion in wind turbines and $1.5 trillion in solar voltaic panels by 2030. These investments will create many green jobs.
    2. "The only question is -- which countries will invent, manufacture, and export these clean technologies and which will become dependent on foreign products."
    3. The...
  • False Claim About Justice Scalia from Liberal Reporter: No, He Didn't Say He Would Have Voted to Uphold Segregation

    October 27, 2009
    Liberals are busy sending each other twitters falsely claiming that Justice Antonin Scalia, one of the more conservative members of the Supreme Court, said that he would have voted to uphold school segregation in Brown v. Board of Education (1954). There's just one problem: he never said any such thing. He said the very opposite! A liberal reporter for Capitol Media Services, Howard Fischer, made the claim that Scalia said he would have voted to uphold segregation, in a story carried in the East Valley Tribune. But as even liberal law professor Jack Balkin, who was initially fooled...
  • Regulation of the Day 66: Trick or Treating

    October 27, 2009
    Trick-or-treating is banned in Dunkard Township, PA. The government will hold a four-hour Halloween party to make up for it.

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