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OpenMarket: October 2009

  • Regulation of the Day 63: Sports Agents in New Hampshire

    October 20, 2009
    It is illegal to be a sports agent in New Hampshire without a Secretary of State-issued certificate. Don’t forget your biennial renewal!
  • Franken Uses Inflammatory Rape Claim to Destroy Arbitration of Employment Disputes, Including Disputes Totally Unrelated to Rape

    October 20, 2009
    Recently, the Senate voted to ban defense contractors -- that is, much of American business -- from contractually mandating arbitration of employment discrimination disputes.  The bill's sponsor, Al Franken (D-Minn.), pushed the bill by claiming that arbitration provisions in an employment contract kept Jamie Leigh Jones from suing her alleged rapists.  But they didn't: a federal appeals court ruled the arbitration provisions didn't apply to Jones' case, leaving her free to sue in court. Franken's amendment to a defense appropriations bill banned contractors from requiring arbitration of employment discrimination disputes and sexual assault cases,...
  • Hot time in EU

    October 20, 2009
    The first half of Fall 2009 was a busy season in European politics. On September 27, the general elections took place in Germany. The results were pretty optimistic--conservatives won the elections and kept the top spot, socialists lost and left the coalition, while liberals became a new member of a ruling coalition. The same weekend, elections took place in Portugal. The results were less optimistic, as the socialists stayed in power and will probably form a coalition with the Left Bloc, another socialist political party. And on October 4, Greece elected a new socialist government. In the first weekend of October, Ireland voted for the second time on the referendum concerning the ratification of the Lisbon treaty, which would further concentrate political and economic power in Brussels. This time Irish citizens approved ratification, which now makes Czech President Václav Klaus the...
  • Surprising comments on NYT article on climate treaty

    October 20, 2009
    Today's New York Times carries an article, "Hopes fade for comprehensive climate treaty."  It's not that important an article about the lead-up to Copenhagen.  What's most interesting are the comments from these NYT readers -- many expressing skepticism about catastrophic global warming, confusion about the science, and linkages between energy use and economic growth. Here are some examples of those views - of course, the usual "sky is falling" comments are there too.
    MrPitchfork Maybe some day, someone will finally say, "Global warming is a fraud perpetrated by Al Gore and other green technology invested twits to make themselves rich at tax payers expense" and it fall and die and turn into "Global cooling"... again.. Dan DiLeo Faced with the pressing desire of their citizens for...
  • Health Insurer Competition and Democratic Saber Rattling

    October 20, 2009
    Last week, after the industry association America’s Health Insurance Plans released a study showing that premiums would rise 18 percent under the Senate Finance Committee’s reform proposal, top Democrats took to the airwaves to condemn the industry and threatened to repeal the McCarran-Ferguson Act, which exempts insurers from most federal regulation, including antitrust laws. not clear that they really do intend to repeal McCarran-Ferguson, or if they're just sending a signal to health insurers and other dissenters that this is how we deal with people who stand in our way. As my wife said yesterday, they're playing Chicago hard ball now. They’ll do whatever it takes to win.
  • Bill Gates Says Africa Needs GMOs

    October 19, 2009
    On Friday, Bill Gates announced at the World Food Summit in Des Moines that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation would be redoubling its efforts to improve agricultural productivity among poor farmers in less developed countries. He said that "The fight to end hunger is being hurt by environmentalists who insist that genetically modified crops cannot be used in Africa."
  • FTC Sets its Sights on Bloggers

    October 19, 2009
    In the past, guidelines have determined the kinds of research claims companies or celebrity endorsers can make about products in advertising. With the recent update, the FTC has chosen to extend its reach, applying its regulations to blogs, Facebook pages, even Twitter feeds.
  • SuperFreakonomics generates heat on global warming

    October 19, 2009
    Even before publication, the book SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance is the topic of hot debate - on economists' blogs, including Krugman's, on Amazon, and, of course, on...
  • WashPost buries coldest day in 138 years

    October 19, 2009
    It's got a good lede that should have won at least a front-page Metro slot.  Instead, buried in Saturday's Washington Post's Metro Section amid the obituaries on p. B5 was this startling weather note:  On Friday, October 16, 2009, in Washington, DC, the high temperature was the lowest temperature recorded for that date in 138 years! Friday's high was a low 45 degrees. Here's the Post:
    Something happened in Washington on Friday that had not occurred in 138 years of weather history: For the first time since the National Weather Service began compiling daily data here, the high temperature for Oct. 16 was below 50 degrees.
    Now, just imagine if October 16 was the warmest in 138 years - where do you think the Post would have placed the...
  • Congress Moves to Reinflate the Housing Bubble That Caused the Financial Crisis

    October 19, 2009
    Veteran political commentator Michael Barone reports that liberal congressional leaders are pushing policies to “inflate the housing bubble again.”

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