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OpenMarket: March 2010

  • Washingtonian mag: Stern is "union boss number one"

    March 31, 2010
    The current issue of Washingtonian magazine features a long, fairly in-depth interview with Service Employees International Union (SEIU) President Andrew Stern, whom author Chris Lehmann describes as an unlikely "Washington insider," who "is very much in the thick of power politics today." Lehmann describes the controversies for which Stern has become notorious, including his access to the White House and conflicts with other labor leaders. What makes this interview especially worth reading, however, is its account of Stern's and SEIU's role in the recent policy fight over health care, which the Obama administration -- and its labor allies, including SEIU -- won. As Lehmann notes, "Perhaps more than any other influence broker in Washington, he has thrown the fortunes of his constituency in with the effort to...
  • "We're twisting arms. We're threatening people."

    March 31, 2010
    So said United Teachers of Los Angeles President A.J. Duffy at a rally, which reason.tv now makes available in a new video on public sector unions. As host Nick Gillespie notes, "as unemployment hovers around 10 percent and any sort of recovery seems to be forever and a day away...the one part of the economy that is going gangbusters during the Great Recession is government work." Now that the number of union members working for government has surpassed the number of union members working for businesses, and compensation for unionized government workers is straining public budgets to a crisis...
  • "How a pit bull is like a Prius," my Philly Inquirer article today

    March 31, 2010
    What could pit bulls possibly have in common with Toyotas? Pit bulls, after all, tend to be smaller and furrier. And whatever you do, never try to wash and wax a pit bull. Still, there is a connection. Both have been at the center of "misinformation cascades," in which false "facts" roll downhill until they become avalanches, sweeping away everything in their path. During the 1970s and early '80s, pit bulls maimed about 80 people a year and killed about seven. That compares to about 58 lightning deaths a year. Then, as now, serious dog attacks made only the local papers. But in 1986, the national networks aired spectacular footage of a pit bull attacking an animal-control officer. Suddenly, pit bulls had their incisors in the national consciousness. And less than a year ago, Toyotas were Consumer Reports readers most highly rated cars with a terrific safety record. And now, seemingly...
  • $800 Billion Stimulus Package Doled Out Based on Politics; Districts with High Unemployment Were Shafted

    March 31, 2010
    "How is stimulus money allocated?  Unemployment isn't a factor, but politics is," found George Mason University researcher Veronique de Rugy in a recent study. Districts where people are struggling and unemployment is high are not receiving any more money than those in which unemployment is low, even though a stated purpose of the $800 billion stimulus package was to help the unemployed.  But politics mattered in doling out federal funds.  And "Democratic districts also...
  • Climategate Whitewash

    March 31, 2010
    The UK's House of Commons Science and Technology Committee has issued its report into the so-called Climategate scandal.  As might be expected, it's pretty much a whitewash, except as detailed below.  Only one MP dissented from its conclusions.  There seem to me to be some serious errors and omissions in the reports, but I'm not the only one.  For instance, Fred Pearce of New Scientist and The Guardian has some pretty serious things to say in his story, Hacked climate email inquiry cleared Jones but serious questions remain:
    in their rush to judgment before parliament is...
  • Myron Ebell on Offshore Drilling

    March 31, 2010

    [youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCWvZotUOHE 285 234]

  • Republicans Will Lose Many Seats in Congress Due to Right-Wing Paranoia About the Census

    March 31, 2010
    Republicans will lose many seats in Congress due to right-wing paranoia about the census and refusal to fill out Census forms, gloats the liberal web site Daily Kos. The number of congressional districts a state gets is based on how many of its citizens return completed Census forms.  Because voters in conservative states are completing and returning Census forms at lower rates than voters in liberal states, conservative states will lose many seats in the House of Representatives that they would otherwise gain due to increases in their population.

    Republican-leaning "Red States" will also lose out on billions of dollars in federal funds, which are apportioned based largely on population.

    Unlike many things the federal government...

  • How to Fix Immigration's Black Market

    March 31, 2010
    Alex Nowrasteh and I have a piece in today's Detroit News arguing that liberalization, not regulation, is the way to shrink immigration's massive black market.
  • Barack Obama and Liberal "Good" vs. Freedom

    March 31, 2010
    There's a great op-ed by Shelby Steele in today's Wall Street Journal, called "Barack the Good". In it, Steele argues that "today's liberalism is focused on 'the good' more than on freedom. And ideas of 'the good' are often a license to transgress democratic principles in order to reach social justice or to achieve more equality or to lessen suffering."
  • "Are some reporters lying in their Toyota coverage?" my Canadian Free Press article

    March 30, 2010
    I’ve shown clearly that reporters are acting with reckless disregard for the truth in the Toyota sudden acceleration feeding frenzy since my Los Angeles Times article “Toyota Hysteria” on March 9. And no article showed that more than my Forbes.com expose, “The Toyota Hybrid Horror Hoax,” of March 12. But are some reporters outright lying? One presumes so out of so large a number; but the charge is generally hard to prove because it requires showing a state of mind. You have to catch the reporter making clearly contradictory statements or show he clearly knew a set of facts and presented them otherwise – or failed to present them otherwise. That the person “Should have known better” isn’t enough. With that, I present my letters exchange with the San Jose...

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