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OpenMarket: May 2010

  • Will Durant on Human Achievement

    May 31, 2010
    I spent a good chunk of the long weekend engrossed in Will Durant's autobiography, Transition. Durant and his wife Ariel are best known for their 11-volume The Story of Civilization series, which is a fine introduction not just to history, but to literature, philosophy, art, music, science, and all the other cantos in the poem of human life. Transition is mainly the tale of Durant's transition from seminarian to secularist, and from his youthful flirtations with socialist anarchism to a gentler, more tolerant and mature worldview that saw humanity as a good but flawed creature, set in his ways, yet capable of breathtaking progress and...
  • Thoughts on "professional objectors"

    May 30, 2010
    I'm quoted in a May 23 Maryland Daily Record story on professional objectors (and don't miss the correction at the bottom of the story).

    Because class action settlements bind class members absent from court proceedings, and because class action attorneys are negotiating their fees as part of the same settlement as the class settlement (even when they engage in the fiction of negotiating seriatim), Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 23(e) requires class action settlements to receive court approval as "fair, adequate, and reasonable" to ensure that class attorneys are not breaching their fiduciary duty to the class.

    This permits legitimate objections to the settlement. But it also permits holdups. If class attorneys are awarded a $4 million fee, but appeals of a class action settlement approval take two to...
  • CEI Weekly: CEI Sues NASA to Uncover Key Global Warming Docs

    May 28, 2010
    CEI weekly is a compilation of articles and blogs from CEI's staff. This week features CEI's federal lawsuit against NASA to force them to comply with a FOIA request for Global Warming data.
  • Massive Fare Hike in Washington, D.C. Subway System; Public Sacrifices, Overpaid Union Doesn't

    May 28, 2010
    The mismanaged Washington, D.C. Metro system is pushing through huge fare hikes,  not only increasing subway and bus fares, but adding a new 20 percent additional surcharge for rush hour. But it's refusing to engage in any sensible cost-cutting, such as service cuts that few passengers would ever notice, like ending subway service after 2 a.m. on weekends that results in virtually empty trains (but more high-paid work for unionized D.C. Metro employees). Metro is almost unbelievably indulgent towards incompetent employees, who are allowed to drive buses...
  • Myths About Green Energy: The Truth Is, It's Corporate Welfare That Destroys American Jobs

    May 28, 2010
    In The Washington Post, Robert Bryce debunks five myths about green energy: it won't create jobs, won't help the environment, and won't make America less dependent on despotic foreign regimes. The $800 billion stimulus package is using taxpayer subsidies to replace U.S. jobs with foreign green jobs. It is also destroying jobs in America's export sector. The global warming legislation backed by President Obama would also drive jobs overseas, since it would impose a...
  • Federal Register hits 30,000 Pages

    May 28, 2010
    This year’s Federal Register is on pace for 73,459 pages. Like most of President Obama’s policies, this represents less than a one percent change from the Bush years.
  • New York Winemakers Forced to Market Out-of-State

    May 28, 2010
    Scott Osborn–proprietor of Fox Run Vineyards located in the Finger Lakes wine region in New York–poured samples of his great wines at the Gainesville, Virginia Wegmans supermarket last Friday. The store stocks his wines and a host of other New York State wines. Ironically, many resident New Yorkers lack such convenient access to these wines because of their state’s special-interest regulations. Not only it is against the law for supermarkets to sell wine in the state, the state has a relatively low number of liquor stores thanks to an arduous licensing process and regulations limiting one retail license per person—policies that discourage entrepreneurship. Many–but not all–existing liquor stores support these...
  • Concessions Can Bridge Budget Gaps

    May 27, 2010

    In 1958, Chicago opened the 7.8-mile Chicago Skyway, an elevated tollway linking the downtown Chicago Loop with the Indiana Toll Road. Due to poor transportation planning and fiscal mismanagement, the city was unable to repay construction revenue bonds into the 1990s. After years of heated debate, the city finalized a $1.83 billion 99-year concession agreement in 2005 with a consortium consisting of Macquarie and Cintra, a Spanish infrastructure developer.

    The $1.83 billion infusion to City of Chicago coffers allowed the city to repay $855 million in debt, fill a $375 million budget shortfall, and improve its debt rating to save millions annually in interest payments. It...

  • Sudden Acceleration in Media Falsehoods Regarding Toyota

    May 27, 2010
    "Now that the dust has begun to settle on Toyota’s recall fiasco, it’s being made clear that the toll on human life was greater than initially reported," reports U.S. News & World Report online. The title: "NHTSA: 89 Deaths Caused by Unintended Acceleration in Toyota Vehicles." Not exactly true. Says who? NHTSA. Here's an email I received this morning from their press office.
    Please remember these are customer generated complaints of alleged unintended acceleration that have not been verified by NHTSA: "As of May 20, 2010, NHTSA has received complaints covering a total of seventy-one (71) fatal incidents that allegedly involve unintended acceleration in...
  • Obama Justice Department Sued Over Stonewalling and Cover-Up in Black Panther Case

    May 26, 2010
    Judicial Watch is suing the Obama administration over its stonewalling in the Black-Panther voter intimidation case, where the administration has flouted the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in order to hide how it protected members of the racist, anti-Semitic New Black Panther Party. Although FOIA requires that documents be released within 20 days, the administration has withheld for over a year the records Judicial Watch requested about how the administration dismissed a lawsuit that career Justice Department lawyers had won against Black Panthers who used a nightstick and racial epithets to drive white voters away from a polling place. Earlier, a career...

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