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OpenMarket: June 2010

  • Bachman v. A.G. Edwards update

    June 22, 2010
    You may recall the $60 million settlement that wasn't to which CCAF objected. Judge Angela T. Quigless approved the settlement and approved the $21.6 million award of attorneys' fees and costs without addressing any of the objections.

    And if you ever hear a class action attorney tell you that what they really care about is "access to justice," you have my permission to laugh sardonically. The Bachman attorneys have asked the court to require any objector-appellants (each of whom have about $20 at stake) to post a $325,000 appeal bond—despite the fact that Missouri law does not permit such a thing...
  • Culture Warriors Are Missing the Point

    June 21, 2010
    Viacom took a heavy-handed beating last week in The Washington Times. Robert Knight, senior fellow at the American Civil Rights Union, slammed the cable giant in the top op-ed of Friday's Commentary section. "All the major networks are awash in sex, profanity, violence and attacks on religion," Knight writes. "But for sheer creepiness, Viacom wins, hands down."

    His reasons? Viacom's Nickelodeon has a website which links to AddictingGames.com, which is BAD. Also, Viacom—or "Vilecom," as Knight calls it—runs the "homosexual" LOGO network and Comedy Central, "which puts profanities in fourth-graders' mouths in South Park" and which is currently developing a "blasphemous cartoon series" about...

  • Ninth Circuit appeal in Bluetooth - opposition briefs

    June 20, 2010
    Earlier this month, plaintiffs and defendants each filed appellees' briefs defending the district court's approval of the Bluetooth settlement against our appeal. We'll be filing our reply brief later this week; stay tuned.
  • CEI Weekly: The Senate's Global Warming Circus

    June 18, 2010
    CEI weekly is a compilation of articles and blogs from CEI's staff. This week features the vote in the Senate on the Murkowski resolution and other global warming legislation in the Senate.
  • Obama Administration Blocks Clean-Up of Oil Spill by Louisiana and Foreign Allies By Imposing Red Tape

    June 18, 2010
    The Obama Administration recently used red tape to force Louisiana to stop using 16 barges that were cleaning up the Gulf of Mexico by sucking thousands of gallons of oil out of Louisiana's oil-soaked waters. Earlier, it delayed the clean-up of the Gulf of Mexico by months, by blocking foreign crews from operating sophisticated clean-up vessels.  The Jones Act bans foreign vessels and crews from working in U.S. waters, but it gives the president the authority to completely waive that ban if he wishes.  Obama refused to lift the ban, even though American shippers who generally support...
  • Friday Regulation Roundup

    June 18, 2010
    Arizona spends $1,250,000 to save 250 squirrels, plus more.
  • Congress Destroys Free Checking Accounts by Blocking Overdraft Fees for the Irresponsible

    June 17, 2010
    Banks can afford to offer free checking accounts with no minimum balance, to responsible people, only because they can charge overdraft fees to irresponsible people.  But Congress has now prohibited many overdraft fees, which will result in many banks eliminating free checking, and also require responsible people to subsidize irresponsible people.  This is chronicled in a Wall Street Journal news story entitled "End Is Seen to Free Checking." As the Journal notes,  "Bank of America Corp. and other banks are preparing new fees on basic banking services as they try to replace revenue lost to regulatory rules, in...
  • Mordor Looks For More Wealth For Its Orcs

    June 17, 2010
    John Gapper has a very good column in the Financial Times today.  He issues a timely warning that governments are on the prowl, looking for any company that might give it an excuse to rip its wealth from its investors' hands:
    Willie Sutton, the robber, sagely observed that he raided banks because that was where the money was, and US politicians know this lesson well. The voters do not have a lot since they are recovering from a loss of paper wealth in the housing bust and governments around the world (as well as US states) face yawning budget deficits.
    Who does have cash? Large, dividend-paying corporations such as BP. They include energy producers and utilities; consumer goods brands; food, drink and drugs companies – all of the mature businesses that cluster in indexes such as the FTSE 100 and the Standard and...
  • America's Failed Domestic Ethanol Policy

    June 16, 2010
    I had a piece in yesterday's Washington Times critiquing U.S. ethanol policy. My main points:
    • Price subsidies are generally bad--they encourage overconsumption and distort the efficient allocation of resources. Ethanol is one of those cases--the "green" fuel is  (presently) costly and inefficient. If this wasn't the case it is unlikely that the ethanol industry would need to rely on government support to survive. This is a clear case of a wealth transfer from taxpayers to a powerful, special interest.
    • Taxing foreign ethanol imports is just as damaging to our economy. We don't refuse to buy clothes, electronics, food, etc. from other countries. Energy is no different. The U.S. would be much worse off if we were unable to get energy from a variety of sources...
  • Obama Uses Oil Spill to Push Failed Energy Policies

    June 16, 2010
    In his speech last night, President Obama used the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to push his failed energy policies, such as a "green jobs" program that has replaced American jobs with foreign "green" jobs, and a climate-change bill that includes ecologically-devastating ethanol subsidies.  Meanwhile, Louisiana residents rated Obama's inept response to the oil spill as worse than Bush's much-criticized response to Hurricane Katrina, in a public opinion poll--perhaps because Obama...

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