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OpenMarket: December 2010

  • Morning Media Summary

    December 2, 2010
    Tech: Google To Punish No-Good Sites With Revised Search Ranking: “Google's method of ranking of search results took a hit last week in a chilling New York Times piece . The article exposed a merchant who gamed Google by bullying his customers: The ruder he was, the more negative reviews he received, and, ironically, the better his website's ranking on Google.” F.T.C. Backs Plan to Honor Privacy of Online Users: “Signaling a sea change in the debate over Internet privacy, the government’s top consumer protection agency on Wednesday advocated a plan that would let consumers choose whether they want their Internet browsing and buying habits monitored.”...
  • $7 Billion or More in New Taxes for Virginians Under EPA Mandate

    December 1, 2010
    The EPA told Virginia earlier that it would impose costly measures on Virginia Counties, measures so costly that they would result in record property tax increases in places like Fairfax County Virginia. The measures were designed to make the Chesapeake Bay cleaner. The EPA left open the door to less costly measures to achieve the same goal if Virginia could suggest any to the EPA's liking. Virginia has now attempted to do just that, submitting a $7 billion plan to make water going into the Chesapeake Bay purer. But The Washington Examiner reports that the EPA will likely reject it in favor of more costly measures. So it looks like Virginia...
  • It's World AIDS Day; Is it the "Forgotten Epidemic"?

    December 1, 2010
    World AIDS Day has rolled around again, amid charges by C. Everett Koop that "HIV is no longer on the public's radar screen, and the result is deadly serious." So the 94-year-old former Surgeon General told the 2010 National Summit on HIV Diagnosis, Prevention and Access to Care in late November. The disease is becoming "the forgotten epidemic," he claimed, causing a dangerous "growing sense of...
  • EPA at 40 -- Doing an End-Run Around the Legislative Process

    December 1, 2010
    The Environmental Protection Agency is 40 years old.  It came into being under a Republican president, Richard M. Nixon, and opened its offices on December 2, 1970.  In January of that year, Nixon had signed the National Environmental Protection Act, and on the last day of December 1970, he signed the Clean Air Act of 1970. Fast forward to the year 2010, with an EPA now with almost limitless powers in the environmental arena -- regulating greenhouse gas emissions, policing carbon dioxide as a pollutant, and expanding the purview of the Clean Air Act, without congressional approval.  As CEI's Marlo Lewis wrote,
    . . ....
  • Afternoon Links: December 1, 2010

    December 1, 2010
    1. An Air India plane almost crashed because the co-pilot adjusted his seat while the pilot was in the bathroom.  Airport security can't stop them all. 2. Megan McArdle on the economics of "night life clusters." 3. A new game developed by McGill University bioinformaticians "enables players to have fun while contributing to genetic research." 4. Slate readers create their own faux "FDA" anti-smoking graphics for cigarette packs. 5. "Jus N Walk" is serving a 30-year prison sentence for killing a sheriff. Recently he...
  • Obama's Federal Pay Freeze That Wasn't

    December 1, 2010
    No one seems happy with President Obama's announcement that he plans to freeze pay rates of the federal work force. The right claims that federal workers are significantly overpaid and wants pay rates to be slashed, not frozen. The left claims that federal workers are underpaid and need the cost of living raises. Note that President Obama doesn't seem to have the authority to freeze federal pay without the approval of Congress, and that congressional pay scales are not being frozen. What doesn't seem to be getting much attention is that many government employees will still be getting raises under this "pay freeze." They won't be getting "...
  • Do You Want the IRS Doing Your Taxes?

    December 1, 2010
    The income tax is a pain in the neck. The obvious solution is the simplify the 70,000-page tax code. But some are proposing to have the IRS fill out your returns for you.
  • Morning Media Summary

    December 1, 2010
    Tech: FCC chairman to propose plan for net neutrality: “The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission plans to announce Wednesday a controversial proposal that would prohibit Internet providers from favoring or discriminating against any traffic that goes over their networks.” FCC Sets Net-Neutrality Vote: “The Federal Communications Commission chairman announced plans to vote this month on rules to prevent Internet providers from interfering with traffic, a move likely to spark pushback from House Republicans and last-minute lobbying by industry and consumer groups.”...
  • European Commission Should Leave Internet Search Alone

    December 1, 2010
    Today, the European Commission opened a formal antitrust investigation into Google to probe allegations that the firm rigged its search engine to discriminate against rivals. This intervention in the online search market, however, will distort the market’s evolution, discourage competitors from innovating, and ultimately hurt consumers. Google isn’t a monopoly now, but the more it tries to become one, the better it will be for us all. When capitalist enterprises strive to earn a bigger market share, rival firms are forced to respond by trying to improve their offerings. Even if Google is delivering biased search results, it is only paving the way for competitors to break into the search market. The European Commission is wrong to assume that Google possesses monopoly power. Google...

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