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OpenMarket: March 2011

  • Morning Media Summary

    March 10, 2011
    Tech: Dearborn Republican sues Facebook for shutting down account during election, foiling his ‘attempt to overthrow the Dingell Dynasty’: “Dearborn attorney Majed Moughni says he lost his bid to unseat Democratic U.S. Rep. John Dingell last year, in part, because he lost his Facebook account.” Verizon offers refunds for fraudulent SMS messages: http://www.itworld.com/mobile-amp-wireless/139644/verizon-offers-refunds-fraudulent-sms-messages “Verizon on Wednesday said that it filed a lawsuit this week against a group of people and related companies that it alleges duped people into signing up and getting charged for premium short message services.” Text messages to replace stamps in Sweden: “A similar system is set...
  • Setting a New Tone

    March 9, 2011
    Over at the Daily Caller, I share a bit of wisdom from the economist Joseph Schumpeter about how people can have a more constructive dialogue about the direction of the country.
  • Rationality and the Taping of Moving Boxes

    March 9, 2011
    I have long been fascinated by both aberrational and irrational human behavior, at least since I documented a mass outbreak of hysteria regarding the so-called “heterosexual AIDS explosion” that wasn’t GOING to take place but allegedly already had. More recently, I documented that the whole Toyota flap was mass sociogenic hysteria in the same category of the missing children and Satanic abuse in the day care centers hysteria. This notwithstanding that I’ve been unable to find a single publication that’s willing to print what I show is clearly obvious. Editors don't think anybody is interested that this is America's greatest mass hysteria in many years, and that such mass hysterias usually cause tremendous and lasting damage. And maybe they're right. Mind, “irrational” and “aberrational” are by no means synonymous. Often enough, irrationality rules the day and it’s rationality that is...
  • Morning Media Summary

    March 9, 2011
    Tech: Facebook a top cause of relationship trouble, say US lawyers: “When Facebook gets involved, relationships can quickly fall apart – as Hosni Mubarak and Muammar Gaddafi have discovered. But dictatorships are not the only ties being dissolved by social networking sites: now Facebook is increasingly being blamed for undermining American marriages.” LimeWire Settles Copyright Infringement Case: “The music publishers, which include Sony and Warner Music Group, sued LimeWire for copyright infringement last June. However, today all claims brought against LimeWire LLC and Chief Executive Mark Gorton were dismissed following a filing in a New York federal court.”...
  • Regulation of the Day 166: Cowboy Poetry

    March 8, 2011
    This year’s budget battle is especially heated. Democrats want the federal budget to be $3.7 trillion. Republicans want it to be $3.6 trillion. Both sides are willing to shut down the federal government rather than give in. That's where cowboy poetry, of all things, comes in. This traditional American art form, which I’d never heard of until today, has suddenly become the latest front in the epic struggle over the size and scope of government. It is currently official federal policy to financially support cowboy poetry. But the GOP wants to cut $61 billion, or 1.6 percent, out of President Obama’s proposed budget. And cowboy poetry funding is on the chopping block.
  • Collective Bargaining and the Individual

    March 8, 2011
    The debate over the government employee protests in Wisconsin has skipped over a fundamental question: Why does collective bargaining exist in the first place? Equality seems to be the motivation. Workers in the same occupation who have the same amount of experience should be compensated the same. The attempt of an egalitarian society is pointless. Equal opportunity is a cherished American ideal. But enforced equality in outcomes undermines both the incentive to excel and the right to the full fruits of one’s own labor. Every individual in society has unique needs and wants. That makes it impossible for groups of inherently diverse individuals to organize behind a given set of “true” collective goals -- unless government requires it. Collective bargaining needs the force of government behind it because, in a free market, there is no sound economic argument for it. What incentive does...
  • Human Achievement of the Day: Tree-Bombing Planes

    March 8, 2011
    As our frenemies over at Treehugger wrote last October about how Lockheed Martin had come up with an ingenious idea for its 2,500 decommissioned Hercules cargo planes: mass-planting of trees. As The Guardian reports, while these planes were once used for aerial assaults, they can now drop sapling-containing cones instead of land mines -- about 3,000 cones a minute or about 900,000 a day. According to Peter Simmons from Lockheed Martin:
    Equipment we developed for precision planting of fields of landmines can be adapted easily for planting trees. ...The tree...
  • My Statement on the REINS Act Hearing

    March 8, 2011
    Here's my full statement on today's House Judiciary Committee hearing on the REINS Act: We commend the House Judiciary Committee for gathering distinguished experts such as New York Law School Professor David Schoenbrod for what should be an illuminating hearing on Congress's role and responsibilities in reining in the regulatory state. The REINS Act, introduced in the Senate by Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and in the House by Rep. Geoff Davis, another Kentuckian, is at heart about accountability in government. The issue is not just one of good politics or even good policy, but of constitutional government as well. Article 1, Section 1 of the Constitution vests "all legislative powers" in the U.S. Congress. Yet what most often happens in today's administrative state is that regulators in the executive branch, technically...
  • Alcohol Regulation Roundup: Fat Tuesday Edition

    March 8, 2011
    Happy Fat Tuesday, everyone! While you enjoy that frosty alcoholic beverage, enjoy this latest round of alcohol-related regulatory actions throughout the nation: Colorado: Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is feeling the heat after his office issues an "executive fiat" overturning a law that prevents restaurants and bars from selling low alcohol beer. The bill, which was passed last year, forced the state to abide by the rule already on the books that states only grocery and convenience stores may sell low-alcohol beer. As a result, many light and low-alcohol Irish Stouts were prohibited from being served in bars. The bill was an attempt by grocery and convenience stores to draw attention to the need to do away with the distinction between low and higher alcohol beers and allow all stores to sell full...
  • Morning Media Summary

    March 8, 2011
    Tech: Google disables Android malware: “Google is remotely disabling malicious software that deceived more than a quarter of a million owners of Android smartphones, as the outbreak continues to raise questions on the company’s approach to security.” China pledges to step up administration of Internet: “China says it will step up administration of the Internet this year while continuing to build out the country's fiber-optic backbone and expand broadband access for consumers.” How Facebook plans to bust up the SMS profit cartel: “Under the cell phone industry's...

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