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OpenMarket: June 2011

  • Regulation Roundup

    June 28, 2011
    King County's $86 fine for swimming without a life vest, plus more.
  • Double Trouble Not Double the Fun with Medicare and Medicaid

    June 28, 2011
    There are 9.7 million people that use both Medicare and Medicaid for their health care expenses, according to a June 27 article in The Wall Street Journal. Even though this group represents only 16 percent of all enrollees in Medicare and just 15 percent in Medicaid, it accounts for 27 percent and 39 percent of each program’s annual expenditure, respectively. The cause?  None other than inefficient bureaucracy. The two government-run programs were “never designed to work together,” according to the overseer of dual-eligibility at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Melanie Bella. This incongruence causes expensive inefficiencies of bureaucratic squabbling and of perverse incentives for beneficiaries...
  • DOL Looks to Increase Fiduciary Standards without Following Procedure Standards

    June 28, 2011
    The Department of Labor (DOL) has proposed a new rule to broaden the definition of fiduciary. Fiduciaries under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) include persons who have discretionary authority over a plans management and provide investment advice. DOL's original interpretation assigns fiduciary responsibilities only to individuals who provide advice regularly and are the primary provider of investment advice. The proposed rule change expands fiduciary duties by removing the language of primary and regular, leaving anyone who gives investment advice liable for losses to the plan. Besides the increased costs to the financial industry to comply with the rule change and loss of service to small and medium investors, DOL has not performed its...
  • Morning Media Summary

    June 28, 2011
    Tech: Google’s Schmidt unfazed by antitrust probes: “Google is co-operating with a US antitrust investigation but is confident it has done nothing illegal to secure its position as the dominant search provider in the country, executive chairman Eric Schmidt said on Monday.” Global Warming / Environment / Energy: Bastardi on learning from the past: “If you knew about the climate and nation’s weather the way I have to, you would see the links between what happened from 1925 to 1950 and what is going on now. During that time, we were in a warm version of the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic turned warm, and the weather went haywire. And there were other challenges as great as...
  • Supreme Court: California's Ban on Violent Video Game Sales to Minors Violates Free Speech

    June 27, 2011
    California's ban on the sale or rental of violent video games to minors has been struck down by the Supreme Court as a violation of the First Amendment in a 7-to-2 vote. The only dissenters were Justices Breyer and Thomas. The opinion, authored by Justice Scalia, is here. CEI joined in an amicus brief in support of the challengers, and CEI's Ryan Radia wrote an op-ed about the case you can find here. As Radia...
  • Morning Media Summary

    June 27, 2011
    Tech: Google Boots Transdroid Torrent Manager From Android Market: “For many Android users Transdroid is the perfect remote access app for managing their BitTorrent clients on the go. The app allows users to start and stop torrents, search torrent files and even use the barcode scanner to find matching torrent files.” Global Warming / Environment / Energy: Oil release not a political move: Geithner: “U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner defended the decision by industrialized nations to release emergency oil reserves into global energy markets, saying on Friday that it was not a political move.” Insurance / Gambling:...
  • CEI Weekly: CEI Launches "Resourceful Earth" Project

    June 24, 2011
    CEI Weekly is a compilation of articles and blog posts from CEI’s fellows and associates sent out via e-mail every Friday. Also included in the weekly newsletter is a brief description of CEI’s weekly podcast and a feature on a major CEI breakthrough made during the week. To sign up for CEI Weekly, go to http://cei.org/newsletters. CEI Weekly June 24, 2011 >>Featured Story CEI's new grassroots website, Resourceful Earth, is an educational project designed to better inform the public about natural resource production. The site includes updates on special interest attempts...
  • June 20 was a busy day

    June 24, 2011
    The growth of the Center for Class Action Fairness LLC can be shown just by the breadth of its activities on Monday, June 20:
    • There were twelve objectors at the Cobell v. Salazar fairness hearing, and I was the only attorney representing an objector. Unfortunately, the district court overruled our objections, and approved the $3.4 billion settlement. There was some good news: if one takes the plaintiffs' request for $224 million in a fee and expense award seriously, rather than as a tactical maneuver to give the judge room to award high fees while appearing to cut the request, then the judge's decision to award $99 million in fees (and reject another $11 million in expense requests by the class representatives) means that there will be another $136...
  • Morning Media Summary

    June 24, 2011
    Tech: Hacker Cops Felony Pleas In “Brute Force” AT&T iPad Attack: “A California man today pleaded guilty to federal charges for participating in a “brute force” hack on AT&T that yielded the personal data of 120,000 iPad owners.” Twitter plans bolder advertisements: “Twitter is looking at introducing advertisements among the short messages that users see in the most active part of the social networking service, according to people with direct knowledge of its plans.” Feds to Launch Probe of Google: “Federal regulators are poised to hit Google Inc. with...
  • Taxpayers vs. the Post Office Bureaucracy

    June 23, 2011
    When it comes down to outdated business model of the Post Office vs. taxpayers and postal workers, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) sides with taxpayers and postal workers. Yesterday, the United States Postal Service (USPS) announced it would stop paying the employer share of its employees’ retirement fund. ABC news reported about "sheer chaos on the work floor,” according to 32-year postal veteran Clarice Torrence. The action is yet another sign that the USPS is in continued financial strain. Today, Issa, who is chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, introduced the Postal Reform Act (PRA), which seeks to reform the USPS and prevent a potential taxpayer bailout...

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