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OpenMarket: June 2011

  • Another Union Handout from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)

    June 21, 2011
    Today the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) proposed a new regulation that would speed up the union election process from 45-60 days to about 10-21 days. So called "quickie elections" will result in workers not being given all the information they need to make a decision on whether or not to join a union. Employers generally do not know if a union is trying to organize them until a majority of the workers sign cards. During the election process the employer has an opportunity to make their case to their workers -- this is after the union has likely campaigned for months. Shortening the election will decrease the employers ability to make their case. If the process were an election for president, Candidate A has could have over six months to campaign, while Candidate B would only get around 45-60 days. The new rule would only give...
  • FDA Overkill on Cigarette Packaging

    June 21, 2011
    Get ready to see nine sensationalistic images depicting the dangers of smoking on cigarette packs beginning September 2012. Rotted lungs and teeth, chest holes, dead and grieving people are just a few of the lurid photos in living color that the Food and Drug Administration will require on packages. (I have deliberately suppressed the display of the ghoulish photos here to protect children and the more sensitive from these images and to avoid promoting the FDA’s overkill on warnings.) According to the FDA:
    The introduction of these warnings is expected to have a significant public health impact by decreasing the number of smokers, resulting in lives saved, increased life expectancy, and...
  • CEI Submits FOIA Requests to DOT Over California High-Speed Rail

    June 21, 2011
    This morning, the Department of Transportation should receive the two Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests I submitted on behalf of the Competitive Enterprise Institute. The letters, which request communications and documents related to the proposed Central Valley HSR Corridor [PDF] from Borden to Corcoran, California, as well as congressional liaison records in the possession of both the Department's Office of the Secretary of Transportation (OST) and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). CEI has become increasingly concerned with the disregard for transparency the Obama administration has shown with respect to this $715 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) "stimulus" project. A week ago,...
  • Morning Media Summary

    June 21, 2011
    Tech: Dropbox was accessible with no password, Oops: “Dropbox confirmed today that for some time yesterday, any users account was accessible without a password. The glitch was a programming error related to a code update and accounts were only vulnerable from around 1:54 pm PST to 5:46pm PST. A statement was issued by Dropbox explaining the issue:” Mozilla, where is Firefox OS?: “There is a strong chance that Windows 8, when it arrives in 2012, will be the last conventional, installed-application, file system-driven consumer operating system. With the popularity of mobile computing, there has been an overarching shift towards simpler, application-oriented interfaces — and on the desktop, the...
  • What Really Makes "Postcards from Hell"

    June 20, 2011
    Foreign Policy just ran another “Postcards from Hell” feature detailing the worst of the worst from their “Failed States Index.” It’s worth a look. Sixty images depict the consequences of corruption, endemic violence, totalitarianism, and central planning. Unfortunately, FP doesn’t seem to recognize the connections between these problems. The “failed state” is one of too little power, except sometimes when it has power and it still fails; but then we can blame things like wars, mineral wealth, or climatological factors, right? Immediately, they blame the problems of the Somali people on their lack of a clear, central authority (no mention, of course, of government-perpetrated...
  • No Such Thing as an Average Cancer Patient

    June 20, 2011
    CEI Senior Fellow Greg Conko has an excellent piece in today's Wall Street Journal. Greg doesn't think it's right that the FDA is denying terminally ill patients access to potentially life-saving treatments.
  • Supreme Court Overturns Certification of Class-Action Lawsuit Against Wal-Mart in Multi-Billion Dollar Lawsuit

    June 20, 2011
    Yahoo! News reports that "the Supreme Court has ruled for Wal-Mart in its fight to block a massive sex discrimination lawsuit on behalf of women who work there.  The court ruled unanimously Monday that the lawsuit against Wal-Mart Stores Inc. cannot proceed as a class action, reversing a decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. The lawsuit could have involved up to 1.6 million women, with Wal-Mart facing potentially billions of dollars in damages. Now, the handful of women who brought the lawsuit may pursue their claims on their own, with much less money at stake and less pressure on Wal-Mart to settle." I earlier explained why the class-action...
  • The Cloak-and-Dagger Fed

    June 20, 2011
    Wiretaps, surveillance, and searches of private property cannot be authorized and executed without a warrant issued by a judge, who (hopefully) maintains the commitment to privacy enshrined in the Constitution under the fourth amendment. However, the Federal Reserve has essentially assumed plenary power for authorizing and executing these privileges against Wall Street banks by means of its almost 2,000 undercover federal regulators who monitor everything from employee lunch conversation to “financial performance,” hoping to catch banks slipping up in regards to regulations and working to provide inside information to federal regulators about the inner workers of these financial firms. The first problem here is the obvious violation of the right to privacy to...
  • Morning Media Summary

    June 20, 2011
    Tech: 3G vs. 4G: What You Should Know Before You Switch: “Those are some of the ways Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint are describing 4G, as they push hard for smartphone users to convert to their new, upgraded networks.” Fareed Zakaria: Let’s use Facebook and Twitter to create a 21st century Constitution: “One of President Barack Obama’s most scrutinized statements prior to the 2008 election was one in which he concluded that the U.S. Constitution was a flawed document since it was “a charter of negative liberties.” But according to CNN host and Time magazine’s Fareed Zakaria, the president might have been on to something.”...
  • The Few, The Proud, The Greek Liberals (It's Lonely Being a Libertarian in Greece)

    June 19, 2011
    As the crisis in the eurozone continues to spiral out of control, I've sometimes thought about what must be going through the heads of economic liberals in Greece, Spain, Portugal, etc. "We told you so!" comes to mind. After all, many have seen the sunset of crippling political policies enacted by previous fascist regimes and military dictatorships only to be followed by crippling far-left policies. It turns out that you can't simply borrow yourself into prosperity. It turns out that reckless attempts to do so will eventually result in severe, very observable negative economic consequences. And now the chickens are coming home to roost. Al Jazeera recently produced a short video documentary on Greece's...

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