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OpenMarket: October 2011

  • Regulation Roundup

    October 21, 2011
    It is illegal to slurp your soup in New Jersey restaurants, plus more.
  • Pay the Americans Now, or Pay the Russians Later

    October 20, 2011
    I'm attending the International Symposium on Personal and Commercial Spaceflight in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Also attending is Alan Boyle, science correspondent for MSNBC, who just put up a piece with the same title as this post, in response to the keynote speech that NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver gave here this morning. We are currently dependent on the Russians for lifeboat services and crew access to and from the International Space Station (we've actually been dependent on them for lifeboats for over a decade, since it was first permanently occupied, because Shuttle was never able to serve that role due to limited life on orbit). The latest contract costs $450 million per year (and that's likely to go up over time, given their monopoly). NASA's proposed...
  • CEI Podcast for October 20, 2011: Congress Passes Free Trade Agreements

    October 20, 2011
    CEI Adjunct Fellow Fran Smith, coauthor of the new CEI study "Free Trade without Apology," talks about the recently passed free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea.
  • Protectionism is not a Constitutional Principle

    October 20, 2011
    Last week, the National Beer Wholesalers Association President Craig Purser, who happens to be a former colleague of mine, had an article in The Washington Times, suggesting that the alcohol bill on Capitol Hill (H.R. 1161) serves constitutional principles. Although we haven't chatted in years, I like Craig. He's a super-nice guy, and he surely works hard to serve his industry. But this is one issue where we certainly disagree. I have addressed this issue on my blog at Winepolicy.com, in the ...
  • Today's Links: October 20, 2011

    October 20, 2011
    OPINION ROBERT LAWSON: "Medical Ethics Dilemma" "Let's suppose it is unambiguously true that a swine flu outbreak would save net lives (or net years of life), would public health advocates support intentionally releasing the swine flu into the public? I'm serious. Public health advocates appear to have no problem using force to 'save lives' so why wouldn't they support such a plan? I suspect most people's ethical intuitions would recoil at the thought of the government releasing a potentially deadly virus only because it innoculated people from an even deadlier virus. But, but, but...we do this sort of thing all the time now. To take just one example, CAFE standards on cars have killed people merely to save a few (ok a lot) gallons of gasoline. Yet...
  • Franklin Templeton mutual fund settlement

    October 20, 2011
    The attorneys have asked the court to approve a settlement that would give the attorneys $2.142 million and the class $2.27 million. (Good luck finding out that information anywhere on the settlement website.) This violates the plain language of the PSLRA; Fred and Fran Smith have objected, and I have agreed to represent them at the fairness hearing in Baltimore October 25.

    In this case, as in so many PSLRA settlements, the parties have structured notice so that there is next to no way for most class members to have time to object. I'm interesting in hearing from people who get postcards or other mailings about bad class action settlements that arrive less than a week before (or, often after) the objection deadline.
  • Liberal Indifference to the Jobless in the Private Sector

    October 19, 2011
    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid claims that joblessness is not a problem in the private sector, where huge numbers of people have lost their jobs, and that it's the public sector -- where unemployment is much lower -- where it is a problem.  This nonsense could only come from someone like Reid, who has been a government official for decades, and is supported by liberal government employee unions. Reid claimed, "It's very clear that private sector jobs have been doing just fine, it's the public sector jobs where we've lost huge numbers, and that's what this legislation is all about.” (“Reid Says Government Jobs Must Take Priority Over Private Sector Jobs,” The Hill, 10/19/11). Reid was defending Obama's costly...
  • Shuttlyndra and the Smoking Rocket

    October 19, 2011
    Over at Pajamas Media today, I have some interesting news on the Shuttlyndra situation, which would be a huge scandal if anyone cared about space, or the waste of tens of billions of taxpayer dollars -- past, present and future.
    On 26 September 2011, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) issued a press release regarding fuel depots. This included a letter to former Administrator Mike Griffin who had dismissed the notion of fuel depots and commercial launch vehicles as being a viable alternative to the Space Launch System(SLS) during Congressional testimony. Rohrabacher noted "When NASA proposed on-orbit fuel depots in this Administration's original plan for human space exploration, they said this game-changing technology could make the difference between exploring space and...
  • Today's Links: October 19, 2011

    October 19, 2011
    OPINION JACK BARUTH: "Sign Up For E-Z Pass, Get a Free Privacy-Invading Webcam" "It’s a common misconception that the 'E-Z Pass' automated tollbooth system is used to issue speeding tickets. It could be, and similar systems are used to issue tickets in the United Kingdom, but as of right now the only way to get caught speeding on most tollways is to blow by a cop with your foot to the floor and a phone glued to your ear. [...] As cash-strapped municipalities become increasingly desperate for revenue, however, it’s a fair bet that some of them will start investigating the possibilities of a nearly endless stream of automatically-generated citations." INVESTORS' BUSINESS DAILY EDITORIAL: "...
  • The Imaginary Age of Austerity

    October 18, 2011
    Like an obese person who complains that he hasn't eaten in hours, supporters of big government complain about mythical "austerity" even when the government grows at a rapid rate. On September 13, economist Paul Krugman claimed in his New York Times "Conscience of a Liberal" blog that "austerity programs are now the rule everywhere." Endorsing the Occupy Wall Street protests, the liberal San Jose Mercury News claimed on October 13 that "President Obama and the Democrats have dithered as the tea party hijacked the political conversation. They acquiesced to a misdiagnosis of our core problem (too much government) and the prescription to cure it (austerity)." This "austerity" exists only in the fantasies of  the "progressive" mind. As The Wall Street Journal notes today...

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