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OpenMarket: November 2011

  • Surface Transportation Board Rejects Misguided Push to Re-Regulate the Railroad Industry... For Now

    November 7, 2011
    Late last week, the Surface Transportation Board (STB) refused [PDF] to initiate a rulemaking (Ex Parte 711) proceeding that was petitioned by the shippers' primary lobby group, the National Industrial Transportation League (NITL). This docket was opened following the conclusion of an informational proceeding (Ex Parte 705) on competition in the railroad industry. The STB deferred a decision on whether or not to start a rulemaking proceeding while it continues to weigh the arguments and evidence submitted into the Ex Parte 705 docket. The Ex Parte 711 proceeding called on the STB to force railroads into reciprocal switching arrangements for some so-called "captive shippers." Essentially, the NITL wanted to force major U.S. railroads to switch each others' traffic,...
  • The Heavy-Lift Empire Strikes Back

    November 7, 2011
    Readers of this space will recall that there was a leak of an internal NASA document a couple weeks ago that showed what a waste of money the Senate Launch System is, by presenting an analysis that using existing launch systems and orbital storage of propellants will cost tens of billions less and accelerate by several years the schedule under which we could be sending humans beyond earth orbit. If this gets publicized much, it is a huge threat to the Senate Launch System, particularly given that NASA is going to have to be looking for places to cut, in the current and future budgets, because it makes it a very attractive to target to anyone who has been paying attention to what's going on....
  • Department of Labor Sells Out Union Members for Big Labor 1%

    November 7, 2011
    Openmarket.org The Department of Labor (DOL) doesn’t need to loosen financial disclosure for union bosses to take advantage of union members’ dues. Yet, this is exactly what the Obama administration has done. On October 26, DOL published a regulation that would weaken union members’ protections against fraud and corruption by union leadership. Under the new regulation, DOL’s union financial reporting document, the Form LM-30, will no longer require financial disclosure reporting by union stewards, leave for workers performing union activities while being paid by their employer, financial dealings with credit institutions (such as loans), and union officials’ payments from union trusts. http://www.openmarket.org/2011/11/07/
  • Department of Labor Sells Out Union Members for Big Labor 1%

    November 7, 2011
    The Department of Labor (DOL) doesn’t need to loosen financial disclosure for union bosses to take advantage of union members’ dues. Yet, this is exactly what the Obama administration has done. On October 26, DOL published a regulation that would weaken union members’ protections against fraud and corruption by union leadership. Under the new regulation, DOL’s union financial reporting document, the Form LM-30, will no longer require financial disclosure reporting by union stewards, leave for workers performing union activities while being paid by their employer, financial dealings with credit institutions (such as loans), and union officials' payments from union trusts. It’s not as if these requirements served no purpose. Numerous major cases of union corruption last month bring the timing of the rulemaking into question. Here’s a quick rundown for October: In Chicago, former...
  • Bombs Don't Build Economies

    November 7, 2011
    Here's a letter I sent to the New York Times. To the Editor:  Mr. Krugman is correct in pointing out (Bombs, Bridges and Jobs; Oct. 31, 2011) the obvious hypocrisy of Republicans who decry cuts in “job-creating” defense spending while yet maintain that stimulus spending is waste. However, it is unfortunate that Mr. Krugman falls into the same Keynesian trap as his rightward colleagues. He asserts, “Military spending does create jobs.” How true. But what use is a job if it doesn’t create a good or service that a consumer wants to buy? Government-induced war production is not stimulative. Rather, it crowds-out private production. History bears that out. Private investment, the keystone of economic growth, didn’t recover until after World War II had ended....
  • Regulation Roundup

    November 4, 2011
    If you're in Helena, Montana, never tie a horse to a fire hydrant. It's against the law. Plus more.
  • Obama Administration Contributes to Life-Threatening Drug Shortages Even as it Decries Them

    November 4, 2011
    In a recent column, Michelle Malkin explained how Obamacare price controls, FDA and DEA rules, and Obama administration policies have contributed to shortages of crucial life-saving drugs, relying on (and linking to) sources as varied as ABC News, The Wall Street Journal, and the New England Journal of Medicine. Earlier, law professor Richard Epstein, a leading authority on property rights, explained how Medicare regulations and price controls are helping spawn shortages of cancer drugs needed by chemotherapy patients and others. As biotech expert Greg Conko has noted, the FDA contributes to critical drug shortages because it "...
  • CEI Weekly: CEI Hosts Lively Hill Briefing on E-Verify

    November 4, 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 November 4, 2011 >>Featured Story Last week, CEI hosted a Capitol Hill briefing on E-Verify, the electronic employment verification system that may soon become mandatory for...
  • Government Waste Nauseates

    November 4, 2011
    Voters in Colorado this week repudiated a slew of proposed tax increases, even those targeted for "education." The Associated Press reports:
    Voters [in Colorado] resoundingly rejected the only statewide tax hike on ballots this November, a slight temporary increase in sales and use taxes to shore up public schools decimated by years of budget cuts. In all corners of the state Tuesday, Coloradans also swatted down proposed local tax hikes on dozens of local questions on everything from building a new recreational center in a Denver suburb to hiring a second full-time police officer in a small western Colorado town.
    No sooner had Coloradans of all political stripes spoken than liberals who lust for your money began their hand-wringing. "How could they," you could...
  • Today's Links: November 4, 2011

    November 4, 2011
    OPINION REASON TV: "Steven Pinker on the Decline of Violence and 'The Better Angels of Our Nature' (VIDEO)" TANA GANEVA: "Why is OWS Blanketed With NYPD Cameras---and Are Police Breaking the Law?" "[R]ecording legal protest activity violates the Handschu decree, a set of legal guidelines designed to check the NYPD's historic tendency to steamroll First Amendment rights. The order emerged from a class-action lawsuit prompted by revelations that the NYPD had spent much of...

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