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OpenMarket: November 2011

  • Today's Links: November 9, 2011

    November 9, 2011
    OPINION MICHAEL GRAHAM: "Obama Has a Lot to Learn" "In this political moment, the three big lies are 'Social Security is solvent,' 'Everyone should go to college,' and 'Honey, I swear I don’t know whose thong that is in Herman Cain’s glove box.'" TIM CAVANAUGH: "'They About Had an Orgasm in Biden's Office When We Mentioned Solyndra'" "Newly released Solyndra emails reveal that our nation’s destiny is in the hands of men who use the Comic Sans font in email.  The...
  • A Backdoor Tax on the Poor

    November 9, 2011
    For some time now, the IRS has been flirting with what's called a return-free system. It's being touted as a time-saver. But it would also raise taxes on the poor.
  • Cheers to Washington State Voters

    November 9, 2011
    Yesterday, Washington State voters passed an initiative to privatize spirit sales and facilitate a more open market. It essentially breaks up the state's mandatory "three-tier system" for alcohol distribution. Michelle Minton and I have written about it here and here. Now that the initiative has passed, the state can start issuing licenses to grocery stores and Costco to sell spirits beginning in June 2012. In addition, it allows Costco to buy direct from producers, centrally warehouse the liquor, and then distribute to its stores -- passing savings on to consumers. Under Washington State Law, lawmakers cannot modify...
  • Mississippi Voters Pass Initiative Restricting Eminent Domain Powers

    November 9, 2011
    Yesterday, voters in Mississippi overwhelmingly passed Initiative 31, which will limit eminent domain condemnations for private benefit. Despite opposition from Republican Governor Hailey Barbour, 73 percent of voters supported amending the state constitution to prohibit that any "property acquired by the exercise of the power of eminent domain under the laws of the State of Mississippi shall, for a period of ten years after its acquisition, be transferred or any interest therein transferred to any person, non-governmental entity, public-private partnership, corporation, or...
  • Barber Auto Sales v. UPS

    November 9, 2011
    The Center has objected to a settlement that would pay $2 million to class members (without even telling them how much of their claims are likely to be paid pro rata) and $4 million to the attorneys. Details at Point of Law. The case is Barber Auto Sales, Inc. v. United Parcel Service Co., Inc., No. 5:06-cv-04686-IPJ (N.D. Ala.).
  • Smokers' Opportunity to Quit Smoking Opposed by Blinkered Anti-Tobacco Zealots

    November 8, 2011
    As The New York Times' John Tierney notes, a tool to quit smoking and save lives is being blocked by anti-tobacco zealots:
    If you want a truly frustrating job in public health, try getting people to stop smoking. Even when researchers combine counseling and encouragement with nicotine patches and gum, few smokers quit. Recently, though, experimenters in Italy had more success by doing less. A team led by Riccardo Polosa of the University of Catania recruited 40 hard-core smokers — ones who had turned down a free spot in a smoking-cessation program — and simply gave them a gadget already available in stores for $50. This electronic cigarette, or e-cigarette, contains a small reservoir of liquid nicotine solution that is...
  • Moral Hazard in Super Committee

    November 8, 2011
    The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, commonly referred to as the Super Committee, is a bipartisan committee looking for ways to prevent a sovereign default from occurring in the United States, by cutting $1.5 trillion from the 2012-2021 budgets. While in the face of current events this may seem sensible, politicians are taking advantage of the secretive nature of the Super Committee to introduce costly new programs in bills. Recently, 27 House members sent a letter to congressional Super Committee co-chairs last week, voicing concerns that members of the agricultural committee were using the deficit reduction process to keep and introduce new programs into the Farm Bill, without any sort of oversight. The letter (...
  • Today's Links: November 8, 2011

    November 8, 2011
    OPINION RICHARD EPSTEIN: "Three Cheers For Income Inequality" "As recent polling data reveals, the American public is driven by two irreconcilable emotions. The first is a deep distrust of government, which has driven the approval rate for Congress below ten percent. The second is a strong egalitarian impulse that directs its fury to the top one percent of income earners. Thus the same people who want government to get out of their lives also want government to increase taxes on the rich and corporations.  They cannot have it both ways." MARIO VARGAS LLOSA: "...
  • Liquor Privatization Would Edge Washington State Toward Freedom

    November 8, 2011
    Today voters in Washington State will finally have their say in whether or not to get the state out of the business of selling liquor. For months, advertisements on both the "yes" and the "no" side of the fight have filled the media. Many  observers lamented how much money has been spent on the issue. But in Washington State, this isn't exactly new. For two years running, supporters and detractors of measures to sell off the state-run liquor store and liquor wholesaling business have shoveled millions of dollars into advertisements. This year's attempt, Initiative 1183 has provoked a flood of cash like never before. Interested parties on both sides have given millions of dollars to sway voters. The reasons are obvious: Wholesalers believe the measure could be the...
  • Working through the email

    November 8, 2011
    As you might expect, I got a lot of email from the October 31 Wall Street Journal story. Between an October 31 Ninth Circuit deadline, a November 4 deadline for an objection for two clients, preparing for a three talks and a couple of hearings in the first ten days of the month, and a 1000-mile road trip to help a friend move, I haven't had the opportunity to respond to some of the more detailed emails. I'm not ignoring you, and hope to answer a lot of these over the next few days.

    I'll be speaking about some of the Center's work at the Federalist Society's National Lawyers Convention Thursday afternoon. Come say hi.

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