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OpenMarket: July 2012

  • Milton Friedman Turns 100

    July 31, 2012
    If he were still alive, Milton Friedman would be celebrating his 100th birthday today. I saw him speak a couple times, and even met him once.
  • Regulation Of The Day 225: Boobie Pillows

    July 31, 2012
    Kern County, California's government takes morality very seriously. Chapter 9.12.010 of the County Code states that “No vendor shall vend stuffed articles depicting the female breasts (sold as "boobie pillows") within one thousand (1,000) feet of any county highway.”
  • Unruly Lead Paint Rule

    July 31, 2012
    The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform recently released an interesting report on regulatory impediments to job creation. Among the items discussed is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standard related to remodeling homes that contain lead-based paint. The standard requires contractors to test pre-1978-built homes for lead paint and then apply certain safety practices if they find it. It also requires contractors to take classes and gain certifications to work in homes with lead paint. A provision originally allowed...
  • Chick-Fil-A And Free Speech: New York City Council Speaker Pressures University To Punish Restaurant For Speech

    July 30, 2012
    New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn wants to kick Chick-fil-A out of New York because its CEO said he opposed gay marriage.  She sent the head of New York University, which leases space to the one Chick-fil-A restaurant in New York City, a letter stating, "Chick-fil-A is not welcome in New York City as long as the company's president continues to uphold and promote his discriminatory views [...] I urge you to sever your relationship with the Chick-fil-A establishment that exists on your campus."  My guess is that the university will regard this letter more as an unstated...
  • Harassing Newborns And Their Mothers: Mayor Bloomberg's Latest Overreach

    July 30, 2012
    The New York Post reports, "Mayor Bloomberg is pushing hospitals to hide their baby formula behind locked doors so more new mothers will breast-feed." When my daughter was born, we had planned to breastfeed her, but she never learned how to latch on to a breast to breast-feed.  But she would drink out of a bottle.  So we were infinitely relieved when the hospital had plenty of baby formula we could give our daughter, since we did not yet possess an effective breast milk pump for her to drink out of the bottle.  Lucky for us, our daughter did not get born in a New York hospital. As The Daily Caller reports:
    New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg is locking up the baby formula...
  • Miraculous Markets: Water Into Wine

    July 30, 2012
    Libertarians are often accused of “worshiping” the free market. But the truth is, markets can perform miracles.
    A car growing in Iowa?

    David Friedman (son of Milton and celebrated economist in his own right), likes to say there are two ways to produce a car: you can build it in Detroit, or grow it in Iowa. How does one grow a car in Iowa? The recipe is very simple. Plant seeds and wait for them to grow into wheat. Harvest the wheat, and ship it across the Pacific. Wait a few months, and the ships will return loaded with Hondas and Subarus. Transforming wheat into automobiles seems pretty miraculous. Still, the Vatican might not buy it. So consider this: Soybeans are the eighth largest U.S. export to...
  • Groupon Marketing class action settlement

    July 30, 2012
    There was a lot of publicity about the "$8.5 million" Groupon will pay to settle a class action over expiration dates; several class members complained about the settlement to me, mostly because they viewed the lawsuit as silly. (So did Groupon, before their lawyers made them take down the original blog post criticizing the first of the many class actions brought against them.) But the settlement is even worse than it looks. Before the settlement, if a Groupon customer had a problem with a Groupon, they contacted customer service, indicated dissatisfaction, and got a full cash refund. After the settlement, if a Groupon customer has a problem with a Groupon that they purchased during the class period, they contact customer service...
  • Today in the News; July 30, 2012

    July 30, 2012
    OPINION MATTHEW YGLESIAS: "How to Ban Chick-Fil-A From Your City" "I hope that friends of free speech will note that while the Constitution would almost certainly prevent Chicago from de jure banning Chick-fil-a on these grounds, it's almost trivially easy for jurisdictions to abuse the extremely wide discretion they're granted to de facto do the same thing. For example, there are 1,641 Chick-fil-a outlets in the United States and Chick-fil-a, as part of its owners' socially conservative approach, doesn't open on Sunday. So all a city needs to do is say that if a quick service restaurant with more than 1,500 branches wants to open, it must be open seven days a week. I'm fairly certain that wouldn't restrict any...
  • CEI's Battered Business Bureau: The Week In Regulation

    July 30, 2012
    86 new rules last week, covering everything from Florida tomatoes to tug boat races.
  • Amendment to Cybersecurity Act Would Deter Federal Government Privacy Abuses

    July 29, 2012
    [caption id="attachment_58589" align="alignright" width="150"] Lord Acton's beard absolutely knows that power corrupts[/caption] In the ongoing debate over the Senate’s Cybersecurity Act of 2012 (S. 3414), one major point of contention is whether the bill adequately safeguards individuals’ private data from governmental abuses. While CEI praised recent changes to the bill’s information sharing provisions,...

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