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OpenMarket: September 2012

  • Old Hat

    September 27, 2012
    Is the Chevy Volt really new technology? General Motors justifies its profit losses on the automobile by claiming it's a long-term investment in a brand new technology.  But CEI's Chris Horner says that while Volt's 21st century styling may be new, the idea of a car that runs on electricity dates to the mid-19th century. Horner argues that’s just one more reason to abandon this heavily discounted, government-subsidized car. As he told Chris Woodward of OneNewsNow:
    "This is akin to subsidizing horses to create a market for the brand-new technology, the buggywhip. I suggest that electric car promoters, windmill touts and others hyping 19th-century failures as newly invented miracles opt for decidedly more...
  • Google Fiber Project: A Product Of The Free Market Or Government Interference?

    September 27, 2012
    Google will soon launch Google Fiber service to select residents in Kansas City. Fred Campbell, Director of CEI's Communications Liberty and Innovation Project, lauded the project after it was announced in late July. Today in Ars Technica, Campbell responds to critics who claim Kansas City's concessions to Google to attract the project qualify as taxpayer-funded "corporate welfare." Campbell writes:
    In response to my analysis of Google FiberTimothy B. Lee at Ars Technica says the Google Fiber deployment is “...
  • Study Finds Diisononyl Phthalate Safe For Toys

    September 27, 2012
    While news sources, greens, and U.S. lawmakers hype the risks about children's exposure to the chemicals found in a host of plastic products from school supplies to toys, the government of Australia has released a comprehensive scientific review on one of the alleged culprits: DINP (diisononyl phthalate). DINP is One of nine phthalates used to make soft and flexible plastics used in a variety of valuable products -- from...
  • Saving The Game: Botched Calls And Legitimacy In The NFL

    September 27, 2012
    As a Seattle Seahawks fan living in Washington, D.C., I was excited for my team’s nationally televised Monday night game against the Green Bay Packers. Since I spend most of my year living far away from Seattle, I very rarely get the chance to watch Seahawks regular season games, unless they are playing a nearby regional team. Like many other people who watched the game, I could not believe what I was seeing when they replayed the last play. Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson threw a last second pass into the end zone towards Golden Tate. The pass was initially intercepted by Green Bay’s M.D. Jennings, while Tate wrestled him for possession of the ball. The call was ruled as a...
  • Today's Links: September 27, 2012

    September 27, 2012
    OPINION LYLE DENNISTON: "How much privacy does the Constitution guarantee for the blood’s chemistry?" "It is clear, under the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment, that government analysis of an individual’s blood or other bodily fluids is a 'search' that can only be conducted within limits. Indeed, the court remarked in a blood search case in 1966 that 'the integrity of an individual’s person is a cherished value in our society….Search warrants are ordinarily required…where intrusions into the body are concerned.' But it was also in that very case – Schmerber v. California – that the court ruled that police can sometimes direct that a blood sample be made, in a drunk driving...
  • Today's Links: September 26, 2012

    September 26, 2012
    OPINION MICHAEL F. CANNON & JONATHAN ADLER: "The IRS Has Gone Rogue" "A president who says “I haven’t raised taxes” has authorized his Internal Revenue Service issue a “final rule” that will illegally tax some 12 million individuals, plus large employers, in as many as 40 states beginning in 2014. Oklahoma’s attorney general has asked a federal court to block this rule. Members of Congress have introduced legislation in both the House and the ...
  • In Rejecting EPIC's Petition On TSA's Strip-Search Machines, Court Effectively Orders Rulemaking Timetable

    September 25, 2012
    This afternoon, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the Electronic Privacy Information Center's (EPIC) petition for writ of mandamus, which called on the court to enforce its own order that the Department of Homeland Security (the Transportation Security Administration's parent department) begin a legally required notice-and-comment rulemaking regarding the TSA's use of advanced imaging technology (AIT) scanners in airports. CEI earlier submitted an amicus brief supporting EPIC's petition on behalf of Robert L. Crandall, former chairman and CEO of AMR and American Airlines, and a coalition of organizations. Background on this case can be found here in op-ed form and...
  • Driverless Cars Legalized In California

    September 25, 2012

    Just after 1pm PDT, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law SB 1298, which explicitly legalizes the use and testing of driverless cars in the state. California becomes the second third state in the country, after Nevada (which has already licensed Google's self-driving car) and Florida, to legalize this new technology. Video of the signing can be found here.

    I previously criticized SB 1298 for being too restrictive (unlike Nevada's) -- specifically, a section that deferred to nonexistent National Highway Transportation Safety Administration regulations that likely won't be drafted and finalized for...

  • Work ‘til You Drop: Is This The Next European “Welfare?"

    September 25, 2012
    As Europe’s population ages, its widespread entitlement commitments will generate huge burdens on governments’ budgets. The economic consequences are easy to foresee: just think of how pension and health expenditure, whom almost everybody is entitled to, could be financed. But what about the political consequences of an aging population? As the population ages in a democratic system, it will become increasingly difficult to reform entitlements of which an increasing number of people are taking advantage. Forget about economic efficiency: the path of reforming the welfare state would be blazed by political constraints, leading somewhere rather unappealing, especially for future generations. Should we call this majority dictatorship -- or rather, elderly dictatorship? Take the case of pensions. In most European countries, pensions systems are unfunded: revenue collected annually for...
  • Today's Links: September 25, 2012

    September 25, 2012
    OPINION ELIOT SPITZER: "We Must Defend Even the Ugliest Free Speech—Especially When There Are Riots" "Rarely has the value of free speech been so threatened. The arc of the unfortunate story is now well-told: Using a perceived attack on the Quran by a private voice as a pretext to ignite anger, forces of intolerance incite riots against visible American interests and representatives, usually causing damage of some sort, and in the recent incident in Benghazi, leading to a tragic loss of life. [...] We should be clear in understanding that these attacks are the price we pay for believing in free speech, especially in a world where such tolerance is not universally accepted." DIANA...

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