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OpenMarket: September 2012

  • Farms Need Workers, Not Subsidies

    September 13, 2012
    Reports of record farm profits has CNBC’s Senior Online Editor John Carney calling America’s agricultural labor shortage “phony,” and by implication, just an excuse to import cheaper foreign labor. In a year that also featured America’s worst drought in fifty years, the record profit is puzzling -- at least until you look inside the numbers. The reality is that the labor shortages are not phony -- what are phony are the profits. They are the product of lavish government subsidies for big agro-corporations. Although higher grain prices induced by the short supply has partially compensated for lower production, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) essentially guarantees farm incomes anyway. The USDA is on pace to pump into the industry...
  • Disturbing Calls For Censorship In America By Professors, Journalists, U.S. Diplomats, And Egyptian Government

    September 13, 2012
    In response to a film that mocked Mohammed, journalists on MSNBC, a professor, and the Egyptian government called for punishment of the film's producers. Prominent left-leaning law professors have similarly advocated that such speech be restricted, citing customary international law. Their position, if accepted, would seriously menace free speech in America, and harm the publishing and film industries. (At the UN, the Obama administration has also lent qualified ...
  • Chicago Teachers Union: Overpaid Babysitters?

    September 13, 2012
    The grand themes of the current Chicago teacher's strike opera are broadly similar to other union-agitated public work stoppages. The union makes demands (more money, etc.) the city/company balks ("We can't afford that!") and then makes overly generous counteroffers that the union still manages to find repugnant. Ad infinitum, ad nauseum. However, this particular teachers' strike has a particularly vile motif lurking beneath its the already dis-harmonic melodies. The unionized teachers of Chicago don't want to be held accountable for their student's academic performance (as measured by standardized tests), because, they claim, teachers of inner-city youth are often tasked with educating the products of dysfunctional or non-existent family lives, crushing poverty, and violence-steeped neighborhood cultures. Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis put it...
  • CEI Podcast For September 13, 2012: CEI Sues The EPA

    September 13, 2012
    The EPA has been stonewalling a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from the Competitive Enterprise Institute since 2010. CEI has sued the EPA in a case that could set a major precedent in government transparency.
  • Today's Links: September 13, 2012

    September 13, 2012
    OPINION MATTHEW YGLESIAS: "For Immigrant Kids, Canada and Australia Are The Real Lands Of Opportunity" "The story of immigrant success—usually hard work for modest gain on the part of the migrant, rewarded by bountiful opportunity for the migrant's children—is an ingrained part of the American cultural fabric. But is it really true that 'only in America' do these opportunities suggest? Some new research indicates that Canada and Australia, two countries that share some important characteristics with the United States, are the real lands of opportunity." KEN WHITE: "Should Sam Bacile Be Jailed?" "...
  • Unions Seek To Make Michigan A Mediterranean State

    September 12, 2012
    On September 5, the Michigan Supreme Court gave a green light to the so-called “Protect our Jobs Amendment” (POJA) for the November 6 ballot. The proposed amendment text would make collective bargaining a constitutional guarantee, and any state law that brought any limit to it would be repealed. But critics warn it will give more power to unions as well as prevent the state from ever passing a "right-to-work" law impeding unions from demanding dues from employees. Supporters of the initiative claim that this amendment to the constitution will bolster workers protection. That’s what can be read on ProtectOurJobs.com: “Collective bargaining protects all Michigan’s families, giving workers the right to negotiate fair wages and benefits.” On the site, a testimonial states: “A Constitutional right to collective bargaining gives workers' a voice at...
  • Today's Links: September 12, 2012

    September 12, 2012
    OPINION MICHAEL LEWIS: "Obama's Way" "[Obama] doesn’t watch cable news, which he thinks is genuinely toxic. One of his aides told me that once, thinking the president otherwise occupied, he’d made the mistake of switching the Air Force One television from ESPN, which Obama prefers, to a cable news show. The president walked into the room and watched a talking head explain knowingly to his audience why he, Obama, had taken some action. 'Oh, so that’s why I did it,' said Obama, and walked out. Now he said, 'One of the things you realize fairly quickly in this job is that there is a character people see out there called Barack Obama. That’s not you. Whether it is good or bad, it is not you. I learned that on the campaign.' Then he...
  • Copyright Bots Are Here To Stay

    September 11, 2012
    A string of mistaken, high-profile takedowns has caused some talk about the services video hosting sites like Ustream and YouTube use to police livestreaming content. YouTube’s take-down of the livestream of the NASA Curiosity rover’s landing was the first of these incidents. Subsequently, YouTube blocked the stream of Michelle Obama’s speech at the DNC, and Ustream cut off sci-fi author Neil Gaiman’s speech at the Hugo Awards, apparently for showing licensed clips from Doctor Who. Sites like YouTube and Ustream use programs designed to detect copyrighted material. If the "bot" detects what it believes to be infringing material it shuts the video down. This, as the EFF...
  • Today's Links: September 11, 2012

    September 11, 2012
    OPINION GRACE-MARIE TURNER: "Why Barack's Silence on Obamacare?" "Democrats came on strong in celebrating what they also now call ObamaCare during speeches at the beginning of their national convention in Charlotte, but enthusiasm waned as the week went on, with President Obama not even mentioning his signature legislative achievement during his acceptance speech on the final day." MOLLY BALL: "How Michelle Rhee Is Taking Over the Democratic Party" "Rhee, the controversial former Washington, D.C., schools chancellor known for her hard-...
  • In re Johnson & Johnson Shareholder Derivative Litigation

    September 10, 2012
    Alison Frankel recently asked whether it's the end of "money-for-nothing" class actions; Ronald Barusch asks a similar question. The Center for Class Action Fairness is putting that question to the test in In re Johnson & Johnson Shareholder Derivative Litigation by asking the District of New Jersey to dismiss shareholder litigation that makes cosmetic changes to corporate governance, and then presents a $10.45 million bill to shareholders—150% of the...

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