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OpenMarket: October 2013

  • October 15

    October 14, 2013
    Tomorrow morning, the Supreme Court will announce orders relating to two cert petitions we filed (with substantial and critically necessary pro bono assistance) that it considered at its October 11 conference: Martin v. Blessing (which long-time readers remember as the Sirius XM case) and Marek v. Lane (the Facebook Beacon cy pres case). Both petitions made SCOTUSblog's "Petitions We're Watching" list, which means that the experts there think that those petitions have a better than average chance of being granted--but since "average" means "less than 1%," odds are still long.

    I'll be speaking at the University of Chicago Law School at lunchtime, and...
  • Enviro Scare Tactics Undermine Breast Cancer Awareness Month

    October 11, 2013
    breast_cancer_awarenessOctober is "breast cancer awareness month" thanks to a collaborative campaign arranged by public and private groups united in the mission to fight breast cancer. Their educational efforts can save lives by promoting early detection and healthy lifestyle choices. Yet environmental activists and media are using this campaign as an excuse to scare women about chemicals, and unintentionally, divert their attention from truly useful information, such as the importance of regular breast exams and a healthy diet. For example, USA Today recently produced a story and video designed to...
  • "Ingratitude" at Tesla Motors?

    October 11, 2013
    Mother Jones’ profile of Elon Musk and Tesla Motors trots out a familiar story about industrial policy’s role in the success of infant industries. It also blasts Musk’s Silicon Valley cohorts for their ingratitude in the face of government assistance. But when we look a little more closely, the Mother Jones narrative about Musk’s success breaks down. The relevant program in Tesla Motors’ case is the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) Loan Program, a $25 billion fund established by the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act. The ATVM putatively offers loans to automotive...
  • Don’t Believe the Hype: Your Food Is as Safe as Ever

    October 11, 2013
    frozen-chickenSupporters of big government are taking advantage of a Salmonella outbreak linked to raw chicken to condemn Republican lawmakers and scare consumers about the government shutdown. But, despite the outcries from ...
  • Shut Down Fannie and Freddie Permanently

    October 11, 2013
    Cross-posted from Newsbusters.org “U.S. Government Shutdown Threatening Housing Recovery,” screams the Oct. 2 headline of a shutdown scare screed in Bloomberg BusinessWeek. Wade into the story, however, and we see that what’s really at hand is a mere delay of processing of mortgages because of some employees furloughed at the Federal Housing Administration. Furthermore, as the article explains, the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will remain completely open because ” the government-controlled mortgage aggregators fund operations through fees collected from private lenders”...
  • Are California Droughts Natural or Man Made?

    October 11, 2013
    A ongoing battle in court and public opinion rages in California over the environmental status of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta (both rivers meet, and flow into San Francisco Bay; a rather rare type of system seen in only a handful of places around the world, like the Ganges–Brahmaputra). The status of a small fish called the Delta Smelt, as well as salmon, have led to less water allowance for Central Valley agriculture via California's great waterworks infrastructure, an ongoing shock to the most productive agricultural region in the world. There's little free market in water anywhere, but we can reconcile that over time via a tad more "separation of water and state." I testified in the Water and Power Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives Water and Power...
  • CEI Podcast for October 10, 2013: CEI Files FOIA Requests Over Park Closures

    October 10, 2013
    Senior Attorney and Counsel for Special Projects Hans Bader discusses the case.
  • More Myths About the Government Shutdown

    October 10, 2013
    Young people often don't realize that government shutdowns used to be common, until the middle of the Clinton administration. The George W. Bush presidency was an exception to the rule. The Miami Herald's Glenn Garvin debunks some of the myths promoted by "the chattering classes" (such as left-leaning Washington Post and New York Times columnists) to people too young to remember earlier shutdowns, and people with bad memories.
    • This kind of thing never used to happen. Actually, it used to happen all the time. What’s unusual is the quiet stretch since the last shutdown, when Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton were facing off in 1995. Before that, there were 18 shutdowns in 19 years as various Congresses and presidents squabbled over...
  • Gmail’s Targeted Advertising Accused of Being Wiretapping: Part 1

    October 9, 2013
    It has long been widely known that Google uses software that scans its users’ Gmail messages to generate targeted advertising. Recently, though, a lawsuit has been allowed to proceed in federal court in which the plaintiffs accuse Google of violating the Wiretap Act by scanning user emails. This controversy is nothing new for Google, which has faced numerous privacy challenges since launching Gmail in 2004. In the ongoing case, the plaintiffs base their complaint on the argument that Google’s email scanning violates the Wiretap Act, a federal law that prohibits the interception of wired and...
  • Boston Bus Drivers Illegal Strike

    October 9, 2013
    On October 8, hundreds of Boston Public School union bus drivers went on a surprise strike, which left nearly 33,000 kids without a ride to school.

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