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OpenMarket: August 2015

  • Study "Wounds" the Carbohydrate-Insulin Theory of Obesity

    August 24, 2015

    Last week a very interesting and, by all accounts, very well-done study made waves among the nutritional science community. For many years, the idea that reducing carbohydrates is the most effective way to reduce fat due to its effect on insulin has been rapidly gaining in popularity.

    Prominent researchers like Dr. Robert Lustig (who famously called sugar a “poison”), and Gary Taubes (author of Good Calories, Bad Calories) have promoted the idea that it’s not just about how much you eat, but what you eat, that leads to obesity. Specifically, that carbohydrates and sugar cause a cascade of problems...

  • CEI's Battled Business Bureau: The Week in Regulation

    August 24, 2015

    Nearly 2,000 Federal Register pages contain regulations for everything from pay ratios to apricots.

    On to the data:

    • Last week, 76 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 83 the previous week.
    • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 13 minutes.
    • So far in 2015, 2,105 final regulations have been published in the Federal Register. At that pace, there will be a total of 3,248 new regulations this year, which would be several hundred fewer rules than the usual total of 3,500-plus.
    • Last week, 1,993 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,285 pages the previous week.
    • Currently at 49,073 pages, the 2015 Federal Register is on pace for 74,969 pages.
    • Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $...
  • Savers Oppose "Fiduciary Rule" Sold by Labor Department as "Protecting" Them

    August 21, 2015

    “A fundamental shift in Wall Street culture” is what the Department of Labor is aiming for with the “fiduciary rule.” That’s what DOL Deputy Assistant Secretary Tim Hauser said in an interview with FinancialPlanning.com during recent hearings on the proposed regulation that has been called “Obamacare for Your IRA.”

    But the vast majority of comments submitted on the rule—most of which came far away from Wall Street—called on the DOL to change its own culture of paternalism, an analysis by the Competitive Enterprise Institute shows. Many of these comments took aim at the DOL’s explicit contention in the rule, which I have written about here and...

  • Feds Double Down on Failed Affordable Housing Mandates

    August 21, 2015

    Federal affordable housing mandates do little to increase homeownership rates, but they did help cause a devastating financial crisis in 2008 by encouraging risky lending.

    Yet the Federal Housing Finance Agency is doubling down on failure by ratcheting up those mandates. Its head, Mel Watt, was appointed by the President in 2013, even though the policies he promoted in Congress helped cause the financial crisis.

  • The FTC Targets Apple Music: Part III

    August 21, 2015

    This is the third in a series of essays on the FTC’s investigation of Apple Music. In Part II of this series, we demonstrated that, even if Apple were to ban rival music services from offering iOS apps, competition in the smartphone market would significantly mitigate any threat to competition in the music streaming market. This section will ignore this effect and look instead at how Apple’s actual actions, unhindered by consumers’ ability to switch phones, would affect competition in the music streaming market.

    Recall from Part I that although Apple imposes several restrictions on rival music streaming services, these restrictions are largely illusory because they apply only to sales made through these services’ iOS apps. Any consumer can...

  • Back to School Lunch Scares

    August 19, 2015

    It’s back to school season, which for many parents means spending money on new clothes, shuttling young people from sports games to ballet, and increasingly, worrying about the kind of nutrition their kids are getting when they’re away from the home.

    This is understandable since they are inundated with hyperbolic headlines like “sugary drinks kill,” “death by salt,” and “processed meat causes cancer”. It’s enough to add a few gray hairs to any parent’s head. While it’s important to teach kids about proper...

  • NLRB Denies Petition to Form College Athlete Union, for Now

    August 18, 2015

    The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) yesterday denied a petition by Northwestern University football players to form a union. While this is a rare show of restraint by a labor board that, under the Obama administration, has often acted like a pro-union advocate, the ruling is on such narrow grounds that it’s difficult to draw any broader conclusions from it.

    A ruling in favor of the Northwestern union petitioners would have affected all private schools in the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) top division, a mere 17 schools of 125. That raises the question: Would the Board have ruled differently if its decision were to apply across the board, or at least to the...

  • The NLRB Declines Jurisdiction in College Athlete Unionization Case

    August 18, 2015

    The National Labor Relations Board has declined the opportunity to rule on whether or not college athletes are employees and can therefore be unionized. The petition was brought by the College Athletes Players Association which desired election as the union for Northwestern University college athletes.

    CEI submitted an amicus brief in the case. In the brief, we pointed out the likely true motivation behind the push to unionize student athletes, and the problems...

  • New York Times Editorial Board Clueless on Smart Car Safety and Security

    August 18, 2015

    On Sunday, August 9, The New York Times ran an editorial, “Protecting Cars from Hackers,” discussing the recent publicized hacking incidents of Fiat Chrysler and Tesla vehicles, with Fiat Chrysler voluntarily recalling 1.4 million vehicles to fix the bug.

    As our cars get smarter, we can expect more of these types of incidents. To be sure, there are new risks presented by the rise of smart cars—particularly when automated systems take over driving task...

  • "Flypocalypse" Shows Air Traffic Control Too Important to Be Left to FAA

    August 18, 2015

    This past Saturday, hundreds of flights were delayed or canceled due to an air traffic control software glitch in the Washington, D.C. area. Naturally, #flypocalypse began trending on Twitter. Initially, the Federal Aviation Administration denied reports that their brand-new En Route Automation Modernization (ERAM) system was responsible. Yesterday, FAA officials admitted ERAM was the culprit.

    ERAM is a critical component of the FAA’s NextGen air traffic control modernization program. In theory, it offers greatly...

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