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OpenMarket: Doug Bandow

  • Increasingly Lost Property Rights

    January 30, 2009
    Most people probably think "wetlands" should be wet.  But not in the view of federal bureaucrats.  Land can be perfectly dry--indeed, never have the slightest pool of standing water--and still be a "wetland" in Washington's view.  And it turns out that having the Supreme Court on your side isn't enough to protect you.

    Writes Reed Hopper in the Detroit News:
    After hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorneys fees and 14 years of court battles with no end in sight, Michigan's John Rapanos finally gave up his fight to defend himself against accusations that he illegally filled wetlands on his private property in violation of the Clean Water Act.

    Despite winning his case in the U.S. Supreme Court, Rapanos recently settled it with the federal government....
  • James Hansen: Ideologue or Scientist?

    January 30, 2009
    James Hansen of NASA is one of the leading climate alarmists, and possesses a scientific credibility lacking in the Goracle.  But Hansen really has become a parody of himself, more activist than scientist.  His supervisor at NASA was a skeptic.  And as Bill Steigerwald of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review wrote a year ago:
    If you've paid any attention to the global warming debate, you've heard of James Hansen.

    Hansen is the politicized NASA climate scientist who virtually invented the global warming issue in the broiling summer of 1988 when he was the star doomsayer at Senate hearings called by Al Gore.

    Since then, Hansen has received better press than Mother Teresa. In hundreds of...
  • We're Here from the Government to Hurt You (the Toymakers)

    January 30, 2009
    That old line about "we're here from the government to help you" always garners a laugh.  But small toymakers are crying.  Investigative columnist Timothy Carney looks at how the big toymakers are using new regulations to their benefit:
    Thousands of self-employed businessmen, artists, and boutique owners who make or deal in hand-crafted children’s toys, clothes, or furniture could be out of work next month. A 2008 federal law, with the salutary-sounding name “Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act,” could drive these craftsmen out of business.

    Big toymakers, who helped write the bill, are ready for the regulations that will go into effect Feb. 10, while smaller toymakers look likely to suffer. It’s another example of how...
  • What NASA Thinks of James Hansen

    January 29, 2009
    James Hansen of NASA has become one of the leading climate alarmists.  Quite simply, the world is about to end.  That being the case, industry executives who don't toe the line (only wrecking the economy can save humanity from destruction) should be tried in a kind of environmental Nuremberg Trial.

    It turns out that Hansen's supervisor, at least, was not so enamored of his work.  Reports the Spectator in London:
    But now the US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works reports that James Hansen’s former supervisor, retired senior NASA atmospheric scientist Dr. John S. Theon...
  • Land of Liberty? No Longer in Belmont, California

    January 27, 2009
    I'll confess that I've quietly applauded the spread of no smoking establishments.  I don't believe the government should ban smoking in restaurants, bars, and airplanes, but I've enjoyed the new smoke-free atmosphere.

    Nevertheless, it should not be a matter of the law.  The health argument misses the larger point:  people should be free to make choices, and that includes not only smoking, but smoking in restaurants, bars, and airplanes so long as the owners will let them do so.  People who don't like smoke can go (and work) elsewhere.

    There's no reason that every business must have the same rules.  Why, for instance, in California, a state of 37 million people, is it illegal for even one bar in one city to allow smoking?  This is fascism with a human face, the demand that everyone else submit to one's personal preferences, never mind what everyone else desires.

    Now a town in...
  • The Thrilling Feeling of Spending Other People's Money

    January 27, 2009
    There's nothing quite like using someone else's credit card. No wonder the Washington Post headlined a front-page article today: "Stimulus Bill Sends Thrill Through Region." It's enough to give a local pol or bureaucrat the chills! Just think of the fun of wasting cash provided by people around the country for local boondoggles that your own taxpayers would never pay for!

    Reports the Post:
    As Congress prepares legislation to pump more than $800 billion into the economy, governments in the Washington region are lining up for their share: dollars that could mobilize stalled projects to mend water mains, repave roads and rebuild schools, as well as plug other budgetary holes.


    Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) said yesterday that a stimulus...
  • Shock, Shock--Politics Infects Federal Bail-Out

    January 22, 2009
    Who would have imagined that the honorable Barney Frank, head of the House Financial Services Committee and chief culprit in the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac disaster, would manipulate the bank bail-out for the benefit of his friends!?

    Reports the Wall Street Journal:
    Troubled OneUnited Bank in Boston didn't look much like a candidate for aid from the Treasury Department's bank bailout fund last fall.

    The Treasury had said it would give money only to healthy banks, to jump-start lending. But OneUnited had seen most of its capital evaporate. Moreover, it was under attack from its regulators for allegations of poor lending practices and executive-pay abuses, including owning a Porsche for its executives' use.

    Nonetheless, in December OneUnited got a $12 million injection from the...
  • Waste Not, Want Not ... Or Else!

    January 21, 2009
    The British government is looking after its people, in a motherly sort of way.  It plans to send government officials door-to-door to tell people not to waste food.  Really.

    Reports the Daily Telegraph:
    Householders are to be visited by officials offering advice on cooking with leftovers, in a Government initiative to reduce the amount of food that gets thrown away.

    Home cooks will also be told what size portions to prepare, taught to understand "best before" dates and urged to make more use of their freezers.

    The door-to-door campaign, which starts tomorrow, will be funded by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), a Government agency charged with reducing household waste.

    The officials will be called "food champions". However, they were...
  • President Barack Obama Already Dealing with Global Warming

    January 20, 2009
    Anyone who lives in the nation's capital knows that it has been FREEZING, with well below average temperatures. Even today, inauguration day, started out with the wind chill in single digits. It's good to know that the president already is seeking to fulfill his promise to halt global warming. After all, as candidate Barack Obama told us in his June speech celebrating having locked up the Democratic Party nomination
    "This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal."

    Of course, I have to say--as a warm weather person, I think we've had a bit too much planet healing lately!
  • We Can't Afford Much More Stimulus!

    January 15, 2009
    The deficit for this year already exceeds that for all of last year.  Reports Reuters:
    The United States racked up a record $485 billion deficit for the first three months of fiscal 2009, exceeding the $455 billion gap for all of the previous year, the U.S. Treasury said on Tuesday.

    In December, the government posted a deficit of $83.62 billion versus a year-ago surplus of $48.26 billion -- a wide swing that the Treasury attributed to a steep drop in corporate tax receipts and outlays from its financial rescue fund.

    The December budget gap was in line with consensus forecasts of an $83 billion deficit from economists polled by Reuters.

    The combined October, November and December deficit was nearly five times the year-ago budget hole of $107 billion, according to Treasury data.

    The ballooning...

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