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OpenMarket: John Berlau

  • Two Cheers for House Small Business Committee

    July 20, 2007
    As the 110th Congress has passed its six-month mark, there is one committee that has significantly improved. This is the House Small Business Committee, which has expanded its scope to look at not just the traditional issues of Small Business Administration loans and grants, but the crushing regulatory burden facing small business in particular. New Chairman Nydia Velazquez and Ranking Member Steve Chabot deserve credit for pursuing investigations of and exploring bipartisan solutions for problematic rules.

    At first glance, as well as a glance at voting records, Chabot and Velazquez appear to have little in common policy-wise. Chabot is a conservative from Ohio, and Velazquez is a liberal from the Bronx. Yet both recognize that sometimes well-intentioned regulations can hurt the "little guy," and have used the committee as a bully pulpit to help rein in burdensome red tape.

  • Live Earth: Global warming has "jumped the shark"

    July 5, 2007
    This weekend, rock stars will jet around the world, cars and buses will clog traffic, and elaborate sound stages will be set up to burn massive amounts of fuel to send the message to fans at home that they better conserve their energy or face the allegedly dire threat of global warming.

    The Live Earth concerts, which start this Saturday, July 7, are also one last chance for Baby Boomers to relive the "flower power" activism of the '60s. In a recent interview in Rolling Stone, former Vice President Al Gore invoked music icon Bob Dylan to promote the importance of these concerts. Citing Dylan's '60 anthem "The Times They Are A-Changin'". Gore rambled: "What's the...
  • Entrepreneurs' victory as House passes Sarbox relief

    June 30, 2007
    Entrepreneurs savored a small but significant victory last night in a surprise House vote that extended for one year an exemption for small public companies from burdensome requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley act. The measure's success and support from a significant number of Democrats once again illustrates that Sarbanes-Oxley relief is has become a populist issue. Much of the public now correctly associates Sarbox with the burdens it places on honest entrepreneurial firms such as the Max & Erma's regional hamburger chain, rather than its intended effort rein in companies like Enron.

  • Teachers' "compelled speech" victory could spill over to farmers

    June 16, 2007
    Hans, you're right that the Supreme Court's ruling yesterday in Davenport v. Washington Education Association was a victory for the First Amendment.

    After the Washington state Supreme Court turned the First Amendment, as you said, upside down, by ruling that the state initiative requiring consent of teachers for union political advocacy violates the union's free speech rights, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the First Amendment gives the greater protection to individual teachers from being forced to fund speech they disagree with. In the press release CEI sent out yesterday hailing the teachers' victory that we had argued for when...
  • Coburn's House friends also said no to Rachel

    May 30, 2007
    Angela, nice post and op-ed.

    But I've got some good news for you. Coburn isn't all alone in his crusade to stop Congress from honoring Rachel Carson. He has some good friends in the U.S. House of Representatives. There, in April, 53 representatives voted against naming the post office after Carson. Another 3 voted "present," which also often signals symbolic opposition to a bill.

    The bill passed the House anyway. Unlike the Senate, where a minority of Senators or even one Senator has tremendous power to block a bill, the House is pretty much run by majority rule.

    Still the fact that there were a good number of dissenters in the House may embolden some more Senators to join Coburn and just...
  • Bush and Dem leaders disappoint on SOX reform -- but mavericks make inroads

    May 16, 2007
    My friend Phil Kerpen rightly takes to task the Congression Democratic leadership in his column on National Review Online for what seems to be their forgetfullness on their pre-election promises to scale back Sarbanes-Oxley.

    Kindly citing a post of mine in Open Market that appeared in October, Kerpen notes many Democratic statements in support of Sarbox relief, including Pelosi's statement on CNBC two weeks before the election: "I don't think you need the whole package."

    Chuck Schumer also criticized the excesses of the law in a Wall Street Journal op-ed he co-wrote a few days before Election 2006. Schumer and New York City's liberal...
  • The Honor of Being 'Lamberted'

    May 4, 2007
    I have recently been informed that a couple weeks ago I had the distinct honor of being 'Lamberted.' That is, I was the object of a tirade by Australian blogger Tim Lambert, a computer science professor who fancies himself an expert on everything from DDT to climate change.

    Lambert is one of the "DDT deniers" I reference in my book Eco-Freaks: Environmentalism Is Hazaardous to Your Health. Following the lead of his idol, Silent Spring author Rachel Carson, Lambert continues to promote the untruth that third-world countries ceased using DDT because the insecticide became ineffective due to mosquito resistance. Eco-Freaks...
  • Muir's Meanness and Pinchot's practicality

    April 12, 2007
    Eli, I do indeed praise Gifford Pinchot, Theodore Roosevelt's forestry chief, in Eco-Freaks. I point out, however, that he was at sword's ends with Muir over many issues, including the damming of Hetch Hetchy valley to provide water to San Francisco. (Pinchot supported it, while Muir was staunchly opposed. Even today, the Sierra Club is trying to get it undammed. But San Francisco pols usually allied with them, such as Barbara Boxer and Nancy Pelosi, have basically told them to go jump in the dam.")

    Pinchot and Roosevelt were true conservationists, as am I, whereas Muir was a preservationist. Unfortunately, today's green groups have...
  • The Don Imuses of Environmentalism

    April 12, 2007
    Here are some outrageous and racist comments by environmentalists. These are compiled and documented in my book Eco-Freaks: Environmentalism Is Hazardous to Your Health.

    John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club:
    Muir said American Indians are "mostly ugly, and some of them altogether hideous." They "seemed to have no right place in the landscape," he continued. Muir is still honored without qualification on the Sierra Club web site, which proclaims, "John Muir is as relevant today as he was over 100 years ago."

    Paul Ehrlich, influential "overpopulation" guru and professor of population studies at Stanford University:
    In his best-selling book, The...
  • YouTube on fire with "Cigarette" song

    April 6, 2007
    These days even expressing ambiguity about cigarettes can put you in danger of the anti-smoking thought police. Conversing about the pleasure of smoking or the difficulties of quitting can get you called a shill for tobacco companies.

    So Canadian singer Jeremy Fisher is at the center of a storm with the video for his song "Cigarette." The song compares relationships and breakups with the pains and pleasure of smoking and trying to quit. It features lines like, "I'll be your cigarette ... Good or bad, I'm just your habit." Fisher, who sings in the lite alternative rock style of Ben Folds, makes the tune infectious. You can't help but tap your foot and sing along.

    But it's the video itself that's really making YouTube go aflame. It features a dancing cigarette, like those in commercials of old. Needless to say, it's attracting...


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