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OpenMarket: Marc Scribner

  • Congress Vehemently Opposed to Reading the Legislation It Votes On

    July 6, 2009
    The Washington Times ran a great editorial this morning regarding the majority of Congress's continued refusal to actually read the bills before voting on them.
    No simpler requirement for good government could be imagined. When what is at stake is a revolutionary change in the entire organization of 17 percent of the economy - not to mention the delivery of services that could mean the difference between life and death for millions of Americans each year - it is basic common sense to insist that our lawmakers know and understand what they are voting on - and that includes the fine print.

    Recall the passing of Waxman-Markey by the House, which had 300 pages added 18 hours before the floor vote--...
  • Obama Administration's Anti-Travel Policies Hit New Low

    June 22, 2009
    A few weeks ago, I wrote about the new passport requirements implemented at the U.S.-Canada border. As I noted at the time, most Americans--including two former presidents--were unaware of this change in policy, which will increase the travel costs by $500 for the average American family.

    Now the Obama administration is imposing new restrictions on civilian aviation, requiring private pilots to reveal detailed personal information about their passengers and to seek government permission to leave the country, a first in American history. Even more frightening is the Department of Homeland Security's claim that it is free to conduct random, warrantless searches of civilian aircraft. From a concerned...
  • Earmarks By Another Name

    June 16, 2009
    During the 2008 presidential campaign and even in the months following President Barack Obama's election, Democrats in Congress and the administration have said with straight faces that the "stimulus" package would contain no earmarks. They focused on a pet project of some Illinois politicians, including then-Senator Barack Obama--the FutureGen clean-coal power plant. This is what was said then:
    “We don’t want any room for Republicans or Democrats to put earmarks in — even to worthy projects,” said a West Wing aide.

    FutureGen is a public-private partnership seeking to build a clean-coal power plant in Mattoon, Ill. It wants federal funds to complete the billion-dollar-...
  • Going on 20: The Big Dig Disaster Continues

    June 9, 2009
    Remember Boston's "Big Dig?" If not, here's a brief recap: It's the highway project/death trap originally budgeted for $2.6 billion that ended up costing taxpayers nearly $15 billion--giving it the honor of "Most Expensive Public Works Project in U.S. History" (and let's hope it stays that way). It took more than a decade-and-a-half to complete, and apparently it...
  • Greider: Democrats Not Stalinist Enough

    June 8, 2009
    If you're searching for a good piece of bizarre, whacked-out political "analysis," look no further than William Greider's latest column in the Nation. Greider, a veteran journalist, is known for coining the term "Nader's Raiders" in the late '60s, and for authoring a book on globalization, One World, Ready or Not, which even the progressive economist Paul Krugman described as "a thoroughly silly book." Greider's column is really just another bad sales pitch for his latest train-wreck tome, Come Home, America, but it should at least be interesting to see how many more times Nation editors are able to recycle...
  • Public Utility Land Grab Hits a Snag

    June 4, 2009
    In Springfield, Missouri, the city-owned utility provider--City Utilities--recently attempted to seize a parcel of downtown property in order to build a bus terminal. The owner, Becky Spence, planned to build a luxury hotel that would have been the tallest building in Springfield if completed. KOLR/KSFX reports:
    Spence says when CU made it known it wanted to take her land, she tried to compromise.  She says she met with CU managers, offering a portion of the land for the bus terminal.  The rest would be for her hotel.

    Spence says City Utilities rejected the offer.  She says she was surprised when CU brought up eminent domain because a study commissioned by CU to find an ideal piece of land ranked her property pretty low on the list.  That's because the land sits 22 feet below street level.  The bus station is...
  • Stupid Border Tricks

    June 2, 2009
    Beginning today, American and Canadian citizens will now be required to carry new forms of government identification in order to cross the shared border. Former Presidents Bush and Clinton were caught by surprise yesterday when asked about the measure by the former Canadian ambassador to the United States. Most Americans are probably just as surprised.

    Given that we're in the midst of a government-worsened global recession, it seems silly to raise the cost of doing business with our number one trading partner--unless you're living in Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano's fantasy world. Excluding the increased costs that...
  • Against Freedom, Against Art, Against Reality

    May 29, 2009
    The crusade against film depictions of tobacco smoking is once again gaining momentum. The American Medical Association Alliance, in coalition with several other well-funded special interests, has launched a campaign called “Which Movie Studios Will Cause the Most Youth to Start Smoking This Summer?” The campaign, among other things, calls for an automatic "R" rating for any movie that depicts tobacco smoking.

    The New York Times reports:
    Studios, under pressure from health groups, have been urging filmmakers to trim tobacco scenes but have balked at an outright ban, citing the need for artistic license. An association spokeswoman, Angela Belden Martinez, noted that the movie industry now includes antismoking announcements on DVDs.

    “The industry understands the concerns of parents about smoking...
  • Anti-GMO Zealots vs. Starving Zimbabweans

    May 29, 2009
    In Zimbabwe, the most food aid-dependent country in the world, officials and self-styled "consumer activists" have begun raiding shops suspected of selling genetically-modified food, The Zimbabwean reported earlier this week.

    [The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe] which fights for the rights of consumers last week started to inspect and recommend that shops selling GMO foods should be closed. CCZ said the GMO foods which have flooded Zimbabwe were mostly powered milk, meal-mealie, rice and chicken.

    “We have received a lot of reports of people, mainly children, getting sick after consuming the foods which in most cases will be expired,” said Comfort Muchekeza, the CCZ spokesperson. “We...
  • Laffer Curve No Laughing Matter

    May 26, 2009
    The Laffer curve is the economic model that purports to demonstrate that by decreasing marginal tax rates, tax receipts may actually increase. It is a central concept of supply-side economics, famously denounced by George H.W. Bush as "voodoo economics" during his Republican presidential primary run against Ronald Reagan. Setting aside the debate over what constitutes an "optimal level of taxation" and the Laffer curve's other political implications, Maryland provides a good example of how "soak-the-rich" tax policies can lead to disastrous fiscal results.

    From the Wall Street Journal:
    Maryland couldn't balance its budget last year, so the state tried to close the shortfall by fleecing the wealthy. Politicians in Annapolis created a millionaire tax bracket, raising the top marginal income-tax rate to 6.25...

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