Today’s Links: August 30, 2011


FEDERAL REGULATIONS – Obama: Seven Proposed Regs Would Exceed $1 billion
“President Barack Obama says his administration is considering seven regulations that would cost the U.S. economy more than $1 billion a year. In a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, Obama says his administration is also trying to reduce the burden of government rules.”

CALIFORNIA NANNY-STATE REGULATION – Styrofoam Ban: one side claims jobs; the other, the environment
“Styrofoam food take-out containers may become a thing of the past. California lawmakers are considering such a ban, the first-ever such ban in the country. Supporters say the containers create litter that’s not biodegradable. Opponents fear a ban could cost jobs. [. . .] Two California companies that make Styrofoam products say numerous jobs are on the line, including at restaurants that use the goods, if a ban is approved.”

DRUG MARKETING – Will the FDA Regulate Social Media?
“A blog post from the Public Relations Society of America last week complained that ‘it’s time for the FDA to act and to properly advise’ pharmaceutical manufacturers about what kind of advertising is and isn’t allowed, especially on social-networking sites. PhRMA, a trade association representing pharmaceutical makers, said this month that ‘we continue to wait for FDA’s guidance, and to hope that it comes soon.’”

BIOFUELS – USDA, Departments of Energy and Navy Seek Input from Industry to Advance Biofuels for Military and Commercial Transportation
“Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, and Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus today announced the next step in the creation of a public-private partnership to develop drop-in advanced biofuels. The Secretaries issued a Request for Information (RFI) laying out the Administration’s goals, assumptions, and tools and requesting from industry specific ideas for how to leverage private capital markets to establish a commercially viable drop-in biofuels industry. The critical information gathered through this process will help accelerate the development and use of these biofuels, reduce the Nation’s demand for foreign oil, and strengthen rural America.”

COPYRIGHT – Pirate Bay Founders Respect Copyrights with New Download Site
“Two Pirate Bay founders are ready to respect copyright takedown requests. They yesterday launched new one-click download site Bayfiles. Unlike The Pirate Bay, Bayfiles will directly host the content but will provide no search function; users must have a specific download URL to retrieve material. Such systems make it impossible for third parties to see who might be downloading specific filenames; if infringing links are located, only the uploader’s information is on record.”



Richard Epstein: “The Perils of Price Controls”
“As a nation, we are willing to suffer the potential inconvenience of patenting a drug because only patents can ensure high profits to the company that manufactures the drug. Without the lure of high profits, drug companies would never make the billion dollar investments needed in order to bring new drugs to market. Ironically, however, once these drugs reach the market, there are rarely shortages. The marginal cost of drug production is far below the market price, so that the drug manufacturers will take strenuous steps, including complex licensing agreements—often to multiple licensees—to keep ample supplies of safe drugs available for sale for as long as their patents last.”

Dave Weigel: “Every Day is a Rainy Day”
“What will be cut in order to pay for Irene? Sorry, we don’t know. If FEMA asks for a supplemental funding bill, we’ll have that fight. Coburn’s still in the Senate, there’s no shortage of projects he thinks we can cut, and some cuts can be so back-loaded that they don’t touch infrastructure funding. ‘Anything could be cut,’ says Coburn’s communications director, John Hart. ‘We’ve identified $9 trillion in cuts. Part of the Oklahoma City bombing disaster money was offset in the 1990s.’”

Walter Olson: “Devil’s Bargain: Wall St. & the Martin Act.”
“Business leaders are fuming over Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s nervy use of the Martin Act, the state law that gives him super-broad powers to investigate and press charges against alleged financial fraud. [. . .] But it’s a mistake to see Schneiderman’s left-tilting politics as the main source of the problem. As became clear under the reign of then-AG Eliot Spitzer, the trouble is with the state of the Martin Act itself. And the state of that law results from a devil’s deal that many leading New York City firms were happy enough to accept — until it blew up in the complacent faces of their execs and lawyers.”