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  • Europe Takes a Stab at the Multimedia Revolution

    October 17, 2006
    Sometimes, a regulatory idea comes along that is so stupid and offensive, one assumes it couldn't actually be real. "Who could possibly think this is a good idea?" one asks. This morning it's deja vu all over again with news that the EU wants to force anyone posting video online to be licensed as if they were a television broadcast network. That means that CNN International and your favorite video blogger are now looking at the same regulatory compliance burden. Taking video clips with your cell phone and putting them on YouTube or MySpace, by this defintion, makes you an "online broadcaster." Fortunately, for the moment, only Slovakia has stepped forward to officially embrace this proposal. On that note, Slovakian video bloggers beware. Let's just make sure no one tells the FCC about this. They may not go this far...
  • A Storm of Scientific Controversy on Capitol Hill

    October 17, 2006

    The CEI email server is abuzz this morning with news of an upcoming briefing on global warming and hurricanes being put on by the American Meteorological Society. Will the assembled panel give us real data and empirical observations, or a lot of emotionally-fueled nonsense? Only attendees will know for sure. If you plan on being in the vicinity of the Russell House Office Building this Friday between noon and 2pm, stop in for an unpriced buffet lunch and lots of climate talk.

    For our take on the global warming, hurricanes and the (public policy) aftermath of Katrina, see this, by Marlo and Iain.

  • The Sleeping Pill Ate My Homework

    October 17, 2006

    A couple of months back, US Congressman Patrick Kennedy drove
    his car into a security barricade near the Capitol building early one Thursday
    morning, leading many observers to think this scion of Camelot had been
    throwing back a few too many at the Hawk ‘n' Dove, a Capitol Hill bar where,
    according to the Boston
    Herald
    , he'd been seen drinking earlier that evening. But, “no,” said Paddy. “I consumed no alcohol prior to the incident.” In an excuse reminiscent of ‘the dog ate my
    homework,' Kennedy said it was his
    sleeping pills that did it
    .

  • Great Modern Economists, Podcast Style

    October 16, 2006

    Thanks to Fred for passing along (by way of Don Boudreaux) the link to the EconTalk podcast for this week. Host Russ Roberts interviews Walter Williams about his influences, his intellectual journey and his choice of grocery stores.

  • When Cosmic Rays Attack

    October 16, 2006

    Our friend Steve Milloy has an excellent column on a new global warming study out of Denmark, and the unsurprising reasons it doesn't seem to be getting the coverage every alarmist publication does.

  • Race-Based Student Assignments

    October 16, 2006
    In a case pending before the Supreme Court, the Seattle School District argues that it should be allowed to use race when assigning students to schools. It argues that its decision to use race should receive deference because it knows better than the courts how to run a school system. CEI filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court arguing that the school district shouldn't get any special deference. Our brief points out that the Seattle Schools have made wacky statements, such as claiming that planning ahead is acting white, that “individualism” is a form of “cultural racism,” and that minorities cannot be racist. These statements undercut the school district's claim that it has special insight into race-related educational issues to which the courts should defer. When the government seeks to treat people differently based on their race...
  • She's Huge in Europe

    October 13, 2006
    More fame for Angela! Her concise and pithy assessment of the EU's proposed chemical regulations made it as environmental news service Greenwire's Quote of the Day: "Quite frankly they have no idea what they are doing in Europe." — Angela Logomasini of Competitive Enterprise Institute, on a sweeping European Union plan for regulating chemicals. Read about the most recent developments with the program here.
  • Why All of Human History Has Been Leading Toward Google

    October 13, 2006
    Former Random House editorial director Jason Epstein has an interesting take on Google's place in history, and how the Google Library project could be the next step in the evolution of human knowledge. He waxes a bit much when he suggests that Google's compromise with the Chinese government “calls to mind the expulsion, naked and trembling, of our ancestral parents from prelapsarian Eden,” but overall it's a good piece. One of the most interesting details is the existence of the world's first “ATM for books” — and the fact that it's only a few blocks away form where Open Market is generally written:...
  • Making Decisions on the Fly

    October 13, 2006
    Our occasional journalisitic nemesis George Monbiot, as part of the promotional flurry surrounding his new book, is taking the presidents and directors of big green groups in the UK to task. Are they not working hard enough? As it turns out, they're working all too hard, traveling all over the globe for conferences and speeches and - you guessed it - emitting that ole devil called CO2 everywhere they go. Tony Juniper of Friends of the Earth responded to the scolding with an appeal to necessity, saying “We do all we can to cut travel but we need to do some flying to make decisions.” It's not clear why airborne decision making is so essential to running a large organization, but I guess that...
  • Nobel Laureate Edmund Phelps opposes minimum wage

    October 12, 2006
    There's a saying that the most revealing part of Academy Awards speeches is who isn't thanked. There is often a similar truism about policy documents signed by economists. This should be kept in mind with Wednesday's statement released by the union-backed Economic Policy Institute that boasted the signatures of more than 600 economists, including 5 Nobel Laureates. The statement read, “We believe that a modest increase in the minimum wage would improve that well-being of low-wage workers and would not have the adverse effects that critics have claimed.” The “critics” referred to are the bulk of economists who dominate the profession. As Bloomberg noted in August, “prominent economists of all ideological persuasions” long opposed the minimum wage based on...

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