Nicole Ciandella

OPINION

PAUL HOWARD and STEPHEN PARENTE: “ObamaCare Faces the Implementation Iceberg
“Defenders of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, can be forgiven for some post-election triumphalism. But their joy is likely to be short lived. Because the law put off implementation of most key provisions until after the 2012 election, voters cast their ballots on November 6 without knowing what Obamacare’s true effect will be on their tax bills, insurance costs, or access to care.”

BENJAMIN WALLACE-WELLS: “The Truce On Drugs
“Marijuana has remained mostly illegal, even as many Americans have come to consider it harmless and normal, and so it now occupies a uniquely ambiguous place in American law and life. There are a few places in the United States that have been known for decades for marijuana—far-northern California, Kentucky—where people are comfortable with sedition, and willing to live outside of the law. But during the last decade, as growing and selling marijuana began to edge out of the shadows, these places have become the sites of this country’s first experiments with tacit decriminalization. And so the business has shifted, too. ‘We have to face facts,’ says a veteran California grower named Anna Hamilton. ‘We are in a commodity business.’”

WILL OREMUS: “That Facebook Copyright Notice Is Still a Hoax”
“Back in June, the hoax capitalized on people’s uncertainty over Facebook’s debut as a publicly traded company, which in itself had no bearing on users’ privacy rights or copyright protections. This time it’s playing on people’s confusion about Facebook’s proposed changes to its terms of service. The proposed changes are real, but no status update that you post will have any bearing on how they affect you.”

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OPINION

DIANA FURCHTGOTT-ROTH: “With Ethanol, Obama Ignores Common Sense
“Since being re-elected, in a triumph of political loyalty over consumer protection, President Obama has refused to waive the federal requirement that 13 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol be blended in 2013 with gasoline. In making that decision on November 16, Mr. Obama brushed aside evidence that dedicating corn to ethanol, rather than to animal feed and other food uses, has contributed to a rise in prices.”

AMITY SHLAES: “2013 Looks a Lot Like 1937 in Four Fearsome Ways
“Will 2013 be 1937? This is the question many analysts are posing as the stock market has dropped after the U.S. election. On Nov. 16, they noted that industrial production, a crucial figure, dropped as well. In this case, ’1937′ means a market drop similar to the one after the re-election of another Democratic president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, in 1936.”

DEREK THOMPSON: “The Other Economic Cliff: Why Business Investment Is Really Nosediving
“For the moment, imagine two American economies. The Home Economy and the Away Economy. In the Home Economy, there is mostly good news to report, so long as Washington doesn’t screw it up. [...] Meanwhile, in the Away Economy, there is a world of precarious, scary, and outright depressing news, which is weighing on large corporations that tend to make more than half of their income from customers outside the U.S. GE and Pfizer, for example, are listed in U.S. stock indices.”

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On November 15, CEI hosted a premiere party for “I, Pencil: The Movie,” our animated adaptation of Leonard E. Read’s essay. You can watch the film and extended educational commentaries at IPencilMovie.org.

See photos of the premiere party below.

Photographers: William Yeatman and Evan Banks

OPINION

JORDAN BLOOM: “An Anti-IP Turn for the GOP? (UPDATE: RSC disowns and pulls the brief)
“A Republican Study Committee policy brief released today to members of the House Conservative Caucus and various think tanks lays out ‘three myths about copyright law’ and some ways to go about correcting what many see as a broken system. Derek Khanna, the RSC staffer who authored the paper, acknowledges an important role for intellectual property while also pointing out how badly the current system has gone off track. [...] [UPDATE Saturday 4:48 pm]: The RSC has now taken down the brief and disowned it via this memo from Executive Director Paul Teller.”

EDWARD J. PINTO: “The Next Housing Bailout? Big Trouble Brewing at the FHA
“While these are welcome trends, figures released today from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) throw a sobering splash of cold water. FHA’s FY 2012 Actuarial Study for its main single family program shows that its capital position has turned negative, by $13.5 billion. That’s a shift of $23 billion in economic value in a single year, and it puts the 78-year-old agency $34.5 billion short of its legal capital requirement.  If it were a private company, it would be shut down.”

GREG BEATO: “Big Brother’s Border Blindness
“Long before Google Street View existed, long before we started sending out alerts every time we breached the perimeter of Starbucks, the U.S. government embarked on an epic quest to establish a ‘virtual’ fence along the Mexican border. The year was 1997. And while the U.S. Border Patrol’s surveillance technology then consisted primarily of sunglasses, border hawks and bureaucrats dreamed of a thin technological line of motion sensors, infrared cameras, and video-driven command centers producing the same sort of omniscience we now exert over 7-Eleven parking lots. To realize this bold but improbable vision, Congress approved funds for a pilot project called the Integrated Surveillance Intelligence System, or ISIS.  Thus began a long stretch of failure[.]”

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OPINION

NAOMI ROVNICK: “The Great Firewall of China looms higher around the Communist Party congress
“China’s biggest political event for a decade is also its biggest secret. With the Communist Party meeting in Beijing for its 18th Congress, the country’s infamous censors are on high alert. [...] Google access is patchy. On Friday, data on Google’s own transparency report, which provides data on traffic worldwide, showed a marked and unusual drop in traffic from China.”

MATT YGLESIAS: “How Cheap Will Legal Marijuana Be in Colorado and Washington?
“Back in July, I learned the striking fact that if marijuana were fully legal, a decent high could be had for a few cents. Now that Colorado and Washington have legalized marijuana for recreational purposes—no ‘medical marijuana’ fig leaf here or even Dutch-style toleration—will pot prices crater? Almost certainly not. For starters, both states are trying to make money off pot. They envision a legal framework broadly modeled on alcohol regulation with licensing schemes for production, retailing, and distribution of marijuana, coupled with laws against underage consumption and driving while intoxicated.”

REBECCA J. ROSEN: “The Places Where America’s Drones Are Striking, Now on Instagram
“Technology has countervailing effects. We can send a battle by air to a land we have never set foot in, laying previously unimaginable distance between us and our wars. But at the same time we can see on a device in our pocket a satellite picture of these places so remote. Maybe, Bridle writes, the instant connectivity of our world can be a platform not just for faster information, but for deeper empathy for people who live a world away.”

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OPINION

MIKE BOSTOCK and SHAN CARTER: “512 Paths to the White House
“If Mr. Romney loses Florida, he has only one way to victory: through all the other battleground states. He has led most polls there, however, and is the favorite. If Mr. Romney wins Florida, he has 75 paths open to him.”

GROVER G. NORQUIST and ANDREA CAMPBELL: “Are Taxes Too Damn High?
“The U.S. government was created to maximize liberty. Unlike the European nations Campbell offers as models for how much Americans should be taxed, the United States was not organized around defending or promoting historical land claims or one religion, tribe, or ethnicity. Americans are a people of the book: the Constitution. According to the founders, government should play a limited role in the lives of Americans, by providing for a common defense, the rule of law, property rights, and a justice system that protects them.”

DAVID WEIGEL: “Coal Country and Obama: Much Ado About Not Much
“No one should doubt that Mitt Romney will outperform John McCain in the coal countries of Ohio and Pennsylvania. The problem: He can gain tens of thousands of votes there, and still lose, because this vote isn’t growing, and Democrats have already been winning with smaller margins of it.”

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OPINION

M.C.K.: “They Did Not Have to Be So Unfair
“On one side of the ledger, we see that the big banks are bigger than ever, more than 90% of the gains in GDP in the past four years have accrued to those in the top 1% of the income distribution, and total Wall Street pay is still near record highs despite a sharp drop in employment. On the other, we find that median net worth fell by 40% since 2007, real median income is still 8% lower than in 2007, there are still more than 7 million fewer full-time jobs than in 2007, and there have been at least 4 million foreclosures, many of which could have been prevented through investor-friendly government policies.”

WILL OREMUS: “Did Facebook Censor an Anti-Obama Meme?”
“Facebook this week reportedly took down a wildly popular piece of political propaganda posted by Special Operations Speaks (SOS), a group of anti-Obama Special Ops types and fellow travelers. [...] It’s good that the company backtracked. Not because this particular meme deserves to live on, but because private companies like Facebook have become a critical part of the 21st-century public square. And if the public can’t count on them to be evenhanded in their treatment of political speech, that’s a serious problem.”

SEAN LYNGAAS: “Syria’s Digital Proxy War
“There is a proxy war going on in Syria, one measured in megabytes rather than in arms. On one side, Iran is providing Bashar al-Assad’s regime with the tools of digital dictatorship to locate and bait the Syrian opposition. On the other side, the United States is trying to help the opposition protect itself from such attacks and set up alternate channels of communication. The outcome of this proxy war will affect the lives of many Syrians and the credibility of the State Department’s efforts to promote digital freedom internationally.”

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OPINION

THOMAS HAZLETT: “David Axelrod Is Right: The Buffett Rule Is a Cheap Shot
“The President, like Buffett (and Mitt Romney), reduces IRS payments by giving away big money to worthy causes. When releasing his 2010 return, Mr. Buffett disclosed that he had paid under $7 million on income of $63 million, while donating about $23 million to charity (with some local tax deductions mixed in). Republicans have been hectoring Mr. Buffett, who complains about paying such a low tax rate, to assuage his conscience by writing a check to the IRS. Somehow they miss the fact that it is so much easier. All Buffett need do is to stop claiming those massive checks he writes to charity as deductions.”

TIMOTHY B. LEE: “Police allowed to install cameras on private property without warrant
“A federal judge has ruled that police officers in Wisconsin did not violate the Fourth Amendment when they secretly installed cameras on private property without judicial approval. The officers installed the cameras in an open field where they suspected the defendants, Manuel Mendoza and Marco Magana, were growing marijuana. The police eventually obtained a search warrant, but not until after some potentially incriminating images were captured by the cameras.”

GARRETT EPPS: “Are Dogs ‘Scientific Devices’?
“Wednesday’s cases concern the professional reputations of Franky, a drug-sniffing K-9 officer of the Miami-Dade Police Department, and Aldo, the drug-sniffing pride of the Liberty County, Florida, Sheriff’s Department — and, beyond them, of all dogs in law enforcement. Unlike the Ol’ Drum case, no one disputes that Franky and Aldo are valuable. Instead, the Supreme Court is being asked to decide whether drug-sniffing dogs are (1) never intrusive and (2) always reliable. The answers will help shape the role dogs play in police work for years to come.”

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OPINION

DEVIN LEONARD: “The Plot to Destroy America’s Beer
“He examined the label. It said the beer was no longer brewed in Bremen. He looked more closely at the fine print: ‘Product of the USA.’ This was profoundly unsettling for a guy who had been a Beck’s drinker for more than half his life. He was also miffed to have paid the full import price for the 12-pack.”

HARDY GREEN: “Americans Misdirect Their Blame for Decline of Industry
“Coal miners lining up behind the Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney; auto workers praising President Barack Obama for saving the U.S. car industry. You don’t have to look far to see signs of Americans’ deep anxiety over deindustrialization, and of a profound nostalgia for a more toilsome past. Yet a closer look at bygone days shows that the decline of U.S. industry isn’t only the result of unfair Chinese trade practices or the low wages of Asian workers.”

RUSTY WEISS: “Drilling for Jobs? Yes We Can!
“These unconventional means require larger initial investments compared to their conventional counterparts, but the future payoffs are tremendous.  IHS estimates that $2.1 trillion in capital will be spent on unconventional oil and gas extraction in the U.S. by the year 2035.  That activity equates to 1.7 million jobs this year, 3 million by 2020, and 3.5 million by 2035.”

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OPINION

JAMES BENNET: “Interview with Michael Bloomberg on Everything From Campaign Money to Circumcision
“I think it’s government’s job not to ban things but to give you information and let you make the decision. So calorie counts would do that. Portion control is a graphical or physical way of giving you information in terms of how much sugar you’re consuming, and whatever. Prohibiting you from smoking in places is information — it also, unlike these other things, is required, if you’re going to protect other people from the smoker’s action.”

NICK GILLESPIE: “The Semantics of Benghazi Don’t Matter: Obama’s Foreign Policy is a Failure
“The large point of this all is that regardless of what Obama might have might have meant right after the attack (it’s not clear that his “acts of terror” comment on September 12 was a specific reference to Benghazi), his adminstration royally screwed up in Libya. It’s totally clear why the Obama administration would be slow to acknowledge the truth of the attack - it undercut what they saw as the success of their containment of al Qaeda – but it’s just ridiculous for the larger media and voting public to play along with fixation on minor details.”

JASON BENDRICK: “Mr. President, Tuition Subsidies Are the Affordability Problem, Not the Solution
“It should come as no surprise that subsidies raise prices. Fortunately, there are now a growing number of innovative alternatives to traditional four-year colleges that have the potential to dramatically reduce costs while providing a quality education. Instead of subsidizing the expensive, inefficient and too-often ineffective status quo, government should just get out of the way.”

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