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Author Topic: Bureaucracy and Regulations in action: The Fourth Branch of the US Govt.  (Read 8135 times)
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #100 on: May 22, 2014, 08:45:37 AM »

Free market principles call for the facts to be known.  This is a regulation I support:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/22/business/us-seeks-disclosure-of-all-fees-fliers-face.html?emc=edit_th_20140522&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=49641193

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DougMacG
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« Reply #101 on: May 22, 2014, 09:27:03 AM »


Agree.  Maybe we could remove 10 bad regulations for every good one that we add.  Instead the answer is to just keep adding more laws.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #102 on: May 23, 2014, 10:27:02 PM »

Let's Get 'Metaphysical'
A federal court slaps down an Obama regulator's legal abuse.


May 23, 2014 6:44 p.m. ET

President Obama's energy regulators have pushed the law to the hilt and beyond in their campaign against carbon, but maybe the courts are starting to get queasy. The latest is the D.C. Court of Appeals, which on Friday cashiered a rule meant to harm traditional power plants.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) used to be the rare government outfit that preferred to stay out of the news, but under Chairman Jon Wellinghoff the legal and economic offenses in favor of noncarbon power sources piled up. The Senate is now weighing Mr. Wellinghoff's replacement, Norman Bay, and one question is whether he'll continue the regulatory method that produced the rule the D.C. Circuit has now tossed as an abuse of power.

FERC governs the electricity grid, and in 2011 Mr. Wellinghoff ordered transmission operators to pay retail energy users to reduce their power consumption at peak periods. This smart-grid program is known as "demand response" and can help run the system more efficiently and reliably. But FERC rigged this well-meaning incentive to harm traditional baseload power, especially coal but also natural gas and nuclear.

The problem is that Congress limited FERC's mandate to the wholesale interstate power markets—that is, power supply. Authority over retail power demand is reserved to the "exclusive jurisdiction" of the states.

FERC regulated anyway, claiming that the demand-response program would "directly affect" the regional level and therefore the two distinct state and interstate spheres were essentially the same. Judge Janice Rogers Brown shreds that logic as a "metaphysical distinction." She goes on to note that FERC's rationale "has no limiting principle" because changes in one market inevitably beget changes in another. FERC could use the same rationale to claim jurisdiction over "any number of areas, including the steel, fuel and labor markets."

The D.C. Circuit ruled FERC lacked statutory authority but then took a further step and declared the demand-response rule "arbitrary and capricious" on the merits, which is unusual. The courts generally defer to the judgment of regulators, and the Administrative Procedures Act blesses all but the most egregious overreach.

Especially abusive was FERC's discriminatory compensation scheme. FERC reasoned that not consuming power was identical to adding power to the grid and therefore service providers that took advantage of demand response deserved to be paid the same full market rate as power generators. But so-called "negawatts" are different from real megawatts, not least because power producers incur the costs of actually producing electricity and sending that power to consumers.

In practice, demand response paid out twice to the service providers, once from the FERC rebate plus the savings of not buying electricity. Overpaying for not doing something and underpaying for real economic benefits distorts price signals and leads to a misallocation of resources from electricity investment.

For this reason FERC Commissioner Phil Moeller dissented at the time, and economists and industry objected. Mr. Wellinghoff overruled, and FERC held that "the Commission is not limited to textbook economic analysis." The D.C. Circuit has replied that in fact it is and that the commission was harming the reliability of power markets it is supposed to protect.

On that note, Mr. Bay, the nominee for FERC Chairman, did little to distance himself from the Wellinghoff legacy when he testified on Tuesday, nor did he explain his own history of prosecutorial abuse at the commission. His answer to every question was that he didn't know, he wasn't sure, or he couldn't say.

But if Mr. Bay is confirmed, his job becomes even more important after the D.C. Circuit opinion. Over the last two years demand-response programs have suffused the grid and barring a successful appeal, which is unlikely given the sweep of the ruling, the feds will now be banned from regulating electricity demand.

Yet the forthcoming Environmental Protection Agency regulations on power plant carbon emissions—due in two weeks—will probably depend on FERC's demand-response distortion. Ending the conservation subsidies while simultaneously imposing rules that will force the retirement of existing coal power could do even more to endanger the grid and lead to rolling blackouts. West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin asked Mr. Bay about grid reliability but he only responded that "I have not been following the decisional process at EPA closely enough to know."

The D.C. Circuit thunderclap could help restore the old nonpolitical FERC, but so would a Chairman with more fidelity to the law than Mr. Bay
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #103 on: May 29, 2014, 06:22:54 AM »



http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/29/opinion/why-license-a-florist.html?emc=edit_th_20140529&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=49641193
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #104 on: June 01, 2014, 10:53:17 AM »

Columnist Mona Charen: "After the press loses interest in the Veterans Affairs scandal, after the investigations have been completed and one or two officials have resigned, nothing will change. Is this cynicism? Not really. It comes down to one's view of how much government can achieve by bureaucratic, top-down management. ... Even if Obama were the best manager in the world, the problems with efficient service delivery by government would continue -- because the government is too large, too unwieldy and too lacking in incentives for efficiency to yield much, if at all, to management. A business that fails to deliver services will be crushed by its competitors. Government can never go out of business. ... No central authority can make a system like the VA or the IHS or Britain's National Health Service run efficiently. Competition is the only system that gives the power to consumers to reward good service and punish bad. But progressives cannot shed their faith that more government is the answer to bad government, so this story is sure to be repeated."
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DougMacG
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« Reply #105 on: June 01, 2014, 11:35:21 AM »

Columnist Mona Charen: "After the press loses interest in the Veterans Affairs scandal, after the investigations have been completed and one or two officials have resigned, nothing will change. Is this cynicism? Not really. It comes down to one's view of how much government can achieve by bureaucratic, top-down management. ... Even if Obama were the best manager in the world, the problems with efficient service delivery by government would continue -- because the government is too large, too unwieldy and too lacking in incentives for efficiency to yield much, if at all, to management. A business that fails to deliver services will be crushed by its competitors. Government can never go out of business. ... No central authority can make a system like the VA or the IHS or Britain's National Health Service run efficiently. Competition is the only system that gives the power to consumers to reward good service and punish bad. But progressives cannot shed their faith that more government is the answer to bad government, so this story is sure to be repeated."

It boggles the mind that any honest liberal who would not trust a small number of corporations to control any industry because they would only be in it for themselves would instead trust one bloated, top-down, power hungry bureaucracy with that same responsibility - even after they are proven to be a corrupt, self-interested and miserable failure.
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G M
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« Reply #106 on: June 01, 2014, 01:14:05 PM »

Leftists never let reality intrude on their feelings.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #107 on: June 16, 2014, 04:08:16 PM »



http://online.wsj.com/articles/gordon-crovitz-uber-shocks-the-regulators-1402869510
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #108 on: June 19, 2014, 09:22:29 AM »

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/19/us/maine-court-fight-pits-farmers-against-state-and-one-another.html?emc=edit_th_20140619&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=49641193
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DougMacG
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« Reply #109 on: June 20, 2014, 09:54:39 AM »

Crafty from race, origin, discrimination thread:  "I just went to washingtonredskins.com and bought two t-shirts"

And ccp mentioned Cracker Barrel.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From Daily Caller:

12 Trademarks Declared Less Offensive Than Redskins

http://dailycaller.com/2014/06/18/12-trademarks-declared-less-offensive-than-redskins/

(I am very tempted to not post the details, but here goes...)

In a ruling Wednesday morning, the United States Patent and Trademark Office cancelled six federal trademarks for the name of the Washington Redskins. (RELATED: US Patent Office Cancels ‘Redskins’ Trademark)

Currently, federal trademark law does not allow the registration of any names that bring individuals or groups into contempt or disrepute. The PTO cited this rule in their decision regarding the Redskins’ name.

Here are twelve other trademarked names that apparently didn’t come up on anyone’s offense radar.

Figgas over Niggas: This pending trademark seeks to cover a line of “Apparel for dancers, namely, tee shirts, sweatshirts, pants, leggings, shorts and jackets.” “Niggas,” of course, is a slang version of the word “nigger,” a term considered highly offensive towards black Americans.

Kraut Kap: Another recently-filed trademark, this one for a line of plastic lids. “Kraut” was made famous in World War II as a derogatory term for opposing German soldiers, as well as Germans in general.

Dago Swagg: A label created for a line of clothing. ”Dago” is a corruption of the common name Diego, and is used in English-speaking countries as an offensive term for those of Italian descent, and occasionally people from other Mediterranean countries as well.

Cracka Azz Skateboards: Unsurprisingly, this trademark was taken out for a line of skateboards and longboards, as well as associated clothing such as bandannas. While the USPTO helpfully notes that “The wording ‘cracka azz’ has no meaning in a foreign language,” “cracka” is a slang version of “cracker,” which in this context is a term of derision for whites, used primarily within the black community.

You Can’t Make A Housewife Out Of A Whore: This trademark for T-shirts and hats appears to imply that women involved in prostitution can never transition into the domestic role of a housewife. Such an accusation would certainly “bring them into contempt or disrepute,” the stated reasoning for eliminating the Redskins trademark.

Blanco Basura: A seemingly innocuous phrase, Blanco Basura, rendered into English, is actually the highly offensive slur “white trash.” White trash is a derogatory insult that typically refers to poor, white Americans, who have a penchant for crime and a patent disrespect for authority. Apparently, they thought they could go unnoticed designing a hateful beer.

Home Cookin Biscuit Head: Intentionality, as we well know, is not required in order for something to be highly, highly offensive. They should’ve done their due diligence before designing this logo for the restaurant industry. The term “biscuit head” has its origins in the Korean War, when American GIs picked this unseemly term to describe the shape of Koreans’ heads.
 
by TaboolaSponsored Content
‘teensdoporn.com’: This is a classic example (Safe For Work) of a harmful stereotype used to justify condescension toward teens in the form of countless hours of sex-ed in high school. It wrongfully supposes that all teens are sex-crazed maniacs, who given the chance, will opt for trading their sexuality on a website for fame and fortune.

Gypsy Soule Women Who Live By Their Own Rules: This line of makeup containers and tote bags is a double whammy. “Gypsy” is a term for the itinerant Romani people that derives from the erroneous belief they originated from Egypt, rather than India. In addition, the “Live by their own rules” component hearkens to the common stereotype that Romani routinely ignore the law and engage in criminality.

Mammy Jamia’s: A company going by the name of A & S Cairns Limited has decided to attach its good name to an antebellum slur used to refer to an enslaved black woman who was in charge of household affairs, particularly caring for white children. The product? Frozen fruits and vegetables. Was it really worth it, A &S?

Uppity Negro: Intended to be imprinted on mugs and apparel, this trademark references the frequently used adjective “uppity” to describe blacks who agitated for greater respect and civil rights in the Jim Crow-era South.

All Natural My Dadz Nutz Carmelized Jumbo Redskins: Available at MyDadzNutz.com, this line of savory peanuts is unlikely to run into trouble for applying “redskin” to a line of peanuts. One might argue the two terms describe different things, and so the overlap does not matter, but that hasn’t stopped the old name for Brazil nuts from fading away. Kaffir limes, meanwhile, are a discouraged name in the Oxford Companion to Food, as “kaffir” is a highly offensive term for blacks in South Africa.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #110 on: June 24, 2014, 02:25:40 PM »

WSJ
What Is the EPA Hiding From the Public?
The agency shouldn't get to decide who sees the science behind its rules. Open the research to outside analysis.
By Lamar Smith
June 23, 2014 6:45 p.m. ET

The climate is changing and, yes, humans play a role. But that does not mean, as Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy would have us believe, that the debate—over how much the climate is changing, how big a role humans play, and what can reasonably done about it—is over. Still less does it mean that anyone who questions her agency's actions, particularly the confidential research it uses to justify multimillion and billion-dollar air rules, is a denier at war with science.

The EPA's regulatory process today is a closed loop. The agency funds the scientific research it uses to support its regulations, and it picks the supposedly independent (but usually agency-funded) scientists to review it. When the regulations are challenged, the courts defer to the agency on scientific issues. But the agency refuses to make public the scientific research it uses.
Enlarge Image

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy Getty Images

The House Science Committee will vote Tuesday on legislation to open up this closed loop. The Secret Science Reform Act, which I co-sponsored, has a simple goal: EPA regulations should be based on legitimate science and data that are open to the public.

Scientific journals in a variety of disciplines have moved toward data transparency. Ms. McCarthy sees this effort as a threat. Speaking before the National Academy of Sciences in late April, she defended her agency's need to protect data "from those who are not qualified to analyze it."

The EPA essentially decides who is or is not allowed access to the scientific research they use—research that is paid for with public funds, appropriated by Congress, on behalf of American taxpayers. This is wholly improper.

I recently received a letter of support for the Secret Science Reform Act that was signed by more than 80 scientists, including physicians, and professors of environmental science, physics, statistics, economics and engineering. The signatories included George Wolff, former chair of the EPA's Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee in the Clinton administration and Forrest J. Remick, former commissioner of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission in the George H.W. Bush administration. They wrote that the bill would "make the agency's regulations more accountable, credible, and enforceable" and that its transparency requirements "can be accomplished without imposing unnecessary burdens, discouraging research, or raising confidentiality concerns."

Costly environmental regulations must be based on publicly available data that independent scientists can verify. For example, take the administration's recently proposed plan to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants—regulations that could cost hundreds of thousands of jobs and spike electricity rates.

In the announcement of her agency's 645-page Clean Power Plan, Ms. McCarthy claimed "The science is clear. The risks are clear. And the high costs of climate inaction keep piling up." Yet any reporter willing to read beyond the EPA press release would find that the reality doesn't match the rhetoric.

Monday's Supreme Court decision (Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA) underscores the need for scrutiny of agency claims. The court called EPA's rewriting of the Clean Air Act "outrageous," and said that "When an agency claims to discover in a long-extant statute an unheralded power to regulate 'a significant portion of the American economy,' we typically greet its announcement with a measure of skepticism." Such skepticism is well deserved.

Virtually all of the EPA's health claims for its latest power-plant rules, including that they would save thousands of lives a year, are based on data that haven't been made public. In any event, for most of the EPA's 2030 projections, a majority of the health benefits claimed have nothing to do with carbon dioxide. They come from reductions in air pollutants already regulated by the EPA such as particulate matter and ozone.

The EPA also claims that its Clean Power Plan will yield climate benefits, such as lower sea levels, which the agency calculates using its "social cost of carbon." But a recent analysis by Ted Gayer, vice president and director of economic studies at the Brookings Institution, found that most of these alleged benefits take place outside the U.S. Even using the EPA's own numbers, the costs of this regulation may exceed the direct, domestic benefits.

The EPA, like every other government institution, should be accountable to the American people. We need to protect our environment, but this should be done on the basis of open and honest information. That is the goal of the Secret Science Reform Act.

Mr. Smith, a Republican from Texas, is chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #111 on: July 22, 2014, 10:00:34 AM »



Study Finds Elementary Students Like New Healthier Lunches
Students Complained When Regulations Implemented, But Ultimately Found Them Agreeable
by Caroline Porter and Stephanie Armour
WSJ
Updated July 21, 2014 7:39 p.m. ET

A new study reveals that the healthier school lunches despised in 2012 are now found to be agreeable among students and staffers. Caroline Porter joins the News Hub with Sara Murray. Photo: Getty Images.

When the federal government implemented new school-meal regulations in 2012, a majority of elementary-school students complained about the healthier lunches, but by the end of the school year most found the food agreeable, according to survey results released Monday.

The peer-reviewed study comes amid concerns that the regulations led schools to throw away more uneaten food and prompted some students to drop out of meal programs.

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago surveyed administrators at more than 500 primary schools about student reaction to the new meals in the 2012-2013 school year. They found that 70% agreed or strongly agreed that students, by the end of the school year, generally liked the new lunches, which feature more whole grains, vegetables and fruits, and lower fat levels.

"We feel like these data support the new meals and show that although change can be slow, there have not been as many student complaints as thought to be," said Lindsey Turner, the lead author of the study, which will be published in the journal Childhood Obesity. The research was supported by a national group called Bridging the Gap that studies polices that improve health and was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which backs public-health initiatives.

In another study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine this past spring, researchers found that students were eating more fruits and vegetables under the new guidelines.

The school-meal standards have been contentious. Some Republicans criticized their calorie limits—the first time the government had imposed such a mandate on school meals—and in 2012 introduced legislation in the House to repeal the requirements. The standards also spurred student-led lunch boycotts in some districts.

Participation in the school-meal program has declined in recent years, fueling questions about the regulations' impact.

"Our big concern is that participation continues to slide," said Diane Pratt-Heavner, spokeswoman for the School Nutrition Association, which represents 55,000 school-nutritional professionals. The group seeks a relaxation of the rules, and says it believes they play a role in the decline in students participating.

Nationwide, participation in the school-lunch program fell by 1.2 million students, or 3.7%, from the 2010-2011 school year through the 2012-2013 year after having steadily increased for many years, according to a Feb. 27 report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office. State and local officials reported the drop was due in part to the new standards.

The study released Monday shows that schools in which two-thirds or more of students qualified for free or reduced-price lunch had higher participation and left less food on their plates than schools with fewer students qualified for the meals. In addition, administrators at rural schools reported more student complaints and wasted food, as well as participation drops, as compared with urban or suburban schools, according to the report.

The rules cover the roughly 32 million children who eat school breakfasts, lunches and snacks, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which says the program cost $15.2 billion in the 2013-2014 school year.


The requirement for healthier school food was a signature push of first lady Michelle Obama. The standards are aimed at reducing childhood obesity and were released in January 2012. Ms. Obama earlier this month vowed to fight GOP efforts to weaken the rules. House Republicans and the School Nutrition Association are seeking to relax some of the requirements in the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.

House Republicans are calling for some schools facing financial challenges to get a temporary waiver from the rules. They say the standards have been money losers for some districts. Democrats say the schools simply need more time and that many have made a successful transition.

"It takes students a little bit to adjust," said Jessica Donze Black, a child nutrition expert for the Pew Charitable Trusts, a nonprofit that promotes healthy school meals. "A majority of schools are doing well, and we should be able to learn from those schools and move forward with the schools that are still struggling."

A hearing on school nutrition by the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry is set for Wednesday.

Write to Caroline Porter at caroline.porter@wsj.com and Stephanie Armour at stephanie.armour@wsj.com
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MikeT
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« Reply #112 on: July 22, 2014, 11:42:14 AM »

Cities who take HUD funding--- basically all of them-- could fall under federal jurisdiction for neighborhood planning quotas.

http://mobile.wnd.com/2014/07/new-obama-rule-could-force-cities-to-house-illegals/

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