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InsiderOnline Blog: June 2007

News You Might Have Missed

The parents are doing all right. Some members of Congress want the government to clean up television. But a new poll indicates that parents are significantly involved in managing their children’s consumption of television. According to the TV Watch poll, 73 percent of parents monitor what their children watch, including 87 percent of parents whose children are ages zero to 10; and 83 percent of parents are satisfied with the effectiveness of the V-Chip and other blocking tools. If parents are paying attention, do we really need Congress to play parent, too? Ninety-two percent of respondents to the poll agreed with the statement that “the best way to prevent a child from seeing content deemed inappropriate is a parent in the home ... not a politician in Washington.” A poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation found similar results. (Via Progress & Freedom Foundation blog.)

The cost of price controls. Iran’s government decided on Tuesday that it could no longer afford the $10 billion annual price tag of importing gasoline to be sold at discounted rates to drivers. Instead of ending the subsidy for gas, however, the government announced a rationing plan three hours before it was to take effect. Around the country, reports Associated Press, lines formed immediately at gas stations, and violence erupted in numerous spots as drivers vented their frustrations at the government.

Competition equals lower prices. Ohio has done something sensible about soaring cable television prices. Around the country, local governments have been limiting competition in cable TV in order to increase the value of the franchises they award—so as to increase the amount of money the local government can extract from companies bidding to offer service to the community. On Tuesday, the state of Ohio said enough and passed a law that, beginning September 24, puts the state’s Department of Commerce in charge of granting licenses for cable TV service. The Columbus Dispatch reports that opponents of the new law lamented the loss of local control. Of course they did: Such control allowed them to increase the resources they could dispense as they saw fit. No reports of consumers lamenting the prospect of lower prices and more choices, however.

Americans are generous. Americans gave $295 billion to charity last year, according to a report by the Giving USA Foundation at Indiana University's Center on Philanthropy. The figure for 2006 tops the previous record of $283 billion in 2005—the year of hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma and the Asian tsunami. (Via USA Today.)

Reclaiming the commanding heights. Hugo Chavez’s continued travels down the misbegotten socialist path is driving foreign oil companies out of Venezuela. Tuesday was the deadline for foreign companies to agree to accept state ownership of a majority stake in their operations. Two U.S. companies, ConocoPhillips and Exxon Mobil Corp., said no thanks, Hugo, even though it meant abandoning billions of dollars worth of assets. (Via Bloomberg.)

Posted on 06/28/07 08:54 AM by Alex Adrianson

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