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Reason.tv: Our 3 Entries in The EPA's "Rulemaking Matters!" Video Contest

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So the deadline the for the EPA's "Rulemaking Matters!" video contest was yesterday, May 17, and we beavered away like heavily drunken legislators deciding the future of unborn generations late into the afternoon to provide three (count 'em) entries to said contest.

The point of the contest, which will award $2,500 (U.S., alas) to lucky winners at an unnamed cost to taxpayers, was to "to explain federal rulemaking and motivate others to participate in the rulemaking process." Or, in other words, to help the EPA propagandize just how great it and other aspects of the government are.

As the EPA helpfully (and unironically) put it,

Almost every aspect of our lives is touched by federal regulations…Even before you leave the house in the morning, government regulations help set the price of the coffee you drink, the voltage of electricity in your alarm clock, and the types of programming allowed on the morning news.

That's more touching than at a Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.) staff meeting! And, let's face it, most of it is uninvited, unwanted, and unnecessary (again, just like a Massa meeting!). Could, for instance, coffee be priced without the "help" of the government? Would producers of electricity and makers of alarm clocks have created common standards absent federal bureaucrats? Perhaps most important, should we be trusted to check out "disallowed" news in the morning? (Thank you, Internets!)

But in the interest of public spiritedness, Reason.tv is proud to share its three entries into the "Rulemaking Matters!" video contest, which will hopefully motivate you to participate in the creation of rules governing everything from private space flight to the size of holes in Swiss cheese. Because as millions of Lotto winners could tell you, you gotta be in it to win it.

"Let Your Robotic Voice Be Heard!" Produced by Dan Hayes, approximately 1.30 minutes.

"Subtitled For Your Protection," produced by Meredith Bragg. Approximately 1.30 minutes.

"Federal Regulations and You: Partners in Democracy!" Produced by Ted Balaker, with Paul Detrick, Zach Weismuller, and Hawk Jensen. Approximately 1.15 minutes.

Go to Reason.tv for downloadable versions of all our videos. Subscribe to Reason.tv's YouTube channel for automatic notification when new material goes online.

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  1. I sure hope some Downfall parodies were submitted.

  2. The second was the best.

  3. I agree with Coyote — the subtitle one was best (scariest, funniest, sharpest). The robotic-voice one was decent, but it needed some intercutting with They Live skull faces.

    1. Yep, second was the best by far.

  4. Should a winning video be selected, it will be posted on Regulations.gov as well as the EPA Web site. [Emphasis added]

    So, EPA was prepared from the get-go that all entries would be from Reason!

    Seriously, I think all three are worthy, even though the first might precipitate regulation of subliminal messages.

  5. Oh wow, very nice. Good contenders. Hope yall win.

    Lou
    http://www.web-anonymity.cz.tc

  6. While I appreciate Reason’s efforts to mock the premise of this contest, I’m afraid that the effort is in vain. There is no way that any of these videos will see the light of day. I guess that’s not the point.

    I wish the first video overlapped images and text of regulation that failed miserably. Juxtaposing the EPA’s propaganda with real world regulation failures.

    Maybe Reason should host their own contest in this vain? But then again, that would be “preaching to the choir”

    1. they won’t make the EPA website but they will make it onto YouTube.

    2. The Reason videos have the seen the light of day. Here! Reason.com counts. Hey, it probably gets more hits than epa.gov!

      PS: I like the creepy Apple-1984 vibe in the robot voice one.

  7. Wow!!!! The subtitled one was AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Wow, you guys are submitting videos to the EPA rulemaking matters contest!? Why haven’t I heard about this 37 times before?

  9. I must agree the subtitled one is the winna’. Hoisting them with their own petard, so to speak. The others are good, but the simple hook of the subtitles which appear innocuous at first, but then deviate carry the day.

  10. I’m pretty certain that was Gillespie doing the Robo voice. Gillespie, you’re no Darth Vader.

  11. These videos are juvenile. David used a slingshot and a stone. You need to build the slingshot. Wisecracks won’t bring down Goliath.

    1. OK, fellas! Everybody knock off until further notice! We’re going to shut down for a few months and retool based on these new specs from burst.

  12. I actually liked the third one, though it needs more of a 50’s style voice over.

  13. The second one is easily the best, followed by the third, then the first. Great work!

  14. Meredith Bragg’s is the winna! Or at least should be.

  15. Best quote from the 2nd video…

    “Ive seen hostage tapes with better pacing.”

    Fantastic as always Reason.

  16. You are right. Let’s not have federal regulations for environmental protection. Why would anyone want to protect the public from companies who create oil spills, water pollution, air pollution or toxic hazards? Wow that would be crazy! Also, it would be crazy to misinform people on saying that EPA regulations do not have the public influence. Since the EPA requires any regulations to receive public comments and hearings. Also they allow the public to have citizen suits against the EPA for not enforcing statutes like the clean water act or being unconstitutional. To quote Barry Goldwater “While I am a great believer in the free enterprise system and all that it entails, I am an even stronger believer in the right our people to live in a clean and pollution-free environment.”

    1. Let’s read part of the EPA’s philosophical backdrop again:

      “Even before you leave the house in the morning, government regulations help set the price of the coffee you drink, the voltage of electricity in your alarm clock, and the types of programming allowed on the morning news.”

      You’re right, of course, Mallorie. This is exactly what we need in order to have a clean and pollution-free environment. Just think how much cleaner our environment it will be the more we allow the government to control what we watch on TV!! I can’t wait for that day of freedom! I’ve got to tell you, I wish I had been as wise as you to see this all sooner. Thank you.

      1. Actually the EPA’s mission statment is “The mission of EPA is to protect human health and to safeguard the natural environment — air, water and land — upon which life depends.” How does requiring companies to clean up their hazardous wastes equal the government telling me what to watch on television. That makes no logical sense. You already benefit from environmental regulations every day. If you don’t want environmental regulations, feel free to have a superfund site on yard and develop cancer from toxic chemicals. Please tell the residents of the Gulf Coast on how the government should not make and enforce environmental regulations, I’m sure they would love that!

    2. You’re not getting the fundamental problem here. It’s one thing to have basic regulations — “rules” — that protect egregious violations of the environment, for example. It’s quite another to flood the zone with endless petty minor regulations that suffocate all human activity of any kind. This video soliciting propaganda to justify the latter (because who needs to justify the former?) is what is so creepy here.

      1. Actually suffocating all human activity of any kind is called a taking, which requires just compensation. Environmental regulations go through a very stringent process and cannot be arbitrary and capricious. So please give me an example of a petty minor regulation that suffocates all human activity of any kind done by the EPA. According to the constitution, it is considered a taking which requires just compensation. I am not saying that every EPA regulation is great. However, we need environmental regulations to protect your property and health from Big Business.

        1. “I am not saying that every EPA regulation is great.”

          Well, yes you are: “Environmental regulations go through a very stringent process and cannot be arbitrary and capricious.”

          So, which is it? Do you really want to be in the position of defending _all_ EPA regulations? Or are you more willing to defend the fiat nature of executive branch rules?

    3. What flavor is the Kool-Aid today, Mallorie?

    4. The EPA is an agency enforcing (some say) unconstitutional, administrative law decided by unelected individuals. Some believe administrative law is unconstitutional because it violates the separation of power clause of the U.S. Constitution, as well as the fundamental basics of democracy. A federal bureaucrat is not elected. No one should be able to make law who is unelected.
      Public individuals have the right to sue companies for amounts to be made whole if they incur damages or injuries from oil spills, pollution, etc.

  17. You are right. Let’s not have federal regulations for environmental protection. Why would anyone want to protect the public from companies who create oil spills, water pollution, air pollution or toxic hazards? Wow that would be crazy! Also, it would be crazy to misinform people on saying that EPA regulations do not have the public influence. Since the EPA requires any regulations to receive public comments and hearings. Also they allow the public to have citizen suits against the EPA for not enforcing statutes like the clean water act or being unconstitutional. To quote Barry Goldwater “While I am a great believer in the free enterprise system and all that it entails, I am an even stronger believer in the right our people to live in a clean and pollution-free environment.”

  18. The subtitled one would be better without the typos.

    1. AANE – Getting Help for Adults with Asperger Syndrome

      http://www.aane.org/about_aspe…..dults.html

  19. I don’t have the subtitle skills for this, but I would love to see a YouTube parody “Hitler Learns That His EPA Video Didn’t Win.”

  20. I also find it interesting that none of the videos mention on what the EPA is actually regulating. I wonder why? Maybe it’s because if people actually knew what the EPA was regulating such as water pollution or hazardous waste, they would not be against it. I mean I know I would love to have some Asbestos in my new house! What a horrible EPA regulation that is!

    1. Sounds like someone is employed by the EPA.

  21. I tried AsbestOs last week; too sugary, and there was no toy prize.

    1. I thought she was talking about AsbestOS, which I installed over my gorked Ubuntu last week. The perfect OS for Usenet denizens – it’s flameproof!

  22. Mallorie most regulations are used as a means of social engineering, I’m not writing specifically about the EPA, and nothing to do with ensuring anyone’s safety. Of those regulations meant to protects us more often than not they not only fail to protect us but often exacerbate preexisting problems most of which were caused by previous misguided regulations. Case in point the recent oil disaster in the Gulf. The regulations clearly stated what BP had to do to be held liable for only 25 billion dollars. Without regulations and this liability cap BP would have done everything in their power to avoid this catastrophe, including adding extra pumps that may have avoided the hole thing, and probably would have invented safeguards that don’t currently exist. Without these specific regulations BP would not have been allowed limited liability and would have had to calculate a possible disaster against possible profits. Regulations often endanger us because they produce moral hazard by removing corporate risk. As long as a business can show they acted within regulation, regulation they often had a hand in creating a phenomena known as regulatory capture, they can benefit from limited liability. Before most modern regulation any damages resulting from any business was open to unlimited liability. This resulted in businesses often independently increasing safety standards. If we did away with most regulations and concentrated on prosecuting and fining all businesses for all damages to an unlimited extant we wouldn’t have to try to micro manage corporations. The micro managing on the EPA’s part makes us LESS SAFE by creating a liability shield for businesses. Instead of writing and trying to enforce hundreds of thousands of pages of regulations we should concentrate on holding people, businesses, or corporations fully accountable and benefit from a SAFER environment. This is all from a purely pragmatic standpoint of what is inherently, sustainable the most effective long term policy but I’m fully aware of the ethical ramifications of regulations. Regulations often allow big corporation unfair advantages against small businesses, as the regulatory burdens are more onerous for small businesses, lessening competition and kills entrepreneurship. Regulations also often make us less free. Regulations may have a place but the breadth and depth of tens of thousands of regulations are wholey unjustifiable both pragmatically or ethically.

  23. Obey the commandments.

  24. The Environmental Statutes like Clean Water Act require the business to a standard of “economically feasible” and “best available technology.” Also you should look over some environmental case law because in the beginning they tried governing pollution with tort actions. However, the courts found they were not equipped to make scientific determinations and policy.

  25. I’m glad you have such faith in big corporations to do the right thing under the “pressure” of lawsuits. You are also assuming that companies won’t rather just pay the liability damages and not pollute. Also do you really think we should clog the courts with lawsuits? How would you develop standards for environmental policy within business without regulation? How could small businesses figure out a standard of environmental care that would not have them sued? How about pollution that is cumulative such as air pollution or climate change? How do you use lawsuits to enforce that if you can’t distinguish the source or its from a collective body??
    Also how can a normal property owner ever possibly afford to sue a corporation??
    How do you protect natural resources by lawsuits? Who do you sue when sea-level rise affects your property? You develop cancer from your drinking water who do you sue if you can’t trace it? How do you prevent damage to property and public health if people can’t sue because they can’t find the actor who caused it? You can’t rely on lawsuits for the solution for all of your problems. It would be inefficient and have no standards for protection.

    Additionally, our country is lawsuit crazy already. Look what happened to the medical profession because malpractice suits.

    You guys preach about property rights and individual freedom. Yet this website has articles that says climate change does not exist and keep offshore drilling by someone funded by oil companies.

    It seems to me you put corporations over individuals.

    You argue that BP would be scared to be sued if they did not have the cap? I don’t think so. Look what the great corporations with moral responsibility do when they have a lawsuit threat. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…..81842.html

  26. I’m glad you have such faith in big corporations to do the right thing under the “pressure” of lawsuits. You are also assuming that companies won’t rather just pay the liability damages and not pollute. Also do you really think we should clog the courts with lawsuits? How would you develop standards for environmental policy within business without regulation? How could small businesses figure out a standard of environmental care that would not have them sued? How about pollution that is cumulative such as air pollution or climate change? How do you use lawsuits to enforce that if you can’t distinguish the source or its from a collective body??
    Also how can a normal property owner ever possibly afford to sue a corporation??
    How do you protect natural resources by lawsuits? Who do you sue when sea-level rise affects your property? You develop cancer from your drinking water who do you sue if you can’t trace it? How do you prevent damage to property and public health if people can’t sue because they can’t find the actor who caused it? You can’t rely on lawsuits for the solution for all of your problems. It would be inefficient and have no standards for protection.

    Additionally, our country is lawsuit crazy already. Look what happened to the medical profession because malpractice suits.

    You guys preach about property rights and individual freedom. Yet this website has articles that says climate change does not exist and keep offshore drilling by someone funded by oil companies.

    It seems to me you put corporations over individuals.

    You argue that BP would be scared to be sued if they did not have the cap? I don’t think so. Look what the great corporations with moral responsibility do when they have a lawsuit threat. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…..81842.html

  27. Also the BP Spill resulted from a lack of government regulation on safety measures.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…..82980.html

  28. Meredith Bragg for the win.

    Interestingly, also likely the cheapest video to produce.

  29. The EPA is naive if it thinks that the public has the capacity to become interested and involved in rulemaking. These knee-jerk comments suggest a lot of people don’t know enough to participate effectively. Polluters dominate the EPA rulemaking process resulting in favorable (soft) regulations because the public can’t be bothered to learn what rulemaking is or why it’s important.

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