We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I resisted the call by a number of web sites at the beginning of the year to make predictions for 2005. However, now I will make one: We will soon see calls to bring a tighter licensing or credentialing system for journalists, similar to what we see for lawyers, doctors, teachers, and, god help us, for beauticians. The proposals will be nominally justified by improving ethics or similar laudable things, but, like most credentialing systems, will be aimed not at those on the inside but those on the outside. At one time or another, teachers, massage therapists, and hairdressers have all used licensing or credentialing as a way to fight competition from upstart competitors, often ones with new business models who don't have the same trade-specific educational degrees the insiders have....
Such credentialing can provide a powerful comeback for industry insiders under attack. Teachers, for example, use it every chance they get to attack home schooling and private schools, despite the fact that uncertified teachers in both these latter environments do better than the average certified teacher (for example, kids home schooled by moms who dropped out of high school performed at the 83rd percentile). So, next time the MSM is under attack from the blogosphere, rather than address the issues, they can say that that guy in Tennessee is just a college professor and isn't even a licensed journalist.
Volokh and George Will (among others) were on this topic sometime back (see link)--the case in point was a move to license Nevada interior decorators.
There was some resistance, a feeling such a horizontal line extension by government is mainly about deriving new demand for services.
That gov't regulators can create value for their product at negative cost-of-doing-business (negative cost=lobbyist inflows) is classic moral hazard, it seems to me.
Of course, somewhere there is a victim of a bad couch placement, or some sensibility insulted by the sight of an tacky lamp or redundant throw pillow, so i guess the need for a new bureaucracy to protect the people is self-evident.