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OpenMarket: January 2007

  • Politicizing the politicization of science

    January 31, 2007
    A new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists finds "unacceptably large numbers of federal climate scientists [have] personally experienced instances of [political] interference over the past five years."  At a Congressional hearing yesterday, Rep. Issa questioned the statistical validity of the survey, pointing to OMB guidelines that suggest the UCS survey's response rate was unacceptably low.  Roger Pielke Jr doesn't think this is a problem:
    Mr. Issa focused on the statistical power of the survey, which is the wrong way to look at it. The responses were the responses. They are not evidence of a larger population — the responses ARE the population. That being said the UCS supports my own contention that politics and...
  • Milton Friedman, psychic?

    January 31, 2007
    By proclamation of several cities and states, Monday was Milton Friedman Day. CEI was one of many free-market groups that joined in this celebration with events celebrating the great economist's life. But really, especially for the governments concerned, shouldn't every day be Milton Friedman Day? We should try our best not to interfere or advocate interfering with the free market. In that spirit, I want to share a passage of Dr. Friedman's from The Book of Predictions published in 1980. It turns out that Friedman was not just a a sage of free-market economics, but a sage,  period. He was four out of five in his prediction of future fellow recipients of the Nobel Prize in economics, and there is still time for...
  • Still a lot of pork in Farm Bill proposals

    January 31, 2007
    This morning Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns presented the Administration proposals for the new Farm Bill. Here's his press release: Here's the link to the proposals. The energy program is extensive and will be costly — remember, this is a Farm Bill, known for its fat subsidies to large-scale farm operators.  For instance, the proposals would start a new program to “provide $100 million in direct support to producers of...
  • What's John Edwards' carbon footprint?

    January 31, 2007
    Looks rather large: Perhaps he should be called Bigfoot?
       
    John Edwards' home  
  • True Congressional Confessions

    January 31, 2007
    In today's Politico, Amy Doolittle has a light-hearted story on the tours that Members of Congress occasionally give for constituents around the Capitol. A handful of congressmen are known to be frequent guides, taking over a job generally relegated to the lowest of low-level staffers. Part way through the piece, though, we find a dark confession by Utah Republican Rob Bishop:
    I find that if you say something with enough fervor, anyone will believe it, so I do that. Trying to find what the true bits are as opposed to the false bits, it's kind of part of the fun of it all.
    As with Capitol tours, so it is with representative democracy. If our elected leaders always told us the truth about what they were doing, what fun would that be? After all, that's one...
  • Trade and globalization get blamed for society's ills

    January 31, 2007
    At a House Ways and Means Committee hearing yesterday, chaired by Representative Charles Rangel, witnesses said that the effects of trade and globalization on American workers and the U.S. economy have to be carefully examined, and policies to deal with worker insecurity need to be addressed. The panel testifying included law and business professors, economists, and business leaders, who all seemed to give credence to negative views of trade's effects. There were strong recommendations to include “social contracts” in trade agreements, with Georgetown Law Professor Daniel Tarullo specifically calling for that:
    . . . trade agreements should be occasions for reaffirming the social compact. There is no single formula for doing so. What is sensible and feasible will vary with the nature...
  • President calls for support of fast-track trade authority

    January 31, 2007
    Today President Bush in New York City delivered his second speech on the economy. As expected, in the speech he called for a renewal of Trade Promotion Authority or “fast-track,” which gives the President the ability to negotiate trade agreements and have the Congress vote on them without amendments. Here's what the President said in a strong statement supporting open trade:
    The only way America can complete Doha and make headway on other trade agreements is to extend Trade Promotion Authority. This authority allows the President to negotiate complicated trade deals for our country, and then send them to Congress for an up or down vote on the whole agreement. Presidents of both parties have considered this authority...
  • GOP Strategist Frank Luntz Thinks Enviros Are Mean

    January 31, 2007
    Grist magazine just published an interesting Q&A with Frank Luntz, famed GOP pollster and author of the new book, Words That Work: It's Not What You Say, It's What People Hear:  "And Now, a Word From Our Detractor". Luntz explains why enviros are failing, and why he thinks they're mean.
  • Taxation Without Representation?

    January 31, 2007
    In a Washington Post column, George Will questions the constitutionality of a recent vote in the House of Representatives to give delegates from Washington, D.C. and territories, such as American Samoa, the same right to vote in House committees as Congressmen.  He points out the absurdity of giving the delegate from Samoa, which has only 58,000 residents, the same vote in committee (where most important House decisions are made) as the Congressman from Montana, who represents 944,000 people. Similar arguments can be made against recent proposals to give the District of Columbia a Congressman and two Senators.  The District of Columbia has fewer voters than all 50 states, and fewer people living in it than 49 of the 50 states (and in a few years, based on current population trends, it...
  • Free to Chooseâ€â€Your Plumbing Pipes

    January 31, 2007
    California usually leads the nation in the formulation of bad public policy—which policymakers in other states often see as a model. But this week, they actually did something worth emulating. They lifted a state ban on residential use of vinyl plumbing pipes, which are made with chlorinated polyvinyl chloride or CPVC. Unfortunately, it took the state more than a decade to lift this expensive, nonsensical mandate. The state's change of heart came after its housing department conducted a study debunking claims that the pipes are dangerous, which were posited by a coalition of environmental activists and plumbers' unions. In reality, the CPVC pipes are quite safe, energy efficient, and environmentally sound. They also cost much less—about a third of the alternative metal piping. These pipes are also very easy to install. CPVC installs...

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