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OpenMarket: January 2007

  • Mayor McCheese Would Be Proud

    January 25, 2007
    While we at Open Market know that there's nothing inherently bad about fast food, we're still willing to believe that an outragous stunt like eating nothing by McDonald's every day for a month can lead to a sub-optimal health results. Now, however, Swedish researchers are suggesting that even an all-QSR diet might not be all that bad for you:

    A month-long diet of junk food does not necessarily cause devastating health effects like those in documentary film Super Size Me, scientists say.

    Experts...

  • When the facts don't fit, construe!

    January 25, 2007
    At the DC premiere of Mine Your Own Business yesterday evening, I spoke with protesters who insisted that the 96% of the citizens of Roşia Montană were opposed to the controversial mining project that is the primary subject of the film. I'm certainly a believer in democracy (at least when an issue can't be resolved via property rights), so I thought I'd look into this more. The 96% statistic presented for all to see on bright white tag board can be found in a news release from rosiamontana.org:
    Rosia Montana/Romania 22. January 2007 — A consultation process conducted by the Romanian Parliament has been inviting people to comment on the Rosia Montana mine proposal since last October. As of 22 January 2007 over 96.86% of a total of 6617 participants voted against...
  • How About People for the Ethical Treatment of Humans?

    January 25, 2007
    The PETA animal cruelty trial is getting started in North Carolina this week, and the Center for Consumer Freedom is on the case:
  • When Metaphors Attack: Greenpeace Edition

    January 24, 2007
    We at Open Market HQ just received an email from John Coequyt at Greenpeace, responding to the President's State of the Union remarks about global warming. In order to put us in the right state of mind to "TAKE ACTION" (Step 1: Donate to Greenpeace), John heads to the linguistic kitchen:
    President Bush has let the issue of global warming simmer on the back burner of his presidency for 6 years. The scientific community and the rest of the world has heard the oven timer go off, but last night, President Bush continued to ignore the alarm as he served up a plateful of tepid solutions to a worldwide audience. While the chef may finally have acknowledged the brewing problem, he failed to rescue the planet from the oven. His so-called solutions of "clean" coal and nuclear energy are a recipe for disaster. Well, we're serving up a fresh new alternative to global warming...
  • Comments on the energy portions of Bush's SOTU

    January 24, 2007
    In this post, I comment on President Bush's remarks, in the State of the Union address, about energy. Although a few nods to the old supply-side emphasis of Bush's first term remain, the speech is heavy on political correctness, corporate welfare, and central planning.
  • Goldilocks and Osama

    January 24, 2007
    Climate Change seen fanning conflict and terrorism runs the Reuters headline. The premise is that people will fight over resources made scarcer by global warming. Well, people will probably fight if the world gets cooler, too, as is likely that they did in the 17th century. The conclusion must therefore be that we live in a sort of Goldilocks climate, where things are worse if hotter and worse if cooler; current temperatures are just right. This is sloppy thinking. Mankind adapts when things change. Generally, the adaptations are for the better (would we have had the benefits of the...
  • Development by Market

    January 24, 2007
    June Arunga and Billy Kahora of the International Policy Network have a new paper out about the cellphone revolution in Kenya. The tale is inspiring: the state having failed miserably in providing communications services, a market sprang up in cellphones without any idea of what customers wanted, what they were willing to pay or what benefits they would gain. The market provided the answers; as June and Billy say:
    [B]usiness could be done, distant families could be supported and — anathema to the bureaucratic mindset — a lifestyle could be aspired to merely by the fact of ownership.
    Over time, prices and service packages were adjusted as suppliers competed to find out the most advantageous way to serve their customers. In the process, they poured new capital into...
  • The Third Way: Officialdom

    January 24, 2007
    In a nice display of bipartisanship, Iain Dale has a post quoting Britain's former Labour party Home Secretary David Blunkett approvingly. Blunkett says:
    "...The alternative to politics is officialdom. And there is a trend in all three major political parties to believe that if difficult questions of reform need to be answered without damagaing the credibility of politicians, they should be taken out of their hands. Trouble is, you simply can't. Just because someone has been appointed to some agency to make decisions doesn't mean they don't have political views. It means they have kept their head down or - even more damagingly - they have never had to make a decision in their lives. It also means that when they get it wrong they can't be punished by the voters, like politicians are...
  • Out of Energy

    January 24, 2007
    The President's proposals for energy in the State of the Union address are wrong-headed. He proposes to put the boon in boondoggle by increasing the amount of renewable fuels in the nation's gasoline supply to 35 billion gallons (up from the current 7.5 billion) by 2017. This will require a vast amount of US crop land or clearing of forests (see this study for a comprehensive analysis), while the current mandate is having unforeseen negative consequences in Mexico even. Moreover, it means that more of us will have to buy E85 flex-fuel vehicles if the nation is going to meet the target. No, I don't know anyone who has bought one either. The CAFE requirements will involve another comprehensive redesign of the American fleet just like we saw in the 70s and 80s, but...
  • Concerned Scientists Discover Self-Interest!

    January 23, 2007
    That the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) is a far-left political activist group is hardly news. Yet the point needs to be made repeatedly, given how much so many in the media insist on treating UCS as an impartial representative of the greater scientific community. Because of this, today's CNSNews.com story on UCS ("Scientist" Group's Funding Comes with Liberal "Strings Attached") is welcome. UCS has attacked climate skeptic groups, like CEI, because of their receiving funding from corporations (especially, until recently, ExxonMobil). So it's only fair that UCS's own funding should now come under scrutiny. AS CNS reports:
    The UCS receives substantial donations from liberal-leaning...

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