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OpenMarket: January 2007

  • The Weather Channel Gets Emotional

    January 5, 2007
    Tired of tuning into The Weather Channel and getting nothing but temperature forecasts, rain totals and color-coded maps? Worry not cable junkies - TWC is making a bold foray, away from such quotidian programming into the exciting world of climate change panic and pandemonium:
    The Weather Channel is now engaged in a con job on the American people, attempting to scare the public that their actions are destroying the planet by creating a global warming crisis. The move away from scientific forecasting of the weather to sensationalized leftist political advocacy is in part due to the influence of Wonya Lucas, executive vice president and general manager of The Weather Channel Networks. [...] Media Village reported that the move by The Weather Channel "is intended to establish a broader perspective...
  • Ethanol ain't no magic bullet

    January 5, 2007
    The New York Times has caught up with CEI in assessing the impact of increased production of ethanol and its effect on food production. NYT journalist Alexei Barrionuevo reports today on a new study showing that ethanol plants could use half of the U.S. corn crop next year. CEI's own study, “Biofuels, Food, or Wildlife? The Massive Land Costs of U.S. Ethanol,” was published Sept. 21, 2006. Authored by Dennis T. Avery, the report discussed likely effects of a massive shift to ethanol production. Avery noted:
    There are significant trade-offs, however, involved in the massive expansion of the production of corn and other crops for fuel. Chief among these would be a shift of major amounts of the world's food supply...
  • Debunking Dobbs -- Part II

    January 4, 2007
    In the Christian Science Monitor's Jan. 4 issue, GMU's Don Boudreaux takes a whack at Dobbs in his “open letter” to the huckster of protectionism. Boudreaux writes:
    If you're still skeptical that America's trade deficit is no cause for concern, perhaps you'll be persuaded by Adam Smith, who wrote that "Nothing, however, can be more absurd than this whole doctrine of the balance of trade." Smith correctly understood that with free trade, the economy becomes larger than any one nation - a fact that brings more human creativity, more savings, more capital, more specialization, more opportunity, more competition, and a higher standard of living to all those who can freely trade.
    (I think that Don is one of the best economists around writing...
  • Bhagwati debunks Dobbsians

    January 4, 2007
    Economist Jagdish Bhagwati does it again — in an FT opinion piece today, he pricks holes in the Dobbsian view that globalization has devastated U.S. jobs and wages. Bhagwati points out that technology — “labor-saving technical change” — has stressed those less skilled in the job market. And, because the process is now continuous and unrelenting, lower-skilled workers find it harder to adjust. He notes:
    I suspect that the answer lies in the intensity of displacement of unskilled labour by information technology-based change and in the fact that this process is continuous now — unlike discrete changes caused by past inventions such as the steam engine. Before the workers get on to the rising part of the J-curve, they run into yet...
  • FDA Animal Cloning Decision Comes Years Too Late

    January 4, 2007
    In an invited post on The Hill's Congress Blog yesterday, I argued that the FDA's announcement that it had officially found meat and milk from cloned cows, pigs, and goats to be safe for human consumption was welcome news, but way over due. The National Academy of Science came to the same conclusion four years ago. And even FDA had come to that conclusion three years ago; it just stalled for three additional years culling through more...
  • Union of Concerned Scientists

    January 3, 2007
    The Union of Concerned Scientists has just released a 68-page report that claims that Exxon Mobil has funded a disinformation campaign on global warming based on the strategy and tactics used by the tobacco industry. Nearly everything in the report is recycled uncritically from other sources. It's mostly rubbish. Exxon Mobil can defend themselves, but I will comment on the ridiculous charges and misinformation about CEI. Here's an example. A Freedom of Information Act request several years ago revealed an e-mail that I had sent to Phil Cooney, then-chief-of-staff to the Chairman of the President's Council on Environmental Quality, in 2002. Andrew Revkin of the New York Times published a front-page story that the Bush Administration had conceded that global warming was a big...
  • Neo-luddites embark on anti-consumption year

    January 3, 2007
    In the news today, a group of San Francisco lefties + assorted friends who are renewing a pledge to forego shopping for the entire year. Seems that consumption (in the consumer way, not in the tuberculosis sense) is bad, primarily because of the "negative global environmental and socioeconomic impacts of disposable consumer culture" and its supposed harm to local businesses and farms. The yahoo group (how modern of them!) boasts nearly 4000 members, interestingly enough. They pledge not to buy "new products of any kind (from stores, web sites, etc.)" and, instead, borrow, barter...
  • The Grey Lady's Resolution: "In" -- global warming moderation; "Out" -- alarmism

    January 2, 2007
    On January 1st the New York Times revealed an astounding New Year's resolution: it starkly shifted course and implicitly promised to rein in its own promotion of global warming alarmism, tossing a few extreme actors overboard in hopes of saving the rest of the movement and their massive taxpayer-funded budgets. ("Middle Stance Emerges in Debate Over Climate: Scientists Espouse Measured Response" (log-in required). In so doing, the Times thereby also helpfully rationalizes their political allies' looming failure/refusal to do precisely what they have pounded the table intemperantly for for nearly six years, which is now within their grasp, and which therefore appears far less inviting: rapid -- and, we now know, rash -- enactment of ...

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