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OpenMarket: February 2007

  • Videos: The bad and the Ugly

    February 21, 2007
    Have you got a minute for Greenpeace's youth wing? [youtube]BY7875_rv1s[/youtube] I think he wants your lunch money as well.
  • Deadly Asian Killer Hornets

    February 21, 2007
    The endless list of calamities laid at the feet of global warming just got a little longer - witness the invasion of France by the terrifying Asian Hornet:
    Global warming has largely been blamed for the survival and spread of the Asian Hornet, Vespa velutina, which is thought to have arrived in France from the Far East in a consignment of Chinese pottery in late 2004. Thousands of football-shaped hornet nests are now dotted all over the forests of Aquitaine, the south-western region of France hugely popular with British tourists.
    The story, by the way, is from The Telegraph, which explains in part why they're more worried about British tourists than the actual French...
  • Minorities Suffer from Green Hype

    February 21, 2007
    The Contra Costa Times reports today that minorities in the San Francisco Bay area suffer disproportionately from air pollution coming from industrial plants. The "evidence" is contained in a report released by environmental activists, titled "Still Toxic After All These Years." This report finds that Latinos, African Americans, and Asians or Pacific Islanders compose 62 percent of people living within a mile of industrial facilities that report "toxic air emissions" to the federal government.

    Is this an injustice? Hardly. All it actually shows is that some minorities chose to live in more affordable housing near these facilities. There is no evidence that their health suffers as a result. If any suffering is involved, it stems from the...

  • Videos: The Good

    February 21, 2007
    British web-based advocacy group/ think tank/ TV station has released an ad on 'A World Without America.' It makes the case for technological adaptation powered by America's free market system very well.
  • Bruce Yandle on Baptists & Bootleggers

    February 21, 2007
    I listened to this podcast on my way in today and I don't think there's a better introduction to our regulatory issues, especially to the bootlegger/baptist concept. They go into the MSA in depth as well.
  • More on Unions, in IBD

    February 21, 2007
    I'm quoted in today's Investor's Business Daily on organized labor's struggle to remain relevant in the private sector, where its numbers have been declining precipitously.
    One thing Big Labor is doing is "thinking more strategically," said Ivan Osorio, labor policy analyst at the free-market Competitive Enterprise Institute. "And in those sectors where they do fight, they are much more aggressive."
    Aggressive indeed!
    As labor has gotten smaller, it has come to rely more on public-sector unions, CEI's Osorio notes. According to the BLS, 36.2% of government workers are unionized vs. 7.4% in the private sector. AFSCME, which mainly represents the public sector, gained about 10,000 members last year, Booth said. That also has helped...
  • Convention Center Proves Old Lessons Still Unlearned

    February 20, 2007

    "Convention Center Not Living Up To Lofty Goals!" appeared as a headline in today's Washington Post and should serve to remind everyone that the predictions of the virtues of government investment are rarely achieved. And from that comes a lesson.  Capitalism is concerned about the efficient use of capital -- the seed corn that provides for our future.  A market encourages efficient use of captial because the individual seeking  funds must put forward a realistic plan and work diligently to ensure that the plan becomes reality.  When your money is at stake, when the potential profits will be captured by you -- you work hard.  Milton Friedman noted many times...

  • PC Views Now Dominate Key Intellectual Groups

    February 20, 2007
    I recently received my Phi Beta Kappa magazine. Phi Beta Kappa is the standard "honor" society for students scoring well in college. I became a member in 1963 at Tulane and have been reading, from time to time, the magazine ever since. Over the years, I've noted a tendency for the articles and books selected to become ever more PC, ever more consistent with the view that western civilization is -- in various ways -- non-sustainable, non-egalitarian, a failure. Diversity issues have been a theme for many years and, more recently, Malthusian views have become salient. The latest (Spring 2007) contains reviews of books by Lester Brown - the venerable prophet of decline - and by Kerry Emanuel (Divine Wind: The History and Science of Hurricanes) which endorses the global warming views (and the consensus view "now that essentially all scientists agree on the looming crisis of global...
  • EU Comes Clean on Reg Policy

    February 20, 2007
    For years, we at CEI have warned that the European Union was using multilateral environmental agreements not just to defend its trade-obstructing precautionary regulation from World Trade Organization challenges, but to spread its regulatory philosophy around the world (See here and here, for example.). According to the Financial Times, the EU will actually acknowledge this week that this is true. A new European Commission paper to be released this week will urge other countries to follow the European lead on environmental, product safety, and corporate governance regulation by "promoting European standards internationally through international organisation and bilateral agreements...
  • Testifying in Congress on the Climate Action Partnership

    February 20, 2007
    Last week ago, I was asked to testify before the Environment and Public Works Committee, now chaired by Senator Barbara Boxer of California. Testifying is an interesting process—one writes a short paper dealing with the intellectual aspects of the topic and then present a brief oral statement (loosely based on one's written testimony) to the Committee in person. The topic was the work of the Climate Action Partnership (CAP), an alliance of businesses and environmental groups calling for restraints on carbon-based energy use in America.  My comments dealt with the fact that for businesses to seek a government-enforced cartel is nothing new—and scarcely admirable. Enron, I noted, had been one of the early champions of that approach. That environmentalists had joined in this alliance merely illustrated that the “Baptist and Bootlegger...

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