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OpenMarket: March 2007

  • Craig Newmark on Trust

    March 30, 2007
    Cragislist founder Craig Newmark has an interesting op ed in today's Washington Examiner on ways in which voluntary collaboration will help resolve new issues of trust in the always-developing online world (and in some cases in the real world). He sees great promise in "neutral, independent reputation systems, like the ones in eBay or Amazon, but independent of any particular business," and in "forms of collaborative filtering acting as BS screens, which will make it easy for people to figure when they're getting scammed." He notes:
    Success in using digital technology to advance the science of establishing trust and reputation will have implications in countless fields, including, but not limited to,...
  • Bandow on Unions' new Global Strategy

    March 30, 2007
    What's worse than trade protectionism and compulsory unionism? Trade protectionism and compulsory unionism that shred national sovereignty, as CEI adjunct fellow Doug Bandow writes in TCSDaily today. He notes that some Democrats in Congress seek "to empower a UN body, the International Labor Organization (ILO) -- which promulgates rules on everything from child labor to union organizing -- more than the U.S. government. This is what organized labor desires; American unions began taking labor controversies to the ILO years ago." There is a good reason they're doing this:
    In theory, international agencies can help promote individual liberty and economic deregulation. In practice, global institutions are easily captured by professional staffs with their own agendas. That has been evident throughout...
  • Climate Alarmism for Fun and Profit

    March 29, 2007
    Via Roger Pielke Jr, we have the unedifying spectacle of at least one leading IPCC scientist engaged in selling alarmist predictions of what climate change might do to your property in a new venture called Climate Appraisal Services LLC. If you get a free report, you get temperature measurements for your address, some information about UV radiation and some chilling maps of how much of the USA will be under water if sea level rises 20 feet (and we can't be bothered to build sea defenses, presumably). Now, for $30 you can get a report that gives you all this and more:
    • Will your home be submerged from climate change?
    • How many hurricanes can you expect this season?
    • ...
  • An Idea So Good, It Must Be Mandated

    March 29, 2007
    Is there a special award for someone who lays out a lengthy argument in support of some law, and then yanks the rug out from under himself at the very end? Consider this letter in today's Wall St. Journal from Edgar Dworsky, head of Consumer World. Mr. Dworsky, a former Mass. assistant attorney general, defends a state law that requires groceries to mark prices on every individual item they sell. He devotes over 10 column-inches to explaining how convenient individually price-marked items are for shoppers, and how little it costs storekeepers. Perhaps that's true, perhaps not. But then Mr. Dworsky concludes with this zinger: "Does it cost money to mark prices on goods? Certainly. The real question is whether consumers are willing to pay that...
  • Global warming roundup

    March 28, 2007
    Lots of items you may have missed:
  • Environmentalists Exult while Town Mourns

    March 28, 2007
    The private equity buyout of Texas Utilities that was brokered in such a way as to appease environmental groups has brought despair to one Texas town:
    In Colorado City and surrounding Mitchell County, "there were lots of long faces," Mayor Jim Baum says. "The plant would have been our salvation, even more so than the discovery of oil." Up to 3,000 workers would have poured in for three years of construction, spending their pay at local stores. The plant, once operating, would have provided more than 100 high-paying jobs and hundreds more in support businesses. Tax revenue from TXU's estimated $1 billion investment could have cut local taxes in half, Baum says... Soon after canceling the eight plants, TXU pledged to develop two facilities that would capture carbon dioxide instead of...
  • Domenici reverts to Byrd-Hagel

    March 27, 2007
    The Kyoto crowd crowed when the Senate, on June 22, 2005, voted 54-43 in favor of a Sense of the Senate resolution on climate change drafted by Sens. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) and Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.). The critical language appears below:
    (b) Sense of the Senate.—It is the sense of the Senate that Congress should enact a comprehensive and effective national program of mandatory, market-based limits and incentives on emissions of greenhouse gases that slow, stop, and reverse the growth of such emissions at a rate and in a manner that—
    (1) will not significantly harm the United States economy; and
    (2) will encourage comparable action by other nations that are major trading...
  • Mitigating Factors

    March 27, 2007
    Roger Pielke Jr has posted a letter to his Prometheus website that he wrote in response to an op/ed by CEI Adjunct Fellow Dr Henry Miller, which commended Dr Pielke Jr for drawing attention to the benefits of adaptation to global warming.  Dr Pielke Jr says:
    Any effective approach to climate policy will require that we both mitigate and adapt. The urge to present adaptation and mitigation as somehow in opposition is a reflex shared by those on opposing sides of the debate over greenhouse gas emissions. On climate policy we must walk and chew gum at the same time.
  • In case you missed it (notes on some recent climate hearings)

    March 27, 2007
    Capitol Hill is on a global warming hearing binge. Al Gore made the big splash in terms of media coverage, but several recent testimonies merit your attention.
  • BP's Questionable Priorities

    March 26, 2007
    BP's latest carbon emission reduction figures illustrate how easily carbon trading schemes, which rely on emissions reporting, cab be manipulated. According to the Sunday Times, the oil giant claims "a cut of 830 m tons in its annual carbon dioxide emissions -- roughly equivalent to the entire output of Britain and the Netherlands combined." Environmental activists should be giddy over this engineering "marvel," right? Wrong. Some of them blame "creative accounting" for this reduction. BP, reports the Times, "has decided to exclude the oil, gas and chemicals it buys on world markets from its emission figures, and now takes responsibility only for the hydrocarbons it has itself extracted." John Wells, BP's vice president for environment, defended the change as a move towards greater accuracy,...

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