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OpenMarket: April 2007

  • Ethanol may cause more smog, deaths?

    April 18, 2007
    Does use of ethanol fuel generate more smog and health problems than use of carbon-based fuels? Check out the new study by a Stanford University civil and environmental engineering professor, written up in an AP story today.
    "It's not green in terms of air pollution," said study author Mark Jacobson, a Stanford University civil and environmental engineering professor. "If you want to use ethanol, fine, but don't do it based on health grounds. It's no better than gasoline, apparently slightly worse."
  • In search of "dystopia"

    April 18, 2007
    Last weekend, as the Nor'easter pelted the area, we curled up in front of a fire and watched Blade Runner — Director's Cut. Hadn't seen this classic dystopic movie since its original release in 1982. I'm not going to review the film here (see it for yourself). “Blade Runner” did start a discussion about when the word “dystopia” was first used, and when did it became a common term. As a dame d'un certain age, I asserted that it didn't come into common usage until 30 or more years ago.
    Dystopia doesn't appear in my older edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, nor in my Webster's Unabridged — so a hard-copy search didn't get results. Online, a Google search produced over 2 million references, including lots of...
  • Re: Guns in Virginia

    April 17, 2007
    Following up on Eli's post below, the blog Classically Liberal (linked to from Freedom News Daily) notes that not only is the Virginia Tech campus a gun-free zone, but that last year Virginia Tech administrators actively opposed a bill to allow college students and employees to carry on campus if they held "a valid concealed handgun permit."
    The legislation went to the House Committee on Militia, Police and Public Safety. And the vote was a quick one. The process was over almost before it began. A spokesman for Virginia Tech was thrilled at the results. He...
  • Guns in Virginia

    April 17, 2007
    I wrote about the tragedy at Virginia Tech in National Review Online. My piece, which I wrote really quickly, went up yesterday and, as more information comes out, some of what I wrote may be overtaken by events. Here's one interesting thing I found out while researching the piece that didn't make it in: although Virginia Tech's own campus code of conduct forbids any weapons (even fencing foils) on campus, Virginia itself has pretty liberal laws about concealed carry. According to, existing Virginia state law explicitly forbids carry on the Virginia Commonwealth University campus. I'm no expert on firearms laws or the legal status of public university judicial codes, but this might imply that, the college's own...
  • Redundant Regulation Preempted

    April 17, 2007
    In a 5-to-3 decision, the Supreme Court just ruled in Watters v. Wachovia Bank that state regulators can't impose certain regulations on national banks' operating subsidiaries. CEI filed an amicus brief on behalf of Wachovia Bank in its battle with Michigan state regulators explaining why federal preemption of state regulation is good for both consumers and banks. The brief was joined by seven prominent economists and legal scholars. State banking regulations drive up the cost of credit for borrowers and result in banks being subjected to a confusing hodgepodge of regulations imposed by many different states. They also result in banks being subject to redundant paperwork, red tape, and oversight by multiple state and federal regulators. More...
  • Senators warn -- no new "concessions" in trade round

    April 17, 2007

    In a letter released on April 16, 58 U.S. senators warned the Bush Administration not to budge on offers in the World Trade Organization's negotiations in the Doha Development Round.

    Talks have been languishing because of the unwillingness of the U.S. and the European Union to agree on further reductions in their agriculture support programs.

    Prospects for a successful trade agreements are getting dimmer for a variety of reasons. Increasingly more open trade is under attack in both Houses of Congress, which are pushing for greater market access for American farmers without a willingness to further reduce domestic. farm subsidies and support programs, especially for so-called “sensitive products.”

    In addition, Trade Promotion Authority expires at the end of June,...

  • Earth Day Prep II

    April 17, 2007
    In a release announcing its Earth Day preparations, the Earth Day Network urges people to "Register and Find Earth Day Events & Sermons." [Emphasis added.] Environmentalism a religion? Hardly. (Thanks to Margaret Griffis for the link.)
  • Earth Day Prep

    April 17, 2007
    With Earth Day coming up, will winter-like temperatures take some steam out of the recently invigorated climate alarmist train? That may be a fear among some doomsters, according to a news story linked from the Drudge Report today. The Ithaca Journal reports on the mood in the cold upstate New York town:
    While snow piles up outside our windows, we may be hard-pressed to believe climate change is occurring, global temperatures are rising and the planet is on a crash course of serious change if greenhouse gas emissions are not reduced. That message was delivered on Friday in Albany by Arthur DeGaetano, a Cornell University professor and the head of the Northeast Regional Climate Center.
  • Ethanol jacking up fertilizer prices

    April 17, 2007
    Ethanolics never tire of telling us that the current ethanol mandate, President Bush's 20/10 program (requiring 20% or 35 billion gallons of the nation's motor fuel to come from corn and other plant materials by 2017), and kindred regulatory initiatives are “good for farmers.” In reality, such policies are wealth-transfer schemes—zero-sum games in which one farmer's gain is another's loss. Once again, big daddy government robs Peter to pay Paul.
  • Free At Last

    April 16, 2007
    In case you were wondering why tax day isn't until tomorrow, allow me to introduce you to D.C. Emancipation Day. This recently minted holiday marks the day in 1862 when Abraham Lincoln signed the Compensated Emancipation Act which, according to my good friend Wikipedia (and the DC city website), freed approximately 3,100 men and women from slavery - nine months before the Emancipation Proclamation. ...


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