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OpenMarket: April 2007

  • Jogging with Laurie David

    April 10, 2007
    On the Huffington Post today, global warming campaigner Laurie David opines about the weather in Dallas as she takes her morning run:
    Time magazine had it right when they described the planet's illness from global warming as being sick with the flu and going from night shivers to a cold sweat. That is exactly what is happening. 70 degrees in January and 40 degrees in April.
    What's really interesting is that most of the comments take issue with her post. Here they are:

    Comments :

    Laurie I thought it was getting warmer not colder. We have a warm January and everyone says it's proof of global warming; we have the coldest February in a century and everyone says it proof of global warming. When it rains, it's proof; when it snows it's...
  • Homilies against trade don't put food on the table

    April 10, 2007

    With the recent signing of the U.S.- Korea Free Trade Agreement, protectionists in both countries are stepping up opposition

    In Korea there were homilies against the trade agreement at a Catholic prayer rally and Mass in a rural diocese.  Father Kim Si-young said that the agreement would hurt the poor: "Korean society will change to fit an American standard full of competition, and socially weak people will suffer. Following Jesus Christ, who cared for and chose the poor as a preferential...

  • Golf Carts and Safety

    April 10, 2007
    A front page article in today's New York Times comments on the rise of electric carts around the country. Particularly in retirement communities, they've caught on big time. I like the idea: internal combustion engines don't do well on stop-and-start trips, produce a lot of pollution when they start, and make a lot of noise. But why only retirement communities? Electric carts also seem perfect for most city driving. They're much more practical than Segways or motorcycles in that they can actually hold groceries. Traffic on arterials in dense center cities never moves faster than the 25-35 MPH speed limit the golf carts have anyway. They cost less than cars and, in general, require less work to keep running. They're cheap, at least in theory, so they seem perfect for people with low incomes. So why don't we have...
  • Not Good Enough

    April 9, 2007
    One of the baffling things about the IPCC Working Group II document released on Friday is how much it ignores mankind's ability to progress. Time after time it fails to take into account any increase in adaptive capacity as the world gets richer. Essentially, it assumes we spend all our money on iPods while our feet get wet. But it's even worse than that. Indur Goklany sums it up:
    In the few cases where they consider that existing technologies will be adopted more widely because of increasing wealth, these studies don't generally allow for new technologies. This is the case for some of the studies of agricultural production and hunger, for example. These studies estimate impacts for 2085 using technologies from the 1990s or earlier. This is like estimating today's food production and levels of hunger using technologies from the 1910s! You are bound to...
  • Misguided ethanol policy helps drive up food prices

    April 9, 2007
    Here's another article — front-page Wall Street Journal (subscription needed) — that notes the shift from food to fuel production (e.g., corn-based ethanol) is helping to drive up the cost of food worldwide and adding to inflationary pressures. While the article doesn't mention the U.S. government's policy of ethanol subsidies and tax breaks, it's surely a major factor in the ethanol boom. Check out recent posts on this issue here and here.
  • Hurricane forecaster calls Gore "gross alarmist"

    April 9, 2007
    In an article posted on WWL-TV in New Orleans on April 6, Dr. William Gray, the prominent hurricane forecaster, took aim at Al Gore's global warming predictions and was quoted as calling him “a gross alarmist.” Dr. Gray also made news in his final presentation that same day at the National Hurricane Conference in the city still stricken by the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In his speech Dr. Gray dismissed the linkage of hurricane activity to global warming and said that climate change was mostly due to ocean circulation patterns. Gray and his forecasting team are predicting a very active hurricane season this year -- 17 named storms, with nine of those becoming hurricanes.
  • The Tip of the Iceberg

    April 9, 2007
    I have a piece in today's National Review Online about the new bill that would provide optional federal chartering (OFC) for insurance companies. OFC, of course, would let insurance companies do what banks have long done and subject themselves to federal rather than state regulation. This could have good consequences if it lets insurance companies escape burdensome state regulations and move towards risk-based pricing for insurance policies. I still haven't even seen the final legislative langauge myself and, as I say in the piece, I think the devil is in the details. But the Sununu-Johnson bill is only the tip of the iceberg. There are other ways whereby we can move our insurance system towards risk-based pricing. Mutual recognition of state insurance charters would accomplish many...
  • Re: "Vanity, vanity"...

    April 6, 2007
    Regarding Fran's post earlier today on Vanity Fair's new "Green Issue" -- I haven't read it yet, but I'm sure it's all very fair and high minded. After all, the mag does have a section called "Fame & Scandal" featuring celebrity photos (including some of Annie Leibovitz's increasingly amusing exercises in visual...
  • Adapting to the IPCC

    April 6, 2007
    The IPCC's second summary report of the year is out. Working Group II's report on Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability predicts a world facing food and water shortages and risk of flooding. The environmental lobby is already up in arms because of "government interference" with the conclusions. We could have told them years ago (hang on, we did) that polticizing the science in the way they did when the IPCC was set up would lead to such pressures. In fact, it's inevitable. Anyway, on to the substance. If the IPCC is correct and the world is facing exacerbated damages in this way (these problems existed before global warming, after all), then we need to work out our best response...
  • Now I wanna be a Stooge

    April 6, 2007
    Anyone who doubts that Americans are living longer and healthier need only see the Stooges, Michigan's godfathers of punk, who, pushing 60 and back together after three decades apart, today rock harder than most kids a third of their age (as they did at D.C.'s 9:30 Club last night). Is it any wonder there was no medieval rock 'n' roll?

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