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OpenMarket: May 2007

  • And a good life it's been

    May 22, 2007
    Featured today in Fark.com under the heading of "Hero" is a story to give Michael Jacobson nightmares, headlined "Bad habits key to man's longevity":
    Zhang Shuqing, a centenarian in Pixian, Sichuan, has his own secret for long life - smoking every day and drinking liquor after every meal. Zhang, whose daughter died eight years ago, turned 100 on May 7... Zhang senior said he started smoking and drinking strong liquor when he was in his early 20s. Since then, he has smoked every day and taken a drink with every meal. According to his grandson Xu, Zhang has consumed 15 tons of liquor and more than a ton of tobacco in his lifetime. Zhang, who is in good health, has a huge appetite, with a...
  • Cokie and Steve are "free traders" -- for real

    May 21, 2007
    "Free-traders" Cokie and Steve Roberts have penned another of their syndicated columns promoting the benefits of free trade. Yes, that's right. Their latest column hits hard at the labor unions that got the Democratic leadership to craft a "bipartisan trade deal" with the Administration. That deal would mandate that enforceable labor and environmental standards will have to be included in all trade agreements, including already completed trade deals with Panama, Peru, and South Korea.
    That's exactly the kind of reactionary, head-in-the-sand view expressed by the labor leader we quoted above. And that's exactly why Democratic leaders have to stand up to their old friends in the labor movement and tell them the truth: trade is vital to American prosperity and security, and you don't get a veto here....
  • Immigration Deal Criticized

    May 21, 2007
    Earlier, I called the Senate immigration deal "lackluster." Apparently, a lot of people across the political spectrum agree with me. Conservatives are unhappy because it is an amnesty for illegal immigrants, and because low-income, uneducated illegal immigrants will be able to take advantage of hundreds of billions of dollars in government and Social Security benefits as a result of the amnesty. (Illegal immigrants are not entitled to most government benefits until they become legal). Legal immigrants are...
  • Rachel Was Wrong

    May 21, 2007
    Today we launch our campaign urging people to rethink the legacy of environmentalist icon Rachel Carson, with the site www.RachelWasWrong.com. Today she's mostly remembered at the author of the bestseller Silent Spring, the book frequently credited with launching the modern environmental movement. Unfortunately, the negative impact her ideas had on people around the world is mostly ignored. Her goal of getting rid of pesticides like DDT left uncounted millions vulnerable to deadly diseases like malaria.
    Here's Angela, from today's news release, on Carson's legacy and the occasion of what would have been her 100th birthday:...
  • More Federal Spending on Food Stamps?

    May 21, 2007
    The liberal ACSBlog has a post trumpeting Congressional Democrats' argument that federal spending on food stamps isn't enough. They claim that food stamps aren't enough to live on. (In other news, the Congressional Democratic leadership is poised to increase taxes on middle-class savers and investors when the Bush tax cuts expire in 2011, raising taxes on capital gains and dividends in order to finance increased government spending). I posted comments in response. My comments note that I have often spent far less on food than food stamp recipients do, and that many people who receive food stamps are not that poor. I also note that recipients of food stamps often spend money in ways that a truly needy person would not. New York Governor Mario Cuomo depicted America...
  • Who does Al Gore think he's kidding?

    May 21, 2007
    Don't expect to see The Who at Live Earth, the upcoming global warming propaganda-fest concert organized by Al Gore. As a longtime Who fan, I'm always happy to see them not disappoint, even when music isn't directly concerned. In October 2001, they were the only act that brought a group of New York police and firefighters (who needed a lift after the worst month of their lives) to their feet during the post 9/11 benefit Concert for New York. And now singer Roger Daltrey has strongly criticized Live Earth as so much hot air. As he told the British tabloid The Sun:
    "Bo***cks to that! The last thing the planet needs is a rock concert. "I can't...
  • Of Gas Prices and Carbon Taxes

    May 21, 2007
    Iain, I found your post on how higher gas prices have reduced travel very interesting. In the short term, what you present is a good first guess and it tells us what would happen in the first year of a carbon tax. But I think there's another level worth looking at. Some percentage of auto travel -- commutes to work for example -- is difficult to change in the economic short run (the period before changes can be made in land, labor, capital, and entrepreneurial ability/smarts). It seems to me that changing any of these factors (getting to the long run, in other words), will take quite a while when it comes to automobile travel. It takes over 25 years -- longer in desert areas -- to turn over the nation's vehicle fleet. It also takes significant time to change land use patterns, create new...
  • Mises on Immigration

    May 18, 2007
    As long as I'm on the subject of immigration, a complex matter, I always find Ludwig von Mises always quotable, providing clarity in such complex matters (I've previously cited him on labor more generally). As he notes in the essay "The Freedom to Move as an International Problem" (1935):
    If the European workers are prevented from emigrating and thus have to stay at home, this does not mean they will remain idle as a result. They will continue to work in their old homeland under less favorable conditions. And because of the less advantageous conditions of production there, they will be compensated in lower wages. They will then compete on the world...
  • A Free Market means a Free Labor Market

    May 18, 2007
    CEI's mission of "advancing the principles of free enterprise and limited government" doesn't come with the caveat of "unless it costs too much under our current welfare state." Eli, while I agree that immigration, either legal or illegal, isn't driven by the availability of state-provided social services, I think you miss a key factor. In addition to greater economic freedom, people who enter the United States illegally do so because of the demand for labor here. The push of "Mexico's poverty" is only half the picture; the pull of American jobs is also crucial -- though the economic freedom you mention is what allows those U.S. jobs to be created. I more strongly disagree with your contention that America has "little choice but as to keep on building walls to keep out illegal...
  • A Colossal Tragedy

    May 18, 2007
    A story on today's front page of the Washington Post highlights the life of Rachel Carson. While largely praising Carson, the author does note that Carson's contribution to the banning of DDT remains "controversial." While Carson surely would not have wanted this legacy, "controversial" doesn't begin to describe it. It's an ongoing colossal tragedy—one that Carson's followers could help reverse if only they would aggressively advocate DDT use for malaria control. After all, while Carson was wrong about DDT's public health impacts, she did admit that pesticides are sometimes necessary to address public health emergencies.

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