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OpenMarket: June 2007

  • Never Green Enough

    June 25, 2007
    Everywhere businesses are going green, but no firm will ever be green enough for the greens. According to an article in today's New York Times, alleged green products currently being marketed by Home Depot don't measure up—and many probably never will. Home Depot, Wal-Mart, and other firms focused on “green marketing” simply undermine their own businesses and the products they sell when the label some green and others not. Even the so-called “green products” suffer as groups like the Sierra Club label them nothing more that the result of “greenwashing.” One alleged problem is that there “are few verifiable or certified standards to substantiate claims.” Accordingly, Home Depot is working with a company that will do “life cycle analysis” to determine each product's impact. Sounds expensive—and you can...
  • Omnipave Goes Green

    June 25, 2007
    Ain't this the truth?
    “Most of what you see today in the green movement is voodoo marketing,” he added. “If they say their product makes the sky bluer and the grass greener, that's just not good enough."
    Here's a good example:
    They are currently considering a rug that is made out of corn fiber instead of nylon, one that the manufacturer is heralding as a natural, earth-friendly product. Corn is natural, Mr. Jarvis acknowledged, but he said he was concerned about the buildup of phosphates in the Gulf of Mexico coming off the Mississippi River from corn farming, as well as the fuel it takes to run the tractors in corn fields and to transport the corn. “When you look at the entire life cycle, nylon could have less of an environmental impact,” he said....
  • Lawyers Ready to Cash in on Climate Change

    June 25, 2007
    We knew the trial lawyers were ready to pounce, and are they ever. In today's Dallas Morning News, there's an article about a major Dallas law firm creating a "climate change practice" to cash in on the global warming hysteria. It joins another Dallas firm and a dozen others around the country that are "getting ready for a predicted explosion of climate-related work tied to government regulation, lawsuits against energy companies and new markets that will trade the rights to emit carbon." Isn't it great how government regulation can create so much wealth for trial lawyers and potentially wreck our economy while hitting the poor of the world the hardest, all in the name of something that we don't even know for sure will be a problem? Unfortunately, it's become the...
  • Chem Goes PC

    June 25, 2007
    An interesting, depressing article in today's Inside Higher Ed describes the advances that the Green Left have made in the teaching of undergraduate hard science classes. According to the article, the new movement involves the "infusion of an environmental ethic regardless of what topic, be it thermodynamics or plastics, is being taught or studied." One instructor has students write up the environmental implications of laboratory experiments in their notebooks, answering in their conclusion sections not only what they learned about the topic at hand, but also “What was green about the procedure, what was not green about the procedure and how." Another introductory class, for non-majors at a second-tier state University (University of Massachusetts Lowell), involves "requires...
  • The Rubber Stamp

    June 25, 2007
    In the June 23-24 Wall Street Journal, John Fialka and Greg Hitt (“Fights Loom on Energy Bill, Making Passage Uncertain,” subscription required) mention that,
    [S]peaking at a news conference Friday, Sen. Harry Reid (D., Nev) the Senate Majority Leader, compared the White House veto threats to bureaucrats waving a rubber stamp that says “veto.” “They can take their rubber stamp, and you know what they can do with it,” he told reporters, calling the bill “a major victory for the American people.”
    A major defeat is more like it. Only the perfect storm could have produced such lunacy as this bill—September 11, the War on Terror, and the resulting desire for energy independence; voters' disgust over Iraq, which brought the “Environmental...
  • Pantless Judge Goes Home Empty Handed

    June 25, 2007
    In more legal news, DC administrative law judge Roy L. Pearson has lost his case against his local dry cleaner, whom he was suing for breathtaking sum of $54 million. The respondents has committed the heinous act of...losing his pants. They tried to replace them, of course, but Judge Pearson was never satisfied with any of their overtures. At one point they offered to settle for the more realistic (but still ludicrously excessive) amount of $12,000, but Pearson just kept pushing it. Our legal maven Hans has been following this case closely; you can find his previous posts here (6/19),...
  • The Supreme Court Rulez

    June 25, 2007
    The Supreme Court today struck a small chunk out of the mountain of unconstitutionality that is the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law. From the Mark Sherman of the Associated Press:
    The court, split 5-4, upheld an appeals court ruling that an anti-abortion group should have been allowed to air ads during the final two months before the 2004 elections. [...] The provision in question was aimed at preventing the airing of issue ads that cast candidates in positive or negative lights while stopping short of explicitly calling for their election or defeat. Sponsors of such ads have contended they are exempt from certain limits on contributions in federal elections.
    One provision down, how many more to go?
  • Re: In Memory: Hans F. Sennholz, February 3, 1922–June 23, 2007

    June 25, 2007
    Terry's post on the late, great Hans Sennholz gives a good example of the influence he had on students at Grove City College. It also reminds me of the -- somewhat humorous -- account of Sennholz's tenure at Grove City in Brian Doherty's Radicals for Capitalism (which I recently finished reading):
    Sennholz, after a year teaching at Iona College in New Rochelle, New York, had impressed FEE [Foundation for Economic Education] J. Howard Pew, who in 1956 granted him chairmanship of the Economics department at Grove City College in Pennsylvania, of which Pew was a...
  • Sarkocialism

    June 22, 2007
    The ONLY good thing about the EU in my opinion has been its commitment to a single market and attacks on state aid. The harmonization policy is a significant downside to that, of course, in that it works against jurisdictional competition, but the EU has helped get rid of a lot of horrible subsidy and protectionism in Europe. Looks like those days are over:
    A reference to "free and undistorted competition" was pulled from the draft after French pressure late on Thursday.The new text talks of a "social market economy aiming at full employment". The French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, used a late night press conference to confirm that the EU's 50 year old commitment to an "open market economy with free competition" had been dropped from the draft treaty. "There was some play on that, but today's Presidency...
  • A couple of bucks stop here

    June 22, 2007
    A new survey from the strange combination of Resources for the Future, New Scientist, and Stanford University has some interesting findings not just on how much Americans are willing to pay to very slightly mitigate global warming (answer: not much) but also on the institutional arrangements for those payments. There were no majorities found for any increase in the price of gas (the most was 46% in favor of a $1 increase as a result of a low carbon fuel standard). There were large numbers of people willing to pay $87 or $95 a month for electricity, but given that the average monthly bill suggested by the researchers is already $85 a month, that's hardly a surprise. We could all absorb an annual increase of $24 without noticing. What is...

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