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OpenMarket: July 2007

  • Carney on "Abuser Fee" Abuse

    July 30, 2007
    Every other Friday, I open the Washington Examiner expecting to read Tim Carney, our good friend and former CEI Brookes Fellow,  exposing yet another tawdry example of the collusion between big business and big government to enrich themselves at your expense -- so I was unpleasantly surprised to not see his column last Friday. But not to worry; the column's been moved to Monday, and today Tim takes on Virginia's hugely unpopular new traffic "fees," which  present more than one opportunitiy for brazen rent seeking:
    Reason magazine's Radley Balko pointed out that...
  • Farm Bill becomes a partisan pork party

    July 27, 2007
    Today, the House passed the 2007 Farm Bill — with a vote of 231 - 191, along partisan lines. [Corrected] The fly in the ointment was a last minute bill by Rep.Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) to pay for greatly expanded nutrition and food stamp programs--dear to the hearts of urban Democrats--through tax hikes on foreign companies with U.S. subsidiaries. Republicans cried “foul” and pointed to the millions of jobs that would be lost and foreign investments that wouldn't be made if the tax hike went through. Here's a list that Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) pointed to about likely results of the tax hike to fund some of the programs. Undeterred, House leaders, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, listed all the groups that were getting their piece of the $286 billion...
  • Maurice Strong

    July 27, 2007
    Why am I not surprised to see his name involved with cap-and-trade? Let's see, he was involved in Oil for Food, and cash funneled via U.N. agencies to North Korea, and under Kofi Annan received a million dollar check bankrolled by Saddam Hussein's U.N.-sanctioned regime that was delivered by Tongsun Park—Maurice Strong embodies all that is sinister and shady. Today he is involved in the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX), the only firm in the U.S. that trades carbon credits, no doubt because he cares about the environment. Deborah Corey Barnes has revealed much about Al Gore and this industry in her exposé by the Capital Research Center, “Al Gore's Carbon Crusade: The Money and Connections Behind It,” a stomach-turning read:
  • FDA Regulation: Harmful to Smokers' Health?

    July 27, 2007
    Congress is on the verge of passing a bill that would subject tobacco products to FDA regulation. The FDA regulation bill would make it harder to market smokeless tobacco products to smokers, even though thousands of lives would be saved if smokers were to switch from cigarettes to reduced-risk tobacco products like smokeless tobacco. Cigarettes are much more dangerous, and more likely to cause cancer, than smokeless tobacco. The FDA regulation bill's potential adverse effect on health has drawn criticism from Senator Burr, an editorial in the Washington Times, and...
  • Sugar amendment offered during Farm Bill debate

    July 27, 2007
    During debate on the House floor on the Farm Bill this morning, sugar was on the agenda in the form of an amendment (number 19) offered by Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.). The bill would strike the sugar provisions in H.R. 2419 and instead continue the current program under the 2002 Farm Bill until 2012. As expected, representatives from sugar cane and sugar beet states spoke against the amendment and talked about the "146,000 sugar jobs" that would be lost if the amendment passed. That number is one manufactured by the sugar...
  • Farm Bill debate starts by focusing on tax increases on businesses

    July 26, 2007
    House floor debate on the 2007 Farm Bill — H.R. 2419 — began at 5:45 p.m. on Thursday, with a contentious beginning focusing on a last-minute approach to funding expansions of nutritional and food stamps programs to the tune of $4 billion. To fund those programs on a pay-as-you-go basis, foreign firms with U.S. operations would be taxed. This riled many of the Republican supporters of the Farm Bill, including Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), who had stood with the Chairman of the Agriculture Committee in his staunch support of the bill. Goodlatte said that would represent a sweeping change in the tax system and “put American jobs against American farmers.” Others, like Rep. Rose DeLauro (D-Conn.), called those companies “tax dodgers.” And it just started. Looks like it's going to be a long debate.
  • "Fisher Price mining tools"

    July 26, 2007
    Pundits discuss the merits of preserving traditional cultures....well, not really -- from the Onion News Network, strategies for making poor Africans feel good about their poverty.
  • Will GE inherit Lord Browne's legacy?

    July 26, 2007

    Christine,
    Your post about GE's new carbon-offset credit card is part of the corporation's "Ecomagination" program. Its nifty website says that if you download its Ecomagination annual report:

    GE will plant one tree in the Alpine forests south of Munich, Germany (home to one of GE's Global Research Centers). In collaboration with the German Armed Forces and the Bavarian Forestry Commission, GE's planting will integrate into the landscape, helping strengthen the area's critical flood protection.

    Sounds like GE's CEO Jeff Immelt is trying to follow in the footsteps of Lord Browne ofMadingley, the former head of BP -- "Beyond Petroleum" -- whose new chief executive Tony Hayward...

  • Dan Koshland R.I.P.

    July 26, 2007
    Molecular Biologist Daniel E. Koshland, Jr., was one of the most fascinating men I have ever had the pleasure to know. So, it was painful to read in this morning's Washington Post that he passed away on Monday, following a stroke, at the age of 87. Dan was a real polymath -- fascinated about every subject imaginable, and a genuine expert in many. He also happened to play a role in two of the 20th Century's most important scientific revolutions. In graduate school at the University of Chicago in the early 1940s, he worked on the Manhattan Project. After the War, first at Brookhaven National Laboratory and then at Cal Berkeley, his work focused on enzymology, laying foundations in that field that would become important to...
  • GE credit card saves me from guilt!

    July 26, 2007
    Thank goodness for GE's kind offer to alieve my guilt. Seems that GE is issuing a credit card that allows users to contribute a portion of their purchases to buy carbon offsets. Okay, am I the only one who thinks this is comic?
    GE issues credit card aimed to cut emissions Wed Jul 25, 11:26 AM ET General Electric Co. issued a credit card on Wednesday it says will be the first to cut help U.S. cardholders voluntarily cut emissions linked to global warming. The card, called GE Money Earth Rewards Platinum Mastercard, allows users the option of automatically contributing up to one percent of their card purchases to buy greenhouse emissions offsets. In voluntary emissions markets, consumers who feel guilty about their greenhouse emissions can buy offsets, or credits, designed to represent emissions reductions that took place somewhere else, like a solar or wind power...

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