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OpenMarket: January 2008

  • Company Flees Lawsuits, Regulation, Eliminating Jobs in New York City

    January 31, 2008
    Altria, the parent company of cigarette-maker Philip Morris, is shutting down its headquarters in New York City and will no longer employ the "vast majority" of its employees there. At the same time, it is spinning off its profitable overseas business to an independent entity (Philip Morris International), to be headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland, and shifting its U.S. headquarters to Richmond, Virginia. It is spinning off its overseas...
  • Straight Talk on Global Warming from...Bill Clinton?

    January 31, 2008
    Drudge today links to Jake Tapper's "Political Punch" column at ABC News, where he reports on a speech given by Bill Clinton yesterday in Denver. In it, Bill refers to the question of global warming and economic growth in surprising new terms. Instead of talking about the hundreds of thousands of high-paying green collar jobs we'll supposedly be generating by shunning the cheapest and most reliable energy sources on the planet, he issued a surprising recommendation.
    In a long, and interesting speech, [Bill Clinton] characterized what the U.S. and other industrialized nations need to do to combat global warming this way: "We just have to slow down our economy and cut back our greenhouse gas emissions 'cause we have to save the...
  • Cooler Heads Prevail at the Smithsonian

    January 31, 2008
    The multi-dimensional debate over political correctness at The Smithsonian (everything from exactly how many children Thomas Jefferson fathered to the proper display of the Enola Gay) has another entry: climate science at the Museum of Natural History. From today's Inside the Beltway:
    Suffice it to say, the Smithsonian Institution is not buying into the "global warming" hysteria being spread by Al Gore. While in the District in recent days, professor Jeff Bennett of the Crawford School of Economics and Government at Australian National University toured the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, where he snapped...
  • The EU To Ban Patio Heaters: What's Next, Light Bulbs?

    January 31, 2008
    Those hilarious Europeans. They are threatening to ban patio heaters. Too big a carbon imprint, it seems. So much for convenience, choice, and individual liberty. Reports the Times of London:
    Britain's growing café culture and taste for alfresco drinking and dining may be under threat from MEPs who want to ban the patio heater. A vote in Brussels today is expected to call on the European Commission to abolish the heaters to help to tackle climate change. Such a move could cost the pub and catering trade dear. Pubs spent about £85 million on patio heaters after the smoking ban was introduced last year. Besides forcing smokers into the cold there is concern that a ban on patio heaters could bring a significant cash loss to pubs, cafés and restaurants. The hospitality industry...
  • U.S. officials should oppose, not endorse, EU bully tactics

    January 30, 2008
    C. Boyden Gray, the U.S. Envoy to the European Union, said Tuesday (Jan. 28) that U.S. and EU adoption of carbon "offset" taxes (aka carbon tariffs) is "inevitable" if China, India, and other developing countries refuse to limit their greenhouse gas emissions. Gray spoke to European-based reporters in a telephone news conference. As reported by Joe Kirwin of BNA (Bureau of National Affairs, Inc.), Gray said the United States and the EU would eventually "have no choice" but to impose carbon tariffs on products from developing countries to remain competitive in the global economy. To illustrate, he cited the...
  • I love Kyoto, but...

    January 30, 2008
    At EconLog, Bryan Caplan sums up succinctly the method whereby President Bush this week was able to sound more predisposed toward a global treaty to limit greenhouse gas emissions -- that is, ration carbon-based energy -- without really being so:
    If you don't like telling people No, a convenient alternative is setting conditions you know other people won't accept. Then the impasse is their fault, you see.
    He cites many liberal Democrats' opposition to trade agreements, which they claim is "qualified," not because they're opposed to liberalized trade per se, but because they think it should be made "fair" through a morass of...
  • Subprime Crybabies

    January 30, 2008
    Last night, ABC News lavished sympathy on a North Carolina couple whose mortgage payments had risen to just over $2,000 a month, owing to the fact that they had an adjustable rate mortgage whose interest had recently risen from an introductory 9 percent rate to a hefty 14 percent rate. Math is obviously not something that ABC News journalists understand. The ABC evening news program hosted by Charles Gibson credulously accepted the couple's claim that they were being forced to devote the lion's share of their income to their mortgage payments, even though ABC reported that the couple's annual income was $80,000 -- or about $7,000 per month. How do you go broke paying $2,000 in mortgage payments on wages of $7,000 per month? I suspect the real reason they had difficulty paying their mortgage was the same reason they presumably had a high interest rate on their mortgage in the first...
  • House Passes "Stimulus" Bill That Discourages Work

    January 30, 2008
    The House has overwhelmingly voted to pass the "stimulus" bill I discussed earlier, which would increase the deficit, provide "rebates" that did nothing in past recessions to revise the economy, and give Fannie Mae, which engaged in Enron-style accounting and helped create the housing bubble, broad new lending powers. Michelle Malkin points out the the Senate version of...
  • Schwarzenegger Health Care Plan Bites the Dust

    January 30, 2008
    California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's multibillion dollar health care plan was rejected as too expensive by the California State Senate's Health Committee, putting him to the left of even that predominantly Democratic body. The Schwarzenegger plan would dramatically increase the role of the state in the health care system, relying on tax increases and manipulation of the federal Medicaid system to increase federal subsidies. Like many proposals to expand states' role in health care, the Schwarzenegger plan probably violated the federal ERISA law through its employer mandates. That doesn't seem to have been a big factor in the State Senate's decision, though. Nor does the fact that the Schwarzenegger plan...
  • Film: Shootdown

    January 29, 2008
    President Bush didn't mention Blanca Gonzalez, the mother of jailed Cuban dissident Normando Hernandez Gonzalez, after all. But the film Shootdown, which I also mentioned in the same post yesterday, is Michael Moynihan at Reason today. The film profiles the blowing out of the sky by Cuban air force MiGs of two planes from the Brothers to the Rescue operation.
    An event soon overshadowed by the saga of Elian Gonzales, the attack on the unarmed Brothers to the Rescue planes is now largely forgotten outside Miami. And despite the smokescreen of misinformation presented by Castro and his foreign enablers, the facts of the story are rather straightforward and grimly characteristic of a...

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