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OpenMarket: October 2009

  • Labeling food for their CO2 emissions -- Sweden tries it out

    October 23, 2009
    A new look to food labels in Sweden.  Food companies and restaurants may be listing the fossil fuel emissions that went into the production of the food.  So far, it's an experiment to test whether people change their buying habits to purchase the supposedly eco-friendlier foods. And it may sweep not just through Sweden but the whole EU. But the Swedish food police admit that they are some problems in balancing healthy eating with low-carbon-footprint eating.  And it doesn't always work.  Their guidelines that form the basis for the labels tell people to eat carrots instead of tomatoes, and not to eat many bananas.  Have they not read or heard about the antioxidant properties of tomatoes?...
  • Widening a highway is both an environmental AND civil rights issue?

    October 23, 2009
    Was a time when "civil rights" meant things like equal opportunities in employment and schooling for racial and ethnic minorities. And "environmental" meant something affecting the environment. But government twists everything that's good. Now leaders in Arlington County, Virginia where I live say plans for three high-occupancy toll lanes on the nearby highways will make traffic worse on nearby roads. But it's not just a transportation problem, they say in a federal lawsuit; it's also a civil rights issue. Yes, invoking the Civil Rights Act, they're requesting a more stringent environmental study of the toll-lane project, citing among the chief concerns the potential effect of air pollution on the health of low-income and minority residents near the highways. Arlington County Attorney Stephen MacIsaac said the suit was not intended to "create some kind of wedge issue on race or...
  • Regulation of the Day 65: Weighing Animals

    October 23, 2009
    If you sell poultry or livestock, it’s a good idea to weigh them first. Makes it easier for buyer and seller to agree on a fair price. But is this really a federal matter? If so, what isn’t?
  • Sen. McCain Introduces Anti-Net Neutrality Bill

    October 23, 2009
    Senator John McCain introduced a bill yesterday to combat the FCC's push for Net Neutrality.  The "Internet Freedom Act of 2009" would limit the FCC's legal authority to impose Net Neutrality rules on internet service providers. McCain's statement says:
    Today I’m pleased to introduce ‘The Internet Freedom Act of 2009’ that will keep the Internet free from government control and regulation. It will allow for continued innovation that will in turn create more high-paying jobs for the millions of Americans who are out of work or seeking new employment. Keeping businesses free from oppressive regulations is the best stimulus for the current economy.
    Sen. McCain's efforts to keep the government's hands off the 'net are a breath of fresh air in this period of...
  • Net Neutrality at 28 kilobits per second.

    October 23, 2009
    Why didn't the Federal Communications Commission impose net neutrality a decade ago? We don't need all this multimedia and advanced services. They finally caught on yesterday and realized the Net is fine the way it is and doesn't need to improve anymore, hence "neutrality" in 2009 rather than, say, 1996. OK seriously, read our critique of yesterday's FCC vote to impose what is "not neutrality" by any stretch of the imagination.
  • Keeping Priorities Straight

    October 23, 2009
    Bjørn Lomborg, head of the Copenhagen Consensus, brings some much-needed common sense to the global warming debate. Reporting from Vanuatu, he finds that many locals haven't even heard of global warming.
  • Shipwrecking Opportunity

    October 22, 2009
    Earlier this week, the Financial Times ran a story about a conspiracy between governments, Italian mafia, and industrialists to illegally dump ships containing hazardous waste into the Mediterranean Sea. It fails to mention the Basel Convention, which banned trade in “hazardous waste” between developed and developing nations. Because of this law, developed nations cannot send such ships or cargo to developing nations where it could be recycled. Greenpeace and similar groups pushed the Convention because they seem to think that any trade involving recycling of waste is always harmful. The reality is, such trade often creates opportunities that would lift communities out of far worse occupations or utter poverty. As noted in an...
  • Regulation of the Day 64: Starting a Business in Sacramento, California

    October 22, 2009
    The human mind is capable of creating limitless, endless wealth. The human mind is nearly as adept at preventing that wealth from being created. Sacramento is home to some of the experts.
  • A Cure Worse than the Disease

    October 22, 2009
    As I explain in a new CEI paper, which is out today, most of the alleged cost-cutting measures in the Baucus bill merely shift costs from the federal government onto the states or private payers, without affecting long-term health care inflation. Measures that could reduce the annual rate of growth in health care costs would erect government barriers between patients and their doctors.
  • Waxman-Markey: A $3.6 trillion gas tax

    October 21, 2009
    Senators Kit Bond (R-MO) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) have just released a report, Climate Change Legislation: A $3.6 Trillion Gas Tax, which estimates how much additional pain at the pump the Waxman-Markey would inflict on U.S. consumers. The Waxman-Markey bill (like its Senate companion, Kerry-Boxer) aims to cap U.S. carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from 2012 to 2050. Bond and Hutchison estimate the bill's impacts on motor fuel prices during 2015 to 2050. Of course, their study depends on assumptions regarding population growth, GDP growth, and technology change out to 2050. But in that regard, the Bond-Hutchison report is no different from any other study of Waxman-Markey, including studies touted by the bill's supporters. A virtue of this report is its straightforward,...

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