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  • Congress votes highest civilian honor to Dr. Norman Borlaug

    December 6, 2006
    Today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to award a Congressional Gold Medal — the nation's highest honor -- to Dr. Norman Borlaug, credited with saving a billion lives through increasing crop yields in developing countries. The Senate has already voted for the award, and the legislation now goes to President Bush for his signature. The creator of the “Green Revolution,” Dr. Borlaug, now 92, still continues his research work in Mexico and in Africa. Winner of a 1970 Nobel Prize, he has been credited with saving “more lives than any other person who has ever lived.” Dr. Borlaug also has been an advocate of agricultural biotechnology and its role in helping to feed the poor of the world. CEI was honored to present him with the CEI Prometheus award at its 20th Anniversary dinner...
  • When in the course of human events...

    December 4, 2006
    Seemingly forgetting about a little thing called the Declaration of Independence, Albert Gore Jr., former Vice President of the United States of America has joined with the Heir to the throne of Great Britain and the primate of its Established Church to push their policies on the peoples of the world. As Chris Horner here just remarked, "It always warms my heart when a couple of guys can get together to discuss how to save the environment with a simple note, 'one of your places or one of mine?'"
  • Saudis to Sue Tobacco Companies

    December 1, 2006
    The Saudi government is threatening to sue American tobacco companies such as Philip Morris to force them to pay the healthcare costs of Saudi smokers. The lawsuit may seem laughably inconsistent with the basic idea of personal responsibility. But the Saudis are just imitating America's own trial lawyers. in 1998, American trial lawyers, assisted by 46 state attorneys general, succeeded in getting Big Tobacco to pay $250 billion over 25 years to state governments, supposedly to pay for smokers' healthcare costs, in a backroom deal called the Master Settlement Agreement. (An extra $14 billion was paid to the lawyers. CEI is challenging the settlement in federal court as a violation of the Constitution's Compact Clause). Big Tobacco shortsightedly went along because the trial lawyers added a sweetener to the deal...
  • For Best Results, Drink Like a Sardinian

    November 30, 2006
    There's more scientific evidence that moderate consumption of red wine is good for you:
    New research from the William Harvey Research Institute and the University of Glasgow shows that red wines from areas of greater longevity in southwest France and Sardinia have higher levels of procyanidins - a type of flavonoid polyphenol with potent protective effects on blood vessels. A number of population studies have revealed that moderate drinkers of red wine have less heart disease than non-drinkers. As a result it has become widely accepted that a glass or two of red wine per day is good for your heart.
    The Q & A with one of the researchers also updates our understanding of a previous development in the wine-is-good-for-you literature:...
  • Usual suspects make the list -- environmentalists of all time

    November 29, 2006
    Dr. C.S. Prakash alerted me to yesterday's list in The Guardian of the top environmental campaigners of all time. Not surprisingly, Rachel Carson tops the list, and one of her chief achievements was the eventual banning of DDT. Readers might be interested in John Berlau's DDT article today, which puts that “achievement” in a human context. Here's the list of the top twenty. One who really accomplished something that helped save the earth — the people on it — was number 19, Joseph Bazelgette, who realized that “foul water” not foul air was responsible for the cholera epidemics. He devised the London...
  • Breast-Related Assurances from the First Lady of Illinois

    November 28, 2006
    Some Illinois political observers are raising their eyebrows about a stack of greeting cards that Gov. Rod Blagojevich's office sent out before the election congratulating new parents on their bundles of joy (and reminding them to get their kids immunized). The implication here being that Blagojevich wanted to spend a little government money to get his name in front of potential voters just before the election. I kind of doubt that, but in any case, focusing on that ignores the much more amusing angle, which is that many of the cards were delivered over a year late:
    "I thought it was laughable," said 29-year-old Andrew Fitzgibbon of Lincoln. "Here my daughter is turning 1 and I get something...
  • Zimbabwe military wants "to listen" to make people safe

    November 28, 2006
    Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, with 25-plus years of dictatorship under his belt, is now cracking down on cell phones in the name of national security. His military, with a record of expropriating land, torching and looting small businesses, and police brutality, now says that Zimbabwe's citizens are endangering national security by having independent connections to the outside world. According to their military spokesperson, the mobile phone providers should have to route their international calls through the state-owned TelOne so that people couldn't “...
  • Tony Bourdain: Recovering socialist

    November 28, 2006
    I'm a big fan of Tony Bourdain, but he describes himself as a socialist. At the same time, he clearly hates what the nanny state has done to food. Here's an excerpt from his book A Cook's Tour that I used in a debate on the Crunchy Con blog this March:
  • The Media Filter

    November 28, 2006
    Dr. Crippen, a doctor who has the misfortune to work in the British National Health Service, has an interesting story about the critical faculties of the BBC. Blessed Auntie Beeb simply posted a news release from a firm that makes artificial milk posing as a healthcare advocacy group as a news story, then when found out altered the story without notice. I wonder what could have attracted the BBC to the story in the first place? Claims of babies dying - check. Claims that normal part of diet is causing it - check. Authoritative-sounding statistics - check. General suspicion that industry actually enjoys killing its customers - check. Who could blame them? The story was simply too good to fact-check...
  • Freedom Fighting from the Kitchen

    November 27, 2006
    In the current issue of Doublethink, Baylen Linnekin, founder of the libertarian blog "To the People," asks the burning question: "Is Anthony Bourdain a libertarian?" To get to the answer, you'll need to read the interview of the celebrity chief and TV travel host. But to whet your appetite (no pun intended), consider these choice bits of Bourdain in his own words: On New York City's smoking ban:
    "We're in such a headlong rush to become the next Singapore, I find [it] horrifying and completely, well, un-American."
    On poverty:
    "I think glamorizing poverty -- as long as they wear cute, indigenous clothes and look good from the tour boat -- I think is a danger we should be aware of...I...


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