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OpenMarket: Gregory Conko

  • Food Fight Over a Living Relic of the Past

    April 21, 2010

    There's an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal today on a big new food fight over hybrid heirloom tomato varieties.  Some years ago, shoppers fed up with the bland, styrofoam-like taste of the typical supermarket tomato started turning toward farmers' markets, specialty produce departments, and their own back yards for older, "heirloom" varieties that taste great but generally ripen into muted and mottled colors, and non-uniform size--all...
  • Green Thumbs and GMOs

    April 13, 2010
    A friend just recommended this op-ed published in the Boston Globe on Sunday. The title and subtitle say it all: "Green Thumbs: Genetically engineered crops are more environmentally friendly than organic ones." Just today, the National Academy of Sciences issued an in-depth study concluding that "when best management practices are implemented, GE crops have been effective at reducing pest problems with economic and environmental benefits".
  • Barack Obama and Liberal "Good" vs. Freedom

    March 31, 2010
    There's a great op-ed by Shelby Steele in today's Wall Street Journal, called "Barack the Good". In it, Steele argues that "today's liberalism is focused on 'the good' more than on freedom. And ideas of 'the good' are often a license to transgress democratic principles in order to reach social justice or to achieve more equality or to lessen suffering."
  • Gene Patents Ruled Invalid

    March 30, 2010
    In a pretty remarkable move, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York yesterday held that genes can not be patented merely because they have been isolated and purified out of their surrounding DNA.
  • Health Care Crisis About to Get a Whole Lot Worse

    March 21, 2010
    In just a few hours, the House of Representatives will vote on the $940 billion Senate health care bill, followed by a reconciliation package of "fixes" that were needed to attract the support of enough congressional Democrats. Over time, the need to restrain costs has made the third party in the doctor-patient-payer relationship increasingly more important than the second. The present health care legislation seeks to cut hundreds of billions of dollars out of Medicare, while spending those “savings” and hundreds of billions more in new tax revenue to subsidize private sector health insurance coverage. The inevitable end result will be less and less decision-making power in the hands of American health care consumers.
  • Is There No Adult Supervision at the Campaign for Liberty?

    March 18, 2010
    My colleagues brought to my attention this grossly misinformed, misleading, and error-laden essay on the Campaign for Liberty’s website. The main thrust of the piece is that so-called Genetically Modified Organisms, by which Ms. Moffa appears to mean crop plants modified with recombinant DNA technology, are unnatural and very probably harmful to humans. In the hope of shedding some light on the subject, I’d like to explain why bioengineered foods, or GMOs in the common idiom, are well understood by those who take the time to learn, and why they pose no threat to consumers or the environment.
  • Insurance Industry Stung By Health Care Deal

    November 11, 2009
    The CEO of the National Association of Health Underwriters has an op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal whining that a weak individual purchase mandate is bad for everyone, and insisting that Congress give people less choice, not more. It’s unfortunate, to be sure, that hundreds of millions of Americans will face higher health insurance premiums generated by ill-considered legislation. But, no one should feel bad for those in the health insurance industry who tried to cut this lousy deal.
  • "Cities are probably the greenest thing that humans do."

    October 27, 2009
    Environmental guru and author of the Whole Earth Catalog Stewart Brand has a new book out in which he argues that "My fellow environmentalists have been wrong about a couple of issues and were getting in the way of important things we should be doing, both with biotechnology and with nuclear technology, and in terms of how we think about cities, and in terms of how I know we're going to think about geoengineering--that is, direct intervention in the climate."
  • 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.
  • Science and the Sustainable Intensification of Agriculture

    October 21, 2009
    The UK Royal Society's long-awaited study on improving agricultural productivity and increasing food security was released this morning. it suggests that a healthy concern for protecting the environment necessitates the greater adoption of sophisticated agricultural technologies, including fertilizers, pesticides, and bioengineered (or GM) crops. Why? Because protecting the environment will require growing vastly more food without bringing new land into agriculture--what the report calls "sustainable intensification."


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