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OpenMarket: John Berlau

  • "Standing" on global warming

    April 3, 2007
    The Supreme Court's ruling on global warming is unfortunate for a number of reasons. It could lead to policies that would sacrifice jobs, economic growth, and even public health to the altar of global warming. And it may force policymakers to overlook genuine solutions to problems such as malaria and catastrophic floods wrongly blamed on global warming.

    As the four dissenting justices wrote, the states should not even have had standing to sue. Their damages were speculative, and, as even the British government's alarmist report by Sir Nicholas Stern acknowledges, regions with cooler climates such as that of Massachusetts could actually gain net benefits from global warming, such as more crops and less cold-related deaths. The Court played fast and loose with the Constitution's requirement that the courts only hear "cases and controversies" in which damages were actually shown.

    Small...
  • On stock listings, U.K. has even more lessons to teach

    March 15, 2007
    Iain, in addition to Eli, here's another CEI Yank putting in a good word for your home country.

    They do it right on stock listings too, and we could learn a lot from them. The London Stock Exchange has plenty of governance regulations for its main venue. Some of these rules are of dubious value.

    But British regulators allow investors and entrepreneurs to be the ultimate judge of these rules, by allowing the existence of an alternative venue, the Alternative Investment Market (AIM). The existence of this lightly regulated venue has rankled those across the Atlantic aghast at the notion of allowing investors to choose to buy into a company covered by anything less than the burdensome mandates of Sarbanes-Oxley....
  • Ted Kennedy says eliminate private sector from student loans

    March 10, 2007
    CEI would never argue that the current federal student loan programs are perfect. They are a mishmash of subsidies and regulations that cause distortions, not the least of which is to raise the sticker price of tuition significantly more than it probably would be otherwise.

    That being said, this doesn't mean that it's not possible for the student aid system to get worse -- even much worse. To Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., who is once again chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions, or HELP committee (a misnomer for a political body if there ever was one), the problem isn't the fact of government interference, but the fact that private banks are still involved at all. He wants to make student loans a 100 percent socialist system, because he and others claim that this would save money by...
  • Gore's award hurts integrity of documentary category

    February 28, 2007
    In selecting Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" as the winner for best documentary, the Academy Awards sent a disturbing message to aspiring documentary makers. The message they sent is: "Don't bother doing the hard work of capturing events as they happen and gathering a range of interivews. Your work will be trumped for recognition should a politician decide to make a slide show with some fancy cartoons."

    I'm not taking issue so much with the politics of "An Inconvenient Truth," but with its techniques and treatment of the facts. Many documentary nominees this year had liberal viewpoints. Some were very critical of the war in Iraq. But they adhered to traditional fact-based documentary standards to tell their stories. An Inconvenient Truth, on the other hand, with its use of frightening and speculative cartoons, was more appropriate for the animation category with this year's Oscar...
  • Gore flunks Oscar documentary rules

    February 22, 2007
    Intrepid Journalist Kevin Mooney of CNSNews.com just filed a can't-miss story on Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth". On the verge of the Academy Awards, it appears that Gore's flick doesn't live up to the Academy's basic "Rule 12" standards for truthfulness in the use of animation. This rule states that non-traditional documentary devices such as animation or reenactments may be used, but only "as long as the emphasis is on fact and not on fiction."

    The scene at issue is the famed cartoon of a polar bear drowning. But the sequence does not come close to approximating the reality of the study from which it is based....
  • Valentine pesticides story -- Media sends sweethearts a bouquet of toxic hype

    February 14, 2007
    The news media is sending a scary Valentine to American couples. They're claiming that Valentine's Day roses imported from Colombia may have been "dipped in a battery of potentially lethal chemicals," according to the Associated Press.

    But the only thing toxic this Valentine's Day stems from the boquet of shoddy science sent by the media.

    No matter how many times pesticide scares are debunked -- from Alar on apples to "deadly" DDT -- the media can't resist stoking fears and diverting attention away from the real risks of insect-borne diseases that pesticides combat. No matter how many authoritative bodies discredit the pesticides-cancer link, the media will give credence to any activist with a scare story. When it comes to pesticides, for the media, everyday is Halloween. But sweethearts shouldn't let the doomsayers ruin...
  • Rudy Giuliani vs. the Greens

    February 6, 2007
    Former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani has all but declared himself a Republican presidential candidate by filing an official "statement of candidacy" and saying he is "in to win." In my new book, Eco-Freaks: Environmentalism Is Hazardous to Your Health, I reveal a surprising fact about Giuliani that so far has been little discussed in national coverage: Giuliani's record as New York mayor of standing up to green groups to take steps to promote prosperity and public health. In Eco-Freaks, I detail Giuliani's tough fight to spray pesticides to curb the spread of the newly-arrived West Nile virus in 1999.
    In a section of Eco-Freaks entitled "Rudy Stands Up to the Greens," I write of Giuliani's actions when...
  • Milton Friedman, psychic?

    January 31, 2007
    By proclamation of several cities and states, Monday was Milton Friedman Day. CEI was one of many free-market groups that joined in this celebration with events celebrating the great economist's life. But really, especially for the governments concerned, shouldn't every day be Milton Friedman Day? We should try our best not to interfere or advocate interfering with the free market.

    In that spirit, I want to share a passage of Dr. Friedman's from The Book of Predictions published in 1980. It turns out that Friedman was not just a a sage of free-market economics, but a sage,  period. He was four out of five in his prediction of future fellow recipients of the Nobel Prize in economics, and there is still time for...
  • Consumer distorts

    January 23, 2007
    Consumer Reports' retraction last week of its flawed testing of infant car seats puts in question the magazine's credibility as an unbiased product evaluator. As well it should.

    Unfortunately for consumers, this is just the latest of a string of misleading product recommendations by Consumer Reports. Increasingly, Consumer Reports is bowing to the anti-market and anti-sound science agenda of its parent organization, Consumers' Union.

    With this story and many others, the magazine is harming consumers, creating fear unneccesarily with bogus scares while ignoring real health and safety problems of products and policies.

    Consumer Reports has also needlessly scared consumers about pesticides on food, bioengineered crops, and currently, chemicals in makeup that the FDA has found to be safe....
  • Jamaican Malaria: Blame Rachel Carson, not global warming

    December 28, 2006
    Malaria cases in Jamaica have surpassed 160, the Associated Press reports. This is the first outbreak there in more than four decades. One headline says, incorrectly as we will see, "Jamaica Fights Rare Malaria Outbreak." Expect to hear endless arguments about how this is due to global warming and human-induced climate change. How horrific it is that human are changing the natural climate cycles!     

    One problem with this theory! The disease was never "rare" in Jamaica until man-made DDT, despised by enviros from Rachel Carson onward, wiped it out there in the 1960s. Malaria...

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