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OpenMarket: John Berlau

  • Muir's Meanness and Pinchot's practicality

    April 12, 2007
    Eli, I do indeed praise Gifford Pinchot, Theodore Roosevelt's forestry chief, in Eco-Freaks. I point out, however, that he was at sword's ends with Muir over many issues, including the damming of Hetch Hetchy valley to provide water to San Francisco. (Pinchot supported it, while Muir was staunchly opposed. Even today, the Sierra Club is trying to get it undammed. But San Francisco pols usually allied with them, such as Barbara Boxer and Nancy Pelosi, have basically told them to go jump in the dam.")

    Pinchot and Roosevelt were true conservationists, as am I, whereas Muir was a preservationist. Unfortunately, today's green groups have...
  • The Don Imuses of Environmentalism

    April 12, 2007
    Here are some outrageous and racist comments by environmentalists. These are compiled and documented in my book Eco-Freaks: Environmentalism Is Hazardous to Your Health.


    John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club:
    Muir said American Indians are "mostly ugly, and some of them altogether hideous." They "seemed to have no right place in the landscape," he continued. Muir is still honored without qualification on the Sierra Club web site, which proclaims, "John Muir is as relevant today as he was over 100 years ago."


    Paul Ehrlich, influential "overpopulation" guru and professor of population studies at Stanford University:
    In his best-selling book, The...
  • YouTube on fire with "Cigarette" song

    April 6, 2007
    These days even expressing ambiguity about cigarettes can put you in danger of the anti-smoking thought police. Conversing about the pleasure of smoking or the difficulties of quitting can get you called a shill for tobacco companies.

    So Canadian singer Jeremy Fisher is at the center of a storm with the video for his song "Cigarette." The song compares relationships and breakups with the pains and pleasure of smoking and trying to quit. It features lines like, "I'll be your cigarette ... Good or bad, I'm just your habit." Fisher, who sings in the lite alternative rock style of Ben Folds, makes the tune infectious. You can't help but tap your foot and sing along.

    But it's the video itself that's really making YouTube go aflame. It features a dancing cigarette, like those in commercials of old. Needless to say, it's attracting...
  • "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...

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