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  • No Cletus Left Behind

    March 5, 2007
    Last night's new episode of "The Simpsons" skewers the No Child Left Behind Act's testing requirements -- in only a few seconds. School district superintendent Chalmers, upon seeing a group of kids outside Springfield Elementary who are not enrolled in the school, asks principal Skinner why the kids aren't enrolled. Skinner answers that allowing the kids -- the children of local uneducated hillbilly Cletus -- into the school would bring down its test scores, "and we would lose our federal funding." (Education isn't one of the issues on which CEI works, but pop culture illustrations of bad government policies' unintended consequences are always welcome.)
  • “Reports of oil’s demise are greatly exaggerated”â€â€NYT

    March 5, 2007
    So goes a chart heading in an article on oil production in today's New York Times. The article points out that new technology, fueled by prices that encourage investment, is uncovering more oil in both old sources and new. Three-dimensional imagery, new seismic tools, steam-flooding technology, and horizontal drilling techniques are leading to new discoveries and higher production output from old sources.
    "Within the last decade, technology advances have made it possible to unlock more oil from old fields, and, at the same time, higher oil prices have made it economical for companies to go after reserves that are harder to reach. With plenty of oil still left in familiar locations, forecasts that the world's reserves are drying out have given way to predictions that...
  • NYT opines on civil liberties

    March 5, 2007
    A Sunday New York Times editorial, “The must-do list,” reviews the attacks on civil liberties in U.S. policies since 9/11. Worth a read, especially for libertarians.
  • Rewind to the future

    March 5, 2007
    Over at Planet Gore, Iain and our former colleague Peter Suderman have some further commentary on the silly Washington Post article by science fiction writer Bruce Sterling, which I also cited in an earlier post (though with less commentary).
  • Toronto Ice Sheet Decimated by Global Warming

    March 5, 2007
    Global warming deniers could perhaps dismiss the breakup of the polar ice caps as a far away phenomenon irrelevant to their daily lives. But now climate change is striking closer and closer to home, causing premature calving of the much-beloved Toronto ice sheet: "Police closed several major Toronto streets Monday after huge slabs of ice started skidding off skyscrapers in the city's downtown core."
  • Insider trading in TXU deal?

    March 5, 2007
    The Wall Street Journal's energy blog is reporting that the Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating possible insider trading in the TXU takeover deal. The deal was unusual in that there were early outside discussions with third-party groups, including environmental organizations. Developing...
  • Global warming round-up

    March 5, 2007
    Lots of global warming-related stories you may have missed:
  • The Nanny State's Next Frontier

    March 4, 2007
    Many libertarian economists and commentators have long criticized professional licensing as a protectionist scheme that restricts competition to the benefit of some (licensed) producers and to the detriment of their (excluded, unlicensed) competitors -- as well as to the detriment of consumers, who face fewer choices. That's bad enough. But now nanny state nags are trying to use licensing laws for another pernicious aim: To control individual behavior. At the great libertarian blog, We The People, Baylen Linnekin highlights this phenomenon in Alexandria, Virginia, where some politicians would like to withhold licenses from restaurants unless they ban smoking.  
  • So that's what climate skeptics need, a "futurist"!

    March 4, 2007
    Today's Washington Post "Outlook" section features an article by science fiction writer Bruce Sterling that needs to be read to be believed. Suffice it to highlight this quote for now. I don't think it needs any commentary.
    "It's 2007, and the old world has backfired so comprehensively that a new era is truly at hand. I actually knew this would happen. I guess, for a prophet, this is what victory feels like! "Back in 1998, the Mexican state of Chiapas caught fire and the smoke from its rainless 'rain forests' stretched all the way to Chicago. In Austin, my home town, the sky was the color of a dead television channel. Living under that hideous gout of smoke, I realized that the much-anticipated greenhouse effect was as real as dirt. Most people didn't grasp that at...
  • When the Appeased become the Appeasers

    March 3, 2007
    Today's Journal also reports that the two environmental groups that endorsed the recent buyout of the utility TXU Corp. after the company agreed to not build several previously planned coal-fired power plants -- the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Environmental Defense -- are under fire from other green groups for not being even more stridently opposed to new energy production, and for allegedly falling for a TXU public-relations ploy.
    "Just days after two of the nation's leading environmental groups blessed an investor plan to buy TXU Corp. and take the controversial Texas utility in a new and "greener" direction, a battle has broken out in the environmental community over the terms of the deal. "The Natural Resources Defense Council and Environmental Defense...

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