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  • More on Gore's day on the Hill

    March 21, 2007
    Asserting that the planet has a "fever" and asking parents whether they would listen to the doctor if their child had a fever is an old rhetorical trick. You don't discuss the issue on its own terms, rather you turn it into a metaphor so you can talk about something else that everybody fears or loathes. This begs the whole question at issue, namely, whether there is anything pathological (if that concept even applies) to the modest amount of warming we've observed over the past 30 years. The Earth was warmer than today during the Holocene Climate Optimum, very likely the Roman Warm Period, and arguably the Medieval Warm Period. The amount of warmth we've seen is within the range of natural variability. Gore's "fever" rhetoric is alarmist spin, not science. Another question-begging rhetorical trick: Gore claims that if you acknowledge the reality of man-made global warming, then you...
  • I (sorta) Love Consumer Reports

    March 21, 2007
    In a piece posted to its website today, Consumer Reports describes how its January report on infant car seats went very wrong. Given that the Consumers' Union (CR's parent) does the most product testing of anyone, it's not surprising that CR would eventually screw up in some way. They've done it before and will do it again. Many people who share most of my ideological sympathies will use this as a chance to rag on Consumer Reports and its parent the Consumers' Union. I won't. It sounds like CU made a series of well-intentioned, understandable mistakes. They do great product testing and, on the whole, raise the bar for products of all types. More than once, Consumer Reports...
  • Expect a Post Profile of a Certain "Former Tennessee Tobacco Farmer"

    March 21, 2007
    Yesterday's "Climate Crisis Action Day" rally on Capitol Hill featured an array of distinguished speakers, from Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer to California State Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez. It also included remarks by a youngster named Mollie Passacantando. The Washington Post's David Fahrenthold identified Mollie in today's paper as "a Fairfax County third-grader who started a blog focusing on polar bears." True enough, but it would have been more honest to note that Mollie also happens to be the daughter of John Passacantando, the Executive Director of Greenpeace USA. I'm sure, though, that Miss Passacantando developed her passion for climate...
  • More from Gore on the Hill

    March 21, 2007
    Keep up with Al Gore's Capitol Hill appearance with Iain Murray, live blogging on Planet Gore. His latest entry follows:

    Al on China and India   [Iain Murray]

    Realpolitik, Al argues, means that we can't ask China and India to impose limits on their emissions through treaties. America must therefore show leadership and wait for China and India to realize what fools they are. And this leadership will make America more competitive.

    Glad that's cleared up.
  • Paging Eric Blair: The Rise of 'Envirocrime'

    March 21, 2007
    While the UK might not have yet adopted full-scale thoughtcrime penalties, the Brits are hot on the path of "envirocrime."
    Ealing Council in west London is using the cameras - said to be hidden in households objects such as tin cans and bricks - to tackle so-called "envirocriminals" in their area. It said "major envirocrime" included "vandalism, graffiti and serial, large-scale fly-tipping". But it denied that people who put their bins out early were also being targeted.
    Right now they're focusing on old fashioned violations like spraypainted graffiti, but with such a catchy phrase, surely additional behaviors are ripe for inclusion under the rubric of envirocrime. Could a proposal for felony CO2 emissions be far off?
  • Live blogging - Gore on the Hill

    March 21, 2007
    Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX) in his opening statement said today that we are witnessing an all-out assault on fossil fuels and nuclear energy. If this goes unopposed, it will make us more dependent on OPEC. Abandoning our energy producers will means the death of an industry -- an industry that helped us win the Second World War. We must press for energy self-reliance and for technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. He criticized those who never mention the costs of policies like Kyoto. He's never heard the "Kyotoites of the this Congress" mention the word "cost."
  • Live blogging from Al Gore's hearing testimony

    March 21, 2007
    At a joint hearing of two House committees (Energy and Commerce, Science), Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) has raised two parliamentary points of order. First, why does the chair, John Dingell (D-Mich.), not allow members of the full committee to sit on the dias -- why must they sit in the audience? Second, the rules of both committees require testimonies to be submitted 48 hours in advance (or in some cases at least 24 hours in advance). The minority received Gore's written testimony only at 7:00 a.m. this morning. The majority received it at 1:00 a.m. Barton says because of his affection for the chair, he is not going to press these points, but he will in the future if these rules are ignored. Dingell then quotes from the rules a paragraph allowing the waive the rule.
  • Me Want Cookie!

    March 21, 2007
    Fred -- Your reference to my personal hero Cookie Monster reminded me of a rumor I had heard that he was going to become "Veggie Monster" and stop eating cookies. This had a ring of truth because many people -- including my former boss Bill Frist--have shown up on Sesame Street to forward the fight against childhood obesity. Contrary to what I had heard, however, it appears that Cookie Monster will, for the most part, remain his true cookie-loving self. Score a point (or at least half a point) for the war against the Fun Police.
  • They take our property here, too!

    March 21, 2007
    Iain's recent post on the Exchequer taking over dormant accounts in the UK deserves a U.S. perspective as well.  Under varying state banking laws, a deposit account that has had no activity during a certain period of time — state laws range from 12 months to 25 years — is considered dormant.  If an account is dormant, the bank sends a notice to the customer at his last known address, and the customer generally has to affirmatively state that he owns the account.  If the customer doesn't reply, the bank remits the funds to the state treasury. This takeover of dormant accounts doesn't apply to deposits at national banks, according to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency — the regulator of federally chartered...
  • When One Is Saving the World, the Rules Do Not Apply

    March 20, 2007
    As regular Open Market readers will know, we've been skeptical of former Vice President Al Gore's climate crusade for some time. The news right now (via the Drudge Report) is that his planned testimony for tomorrow before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has broken all records for demanding special treatment, and even when it was granted, has gone on to break committe rules for public hearings. From the EPW blog:
    Gore first demanded to be granted an unprecedented 30 minute opening statement to the Senate EPW Committee for Wednesday's (March 21) global warming hearing scheduled for 2:30 pm ET. The GOP minority on...


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