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  • Bean Counters Caucus in DC

    October 30, 2006 11:03 AM

    The American Financial Services Association is holding its 90th annual meeting here in Washington this week, and attendees are tackling a number of challenges including the threat of identity theft to customers, the multiple levels of regulatory control over member companies and calls for the industry to "do good" in addition to doing good business.

    A lot of these are issues CEI has worked on as well. For more, see Wayne and Brooke's paper on identity theft, Wayne's latest installment of 10,000 Commandments on regulatory overkill, Isaac's take on "corporate social responsibility" and business do-gooders, and John's work on financial...

  • SEJ 2006: Marc Morano Takes on Alarmist Reporting

    October 28, 2006 3:41 PM

    We've known that Marc Morano was a brave man for some time, but he proved it again last night at the Society of Environmental Journalists' conference here in Burlington. He was the lone critic on a panel about the media and global warming entitled "And Now a Word from Our Critics..." Not only was he the only critic of the mainstream reportage of climate change on the five-member panel, but I seemed to be one of the only people in the packed ballroom not actively hostile to his point of view.

    The panel lineup had changed significantly from the original plan - Associated Press reporter Seth Borenstein was sidelined due to an illness in the family (although was later noted to be listening to the proceedings via cell phone). The final lineup consisted of Oregon Public Radio producer Christy George, ABC News correspondent Bill...

  • SEJ 2006: Open Source Journalism

    October 27, 2006 4:21 PM

    There was yet more cool action from the Society of Environmental Journalists' conference this afternoon as Amy Gahran and Adam Glenn explained what Gahran called "open source journalism." She and Glenn encouraged their audience to become more involved blogging (and commenting online) on issues that they cover, both for professional development and to begin turning their readership into an extended community. Both of those goals, of course, come with significant personal rewards.

    A journalist who blogs, they explained, will reap the rewards of the distributed intelligence of everyone interested in their topics. Comments on reporter's posts are a great way to suggest story ideas or introduce a corrective point of...

  • Vietnam Set for WTO Membership

    October 27, 2006 2:20 PM

    Vietnam passed a final hurdle in its quest for membership in the World Trade Organization. According to the WTO, the “finishing touches to Vietnam's membership package” are complete, and the documents now go before the General Council, scheduled to meet November 7 for the vote.

    Vietnam's accession would bring the WTO membership to 150 member countries.

    On May 31, 2006, the U.S. and Vietnam signed a bilateral market access agreement that was needed as a critical step on Vietnam's road to WTO accession. The President this summer submitted the agreement to Congress, which now has to consider legislation to grant Vietnam permanent normal trade relations...

  • SEJ 2006: Across the Web

    October 27, 2006 1:56 PM

    As CEI's presence at the 16th annual conference of the Society of Environmental Journalists continues, I've noticed that the event's blogosphere presence has grown dramatically since last year. Former SEJ president Jim Bruggers of the Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY) is posting about the conference on his own blog, Watchdog Earth, and there's an entire group blog just about the conference itself, SEJ2006. There's even a blog post about a panel about blogging and citizen journalsim (which starts in about half an hour). Other attendees have posted their expectations and experiences on their own sites, including the...

  • SEJ 2006: Energy Companies Try to Out-Clean Each Other

    October 27, 2006 12:23 PM

    Energy companies, both new and old, are crowded into the Society of Environmental Journalists conference here in Burlington, Vermont, all playing up the environmental profile of their products. Most are represented by their trade and marketing associations.

    First up, we have the diesel lovers. Make that clean diesel lovers. They're very insistent on that modifier. It seems diesel fuel is getting cleaner all the time, suggesting it might be possible for such vehicles to be sold more widely in the U.S.

    Just like the carmakers mentioned below, the Diesel Technology Forum has cars available for attendees to test out: the BMW 120d, Mercedes E320 CDI, and Volkswagen Jetta TDI. In addition, they're giving out little big rig trailers made out of...

  • Bush and Pelosi up the Ante for Sarbanes-Oxley Reform

    October 27, 2006 11:37 AM

    Republicans have long been accused of being the party of Wall Street, a campaign charge that's again being leveled in this election. But on the issue of Sarbanes-Oxley, the Elephants have moved very slowly for fear of being allied with big business and the corporate scandals that prompted the 2002 law, which was largely crafted by the then-Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate.

    The irony of Republican inaction is that it has given leading Democrats the opportunity to outflank the GOP in advocating regulatory relief on this issue, one that's vital for entrepreneurs. Democrats may have been vague on solutions, but they have gone further than leading Republicans who've hardly acknowledged that there was a problem. Earlier this year, when the House Democrats' “Innovation Agenda,” introduced by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, promised legislation to “ensure Sarbanes-Oxley...

  • SEJ 2006: Battle of the Automakers

    October 27, 2006 9:57 AM

    The Society of Environmental Journalists' conference this week is in full swing, with panels and exhibits on everything from sustainable forestry to avian flu. One of the big draws is the auto industry presence and their test drive offers.

    DaimlerChrysler is also present, with their "F-Cell" vehicle. According to PR Manager Nick Cappa, expect to see one at your local dealership in about 10 years. Nick also mentioned that the only thing that comes out of the F-Cell's tailpipe is water vapor. Of course, water vapor is also a potent greenhouse gas, so I guess DaimlerCrysler still has some work ahead of them. The ethanol folks are also here, and they've decided to sex it up a little with a brightly-painted race car. The IndyCar Series is apparently hot for corn squeezings. According to...

  • Smoking your way to the presidency?

    October 26, 2006 5:17 PM

    I was waiting for Reason to blog about this article in The New Republic. It focuses on the fact that presidential maybe-sayer Barack Obama smokes cigarettes. While that's hardly a revelation, TNR's take on it is — smoking gives him an edge as a candidate. Puffing on those cigarettes makes him seem like a real guy and not another synthetic politician.

    As writer Michael Currie Schaffer puts it:

    For a Democrat who wants to run in 2008, smoking may well be a tactically perfect vice. On the one hand, it sets Obama apart from the likes of Gore and Kerry, who suffered from the public perception that they had been training for the White House--and thus forgoing (or burying) foolish diversions like smoking--since they were teens. And, on the other...

  • Can money offset venality?

    October 26, 2006 1:46 PM

    Prizes sponsored by private individuals and organizations seem to be the new way to provide incentives for technological and other advances. Now a wealthy Sudanese entrepreneur, Mo Ibrahim, is offering a post-facto prize to African leaders who have governed well and in the interests of their people. Ibrahim says that the money may provide incentives for some African leaders to leave office, since they will have financial security instead of clinging to their positions of power and perhaps leading their countries into corruption.

    An index will be used to evaluate heads of state's performances. And the criteria sound similar to...

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