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  • Another Stern Rebuke

    December 18, 2006
    Hal Varian of the University of California, Berkeley, joins the ranks of distinguished critics of the Stern Report:
    As these examples illustrate, the choice of an appropriate policy toward global warming depends heavily on how one weighs the costs and benefits it imposes on different generations. The Stern Review chose a particular way to do this, but many other choices could have been examined. Exploring the implications of alternative assumptions is likely to lead to better policy than making a single blanket recommendation. At least at this stage of our understanding, exploration beats exhortation.
    In other words, the Stern Report was deeply unprofessional, as I have been saying...
  • Did he really just say that?

    December 18, 2006
    Daniel Schrag, a Harvard climatologist, is disgusted at the way the democratic process handles his issue. So disgusted, in fact, he issues a veiled threat:
    I am not counting on government, or at least this government, to lead us toward a solution. As our leaders accept the outrageous spectacle I saw the other day as just a normal day in Congress, we will have to take the first step without them.
    Did he really just say that? Because the political process is not going the direction he would like fast enough, has Schrag decided that justifies extra-political, perhaps extra-legal, action? If global warming alarmists decide that the U.S. Constitution does not constrain them, then that really is a catastrophe.
  • They Call It Conservation

    December 18, 2006
    You know all of those enviro activists who are constantly hectoring us about the amount of energy we use (and allegedly waste) here in the profligate United States of America? Well their dreams seem to have come true in western Washington state recently, where hundreds of thousands of residents have been conserving 100% of their usual electricity usage, as their power has been out due to storm damage. This outage, in turn, has caused many residents to turn to unreliable, unsafe alternatives to keep themselves and their families from freezing at night. Those emergency alternatives, including indoor generators and charcoal grills, have been responsible for up to 100 deaths due to accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. There...
  • Ahmet Ertegun, RIP

    December 16, 2006
    The intersection between commerce and culture is a space that few people have occupied as successfully as Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun, who passed away this week. Today's Washington Post features a great profile of Ertegun's fascinating life. Growing up in Washington, D.C. as the son of the Turkish amassador, Ertegun fell in love with American popular music. As Post writer Richard Harrington notes, his passion for music led him to blaze trails in other areas:
    In a segregated city, the Ertegun brothers haunted local jazz and blues clubs. The Crystal Caverns is where, in 1947, he discovered Ruth Brown, Atlantic's first hitmaker. The pair also collected jazz and blues 78s; they'd go from house to house in black neighborhoods because they craved "race"...
  • U.S. and China -- some economic agreement, still some thorny issues

    December 15, 2006
    The U.S. and China completed their economic talks today, with both sides calling the dialogue successful in reaching agreement on several strategic issues. U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and a high-level delegation of several Cabinet secretaries met over the past two days with Chinese President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao, and Vice Premier Wu Yi, a tough negotiator. One of the most important issues was exchange rate reform by China, which would help in withstanding anti-China assaults in Congress. While the U.S. pushed for...
  • Oversize clothes need warning labels?

    December 15, 2006
    Here's a contender for the Nanny-State story of the day: A British academic says that plus-size clothes should carry labels with obesity helpline numbers and calls for the government to implement this and other measures to combat obesity. Professor Naveed Sattar said that such actions are necessary because: "People clearly have some responsibility for their health, but society and government have a responsibility to make the preferred, easy choices healthier ones." (Tip from Megan McLaughlin)
  • Climate change enhancing seals' sex lives

    December 14, 2006
    Well, there's good news today about climate change effects — male gray seals have a more active sex life. Near a remote island off Scotland, researchers found that weaker male seals can now find mates, because the females are traveling further from the dominant males to find fresh water. The weak males are finding more opportunities to mate with the females, since they're no longer under the watchful eyes of the strong males. Another positive effect — climate change is causing greater genetic diversity in the gray seal population there. To find out more about gray seals and their habits, check here....
  • Draining the Swamp: Reform for Anti-Malaria Policy

    December 14, 2006
    The White House is hosting a summit on malaria this week, and our good friend Roger Bate will be attending. And since Roger has such excellent timing, he also has an op-ed out today assessing the state of anti-malaria efforts and what we can hope for coming out of the summit:
    Malaria, an entirely preventable and treatable disease, kills at least a million people yearly, mostly children under age 5 and pregnant women. Prompted by anti-malaria advocates, the U.S. Congress led a series of investigations into USAID's malaria control programs between September 2004 and January 2006. These hearings found almost no monitoring and evaluation of performance, no ability to account for spending with any meaningful precision, and the promotion...
  • Leonardo, Green Warrior, Saves the World

    December 13, 2006
    No, not that one, this one. At least one poster, "Jeffrey P," wants to save us from celebrity opinions, while combating global warming at the same time:
    "I think one of the most effective methods would be for news programs to quit asking entertainers for their political opinions. Entertainers give off a lot of hot air, even more so when they engage in political discussion. As they are generally clueless, it would be best if they just stuck to entertaining."
  • European Health Care – Here We Come!

    December 13, 2006
    The changes in Congress accelerate what has already been a trend toward the “universal health care plan” long endorsed by all “right thinking Americans.” One likely change (a change that a recent survey finds most Americans prefer) would grant the federal government the power to force down drug prices by aggressive bargaining). Many Republicans (and some libertarians) already favored the drug re-importation from Canada and other developed countries, and existing programs to use the leverage of government payment schemes (drug purchases by the Veteran's Administration and the state governments) to drive down prices have faced little opposition from anyone. When government seeks to drive down health care costs, it can do so only by shifting...

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