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  • Macomber on Brookes

    July 13, 2007
    At The American Spectator, Shawn Macomber has very good article on Warren Brookes, after whom CEI's journalism fellowship is named. He highlights Brookes's debunking of radical green hokum:
    BROOKES BALKED AT a U.S. Congress "determined to legislatively overturn...rational approach with regulatory absolutism that borders on the occult." He mocked McDonald's ill-advised switch from easily recyclable polystyrene containers to not-so-easily-recycled coated paperboard containers at the behest of a marauding Environmental Defense Fund as "not sound science but ill-informed yuppie-ism." He coolly disassembled the widely accepted, yet "very largely counterproductive" insistence on paper recycling, pointing out paper was a "completely renewable resource...
  • More Controversy About the N-Word

    July 13, 2007
    The Montgomery County Schools are eliminating a lesson plan designed to prepare students to read Harper Lee's classic To Kill A Mockingbird, saying that it offends parents by using a racial slur -- the N-word -- in order to prepare students to read the book, which contains the word. The elimination reflects the growing national movement to ban the N-word. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals held that use of the N-word by an instructor was speech protected by the First Amendment in Hardy v. Jefferson Community College (2001). But that hasn't stopped parents from suing to ban books that use the N-word in cases such as ...
  • Just Say No...to The Yes Men

    July 13, 2007
    This week DC played host to the anti-corporate shenanigans of The Yes Men, self-proclaimed "culture jammers" who get off on impersonating corporate and government spokespeople and proceeding to make ridiculous and/or horrifying public statements. The general idea behind culture jamming is to use a mainstream medium to communicate a subversive message. A more specific (and jargon-filled) definition comes to us courtesy of our good friend Wikipedia:
    Culture jamming is the act of transforming mass media to produce commentary about itself, using the original medium's communication method. It is a form of public activism which is generally in opposition to commercialism, and the vectors of corporate image. The aim of culture jamming is to create a contrast between corporate or mass media images and the realities or...
  • We're Gonna Need a Bigger Tablet

    July 13, 2007
    In his column on federal red tape today, National Journal's Jonathan Rauch gives a shout out to Wayne and the most recent edition of his perennial classic, 10,000 Commandments:
    A new report by Wayne Crews of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free-market think tank, estimates that federal regulation now costs the economy more than $1.1 trillion a year. Crews also takes note of one data series that points in a contrary direction: The raw number of final rules published in the Federal Register is down since the 1990s; indeed, it has been declining since the 1970s. "But that doesn't tell you about the costs of those rules," he cautions.
    That's in addition to the fine...
  • Government Wisdom

    July 13, 2007
    The House Agriculture Committee's homepage features a message from the chairman that includes this line:
    Every American who eats should recognize the importance of farm and nutrition policy in everyday life.
    Of course, for those Americans who don't eat, such information is irrelevant.
  • Would You Like Some Wood Pulp With That?

    July 13, 2007
    The Associated Press reports that a Chinese bun maker was found out selling buns made of cardboard as a result of a television station's investigation. Here's what I find interesting: Given the recent fate of the head of China's State Food and Drug Administration, the bureaucrats presumably have, ummm, maximum incentives to stop things like this from happening. But they happen anyway. I see two possible interpretations; both are damning to bureaucrats. First, one can assume that the Chinese bureaucracy is so slow on its feet that, even when something like this happens and bureaucrats know that they'll get shot for failing to act, they still don't act. Second,...
  • Is false advertising truthful if it is stupendously false?

    July 13, 2007
    What prompts this question is a full-page advertisement in today's (July 11, 2007) Wall Street Journal by BASF, "The Chemical Company." The ad features a big yellow ear of corn, smack dab in the middle of a mostly blank page, with a caption in bold letters underneath: "48 miles per kernel." This is so far from the truth -- it takes about 450 lbs. of corn to make enough fuel to fill up the 25-gallon tank of an SUV -- that I suppose BSAF could say, if accused of false advertising, "just kidding." But is that being straight with the public? At the bottom of the page, the ad says, "Learn more at basf.com/stories." So I visited the site. There's not even an estimate of miles per bushel of corn or per gallon of ethanol. Rather, the...
  • Attorneys General: Corruption By Contingency Fee

    July 13, 2007
    Adam Liptak of The New York Times recently wrote about the increasing practice by state attorneys general of hiring trial lawyers to bring lawsuits on behalf of the state in exchange for a big share of whatever is recovered in such lawsuits. As he noted, giving trial lawyers a share of the loot raises serious due process and separation-of-powers issues, and has been deemed illegal by some state courts. It also results in corruption, noted former Alabama attorney general (and now federal judge) Bill Pryor, in a speech quoted by Liptak. I earlier wrote about how this practice promotes corruption, violates the law, and makes the political cronies of state attorneys general fabulously wealthy, in the Issue Analysis, "The Nation's Top...
  • Hate Crimes Bill is Back

    July 13, 2007
    Earlier, I wrote about how the federal hate crimes bill contains provisions that would undermine protections against double-jeopardy and constitutional federalism safeguards (see here, here, here, here, and here). The hate crimes bill passed the House, but the President's advisors recommended he veto it on federalism grounds. The bill's supporters can't muster the two-thirds vote needed to override a presidential veto, so it looked like the bill might...
  • A message from the President of the American Council on Renewable Energy

    July 13, 2007
    A few days ago, our colleague Dr. Marlo Lewis had a column over at The American Spectator on the current debate in Congress over climate issues. This morning he received the following message (I have edited one character):
    Marlo — You are so full of cr*p. You have been proven wrong. The entire world has proven you wrong. You are the last guy on Earth to get it. Take this warning from me, Marlo. It is my intention to destroy your career as a liar. If you produce one more editorial against climate change, I will launch a campaign against your professional integrity. I will call you a liar and charlatan to the Harvard community of which you and I are members. I will call you out as a man who has been bought by Corporate America. Go ahead, guy. Take me on. Mike Michael T. Eckhart...

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