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  • Climate change -- and the push for biofuels -- will create a billion refugees, says Christian Aid

    May 14, 2007
    A report just released by Christian Aid says that global warming will displace 1 billion people by 2050, and rich countries that are principally creating the problem should pay for the adaptation of these potential refugees. Part of the problem, the report says, is that many peasant farmers are being displaced because of the production of biofuel crops, such as palm oil. The report states:
    As the pressure to cut CO2 emissions in rich countries grows, a solution is being sought by substituting biofuels for oil -- particularly by the US government -- as a way to keep cars and trucks running. The problem is that the potential bonanza for biofuel producers will require vast tracts of land for...
  • CAFE klatsch

    May 14, 2007
    President Bush is set to address the nation this afternoon on plans to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil, reports the Greenwire news service. Greenwire's Alex Kaplun reports:
    [I]t was unclear exactly what steps the administration would take on its own to push forward its proposal, but there are a number of changes the White House could make on efficiency standards and fuels policies without congressional approval, an industry source said For example, the administration could move on its own to boost corporate average fuel efficiency (CAFE) levels, although Bush has said he would not take such a step without receiving congressional approval to alter the structure of the program.
    Were that the case, it's worth to keep in mind this weekend's ...
  • Hate Crimes and Equality

    May 14, 2007
    The Washington Post has just published a very ironic editorial supporting the federal hate crimes bill ("Protection from Hate," May 14). Its editorial is at odds with both its past editorials opposing hate crimes laws and the concept of equality under the law. In 1992, the Post argued that all hate-crimes laws violate the First Amendment by criminalizing biased thoughts, in the course of criticizing a Wisconsin hate-crimes law that the U.S. Supreme Court later upheld in 1993. In 2000, the Post praised the Supreme Court's decision in U.S. v. Morrison. The Morrison decision struck down a federal law that allowed people to sue over gender-based hate crimes in federal court, ruling that the law exceeded Congress's power under the Commerce Clause...
  • "Bipartisan trade deal" serves special interest, not the public interest

    May 14, 2007
    “A bipartisan trade deal” is touted on the U.S. Trade Representative's website and is on the front page of the House Ways and Means Committee website. According to Ways and Means:
    The agreement announced today is a fundamental shift in U.S. trade policy. Pending free trade agreements (FTAs) will be amended to incorporate key principles that will expand and shape trade in ways that spread the benefits of globalization here and abroad by raising standards.
    Indeed, it is a “fundamental shift” — one that promises to subvert trade agreements to non-trade issues, principally labor and environment. Pushed hardest by U.S. trade unions and their proponents in Congress, and pressed by environmental groups and their champions...
  • Chrysler For Sale. Sold.

    May 14, 2007
    The biggest piece of business news this morning is the sale of 80 percent of Chrysler to a private equity firm, Cerberus Capital. As John Berlau, I'm sure, will comment, the fact that a private equity firm is doing this may result in part from Sarbanes-Oxley. Particularly for a vastly complicated company like Chrysler, it must be very attractive to escape from the "Sarbox trap." I don't think that can explain the entire rise of private equity or this merger but, if nothing else, Sarbox has given private equity firms more capital to take over major companies.
  • Rupert Murdoch's Gas-Guzzling Hybrid

    May 14, 2007
    Rupert Murdoch, a hate figure for much of the Left, especially in Britain, has declared that he is proud to go green. One of the ways he is showing his personal devotion to the cause is by buying a hybrid car -- the Lexus GS450h. The trouble is that this hybrid is not as efficient as my old jalopy, a Saturn LS 2000. My Saturn chugs away at an EPA- estimated 27 mpg, emitting 6.7 tons of greenhouse gases every year for the average driver. Rupert's swanky new hybrid gets 26 mpg and emits 7 tons. His hybrid costs $58,000. My old clunker's blue book value is about $7,500. Rupert could have saved himself a ton of money and done more for the environment by going to a second-hand car...
  • Bureaucrash's Blaze of Glory

    May 11, 2007
    When it rains anti-anti-smoking indignation, it pours. In addition to Brooke's press statement, Jason reminds me that Bureaucrash was hot on this MPAA/smoking tip long ago. Last July several crashers headed out to an anti-MPAA protest march where demonstrators demanded an 'R' rating for any film that includes any smoking whatsoever. This week's policy change didn't go quite that far, but we can all spot a slippery slope when we see one. To re-live those heady days, tune into "Operation Tobacco Road" below. Photos here.
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  • These Foolish Things Remind Me of the MPAA

    May 11, 2007
    As Eli informed us this morning, the MPAA has caved into Big (anti-)Tobacco and decided to rate movies that include smoking by adults more harshly than smokeless films. As you might imagine, Brooke is not pleased:
    The MPAA's decision to kowtow to the demands of professional anti-smoking advocates won't do anything to discourage kids from smoking; the Motion Picture Association of America isn't a surrogate parent, and it shouldn't try to be. The only thing this decision will do is make the MPAA's ratings system—trusted by Americans' for nearly 40 years—absolutely meaningless. What's next? A triple-X rating for Fat Albert because it glorifies obesity? An R-rating for the Pirates of the Caribbean because Johnny Depp makes imbibing copious amounts of rum look...
  • More on Unsustainable Policies

    May 11, 2007
    Zimbabwe's likely appointment as head of the UN Sustainable Development Commission (see below) bring to mind a recent Bureaucrash operation. On April 20th, a crowd consisting mostly of African expatriots gathered outside the Zimbabwean Embassy here in Washington to protest Robert Mugabe's bloody misrule of their homeland. The photos are here, and the video is below.

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  • Special interests win with Peru and Panama FTAs

    May 11, 2007
    Yesterday, the Administration and the Democratic leadership made a deal to inject stringent and enforceable labor standards into bilateral agreements with Peru and Panama, which have been signed but need to be ratified by Congress. Orchestrated by US labor unions the inclusion of more extensive labor mandates was pushed by chairman and ranking members of key House and Senate Committees — House Ways and Means and the Senate Finance Committees. U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab, who helped broker the deal for the Administration, said that the agreement represents “a bipartisan consensus on trade” and is a “new trade policy template” in a statement on the USTR...

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