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  • Redundant Regulation Preempted

    April 17, 2007
    In a 5-to-3 decision, the Supreme Court just ruled in Watters v. Wachovia Bank that state regulators can't impose certain regulations on national banks' operating subsidiaries. CEI filed an amicus brief on behalf of Wachovia Bank in its battle with Michigan state regulators explaining why federal preemption of state regulation is good for both consumers and banks. The brief was joined by seven prominent economists and legal scholars. State banking regulations drive up the cost of credit for borrowers and result in banks being subjected to a confusing hodgepodge of regulations imposed by many different states. They also result in banks being subject to redundant paperwork, red tape, and oversight by multiple state and federal regulators. More...
  • Senators warn -- no new "concessions" in trade round

    April 17, 2007

    In a letter released on April 16, 58 U.S. senators warned the Bush Administration not to budge on offers in the World Trade Organization's negotiations in the Doha Development Round.

    Talks have been languishing because of the unwillingness of the U.S. and the European Union to agree on further reductions in their agriculture support programs.

    Prospects for a successful trade agreements are getting dimmer for a variety of reasons. Increasingly more open trade is under attack in both Houses of Congress, which are pushing for greater market access for American farmers without a willingness to further reduce domestic. farm subsidies and support programs, especially for so-called “sensitive products.”

    In addition, Trade Promotion Authority expires at the end of June,...

  • Earth Day Prep II

    April 17, 2007
    In a release announcing its Earth Day preparations, the Earth Day Network urges people to "Register and Find Earth Day Events & Sermons." [Emphasis added.] Environmentalism a religion? Hardly. (Thanks to Margaret Griffis for the link.)
  • Earth Day Prep

    April 17, 2007
    With Earth Day coming up, will winter-like temperatures take some steam out of the recently invigorated climate alarmist train? That may be a fear among some doomsters, according to a news story linked from the Drudge Report today. The Ithaca Journal reports on the mood in the cold upstate New York town:
    While snow piles up outside our windows, we may be hard-pressed to believe climate change is occurring, global temperatures are rising and the planet is on a crash course of serious change if greenhouse gas emissions are not reduced. That message was delivered on Friday in Albany by Arthur DeGaetano, a Cornell University professor and the head of the Northeast Regional Climate Center.
    Dr....
  • Ethanol jacking up fertilizer prices

    April 17, 2007
    Ethanolics never tire of telling us that the current ethanol mandate, President Bush's 20/10 program (requiring 20% or 35 billion gallons of the nation's motor fuel to come from corn and other plant materials by 2017), and kindred regulatory initiatives are “good for farmers.” In reality, such policies are wealth-transfer schemes—zero-sum games in which one farmer's gain is another's loss. Once again, big daddy government robs Peter to pay Paul.
  • Free At Last

    April 16, 2007
    In case you were wondering why tax day isn't until tomorrow, allow me to introduce you to D.C. Emancipation Day. This recently minted holiday marks the day in 1862 when Abraham Lincoln signed the Compensated Emancipation Act which, according to my good friend Wikipedia (and the DC city website), freed approximately 3,100 men and women from slavery - nine months before the Emancipation Proclamation. ...
  • Attack of the Killer Bee Killers

    April 16, 2007
    We know cell phones don't give you cancer, but according to some people quoted by The Independent in the UK, they are messing with bees:
    The theory is that radiation from mobile phones interferes with bees' navigation systems, preventing the famously homeloving species from finding their way back to their hives. Improbable as it may seem, there is now evidence to back this up. Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) occurs when a hive's inhabitants suddenly disappear, leaving only queens, eggs and a few immature workers, like so many apian Mary Celestes. The vanished bees are never found, but thought to die singly far from home. The parasites, wildlife and other bees that normally raid the honey and pollen left behind when a...
  • Sallie Mae's suitors are accepted

    April 16, 2007
    Sallie Mae, the student loan marketing giant, will be sold to a group of investors, according to Reuters and other news sources. Currently under attack by several states' attorneys general for alleged kickbacks, the company is also facing increased Congressional scrutiny. The investors' group for the purchase is led by J.C. Flowers and Friedman Fleischer & Lowe and includes the financial institutions Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase. Sallie Mae was formed in 1972 as a government-sponsored entity or GSE like its sister and brother GSEs, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Congress in 1996 passed legislation allowing Sallie Mae to go private, and the GSE cut its government ties by 2004. In the early 2000s, CEI had...
  • Food prices rising – ethanol push a major culprit

    April 16, 2007
    It's becoming a refrain now — ethanol boom adds to rising food prices. Today the Wall Street Journal focuses (subscription required) on higher food prices spurred by the increased demand for corn for ethanol production. The Journal quotes a variety of food producers — from Tyson Foods to Kellogg Co., and even Wm. Wrigley Jr. and its chewing gums — on the increased costs for corn, as well as high-fructose corn syrup. And it's not likely that the prices represent a temporary spike — principally because of the government programs promoting biofuels. As economist Kenneth Beauchemin is quoted as saying:
    [T]he difference now is that the governments push to promote ethanol, unlike a...
  • One good journalist early on -- on the Duke debacle

    April 16, 2007
    A Washington Post editorial this morning focused on the “The Duke Debacle” and pointed to the failures of the prosecutors, the Duke faculty and administration, as well as  the dismal performance of the media -- with one notable exception:
    News organizations, eager to pursue a "Jocks Gone Wild" story line, aided and abetted his rush to judgment, all but pronouncing the students guilty before the facts were in. A notable early skeptic was Stuart Taylor Jr. of the National Journal, whose precise analysis of the evidence stands as a rebuke to less careful colleagues.
     It's worth reviewing Taylor's articles on the case last year -- on May 1, and...

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