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  • On stock listings, U.K. has even more lessons to teach

    March 15, 2007
    Iain, in addition to Eli, here's another CEI Yank putting in a good word for your home country. They do it right on stock listings too, and we could learn a lot from them. The London Stock Exchange has plenty of governance regulations for its main venue. Some of these rules are of dubious value. But British regulators allow investors and entrepreneurs to be the ultimate judge of these rules, by allowing the existence of an alternative venue, the Alternative Investment Market (AIM). The existence of this lightly regulated venue has rankled those across the Atlantic aghast at the notion of allowing investors to choose to buy into a company covered by anything less than the burdensome mandates of Sarbanes-Oxley....
  • The Great Global Warming Round-up

    March 15, 2007
    Some stories for your delectation:
    • Two papers from the Director of the International Arctic Research Center at the University of Alaska
    • NASA is studying how airborne particles affect climate (we actually know very little about this and it's of central importance)
    • Has global warming reduced mortality?
    • New paper from the IEA in London on "Global warming false alarms"
    • What do the...
  • Green AND Market Oriented

    March 15, 2007
    To me, the best green invention in the world is the compact fluorescent light bulb: these bulbs cost more up front but they last about ten years, give good light, and cut energy bills in a big way. Since they don't give off heat of their own, they even reduce summer AC bills. My own home electricity bill has declined about 25 percent since I finished swapping out all of my frequently used incandescent bulbs. They paid for themselves within a year. And, as greenie-pinkos rightly point out, we could reduce our need for new power plants a lot if more Americans used them. As conservatives and libertarians, we like power plants (particularly those that pollute a lot) but we should favor efforts like this because they would leave us with more energy to power seal-clubbing machines, build evil robots to steal candy from children, and blow up levees near poor neighborhoods. Perhaps because of...
  • Slacker May Bust Anti-Trust

    March 15, 2007
    Sirius and XM are both losing cash, fast. So, they've proposed a merger to cut costs, but that has to be endorsed by regulators. That's because the FCC, among others, view the idea of the nation's only two satellite radio companies merging as potentially anti-competitive. Of course this would be true if Sirius and XM only competed with one another, but clearly consumers have many other options—iPods, MP3 players, terrestrial radio, CDs, live concerts, and streaming internet radio—so Sirius and XM represent just another delivery method in the larger market of music distribution. If that wasn't argument enough for you, yet another competitor is entering into the fray. Boing-Boing reports on Slacker, a Wi-Fi/Satellite hybrid that will combine streaming radio features from the internet, including skipping tracks,...
  • Dying Woman Denied Right to Take Medical Marijuana

    March 15, 2007
    In Raich v. Gonzales, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco held yesterday that there is no fundamental right to take medical marijuana, even when it is recommended by a physician to save life, and even when other drugs have failed. The case involved Angel McClary Raich, who uses marijuana on doctors' advice to treat an inoperable brain tumor and several other serious and excruciatingly painful ailments. Ms. Raich explains that the drug keeps her alive by relieving unbearable pain and stimulating appetite in a way that prescription drugs do not. California state law permits the use of medical marijuana on a doctor's advice, but federal law does not. The court's decision was wrong. Recognizing a fundamental right to obtain a...
  • Operation Amtrak

    March 15, 2007
    Eli is, of course, correct. Amtrak is in no state to be privatized yet, and the botched BR privatization demonstrated that privatizing a railroad with deteriorated assets is asking for trouble. The infrastructure needs considerable investment to make up for the degradation it has suffered during the years of public ownership. The catch-22, of course, is that it is Amtrak managers who presided over the collapse of the infrastructure while ordering shiny new trains (a common problem in public railroads around the world; London Underground once ordered a new fleet of fabulous-looking trains that suffered from just one problem - they couldn't fit in the tunnels). The obvious solution, of creating an infrastructure body separate from Amtrak, suffers all the separation problems I talked about in...
  • But we can learn some lessons from the U.K.

    March 15, 2007
    Iain — What the U.K. is doing with that rolling stock is obviously bizarre. But, as bad as it is, I'm not totally turned off by the U.K.'s rail privatization efforts. Since privatization, service has improved markedly, the trains are nicer, and ridership has risen faster than population growth. But, for some reasons you understand better than I do, infrastructure privatization in the form of Railtrack Group didn't work in the U.K. Maybe Labour did it in on purpose. I don't really understand. But, whatever the case, it can't happen here. Although Amtrak still owns much of the Northeast Corridor between New York and D.C., virtually all other rail infrastructure in the U.S. is already in private hands. But we do need to do what the U.K. has done pretty well: create openings for private rail service...
  • Laying the smack down

    March 15, 2007
    Libertarian wrestler Val Venis (real name Sean Morley) has started a blog, The Freetarian.
  • Good point!

    March 15, 2007
    Climate scientist James Annan makes an important point about the economics of climate change in a comment (#4) over at Prometheus:
    "Putting it a different way, If they come true, my children will inherit a world of hurt. I'd like to help them avoid that if I can." I do wonder when reading these sort of comments if the writer (and indeed the general public) is aware of the basic fact that under all plausible scenarios of climate change their children will be substantially richer than they are, and their grandchildren even more so.
    Indeed. That is precisely why paying now to avoid harm in the future amounts, in my opinion, to a regressive tax on the poor of today to help the rich of tomorrow. That's true even taking into account the time...
  • Global warming round-up

    March 15, 2007
    Here are some tidbits and links you may have missed:

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