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  • A Peek into The Oval Office in 'The Simpsons Movie'

    August 3, 2007
    Iain - You're certainly right about most reviewers getting the "environmental" message of The Simpsons Movie the wrong way around. Along the way, we see over and over the arrogance and indifference of government officials and centrally imposed one-size-fits-all "solutions." For those who haven't seen the movie yet, here's a short clip to set the mood.

    Binary Data...
  • Spitzer Vetoes Bill to Gut Welfare Reform

    August 3, 2007
    New York Governor Eliot Spitzer has vetoed a bill that would gut New York State's modest welfare reforms by giving welfare mothers an excuse to avoid working if they can't obtain well-paying "non-traditional" jobs with wages that exceed what many working people currently receive. New York State has, in the eyes of many independent observers, the worst state legislature in America. That is confirmed by the fact that both houses of the legislature...
  • Hatefull to the Nose, Harmefull to the Braine, Dangerous to the Lungs

    August 3, 2007
    If you're looking for early health warnings about tobacco, Richard, you can go a lot further. The title of this post was the judgment of King James I of England (King James VI of Scotland) in his Counterblaste to Tobacco, published in 1616.
  • FDA Tobacco Regulation Assailed

    August 3, 2007
    In the New York Times, Patrick Basham explains why the bill to give the Food and Drug Administration the duty to regulate tobacco is "bad for competition in the tobacco industry and bad for public health." A Senate Committee recently approved the bill. Advertisers have criticized the bill on First Amendment grounds. Others have criticized the bill on public-health grounds. In other news, the full Senate...
  • Simpsons Movie Speaks Truth to Power - SPOILER WARNING!

    August 3, 2007
    I saw The Simpsons Movie last night and was delighted that most of the reviewers who commend the film's “environmentalism” have missed the point. Yes, there is a genuine (cartoon) environmental problem, but the movie is honest in that it depicts environmental warnings as preachy and uninteresting to the general public. There's a hilarious send-up of Gore's elevator moment in An Inconvenient Truth. Most importantly, however, the EPA is the villain of the entire thing. There are lots of comments about how the EPA is Washington's least successful agency and so on. Then the EPA applies a ridiculously heavy-handed solution to the environmental problem that will eventually kill thousands. Throughout the history of The Simpsons, Matt Groening has said that its central message is that people in authority do not have your best interests at heart. This movie underlines this. The...
  • Goofy's Coffin Nails

    August 2, 2007
    When it comes to the politics of tobacco regulation, one of the most important dates is January 11, 1964, when then-Surgeon General Luther L. Terry presented to the public his now famous report on the health risks of smoking. It is now often implied by anti-tobacco activists that before that time, the American public was tragically ignorant about the downside of smoking. Sure, the tobacco companies had the research, they say, but being the evil organizations they were, they suppressed this vital public health information in the names of making piles of dirty, dirty money. Could this really be true? Did people in the 1950s and before really not know that nicotine was addictive or that tobacco smoke was bad for your lungs? Not according to the following Disney short from 1951, "No Smoking." Just watch what happens...
  • "A monopoly on official wisdom" -- the IPCC

    August 2, 2007

    FT resident global warming alarmist Fiona Harvey must be flaming. Her colleague Clive Crook just came out with an article (subscription required) in today's FT attacking the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — the infamous IPCC. Crook states rather bluntly:

    It is a seriously flawed enterprise and unworthy of the slavish respect accorded to it by most governments and the media. In the decisions which have already been made on climate-change mitigation, to say nothing of future decisions, the stakes are enormous. In guiding these momentous judgments, the flawed IPCC process has been granted, in effect, a monopoly of official wisdom. That needs to change and the IPCC itself must be reformed.


  • Bridge Collapse Falsely Blamed on Low Taxes by Europeans

    August 2, 2007
    A Dutch friend of a CEI staffer passed on the fact that some Dutch and German newspapers today are filled with hateful comments online about yesterday's bridge collapse in Minneapolis. "I just checked two Dutch news papers and people can leave comments... and it sickened me at times. People are so uninformed or simple minded that they leave comments like 'that happens if you don't pay tax'" and "'You spent all that money on the war but not your own people.'" The irony is that Minnesota, in which the bridge collapse occurred, has some of the highest state and local taxes in the country. There isn't much correlation between bridge and road quality and levels of state taxation. South Carolina has much lower taxes than New York State, and its roads and bridges are in a much better state of repair. Roads in much of New York State are full of cracks,...
  • About that consensus...

    August 2, 2007
    A new peer-reviewed paper is out:

    In the mid-1970s, a climate shift cooled sea surface temperatures in the central Pacific Ocean and warmed the coast of western North America, bringing long-range changes to the northern hemisphere.

    After this climate shift waned, an era of frequent El Ninos and rising global temperatures began...

    By studying the last 100 years of these cycles' patterns, [the authors] find that the systems synchronized several times.

    Further, in cases where the synchronous state was followed by an increase in the coupling strength among the cycles, the synchronous state was destroyed. Then. a new climate state emerged, associated with global temperature changes and El Nino/Southern Oscillation variability.

    The authors show that this mechanism explains all...

  • FDA Tobacco Regulation Clears Senate Committee

    August 2, 2007
    A Senate committee has just voted 13-to-8 in favor of the bill to give the FDA jurisdiction over tobacco products and the tobacco industry. The bill has been criticized on health grounds because it would make it harder to market reduced-harm tobacco products, such as smokeless tobacco products, to smokers, who would otherwise smoke cigarettes, which are much more likely to cause cancer. It has also been criticized for violating First Amendment rights to advertise and for undermining competition in the tobacco...


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