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  • Misguided ethanol policy helps drive up food prices

    April 9, 2007
    Here's another article — front-page Wall Street Journal (subscription needed) — that notes the shift from food to fuel production (e.g., corn-based ethanol) is helping to drive up the cost of food worldwide and adding to inflationary pressures. While the article doesn't mention the U.S. government's policy of ethanol subsidies and tax breaks, it's surely a major factor in the ethanol boom. Check out recent posts on this issue here and here.
  • Hurricane forecaster calls Gore "gross alarmist"

    April 9, 2007
    In an article posted on WWL-TV in New Orleans on April 6, Dr. William Gray, the prominent hurricane forecaster, took aim at Al Gore's global warming predictions and was quoted as calling him “a gross alarmist.” Dr. Gray also made news in his final presentation that same day at the National Hurricane Conference in the city still stricken by the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In his speech Dr. Gray dismissed the linkage of hurricane activity to global warming and said that climate change was mostly due to ocean circulation patterns. Gray and his forecasting team are predicting a very active hurricane season this year -- 17 named storms, with nine of those becoming hurricanes.
  • The Tip of the Iceberg

    April 9, 2007
    I have a piece in today's National Review Online about the new bill that would provide optional federal chartering (OFC) for insurance companies. OFC, of course, would let insurance companies do what banks have long done and subject themselves to federal rather than state regulation. This could have good consequences if it lets insurance companies escape burdensome state regulations and move towards risk-based pricing for insurance policies. I still haven't even seen the final legislative langauge myself and, as I say in the piece, I think the devil is in the details. But the Sununu-Johnson bill is only the tip of the iceberg. There are other ways whereby we can move our insurance system towards risk-based pricing. Mutual recognition of state insurance charters would accomplish many...
  • Re: "Vanity, vanity"...

    April 6, 2007
    Regarding Fran's post earlier today on Vanity Fair's new "Green Issue" -- I haven't read it yet, but I'm sure it's all very fair and high minded. After all, the mag does have a section called "Fame & Scandal" featuring celebrity photos (including some of Annie Leibovitz's increasingly amusing exercises in visual...
  • Adapting to the IPCC

    April 6, 2007
    The IPCC's second summary report of the year is out. Working Group II's report on Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability predicts a world facing food and water shortages and risk of flooding. The environmental lobby is already up in arms because of "government interference" with the conclusions. We could have told them years ago (hang on, we did) that polticizing the science in the way they did when the IPCC was set up would lead to such pressures. In fact, it's inevitable. Anyway, on to the substance. If the IPCC is correct and the world is facing exacerbated damages in this way (these problems existed before global warming, after all), then we need to work out our best response...
  • Now I wanna be a Stooge

    April 6, 2007
    Anyone who doubts that Americans are living longer and healthier need only see the Stooges, Michigan's godfathers of punk, who, pushing 60 and back together after three decades apart, today rock harder than most kids a third of their age (as they did at D.C.'s 9:30 Club last night). Is it any wonder there was no medieval rock 'n' roll?
  • Rhode Island Lead Paint Verdict Ethically Tainted

    April 6, 2007
    In Rhode Island, a jury recently returned a verdict holding out-of-state paint manufacturers liable to the state for potentially billions of dollars, under the theory that sales of lead paint constituted a "public nuisance" even back when it was legal. The trial judge rejected challenges to this verdict, ruling that a paint manufacturer could be held liable even if its paint cannot be found in even a single building in Rhode Island. Instead, the paint manufacturers were held liable based on their national market share of lead paint sales. One of the complaints of the paint companies in that case is that the state's lawsuit was brought against them by trial lawyers hired to work on a contingency fee-basis by the state's attorney general, who hired campaign contributors to sue the paint companies. The...
  • Examiner Columnist Antrim on The Great Global Warming Swindle

    April 6, 2007
    Washington Examiner columnist Kathleen Antrim endorses the film The Great Global Warming Swindle:
    As “The Great Global Warming Swindle” points out, “global warming has gone beyond politics, it's become a new kind of morality,” and disagreement with it is not tolerated. Is there global warming? Yes. Is man causing it? We don't know. The evidence suggests that this isn't a foregone conclusion as the media often reports. Should we take care of our planet? Absolutely. But do the research, learn about all aspects of this topic. I challenge you to watch this video, share it with your children, and encourage your local schools to play it...
  • Bailey on "Consensus"

    April 6, 2007
    Another former Brookes Fellow, Ron Bailey, writes in Reason today on green activists' speaking out of both sides of their mouth when they say "scientific consensus":
    [T]the overwhelming scientific consensus is that current varieties of genetically enhanced crops are safe to eat and don't pose unusual risks to the natural environment. But that isn't stopping Greenpeace from waging a global "Say no to genetic engineering" campaign or the Friends of the Earth from demanding a GM Freeze. Perhaps the idea of scientific consensus is not all that it's cracked up to be. After all, scientific consensus does not mean "certain truth." Whatever the current consensus of any scientific issue is can change in the light of new research. Nevertheless, environmentalist ideologues accuse those...
  • Carney and Schulz on Supremes' CO2 Ruling

    April 6, 2007
    Two CEI veterans weigh on on this week's Supreme Court decision reversing the Environmental Protection Agency's decision to not regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from new vehicles. In today's Washington Examiner, former Warren Brookes Journalism Fellow (now Examiner columnist) Tim Carney shines the spotlight on a little-noticed plaintiff in the case, Entergy Corporation.
    Entergy, based in Louisiana, is a top player in the electricity industry (bringing in $11 billion in revenues last year) and the nation's second-biggest nuclear power generator. The company supported the attorneys general in forcing the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant, and the company will profit if Congress does, in fact, create...

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