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  • More Reasons for DDT Use

    July 31, 2007
    A recent upsurge in Dengue offers a depressing reminder that malaria is not the only serious mosquito-borne disease affecting the world. Dengue—a virus transmitted by mosquito bites—can lead to fever, severe joint pain, internal hemorrhaging, and death for some. This year, many Asian nations—particularly Cambodia, Indonesia, and Vietnam—are suffering from a serious outbreak. Regarding this year's occurrence Kroeger Axel of the Dengue research coordinator for the World Health Organization notes: "We always think next year it will get better, but we always find next year it gets worse … There's a very clear upward trend." The spread of Dengue could eventually affect the United States, as it did in 2001 when there was an outbreak in Hawaii. U.S. public-...
  • Bergman the Hack

    July 31, 2007
    Fran, Obviously, I'm sorry to see that Ingmar Bergman has died. But, beyond some half-praise for his visuals, I can't think of much good to say about his movies. Bergman and, more importantly, the critics who adored him, did more than any other director to harm the reputation of foreign-made films here in the United States. Heavily subsidized by the Swedish state for many of his films, most of what he did was boring, slow moving, and utterly unaware of the nature of the medium. Parts of the Seventh Seal would have worked very well on stage but become preposterous, slow, pretentious on film. Even in his last film, the much acclaimed Fanny and Alexander, he goes way over the top more than once. He rarely got good performances out of his casts either. Only one actor who frequently worked...
  • Chris Horner on Book TV

    July 31, 2007
    Chris recently gave a presentation on his book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming (and Environmentalism) before an eager audience here in Washington. The smart producers at C-SPAN sent a camera along and here is the result (total playing time 32:55).
  • At Last, Competition for Amtrak?

    July 31, 2007
    A small upstart company run by a Colorado multi-millionaire, GrandLuxe Rail Journeys, appears to have broken a major barrier and started providing scheduled, competitive rail service in the United States. While the company also provides "land cruises," (that emphasize sightseeing by train) it also has a few services that would be useful for people looking to go from point a to point b. Although I have no idea if it has a viable business model, its existence seems to show that the death of government-run Amtrak won't mean an end for long-distance rail service in the U.S. A handful of tourist-oriented heritage railroads and at least one other "land cruise" company still operate in the U.S. but, for about 35 years, only Amtrak has provided scheduled point-to-point inter-city service over significant distances. Amtrak also operates most of the...
  • Lott Vindicated?

    July 31, 2007
    Some readers may remember the long-running defamation suit between John "Freedomnomics" Lott and Steven "Freakonomics" Levitt. Defamation suits are rarely settled in the plaintiff's favor, so this (subsrciption required) may be regarded as more than a small victory for Lott:
    John R. Lott Jr.'s defamation lawsuit against a fellow economist, Steven D. Levitt, has provisionally been settled -- but it may yet roar back to life. In documents filed on Friday in federal court, the two parties outlined a settlement that requires Mr. Levitt, who is a professor of economics at the University of Chicago and a co-author of the best-selling book Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explains the Hidden Side of Everything, to send a letter of clarification to John B. McCall, a retired economist in Texas. ... By some...
  • Reformist Attorneys General Target Abuses

    July 31, 2007
    In recent years, some state attorneys general have used their offices to sponsor lawsuits that redistribute billions of dollars from businesses into the pockets of their trial lawyer cronies. CEI describes this in greater detail in The Nation's Top Ten Worst State Attorneys General. Now this problem has been criticized by reform-minded attorneys general as well. This subject (and CEI's study of the worst state attorneys general) came up for repeated discussion in today's Federalist Society forum, "Reaching Too Far: The Role of State Attorneys General," which featured attorneys general Bob McDonnell of Virginia, John Suthers of Colorado, and J.B. Van Hollen of Wisconsin, as well as former attorney general Don Stenberg of Nebraska. Suthers described how trial lawyers and lobbyists descend like vultures at attorney...
  • State attorneys general in town today to criticize activist colleagues

    July 31, 2007
    The Federalist Society helpfully hosted a panel discussion today on the on-going abuse of power by state attorneys general - otherwise known as attorney general activism. You know, the same group elected officials who brought the tobacco settlement down on us. The $240 billion partnership between the states and Big Tobacco (which CEI is challenging in court). Not that it's the only bogus lawsuit brought on by state AGs and their trial lawyer buddies. Apparently cranberries can be an AG target. Wisconsin's current AG, J.B. Van Hollen, relayed the tale of how his predecessor suited a cranberry grower, alleging that the cranberry bogs were a "public nuissance" under Common Law. The ousted AG in question, Peg Lautenschlager, was on...
  • Opera funding -- public or private?

    July 31, 2007

    (Maria Callas in I Puritani)

    Over at CafeHayek, Russell Roberts has a post on how opera companies and audiences are burgeoning in the U.S. He quoted from an article in The American about this phenomenon and asked the question — how reliant are opera companies on government funding?

    It turns out that government funding represents about 5 or 6 percent of total U.S. opera companies' funding, according to The American. For the arts in general, that amount is about 12 percent. The rest is from private sources — individuals, foundations, and corporations.

    The...

  • Bergman and Antonioni -- a personal appreciation

    July 31, 2007
    Two great filmmakers died in succession this week. On Monday, Ingmar Bergman died at the age of 89; yesterday Michelangelo Antonioni at 94. The end of an epoch in innovative film-making that began in the 1950s and is imitated even today. Both Bergman and Antonioni were favorites of my small clique of foreign-film buffs at the girls' school I attended. In high school — still in our uniforms — we'd go to the downtown “art theatre” that showed Bergman's early films. In that far distant time, “art theatres” mostly showed porno movies, so we were a bit nonplused by the other audience members — mostly older men slumped in their...
  • They Say They Are A Revolution

    July 31, 2007
    Friends of the Earth is trying to organize a YouTube "revolution" on global warming, starting with unhappy pop stars. Climate Resistance isn't impressed:
    We at Climate-Resistance have no time for celebrities lecturing us about climate change. None of the celebrities speaking on behalf of the campaign appear to have a clue what it is even about. It is the most shameful indictment of Friends of the Earth that they have to recruit pop-stars to endorse their project because it lacks the content to generate its own momentum. The constituency of this campaign are not politically-engaged individuals, but inebriated festival goers and adoring fans - the two least critically-minded groups we can think of. And what kind of demonstration calls for more law - especially law which regulates...

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