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  • Holiday Horrors: Pollution is Everywhere!

    January 8, 2007

    A news item (from researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle) found that cinnamon and vanilla levels in the Puget Sound rose over the Holidays. The peak “environmental impact” occurred shortly after Thanksgiving. Well that does it — no more egg nog and pumpkin pies next year.

  • Egalitarian Confusion Abounds

    January 8, 2007
    Thomas Sowell wrote a series of columns recently seeking to deconstruct the Left's confusion over “fairness.” Their ideal, as many have noted, seems to be a world in which everyone scores equally in the economic game of life. Disparities in wealth are, to this group, evidence of an unjust society. That creating such uniformity would ensure only an equality of misery seems never to occur to these people. Perhaps, the world of sports and how it treats rewards might enlighten them. I recently visited Clemson where the faculty has been engaged for some years in exploring “sports economics.” They discussed one interesting point — that human athletic talent (like most attributes) obeys a general centralizing tendencies (many people perform near some mean) but that the tails of such a distribution extends far from this norm. A slight gain in ability may make all the difference in...
  • Will the Real Bob Seger Please Stand Up?

    January 8, 2007
    NPR's Morning Edition interviewed classic rock radio staple Bob Seger today, highlighting his new album and his first tour in a decade. Seger, a son of Detroit, is known for working references to all-American autos into his songs, such as the backseat of that '60 Chevy in "Night Moves." Even better known, of course, is the song that has long served as the theme song for Chevy pickup trucks, "Like a Rock." Now, however, it seems that Bob has soured on the auto industry, if we are to be guided by the lyrics off of his new album:
    World keeps getting hotter Ice falls in the sea We buy a bigger engine and say it isn't me.
    ...
  • "Never has good weather felt so bad."

    January 7, 2007
    It should be expected that climate doomsayers would try to seize the unseasonal warm weather the Northeastern U.S. has been experiencing as another "sign" of impending global warming apocalyse. But Joel Achenbach puts this in perspective in today's Washington Post:
    Never has good weather felt so bad. Never have flowers inspired so much fear. Never has the warm caress of a sunbeam seemed so ominous. The weather is sublime, it's glorious, it's the end of the world.
    Only, that it isn't quite.
    [W]e don't need anyone to tell us that some computer model in some climatologist's office is showing that a doubling of atmospheric carbon will lead over the next century to approximately 3 degrees Celsius warming in the average surface...
  • Lamy sees WTO "at heart of global governance"

    January 5, 2007
    Those of us concerned about national sovereignty and global governance — no, not the black helicopter style — should check out a recent speech by World Trade Organization Director-General Pascal Lamy. Ostensibly discussing how to get the WTO's Doha Development Round up and running, Lamy also put in a strong pitch on the need for global governance in the global world.
    Globalization is at the same time a reality and an on-going process that cannot be met by nation-states alone. We therefore need to contemplate new forms of governance at the global level to ensure that our growing interdependence evolves in a sustainable manner. How can the interdependence of our world be better managed? In my view, four elements should guide us. First of all, values. Values allow our feeling of belonging to a world...
  • The Weather Channel Gets Emotional

    January 5, 2007
    Tired of tuning into The Weather Channel and getting nothing but temperature forecasts, rain totals and color-coded maps? Worry not cable junkies - TWC is making a bold foray, away from such quotidian programming into the exciting world of climate change panic and pandemonium:
    The Weather Channel is now engaged in a con job on the American people, attempting to scare the public that their actions are destroying the planet by creating a global warming crisis. The move away from scientific forecasting of the weather to sensationalized leftist political advocacy is in part due to the influence of Wonya Lucas, executive vice president and general manager of The Weather Channel Networks. [...] Media Village reported that the move by The Weather Channel "is intended to establish a broader perspective...
  • Ethanol ain't no magic bullet

    January 5, 2007
    The New York Times has caught up with CEI in assessing the impact of increased production of ethanol and its effect on food production. NYT journalist Alexei Barrionuevo reports today on a new study showing that ethanol plants could use half of the U.S. corn crop next year. CEI's own study, “Biofuels, Food, or Wildlife? The Massive Land Costs of U.S. Ethanol,” was published Sept. 21, 2006. Authored by Dennis T. Avery, the report discussed likely effects of a massive shift to ethanol production. Avery noted:
    There are significant trade-offs, however, involved in the massive expansion of the production of corn and other crops for fuel. Chief among these would be a shift of major amounts of the world's food supply...
  • Debunking Dobbs -- Part II

    January 4, 2007
    In the Christian Science Monitor's Jan. 4 issue, GMU's Don Boudreaux takes a whack at Dobbs in his “open letter” to the huckster of protectionism. Boudreaux writes:
    If you're still skeptical that America's trade deficit is no cause for concern, perhaps you'll be persuaded by Adam Smith, who wrote that "Nothing, however, can be more absurd than this whole doctrine of the balance of trade." Smith correctly understood that with free trade, the economy becomes larger than any one nation - a fact that brings more human creativity, more savings, more capital, more specialization, more opportunity, more competition, and a higher standard of living to all those who can freely trade.
    (I think that Don is one of the best economists around writing...
  • Bhagwati debunks Dobbsians

    January 4, 2007
    Economist Jagdish Bhagwati does it again — in an FT opinion piece today, he pricks holes in the Dobbsian view that globalization has devastated U.S. jobs and wages. Bhagwati points out that technology — “labor-saving technical change” — has stressed those less skilled in the job market. And, because the process is now continuous and unrelenting, lower-skilled workers find it harder to adjust. He notes:
    I suspect that the answer lies in the intensity of displacement of unskilled labour by information technology-based change and in the fact that this process is continuous now — unlike discrete changes caused by past inventions such as the steam engine. Before the workers get on to the rising part of the J-curve, they run into yet...
  • FDA Animal Cloning Decision Comes Years Too Late

    January 4, 2007
    In an invited post on The Hill's Congress Blog yesterday, I argued that the FDA's announcement that it had officially found meat and milk from cloned cows, pigs, and goats to be safe for human consumption was welcome news, but way over due. The National Academy of Science came to the same conclusion four years ago. And even FDA had come to that conclusion three years ago; it just stalled for three additional years culling through more...

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