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  • Liberty stands up to Spitzer

    September 14, 2006
    Sometimes — but not often -- some companies hang in there if they're convinced they are right. That seems to be the case with Liberty Mutual Insurance, which is standing up to — can it be — New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. Spitzer, as we know, has brought CEOs and boards of Fortune 100 companies to their knees to grovel. They have begged to sign huge settlements, thrown respected company executives to the jackals at Justice, and whispered non-“mea culpas” to the media, only to see their stock prices plummet or their companies left in threads. Now, Liberty Mutual, “...
  • A typology for risk assessment?

    September 14, 2006
    New research may help to explain why the term “risk” shouldn't automatically be applied to new technologies, such as biotechnology. According to a University of Sussex research study, new technologies should be evaluated on a continuum of categories — including risk, uncertainty, ambiguity, and ignorance. The article in Food Navigator about the new study also quotes extensively from a speech I gave this summer to the Institute of Food Technologists attacking the use of the precautionary principle applied to biotechnology. Greg Conko has written extensively on this topic here and here and...
  • Here He Is, Your Komodo Dragon...

    September 13, 2006
    There's a new book for anyone ever frustrated by the bureaucratic enforcement of the Endangered Species Act: The Hunter's Guide to Endangered Species by "The Old Biologist" (Xlibris, 2005). The pseudononymous author takes a light-hearted approach to the world's biological rarities, including recipes for such delicacies as California Condor Soup. Of course, not everyone will be amused by this extended jest. The publisher's press release opens with the question "Do environmentalists have a sense of humor?" I think we know the answer to that one.
  • Time to “Give Back” the EEZ?

    September 12, 2006
    Some decades ago, America having (correctly in my view) decided to reject the Law of the Seas Treaty -- in part because it would lock two-thirds of the world's resources away forever mired in the UN bureaucracy -- elected to expand its territorial limits 200 miles into the open ocean. Other nations followed suits and the tragedy of the commons became a bit less serious in these regions. America's goal was to ensure that these areas would be used for more productivitly, yield far more value for the peoples of the world, if owned by someone rather than if “owned” by everyone. But that was then — America has now abandoned that wealth creation goal, in effect, creating the domestic equivalent of LOST. Environmental elites now seem to have the power to lock up the Earth's legacy of natural resources forever — to ensure that these valuable minerals and energy sources remain forever frozen...
  • Take Your Dirty Economic Development Elsewhere

    September 12, 2006
    It's only been a couple weeks since the state of California decided to create a cap on greenhouse gas emissions, and some businesses are already looking for an exit, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal: The cap, designed to cut greenhouse gas output 25 percent by 2020, evoked stern responses from business advocates such as the California Chamber of Commerce, which said in a statement that the act would drive companies and jobs out of California and jack up power and fuel prices for residents of the GoldenState. Gino DiCaro, a spokesman for the California Manufacturers and Technology Association, said the limit will weigh heavily on emissions-producing cement makers, power companies, steel manufacturers and oil refiners. The Milken Institute reported that doing business in...
  • Is Hugo Boss?

    September 12, 2006
    Tonight in D.C., I will be moderating an America's Future Foundation panel on Latin America in the age of Chavez. At issue: For the region's far Left, does Hugo Chavez's rise signal the start of a new wave, or its crest? The event will be at 6:30 pm, at The Fund for American Studies, 1706 New Hampshire Ave, NW. To RSVP or for more information, go here.
  • Getting those priorities straight!

    September 12, 2006
    With the US facing massive problems at home and abroad and Louisiana far from recovered from Katrina, it is nice to see that the legislators in both places are focused on the “Real Stuff!” The Congress has focused on a ban on allowing horses to be used for consumption (the French can make anything delicious). The results (unintended, of course) will be to lower the value of horses, making them less suitable for ownership and ensuring that the wild horse problem increases. A brilliant use of the coercive power of the state. Louisiana has focused on an equally important issues -- banning cockfighting! The logic in both cases is the same as that which led the Puritans long ago to ban bear baiting — not because of the pain to the animals but rather because it was enjoyable to the lower classes. So don't worry about our politicians forgetting about the smaller issues — it's really all they...
  • Worried about Immigration? Worry more about welfare state dependency!

    September 12, 2006
    With the US facing massive problems at home and abroad and Louisiana far from recovered from Katrina, it is nice to see that the legislators in both places are focused on the “Real Stuff!” The Congress has focused on a ban on allowing horses to be used for consumption (the French can make anything delicious). The results (unintended, of course) will be to lower the value of horses, making them less suitable for ownership and ensuring that the wild horse problem increases. A brilliant use of the coercive power of the state. Louisiana has focused on an equally important issues -- banning cockfighting! The logic in both cases is the same as that which led the Puritans long ago to ban bear baiting — not because of the pain to the animals but rather because it was enjoyable to the lower classes. So don't worry about our politicians forgetting about the smaller issues — it's really all they...
  • Trading Up to Free Global Markets

    September 12, 2006
    It looks as though the Doha round of WTO negotiations might finally be back on. So far, the U.S. team has been unwilling to cut farm subsidies and tariffs to a point the developing nations have been willing to accept. One of the worse offenders, of course, is sugar policy, which got a thorough treatment recently from Ivan, Barbara and Fran.
  • Meet the New Change, Same as the Old Change?

    September 11, 2006
    One of the most important questions in the global warming debate is how modern changes in observed average temperatures compare to previous, documented changes in global climate. Next week, that question will be at the center of a congressional staff briefing to be hosted by the Center for Science & Public Policy at Frontiers of Freedom: Climate has naturally changed for over 4 billion years, warmer and colder, over many time scales. It continues to change. The question is whether or not humans have significant effect on the rates and amplitude of change. The null hypothesis is that current changes do not exceed those of the recent or geological past. Dr. Lee C. Gerhard will examine past climate change history, human effects, and natural process effects, and propose an experiment that may resolve the debate. Date...

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