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  • Radicals for Capitalism

    December 11, 2006
    CEI and Fred Smith make appearances in Radicals for Capitalism, the upcoming history of the modern American libertarian movement by Reason Senior Editor and former CEI Warren Brookes Fellow Brian Doherty. The book's release date is February 12, 2007, but here's a taste, on CEI's efforts to break through the public's rational ignorance on public policy issues:
    "Big businessmen, in [Fred] Smith's estimation, are insecure about their position in society, and sucking up to the left offers them more in the way of security and emoluments and feelgoddism than libertarians can offer, even though it is libertarians who often stand up for their interests (though also, when fighting...
  • Do global warming fears justify protectionism?

    December 10, 2006
    Ever since the United States decided to push for "sustainable development" concepts to limiit free trade under the Shrimp-Turtle decision (for internal political reason - the traditional Baptist and Bootlegger phenomenon that Bruce Yandle long ago developed), thoughtful proponents of free trade have been aware that the WTO (World Trade Organization) rules were open to a form of pernicious green protectionism. The Shrimp-Turtle Case (see, for example, here ) was a dispute between the United States and several southeastern Asian nations regarding our desire to limit imports of shrimp from these nations. Our "case" was that their shrimp harvesting practices (their "failure" to use TEDs, turtle exclusion devices) were endangering "endangered" sea turtles (...
  • Can Libertarians Become Liberaltarians?

    December 10, 2006
    Cato's Brink Lindsey in a provocative essay in The New Republic argues that the recent election results argue for a realignment, Democrats, he suggests, should reach out to disaffected libertarians, to find ways of forming “a lasting relationship” with us. Lindsey then spends much of the remainder of the article outlining a fusionist strategy that he hopes might make the liberal/libertarian alliance viable. He calls for an expanded “safety-net” suggesting that a “reasonable” welfare state poses no major problems (in this, of course, he follows the lead of Hayek who also provided considerable scope for the state in the poverty area). He then turns to less contentious issues — alliances to eliminate business subsidies and shift toward consumption taxes. He endorses the “sin tax” approach — less on tobacco and alcohol but...
  • Marlo responds to Al Gore

    December 8, 2006
    CEI's Marlo Lewis' appearance on Oprah's show on Tuesday, Dec. 5, opposite Al Gore was via a taped two-minute segment juxtaposed against Gore's 30-minute plus live appearance.
    While Marlo's riposte was right-on, Gore -- in the studio with Oprah -- discounted Marlo's views with no opportunity for debate. Here's Marlo's response to Gore's statements -- posted on YouTube.
  • Amazingly efficient merger approvals, cont.

    December 8, 2006
    Congress leaves town today, with just two appropriations bills completed (that can be a good thing!). Agencies aren't going anywhere, but there must be something in the water here preventing the tying up of loose ends. We've spilled lots of ink on the importance of liberalizing telecommunications; the latest iteration is the attempt to finalize the AT&T and BellSouth marriage so that procreation can begin, and there will be many more telecommuncations upheavals in the future communications landscape, and that's a good thing. But several times now, the FCC has postponed a vote on the AT&T/BellSouth merger, given disagreements over net neutrality (see one of our many cautions on this concept) and the recusal by Republican Robert McDowell. The remaining two Democrats and two Republicans leave the situation deadlocked,...
  • EIA: Fossil fuels will provide same 86% share in 2030

    December 7, 2006
    The Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasts continuing strong demand for fossil energy. EIA's just-released Annual Energy Outlook 2007 states: “Despite the projected rapid growth of biofuels and other non-hydroelectric renewable energies and the expectation of the first new orders for nuclear power plants in over 25 years, oil, coal, and natural gas are nonetheless projected to provide roughly the same 86 percent share of the total U.S. primary energy supply in 2030 as they did in 2005 absent changes in existing laws and regulations.” This is all the more surprising given that EIA also projects ethanol use to grow "from 4 billion gallons in 2005 to 11.2 billion gallons in 2012 and 14.6 billion gallons (about 8 percent of total gasoline consumption by volume) in 2030," and projects real world crude oil prices in 2030 "to reach over $59 per barrel in 2005 dollars, or...
  • Popping with the Popcorn Board

    December 7, 2006
    As I was skimming government agencies' websites for topical issues, a U.S. Department of Agriculture press release today sidetracked me. It seems that the Secretary of Agriculture has named three people to the “Popcorn Board.” It sounds like a fun board to serve on — one of its activities is research “to maintain and expand the popcorn market.” Another is “consumer information activities.” But it doesn't look like popcorn consumers have a role to play on the board — seems like you have to “process and distribute more than 4 million pounds of popcorn” each year. ...
  • Tobacco Scam

    December 7, 2006
    In 1998, the big tobacco companies entered into a $250 billion settlement with trial lawyers and the attorneys general of 46 states. Big Tobacco agreed to pay this vast sum, plus $14 billion extra in lawyers' fees to politically-connected trial lawyers, in exchange for protections against competition from little tobacco companies (which are forced to make escrow payments on every cigarette they sell in competition with Big Tobacco) that are not part of the settlement. To justify giving the trial lawyers this absurd amount of money (and giving the tobacco companies protection against competition that would otherwise violate the antitrust laws), supporters of the settlement claimed it was for a good cause: funding smoking cessation programs. For example, Brooke Masters'...
  • Look Out for Hurricane Fred

    December 7, 2006
    Our fearless leader, Fred Smith, is on the road again, spreading the good news of free markets and limited government. Yesterday he spoke to a student audience at Furman University, hosted by the campus group Conservative Students for a Better Tomorrow.
    Fred engaged the audience on "The Politics of Climate Change," and the kids were nice enough to thank him with a lovely framed watercolor of what I assume is the campus and its surrounding area in Greenville, South Carolina. And they say the youth of today have no manners.
  • Regulation Before Occupation

    December 7, 2006
    Several public policy groups are beginning to set up limited operations within the virtual realm called Second Life; lectures, publications, that sort of thing. On a much larger scale, car, shoe and hotel companies are doing business there. But along with budding euphoria over what looks to be the next big online thing, there's a risk that regulators could get in there early and spoil the fun. Already, membership in Second Life is impressive as is the money spent there (over half-a-million over the past 24 hours if their stats are to be believed), but actual member usage as a percentive of members is often relatively low; it'd be easy to mess things up. Adam Thierer, my former partner in crime at the Cato Institute and now senior fellow at the Progress and Freedom Foundation, has taken an early look at some emerging MMOG regulatory debates via the...

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