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  • Does Organic Food Cause Allergies?

    March 9, 2007
    By now, approximately one million people have asked me, "So, have you seen those news reports that organic food is causing a rise in food allergies?" The answer is, I've seen the stories. But, they're wrong. For readers who don't know what the heck I'm talking writing about, here's the back story. A few days ago, noted immunologist Jonathan O'B Hourihane from University College in Cork, Ireland, testified before a UK parliamentary committee and speculated about the recorded rise in the presence of food allergy among British children. Several British newspapers then blew what Hourihane said way out of proportion. Typical is this passage from the Daily Telegraph: "Parental trust...
  • The Lights Are Out, But Nobody's Home

    March 9, 2007
    The Nationl People's Public Radio show "Few All Things Considered" had an interesting segment on daylight savings time last night. As readers should know, a provision in the 2005 Energy Bill will cause the United States to spring ahead three weeks earlier this year (and fall back, a week later). The idea, of course, is to save energy by taking advantage of the useable sunlight in the after work hours, rather than waste it during the morning commute. Unfortunately, according to NPR guest Michael Downing, author of ...
  • Behind the Times

    March 8, 2007
    Today's Globe and Mail reports that a recent study summarizes the “latest scientific evidence” on the dangers of eating too much fish containing trace levels of mercury. They suggest that this study warrants a recent a advisory issued by Health Canada warning pregnant women to limit fish consumption. The U.S. Food and Drug and Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have issued similar advisories. Writers at the Globe apparently aren't up to speed on research in this area. Recent studies published in The Lancet and the Journal of the American Medical Association—also discussed in the New York Times and other news sources—raise serious questions about the government advisories and the research on which they are based. Perhaps it's time for the Globe to at least begin reading CEI's blogs, which...
  • The Simpleton's Guide to Net Neutrality

    March 8, 2007
    Wayne has just alerted me that Scott Cleland of The Precursor Blog has linked to our recent short video on net neutrality. In this installment, our resident know-it-all Prof. Scammington brings you the basics on NN and its implications. Thanks to Scott for calling it "wonderfully succinct." [youtube]SFurcOLYAjk[/youtube]
  • The Internet Never Forgets

    March 8, 2007
    Former CEI research associate Achim Schmillen has a great op-ed today in the Detroit News on proposed new "data retention" regulations:
    Do you remember every Web site you visited, every e-mail you sent and every word you Googled during the last two years? Probably not, but your Internet service provider might -- especially if a popular proposal in Washington becomes law. In September, U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales called for a law to force Internet service providers (ISPs) to store customer information for one to two years. Rep. Dianne DeGette, D-Colo., plans to introduce such a "data retention" bill this coming spring.
    Read the whole thing here.
  • Evangelical Leader Asked to Resign Over Global Warming Activism

    March 7, 2007
    The split among Christians over global warming is growing wider. While it appeared liberal environmentalists had pretty much convinced evangelicals that catastrophic global warming is looming, some Christian leaders are now saying 'not so fast.' Focus on the Family leader James Dobson and other Christian leaders are calling for the resignation of Richard Cizik, a vice president with the National Association of Evangelicals, for his global warming activism. In a letter to the NAE board, Dobson and the others write: "The issue that is dividing and demoralizing the NAE and its leaders is related to global warming, resulting from a relentless campaign orchestrated by a single individual in the Washington office, Richard Cizik, vice president of government relations. While many of us consider Richard to be a...
  • Ethanol boom drives farmers' land value up

    March 7, 2007
    An article in the Wall Street Journal today (p. B6, subscription required) focuses on the sharp spike in Midwest farmland prices resulting from the ethanol boom.
    In the past year, cropland prices have climbed by double -digit percentages in many parts of the Heartland, as growers looking to cash in on $4-a-bushel prices for corn--up from about $2 a year ago--have scrambled to add arable acreage.
    While established farmers make up the bulk of the buyers, those higher prices for land, added to the higher prices for corn,  are likely to push up consumers' food costs, already hit by farmers' shift from food to fuel.  (See earlier post on this.)
  • Global Warming Round-up

    March 7, 2007
    Some global warming-related stories you may have missed:
    • British companies involved in the Emissions Trading Scheme enjoy a $1.5 billion profits windfall while energy prices to the consumer increased 72 percent
    • Germany at odds with France over emissions reductions (uh-oh!)
    • Some Texas mayors upset by Houston mayor's emissions policies infringing on their cities
    • Bank of America sees the dollar signs involved in carbon trading (for an explanation of why this is a cartel, not involving new money, see...
  • The President, the Pope, and the Prime Minister

    March 6, 2007
    A few of us from CEI attended an event today featuring John O'Sullivan, author of The President, the Pope, and the Prime Minister. O'Sullivan is well-qualified to comment on the triumvirate (President Reagan, Pope John Paul II, and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher) that brought down the Soviet Union--he covered the Reagan administration and was a special adviser to Thatcher. I haven't read the book yet, but if it's even half as interesting as John's talk today, it will be well worth the read. The reviews on Amazon are stellar.
  • Stop computer! You don't have a license!

    March 6, 2007
    Wired Blogs reports that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a ruling which found that Ziinet.com and 700law.com, two sites offering low-cost legal advice, were essentially practicing law without a license.  Jayson Reynoso, one of the users of the newly-found-illegal service praised the service saying, "Now you no longer need to spend weeks studying bankruptcy laws."  Turns out you do, or at least your licensed counsel has to. While the ruling may reflect the letter of the law, it is also a blow to those who need cheap legal advice the most, namely those on the verge of bankruptcy.  This is yet another case where licensing requirements are not safeguarding consumers, but rather significantly harming them.  If the service is as...

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