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  • Don't Tax My Timber

    September 19, 2006
    The Canadian government has finally passed a resolution to end the long-festering softwood lumber dispute with the U.S. While it's not a perfect deal, the U.S. is agreeing to scrap its import duties on Canadian lumber for the next seven years. Now maybe we can get back to bulding houses and gazebos instead of arguing over whose timber industry is more worthy of protection.
  • A Taxing Question

    September 18, 2006
    The UK Conservatives, currently mulling over the idea of raising "green taxes" while lowering other tax rates, will be paying careful attention to reaction to the Liberal Democrat Party's similar announcement. The Liberal Democrats, a center-left group with some libertarian inclinations, have decided to increase taxes on SUVs and other vehicles that emit comparably large amounts of carbon dioxide per gallon of gas used. This has prompted the understandable objection that this may lead to a situation where an owner of a large vehicle* who drives it only a small amount around a city may pay more taxes than someone who owns a smaller vehicle but emits more because he uses it more.
    The Sun, arguably the most influential daily newspaper, read by around 4 million people, reacted to the...
  • DDT to the Rescue

    September 18, 2006
    In an extraordinarily good development, the World Health Organization has officially called for greater use of DDT around the world in order to combat malaria, potentially saving hundreds of thousands of lives. CEI people and our friends have written widely on the issue of DDT and malaria over the past several years, and it's a relief to finally see some movement in the right direction. It's never too late to exorcise the ghost of Rachel Carson from...
  • Department of Public Remarks

    September 18, 2006
    The pope is under attack for pointing out that there is an a-religious element in traditional Islam. The pope was condemned and Islamic radicals responded by burning churches and (possibly) killing a nun in Somalia, well that will show the Pope he's wrong!
  • Senators on 9/11 movie – “Public interest” is what makes us look good

    September 14, 2006
    No matter what anyone thought of the ABC's “The Path to 9/11,” the actions of certain senators who objected to the miniseries should give everyone who values the First Amendment a big chill. A letter signed by Democratic Senators Harry Reid, Dick Durbin, Chuck Schumer, Debbie Stabenow, and Byron Dorgan not-so-implicitly threatened ABC's broadcast license if it aired the drama that was deemed to be critical of the Clinton Administration. The letter they sent to Robert Iger, CEO of ABC parent Disney, stated bluntly that “[p]resenting such deeply flawed and factually inaccurate misinformation to the American public and to children would be a gross miscarriage of your corporate and civic responsibility to the law, to your shareholders, and to this nation.” The letter spent the whole second paragraph explaining to...
  • 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...


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