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  • Global Warming Hearings & Hurricanes

    November 30, 2006
    Yesterday the Supreme Court heard argument in the global warming case. Today is the last day of the 2006 hurricane season, the quietest in the a decade. Personally, I hope the Supreme Court's ruling in the case ends up being as disappointing to global warming alarmists as this year's hurricane season has been. Of course, one quiet hurricane season doesn't disprove the alarmist forecasts. On the other hand, Katrina didn't support those apocalyptic forecasts either, but you didn't see much in the way of forecasting restraint on the part of alarmists last year. I'd like to correct a few points that were garbled when I first phoned them in soon after yesterday's court hearing. The post below states that EPA was hammered by some justices "talking about issues that weren't...
  • Those clever Malthusians

    November 29, 2006
    There's an op/ed in the New York Times today that essentially claims that Malthus was right and that Julian Simon just got lucky when he made his famous bet with Paul Ehrlich and his doomsinging colleagues. John Whitehead of the Environmental Economics blog has a perceptive comment:
    Increases in energy prices, with the energy return on investment (EROI -- a new term for me that showed up in the comments section on this blog) falling from 25 to 1 to 15 to 1 over the past 20 years in the oil industry (EROI is 4 to 1 for the Alberta oil sands) used as evidence that the current runup in oil prices is not a blip. The...
  • Supreme Court grills Massachusetts, EPA in global warming case

    November 29, 2006

    CEI General Counsel Sam Kazman is on-site for two important cases being argued at the U.S. Supreme Court today. He phoned in his quick take on the EPA case:

    The first, Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is a lawsuit brought by a group of state attorneys general, trying to force the EPA to regulate CO2 as a pollutant. The AGs aim to have CO2 emissions reduced and thus impede global warming.

    Massachusetts went first. They got a lot of questions on standing from the justices: the states must show specific harm to themselves (from CO2 emissions) and that the harm would be redressed by the relief sought by the states. I don't think Massachusetts did all too well under questioning. They were getting hammered with questions. An old case called SCRAP (United States v...

  • Usual suspects make the list -- environmentalists of all time

    November 29, 2006
    Dr. C.S. Prakash alerted me to yesterday's list in The Guardian of the top environmental campaigners of all time. Not surprisingly, Rachel Carson tops the list, and one of her chief achievements was the eventual banning of DDT. Readers might be interested in John Berlau's DDT article today, which puts that “achievement” in a human context. Here's the list of the top twenty. One who really accomplished something that helped save the earth — the people on it — was number 19, Joseph Bazelgette, who realized that “foul water” not foul air was responsible for the cholera epidemics. He devised the London...
  • What's needed -- and not -- in trade agreements

    November 28, 2006
    Today, both the U.S. Treasury Secretary and the U.S. Trade Representative vowed that the Bush Administration would push hard on global and regional trade agreements and reach out to the Democratic Congress. In separate speeches today, Secretary Henry Paulson (in London) and USTR Susan Schwab (in Washington, DC) said that the U.S. is committed to completing the World Trade Organization's Doha Development Round. In separate articles yesterday, journalists Morton Kondracke and the team of Cokie and Steven Roberts...
  • Breast-Related Assurances from the First Lady of Illinois

    November 28, 2006
    Some Illinois political observers are raising their eyebrows about a stack of greeting cards that Gov. Rod Blagojevich's office sent out before the election congratulating new parents on their bundles of joy (and reminding them to get their kids immunized). The implication here being that Blagojevich wanted to spend a little government money to get his name in front of potential voters just before the election. I kind of doubt that, but in any case, focusing on that ignores the much more amusing angle, which is that many of the cards were delivered over a year late:
    "I thought it was laughable," said 29-year-old Andrew Fitzgibbon of Lincoln. "Here my daughter is turning 1 and I get something...
  • Money Violates Civil Rights Laws, Court Rules

    November 28, 2006
    A federal judge in Washington, D.C. has just ruled that America's money bills, such as $1, $10, and $100 bills, discriminate against the blind, in violation of the federal Rehabilitation Act, which prohibits the federal government and recipients of federal funds from discriminating against the disabled. Unlike some foreign currencies, such as the Euro, American money bills don't vary in size, color, or texture based on denomination, making it harder for blind people to distinguish them.  Blind people often end up folding each denomination differently in order to keep track of them.   The Rehabilitation Act has been construed to require agencies to make "reasonable accommodation" for the disabled unless doing so would cause "undue hardship."  The American Council for the Blind argued...
  • Marketing principles involves having them

    November 28, 2006
    The current direction of the Conservative Party leadership in the UK could serve as a case study of how not to implement value-based communication (VBC).  The idea of VBC is that you tune how you market your principles and policies to reflect the values people feel are most important in choosing leaders and/or policies.  According to the classification of the late Aaron Wildavsky, there are three main values groups: libertarians, who value freedom; hierarchists, who value order; and egalitarians, who value fairness.  Bill Clinton was a master in portraying his policies as reflecting all three values. Now it is certainly true that the British Conservative Party was failing dismally in matching its policies to voter values.  In the manifesto for the last election in 2005, by my calculation, 5 of the 6 main policies were marketed as hierarchist policies, 1 as libertarian and none...
  • What Spam? It's against the law.

    November 28, 2006
    The European Union claims that unsolicited email --spam-- accounts for between 50 and 80 percent of all Internet traffic. But that can't be true, because a 2002 EU directive outlawed spam. Worse, an EU spokesman yesterday called the United States the biggest offender, blaming us for 22 percent of the torrent. That can't be true either, since here in the U.S. we passed the CAN-SPAM Act in 2003, and as everyone knows, especially the politicians and activists who pushed for that legislation, there isn't any spam here anymore.
  • Zimbabwe military wants "to listen" to make people safe

    November 28, 2006
    Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, with 25-plus years of dictatorship under his belt, is now cracking down on cell phones in the name of national security. His military, with a record of expropriating land, torching and looting small businesses, and police brutality, now says that Zimbabwe's citizens are endangering national security by having independent connections to the outside world. According to their military spokesperson, the mobile phone providers should have to route their international calls through the state-owned TelOne so that people couldn't “...


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