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  • AP on the Nanny State

    March 22, 2007
    The AP has a very good article on the growth of the Nanny State. Best fact I didn't know: two states have banned smoking IN YOUR OWN CAR if there's someone else along.
  • Marlo Lewis on C-SPAN: The Rest of the Story

    March 22, 2007
    Please find below the rest of Marlo's Capitol Hill presentation "Al Gore's Science Fiction: A Skeptic's Guide to An Inconvenient Truth." Part I is posted here. Part II: Q&A:
  • Yes, But. . .

    March 21, 2007
    Fran, I knew about most of the cases you cite when I wrote the first post. None of those new to me are surprising and all of them illustrate the problem with the magazine I cited in the first post. With the exception of the Isuzu Trooper article, the things you cite are all examples of the magazine's far-left, preachy, pro-nanny state approach that I so strongly dislike. This doesn't diminish the enormous importance of the comparative product testing that CU does. The lawsuit over the Trooper, the one product testing example you cite, actually spilt the difference. Just as with the infant seat article, CR made some mistakes, maybe serious ones. But ultimately, the jury found that CR didn't act with malice and didn't award any cash damages. Anyway, why would CR have set out to trash Isuzu in particular? Sure, fear does sell. But I think that they could do just as well to promote the...
  • I don't love Consumer Reports

    March 21, 2007

    Eli — I've enjoyed your postings on a range of topics. But on your most recent one, I'm going to take you on. You said you're a loyal subscriber to Consumer Reports. I'm not, and don't intend to be. You also stated that “Consumer Reports, in fact, has probably done more to raise the overall quality of the things consumers buy more than any other single entity public or private.”

    Oh no, I say. I would argue that the publication has a history of causing or contributing to significant consumer harm. I grant you that they generally do a good job in the laboratory testing products, but even there sometimes the criteria they use to rate those products is biased. For instance, in the past, in rating cars' safety, CR included fuel economy as a criterion, which biased their...

  • Marlo Lewis: My Anti-Gore

    March 21, 2007
    If you're one of the people who is watching Al Gore on C-SPAN today and looking for a more skeptical take on the causes and effects of global warming, don't forget to tune into Marlo's congressional briefing from last week. Here's Part I:
  • More on Gore's day on the Hill

    March 21, 2007
    Asserting that the planet has a "fever" and asking parents whether they would listen to the doctor if their child had a fever is an old rhetorical trick. You don't discuss the issue on its own terms, rather you turn it into a metaphor so you can talk about something else that everybody fears or loathes. This begs the whole question at issue, namely, whether there is anything pathological (if that concept even applies) to the modest amount of warming we've observed over the past 30 years. The Earth was warmer than today during the Holocene Climate Optimum, very likely the Roman Warm Period, and arguably the Medieval Warm Period. The amount of warmth we've seen is within the range of natural variability. Gore's "fever" rhetoric is alarmist spin, not science. Another question-begging rhetorical trick: Gore claims that if you acknowledge the reality of man-made global warming, then you...
  • I (sorta) Love Consumer Reports

    March 21, 2007
    In a piece posted to its website today, Consumer Reports describes how its January report on infant car seats went very wrong. Given that the Consumers' Union (CR's parent) does the most product testing of anyone, it's not surprising that CR would eventually screw up in some way. They've done it before and will do it again. Many people who share most of my ideological sympathies will use this as a chance to rag on Consumer Reports and its parent the Consumers' Union. I won't. It sounds like CU made a series of well-intentioned, understandable mistakes. They do great product testing and, on the whole, raise the bar for products of all types. More than once, Consumer Reports...
  • Expect a Post Profile of a Certain "Former Tennessee Tobacco Farmer"

    March 21, 2007
    Yesterday's "Climate Crisis Action Day" rally on Capitol Hill featured an array of distinguished speakers, from Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer to California State Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez. It also included remarks by a youngster named Mollie Passacantando. The Washington Post's David Fahrenthold identified Mollie in today's paper as "a Fairfax County third-grader who started a blog focusing on polar bears." True enough, but it would have been more honest to note that Mollie also happens to be the daughter of John Passacantando, the Executive Director of Greenpeace USA. I'm sure, though, that Miss Passacantando developed her passion for climate...
  • More from Gore on the Hill

    March 21, 2007
    Keep up with Al Gore's Capitol Hill appearance with Iain Murray, live blogging on Planet Gore. His latest entry follows:

    Al on China and India   [Iain Murray]

    Realpolitik, Al argues, means that we can't ask China and India to impose limits on their emissions through treaties. America must therefore show leadership and wait for China and India to realize what fools they are. And this leadership will make America more competitive.

    Glad that's cleared up.
  • Paging Eric Blair: The Rise of 'Envirocrime'

    March 21, 2007
    While the UK might not have yet adopted full-scale thoughtcrime penalties, the Brits are hot on the path of "envirocrime."
    Ealing Council in west London is using the cameras - said to be hidden in households objects such as tin cans and bricks - to tackle so-called "envirocriminals" in their area. It said "major envirocrime" included "vandalism, graffiti and serial, large-scale fly-tipping". But it denied that people who put their bins out early were also being targeted.
    Right now they're focusing on old fashioned violations like spraypainted graffiti, but with such a catchy phrase, surely additional behaviors are ripe for inclusion under the rubric of envirocrime. Could a proposal for felony CO2 emissions be far off?


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