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  • Europe Is Not Amused

    February 26, 2007
    In the latest installment of what has become an increasingly sorry drama, the European Union's Ambassador to the United States, former Irish Prime Minister John Bruton, has written to Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee Chair Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.). His goal in the February 22 letter is “to put the facts before you,” claiming that “incorrect or incomplete information has been presented about the European Union (EU) climate policy. In particular, this concerns the EU's achievements to date by comparison to achievements in the US, and whether the EU will meet its obligation under the Kyoto Protocol, which is to reduce its emissions by 8% by 2012.”

    [Note: This promise is from 1990 levels, whatever...

  • Mind Your Own Turf

    February 26, 2007
    Today's Globe and Mail reports that Canadian environmental groups may soon succeed in getting the Province of Ontario to ban the use of lawn pesticides used for “cosmetic purposes.” They've managed to get such bans in the Province of Quebec as well as in dozens of cities, including Toronto and Halifax. Their success is part of a larger campaign to rid the world of man-made chemicals—without regard to the impacts—no matter how bad. For further insights on their efforts see this CEI study. Such bans are not only foolish, they can prove dangerous. After all, do the greens really expect people to manually pull all the weeds from their lawns? Sounds like a good recipe for carpal tunnel syndrome to me. Moreover, “cosmetic...
  • More Perfect Unions

    February 25, 2007
    Freeborn John (good name for a good blog) has a post up remembering the excesses of British labor unions before Thatcher. As he notes, these excesses have been airbrushed out of internet accounts as those unions have been romanticized. Lest we forget...
  • Are the Greens About to Capture NASCAR?

    February 23, 2007
    A story in the Washington Post sports section points out that General Motors VP Brent Dewar is pushing NASCAR to switch from gasoline to ethanol. Well, if he was lobbying for the change because of safety reasons, or economics, or for mileage or for performance reasons, one might not carp. But it seems he has a messianic desire to change the world. Dewar was based in Brazil in the 90s and witnessed its transformation from a petroleum-based economy to an ethanol economy. And he wants that to happen in America. But apparently Dewar hasn't considered such issues as Brazil's lack of petroleum reserves, the relative ease of converting sugar cane to ethanol, and the government's massive subsidies. It is simply a trendy thing to do and will change the world. He believes NASCAR...
  • So much for cultural imperialism

    February 23, 2007
    Tyler Cowen has a good piece in the New York Times today about American cultural exports. He makes one particularly imprtant point:
    "Culture is not a zero-sum game, so the greater reach of one culture does not necessarily mean diminished stature for others. In the broad sweep of history, many different traditions have grown together and flourished. American popular culture will continue to make money, but the 21st century will bring a broad mélange of influences, with no clear world cultural leader."
    Indeed. The cultural effects of the Indian diaspora, for instance, have yet to be seen in the US, but they will be. Look, for instance, at the UK, where curry has become the national dish and TV programs such as...
  • What's going on at NASA?

    February 23, 2007
    Steve McIntyre finds something fishy happening with NASA's records of historical temperatures. This deserves investigation.
  • Crime scene -- focus on the greedy businessman

    February 23, 2007
    In the Wall Street Journal today (subscription required), Dorothy Rabinowitz takes a probing look at a recent “Law and Order” episode that transforms a Manhattan tragedy to create a corporate villain. Rabinowitz was rightly outraged at the twists in the fictionalized plot. The real and terrible crime story involved a Manhattan mother and businesswoman who complained about construction noises in her building. An illegal Ecuadoran immigrant doing some of the work hit her, thought she was dead, and then hanged the woman (who was still alive) to stage a suicide. That plot, though horrible, wasn't politically correct enough for “Law and Order.” Instead, the episode portrayed a sympathetic immigrant doing construction work and supporting his poor mother in Colombia. He did hit the woman, but the...
  • Another One Bites the Dust

    February 23, 2007
    Otherwise quite-sound South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford has weighed in on the political "global warming" sweepstakes with an op-ed in today's Washington Post. To his credit, he flatly states that "conservatives must respond to climate change with innovation, not regulation." Indeed. But remove that line and the rest of the op-ed does a tremendous disservice to the anti-regulatory cause, fostering as it does needless climate alarmism, even adopting talking points straight from an Al Gore seminar. "For the past 20 years, I have seen the ever-so-gradual effects of rising sea levels at our farm on the South Carolina coast." Really? Sea levels rise 8 inches per century during the current inter-glacial period (10,000+ years), an historical rate that hasn't increased even according...
  • Fred Smith on Antiquities

    February 23, 2007
    Fred Smith's presentation at Guatemala's Universidad Francisco Marroquin on how markets can help protect antiquities is now available online.
  • Gore flunks Oscar documentary rules

    February 22, 2007
    Intrepid Journalist Kevin Mooney of just filed a can't-miss story on Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth". On the verge of the Academy Awards, it appears that Gore's flick doesn't live up to the Academy's basic "Rule 12" standards for truthfulness in the use of animation. This rule states that non-traditional documentary devices such as animation or reenactments may be used, but only "as long as the emphasis is on fact and not on fiction." The scene at issue is the famed cartoon of a polar bear drowning. But the sequence does not come close to approximating the reality of the study from which it is based....


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