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  • Take That, Liberal Media!

    December 11, 2006
    In what may be the political understatement of all time, Tom DeLay explains the thinking behind his new blog, in part, with the phrase "not all good ideas come from Washington, D.C." Way to think outside the box, Tom. He goes on to write about how excited he is about the potential of the blogosphere, and that he is "look[ing] forward to working in collaboration, not competition, with all those who already use blogs as a way to fight against - and present an alternative - to the liberal media bias." The liberal media is, even now, doubtless sweating through its socks. Just to help disambiguate things, I'm not the same Richard Morrison who ran against DeLay in Texas' 22nd congressional district in 2004. That...
  • Stern Lectures

    December 11, 2006
    Sir Nicholas Stern, author of the wildly hyped and widely disparaged Stern Review on the economics of climate change, is leaving Her Majesty's Treasury:
    With embarrassing timing, Sir Nicholas Stern's departure was announced a day after the Chancellor confounded expectations of a big shift towards a new environmental agenda in his Pre-Budget Report. Mr Brown's move to raise taxes on flights and motorists' fuel were seen as minimum concessions to calls for tougher environmental action and disappointed green campaigners. One well-placed government source told The Times that Mr Brown had to be persuaded within the Treasury even to take the steps he did, such was his lack of enthusiasm for green taxes. Sir Nicholas, 60, one of the Chancellor's most senior officials as Second...
  • So what's stopping them?

    December 11, 2006
    The incoming leadership of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee are keen to use global warming as a stick to beat the Administration with - here's an example. So what's stopping them from bringing forward the Kyoto Protocol for ratification? The treaty was indeed signed by President Clinton - as even the New York Times has to admit. There is no constitutional requirement for the President formally to transmit a signed treaty to the Senate. Two thirds of the Senate simply has to "concur" and the Treaty is ratified. if the Senators are so concerned about White House obstructionism, why don't they just perform this end-around...
  • Pricking the pomposity of EU's trade policymaker

    December 11, 2006
    Letters to the Editor in the Financial Times are usually literate, civil, and informed. Sometimes too they are also passionate. Such is the case with the lead letter today from our friend Jean-Pierre Lehmann, professor at IMD and founder of The Evian Group, who roundly derided Peter Mandelson, the European trade commissioner, for trying to impose EU labor standards in bilateral trade agreements with developing countries. Here's what Lehmann wrote:
    What business is it of the EU to try to improve working conditions in the developing world? For 200 years Europe ravaged and exploited the developing world, with abysmal labour practices, as well as brutally mistreating its own labour, but now chooses to prance pompously about with its allegedly...
  • U.S. dairy program at odds with free enterpriser

    December 11, 2006
    A front-page article in Sunday's Washington Post, titled “Dairy Industry Crushed Innovator Who Bested Price-Control System,” recounts how Arizona dairy farmer Hein Hettinga thought he could operate in the free market outside the bounds of the U.S. dairy program. Hettinga was bottling milk and selling it to an increasingly large number of outlets — and at a price about 20 cents below that of his competitors. The diary farmer figured he could operate competitively without being dependent on the federal and state programs that guaranteed the market and guaranteed prices for milk. The convoluted diary program is indeed Byzantine. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it consists of federal milk...
  • Miliband's disingenuity

    December 11, 2006
    I should have drawn attention to this interesting phrasing in David Miliband's enthusiasm for carbon rationing:
    "He said: 'It is a way of pricing carbon emissions into individual behaviour and it would recognise carbon thrift, as well as economic thrift. Twenty years ago if I had said 8 million people would have a Tesco loyalty card, no one would have believed me.'"
    With respect, Minister, it's "if I had said 8 million people would choose to have a Tesco loyalty card." One suspects the element of personal choice will be conspicuously absent in Miliband's little scheme.
  • Scientists disprove Impressionism

    December 11, 2006
    The term "impressionism" was originally meant as an insult, alleging that painters such as Claude Monet merely slapped a few strokes of paint onto a canvas until they had an "impression" of their subject. Many of the painters agreed, and adopted the soubriquet. How, for instance, did the impressionists tackle colors and sunlight?
    Instead of creating smoothly blended colors, the impressionists placed separate touches of vibrantly contrasting colors directly onto the canvas, sometimes without prior mixing on the palette, and allowed their brushstrokes to retain the liveliness and seeming spontaneity of a sketch. As a result their work appeared unfinished to many viewers, including the critic Leroy. Manet had encouraged this tendency in his paintings of the 1860s, in...
  • Black marketeers rejoice at UK government plan

    December 11, 2006
    The UK government is seriously thinking of introducing individual carbon rationing:
    Every citizen would be issued with a carbon "credit card" - to be swiped every time they bought petrol, paid an energy utility bill or booked an airline ticket - under a nationwide carbon rationing scheme that could come into operation within five years, according to a feasibility study commissioned by the environment secretary, David Miliband, and published today. In an interview with the Guardian Mr Miliband said the idea of individual carbon allowances had "a simplicity and beauty that would reward carbon thrift".
    It's hard to think of a crazier plan. The UK has a very small black market in comparison to most countries, but this would almost certainly make it a...
  • Cows Are Destroying the Earth

    December 11, 2006
    And I thought the IPCC Fourth Assessment (see below) was good news. Now I know that we humans really are off the hook when it comes to destroying the earth, the climate and everything. Turns out cows are to blame:
    Meet the world's top destroyer of the environment. It is not the car, or the plane, or even George Bush: it is the cow. A United Nations report has identified the world's rapidly growing herds of cattle as the greatest threat to the climate, forests and wildlife. And they are blamed for a host of other environmental crimes, from acid rain to the introduction of alien species, from producing deserts to creating dead zones in the oceans, from poisoning rivers and drinking water to destroying coral reefs.
    I haven't taken the time to read through...
  • Thanks, UN, for Shrinking My Carbon Footprint by 25%

    December 11, 2006

    The latest iteration on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's report on global warming it being eagerly awaited. While we bide our time, however, the leaks have begun. According to the Telegraph, it contains some bad news for the alarmist crowd:

    Mankind has had less effect on global warming than previously supposed, a United Nations report on climate change will claim next year.

    The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says there can be little doubt that humans are responsible for warming the planet, but the organisation has reduced its overall estimate of this effect by 25 per cent.

    So this means past...

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