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  • Two Victories for Taxpayers

    November 8, 2006
    Yesterday, taxpayers celebrated two big victories at the ballot box. Nevada voters removed a controversial state supreme court justice, Nancy Becker, who joined in the much-reviled Guinn v. Legislature decision. That ruling held that Nevada lawmakers could ignore a state constitutional requirement for a two-thirds majority and hike taxes by a simple majority vote. (The court felt that increasing taxes would make it easier to increase funding of the state's educational system, although additional funds for education could have been freed up by cutting other state spending). As a result of the ruling, the state legislature raised taxes by $833 million. Becker was defeated by a trial judge, Nancy Saitta, who was critical of that ruling. Saitta also criticized Becker for ruling that the City of Las Vegas could seize the Pappas family's property and give it to gambling moguls to...
  • It's a Landslide!

    November 8, 2006
    America's finest news source has the best round-up of election coverage I've seen so far - "Politicians Sweep Midterm Elections: Resounding Victories In All States, Counties, Cities, Towns."
  • Midterm Nailbiting

    November 7, 2006
    Now that the polls on the East Coast are closed and we're all waiting to see which way the balance of power will fall, follow unfolding events at the Bureaucrash Live Election Night Forum.
  • Kyoto Conference Reveals Disagreements

    November 7, 2006
    For all the supposed consensus on global warming, every time the Kyoto parties get together, there are disagreement s about what to do. The latest meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, is no exception: “A U.N. conference working to fix long-term rules to fight global warming beyond 2012 “as soon as possible” was split on Tuesday over whether that meant an accord should be struck in 2008, 2009 or even 2010.” At the last meeting, the only thing they agreed on was to take out all the penalties for non-compliance with Kyoto. This was hailed as an ‘historic agreement.' CEI confidently predicts that whatever agreement they come to on when to set a deadline for further talks will also be hailed as an ‘historic agreement.' Meanwhile, Annex I parties will continue to emit greenhouse gases at an increasing rate.
  • Talking Back to the 'Environmental Headbangers'

    November 7, 2006
    Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary is legendary for telling it like he sees it, rhetorical propriety be damned. He's now reacting to the Stern report on the eoconomics of global warming, with characteristic flair: Michael O'Leary, chief executive of the Dublin-based carrier, said that aviation was responsible for just 2 per cent of European Union carbon emissions. If "eco nuts" were really serious about tackling climate change they should support nuclear power and a clampdown on livestock farming which was responsible for more greenhouse gases than the airline industry, he said. Referring to last week's report from the former World Bank chief economist Sir Nicholas Stern on the economics of climate change, which warned that rising carbon emissions could wipe out 20 per cent of the world's wealth if not tackled, Mr O'...
  • Staying Cool

    November 7, 2006
    The National Climatic Data Center reports that in October, "All regions [were] near to or below normal temperature (first time since February 2003 with no regions above average temperature)." This one month finding, of course, doesn't say anything about overall climatic trends, but then again neither do any of the constant reports of this month or that summer being especially hot or especially dry. For every headline that seems to point to advancing march of catastrophic global warming - "Hottest Summer in a Century!" - there are just as many reports which don't make the headlines because they're much less likely to throw readers and viewers into a panic.
  • When Your Home Is Not Your Castle

    November 7, 2006
    Craig Bannister emails this morning with more debate over the Kelo v. New London Supreme Court decision on the power of eminent domain. It seems 11 states have anti-property seizure ballot measures up this election day.
  • Schumer’s Sarbanes-Oxley Surprise and Frank’s Frankness

    November 6, 2006
    One of this election's "October Surprises" may have come on Nov. 1, when Chuck Schumer, Democratic Senator from New York and chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, declared in a Wall Street Journal op-ed (available by subscription to WSJ) that the Sarbanes-Oxley corporate accounting law "needs to be reexamined." Schumer and the op-ed's co-author, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, wrote that "auditing expenses for companies doing business in the U.S. have grown far beyond anything Congress had anticipated" and that "there appears to be a worrisome trend of corporate leaders focusing inordinate time on compliance minutiae rather than innovative strategies for growth." This criticism is similar to what CEI has been saying practically since the law went into effect. Schumer joins House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in appearing to be open to substantial...
  • Fighting Racism with Super Powers

    November 6, 2006
    Former Ku Klux Klan leader Samuel H. Bowers died in a Mississippi state prison this weekend, while serving a life sentence for the 1966 murder of Vernon Dahmer Sr. Fortunately, the Klan is no longer a significant political force (though some former members can still be found in positions of power). The story of the decline of the Klan is an interesting one, and one that came up recently in our own Ivan Osorio's discussion of the use of ridicule as a political weapon. As it turns out, it was Superman who saved the day. No, really: read about it...
  • Saving Antiquities by Selling Them

    November 6, 2006
    This weekend, CEI co-hosted the conference, “Empowering Green Bureaucrats: How Global Environmental Treaties Threaten National Sovereignty and Hurt the World's Poor,” with Universidad Francisco MarroquÃn. But first, CEI President Fred Smith spoke on how the market can help preserve archaeological treasures, at the conference, “Human Nature: Destructive or Creative?” hosted by UFM's Center for the Study of Public Decisions (CADEP). Governments, Fred noted, have not done a very good job of protecting nations' archaeological treasures. The problem is what he termed an “antiquities commons”—the fact that because no one is allowed to own what are considered cultural artifacts, it is very difficult to ascribe value to...


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