The Lighthouse is the weekly email newsletter of the Independent Institute. Subscribe
now, or browse Back Issues
Volume 13, Issue 1: January 4, 2011
- The Attack on Happy Meals
- The Climate Change Fallacy
- Nuclear Treaty Will Improve U.S. Security
- Latin America: Pivotal Year Ahead
- New Blog Posts
1) The Attack on Happy Meals
In November, San Franciscos Board of Supervisors overrode Mayor Gavin Newsoms veto of a proposal to ban Happy Meals toys at McDonalds restaurants. The supes decided that plastic figurines featuring the likenesses of Ronald McDonald, the Hamburglar and company encourage kids to over consume junk food and therefore put childrens health at risk. Santa Clara Countythe home of Silicon Valleyhas also acted to drive the demon toys from the vile Temple of the Golden Arches. Independent Institute Research Analyst Anthony Gregory responds.
If governments think there is a health epidemic, officials should end corn subsidies, which distort the American diet for the worse, address the horrible school lunch programs, and rethink having kids sit in classrooms seven hours each weekday, Gregory writes in a piece for BusinessWeeks website.
Whats next? Officials are already taxing lemonade stands, spying on students through their laptops, purging images of tobacco from classic cartoons, and persecuting pupils for drawing pictures of weapons and bringing aspirin to class. Sorry kids, the war on fun appears to have no end.
Happy Meal Ban: A Sad Day for the U.S.A., by Anthony Gregory (BusinessWeek, 12/28/10)
Back to Top
2) The Climate Change Fallacy
Climate models may be all we possess to establish a causal linkage between human activity and the global warming that has occurred since 1900, but those models are deeply flawed, according to Independent Institute Research Fellow S. Fred Singer. For starters, the models predictions are all over the placeranging from temperature increases of 1.4 to 11.5 degrees Celsius from a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxideand no one call tell us which model is most accurate.
In addition, not one of the 20 or so greenhouse models that predict global warming explain the observed cooling that occurred from 1940 to 1975not without using ad hoc assumptions, Singer argues. And none explains temperature trends at different latitudes and altitudes.
If the science supporting man-made global warming is weak, the policies put forth to deal with climate change are even weaker. The Kyoto Protocol, which was never ratified by the United States and is set to expire in 2012, was supposed to cut the estimated rise in temperature for 2050 by only 0.05 Celsiusone twentieth of one degree. Singer writes: Programs and policies associated with Kyoto should therefore be scrappedincluding uneconomic alternative-energy sources, carbon-capture-and-sequestration efforts, and costly emission-trading schemes. All of these schemes waste money and squander scarce resources without in any way impacting on the climate.
No Proof Man Causes Global Warming, by S. Fred Singer (The Washington Times, 12/28/10)
The Cancun Climate Capers, by S. Fred Singer (American Thinker, 11/29/10)
New Perspectives in Climate Change: What the EPA Isnt Telling Us, by S. Fred Singer, John R. Christy, Robert E. Davis, David R. Legates, and Wendy M. Novicoff
Hot Talk, Cold Science: Global Warmings Unfinished Debate, by S. Fred Singer
Rolling the DICE: William Nordhauss Dubious Case for a Carbon Tax, by Robert P. Murphy (The Independent Review, Fall 2009)
Back to Top
3) Nuclear Treaty Will Improve U.S. Security
The U.S. Senate ratified a new arms-reduction treaty with Russia on December 22. (The accord now awaits passage by the Russian national assembly.) One argument implied by treaty opponents was that by reducing the U.S. nuclear arsenal, the security of allies long protected by American nukes would be significantly weakened. In contrast, Independent Institute Senior Fellow Ivan Eland argues that a broad nuclear umbrella harms U.S. national security: it increases the likelihood that the country will be pulled into a nuclear conflict.
Although that danger was present when the United States extended its nuclear umbrella over Western Europe, it continued after the end of the Cold War, especially in the Middle East, where U.S. protection is believed to cover Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and perhaps Israel. Extending the U.S. nuclear shield to the much more unstable and violent region of the Middle East seems supremely foolhardy, Eland writes in his latest op-ed. The U.S. could more easily get dragged into an unplanned and unneeded future nuclear exchange there than in any other area of the world.
Eland argues that the United States should let its allies provide for their own nuclear security, rather than risk a nuclear attack against the U.S. homeland. No adverse overseas development is worth deterringduring the Cold War or after itif the price is incineration of the U.S. home territory.
Extending Nuclear Umbrella Is a Bad Idea, by Ivan Eland (12/29/10)
Video: Ivan Eland on Russia, Wikileaks, and the START Treaty (Al Jazeera Inside Story, 12/2/10)
The Empire Has No Clothes: U.S. Foreign Policy Exposed, by Ivan Eland
Recarving Rushmore: Ranking the Presidents on Peace, Prosperity, and Liberty, by Ivan Eland
Partitioning for Peace: An Exit Strategy for Iraq, by Ivan Eland
Back to Top
4) Latin America: Pivotal Year Ahead
Latin Americas middle class made visible gains in 2010, as economic growth outpaced that of the United States and Europe. But the regions underclass wont make significant gains unless governments adopt economic liberalization and meaningful political reform, according to Independent Institute Senior Fellow Alvaro Vargas Llosa. In fact, the fate of the poor over the next several years may depend on political developments of the next twelve months in Brazil, Peru, Argentina, and Venezuela.
Brazils incoming president, Dilma Rousseff, will help set the tone by deciding whether or not to push for liberalization and to discontinue Brazils anti-U.S. rhetoric. Perus voters will decide whether to maintain the policies that helped bring about a mighty 8 percent growth rate last yearor whether to support foes of economic liberalization on the left or the right. Argentinas voters will decide whether to embrace the collective legacy of Nestor and Cristina Kirchneror to adopt policies that would sustain the gains fostered by recent agricultural innovation and increased trade with Asia. And Venezuelas new National Assembly will decide whether to stand up to Hugo Chavezs intimidation and whom to select as an opposition candidate against Chavezs party.
These political dynamics give Latin America a chance to make the modernization process irreversible, Vargas Llosa writes.
Latin America, 2011, by Alvaro Vargas Llosa (12/29/10) Spanish Translation
Lessons from the Poor: The Triumph of the Entrepreneurial Spirit, edited by Alvaro Vargas Llosa
Liberty for Latin America: How to Undo Five Hundred Years of State Oppression, by Alvaro Vargas Llosa
The Che Guevara Myth and the Future of Liberty, by Alvaro Vargas Llosa
Back to Top
5) New Blog Posts
From The Beacon:
- The EPA and Corporate Welfare: More from the Climate-Government-Industrial Complex, by David Theroux (1/2/11)
- Dont Accuse Me of Blaming America When I Blame the Government, by Robert Higgs (1/2/11)
- Wikileaks: Presidents Like Immunity, by Mary Theroux (1/1/11)
- Commerce, Economic Activity, Obamacare, and the Anti-Federalists, by William Watkins (12/30/10)
- Happy Birthday, Ronald Coase, and Thank You for Our Logo! by Mary Theroux (12/29/10)
- News Item: Nearly 100 Banks Benefiting from TARP Are on the Brink of Collapse, by William Shughart (12/28/10)
From MyGovCost Blog:
Back to Top