Policy Documents

The Heartlander: February-March 2008

edited by Diane Carol Bast –
February 1, 2008

GLOBAL WARMING SKEPTICS PREPARE FOR INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE

Hundreds of the world’s leading “skeptics” of the theory of man-made global warming will meet in New York City on March 2-4 to present their case and discuss the latest scientific, economic, and political research on climate change.

The conference is being organized by Heartland and a growing list of cosponsors, including the International Climate Science Coalition, Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, and Science & Environmental Policy Project.

“The purpose of the conference is to provide a platform for the hundreds of scientists, economists, and policy experts who dissent from the so-called ‘consensus’ on global warming,” said Heartland President Joseph Bast.

“Hundreds of scientists, many of them with distinguished careers and many appearances in the peer-reviewed literature, believe the Modern Warming is natural and moderate,” Bast noted. “They are being censored by the press and demonized by environmental advocacy groups.

“This is their chance to speak out,” said Bast. “If 400 or 500 ‘skeptics’ from around the world assemble in New York City, it will be difficult for policymakers and journalists to ignore us.”

Plans for the conference include five keynote presentations and 25 panels of scientists discussing a wide variety of global warming-related issues. Approximately 100 experts will give formal presentations at the conference, with several hundred others expected to attend and share information in a more informal manner.

Five tracks of panels will address paleoclimatology, climatology, global warming impacts, the economics of global warming, and political factors. Each track will consist of four or five panels composed of experts on some aspect of the general topic.

Many of the speakers will provide written papers to supplement their presentations, which will be collected and edited for publication following the event. Other follow-up activities include planning for a follow-up conference in London in 2009, the launch of a scholarly journal, and publication of a rebuttal to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s recently released Fourth Assessment Report.



Scholarships Available

Heartland is providing travel scholarships to qualified scientists, economists, and policy experts willing to speak at the event. A limited number of scholarships also will be available to elected officials and government officials interested in attending.

Registration for the event is $720 (€ 480). Students may attend at the special rate of $360 (€ 240).

For more information, visit the conference Web site at http://www.heartland.org/NewYork08/newyork08.cfm, or contact Heartland Senior Fellow James M. Taylor, taylor@heartland.org.


SKEPTICS SPEAK OUT IN BALI

For two weeks in early December, the United Nations hosted a meeting in Bali, Indonesia to discuss global warming and the worldwide policy response to it. More than 10,000 people--environmentalists, government officials, members of the media, and more--participated in sessions of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its subsidiary bodies as well as a meeting of the parties to the Kyoto Protocol.

Working with the International Climate Science Coalition and other organizations, Heartland arranged for a team of scientists to attend the Bali conference. The group consisted of Will Alexander, David Archibald, Greg Balle, David Evans, Vincent Gray, Bryan Leyland, Owen McShane, Christopher Monckton, and Joanne Nova of the International Climate Science Coalition; Craig Rucker of the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow; and Barun Mitra of the International Policy Network.

Although the group was denied the opportunity to present papers at the conference or hold press conferences, they attracted substantial media attention. Among the key hits were references on Fox News’ Special Report with Brit Hume (reaching 12 million viewers!), the Rush Limbaugh radio show (13 to 19 million listeners daily), the Drudge Report (10 million page views a day), and in the Chicago Tribune (circ. 566,827), Investor’s Business Daily (circ. 172,618), and Jakarta Post (estimated daily circ. 25,000).

News releases we issued reporting on the activities of the Bali team were picked up across the Internet, including on blogs hosted by the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, American Thinker, Australian columnist Andrew Bolt, and Barbay Live (“Mensa Barbie”).

Heartland Public Relations Director Tom Swiss, who orchestrated the Bali media effort before leaving Heartland for other pursuits, appeared on the Freedom Works radio show on December 6 and WKION Radio on December 12 to discuss the Bali effort.

Additional reports on the Bali team’s work appear in the February 2008 issue of Environment & Climate News at http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=22621 and http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=22623.


UNSTOPPABLE GLOBAL WARMING

In late 2007, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc. released the second edition of Unstoppable Global Warming -- Every 1500 Years, the best-selling book by Dennis Avery and S. Fred Singer. Heartland President Joseph L. Bast worked with the authors to update and reorganize revise the book.

As Bast notes in the Foreword, “The science has clearly turned away from dubious theories and predictions of climate catastrophe. The authors of Unstoppable Global Warming have been vindicated. It remains to be seen, however, if the world’s policymakers will take note and stop their stampede toward passing expensive and damaging laws to address a nonexistent problem.”

Heartland is in the process of distributing 120,000 copies to audiences around the world. To date, copies have been distributed to

  • more than 26,000 “influentials” -- government officials, environment journalists, and others -- in Australia, Austria, Canada, and the United Kingdom;
  • nearly 3,000 state legislators, hand-delivered and accompanied by “dear colleague” letters from state representatives and senators who are working with Assistant Government Relations Director Brian Costin;
  • 47,000 environmental professionals;
  • 20,000 K-12 school principals;
  • 15,000 college and university trustees;
  • 5,000 additional state legislators and executive branch officials;
  • 3,500 judges; and
  • 850 environment journalists.



The books are being accompanied by a short DVD, Unstoppable Solar Cycles: The Real Story of Greenland. In this documentary, climatologist Dr. David R. Legates and astrophysicist Dr. Willie Soon examine the rise and fall of Greenland’s Norse settlements during the 10th-15th centuries A.D. and the strong relationship of that history to climate change.


GORE IN THE CLASSROOM

Thousands of schoolchildren are being subjected to global warming alarmism by being forced to watch former vice president Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth and being told by their teachers that it represents “settled science.” Many parents would be mightily annoyed if they knew Gore’s film was filled with inaccuracies, and that the global warming movement Gore leads is highly partisan and agenda-driven.

Heartland has started to identify parents who want to challenge their teachers to remove Gore from the classroom, present students with the errors in Gore’s movie, or (at the very least) commit to showing the other side of the debate, perhaps by showing The Great Global Warming Swindle.

We will arm parents with a “tool kit” of information about An Inconvenient Truth and global warming more generally, and copies of The Great Global Warming Swindle. If teachers agree to show the other side, our involvement might end there. If the teachers do not agree, Heartland plans to aid parents in taking their case to school boards, and to threaten legal action if necessary.

Maureen Martin, Heartland’s senior fellow for legal affairs, has been retained to research the legal grounds for suing school districts that refuse to remove Gore from the classroom or provide a balanced presentation of the facts. She will help identify parents and local pro bono counsel to take cases to court if necessary.

This project is just getting underway. If you are interested, please contact Sandy Bourne, Heartland’s vice president of strategy, at bourne@heartland.org.


OTHER ENVIRONMENT PROJECTS

Environment & Climate News

The February 2008 issue of Environment & Climate News notes how scientists skeptical of global warming alarmism are finding new outlets for their opinions. On page 1:

  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has denied California’s attempt to impose automobile emissions standards, ruling a nationwide standard is more appropriate to the issue than a patchwork of state standards.
  • The massive energy bill signed by President George W. Bush on December 19 will have serious negative effects on the economy.
  • Computer models that form the basis for future global warming predictions have projected significantly more warming in recent years than has actually occurred.
  • The BP oil company’s plans to expand its Whiting, Indiana refinery will not hurt Lake Michigan.

Also in this issue: bee colony collapse disorder, the Federal Clean Water Restoration Act, Oregon’s coast coho salmon, and an interview with Kentucky state Rep. Jim Gooch.



Press Efforts

On December 12, Heartland issued a news release describing environmentalists’ disagreement with each other over a biofuels mandate proposed at the Bali climate change conference. “Opponents of biofuels read like a Who’s Who of environmental activist groups. The Worldwatch Institute, World Conservation Union, and the global charity Oxfam warn that by directing food staples to the production of transport fuels, biofuels policy is leading to the starvation and further impoverishment of the world’s poor,” the release reports.



The Unstoppable Jay Lehr

On December 6, Heartland Science Director Jay Lehr appeared on the Chuck Harder Show to discuss the McCain-Lieberman Stewardship Act, and on Ohio Public Radio to discuss the Great Lakes Compact.

On December 3, Lehr spoke to 120 people from Dow Agro Science in Indianapolis on environment policy. On December 5, he spoke to 350 people at the Michigan Vegetable Growers conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan. On December 6, he spoke to 350 people at the Great Lakes Expo, also in Grand Rapids. And on December 13, he spoke to 500 people at the annual meeting of the South Dakota Soy Association.


BOAZ, WHELAN COMING TO CHICAGO

February 12: David Boaz

On Tuesday, February 12, the McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum and The Heartland Institute co-hosted a reception and book-signing for David Boaz, executive vice president of the Cato Institute. Boaz discussed and signed copies of his new book, Politics of Freedom: Taking on the Left, the Right, and Threats to Our Liberties.



March 19: Dr. Elizabeth Whelan

On Wednesday, March 19, Heartland will host a luncheon for Dr. Elizabeth Whelan, president of the American Council on Science and Health. Whelan will discuss “The Explosion of Health Scares -- Everything Is Dangerous!”

Whelan holds a Masters in Public Health from the Yale School of Medicine, a Master of Science from the Harvard School of Public Health, and a Doctor of Science from the Harvard School of Public Health. She is the author or co-author of 23 books on nutrition, smoking, and environmental topics.

Registration for Heartland members is $30.00 in advance and $40.00 at the door.

Registration for non-members is $35.00 in advance and $45.00 at the door.


PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES AND SCHOOL CHOICE

School Reform News

The February 2008 issue of School Reform News looks at the presidential candidates and their positions on school choice. On page 1:

  • Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and other dignitaries came together on December 10 to thank corporate sponsors for their donations to fund K-12 scholarships for low-income families.
  • Delaware state government and union officials have undermined one charter school’s efforts to secure alternative financing for construction costs and nearly stopped another’s.
  • Georgia’s publicly funded scholarship program for special-needs children is making quick progress, with almost a thousand students already benefiting.
  • Students in even the highest-achieving U.S. states are mediocre when compared with the rest of the developed world.

Also in this issue: foster kids, choice in Illinois, charters in Nevada, and preschool vouchers in New Jersey.



School Choice: The Findings

Heartland Chairman Herbert Walberg’s new book, School Choice: The Findings, was published by the Cato Institute. Walberg is one of the country’s most distinguished education scholars. Heartland President Joseph Bast participated in the research and editing of the book.

With Heartland’s encouragement, Cato produced a smaller “chapbook” version of the book--with smaller print, lighter paper, narrow margins, and no footnotes--which Heartland then “polybagged” with the December issue of School Reform News, distributing some 75,000 copies of the book to elected officials, educators, legislators, journalists, civic and business leaders, and allies.



Media Attention

On December 2, the Miami Herald (circ. 386,313) published a letter to the editor by Heartland Local Legislation Manager Ralph Conner. Commenting on an essay by columnist Leonard Pitts (reprinted in the January 2008 issue of School Reform News at http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=22555), Conner writes, “Pitts makes the case for successful charter schools as models for excellence in education. Privately managed charter schools that concentrate on values education and higher expectations have a built-in accountability for performance by teachers and students. The flexibility to discipline nonperforming teachers is more feasible in these schools, which are often free of the dictates of teachers unions’ mandates that protect incompetent teachers in the broader public-school system.”

On December 8, the Richmond, Virginia Times-Dispatch (circ.186,441) published a letter to the editor by Heartland Senior Fellow Robert Holland addressing the same Pitts column. “As Pitts’ column makes clear,” Holland writes, “true charter schools bring independent-minded leadership such as the Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) into the system with full accountability for results. Gov. Tim Kaine and the General Assembly ought to cooperate in jump-starting charter schools. Virginians are missing out on a vibrant form of public-school choice that is growing from Carolina to California.”

On December 11, Holland spoke to more than 200 people at a conference held in Washington, DC by the U.S. Department of Education.

On December 16, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (circ. 230,220), published an essay by Heartland Senior Fellow Maureen Martin. (Excerpted on page 2 of this Heartlander.) She examines the December 5 ruling by the Court of Appeals that says only state-licensed teachers may teach students in Wisconsin public schools. She writes, “But the ruling went much further than that. Not only does state law ban unlicensed parents from teaching their children in a virtual school, the court held, but it also bans any unlicensed individuals--including but not limited to parents--from ‘teaching’ any child in conventional public schools.”


CANADA IS NO HEALTH CARE MODEL

Health Care News

Health Care News has a
new managing editor!
Jeff Emanuel (emanuel@heartland.org) served in the U.S. Air Force from 1999-2004 as a tactical air controller. He participated in the 2003 “major combat operations” phase of the Iraq war and later returned to Iraq as an embedded reporter. He studied classics at the University of Georgia; has written for The Weekly Standard, The American Spectator, and other publications; and is a frequent guest on several national and major-market television and radio programs, including The O’Reilly Factor, the Laura Ingraham Show, and others.

The February 2008 issue of Health Care News warns against considering Canada’s health care system a model for the United States. A new survey reported in the European Journal of Medicine shows Canadians would “pull strings” to get better care, while John C. Goodman, president of the National Center for Policy Analysis, notes claims about the superiority of Canadian care “are myths, and they lead to bad government policies in the United States.”

On page 1 of this issue:

  • The Mayo Clinic has announced it will open a Mayo Express Care retail clinic at a shopping center in Rochester, Minnesota.
  • New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is trying for the second time to force the city’s chain restaurants to display calorie information on their menus and menu boards.
  • The U.S. House Judiciary Committee has approved a bill creating an exemption in antitrust law to enable independent pharmacies to negotiate contracts with Medicare Part D plans and private pharmacy benefit managers.
  • Several medical groups have declared their support for a proposed federal Physician Payments Sunshine Act, requiring makers of drugs and medical devices to disclose the value of all gifts they give physicians.

Also in this issue: organ donors, AIDS, SCHIP, medical malpractice, electronic health records, CT scans, and keys to aging well.



Legislative Outreach

In response to legislative activity addressing “universal” health insurance in California and elsewhere, Legislative Specialist Kate Campaigne sent to members of The Legislative Forum and other key legislators an informational package including talking points on universal health care (http://www.heartland.org/article.cfm?artId=22001) and Heartland’s Ten Principles of Health Care Policy booklet (http://www.heartland.org/article.cfm?artId=22043).

Campaigne authored an issue brief on health information technology, describing private-sector and market-based initiatives that preclude the need for government intervention or mandates. The brief was sent to members of The Legislative Forum as well as members of ALEC’s Health-IT working group and is available at (http://www.heartland.org/article.cfm?artId=22481). The brief was republished by EMR Update (http://www.emrupdate.com), a Web site and blog frequented by medical professionals.



Press Attention

On December 31, Research Fellow Jeff Emanuel appeared on 560 KSFO-AM San Francisco to discuss the State Children’s Health Insurance Program and California health care reform.


MORE CHOICES, BETTER HEALTH

Heartland continues to promote its booklet titled More Choices, Better Health: Free to Choose Experimental Drugs, by Bartley Madden, originally published in May 2007. Madden contends that informed patients and their doctors ought to be able to have easier access to experimental drugs than FDA’s cumbersome approval process now allows. Dual Tracking gives patients the freedom to choose FDA-approved drugs or experimental drugs.

Heartland Research Director Sam Karnick has been working with think tanks around the world to distribute and promote the booklet. Karnick reports distribution--in some cases, translation and reprinting as well--in Australia, Canada, China, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Italy, New Zealand, and Sweden.

More Choices, Better Health can be downloaded in Adobe’s PDF format from Heartland’s Web site at http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=21194. Single copies of the print edition are available for $2.95, and volume discounts are available. To order, contact administrative assistant Cheryl Parker at 312/377-4000.

If you are interested in working with Heartland on international distribution and circulation, please contact Sam Karnick at karnick@heartland.org.


WASHINGTON REINSTATES PROPERTY TAX CAP

Budget & Tax News

The February 2008 issue of Budget & Tax News leads with a report on Washington’s property tax cap approved by voters in 2001, overturned by the state supreme court in November 2007, and now reinstated during a special session of the state legislature. Also on page 1:

  • With the deadline for issuing licenses that meet the criteria of the federal REAL ID Act of 2005 less than three months away, it appears few if any states are prepared to issue compliant licenses.
  • The Illinois legislature ended 2007 without figuring out how to fund mass transit in Chicago and surrounding counties, having considered a regional sales tax hike, gas tax diversions, and an expansion of gambling.
  • The California State Board of Equalization reclassified flavored malt beverages from beer to distilled spirits, in effect hiking the tax on those beverages 1,550 percent.

Also in this issue: stadium subsidies, Chicago’s record tax hike, alternative minimum tax, tax increment financing, spending transparency, labor policy, toll roads, subprime mortgage bailout, Congressional spending, and more.



Tax Treaty Effort

It came to our attention in early December that U.S. Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) was keeping off the Senate floor proposed treaties between the United States and Germany that would reform tax practices in both countries to eliminate double taxes on subsidiary corporations. President Bush and two-thirds of the Senate were believed to be in support of the measures.

We contacted by email 50 Wisconsin-based policy advisors, legislative advisors, and donors to The Heartland Institute advising them of their Senator’s behavior and providing links to valuable research and commentary on the issue. Heartland policy advisor Yuri Maltsev, an economist and professor at Carthage College, submitted a letter to the editor on the issue to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and other newspapers. Legislative Specialist Nick Baker also prepared an op-ed on the issue, which was submitted to more than 1,200 budget/tax journalists, elected officials, and think tanks. The piece appears on our Web site at http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=22465.

Feingold eventually freed the treaties for a Senate vote, and they were unanimously approved on December 14. On December 21, President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice signed the USA-Germany and Belgium Tax Treaties.



Legislative Outreach

Members of The Legislative Forum received in December a new Research & Commentary package making the case for “flat” taxes, given their fairness and transparency when compared to our current progressive national income tax. This R&C is available for download from Heartland’s Web site at (http://www.heartland.org/article.cfm?artId=22411).

December saw a flurry of proposed legislative and regulatory activity at the state and national level in response to the growing mortgage lending crisis. In response Matthew Glans, legislative specialist for insurance and financial services, has almost daily responded to articles appearing in news outlets across the country--letters in which he calls for rational and reasoned logic and response to a situation in which lenders are being blamed for what has amounted to unsound fiscal policy by the national government. In addition, legislators in five target states have received weekly updates on regulatory and legislative findings with regard to subprime lending regulation. More information is available by contacting Glans at mglans@heartland.org.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation of tobacco, the topic of a Research & Commentary package in early 2007 (http://www.heartland.org/article.cfm?artId=21310), reappeared in December as a possibility even as a beleaguered FDA struggles under the weight of its existing mission to ensure the safety of American consumers. Nick Baker, legislative specialist for budget/tax and tobacco, compiled a package of information, including the earlier R&C, which was distributed to nearly 900 elected officials nationwide, including members of Congress.

In response to a proposal by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom to regulate through taxation the sale and consumption of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) as a beverage sweetener alleged to be the cause of obesity in children and others in the city, Local Legislation Manager Ralph Conner and Baker compiled a series of articles explaining HFCS is an all-natural product being blamed unfairly for obesity problems. Conner and Baker further explored the complexities and pitfalls of regulation through taxation of specific products. This package was sent to the mayor as well as the city’s elected officials. The city council has not yet acted on the proposal.



Press Attention

On December 14, the Financial Times published a letter to the editor on the subprime mortgage situation by Glans, who writes, “The bail-out is a blatant example of government intrusion into the mortgage industry. The plan is flawed: A freeze on adjustable rate mortgage interest rates is a short-term solution at best. Coercing lenders to freeze rates is a sure way to worsen the current situation.”

On December 19, Heartland Research Fellow Steve Stanek appeared on the “Jerry Hughes Show” to discuss the boondoggle of government funding of professional sports teams.


HEARTLAND ON THE ROAD

Heartland was well-represented at the American Legislative Exchange Council’s States & Nation Policy Summit, held December 4-7 in Washington, DC. Vice President of Government Affairs Trevor Martin, Vice President of Policy and Strategy Sandy Liddy Bourne, Senior Fellow and Environment & Climate News Managing Editor James M. Taylor, and Research Fellow and Budget & Tax News Managing Editor Steve Stanek attended the event.

Vice President for Administration Latreece Vankinscott staffed the Heartland exhibit at the annual meeting of the American Farm Bureau Federation, which took place in New Orleans January 11-14.

Heartland President Joseph Bast, a member of the board of directors of the American Conservative Union, spoke at the 2008 Conservative Political Action Conference on February 7-9 in Washington, DC. Events Manager Nikki Comerford staffed the exhibit at the event; and Vice Presidents Lauren Chrissos, Bourne, and Martin attended, as did New Media Manager Keely Drukala.


WELCOME ABOARD!

Heartland has added three persons to its Government Relations Department and one to its Development Department since the December Heartlander! We’re pleased to welcome ...

  • Brian Costin, assistant government relations director. Costin holds a Master of Management of Nonprofit Administration degree from North Park University. He also graduated from Illinois State University with a Bachelor of Science degree majoring in economics and politics/government. Previously, Costin worked in operations management and business development at United Parcel Service.
  • Nick Baker, legislative specialist for budget/tax and tobacco issues. Baker volunteered for the campaigns of conservative Congressman David McIntosh and in 1998 was himself elected to the Hagerstown, Indiana Town Council, where he served as Budget Committee chairman. He graduated from Ball State University with a degree in political science.
  • Matthew Glans, legislative special for insurance and finance. Glans earned a Master’s degree in political studies from the University of Illinois at Springfield and also graduated from Bradley University with a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in political science. Before coming to Heartland, Glans worked for the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services in its legislative affairs office in Springfield. He also worked as a Congressional intern in U.S. Representative Henry Hyde’s Washington D.C. office in 2004.
  • Lauren Chrissos, vice president of development. Chrissos spent more than four years at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University in corporate, government, and external affairs. She has also worked at the America’s Future Foundation, the Adam Smith Institute in London, and Americans for Tax Reform tackling policy issues ranging from national security and missile defense to health care and social security. She attended Catholic University, where she studied political science and philosophy.