If these bulbs would really save people money and they were as good, why are they mandated?

Either these bulbs aren't as good at producing light or they aren't cheaper or some combination of the two. But it they really were so unambiguously better, why are people having to be forced to buy the new bulbs?

Californians can start saying goodbye to traditional 100-watt incandescent light bulbs now that the state has become the first in the country to require a new standard for the screw-base bulbs.
Experts say the new rules, which took effect New Year's Day, will save residents money and energy. California is already the nation's leader in energy efficiency standards.
As of Saturday, what used to be a 100-watt light bulb manufactured and sold in California will have to use 72 watts or less. The 72-watt replacement bulb, also called an energy saving halogen light, will provide the same amount of light, called lumens, for lower energy cost.
Similar new standards for traditional 75-watt, 60-watt and 40-watt incandescent bulbs will go into effect in California over the next few years, with wattages reduced to 53, 43 and 29 respectively.
The new rule does not ban incandescent light bulbs; it just requires those bulbs to be 25 to 30 percent more efficient. And it only affects incandescent light bulbs manufactured after 2011, not light bulbs already in use or on store shelves. . . .

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Despite massive subsidies, Chevy Volt sales not exactly expecting to be large

Despite the government subsidies, hybrids and electric cars are not exactly "big money makers for the car companies."

GM sold between 250 and 350 Chevy Volts this month and Nissan's sales totaled less than 10 Leaf sedans in the past two weeks. Production for both is slowly ramping up. . . .

The Volts are being assembled in Detroit. GM predicts it will sell 10,000 of them in 2011 and between 35,000 and 45,000 in 2012. By way of comparison, Chevrolet sold 187,250 Malibu sedans in the first 11 months of the year with sticker prices that start at $21,975.

Hybrids made up 2.4 percent of U.S. sales this year and the category that includes hybrids and electric cars is expected to double to 4.8 percent by 2013, according to consumer web site Edmunds.com. But electric vehicles likely will be only a small part of this total, said Michelle Krebs, senior analyst at Edmunds, and she doubts they will be big money makers for the car companies. . . .


An old site back up for defensive gun uses

David Burnett has the site back up that documents defensive gun uses. The new site is available here.


A reminder about how far back politicians had their books written by others

This may have been true even before John F. Kennedy.

A remarkable book, a Pulitzer Prize winner, “Profiles in Courage” was published in 1955. Written by Sen. John F. Kennedy’s speech writer, Theodore Sorensen, but attributed to the senator himself . . .


The Battle over State Government Employee Salaries in Wisconsin

Democrats in Wisconsin tried to push through a favorable contract for state workers in a very contentious lame duck session while they still controlled the legislature and the governorship. Ultimately the effort failed by a single vote in the State Senate. Here is even the liberal version of events from the NY Times:

In the end, the State Assembly approved most of the contracts by a single vote, one that was cast, Republicans complain bitterly, by a legislator who had been permitted to travel to Madison to vote though he was serving a jail sentence (with work-release privileges) for driving under the influence of an intoxicant. But a tie in the State Senate — thanks, in part, shockingly to a “no” vote from the Democrats’ own majority leader — meant the contracts failed. (The leader, Russ Decker of Schofield, who had already lost his re-election bid, was then deposed by his caucus.)

Once Mr. Walker is sworn in, brand-new negotiations are presumed for state employee contracts. Union leaders are gloomy — or worse. They complain that Mr. Walker has, so far, ignored their efforts to reach out to him. A union leader, Bryan Kennedy, suggested that Mr. Walker was aiming to change the state’s long-held motto, “Forward,” to “Always the Low Price.”

Lawmakers in both parties predict a range of possibilities for state workers will now be on the table: salary cuts, higher health care contributions, and new restrictions and employee contributions for pensions. For his part, Mr. Walker’s office issued a statement saying: “He believes that state workers are great people who do great work, but he understands that to get through these tough budget times there will need to be shared sacrifice, which is why on his first day on the job he will begin making a 5 percent pension contribution voluntarily.”

Robin Vos, a Republican leader in the Assembly, was less diplomatic, bemoaning a rise in Wisconsin’s spending in recent years and a predicted $3.3 billion deficit in the coming budget. “Compare benefits at any large corporation with any government worker, and it’s not even close,” he said. “It’s not just Wisconsin. Look around.” . . .

One gets some idea of how hot the emotions are running from the Wisconsin State Journal. The Democrat unions aren't exactly stretching out an open hand to work with the new Republican Governor Scott Walker.

When outgoing Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker , D-Wausau, reversed course Wednesday night and voted against union contracts for some 39,000 state employees, he doomed unions to continue talks that have already taken longer than any in recent memory.

Union leaders on Thursday expressed anxiety about future labor unrest and rage at the man they say has betrayed them. Decker, a former bricklayer with union ties, voted for the contracts in the Legislature's joint employee relations committee hours before he cast the deciding vote against them in the Senate.

"Russ Decker is a whore," said Marty Beil, executive director of the Wisconsin State Employees Union, which represents 22,000 state employees. "Not a prostitute. A whore. W-H-O-R-E."

Decker said the clock had simply run out for the current administration and the matter should be left to the next governor. Beil called the reversal a betrayal. . . .

"The ball is in (Walker's [the new governor's]) court," Beil said. "We will make no overtures toward them. It will be up to them to come to the table." . . .

Decker was even accused by his fellow Democrats of being bribed to vote the way he did.

Doyle added he's interested to see where Decker ends up in the coming months.
"There's been some pretty significant accusations made by other members of the Senate about what might be in it for him, and I assume everybody is going to watch very closely to see if he ends up with a job or something," Doyle said.

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Armed, law-abiding citizen stops an attack on a US Marine and his wife

The fact of how this attack was stopped is only very briefly mentioned once at the very end of the piece.

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My son Maxim Lott's lead article at FoxNews.com: "Eight Botched Environmental Forecasts"

Maxim's piece is available here.

UPDATE: So here is an attack on Maxim's piece.

littlegreenfootballs.com notes: "The fact that Fox News writer Maxim Lott couldn’t find anything more recent than ten years ago for this hackneyed list (and had to reach back 40 years for 5 of his examples) strongly suggests that climate scientists’ predictions are improving — which is, after all, how science is supposed to work." . . . . This deceptive crap is a big hit with right wing blogs, of course.

The problem is that in recent years it is hard to find short term predictions by man-made Global Warming hysterics. You can't check to see whether a prediction is accurate if all the claims are 50 to 100 years in the future.

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From the UK:

BRITAIN’S winter is the coldest since 1683 and close to being the chilliest in nearly 1,000 years.

Latest figures reveal that the average temperature since December 1 has been a perishing -1C.

That makes it the second coldest since records began in 1659.

The chilliest on record was 1683/84, when the average was -1.17C and the River Thames froze over for two months.

But with January and February to come, experts believe we could suffer the most freezing cold winter in the last 1,000 years.

The Met Office’s Charlie Powell said: “It’s rare to have cold this prolonged, with temperatures falling incredibly low.

“Temperatures will be down again by Sunday, with nights below freezing and daytimes below average at 3C to 5C. Our outlook forecast to January 26 shows temperatures 2C or 3C below average, frost and ice likely and the highest chance of snow or sleet over the northern half of the UK.” . . .

The NY Times recently had an opinion piece blasting those who question global warming as basically idiots. Here is a letter to the editor that I sent in. Of course, the NY Times didn't publish it. This is short to meet the 150 word limit for letters.

Dear Letters Editor:

In the face the coldest December in Britain and other countries since records began, Roger Cohen attacks those criticizing Global Warming as making exaggerated claims ("Snow! Hit the Panic Button," 12/23). Cohen's claims: "global warming, which some people, including Matthews, apparently took to mean the end of European winters, and you end up with the current farce." But he should look at the predictions made by manmade Global Warming advocates. On March 20, 2000, The Independent newspaper in the UK quotes Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, asserting that within a few years winter snowfall will become "a very rare and exciting event. Children just aren't going to know what snow is." Unfortunately, many other manmade Global Warming researchers made this hysterical claim. This month a UK Daily Mail headline reports: "Coldest December since records began."


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New York City Snow Cleanup Disaster was a result of Union Protests over Budget Cuts

So have public employee unions gotten too powerful? Should you even have public employee unions? If the claims below turn out to be true, there are real issues of criminality because of deaths and other harms that resulted from the work slowdown. From the NY Post:

Selfish Sanitation Department bosses from the snow-slammed outer boroughs ordered their drivers to snarl the blizzard cleanup to protest budget cuts -- a disastrous move that turned streets into a minefield for emergency-services vehicles, The Post has learned.
Miles of roads stretching from as north as Whitestone, Queens, to the south shore of Staten Island still remained treacherously unplowed last night because of the shameless job action, several sources and a city lawmaker said, which was over a raft of demotions, attrition and budget cuts.
"They sent a message to the rest of the city that these particular labor issues are more important," said City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Queens), who was visited yesterday by a group of guilt-ridden sanitation workers who confessed the shameless plot.
Halloran said he met with three plow workers from the Sanitation Department -- and two Department of Transportation supervisors who were on loan -- at his office after he was flooded with irate calls from constituents.
The snitches "didn't want to be identified because they were afraid of retaliation," Halloran said. "They were told [by supervisors] to take off routes [and] not do the plowing of some of the major arteries in a timely manner. They were told to make the mayor pay for the layoffs, the reductions in rank for the supervisors, shrinking the rolls of the rank-and-file."
New York's Strongest used a variety of tactics to drag out the plowing process -- and pad overtime checks -- which included keeping plows slightly higher than the roadways and skipping over streets along their routes, the sources said. . . .

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R. Lee Ermey unloads on Obama


Airline flight cancelations: another cost of government regulations

How well does government balance off the costs and benefits of its regulation? I would argue not very well. Indeed, in the context of people getting upset about having to sit on airplanes, I would argue that there is no reason for government regulation. How much do passengers want to get to their destination? How upset are they by sometimes having to wait on the runway in a plane? How much does it raise the price of fares to have trips cancelled so as to avoid getting people stranded? Airlines compete against each other for passengers. Airlines compete on numerous dimensions, including avoiding having people stranded on runways. If the airlines don't get the tradeoffs on these dimensions right, passengers will fly on other airlines. To use economic jargon, there is no externality problem here. Fox News has the story here:

Charges have been flying that airlines prematurely canceled flights ahead of the East Coast snowstorm because of new rules fining airlines for leaving planes standing idle on tarmacs, though transportation experts say that such claims are impossible to quantify.
In April, new rules went into effect that threatened airlines with a $27,500 per passenger fine if their planes didn't take off within three hours after pulling out to the tarmac. The move was aimed at reducing a spate of horror stories from people stuck in claustrophobic conditions on planes without access to bathrooms, water or food.
The regulation seems to have had its desired effect. According to the Department of Transportation, since new rules were enacted in late April, the number of tarmac delays over three hours has dropped considerably. From May to September 2009, 535 tarmac delays over three hours were reported; in May through September this year, the number was 12.
But after an East Coast storm threatened to ravage New York area and other airports, hundreds of flights to and from the region were cancelled – several even before the snow started to fall -- and complaints are mounting that the airlines were deserting their customers for fear of racking up fines.
"There's no doubt about it, airlines (were) pre-emptively canceling flights because they don't want to be stuck paying $27,000 per passenger," said Vaughn Cordle of Airline Forecasts.
"I think it's safe to say that there are many passengers who would have reached their destination, albeit with non-trivial delays, had the ... ruling not be in effect," said Amy Cohn, an associate professor of industrial and operations engineering at the University of Michigan and an affiliate at MIT's Global Airline Industry Program. . . . .

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New Fox News piece: Rationing Revealed at the Heart of Obamacare

My newest piece at Fox News starts this way:

If you like police officers having quotas for speeding tickets, you will love the Obama administration's new health care regulations. Doctors are going to be paid for giving "end-of-life counseling," one version of what was labeled as "death panels" during the health care debate this last spring. Combining this with Obamacare giving doctors a financial incentive for withholding medical care as well as financial penalties if they give out too much care, it is easy to see where things are going and what types of doctors will prosper. . . .

Note: I should have linked to Palin's original discussion of death panels here. Some commentators on my piece at the Fox News website have misstated what Palin had originally written.

The Democrats promise that a government health care system will reduce the cost of health care, but as the economist Thomas Sowell has pointed out, government health care will not reduce the cost; it will simply refuse to pay the cost. And who will suffer the most when they ration care? The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course. The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil. . . .

UPDATE: Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) regrets the memo asking people to be quite about the new Obama administration rule so that it can slip through unnoticed.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) is distancing himself from a memo sent by his office that urged health reform advocates not to advertise new end-of-life counseling regulations to avoid reviving talk of “death panels.”

The weeks-old memo recommended that end-of-life advocates celebrate a “quiet” victory out of concern that Republican leaders would “use this small provision to perpetuate the ‘death panel’ myth.”

Blumenauer now says he regrets the letter's secretive language, which has only bolstered conservatives’ claims that the Obama administration tried to sneak the provision in under the radar.

“If I had seen the memo, I would have suggested it be worded differently,” Blumenauer told The Hill. . . .

A discussion on what is rationing.

Further UPDATE: The Hill Newspaper and the WSJ reported:

The Medicare policy will pay doctors for holding end-of-life-care discussions with patients, according to the Times. A similar provision was dropped from the new healthcare reform law after Republicans accused the administration of withholding care from the sick, elderly and disabled. However, an administration spokesman said the regulation, which is less specific than the reform law’s draft language, is actually a continuation of a policy enacted under former President George W. Bush. “The only thing new here is a regulation allowing the discussions … to happen in the context of the new annual wellness visit created by [healthcare reform],” Obama spokesman Reid Cherlin told The Wall Street Journal. . . .

The WSJ now has a correction: "Congress passed a law making changes to Medicare in 2008 by overriding President George W. Bush's veto. A previous version of this article incorrectly said Mr. Bush signed the legislation." Betsy McCaughey says that the problem with the original House Obamacare bill was that the bill tried to tell Doctors how to discuss the end-of-life issues with patients. The new regulation at this point does not do that.

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New Fox News piece: Americans very gloomy about the economy

My new piece starts off this way:

All the economic numbers being thrown around as the year draws to a close are bewildering. Some are positive, some are negative, but for many this week it is hard to get an overall feel for how well the economy is doing.
On the upside, GDP is rising, though slowly, and economists have raised their forecasts for next year's economic growth. Retail sales this holiday season increased by 5.5 percent over last year. Inflation has remained low, just 1.1 percent over the last year. And the stock market has rebounded.
Yet, there are major negatives. Most seriously, the very high and long-lingering unemployment rate. Unemployment is not only rising, but it has set a post-World War II record with unemployment remaining at least at 9.5 percent or higher for 18 months.
Adding to job-seekers' problems, the new employment consists almost exclusively of temporary service sector jobs, a poor replacement for the lost permanent ones. Home prices also fell again last month. Yale Professor Robert Shiller who collects these data, warned on Tuesday: The outlook has become steadily more pessimistic over the last few months." Huge deficits at the federal and state level add to long-run concerns.
So what do all these numbers mean for the average American? New Consumer Confidence numbers were released on Tuesday and they aren't encouraging, . . .

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Appearances tonight

I will be on Thom Hartmann's TV show tonight to discuss the drop in housing prices and my piece today at Fox News.

I will also be on Cam Edwards' radio show tonight starting at 10:20 PM.

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Obama uses recess appointments

The Hill newspaper has this discussion on six recess appointments. The most important is for deputy attorney general.

Cole's nomination to the second-ranking post at the Department of Justice had been held up over objections from Republicans, who raised concerns over his tenure as an independent monitor of insurance giant AIG between 2005 and 2009. The federal government bailed out the company in 2008.

Republican senators also quibbled with a 2002 report that Cole wrote advocating civilian trials for terror suspects. Republicans have objected to trials in civilian courts for any of the detainees held in Guantanamo Bay as well as others accused of acts of terror. . . .

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Obama blocked probe of an inspector general and now blocks probe into his firing

This is a pretty gutsy move by the Obama administration.

Violating its own guarantee of unprecedented transparency, the White House is blocking an investigation into the controversial firing of an inspector general who exposed one of President Obama's political supporters-a California mayor-for misusing federal funds.

First Lady Michelle Obama was reportedly behind the contentious June dismissal of AmeriCorps Inspector General Gerald Walpin and congressional investigators want to interview the aide (Jackie Norris) who may have given the order. . . .

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Google's Eric Schmidt in 2010

An overview of some of his interesting statements is provided here.

. . . CEO Eric Schmidt's creepy public statements in defense of his company, which just kept snowballing in 2010: Schmidt advised everyone to "just move" to evade his company's password-sniffing camera vans; suggested they plan for a future in which children change their names to escape his search engine; and added that people should be grateful that Google chooses not to do dangerous amazing things like predict the stock market . That Schmidt also this year demanded his mistress delete her Google blog only made these utterances all the more baffling. . . .



YouTube Pilot comes forward

This is the pilot who has been harassed by the TSA.

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Guess what Metro Area has seen the biggest home price increases over the last year

Hopefully you guessed Washington, DC..

The indices have a base value of 100 in January 2000.

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Nice summary of Art DeVany's New Evolution Diet

You can find a summary of his diet and research here.



Is the Chilean Economic Miracle due to Social Security reform?

While the rest of the world is having to deal with large debt problems, privatizing its social security system has made the country much wealthier.

Pinera told the public to expect a compounded 4% rate of return under the private plan. But as of 2010, the average annual rate of return was 9.23%, far higher than promised.

By contrast, the U.S. social security system, which today accounts for a quarter of the U.S. government budget, is slated to give retiring workers in the next decade a 1% to 2% rate of return. And those entering the system today will see a negative return.

Chile's implicit pension debt fell to just 6% of GNP — compared with 100% in the U.S., 300% in France and 450% in Italy, leaving Chile with no net debt.

Better still, the accumulated savings in the pension funds fueled Chile's spectacular economic ascent, taking real incomes from about $4,000 per capita in the early 1980s to $15,000 today, and GDP to the 6% range most years for nearly 20 years. With that record, is it any surprise that Chile this year earned itself a membership card into the club of rich nations, the OECD? . . .


Record low temps in Miami and Key West

As someone who grew up in Miami, this is pretty amazing. From the Weather Channel. More records are found here:

The white Christmas in the South was one for the record books. Columbia, S.C., had its first significant Christmas snow since weather records were first kept in 1887. Atlanta had just over an inch of snow—the first measurable accumulation on Christmas Day since the 1880s. . . .


Obama happy that the Philadelphia Eagles have kept Michael Vick as quarterback

This is pretty strange for a couple of reason. It is strange that a president gets into calling up a football team about who their quarterback is. I don't know any other similar case. The other strange thing is that it is the Michael Vick case that Obama got involved in. PETA probably won't be happy, but if Obama really wanted to help out Vick, he should have called over a year ago.

NBC’s Peter King reported the call during “Football Night in America” on Sunday.

“I talked to Jeffrey Lurie, the owner of the Eagles this week, and he said he was surprised to pick up the phone one day and Barack Obama calls him to praise the Philadelphia Eagles for signing Vick and giving him a second chance,” King said from NBC’s Rockefeller Plaza studios. “Lurie told me that the president was passionate about the fact that it’s rarely a level playing field for prisoners once they leave jail. And he said the message was, what the Eagles had done with Vick was important for society,” said King.

A spokesman for the Eagles confirmed to POLITICO that King’s statement was accurate.

King later tweeted, “Yes, Obama called Eagle owner Jeffrey Lurie to praise the Eagles for giving Vick a chance. Said too many prisoners never get fair 2d chance.”

Vick signed on as the Eagles quarterback following an 21-month stint in prison and two months in home confinement after being convicted of running a dog-fighting ring in Virginia.

While some are praising Obama for reaching out and making a statement about the stigma former prisoners often face, others argue that Obama’s call came more than a year too late, since Vick was picked up by the Eagles in August 2009. Now that Vick is playing well and enjoying a resurgence in popularity, the timing of the call could be deemed safe. . . .

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"Barack and Michelle Obama hail Kwanzaa umoja"

I thought that Obama was supposed to unify Americans. Obama extends his best wishes for Kwanzaa here. I guess that I must have misunderstood what Obama wanted because he is hailing "Kwanzaa umoja," with calls for greater unity among blacks.


New Obama Regulation to pay doctors based on patients forgoing life-sustaining treatment

Obviously the Obama administration is quite proud of these regulations, right? Why else would they release notice on this late on Christmas Eve? The rules are dropped from the Obamacare bill only to be introduced when hopefully no one will notice.

Under the new policy, outlined in a Medicare regulation, the government will pay doctors who advise patients on options for end-of-life care, which may include advance directives to forgo aggressive life-sustaining treatment. . . .



Energy Secretary Steven Chu flip-flop on Ethanol

With Gore's reversal on Ethanol, it was probably only appropriate that the Obama administration would flip-flop the other way.

"Ethanol is not an ideal transportation fuel. The future of transportation fuels shouldn't involve ethanol." —Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Nov. 29, 2010 . . .

after Energy Secretary Steven Chu admitted on Nov. 29 that ethanol really isn't any sort of intelligent plan for our nation's gasoline supplies, Energy Dept. spokeswoman Stephanie Mueller issued that same day a statement vitiating Chu's comments: "Secretary Chu believes that biofuels can, should, and will vastly expand the economic opportunities for America's farmers today and in the future." . . .

Meanwhile, the EPA said testing will continue to determine whether a 15 percent blend of ethanol can be used in vehicles older than 2007 models, but put off making the final ruling on those tests. At this point it should be noted the entire logic for forcing more ethanol on the public is the fact that a [Democrat] congressional mandate will increase the amount of ethanol we use to 13.95 billion gallons in 2011. . . . .

The damage done to cars when more than 15 percent of gas contains ethanol can be huge. Obviously, even if the average tank of gas has 15 percent, there will be some variation around that average.

A quick diagnosis determined that that particular car had close to 18% ethanol in the fuel. For that unlucky owner, the repairs came to nearly $900. The ethanol fun was just beginning. . . .


"English Banned in Chinese Writing"

For those who wonder whether governments can successfully regulate every part of the internet, just look at China. My friend Victor Mair, who teaches at Penn, has this post at Language Log. Presumably part of the reason for the ban is also to restrict discussions between Chinese and those who live outside of China. Indeed, I wouldn't be surprised if that is actually the real reason for the regulations.

Back in April, I wrote a blog entitled "A Ban on Roman Letter Acronyms?" In it, I discussed the proposal by the Chinese chairman of the International Federation of Translators, Huang Youyi, to purify Chinese of English expressions. At the time, no one (outside of Chinese rulership circles) ever thought that it would really happen. It seemed too preposterous and unworkable. No matter how much the language censors and purity zealots detested the look of English words and Roman letters in Chinese writing, they'd never be able to enforce such a ban.

Lo and behold, the news coming out of China the last few days is that the government has gotten serious and is really clamping down on the use of English words and expressions, Roman letter acronyms, and other contaminating elements, all in the interest of maintaining the purity of the mother tongue. The decree outlawing English has come forth from the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP), China's regulator of news, print media, and internet publications. . . .

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