How Obama, Unions and Environmental Regulations Turned the BP Oil Spill From An Accident Into A Catastrophe
We’ve heard that the Dutch and other governments offered assistance to the Obama administration in handling the BP oil spill shortly after it occurred, but that their help was turned down. There may have been a good explanation for this but I haven’t seen it anywhere. Nor has there been any reporting in the U.S. media on many details of the offer and why it was refused. The Canadian National Post is not so reticent on the issue and has a full explanation of what happened.
Lawrence Solomon, writing on Saturday in the Financial Post, a section of the National Post, provides details and information of which our media has no interest. In an article titled Avertible Catastrophe, Solomon says:
Some are attuned to the possibility of looming catastrophe and know how to head it off. Others are unprepared for risk and even unable to get their priorities straight when risk turns to reality.
The Dutch fall into the first group. Three days after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico began on April 20, the Netherlands offered the U.S. government ships equipped to handle a major spill, one much larger than the BP spill that then appeared to be underway. “Our system can handle 400 cubic metres per hour,” Weird Koops, the chairman of Spill Response Group Holland, told Radio Netherlands Worldwide, giving each Dutch ship more cleanup capacity than all the ships that the U.S. was then employing in the Gulf to combat the spill.
To protect against the possibility that its equipment wouldn’t capture all the oil gushing from the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, the Dutch also offered to prepare for the U.S. a contingency plan to protect Louisiana’s marshlands with sand barriers. One Dutch research institute specializing in deltas, coastal areas and rivers, in fact, developed a strategy to begin building 60-mile-long sand dikes within three weeks.
The Dutch know how to handle maritime emergencies. “If there’s a country that’s experienced with building dikes and managing water, it’s the Netherlands,” says Geert Visser, the Dutch consul general in Houston.
The U.S. government responded with “Thanks but no thanks,” remarked Visser, despite BP’s desire to bring in the Dutch equipment and despite the no-lose nature of the Dutch offer –the Dutch government offered the use of its equipment at no charge. Even after the U.S. refused, the Dutch kept their vessels on standby, hoping the Americans would come round. By May 5, the U.S. had not come round. To the contrary, the U.S. had also turned down offers of help from 12 other governments, most of them with superior expertise and equipment –unlike the U.S., Europe has robust fleets of Oil Spill Response Vessels that sail circles around their make-shift U.S. counterparts.
Why does neither the U.S. government nor U.S. energy companies have on hand the cleanup technology available in Europe? Ironically, the superior European technology runs afoul of U.S. environmental rules. The voracious Dutch vessels, for example, continuously suck up vast quantities of oily water, extract most of the oil and then spit overboard vast quantities of nearly oil-free water. Nearly oil-free isn’t good enough for the U.S. regulators, who have a standard of 15 parts per million — if water isn’t at least 99.9985% pure, it may not be returned to the Gulf of Mexico.
When ships in U.S. waters take in oil-contaminated water, they are forced to store it. As U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, the official in charge of the clean-up operation, explained in a press briefing on June 11, “We have skimmed, to date, about 18 million gallons of oily water–the oil has to be decanted from that [and] our yield is usually somewhere around 10% or 15% on that.” In other words, U.S. ships have mostly been removing water from the Gulf, requiring them to make up to 10 times as many trips to storage facilities where they off-load their oil-water mixture, an approach Koops calls “crazy.”
The Americans, overwhelmed by the catastrophic consequences of the BP spill, finally relented and took the Dutch up on their offer — but only partly. Because the U.S. didn’t want Dutch ships working the Gulf, the U.S. airlifted the Dutch equipment to the Gulf and then retrofitted it to U.S. vessels. And rather than have experienced Dutch crews immediately operate the oil-skimming equipment, to appease labour unions the U.S. postponed the clean-up operation to allow U.S. crews to be trained.
A catastrophe that could have been averted is now playing out.
Read it all here.
The law of unintended consequences at work: Environmental laws wrecking the environment.
Lawrence Solomon is the author of a provocative new book I highly recommend: The Deniers: The World Renowned Scientists Who Stood Up Against Global Warming Hysteria, Political Persecution, and Fraud**And those who are too fearful to do so
The good guys have won in the Supreme Court today. In McDonald v. Chicago the United States Supreme Court reversed and remanded the 7th Circuit decision upholding the Chicago gun ban. The Supreme Court held today, in a 5-4 opinion by Justice Alito, that the Second Amendment is incorporated against the states by the 14th Amendment (due process clause). The Court did not adopt the Privileges or Immunities analysis urged by the plaintiffs, and refused to disturb the Slaughter House cases from 1873 which essentially eviscerated the Privileges or Immunities clause. That will have to wait until another day. Justice Thomas remains the only justice who favors a restoration of the Privileges or Immunities clause to its rightful place in 14th Amendment jurisprudence.
But the victory is sweet nonetheless. From this day forth any law, regulation, ordinance, declaration, policy or other official edict of any state, county, town or city that purports to restrict the right of citizens to possess a handgun in their home for self defense is per se unconstitutional. As with any Constitutional right,
reasonable regulation will be allowed but what is considered reasonable will be subject to strict scrutiny because the Court has pretty clearly recognized self defense as an ancient, God-given fundamental right of all persons.
Those prohibited by the Gun Control Act of 1968 from possessing firearms, such as convicted felons, still will be prohibited from possessing firearms, even in their own home. But eventually I would expect to see this restriction getting some attention because it is simply too broad as now written and applied. It prohibits someone who may have a non-violent felony conviction 30 years ago from having the means of self defense even if they have never been violent and have established a long history of lawful behavior. Current law makes no distinction between a person who made a youthful mistake and a hardened criminal with a string of violent felony convictions. If self defense is a fundamental right, as the Court now recognizes, it is highly suspect that someone who has proven they are not a danger to anyone could be deprived of that right. This too will have to wait to another day.
It is striking to me that this a 5-4 decision. Not one liberal on the Court was willing to stand up for the right of self defense, surely among the most fundamental of human impulses. Not one liberal on the Court felt any real sympathy for Otis McDonald, the plaintiff, an elderly black man living in a crime-ridden Chicago neighborhood who simply wants the means to protect himself from the violent street criminals that the Chicago police seem helpless to stop.
Mr. McDonald explains in this video why the Chicago gun ban was wrong:
Mr. McDonald says. “There are a few good people here,” referring to his neighborhood. That’s exactly right and for too long the Chicago gun ban has treated those few good people as if they were the problem, and not the violent felons who rule the streets.
The majority opinion and especially Justice Thomas’s concurring opinion, both available here, expound at length on the racist roots of gun control. This is fitting to have occurred on the same day that Senator Robert Byrd, the Senate’s last surviving member of the KKK, goes to his reward…or punishment.
I used to argue to anyone who would listen that almost all gun control laws in this country had their origin in post-civil war attempts by the South to disarm the newly-freed slaves. First with Black Codes then with Jim Crow laws, and finally with laws that purported to have application to all citizens but in practice were only enforced against Blacks. I didn’t find much agreement among my interlocutors then and couldn’t find much written about it anywhere. Now it’s everywhere. I’d like to think I started it, but that probably wouldn’t be right. Would it?
Justice Scalia’s concurring opinion is a scalding denunciation of Justice Stevens’ separate dissent. Says Scalia:
JUSTICE STEVENS abhors a system in which “majorities or powerful interest groups always get their way,” but replaces it with a system in which unelected and life tenured judges always get their way. That such usurpation is effected unabashedly, — with “the judge’s cards . . . laid on the table,” — makes it even worse. In a vibrant democracy, usurpation should have to be accomplished in the dark. It is JUSTICE STEVENS’ approach, not the Court’s, that puts democracy in peril.
Strong words, on Justice Steven’s last day on the job. Richly deserved, though.
Joe Biden takes a break from trying to save Russ Feingold’s re-election to a get some ice cream from a Wisconsin frozen custard vendor.
Biden: “How much do I owe you?”
Custard man: “Just lower our taxes and we’ll call it even.”
Biden: “Can’t you say something nice without being a smartass!”
John Hinderaker retorts:
Everyone involved laughed it off, but a serious point lingered. A simple way to think about the [Democrat] Party is, you’re the human being, they’re the tapeworm. Yet they claim a weird sort of parasite’s moral superiority over you: if you point out that they have their hand in your pocket, you’re a “smartass.” The [Democrat] Party needs to be torn, root and branch, from our public life.
There is a simple way to judge someone in a position of power, influence or wealth. We may judge them by how they treat people who cannot do anything to help them enhance or maintain their power, influence or wealth. The manner in which they treat store clerks, waiters, gardeners, nannies, the cleaning service, etc. They reveal their true character in these instances, and Joe Biden’s character precisely befits a Democrat politician.
The title of the 29-minute speech given by Ronald Reagan on October 27, 1964 was “A Time For Choosing” or just “The Speech.” I’ve always (mistakenly) called it the “Rendezvous With Destiny” Speech [also the name given to FDR’s speech at the 1936 Democrat Convention] for that memorable phrase from this part of it:
“We have a rendezvous with destiny. We’ll preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we’ll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.”
Some then may have and perhaps would still consider that too strong and too dire a prediction. Even if present political circumstances threaten to plunge the next generation into darkness in the sense of loosing the economic prosperity and freedom that the current generation enjoys, surely they’ll find a way out of it in less than a 1,000 years. But the threat that exists today is from roughly 30% of America who would welcome the sort of change that the other 70% will consider to be a very bleak future for their children. How can 30% dictate to the other 70%? A new book by Arthur Brooks answers that question in his book The Battle: How the Fight Between Free Enterprise and Big Government Will Shape America’s Future.
Newt Gingrich first says in the foreword to the book that America is facing a new culture war. This time the argument is not about guns, abortion or religion (conservatives won that one) but about two competing visions of America’s future. The one, a minority, is a socialist, redistributionist minority (the 30% coalition) and the other, the majority, a free enterprise, opportunity-based society (the 70% coalition). There is a basic conflict in values between the left-wing redistributionist faction and those who favor freedom and responsibility. The left has taken command of the language of morality and manipulated those favoring personal liberty and the right of each individual to pursue his own happiness into a defensive posture, forcing them to defend accusations of selfishness, greed and that reliable old left-wing standby for shutting down thought — racism. As to how this minority can so dominate the public debate, Gingrich says:
…there is an elite system of power that enables the 30 percent coalition to dominate the 70 percent majority. There are the seeds of an extraordinary history book buried in a few paragraphs of The Battle. How did the coalition of word users come to so thoroughly dominate the coalition of workers and doers? How did the elites on academic campuses come to define legitimacy for the news media, the Hollywood system, the courts, and the bureaucracy? Brooks makes clear that the dominance of the hard left in these worlds is a fact. He sets the stage for someone (maybe another AEI scholar) to develop the historic explanation of how this usurpation of the people by the elite came to be.
The 30% coalition is no conspiracy because they do not need to coordinate their actions and ideas anymore than bird migrations need to agree where to fly for the winter. It’s just what they do because they share the same DNA. Arthur Brooks explains:
[this is a long quote but is, I think, the heart of the message of the book which should make you want to read it, I hope]
The 30 percent coalition is led by people who are smart, powerful, and strategic. These are many of the people who make opinions, entertain us, inform us, and teach our kids in college. They are the intellectual upper class: those in the top 5 percent of the population in income, who hold graduate degrees, and work in intellectual industries such as law, education, journalism, and entertainment. The intellectual upper class is far more statist and left-wing than the average American, and is getting more so.
Consider the evidence: Across most of the socioeconomic spectrum, Americans have trended more conservative over the past three decades. The nonintellectual upper class (engineers, bankers, and the like), the middle class, the working class, and the lower class have all trended right since the 1970s. But the intellectual upper class has bucked the conservative trend: Among high-income, high-education individuals in intellectual professions, the National Opinion Research Center’s General Social Survey shows that the percentage of self-described “liberals” minus “conservatives” increased approximately twenty-fold since 1972.
The intellectual upper class has become the most important party in the 30 percent coalition— the chief adversary of the free enterprise system today. And at the head of the intellectual upper class are our current leaders in Washington DC — starting with activist, bestselling author, and Ivy League academic, President Barack Obama.
Here’s what you need to know about President Obama’s views about the free enterprise system, spoken in his own words to the graduating seniors of Arizona State University at their commencement ceremony on May 13, 2009:
“You’re taught to chase after the usual brass rings, being on this ‘who’s who’ list or that top 100 list, how much money you make and how big your corner office is; whether you have a fancy enough title or a nice enough car. . . . Let me suggest that such an approach won’t get you where you want to go. It displays a poverty of ambition.”
In other words, it is beneath you to try to go out and get rich and famous. I am well aware of the tyranny of materialism. I tell my own kids that money can’t buy happiness. Later in this book you will see hard evidence that this is true. But for the president of the United States to warn young adults away from economic ambition — during the worst recession in decades — is truly startling. Mr. Obama’s advice is a repudiation of American free enterprise culture.
Our drive to achieve is part and parcel of the American Dream — the belief that we can be successful, however we measure that success — and that our kids can be even more successful. If that means producing a lot (and then earning a lot), that’s our business, not our president’s. Or at least, it wasn’t our president’s business until now.
Another new book that echos some of the same themes that Arthur Brooks explores in his book can be found in Intellectuals and Society by Thomas Sowell.
Ronald Reagan’s speech televised October 27, 1964 wherein Reagan gave his support to the Goldwater campaign is a classic that rings as true today as then, maybe more so. Now is certainly as much a “time for choosing” as 1964 was, and I hope this time the American people make a better choice. This video is a bit long for a blog post at 29 minutes, but if you can’t watch it in one sitting you can always bookmark this post and save it for later. You’ll be glad you did.
A restaurant in Mesa, Arizona (Il Vinalo) is serving lion meat burgers. The restaurant says it is paying homage to South Africa for hosting The World Cup. Of course, animal rights activists are incensed. The African lion is a threatened species but not an endangered one. It is legal to eat the big cat and the meat being served in not from the wild but from lions raised on a free ranging animal farm in the Midwest, according to the local Fox channel 10 in Mesa.
The animal rights activists want to save the lion so I’m wondering why they are objecting to anyone eating lion meat. After all, you’ve never heard of any animal that humans eat being in any danger of going extinct. It just could be that eating lions will guarantee their future place on earth.
Which brings me to the spread of the grizzly bear out of the remote reaches of Yellowstone into just about all of Western Wyoming and, soon I’d say, to the Western slope of Colorado as well. It doesn’t appear that the grizzly is any longer in danger but that doesn’t mean the animal activists will ever be willing to let it be removed from the endangered species list.
But if they were really serious about assuring the continued viability of the grizzly I would think they’d be in favor of allowing hunting of grizzlies because all the animals humans hunt are plentiful, and also to encourage restaurants in say, Jackson, Wyoming, to begin serving grizzly burgers. I bet grizzly burritos would be a hit. The Snake River Brewing Company, affectionately called the Brew Pub and my favorite eating establishment, would no doubt run daily specials on grizzly pizza. The downtown business establishment in Jackson constantly worries about the continued plenitude of the tourist trade and the opportunity to eat grizzly would surely be an attraction. Grizzlies are much more closely related to the pig family than the dog family, and that bodes well for the taste of their meat.
Here is a short video by that lends support to this idea:
Cat lovers, no offense. I’m one of you.
Fifth Amendment, United States Constitution, 12/15/1791:
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Five years ago in 2005 the United States Supreme Court rendered its decision in Kelo v. City of New London, Connecticut and stood the takings clause of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution on its head. The majority ruling was by four liberals (Stevens, Ginsburg, Souter, Breyer) plus Kennedy. The dissent was by three conservatives (Rehnquist, Scalia, Thomas) plus O’Connor. The case held for the first time in American history that the Constitution permits the taking of private property not only for “public” use, but for private use as well. For 214 years Americans believed that private property could only be taken for public use with just compensation to the owner.
This arbitrary decision by the highest court in the land is the most despised decision ever rendered by the Supreme Court and that includes Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857) and Roe v. Wade (1973). Dred Scott may have brought more opprobrium on the court in the long run but Kelo kindled a firestorm of denunciation immediately that has continued and will continue until a future Supreme Court overrules it. Roe v. Wade has brought disrepute on the court for acting beyond any imaginable Constitutional principle but that decision at least has, or once had, a large percentage of the people cheering for it. Kelo is condemned by nearly everyone, the only exception being those few individuals, corporations and organizations who stand to benefit financially from having the full power of government to assist them in the taking of private property for private use.
This video shows the heroic actions of the Institute for Justice in opposing Kelo and marshaling reaction to it in the states. Nothing better demonstrates that our freedom depends on the grass roots involvement of ordinary people for its preservation. Liberty must be constantly defended against government attack and not even the Supreme Court, our supposed guardian of the Constitution, can be counted on to stand by its oath and duty. If governments are established by people to protect them from each other, the people may look only to themselves for protection from the government. Kelo has been the catalyst for a reawakening to that reality.
Further reading on Kelo: Property Rights Five Years After Kelo
The most disturbing part of liberalism is the willingness of liberals to endorse a philosophy of “the ends justify the means.” No liberal admits to believing any such thing, but if we know people more by their actions than their words liberals stand convicted, beyond a reasonable doubt. No other explanation exists for why liberals lie about nearly everything when it serves the purpose of advancing some liberal cause they fervently believe in.
The liberal cause of gun control might be one of the best examples to cite for proof of bald-faced lying to advance a cause. I once sat in a Denver City Council meeting and listened to the then chief of police tell the Denver City Council that the firearm most used by criminals in Denver, and most confiscated from crime scenes, is the AR-15 rifle which liberals call “assault weapons.” The fact is that the AR-15 rifle is seldom used to commit crimes because most criminals want an easily concealable gun and the Raven .25 auto fills the bill better than just about anything. Sure enough, when police chiefs aren’t lying they’ll tell you that small pocket pistols are the favorites of street criminals. Also, since most criminals obtain their guns in illegal back-alley transactions they want a gun that can be transferred from seller to buyer on the street without being conspicuous. But getting an “assault weapon” ban in Denver was more important than being truthful. The end justifies the means.
Other examples abound. Obama recently told the world his moratorium on offshore drilling was supported by a panel of “experts.” Now those experts say they were never consulted on that. The ends justify the means. Bill Clinton looked into the camera and warbled “I never had sex with that woman, not a single time. Now I have to go back to work for the American people.” And were it not for a blue dress with a semen stain the American people might never have known they had been played for suckers.
This is not to say conservatives never lie. But it is to say that conservatism does not support them when they do. It is not a tenant of conservatism to get what you want by lying. When conservatives lie they are not supported by other conservatives. They are castigated and fired, or forced to resign their post. Liberals circle the wagons when one of the their own is caught red-handed.
I thought of these events when I read this from Degeneration of Democracy, Thomas Sowell’s latest column:
If you believe that the end justifies the means, then you don’t believe in Constitutional government. And, without Constitutional government, freedom cannot endure. There will always be a “crisis”– which, as the president’s chief of staff has said, cannot be allowed to “go to waste” as an opportunity to expand the government’s power
Liberals do believe the end justifies the means, and they apparently don’t believe in Constitutional government or they could not so willy nilly slough off Obama’s endless assaults on the American Constitution.
Read the whole thing, here.
UPDATE: Republican Arizona Senator John Kyl, a conservative, says that Obama told him over the weekend that he (Obama) will not secure the border with Mexico until Republicans agree to amnesty for all illegals. Obama, more than a liberal and in fact a radical leftist, denies it. Obama says it never happened and Kyl is lying. One of them is lying for sure. You may dismiss this as a he said-he said, or you may want to think about which one is most likely to be telling the truth. We may find out. Stay tuned. UPDATE TO THIS UPDATE: Kyl blinks. It’s not clear that he was lying, but he has opened himself to that accusation. What an idiot.
UPDATE II: With regard to Obama’s claim that his panel of experts agreed to the six-month moratorium on off-shore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, the opinion issued today by Federal Judge Martin Feldman halting the moratorium, states the following:
A thirty-day examination was conducted in consultation with respected experts from state and federal governments, academic institutions, and industry and advocacy organizations. On May 27, 2010 the Secretary issued a Report, which reviews all aspects of drilling operations and recommends immediate and long term reforms to improve drilling safety.
In the Executive Summary to the Report, the Secretary recommends “a six-month moratorium on permits for new wells being drilled using floating rigs.” He also recommends “an immediate halt to drilling operations on the 33 permitted wells, not including relief wells currently being drilled by BP, that are currently being drilled using floating rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.”
Much to the government’s discomfort and this Court’s uneasiness, the Summary also states that “the recommendations contained in this report have been peer-reviewed by seven experts identified by the National Academy of Engineering.” As the plaintiffs, and the experts themselves, pointedly observe, this statement was misleading. The experts charge it was a “misrepresentation.”
It was factually incorrect. Although the experts agreed with the safety recommendations contained in the body of the main Report, five of the National Academy experts and three of the other experts have publicly stated that they “do not agree with the six month blanket moratorium” on floating drilling. They envisioned a more limited kind of moratorium, but a blanket moratorium was added after their final review, they complain, and was never agreed to by them. A factor that might cause some apprehension about the probity of the process that led to the Report.
[all italics added]
In The Chicago Way I talked about how gun control works in Chicago, and it’s true purpose, which is decidedly not keeping the innocent safe from gun violence. Then there had recently been 25 shot and 1 dead in a single weekend.
Mayor Daley and his idiotic notions of gun control seem to be more and more out of control with this report that over the last weekend Chicago racked up 54 shot and 10 dead. Under the leadership of its maniacal mayor Chicago is now easily the murder capital of America, if not the world.
Rush Limbaugh has called the old media the “State-Run Media” not because it actually is run by the state as Pravda or Izvestia, but because it voluntarily acts and performs its functions in a manner indistinguishable from a newspaper or television outlet that is run by the state. He has also said that old media journalists are no longer reporters but merely stenographers because they don’t report they just repeat the talking points that Democrats give them and pretend they are reporting a news story.
Here Mika Brzezinski, daughter of Zbigniew Brzezinksi, Jimma’s National Security advisor, actually reads the White House talking points on the air. We always knew they were regurgitating whatever the Democrats fed them, but they used to try to hide it.Vodpod videos no longer available.
If you want to know why I have a file I’ve been working on with The White House…
That says it all and we know what we always knew, Mika. You’re a shill for the White House.
Traveling — Available Internet Connections Sloooooooow…….Grizzly Kills One Man — Another Man Convicted of Killing a (Different) Grizzly
Can’t really post anything with such slow connections. I’m on a satellite connection now, the HDTV is great, the internet connection isn’t.
Man shoots grizzly that was feeding on a carcass after it stood up and looked at him. He called Game and Fish immediately to report it. Two weeks ago a Jackson, WY Jury convicted him of illegal taking of a bear even though they acknowledge he feared for his life. Bear was forty yards away, and a Game and Fish official testified that they usually retreat. Wrong, not when they’re feeding on a carcass. The most dangerous grizzlies are ones defending a carcass. It’s like ice cream to them. An adult grizzly can cover 40 yards in about 3 seconds. When a bear charges because it thinks you want his food, it’s a death charge. There will be no bluff or retreat, it’s the real thing. This is behavior instilled by thousands of years of evolution. It’s adaptive in keeping bear stomachs full of nourishing meat so it’s dominant in the genes. The winner of the fight gets to eat, lives and passes on its genes. The loser dies, its genes becoming an evolutionary dead end. All this occurred and became normal behavior before there were humans with guns. If humans with guns remains a fact of life long enough we will eventually have more docile grizzlies as aggression ceases to be an adaptive trait. Well, “we” won’t see it, but humans who live many thousands of years in the future might.
I think the shooter in this case got screwed by speculative testimony and a jury biased by their ideology and misinformation about grizzlies defending that type of food.
So today a 70-year old Cody man was mauled and killed by a grizzly while hiking west of Cody. At least Game and Fish can’t put him on trial.
Sorry no links, connection too slow.
UPDATE Wednesday, 6/23: I should add that the hunter who shot the grizzly was not carrying bear spray and that hurt his case. The prosecutor in this case has lobbied for a law requiring hikers to carry bear spray (a law requiring them to carry a .44 magnum would make more sense). So when you go into the woods be sure to carry bear spray. It may not protect you from the bear but it might be of some help in protecting you from the jury and the prosecutor, assuming you are still alive to need such protection.
It is customary to say that whatever politicians claim will be the cost of any government program or bailout we always know the actual cost will be much higher. It’s so obvious no examples need be cited. But just in case anyone doubts that, here is a story from July 22, 2008 when the bright lights in Washington were predicting the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailout would cost $25 Billion, and here is the current CBO estimate that the actual cost will be $390 Billion.
There are several stories this morning that Obama and his gang have a plan to force through unpopular financial reform and cap and tax legislation during the lame duck session following the November elections so that Democrats won’t have to be on record as voting for them before facing the voters. This is a cynical ploy that proves once and for all that Obama does not care what the American people want or what they think. The game is never to persuade anyone of the virtues of his policies, because his policies are terrible, but to simply ram everything through by any means necessary. The Chicago Way.
More information at these links:
The $20 Billion that BP has agreed to set aside for the payment of claims will not be administered by an independent legal process but by Obama and his czars. That makes it another slush fund for Obama to reward friends and punish enemies. Rep. Michelle Bachmann points out that this is unconstitutional.
Last night on CNN former Clinton Administration message man James Carville said: “It looks as if President Obama applied a little old-school Chicago persuasion to the oil executives.” Making “offers you can’t refuse” may be a great way to run the mob, but it is no way to run a country.
The real beneficiaries of minimum wage laws are high-paid union workers who have contracts that are tied to increases in the minimum wage. When the minimum wage is raised by 25 cents a union worker’s contract might call for an increase of several times that amount. Tying union contracts to minimum wage laws has always been a scheme by liberal politicians and unions to assure continued political support for increases in the minimum wage and a way for Democrats to reward their union supporters under the radar.
The key to understanding politics is to grasp this concept: Almost every time we hear a politician talking about how his program is “for the children” or to “protect the poor” we can usually be pretty sure that his program sticks it to the children and the poor and favors some other constituency that he relies on for money and votes. He knows that some smart aleck might point out that he’s lying about what he’s doing so he wants to get out in front of that accusation before it is made in order to not appear to be on the defensive, which can be sudden death in politics. It’s an application of the principle that the best defense is a good offense. To a politician, It is a beautiful thing if you can sneak a law through that gets you financial support from the unions and at the same time bamboozles the poor into voting for you even though you are screwing them. “That’s politics and that’s just the way the cookie crumbles” to quote a common refrain in my youth.
The answer to this, of course, is better education so that it isn’t so easy to fool voters. That might explain why the quality of public education under Democrat control (as is the case nearly everywhere) has declined so badly in the last 50 years, and why Democrats resist all efforts to improve it.
A lawyer called a plumber to fix a broken water pipe. The lawyer asked the plumber what his hourly rate was, and the plumber replied that it was $250 an hour. Astounded, the lawyer replied, “Good grief, I’m a lawyer and I can’t charge that much!” The plumber replied, “Yeah I know. When I was a lawyer I couldn’t charge that much either.”
That used to be good joke, back when plumbers were expensive but still made less than lawyers. With newly minted lawyers carrying upwards of $100,000 of debt in student loans (which cannot be discharged in bankruptcy) and poor job prospects, it’s still funny but now also just might be true.
It may be true for other professional and white collar jobs as well. It is becoming increasingly difficult to justify the high cost of a college education in terms of increased earning capacity after graduation. More people are facing the reality that between the lost earning years spent in college, the enormous burden of re-paying student loans, along with the difficulty of finding a job that’s any better than could be had without a college degree, it just may not be worth it to spend four years getting a college diploma. Especially if one’s major is in the social sciences or other fields that do not readily translate into any marketable skills.
The Washington Post reports that More college-educated jump tracks to become skilled manual laborers the thesis of which is that trade schools are more and more being seen as a better bet to a rewarding career and colleges and universities are losing their status as a gateway to success.
Another reality check for colleges and universities may be on the horizon. Glenn Reynolds says The Higher Education Bubble Is About to Burst. Reynolds holds that the higher education bubble is similar to the housing bubble in that it is fueled by east credit in the form of student loans to people who will not be able to pay them back because the education they are getting for the money they are borrowing will not lead to jobs that pay enough. Just as the housing bubble burst when millions of mortgages went into default the same thing is about to start happening to the student loan debt many new graduates are carrying.
Maybe this will lead to more sales of a book I read a few months ago: Shop Class as Soul Craft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work. It’s the value of work one does with one’s hands that it being looked into here. The finding is that is it rewarding both financially and spiritually.
If there is anyone left who has not seen this video which is flying across the internet, I have posted the video of North Carolina Congressman Bob Etheridge assaulting a student on a street in Washington D.C. for asking him whether he supports the Obama agenda.
Ehtheridge displays the sort of thin-skinned reaction to a minor intrusion that resulted in a long prison term for a man I called Guido in the next post below. Etheridge didn’t go get a gun and threaten to kill the object of his anger as Guido did, but the instant outrage over a minor annoyance is nevertheless the same sort of overblown conduct that we have come to expect from members of a street gang.
The Congressman has committed a battery on the student by grabbing his arm and he may have turned it into something much worse by grabbing him around the throat. A battery merely requires an intentional offensive or harmful contact to another person without their consent, with defenses for normal and unavoidable jostling that naturally occurs in public places. Putting his hand on the student’s neck is potentially a much worse sort of crime because many jurisdictions have adopted “choking statutes” which make it a felony to attempt to choke another person (I have no idea whether Washington D.C. has such a law). The thing is, merely placing one’s hands around the neck of another person in the typical choking type of hold completes the crime in the statutes that I have seen. It may require both hands be placed on the neck and it appears the Congressman had a one-hand hold on the students neck, but if that is not technically choking it is certainly an aggravated form of simple battery.
It is gangster type behavior, which is what I suppose we should expect from the type of gangster government that Democrats has given us.
The Congressman has given the following apology:
“I have seen the video posted on several blogs. I deeply and profoundly regret my reaction and I apologize to all involved. Throughout my many years of service to the people of North Carolina, I have always tried to treat people from all viewpoints with respect. No matter how intrusive and partisan our politics can become, this does not justify a poor response. I have and I will always work to promote a civil public discourse.”
When criminals say they are sorry for some despicable act they have committed that usually means they are sorry they got caught. Etheridge’s apology here should be taken to mean he regrets that his action was recorded on a video camera and posted on the internet.
The liberal media’s defense of Etheridge takes them to new lows of depravity. To The Washington Post, like Etheridge himself, the only problem here is that there was a video camera to record the action,
Time and time again, politicians, who should know better, seem to commit gaffes based on a belief that what they are saying will never get broadcast to the wider world. The Etheridge controversy is more evidence that such an idea is entirely antiquated.
When a politician opens his or her mouth is this age of journalism — and activism — they must assume that anything they say will be made public at some point. Any other approach borders on political folly.
Others have tried to claim Etheridge was defending himself or that the student is at fault for not telling Etheridge his name. This argument is that when a criminal demands you tell him your name you better speak up quickly or the criminal is within his rights to beat you up. These lame and lamebrain attempts to defend Etheridge will serve to bring even more unwanted attention to this episode so I hope they keep it up.
Guido and his girlfriend had a loud argument at her apartment building. Harvey, a carpenter working in the building, intervened and asked them to stop. Guido and Harvey had a brief but heated dispute. The apartment manager persuaded Guido to leave without further incident.
The next day, Harvey resumed his work at the apartment complex. That afternoon, he went to his truck to retrieve some tools and saw Guido in the parking lot. Guido began shouting and asked Harvey if he wanted to fight. Guido then lunged at Harvey who responded by punching Guido several times. Guido then got in his car and said “I’ll just run you over.” He drove his car toward Harvey twice. Both times Harvey was able to evade contact. Guido then told Harvey he would go get his gun and drove away.
Harvey contacted law enforcement. After arriving on the scene, the police and Harvey discussed the incident in the apartment complex parking lot. During this discussion, Harvey spotted Guido’s car coming down the street. The vehicle stopped abruptly, turned around, and headed in the opposite direction. The officers pursued and stopped the vehicle. They discovered Guido in the car and a loaded semi-automatic .22 caliber rifle on the floorboard. Guido was arrested and read his Miranda rights. During processing, he told the booking officer: “I lost it, I went home, got my gun, and came back to kill him.” He was charged with aggravated assault and attempted first degree murder.
The attempt statute in the state where these events occurred is fairly typical of similar statutes in other states and provides as follows:
A person is guilty of an attempt to commit a crime if:
With the intent to commit the crime, he does any act which is a substantial step towards commission of the crime. A “substantial step” is conduct which is strongly corroborative of the firmness of the person’s intention to complete the commission of the crime.
Prior case law from the Supreme Court of the state has held, similarly to courts in most other states, that acts of mere preparation to commit a crime do not satisfy the “substantial step” requirement of the attempt statute.
Assume that Guido is guilty of aggravated assault for trying to run down Harvey with his car. Is he also guilty of attempted first degree murder? If so, what evidence will the prosecutor rely upon to prove that Guido intended to kill Harvey and took a substantial step toward towards commission of that crime?
Guido was convicted of both counts.
On appeal of his conviction for attempted first degree murder Guido made the following arguments to the court:
He maintains that his conduct was simply driving on a public street (not a crime) and possessing a .22 rifle (also not a crime in that state) so there was no conduct “strongly corroborative” of a premeditated intent to kill Harvey, as the attempt statute clearly requires. He also asserts that his actions did not move beyond mere preparation because he “never pointed, brandished or even showed the gun to Harvey. He maintains that his actions were too far removed from the requisite act of killing any human being, and that Harvey was unaware that Guido intended to kill him with the loaded rifle.
The appellate court, in reviewing Guido’s conviction for attempted first degree murder, answered Guido’s arguments and held as follows:
Essentially, Guido asks us to ignore other evidence that provides context to his possession of the weapon. We must consider that evidence. The facts establish that Guido and Harvey engaged in a verbal and physical altercation. Guido unsuccessfully tried to hit Harvey with his car. He then cursed and told Harvey that he was going to get his gun. He went to his house, retrieved the loaded weapon, and was returning to the scene of the altercation when he spotted law enforcement. Most damning to Guido’s position was his statement to the police that “I lost it, I went home, got my gun, and came back to kill him.” This unequivocal statement of intent to kill is relevant in evaluating whether the conduct at issue satisfies the substantial step requirement. When the intent to commit murder is clearly shown, slight acts in furtherance thereof will constitute an attempt to murder.
Guido’s conviction was affirmed.
Guido and Harvey are fictitious names but these are essentially the facts and holding in Gentilini v. State, ___ P3d ___ (Wyo. 2010).
Washington super lawyer Bob Bennett, brother of Bill Bennett, is an avid fly fisherman. He has a bass that he caught mounted on a plaque hanging on his office wall. The inscription on the plaque reads, “If I had kept my mouth shut I wouldn’t be on this wall.”
If Guido had kept his mouth shut when he was arrested he might still have been convicted of aggravated assault, but would probably have avoided his conviction for attempted first degree murder. Guido might have heard the voice of reason for the first time during the police booking procedure, realized that his actions had been outrageously stupid and felt the need to explain himself. He probably had no idea what a life-changing moment that was going to be for him.
Guido’s behavior in this case is classical criminal thinking and acting out. His pride is hurt deeply by what he considers to have been disrespect by Harvey in requesting him to stop his loud argument with his girlfriend. He is so riled up over it that a full day later he has not cooled off enough to think about the probable consequences of furthering the confrontation. Then he gets his pride damaged even more when he gets the worst of a fist fight that he started, and strikes out again when he tries to run Harvey over with his car. If he had stopped at that point and been willing to let it go, it might have ended there. If he hadn’t told Harvey he was going to get a gun, Harvey might not have contacted the police. Even though Harvey got the police involved it still might not have resulted in criminal charges if Harvey had declined to press it, or it might have ended in a misdemeanor charge.
Guido demonstrates something that I have long tried to understand. Do criminals suffer from low self esteem? I think the answer is no, in fact they suffer from an inflated sense of self. That is the only explanation for why they are so willing to engage in senseless violence over petty insults that normal people would slough off.
By not thinking about consequences until it was too late, a classic trait of the criminal mind, Guido will now spend the most productive years of his life locked away in a prison cell, with people who will likely give him no respect at all.
Hot times in Batavia, New York. It’s not the sex but the denial of sex that’s get my attention.
In a dog bite case I’ve heard the defendant make an argument something like this:
I don’t own a dog.
My dog doesn’t have any teeth.
My dog was out of town that day.
My dog didn’t bite him.
It was just a little bite.
The video below is even more interesting. To a charge of lewd behavior with a man other than her husband in a public place where there were children, the woman makes essentially the following argument:
We were fully clothed.
Yes, what we were doing was inappropriate.
We were not having sex, that’s a lie.
The children weren’t looking.
His zipper may have been partly unzipped.
Only a small part of his genitals were exposed.
That’s all it was, really.
Anybody feel sorry for Mr. Timmy “stand by your girl” Whynot? Not me. He’s a cuckold fool.
UPDATE: Apparently, this woman has been charged with adultery under a law still on the books in New York that must date from 1640, and could get up to 90 days in jail. Gee, maybe putting her in stocks on the town square would be more appropriate, followed by requiring her to wear a scarlet “A” on her breast. The guy who was getting the benefits in this escapade got off, Arthur Dimmesdale like, because they don’t have evidence that he knew she was married. The husband may be a cuckold fool, but apparently he is no Roger Chillingworth. The woman is no Hester Prynne either. That would require a more dignified appearance than she has shown so far.
I would not have minded if the ignorant and bigoted Helen Thomas stayed in the White House Press Corp until she was 180 because I agreed with William Jacobson that Helen Thomas’ greatest accomplishment as a journalist was to have exposed the true, ugly face of Israel’s critics. Well, Helen is apparently going to be gone soon but at least we still have the smashmouth ignoramous Rosie O’Donnell to carry the torch for Jew haters:
Rosie says Israel was the original home of the “Palestinians.” (Ah, Rosie, Jews have lived there for 3200 years) The word “Palestinian” didn’t even exist before 1967. I wonder what would happen if people like Rosie O’Donnell and her airhead friends ever read something like this: The Palestinian People, Sadly Do Not Exist, written by an Arab “Palestinian” now living in America. Would their heads explode?