Patterico's Pontifications

6/20/2010

Oil Service Companies Ask Judge to Lift Obama’s Offshore Moratorium (Updated x2)

Filed under: Law,Obama — DRJ @ 11:04 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

UPDATED AND BUMPED TO TOP: After a 2-hour hearing, Judge Feldman announced he would rule by Wednesday.

UPDATE 2: The Houston Chronicle reports Judge Feldman indicated he may rule as early as tomorrow. In addition, a similar challenge was filed by Diamond Offshore in Houston last Friday. In addition to the administrative law claims, however, Diamond also claims the moratorium violates the constitutional protection against the federal government taking private property without due process of law or just compensation.

*** END OF UPDATES ***

The Houston Chronicle reports a New Orleans federal judge will hear arguments Monday in a case seeking to lift President Obama’s moratorium on offshore drilling. Last week, the Louisiana Record reported Judge Martin Feldman denied the government’s request for a delay in the hearing. The Record’s report provided more details on the Plaintiffs’ claims, including that tomorrow’s hearing is an injunction hearing.

The plaintiff has the burden in a preliminary injunction case in federal court but if there is a justiciable claim, the court may decide to preserve the relative positions of the parties until a trial on the merits can be held. Here, preserving the positions of the parties could support enjoining the moratorium.

As for the case itself, the government’s position is that a 6-month moratorium is needed for safety reasons, while Plaintiffs argue there is no basis for the ban because post-spill inspections revealed at most minor safety violations on the remaining Gulf rigs. Plaintiffs’ claim is based primarily on administrative law.

The government may have a problem proving that a blanket 6-month moratorium is reasonable if the Court decides the proper test is to balance one BP blow-out vs decades of safe offshore drilling.

— DRJ

Decision on 9/11 Trials may be Postponed

Filed under: Law,Obama,Terrorism — DRJ @ 9:46 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Politico reports the Obama DOJ may put off a decision on the 9/11 trials until after the November elections. The article points out that, unless the Obama Administration decides to try the 9/11 detainees in a civilian trial, its position will be “largely indistinguishable” from the Bush Administration’s policy.

For a candidate that ran on Hope and Change, “largely indistinguishable” would be quite a comedown.

— DRJ

City-Sized Battery Backup

Filed under: General — DRJ @ 9:31 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The City of Presidio, Texas, is getting a city-sized battery backup to remedy its inconsistent electrical service. Apart from the better quality of life provided by reliable electricity, the battery is expected to help businesses lower costs because they won’t have to replace equipment damaged by surges, and has opened the door to new solar projects eager to take advantage of Presidio’s abundant sunlight.

People don’t need a lot to live comfortable lives, but one thing we all need is reliable power.

— DRJ

UC Irvine Recommends Suspension of Muslim Student Group

Filed under: Civil Liberties,Education — DRJ @ 9:14 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The University of California at Irvine has recommended a Muslim student group be suspended for one year.

UC President Mark Yudof said he played no role in the decision, while UC Irvine Law School President Erwin Chemerinsky was supportive, saying: “Given the seriousness of the offense, I think it’s completely appropriate to suspend them for a year.” Meanwhile, Jewish groups were heartened by the suspension, calling it a victory against hate speech, and Muslim students claimed it unfairly punished the group for the actions of a few.

Although both groups want to portray this in ways that promote their views, I think this is what most colleges do with a school organization that knowingly breaks the law. It’s no different than suspending a fraternity for intentional hazing. It’s not the speech or the arrests that got the Muslim student group in hot water; It’s that the arrests resulted from an intentional, coordinated decision by the group.

There’s more at aunursa’s Jury post.

— DRJ

Arizona Crime Statistics (Updated)

Filed under: Immigration,Media Bias — DRJ @ 5:45 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Tom Maguire points out the New York Times reports crime is down in Arizona (“On Border Violence, Truth Pales Compared to Ideas”) when it’s actually down in urban areas but up along the border:

“What we see that Arizona is broken into three categories – Metropolitan Statistical Areas, Cities Outside of MSA, and rural counties. Most people and most crime occurs in the MSAs. On the other hand, a glance at a map tells me that the Arizona border itself is not near what to the eyes of this former Manhattanite looks like is any major city.

And the stats reprinted below tell a different story – measured by violent crimes per 100,000, the non-MSA portion of Arizona has seen a dramatic increase in crime.”

Now why would the New York Times mislead readers about Arizona crime?

H/T Instapundit.

— DRJ

UPDATE: Bradley J. Fikes took a closer look at this story at his NCTimes blog and a related topic in this comment. I highly recommend both.

The BP Relief Wells

Filed under: General — DRJ @ 2:19 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The New Orleans Times-Picayune updates us on the BP relief wells. The BP relief well website suggests the 1st relief well is close to intersecting the original well bore:

Relief Well 1

I’m sure it will take time to target and complete the intersection and do a number of other tasks that I don’t really understand. Maybe it will be August before BP can use either relief well to try to plug the leak … but it looks like the first well could reach total depth in a week or two.

— DRJ

Happy Father’s Day

Filed under: General — DRJ @ 12:26 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

PowerLine and the Houston Chronicle are a few of the many places honoring Dads today with some moving stories.

— DRJ

Ace on Dispute Resolution

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:01 pm

Ace:

There is a type of mediated dispute resolution which I think is more analogous. In this type of resolution, each party writes down its demand/offer. The third-party mediator also writes down his opinion of a fair resolution. Let’s say it’s a money demand of some kind, for simplicity’s sake, so both parties write down their demand/offer, and the mediator writes down what he believes is a fair number.

Crucially, in this type of resolution, the mediator’s number will not, under any circumstances, be the number imposed on both parties. His number — somewhere in between the two, a compromise — will not form the basis of the settlement.

In this type of mediation, one or the other party’s number will be used. The mediator will choose one of the two party’s numbers, the one that is closest to his own.

The point of this sort of mediation is to force the negotiating parties into making more reasonable demands, to start the process much closer to what each figures the final resolution will be.

Because in this sort of mediation, if Party A offers $10,000 in compensation, and the mediator thinks that $500,000 is fair, but Party B decides to demand thirty million dollars, guess what? Party A’s offer is closer to the mediator’s number and Party B walks out not with thirty million, nor with $200,000, but with a paltry $10,000. He has walked in with a demand so far from the mark that the other party gets to make all decisions about the resolution.

I like this example because it precisely replicates what happens in an election. The voters are the mediators, but they don’t get to choose whatever they want. They are presented with two options, and they must choose one. They will choose whichever is closest to their desires.

Part of the job is educating the mediator. Litigants need to explain to the mediator that their position is reasonable — just like part of a candidate’s job is to explain to voters why his principles are the best.

But at the same time, ultimately you’ll get only so far with education. In the final analysis, the candidate’s position has to be closer to the voters’ desires than his opponent’s. Or he will lose.

This means that you can’t get too far in front of the voters. If you care about winning.

Some people like to talk about “sticking to principles” and saying that it’s not as important to win elections as it is to stick to the fundamentals. That’s wonderful rhetoric. It sounds great on a blog. By articulating such a position, you can often get a few dozen commenters to come on and type “Damn right!” into their little comment boxes.

And then your side loses, and the other side starts passing even more laws that kill our country.

Hey, at least you “stuck to your principles” while you sat and watched our country get torn apart. You were able to maintain your sense of self-righteousness. And isn’t that what really matters?

Those of you who care about getting things done in the real world should pay attention to Ace’s explanation. For example, apologizing to a company that has polluted the holy hell out of the Gulf of Mexico is never a position that is going to be closer to the voters’ wishes.

I’m not saying abandon principles. Far from it. I’m saying: be smarter about how you articulate them.

I recognize that this may be an unpopular position on a blog, and that I will get fewer “Damn right!” comments than a self-righteous screed might produce. So be it. I’m not in this to make money (although there are some shiny new PayPal buttons on the right sidebar now!) or to get the “Damn right!” comments. I’m in this to call things the way I see them and try to help us win, while staying within the bounds of truth and sense.

So that maybe we can stop some of our Dear Leader’s agenda that he is ruining my kids’ future with. On this Father’s Day, I’m keeping them in mind.

The End of the Anonymous Senate Hold?

Filed under: Government — DRJ @ 11:20 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Senator Claire McCaskill says she has the votes to end the anonymous Senate hold.

The rule change reportedly applies only to anonymous holds — which are anonymous only in the sense they are not public, but the Senator placing the hold must notify his or her Party’s leaders for the hold to take effect. The change would not impact a Senator’s ability to place a public hold on legislation.

There is precedent for this change. The Senate eliminated the anonymous hold in 1997 but it was soon abandoned because it made things even worse.

Rules changes that ultimately delay more federal laws may be a good thing, especially since the U.S. government’s “regulatory budget” is growing even faster than the explosive federal budget.

— DRJ

The Border Shakedown

Filed under: Immigration,Obama — DRJ @ 10:56 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

According to Arizona Senator Jon Kyl, President Obama won’t secure the border until Americans agree to amnesty:

“On June 18, 2010, Arizona Republican Senator Jon Kyl told the audience at a North Tempe Tea Party town hall meeting that during a private, one-on-one meeting with President Obama in the Oval Office, the President told him, regarding securing the southern border with Mexico, “The problem is, . . . if we secure the border, then you all won’t have any reason to support ‘comprehensive immigration reform.’” [Audible gasps were heard throughout the audience.] Sen. Kyl continued, “In other words, they’re holding it hostage. They don’t want to secure the border unless and until it is combined with ‘comprehensive immigration reform.’”

Sen. Kyl also said he reminded President Obama that the President and the Congress has an obligation, a duty, to secure the border.”

Red State posts the video from YouTube. The relevant portion starts at 4:40 3:20.

Imagine what the Obama Administration could withhold until Americans pay up with their money or their votes.

— DRJ

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