Patterico's Pontifications


Budget Director Orszag to Leave

Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 11:32 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Bloomberg News reports White House Budget Director Peter Orszag plans to leave the Obama Administration in July, before the fall budget cycle.

I wouldn’t want to deal with that deficit either.


Scientists Opposed to Moratorium Confront Salazar

Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 9:43 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

This is astounding

“The group of experts complained earlier this month that Salazar had consulted them on a May 27 report on drilling safety and then falsely implied that the scientists had agreed to a “blanket moratorium” that they actually opposed. They said the moratorium went too far and warned that it “will have a lasting impact on the nation’s economy which may be greater than that of the oil spill.”

The Department of the Interior later said it didn’t intend to imply that the experts had supported the moratorium. But the dispute has become more than a simple misunderstanding. The experts’ claims are a central part of a federal lawsuit in New Orleans that seeks to block the moratorium.”

An industry expert listed four reasons why the moratorium is a terrible idea — that it’s risky to start and stop; that new rigs will leave; that skilled workers will leave; and that it will increase U.S. reliance on foreign oil.

I hope this was presented in the preliminary injunction hearing today in Judge Feldman’s New Orleans’ courtroom. Given the source of this report is the New Orleans Times-Picayune, I suspect it was.


White House to Kyl: You Lie!

Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 9:25 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Yesterday I posted on Arizona Senator Jon Kyl’s claim that President Obama said he won’t secure the border until Americans agree to amnesty. Today the White House responded by denying Kyl’s claim, and Kyl’s spokesman responded that Kyl’s version of the statement is consistent with Obama’s public position on immigration. It’s also memorable given Kyl’s follow-up that it’s Obama’s duty to secure the border.

On the other hand, if Obama uses the same long-winded, convoluted sentences in his private meetings that he’s known for in his extemporaneous speaking, I’d have a hard time remembering anything he says.


Well Problems and Oversight on BP’s Well

Filed under: Government — DRJ @ 8:54 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

A Bloomberg report raises questions about BP’s decision-making and red flags about oversight by the Obama Administration’s MMS.

My layman’s impression is that the oil companies decide what risks they are and are not willing to take. However, the MMS is supposed to exercise oversight of its oil and gas properties, including wells on federal lands and offshore wells. (FWIW, I suspect the top people at the White House and BP had no knowledge of these problems until the well blew, which is why oil company decision-making and MMS oversight at the lower management levels is important.)

Congress investigated MMS’ role after the BP oil spill and determined oversight was lacking. Secretary Ken Salazar responded with an MMS restructuring plan, and Congress plans to conduct hearings this summer.

H/T ian cormac.


The Jones Act Waiver

Filed under: Government,Obama — DRJ @ 8:22 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Day 62 of the BP Oil Spill and President Obama still hasn’t waived the Jones Act nor has he issued orders that would involve more American ships. Robert Bluey at Fox News asks “Why not?” The Christian Science Monitor has the answer: The Obama Administration has already decided to accept assistance from foreign ships, waiver or no waiver.

To waive or not to waive? The Obama Administration seems more focused on getting around laws than complying with them, but it might be good to get those skimmers.


UPDATE: Florida Senator George LeMieux says President Obama said he couldn’t deploy skimmers because they might be needed elsewhere.


What About Rahm?

Filed under: Government — DRJ @ 1:23 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Yesterday’s news was that Rahm Emanuel is expected to step down as Chief of Staff, largely because his political style doesn’t mesh with the President’s. Today’s news from Chicago may be a more accurate explanation:

“President Barack Obama’s chief of staff, then a congressman in Illinois, apparently attempted to trade favors with embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich while he was in office, according to newly disclosed e-mails obtained by The Associated Press.”

The Blagojevich trial is underway in Chicago. Wouldn’t it be interesting to know how often the President has been briefed on the details of that trial?

MORE: In the comments of another thread, elissa notes that Rahm Emanuel and this story turned up in the Blago trial today.


Supreme Court Approves ‘Material Support’ Law

Filed under: Law,Terrorism — DRJ @ 12:35 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Supreme Court today approved a Bush era policy supported by the Obama Administration that criminalizes providing material support to foreign terror groups:

“The Supreme Court has upheld a federal law that bars “material support” to foreign terrorist organizations, rejecting a free speech challenge from humanitarian aid groups.”

Oral argument in this case was held in February 2010 and I posted on it here. In supporting the Bush policy, the Obama Administration pointed out how the law was often used to combat terror.

Justice Breyer read his dissent aloud, something the article describes as unusual.


Emanuel on Barton

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:12 am

[UPDATE 6-22-10: “Color me shocked” that Jeff Goldstein implies I have taken Barton’s remarks out of context — an implication he attempts to convey by … taking MY remarks out of context.

I’m not arguing that we should allow people to take remarks out of context, and indeed most of my post is pushback against Rahm Emanuel doing just that. I included all necessary context to make that point clear.

For reasons of his own, Goldstein decided to omit that context from his quotation of my post. I leave it to you to determine why he did that.]

Jake Tapper reported yesterday on Rahm Emanuel’s comments on Joe Barton:

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel asserted that Rep. Joe Barton’s apology to BP was a political gift for Democrats – one the President will use in coming weeks to contrast his governing vision with Republicans, with Barton as a foil.

Though the Ranking member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce later withdrew the apology he made to BP CEO Tony Hayward during a hearing Thursday, Emanuel made the case that Barton’s remarks were no mistake. “That’s not a political gaffe, those are prepared remarks. That is a philosophy. That is an approach to what they see. They see the aggrieved party here as BP, not the fishermen,” Emanuel told me during my exclusive This Week interview.

Emanuel said Barton and Kentucky Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul, who recently called the President’s criticism of BP “un-American,” are a reflection of the Republican Party’s governing philosophy. “They think that the government’s the problem,” Emanuel said. “And I think what Joe Barton did was remind the American people, in case they forgot, how the Republicans would govern.”

Emanuel’s characterization of Barton’s opinions as representative of the GOP is, as Sarah Palin said, a “lie.” Barton explicitly said he was speaking only for himself:

I’m speaking this totally for myself, I’m not speaking for the Republican party, I’m not speaking for anybody in the House of Representatives but myself, but I’m ashamed of what happened in the White House yesterday.

Emanuel’s claim that Barton sees BP as the aggrieved party with respect to the leak is also a lie. Barton clearly said he believed BP to be an aggrieved party with respect to the White House shakedown. With respect to the leak, Barton said this:

BP made decisions that objective people think compromise safety. There is no question that BP is liable for the damages.

That someone like Emanuel was going to come along and take advantage of this was, of course, inevitable. The fact that opponents are always waiting in the wings to twist your words is not, however, an excuse for making your case poorly.

There are those who act as though Barton’s choices were to remain mute or say it the way he did. Not so. There was a third way: make the point . . . just don’t make the point stupidly. Emanuel was right about one thing: Barton’s remarks were prepared. He knew full well that they were going to be controversial because he specifically took care to state that they reflected his opinion alone.

And yet he chose to say: “I apologize.” This was stupid.

The fact that you choose to speak a hard truth on a controversial subject does not give you immunity for expressing that truth in a counterproductive manner. Indeed, it confers on you a greater responsibility to choose your words carefully.

Barton is the guy who gave the other side the opening. Now that they are exploiting it in a dishonest manner, as we all knew they would, it is incumbent on us to point out the truth and call the liars liars. We must also be willing to call a dumb statement a dumb statement.

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