Patterico's Pontifications


Oil Companies Can’t Win for Losing

Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 6:59 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The offshore oil companies won another legal battle today against the Obama Administration but overall, they’re still losers:

“Although the ruling is a short-term victory for offshore energy and oil service companies, it is unlikely to immediately prompt any companies to resume the deep-water drilling that has been stalled since Obama announced the moratorium May 27.”

Which means everyone who depends on oil and gas is losing, too.


Texas Homeowner Kills Attacker in Home Invasion

Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 12:59 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

A recent home invasion in Central Texas community of Bastrop (outside Austin) resulted in the intruder’s death. What sets this case apart is that the homeowner didn’t use a gun and he was more than twice the age of the intruder:

“Late last Friday, 75-year-old Marion Lee Hill, pictured below, arrived to his Cedar Creek home to find [37-year-old Jonathon Warner] Jones in the midst of a home invasion, the Bastrop Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday. A struggle ensued in the living room and led into the kitchen, where Hill, a longtime Cedar Creek resident and business owner, stabbed Jones in the left arm and chest, officials said. Jones was dead when police arrived, said Bastrop Sheriff Terry Pickering.

Hill is not facing any charges, and the case is being considered one of self-defense, Bastrop Sheriff’s Office officials have said.”

The now deceased intruder has a mug shot posted at the link and was wanted on other charges. The moral of this story? Don’t mess with anyone in Central Texas.


Obama’s Recess Appointment (Updated)

Filed under: Health Care,Obama — DRJ @ 12:23 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

President Obama used a recess appointment to install Dr. Donald Berwick as the head of the agency running Medicare. However, President Obama circumvented the normal advise-and-consent process — Berwick’s nomination was never set for a hearing and thus was not considered by the Senate subcommittee charged with vetting his qualifications — even though the President’s political party is in charge of the vetting.

A memo from GOP Senator Chuck Grassley’s office suggests why Berwick’s nomination is a Democratic hot potato:

“The memo from a staffer for Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) suggests that by using a recess appointment to place Donald Berwick at the head of the agency running Medicare, the administration may be avoiding questions about whether Berwick’s healthcare institute received undisclosed funding from industry groups. The memo also raises questions with Berwick’s stance on euthanasia.
“I want to make sure it is absolutely clear up front that we were prepared for a nomination hearing to occur,” the staffer writes in the memo. “Furthermore, Senator Grassley had in fact requested that the hearing take place the week of June 21 (before the hearing on the Kagan nomination in Judiciary). So these items were not a precondition for holding the nomination hearing. Republicans were in no way holding up this process. We wanted the hearing.”

I think it’s pretty clear the Obama Administration didn’t want the hearing.


UPDATE 7/10/2010
— Republican Senator claims the Obama Administration planned this from the beginning:

“Senator John Barrasso, a leading spokesman for congressional Republicans on health care issues, today accused President Barack Obama of “intentionally misleading” the country and Congress by appointing Donald Berwick to run the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services. The White House yesterday announced that Berwick would receive a “recess appointment,” which allows the president to put a nominee in place without Senate confirmation.

“This appointment shows incredible arrogance on the part of the president and it makes a mockery of his promise to run a transparent administration,” said Barrasso, an orthopedic surgeon from Casper, Wyoming.

Barrasso repeatedly urged Obama to appoint someone to head CMS during the year-long health care debate that ended this past spring. In an interview this afternoon, Barrasso said that Congress did not yet even have all of the paperwork to conduct a hearing on the nomination. The Obama administration, he argues, planned to recess-appoint Berwick from the beginning in order to avoid a public debate over Berwick’s radical views. Barrasso says of Obama: “I think this was his intention all along.”

Barrasso and other Republicans have criticized Berwick since he was first mentioned for the CMS job. They point to his writings in favor of health care rationing and in praise of Britain’s state-run National Health Service (NHS). “I think the NHS is one of the great human health care endeavors on earth,” he said in a 2005 speech. “It can be an example for the whole world — an example, I must say — that the United States needs now more than most other countries do.”

Over the course of the health care debate, Democrats dismissed and even mocked those who described White House proposals as socialized medicine or a step toward a single-payer system.”

U.S.-Russia Spy Swap (Updated)

Filed under: International,Obama — DRJ @ 12:05 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The U.S. and Russian governments may be preparing for a multi-person spy swap:

“The largest Russia-U.S. spy swap since the Cold War appeared to be in motion Thursday, with up to 10 guilty pleas expected in New York by defendants accused of spying for Russia in exchange for the release of convicted Russian spies. A Russian convicted of spying for the United States was reportedly plucked from a Moscow prison and flown to Vienna.”

This makes no sense. The U.S. won’t have time to fully interrogate and check the stories of the Russian spies, while the Russians have completely vetted their captives — some of whom may not even be U.S. sympathizers. It’s a win for Russia and it saves the Obama DOJ a lot of work, but that doesn’t make it a win for the U.S.

Maybe President Obama thinks the Russians will owe him one.


UPDATE — Fox News reports it will be a 10-for-4 swap: 10 Russians for 4 people who may or may not be Americans.

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