September 19, 2011

Video: The Madison Project’s Maggi Cook Thrown Out of Ohio Black Caucus Townhall …

Filed under: Economy,News from Other Sites,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:18 pm

(originally posted at about 7 p.m., carried to the top for overnight visibility)

… while others are permitted to continue taping.

The “shut it down or leave” effort begins at about the 1:40 mark:

The back story from Maggi:

Last Thursday, September 16th, the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus [OLBC] held a town hall in Bond Hill. The information from the Cincinnati Enquirer indicated that Issue 2 would be discussed, along with Ohio election reform …

… What you don’t see on the tape is Rep. Alicia Reece [D, OH-33] asking anyone who is taping to raise their hand and identify the media they are with; I did this. When I said “The Madison Project” a few audience members started to yell “Tea Party” and “she’s Tea Party”. For the record, I identify as a Tea Party Republican but do not now and never have had any leadership or organizational role in any local or national Tea Party group.

What you see on the tape below is State Senator Sandra Williams [D, 11th District], president of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus giving her opening remarks and then my being ejected about 30-minutes into the event. The first presentation was on sentencing reform by Rep. Roland Winburn [D, OH-40], then Rep. Reece introduced officials from Rock Gaming and Messer Construction who talked about jobs and the Cincinnati casino project. It is was only when the discussion was about to take on Issue 2 [which is why I was there] and election reform [which the Democrats are against] that my taping the town hall became problematic for the event organizers.

So inquiring minds want to know – what were the elected officials going to say that they didn’t want on tape? What do our local progressives have against transparency and open debate on the issues that affect our community?

This is a trend that TMP [The Madison Project] has seen multiple times; liberals will wave their signs and shout their slogans up until there is a camera and then they get all shy and coy. Conservatives, especially grassroots conservatives, in my experience, have no problem talking to anyone about their principles and why they believe some policies are good for the country and some aren’t. Getting them to stop talking is usually the problem.

As head BizzyBlog bloviator, I like her sense of humor. :–>

I don’t like the heavyhanded OBC double standard. “At least” (though it was a big mistake) OH-01 Steve Chabot’s insistence on no taping was an equal-opportunity denial to all. The selectivity of OBC is the only thing that’s truly transparent about their operation.

The reason libs clam up is that they often look quite foolish when they actually have to explain themselves instead of shouting mindless slogans and speechifying in tired cliches.

Additional appreciation to Doug Ross for picking this incident up at his “Larwyn’s Links” post on Saturday.

Conn. Justice ‘Apologizes’ to Susette Kelo for Eminent-Domain Decision, But Still Feels He Ruled Correctly (Update: News London Day Ignores)

KeloHouseMonumentIt appears that it’s not news anywhere but at the Hartford Courant, where “Little Pink House” author Jeff Benedict reported the development on Saturday, and at Reason.com (HT to commenter dscott), which linked to the Courant story earlier today. I suspect it won’t get much coverage at other establishment press outlets.

The development is that one of the four Connecticut Supreme Court justices in the 4-3 majority which ruled against Susette Kelo and the New London, Connecticut eminent-domain holdouts, ultimately sending the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled 5-4 against the plaintiffs in Kelo vs. New London, has apologized — quite emptily, as it turns out — to Ms. Kelo, face to face:

… I faced that situation at a dinner honoring the Connecticut Supreme Court at the New Haven Lawn Club on May 11, 2010. That night I had delivered the keynote address on the U.S. Supreme Court’s infamous 5-4 decision in Kelo v. New London. Susette Kelo was in the audience and I used the occasion to tell her personal story, as documented in my book “Little Pink House.”

Afterward, Susette and I were talking in a small circle of people when we were approached by Justice Richard N. Palmer. Tall and imposing, he is one of the four justices who voted with the 4-3 majority against Susette and her neighbors. Facing me, he said: “Had I known all of what you just told us, I would have voted differently.”

I was speechless. So was Susette. One more vote in her favor by the Connecticut Supreme Court would have changed history. The case probably would not have advanced to the U.S. Supreme Court, and Susette and her neighbors might still be in their homes.

Then Justice Palmer turned to Susette, took her hand and offered a heartfelt apology. Tears trickled down her red cheeks. It was the first time in the 12-year saga that anyone had uttered the words “I’m sorry.”

It was all she could do to whisper the words: “Thank you.”

Then Justice Palmer let go of her hand and walked off.

If you stopped reading there, you would walk away thinking that the judge made an unconditional apology. Nope, as Benedict learned when he began pre-publication follow-up with Judge Palmer, who responded as follows in a November 2010 “personal and confidential” (at the time) letter:

“Those comments,” he wrote, “were predicated on certain facts that we did not know (and could not have known) at the time of our decision and of which I was not fully aware until your talk — namely, that the city’s development plan had never materialized and, as a result, years later, the land at issue remains barren and wholly undeveloped.” He later added that he could not know of those facts “because they were not yet in existence.”

So the only reason he’s sorry is that the promised development emanating from what five foolish U.S. Supreme Court justices at the time of the ruling asserted was a “carefully formulated … economic development plan” didn’t come to pass.

Judge Palmer proved that he still doesn’t get it in a mid-August interview with Benedict in his chambers, and at the same time exposed the fatal flaw in so much of what passes for jurisprudence:

Q: Looking back at the Kelo decision (by the Connecticut Supreme Court), how do you see it now? In other words, has it led to good law?

A: I think that our court ultimately made the right decision insofar as it followed governing U.S. Supreme Court precedent. Whether the Kelo case has led to good statutory law is not a question for me or my court; so long as that law is constitutional, its merits are beyond the scope of our authority. Of course, judges are also citizens and, therefore, we may hold a view on the merits, but that view should not interfere with or affect our legal judgment concerning the law’s constitutionality.

I’m sorry, Judge Palmer, that doesn’t cut it. The primary question before your court was whether Connecticut’s statute went beyond the Constitution’s Fifth Amendment restriction of eminent domain to “public use” situations. It wasn’t, or shouldn’t have been, about what had been done in previous cases, while perhaps looking to the Constitution as an afterthought.

You blew the ruling, because even if New London somehow had concocted the most wonderful and “successful” plan on earth with gleaming new buildings all around, it still would not have involved a “public use,” and still should never, ever have been allowed. Judges should not care at all whether statist proponents of eminent-domain expansion have been able to rack up 100, 500, or 1,000 “precedent-setting” cases in front of pliant judges invoking “public purpose” instead of “public use” while allowing property to be taken from private citizens and conveyed to other private citizens. The starting point should always be what the Founders wrote, and determining what the Founders meant. Then, and only then, should case law matter. In Kelo vs. New London, case law shouldn’t have meant a darned thing. The Fifth Amendment’s “public use” limitation could hardly be more clear.

This exposes the fundamental flaw of the legal system’s overdependence on case law. Previous rulings which vary from what the Founders prescribed become the new de facto legal standards, while the importance of the Constitution’s original words and the Founders’ original intent continually diminish.

Judge Palmer isn’t “sorry” in any beneficial sense, and his apology to Susette Kelo, while perhaps a nice surface gesture, is as substantively hollow as the day is long. Now that Ms. Kelo understands the judge’s twisted “logic” as explained to Benedict in the Courant, the guess here is that she totally agrees.

That said, high-profile “apologies” often make news. So far this one hasn’t. I doubt that it will. The establishment prefers statism, and to portray judges, especially leftist judges (Palmer is a Democrat, and Benedict really should have identified his party affiliation), as our infallible betters.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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UPDATE, Sept. 20: A search on “Richard Palmer” at the New London Day indicates that hometown paper of the Kelo ruling has ignored Benedict’s column (search string not in quotes; no direct URL available).

UPDATE 2: At DDDb.net (“Assessing the Kelo Apology”) —

Benedict’s account of the apology, and his communication with Justice Palmer about publishing the account, reveals some very disturbing cognitive dissonance (and cowardice) not just in Palmer’s mind, but in the general judicial mind. Palmer’s “sorry” is followed by a sorry explanation of what he meant by “sorry.”

I totally agree.

Will Arrogant Obama Quote (‘It’s Math’) Get Relayed Widely?

ObamaGrin0911It will be interesting to see if a quote noted at the end of Jim Kuhnhenn’s early Associated Press report about President Obama’s proposed tax increases (saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) makes the cut in later revisions. I’ll bet not, because it sends both the arrogance and ignorance meters well into the red.

This post will look at the first and third paragraphs of the 11:20 a.m. version of the AP dispatch, and then relay the quote (bolds are mine throughout):

In a blunt rejoinder to congressional Republicans, President Barack Obama called for $1.5 trillion in new taxes Monday, part of a total 10-year deficit reduction package totaling more than $3 trillion. “We can’t just cut our way out of this hole,” the president said.

Geez, Barack — You, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid didn’t have any trouble spending your way into “this hole,” did you? Without bothering to correct the accounting trickery (discussed here and here for those who are interested), deficits in fiscal 2009 and 2010 amounted to $1.42 trillion and $1.29 trillion, respectively. With one month remaining, the fiscal 2011 deficit is on track to reach $1.3 trillion.

Also “somebody” said in 2009 (HT Doug Powers at Michelle Malkin’s place) that “Normally, you don’t raise taxes in a recession, which is why we haven’t and why we have instead cut taxes.” Of course, Kuhnhenn has thus far “forgotten” to pass that nugget on to AP readers.

Obama’s recommendation to a joint congressional committee served as a sharp counterpoint to Republican lawmakers, who have insisted that tax increases should play no part in taming the nation’s escalating national debt. The new taxes would predominantly hit wealthy Americans, ending their Bush-era tax cuts and limiting their deductions.

Well, at least Kuhnhenn called them “new taxes.” But at some point (which should have been about five years ago), you would think that the press would recognize that “the Bush-era tax cuts” occurred in 2003, that we’ve been operating under essentially the same income-tax system for nine years (2003 through 2011), and that tax increases should simply be called, well, “tax increases.”

But speaking of tax increases, Kuhnhenn “somehow” forgot — but in July, the Wall Street Journal didn’t — that $438 billion in tax increases are already on the books thanks to Obamacare. If the law survives court review and repeal attempts, the economy’s producers will face over $1.9 trillion in additional taxes over the next decade.

If the President wants to increase the amount of money Uncle Sam takes in, all he needs to do is unleash the economy. Maximizing fossil-fuel production could bring in as much as $50 billion a year in royalties and related taxes beginning a few years from now. Easing the regulatory burden in the rest of the economy and throwing the arbitrary authoritarianism in the trash could easily lead to at least much in additional annual income and other tax collections within a year, if not sooner.

In any event, the problem isn’t the intake, it’s the outgo. If fiscal 2011 spending comes in at roughly $3.60 trillion as expected, that will represent a 32% increase over the $2.73 trillion spent in fiscal 2007. What in the world do we have to show for it?

Okay, here’s that final-paragraph quote:

Responding to a complaint from Republicans about his proposed tax on the wealthy, Obama added: “This is not class warfare. It’s math.”

This statement will not be well received, which in my view explains why Kuhnhenn saved it for the end. Even if it survives in future AP dispatches, the guess here is that it probably won’t be picked up at very many of the wire service’s subscribing outlets, and you won’t hear it much if at all in broadcast network news reports. We’ll see.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

‘Peak Oil, Schmeak Oil’ Update

Filed under: Economy,Environment,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:10 am

Every once in a while you’ll hear a globalarmist like Al Gore or NASA’s James Hansen tell us that the earth is doomed to catastrophic warming in five, ten or twenty years if we don’t hand our economic lives and fortunes over to them. The challenge is then to set your calendar for their drop-dead date so you can ridicule them when it comes and goes.

At the Wall Street Journal today, Daniel Yergin, “chairman of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates, an energy research and consulting firm,” engages in scholarly debunking of another group of goalpost-moving alarmists: believers in “Peak Oil.”

It’s a long read, but worth every word. Here are several key paragraphs:

(Peak Oil) advocates argue that the world is fast approaching (or has already reached) a point of maximum oil output. They warn that “an unprecedented crisis is just over the horizon.” The result, it is said, will be “chaos,” to say nothing of “war, starvation, economic recession, possibly even the extinction of homo sapiens.”

The date of the predicted peak has moved over the years. It was once supposed to arrive by Thanksgiving 2005. Then the “unbridgeable supply demand gap” was expected “after 2007.” Then it was to arrive in 2011. Now “there is a significant risk of a peak before 2020.”

This is actually the fifth time in modern history that we’ve seen widespread fear that the world was running out of oil. The first was in the 1880s, when production was concentrated in Pennsylvania and it was said that no oil would be found west of the Mississippi. Then oil was found in Texas and Oklahoma. Similar fears emerged after the two world wars. And in the 1970s, it was said that the world was going to fall off the “oil mountain.” But since 1978, world oil output has increased by 30%.

Just in the years 2007 to 2009, for every barrel of oil produced in the world, 1.6 barrels of new reserves were added. And other developments—from more efficient cars and advances in batteries, to shale gas and wind power—have provided reasons for greater confidence in our energy resiliency. Yet the fear of peak oil maintains its powerful grip.

… In the oil and gas industry, technologies are constantly being developed to find new resources and to produce more—and more efficiently—from existing fields. In a typical oil field, only about 35% to 40% of the oil in place is produced using traditional methods.

… But this is no done deal. There are many “buts,” having to do with what happens above ground. The policies of governments around the world—especially concerning taxes and access to resources—have a major impact on whether and when oil is discovered and developed.

This country’s above-ground policies are atrocious. The conscious and consistent stance of the Obama administration has been to obstruct exploration and development wherever possible, and to employ any available excuse to do so.

When there’s an oil spill in the Gulf, all drilling gets shut down. It’s being restored at a grudging, bureaucratic pace. Many companies are giving up and taking their rigs elsewhere.

When we learn that “fracking” may be the source of amazing amounts of natural gas, the EPA decides to submit it to study over groundwater concerns even environmentalists — before they figured out that they could be used as a premise to stop it — believed were specious.

Only as its prospects for reelection have declined has the administration begun to make fitful attempts to improve things. They’ll all disappear if Obama wins in November 2012. The only way Peak Oil will ever happen is if the world’s politicians cause it to come true.

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Previous Related Posts:
- Nov. 16, 2006 — Peak Oil, Schmeak Oil
- March 6, 2007 — NY Times: Peak Oil, Schmeak Oil

Globaloney’s ‘Settled Science’ Scam

Filed under: Economy,Environment,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:23 am

Ivar_GiaeverAdd a Nobel-winning physicist to the significant number of “deniers,” as noted in a Friday Investor’s Business Daily editorial:

Global warm-mongers say they can’t name a single scientist who doesn’t agree with them. Well, here’s one: Nobel laureate Ivan Giaever (pictured at right), who just left a scientific society because he believes the debate isn’t over.

We keep hearing from Al Gore and others that the debate is over, that the “consensus” is that man-made carbon dioxide emissions are heating the planet. The only scientists who don’t believe in global warming, we are told, have been bought and paid for by big polluters.

So what do they do with Giaever? He won the Nobel Prize for physics in 1973 for his work on superconductors. He was a professor in the School of Engineering and School of Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He also supported Barack Obama in his 2008 presidential campaign.

But the Norwegian scientist is no longer a member of the American Physical Society, the second-largest organization of physicists in the world. He resigned last week because he “cannot live” with the APS’ position that there is “incontrovertible” evidence that man’s CO2 emissions are causing global warming.

Clearly, Giaever doesn’t believe the debate is over.

“In the APS it is OK to discuss whether the mass of the proton changes over time and how a multiuniverse behaves, but the evidence of global warming is incontrovertible?” he asked APS in his resignation e-mail.

When Giaever looks at the data, he sees evidence contrary to the APS position.

Of course he does, because his eyes aren’t blinded by dreams of massive wealth redistribution and de-industrialization.

IBD goes on to note that Giaever is far from alone:

Giaever is hardly the sole dissenter among scientists. Thousands have signed the Oregon Petition, the Leipzig Declaration and the Statement by Atmospheric Scientists on Greenhouse Warming, three efforts that challenge the claim of a scientific consensus on global warming.

… Physicist Hal Lewis, who has since died, resigned in October of last year.

“Global warming,” Lewis wrote, “is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life.” There, in a mere 17 words, he summed up the climate change scare.

To think that public policy is being driven by this fraud is more scary than the scaremongering itself.

Positivity: Conjoined twins born in Chicago this month doing fine, says mother

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 5:56 am

From Marengo, Illinois:

Conjoined twin girls born almost two weeks ago in Chicago were doing fine, their mother announced on her blog.

Amanda Schulten, 21, of northwest suburban Marengo, came under pressure to have an abortion because of the dire predictions for her twins, but as a Catholic she believed that would interfere with God’s will.

Her twins, Faith and Hope — who share a heart — were born Sept. 6 at the University of Chicago Medical Center.

“Faith is eating now,” Schulten wrote on her blog, Amanda-faithhopelove.blogspot.com on Friday. “The girls are getting a lot bigger. From what I can remember, I think they gained almost a pound already.”

Schulten said she gave Faith the nickname “Smiles,” and she nicknamed Hope “Bubbles.”

“When I suction their mouths, Hope has a million bubbles,” Schulten said. “Faith is always smiling and awake for me. She’s always looking around at the world. I wonder what she’s thinking?”

Go here for the rest of the story. Schulten’s blog announcement is here.