American Elephants

Is the President Above the Law? by The Elephant's Child
February 3, 2011, 8:23 pm
Filed under: Economy, Energy, Law | Tags: , ,

“Holding someone in contempt of court is a powerful sanction in a judge’s arsenal to redress an intentional disregard for the law and the courts.” So said Rory Cooper at the Heritage blog today.

It is an important event when, yesterday, Federal District Judge Martin Feldman held the Interior Department in contempt of court for ignoring his ruling to cease the job-killing drilling moratorium imposed by President Obama last year.

President Obama first ordered the halt in offshore drilling in response to the BP oil spill in April of 2010.  Many reasonable observers felt that a temporary stoppage was necessary to assess the state of safe drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico.  Hardly anyone has supported the permanent moratorium the Obama administration has since enforced.

Judge Feldman wrote:

“Such dismissive conduct, viewed in tandem with the reimposition of a second blanket and substantively identical moratorium and in light of the national importance of this case, provide this Court with clear and convincing evidence of the government’s contempt of this Court’s preliminary injunction order.”

Judge Feldman also ordered Interior to pay attorney’s fees for oil companies challenging the drilling ban.

Senator Mary Landrieu publicly testified against the moratorium.  President Obama’s hand-picked drilling commission opposed the moratorium.  Former EPA Chief and Commission Co-Chair William Reilly said:

If there’s a single point of consensus as we’ve been down here, it’s that the moratorium is doing very significant economic damage to this area. As Sen. Landrieu said there are only 33 rigs. How hard can it be to put inspectors on each one and draw conclusions that will allow a resumption of activity?”

After Judge Feldman rejected Interiors initial moratorium, the administration came back with a second moratorium, which was also rejected.  The administration appealed, but the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a stay of the lower court’s decision.  Then Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and President Obama announced that they were “lifting” the moratorium, but proceeded not to change their behavior.  Almost no new drilling permits were issued, creating a de facto moratorium.  Each step taken by Interior shows their defiance of the court’s rulings and real contempt for the American taxpayer.

President Barack Obama is a lawyer, his wife is a lawyer.  Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is a lawyer. They know better.  Defiantly ignoring binding judicial decisions  seems to express the administration’s open contempt for the rule of law.

Judge Vinson ruled ObamaCare unconstitutional, and the ruling was binding on the 26 states that were parties to the suit.  Yet an administration spokesman told the Wall Street Journal that the administration had no intention of halting implementation of the law.  Administration refusal to address clear voter intimidation by the New Black Panthers is still being pursued.  Yesterday President Obama signed the U.S. instrument of ratification for the New START Treaty with Russia, but did not release the text of the document to the public as instructed in the Senate’s resolution of ratification.

Many observers have noted the characteristic arrogance of this President.  It is becoming a pattern, and a very disturbing development.

(Update by AE: great minds think alike, Michelle Malkin has more on the Obama administration’s lawlessness in her column today)

A Huge Step Forward in Medicine. by The Elephant's Child
February 3, 2011, 8:19 am
Filed under: Health Care, Science/Technology | Tags: , , ,

This is a thrilling story of the triumph of adult stem cells, taken from a person’s own body, over one of the worst injuries that can happen to a person — terrible burns.  Burns  can result in death, total disfigurement, endless surgeries with constant danger of infection. Recovery in such a short time seem miraculous. And the successes with embryonic stem cells that liberals pushed so are…?

The nice young woman who checks out my groceries is recovering from a terrible burn on her hand, using a graft from her hip.  She will be most of another year in recovery, with lots of pain.  Someday this amazing skin gun technology may be available to every burn victim.

The credit goes to Jörg C. Gerlach and the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and the University of Berlin.  They are doing wonderful work.  A heartwarming story.

The Great Green Fleet and Other Liberal Fantasies. by The Elephant's Child

I don’t have much understanding of the inner workings of government. President Obama clearly believes in the clean energy future in which he has invested so much energy and so much taxpayer money.  If a president has those beliefs, then does that ripple through the entire executive branch and everybody charges off to remake the world in clean green garb?  Is that just the way things are, in spite of any private reservations some may have?

The Obama administration has directed billions of dollars to support clean-energy  technologies, even as Congress  has been unwilling to pass any sort of climate legislation or renewable energy legislation, and as European countries are bailing out of wind farms and solar shingles as fast as they can.

Our military has such substantial buying power that every promoter and salesman is anxious to sell the government on their particular snake oil.

It’s all based on the theory that there is some kind of alarming climate change, and that there are benefits of some kind in reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.  That theory is flatly untrue.  Climate change is normal.  Climate is always changing.  The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is far from optimum.  It has been far higher in the past.

Deputy Assistant Secretary to the Navy (Energy) Tom Hicks explained in an interview with Robert Rapier, that one of the Navy’s energy initiatives is to sail the “Great Green Fleet.”  The goal is to put a carrier strike group in local operations in 2012 to run entirely on alternative fuels, and then in 2016 they plan to deploy that strike group on all alternative fuels.  By 2020, the goal is that 50% of the Navy’s energy consumption will come from alternative sources.

We are told, on the one hand, that gasoline with 15% ethanol will damage older car engines, boat engines, gasoline tool engines, and the Navy is going to run their fleet on alternative fuels?  Everyone is always griping about the cost of our very expensive planes and they’re going to fuel them with ethanol?

The RAND Corporation begs to disagree with the Navy.  The Department of Defense has put hundreds of millions of dollars in testing and research programs focused on turning vegetable matter, like algae, soybeans or camelina seeds into fuel.  The fuel will burn, but Rand says that doesn’t make it useful.

The Energy Independence and Security Act says that if petroleum fuels are replaced with an alternate fuel, the alternative must have equal or lower greenhouse gas emissions.  This disqualifies coal-to-liquids from use.

The RAND Corporation study says “The United States would derive no meaningful military benefit from increased use of alternative fuels to power its jets, ships and other weapons systems,” according to a study commissioned by Congress. ” The report also argued that the most alternative-fuels technologies were unproven, too expensive or too far from commercial scale to meet the military’s needs over the next decade.”

James Bartis, a researcher at RAND and lead author of the study, argued that while the military consumes substantial amounts of liquid fuels — around 340,000 barrels a day — this is less than 2 percent of the nation’s total use.  Thus the greenhouse gas benefits are apt to be miniscule.  RAND argues that DoD and Congress should reconsider whether defense appropriations should continue to support the development of alternative fuel technologies.  Producing that amount of fuel would require about 10 percent of the cropland currently under cultivation in the U.S.

Naturally, the report made everybody angry. Another stunning example of the wonders of government bureaucracy.

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