American Elephants


A Federal District Court Judge Ruled Executive Amnesty Unconstitutional. by The Elephant's Child

A federal district court judge in Pennsylvania has ruled that portions of President Obama’s executive amnesty are unconstitutional. Judge Arthur Schwab said in his opinion that the presidential policy goes “beyond prosecutorial discretion” and into the realm of legislating. Because of this, Judge Schwab wrote, the action exceeds the scope of executive authority.

This is the first case to address Obama’s “decision to expand deferred action for some individuals unlawfully in the United States.” This particular case involved an individual who was deported and then returned to the United States unlawfully. The court, in considering how to sentence the defendant, sought direction on how the new policies  affected this particular defendant who was seeking the deferral of his deportation. It is not clear if the constitutional question  needed to be addressed in this case. It is unusual for a district court to reach this sort of constitutional  issue in this sort of case.

Jonathan Adler, who wrote this piece for the Washington Post, pointed out that in this case, no one was raising the question of constitutionality, so Judge Schwab’s opinion is more of an advisory, and leaves the defendant free to change his plea and reapply under the new rules. He declared the president’s action to be unlawful, but he did not set it aside.

Three other legal challenges to Obama’s executive actions are waiting trial dates, including the suit filed by 24 states. Adler is unsure if that case will satisfy the requirements of Article III standing to bring their claims. Yet even if the states don’t have standing, the legality of the president’s actions could be decided in Federal court.  Adler says “if Congress is unhappy with the degree of discretion the executive branch enjoys over immigration  policy, Congress needs to revise existing immigration laws to constrain executive authority.”



The Problem Really Isn’t Global Warming! by The Elephant's Child

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In September, I wrote “New England has obediently been on a hell-bent drive to rid itself of any form of “dirty” non-renewable energy, and has been closing down coal-fired plants for the last decade. Last winter when the real record temperatures hit, there wasn’t enough natural gas to go around.” It was called the “Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.” They were going to solve climate change all on their own.

In October, I  wrote about the June closure of Salem Harbor coal-fired power plant, and the closure of Vermont Yankee nuclear plant. If you remember, Barack Obama said he was going to bankrupt coal-fired power plants. He couldn’t get cap-and-trade passed, so he turned to the EPA.

The New York Times, yesterday, had a news story about the shocking rise in energy costs in New England, where many people are seeing 100 percent increases in their energy costs over just a few months ago. In October, print shop owner John York paid $376 for his two room shop. With no change in his volume of work, his November bill came to $788, a staggering increase of 110 percent. The NYT can’t figure it out.

New England already pays the highest electricity rates in the contiguous 48 states, but the NYT says it is because it has no fossil fuels of its own and has to import all of its oil, gas and coal. No, it’s because they’ve been shutting down their power plants for a decade. The governors of the six New England States, a year ago agreed to pursue a coordinated regional strategy with more natural gas pipelines and a major transmission line for hydropower from Canada.  It called for electricity customers to subsidize the projects. since it would mean lower utility bills.

More pipelines, lots of objections. In August the Massachusetts Legislature rejected the plan, saying that cheap energy would flood the market and thwart attempts to advance wind and solar projects!

Nobody mentioned that freezing weather shuts down wind turbines, not that there is much wind in freezing weather anyway. Vermonters are stocking up on firewood, but people are having a hard time finding enough wood to heat their homes. Vendors are sold out and prices are  up. Vermont Wood Pellet Co. is planning to open a second mill to keep up with demand.

The committed greens believe that global warming is an urgent problem, but there has been no warming whatsoever for over eighteen years. In spite of our inability to predict the future, some scientists believe we are entering a little ice age. This winter is expected to be even colder than last year, particularly in New England. Cold is far more dangerous than a few degrees of extra heat. Humans are pretty adaptable, but cold kills.

Wind and solar are incapable of producing the energy that we need in a modern industrial society. Some people are opposed to a modern industrial society in any case.




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