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The Environmental Spectator

Regulatory Lunacy

By 8.19.15

Unless a federal judge issues a preliminary injunction, the definition of the “Waters of the U.S.” will change on August 28—giving the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the authority to regulate the water in your backyard (even the water that might be in your backyard due to a heavy rain). Even, according to West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, “any area where agencies believe water may flow once every 100 years.”

The Current Crisis

Closing the Book on Bill Clinton’s Predecessor

By 8.19.15

That 1920s’ predecessor of President Bill Clinton has again been in the news and in a big way. Last week the media resounded anew with delightful reports of President Warren Gamaliel Harding’s nigh unto maniacal attraction to women, or at least to some women, during that period of American history that became known as the Roaring Twenties. According to reports these women pursued him with the utmost ardor, and last week the media brought forth irrefutable scientific evidence that one of these gals, Nan Britton, had her way with him for years.

A DNA study made clear. There was a love child. There are descendants. When will science catch up with Bill? There was that spot on that blue dress, of course, but a love child?

Free Market Accountability Project

Trump’s Shameful Immigration Plan

By 8.18.15

Like most things Donald Trump says, his immigration proposal — only slightly more detailed than most of his superficial bombast — contains a few grains of rationality and a large helping of the sort of xenophobia and economic ignorance that appeals to a slice of the Republican base but which most Americans — including many Republicans — find distasteful and self-destructive.

Let’s start with the good stuff: Mr. Trump notes that a true nation must have its borders and its laws enforced. He points out the reprehensible record of federal law enforcement agencies releasing tens of thousands of criminal illegal aliens back into American society, a small number of whom commit heinous crimes such as the murder of Kate Steinle. He recognizes that a large percentage of our illegal aliens are people who came here legally but overstayed their visas and that the lack of a credible visa tracking system is unacceptable.

Main Street U.S.A.

The Sense of Losing Control

By 8.18.15

A searing sentiment driving debate in the presidential race is that ordinary Americans are losing control of their lives — watching the right to moral decision-making wrested away from them. Wrested away by whom? By those who “know better.”

The know-better crowd — heavily represented at the opinion-making level — tighten their grips every second, it seems.

Last week, Connecticut’s supreme court tossed out the death penalty on grounds that it “no longer comports with contemporary standards of decency and no longer serves any legitimate penological purpose.” The decision to absolve from capital punishment 11 death row denizens had about it certain complexities. The legislature, in abolishing the death penalty three years ago, had allowed it to stand for those previously sentenced, including the murderers of a woman and her two daughters, one 17 years old, the other only 11. That signaled to the court’s one-vote majority that maybe chronology alone was standing in the way of mercy according to the newly discovered standards.

The Obama Watch

Some People Choose to Be Homeless

By 8.18.15

The Obama Department of Justice argued last week that a Boise, Idaho, law against “public sleeping in a city without adequate shelter space constitutes criminalizing homelessness itself, in violation of the Eighth Amendment.” In a statement of interest filed in federal court, the Obama administration asserted that banning sleeping and camping in public places constitutes “cruel and unusual punishment.” Republican candidates, please take note.

Mike Journee, spokesman for Boise Mayor David Bieter, described his city as “a fairly progressive island in a deeply red state.” Bieter is trying to address homelessness, Journee told me, “from a holistic standpoint” — and with compassion. That said, the Obama statement is “misguided” in that it is based on a notion that “those experiencing homelessness have no recourse and we are willy-nilly criminalizing this by writing tickets for people who have no options. That is not the case.”

Homeless advocates have a mantra: No one chooses to be homeless.

I’m sure that’s true for some people, but there are homeless individuals who make a series of self-destructive choices that inevitably lead them to homelessness.

Campaign Crawlers

Republican Candidates Matter

By 8.18.15

Black Lives Matter has made its presence felt in the early stages of the 2016 election. 

Last week, BLM activists successfully forced Jeb Bush to shut down a rally in Las Vegas and forced Bernie Sanders offstage at a rally in Seattle. Sanders is rewarding this behavior by offering to meet with them.

In July, when Martin O’Malley had the temerity to say “All Lives Matter,” Black Lives Matter forced O’Malley to apologize. Not only did this apology expose BLM’s racist ideology and O’Malley’s spinelessness, but it also demonstrated its growing power. 

Political Hay

Hannity Answers Beck on Trump

By 8.18.15

Glenn Beck doesn’t get it.

Specifically, Beck turned to a lengthy post on his Facebook page and asked (in part here) this about conservatives and Donald Trump:

This is not an attack, this is an honest question….

I really want to understand.

I get that Trump is reflective of what people are feeling; secure the border; fight to win; don't give in to china etc. I really do understand that he is saying things that people are feeling. Justifiably.

I get the fact that he is saying that America is a great place and that we can be great again. That is rare and refreshing.

I understand that he is seen and has the proof in New York City, as a guy who can get things done.

I understand and like the fact that he just says what he is thinking. No politically correct bs; no focus groups and he does it with out apologizing.

But here is what I don't understand.

Special Report

Will EPA Benefit From Its Own Mistake?

By 8.18.15

When the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) literally popped the cap holding back toxics-filled water at the Gold King Mine above Silverton and Durango, Colorado, it really messed up.

Here’s what we know: The Gold King Mine had been closed and plugged since 1923. Behind the plug were several million gallons of tainted water laced with toxins and heavy metals. Among the potential toxins in the mine were lead, sulfuric acid, dissolved iron and copper, zinc, beryllium, cadmium, and arsenic. Note I said potential toxins. Any of these chemicals or metals alone, or combined as they were in the waters in the Gold King Mine, could be dangerous, but only if a person were exposed to them in particular ways and in sufficient amounts.

Even before there was mining in the area, Cement Creek—the stream first hit with three million gallons of sludge released by EPA’s snafu at Gold King—had been declared undrinkable as far back as 1876. Nature was poisoning the water even before humans got involved. Mining exacerbated the problem. Tainted water had been seeping out of abandoned or closed mines near Gold King for decades.

The Nation's Pulse

Random Thoughts

By 8.18.15

Random thoughts on the passing scene:

Stupid people can cause problems, but it usually takes brilliant people to create a real catastrophe.

President Obama’s “agreement” with Iran looks very much like “the emperor’s new clothes.” We are supposed to pretend that there is something there, when there is nothing there that will stop, or even slow down, Iran’s development of a nuclear bomb.

The endlessly repeated argument that most Americans are the descendants of immigrants ignores the fact that most Americans are NOT the descendants of ILLEGAL immigrants. Millions of immigrants from Europe had to stop at Ellis Island, and had to meet medical and other criteria before being allowed to go any further.

Governor Bobby Jindal: “I realize that the best way to make news is to mention Donald Trump.… So, I’ve decided to randomly put his name into my remarks at various points, thereby ensuring that the news media will cover what I have to say.” Governor Jindal’s outstanding record in Louisiana should have gotten him far more attention from the media than Trump’s bombast.

Serve and Volley

Racquets and Words

By 8.17.15

Nick Kyrgios, 20-year-old Australian tennis player, beat this year’s French Open champ, 30-year-old Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland, in an early round in the Canada Open, more formally known as the Rogers Cup and, bilingual correctness oblige, the Coupe Rogers. The men’s competition takes place in Montreal, the women’s in Toronto, but they alternate year by year. This may be on instructions from the meddlesome federal government in Ottawa, which is mindful of spreading the wealth — the sports-tourism wealth — between the neighboring provinces of Ontario (Toronto) and Quebec (Montreal.)

The Canadian Open enjoys Masters 1000 status (ATP, men’s tour) and Premier 5 (WTA, women). It is a significant event for anyone who follows tennis. The No. 1 seeds at the tournaments were Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams, both of whom are having sensational seasons and will doubtless be the No 1 seeds at the U.S. Open, which begins August 31.