Interesting Items 08/10 -
Howdy all, a few Interesting Items for your information. Enjoy –
In this issue:
1. Shootdown. After months of pretty heavy items, I ran across this happy little story last week. It is about a Kentucky man who shot down a drone hovering over his property while one of his daughter’s was out sunbathing. Of course got arrested for illegal discharge of a weapon in city limits. Total cost of the drone was in the neighborhood of $1,800 and it was armed with a camera busily transmitting video back to its owner. The owners were upset with the shootdown and tried to confront the homeowner. They left unsatisfied after they saw he was carrying a firearm and called the cops on him. No word yet on whether the video taken inflight was still available. Should this go to trial, discovery will be most interesting The homeowner used a shotgun with birdshot, which should work well against drones as they are soft targets and are not maneuvering. Anyone with any experience trap shooting should easily be able to remove a drone overhead, though there will be video transmitted back to whomever owns it of the engagement. The explosion of private drone use will lead to much more of this, based on both the near continuous surveillance and occasional reaction by those being surveilled. Fortunately, shotgun ammunition with small caliber birdshot is not in short supply anywhere. Watch this one closely, as it will not be the last one. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jul/30/william-merideth-arreste...
2. AFFH. Looks like there is growing opposition to Obama’s new HUD Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, the rule that creates databases of personal information on every American and calls any differences in economic station between those Americans a racist act. This then gives the regime carte blanche to take over planning and zoning functions at local levels under the excuse that any perceived racism must be reversed in precisely the manner that the distributors of federal housing money demand it be solved. The rule is more properly referred to as the full employment act for racialist lawyers and their front groups rule, all done with our tax dollars. The PowerLine post on the rule ends with the observation:
So the administrative state has now reached the point where the President’s minions can tell Americans where to live, and direct local communities as to how they spend their money, and Congress’s only role is to veto the regulation if it can muster a two-thirds majority in both houses. The Constitution really is a dead letter.
The other AFFH story comes out of Hillary’s home in Chappaqua. Obama’s (In)Justice Department just came to a legal settlement with Westchester County, NY. It is not a friendly settlement. At issue is local opposition to a low income housing project being forced on the community. (In)Justice used its leverage of endless taxpayer funded court costs to force the county into a settlement. The settlement appoints a “monitor” who has usurped the county’s ability to manage its local planning and zoning. Additionally, (In)Justice asked the court to impose massive fines on the county should county officials not force local town council to approve the low income housing development in Chappaqua. County officials will be forced to publish a letter in support of the housing development in the local paper. They will also be directed to harass town officials on a monthly basis as to why necessary approvals for the project have not yet been issued. County officials will also have to attend local meetings in support of the project and speak in favor of it. Should Westchester, New Town and Chappaqua not give in, HUD will use the collected fines to build even more low income housing in the communities. Finally, (In)Justice is demanding county officials not only obtain financing for new low income housing developments in Chappaqua but must also suppress local opposition to it. This effectively turns them into tools of HUD and (In)Justice. This is being described as a test case for the application of AFFH in the rest of the nation. And the regime is doing it in Hillary’s back yard. Coming soon to a neighborhood near you. http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/421533/obama-fires-affh-warning-sho...
3. Houston. There are costs associated with electing radical homosexuals and lesbians to political office who are more interested in being homosexual or lesbian public officials than public officials that simply happen to be those particular persuasions. In a reprise of a story from last year out of Houston, the outgoing mayor, a militant lesbian who lost a fight to pass a non-discrimination ordinance due to opposition from local churches and religious organizations, is trying to get the last laugh. During the fight, she had the Municipal Clerk throw out over 50,000 signatures collected for an opposition ballot initiative and tried to have opposing sermons subpoenaed, a heavy-handed effort which backfired badly, eventually defeating both the ordinance and her ability to govern. But Mayor Parker was not finished. Last week, the City of Houston announced eminent domain condemnation and seizure processes against two inner city churches that were involved in defeating the ordinance. At this writing, it appears that it is simple gentrification graft and corruption, steamrolling the poor while giving their property to well-heeled contributors. But Parker is such a nasty piece of work, that I expect payback is as always is a dish best served cold. http://legalinsurrection.com/2015/08/city-of-houston-threatens-to-steal-...
4. Chimps. Interesting confluence of events from NY State courts last week. As some of you may know, the animal rights whackos are busily trying to obtain rights for animals via lawsuits in friendly state and federal courts. Given the increasing number of Obama appointees in the federal courts and the decreasing number of blue state judicial appointees, expect the current mix to shift from the states to the feds over time. Last week, a NY Judge rejected a habeas corpus petition requested by activists in an attempt to free a pair of chimpanzees from a research lab. The claim was that they were unlawfully imprisoned. Surprisingly, her opinion took the case seriously. She noted that rights defined by who practiced them changed over time and cited Obergfell to support the observation. This led some Twitter users to claim that she was using Obergfell to justify a future change in those rights. Another pleasant surprise was her observation that it was not her place to determine those new rights, as that power lay in the hands of higher courts (bad news) or the legislature (good news). The most interesting thing she had to say was noting that chimps and humans share 99% of the same DNA but chimps are not human, but they are not totally inhuman. This plus the Obergfell citation lead to an interesting thought. Given that the aborted babies who are being killed and sold for parts share 100% human DNA, what are their rights? Better still, what is the ability to protect them via habeas corpus from unlawful termination? Wouldn’t be interesting if Obergfell provided a SCOTUS-blessed vehicle to shut down the abortion mills of Planned Parenthood forever? And it would be the bunny huggers and the gay rights crowd that provided the necessary litigation to get it done. How cool is that? http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2015/07/ha...
5. Suing. One of the recent vehicles the anti-gunners are using to go after firearms and ammunition manufacturers are civil lawsuits following mass shootings. These are mostly failures following the passage of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) in 2005. The family of one of those murdered by James Holmes in Aurora, CO brought a lawsuit against the ammo dealers implicated in Holmes’ rampage. Their case was dismissed federal court and they were ordered to pay over $200,000 in legal fees and court costs for both sided of the litigation. The judge called the suit a political act aimed a propagandizing the public and stigmatizing the defendant (ammo seller). The family dropped an appeal of the ruling, having run out of money for the time being. Expect them to be able to get the court costs covered via the leftist Go Fund Me process. This was not the first lawsuit of this type. It will not be the last. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/national-international/Family-to-Pay-Pric...
6. Renewables. Willis Eschenbach writes a number of analytical posts at Watts Up With That (he does lyrical ones too). His work is usually pretty good and provides more than a little food for thought. Last week he did an analysis on renewable energy and its relationship to energy costs for nations in Europe. Based on a number of graphs and data first posted at Not A Lot Of People Know That, he has found that per capita installed renewable capacity by itself explains 84% of the variation in electricity costs from nation to nation. Today, the US sits on the low end of installed renewable energy costs at around 12 cents per kilowatt hour. We have around 231 watts per capita installed. This puts the US in much the same boat as Hungary, Croatia, Romania and the Czech Republic, all nations with reasonable electricity costs to the consumer. At the other end of the graph we have the very expensive energy rates and high installed renewable (mostly wind) capacity of Germany and Denmark at nearly 30 cents per kilowatt hour and nearly 1,000 watts per capita installed – a factor of three increase in costs due to a factor four increase in installed renewables. So what do Obama and his band of masterminds want to do here in the US? That’s right, they want to more than double the percentage of installed renewables (wind and solar) by 2030, jacking it up to 28%. This will increase electricity costs nationwide to no less than 43 cents per kilowatt hour, a factor of four increase in our electric bills for every man, woman and child in the US. So much for a War on Women. Obama’s energy plan is a war on the poor, the disabled, the indigent, the struggling, and those that did not win life’s lottery. On the other hand, it provides a fertile ground for laundering of trillions of dollars worth of government subsidies through any number of renewable energy companies that will in turn return a lot of that money to the pockets of democrat political candidates so that they can keep the gravy train rolling. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/08/03/obama-may-finally-succeed/
7. Oil. One of the most important economic stories over the last couple decades has been the explosion in the ability of the US to produce oil domestically. This has been the fracing revolution that applied a half century old technique for enhancing production out of wells to tight formations like oil shale. The industry and entrepreneurs have been doing this without anything but blatant obstruction and attacks by greens, blue state politicians, the Obama regime, and Big Green. As it turns out, the US has sufficient production capacity in place right now today to bankrupt Saudi Arabia, which is a very big deal, as a bankrupt Saudi Arabia will no longer be able to pay off or otherwise fund Wahhabi clerics so as to leave the Royal Family alone. Looks like Saudi is going to be in financial trouble within two years and existential fiscal crisis by the end of the decade. The Saudis thought they could unleash their oil weapon on shale oil, driving it into bankruptcy much like they did with Reagan against the Soviet Union some 30 years ago. This time around, the technology is moving too fast for their weapon to be effective. Instead, the competition here in the US between shale fracing companies continues to improve both methods and techniques. One company drilling in the Permian Basin of West Texas claimed that last year it took 30 day to drill a 18,000’ well. This year, it took 16 days. There is no way Saudi or anyone else in the world can keep up with that. During the upcoming political season, listen closely to Republican candidates for what they say about energy. So far only Rick Perry and (sad to say) Jeb Bush have talked about oil and the economic boost it is giving. Do the other candidates know or understand it? At this point, I don’t know. What I do know is that cheap, abundant, reliable energy – and that is coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear will go a long way toward making us more free, more well off, safer and grow this economy from the disaster Obama, the democrats and their out of control bureaucracy have turned it into. Why we might not have 94 million people out of work anymore. What a concept. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/oilprices/11768136/Saudi-Arabia-may-g...
More later -