Quick links for Tuesday night (and Open Thread)

Victorian posy of pansiesI have to return to my perpetual motion machine, but before I do, I wanted to throw out a few quick links to things I thought were interesting.

Second Amendment supporters cheered when the 9th Circuit (the 9th Circuit!!!) ruled that counties cannot concealed-carry licenses by reserving to themselves the power to determine whether someone is in genuine fear for his life.  The Marin County Sheriff finds this ruling offensive, primarily because no one ever schooled him on the Second Amendment:

Marin County Sheriff-Coroner Doyle criticized the ruling, saying it “essentially eliminates the authority of local sheriffs and chiefs of police to establish a ‘good cause’ standard for granting or denying concealed weapons permits that is reflective of the individualized community standards where they serve.” Doyle said he is a “strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment, but believe this latest court ruling unreasonably expands the scope of that constitutional guarantee, enabling people not only to arm themselves for protection inside their homes and businesses, but also in areas that are open to the public where possession of a concealed firearm has until now been a crime.”

Apparently Sheriff Doyle’s copy of Second Amendment reads as follows:  “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, provided that this militia is made up solely of government employed or authorized citizens, the right of the people to keep and bear arms inside their homes if they first get government permission based upon a bureaucrat’s determination that they might be in danger shall not be infringed.”

Me?  I think that’s a pretty lousy version of the Second Amendment and, thankfully, it’s not the real deal.  If Doyle and others would like to have the Second Amendment changed, they need to follow the Constitution’s amendment process, not simply misread the actual document.

***

Sometimes statements just demand a snarky, sarcastic response.  Take for example President Obama’s boastful statement that the stimulus worked, never mind the job-market contraction, sneaking inflation, rising food and fuel costs, etc.  Certainly Obama couldn’t care less about these picayune issues, for he said “Anybody who says we can’t compete when it comes to clean energy technologies like solar and wind, they have had to eat those words.”  (Emphasis mine.)  To which the obvious riposte is, yeah, and words are all that they’ve got left to eat, what with no jobs, no money, no fuel and no food.  I was going to say “What a maroon,” but Bugs Bunny’s favorite insult seems too mild when compared to this man’s arrogance and insensitivity.

***

I’m not making it up about rising fuel prices.  Dan Greenfield (aka Sultan Knish) has a long, depressing post about the way the green energy movement, which has enriched the Leftist nomenklatura is leaving increasing numbers of people in the First World cold and hungry, with periodic bouts of death thrown in for good measure.

***

Doug Ross has a cartoon panel that eviscerates Leftist thinking in three frames.

Al Gore brings new levels of chutzpah to the expression that one should find a need and fill it

“Find a need and fill it.”  That’s great advice in a capitalist society and it’s how many people have gotten rich while improving other’s lives.

Al Gore has a different twist on that adage:  Use false data to create an artificial need, and then fill that need using pork:

The man who was within sight of the presidency 12 years ago has transformed himself, becoming perhaps the world’s most renowned crusader on climate change and a highly successful green-tech investor.

Just before leaving public office in 2001, Gore reported assets of less than $2 million; today, his wealth is estimated at $100 million.

[snip]

Fourteen green-tech firms in which Gore invested received or directly benefited from more than $2.5 billion in loans, grants and tax breaks, part of President Obama’s historic push to seed a U.S. renewable-energy industry with public money.

Please understand that I value a clean environment.  But proposing solutions for dealing with pollution is not how Gore got rich.  Gore got rich by creating an artificial panic structured around his hysterical insistence that human activity was turning the earth into a giant oven.  That’s fraud.  And using taxpayer created slush funds to fund his boondoggle is indecent — and it’s also Progressive politics as usual.

The destructive forces of green energy

Our travels this weekend took us over the Altamont Pass, home of one of America’s largest windmill farms.  The children were amazed by the endless vista of spinning windmills, and my husband waxed rhapsodic about the clean energy.  Being contrary, I mentioned that the windmills kill lots of birds.  Indeed, I said, there was something of a conundrum, because people who care about birds also care about clean energy, and here they were, faced with a clean energy source that kills birds.

It seems I’m not the only one who’s noticed that conundrum.  With exquisite timing, today’s WSJ has an op-ed on precisely that topic:

On Aug. 13, ExxonMobil pleaded guilty in federal court to killing 85 birds that had come into contact with crude oil or other pollutants in uncovered tanks or waste-water facilities on its properties. The birds were protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which dates back to 1918. The company agreed to pay $600,000 in fines and fees.

ExxonMobil is hardly alone in running afoul of this law. Over the past two decades, federal officials have brought hundreds of similar cases against energy companies. In July, for example, the Oregon-based electric utility PacifiCorp paid $1.4 million in fines and restitution for killing 232 eagles in Wyoming over the past two years. The birds were electrocuted by poorly-designed power lines.

Yet there is one group of energy producers that are not being prosecuted for killing birds: wind-power companies. And wind-powered turbines are killing a vast number of birds every year.

A July 2008 study of the wind farm at Altamont Pass, Calif., estimated that its turbines kill an average of 80 golden eagles per year. The study, funded by the Alameda County Community Development Agency, also estimated that about 10,000 birds—nearly all protected by the migratory bird act—are being whacked every year at Altamont.

Altamont’s turbines, located about 30 miles east of Oakland, Calif., kill more than 100 times as many birds as Exxon’s tanks, and they do so every year. But the Altamont Pass wind farm does not face the same threat of prosecution, even though the bird kills at Altamont have been repeatedly documented by biologists since the mid-1990s.

[snip]

Why aren’t wind companies prosecuted for killing eagles and other birds? “The fix here is not easy or cheap,” Mr. Lee told me. He added that he doesn’t expect to see any prosecutions of the politically correct wind industry.

This is a double standard that more people—and not just bird lovers—should be paying attention to. In protecting America’s wildlife, federal law-enforcement officials are turning a blind eye to the harm done by “green” energy.

On the subject of wind farms, a little imp also urged me to say that there must be a few other problems with them, since Teddy Kennedy refused to have them built anywhere within sight of his home in Hyannisport.  Mr. Bookworm first denied that this was true.  When I convinced him of its truth, he then said that it was perfectly reasonable for Kennedy to preserve his view and shift those ugly windmills elsewhere.  He did not concede that “elsewhere” might be less efficient or impair someone else’s view.  In fact, it’s perfectly possible that shifting them would be both more efficient and aesthetic.  I just enjoyed my spouse’s assumption that, if Kennedy said “no,” that possibility must be the reality.