David v. Goliath and the tyranny of the majority

From Andy Leahy at NYShaleGasNow, a great update to—no, a very informative expansion on—the Chump Change post below. Read and learn:

...NYC hasn't purchased all, or even most, of this misleadingly green-shaded land — either outright in fee, or by easement against development.  It's true NYC owns rights to all the land that it long ago flooded, or built upon, to create its water system.  And it's true the city Water Department has made some additional purchases since.  But not much of what lies upstream.  In fact, former DEC Commissioner Alexander "Pete" Grannis used to give speeches in which he pointedly noted that some 70 percent of this upstream land remains privately owned...

...In these drinking water watershed situations (On this phrasing, here's a reminder to Earth Science-impaired media representatives:  All land lays in a watershed), the state's drill/no-drill regulatory distinctions have been unsatisfactorily explained as being not so much about the realistic risk of surface spills, or the unrealistic risk of uncontrolled returns from depth, of spent or unspent frack water.  Instead, it's been explained as being more about the risk of much less spectacular sediment runoff from drillsite and access road construction.  Sediment.  Or, more to the point, it's really more about the regulatory risk that the federal EPA will view such surface disturbances as a reason to strip NYC and Syracuse of their money-saving filtration waivers — regardless of whether there's much actually foreseeable impact from drilling, and regardless of whether there are any public health benefits to be gained from filtering the water supplies already...

...Leaving aside the highly questionable risk-assessment validity of these ever-expanding no-drill takings, as put forth by NYC, a question of fairness remains:  Should the many urban, water-drinking, peaceful-of-mind beneficiaries of these regulatory "protections" compensate the many fewer private landowners for their lost economic opportunities?  

Or is it okay for the majority to economically oppress the minority, just because it's politically stronger?  Going all the way back to the days of King George, and to the drafting of the American Bill of Rights, isn't the system of free, private ownership of land intended to set limits upon this kind of oppression?  And should we be careful what we wish for, when we conspire in silence to excuse such blatant exceptions?

Delaware County's resolution says, in all fairness, reparations must be made — and this document is the latest salvo in an Upstate-Downstate dispute which long pre-dates the much younger Shale Gas Debates...

There's much more—definitely read the whole thing.  Thanks, Andy.

Fighting Fire with Quotas

From Tom Reynolds:

Eric Holder’s INjustice Department strikes again.  First they are not going to pursue black on white legal issues and then they are not going to uphold the Defense of Marriage law.  Now, according to the Washington Times, they are trying to force the NYC Fire Department to hire rejected test takers who got 70% wrong on a basic, fire-related, multiple choice, OPEN BOOK test. (The exam screens candidates for the fire academy.)

INjustice submitted a proposed order for rejected minority applicants who scored at least 25 right out of 85 questions.  They would get compensation for lost seniority and seniority over firemen who have been working. (Our tax dollars at work!)

A 2009 case in Connecticut said they could NOT do this, but INjustice doesn’t seem to  worry about the law anymore—unless the law is Obamacare. 

If the test isn’t necessary, why do it?

But if the test is valid to get qualified fire fighters, INjustice is putting people’s lives at risk.

If you think 25 out of 85 is a low bar, the first 11 questions are related to a fire scene and ask how many firefighters are on hand, how many fire hydrants in view, the street address, what floor had a person standing in the window, etc.

To refresh your memory about the New Haven firefighters' case, go here (Sonia Sotomayor, in her pre-SCOTUS days, argued against what turned out to be the prevailing decision—maybe that's all you need to know).
For some very interesting reading and more information on what exactly is on these tests anyway and how they are "discriminatory," go here.
And, lastly, for the Washington Times piece cited above as well as this:

[Those] upset about the disparate impact such exams have on blacks want to separate “who’s the best for the job” with “good education.” But how can measuring cognitive skills not be related to who’s best for the job? If the exam asked candidates to expound on the theory of relativity, [they] would have a point...

But requiring job candidates to demonstrate an understanding of a fire fighting-related passage they just read is assessing who’s the best for the job, and such a requirement is not biased against blacks.
go here. The author is La Shawn Barber, a conservative woman whose writing appears on such blogs as Michelle Malkin in addition to her own blog, and who happens to be—black.

"UFT spends millions on dinners, parties, parking, coffee as thousands of teachers face layoffs"


This is somewhat amusing because at one time the Daily News was the right-wing paper in NYC, while the Post was the flaming liberal rag. Now things are flip-flopped.  Nevertheless, I guess what is, is (via Pundit & Pundette):

As nearly 5,000 city teachers face the ax, their union shells out millions of dollars on feasting, boozing and partying, the Daily News has learned.


"I'm not going to apologize for spending money to service our members," said UFT President Michael Mulgrew.

"These people are heroes dedicated to making a difference in the lives of our children. They never get the respect they deserve. A cup of coffee, a bottle of water and a few parking spots is the least we can do for them."...

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