Environmental roundup

  • Oklahoma attorney general goes to court claiming private litigant manipulation of endangered/threatened species petition process [Lowell Rothschild & Kevin Ewing; NPR “State Impact”; Oklahoman, auto-plays ad video; press release, Oklahoma AG E. Scott Pruitt; ESA Watch site from oil riggers; more on the topic]
  • New Yorker mag backs tale of frogs/atrazine researcher who claims conspiracy. Someone’s gonna wind up embarrassed [Jon Entine]
  • Does gas company lease of subsurface rights entitle it to seek injunction excluding protesters from ground level? [Paul Alan Levy]
  • California: “Abusive Coastal Agency Demands Even More Power” [Steven Greenhut]
  • Mr. Harris, you embarrass: “recreational burning of wood is unethical and should be illegal” [Sam Harris from 2012]
  • Harrisburg Patriot-News series on flood insurance [TortsProf, R Street Institute on recent bill]
  • Kansas, Louisiana, and Indiana named top states on property rights freedoms [Mercatus]


  • Burning wood is unethical? In trying to come up with organized professions, trades or even jobs that might consider it so, the only ones I can think of are the Fraternal Order of Coal Heavers and the Sons of the Desert.

    The word Mr. Harris was looking for is probably “immoral”. However, what he meant was “evil”. I’m sure he considered it, but somehow recognized that people might react to that word in ways he would not prefer. Darn those four-letter words!


  • No, Bob, Mr. Harris didn’t mean “evil” or “immoral”. It’s pretty clear he writes from and his target audience are of the perspective that good and evil ,or moral and immoral, are relics of superstitious religious beliefs, and so empty concepts that convey no meaning and provide no standards for conduct. Accordingly, they are disgarded concepts and cannot form a basis of his (or, he apparently believes, anyone else’s correctly based) reasoning. Instead, he argues for “unethical” — which, as you clearly see, is sematic nonsense. Still, if there are no standards for right and wrong, then I can do whatever I wish, and Mr. Harris is being judgmental in criticizing my choice, so that his hate speech blog is entitled to no protection and must be immediate shut down, and he, prosecuted for his hate speech.

  • What are you, Belgian?


  • Bob — I’m not sure whether to say “cute comment” or feel slighted. When the Pres gives a major speech in Brussels, and only one person claps (slowly) at the end and no one asks questions, what does that say about Belgian manners? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVFrdWIs2LI#t=21
    “Unethical” ? Still, they make good waffles, don’t they.

  • No, wfjag, I had this idea that you would have responded with something like “What a weird insult!” and I would have said that your thinking calling someone Belgian is insulting is racism on your part.

    In the end, what impresses me most about Harris’ comments is the sour, dour, ascetic puritanism that simply ignores the archaic pleasures of an open fireplace and turns it all into the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy for a few minutes.


  • Their response was “politely thoughtful”. They were obviously still deciphering what he just said. Yeah, that’s the ticket.
    (Indeed, we are occasionally called upon to choose between the polite response and the intelligent response.)