Sunday, February 28, 2010


The prize: Bakken crude in a clear dish.

How we get that prize: Night drilling in February--bring your sweater.

You're not a real American if stories like this don't make you happy, and excited. As you read this fascinating WSJ piece on the North Dakota oil boom, notice how:

**Aggressive oil exploration has brought prosperity to a lagging state--where unemployment is now 4.3%. "Booming Bakken oil production has helped North Dakota escape the worst of the economic downturn. The state's unemployment rate was 4.3% in December—more than five percentage points below the national level—and the state government projects a surplus for the current budget cycle."

**The REAL oil experts--those whose livelihood depends on PRODUCING OIL AT COMMERCIALLY VIABLE PRICES--sure as hell haven't given up on finding oil here on the good old North American landmass. "'It's a true game-changer,' said Jim Volker, chairman and CEO of Whiting Petroleum Corp. a Bakken oil producer. 'We still think there's a significant amount of oil reserves in the United States left to be discovered.'" And I LOVE this quote from Harold Hamm, chairman of Continental Resources: "Most people felt like they could kind of write off the oil industry in the U.S., and that's just a long way from the truth. The fact of the matter is that a lot of people quit looking for oil."

**Those bad old greedy oil companies have taken the time to build their own rail-line to transport the shale oil. Isn't this what we call the "multiplier effect" of private industry growth?

**Those bad old greedy oil companies have within a few short years developed new production techniques that have converted essentially worthless rocks to valuable engines of petro-industry growth...even as oil prices have slumped from $80/barrel to $50/barrel.

**At $78/barrel, North Dakota's oil production will be worth $6.24 billion, with a B, per year. Not bad for a state with less than 1 million people.

**Mark Papa, the chairman of EOG Resources, almost casually describes why his company decided to risk "$20 to $40 million" after a string of early failures: "The first three or four wells, it was not clear that there would be a viable economic solution. But we just felt like, well, it's worth investing $20 to $40 million in this because if it works there's a huge upside." IOW: the promise of POTENTIAL huge profits DOES encourage expensive investment, including LABOR.

**The sheer technological advances spun off from this aggressive oil exploration have made it profitable to extract Bakken oil when prices are above $50/barrel, when just a couple of years ago it required $80/barrel, and shortened the time to drill a well from 56 days to 24. Plus these same advances promise to increase production in other parts of the world. "Marathon Oil Corp. hopes to use what they learn in North Dakota to produce oil and gas overseas. 'It's been a great laboratory for us," said Dave Roberts, who heads exploration and production for Marathon.'"

So we can all agree that no real American wouldn't be thrilled by a story like this, especially in hard times when unemployment is bumping the 10% mark, right? Good news, right?

But can you imagine even one member of the Obama Cabinet being happy with this story? Just imagine how they would spin it against the bad old greedy oil companies, capitalists, exploiters, save the shales, Cheney, Haliburton, Bush, Blahblahblaaahhhhh...

Whatta gang of phonies they are. Claim to be focused on jobsjobsjobs, yet they do everything they can to crush energy production of oil (and coal) right here, huge and strategic industries that could expand by millions of high-paying jobs.

Well, they will ultimately, and epically, FAIL miserably. Because one Harold Hamm is worth a thousand Barack Haman Obamas.

FEBRUARY 26, 2010
Oil Industry Booms -- in North Dakota
State Is Riding High as Firms Develop Better Ways to Tap Huge Bakken Shale Deposit, Raising Hopes for U.S. Production

KILLDEER, N.D.—A massive oil reserve buried two miles underground has put North Dakota at the center of a revolution in the U.S. oil industry, a shift that has radically altered the fortunes of this remote area.
The Bakken Shale deposit has been known and even tapped on occasion for decades. But technological improvements in the past two years have taken what was once a small, marginally profitable field and turned it into one of the fastest-growing oil-producing areas in the U.S.
The Bakken Shale had helped North Dakota oil production double in the past three years, surging to 80 million barrels in 2009—tiny relative to the more than seven billion barrels consumed by the U.S. every year, but enough to vault the state past Oklahoma and Louisiana to become the country's fourth-biggest oil producer, after Texas, Alaska and California. If current projections hold, North Dakota's oil production could pass Alaska's by the end of the decade.
"Most people felt like they could kind of write off the oil industry in the U.S., and that's just a long way from the truth," said Harold Hamm, chairman and chief executive of Continental Resources Inc., one of the biggest Bakken producers. "The fact of the matter is that a lot of people quit looking for oil." Continental reported Thursday that its North Dakota oil production doubled in 2009 and would continue to grow rapidly this year.
The Bakken Shale could contain up to 4.3 billion barrels of recoverable oil, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. That would make it the biggest oil field discovered in the contiguous U.S. in more than 40 years—and many in the industry believe the amount of recoverable oil could be even greater as new technology allows companies to tap more of it.

And a lot of hilarious comments there, 71 so far.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


The visionary Rabbi Chaim Richman.

As the years passed, it slowly dawned on me how simultaneously provocative and humiliating Israel's historical policy towards Jerusalem's Temple Mount has been, going way back to 1967. Provocative, because by extending the hand of tolerance to Muslim religious "authorities," Israel encourages them to believe that they still really control Jerusalem, and will someday be able to destroy Israel. And humiliating, because the policy has explicitly and deliberately turned Jews into 3d-class citizens once they walk upon the holiest site in Judaism--inside Israel!

But thank God, there is a dedicated group of Jerusalemites determined to rectify this absurd situation. Led by the great folks at the Temple Institute, an impressive coalition of Israelis, Jews and Gentiles has declared this upcoming March 16 (Rosh Chodesh Nisan in the ancient Jewish calendar) to be "International Temple Mount Awareness Day." THIS is the kind of principled, morality-based activism that will pay great dividends in our future battles with satanic jihadism.

Please join the fight this tuesday, which will be a key step in restoring the Third Temple. And somehow I sense that, once that is accomplished, all of our fears and responses to satanic jihadism will no longer be needed. May it come to pass speedily and in our days, amen.

"My house shall be a house of prayer for all nations..."--Isaiah 56:7

Sunday, February 21, 2010


“Voters of Arizona:

I am here to endorse John McCain for re-election to the United States Senate. As you know, his opponent, J.D. Hayworth, has been unfairly attacked by some McCain supporters. These attacks have no place in this campaign. Let me assure you that I have nothing but highest respect for J.D. Hayworth as a person. No-one should have any fears for Arizona should J.D. Hayworth win. J.D. Hayworth is an honorable man, and a wonderful family man. In fact, if J.D. Hayworth should defeat John McCain and win this Senate race, the people of Arizona will have a great deal to be proud of with J.D.’s victory.

Some McCain supporters have attacked J.D. Hayworth, and these worthless slugs have no business speaking for John McCain’s campaign, or even drawing breath. If we cannot carry out a respectful and dignified campaign, we will betray our great heritage as Arizonans. But J.D. Hayworth has no experience as a United States Senator, while John McCain has been a Senator since 1986, so vote for him over J.D. Hayworth. But if J.D. Hayworth wins, we can all be proud."

Saturday, February 13, 2010


It is now being reported at AtlasShrugs2000 that the young pastor who counseled Rifqa Bary when she was in Ohio, Brian Williams, may be prosecuted (for what, I have no idea) on criminal charges for his involvement. This wd be a nakedly political prosecution, of course. But as I like to tell my clients, in the courthouse, very often what seems good is actually bad, and what seems bad turns out to be good. I posted the following at AtlasShrugs on this topic:

If our concern is to get the truth about shariah and honor-killing amplified in a public trial WITHOUT undue pressure or risk to Rifqa, then a prosecution against Brian Williams is a MUCH BETTER OPPORTUNITY.

First, Mr. Williams is an adult who has no need of "shelter" by the state, and who can freely consult with anyone he likes to ensure his attorney is up to snuff. Also, he has no criminal record so he shd [at worst] be eligible for a reasonable bond, and he has no greater threat of assassination by jihadis after being charged than he had before.

2d, he will have the right to call Rifqa AS HIS WITNESS, for a trial which would almost assuredly occur long AFTER she turns 18. I have no doubt she wd eagerly testify on his behalf.

3d, he cd. even seek [and this may sound like a PR stunt, but it wd in any event be successful!] a "deposition to perpetuate testimony," in order to pin down Rifqa's testimony BEFORE trial. This is normally only done with a witness who is likely to die of illness or injury before trial, or likely to leave the jurisdiction, and it must be sought via a special motion to the judge. JUST THE FILING OF A MOTION FOR THIS DEPOSITION would cause an uproar, since it wd allege precisely the murderous jihadi threats that are the center of this crisis. It wd also be tailor-made for a parade of expert witnesses to explain to the criminal court (whose responsibility is NOT to the well-being of a child or preservation of a family, but to protect the fundamental rights of the ACCUSED, in this case Mr. Williams) why such a deposition is necessary, given the reasonable possibility that the essential defense witness (Rifqa) might be murdered before the actual trial. Whether or not the judge grants the motion, the court hearing ABOUT the motion wd be stunning theatre. And this wd be before the real TRIAL even starts!

4th, every hearing in the adult criminal court is open to the public. There wd be no question of jihadi attorneys hiding anything from the public. In fact, the jihadi attorneys will not even have a place in the trial. Just the prosecutor and the defense, period.

5th, every opinion that is uttered on the witness stand is 100% immune from libel charges (a time-tested jihadi tool of lawfare), and is forever implanted on the public record.

I'm sure I can think of other benefits from a criminal trial against Mr. Williams, with more time.

I emphasize that I do NOT take lightly the stress of a criminal proceeding against anyone, much less a nice young fellow like Brian Williams who has done nothing to deserve it, but only served as a good Samaritan, if not a hero. But we have discussed a LOT about the political implications to this case, and its risks to our side. My great fear has always been dread physical harm to Rifqa Bary, pure and simple. I defended the efforts of HER attorneys in Ohio, since I thought, and think, they have effectively preserved her from that harm and show promise to continue to do so. It has concerned me that some of her good supporters, who want a trial in dependency court above all, seem to minimize that physical risk.

Given that, they should be happy to see the older, non-apostate Brian Williams being given the opportunity to trumpet the truth about honor-killing, with Rifqa as his solid witness. "Please, Mr. Franklin County prosecutor, don' throw me in that briar-patch!"

Of course a good defense lawyer is not cheap, but needn't be prohibitive. I'd estimate the expenses for a similar case in my part of Florida as follows:
Bond: $500-$1,000
Attorney (if not pro-bono): $3,000-$6,000
Misc. expenses: $200-$600

Given the strong support of many religious people, I don't think it wd be too hard to defray Mr. Williams' legal expenses 100%.

Monday, February 1, 2010


[I just posted this comment at AtlasShrugs, which has done a generally superb job in following Rifqa's case...But nobody's perfect.]

"Hold your hand, my lord:
I have served you ever since I was a child;
But better service have I never done you
Than now to bid you hold."
--King Lear, Act III, Scene VII

Atlas, in the bowels of Christ, I beseech you to imagine that you may be mistaken.

No good can come of this badgering of Mr. Stemberger, can it?

I hate to go and commit remembering here, but does anyone else recall the single great legal obstacle that Rifqa faced here in Florida? JURISDICTION, period. Once Ohio asserted its jurisdiction, it was a foregone conclusion that the case wd return there. Clarence F'ing Darrow cdn't have saved that case in Florida at that point.

Since there was not a single allegation that the Bary parents had done anything to Rifqa IN FLORIDA, then there was no question of any kind of Florida criminal charge against them. There was just Rifqa’s allegation of the threats from her Dad, but they all occurred in Ohio, so once Ohio agreed to take the case, it was GONE FROM FLORIDA.

Recall that both Florida and Ohio law enforcement had unanimously opined that neither the Barys nor their community were even a remote threat to Rifqa. This obstacle for Mr. Stemberger was in practical terms insurmountable. But even if he had commenced the long process of preparing for trial with experts like Spencer, Sultan, etc., it was moot once Ohio took the case.

Frankly, I thought it was a miracle that the case stayed in FL as long as it did (2 ½ months). And no less an expert than our amigo john jay repeatedly warned right here at this site that there were no legal grounds to keep the dependency case in Florida once the Ohio court asserted its jurisdiction.

Mr. Stemberger makes one key assertion: “The legal strategy and plan agreed to by all lawyers involved in both Florida and Ohio from the beginning has been to get Rifqa declared a “Dependent” by the state.” This may sound a little crazy to most people, but it is indeed legally essential to saving Rifqa in this circumstance. The reason is that, to a great extent, PARENTS OWN THEIR MINOR CHILDREN. PARENTS HAVE RIGHTS SUPERIOR TO THEIR MINOR CHILDREN. Doubt me? Well, what happens when---
1) Minor child slaps parent? Battery.
2) Child slaps child? Battery.
3) Parent slaps parent? Battery.
4) Parent slaps child? NOTHING—a parent is legally entitled to strike (though not INJURE, nor ABUSE) their minor child.

Another Florida example: if a minor confesses to a crime, but his parent has told the police they do not them to speak to the child, then the confession is suppressed. IN OTHER WORDS, THE PARENT WHO IS NOT PRESENT HAS MORE RIGHT TO INVOKE SILENCE THAN THE CHILD WHO IS ACTUALLY BEING QUESTIONED.

Parents own their minor children.

Without some compelling reason for the State to step in, Rifqa wd perforce be back at home, and soon dead. But her ingenious attorneys in Ohio have effectively done a back-door maneuver for her to “plead guilty” as an “unruly child.” THEREFORE, the State has to “control” her via the foster home mechanism…THEREFORE, she is NOT sent home.

THEREFORE, she is alive.

I sure appreciate Jamal Jivanjee’s heart and sincerity, but he seems to be in denial that Rifqa’s fate is indeed in A DEPENDENCY COURT CASE, where certain established rules and laws of Ohio will decide it, not divine justice nor divine truth. Mr. Stamberger has described two Ohio attorneys on the case whose credentials look mighty solid to me. Does anyone else have a remotely credible alternative to these counselors?

When I take a case, I always review with a client how we define a “win,” and how we achieve that win. To define a “win” might seem self-evident, but not always. For example, in a criminal case the theoretical objective is always to get a “case dismissed.” But sometimes that is just not feasible, or only after a frightfully high risk. Let’s say we are facing a life felony, but we are truly innocent. If we can ultimately plea it out for a misdemeanor, with just fines and court costs, is that a “win?” Many defendants will say YES, since the risk at trial is so great.

In Rifqa’s case, her team has defined a “win” as her being separated from her parents until she turns 18. Since I believe that her return to her parents poses a distinct probability of her being murdered, I agree with that definition. As I understand it (and I have NOT seen any detailed legal review of the proceedings), the agreement she entered in court a couple weeks back SECURED THAT WIN. What her parents now want to do (renege) is irrelevant—the deal is signed, sealed, delivered!

A few weeks back I was appointed a case to defend, a poor old derelict charged with panhandling (60 days max). Well, we had the trial. The very experienced prosecutor questioned the very experienced police officer, who provided the details of the panhandling in question. The prosecutor also made sure to ask the officer whether the case occurred in our county, a routine requirement to establish jurisdiction. And the officer confirmed it.

Well, the problem was that the panhandling charge was made under a municipal ordinance, not state law, so the officer needed to establish that it occurred within the city limits, not the county. After the State rested, I immediately rested without calling my poor wino defendant to quarrel with the officer’s facts, and moved for an acquittal since the prosecutor had not established that it had occurred inside the city limits. The judge agreed, case dismissed! Yaaayyy!!

But my defendant was indignant! He wanted to testify to refute the officer’s testimony that he had been panhandling. He started to argue with me, “I need to tell the judge that isn’t the way it happened!” But we already won, sir! He didn’t care—he was like Mr. Jivanjee, he wanted the TRUTH to come out, he wanted JUSTICE.

But Rifqa needs to WIN.

My friends, we all need to WIN. This is a colossal, long-term struggle, and this is a critical battle in it. But we cannot be so blinkered that we do not see the incredible value of KEEPING THIS GIRL OUT OF HER PARENTS’ CLUTCHES, in effect saving her life. That has been an amazing, almost miraculous outcome, and a HUGE VICTORY. Don’t believe me? Ask the Barys and their attorneys and CAIR, they understand how bad that outcome is for them.

John Stemberger did a creditable job with a very bad hand. I don’t know if every thing he did was perfect, but I’ve never seen a perfect representation. Has anyone? If he had a hand in picking Rifqa’s Ohio team, and they got this win, then he has the right to take a small bow, too.

I just don’t see the point in attacking Rifqa’s attorneys in this case. It is an unjustified and needless distraction, and detracts from the energy and focus we can marshal against our real jihadi enemies. Which enemies are so forcefully, skillfully and relentlessly identified and skewered at this mighty website.

But John Stemberger isn’t one of them. He deserves a break.