15 thoughts on “Open Forum!

  1. I don’t always agree with FIRE’s positions, but I certainly think they’re a net positive. They are about as non-partisan as it’s possible to be–recent cases include defenses of a pro-choice student, an outspokenly liberal (outside the classroom) faculty member, a professor who quoted accurately from Huckleberry Finn, and the art history professor who (after appropriate warnings) showed visual images of the prophet Muhammad.

    For all this, they regard mandatory DEI statements for job or promotion applicants as the greatest current threat to free speech on university campuses. It’s difficult to disagree with than assessment. Whether I say that as a middle-class cis white male or despite being one of the few liberal readers (or at least commenters) of this blog… well, that’s for you to decide.

    I did find FIRE’s recently published draft for an Intellectual Freedom Protection Act worth reading. It has no chance of being adopted universally, of course, but something very close to this could appear in some states ere long.

  2. Politico’s unethical headline of the day:

    DeSantis blasts immigration laws once popular with Florida Republicans

    This is one of those absurd “lacking context” headlines that make it so hard to read news these days. While it’s true that Republicans, particularly pro-business Republicans like Rick Scott often want more immigration so they can pay less for the same work, that was mostly true when illegal immigration wasn’t a huge national problem and the Southern US border with Mexico wasn’t an uncontrolled sieve, and it was mostly true with respect to so-called “Dreamers”.

    The subject is a law that Florida passed nearly a decade ago allowing some “Dreamers” to receive vouchers for out-of-state tuition. DeSantis wants to repeal that law, and given the price of education, that position makes sense. It also doesn’t make sense to subsidize those who illegally came to the United States as children, and never did. Every dollar of public money spent that way encourages more illegal immigration, both of children and adults.

    Given the problems we now face (and have frankly faced for decades) with illegal immigration, taking a harder line wherever possible makes perfect sense to me. But Politico in particular and the national media in general can’t wait to paint conservatives and Republicans as flip-floppers while ignoring the Democrats and their allies. This sort of “soft” media bias is what makes the national media intolerable — most people have no idea what’s going on here, but see that headline and conclude exactly what Politico wants them to conclude — Democrats good, Republicans bad.

  3. It’s a pretty rare thing when one of the Volokh Conspiracy bloggers rips a former U.S. appellate court judge, but that has happened today. Josh Blackman nails former judge (never-Trumper nee SCOTUS short-lister) Michael Luttig for attacking (in the New York Times, of course) Mike Pence’s lawyers over their advice to fight a subpoena from the special council investigating former president Donald Trump.

    As we all know by now, the legacy media absolutely loves people who used to be considered conservative but now espouse Leftist positions, like Luttig. They especially love those who once held positions of authority, and Luttig absolutely ticks all their boxes.

    Blackman has this advice for Pence vis-a-vis Luttig’s screed in the Times:

    Pence would be well advised to follow his legal counsel, and disregard the New York Times.

    He finishes with this rather naked comment:

    Luttig is often promoted as a “legal conservative.” Luttig may have been an active member of the conservative legal movement in the 1990s and early 2000s, but he has been MIA for about fifteen years. Indeed, in recent years, he has consistently taking positions that are conducive to progressives, such as his brief on the Second Amendment.

    Ouch. That’ll leave a mark.

    Trump Derangement Syndrome claims yet another victim, this time Micheal Luttig.

  4. I’m in an easement battle for a transmission line. We are not arguing line placement nor compensation (although it’s way less than it should be) I desperately need other perspectives and arguments as to why they’re saying no.

    As a landowner I believe we have a duty to protect our land the best way we can. This has come into direct conflict with their easements.
    1. Limit the scope by clearly defining 1 line.
    2. Have the contract time bound with abandonment language. (They put that in there, but it is when they say it is)
    3. Limit liability for the landowner. Including additional risks associated with their project like including act of god that causes the line to be a fire hazard.
    4. Have clear reclamation language and separate surface damages. (Again it’s in there, but it’s to their vague specifications)
    5. Have construction notifications and expiration if it doesn’t get built.

    Just like goals, these contracts can be smart (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely)

    The green energy movement is blanketing private property with leases and easements. I’m not trying to stop progress. I’m trying to stop the biggest land grab in the history of this country by corporations. Most of which do not care about the property itself or the environmental impact to the land itself.

    I don’t know why they have told me no, other than “90% agreed with their contract”. Well… I don’t care. I don’t agree. I think Xcel needs to upgrade their antiquated easement language but since they can condemn they don’t have much reason to.

    “Always stand up for what you believe in, even if it means standing alone.”

    • Hire a lawyer, Grain Goddess. There may even be some non-profit group helping landowners fight off people intent on covering the entire country in silicon panels and wind turbines. JVB may even know of someone to recommend.

    • Demeter,

      You need a lawyer.

      I have dealt with lots of easement issues.

      In my state, the State that Mondale Won, abandonment is very hard to prove.

      Why is compensation not an issue? Ask for more (that’s not legal advice, fyi).

      Yes, they can probably condemn, but that might get you more money (and cost them more).

      Picking your battles will be important, especially if they can get an easement over your objection.

      I dealt with an easement “battle” that might have ended with the removal of several old oak trees. The easement was from the 60’s. We were able to save several of the trees and the utility company got to do the work they needed to do.

      The lawyers managed to avoid the fight, instead of creating one.

      Yay, Lawyers!


        • Demeter,

          Don’t be so sure about that.

          There are a bunch of lawyers who focus on eminent domain.


          Because money can be made against low-balling providers.

          And, the statute may allow a recovery of attorney’s fees.
          Talk to a lawyer who does eminent domain work.

          Xcel will probably get their easement. But, make them pay for it.


          • Yes, but it will not get me the terms of the easement modified and cost me more than I’ll get paid. I’ll keep you posted. They took 3 months to get back to us. They’re just running out the clock. Plus they pay per acre, the eminent domain is an appraisal value, which they are offering 3x more. Should you make them pay in court or be tired judged and found lacking in the court of public opinion? Should you go to court or go to fix the issues at the legislative levels?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.