January 13, 2009

"Who? Whom?"

Matthew Yglesias denounces the actions of class traitor Sidley Austin, Michelle Obama's old law firm, in using the environmental laws to slow down environmentalists' plans for that SWPL favorite, light rail. (Trolleys without right-of-ways are barely more efficient than buses, but SWPLs can imagine themselves taking a trolley, but they shudder at the thought of riding a bus with all those ... uh, well, you know ...)

One thing law firms do is take cases on a pro bono basis. You get some prestige for doing so, and it helps underscore the legal profession’s self-conception as serving the higher calling of the law. The general idea here, of course, is that you’re supposed to be helping out indigent clients or some kind of do-gooder causes.

Meanwhile, in DC’s Maryland suburbs we’re inching ever closer to actually starting work on the Purple Line light rail. This would connect several destinations that are already served by transit and walkable transit-oriented development, provide transit access to the University of Maryland’s main campus, and also create the possibility of new transit-oriented development at additional stops along the way. It’s a good idea that will help reduce congestion on the Beltway, reduce carbon emissions, and enhance the region’s ability to keep growing in a sustainable manner. Every environmental group in the city is for it. But a group of NIMBYs centered around the town of Chevy Chase, MD and the Columbia Country Club are trying to block it in order to keep the riffraff out and are offering some spurious environmental claims to try to block construction.

They’ve engaged the large DC firm of Sidley Austin to help them in their fight. And Sidley’s doing the work pro bono — for free — as charity. No doubt in part this is because Joseph Guerra is both a partner in the firm and the husband of the woman co-chairing the NIMBY effort. Perhaps some of the firms partners are members of the Country Club as well. Who knows? But this is certainly a strange definition of charitable work. They might want to ask some of the people working for the firm on the bottom rungs — the janitors and so forth — if they really appreciate these kind of “charitable” efforts to deny poor people any better commuting options than the bus?

Why can’t Sidley Austin figure out that environmental laws are only supposed to slow down bad people, like conservative developers, but not nice liberal people who are trying to build stuff that Matthew Yglesias wants?

Progressives didn’t spend 40 years setting up a vast web of environmental and other land use regulations that make it glacially slow to build anything on either coast in order to hurt progressives. Therefore, environmental laws should _not_ apply to progressives. Any law firm that uses environmental laws to frustrate Matthew Yglesias’s desires is a traitor and should be dealt with. As Lenin said, the eternal question is always “Who? Whom?”

Bulldoze, baby, bulldoze!

You can’t have a bunch of environmentalist red tape holding back Yglesias’s Robert Moses-like ambitions to bulldoze anything standing in the way of his vision of a better future. Now that progressives have power, they must deregulate the environment so nobody can slow down their efforts to save the environment.

We have to bulldoze the environment to save it!

And while they're at it, progressives should deregulate all the affirmative action minority set-aside contract regulations that slow infrastructure construction so badly.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

"But a group of NIMBYs centered around the town of Chevy Chase, MD and the Columbia Country Club are trying to block it in order to keep the riffraff out and are offering some spurious environmental claims to try to block construction."

Reminds me of what the SWPLers did with the BART in the Bay Area. It stops at a certain point for violently(no pun intended) obvious, yet unmentionable reasons.

ricpic said...

Conductor: Next Stop, Chevy Chase. Getting off: all those paying a king's ransom to escape gang bangers...and gang bangers.

Garland said...

"And while they're at it, progressives should deregulate all the affirmative action minority set-aside contract regulations that slow infrastructure construction so badly."

Ha, well, as you know, they already withhold the diversity requirement from many of their most highly dominated fields, eg entertainment, political pundit, high level political administration.

Anonymous said...

I love watching these liberal dickheads squabble over this bullshit. And it'll get better too, just wait. It is like watching a bunch of homosexuals have a slap fight over the color of the curtains while the Titanic is sinking. Hysterical but sad at the same time.

agnostic said...

We need a good term for people whose minds are still stuck in sophomore year of college, and not in a good way.

"Clueless at heart"?

I wish the B-CC people luck -- hopefully they manage to keep most of the scum out of their nabe, like Georgetown has managed to do for awhile.

But they should use anti-air pollution laws too. Poors smell bad.

Anonymous said...

Steve,

This angle, the good people should be able to do everything, the bad should be able to do nothing, is really great. Keep trying to make it more succinct if you want to get it out there.

Henry Canaday said...

It is a little like applying the Second Amendment against states, on the assumption that 14th Amendment incorporation theory is valid. Liberals have tied their own shoelaces together, and now tend to walk funny and get very frustrated at their slow progress.

Anonymous said...

In the UK we have a thing called the green belt.

So, around London is this belt which is intended to remain green to stop suburban sprawl. A very, very SWPL objective. Generally you can only build on sites which have been built on before. Of course in reality its not quite that clear cut.

Anyhow with mass immigration and high house prices an SWPLer I know was proposing that we only need to free up 10% of the green belt for housing and problem solved! Only 10%! The hypocrisy is simply jaw dropping.

Of course limiting immigration is not an option, its not even up for debate. Every other cherished SWPL belief can be sacrificed for that one thing.

Anonymous said...

To be fair, Yglesias has never shown much concern about nature or the environment per se. His environmentalist concerns are mainly about global warming, which just happens to be an excellent pretext to create new regulations.

Ron Guhname said...

I'm detecting a mysterious pattern. Any time I read Steve making a point on some liberal's blog, it's inevitably followed by two things: silence and ad hominem attacks.

rob said...

Progressives didn’t spend 40 years setting up a vast web of environmental and other land use regulations that make it glacially slow to build anything on either coast in order to hurt progressives. Therefore, environmental laws should _not_ apply to progressives.

Humorous, but that argument will be made with straight (well, maybe metrosexual) faces. It's the intent vs. black letter of the laws. It'll be fun watching Progressives play the politics of Melos.

DissidentMan said...

Speaking of affirmative action, I was thinking of recession-proofness of jobs. I'm guessing that the diversicrat job is one of the most recession-proof. It may even be more recession-proof than jobs in the medical field. I'm not expecting civil-rights/affirmative-action to go anywhere. I am expecting its proponents to argue that even more of it will help correct the economic downturn. Perhaps even Saint Obama will make this argument any day soon.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the "Green Belt," here in the NYC Metro area, state and local governments have been very proactive at making open space purchases. Although I am a conservative, I support the vast majority of these purchases (grow up in Northern NJ and you will understand the need for protecting green space). However, green belts and open space preservation is simply incompatible with mass immigration over the long term. Any thinking-person understands this. Will SWPLers come out against mass immigration anytime soon? Pssshhh. Don't bet on it.

Anonymous said...

There's a new article in Slate about "rationalist environmentalism."
http://www.slate.com/id/2207168/
"Environmentalists? We don't see any environmentalists! Nobody here but us progressives!"

Reg Cæsar said...

that SWPL favorite, light rail. (Trolleys without right-of-ways are barely more efficient than buses, but SWPLs can imagine themselves taking a trolley...

"Light rail" is given right-of-way, and doesn't stop at every other intersection as do buses and old-school trolleys. However, the late Paul Weyrich, ultrarightist railfan that he was, came right out and said that a latent transit-riding public existed that would jump on rail but shun buses. Of course, he didn't specify the color of these ghost riders, but why bother to?

"Light rail" is just another progressive cure for an earlier progressive disease-- in this case, taking out the streetcars in the first place. Jesse Ventura got an expensive LRT system built in his native Minneapolis (opened after he left office) which is now (controversially) being extended to St Paul.

But when progressives shut down the streetcar system in 1954, they never took out the tracks! They just paved them over and sent the 20-year-old PCC trolleys to Newark, where they did their job for 50 more years. So for a fraction of the cost, the Twin Cities could have uncovered those tracks and bought the cars back from Newark, which recently tired of them.

Lots of residents of St Paul's bungalow district (older SWiPpLes with well-paying jobs, and a child or two) put up lawn signs along the thoroughfares (Snelling, Fairview, Cleveland, Cretin-- yes, Cretin-- Aves.) demanding drivers slow down. Well, hey... nothing slows them down like a streetcar coming the opposite way.

No, my solution isn't "conservative". It's reactionary. Like Weyrich himself.

Reg Cæsar said...

It'll be fun watching Progressives play the politics of Melos. --Rob

Portuguese homosexuals? Man-eating lumps of [expletive deleted]? Be explicit; Urban Dictionary isn't helping here...

It is a little like applying the Second Amendment against states... Liberals have tied their own shoelaces together... --Henry Canaday

Quite true. But (to veer off-topic for a second) the Second, and hence Fourteenth, is unnecessary to protect gun ownership (at least white gun ownership) from state encroachment. The militia clauses in the body of the Constitution (not to mention the "republican" clause of Art IV, Section 4) should do that.

It'll be fun watching Progressives play the politics of Melos. --Rob

Portuguese homosexuals? Man-eating lumps of [expletive deleted]? Be explicit, please; Urban Dictionary isn't helping here...

snit said...

"Trolleys without right-of-ways are barely more efficient than buses, but SWPLs can imagine themselves taking a trolley, but they shudder at the thought of riding a bus with all those ... uh, well, you know ..."

WTF, SWPLers are going to keep driving their Benzes anyway. For sure I will never see any of these snobs on a trolley. I know because the only 2 trolleys I ever took were populated by students (cannon fodder for testing) or snotty nosed commuters to cheap flights (the kinda people SWPLers hate).

nist said...

"It’s a good idea that will help reduce congestion on the Beltway, reduce carbon emissions, and enhance the region’s ability to keep growing in a sustainable manner."

"reduce carbon emission" - why? Who says that's our problem? So far the jury is still out, in spite of all the MSM hype.

"keep growing in a sustainable manner" - what is "sustainable growth"? Even light rails require steel, cables, concrete, welding i.e. those dirty activities of the racists and polluters. Or are they going to construct light rails using recycled cardboard?

These people are so full of themselves.

Anonymous said...

These people are so uncannily reminiscent of soviet politburo autocrats. They were also doing outrageous things for the betterment of mankind. And had the same ideological slant. Funny how that works together.

Anonymous said...

"His environmentalist concerns are mainly about global warming, which just happens to be an excellent pretext to create new regulations."

Yea, and nobody can measure anything because its too big and nobody knows what's going on anyway.

Anonymous said...

There's another angle here - diversity reduces mass transit and increases the use of cars.

Whites (well, not just whites, but anybody who's scared of thugs, including NAM non-thugs) don't want to do things like wait at the bus stop and ride on the bus with scary riff-raff, or walk through a dangerous neighborhood. Nor do they want mass transit taking the riff-raff to their neighborhoods.

America became thoroughly suburbanized and dependent on the automobile when the civil rights movement happened and when third-world mass immigration got going. People like cars anyway, but no sane person wants to live in cities anymore except boho SWPLs (who will leave in the unlikely event that they ever reproduce - I just described myself), excepting some extremely expensive urban neighborhoods which have been economically ethnically cleansed.

I can see the Brenda Walker headline - "Diversity is our strength! It's also... global warming!"

BTW, a dirty little secret about boho SWPLs who live in da hood - they still hang out with a white crowd. They're not out on the porch socializing with their neighbors like everybody else. Not that they're racist or anything. It just works out that way.

Dan Boone said...

No, my solution isn't "conservative". It's reactionary. Like Weyrich himself.

Anybody who uses the term "reactionary" is a pinko commie scumbag.

Anonymous said...

For Yglesias, environmentalism is just an occasional flag of convenience for his partisan sallies, not something he knows or cares much about. So, as per usual, Sailer has him pegged.

Svigor said...

I'm detecting a mysterious pattern. Any time I read Steve making a point on some liberal's blog, it's inevitably followed by two things: silence and ad hominem attacks.

Must be nice. I get that little trashcan icon. :)

Anonymous said...

It is pretty funny that a huge law firm would do this sort of stuff pro bono, i.e., work that they congratulate themselves for and expect to enhance their charitable profiles with, but I submit that the absolute funniest pro bono work that many huge firms have done/are doing is representing the jihadists down in Gitmo. The idea of a young, very smart and very jewish lawyer, with perhaps an ancestor or three having been murdered at Treblinka, being told to fly to Cuba and get people released who want to "finish the job" so to speak, and who would strap on a suicide belt in a heartbeat if they could at a partner's meeting in Manhattan, is indicative of the degeneration of the lawyering profession, among many things.

rob said...

Reg Cæsar said,

You didn't get it cuz it's Greek not Latin:) In Thucydides, Melos does something or other that annoys the Athenians. The Melians argue that they aren't evil, and justice would not be served by exterminating them. The Athenians say F*** that noise, p*ssies care about morals. "The strong do what they have the power to do. The weak accept what they must accept."

Then Athens stomped Melos. And truth just and the Athenian way triumped.(no)

The section of The History of the Peloponessian War is the Melian Debate, and don't trust my summary. It's been forever since I read it.
Here's a translation.

http://www.wsu.edu/~dee/GREECE/MELIAN.HTM

Anonymous said...

I entirely agree with the critique. However, I'm not sure if DC's Metrorail meets the technical definition of "light rail." The gnomes as wikipedia seem to classify the DC metro as "rapid transit."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metrorail_(Washington,_D.C.)

I just didn't want a niggling nomenclature details detracting from a wonderful critique of Yglesian hypocrisy.

Svigor said...

This used to be a good site. Now iSteve has become an anti-Liberalite forum. Maybe that's why all the anti-Liberalites gather here, so they can bash Liberals. Well, I'm not comfortable with such bigotry, and neither are Sally Soccermom and Joe Sixpack. Conspiracy theories are so 1955.

Btw, I'm a Liberal, where's my check from the worldwide Liberal Conspiracy?

Jossel said...

Steve, this is lazy. I have no opinion on the issue, but Yglesias is saying the environmental objections are spurious. That claim matters: if he's correct, he may have a good point, whereas of course if he's incorrect then he's likely a hypocrite, as you say. (Though I don't know his abiding views on environmental regulation. Maybe he doesn't carry much water for them under most circumstances, either.)

Steve Sailer said...

"Yglesias is saying the environmental objections are spurious."

Spuriousness is the essence of many famous triumphs of environmentalism, going back to the snail darter. Opponents of the dam had biology grad students catch fish and then they decided that one of them was a new species, unique in the world: the snail darter! The same fish was later discovered many other places.

The same thing was true of the San Fernando Spineflower, a dime-sized weed almost identical to the San Gabriel Spineflower, which helped derail the huge Ahmanson Ranch development, which was opposed by a lot of movie stars living in the Calabasas area because it would have slowed their commutes to the studios.

The weed was proclaimed as endangered because nobody had recorded an instance of it since before WWII. Of course, nobody had been looking for it either. It's a tiny, ugly weed.

With the Endangered Species Act, it's much easier to play offense than defense. You just flood the property up for development with botany grad students, seize on anything unusual they find, then dare the developers to go find the weed in sufficient numbers of places elsewhere to prove it's not endangered.

Svigor said...

Yglesias is saying the environmental objections are spurious.

You just had to say something, didn't you. Steve was waiting in a hockey mask, LOL.

Jun said...

Completely OT: Sun-Times: Journalists Being Shut Out by Obama

Jossel said...

Steve, I agree with you on all that. That is, I agree with a statement something along the lines of "many, many environmental regulations rest of spurious grounds." However, that's still logically unconnected to what _Yglesias_ is defining as spurious. I don't know what grounds the SWPL are invoking in their resistance to the light rail. (Again, it's by no means my instinct that I'd agree with Yglesias, if I had more information. I'm just advocating rigor in determining whether to mock his post.)

Svigor said...

Completely OT:

I'm surprised to find myself surprised at TJB, I thought I was no longer capable.

(Steve, I expect you'll censor this, but skim the comments on the article too. Fascinating! They truly seem to not know any better.)

Thurston Howell said...

Here now. Yglesias seems like a nice young man. Doesn't his name mean "church"? Unitarian, I'm sure.

Now as to these light rails. Why the hell not? I'll never pay a dime and never hear a jack hammer, and Ducky will be the star of her Garden Club. The silly saps at university will expire with joy. What's not to like?

And so young Yglesias is playing an angle. Cheers. His people are like that.

Anonymous said...

I hope the project goes through like Ygeslias wants it to and that his home is condemned for the rail line.

Half Sigma said...

The DC area has many underutilized metro stops. It would be a lot less expensive to zone the area around those stops for high rise developments rather than spend billions on new transit systems.

Anonymous said...

'BTW, a dirty little secret about boho SWPLs who live in da hood - they still hang out with a white crowd. They're not out on the porch socializing with their neighbors like everybody else. Not that they're racist or anything. It just works out that way.'

The situation in London is identical. The young white Brits who have colonised the Hoxton/Shoreditch area hang out with each despite literally being surrounded by Ethnic minorities.

Richard London

Anonymous said...

"The DC area has many underutilized metro stops."

I can't imagine why.

Anonymous said...

What this site needs is more off-topic anti-Jewish comments.

Anonymous said...

I get the point that Yglesias is a progressive, that progressives feel like they own environmentalism, and that they are likely, like most people, to apply different standards to themselves than others. Fair enough. But I think you may be a little blinded by your own biases here too.

You can read this story any number of ways, but to my mind the main thread of it has to do with whether there's something odd about Sidley Austin doing this work pro bono. I think so. And I don't even think you have to engage in conspiracy mongering to do it. At it's heart, this is about the twisting of the notion of pro bono. Pro bono is not supposed to be about helping a well-funded jurisdiction that is capable of paying for legal services.

Here's the ABA's version of what pro bono is about:

"Every lawyer has a professional responsibility to provide legal services to those unable to pay. A lawyer should aspire to render at least (50) hours of pro bono publico legal services per year. In fulfilling this responsibility, the lawyer should:

(a) provide a substantial majority of the (50) hours of legal services without fee or expectation of fee to:

(1) persons of limited means or

(2) charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental and educational organizations in matters which are designed primarily to address the needs of persons of limited means; and

(b) provide any additional services through:

(1) delivery of legal services at no fee or substantially reduced fee to individuals, groups or organizations seeking to secure or protect civil rights, civil liberties or public rights, or charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental and educational organizations in matters in furtherance of their organizational purposes, where the payment of standard legal fees would significantly deplete the organization's economic resources or would be otherwise inappropriate;

(2) delivery of legal services at a substantially reduced fee to persons of limited means; or

(3) participation in activities for improving the law, the legal system or the legal profession.

In addition, a lawyer should voluntarily contribute financial support to organizations that provide legal services to persons of limited means."

I was the COO at a BigLaw competitor or Sidley's, and I can tell you that for the most part the firm took this stuff quite seriously. Yes, occasionally a partner would find a way to tweak the system and provide services when it wasn't perfectly kosher--but it's Yglesias' point that that is probably what is happening here. Sidley should not be doing this pro bono, irrespective of the merits of the Purple Line.

Svigor said...

What this site needs is more off-topic anti-Jewish comments.

I agree. Anti-x comments don't draw the trolls unless x=Jew. Fill in any other value for x, and you don't draw the trolls.

Anonymous said...

"You can read this story any number of ways, but to my mind the main thread of it has to do with whether there's something odd about Sidley Austin doing this work pro bono."

Your ability to pick out the main thread of an argument is shockingly bad.

Yglesias doesn't give two figs about how pro bono is supposedly being twisted. He wouldn't know about, and if he did know about it he wouldn't care, if it wasn't for the light rail system being stymied.

He just realizes that if he comes straight forward and whines about environmental laws getting in the way of grand liberal dreams he'll look like a hypocritical prick, which he is. So he picked out some weak detail that would make "NIMBYs" in Chevy Chase look shadowy and evil. So all of a sudden Yglesias has got a cape on and he's a crusader against evil back-room dealers! Only it's unconvincing and he still looks like a prick.