States v. Feds

The States v. the Feds:

Eric has occasionally remarked that we should be of peacable mind about about the state of the union, until we started to see state efforts to organize against the Federal power. We are not quite there yet; but clashes between Federal and state officials are beginning to become common.

Two items from today.

Item one: Coast Guard halts oil-sucking barges for 24 hours over Governor Jindal's objections, while disrupting rescue efforts elsewhere.

"These barges work. You've seen them work. You've seen them suck oil out of the water," said Jindal.

"The Coast Guard came and shut them down," Jindal said. "You got men on the barges in the oil, and they have been told by the Coast Guard, 'Cease and desist. Stop sucking up that oil.'"


In Alabama today, Gov. Bob Riley said that he's had problems with the Coast Guard, too.... The governor said the problem is there's still no single person giving a "yes" or "no." While the Gulf Coast governors have developed plans with the Coast Guard's command center in the Gulf, things begin to shift when other agencies start weighing in, like the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

"It's like this huge committee down there," Riley said, "and every decision that we try to implement, any one person on that committee has absolute veto power."
Item two: the Secretary of State says that the Federal government will be suing Arizona of its immigration legislation.
[The Arizona governor] said in a statement that "this is no way to treat the people of Arizona."

"To learn of this lawsuit through an Ecuadorean interview with the secretary of state is just outrageous," she said. "If our own government intends to sue our state to prevent illegal immigration enforcement, the least it can do is inform us before it informs the citizens of another nation."
All three complaints are essentially the same. The Federal government is asserting veto power over state actions; it is reading that power in the broadest possible way, even in emergency situations. It's unresponsive to the needs of the people of the state; but every piddling regulation ("How many fire extinguishers do you have on that oil-sucking barge?") is put ahead of doing something about the emergency at hand. They are more interested in the questions of precedence and propriety than they are in the disasters that are lapping at our shores, or storming across our borders.

I'd say we're starting to see the friction. Heat follows.

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