People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

While Democracy Flourishes Overseas ...

There are a few - only a few - things that disturb me about my country.
  • I could probably include the unsettling need on the part of a sizeable number of Americans to prevent others from smoking - to the point where they will force smokers to stand outside an office building in sub-zero weather in order to catch a few drags on that Marlboro. Something about a health issue, as I recall the zealots proclaiming.
  • There are those who see a horrific crime being committed by evil people and, rather than choose to punish the evildoers, they demand that the government confiscate the property of Americans who have never committed a crime - namely their firearms. It's for the common good, you see.
  • There are those in this country who are envious of the rich and find it perfectly acceptable for us to confiscate their wealth. Something about fairness, I think they say.

Add to this list the power of your government to seize your property and to give it to someone else.


JUSTICE Antonin Scalia cut to the heart of the case: "So you can always take from A and give to B if B pays more taxes?"

Amazingly enough, the answer he got was yes — "if there are significantly more taxes." So Wesley Horton, an attorney for New London, Conn., told the Supreme Court last week.

If a majority of the court buys Horton's logic, the Supremes will create a beast of municipal taxation that could swallow whole neighborhoods across the nation.

The case, Kelo vs. City of New London, turns on New London's effort to condemn a neighborhood of well-kept middle-class homes. It wants to hand that land over to developers — to build luxury waterfront condominiums, an upscale hotel and some office space.

The Constitution does allow the government to take private property for a designated "public use" after paying the private owners. And for most of two centuries, "public use" meant the obvious: A government would buy a line of houses and raze them to build a highway, for example. But creative mayors and governors have come a long way from there. (link)

Just as I fume when I hear of some "jurist" claiming that there is a right to abortion in the Constitution or that there is a "separation of church and state" in the Constitution, I cringe when I read about a lawyer claiming a municipality has the right to seize private property and turn it over to another private entity - and that it is in the eminent domain clause of the Constitution.

This is frightening stuff, folks. I hope you are all paying close attention.

Security Run Amok

The feds have decided to ban cigarette lighters on commercial airliners.

I'll sleep better tonight.

WASHINGTON — Airline passengers can no longer bring cigarette lighters onto planes or in any secure areas, the Homeland Security Department said yesterday.

"We are closing a potential vulnerability in air-travel security," said Rear Adm. David M. Stone, assistant secretary of Homeland Security.

Butane, absorbed-fuel (Zippo-type), electric/battery-powered and novelty lighters are all included in the ban, which will go into effect April 14. (link)
I said, shortly after 9/11 and at about the time the "experts" started spewing all their recommendations for preventing another terrorist attack, that the next one won't come where it is most expected - meaning the airlines. They will go where we are not well prepared - subways, reservoirs, private aircraft, the Lincoln Tunnel.

All this silliness with regard to removing shoes, shirts, hats, belts, and whatever else the TSA decides you need to shed in order to board a plane won't make a bit of difference. The confiscation of your Bic lighter won't either. But it makes it look like the thousands of people that you hired to fill all those new posts at Homeland Security and TSA are doing something.

Cigarette lighters. For the love of God.