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

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Outrage!

In its relentless effort to impose government control on all aspects of our lives, the United States Supreme Court has now decreed that the most sacred tenet of our democratic republic is no more.
Supreme Court Rules Cities May Seize Homes
By HOPE YEN, The Associated Press


WASHINGTON -- Cities may bulldoze people's homes to make way for shopping malls or other private development, a divided Supreme Court ruled Thursday, giving local governments broad power to seize private property to generate tax revenue.

In a scathing dissent, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor said the decision bowed to the rich and powerful at the expense of middle-class Americans.

The 5-4 decision means that homeowners will have more limited rights. (link)
If the ruling wasn't enough to infuriate anyone who holds liberty and the right to ownership of private property dear, the rationale of "law professors" to justify the ruling is enraging.
"The message of the case to cities is yes, you can use eminent domain, but you better be careful and conduct hearings," said Thomas Merrill, a Columbia law professor specializing in property rights.
You better be careful and conduct hearings? That's it? Is that a legal opinion or did you get that from a Bazooka bubble gum wrapper? Thirty families are being thrown out on the street in New London, Connecticut so that the local government can hand their property over to a developer who intends to build an office complex, from which he will make a windfall profit, and this learned professor's pithy analysis is, "dude, you better conduct hearings"?

And what profound thought went into this ruling?
Justice John Paul Stevens, writing for the majority, said New London could pursue private development under the Fifth Amendment, which allows governments to take private property if the land is for public use, since the project the city has in mind promises to bring more jobs and revenue.

"Promoting economic development is a traditional and long accepted function of government," Stevens wrote ...
Right out of Das Kapital. Karl Marx is looking up from the depths of hell with pride.

I think Justice Stevens should be provided a vivid understanding of that which he has wrought. Something that would hit home.

If I were a Washington DC city councilman, I'd publish Stevens' address in the Washington Post and invite local developers to submit bids for his property. The highest bidder, if the bid meets the Supreme Court requirement of "just compensation," should be handed the deed to his property. After all, what these geniuses have decreed is this:

If a local government can realize more tax revenue by ordering the confiscation of private property (a developer takes possession, scrapes the existing structure, and builds a McDonald's on the site, increasing its value and corresponding tax contribution to the government), so be it.

I would get great pleasure from seeing Justice Stevens' fat ass out on the sidewalk surrounded by his worldly belongings. It won't lessen the anger, but it'll go a long way toward equalizing justice in this tortured land of ours.

SW Virginia Law Blog

Steven R. Minor over at SW Virginia Law Blog has more perspective on the Kelo v New London travesty.
Having made a quick perusal of Kelo v. New London, it makes me think that the majority are mostly ignorant of what a bunch of job desperados localities have become these days - cities, counties, and towns will sell their souls for the promise of some new jobs. (link)
Read the whole thing. He makes a great point and highlights it with a local (Roanoke) incident that is on point.

When The News Is Accurate But Wrong

Here's a headline in the Richmond Times-Dispatch this morning.

Ex-GOP lobbyist pocketed millions? (link)

The article concerns one Jack Abramoff, a lobbyist who is in big trouble for having gotten caught up in the Destroy Tom Delay movement. Apparently Abramoff is accused of having made millions in consulting fees from a Mississippi Indian tribe, even though the tribe has no complaints.

Is the title accurate? It seems so. Abramoff was a lobbyist and he worked with various Republicans, including that dastardly Tom Delay, in fashioning legislation ... on golf courses and in taverns as they traveled around the world, at Abramoff's expense.

So what's wrong with the headline? It isn't complete. It leaves out half the story. Here are a few other headlines in other papers that will give a clue as to what is missing.

Democrats Also Got Tribal Donations
Abramoff Issue's Fallout May Extend Beyond the GOP
(By Jeffrey H. Birnbaum and Derek Willis, Washington Post Staff Writers, Friday, June 3, 2005) (
link)

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid won't be returning lobbyist Jack Abramoff contributions, (Tony Battt, Las Vegas Review Journal, 6/04/05) (link)

Democrats' Travel Costs Linked to Lobbyist
(By R. Jeffrey Smith, Washington Post Staff Writer, Wednesday, May 4, 2005) (
link)

Records of 2 Democrats Are Subpoenaed
By PHILIP Shehon, New York Times, May 13, 2005) (
link)

So. Is it accurate to say that Jack Abramoff is an "ex-GOP lobbyist"? Yes. Is it just as accurate to say that Jack Abramoff is an ex-Democrat lobbyist? Yes.

Is it more accurate to say that Jack Abramoff was an equal opportunity lobbyist, profiting from both political parties?

Of course.

See Charlotte!

It is the vacation season and you are all searching for the perfect summertime getaway spot. I suggest you make your way to Charlotte, North Carolina. I hadn't been there in several years and had forgotten just how scenic and vibrant the area is. I have always considered Miami to be the most beautiful city in America and I haven't changed my mind about that. But Charlotte now runs a close second (sorry, El Paso).

Charlotte. A sight to behold.

McCain Smacked Down

John McCain's radical environmental agenda was dealt a blow by his colleagues in the Senate yesterday.
Global-warming limits rejected
By Brian DeBose and Bill Sammon, The Washington Times

The Senate yesterday rejected far-reaching global-warming mandates to curb carbon-dioxide gas emissions, but acknowledged a link between rising temperatures and so-called greenhouse gases.

In two votes -- the 60-38 defeat of a watered-down version of the Kyoto international climate-control treaty and a 54-43 vote in favor of a resolution endorsing scientific explanations of climate change -- senators respected the wishes of President Bush to allow for more research but sent a message to him that further inaction would be a mistake.

The two senators who introduced the policy amendment -- John McCain, Arizona Republican, and Joe Lieberman, Connecticut Democrat -- conceded the vote before it even took place. (
link)
I made mention yesterday of John McCain's attempt to place limits on our economic growth, at a point in time when it is struggling to stay on track.

Thank God there is still a bit of common sense in the Senate. If only a bit.