<$BlogRSDURL$> abbr, acronym { cursor: help; font-style: normal; font-weight:bold; color: #2a548d; /*border-bottom: 1px solid; */ }

Eminent Domain Stuff

New London Update (2/24/06)
Coverage of the Rally at New London's City Hall (w/ pics)

Friday, July 29, 2005


Eminent Domain: Opinions And Polls

Here are two articles on eminent domain in Connecticut.

Lawmakers receive conflicting advice on eminent domain

Poll finds CT voters want to limit eminent domain


Thursday, July 28, 2005


Pinball Wizard Of The 21st Century


Not so much because he can play video games blind, but because of his obvious resiliance and dedication. I've got a feeling this guy is going to succeed in life. Just don't get in his way and you'll be fine.


Wednesday, July 27, 2005



Poll: Most Palestinians credit terror for Israeli withdrawal

I say again: Wonderful.


DC Anti-Gun Meeting

Here's what went down at the meeting:

D.C. Residents Rally in Support of Gun Restrictions
Kris Hammond, a member of D.C. Young Republicans, challenged the city's gun laws, saying they leave some women vulnerable to domestic attacks.

He asked, hypothetically, about a woman with a restraining order against her ex-husband who needed to fend him off as he tried to break into her house.

"What should she do" if the police don't show up in time, he asked.

Ramsey, who also was on stage, responded that the presence of guns in households often results in more violence.
Ah yes, way to counter from the Left with reasoned arguments. I'm supposed to believe that an armed strong man is more of a threat to his weaker armed wife and an unarmed strong man is to his unarmed weaker wife? Amazing powers of logic, you smuck!


PETA Endorses Killing Cats!

A sure sign that PETA has way too much $$ and time on their hands:

(Fishkill, NY) AP 07/14/05 -- The animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is calling for the town of Fishkill to change its name.
And in a further sign that they are completely off their proverbial rocker:

The Poughkeepsie Journal reports that PETA wants the town to be known as FishingHurts.com, which just happens to be the Internet address for a PETA Web site dedicated to the group's "Fish Empathy Project."

While I laude PETA's continuing to efforts to save the fish and liken dead chickens to dead Jews in WWII Germany, I challenge them to take on at least one more windmill to tilt at. How can they focus on Fishkill while ignorning Catskills (which advocates killing 'cats' in the plural!), Beaverkill, Buffalo (hey, if we can't use Indian names for sports teams...), Binghamton and many, many others?


Tuesday, July 26, 2005


Blog Spectrum

I've just posted my response to this week's question at Blog Spectrum. There are sure to be more interesting thoughts sprouting up there during the week, so check back often.

Here's the question:

Who does the US Constitution, and all its rights belong to? Everybody in the US or just to citizens and legal residents?
And part of my response:

The protections guaranteed and Rights recognized by the Constitution and its amendments apply to everyone who has entered into the contract that is the Constitution. There are two groups who have done so: 1) Natural born citizens and 2) Naturalized citizens.

The commenter to the original post suggests that the Equal Protection clause of the 14th amendment indicates that the entire Constitution applies to everyone in the country whether they are here legally or not. Let's take a quick look to see if that stands up. Here's Section 1 of the 14 amendment:


1000 Words


How Much For Zee Little Girl?

How Much For Zee Little Girl? Your women, I want to buy your women!

Gotta love that movie =).


Good News In New London

It looks like the NLDC has seen the light...or at least bowed to public pressure:

New London — The president of the New London Development Corp. said Monday the agency will bow to the wishes of the state and allow houses in the Fort Trumbull neighborhood to stand while the legislature considers changing state law to limit the power of eminent domain.
Of course, it's also possible that they have 'decided' to hold back because of the Petition for Reconsideration filed by the IJ which, I believe, precludes any action until it has been dealt with on February 22.

In other news, protesters demonstrated outside the home of one state rep who supports the use of eminent domain as proposed in New London:

New London — On Monday, New London residents who oppose the use of eminent domain staged a protest outside the Colman Street home of Ernest Hewett, the state representative who supported the Fort Trumbull redevelopment while he was mayor of New London.
“We truly live in a democracy, and people have the right to picket. I've done some picketing myself,” he said. “The thing that boggles my mind is what the governor has said regarding the project. As I recall, the governor was lieutenant governor when millions were bonded for the project in Fort Trumbull. Back when that money was bonded, everyone bragged about this project. All of a sudden it's not so popular, and everybody is backing away. That's ludicrous. It is not a popular thing — it is one of most unpopular things I have ever had to do — but I stand by the decision I made back then.”
Umm...actually, Mr. Hewett, we do not live in a democracy. If we did, you wouldn't have a job. Our forefathers actually established a representative republic, but I digress.

I will at least give Mr. Hewett credit, if not for knowing the type of government in which he is and active participating member, at least for standing by his decision. But then I give soldiers fighting for the wrong side credit too, so long as they conduct themselves in an honorable fashion. That does not, however mean that the opposition gets any quarter in the heat of battle.

While I may not wield much online firepower, I will try to do my part. As promised, the hopefully-slow-growing Enemies of the People list has been added to the side bar. Please feel free to let me know if there's anyone who deserves to be included because of his or her unconstitutional views on eminent domain takings.

Inaugural Members of Enemies of the People:

State Senator William Finch (D) for his comments here.
State Representative Ernest Hewett (D-New London) for his comments here and here (eminent domain video).


Monday, July 25, 2005


Jeff's Got It Right

If for no other reason (and there are actually plenty), this is why I love Protein Wisdom:

The bottom line is, the US has amassed the most powerful military on earth; and it is hardly a sin to admit to that, or to admit to a willingness to consider every option available to us when it comes to waging a war that has been declared and waged against us. The idea that Tancredo’s remarks will somehow inflame those in Arab street not already inclined to such anti-American hysteria is at best dubious—and, in the most important regard, completely irrelevant. I see nothing wrong with reminding the world, as Tancredo has, that the US is a military superpower that, while it doesn’t act rashly—and while it strives to fight the most the most humane wars possible (deploying smart munitions and working constantly to improve the precision of its weaponry to reduce civilian casualties)—is, first and foremost, a protector of US citizens. (emphasis mine)
Whatever you thoughts on a potential response to a devastating nuclear attack on our country might be, bear in mind that an us vs. them mentality might be all that saves us from complete annihilation.


Hillary '08

Why else?


Life, Liberty and Property Carnival #4

Life, Liberty and Property Carnival #4 is up. Check it out.


Eminent Domain In New Jersey

Here's an interesting article from NJ. The short story is that the city of Lodi has targeted a trailer park for eminent domain-mediated 'redevelopment' and residents are fighting back:

Lodi receives between $200,000 and $250,000 in tax revenue from the trailer parks, according to borough officials. After redevelopment as an age-restricted residential community and retail complex, those revenues will increase to between $2.2 and $2.4 million, Mayor Gary Paparozzi said.
Residents have refused to go quietly.

About 150 trailer park residents have formed Save Our Homes and held several fundraisers to pay for legal fees. They have hired an attorney to argue that the use of eminent domain in this case is an abuse of power. Their court battle, with little chance of success, is ongoing.
You all know my feelings about eminent domain, and this case is no different. The only variation here is that none of these people own the land, and yet the article is phrased to imply that the renters are the victims of an unconstitutional eminent domain taking. In reality, the landowner has every right to sell the property whenever s/he wishes. Of course, if he/she refuses to sell and the city takes it and hands it over to a private company, then we have the same issue as in New London.

The reason I post this is to help keep the real issue in mind here. Eminent domain is not wrong because it kicks people out of their homes. Eminent domain is wrong when land is taken from one individual and given to another private individual or entity. Period.


Brazilian Shot In London

Two things about this Brazilian man killed by British police. First, if he had not run, he would still be alive today. When the police tell you to stop, you either do so or take your life into your own hands. Makes a guy wonder if Jean Charles de Menezes might have been guilty of something that made him run.

Second, this is somewhat telling:

LONDON (Reuters) - British police say more members of the public could be shot in error as they escalate their battle against terrorism and hunt for four men who tried to set off explosions on London's transport system last week.
The shooting has sparked intense debate about the shoot-to-kill policy in a country that takes prides in having a largely unarmed police force. Only 10 percent of police in London routinely carry weapons.
Ah yes. The high-minded ideal of an unarmed populace and police force lasts right up until there's an actual threat. Then, the streets of Britain run with the blood of misidentified innocents.

Does anyone remember police in the US (100% of whom are armed) shooting anybody following 9/11/01? How about armed citizens taking to the streets to kill innocents? So far, it would seem that the current helpless-loving incarnation of the Brits is a bit misleading. If you're going to expound the virtues of being helpless, you should really stick to it through thick and thin.

Me? I'll stick with large calibers myself.


Vodkapunit points out the biased reporting of this story.


Sunday, July 24, 2005


Town Hall Meeting On DC Gun Ban

If you're in the area and you believe that the Founders' intentions are quite clear in the 2nd amendment, head over and show your support for our most basic freedom!


Washington, DC—Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) and Citizens to Save D.C. Gun Safety Laws will host a “Talk Back to Congress and Help Save D.C. Gun Laws Town Meeting” next Tuesday, July 26th, from 6:30 to 8:30 PM at Shaw Junior High School, located on Rhode Island Avenue at 9th Street, NW. Mayor Anthony Williams, Metropolitan Police Chief Charles Ramsey and survivors of children killed by gun violence will speak, but an important purpose of the town meeting is to let Congress hear directly from residents on what the city’s gun safety laws mean to them. The Congresswoman is especially inviting residents who have lost loved ones to shootings or otherwise have been touched by gun violence to come out and share their concerns and experiences.
"Gun safety laws"??? Right. Get the legal guns off the 'streets' and what do you get? The MURDER CAPITAL OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!

If you're in the DC area get your butt down to Shaw Junior High School and let them know that you're sick and tired of being held defenseless in the face of those who would hurt you and your family.


Best Of Homespun Bloggers

The past two week's worth of the Best Of Homespun Bloggers is up and awaiting your hungry eyes. Check it out.


Saturday, July 23, 2005


Like Rats In A Corner

Michael Cristofaro alerted me to this today.

The NLDC (New London Development Corporation) has, in the grand tradition of a cornered rat, decided to get nasty and fight back. They have decided that since they have lost resoundingly in the court of public opinion that they are going to try to personally destroy their main adversary, Susette Kelo.

But, you ask, what skeletons might Ms. Kelo be hiding in her closet? Well, I'll let the NLDC tell you themselves:

“The part that disturbs me is the lie that is told when she stands in front of the house and claims it as her home and says, ‘I'm never going to leave my castle,' when she signed a piece of paper that she is living elsewhere,” said David Goebel, the NLDC's chief operating officer. “I do not like the lie that was told and the lie that the Institute for Justice perpetuated around the country when she clearly didn't live there. If she did, she lied to the mortgage company. Either way, she was not a good woman during that period.”
Ah yes, the upstanding, 'quasi-public', 'company' NLDC doesn't like the "lie" that was told. "Clearly" Ms. Kelo does not live in Fort Trumble. Well, except...

Kelo's neighbors say they can plainly see she lives on East Street, not in Old Lyme. They also dismiss as a canard the NLDC's assertion that most of them are absentee landlords, when all but one live there now, have lived there for most of the term of the court case or have immediate family living in the houses.
Apparently, Ms. Kelo is in the habit of buying investment property (which, by the way, may become a worthless venture by the time the NLDC and their ilk gets through with us), fixing them up with the help of her son, and then (gasp!) selling them. This would be fine, except the NLDC has found out that Ms. Kelo has (allegedly) claimed that a property in Old Lyme, CT is her primary residence for the purposes of obtaining insurance while it is being renovated.

I honestly do not know, if this is true, whether or not it's legal, and I honestly don't care. What I do know and care about, is that the NLDC is trying to redefine the debate (and they're not even being original). As I have said before, the issue here is not whether a person is being displaced. The issue is that my property cannot be taken away from me unless it is for the "public good" and I receive "just compensation". Period.

Now, the IJ has indeed played the angle that these people in Fort Trumble are being kicked out of their homes. However, the fact that Ms. Kelo may have declared her primary residence someplace else really doesn't change anything at all with regard to the continued attempt to abuse eminent domain in New London.

None of this changes the underlying truth that the toxic combination of the Kelo decision and 'quasi-public' 'companies' like NLDC adds up to the very strong possibility that your house, investment property, wooded field, apartment building, summer cottage or lake house will be taken from you to 'increase the city's/town's/hamlet's tax base'.

And if you resist? You might want to consider what alleged skeletons could be invented and hidden in your closet by your local 'NLDC'. After all, they're only out for the 'public good'.


Friday, July 22, 2005


Religion Of Peace My Ass

Watch this video and then tell me Islam is a peaceful, loving religion (via Ghost of a flea and Protein Wisdom)


Example #2: God hates fags, right?

Please note, nowhere in the official text of the religion to which I subscribe does the head honcho tell us to kill...ummm...anyone, really. So...which one is the religion of peace again? This is so confusing.


And don't expect it to end anytime soon. The only question is when this will all come to a head? Will Muslims manage to clean their own house, or will they all the nut jobs to completely define their religion, necessitating a real war against the entire religion. I, as a Christian, cannot make Islam compatible with modern society. That job is up to Muslims. I pray they take the path of peace.


4th Amendment

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

While I do not believe, as some do, that this amendment means we have a right to 'privacy', I think we should be assured that the government is not going to just march up and demand that they search me. What brings this to mind? NYC:

NEW YORK -- Alarmed by a new round of mass transit attacks in London, police in New York began random searches of bags and packages brought into the city's vast subway system.
This is a bit of a gray area (to this non-legal-expert guy) because it's not as if the police are randomly searching people walking down the street (for now, anyway). Rather, they are searching people who wish to use the subway system. The question I have is whether or not even these searches are constitutional.

If I want to ride in someone's personally-owned car, they can demand that I submit to a fully body cavity search first. I, of course, have the right to decline the use of their car, and everyone can go their separate ways. However, does the government have the right to deny my access to a public asset if I refuse to consent to a search?

My inclination is that they should not have that power. Now I'm sure someone will bring up the regulations regarding airline security, and so I'll tell you right up front that I don't necessarily think that Constitution grants the government the power to deny me access to an airplane if I refuse to be searched (although a privately-owned airline company has every right to demand that I submit to a search if I want to use their services).

So, does anyone out there have a well-founded Constitutional argument in support of the government searching me before I use a publicly available and funded asset like a subway?

I suppose it doesn't matter since, as a society, we have already decided that we are more than happy to trade our freedoms for the illusion of security.


I must say, I like these T-shirts.


From The Trenches: New London Update

I just received an update from Michael Cristofaro, who is one of the Fort Trumble homeowners involved in the Kelo case. According to Michael, the IJ has filed a reconsideration with the Supreme Court, and so the city can't take any action until that is resolved. With any luck, the delay will be long enough for the CT legislature to get off their (Democrat) butts and pass a law protecting landowners from land-grabbing cities.

Michael thought there might be a private detective snooping around to figure out who actually lives on the disputed properties. The reason being that the land-grabbers are trying to shift the debate. The issue here is whether or not a government can take my land and give it to a private company/entity. The issue here is not whether a government can take land I live on and give it away at will.

Be aware of this painfully obvious moving-of-the-proverbial-goalposts. Ownership is the issue, not residence!


In other CT eminent domain news, here are two recent pieces. The first was apparently authored by a member of the CT legislature...but his/her name is not revealed (I'm not sure if it was a mistake or not). The second is an article on a proposed ordnance in Branford that would define restrictions on eminent domain takings.

Connecticut's eminent domain laws should be revised

Eminent Domain Limitation Ordinance Proposed


Thursday, July 21, 2005


China Needs To Be Shut Out

If true, this (not to mention this) is exactly why we need to put any and all pressure on China and completely shut them out of our markets.

U.S. intelligence officials say China stole the technology for the Aegis battle management system by setting up a front company in the United States that became a subcontractor for the Aegis system manufacturer.
Think that would hurt our economy? How would a war with a multimillion man army armed with US-grade weapons sound?


Take A Minute From Your Busy Day

Take a minute and read this post (and the rest of them, for that matter). Michael Yon is doing some great things covering the Deuce-Four in Mosul. Read it.

Also, read this one:

These cops had nailed the beheaders, rescued the woman, found this cache and left us to clean it up. No informed person can honestly say there is no progress in Mosul.


Dad pointed me to this one at NRO:

Isn't it at least significant that not one in 100 thought invading Iraq was a mistake? Was it mere coincidence that a random selection of 100 soldiers all believe their mission is worthwhile? Should we detect the hand of the Vast, Right-Wing Conspiracy in the fact that the vast majority of the troops find the media coverage of the war ignorant, harmful, or both?

I'm proud to say that, for a week, the soldiers had their say.


Wednesday, July 20, 2005


XM Satellite Radio

I've got a little public service announcement for anyone out there with XM Satellite Radio.

If you have a hardware problem that you want solved here are the numbers to call (if you don't want it solved, just send them an email).

Hardware under warranty:
Hit 1-1-4-1-3 in their phone menu to get to an actual person.
The place to send your defective hardware is:
DPSS Warranty Return Center
ATTN: Sales Department
32411 Industrial Dr.
Madison Heights MI 48071
Include your name, address, phone # and XM code number thingy (on the back of the tuner and on channel zero). For the record, I'd suggest giving them a call before sticking any hardware in the mail.

Two more numbers that might be of interest but are nearly impossible to find (at least I couldn't find them online today).

XM Radio --> 1-800-998-7900
Specmo --> 1-800-545-7911

I honestly don't know what Specmo does, but I'm pretty sure their hardware people as well.


On the off chance you're wondering what my problem was...my XM car antenna crapped out (the message on the tuner was "antenna"). When I had it removed, the insulation had been worn away in multiple places. The XM and Delphi people were very nice and the antenna is still under warranty. With any luck I'll be getting the replacement in a few days and then I'm going to make it very clear to the Best Buy people (installing it) that I do not want this problem again.

Anybody out there had any experience with this issue? Honestly, I kind of hope not =).


Back In Town

We're back in town after a semi-whirlwind tour of both a home- and college-town this weekend. A good time was had by all.

Since I'm still in a good mood from the trip, I'm going to refrain from providing any excruciatingly in-depth analysis of the news for now.

I'll get back to eminent domain stuff later.


Wednesday, July 13, 2005


Self Defense

This is an absolutely great article on self defense in light of the Supreme Court's decision that the police have no obligation to protect us (yeah, seriously).

The post-mortem discussion on Gonzales has been fiery but it has missed an obvious point. If the government won't protect you, then you have to take responsibility for your own self-defense and that of your family. The court's ruling is a sad decision, but one that every victim and/or potential victim of violence must note: calling the police is not enough. You must also be ready to defend yourself.
Read the whole thing.


Tuesday, July 12, 2005


More Eminent Domain Non-Action

I'll summarize: Democrats want to talk, study and generally delay. Republicans want to act.

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Democratic leaders of the General Assembly on Monday urged municipal leaders not to use their eminent domain powers until the legislature has time to consider changing the state's laws on seizing property.
The Democratic leaders of the General Assembly have sent a letter to mayors and first selectmen across the state urging them wait for legislative guidance before seizing any property.
House Minority Leader Robert Ward, R-North Branford, is pushing for a special session this summer to consider a one-year moratorium on the use of eminent domain powers.
Senate Minority Leader Louis DeLuca, R-Woodbury, called the Democrats' plan to study the issue a "toothless moratorium," and an attempt to save political face.

"It's clear that the Democrats are more interested in authorship than in protecting people from having their homes seized," he said in a written statement.
"Now every state is left to go back and consider their own laws," said Rep. Michael Lawlor, D-East Haven, co-chairman of the legislature's Judiciary Committee.

Lawlor said the General Assembly could pass a law that would prevent the city of New London from taking the homes in Fort Trumbull. But, he said lawmakers still need to study the issue.

Republicans proposed legislation that failed during this year's regular and special sessions that would have limited the reach of eminent domain.
So. Still have any doubt as to who is on your side?

Well, I suppose that's at least one person who's sort of hard to pin down...

Gov. M. Jodi Rell, a Republican, said she supports Ward's call for a special session. But she also backed the Democrats' plans for a public hearing and their request to municipalities that they forestall any eminent domain plans.
Which is it Gov? Do we "request" that towns not steal their residents' property, or do we demand it?


Monday, July 11, 2005


Eminent Domain in Ridgefield, CT

It would seem that Kelo's effects continue to reverberate in Connecticut.

Ridgefield (AP) — A new eminent domain case is brewing in Connecticut as Ridgefield officials prepare to take private property to be used for corporate office space.

The developer, Eureka V, is seeking to build 510 townhouses and apartments on 154 acres. The proposal would require a zoning change because the property is now zoned for commercial development.
Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi offered to buy the land from Eureka V in 2001 for $2.7 million. He told the developer that if necessary the town would take the property using eminent domain.

Eureka V sought an injunction in federal court to halt the eminent domain move and accused Ridgefield of violating the federal fair housing law by trying to prevent Eureka from building houses for people with school-age children.
Marconi said he is confident the town will eventually have the property and will go ahead with plans to build 600,000 square feet of corporate office space.

“It is now clear that if Ridgefield is victorious in federal court, which we feel we will be, then we can proceed with an eminent domain taking of the property,” Marconi said.
Marconi said the New London case is different than Ridgefield's situation.

The property being considered for eminent domain taking is zoned for corporate development and is vacant, he said.

“There would be no displaced families,” Marconi said.
It would appear that First Selectman Rudy Marconi is attempting to redefine the debate. The issue here is not whether a family is displaced. The issue is whether or not it is right for government to forcibly take land from one private entity and transfer it to another.

If this crap becomes commonplace consider the effects on actual, private, free-market development and building. What's the point in buying land for development unless you've already made sure that the local officials favor you. Otherwise, they'll just take the land you've just bought and give it to their buddies. What does that spell, boy and girls? C-o-r-r-u-p-t-i-o-n! Yeah!

This little bit from the article is also worth considering:

Ridgefield has taken land from Eureka V once before. In December 2000, the town took 458 acres paid Eureka V and paid $12.2 million.

The property was sold to the state Department of Environmental Protection and is being maintained as open space.
At least until they get a good offer from some developer (read: one who sufficiently lines certain political pockets). Then they'll have a change of heart and we'll suddenly see office space appearing. What does that spell boys and girls? C-o-r-r-u-p-t I-n-v-e-s-t-m-e-n-t P-r-o-p-e-r-t-y! Yeah!


Friday, July 08, 2005


Will Italy Join The Free World?

It's probably a bit early to jump for vicarious joy, but I certainly hope that Italians fight for this measure to pass. Everyone has the right to self defense.


Support For Stealing Property

All right, finally. I've been waiting for people to go on record in support of Kelo type eminent domain takings, and a few have now obliged.

Group #1 on record against individual property rights: Connecticut State Democrats.

The proposal was a response to the June 23 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said local government can take people's homes and businesses against their will for private development.
"It's a shame what the Democrats did," he said. "They voted against it to a man. We needed that legislation now, not next year." The Senate defeated the proposal 22-11, mostly along party lines, while the House killed a similar proposal 82-50.
Group #2 on record against individual property rights: some Hamden, CT City Council members:

Hamden's Legislative Council members differ with the state Republicans' reactions to the eminent domain issue. As they see it, if seizing private property will benefit the community as a whole, then the action should be taken
Specifically Councilman-At-Large, Ron Gambardella, R:

Restrictions on economic development would not be in the town's best interest, Gambardella said. However, he said the town must look for approval from the council before taking any action on private properties.

"It would not be prudent to restrict the town from ever resorting to exercising [its] rights of eminent domain in the instances of projects that clearly demonstrate the benefits of economic developments the residents," Gambardella said.
On the right side of the issue (perhaps oddly) are Democrats Curt Leng (Councilman-A-Large) and (at least in practice, apparently) Councilwoman Ann Altman.

Now, let me get to someone who has gone above and beyond the call and, in the process, nominated himself as the inaugural member of new group I call Enemies of the People (soon to be added to the sidebar). Who is the person drawing my ire? Senator William Finch (D). Why? See for yourself:

"This decision is obviously nothing new, and for people to be opposed to it because of fear that the government will take their house is ridiculous," Finch said. "The only time this happens is after a long process to determine if there is a public use for the private properties in question."

Finch alleged there are "a lot of crazy extremist government-hating activists that are funding the opposition."
Government hating? You mean like these guys? If that's the company I must keep, then so be it.

Seems like Senator has gotten a good start on political suicide. However, the article provides some interesting information on the "Honorable" Senator Finch:

Outside his legislative responsibilities, Finch is president of the Bridgeport Economic Development Corporation, a quasi public agency that has been involved in taking over private property for development in that troubled city. The renovation of those properties is bringing new tax revenue to the city coffers.
I would imagine that it is also bringing money into the coffers of the Bridgeport Economic Development Corporation, no? (More info here, scroll all the way down to the bottom. Their website isn't loading for me.)

But Sen. Finch, there's only one foot in your mouth and you've obviously got room for more. Yep, still room to talk around the foot:

Finch noted that in the New London case, the town planned to seize more than 100 properties, and only six owners sued. "We're talking about a small minority of people who want to hold up a project that will be good for the vast majority of citizens," he said.

"The view people have is that government will roust you out of your nice, suburban home in the middle of the night with nothing but your nightshirt during a thunderstorm. All the court did was uphold an age-old process that is never done willy-nilly. Like any process, there have been mistakes, but no one is mistake-proof."
You're at least partly right, Senator Finch. There is a small minority of the total number of people in New London blocking this deal. But the questions you have begged are 1) Do the "vast majority of citizens" even support the taking of this property? and 2) Even if the "vast majority of citizens" do support this action, does that give government the power to take a private individual’s property and give it (at a huge discount) to an another private entity? The answer to the second question is easy: No. Any questions? If so, just read the source document.

And of course, Senator Finch, no one really believes that the government is going to come to my "nice suburban home in the middle of the night" and give me the boot. No way. Kicking people out of their "nice suburban home(s)" would be really bad press. Better to just kick people out of their 'below median income, waterfront homes that happen to be right across from the brand-spanking-new Pfizer plant'. That's way more fair.

Finch isn't done quite yet though. In an amazing feat of oral fixation, he manages to get his remaining foot into this oral cavity. But that's not enough, he found a bit more room and so decided to evoke his power as an elected official of the people and simply 'takes' a constitutes foot to top it all off. He continues:

According to Finch, eminent domain is a "tremendous asset for public good," especially in economically depressed areas. "Bridgeport would shrivel up and die without eminent domain," he said.

He cited the example of an industrial park in Bridgeport, for which the city took over 30 properties. "Some were abandoned, some were burned, and some were still occupied," he said, "but every tenant was relocated to a better place and every homeowner received appropriate compensation."
Well, if Bridgeport is not a viable municipality, then maybe it should shrivel up and die. The basic, underlying, problem here is that Sen. Finch (and those of his ilk) thinks that 'increasing the tax base' makes a city 'healthy'. I beg to differ. The way to make a city 'healthy' is to attract businesses. How do you do that? Try lowering taxes, not taking property.

In all seriousness, I thank Senator Finch, and the others quoted in the article, for going on record with their opinions. It is always better to know where someone stands. How else can you figure out how to cut them off at the proverbial knees?


Thursday, July 07, 2005


Rebuild The Twin Towers!

In light of today's attacks in London, we in America should seriously consider the plans for the site of the World Trade Center. I heard about this on Andrew Wilco's show out of Albany (810 WGY) and I think it's exactly what should be done:

The Twin Towers II project features two 115-story buildings similar only in form to the prior Twin Towers, but otherwise completely re-engineered with today’s technological and safety enhancements.
The project features a significant memorial to those who perished on 9/11. The memorial complex consists of the original Twin Tower footprints delineated by five stories of their original curtain walls, or facsimile thereof. Each footprint would contain a granite wall with the names of those who perished in each Tower. The flags of 88 nations whose citizens died that day would be represented in the footprints. Those portions of the footprints not impacted on by the PATH train would be open to bedrock. A third memorial would be built for those who perished outside the Twin Towers. The memorial complex also includes a 12-story 480,000 square-foot memorial museum with burial crypts for un-identified remains, and a 12-story curved tower of meditation. The memorial, while occupying six acres of land can be considered 18 acres or more when counting the above- and below-grade floor plates of the memorial museum.

Twin Towers II was specifically designed to achieve two goals heretofore considered irreconcilable: to properly honor those who died on 9/11, while simultaneously serving the needs of the living.


Of To War...For A Third Time

Read this post. It's worth your time.

(via Pawigoview)


Alberto Gonzales

Alberto Gonzales must never be allowed onto the Supreme Court for this one, single statement:

"The Constitution is what the Supreme Court says it is."
So, Mr. Gonzales, where in the Constitution does it say that the Supreme Court has the power to define the Constitution?

Assuming he really said this, that should be the end of the story.

(link via Patterico's Pontifications)


Terror In London

At least six blasts hit London's public transit system this morning with two confirmed deaths (as of 7am Eastern time).

My thoughts are prayers are with the people of Great Britain as they deal with this terrorist attack. Whether the guilty turn out to be al Qaida, some group opposed to the G8 or someone else all together obviously remains to be seen.

We now await the English response. Will they rally to this act of war, and openly identify it as such? Or will they, as we in America did for far too long, classify this as an act that should be dealt with in the criminal system? I certainly hope that it is the former.

Further, I hope and pray that this horrible act will have some positive consequences. I hope that it will have a lasting and positive effect on the collective psyche of the British people. September 11th in America reminded (at least some of) us that there are people in the world who want us dead. That reminder has driven (again, some of) us to be both mentally and physically prepared to face a fight to the death. I certainly pray that the British people will not see this as an opportunity to let the government protect them by further restricting their freedoms, but rather that they will see this as an opportunity to protect themselves and get out from under the suffocating blanket of Big Brother socialism that seems to be ever-more prevalent on their islands.

For now, though, join me in praying for the British dead, wounded, their loved ones and countrymen.


Interesting speculation at Confederate Yankee (via Argghhh!)


Wednesday, July 06, 2005


"Let Them Stay"

On Tuesday I headed down to the rally in front of the New London City Hall in support of the Fort Trumble property owners. It was timed to immediately precede a City Counsel meeting during which the property owners were going to, yet again, state their case during the time for public comments.*

The rally ran from 6 to 7pm and drew quite a few people and decent media coverage. I don't really have a good handle on the total number of people in attendance, but we were packed in cheek to jowl in front of City Hall and the crowd stretched around the corner and across the street. Beyond that, I'll let the pictures below speak for themselves.

The media coverage was ok. I didn't see any national news crews there, but NBC30 and Channel 8 news both had people covering the rally. In addition, I ended up standing next to a very friendly producer for a talk radio station in Baltimore. In terms of print media, I was interviewed by Kate Moran from The Day (the local New London paper) and by a reporter from the Courant, although I apparently didn't make the cut =).

A number of people spoke including Scott Bullock, who actually argued the case in front of the Supreme Court, Scott Sawyer (local council) and, as Mr. Bullock put it, New London's most famous resident, Susette Kelo.

Ms. Kelo gave a very nice, concise speech thanking everyone for their support and restating that she and the other home/property owners are not against development, they just want to be part of it...and not have their land stolen in the process. During her speech she was visibly overcome with emotion, during which time the crowd had no problem filling the momentary void with shouts of encouragement.

Overall, the crowd was very upbeat and positive. There was obviously a lot of pent up emotion, but no one let it get the better of them. The only objects thrown where the cardboard "NO" signs, and that at the request of one of the speakers. I should also mention that the police officers present at the rally were perfectly professional and quite friendly.

In an appropriate act of bipartisanship two Connecticut General Assembly members were in attendance and spoke in favor of passing legislation that would restrict eminent domain takings to cases that qualified as, you guessed it, serving "public use". Both House Minority Leader Robert Ward (R-North Branford) and House Assistant Majority Leader Steve Mikutel (D-Griswold) spoke in support of the homeowners. (Hint, hint. Drop them an email to thank them for their strong stance on this issue.)

Here are some more pictures I managed to snap during the rally. (Please forgive the formatting issues. Blogger's uploading software has a creative way of doing things from time to time.)

I also wanted to mention some people I met from outside Connecticut who had found themselves on the, shall we say, giving end of eminent domain takings.

Bruce Kanner from Yorktown Heights, NY, currently in his own fight against eminent domain.

Linda from Bound Brook, NJ (holding the "Save Our Homes" in a picture above).

Lori Vendetti from Long Beach, NJ (standing next to Linda). Their site is here.

I was glad to see so many people out to support the Fort Trumble homeowners as they continue to resist this egregious act by a City government that is willfully ignorant of the very principles upon which this country was founded.

Keep up the support and continue to write your elected officials to let them know, in no uncertain terms, where you stand on eminent domain stealings.


*Classy line from Margaret Curtin (a member of the New London City Council): "It didn't affect anyone," she said of the rally. "It wasn't on the agenda."


Oh, BTW...Ms. Curtin's contact info. Just in case you're interested...

314 Ocean Avenue
New London, CT 06320
(860) 443-0373


More pictures here.

Also, much thanks to the many people who have helped get the word out by linking (and if I've missed anyone please let me know):

Wizbang (Mary Katherine Ham guest blogging and she also links from Townhall.com's soapbox)
A Bluegrass Blog
Cold Fury


Anybody For A Free Lunch?

Oh wait, there's no such thing as a free lunch...unless you happen to enjoy "free range" poultry:

A California Energy Commission study estimated wind turbines in the Altamont kill 881 to 1,300 birds of prey a year, including as many as 116 federally protected golden eagles.
Ah, so the very "clean" energy source that has been trumpeted by environmentalists is now opposed by those very groups because it's killing birds. You just can't make some people happy.

I say, fire up the electric grill and let's see if they taste like chicken!


Denzel Washington

My opinion of Denzel just went through the roof. (via No Pundit Intended)


New London Rally

I just wanted to let you all know that last night's rally in New London was well attended and, I hope, a success. I'll have the post together (along with lots of pictures) sometime tonight.


Tuesday, July 05, 2005


Off To New London

I'm heading off to New London for the rally in support of the homeowners. I'll have my camera in hand so come on back tomorrow for some photoblogging.

Catch you all on the flip side.


Is Kelo Getting Overblown?

According to John Hinderaker (of Powerline) (via Michelle), it is. This piece is pretty dense, so I'm going to deal with just a few things.

First off, John uses the fact that the planned development of the Fort Trumble area involves a mix of the public and the private:

In reality, the New London economic development project is similar to efforts that hundreds of towns and cities have made to revitalize aging or depressed neighborhoods. Focused on a 90-acre area called Fort Trumble that is comprised of both publicly and privately owned land, the project includes a typical mix of public and private uses: a pedestrian "riverwalk," a waterfront hotel and conference center, marinas for recreational and commercial uses, a new Coast Guard Museum, new residences, and an industrial park to which the city hopes small biotechnology companies will be lured by Pfizer's nearby research facility.
So, the fact that (of the things John mentions) 3 of the 8 planned projects are going to be "public" makes this for the "public good"? I don't see how that fits. I think the "mixed" argument he's making here is a red herring. Either you think that eminent domain should be used for private development (and subsequent ownership) or you don't. If you believe that it should be used for private development, then any discussion of concomitant pubic-use projects is a diversion meant to distract the opposition from the basic fact that you are arguing for the seizure of private property for complete and total transfer to a private entity.

Next John cites reasoning apparently expressed by conservatives:

MANY CRITICS of the Kelo decision have said that it authorizes seizing the property of one person merely to give it to another. Apart from any misunderstanding of Pfizer's role, this can only be because, once the NLDC acquires title to the Fort Trumble property, it will be conveyed to a developer, Boston's Corcoran Jennison, to carry out the project. Some hostility to the Kelo decision seems to be based on the belief that Corcoran Jennison may profit from its work--an odd concern, one might have thought, to be expressed by conservatives.
I have not, personally, run across any such concerns voiced by conservatives. I have, myself, expressed outrage that a private company is going to profit from property seized under eminent domain. This could be taken to mean that I would be against a private company contracting with a city to develop property seized (rightly) under the takings clause of the 5th amendment (e.g., to construct a school). If that's how it was taken, then I apologize for being vague.

My problem with the current situation in New London is that private property is being transferred from one private individual to another against the former's will. That is wrong. Whether or not the developer or eventual owner makes an actual profit is totally beside the point and is dependent upon factors that would be similar whether the property was obtained via taking or by good old buying (although it would be admittedly easier to make a profit if the company obtains the property under "just compensation" as defined by...whom, again?).

John goes on to address the issue I just discussed. Here's what he had to say:

But New London's use of a private developer highlights an important point: there is no doubt that the city (or the NLDC) could use its eminent domain power in support of the Fort Trumble project if it planned to retain ownership of the land and administer the project itself. If the project were publicly owned, no one could question that the associated condemnation proceedings would be in support of a "public use." But are the rights of Americans any less imperiled by condemnation in support of publicly-owned projects? And, as a matter of policy, if a city wants, for example, to create more housing, does it make any sense to force it to pursue the long-discredited practice of building public housing projects, rather than facilitating the use of private capital and private management to achieve the same end?
To answer the first question: YES!!! It certainly does place my rights in greater peril by transferring the taken property to a private company rather than keeping it 'public property.' While I will agree that private companies are more efficient than state-sponsored anything, that is not the point here. If the government wants to take my land, why make it 1) easy for them and 2) profitable for some (potentially crooked) developer? It's not fair and, what's more, it's unconstitutional.

Now, for the You're a bunch of greedy SOBs and, therefore have no rights argument.

Suppose a large company whose headquarters are located in an urban area needs more space--say, a whole city block. Lacking powers of eminent domain, it has only two choices. It can negotiate with each landowner on the block and try to buy all of the individual parcels. This, however, is often difficult or impossible; once it becomes known that the company is buying land for its corporate headquarters, any individual landowner can block the project by refusing to sell. Occasionally such "holdouts" are motivated by sentimental attachments, but usually they simply want to extort an unreasonable sum from the corporate buyer. (It is interesting that in her Kelo dissent, Justice O'Connor stressed that: "Petitioners are not hold-outs; they do not seek increased compensation. . . ." Yet the majority opinion notes that "[t]en of the parcels [at issue] are occupied by the owner or a family member; the other five are held as investment properties." If petitioners had won their case, the value of those investment properties would have skyrocketed.)
First off, let's consider the term "investment property". Without consulting a dictionary, I think it's safe to assume that one who buys property as an investment is betting that its value is going to increase. So, I buy some waterfront property (always a good investment) in New London. I pay $100,000 for a lot. Then some company wants to build a hotel on that property.

"Holy Crap!" I think to myself, "I just hit the jackpot! I'm going to ask $1 million! My investment property just paid off! Oh, wait. You mean you're just going to ask the government to take my property for a "fair" price? But...if it's going to be a "fair" price, why not just pay me what I'm asking for it? Oh...because that's not "fair"...and now you're going to take it and give me $100,000 so I don't "lose" anything? Interesting. I guess I should have just bought stocks."

You see, "fair" in a free market is whatever two independent parties agree to in the absence of coercion. The government can assess my property at whatever value they want for the purposes of taxes...but that is not that value of the property. They can say my property is worth $40 trillion, but it's really only worth with someone will pay me for it. So to say that a property owner is asking an "unreasonable" amount for (and labeling that action extortion, no less) is plainly absurd. If I ask $1 million for something you think is worth $100,000 and I decide not to sell, then there is no way to determine it's actual worth. On the other hand, if we negotiate and agree on $450,000, than that's what the property is actually worth. No more. No less.

Finally, the very idea that a "holdout" is put it "quotes" is offensive. How about this?

I think you're a "holdout" if you fail to agree (after "just compensation") to "give" your kidney to the President. You're a match, you've got two (and you only need one) and, after all, we can't afford to lose the President right now because ___ (fill in the blank with whatever you like).

So tell me, how far away is that little scenario (thanks to my dad for the kidney idea). "Crazy," you say? A few months ago I would have said that the government taking my land to give to some guy was "crazy."

We must fight now to retain our rights to our own legally-obtained property. If we lose this fundamental Right, then our remaining Rights will only be in more peril than they were before this crazy ruling.


Jeff also takes some shots nailing John to the wall.


Fight On...

I'm glad to have this Marine on my side:

So, here we sit on the fourth of July in what feels like a hollow holiday. It is easy to think that the great experiment has failed. Perhaps it, in fact, has. Perhaps mankind really is supposed to be a slave, and that is how we are meant to live. Surely, if we cannot hold onto liberty once attained, then we it is merely the occasional backwards impulse only that obliges men to sometimes take up arms and struggle for freedom, only to have their children once again surrender it without a fight. Yes, maybe we are natural slaves, and it is high time for us to give up this charade of being made for freedom.

But I shall not.
Read the whole thing.


How Much Is A House Worth?

Here's an angle to the New London story I was unaware of:

NEW LONDON, Conn. -- With a long-running lawsuit over, homeowners and New London officials are now turning their attention to the monetary value of houses and property being taken to make way for a commercial development.
State law requires governments to compensate owners on the date of the taking, not its value in the current market. New London has technically owned the houses since 2000.
More than a year ago, lawyers for the homeowners were informed that their clients could be liable for use and occupancy fees if the courts upheld the city's use of eminent domain. City lawyers said then they wanted to give ample warning about the potential costs.
Well, isn't that nice. Talk about rubbing salt in the wounds with a little post injury insult to boot.

Let me see if I've got this straight.

On day one the government says, "We're going to take you house and land and give it to this company over here."

You say, "That's not right, I'm taking you to court."

They reply, "Ok, take us to court. But if we win, you owe us rent starting today."

You say, "Umm...ok. But if we win, you owe us all legal fees and additional compensation for emotional distress." (I don't think the homeowners actually said this, but I wish they had.)

The gov. replies, "Hahahahaha (wipes tears of laughter from The Eye*)...boy oh boy, now that's rich. My servants were right, you will peons can be so entertaining."

On day (approx) 1,826, the government rules that the government wins and they claim that they had actually owned your property from day one. Consequently, not only are you going to lose your home, but you owe the government rent?!

And here I thought my blood had already boiled. If this is true...words fail me, and fortunately I don't think any more are required.


So, when the government claims that they owned the property since Day One, does that mean that they will be reimbursing the homeowners for their mortgage payments, property taxes, etc.? How about doing so with interest? While Big Brother might claim that the homeowners also owe rent, I wonder who would really end up in the red. If the homeowners have been paying their mortgagues while the government actually owned the property, aren't they due to be reimbursed with interest? After all, their money has been held (against their will) by a third party and they deserve "just compensation".


Homespun Bloggers Radio #7

The 7th edition of Homespun Bloggers Radio is up and running. Doug has, yet again, done a great job pulling it all together. Head over and check it out.


Friday, July 01, 2005


O'Connor Retires!

So...Bush will get to nominate two justices. This could be the thing that salvages the domestic side of his Presidency.

WASHINGTON -- Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court and a key swing vote on issues such as abortion and the death penalty, said Friday she is retiring.

O'Connor, 75, said she expects to leave before the start of the court's next term in October, or whenever the Senate confirms her successor. There was no immediate word from the White House on who might be nominated to replace O'Connor.
Let's hope the "swing voter" is replaced by a real, live, Scalia-like Conservative!


House Makes A Move

The House has apparently decided to at least take some action to oppose the Kelo decision (via Tran Sient's Watch):

House Votes To Undercut High Court On Property
The House measure, which passed 231 to 189, would deny federal funds to any city or state project that used eminent domain to force people to sell their property to make way for a profit-making project such as a hotel or mall. Historically, eminent domain has been used mainly for public purposes such as highways or airports.
Ok, I guess I'm happy because they're trying. This bill, however, begs the question: Are federal funds necessary in post Kelo eminent domain takings?

After all, the idea here is that the city grabs your land at bargain basement price and gives it to a private developer/business. In return, the city gets increased taxes (and maybe some sort of direct payment? I really don't know)...so the question remains: Will it make any difference for a city to "lose any federal funds that would contribute in any way to the project the property would be taken for"? I'm guessing not.

If the scope of this bill were expanded to include all federal funds period (as has been suggested by DeLay and Blunt), then we'd be cookin' with gas. I doubt, however, that such a measure would pass. And even if it did, what do you think its chances would be when the Supreme Court got a shot at it (using their unconstitutionally assumed power of declaring a law unconstitutional. Ironic, no?)

As an aside, I would like to direct your attention to something Nancy Pelosi said:

"When you withhold funds from enforcing a decision of the Supreme Court, you are in fact nullifying a decision of the Supreme Court," she told reporters. "This is in violation of the respect of separation of powers in our Constitution."
Really, Ms. Pelosi? What, exactly, do you mean when you say "nullifying a decision of the Supreme Court"? What in the Court's decision made any positive statement of shall? As far as I know, there was none. Further, there certainly was no statement in the decision that pertained to any obligation of using federal tax dollars to enforce any action taken pursuant to the decision...now was there? No, because that, my dear, would most certainly constitute a breach of the Separation of Powers*.

And, Ms. Pelosi, exactly which "Power" are we trying to "Separate" in this case? Hum? The Court decided (incorrectly, I think) that it is not unconstitutional for the government to take a person's property for private development by a third party. Nothing in that decision suggested that we (the freaking tax payers getting the shaft here in the first place) are required not to only put up with this decision, but also to fund it! Is she freaking crazy?! Hum, yeah. I guess she is...but that's not really news, is it?

For anyone keeping track, here are the tallies from the House vote:

In the roll call on the House amendment, 192 Republicans voted for and 31 against, with 39 Democrats voting for and 157 against. The lone independent, Rep. Bernie Sanders (Vt.), voted against. Maryland and Virginia lawmakers voted with their parties except Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.), who voted in favor, and Reps. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.) and Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.), who voted against.

*This is different than the (in)famous case of Andrew Jackson defying John Marshall over the Indian Removal Act of 1830. In that case Jackson asserted that Marshall had no power to enforce his the Courts decision and actively defied that decision by ordering the Cherokee removed from their reservation. In the Kelo case, the Court (after a night of heavy drinking and extensive experimentation with ecstasy) has said that it is not unconstitutional for the government to take you land to give to a third party. Andrew Jackson took action to countermand the Court's decision. Today, the House is simply saying that federal funds will not subsidize eminent domain takings for the purpose of private development.


Pelosi is a bigger idiot than even I gave her credit for:

Q Could you talk about this decision? What you think of it?
Ms. Pelosi. It is a decision of the Supreme Court. If Congress wants to change it, it will require legislation of a level of a constitutional amendment. So this is almost as if God has spoken. It's an elementary discussion now. They have made the decision.

Q Do you think it is appropriate for municipalities to be able to use eminent domain to take land for economic development?

Ms. Pelosi. The Supreme Court has decided, knowing the particulars of this case, that that was appropriate, and so I would support that.
As Bill points out:

Leftists who don't like the Kelo decision, take note: Your leader in the House lacks the wattage to understand what the House is doing about it (rendering her useless on the issue), and at the same time she takes the word of the Supreme Court to be akin to the tablets Moses brought down from the mountain.

But...does she transfer that fealty to Bush v. Gore? Or Dred Scott?


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?