<$BlogRSDURL$> 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, September 30, 2005


Choose Your Own Adventure

Remember those books where you could make a series of choices that would affect the outcome of the story? Somehow I always ended up falling into the pit or passing through the intestines of a wolf pack.

Fortunately, W didn't make the same mistake with Iraq. But what if he had? Victor Davis Hanson provides the (thankfully) alternate ending:

Sen. Clinton went on to hammer the president, “We need leadership, not more of the same old, same old that we see with North Korea and Iran. Could I remind the president that three years ago we cited 23 reasons to remove Saddam Hussein and approved them all by a 77 vote, and that the House got nearly 300 votes in their similar resolution? And all this follows the 1998 Iraqi Liberation Act passed by the Senate and signed by my husband.”
Read the whole thing. VDH is great as usual.

(via Dr. Sanity)


What Something?

Make your own, losers.

EU spokesman Martin Selmayr said a new cooperation model was important "because the Internet is a global resource."

"The EU ... is very firm on this position," he added.
That role has historically gone to the United States, which created the Internet as a Pentagon project and funded much of its early development. The U.S. Commerce Department has delegated much of that responsibility to a U.S.-based private organization with international board members, but Commerce ultimately retains veto power. (emphasis added)
Ok, ok. So, aside from my tax dollars, I personally had nothing to do with creating the internet (and no, I will not interject a cheap shot at Algore at this juncture) but I still think that if the EU, or anyone else, wants control over it, they should just invest the capitol and make their own.

Seriously, what's stopping them from creating their own highly interconnected set of servers? I mean, besides the obvious lack of investment capitol in their strangled socialist utopias. We've already blazed the trails. The template is right here for everyone to see. The hardware and software are available, so what's stopping them?

Demands like these generally come from losers. Now I'm not saying that all Europeans are losers. Just the ones that want something for nothing. You have what we want, so give it to us! (Cue stomping of petulant little feet.)

Grow up and do something productive for the world instead of just trying to mooch off the US taxpayers. We've got plenty of those types right here in our own country. We really don't need any more. But thanks anyway.


Second Eminent Domain Hearing In Hartford

Here's the email Castle Coalition just sent out:


Along with over 30 states across the country, the Connecticut legislature is considering changes to the state's eminent domain laws that give broad powers to governments to seize private property for private economic development. The Judiciary Committee is holding the state's second public hearing on eminent domain next Thursday, and this is your opportunity to speak up. Here are the details:

Thursday, October 6, 2005
2:00 - 7:00pm
Legislative Office Building (adjacent to the Capitol)
Room 2C
300 Capitol Street

If you would like your testimony to be distributed to the members, please submit 65 copies of written testimony two hours prior to the start of the hearing - at 12:00pm - in Room 2500 of the Legislative Office Building. Speaker order will be decided by a lottery system. Numbers will be drawn at 12:00pm in Room 2500 and will be available until 1:30pm. The list of speakers will be posted in Room 2C at 1:45pm. Anyone wishing to testify after the drawing is closed will be placed at the end of the list. Speakers will be limited to three minutes of testimony. More information on how to testify can be found at http://www.cga.ct.gov/olm/yourvoice.asp. If you can't make the hearing, we encourage you to submit your written testimony to:

Joint Committee on Judiciary
Room 2500, Legislative Office Building
Hartford, CT 06106

The bills being considered at the hearing can be accessed here: http://www.cga.ct.gov/jud/ProposedEminent.asp.

The Planning & Development Committee hearing will be held on October 25. We'll let you know more details once they become available.

Remember, this is the best opportunity to change Connecticut's laws to make sure what happened in Fort Trumbull doesn't happen anywhere else. And with your voice, and that of others from around the Constitution State, there's no doubt that change is coming.


Christina Walsh
Assistant Castle Coalition Coordinator
Institute for Justice
(202) 955-1300
If you're free, drop by and show your support.


Thursday, September 29, 2005


Extreme Civil Unions

Now let me think. As I recall there are those who would suggest that civil unions between members of the same gender (or outright gay marriage) is not a road that leads to polygamy. Really.

First Trio "Married" in The Netherlands

(via Michelle Malkin)


Two Eminent Domain Bills In CT

From The Day (subscription required).

Lawmakers To Review Two Eminent Domain Proposals

The legislature's Judiciary Committee has scheduled a public hearing next week on two proposals to revise the state statutes concerning eminent domain.

The committee, which will meet at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 6 at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford, will review two draft bills it generated after public hearings this summer, triggered by the storm of criticism following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in the case of Kelo v. New London.
The first proposed bill would essentially rewrite the statute used by the state and the New London Development Corp. to condemn the properties in the Fort Trumbull neighborhood for purposes of economic development.

The new language would add numerous procedural requirements. One of those would add a new check to development agencies like the NLDC, requiring a municipality to evaluate whether the agency's development plan meets all the necessary criteria for public benefit and has a “reasonable expectation” of success before voting it up or down.

The second draft bill, which Lawlor said was “arguably more important,” would apply to all of the numerous clauses dealing with eminent domain throughout state statutes. The bill would require that every usage of the takings power for economic development be subjected to a three-pronged test showing that it is part of “an integrated development plan that has substantial and significant public uses or public benefits,” that it is not solely for the benefit of a private party, and that the taking is “reasonably necessary” to carry out the plan.
From these sparse descriptions it would appear that the state legislatures are still going with the idea that economic development falls within the concept of public use. So far I'm not terribly encouraged, but we'll just have to wait and see what the bills actually look like when I can get my hands on them.


Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Adoption From Iraq

Take a moment to read this. It'll bring a tear to your eye.


Law Of Progress

The Mighty and Egregious Charles has a great set of posts over at Musings of The GeekWithA.45. One deals with the "Progressive" political movement...or non-movement while the other touches on evolution and makes exactly the point I try to drive home when people start telling me evolution is wrong because it doesn't explain the Origin of Life. Read them both.


Connecticut Emergency Preparedness

I happened to catch part of the Brad Davis show this morning on the radio. He was talking about the official Connecticut Emergency Preparedness Guide (or whatever they're calling it) and a guy named Andrew called in with some advice.

He started out by referencing the breakdown of civil authority in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina and suggested that the people of CT should take steps to prepare for similar situations if a major natural disaster should befall this state. Brad agreed wholeheartedly and suggested that people call 860-509-8000 (after 8:30am today) to request a copy of the state's official policy. While Andrew thought that was a great idea, he had an addition. I'll paraphrase:

Andrew: That's a great idea Brad [whoops, already said that] but I think people should go a little further. Everyone, you know, especially single mothers who are especially responsible for their children's safety should take additional steps. There are some great local companies that can help you prepare a holistic approach to planning for emergencies. You know, like Colt and Smith & Wesson. [Holistic, Colt and Smith & Wesson all in the same breath. Never thought I'd live to see the day =)]

Brad: Well, you know I think the government here in CT is far more functional than the LA government. I think that's what's come out of this horrible situation down on the Gulf coast, that the LA and New Orleans' governments were just plain inept.

Andrew: I still think that people should...

Brad: Yes, I hear what you're saying. But I think that the CT government, with the best State Police in the nation, is fully capable of providing protection to state residents. The thing I'm more worried about is the highway structure.

Andrew: Well, yeah. You should pretty much plan on not going anywhere.

Brad: Exactly. I think that's where we should be focusing our efforts, on improving the highway structure in the state.
That's as close as I can remember. The point I want to make is that even someone like Brad Davis, with whom I usually agree, takes the stance that the government can and will provide for your personal safety and protection. That, my friends, is an absolute outright lie...or a major and (for a radio talk show host inexcusable) misjudgment.

Even in the best of times, the government has ruled that the government has absolutely no obligation to provide any particular person with protection. Fact: Police forces just don't have the resources to provide 24/7 personal protection to each and every person within their jurisdiction. And that is in the best of times. What about the worst of times, like during a natural (or man-made) disaster? Do you really think that even by recalling all officers to their posts that they will have the manpower to protect you...personally?

That is a question each and every one of us must answer. Whether you come down on the side of Brad Davis (fix the roads!) or if you side with Andrew (Colt or Smith & Wesson!), remember...it is you (not the police) who must live with your decision.

As for official emergency preparedness and what you should do, if you're in CT call 860-509-8000 for the official guide. I'm not sure what they'll send, but I'd imagine it'll be similar to the state's National Disaster Plan. Additionally, at least some towns in CT have their own plans that might provide additional local info (e.g., West Hartford).

Whatever you do, please don't bury your head in the sand and think, "Oh, that'll never happen here." That way, my friends, leads directly to the line of pitiful humanity outside the Superdome waiting for the government to rescue them. Don't be that person. Be the guy, or gal, who stands up for him/herself.


Tuesday, September 27, 2005


To Federalize Or Not To Federalize

Choice 'B', please.

The answer to disaster readiness is not to strip state and local government of power and responsibility in favor of giving that power to the federal government. While I think Bush has a lot of really good qualities as President, this is one case in which he and I disagree. That's fine, the thing that scares me is that I agree with the ACLU on this one. Yikes.

Regardless, using the US military as a law enforcement agency officially qualifies as a Bad IdeaTM. While there are sure to be reams of internet-equivalents-of-paper filled with reasons for and against altering the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, let me put forth one you might not see elsewhere.

I think it's fair to say that our Founding Documents were written in such a way as to balance the need for a strong central government while reserving adequate powers to the states and rights to the People. The basic idea here is that while a national government is necessary, it poses the most significant threat to the liberties so many have bled for and so must be constrained by both the respective states and the People. I would doubt the even the most ardent Federalist in the late 18th century would have agreed that the best way to accomplish this goal would be to allow the federal government to decide what the federal government is allowed to do.

Well, that battle was lost within the very first generation of our countrymen when the Supreme Court under Chief Justice Marshall estabilished that the Supreme Court (read: federal government) gets to decide whether or not a law passed by Congress (read: federal government) is in keeping, or incompatible, with the Constitution (read: contract between the States). Although the idea of Judicial Review is so common today as to be nearly unquestioned, it must be admitted that the situation is sort of like letting a landlord have the only (and last) word in deciding when the lease you signed has or has not been violated by his or her own actions. No impartial court to which to bring an appeal. Just the landlord or maybe someone s/he appoints can make the determinations. Sounds pretty fair, huh?

The proposal to automatically federalize large-scale disasters (natural or otherwise) is exactly the same, if not worse. It is a terrible idea because in allowing it to happen, the states and the People give their blessing to the idea that the federal government can do whatever the hell it wants to do.

Now I realize that it's pretty late in the game to be fighting this, but not all is yet lost. We can still (re)assert our Fundamental Rights and tear them back from the federal government. Unfortunately, that would require an informed voting public. More than that, the voting public would need to be willing to assert not just their claim to Fundamental Rights, but also the attendant responsibilities. More than that, they would have to do so in the face of a gargantuan government that, more and more every year, says, "Don't worry. Just sit back, pay your taxes and let us take care of everything for you." They have the money to do it (because it was taken from you and me for all intents and purposes at gunpoint) and they have the will (because elected officials stay elected by buying their seats with the aforementioned stolen currency).

So what's a nation to do? In theory I would like to suggest that each and every one of us vote with the good of your countrymen in mind. In reality I know this is a pipe dream because people are selfish animals. In the end all I can do is vote as I think a hybrid of Jefferson, Washington and Hamilton would. In other words, respectively, vote for the weakest federal government that can still manage to raise enough of an army to defend us from foreign enemies and has just enough mass to maintain international credit.

Outrageously idealistic. Yup. I've said it before and I'll say it again, if someone told me I had to choose to throw out two of the 10 amendments in the Bill of Rights or the ship would sink, I'd choose to go down with the ship as an American.

Where do you stand?


The Streets Run Red With Blood!!!

OHMYGOD! Did you hear about the multiple people who went on rampages with assault weapons today!!

Oh. Right. Neither did I. Probably because it didn't happen.

Remember the Assault Weapons Ban of the Clinton era? Well if you don't please feel free to brush up on your recent history here.

Anyway, the reason I mention it at all is that the predicted disastrous consequences to it's expiration have not only failed to come to pass a year after its demise...but just about the exact opposite has actually occurred. Since the Buckeye Firearms Association has already put some effort into this topic, I'll let them tell you more:

Last year, the warnings were dire.

The Clinton Gun Ban expired on September 13, 2004, after months and months of shrill screams from gun ban extremists that the sunset would result in the rein of terror on American streets
But contrary to these and other such warnings, the Washington Times is now reporting news that should forever sink what was left of the credibility of gun ban extremists in our nation.
Of course, that last part is assuming that "gun ban extremists" need credibility. Seems to me they get by just fine with hyperbole and ad hominem attacks.


Monday, September 26, 2005


Homespun Bloggers

Homespun Bloggers is going strong. Check out this week's Best Of, Radio Blogging and Symposium


Did I mention RADIO BLOGGING!!! =)


Friday, September 23, 2005


Protection Against Terrorism

I've had a number of anti-gun types tell me that it was stupid of people to rush out an get pistol permits following 9/11/01. After all, they argue, carrying a weapon is not going to protect you against a terrorist attack. True enough if the bad guys come at us with nuclear weapons. On the other hand...

LOS ANGELES - Three men charged in a terror investigation were planning shooting rampages at Los Angeles-area military sites to retaliate for what they called the oppression of Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to court documents.
Samana told investigators the three men planned to storm a facility with firearms in September or October, then flee in a vehicle, the affidavit said.

The FBI said Patterson bought a .223-caliber rifle and Samana practiced shooting at a local park, possibly with a shotgun.

All accepted the possibility of dying in an attack, with Patterson believing "the ultimate goal is to die for Allah in jihad," according to the affidavit.
I can think of no reason why law-abiding American citizens should not be armed and capable of helping them along the path leading to a face-to-face with Allah.

Ask yourself: If you happen to be in the path of their terrorist brethren on a future shooting rampage, do you want to be the person cowering in the corner hoping they don't kill you, or do you want to be the one watching for an opening to make some big noise and do some good?

(via Alphecca)


Wednesday, September 21, 2005


Leaving New Orleans

I've blogged few stories I've run across about people dealing with the aftermath of Katrina in various was, mostly good (1, 2, 3). Well, here is an account that is less than inspiring (expect, of course, that he survived):

I had two reasons. First, my landlady could not take her dogs, which we both loved very much. So I kept them until she could come back and get them a few days later. The second reason was my neighbor. She's about eighty years old and maybe eighty pounds and she was all alone. Her son was supposed to come get her and take her to safety.
Since I stayed to help her, she had told me her son would be happy to take me with them. As it turned out, he picked her up days after in the pre-dawn hours and never came to get me. So I was stuck, and my last available ride out was gone. It was time to go on my own.
It doesn't get much better from there. The only comment I have is compare this with some of the more positive accounts and two factors seem to emerge as predictors of how things are going to go.

Number 1: Extent of damage and flooding.
Number 2: State of arms.

Obviously no one could control, except by getting out of town, the extent of damage and flooding to which they were exposed. However, just about anyone can easily control whether or not they're armed. The differences between the hardships experienced by those who were armed and those who were not should be painfully obvious. Keep that in mind and remember that no matter where you life you are not immune from disasters, whether they be natural or man-made.


New London Meeting - 9/20/05

Here is some of the coverage of last night's meeting:

No confidence vote in New London for development agency

NLDC Told Top Officials Must Be Fired


Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Meeting Time And Place - New London

The New London City Council's meeting that has been rescheduled for tonight (9/20/05) at 7:30pm will be held at the New London High School, located at 490 Jefferson Ave. Go here for driving directions.


Getting out of New Orleans

Another great story of perseverance and courage in New Orleans.


New London Meeting Rescheduled For Tonight

Update (9/20/05 1:25pm):

The meeting has been rescheduled. It will be held at the New London High School, 490 Jefferson Ave in New London at 7:30pm.

End Update:

Last night was a busy and eventful one in New London. The short story is that the City Council meeting was canceled and rescheduled for tonight. The long story is best told by the video (you'll need Real Player to watch it).

I'll summarize. There was a City Council meeting scheduled for last night to vote on a 'no confidence' proposal against the NLDC's leadership. The meeting, as usual, was to be held in City Hall. And, as usual, there was a large rally held outside the Hall preceding the meeting. The City Council apparently assumed that there wouldn't be too many people interested in attending the meeting, and so they decided to hold the meeting in a room that can hold only 49 people. The reason for the small capacity is that the fire escape is broken, and has been since July.

The upshot was a bunch of angry people unable to attend a public meeting. It was so chaotic that one woman was arrested and even City Councilmen were initially turned away from the meeting due to overcrowding. And, in what I think was probably the worst move by the City Council (from their prespective), the media were turned away from the meeting. Regardless of the actual reason for the inadequate capacity, it is all too easy to question to motives of the Council. Rescheduling was probably the best decision they've made in a while, and may have avoided even more serious problems.

All in all, I'd say it is beginning. I think the events in New London last night are but a prelude to real problems, particularly if the City Council and NLDC continue to be unresponsive to the people of the city. I truly hope that this ever-more-contentious issue is resolved peacefully, but it seems that people are losing patience with their elected officials.

To the people of New London and all their supporters, I urge everyone to keep things civil. This is not the time for those opposed to abuses of eminent domain to be seen as an unruly mob. So please, if you plan to attend the meeting rescheduled for tonight, bring your voice, your opinions, and most importantly of all, the facts. Remember, we are right, and we will prevail because this country is based on the Rule of Law and the Will of the People. No two-bit City Council and their hired guns are going to prevail against our Right to own and keep property our property.

So, call City Hall sometime after 11am today (9/20/05) to find out where the meeting will be held tonight (it is scheduled for 7:30pm). No number was given in The Day article, so I would try calling the City Manager at (860) 447-5201. If that doesn't work, call any number you can find from the City's website. I'll update this later if I figure out which number to call.

The video is linked above, but here it is again, and here is the coverage from The Day (subscription required).


Monday, September 19, 2005


Causes Of Crime

Listen to just about any liberal and you'll hear that if we can just get the guns off the streets we could virtually eliminate crime. Sounds like a nice little utopia, huh? Then those dern data hit ya in th' face:

Scotland tops list of world's most violent countries

A UNITED Nations report has labelled Scotland the most violent country in the developed world, with people three times more likely to be assaulted than in America.

England and Wales recorded the second highest number of violent assaults while Northern Ireland recorded the fewest.
Interesting, huh? The disarmed isles of Great Britain are still violent. But then the home of the IRA is the least among them. Interesting.

Now, from the same article, the coup de gras (if you will). Do you remember a comment on one of my posts a while back claiming that New Zealand was a great place to be precisely because there were no guns and, therefore, no crime? Well according to this study...

New Zealand had the most property crimes and sexual assaults, while Poland had the most robberies.
Good thing those women have been unable to defend themselves. I'm sure that NZ deals harshly with violent sexual assaults and I'm sure that is a great comfort to the helpless victims of those assaults.

(via: Alphecca)


The Battle of Athens, Tennessee

How come I never learned about this in high school (I'll give you one guess):

On August 1-2, 1946, some Americans, brutalized by their county government, used armed force as a last resort to overturn it. These Americans wanted honest open elections. For years they had asked for state or federal election monitors to prevent vote fraud (forged ballots, secret ballot counts and intimidation by armed sheriff's deputies) by the local political boss. They got no help.

These Americans' absolute refusal to knuckle under had been hardened by service in World War II. Having fought to free other countries from murderous regimes, they rejected vicious abuse by their county government.
You can guess where it went from there. Read it anyway.

(via: The Smallest Minority)


Some New London Articles (Updated 8:45 am)

First, some legislative issues:

GOP seeks action on eminent domain

HARTFORD — General Assembly Republicans launched a petition drive Friday to try to force a special legislative session on the controversial issue of government’s use of eminent domain to take private homes for development.
Connecticut Republicans said the ruling prompted a move by nearly a dozen states to revise their laws.

But Democratic legislative leaders say they see no need to rush to judgment on the issue despite the Supreme Court ruling. They argue that two General Assembly committees are already reviewing the issue and that a compromise agreement should be achieved before scheduling any special session.
Read the rest and then tell me which party is interested in protecting the God-given rights of the People and who is allying themselves with Big BusinessTM.

Next, an account of the debate I mentioned last week (registration required, go here)

Hartford — That the divide remains deep between those who regard eminent domain as a useful tool to promote economic development and those who fear it's a serious threat to liberty was clearly evident at a forum Friday at the state Capitol.
“When you all leave today and go outside ... take a deep breath, look up into the sky and notice that it is not falling,” Horton [who represented the city of New London before the Supreme Court in the Kelo case] told the audience of 80 to 100 people who gathered in the Judiciary Room.

But another panelist, Susan Kniep, president of the Federation of Connecticut Taxpayers Association, saw the decision as not something to be made light of, but a real and genuine threat to every individual's freedom and way of life.

“The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God and there is not a force of law or public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. Property must be sacred or liberty cannot exist,” said Kniep, quoting John Adams, the second president of the United States.
Which rings more true to your ears? The snide comment that the sky is not physically falling to Earth, or the honest quotation of our Second President who, incidentally, had slightly closer ties to the drafting of the Constitution and Bill of Rights than anyone alive today.

Update (8:45 am):

In response to this post, I received an email from Bruce Kanner, whose family owns property in Haverstraw New York [fixed text to correct some errors]. He also attended the meeting referenced above. Here's what he had to say:

I responded to Mr. Horton at the debate on eminent domain last Friday by saying the following:

Mr. Horton, as an owner of property under the threat of condemnation for more than 5 years, I can answer your question. You asked, "Is the sky falling"? Mr. Horton, when you are under the cloud of condemnation, you never look up.

Bruce Kanner
Think about it. Go home tonight and look at your home. Think of all the hard work you've put into making your home not just look 'nice', but making it your own. Then think how you'd feel if some 'quasi-public' group of land-stealing thugs (who just happen to be in bed with local elected officials) told you that they were going to take your home (not just a house, but your home) because the city needs to increase its tax base.

How would you feel?

What would you do?

Would you want people to support you, help you fight these well-funded, unscrupulous bastards?


Then make dang sure that you never have to ask for such support by helping the New London homeowners and elsewhere in the country now. If they lose, you could be next.

End Update

And finally, all I can really say is: Yep.

A Vested Interest In Eminent Domain
This is war. Your local pols are not on your side. With the exception of a few brave state legislators, who will be squashed like bugs on this issue, the political interests are as one in their love affair with the notion that they can call in the bulldozers and play development games with your property.


Sunday, September 18, 2005


Best Of Homespun Bloggers

This week's Best Of post is up. Check it out.


Friday, September 16, 2005


Happy Constitution Day!

Read it, love it, cherish it, remember those who have died to create and defend it...and above all understand it!!

Full text of the Constitution of the United States of America

Bill of Rights

Links to each section, Bill of Rights and all later amendments


Cindy Sheehan

With absolute moral authority comes absolute freakin' stupidity. Apparently:

"I donÕt care if a human being is black, brown, white, yellow or pink. I donÕt care if a human being is Christian, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, or pagan. I donÕt care what flag a person salutes: if a human being is hungry, then it is up to another human being to feed him/her. George Bush needs to stop talking, admit the mistakes of his all around failed administration, pull our troops out of occupied New Orleans and Iraq, and excuse his self from power. The only way America will become more secure is if we have a new administration that cares about Americans even if they donÕt fall into the top two percent of the wealthiest."
Uh, ok.


Never Thought I'd Say This

Not because I have anything against Alabama. I'm just built for snow. But now...I'd consider moving as long as he's in charge.

Montgomery Mayor Stands By Statement For Residents to Buy Guns

Montgomery (AP) - Montgomery Mayor Bobby Bright is unapologetic and stands firm behind comments he made this week about the need for residents to buy guns and learn how to use them to protect themselves from criminals.
You can add Montgomery Mayor Bobby Bright to the list under the heading of This Is The America I Know And Love


Bill Wittle

I read Silent America and was impressed well beyond words with Mr. Wittle. He continues his outstanding writing at EjectEjectEject and his latest essay, Tribes, is amazingly good.

Read it.

Are you pink or are you blue? Sheep, or sheepdog? It's your choice. Make it.


As a side note, Silent America is selling at Amazon.com for about $30. It's worth every penny, although I'm not upset that I picked it up early (a year ago-ish?) for something like $6. Hey, you snooze, you pay more. As I said, if I didn't already own it I'd pay the $30.


Senate Elections: 17th Amendment

Repeal the seventeenth amendment?

Interesting, actually. More here but, alas, Senator Miller has now left the Senate, and the country is poorer for his absense.

For those of you who don't know each and ever amendment by heart, here you go.

(via Musings of The GeekWithA.45)



Hell Yes!

NASA to unveil plans for 2018 moon mission
The expedition would begin, these charts show, by launching the lunar lander and Earth departure stage (essentially a giant propulsion module) on a heavy-lift launch vehicle that would be lifted into orbit by five space shuttle main engines and a pair of five-segment shuttle solid rocket boosters.

Once the Earth departure stage and lunar lander are safely in orbit, NASA would launch the Crew Exploration Vehicle capsule atop a new launcher built from a four-segment shuttle solid rocket booster and an upper stage powered by a single space shuttle main engine.
Get excited! The space program is one of the things that keeps this country ahead of the curve. The new ship and launch system sounds seriously cool!

Now all that remains is to see whether NASA makes it back to the moon before some enterprising group of adventurers.


Old Ladies in NO

This is absolutely unbelievable.

Remember, this happened in America. We should all be absolutely outraged.

No one should have the power to send armed men into the home of any citizen, let alone that of an old woman, for the express purpose of kicking them out.

Did you notice the inside of the house? Lots of food just in that little area. How about the street? Yeah, you can see the street. No flooding.




Update 8:30am

From the Castle Coalition


As you may know, the New London Development Corporation has begun sending eviction letters to residents of the Fort Trumbull neighborhood in New London. Breaking their promise to Governor Rell, the NLDC seeks to send everyone that remains in the neighborhood packing. That can't happen.

To support the folks in Fort Trumbull, please join members of the New London community at a rally on Monday, September 19 at 6:00 p.m. The rally will be held at City Hall, 181 State Street, immediately PRECEDING the scheduled City Council meeting and will call for the New London City Council to support a moratorium directing the NLDC to immediately suspend eviction proceedings in the Fort Trumbull neighborhood. This is the first City Council meeting since the NLDC broke its promise to the governor.

Let them hear your voice - tell the City what's happening is not just unconstitutional, it's morally wrong.


Steven D. Anderson
Castle Coalition Coordinator
Institute for Justice
1717 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Suite 200
Washington, DC 20006
T: 202.955.1300
F: 202.955.1329
E: sanderson@ij.org
Unfortuantely, I won't be able to make it. But if you're in the area stop by and show your support.


It would appear that the NLDC has officially made it onto the poopy-list of a no few state and local officials:

New London — Gov. M. Jodi Rell ordered the New London Development Corp. Thursday to rescind the relocation notices it sent to some property owners at Fort Trumbull, and her staff suggested that she — like some city officials — had lost confidence in the agency's management of its $73 million redevelopment project.
City officials, meanwhile, pressed forward with their plan for a vote of no confidence in the development agency on Monday, and told state officials that the project cannot go forward unless the NLDC's current leadership steps down.

“I don't think it can be overstated, the frustration of the governor,” said her legal counsel, Kevin Rasch, in an early morning meeting with NLDC officials, including its president, Michael Joplin, and chief operating officer, David Goebel.

Rasch was joined by Commissioner James F. Abromaitis and a deputy, Ronald Angelo, of the Department of Economic and Community Development, which has provided virtually all of the funding for the Fort Trumbull project. Neither the governor's office nor the agency was informed before the relocation notices were sent on Friday.
Yep, just about everybody is pretty pissed. Of course, all this consternation would be totally unnecessary if the State Legislature had done more than just talk back in July. Remember, they only "asked" that the NLDC abide by the moratorium.

While I'm glad that the seizure of homes has been stopped, and I think it's pretty slimy that the NLDC went back on their word...let me play Devil's Advocate. The NLDC was granted a piece of land under a the governmental power of eminent domain enumerated in the 5th amendment to the US Constitution. They were then sued by the people who would be displaced, they won in the state court and the case was eventually heard by the Supreme Court of the United States. The SCOTUS ruled that there was nothing in the Constitution to prevent the action planed by the NLDC since increasing the tax base of a municipality was defined as "public good". Then, with the court case won and plans ready to go forward, the State Legislature asked them to hold off. Now, they're a business (or at least a quasi-business) and they've got a (quasi) bottom line. They want to go forward now. They decide to do so, and then the cow flop hits the windmill. And to top it all off, the Governor has the audacity to order them to cease and desist! Does she even have the power?!

Well, now I just feel unclean.

Guess what, this could have all been avoided. All that was needed was for the State Democrats to agree that passing a temporary ban on all eminent domain takings (say, until midway through the next legislative session) with the force of (wait for it...wait for it) law. Then, there would have been no question and we could have avoided all the associated long-term health problems of getting the gubernatorial panties in a bundle.*

Anyway, I guess all's well that ends well, assuming this is really an 'end'. It just irks me that the Governor (while I agree with the outcome) and other politicians are going to gain points by being outraged, not happy and full of displeasure for something that they themselves let happen. But then I suppose this is just politics as usual.

I'm happy for Michael, Susette and all the other home/landowners. Just don't expect to me fall down and worship at the feet of our benevolent rules in State government for offering to include two blanks in the firing squad.


* Pre-emptive strike: Yes, I would have used that phrase regardless of our Governor's gender, so lay off.


Wednesday, September 14, 2005


Fed Gov Running At Max Efficiency

And if you believe that, there's a certain bridge I'd love to sell you.


Surprise, Surprise, NLDC Lied

As I mentioned yesterday Michael Cristofaro informed me that the NLDC is demanding rent from the people whose houses they are stealing. It wasn't clear (to me anyway) until last night just what they meant by that. Apparently, the NLDC is demanding that the property owners pay them rent retroactive to November 2000! Michael informs me that would come out to more than $75,000 per property (that's a rate, incidentally of ~$1,700/month).

In yet another bit of slimy dealings:

Goebel [chief operating officer for the NLDC], though, said the NLDC's understanding is that the moratorium applies only to new eminent domain proceedings.

The proceeding in Fort Trumbull dates back to Nov. 14, 2000, Goebel said.

"We have to do what's best for the taxpayers," he said.
Oh, right. Well, I guess that clears everything up. Thanks Mr. Goebel.

[Off camera]
Wait, what was the IJ? Hum. Interesting. Ok, I'll tell them.
[Back on camera]
Here's the Institute of Justice's latest press release. Is Mr. Goebel a lying sack of...? You be the judge:

NLDC Lies Continue:
Associated Press Report Impeaches
NLDC Claims That Moratorium Promise
Now Only Applies To New Takings

Washington, D.C.-The NLDC’s lie that their promise to abide by a moratorium called for by the Connecticut governor and the legislature applied only to new projects and not the Fort Trumbull homeowners is easily exposed by the July 26, 2005, Associated Press report. In regard to the NLDC and the moratorium, AP reported:

“Fresh off a victory in the U.S. Supreme Court that allowed the seizing of property for private development, a New London agency has agreed to hold off on construction plans while state lawmakers consider limiting eminent domain powers.

Michael Joplin, president of the New London Development Corp., told The Day of New London that his agency will allow houses in the Fort Trumbull neighborhood to stand while the legislature takes up the eminent domain issue.

State lawmakers have asked all local governments in Connecticut to refrain from seizing property for private development until they decide whether such action should be allowed.

Although the Supreme Court, in its 5-4 decision last month, ruled that New London could take homes in Fort Trumbull to build a privately owned hotel and office space, the court also said states are free to ban the taking of property for such projects. States across the country are now considering such bans.

Because the state had previously sanctioned the city’s use of eminent domain for Fort Trumbull, it was unclear whether lawmakers could make New London delay its plans.

‘We are going to abide by the moratorium,’ Joplin said.

But city officials added that they were in no hurry to remove the Fort Trumbull owners from their property when lawmakers asked for the moratorium.”

In a statement issued today, the NLDC wrote, “In July of this year, NLDC agreed to a voluntary moratorium on new eminent domain takings in the City of New London, in response to a request from the Connecticut General Assembly. The State Legislature sought a voluntary moratorium on such takings so it could review the present statutes governing the ability of municipalities to take property for economic development purposes. That review is presently underway and the Legislature is expected to take appropriate action in the upcoming 2006 regular session. The NLDC will continue to honor the request for a voluntary moratorium on new takings.”

“The NLDC’s claim that the moratorium on eminent domain applied only to new cases and not to the homes in New London is a blatant lie,” said Scott Bullock, senior attorney for the Institute for Justice, which represents the Fort Trumbull homeowners. “Now the NLDC is not only breaking its word and defying both Governor M. Jodi Rell and the Connecticut legislature, but it is outright lying to the media and the public.” (emphasis in original)
Well, there you have it folks. Up to the minute info on the continuing saga in New London. The homeowners have pledged to keep up the fight and I think the least we can do is keep up with the issue and be ready to lend support where we are able.


Tuesday, September 13, 2005


Arthur Signs Off

On to bigger and better things.

Chrenkoff is no more.


The Awful Choice

What do you do when a police officer breaks into your home (without a warrant) and demands that you give him your guns? You have two choices, meekly hand them over or die where you stand. What do you do?

It would appear that most people in New Orleans took option A, and I can't say that I blame them. I only hope that seeing the top-down insanity of the 'leadership' in La. prompts state and local governments around the country to clarify, beforehand, exactly what they can, and cannot do in the fact of a major disaster.

For what it's worth, here is yet another article on the illegality of mass gun confiscation in La:

Defenseless On the Bayou
The aftermath of the hurricane has featured prominent stories of citizens legitimately defending lives and property. New Orleans lies on the north side of the Mississippi River, and the city of Algiers is on the south. The Times-Picayune detailed how dozens of neighbors in one part of Algiers had formed a militia. After a car-jacking and an attack on a home by looters, the neighborhood recognized the need for a common defense; they shared firearms, took turns on patrol, and guarded the elderly. Although the initial looting had resulted in a gun battle, once the patrols began, the militia never had to fire a shot. Likewise, the Garden District of New Orleans, one of the city's top tourist attractions, was protected by armed residents.

The good gun-owning citizens of New Orleans and the surrounding areas ought to be thanked for helping to save some of their city after Mayor Nagin, incoherent and weeping, had fled to Baton Rouge. Yet instead these citizens are being victimized by a new round of home invasions and looting, these ones government-organized, for the purpose of firearms confiscation.
Louisiana statutory law does allow some restrictions on firearms during extraordinary conditions. One statute says that after the Governor proclaims a state of emergency (as Governor Blanco has done), "the chief law enforcement officer of the political subdivision affected by the proclamation may...promulgate orders...regulating and controlling the possession, storage, display, sale, transport and use of firearms, other dangerous weapons and ammunition."

But the statute does not, and could not, supersede the Louisiana Constitution, which declares that "The right of each citizen to keep and bear arms shall not be abridged, but this provision shall not prevent the passage of laws to prohibit the carrying of weapons concealed on the person."
Last week, we saw an awful truth in New Orleans: A disaster can bring out predators ready to loot, rampage, and pillage the moment that they have the opportunity. Now we are seeing another awful truth: There is no shortage of police officers and National Guardsmen who will obey illegal orders to threaten peaceful citizens at gunpoint and confiscate their firearms.
There absolutely must be criminal prosecutions of both those who gave the orders to confiscate guns and those who actually carried them out. I don't want to hear any whining about the Guardsmen being 'young' or 'just kids doing their jobs'. That's crap. Each adult must be responsible for his/her own actions. The stakes here are far too great. If we fail to demand that all citizens follow the law (and not illegal orders) then we might as well just pack up this 200-year old experiment and go find some place else to live.

Any government that so blatantly abridges citizens' Natural Rights (especially that of Self Defense) is already well on its way to the dustbin of history. I pray that we can turn the tide and get back to the Freedoms and Rights that have allowed our forebears to make this country great.


1 New London

The website for the new political party, 1 New London, that Mike Cristofaro had brought to attention a while back is now up and running.

They've got all sorts of info including candidate profiles, so check them out when you get a chance.


Gun Law News

Great post at Gun Law News (September 12th, 2005...no perma links). Here's the money quote:

Let's start by going back to the basics and remember what the Bill of Rights are about. They are restrictions on the power of the government. They define rights of citizens that are inherent in being a human and predate the formation of the government. They are not rights that are granted by the government to its citizens. On the contrary, the government exists because we the people say it does and only has the powers we grant it.

So, can the government suspend the Second Amendment in the face of civic emergencies or civil unrest. No. Because the government did not 'grant' any rights defined by the Bill of Rights, they have no power to suspend those rights.
It's so nice to find other people who understand what the term "Inalienable Rights" means.


Eviction in New London

Michael Cristofaro has sent me another update from New London:

NLDC has hit a new low. They have decided to ignore the Governors morotorium and have sent out letters stating we need to vacate the property's in 90 days(Dec. 8th) and we must send them starting Sept 1st. $600/month for rent. There are more stipulations but this is the jist of it. I've contacted 2 of the councilors tonight to see where they stand on the issue and if they were even aware of this new tactic. I will let you know what their remarks are if they ever call me back.
This is outrageous. Even if you accept that the NLDC has the power to toss these people out of their homes (which, under current law, they do), demanding that the home/property owners pay $600/month back rent is absurd. What a weapon of intimidation. The NLDC is, in effect, saying: Go ahead and fight us, but if you lose, you lose big. What a bunch of arrogant pieces of you-know-what.

It would appear that the NLDC has now gone against their word. As I quoted back on July 26th:

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.
90 days isn't a long time, but hopefully it's enough for the good guys to counter the latest from the dirty, low-down, word-breakin', politican-ass-kissin' NLDC.

Update (10am):

Michael just sent me the IJ press release regarding NLDC's recent eviction letters. Here's the text, since I can't find it online yet:

New London Development Corporation
Breaks Eminent Domain Moratorium Pledge

Some Fort Trumbull Residents
Ordered to Vacate Homes in 90 Days
And Pay NLDC Rent

Washington, D.C.—Breaking its word and defying both Governor M. Jodi Rell and the Connecticut legislature, the New London Development Corporation (NLDC) has apparently decided not to abide by a moratorium called for by both the governor and legislature. At least two residents in so-called Parcel 3 of the Fort Trumbull area on Monday, September 12, 2005, received notices (dated September 9, 2005) that they must vacate the properties in 90 days and must start paying rent to the NLDC during that period.

“The NLDC’s actions are breathtaking in their arrogance and defiance of the wishes of Governor Rell and Connecticut’s legislature,” said Scott Bullock, a senior attorney at the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Justice, which represents the Fort Trumbull homeowners. “The NLDC is an unelected, unaccountable body that has been given the government’s eminent domain power and is out of control. It is time Connecticut’s political leaders at the state and local levels reel in this group that has been abusing the rights of New London property owners,” he added.

Less than two months ago, on July 26, 2005, the NLDC agreed to honor a moratorium called for by the Connecticut legislature and agreed not to seek to take possession of the homes while the legislature considered changing its eminent domain laws.

“Virtually the entire country is against the abuse of eminent domain by the NLDC, but its actions demonstrate that it could not care less what it has done to the rights of the citizenry and reputation of New London,” added Dana Berliner, another Institute senior attorney.

Berliner added that unless the NLDC agrees again to abide by the moratorium, Connecticut political leaders at either the state or local level must formally pass one to force the NLDC not to let anything happen to the homeowners while the Connecticut legislature considers changing its eminent domain laws.


Monday, September 12, 2005


(Shotgun-totin') Penn Mighter Than Sword?

Altered by my internet-news-savvy father, I rushed over to Drudge to shamelessly steal this picture. That's right folks, your eyes do not deceive you. That's Sean Penn carrying a shotgun. As my aforementioned internet-news-savvy father put it in the alerting email:

Didja see Drudge. Supposedly Sean Penn is pictured in the NY Post walking through the streets of New Orleans carrying a Gasp!! Shotgun. Let's consider the contradictions. Let's NOT go to war with Saddam because all he's guilty of is : rape, murder, torture, war crimes, mutilation, fraud and theft and violations of international law. And that's just off the top of my head.

BUT, he's ready and willing to blast the liver out of any low-life (American) New Orleanian who gets in his way. And how are shotguns different from the dreaded handgun?

I would like to forward the theory that Mr. Penn (and I use that title loosely) is surrounded by (off-camera) security guards and his WMD (have you ever seen the shot dispersal pattern of a 12ga?) is unloaded (a la Algore).


And who's surprised by this? Really, if you still trust CNN (or just about any MSM organization) you deserve the downtrodden, hopeless feeling you've got right now.


Eh, as long as I'm throwing links around I've got two more good ones for you.

First, Jay Tea at Wizbang takes it to the Blame The Feds/Bush crowd (including Paul of Wizbang fame).

Second, the always outstanding Volokh Conspiracy has a great series of posts on the legal issues surrounding the (illegal) gun seizures in NO. Previous posts are linked at the bottom.


Don't Blame Bush, Congratulate The Logistics Officers

Interesting piece, worth reading.

The federal response to Katrina was not as portrayed

Jason van Steenwyk is a Florida Army National Guardsman who has been mobilized six times for hurricane relief. He notes that:

"The federal government pretty much met its standard time lines, but the volume of support provided during the 72-96 hour was unprecedented. The federal response here was faster than Hugo, faster than Andrew, faster than Iniki, faster than Francine and Jeanne."

For instance, it took five days for National Guard troops to arrive in strength on the scene in Homestead, Fla. after Hurricane Andrew hit in 2002. But after Katrina, there was a significant National Guard presence in the afflicted region in three.
Journalists complain that it took a whole week to do this. A former Air Force logistics officer had some words of advice for us in the Fourth Estate on his blog, Moltenthought:

"We do not yet have teleporter or replicator technology like you saw on 'Star Trek' in college between hookah hits and waiting to pick up your worthless communications degree while the grown-ups actually engaged in the recovery effort were studying engineering.
Touché, Mr. logistics officer =).

And yes, the question remains:

A better question -- which few journalists ask -- is why weren't the roughly 2,000 municipal and school buses in New Orleans utilized to take people out of the city before Katrina struck?
What buses, you ask? These!

That's right, folks. The whiners in the media and in the New Orleans and La government have been asking (in falsely pained voices): Why didn't the Federal Government get everyone out of the city!?

The question they should be asking themselves (and their lawyers) is: How are we going to avoid criminal prosecution for gross dereliction of duty that lead to so many innocent deaths?


Stealing Guns

"Only law enforcement are allowed to have weapons," said police chief Edwin Compass III.

Should read: Edwin Compass III, soon to be ex-police chief and convicted felon.

Anyway, check out Gun Law News (Sept 9th post) and their links (especially Volokh and the ABC video...if you've got even a single bone of a patriot in your body you will be disgusted and outraged).

Now, I would like to make one observation. There are a lot of gun owners out there who claim to subscribe to the "They can have my guns when they pry them from my cold, dead fingers" doctrine. I think it is worth noting that there has yet been a reported case (to my knowledge) of anyone making such a stand in La.

I'm not suggesting that I hope someone will take such a stand because that would lead, sort of by definition, to the death of someone who really doesn't deserve it. However, the question this brings to mind is whether or not the basic human right of self defense (which is, incidentally, recognized in both the federal and La constitutions) means anything at all if it can be so easily tossed aside whenever the powers that be decide they need to do so.

I was very glad to see reports of citizens banding together for the common defense in unflooded areas. But then I took at look at the ABC video (linked above) and saw American soldiers going from American home to American home with automatic weapons at the ready, disarming law-abiding, fellow Americans and then 'letting' them stay (unarmed) in their homes. I've heard people claim that American troops would never obey an order to fire upon their own countrymen. Lacking any evidence to the contrary, I cautiously believed them. Now I'm not so sure.

May God protect our fighting men in and out of uniform.


1st Hand Blogger Account From La

Check out Louisiana Libertarian.


Eminent Domain Debate In Hartford

The attornies from both sides of the infamous Kelo case will be in Hartford to debate the issue in a public forum:

Hartford — The attorneys for the two sides in the Kelo v. New London case will again square off in Hartford to debate the future of eminent domain Friday, Sept. 16, from noon to 1:30 p.m.

The debate will be in the Judiciary Room of the State Capitol. “Eminent Domain after Kelo: What Limits? Who Decides?” is sponsored by the Hartford chapter of the Federalist Society, a libertarian and conservative lawyers' group.
The event is free and open to the public. Lunch will be provided.

For more information, contact Brian Freeman at (860) 275-8310, or bsalfree@att.net


Sunday, September 11, 2005


Never Forget, Always Remember

Each of these pictures are worth well more than 1000 words. I'll offer only two:

Always Remember.


Friday, September 09, 2005


This Is The America I Know And Love

They didn't leave their homes...and they're not asking nothin' from no one. Just don't mess 'em.

NEW ORLEANS - When night falls, Charlie Hackett climbs the steps to his boarded-up window, takes down the plywood, grabs his 12-gauge shotgun and waits. He is waiting for looters and troublemakers, for anyone thinking his neighborhood has been abandoned like so many others across the city. Two doors down, John Carolan is doing the same on his screened-in porch, pistol by his side. They are not about to give up their homes to the lawlessness that has engulfed New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Three men came to Carolan's house asking about his generator and brandished a machete. He showed them his gun and they left.
And here I was starting to wonder where all the Americans went. They've been there all along, it's just tough to get reporters to give a crap when there's such a target rich environment ready-made to Blame Bush.


Cops Looting

I wasn't sure if I believed the stories going around about police officers not just standing by while looting was taking place, but actually taking part. Until, that is, I watched this video (warning, the video is hosted at a site with, shall well say, 'questionable' content).


No Really, DBB

I blogged yesterday instructing those who have the opposite inclination: Don't Blame Bush. Well, this morning I ran into an article in the NYT that seemed to contradict that sentiment...until I got 2/3 of the way through it. Here are some statements from the NYT and quotes from Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco early in the article:

For reasons of practicality and politics, officials at the Justice Department and the Pentagon, and then at the White House, decided not to urge Mr. Bush to take command of the effort. Instead, the Washington officials decided to rely on the growing number of National Guard personnel flowing into Louisiana, who were under Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco's control.
"Can you imagine how it would have been perceived if a president of the United States of one party had pre-emptively taken from the female governor of another party the command and control of her forces, unless the security situation made it completely clear that she was unable to effectively execute her command authority and that lawlessness was the inevitable result?" asked one senior administration official, who spoke anonymously because the talks were confidential.
Officials in Louisiana agree that the governor would not have given up control over National Guard troops in her state as would have been required to send large numbers of active-duty soldiers into the area. But they also say they were desperate and would have welcomed assistance by active-duty soldiers.

"I need everything you have got," Ms. Blanco said she told Mr. Bush last Monday, after the storm hit.

In an interview, she acknowledged that she did not specify what sorts of soldiers. "Nobody told me that I had to request that," Ms. Blanco said. "I thought that I had requested everything they had. We were living in a war zone by then."

By Wednesday, she had asked for 40,000 soldiers.
Louisiana officials were furious that there was not more of a show of force, in terms of relief supplies and troops, from the federal government in the middle of last week. As the water was rising in New Orleans, the governor repeatedly questioned whether Washington had started its promised surge of federal resources.

"We needed equipment," Ms. Blanco said in an interview. "Helicopters. We got isolated."
Sounds pretty damning, doesn't it. Looks like Bush failed to act because he was afraid of political fallout. Of course, you've got to actually read the whole article pick up this little tidbit:

Aides to Ms. Blanco said she was prepared to accept the deployment of active-duty military officials in her state. But she and other state officials balked at giving up control of the Guard as Justice Department officials said would have been required by the Insurrection Act if those combat troops were to be sent in before order was restored.
So, the Governess wanted federal help in the form of troops...but was unwilling to give up (nominal) control over a situation that was clearly well out of hand. How stupid of President Bush to hold off sending federal troops to avoid violating the law (and the entire concept of (the misnamed) "States Rights").

Worse yet:

In a separate discussion last weekend, the governor also rejected a more modest proposal for a hybrid command structure in which both the Guard and active-duty troops would be under the command of an active-duty, three-star general - but only after he had been sworn into the Louisiana National Guard.
Sounds like the governor had a number of chances to invite federal help but failed to do so. Interesting, no?


Oh, and what about these? Do you think that maybe, just maybe they could have been used to evacuate people sometime before, say, September 1st? I just can't believe Bush didn't get drivers into these local school buses. What dereliction of duty. [/sarcasm]

(via The Galvin Opinion)

More 2:

Is anyone else tired of snide little comments and outright editorializing in the "News" section?

In an attempt to stem the criticism of the slow federal response to the disaster, Vice President Dick Cheney also toured parts of the ravaged Gulf Coast, claiming significant progress but acknowledging immense obstacles remained to a full recovery. (emphasis added)
Really, and here I thought he just wanted to get a better look at what the reality of the situation was. On second thought he's probably just looking for a way to help Halliburton exploit the situation.

More 3:

Protein Wisdom has a great post on this very topic.


New Orleans Slide Show

Check out this 1st hand view of New Orleans covering Katrina's arrival through day 4 or so. There are a lot of pictures (197) but it's worth clicking through them and reading Mr. Villa's comments.

(via Left Brain Female in a Right Brain World)


Different Take On The New Orleans Aftermath

Let me start my saying that while I agree with the general premise and conclusions of this piece, I'm not comfortable painting with quite so broad a brush. However, I think Mr. Tracinski's main thrust is accurate (although I'm not sure whether New Orleans is any worse than other large American cities). Here's a bit that pretty well summarizes his point:

What Hurricane Katrina exposed was the psychological consequences of the welfare state. What we consider "normal" behavior in an emergency is behavior that is normal for people who have values and take the responsibility to pursue and protect them. People with values respond to a disaster by fighting against it and doing whatever it takes to overcome the difficulties they face. They don't sit around and complain that the government hasn't taken care of them. And they don't use the chaos of a disaster as an opportunity to prey on their fellow men.
I don't particularly expect to see anything from this angle in the media. After all, the elevation of Victimhood to a virtue second only to saint-hood precludes blaming any Victim for their own plight...even if they are partly, or wholly, responsible.


Thursday, September 08, 2005



Don't Blame Bush


It would appear that the problems were at the local/state level, people. As you might recall, both sides of the political spectrum, from time to time, complain about the federal government encroaching on something often (mistakenly) referred to as "States Rights". Well, guess what. It was the State of Louisiana's "Right" to reject federal help. God knows the idiot governor wouldn't want to lose control and, in the process, allow much needed food, water and protective firepower to get to the people who needed it the most. No way.

For all you out there whose patellar reflex demands that you Blame Bush First, wipe the rabid froth off your chin, get a grip and take a look at some facts.


Berger Gets Off Easy

Sandy Berger got off easy, if you ask me:

WASHINGTON (AP)— A judge on Thursday ordered Sandy Berger, President Clinton's national security adviser, to pay a $50,000 fine for illegally taking classified documents from the National Archives.
Now here's the expected bit of media bias in favor of Sandy "Classified Party In My Pants" Berger:

The sentencing capped a bizarre sequence of events in which Berger admitted to sneaking classified documents out of the Archives in his suit, later destroying some of them in his office and then lying about it.
Bizarre? Umm, AP? I think you meant criminal. Right?


Sad Day For Land Grabbers

Happy day for rightful landowners.

Court denies developer's application to build in city


Roberts --> Hurricane --> Bad

This would be funny if it weren't so tasteless. No, it's just downright funny. As el Rushbo says, Just let them talk.

Group's TV ad uses storm's aftermath to target Roberts


Gay Marriage In CA...Maybe Not

Looks like Arnold is going to squash the gay marriage bill when it reaches his desk:

Schwarzenegger Vows Gay Marriage Bill Veto

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced Wednesday he will veto a bill that would have made California the first state to legalize same-sex marriage through its elected lawmakers.

Schwarzenegger said the legislation, given final approval Tuesday by lawmakers, would conflict with the intent of voters when they approved an initiative five years ago. Proposition 22 was placed on the ballot to prevent California from recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states or countries.
While I'm against gay marriage (as I've mentioned before), I stand by the ideal that a Representative Republic (RR) should work through the process that we're seeing unfold in CA (right Massachusetts?).

Although I would have a problem with Arnold's reasoning if CA were a true RR, it's really not. The CA constitution provides for public referenda, and so 'The People' have every right to expect that their directly-enacted will not be overturned by the state's legislature.

Read the rest if you're looking for ad hominem attacks against the Govenator.


Wednesday, September 07, 2005



I was thinking about the media's refusal to show is images of that clear, cool day whose 5th anniversary [yes, 4th anniversary, sorry for the typo] is just a few days away.

From time to time I look at these images. Not to inflame any sentiments, but so that I, personally...

Never Forget. Always Remember.


Kids, Guns, Amish and Cars

Did you know that zero Amish children die as a result of their parents crashing the family car? On the other hand, hundreds and thousands of children in the rest of the country die in cars each and every year. Amazing. We should invest more tax dollars in studying this disturbing trend of Cars Killing Children.

Makes about as much sense as this 'research':

ATLANTA - About 1.7 million U.S. children live in homes that have loaded and unlocked guns, according to what is described as the first comprehensive survey of gun storage in homes across the country.

The study, published Tuesday in the journal Pediatrics, found that 2.5 percent of children live in homes with loaded and unsecured firearms. Estimates from the early 1990s had put the percentage at 10 percent. The new results suggest a decline, but that doesn't mean there's cause for celebration, said Catherine Okoro, a study author.

"That's still too many children to be put at risk," said Okoro, an epidemiologist with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
There is a good deal of research out there on this topic. Basically it comes down to this: Children in homes with firearms are more likely to be injured or die by a firearm than are those who live in homes without firearms and children in homes with unlocked, loaded guns are at a higher risk still. Makes sense, right? After all, zero Amish die by drinking and then getting into a car...because they don't have cars.

The question I have is, who cares? Who cares whether kids with guns in their home are injured or die by the discharge of a firearm? Well, I do...but not in the way these 'researchers' do.

I think that, from what I've seen, the literature in this area is addressing the wrong question. The researchers are starting with an unfounded assumption that guns are bad, and so we should do everything to limit children's exposure to them. They're missing fully half the equation, however. The question is not only whether children are put at greater risk of being shot by the family gun (which isn't really even addressed in this research), but whether that (undeniable) risk outweighs potential (and largely unresearched) benefits of proximity to firearms.

Amish example. We could save hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of car-related deaths per generation if we all gave up cars. You and I know this is not going to happen because the benefits of fast and cheap transportation outweigh the guaranteed loss of life (the truth hurts, don't it). Similarly, it might appear that we could save a ton of lives (especially those of The ChildrenTM) if we outlawed guns.



Consider how many would die without automobiles. Right up front there is the kid having a soon-to-be-fatal allergic reaction to peanuts. No car...dead. Then there are all those who will die without medicine that is transported by automobile. And how about food? You get the picture.

Similarly, without guns in homes how many children will be killed by home invading scumbags in the middle of the night (or in the middle of the day, once criminals realize that the entire law-abiding country is unarmed)? That is the question that needs to be addressed.

To be fair, this is a very difficult question to address. The data are hard to compile and I would imagine that obtaining the necessary statistical power to allow a study to actually 'say' something would be quite difficult. Regardless, none of this is a valid excuse to carry out incomplete and inadequate research and tout it as though it were meaningful.

So, until you see studies addressing the right questions, don't be taken in by the media hype.


Links to the research (probably require subscription):
1) Study referenced in above article:
Prevalence of Household Firearms and Firearm-Storage Practices in the 50 States and the District of Columbia: Findings From the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2002
2) Comment on study in (1)
Storing Guns Safely in Homes With Children and Adolescents
3) Study on risk of firearm presence:
Gun Storage Practices and Risk of Youth Suicide and Unintentional Firearm Injuries


Blame Those At Fault

An awful lot of people have tried to push blame all over the place. How about placing blame where it belongs, with local officials who knew the risks that a high-energy hurricane posed yet did nothing:

Ghost Plan for a Ghost Town

It was to take ten days for rescue to get everyone out, not counting the dead. And city and state officials knew it would take ten days. For them to cry in the current crisis that 72 hours is unacceptable rings more than a little hollow.
Other federal and state officials pointed to Louisiana's failure to measure up to national disaster response standards, noting that the federal plan advises state and local emergency managers not to expect federal aid for 72 to 96 hours, and base their own preparedness efforts on the need to be self-sufficient for at least that period. "Fundamentally the first breakdown occurred at the local level," said one state official who works with FEMA. 'Did the city have the situational awareness of what was going on within its borders? The answer was no."
Read the rest.


New New Orleans

Great idea. Won't happen. Makes too much sense.


Gay Marriage In CA

While I still do not agree with the legal sanctioning of gay marriage, I wanted to point out the first example of it being done correctly (are you listening Massachusetts?):

The California Legislature on Tuesday became the first legislative body in the country to approve same-sex marriages, as gay-rights advocates overcame two earlier defeats in the Assembly.

The 41-35 vote sends the bill to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Now, it's up to the people of CA to show either their support of disapproval for this legislative decision at the polls next time around. This is how a Representative Republic is supposed to work (I'll ask again, are you listening, Massachusetts?)

One little thing that caught my attention:

Assemblyman Tom Umberg, a Democrat who abstained when another gay marriage bill fell four votes short in June, said he was concerned about what his three children would think of him if he didn't join those "who sought to take a leadership role in terms of tolerance, equality and fairness."
This guy should be voted out of office if for no other reason than he makes legislative decisions based on what is "children would think of him". Last time I checked parents were supposed to show children was is right and wrong, not the other way around. Maybe that's just me.


Tuesday, September 06, 2005


Protein Wisdom

Jeff hits the nail on the head with this post.

All politics are local...and local politics have (very serious) local effects. A lesson I need to constantly remind myself of. You too?


Back In Town

Well, quite a bit went down while I was on vacation (OBX). I'm now back, as you might have guessed, and ready to get back into the swing of things.

I've posted the last two weeks worth of Best Of Homespun Bloggers. Drop by and check out the submissions.

That is all for now. I'll get back to blogging when I can see that distant shore that is a conquered inbox.


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