Head West, Turn Right

The Joint Blog of the Conservative Northwest Blogging Alliance: Red State Points of View from a Blue State Point on the Compass.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Here's Your Chance to Fiddle While Rome Burns

(Cross-Posted at Memento Moron)

In "honor" of the Supreme Court's ruling on Eminent Domain, a group of us have decided to start a Constitution Dead Pool. Here's your chance to "bet" on which part of the constitution will get dismantled next!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

New Member

Please welcome the latest conservative voice being added to our little coalition, Felis Of Palousitics from Pullman, Washington.

How do you know which wallet belongs to Justice Thomas?

Today, the Supreeeeeeeeeme Court ruled that government can take your property for whatever the hell it wants. From CNN today,
The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that local governments may seize people's homes and businesses -- even against their will -- for private economic development.
As a result, cities have wide power to bulldoze residences for projects such as shopping malls and hotel complexes to generate tax revenue.
The Institute for Justice gives an abbreviated description of the case:
In 1998, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer built a plant next to Fort Trumbull and the City determined that someone else could make better use of the land than the Fort Trumbull residents. The City handed over its power of eminent domain—the ability to take private property for public use—to the New London Development Corporation (NLDC), a private body, to take the entire neighborhood for private development.

In regards to her dissent, the AP article says
Justice Sandra Day O'Connor…issued a stinging dissent.
Some choice excerpt from her dissent include
Under the banner of economic development, all private property is now vulnerable to being taken and transferred to another private owner, so long as it might be upgraded–i.e., given to an owner who will use it in a way that the legislature deems more beneficial to the public–in the process.

In moving away from our decisions sanctioning the condemnation of harmful property use, the Court today significantly expands the meaning of public use. It holds that the sovereign may take private property currently put to ordinary private use, and give it over for new, ordinary private use, so long as the new use is predicted to generate some secondary benefit for the public–such as increased tax revenue, more jobs, maybe even aesthetic pleasure…Thus, if predicted (or even guaranteed) positive side-effects are enough to render transfer from one private party to another constitutional, then the words “for public use” do not realistically exclude any takings, and thus do not exert any constraint on the eminent domain power.

The specter of condemnation hangs over all property. Nothing is to prevent the State from replacing any Motel 6 with a Ritz-Carlton, any home with a shopping mall, or any farm with a factory.

If legislative prognostications about the secondary public benefits of a new use can legitimate a taking, there is nothing in the Court’s rule or in Justice Kennedy’s gloss on that rule to prohibit property transfers generated with less care, that are less comprehensive, that happen to result from less elaborate process, whose only projected advantage is the incidence of higher taxes, or that hope to transform an already prosperous city into an even more prosperous one.

Today nearly all real property is susceptible to condemnation on the Court’s theory. In the prescient words of a dissenter from the infamous decision in Poletown, “[n]ow that we have authorized local legislative bodies to decide that a different commercial or industrial use of property will produce greater public benefits than its present use, no homeowner’s, merchant’s or manufacturer’s property, however productive or valuable to its owner, is immune from condemnation for the benefit of other private interests that will put it to a ‘higher’ use.”

But the truly scathing dissent comes from Justice Thomas
If such “economic development” takings are for a “public use,” any taking is, and the Court has erased the Public Use Clause from our Constitution…
Justice Thomas puts some sting into it with this
Today’s decision is simply the latest in a string of our cases construing the Public Use Clause to be a virtual nullity, without the slightest nod to its original meaning.
Much to my enjoyment, Thomas continues to define himself as a strict Constitutionalist. And he’s not afraid to show his love for Original Intent.
Tellingly, the phrase “public use” contrasts with the very different phrase “general Welfare” used elsewhere in the Constitution. (“Congress shall have Power To … provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States”); preamble (Constitution established “to promote the general Welfare”). The Framers would have used some such broader term if they had meant the Public Use Clause to have a similarly sweeping scope.
He then takes SCOTUS to task for the ambiguity of this ruling in relation to others.
The Court has elsewhere recognized “the overriding respect for the sanctity of the home that has been embedded in our traditions since the origins of the Republic,” Payton, supra, at 601, when the issue is only whether the government may search a home. Yet today the Court tells us that we are not to “second-guess the City’s considered judgments,” ante, at 18, when the issue is, instead, whether the government may take the infinitely more intrusive step of tearing down petitioners’ homes. Something has gone seriously awry with this Court’s interpretation of the Constitution.
Justice Thomas then opens a can (whoop-ass, not Coke) and almost literally asks if those in the majority opinion are trying to gut the Constitution.
It is far easier to analyze whether the government owns or the public has a legal right to use the taken property than to ask whether the taking has a “purely private purpose”—unless the Court means to eliminate public use scrutiny of takings entirely. Obliterating a provision of the Constitution, of course, guarantees that it will not be misapplied.
To finish his lashing of the rest of the court, he closes by suggesting a review of all previous takings cases.
For all these reasons, I would revisit our Public Use Clause cases and consider returning to the original meaning of the Public Use Clause: that the government may take property only if it actually uses or gives the public a legal right to use the property.

Justice Thomas is leaving no doubt as to his understanding of the Constitution. And it is a beautiful thing. He’s also leaving no doubt about his opinion of some of his fellow bench mates. The more I read the decisions of Justice Thomas, the more I hope he becomes Chief Justice after the departure of Rehnquist.

To answer the question in the title, it's the one that says Bad Motherf**ker.
Crossposted @ I&I

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Getting Really Old

(Cross-Posted at Memento Moron. Posted here because it happened in Eugene.)

Back before the election, I blogged on an incident where my car was vandalized for sporting a pro-Bush bumper sticker. In the passion of the elections, someone decided that it was a legitimate means of registering their dissent to deface my property. But it hasn't let up since the elections. Not only is it obvious from the scratches on the replacement sticker that further attempts have been made to remove it as well, but both TFR and I have been subjected to dirty looks and obscenities shouted at us as we've driven in and gotten out of our car.

But this time, someone decided not to try to remove our sticker. They decided to add one. I won't repeat the obscenities it contained, but rather leave it to your imagination to decide how they chose to enumerate the old tired "chickenhawk" cliche.

You know what, I'm tired of this. I'm tired of blogging on incidents where Republican campaigners were harassed, attacked, and vandalized, of reading of incidents where people defame the very troops they disingenuously claim to "support", of hearing hyperbolic, hyperventilating, just plain HYPE of people who are willing to equate every action they disagree with to the most evil, oppressive regimes in history just because they have chosen George W. Bush as their own Quixotic windmill, and most of all, I'm tired of being told that *I'M* the one on the side of oppression, when I've noticed that it's those who dfisagree with me who seem most willing to silence or shout down their opponents.

So to those on the left who tell me that "dissent is patriotic", I say to you, it may be, but bullying, strongarm tactics aren't. So start standing up to those who side with you politically when they step over the line, or sit down and shut the F$#@ up.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Congress at its best

This is what I call teeth!

From the AP:

Culminating years of frustration with the performance and behavior of the United Nations, the House voted Friday to slash U.S. contributions to the world body if it does not substantially change the way it operates.

The 221-184 vote, which came despite a Bush administration warning that such a move could actually sabotage reform efforts, was a strong signal from Congress that a policy of persuasion wasn't enough to straighten out the U.N.
I think the Bush administration has the wrong goal. They are operating under the assumption that the UN could be a credible authority in the world with just a few changes here and there. That way, if this passes the Senate, and UN doesn't follow through (I almost hope they don't), the current feelings of loathing for this world body might be put to even greater use to completely discredit and neutralize this farce of government (as if they aren't well on their way already).

The UN is simply hearing the voice of the American people in this vote. They ignore it at their peril.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Pictures from the district

Yes, here's the inestimable Mike Adams as captured by my camera sites at the 2005 Eagle Forum Collegiate Summit in Washington D.C.

Other action in front of our esteemed Congressmen Larsen's office. Me and my traveling partner, Joshua (left) were disappointed he wasn't in his office so we could do a similar stunt in person.

And our photo-op with Eagle Forum founder, the great Phyllis Schlafly:

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Thinking inside the box

I'm sure everyone is shocked to learn that Kofi Annon is in more trouble and may actually have known more about oil for food issues than he let on...(shock and awe to be more exact).

One of the e-mails describes an alleged encounter between Annan and officials from Cotecna Inspection S.A. in late 1998 during which the Swiss company's bid for the contract was raised.

The second, from the same Cotecna executive, expresses confidence that the company would get the bid because of "effective but quiet lobbying" in New York diplomatic circles.
Ok, so I'm actually rubbing my hands together in glee and enjoying every last bit of it.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Making tracks east

My finals are over and now I'm headed to Washington D.C. in a matter of hours.

For those who are interested, I'm going to Eagle Forum's Collegiate Summit this Thursday and Friday. It should be a good trip and I'm hoping to bring some pictures back. The potential highlight of the conference itself is that the inestimable Dr. Mike Adams will be speaking. I'm bringing along my copy of Welcome to the Ivory Tower of Babel just for the chance to get it signed.

Cheers one and all. Be back on Monday.

Crossposted at Western Washington Unraveled