Thursday, June 30, 2005

Kelo vs. New London - addendum

This is ironic.

It seems a developer has applied to the City of Weare, N.H. to develop a property on the very land His Honor Justice David Souter currently calls home. (Hattip: Michael Badnarik - Libertarian Presidential Candidate - 2004.)

This apparently isn't a joke either. The applicant is CEO of Freestar Media, LLP. Here is the story from their website. This is grassroots activism at it's best. I just wonder why more people don't jump on the bandwagon. We only really need to build 5 hotels. And if the Justices don't like it - they can appeal.

I think it's sad that the left has spoken so positively about this decision. All the rhetoric socialists spew fourth about protecting the people is just that I guess: spew. Without the right to own property our other rights are undermined. The right to religion? Can't practice that freedom if you can't build a synagogue, church or mosque in which to practice your religion. Freedom of the press? How can you print anything without a place to store your presses (or in the case of the Internet, a place to store your servers)? These ideas are better fleshed out in The Spectator.

I don't like this decision. The Justices have taken a very broad interpretation of "Public Use" replacing it with "Public Purpose". Their reasons for doing so are wholly inadequate.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Kelo vs New London

As most of you already know, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has voted 5-4 in favor of eminent domain powers. For those that don't know, eminent domain powers are those given to local and national governing bodies (i.e. your State Legislature and our National Government) by the 5th Amendment. These powers allow for a government to seize private property :

'nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.'
- US Constitution, 5th Amendment

As FindLaw states, this is a tacit recognition of a preexisting right that the states have allowing them to seize private property as long as that land is to be put to public use (i.e. for the betterment of society as a whole). These powers, at least how I read them, are further fleshed out in the 14th Amendment, section 1.

Initially, I'm pretty skeptical about the whole deal. On the surface it seems that SCOTUS just sided with big business though Armondo at DailyKos seems to think otherwise. The dissertation was pretty lengthy and well written. It even gave me pause and made me reevaluate my initial position. I still think they made the wrong decision though and here's why: It's the job of the Supreme Court to check the other two governing bodies. When legislators and our executives fail to protect the people; SCOTUS us our last bulwark.

They have passed the buck so to speak. It is now up to the states to decide where they stand on legislatures handing over eminent domain powers to private corporations. Sucks to be living in Florida and Connecticut right now. Seems precedent is set in those states. Even my own state seems pretty much on track to derail a citizens right to his or her property. Citizens, at the state level, will have to try to influence legislators on how broadly to define eminent domain. I really don't know if your average citizen is up to the task.

I'm still developing my opinion on the matter but as it stands now I think SCOTUS made the wrong call.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Lead By Example vs. Tell Others What To Do

I got this from perusing DailyKos. I like to read what the Left has to say sometimes. Helps me keep things in perspective. Between some of the nutjobs at Kos and some of the nutjobs at LGF I find the middle ground where I feel most people stand.

The article is pretty negative when it comes to describing a unit of the Iraqi military in a sector of Iraq. I assume the Washington Post printed a current story and not something someone came up with 3 or 4 months ago. That said the article seems pretty gloomy. I see it in another light though. I see it through the eyes of a former soldier and outside party. One thing I noted from the article is this:

An hour later, the men returned to Forward Operating Base Summerall, a sandy expanse behind concrete barricades and concertina wire a few miles outside town. They followed U.S. military protocol: Each soldier dismounted from the vehicle and cleared his weapon. [Cpl.] Zwayid stayed in the truck, handed his gun to a friend and asked him to clear it.

"Get down and clear your own weapon!" Cpl. William Kozlowski shouted to Zwayid in English.

Zwayid answered in Arabic. "That's my weapon," he explained, pointing to his friend.

"Corporal, you're a leader!" Kozlowski shouted back. "Take charge!"

Zwayid smiled at him. "What's he saying to me?" he whispered.

Therein lies the difference in mentality which I think plagues the ME. The US soldier is steeped in the "Lead by Example" mentality. US doctrine is built around leading from the front. As a leader you don't ask another soldier to do something you are not willing to do yourself.

The Iraqi leader has had a different example all his life. He has only been exposed to a "Tell Others What To Do" style of leadership. Leaders are tantamount to kings. They tell others to do things and don't sully themselves by doing such menial tasks. From the Caliphs down through Saddam it has always been this way. Deference has been given to a leader.

I think the lack of respect shown towards the Iraqi soldiers by the US troops stems from this difference. In Iraq, I guess respect is given. In America it's earned. While it's important that we learn from the culture in which our soldiers are immersing themselves I also believe they can learn something from us. One soldier commented on the fact that the insurgents were willing to die for their cause. Isn't his own freedom worth dying for as well? Isn't the freedom they haven't had the chance to experience in over 24 years worth dying for? If they don't learn this lesson from us then they'll soon have another Saddam in charge.

One must also take the article in context. The reporter was in Baiji which is about 130 miles north of Baghdad. Of course our main efforts to rebuild will start in the capitol and radiate outward. That means there will be places that see less of everything. If we attempted to rebuild the entire country en masse we would fail miserably. Instead we take things one step at a time. To gain a better perspective, the reporter should also report from Southern Iraq where the population makeup is different. Or Northern Iraq where the Kurds hold power and it's much safer (our troops head there for R&R).

Instead he reports from the Sunni Triangle, hotbed of insurgent activity. This leads me to believe the reporter has an agenda. He takes a piece of the pie and declares it is representative of the whole pie (the Title of the article was Building Iraqs Army: Operation Improbable). Such a statement is just absurd.

Friday, June 10, 2005

FSCK Amesty International ...

I started listening to this and had to stop ...

I have more to say on the matter but right now my inflamed brain can only come up with :

FSCK Amnesty International!

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

On a less serious note ...

Google Maps Rocks!

Planning a trip to Kill Devil Hills over Father's Day Week-end.
Tried out Google Maps - much better than Mapquest. It pops up mini maps as you select each leg in the directions and you can even see satellite photos of the areas. Very nice indeed.

I'm such a nerd!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

More on Operation Lightning and other roundups

Iraq The Model: Mohammed posted another update on Operation Lightning. Seems Iraqi security forces "arrested 49 terror suspects in the districts of Hurriya, A'amil, Ghazaliya and Mada'in in and around Baghdad." Also, more bases and districts are being handed over to Iraqi forces as they are deemed qualified to run ops by themselves. Will we see any of this positive news in any MSM outlets? Of course not!

RealClear Politics: Col. Bay posted a comment on a column by Deborah Saunders. It's a good read. (hattip: Austin Bay Blog).

Free Iraqi: Ali gives some pretty informative insight into the machinations of some of the power groups operating in Iraq.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Con or Lib: Which are you?

This is me:

Your Political Profile

Overall: 70% Conservative, 30% Liberal
Social Issues: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal
Personal Responsibility: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal
Fiscal Issues: 100% Conservative, 0% Liberal
Ethics: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal
Defense and Crime: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal

Strange really .. thought I'd be more conservative. The answers for each question are kind of extreme and you only get two choices so ... this is a very rough estimate at best.