Childhood fun

Reason got me all nostalgic with this link to a review of the Sesame Street Discography. Sadly, since Elmo became the SS major marketing focus, it has become a test of endurance to deal with Sesame Street. With all the wonderful characters on Sesame Street, why in the world do they choose the monster with the speech impediment, hyperactivity, and hypoglycemia to be their face in the world? Do you know how hard it is to find a Big Bird doll, or Bert and Ernie? It's nearly impossible to find Oscar. I hadn't seen a Snuffleupagus for years until last week (and it was only a balloon). Thankfully, Cookie Monster is making a bit of a comeback. Though no more 'C is for Cookie!'

For a trip back to your childhood check out Progressive Boink's 25 favorite Sesame Street Memories. This is great and includes downloads (probably illegal now) of the Martians, the Twelve Song, and the Teeny Little Super Guy Song. The only thing missing is Rubber Ducky.


The funniest thing I've seen in a while

Lies, Damn Lies, and MIT Statistics

Courtesy of Brian B @ Memento Moron, comes this:
Take the MIT Weblog Survey
Since it's MIT, I don't expect you Tech guys to participate. :)


I am one...

...of the 40 million. Just found out today. According to Mastercard's news release, they
...immediately notified its customer banks of specific card accounts that may have been subject to compromise so they can take the appropriate measures to protect their cardholders.
Well isn't that peachy when my bank then takes eleven days to notify me.

I already hate credit cards. I only have one, and that is my corporate card. I would, however, find it exceedingly difficult to exist without my Debit-Mastercard. After this, though, I'm considering going all cash.


Bruce Campbell was here yesterday and I MISSED IT! I am a total fuck-up sometimes.


Just can't shake it

I'm up again in the middle of the night, thinking about the ramifications of Kelo v New London.

An interesting one popped into my head today. If 'economic development' is now defined as a public use, what about 'environmental protection'? The government has taken land through environmental regulation for years through stream buffers and set-backs. But take it a step further.

Mayor Nickels of Seattle has signed on to the US Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. The agreement includes language regarding "efficient motor vehicles" among its provisions.

If 'environmental protection' meets the same standard that 'economic development' does, what will stop Mayor Nickles, or any of the other 165 mayors, from seizing your vehicle?

I'm sure I'm just overreacting...


With Blood on Their Hands

Kelo v. New London is keeping me up nights. My little brother and his fiance are considering buying a house and some land in New Mexico. My parents have a large cattle ranch in Southern Oregon.

But the real cause of my sleeplessness is the fact that, quite soon, Justices Stevens, Kennedy, Souter, Ginsberg, and Breyer will have blood on their hands.

It probably won't happen in Freeport, Texas, but it might well happen in New London. William Von Winkle says
I'm not going anywhere. I'm here. I'm going to fight until they give up. They can do their little development around here with us here or they can do no development and try to take it, because until they stop trying to take my property by eminent domain, they will not build anything at Fort Trumbull. It's simple as that.

Sadly, it is only a matter of time until someone stands armed and ready to defend their property to the death. And when that time comes, someone will die. The media will declare him a "property rights" fundamentalist. Yes, with the property rights in quotation marks. It's already started (Read the NY Times editorial regarding the SCOTUS decision, full text here).

Condoleezza Rice says that the African Union should speak out "against these outrages" when President Mugabe evicts people in Zimbabwe, but what does the Executive Office have to say about Thursday's decision? So far only this from White House Press Press Secretary Scot McClellan:
First of all, on the Supreme Court decision from yesterday, we were not a party to that case. The President has always been a strong supporter of private property rights. Obviously, we have to respect the decisions of the Supreme Court, and we do.
President Bush should say, "Stevens has made his decision, now let him enforce it!" Instead, they "respect" what the Supreme Court has done.

I forsee a time soon upon us where the words of Thomas Jefferson will be fulfilled.
The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.

Our Fathers weep for their misguided children.

Constitutional Deadpool

My fellow HWTR blogger, Brian B, in association with some of his friends have started a new blog in celebration of Kelo v. New London. It is called Constitutional Death Pool. For what it's all about, and your chance to win...well adulation and adoration, see this post. Little brother, you can have some fun while you consider disturbing thoughts.


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.

Continue on...

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 Motherfucker.
Crossposted @ HWTR

Since when?

Since when is the Constitution a document intended to specifically deny rights to people? I really don't agree with flag burning, however, I do not consider it a constitutional crisis.

As I briefly mention in an earlier post, Constitutional Amendments limiting the rights of people are always failures. The Eighteenth Amendment is, of course, the shining example. The 'three-fifths' section of Article I is an example where the Constitution itself was used to limit the rights of people. This, also, was struck down.

I used to think that Republicans were less dangerous to our freedoms than Democrats. But this second attempt to use the Constitution as a stick against the people is starting to make me think they're just as bad.


Mental Health for Lindsey Herrell

Ms. Herrell derides Sally Pipes' guest column in the Seattle P-I warning of the dangers of socialized medicine, saying that
Your readers should be aware of the unfair and unproved criticisms of health care in other nations as espoused by Pipes at profit-only motivated organizations such as the Washington Policy Center.

A fact for Ms. Herrell: The Washington Policy Center is a NON-PROFIT 501(c)(3) corporation.

Sounds like readers should also be aware of "unfair and unproved criticisms" espoused by Ms. Herrell.


Ron's Tattoo


If you're really serious about that tattoo, try something like this. Only a few minutes of doodling. Tweak to suit your tastes.

Cause and Effect Anagram


The logic of the Supreme Court on Pot

This is by far the best explanation of the logic used by the Supreeeeeeem Court this week. For those of you who have opted for the Montana Shack, anything that has the potential to be sold or transported across state lines now apparently falls under regulation of the Interstate Commerce Clause.

As for the rest of the blog...entertaining, but not to my particular tastes.