Eminent Domain

Ryan writes:

Thank you for writing about this somewhat obscure topic. As an urban planner I appreciate it when a nationally syndicated columnist writes about a topic that I would normally only discuss with my colleges.

I also like that you don’t come to a firm conclusion on this topic. The increase in revenue that the City of New London would receive from the new development would go for schools, roads, sanitation and other services. All good by most standards (unless you’re Ann Coulter or someone like that). However, Wilhelmina Dery loses her home, which is bad.

The catch 22 described above is really a symptom of a bad system. If the City of New London could rely on money from the State of Connecticut and the Federal Government to help fund its schools. roads etc. It wouldn’t have to prostitute its powers of Eminent Domain to the highest bidder.

It can’t though and the reasons are obvious, tax cuts lead to spending reductions. The Federal government has abdicated its responsibility to the states through unfunded mandates like No Child Left Behind and Wellfare reform. Unfortunately, more and more municipalities will have to make the choices that New London has had to make. Unless of course the Supreme Court decides that the power of Eminent Domain is not an economic development tool and then we can expect schools, roads and services to go the way of the Dodo.

Read this carefully, people. Ryan is dead-on accurate.

Lucas, however, thought my nuanced stance sucked:

Ted, what a fantastic piece of waffling you did on this latest column. I love your work, all of it. I think you are dead on with everything you say but man, this column kinda sucked. There was nothing hard-hitting; you sat on a fence for 13 paragraphs. The t hing i find so confusing is that you clearly meant to do it. Why? Don’t you agree that your take is why people read your columns? I mean, you are an Op/Ed guy…where’s the f’n Op?
Keep up the Pat Tillman stuff: A fake hero for a fake liberation.

Maybe he’s right. Maybe not. Wait—there I go again.

More Reasons Bush Isn’t Like Hitler

From Ed:

More reasons why Bush isn’t like Hitler:
1. When Hitler serverd in his country’s military, he showed up.
2. … and actually saw combat.
3. Hitler had a moustache.

Speaking of Hitler, this came in anonymously:

Maybe this will help out the e-mailer that questioned Hitler’s legitimacy. In the presidential election of 1932, Hitler came in second to the incumbent Hindenburg, but later that year the Nazis came away with the largest number of seats, but not a majority, in parliamentary elections.

A right-wing coalition of parties in the Reichstag convinced Hindenburg to appoint Hitler chancellor, the German equivalent of prime minister, and bring the Nazis into the government, believing that they could control them.

They were obviously wrong, and although Hitler was not a member of the Reichstag and was never elected himself to anything, he was legally appointed by the Reich President and had the support of a majority of the elected Reichstag, many of them democratically elected Nazis.

So yes, Hitler did come to power in a constitutional, democratic manner, and only afterward used his position to force through dictatorial legislation consolidating all power in the cabinet, and, ultimately, himself.

See the Wikipedia article on Hitler, or most encyclopedia articles for that matter, for support.

and Robert gets more specific:

Yet another brilliant comic that cuts so precisely to the heart of the matter. As a historian, I have pointed out the differences between Herr Bush and Herr Hitler. The main one I like to emphasize is how Corporal Hitler served with honor during World War I. As a message runner, his was a most dangerous job. He was injured in the line of duty and awarded a medal for his actions above and beyond the call of duty. As I recall, Bush went AWOL and deserted his unit when America was engaged in a war in SE Asia. While Hitler was obviously a negative historical figure, he did perform on a much more honorable level in defending his country than Bush did. But while Hitler came from a working class background, Bush never met a day of work or responsibility in his life. Needless to say, both of them heralded the end of freedom and justice in their countries after taking power. While I hope we don’t end up with millions of dead freethinkers a la the Jews, I fear that Bush and his minions will do great damage to our civil liberties. So keep up the good work and I’ll see you in the gulag.

Democracy Sweeps the Middle East, Sort of

Matthew jibes:

“On the other hand, the street demonstrations may have been organized
by CIA or other US-funded cover agencies. ” Snu? Isn’t this the same CIA that got caught flatfooted by 9/11 and thought Saddam had WMD? Either the CIA is hopelessly incompetent or secret masterminds, but it can’t be both at the same time. A little internal consistency, please.

Of course, if all those demonstrators are in the pay of the CIA it does sort of explain the deficit, seeing as the conservative estimates say there’s tens of thousands of them. (How on earth would you raise a crowd of fake protestors that big? I couldn’t begin to imagine how to do it.)

Careful, Mr. Rall. You’re on the verge of a Strange Loop here. If a Secret Conspiracy taints everything the news reports, how can the evidence that Conspiracy exists be less suspect?

I love this standard method of conservative rhetoric, which Tom Tomorrow has attacked so well in a cartoon recently. First you set up a strawman: the CIA messed up 9/11. Then you cite a supposed inconsistency: the CIA is too dumb to carry off a conspiracy.

Actually, as my readers know, the CIA was the only government agency with its eye on the ball concerning Iraq: it repeatedly told Bush that it had no proof that they had weapons of mass destruction. Incredibly, the only agency that got it right got blamed for the faulty war. Moreover, there’s little doubt that the CIA has pulled off countless coups, including in Iran in 1953. They also make absurd blunders, like poisoning Fidel Castro’s cigars during the early 1960s. One does not contradict the other.

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