Sunday, September 11, 2005


Remember the day, and all those who lost their lives that day, and all those who have given their lives since.

Four years since that evil of that day.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Property Seizures

Justices Affirm Property Seizures by 5-4 vote

And guess what? It was not the conservatives who made it possible to take your property from you!!


Justices Affirm Property Seizures5-4 Ruling
Backs Forced Sales for Private Development
By Charles LaneWashington Post Staff Writer
Friday, June 24, 2005; A01

The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that local governments may force property owners to sell out and make way for private economic development when officials decide it would benefit the public, even if the property is not blighted and the new project's success is not guaranteed.

The 5 to 4 ruling provided the strong affirmation that state and local governments had sought for their increasing use of eminent domain for urban revitalization, especially in the Northeast, where many city centers have decayed and the suburban land supply is dwindling.

Opponents, including property-rights activists and advocates for elderly and low-income urban residents, argued that forcibly shifting land from one private owner to another, even with fair compensation, violates the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution, which prohibits the taking of property by government except for "public use."

But Justice John Paul Stevens, writing for the majority, cited cases in which the court has interpreted "public use" to include not only such traditional projects as bridges or highways but also slum clearance and land redistribution. He concluded that a "public purpose" such as creating jobs in a depressed city can also satisfy the Fifth Amendment.

The court should not "second-guess" local governments, Stevens added, noting that "[p]romoting economic development is a traditional and long accepted function of government."

Stevens's opinion provoked a strongly worded dissent from Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who wrote that the ruling favors the most powerful and influential in society and leaves small property owners little recourse. Now, she wrote, 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."

D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams, who serves as president of the National League of Cities, issued a statement praising the court for upholding "one of the most powerful tools city officials have to rejuvenate their neighborhoods."

In addition to its national repercussions, the court's decision removed a possible obstacle to the District's plans to build a baseball stadium along the Anacostia River waterfront and to redevelop the Skyland Shopping Center in Southeast -- a project Williams said could generate 300 jobs and $3.3 million in tax revenue.

A number of property owners in those areas had hoped the court ruling would help them resist the city's exercise of eminent domain. But David A. Fuss, an attorney for several of them, acknowledged that the court's ruling "is going to have a major impact."

The redevelopment program at issue in yesterday's case -- the plan of the Connecticut city of New London to turn 90 acres of waterfront land into office buildings, upscale housing, a marina and other facilities near a $300 million research center being built by pharmaceuticals giant Pfizer -- was also expected to generate hundreds of jobs and, city officials say, $680,000 in property tax revenue.

New London, with a population of about 24,000, is reeling from the 1996 closing of the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, which had employed more than 1,500 people.

But owners of 15 homes on 1.54 acres of the proposed site had refused to go. One of them, Susette Kelo, had extensively remodeled her home and wanted to stay for its view of the water. Another, Wilhelmina Dery, was born in her house in 1918 and has lived there her entire life.

The Connecticut Supreme Court upheld the city's plan, so the homeowners, represented by lawyers from the libertarian Institute for Justice, appealed the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

According to the institute, the New London plan, which the City Council approved in 2000, is typical of "eminent domain abuse," which has spawned more than 10,000 threatened or filed condemnations involving a transfer of property from one private party to another in 41 states between 1998 and 2002.

Scott Bullock, a lawyer for the institute, said that the only recourse for property owners facing condemnation under eminent domain would be to sue in state court based on the property rights provisions of each state's constitution.

New London City Manager Richard M. Brown said he was "very pleased" by the court's decision. He said the city hopes to restart its redevelopment plan, which has lost money so far, partly because of the litigation.

In the disputed neighborhood, known as Fort Trumbull, most residents sold out and their homes were demolished. The site is now a flat expanse of dusty, rock-strewn soil dotted by the few remaining houses. Signs advertising the development site are withered and torn; builders who once considered projects have moved on, deterred by the controversy.

Stevens was joined in the majority by Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer.

Kennedy's vote was something of a surprise because he had expressed strong sympathy for property-rights claims in past cases. But in a brief concurring opinion he explained that the New London plan showed no sign of improper favoritism toward any one private developer.

O'Connor was joined in her dissent by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. They wrote that the majority had tilted in favor of those with "disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms."

And in a separate dissent, Thomas sounded a rare note of agreement with liberal groups such as the NAACP, which had sided with the property owners in the case.

He protested that urban renewal has historically resulted in displacement of minorities, the elderly and the poor.

"Regrettably, the predictable consequence of the Court's decision will be to exacerbate these effects," he wrote.

The case is Kelo v. City of New London , No. 04-108.

Staff writer Kirstin Downey contributed to this report.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The Answer to Who Said It from March 2008

Well, not quite.

I believed that the person who said it was one of the greatest of presidents in our history ... until very recently. The affairs did not alter my opinion, nor did his wealth. His education, his background, nothing changed or altered my perception of him as one of the greatest presidents we have ever had ... until very recently.

I believed that his was a presidency unfinished. The hopes, ideals, and dreams of millions were washed away in that one brief moment, November 22, 1963. The pretender to the throne took credit for his programs, for his dreams. Until very recently I believed John Kennedy was a great president.

Until I heard Barrack H. Obama ... and I began to consider what Kennedy achieved and failed to achieve and why. Historians almost universally ripped Kennedy apart, placing him near the bottom of any top list, if not down with the medicore of presidents. Until recently that is.

If the speech seemed familiar, it is and should - Kennedy's chief speechwriter - Ted Sorrenson, has jumped into the Obama campaign and brought with him and the Kennedyesque treasures. All Kennedy's speeches have been pulled out and dusted off ... the same mindless tripe from 1959 is being shuffled back into use for a new generation to swallow, and by all measures the American people are swallowing it, with vigor.

Kennedy has become a myth and he should remain in our mythology. We do not need another pretender to the throne who will offer us nothing but words and war when we bought hope and idealism.

Tuesday, February 1, 2005


U.N. Panel Finds No Genocide in Darfur but Urges Tribunals

By Colum Lynch
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 1, 2005; Page A01

UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 31 -- A U.N. commission investigating atrocities in Sudan has concluded that the government did not pursue a policy of genocide in the Darfur region but that Khartoum and government-sponsored Arab militias known as the Janjaweed engaged in "widespread and systematic" abuse that may constitute crimes against humanity.

The five-member U.N. commission of inquiry "strongly recommends" that the U.N. Security Council invite the International Criminal Court to pursue a war crimes prosecution against those suspected of the worst abuse. The Sudanese justice system, it concluded, "is unable or unwilling" to address the situation in Darfur.

The 177-page report documents a concerted campaign of violence directed primarily at Darfur's black African Fur, Masalit, Jebel, Aranga and Zaghawa tribes. Since the violence began in early February 2003, more than 70,000 people have died from violence and resulting disease, and more than 1.8 million have been driven from their homes.

The commission's work is the most extensive international effort yet to document the atrocities in Darfur and to analyze their legal implications. In doing so, the commission was more cautious on the question of whether the violence amounted to genocide, the position taken by former U.S. secretary of state Colin L. Powell.

Nevertheless, the commission set the stage Monday for international war crimes prosecutions, charging the government and the Janjaweed of engaging in violence that included murder, torture, kidnapping, rape, forced displacement and the destruction of villages.

Senior U.S. officials said the commission's findings were serious enough to prosecute rights abusers as war criminals, despite the panel's decision not to declare that genocide had occurred. A finding of genocide -- an attempt to systematically destroy a nation or ethnic group -- would have been considered a more powerful and symbolic statement, experts said, but its practical and legal impact would not have been significantly different from the commission's finding of possible crimes against humanity.

"Our interest here is accountability for the perpetrators of the atrocities, and there are obviously various ways that can be achieved," said Anne W. Patterson, acting U.S. representative to the United Nations.

The report's author, Antonio Cassese of Italy, said the commission placed the names of suspected war criminals, and the supporting evidence of their crimes, in a sealed file that will be presented to a future prosecutor.

The report's long-anticipated release precedes what many expect will be an intensified political battle in the Security Council over how to pursue such prosecution.

U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan and European governments on the council want the International Criminal Court, based in The Hague, to oversee prosecution of Sudan's alleged war criminals. "This is a case which is tailor-made for the ICC," said Emyr Jones Parry, Britain's U.N. ambassador.

But the United States opposes the ICC and wants to create a new African court to handle the prosecutions. The Bush administration refuses to recognize the legitimacy of the ICC out of concern that U.S. citizens could be subject to politically motivated charges before it.

Pierre-Richard Prosper, the U.S. ambassador at large for war crimes, has cautioned European supporters of the ICC not to force the Bush administration into a "thumbs-up or thumbs-down" vote in the council on an ICC prosecution.

Instead, he sought to rally support for a new tribunal in Tanzania that would be headed by the African Union and supported by the United Nations.

Stuart Holliday, the U.S. representative to the United Nations for special political affairs, said: "We're still in the process of discussing a variety of options, including with our African colleagues."

The violence in Darfur began in February 2003, when rebels from the Sudanese Liberation Army and the Justice and Equality Movement took up arms against the government. Khartoum organized and equipped the Arab militias known as the Janjaweed, which participated in a counterinsurgency campaign aimed at expelling many of the region's black tribes.

Khidir Haroun Ahmed, Sudan's ambassador to the United States, did not respond to a request to comment Monday before the report's release. But the Sudanese government has long denied that it has targeted civilians as part of its military campaign against the rebels.

The U.N. commission's report said a court could still determine that government officials or militia leaders did commit acts "with genocidal intent." But the panel found that "the crucial element of genocidal intent appears to be missing" from policy pursued by the government.

"Generally speaking," it said, "the policy of attacking, killing and forcibly displacing members of some tribes does not evince a specific intent to annihilate, in whole or in part, a group distinguished on racial, ethnic, national or religious grounds."

That, however, should not "detract from the gravity of the crimes perpetrated" in Darfur, the report said, adding that they may be "no less serious and heinous than genocide."



Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Leave it to the English

The cover page of the Daily Mirror ( from January 21, 2005, Friday is quite interesting on several levels.

3 stories on the front page. And before anyone suggests the Daily Mirror is a tabloid/rag, forget it, I am aware, but it is also one of the most read papers in England so forget whether it is quality stuff, that ain't the point.

Story 1, far left column - something about Jennifer Aniston - Is the Strain getting to Jen. I don't care if she is stressed.

Story 2, the major story along the top of the page (above the fold) - Mr Un-Credible ... and Bush is still on the warpath.

I suppose I should look up the news of the day to find out what they may be refering to, but given the fact there is no credibility issue, if one is intellectually honest and not a beacon for retarded rodeo clowns.

The third article - Drink Drive Girl, 12 ... and her family don't care. The story goes - A girl of 12 was nearly twice the drink limit when she was stopped at the wheel of her father's car.

The English prefer their stories tainted by politics to dealing with what I would consider a far more serious issue for them - their social system is collapsing. And before you jump around like stupid from the stupid tree, I understand one case does not a social collapse make else the US would implode for we have Jerry Springer and his band of retarded rodeo clowns. No, it is a more serious issue for the English - girls at 14/15 who have had more than a dozen abortions and the state (county government) is more concerned with STDs than with an issue that slaps them everytime they turn around.

No, they have some very serious issues and they would prefer to play up idiotic nonsense with such witless commentary as Mr Un-Credible.

It is their choice, but then when they fail and someone is called to pull their butts out of the oven, again, why should we. What you witless wonders will accomplish with all this bashing of yours is not a regime change (made you smile) but a very defiant attitude to never help you again, when the time comes, and bank on it, it will come.

Make Mine Freedom - 1948

American Form of Government

Who's on First? Certainly isn't the Euro.