Friday, December 22, 2006

Conservative Hypocracy on Eminent Domain

The New York Post extols the approval of the Atlantic Yards redevelopment in Brooklyn:

"Think jobs. Customers for businesses. Housing. Office space. Tax revenue. "

Of course, there is the little technicality that this project requires the use of government eminent domain power to take property from private individuals (the landowners there) and give it to other private individuals (the developers, especially Nets owner Bruce Ratner).

Conservatives had gone ballistic over the Supreme Court's 2005 Kelo vs. City of New London decision that basically said that the government can do exactly the above in the name of economic development. So what is a conservative paper (Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. is the Post's owner) doing expressing support of big government intervention? For once, even they admit that there is a bit of a problem here:

'Ever since the Supreme Court's ruling last year in Kelo vs. New London, we, too, have had concerns about eminent domain, which lets public officials seize private property (and compensate owners) for "public" purposes, including economic development.'

But the Post's editorial writer rationalizes away this concern by showing that big government knows best:

'But this project will benefit far more than Forest City Ratner; indeed, its positive ripples will cross the East River and be felt by all New Yorkers.'

Right. As the left has been saying for decades, big government projects have positive effects. The difference between liberals and conservatives is to whom they wish the benefits of big govement to reach. In this case, the biggest beneficiaries are the wealthy developers.

And no wonder that there was no serious move to reverse Kelo with a clarifying Constitutional Amendment. The K Street lobbyists would not have stood for it.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Unfit for Leadership

(Hat tip: EditCopy)

That would be Silvestre Reyes (D), of Texas - the incoming Chair of the House Intelligence Committee.

Two recent statements of Reyes:
WASHINGTON, Dec 11 (Reuters) - Is al Qaeda a Sunni organization, or Shi'ite?

The question proved nettlesome for Rep. Silvestre Reyes of Texas, incoming Democratic chairman of the House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

"Predominantly -- probably Shi'ite," he said in a recent interview with Congressional Quarterly, a periodical that covers political and legislative issues in Congress.

Unfortunately for Reyes, the al Qaeda network led by Osama bin Laden is comprehensively Sunni and subscribes to a form of Sunni Islam known for not tolerating theological deviation.

In fact, U.S. officials blame al Qaeda's former leader in Iraq, the late Abu Musab al Zarqawi, for the surge in sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shi'ites.

But Reyes' problems in the interview didn't end with al Qaeda.

Asked to describe the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, Congressional Quarterly said Reyes responded: "Hezbollah. Uh, Hezbollah," and then said, "Why do you ask me these questions at five o'clock?"
Perhaps it is because you're the incoming Chair of the HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE?! Ugh. Reyes then put out a statement which included this brilliant comment:
"The report's [Iraq Study Group's] conclusions about the state of our intelligence capabilities in Iraq are troubling," said Reyes.

The report states that '[t]he Department of Defense and the intelligence community have not invested sufficient people and resources to understanding the political and military threat to the American men and women in the armed forces.'
Because Reyes understands it so much better! CopyEditor's last line sums it up perfectly:
Reyes has lost the political, moral and intellectual authority to conduct oversight in these matters.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The most silly article I've seen in years

Steve Lipman tries to make a big deal about the politics of the founders of Hasgen-Dazs and Ben and Jerry's ice creams in this article in the Jewish Week:

He argues that one should look at the politics of companies before making purchases. I have no problem with that idea. But it doesn't apply to ice cream: both Hasgen-Dazs and Ben and Jerry's are now owned by apolitical international agribusiness conglomerates: 1983 the founders of Hagen Dazs sold their company to Pillsbury, which merged with General Mills in 2001. And in 2000, Ben and Jerry's was sold to Unilever. Jews can enjoy ice cream produced by these and other brands without being concerned about the political impact of their sweet tooth.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


David Kirschner's series, on the NSA Surveillance Program's legality, the first two parts of which were published here on JAJC, is being published in the upcoming edition of The Prosecutor. The Prosecutor is a quarterly publication of the National District Attorney's Association.

Congratulations to David on this wonderful accomplishment!

He thanks the blogworld for encouraging him to spend the time to actually sit down and write the piece - I know he's often told me that he particularly enjoys the insights of everyone on this blog, especially Charlie and JA who bring great arguments from the "other side" that he might otherwise not hear.