Monday, June 30, 2008
Thursday, June 26, 2008
The first decision that i want to mention is Kelo v. City of New London. This was the landmark Supreme Court ruling known as the Kelo decision. The case was decided by the Supreme Court in 2005, in regards to the use of eminent domain to transfer land from one private owner to another to "further economic development". This nation was founded on property rights and the protection of those rights. Some of you might be familiar with the term "nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation." This little gem is the fifth amendment. "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." This little gem is the fourth amendment of the United States Constitution. However the court decided that eminent domain allowed the city of New London, Connecticut, to seize a private owner's land for economic redevelopment by another private owner. The ruling was very unpopular and forced Susette Kelo out of her home, which she never wanted to leave. Now, three years later, Kelo's house is no longer there and the lot where it once stood is vacant. In fact, Real Clear Markets reports that there is no new construction in the area because the city-sponsored developer has been unable to secure financing because interest is minimal. The end result is that "further economic development" is a relative term open to broad interpretation from city, local and state governments who have an eye on your property in order to increase their tax base. This is something you would hear about coming from the peoples republic of some foreign nation, not the U.S.A. Worth mentioning is the decision of the Kelo case was decided by a 5 - 4 split. The majority in this case included Justice John Paul Stevens, who wrote the majority opinion, and by Justices Anthony Kennedy, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer. This is the liberal wing of the court. The minority opinion (in this case the conservative wing of the court) was written by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor who objected to the fact that an unelected and therefore unaccountable private corporation was the primary beneficiary of the government taking. Her opinion suggested that the use of this power was in fact a type of reverse Robin Hood which would essentially take from the poor and give to the rich. Justice O'Connor stated that this would become the norm, not the exception "Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party, but the fallout from this decision will not be random. The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms." Clarence Thomas weighed in with his own dissenting opinion in which he stated that the precedents the court's decision relied upon were flawed and that "something has gone seriously awry with this Court's interpretation of the Constitution." he added further that "Allowing the government to take property solely for public purposes is bad enough, but extending the concept of public purpose to encompass any economically beneficial goal guarantees that these losses will fall disproportionately on poor communities. Those communities are not only systematically less likely to put their lands to the highest and best social use, but are also the least politically powerful."
The second case is the recent Kennedy v. Louisiana, in which Patrick Kennedy, 43, was sentenced to death for the rape of his 8-year-old stepdaughter in Louisiana. the rape was so severe that the child needed multiple surgery's. Worth noting is that of the approximately 3,350 inmates currently on death row only two people are on death row for any crime other than murder. They both happen to be in Louisiana and they both happen to be child rapists. five other states allow the execution of child rapist, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas allow executions in such cases if the defendant had previously been convicted of raping a child. Forty-five states ban the death penalty for any kind of rape. No one has been executed in this nation since 1964 for anything other than murder. Having said all this it is an absolute travesty for the Supreme Court to flagrantly interfere with a historic states rights issue. Not to mention the heinous nature of rape in general and the enormous criminality of child rapists, this ruling is despicable. Of course the decision was a 5-4 split along the liberal-conservative lines that we have come to expect. The majority opinion (again represented by the liberal wing of the court) written by Justice Anthony Kennedy; he was joined by his liberal colleagues Justices John Paul Stevens, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer. Justice Anthony Kennedy stated "The death penalty is not a proportional punishment for the rape of a child." Kennedy also said that the absence of any executions for rape and the small number of states that allow it demonstrate "there is a national consensus against capital punishment for the crime of child rape." Since when was the Supreme Court empowered with anything remotely differing from interpreting the constitution as it relates to law. No mandate or precedent exists for the Supreme Court to "poll" "national consensus" and then rule accordingly. This absurd at best and criminal at worst. Kennedy did acknowledged that the decision had to come to terms with "the years of long anguish that must be endured by the victim of child rape." However, Kennedy concluded that in cases of crimes against individuals, as opposed to treason, for example "the death penalty should not be expanded to instances where the victim's life was not taken." The minority opinion ) again represented by the conservative wing of the court, was penned by Justice Samuel Alito, who stated that in this case, proponents of the Louisiana law said the trend was toward the death penalty. "The harm that is caused to the victims and to society at large by the worst child rapists is grave," Alito wrote. "It is the judgment of the Louisiana lawmakers and those in an increasing number of other states that these harms justify the death penalty."
And finally the case of District of Columbia v. Heller. The court's 5-4 ruling struck down the District of Columbia's 32-year-old ban on handguns as incompatible with gun rights under the Second Amendment. The decision went further than even the Bush administration wanted, but probably leaves most federal firearms restrictions intact. I listed this third due only to the fact that every other blogger, news outlet or person with a sharpie pen is talking and writing about this decision. I have talked in length on this issue in the past and those who read The Ghost of Jefferson on a regular basis have been inundated with it from its inception. I will spare you any further tirades on behalf of Heller and the nation. I do however want to point out that the decision was again a 5-4 split along conservative-liberal lines. The conservative opinion, in this case the majority, can best be summed up by someone not even on the bench, but by NRA chief lobbyist Chris W. Cox, who stated “Anti-gun politicians can no longer deny that the Second Amendment guarantees a fundamental right,” “All law-abiding Americans have a fundamental, God-given right to defend themselves in their homes. Washington, D.C. must now respect that right.” Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the majority opinion and said that an individual right to bear arms is supported by "the historical narrative" both before and after the Second Amendment was adopted. He went further and stated The Constitution does not permit "the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home". The court also struck down Washington's requirement that firearms be equipped with trigger locks or kept disassembled, but left intact the licensing of guns. Justice Scalia noted that the handgun is Americans' preferred weapon of self defense in part because "it can be pointed at a burglar with one hand while the other hand dials the police."the majority opinion dealt almost exclusively with self-defense in the home, acknowledging only briefly in the lengthy historical analysis that early Americans also valued gun rights because of hunting. The minority opinion written by Justice John Paul Stevens stated that the majority "would have us believe that over 200 years ago, the Framers made a choice to limit the tools available to elected officials wishing to regulate civilian uses of weapons." He further added such evidence "is nowhere to be found." Justice Stephen Breyer felt compelled to write an additional separate dissent in which he said, "In my view, there simply is no untouchable constitutional right guaranteed by the Second Amendment to keep loaded handguns in the house in crime-ridden urban areas." I might add that this is exactly where law abiding citizens are most likely to need to defend themselves or their loved ones, but far be it from me to point that glaringly obvious point out to the liberal justice who would like to deny you your constitutional right to self defense. That very document that the Supreme Court is supposed to uphold. How ironic is it that the next president will likely hold sway over the makeup of the supreme court who obviously is hell bent on legislating from the bench. Wake up, take notice and get involved!
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Monday, June 23, 2008
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
A hairstylist in London was forced to pay $7,800 to a Muslim woman because she "hurt" her feelings. That's right, she "hurt" her feelings. Apparently the Muslim women applied for a hair stylist position wearing her traditional garb and stated that she could not show her hair but wanted to be employed to style the hair of others. The hair stylist was quoted as saying "She is simply someone I met for a job interview, who, for a host of reasons, was not right for the job. I cannot see how she deserves $7,800," "Because of this, there will be a black mark against my name for the rest of my life. I feel I have not done anything wrong, and this is a terrible price to pay for a meeting that lasted 10 minutes." She was unable to prove to the court that employing someone with a headscarf would have a negative impact on her business' stylistic integrity. The Muslim women later admitted that she had attended 25 interviews and had not been chosen for any of them before she met this particular hairstylist. The extremist Muslim group Hizb ut-Tahrir later admitted it had "advised her."
Bonfires along the Pacific Northwest coast are a long-standing tradition. But the Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper reports the Parks and Recreation Department there might be dousing the custom. Why? Because of global warming. The Parks staff is recommending reducing fires at both Alki Park and Golden Gardens Park. A memo from the staff to the city's Parks and Recreation Board says the question is "whether it is good policy for Seattle parks to continue public beach fires when the carbon emissions contributes to global warming." I kid you not!
Female Islamic extremists are insisting that Al Qaeda give them the right to become terrorists. Usama bin Laden's right-hand man, Ayman al-Zawahiri, recently praised the wives of Al Qaeda fighters on an Islamic Web site. But, he declared that a woman's role should be limited to the household and caring for children, and that there are no women in Al Qaeda. But he failed to mention that women in the terror network's Iraq branch have carried out at least 20 suicide bombings since 2003. Now, The Scotsman newspaper reports a number of extremist Web sites are buzzing with complaints. One letter written by a female extremist says, "When Zawahiri said there are no women in Al Qaeda, he saddened and hurt me." Another woman pleaded with God to liberate women so they can participate in holy war. And, there is even an online magazine which explains how women can take part in terrorist training camps and features biographies of female fighters.
The administrators of Anglia Ruskin University outside London are asking graduating students not to throw their mortar board hats into the air when celebrating — because they might hurt someone. A statement on its Web site said: "This not only causes damage to the hats, but it can also cause injury if the corner of the hat hits the graduate or others who may be nearby."
As you can imagine, such a warning has inspired ridicule far and wide. So a new statement on the Web site says that the school has not "banned" hat throwing, but says one student had to be hospitalized after being hit with a hat several years ago. Yeah, right.
Academy Award-winning actress Susan Sarandon says "anywhere but here" if Republican John McCain wins November's election. She says she will "be checking out a move to Italy. Maybe Canada, I don't know. We're at an abyss." However, celebrities in the past do not have a stellar track record of making good on threats to flee if their candidate loses. Numerous stars vowed to pack up if George W. Bush won the 2000 election, including Barbara Streisand, Martin Sheen, Alec Baldwin and even Sarandon's long-time boyfriend Tim Robbins. All still currently reside in the U.S.
Chicago's handgun law requires all existing firearms to be re-registered every year. The Chicago Tribune reports proposals to re-open the registration window for people who forget, have been steadily rejected for nearly 20 years. But now, Democratic Mayor Richard Daley says he's in favor of a one month amnesty. The change comes as longtime Democratic Alderman Richard Mell faces penalties for — you guessed it — failing to re-register what is described as his arsenal of shotguns, rifles and pistols. Mell helped pass the original law in 1982. Daley says he advocates the amnesty to get a realistic handle on the number of guns in Chicago, not as a favor to Mell. Do any of you actually believe this?
Former Vice President Al Gore says global warming is to blame for the Myanmar cyclone. In an interview with National Public Radio, Gore called the storm one of the "consequences that scientists have long predicted might be associated with global warming." But many experts say it is impossible to make such a link. Willie Soon of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for astrophysics states "It is an alarmist statement and Vice President Gore wants to confuse the crowd" adding "there is no way to blame any single event on CO2 and global warming."
That's a sentiment supported by Dr. Adam Lea at the University College of London who says, "it's impossible to say." And Jeff Poor of the Business and Media Institute writes that "using tragedy to advance an agenda has been a strategy for many global warming activists."
It isn't just the rights of animals that some are promoting. The Weekly Standard reports an ethics panel in Switzerland is expressing concern that the arbitrary killing of plants is morally wrong. The Swiss Federal Ethics Committee on Non-Human Biotechnology says that humans cannot claim "absolute ownership" over plants; that "individual plants have an inherent worth," and that man may not use them as he pleases. It cites a hypothetical example of a farmer "decapitating" wildflowers as expressing a moral stance toward the organism and possibly doing something bad to the flowers themselves.One critic of the report says the concept of plant dignity provides what he called "another tool of opponents to argue against any form of plant biotechnology."
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Thursday, June 12, 2008
There has been a lot of accusations flying from both sides of this political fight and we are just in the embryo stages of an all out political bender that apparently brings out the worst in some of us. The "Michelle Obama Conspiracy" has been the most recent version getting the most airplay on news networks and blogs around the globe. The Obama campaign is accusing the GOP of going after his wife with sordid attacks, the most recent stating that she gave a speech at Trinity United Church of Christ were she used the term "whitey". The accusers also state that there is a video of the incident that reportedly happened in the summer of 2004. First off, the GOP has absolutely nothing to do with the accusations. Second, the rumor mill is in full force and right wing extremists want it to be true so bad that they can almost visualize the speech after seeing so much anti white video footage coming from the pulpit of that "church". To make a long story short if there was an actual video of this alleged incident every news organization on the planet would be looping it during prime time (with the exception of ABC, NBC and CBS). My hunch is there was never any speech and there certainly isn't any video, because this story broke before Hillary Clinton's concession speech, and nobody vets a scandal like the Clinton's, who would have just the ammunition needed to attain the coveted Democratic nominee status. I not sure what else to add except that if this all the facts there are to this story than there isn't a story and if there are more facts or god forbid an actual video than the Obama campaign is in deep trouble. Since today's poll shows him 6 point ahead of McCain, The Ghost of Jefferson is calling B.S. and end of story. However there is more to the front runner to be the First Lady. The "Sr. Thesis" incident. This is a much older story and has been well explored in other blogs and news coverage but here is the short version. Yes, Michelle Obama's Sr. thesis at Princeton was a racially charged sociological view of "Princeton Educated Blacks and the Black Community". Yes there were some eye raising quotes and some connotations that will make white America take notice. No, there not as bad as some right wing blogs would have you believe. some of the quotes were taken out of context which altered the perception of the meaning drastically. I'm not giving her a pass on this, merely pointing out that it would be just as easy to make an issue out of the paper without resulting to cheap tactics and misquotes. Also true is the fact that Princeton would not reveal the thesis to the public until after the 2008 political election, of course this is tempered somewhat by the Obama campaign making it available on their website after the news broke that it would not be made available. Smart move on the part of the Obama campaign. In reality we have here what we have every political season, a viscous game of he said - she said all crammed into a powder keg of raw political emotion being used by both sides as propaganda for the respective home teams. For those of you who haven't heard the Obama campaign has launched a web sight specifically aimed at rumor busting and fighting what the Obama campaign perceives is a GOP based attack on himself and his family. News flash the GOP, just like the DNC is completely dedicated to portraying their nominee in the most positive light possible and subsequently the opposing parties nominee in the most negative light possible. Not new. Not even newsworthy. This is something even a political neophyte with no experience should know and be prepared for. Why then the incendiary comments coming from the Obama campaign that accuse the GOP of mischaracterizing certain quotes. The truth is the GOP has nothing to do with the quotes Obama has mentioned. They have come from Rush Limbaugh, a political pundit, who does not have any official GOP capacity and from various right wing bloggers, most notably Roger Stone, whose credibility or should I say impartiality is suspect. Again, with no affiliation to the GOP. So in the interest of fairness lets look at the "smears" the new website appears to refute:
- Michelle Obama Says “Whitey” On a Tape - We have covered this above - smear refuted
- Barack Obama is a Muslim - Does it matter? no he wasn't sworn in on the Quran, it was the family bible and although he may have attended some Islamic schools as a youngster he also attended at least one catholic school. The short story is his mom was a roaming leftist and he moved around a lot as a kid. I'm willing to accept that he is not a Muslim. (not that it matters what his religious affiliation is) - smear refuted
- Obama's Books Contain Racially Incendiary Remarks - No matter how you look at it, the book does contain racially provocative remarks. Probably not as bad as the extreme right wingers would have you believe but the fact remains that there is enough verbiage in the book that is worthy of being classed as racially incendiary. - True
- Barack Obama Won't Say The Pledge of Allegiance/Won't Put His Hand Over His Heart - the fact that this is even listed as a "smear" is indicative to how silly the Obama campaign is about their candidates perceived inadequacies. - smear refuted
This is ALL that is on the new website to "Fight the Smears". It is embarrassing. The true intention of the website is not to fight the smear but rather to trick you into to emailing this absurd site to everyone that is in your contacts list. I kid you not. The ultimate goal is for you to donate money and then to sign up and have this nonsense fill up your inbox along with the inbox of all your friends, family and coworkers. That in itself warrants a few "smears" in my opinion. We all know that the Obama campaign has set a new precedent in online fund raising and grassroots involvement, but this smells of resorting to cheap Internet marketing tricks and deserves to be called by its proper name. B.S.
In reality no one needs to put forth any additional effort in order to "smear" Obama. A simple review of his meager record will reveal a candidate that is so far left that the center of this country cant even see him. Maybe the next post should be on this little golden nugget.