Wednesday, July 06, 2005


Dig this bizarre-o FauxNews poll:

According to the latest FOX News poll, over half of Americans feel more proud to be an American this Fourth of July than last, and a majority believes they are more patriotic than their neighbors.

What kind of lunatic wakes up and thinks that s/he feels more patriotic than last 7/4? That's just weird.

Friday, July 01, 2005

The upcoming SCOTUS fight

Brad Plummer nails it:
Some lunatic winger will get nominated -- maybe even Janice Rogers Brown -- the Democrats in the Senate will say, "Oh hell no" and launch a filibuster. So the battle will rage on for a while, Bush's "base" will get riled up and motivated to send in lots and lots of money, conservative judicial activists will blast their opponents with fairly superior firepower, and bobbing heads in the media will start carping on those "obstructionist" Democrats (bonus carping here if the nominee is a woman, minority, and/or Catholic). Finally Bush will give a very somber speech about withdrawing his nominee, announce that he's very disappointed in the Senate, toss in a few bonus 9/11 references, and nominate some slightly-less-lunatic ultraconservative instead. The new nominee gets treated as the "compromise" candidate, is lauded far and wide as a moderate, and finally gets confirmed after pressure on the Senate Dems to "act like grown-ups" by television pundits who can afford to get their abortions abroad and will have no problem with a Supreme Court hostile to labor and environmental protections.

(HT: Political Animal)

Congress responds to Kelo

In response to the Kelo decision, the House passed an appropriations amendment, which would deny federal funds to states that use eminent domain for "ecomonic development". Here's the important part, the language of which is from a similar bill (the amendment isn't up on Thomas yet):
a) In General- The power of eminent domain shall be available only for public use.
(b) Public Use- In this Act, the term `public use' shall not be construed to include economic development.
If actually used, this would invite tons of litigation. The bill suggests that "public use" and "economic development" are mutually exclusive, when it's clear that plenty of eminent domain projects are intended for economic ends (viz., baseball stadia). Will "economic development" be construed in terms of private ownership? Probably not, or else they would've just put that in the bill. That reading is equally unlikely since Republicans [heart] privatization of government functions and private/public partnerships.

So what does it mean? It looks like it'll come down to some mushy 'intent' standard. I mean, it certainly seems to overturn Kelo, but the gazillions of cases that aren't so clear will have the litigation red carpet rolled out for them by this bill.

Alternately, I suppose it could be like a nuclear arsenal: valuable primarily as a threat.