Painting Ohio’s 13th District a nice deep red

Tell Hugh Hewitt I did my duty. I gave a copy of this …

Buy this book!

… to Congressional candidate Paul Burtzlaff last night.
Paul Burtzlaff photographHe’s running for the open seat in Ohio’s 13th Congressional District, which was vacated this year by Sherrod Brown. A conservative Republican, Burtzlaff is a former Navy chaplain who’s now a Lutheran pastor at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Westlake, OH. I’m a parishioner there, so I know the man well and endorse him heartily. His honesty and integrity are beyond reproach, so you can trust him to follow through on his promises (much like somebody else we all know).
He’s strong on national security, and his campaign is also emphasizing his commitment to improving education and bringing jobs to Ohio. He’s never run for public office before, so he’s no member of the Washington “in crowd”, nor is he one of the Ohio GOP establishment elites who brought us candidates like Bob Taft and Jim Petro. Burtzlaff is refreshingly straightforward and open about his policy positions, so you’ll always know what he believes and why. He doesn’t flip-flop, either.
I’ll be supporting Paul Burtzlaff’s campaign, and hopefully before long there will be some seriously meaty information to publish about this candidate. For instance, although there’s no press release yet, Burtzlaff just won the endorsement of The Ohio Right to Life Society, and he will also be the focus of a Meet The Bloggers session on Saturday the 15th if the MTB crew agrees to the date (details coming soon).
Keep your eye on Paul Burtzlaff. The results of the May 2nd Republican primary might just surprise you.

Pack your bags, Justice Souter

This is priceless:

Press Release
For Release Monday, June 27 to New Hampshire media
For Release Tuesday, June 28 to all other media
Weare, New Hampshire (PRWEB) Could a hotel be built on the land owned by Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter? A new ruling by the Supreme Court which was supported by Justice Souter himself itself might allow it. A private developer is seeking to use this very law to build a hotel on Souter’s land.
Justice Souter’s vote in the “Kelo vs. City of New London” decision allows city governments to take land from one private owner and give it to another if the government will generate greater tax revenue or other economic benefits when the land is developed by the new owner.
On Monday June 27, Logan Darrow Clements, faxed a request to Chip Meany the code enforcement officer of the Towne of Weare, New Hampshire seeking to start the application process to build a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road. This is the present location of Mr. Souter’s home.
Clements, CEO of Freestar Media, LLC, points out that the City of Weare will certainly gain greater tax revenue and economic benefits with a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road than allowing Mr. Souter to own the land.

God willing, the town selectmen of Weare will approve the request.
Hat tip: Rush Limbaugh

More reaction to Kelo

Don’t miss Michelle Malkin’s survey of the Kelo blogstorm.
Glenn Reynolds rounds up some great commentary on property rights, all posted since yesterday’s decision in the Kelo case. I found Zach Wendling’s idea scary but fascinating: he suggests using environmental laws and regulations to protect your land from developers.
George Will distills the gigantic problem the Supreme Court dumped on us yesterday:

During oral arguments in February, Justice Antonin Scalia distilled the essence of New London’s brazen claim: “You can take from A and give to B if B pays more taxes?” On Thursday the court said that the modifier “public” in the phrase “public use” does not modify government power at all.

Liberalism triumphed Thursday. Government became radically unlimited in seizing the very kinds of private property that should guarantee individuals a sphere of autonomy against government.
Conservatives should be reminded to be careful what they wish for. Their often-reflexive rhetoric praises “judicial restraint” and deference to — it sometimes seems — almost unleashable powers of the elected branches of governments. However, in the debate about the proper role of the judiciary in American democracy, conservatives who dogmatically preach a populist creed of deference to majoritarianism will thereby abandon, or at least radically restrict, the judiciary’s indispensable role in limiting government.

If you’re still looking for more, one nice way to track who’s saying what about Kelo is N.Z. Bear’s topic page on the case. Plus, there’s Google News and Technorati.

UPDATE: This post about Zimbabwe isn’t actually a reaction to the Kelo ruling, but it does demonstrate what happens when a nation guts the concept of private property rights.
UPDATE 2: Ever wondered what you can look forward to after this outrageous ruling? Wonder no more.
UPDATE 3: Pros and Cons predicts many communities will see a rise in homelessness, a spike in government subsidized housing residents, and a drop in the number of low-income workers available to employers.
Meanwhile, Wizbang’s Jay Tea tiptoes through the Bill of Rights in a property rights retrospective.
UPDATE 4: Lawrence White at Division of Labour predicts more empty big box shopping centers and strip malls, thanks to Kelo‘s anti-competitive side effects.
I think we might be able to contract around the problem.
UPDATE 5: Eric’s Grumbles Before The Grave has a good roundup, including a Canadian’s perspective.

Contracting around Kelo

Here we are in Day Two of life without property rights, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling yesterday in Kelo v. New London. Five unelected lawyers have decided that contrary to any rational reading of the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment, a local government can use its eminent domain power to take your land, pay you a pittance “just compensation”, then turn around and sell the land to someone who makes fat campaign donations to another private party that the government thinks will engage in a nice “public use” of your land … in other words, in some way that’s hyped as creating jobs, generating more property tax revenue, or helping economic development.
Since we can’t rely on the plain language of the Constitution anymore to keep the government’s grubby paws away from our property, what can we do? As a temporary measure, maybe we can contract around the Kelo problem.
Let’s say that you own some attractive real estate that your local government wants to take from you through eminent domain. To foil their plans you enter into a contract with the state government, where in exchange for a fee, the state automatically takes title to your property if your municipal or county government ever attempts to condemn it, and you get to live on the land. Perhaps it could be set up as a trust with the state as trustee.
Anyway, since a local government doesn’t have the authority to condemn state property, they lose all incentive to condemn your property once you tell them about your new arrangement. If the condemnation would be for a true public use (as we used to understand it) like building a highway or a bridge, you can always put a clause in the contract that exempts such true public uses from triggering the passage of title to the state.
Now since the local government gains nothing by using eminent domain for shifty purposes, they won’t condemn your property … and the state never takes title. But the state does get a valuable interest in your land, and it gets political brownie points by being perceived as “defending the little guy” from corrupt local politicians and fatcat developers. To top it all off, you get a fee from the state in exchange for its interest in your land.
This strikes me as a quick way to inoculate property against greedy local governments. What do you think?

UPDATE: Will Collier rounds up other possible solutions.
UPDATE 2: This post has merged at high speed into today’s Beltway Traffic Jam.

It’s good to be back

Had a bit of blogging backlog for a few days, what with Christmas shopping and all. Plus, my new house is under construction, so the meetings with the builder and the interior designer took some time. Last week my property was a mud pit with some cinderblocks on it. This week, they really picked up speed:

My house

So now that things are somewhat calm, I’m back in the virtual saddle.

Hey, I know that guy

Billy Tauzin III is the Republican running for Congress in Louisiana’s 3rd District. I say “running” because he’s facing a runoff on Saturday. I wish him success not only because he’s a strong-on-defense conservative, but also because I know from personal experience that he’s a genuinely upstanding and honest guy.
I knew him as “Bill” back when he was a year behind me at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. He was in my company (the Corps of Cadets had roughly 120 cadets in each of 8 companies) in 1991 when he was a swab. Although word got out that his father had some serious political horsepower as a member of the House committee that controlled the Coast Guard’s appropriations, Bill never mentioned it himself. He was determined to make it through 4th Class Year on his own, and it was much tougher in 1991 than it is now in the age of political correctness. Any time his father came up in conversation, Bill deftly changed the subject.
Bill never relied on his dad’s position to get himself an easy break. Instead there were times that he caught more than his fair share of flak from the upperclass cadets, just so they could demonstrate to everybody that Bill wasn’t getting any extra slack. It happened to all the high-profile kids, including sons of admirals and captains. Some couldn’t take it, but I never heard Bill complain.
Although as a 3/c Cadet I wasn’t permitted to fraternize with a swab, there was always an unspoken understanding that the 3/c were the unofficial mentors of the 4/c. We in ’94 kept an eye on the folks in ’95, and we got to know them pretty well. Although Bill didn’t graduate from the Academy (he finished at LSU instead), it wasn’t for lack of ability or grit. He got through Swab Year, and remained upbeat and personable even as he learned the toughness required to survive that marathon, for which I respect him. The guy was honest and a complete straight shooter.
I’ve looked at his stances on the issues in this race, and they match what I think is in the best interests of America. When I combine that with my personal experience with the man, I can wholeheartedly endorse Billy Tauzin III for Congress.
Consider contributing to his campaign, and if you’re registered in Louisiana’s 3rd District give him your vote this Saturday.