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.

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.

Bleak surroundings = good blogging?

Chad The Elder at Fraters Libertas wonders if the climate, coupled with the local media’s blatant liberal bias and poor writing skills, might explain the bounty of good center-right bloggers in the Minneapolis/St Paul area. He also wonders if boredom might be involved. Now if Chad’s hypothesis is true, there must be several promising center-right bloggers in the Cleveland area.
Hmmmm …

Storekeepers shoot, kill robbers

CNN brings us proof that sometimes the only way to stop robbers is to shoot them:

When two men walked into a popular country store outside Atlanta, announced a holdup and fired a shot, owners Bobby and Gloria Doster never hesitated. The pair pulled out their own pistols and opened fire.
The armed suspect and his partner were killed. The Dosters won’t be charged, according to local officials, because they were acting in self-defense.
“I just started shooting,” said Gloria Doster, 56. “I was trying to blow his brains out is what I was trying to do.”

Before my liberal readers get bent out of shape over private citizens “acting like vigilantes” instead of waiting for police to arrive, read another excerpt from the story:

She said she tried to open the register, but one of the men told her she wasn’t moving fast enough and tried to shoot her husband. He missed — and his gun jammed.
At that point, Bobby Doster pulled out a .380-caliber handgun and shot one of the suspects. Gloria Doster then went for a 9 mm pistol she keeps near the register.
“All hell broke loose,” she said. “I was trying to shoot and dial 911 at the same time.”
Both suspects took cover behind the store’s meat counter as the Dosters opened fire. Gloria Doster said she doesn’t know how many bullets were fired, or how many times the suspects were hit.
Police arrived about five minutes after receiving Gloria Doster’s call; the suspects died a short time later at a hospital.
[emphasis added]

If the Dosters had waited for the police to arrive, the Dosters would be dead today. Their exercise of their right to keep and bear arms saved their lives. When you disarm the populace, gun crime soars.

Fishing for liberals

In an article just published by The Sentinel (a conservative publication at Ohio State University), conservative student columnist Stephen Dronen relates his encounter with volunteers conducting a Democrat voter registration drive … and his resulting experiment in liberal-baiting.

I took to the streets to see if my appearance had any bearing on their action. First dressing as I normally do; dressed in a pair of khaki chinos, a light blue Oxford, and a pair of brown Doc Martin�s, I entered the hostile territory. Not to my surprise, I walked right past the activists amidst a haze of “Stop the Bush Imperialists”, “No Blood for Oil”, and “Not My President”! It was as if they didn�t even see me.

The first phase of my testing was complete; they had failed to approach me during three opportunities. Enter phase two: undercover. Garbed in a borrowed Pearl Jam t-shirt, a set of torn jeans, a pair of Birkenstocks, some thick rimmed “emo” glasses, and the quintessential hemp jewelry, I returned to the scene of the crime. It is amazing how different the experience was, as I was double teamed from the second I entered the intersection where two hours earlier the same people failed to realize I was even in their presence.

It’s an entertaining read, so help yourself.
Hat tip: The Open End