Re: Christopher Orlet's Kiss Your House Goodbye:
Apparently, only good intentions and a city charter are all one needs to qualify as Robin Hood for the Economic Development fanatics. No past evidence of failure need be taken into consideration and the quality of the calculations of benefit versus cost are beyond criticism when jobs and prosperity are promised by city officials or their hired guns with questionable computer simulations of cornucopia construction.
If the Constitution does not mean what it says in a durable way, who will fight for it? Who will consider it much more than a party platform? Can anyone rewrite the Fifth Amendment in a more clear way to prevent the Supreme Court from finding what ever it pleases in the words?
-- Danny L. Newton
Well, the evisceration of the concept of private property is now complete. No longer do we own our own homes, farms, or any other real property. We are merely allowed by our all knowing liberal masters to hold it until they find someone else willing to pay more for it. This is the sad legacy of feckless conservatives and a complacent public ignoring the threat posed by liberal democrats. It is also a perfect example of why the judicial nomination process is so important. Only an unelected group of liberal judges could read a document designed solely to limit government power and find absolutely no limit on government power. Without private property there is no freedom in this country. How much longer will we let this continue?
-- Bill White
Great Mills, Maryland
The steady drumbeat of the erosion of rights continues unabated from the very seat of what is supposedly the preserver of those rights, based on their perverted interpretation of the Constitution. I'll let the lawyers argue over their theories and details, however, this is all part of the uncontrolled growth of the Leviathan's interference in our less-free lives.
I read the words of Scottish Jurist and Historian Sir Alex Fraser Tyler, published in a collection of his lectures in 1801, and start to feel nauseous. He advanced a theory of democracy based on historical observation.
"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can exist only until voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that time on, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship.
"The average age of the world's great civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through this sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to selfishness; from selfishness to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependency; from dependency back again to bondage."
While we descend on this slippery slope as the American people sleep, I pray for an underground swelling of those intelligent enough to understand what is being lost and will fight not only to stop this recent theft by the courts, and the ongoing theft by the legislature, too, but to regain lost ground. Where do I sign up, somebody tell me please? Is another revolution in the offing? Say it ain't so.
-- David P. Bennett
Mr. Orlet makes many good points in his opinion piece; however, the accusatory tone toward liberals is really unnecessary. Yes, the liberal side of the court looks pathetic in light of the decision in the New London case. However, the conservative side of the court looked equally pathetic in the Raich case. The constant whining on both sides of the aisle detracts from the real issues at hand and makes people like Mr. Orlet sound more like Sean Hannity than William F. Buckley. That's not a compliment. It's time for Americans to get back to discussing public policy and leave politics behind. There is plenty of blame to go around on both sides.
-- Ben Berry
This crushing decision will fall heaviest on the owners of small, older homes, whose property will be grabbed for "development." Liberal's true faces have been thus exposed by the majority opinion. So much for helping " the little guy" !
There is no recourse for the American citizen but to withhold any support or patronage of the new building on the sites of the evicted homeowner.
-- Julie Weber
Spring Branch, Texas
Couldn't agree more. The only way to assure preservation of property now is by constitutional amendment. I humbly offer the following:
Section 1. The right of the people to acquire and retain property shall not be infringed. No Law, Rule or Finding shall issue that diminishes the rights or value of property by its rightful owner. Neither Congress nor the Courts shall promulgate any Law, Rule or Finding contrary to the rights thereto.
Section 2. Neither the President nor Congress shall offer or approve any Treaty, Compact or Executive Order contrary to the rights enumerated by this Amendment.
Section 3. Public use is defined as the use of property for communal use, not for profit. No political subdivision shall acquire property beyond the confines of pubic use without the consent of the governed by majority vote and just compensation. No political subdivision shall thru sale, leasehold or other financial manipulation transfer property or its use, to a private party without the consent of the governed by majority vote.
Section 4. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Just my sense of what needs to be done.
-- John McGinnis
In response to the excellent article, "Kiss Your House Goodbye," I wanted to let you know that not one day after the wrong-headed Kelo decision was announced, the mayor of a Cleveland suburb is publicly making plans to use eminent domain to take houses to expand a shopping center and other developers in Cleveland have announced plans to use eminent domain to expand an office building and build an entertainment complex. I can not imagine that this is what the framers of the constitution had in mind.
I live in Lakewood, Ohio, and we successfully fought off the use of eminent domain to build a mall. I shudder to think what would have happened if we had to try to fight this illegitimate use of eminent domain today. This decision has destroyed property rights and done nothing but allow the developers to get rich at property owners' expense.
-- Marianne Zimmerman
I can't help but wonder if it has occurred to liberals that the people displaced by this decision will be forced to relocate to the outskirts of town where real estate prices are lower. Can you say "Urban Sprawl"?
-- Randy Gammon
Justice Kennedy is using sources other than the U.S. Constitution for his rulings. This time he chose Chairman Mao's little red book.
-- Ian Callum
DON'T BURN, BABY
Re: John Tabin's Waving the Burning Flag:
I am continually amazed that some conservatives don't get it when it comes to protecting the flag. In a nation composed of so many from so many different places and creeds, the flag is a "uniting symbol." It is more than a symbol and a piece of cloth. It represents both the ideals of America and love for America as it is. And it a tangible reality of those ideals and love of country.
It takes that elusive package of what America means and believes and makes them real -- something we can see and touch. Whether in a patriotic celebration or catching sight of the stars and stripes in a foreign country, the impact of the flag on the heart is enormous.
To fool with the flag is to fool with the glue that holds this country together. The flag provokes the memories of family members who lost blood and lives for this country. To desecrate the flag dishonors their memory and attempts to belittle the bonds that hold us as countrymen. In a perfect world, such disrespect and desecration would have no power. But our world is not perfect and so "flag burning" has tremendous destructive power.
Liberals tend to think "communities" just happen and so do not hesitate to pepper whole populations with "reforms" which strain hard-won associations and understandings. "Communities" don't just happen and men and women will become alienated from their country as one bond after another is taken from them. It is for this reason no one should be allowed to take the flag and turn it into their symbol of protest and contempt.
Yes. It's that important.
-- Michael Wm. Dooley
What we do need is a law that corrects the error of the court decision by asserting that no act that is legal can be made illegal because of political content, nor can any illegal act be made legal because of political content. In the mean time, declare that kicking the rear of a flag burner is also protected symbolic free speech.
-- Walter E. Wallis
I agree with the author that a constitutional amendment to ban the desecration of the American flag is unneeded and an erosion of personal freedoms, there is another point that needs to be addressed, one which is a point a disagreement between the author and myself.
Mr. Tabin cites that the framers of our constitution probably would have disagreed on whether to ban flag-burning. I assert that they did address and decide this issue. While we often hear of a constitutional right to free expression, that is not in the constitution and was introduced as an early step toward the dilution of the constitution.
Our founding fathers were great thinkers. They understood what speech is. They understood what expression is. The protected the former but not the latter. In doing so, the drove Americans to refine their politics by considered discourse, which is to say speech. A man may say whatever comes to mind and it will either be accepted or refuted with no greater harm done than personal offense. Flying a stolen aircraft into the World Trade Center was an expression that should never be accepted, even though the Supreme Court erroneously weakened any sanctions against it.
Is it any wonder that a decades long shift from considered discourse to infantile flag burning has resulted in the demeaning of our citizenry and our elected officials such as Mr. Durbin?
-- R. L. Lundquist
I think what may be more useful is a law such as was in existence in Germany during the two tours I spent there (1977-1981 and 1986-1989). It was called the "Law of Undue Provocation" which basically said you had the right of freedom of speech and freedom of expression if you kept things in perspective. If you exceeded things specifically to anger a given group or section of society, and as a result got beaten to a pulp, you had no recourse in court, either criminal or tort law. (In other words, you provoked them, you transcended society's expectations of civility, you got what you deserved.)
The example given was of a woman beaten so badly by a police officer she spent a number of weeks in the hospital. The circumstances were that she was a "Green" protesting very vocally over the enlargement of Rhein-Main airport outside of Frankfurt. She called the officer opposite every name she could think of, even spit on him, and he did not react. But then she got right in his face, called him a name, and he began to whack her with his baton until she collapsed.
The judge noted that the term she used was "Du Scheisskopf!" which was second person familiar, and thus a personal insult. Had she said "Sie Scheisskopf!" which was second person generic the officer would have been wrong.
The lefties stuck in the 1960s need to understand that many veterans like myself take flag burning as a "Du" and not a "Sie." If we had such a law (of course the ACLU would have to try and make the case that 9-11 was such an act by Al-Qaeda, thus defeating its intended purpose) it could obviate the need for an amendment.
-- Cookie Sewell
BUY DETROIT HEALTH CARE
Re: Lawrence Henry's A Long Time Coming:
It is fascinating to see GM and Ford being blamed for not correctly forecasting the rise in health costs almost 20 years ago. It must be comforting to blame those myopic executives for the current ills of the domestic auto industry, when in truth the problems are far more complex and much of the blame belongs elsewhere.
None of GM and Ford's execs thought that their market share would have dropped to such levels, so how could they in all honesty foresee the health care and pension issue they face now? How could they foresee the roughly $1,500 in competitive pricing disadvantage they face against the Japanese manufacturers. How could they anticipate the huge drop in active employee base that is the crux of the problem?
Ok, they should have built better products, and they should have had a crystal ball; easy to say in hindsight. However, if you want to pass a bit of the blame around, pass it on to the consumer who flocks to the foreign manufacturers, even as they are shown where the problem lies. Every citizen of this country, who persists in buying a vehicle produced by a foreign auto manufacturer, is to blame. Keep it up folks, pretty soon there will be no domestic producers and then you can talk about how those evil corporations didn't honor their pension benefits and dumped them on the Government to pay.
That wise old sage "Pogo" once proclaimed: "We have met the enemy and it is us."
-- David Anderson
Ford and GM. They're still around, huh? Haven't heard much from them since the 1960s.
-- David Govett
PBS may receive public funding, but what puts them on the air are local stations that use their broadcast licenses for shakedowns, er, I mean pledge drives in addition to running commercial advertising, er, I mean acknowledgements of commercial sponsors. When Bill Moyers and Nova and Frontline go off the air for Daniel O'Donnell, Peter Paul and Mary, and sundry superannuated do-wop singers punctuated by castigating fund raisers that make a Fidel Castro speech seem brief, there are some people who cannot comprehend what is going on, and in the manner of certain Marshall Islanders who are alleged to paint "U.S.A." on their chests and await the return of "John Frum," they actually write checks in the belief that this will make their regular programming come back.
That some of these people have written nasty letters to The American Spectator comes as no surprise. The only thing to do is to inform them that if they write enough checks to The American Spectator, they won't have to visit The American Spectator website for another year.
-- Paul Milenkovic
From the words of Saint Gregory the Great, Homilies on Ezekiel, 9:
"The hostility of the wicked echoes like praise for our way of life, because it shows that insofar as we annoy those who do not love God, there is at least some rectitude in us. Nobody can please God and the enemies of God at the same time."
Keep the Faith.
-- John D.
You may hate lesbians but on The Newshour you certainly sounded like a fruitcake.
Thanks for saving PBS!
Like my friends are saying, with the NeoCons leading the war effort there is no need for an anti-war movement. You guys are it!
-- Carter Tomassi
Oh God, what a horrible man George must be to think such horrible things about fellow countrymen. Thank God so many understand that George does not speak for all humankind in America.
Based upon the article of 6/24/05 in your rag, Neumayr still hasn't acquired a grasp of the facts. His interview on PBS clearly demonstrated that he was not able to present even one factual based statement to present a case supporting his belief that PBS is evil. In the interview, he repeatedly invoked Bill Moyers as the reason for his dislike of PBS, but gave no facts. He presented absolutely no additional concrete, supportable facts.
His article of 6/24/05 was a prime example of what he accuses liberals of. His article is full of name-calling, fear-mongering, hatred, innuendo and lies, while at the same time, still presents not one fact to support his claim that PBS is a liberal based entity.
Get rid of this guy. He's obviously part of the problem, rather than part of the solution in this country.
-- S. Weiss
OK, so this week I am a day late, but I have more to say about this. Only a little.
Why is it that liberals, are always willing to 'put up yer dukes, with someone they perceive as weak, but not serious, but when it comes to a real enemy they seem to be missing in action. I have often noticed as some of my fellow letter writers that the supposedly tolerant liberals are unrepentantly intolerant when it comes to something other than what they believe.
-- Janis Johnson
I wish to thank you for participating in the recent discussion on The News Hour. Your uninformed opinions against PBS helped to galvanize support from viewers of PBS and led to one of our more successful pledge campaigns in history. Mr. Bill Reed exemplified the ideal informed journalist. He answered your opinions with facts which you could not refute. I am not a reader of your American Spectator and can not speak for the kinds of email responses which you have received from other supporters of PBS, however, I feel that Mr. Reed spoke for all of us who are viewers, consumers and local supporters of our local PBS and NPR stations. You could learn a lot of journalistic lessons from Mr. Reed and from Mr. Bill Moyers. Respectfully,
-- Christopher Stranathan, M.D.
Way-to-go! Welcome to our world of vitriolic responses, which means you've struck a nerve. Doesn't it feel good?
-- Stephen Cable
Friends at NewsHour,
I've been a regular viewer for more years than I can remember. Contrary to what one hears with increasing frequency lately, I've always thought you came as close as anybody in being able to present things in a manner devoid of almost any bias. That changed Tuesday evening.
I'm referring to the segment Jeffrey Brown hosted on the issue of CPB being under pressure. Your decision to have him speak with Bill Reed and George Neumayr was a masterful illustration of liberal bias if I've ever seen it (and I'm a liberal!). Bill Reed could have sat mute given your selection of his counterpart. George Neumayr did a worse job of advocating his cause than I had heretofore thought anybody was capable of doing on any topic. Despite our philosophical differences, I was embarrassed for all who share his beliefs. While I applauded whenever he opened his mouth because of the harm he was doing the right wingers, the part of me that emphasizes fairness was cringing. I'm torn between saying well done and chastising you for having resorted to such tactics. Shooting fish in a barrel would be more sporting.
I'll know this was a aberration unless I see George Neumayr appear again in which case I'll really start wondering.
Keep up the good work. It's the best sixty minutes on television.
-- Mike Morrell
A truly amazing display. DU and the KosKidz come to the American Spectator. All this for daring to state that PBS leans liberal and should perhaps fund itself instead of taking any tax dollars. I especially loved two letters. The one from "unsigned" that starts "I have been a lifelong Republican" and ends equating you with "the mentality of Mississippi Burning, the KKK, Stalin, Hitler, and Milosevic" and the one from Wendy J. Payne that ends "I teach Critical Thinking at the university level and it is very obvious to me that people like Neumayr, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Rove, and the rest of the Evil Empire desperately need some education before this country is completely destroyed!".
I don't think "education" is the correct word for what the left wishes for all of us. Re-education is what it has been called when it has been attempted in the past.
-- Geoff Bowden
Have you been in a toy store lately? Judging from shelf space, with the possible exception of Mickey and the gang and Thomas the Train Engine, the biggest sellers are PBS's Barney and Friends, Clifford and company, and of course the perennial merchandising juggernaut otherwise known as the Sesame Street characters. I can't even comprehend the money involved.
So where is all that money -- probably more than the GNP of a lot of countries -- going? And how come more of it, a lot more of it, isn't going into the coffers of the largely government- and subscriber-funded PBS that acts as an infomercial broadcaster for these mass-merchandising entities?
My solution: Let Elmo pay for the whole kit and kaboodle of PBS. He can afford it; I can't.
P.S. How come PBS -- so-called public-supported television -- won't open its books to public inspection? Hmmm?
-- Charles R. Vail
To whoever creates the pictures at the top of the front page, they are great. Today's was totally spot on, and I had a good laugh when I saw it.
I read your article with amusement, as I know the PBS types well. I found particularly interesting, the example of the man who wrote Jeffrey Brown and set forth what he expects from his twice yearly contributions. As a former watcher of PBS, I got tired of their socialist left tendencies and stopped watching. I also stopped sending contributions. Let PBS die the unnatural death it deserves.
-- David Anderson
After reading some of the mail generated by your presence on PBS and the easily substantiated allegations that PBS has a liberal slant, I couldn't find one worthwhile complaint (well-argued with facts) in the whole lot. I did like the comment that one irate PBS supporter made, that his subscribing to cable TV and paying for channels he didn't want was akin to being taxed to pay for PBS. Yeh, stop paying your cable bill and see what happens -- your screen goes boink at the end of the month. Try not paying your taxes and your life goes boink. Sheez. And these are supposed to be educated people watching PBS. What I really want to know is just how many kids who watched Sesame Street actually LIKED it. I never did. It was boring and never improved my kids' reading or anything else. It seemed to be more a testament to the cleverness of the adults, pandering to each other rather than producing something kids would enjoy....
I have the answer to George Neumayr's interesting question, "... why do PBS partisans who regard themselves as apostles of tolerance and enlightenment resort so easily to intimidation and infantile exertion of will?"
PBS'rs "...resort so easily..." because they know the Republicans will cave. I heard a report this morning that the paltry $100 million cut in PBS's subsidy will likely be restored by the House appropriators. So the cut lasted how long? One day?
Thank you for publishing an entertaining avalanche of comments about Mr. Neumayr's remarks concerning federal funding of PBS. I found the profane letters condemning him hilarious, in same the way I relish watching other people's children throw tantrums in a restaurant and think "I am so glad that's not my kid!" On the opposite side, the letters supporting him have likewise been amusing in pointing out the silliness of both the unrepentant lefties and those delusional souls who style themselves moderate but are really only squeamish lefties too embarrassed to admit it.
Most of the debate dealt with either PBS's political bias or the merits of its curriculum. An objective observer might readily conclude that the liberal bias of PBS is sufficiently proved solely by the militancy of its defenders. Perhaps if one has nothing to say, one must say it loudly. Their arguments are light on facts, relying instead on personal attacks, irrelevant criticisms of Fox News, and hairsplitting over whether Bill Moyers is still on PBS or Bill Buckley used to be on it. Of course, even if PBS were politically neutral, that shouldn't mean taxpayers must foot the Bills.
I admit that public broadcasting used to be a unique venue for certain species of quality programming. I have PBS to thank for introducing me to "Upstairs Downstairs," "Rumpole of the Bailey," and a feast of delicious Britcoms from "Monty Python" to "Black Adder." However, many of these delightful genres are presented on A&E and Bravo. "Wall $treet Week" was splendid (until PBS downsized Louis Rukeyser), but today the Nightly Business Report, Bloomberg, CNBC, and others offer financial insights. Fascinating subjects once the exclusive purview of "Nova" and "Nature" are now routinely covered on Discovery, TLC, Animal Planet, and The History Channel. PBS no longer owns the monopoly on such projects. Producers can now distribute dramas, comedies, specialty news, and documentaries in ways that find eager audiences and are profitable to boot, although the profit aspect may be contributing to the Left's dyspepsia.
It is true that when most network radio routinely ignored classical music and opera, public radio gave me the late Karl Haas's "Adventures in Good Music" and The Met's Saturday matinees. But commercial classical stations prosper in any number of cities, without government subsidy. If PBS doesn't do it, somebody will, and that somebody will make money at it.
However, whether PBS is our lone hope for cultural ennoblement or the last stronghold of impartial reporting should not decide whether it receives federal appropriations. Paying for PBS simply is not within the constitutional authority of the federal government. Amendment X says "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." I invite anybody to find where the Constitution delegates to the United States the power to provide "Sesame Street," but in the absence of such a finding, the argument is over.
Individual donors and charitable foundations are free to contribute to PBS. Many States may decide to cover the costs of public broadcasting within their borders. I expect most local PBS stations would be pleasantly astonished how profitable they could be offering the same menu with some actual commercials instead of the thinly disguised commercials that introduce each show: "This program was made possible by a grant from (fill in the name of some corporation)." But it is clearly not Washington's business.
-- Jim Bono
I agree with your assessment. Considering the vitriol that has been posted in Reader Mail it gives me great pause to wonder about the effectiveness of PBS being a "high brow" audience. Sadly the very people that howl have the opportunity to take PBS private. Approximately 1/4 of the funding comes from government the balance from individual contributions. Just think, if all the money that had been spent by 527s in the last election cycle had been placed in an endowment for PBS the organization would not need the government money at all. The liberals could kick out the conservatives and run it anyway they see fit. But alas independence is not in their blood, such is their dependency mindset on government funding.
PBS has in the past has done very good work. One can only hope that they can reascend to their glory days, live with excellence in all its forms rather than descend into political rancor.
-- John McGinnis
Judging from the letters that poured in concerning Neumayr's appearance on PBS, it would be safe to say that most of the audience is liberal because the content of the shows is liberal, also. Case closed.
I read with interest both the article and the responses in your Letters to the Editor. I'm not a smoker. In fact, the smell of cigarette smoke makes me slightly nauseous, and I'm allergic to it from a respiratory standpoint. In spite of that, I agree with Mr. Hitchens that anti-smoking ordinances are nanny-state, big-brother nonsense. Your letter writer Mr. Ben Berry made the all too correct point that "sometimes I choose not to deal with the smoking and go elsewhere. See, that is how an adult makes a decision..." Perfectly sound reasoning. Though I'd rather not ever have to deal with cigarette or cigar smoke, personal freedom is infinitely more important to me.
But spare me the crap Mr. M.L. Gilbert shovels when he says, "I tried to be a polite smoker and not impose my habit on others." Sir, I'm sure you tried, but you're definitely part of a small minority. I'm a runner, and pass thousands of discarded cigarette butts and filters on the roadside daily. I've had lit cigarettes flicked at me. I've seen drivers at stoplights open their doors and empty ashtrays in the middle of the road. I've observed smokers light up while sitting within three feet of infant children, then act offended, sometimes in a vulgar manner, when the mother or father asked them to direct their smoke in the another direction. How many times has a non-smoker fallen asleep on a sofa and caused a damaging, even fatal fire? How many thousands of spouses and children watched in tears and misery as a loved one died an early, painful and expensive death due to cancer brought on by smoking? Is the smoker considerate of those relatives who have to suffer? Even forgetting all these things, smoking can be argued to be impolite if only due to the exorbitant and unnecessary medical costs it imposes on us all, thru higher insurance rates and the loss of years during which that smoker could have contributed to society. And it's not like we haven't been warned for 40 years that smoking causes people to die.
So, while smokers may be considerate, even courtly in other areas, don't even try to convince me that, as a group, smokers are more polite than non-smokers. Please, Mr. Gilbert, no offense, but that won't fly.
-- Tim Jones
So, "gentile" people didn't smoke? Only Jews and Muslims did? Perhaps Mr. Chagnon meant "genteel" people.
But I digress. Mr. Chagnon and other "reformed" smokers make me think of a cartoon way back in the VIP days of The New Yorker. It shows a man with a broom marching down a bar sweeping drinks onto the floor. One man sitting at the bar says to another, "I can't stand a reformed drunk."
Well, we know Mr. Chagnon has established his bona fides, don't we? "I smoked myself for 35 years before quitting cold turkey 7 years ago." Therefore we can assume that he has survived the flames of perdition to emerge triumphant over "killer weed" and thereby has the Authority (with a capital 'A') to lecture on Prohibition when the issue isn't smoking but regulation. Perhaps he might read Mr. Hitchens's insightful article again, but first he should listen to "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes."
-- Bob Johnson
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