In a column supposedly published on Sunday but "updated" on Saturday (I'm not kidding), Collins assessed the aftermath of the Supreme Court's odious Kelo v. New London decision in 2005 in reacting to a lengthy story by Charlotte Allen in the February 10 issue of the Weekly Standard. In the process, he betrayed two erroneous mindsets about the case which I believe are common among members of the establishment press. The first is that it was purely a matter of "conservatives" backing property rights against "liberal interventionism." The second is his contention that the total lack of any development in the contested area in the nearly nine years since the Court's decision "is not that compelling beyond New London."
The nation's press has long since stopped paying any attention to what has actually happened in the wake of the outrageous Kelo vs. New London Supreme Court ruling in June 2005.
The court's majority wrote that "The city has carefully formulated a development plan that it believes will provide appreciable benefits to the community, including, but not limited to, new jobs and increased tax revenue." The quite newsworthy but virtually ignored fact flying in the face of the Supremes' certitude is that nothing has happened in the affected area for 8-1/2 years. The latest idea for removing the "stain" of Kelo proposed by New London, Connecticut Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio is to place a "green" parking garage and "micro lots" (with micro homes) in the affected Fort Trumbull neighborhood where perfectly acceptable century-old housing used to stand. Excerpts from a New London Day editorial reporting on that paper's meeting with the mayor follow the jump.
But somehow, the fact that the state's Obamacare exchange, Access Health CT, "had incorrect information online about deductibles and co-insurance impacting all 19 individual health plans from the three insurance companies that offer those plans" doesn't merit attention. Further indicating the development's national significance, as David Steinberg at PJ Media has noted, President Barack Obama himself cited Access Health CT as a success story in supposedly getting one-third of its enrollees from people who are 35 and younger (also not true) back on October 21. More verbiage from the story, as reported in the Hartford Courant by Fox Connecticut's Louisa Moller, follows the jump:
If you’re a fairly large daily paper and you’re looking to make a complete fool out of yourself, you can find a how-to primer in the editorial pages of the New Haven Register. It goes something like this: Accuse a rival news organization, whose views on race you disagree with, of deriving its inspiration from the Ku Klux Klan. Then realize how dumb you sound, and write a retraction. Then lather, rinse, and repeat.
Erik Wemple of the Washington Post reported on this lapse in journalistic judgment, which began on Monday with an editorial titled “The KKK, Ted Nugent and ‘mainstream’ racism.” The money passage from the editorial follows:
Those who falsely smear the other side in an attempt to make an argument tend to do so because they have run out of real ones. It would appear that the New Haven Register's argument cupboard is completely barren of everything but poisonous rhetoric.
In an opinion piece which I can hardly believe is a house editorial, the Register characterizes Ann Coulter, Fox News, the Republican Party, anyone who thinks George Zimmerman really was innocent, Ted Nugent, and Toad's Place, the venue where Nugent is playing next week, as among those who have "embraced" the "same basic message that the KKK has promoted for 148 years." Tellingly, the paper turns on many of its readers, adding "a burgeoning array of fringe 'conservative' media and members of our own community commenting on stories on the New Haven Register’s website" to the KKK-sympathetic cadre. Brace yourself for what follows after the jump, and ask yourself why any person of genuine good will -- left, right, or middle -- would willingly support a publication such as this.
How ironic it is that, as Kyle Drennen noted today at NewsBusters, that NBC's David Gregory was so vocal in advocating that "Government Playing a Bigger Role" in the economy, given that yesterday was the eighth anniversary of the Kelo vs. New London decision, a monument to colossal government failure if there ever was one.
A 5-4 Supreme Court majority, believing that the Connecticut city of New London had "carefully formulated a development plan ... (with) appreciable benefits to the community," violated the plain language of the "public use" clause of the Constitution's Fifth Amendment which was clearly designed to limit government eminent-domain takings to true public projects (e.g., roads, bridges, etc.). They instead decided that "public use" really means "public purpose" (i.e., anything the government wants to do, including condemning property so that it can be transferred from current to new owners in the name of some higher good).
A GOP candidate for the Connecticut State Legislature's 53rd District about 70 miles northeast of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown won election on Tuesday, marking the first time the seat has gone to a Republican since Richard Nixon was president.
Republican Samuel Belsito defeated Democrat Anthony J. Horn by a 58.5%-41.5% margin, largely because his stances in support of citizens' Second Amendment rights and fiscal restraint were more convincing. Based on a review of Newsday's Associated Press Connecticut feed carrying stories from throughout the Nutmeg State (most June 11 and June 12 stories as of the time of this post are here and here), it appears that the AP did not run any stories on the result, and almost certainly made no attempt to discern its meaning.
Almost eight years after the Supreme Court's odious Kelo v. New London ruling and eight years of press failure to report the utter lack of subsequent development in the affected area in New London, Connecticut, construction might start taking place in a couple of months -- emphasis on "may."
What's notable about how Kathleen Edgecomb at the New London Day wrote up her Sunday story is how hard she worked, as the Day has since the Court's ruling, to make sure that the term "Kelo" did not appear. That's "Kelo" as in Susette Kelo, the lead plaintiff who tried to keep her pink house where it was and save the properties of other plaintiffs from destruction as a result of eminent domain, and who was ultimately thwarted by a Supreme Court ruling which radically misinterpreted the Constitution's Fifth Amendment to to allow goverments to take properties for "public purpose" (i.e., any conceivable reason) instead of limiting such seizures to "public use" (e.g., roads, bridges, and other public works). Excerpts from her Edgecomb's report, including the relevant word-dodging, follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Did you ever mean to say "If you are shy then I have an acre of land in the Everglades." and have it come out "If you're bashful I got a snake sitting under my desk here"? I mean, those sentences are so close to being identical, and these kinds of misstatements happen all the time, right?
Well, that's what you have to believe if you're still a defender of Connecticut legislator Ernest Hewett, who said the latter on February 20 to a 17 year-old girl at a public hearing and is now saying he meant to say the former. Most press covereage of Hewett's obviously lewd remark has done an acceptable job of tagging him as a Democrat, with a notable exception being Ken Dixon at the Connecticut Post (HT Hot Air via Instapundit; bolds are mine throughout this post):
Currently in Connecticut, unlike New York, handgun permit records can't be made public. Nutmeg State legislator Stephen D. Dargan, a Democrat from West Haven and co-chairman of the legislature's public safety committee, wants to change that. Borrowing from some of the specious reasoning used by Gannett's White Plains, New York-based Journal News to justify publishing an interactive map of two counties' pistol permit holders, he wants to make handgun permit information to be publicly accessible.
At the Hartford Courant (HT NewsMax), Jon Lender failed to deal with the issue of endangering non-permit holders because of the increased likelihood that they will be identifiable as "soft targets" (unless they happen to own rifles, for which permits are not required), and also didn't directly look into the possibility that Dargan has an additional motive -- intimidation of current and potential permit holders (bolds are mine throughout this post):
If today's gun control debate seems a bit stale to you, you're not wrong. Twelve years ago, MRC's Geoffrey Dickens wrote a Special Report on network coverage of gun controversies over a two-year period from July 1997 to June 1999.
ABC, CBS, and NBC harped on several major themes in their coverage of gun policy stories. The arguments most commonly advanced by the network stars had one thought in common: guns are the problem. Check out just how similar yesterday's complaints were to today's:
Sunday's episode of The Chris Matthews Show featured an exchange between host Pete Williams and New York Times White House reporter Helene Cooper on President Obama pushing for stronger gun control legislation the day of the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. Cooper laid out the issue in emotional terms, suggesting people must choose between the protection of the Second Amendment and the safety of little kids at school. As if even a total repeal could ever guarantee that.
Demonstrating rapidly shifting attitudes toward gun control in the aftermath of a massacre in a Connecticut school, many pro-gun Congressional Democrats -- including Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader and a longstanding gun rights supporter -- signaled an openness Monday to new restrictions on guns.
“Americans trust their guns, not God,” and the gun lobby is sacrificing children to an ancient pagan god demanding child sacrifice. That’s the message of Washington Post ‘On Faith’ theological train-wreck Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite’s plea for gun control in the wake of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Thistlethwaite complained in a December 17 post: “It is becoming increasingly clear that Americans realize the unfettered flow of guns into our society is making us less free not more. These guns find their way far too easily into the hands of the mentally unstable and the school and mall-type massacres are increasingly the result. But these guns also circulate easily in cities like Chicago, and more carnage results. There are numerous deaths, including the deaths of children and young people, and they make horrifying statistics. Read this list of homicide victims, most of them from guns in Chicago, just from 2012. This must not be.”
Daryl Justin Finizio, the recently elected Democratic Party Mayor of New London, Connecticut has apologized to the families and homeowners who lost their homes as a result of the city's decision to condemn properties in the Fort Trumbull area of that city. Those efforts began over a decade ago. A lawsuit by the victims which attempted to stop the city from taking their properties and destroying their homes ultimately led to the Supreme Court's Kelo vs. New London decision in 2005. The Court ruled in favor of the City based on what it believed was "a carefully considered development plan." A few remaining holdouts who tried to get the city to reverse course after the ruling, including Susette Kelo, lost their battle and settled with the city in 2006. To my knowledge, no ground has been broken on any kind of new development in the area originally occupied by the homes in the 5-1/2 years since.
Obviously, one could argue that the apology is way too late, given that the buildings have long since been leveled.
It appears that it's not news anywhere but at the Hartford Courant, where "Little Pink House" author Jeff Benedict reported the development on Saturday, and at Reason.com (HT to commenter dscott), which linked to the Courant story earlier today. I suspect it won't get much coverage at other establishment press outlets.
The development is that one of the four Connecticut Supreme Court justices in the 4-3 majority which ruled against Susette Kelo and the New London, Connecticut eminent-domain holdouts, ultimately sending the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled 5-4 against the plaintiffs in Kelo vs. New London, has apologized -- quite emptily, as it turns out -- to Ms. Kelo, face to face:
In June 2005, in its Kelo vs. New London decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the City of New London, Connecticut could condemn and take over private property, including that on which Susette Kelo's pink house sat, for a "public purpose" (a redevelopment plan worked up by the city's New London Development Corporation), instead of limiting the Constitution's Fifth Amendment application to "public use," as the Founders intended.
The Supreme Court justices who supported the ruling largely justified it on the basis that "The City has carefully formulated an economic development plan that it (the city) believes will provide appreciable benefits to the community, including–but by no means limited to–new jobs and increased tax revenue." Carefully formulated or not, nothing even remotely positive happened after the ruling until very recently, and nothing even remotely resembling decent national media coverage of post-ruling events has ever occurred.
Reporter Halbfinger let Malloy hypocritically pat himself on the back for civility while taking pot shots at Christie. Halbfinger played along, portraying Christie as “blustery and bellicose” compared to the “polite” Democrat Malloy, flatteringly portrayed as closing a deficit while spending “much of his energy finding ways to spare the most vulnerable" and considering tax increases.
Connecticut Sen. Christopher Dodd looked at his polls and decided to retire, so Democrats were buoyed by the hope of replacing him with the state's Attorney General, Richard Blumenthal. Credit should go to The New York Times and Raymond Hernandez for digging up something embarrassing. Blumenthal's not a Vietnam combat veteran, as he has implied:
“We have learned something important since the days that I served in Vietnam,” Mr. Blumenthal said to the group gathered in Norwalk in March 2008. “And you exemplify it. Whatever we think about the war, whatever we call it — Afghanistan or Iraq — we owe our military men and women unconditional support.”
There was one problem: Mr. Blumenthal, a Democrat now running for the United States Senate, never served in Vietnam. He obtained at least five military deferments from 1965 to 1970 and took repeated steps that enabled him to avoid going to war, according to records.
Five deferments -- just like the liberals forever reminded people about Dick Cheney. (The Times website offers a clip of Blumenthal's speech on video.) Will the rest of the national media notice?
Last Friday, New London, Connecticut's newspaper The Day carried the first bit of news in years that might be construed as positive about the city's Fort Trumbull area, part of which became the subject of the infamous Kelo v. New London Supreme Court decision in June 2005. Twenty-four hours later, further detail also carried at the Day showed that the "good news" is really a cruel joke on homeowners who fought for the right to keep their properties.
The city convinced the Supreme Court that it had "a carefully considered development plan." The trouble was when that plan met the real world during the three-plus years after the July 2006 final settlement between the city, the State of Connecticut, and final eminent-domain holdouts Susette Kelo and Mike Cristofaro, no developer wanted to get involved. Kelo's house (pictured above via the New York Times) was moved to a separate site and serves as a monument to her and others' heroic efforts.
Despite the hard feelings all around, one can see how Thursday's news covered in Friday's Day indicating a bit of movement in a moribund situation might have been cause for limited cheer:
The New York Times cherishes moderate Republicans who make trouble for their party, like John McCain pre-campaign 2008. But the paper takes quite a different tone with Democrats (or ex-Democrats who caucus with the Democrats) who thwart liberal wishes.
The Times was clearly peeved with Sen. Joe Lieberman in Tuesday's front-page story about the tense health-care debate in the Senate, “Lieberman Gets Ex-Party to Shift On Health Plan.” It's written by David Herszenhorn and David Kirkpatrick from a Democratic perspective. In the Times's worldview, Lieberman is no brave dissenter from the party line:
It's a development that I wouldn't wish on anybody, but one that the City of New London, Connecticut largely brought upon itself by pursuing and winning the Kelo v. New London case at the Supreme Court in June 2005.
Some "win." In what Ed Morrissey at Hot Air calls "a fitting coda to a chapter of governmental abuse," pharmaceutical manufacturer Pfizer is leaving the global research and development headquarters it built in New London just eight years ago.
The significance of the move should resonate nationally, because, as the Washington Examiner explains, Pfizer's original decision to locate in New London was driven by the City's promises to eliminate a nearby neighborhood -- promises which led to the Kelo litigation once residents, including Susette Kelo (pictured above), pushed back:
To lure those jobs to New London a decade ago, the local government promised to demolish the older residential neighborhood adjacent to the land Pfizer was buying for next-to-nothing. Suzette Kelo fought the taking to the Supreme Court, and lost. Five justices found this redevelopment met the constitutional hurdle of "public use."
The New London Day elaborates, while petulantly managing to avoid any mention of what has clearly become the local four-letter word -- "Kelo" (bold is mine):
Four years ago, on June 23, 2005, a 6-3 Supreme Court majority ruled in Kelo v. New London that the New London, Connecticut government could condemn houses in that city's Fort Trumbull area in the name of redevelopment. A bit over a year later, the city settled with the area's final two holdouts, the Cristofaro family and Susette Kelo.
Since then the city has without success tried to engage a developer to build a hotel on part of the now-leveled area, and to put apartments or condos on the rest. Yes, you read that right; they're building residences where residences used to be.
The idea behind the hotel was that it would serve as lodging for visitors to the anticipated U.S. Coast Guard Museum.
During a segment on Tuesday’s Situation Room program, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer characterized the ongoing post-election identity struggle in the Republican Party as being between moderates who are “more tolerant on fiscal and social issues” and “staunch” conservatives “who don’t want the party to become more moderate.” Later in the same segment, Gloria Borger, one of the network’s senior political analysts, labeled some of the moderate Republicans being considered for 2010 congressional races as being “very pragmatic choices.”
Blitzer introduced Borger’s analysis by highlighting the “serious battle...brewing in the Republican party....On the one side, moderates more tolerant on fiscal and social issues -- on the other side, staunch conservatives who don’t want the party to become more moderate.” The analyst herself focused on how this struggle was affecting statewide races, specifically in the northeastern states of Connecticut and Delaware. She argued that Republicans in Connecticut “need to put up a moderate candidate in that state to go against Chris Dodd.” She also cited unnamed conservative recruiters in the GOP who were supposedly saying, “we need moderates in the state of Connecticut.”
To keep up with what has happened in the aftermath of the odious Kelo v. New London Supreme Court eminent domain ruling nearly four years ago (quick answer: nothing that has to do with actually building anything), your truly gets alerts relating what is going happening in that Connecticut town. As a result, I occasionally get alerts concerning things about the affected Fort Trumbull area that while not directly tied to eminent domain, are nonetheless amusing.
Here's one: Did you know that we have government boards in many states wrestling with what to do about the supposedly imminent rises in ocean sea levels? Indeed we do, and poor, gullible Judy Benson of the New London Day decided to write about it.
Reactions from readers of the Day were justifiably less than uniformly kind.
Here are key paragraphs from Benson's report (Day link won't work without paid subscription after seven days):
Climate change poses challenges for the Connecticut coast
A left-wing "bus tour" protest prowled the affluent neighborhoods of Fairfield, Conn. on Saturday afternoon, looking for AIG execs to harass. The protest, run by a group sponsored by unlabeled leftists ACORN, were railing against the bonuses paid out to employees of the struggling insurance giant. The New York Times found the stunt worthy of a full story in the national section of Sunday's paper: "Carrying a Populist Message Into A.I.G. Territory." (The online headline differs from the print version.)
Reporter Manny Fernandez, while sounding supportive, remarked drily that more media than passengers were in attendance:
The bus pulled to a stop, and a pastor whose sister-in-law was facing foreclosure, a laid-off steelworker with a wife and five children, and a few of their colleagues nervously stepped out, like sightseers in some exotic land.
The battle between New London, Connecticut and the residents of its Fort Trumbull neighborhood began in 1998 when the City decided that it would redevelop the area for ultimate ownership by others and, if necessary, take the residents' properties for that "public purpose" -- not for "public use" (i.e., roads, bridges, schools, etc.), as the Fifth Amendment clearly intended.
Susette Kelo and other Fort Trumbull residents pushed back and sued to try to stop the city's plans. Ultimately, the Supreme Court rendered its 5-4 decision in Kelo v. New London in June 2005, erroneously (as the Founders would almost certainly have seen it) siding with the city.
In July 2006, after intervention by Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell prevented the City from carrying out its declared intent to forcibly remove final holdouts Kelo and the Cristofaros if necessary, the city and the holdouts settled.
More than 2-1/2 years after the settlement, 3-1/2 years after the Supremes' decision, and 11 years after the city's initial plans, oh boy -- a new tenant has finally moved into the Fort Trumbull Neighborhood. It's a government tenant (link at New London Day will be available for about a week), and the move is into an existing building:
A link to a story in the New London (CT) Day (story will be available for only a few days) arrived in my e-mail yesterday thanks to a Google alert:
Deed Gives NL Building A New Address Italian Dramatic Club outlived street it used to be on in fort area
The story stands as a bitter reminder of the blatant favoritism that took place during the sad saga of Susette Kelo and her neighbors in the Ft. Trumbull area of that Connecticut town.
Ms. Kelo and her neighbors had their homes condemned, and ultimately lost in appeals that went all the way to the Supreme Court, where in June 2005 that court's majority ruled that when our Founders wrote "public use" in the Constitution's 5th Amendment (i.e., building a bridge, or a road, or a school), they really meant "public purpose" (doing anything the government deems to be a worthy cause, including taking someone's property and conveying it to another for a worthy "development" cause).
As you can see from the following Google Earth map image that is probably about two years old, the Italian Dramatic Club (IDC) sits virtually alone at 79 Chelsea Street:
Michelle Malkin called it, as did several NewsBusters commenters. Their prediction was that newspapers on the brink would be asking for government bailouts.
It came to pass in late November that seven Connecticut legislators asked the state's Department of Economic and Community Development for help in keeping the New Britain Herald and the Bristol Press afloat. A JPEG of the full letter with three of the seven signatures is here. Alleged GOP Governor Jodi Rell is apparently sympathetic.
A Wednesday "analysis" piece by Robert MacMillan of Reuters reports that the state agency is indeed "offering tax breaks, training funds, financing opportunities and other incentives for publishers, but not cash."