Still Pissed Off About the Hawley-Smoot Tariff

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Marine Sentenced for Role in Murder of Iraqi Civilian

Story here.

I'm still looking for a link to that story about the Arab country that convicted a terrorist for killing American (or Arab) civilians. I know it's around here somewhere...

(But remember, American imperialists are just as bad as the terrorists.)

Chris Matthews Interviews Michael Richards About Racial Slurs

Monday, November 20, 2006

It's Okay to Feed the Homeless

From the Las Vegas Review-Journal's "Newsflash" section (link):

"A federal court judge ruled this morning that the city of Las Vegas' ordinance prohibiting the feeding of homeless people is unconstitutional because it targets a particular segment of the population.

"Judge Robert Jones directed city attorneys to redraft a law that limits the number of people at a park gathering and sets restrictions on how frequently a particular group can gather. In the meantime, community activists can resume feeding the homeless."

Well yeah it's unconstitutional. And it looks like it was drafted by a city counsel that showed up to work one day and thought, "Hmm, we haven't acted like total bastards in a while. Who here wants to screw over homeless people?"

You'll notice, however, that Judge Jones didn't say anything about luring homeless people into your crawlspace with promises of alcohol and warm clothing, only to seal them in brick by sadistic brick while listening to their plaintive cries for help.

"For the love of God, Montresor!"

"Yes, for the love of God."

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Aww, John Kerry Looks Like He Needs a Hug

I'm serious when I say Republicans should think about finding a serious challenger to unseat Kerry in '08.

Pahrump, Nevada Bans Foreign Flags

Story here. Pahrump is a bit over an hour west of Las Vegas. I link for two reasons:

1. This law is blatantly unconstitutional. If the Supreme Court won't let states outlaw burning the American flag, there's absolutely no way they would allow banning foreign flags. This is an obvious restriction on political speech.

2. Now I have something to associate with Pahrump, other than "Oh yeah, that's where Las Vegas goes to bang hookers legally."

Pieces of Flair

This random moment was inspired by Stephen, commenting at Dave's.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Nevadans: A Bunch of Sick Freaks

I'm stunned that virtually every single day, Las Vegas' largest newspaper has at least one story about either (a) a brutal murder, (b) an arrest for a brutal murder, or (c) the conviction of a brutal murderer.

Just as an example, when a jury found James "Evil" Harrison (no, I didn't make that up) guilty of first degree murder, he smiled. And no, not just a little smirk:

I've got a feeling that picture's going to come back to haunt his poor attorney, who has to persuade the jury that his client is remorseful:

"'Our client knows he was involved and he knows he was wrong ... he has a conscience, that's why he told so many people (about the crime),' said Bret Whipple, Harrison's defense attorney."


Anyway, that was all just an introduction to two new Nevada Supreme Court decisions that came down on Thursday.

In Pascua v. State, three people decided to rob Doyle Upson of a $44,000.00 sports book ticket. They went to his apartment and roughed him up a bit, but he denied he had the ticket. So one of them smacked him in the head with a hammer. He collapsed into a chair, where they continued roughing him up, demanding money and the combo to his safe. They hit him in the head with the hammer two more times. Then they tried to inject him with valium. Then they dragged him into the bedroom, smacked him in the head a few more times, and injected his nostrils and mouth full of caulking. It took him seven or eight hours to die (the Review-Journal has slightly different details, and said he only died after one of them stomped on his throat at the end of the eight hours).

Pascua was convicted of murder one, robbery and kidnapping. On appeal, she argued she couldn't be convicted of kidnapping when it was part of the same series of events. The Supremes disagreed, so all three convictions stand.

In Archanian v. State, Avetis Archanian went to work one morning at a jewelry store owned by Elisa Del Prado and Juana Quiroga. Security camera footage shows he went into the back room, where he would repair jewelry.

"Minutes later, Del Prado entered the workroom, apparently at Archanian's behest. Soon thereafter, 86-year-old Juana Quiroga, Del Prado's mother, apparently heard a commotion in the workroom and went to investigate. Moments later, Quiroga attempted to escape but was dragged back into the room. Her legs kicked about, and then all movement ceased. Archanian exited the room, retrieved numerous pieces of jewelry from various trays and cases, and left the store."

When the paramedics entered the store, they picked up Del Prado to move her body onto a gurney, a 12-inch metal rod fell out of the back of her head. She actually survived for about six months, opening her eyes once, but never regaining consciousness. The coroner noted she was missing portions of her skull and brain. Quiroga died at the scene of massive trauma injuries to the head, neck and shoulders.

Archanian's defense? "I didn't do it!" Even though he was caught on film, had blood on his clothes and the handle on his car door, with jewelry in his pockets. He was found guilty, and the Supreme Court affirmed his death sentence.

Creeping Fascism Alert

In Nevada, having a stripper rub her boobs on your face is not considered "protected speech" under the First Amendment.

Just FYI.

If you're not legally inclined, here's a newspaper summary. Key quote:

"A lawyer for exotic dancers and a civil libertarian said the ruling
essentially makes lap dances illegal in Las Vegas. Not so, city of Las
Vegas officials said as they gave the green light for grinding inside city

One of the more bizarre aspects of the story is knowing that this lady wrote this sentence:

"According to the charging documents, the violations included allegations of conduct such as a dancer 'rubbing her breasts against a male patron’s face, rubbing her leg against the patron’s groin and grinding her buttocks against the patron’s groin.'"

Monday, November 13, 2006

SCOTUS Season -- California Death Penalty

Today the Supreme Court upheld the death penalty for Fernando Belmontes, who was convicted of first degree murder in 1982. The case is Ayers v. Belmonte, 05-493. According to an old Supreme Court case, states have to let in all evidence that could mitigate the punishment for a crime, even when it wasn't admissible to get the conviction in the first place.

The Court voted 5-4, with Kennedy writing the majority opinion, joined by Roberts, Scalia, Thomas and Alito. For those of you who don't care about the intricacies of California death penalty law (i.e. probably all of you), that's the most interesting piece of information about this case: Roberts and Alito continue to reassure me that they are the conservatives we thought they were during the confirmation hearings.

There's more: it's not just the fact that the sentence was upheld, but how the Court reached its conclusion. California law provides a list of factors that a jury can consider in determining whether to be lenient. The last of them, known as "factor (k)" in the opinion, is a general catch-all. Here's the wierd part of the case: the Defendant sought leave to introduce evidence that he had converted to Christianity while in prison and to let prison chaplains testify on his behalf, to show that he was reformed and no longer a danger -- and the court let him introduce that testimony. In other words, this is not a case where he's trying to get in evidence and the Court wouldn't let him. The jury heard the evidence, and handed down the sentence anyway. But the Defendant argues that the jury didn't really consider the evidence, because the statute doesn't apply to forward-looking evidence that the convict is not likely to remain a danger.

The most telling part of the opinion is Justice Stevens' dissent. He admits that the actual language of factor (k) allows the evidence in, and that a jury can consider such forward-looking evidence. His concern is, basically, that factor (k) sounds too "mean":

"And while the eleventh catch-all 'factor (k)' authorized consideration of '[a]ny other circumstance which extenuates the gravity of the crime even though it is not a legal excuse for the crime,' ... factor (k)'s restrictive language sent the unmistakable message that California juries could properly give no mitigating weight to evidence that did not extenuate the severity of the crime.
"Just a year after respondent's sentencing the California Supreme Court evinced considerable discomfort with factor (k)."
Emphasis added.

Let's get this straight: the unambiguous text of the statute allows "any other evidence." Justice Stevens finds the language "any other evidence" to be "restrictive." The statute sends an "unmistakeable message" which is actually contrary to the express wording of the statute. Finally, this conclusion is shored up because a California court expressed "discomfort" (but without actually invalidating the rule, or the statutory scheme).

See, this is why we need more judges like Scalia on the court. Some judges believe that statutes mean what they say and say what they mean. Others think that their personal vibe controls interpretation. The fact that Roberts and Alito signed onto the majority in this case is very good news, regardless of your feelings about the death penalty.

NOTE: I have never practiced criminal law, and have no personal experience with death penalty cases or California law.

More: Clayton Jones agrees: "in the middle of this incredible performance [the dissenters] had the nerve to call the trial judge, prosecutor, defense counsel, and jury 'addled.'" Actually the Stevens dissent is loaded with hilarious, thinly-disguised appeals to emotion.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Election Aftermath

So what's next for the Republicans?

The House

1. The Dems took control of the House of Reps this time around, but keep in mind that every single representative is up for election in 2008. One effect of the '06 elections is that Republicans now have to fight incumbent Democrats, and incumbents generally have an advantage. But on the other hand, part of the reason Dems were successful this last time around is that they had the luxury of keeping quiet about their own plans and policies, and merely attacking the Republicans. They lose that advantage in '08, because they will have track records, and votes they will have to defend (assuming their Republican challengers take advantage of the situation). Because every single Dem gain has to be defended two years from now, it is entirely possible that the Repubs can recover their losses then.

2. George W. Bush, like it or not, has serious negative political baggage. Some of the most successful Dems were able to link their opponents to Bush, and thus associate them with his negatives, even where such an association is unwarranted (such as immigration or the Iraq war). Obviously in 2008, all those negatives go away. Giuliani, Romney, McCain, or any other presidential hopeful can easily avoid the Bush effect, and yet retain credibility among the security voters, by claiming that Iraq was a good idea, but improperly executed. Whether true or not, it gives the presidential hopeful the positives of Bush's foreign policy without any of the negatives.

3. The single greatest advantage the Republicans have ever had is that they are running against Democrats. If there is any group of people in this country more committed to over-reaching, it is the Democrats. The American people may not have thought through the consequences of voting Dem (or, rather, refusing to vote for scandal-plagued Republicans), but they will be reminded of those consequences every time Nancy Pelosi opens her mouth. That's something to think about. Granted, the Dems might learn the lesson that it's better to keep silent and be thought a communist and terror sympathizer than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt -- but somehow I don't think that's gonna happen.

The Senate

Unlike the House, those who won Senate seats this time are safe for six more years. That means New Jersey is stuck with Menendez, Maryland is stuck with Cardin, and Missouri is stuck with McCaskill until 2012 at the earliest (shudder). With only so many seats in play in '08, the possibility of a Republican take-over is diminished. The good news is that the Dems only barely edged the Republicans, so we only need two pick-ups to gain control. Let's look at the board:

1. Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
2. Wayne Allard (R - CO)
3. Max Baucus (D - MT)
4. Joe Biden (D - DE)
5. Saxby Chambliss (R - GA)
6. Thad Cochran (R - MS)
7. Norm Coleman (R - MN)
8. Susan Collins (R - ME)
9. John Cornyn (R - TX)
10. Larry Craig (R - ID)
11. Elizabeth Dole (R - NC)
12. Pete Domenici (R - NM)
13. Dick Durbin (D - IL)
14. Mike Enzi (R - WY)
15. Lindsey Graham (R - SC)
16. Chuck Hagel (R - NE)
17. Tom Harkin (D - IA)
18. James Inhofe (R - OK)
19. Tim Johnson (D - SD)
20. John Kerry (D - MA)
21. Mary Landrieu (D - LA)
22. Frank Lautenberg (D - NJ)
23. Carl Levin (D - MI)
24. Mitch McConnel (R - KY)
25. Mark Pryor (D - AR)
26. Jack Reed (D - RI)
27. Pat Roberts (R - KS)
28. John Rockefeller (D - WV)
29. Jeff Sessions (R - AL)
30. Gordon Smith (R - OR)
31. Ted Stevens (R - AK)
32. John Sununu (R - NH)
33. John Warner (R - VA)

Of those 33 races, only 12 are Democrat seats, and 21 are Republican seats. Just as a question of mathematics, Republicans have a lot more to defend this time around than the Dems. We'll have to spend much more just to avoid a loss, let alone pick up seats.

The good news is that a good number of the Dem Senators have been featured prominently in the news, in a manner that will make it fairly easy to tar them as terrorist-appeasers (e.g. Carl Levin). John Kerry now carries the stigma of a loser in a national contest, and before you argue that he's completely safe as a Dem in Massachusetts, keep in mind that Ted Kennedy just barely beat Mitt Romney in that state six years ago. And Mary Landrieu, who beat Susan Terrel by a small margin last time around, can be attacked for her gross incompetence in the wake of the Katrina disaster (and Landrieu's best defense -- pointing at President Bush -- will be moot, because Bush will be gone).

Predictions are impossible at this point, but I'd say a Republican pick-up, while possible, is not very likely, and we will be lucky just to avoid losing another seat or two.

This is Kind of Cool: I just got a hit for this post from the United States Senate Sergeant at Arms. Welcome, U.S. Senate! (Except for Ted Kennedy, who is an insufferable douchebag. Yes, I'm talking to you).

Friday, November 10, 2006

The Official "What's in my Wife's Belly" Photoshop Contest

It's time to break out the photoshop skills and guess what's in my wife's belly. No Cthulu jokes, please. It's been done.

Send entries to crocopundit-at-hotmail-dot-com

From Andrew McCoy:
Funny, none of my other kids were born with beards and glasses...

From my post at IB:

Cowboy Blob:

Important Update Re: The Status of My Wife's Womb


Saturday, November 04, 2006

Rumor: Supreme Court to Have Vacancy

Via Stop the ACLU, the rumor is that "a member of the U.S. Supreme Court has received grave medical news and will announce his or her retirement by year’s end," and specifically, that it's the oldest member, John Paul Stevens.

For the non-Court-watchers, here's what that means:

Right now we have four solid conservatives: Scalia, Thomas, Roberts and Alito (Roberts and Alito are as-yet unproven, but they look reliable enough so far). We have three solid liberals: Ginsberg, Souter and Breyer. Neither side has an effective majority.

The remaining two are Anthony Kennedy and John Paul Stevens. Kennedy, a Reagen appointee, is widely viewed as the new O'Connor: a swing-voter who is tough to predict, and indeed my impression is that he has been drifting gradually leftward over the years. Sooner or later he may just decide to throw in his lot with the liberal three.

That leaves Stevens. His judicial philosophy can best be described as ... uh, well I'm coming up blank here. He tends to vote as though he's from Mars, and simply can't understand how human beings think. Most frustrating is where there is a four-four split between conservatives and liberals, and instead of breaking the tie, he writes some barely coherent "I don't like either one of 'em" concurrence that leaves the law in a state of confusion. Yeah, thanks a heap, buddy.

Regardless, if Stevens really is about to get the old nature-imposed have ho, that means the make-up of the Senate has just reached a critical stage. Republicans do not have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. After immense pressure, Senate Dems decided not to filibuster Roberts or Alito, although they could have (which is why Republicans were discussing the "nuclear option" of banning judicial filibusters). If after this Tuesday they gain five seats (a strong possibility), the Senate will be dead even, and the likelihood of a filibuster exponentially increased.

If, on the other hand, Republicans keep their losses to a minimum, they will still be within range of a filibuster (they need 60 votes to be filibuster-proof), but the Dems are less likely to risk the political damage.

In practical terms, that means Bush could put a tried and true conservative on the bench to replace Stevens, giving the conservatives a solid and largely permanent voting block of five people -- enough to get a conservative result on literally every single case they hear. That means Roe v. Wade is gone. It means the ridiculous Michigan affirmative action cases are gone. It means the abominable Hamdan v. Rumsfeld is seriously weakened, if not gone.

I know there are conservatives out there who, justifiably, are disgusted with the Republicans. The GOP hasn't secured our borders, hasn't stood up to a treasonous liberal media that may very well succeed in Iraq where the terrorists failed, hasn't done anything at all about CIA leaks, has proven extremely corrupt (see e.g. Rep. Ney), has bowed to the slightest pressure from Dems on judicial nominees out of pure political cowardice (see e.g. Miguel Estrada), and they spend like drunken sailors.

Still. Congresses come and go. Even a President is only around for eight years. But a judge -- it's a lifetime appointment, people. William Brennan was a flaming liberal, and he sat on the court for forty years. For forty solid years he shaped US policy, not subject to review, not subject to any pressure when he made bad decisions, not subject to censure or anything whatsoever.

If we get the courts back, we can repair the damage that liberal judges have inflicted upon America for so long. But we cannot do that without the Senate. If you are pissed off at the GOP, swallow the bitter pill and vote for them anyway. Vote Dem in '08, I don't care. Give the liberals the White House and the Congress. We can change those things in regular elections. We can't change the composition of the Court, expect by an insanely slow and difficult process. Get out and vote. Get everyone you know to vote. We cannot lose the Senate, or we will have lost our best shot at the Court.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

State Question 7

This is an initiative to legalize marijuana. I won't quote it in full because that's more typing than I want to do. Basically, it lets you buy and hold up to an ounce of marijuana (comparable to about a pack and a half of cigarettes), and increases the criminal penalties for people who cause death or injury for driving high.

I'm voting NO.

You might think that's an odd way to go, if you read my post below, railing against nanny-statism. Hey, I never said I'm a purist libertarian.

This is not something I feel very passionately about, one way or the other. I don't smoke pot, I don't plan on smoking pot, and if my kids ever smoke pot, what I will do to them will be much, much worse than anything the cops could do.

That said, I don't find any of the arguments in favor of legalization compelling. A few examples (from the sample ballot mailed out to registered voters):

"Our marijuana laws do not work. Despite over 10,000 marijuana arrests in Nevada during the last three years alone, marijuana remains widely available and easy to get."

Sure, but most crimes are fairly easy to commit. Armed robbery is pretty basic: grab a gun, stop someone in a bad part of town, grab their wallet, run. Maybe the cops will catch you, and maybe not. Violating copyright is extremely easy, and you're extremely unlikely to get caught. Even murder is pretty simple -- you're just a lot more likely to get caught because the police will pour more resources into catching you. None of which suggests we should legalize any of those things.

"Once we regulate the marijuana market, we create the opportunity to tax it and establish safeguards that are currently lacking."

This is a favorite argument: if we legalize it, we can tax it, and get more revenue. How odd that libertarians (who should be philosophically opposed to elaborate schemes to get more tax dollars out of people) should rely on it so heavily. But it's also completely false. The fact is, this Question would legalize marijuana on the state level, but not the federal level. We can't tax anything if the feds keep coming and seizing the supply and prosecuting the vendors. And although Gonzalez v. Raich was a terrible decision (holding that Congress has power to criminalize marijuana in spite of a California making it legal for medicinal purposes), it's the law of the land. The feds can come in and shut down the operation before Nevada can tax a single sale.

The counter argument is that the feds don't usually worry about marijuana -- at least not in small (1 oz) quantities. Well that's because it's a waste of federal resources to do what local cops can and should be doing -- busting the small time dealer on the street corner. But this Question doesn't legalize the dealer on the corner, it allows sales only in certain licensed buildings (like smoke shops, which I suspect is a good place to get weed anyway). If there's a standing building with a sign on the front that says "buy pot here!" the feds will care. Especially because there will necessarily be an inventory in that building -- a stash that makes it worth the feds' time to go grab it and prosecute.

In other words, until the feds decide they don't want to bust pot sellers, Nevada doesn't get any tax revenues whatsoever.

"We believe that after decades of marijuana laws that don't accomplish what they were meant to -- yet cause real societal harm by financing violent gangs and drug dealers, destroying the lives of otherwise law-abiding Nevadans, and wasting precious police resources -- it's time for a new approach."

There's a lot in here that is objectionable. They never explain what the laws are designed to accomplish. The complete cessation of the prohibited conduct? If that's the goal, no criminal law has ever worked, because people still kill, steal, rape and cut tags off of mattresses. If the goal is to send a policy statement to citizens that certain behavior is unacceptable, then I'd say the laws work just fine. They argue (I assume correctly) that marijuana finances violent gangs -- then why not de-criminalize all drugs? Why stop with pot? The phrase "otherwise law-abiding Nevadans" is also nonsense. If I kill my family, but otherwise comply with the laws, are the murder laws then unjust? I'm not equating murder with firing up a fatty, I'm just saying that the argument begs the question.

Again, I'm not passionate about this matter one way or the other. I just don't see any persuasive reason to tinker with the laws in this case. Furthermore, as the proponents of Question 7 point out, pot has already been legalized in some jurisdictions -- if legalization is the panacea it is supposed to be, we'll soon know it after watching those jurisdictions to get some solid evidence, rather than speculation about the effect that legalization will have. It's not like we're in a hurry, or anything.

State Question 6

This one is for the minimum wage:

"Shall the Nevada Constitution be amended to raise the minium wage paid to employees?"

Definite NO.

The minimum wage is a terrible idea. Let the free market work, people. It's given us the most powerful economy in the history of the world. Don't screw it up with socialism.

I won't get into too much detail here, unless someone wants to argue with me in the comments. Socialism kills economies almost as quickly as socialists kill "undesireables." A minimum wage doesn't help anyone when the jobless rate doubles. Need proof? France and Germany are racing each other to see who can crater their economy the fastest, and the most effective way either has found is through socialism. That leads to mass unemployment. Thanks, minimum wage! I'm sure it's much better to make nothing and sit around all day than to make less than Ted Kennedy wants you to make.

I mention Ted Kennedy for a reason. This Question is keyed into the federal minimum wage, so that if the feds raise it, Nevada's automatically gets a boost. That means, as a practical matter, that pompous gasbags from Massachusetts or Rhode Island get to decide what Nevadans get paid. I don't want to give Ted "Fat Sack of Fat" Kennedy or Hillary Clinton any more ability to jack up our state than they already have.

State Questions 4 and 5

I'm treating these two as one post because they're basically different degrees of the same thing.

Question 4 reads:

"Sall Chapter 202 of the Nevada Revised Statutes be amended in order to prohibit smoking tobacco in certain public places, except all areas of casinos, gaming areas within establishments holding gaming licenses, bars and certain other locations?"

Question 5 reads:

"Shall Chapter 202 of the Nevada Revised Statutes be amended in order to prohibit smoking tobacco in certain public places, in all bars with a food-handling license, but excluding gaming areas of casinos and certain other locations?"

I'm voting NO on both.

I don't smoke, and I don't like the smell of smoke. But I also don't like the nanny state. I'm no purist-libertarian (more like a conservative with libertarian leanings), so for both my wife and me, the question boils down to this: which do I hate more? Smoke, or Clinton-esque nanny-statism? My wife says smoke. I'm going with the nanny state.

If you live around here, you've probably seen the gas station marquees that say "yes on 4, no on 5." That's a ridiculous position to take, in my view. Of course, the reason they say no on 5 is because they want their patrons to be able to sit down at a slot machine for hours, puffing away, without having to stand up, go outside, and maybe realize they shouldn't spend so much time in front of a slot machine. It's naked self-interest. Hey, I can appreciate that. But then the say yes on 4, assertedly to protect "the children." Look, kids go into the gas station, too, and you don't seem too concerned with them, now do you? Apparently you do not.

It may be argued that the smoking bans are good because they would ban smoking in day care facilities. To which my response is: "what kind of freakin' moron sends their kids to a freakin' day care where people are allowed to smoke?" Seriously, the solution to that problem lies in a subtle combination of the free market (most people will not pay to send their kids to go get cancer from second-hand smoke) and Darwinism. Yeah, I know it sounds cold, but some people are far too dumb to have offspring.

The fact is, I almost never go into casinos, I avoid going in gas stations whenever possible, I'm reasonably confident in my ability to ask a would-be day care provider whether the kids get to light up for recess, and although I dislike smoke, it's not the end of the world. There's no justification for asking the government to further intrude into peoples' lives.

State Question 2

The second item on the ballot reads as follows:

"Shall Article 1 of the Nevada Constitution be amended in order: to provide that the transfer of property from one private party to another private party is not considered a public use; to provide that property taken for a public use must be valued at its highest and best use; to provide that fair market value in eminent domain proceedings be defined as the 'highest price the property would bring on the open market,' and to make certain other changes related to eminent domain proceedings?"

I'm voting yes.

This Question is a reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Kelo v. New London, and a similar Nevada case called Pappas. Incidentally, Nancy Becker wrote the majority opinion in Pappas, and it's another reason she's about to lose her job. Kelo and Pappas supported the government's power to take property from a private land-owner and sell it to a private party. That's the kind of behavior I've come to expect from Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez. It's not something I want my own government doing.

The Question is not perfect. For example, the portion where "fair market value" is defined is vague, and I can see a government-friendly Court twisting it all over the place. I don't know what the "certain other changes" are, either. Frankly, I don't care. Kelo and Pappas are so eggregiously offensive that I'm willing to let the pendulum swing too far in the opposite direction, as long as it sends the appropriate message: "we don't elect you blood-sucking douchebags so you can steal our stuff!" Yes, I like that message just fine.

Opponents of the measure whine that it will prevent the building of roads and other essential public works. Bullcrap. No government ever seizes land to widen an interstate and then sell that portion of the interstate to a private party. Who would buy it? Second, if you can't afford to buy the property, that doesn't make it okay to steal it. Third, just because you can't build a road in one place doesn't mean you can't build it in another place. Fourth, the government and I have very different ideas of what consitutes an "essential" public work. For example, I don't think building an artificial rainforest in Nebraska with federal tax revenues is "essential." I don't think it's necessary to build a bridge to an island in Alaska with a population of less that one hundred.

That's all I have to say. If you really need me to lecture you on why it's a bad idea to let the government steal you stuff, then you need a more help than I can give you. One final thought: the only people I've seen opposing the question are mayors and other elected officials. Yeah, I can see why they wouldn't want the voters to restrict their power to steal stuff. Tough cookies, chumps.