Re: The Rocket flies true


See, the blog is such performance art.

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07- 6-05 3:00 PM
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You noticed how Henley did inspire Unf to post more? The man is deep. (Henley, I mean.)

Posted by: Matt Weiner | Link to this comment | 07- 6-05 4:24 PM
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Yeah, I flipped out when I read that. It prompted me to do a Tapped post recommending the piece which, in turn, led to a server meltdown that not only deleted the post, but the rest of the day's Tapped posts, and rendered us unable to load anything whatsoever to the American Prospect website. There's something deeply, metaphysically wrong with Hindrocket being right about anything and acknowledging its occurence leads only to suffering.

Posted by: Matthew Yglesias | Link to this comment | 07- 6-05 7:41 PM
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Maybe I can restore a little order to the universe... Granted that he has the law right, is this kind of eminent domain a good idea? HR sez:

Even here, though, it is possible to sympathize with the affected municipalities. Suppose a large company whose headquarters are located in an urban area needs more space--say, a whole city block. Lacking powers of eminent domain, it has only two choices. It can negotiate with each landowner on the block and try to buy all of the individual parcels. This, however, is often difficult or impossible; once it becomes known that the company is buying land for its corporate headquarters, any individual landowner can block the project by refusing to sell. Occasionally such "holdouts" are motivated by sentimental attachments, but usually they simply want to extort an unreasonable sum from the corporate buyer.... Faced with the difficulty of assembling an adequate real estate package at a reasonable cost, our hypothetical company has one obvious alternative: buy a cornfield remote from any city, and erect a "campus" rather than a high-rise building. Rather than accept the loss of a major employer and taxpayer under these circumstances, it is not surprising that some cities have chosen to cooperate in development projects that put the city's eminent domain power at the disposal of a private company.

But is it really the government's job to put current landowners in the city at a massive negotiating disadvantage? Or to adjudicate when they've got legitimate attachments to the land and when they're just holding up the landowner for whatever they can get? I'm not a fan of developments in cornfields, on account of environment and sprawl considerations, but that doesn't seem like a very conservative rationale. And I'm not really a fan of government subsidizing the biggest corporations either, which is what this amounts to.

To give myself hives myself, I was more sympathetic to John Tierney's take on this (carp, can't get a working link on this computer, but google "john tierney" "eminent domain"). I thought his idea that Supreme Court justices should get into the nitty-gritty of urban policy was dumb, but the point that urban renewal projects are often an awful idea was well taken.

Posted by: Matt Weiner | Link to this comment | 07- 6-05 8:53 PM
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More fodder for my "the Powerline is performance art designed to piss off liberals" reading.

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07- 6-05 8:59 PM
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Someone has to nitpick, and I don't have the legal background to do it, but

The principal threats to property rights lie elsewhere. In particular, regulatory actions often severely limit what an owner can do with his property. Unlike urban development projects, such regulations are often adopted in forums that are remote from, and unresponsive to, the political process. And what an owner generally hopes for in such situations is to be covered by the Fifth Amendment's guarantee of compensation for the loss of use of his property, which is automatic in the case of a condemnation.

Is this a reversal of the regulation is taking question? Is a taking under eminent domain not a "regulatory action"? And, having conveyed property from one private party to another, should a municipality have no right to regulate, in some part, its future use? Or is he saying "no regulation without compensation"?

Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07- 6-05 9:41 PM
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But overall, yes, a very reasonable article. The last two things I read on the Weekly Standard were this piece and an essay on HP Lovecraft that was quite good, too.

Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07- 6-05 9:46 PM
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I think it comes down to how often are these projects bad ideas. I get the feeling that they often are. Certainly the projects of the fifties and sixties were very destructive to cities. This is the classic critique, and I haven't heard anything to suggest that the new projects are much better.

If these projects actually worked well, I wouldn't have a problem with Kelo.

I do have a problem with the section eb points to. Defining regulation as a taking will severely restrict the ability for the government to make zoning and environmental regulations. And, most of these are a good idea.

Posted by: Joe O | Link to this comment | 07- 6-05 10:53 PM
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Discussion of this point a while back allowed me to cite George Wharton Pepper. And who doesn't like that?

text, are you there, anyway?

Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 07- 6-05 10:58 PM
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Yes, 6 is the more traditional right-wing attempt to exploit the takings clause. My critique here, FWIW. The only reason an owner hopes to be compensated for a taking in those cases is that there's been an aggressive effort to redefine regulation as taking.

Posted by: Matt Weiner | Link to this comment | 07- 7-05 7:54 AM
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