8/31/08

God's on the Dems' side...

Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Don Fowler apologized Sunday for recently joking Hurricane Gustav's expected landfall on the same day as the opening of the Republican National Convention suggested God was on the Democrats' side.

God's on our side...

“The hurricane is going to hit New Orleans about the time they start. The timing is, at least it appears now, it will be there Monday. That just demonstrates God is on our side,” Fowler said, while laughing. Fowler also told Spratt that “everything’s cool.”

Speaking to the Associated Press Sunday, Fowler said his comments were intended to make light of the late Rev. Jerry Falwell's remark that the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 was God's punishment for abortion and homosexuality.

Of course it was all a misunderstanding. Fowler was really joking about Falwell's hateful Fundamentalist Christian viewpoint.

Sure he was.

1 Church Metro Denver

Here is one that got misplaced in the pile. These folks were handing out free bottled water and other cold drinks. After walking from the Pepsi Center and up 16th nearly to the Capitol and back, they were a welcome sight.

I thought it was '1st Church', but it isn't. Here is who they are and what they are about:

About 1 Church Metro Denver

8/30/08

Michael Moore and God

Michael Moore would fit right in with some Fundamentalist thinking. He would fit in with those Fundies who maintain that 9/11 was the hand of God striking at the degenerate nation that we have allegedly become.

Moore was rather exultant as he noted that Hurricane Gustav is likely to arrive in time to disrupt the Republican National Convention in The Twin Cities:

“I was just thinking, this Gustav is proof that there is a God in heaven,” Moore said. “To just have it planned at the same time, that it would actually be on its way to New Orleans for Day One of the Republican convention, up in the Twin Cities, at the top of the Mississippi River.”

See:

God in heaven

Most, if not all, of the Republican politicans from the Gulf area are skipping the convention as the hurricane bears down on the Gulf coast. Louisiana rep Steve Scalise blasted Moore:

“I demand an immediate apology from Michael Moore to the people of south Louisiana for his offensive and inappropriate comments,” said Scalise, a Republican. “People in Louisiana, regardless of political affiliation, are making plans to leave to protect their families from this serious storm, and the God I know would not share Michael Moore’s glee for our plight.”


According to the article, Moore seems to be backing off. I dunno about that. Perhaps Moore should get together and compare theological notes and background with Fred Phelps, 'pastor' of the Westboro Baptist Church. They seem to see God from the same hateful Fundie perspective:

God Hates Fags

Though Moore doesn't hate homosexuals. He just hates Republicans.

8/29/08

Palin

Palin was being vetted as a potential VP candidate back in June:

McCain Should Pick Sarah Palin for VP

Excerpts:

At 44, Sarah Louise Heath Palin is both the youngest and the first female governor in Alaska's relatively brief history as a state. She's also the most popular governor in America, with an approval rating that has bounced around 90 percent. This is due partly to her personal qualities. When she was leading her underdog Wasilla high school basketball team to the state championship in 1982, her teammates called her "Sarah Barracuda" because of her fierce competitiveness. Two years later, when she won the "Miss Wasilla" beauty pageant, she was also voted "Miss Congeniality" by the other contestants. Sarah Barracuda. Miss Congeniality. Fire and nice. A happily married mother of five who is still drop dead gorgeous. And smart to boot. But it's mostly because she's been a crackerjack governor, a strong fiscal conservative and a ferocious fighter of corruption, especially in her own party.

While on the other hand, Barack Obama, despite the dishing and gushing over his speech, sounded more like a typical Illinois/Chicago political machine hack. All those cool things he promised...who is going to pay for them? With a tax cut promised for 95% of the working families in America?

Sara the Barracuda has sand. She has common sense. She is a fiscal conservative. She is an NRA Life Member, and she has been known to eat moose meat, presumably after hunting it down herself. She runs marathons. She has a child with Down's Syndrome, and she knew it before the child was born, and she chose not to have an abortion, making this observation:

"We knew through early testing he would face special challenges, and we feel privileged that God would entrust us with this gift and allow us unspeakable joy as he entered our lives," the Republican National Committee quoted her as saying. "We have faith that every baby is created for good purpose and has potential to make this world a better place. We are truly blessed."

A more recent article:

Palin: Pioneer, maverick -- and now game-changer




Over behind Bunny's

The area over behind Bunny's is drawing a lot of flak lately, mostly due to the mess left on city property by patrons of Extreme Sports, which is now closed. But all is not grim and miserable...we were over there at lunch time and saw these twin whitetail fawns and their mother:

Twin whitetail fawns behind Bunny's. Years ago there was an apple tree in this same spot. During the fall of the year, at night I would come in with all the lights off on the po-leece car, and you could see, in the moonlight, whitetails standing on their hind legs to nibble apples. Or they would freeze when the lights came on, just for a split second, before taking off.

This is the doe, moving like greased lightning.

Excellent customer service

We often have lunch at Carl's Jr, especially on those days when the schedule is running tight and we don't have a lot of time. Carl's staff has always been very pleasant, and the service has been first rate. Leece and I usually split a six-dollar burger of one kind or another. The zucchini isn't bad, either. Over the last couple or three weeks we have gone to other restaurants and have waited and waited and not received service. Today, two other dining parties left the place where we were for that reason. We also left, and went to Carl's, and this crew here:

was as cheerful and prompt as ever.

8/28/08

Leftovers

The 16th Street Mall was quite busy, with wall-to-wall people.


Denver Police Department air unit over 16th Street Mall as the protest marchers approached.


This fellow was outside the Pepsi Center insisting that the Democrats remain splintered, and that Obama is bad for both the United States and Israel.


Jesus was invoked by several demonstrators during the course of the day...


...as we see here outside the Pepsi Center. Apparently Jesus did not have the proper credentials to enter the Center for the convention.


National Lawyers Guild 'Legal Observers'. The NLG seems to be somewhat to the left of the ACLU. These people were there to observe all the police misconduct and brutality.


I had not ridden in one of these since I last visited Nakhon Phanom, Udorn, or Ubon, nearly 40 years ago. They are all over the place in downtown Denver.


Hawkers sold t-shirts, buttons, and other convention paraphernalia.



These demonstrators want to legalize weed.

Before the protest...

Before the protest, we stopped in at our favorite Denver barista, the Kaladi Brothers over at 1730 East Evans, a few blocks west of University Avenue.

Here is their website:

Kaladi Brothers Denver



Police at the Protest


Aurora officers walk alongside protestors.



Lola and Leece gather information from the officers along the route.

Aurora officers prepped up and ready to go.


Aurora PD officers saddle up to go to the protest route.



An Aurora PD commander confers with his squad leaders about deployment during the march.



Officers along the route.



Denver PD bike officers use their bikes as a barricade along the route.



El Paso County Sheriff's Office mounted deputy. EPCSO, Douglas County, Kiowa County, and Cheyenne, Wyoming sent mounted officers, for 31 total. They were used for crowd control along the 16th Street Mall and along the protest march route.

DNC protest march

Here are more images of yesterday's protest march to the DNC at the Pepsi Center in Denver:










Denver and the DNC

Here are a few spare shots from outside the DNC:



A Nader Raider tokes a joint while espousing his political views.



The young man just left of center shares his views on the military's StopLoss program.



Not everyone there was an Obama supporter. These fellows likened the candidate to a running toilet in the fiscal sense.


Some things never change. Young cops; young ladies; a fine summer day, always go well together.



Not all the Code Pinkers were women.



This Obama supporter carries a flag with several pictures of Obama and Biden pinned to it. He could use a lesson in flag etiquette.



Leece browses for an Obama t-shirt?



Is this really John McCain, chatting it up with some PUMA's outside the Pepsi Center?

8/26/08

Pelosi suffers from hoof-in-mouth

Nancy Pelosi, Dems power hitter and Speaker of the House, is suffering from a near terminal case of hoof-in-mouth after rewriting the history and doctrine of the Catholic church regarding abortion, birth control, and when ensoulment occurs, when human life begins.

Here is the article:

Pelosi fails Church Doctrine 101; Denver bishops suggests Biden not take communion

“As an ardent, practicing Catholic, this is an issue that I have studied for a long time,” Pelosi told NBC’s Tom Brokaw, who had asked her when life begins. “And what I know is, over the centuries, the doctors of the church have not been able to make that definition. And St. Augustine said at three months. We don’t know.”

When Brokaw pointed out that the Catholic church “feels very strongly” that life begins at conception, Pelosi said: “I understand. And this is like maybe 50 years or something like that. So again, over the history of the church, this is an issue of controversy.”

An issue of controversy? Boy howdy. The Archbishop of Washington rather genteely responded thusly:

"In an interview with FOX News on Tuesday, Archbishop Donald Wuerl said people need to reflect more before they start talking about church doctrine."

That's a polite way of saying, "Pull your head out of your lower intestine, Nancy, and engage your brain before you start flapping your chops."

Then Joe Biden walked into a less than enthusiastic welcome from the Denver diocese, when Charles Chaput, the archbishop, said of Biden's pro-choice views: "I presume that his integrity will lead him to refrain from presenting himself for communion, if he supports a false ‘right’ to abortion."

As for Pelosi, Chaput called her “a gifted public servant of strong convictions and many professional skills. Regrettably, knowledge of Catholic history and teaching does not seem to be one of them.”

Wayda go, boys...



VFW offers scholarships

VFW offers scholarships

VFW scholarship programs

VA home loans

The VA home loan program is still alive and doing well, though many younger vets may not be aware of this.

Here are some articles:

What is a VA Guaranteed Home Loan?

Cal-Vet home loans

VA mortgage and financing options

8/25/08

News media regurgitators

Jon Stewart has some interesting and very accurate comments about the mainstream media in this article:

Jon Stewart lectures reporters on coverage

Some excerpts:

As Comedy Central's "Daily Show" descends on Denver for four days of coverage, Jon Stewart took after the "established" media for getting too cozy with candidates and regurgitating campaign spin when it comes to political coverage. In a breakfast with reporters, Stewart directed most of his ire at the 24-hour cable news networks, which he called "gerbil wheels," and said the media at-large had "abdicated" to what he called the "slow-witted beast."

Boy howdy, but he hit the nail square on the head with that one. Don't think so? Look at recent coverage by the Pueblo Chieftain for perfectly good examples.

When Wes McKinley came out with his findings about 'uranium contamination', the Chieftain's editorial staff and PCMS Expansion Opposition spokesman Peter Roper fell all over themselves to print it. Did they question any of it? No...they did not. They just printed it, and never questioned any of it, when any reasonably well-read thirteen year old science student would be saying..."Uh...wait a minute there...". McKinley, as it turns out, was just posturing over samples of highly questionable quality, of absolutely no forensic value whatsoever, and making statements that were scientifically insupportable. How much effort does it take to research stuff like that?

Well, the counter-argument is "we were reporting the facts". And the facts were, of course, that McKinley did in fact collect some kind of 'samples', and that he did in fact get some kind of 'lab report', and that the lab report did indicate some measure of some kind of uranium. Of course, if I interviewed Joe Moonbat in the south parking lot of the Otero County courthouse, and Mr. Moonbat told me that an alien space ship (as opposed to a US Army space ship) had landed, and that aliens had kidnapped the county health inspector...I guess I could report that as 'fact' as well. How true it is, is another matter altogether.

When the Las Animas County Commissioners took Keith Eastin to task over PILT payments, did the Chieftain even question it? No...they did not. They just printed it, when any reasonably well-read 7th grade civics student would be saying..."Uh...wait a minute there...". PILT is a Congressional responsibility and has nothing to do with the Army. How much effort does it take to research that?

When LA County Commissioner Jim Montoya complained bitterly how Las Animas county would only get $5 million from the Army while El Paso county would get $500 million...did the Chieftain see fit to examine the LA County attitude toward stationing soldiers in or near Trindad? Nope. Did they see fit to examine whether or not the Trinidad infrastructure could support anything close to the numbers of soldiers that would bring in the big bux? No, they did not; in fact, they did not even offer a correlation of number of soldiers on station to amount of funding associated with it. All they did was parrot the whining from the commissioners.

When Ken Salazar, and the candidates pimping for Allard's seat, had their hissy fit over McCain's statement on the Colorado River basins compact, the Chieftain just went nuts printing all that. But how much research did they do on the 2007 Report of Decision on amending water allocations for the Colorado River basins and how that ties into McCain's comments? Absolutely none. Nada.

When John Salazar and Marilynn Musgrave started throwing fits over the Army 'ignoring the funding ban', did the Chieftain do any reporting on just how limited that Musgrave-Salazar amendment really is? No, they did not.

That's what Stewart is talking about. The MSM, the Mainstream Media, have become nothing more than regurgitators of the same old garbage spewed out by the office-seekers and office-holders.

Political pukery. Politically pandering pimps.

Don't you just love alliteration?

8/22/08

"Hot Rod" Blagojevich takes a snub...

Clipped from an MSM source and forwarded by a co-conspirator:

He’s the leader of the nation’s fifth-largest state, the home of a presidential candidate on the cusp of history.

But Gov. Rod Blagojevich is taking a back seat as his fellow Democrat, U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, prepares to claim the presidential nomination.

There’s the legislative morass in which Blagojevich finds himself mired, but there’s also fundraiser Antoin “Tony” Rezko — awaiting sentencing on a federal corruption conviction — who haunts him and can only complicate matters for Obama.

The second-term governor will stand by while three other statewide officers — all potential gubernatorial rivals — get speaking assignments at the Democratic National Convention next week in Denver. And Blagojevich won’t attend Obama’s introduction of his vice presidential running mate Saturday.

“He’s Kryptonite,” said state Rep. Jack Franks, a Woodstock Democrat who’s often critical of Blagojevich but also is a convention delegate for Obama’s main rival, New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

“It’s better to keep him away than make him a story line,” Franks said.

Blagojevich spokesman Lucio Guerrero said Blagojevich had already committed to a send-off of National Guard troops in Chicago on Saturday. But the governor realizes he could muck things up.

“He doesn’t want to cloud the day,” Guerrero said. “It should be Obama’s day, and he doesn’t want to be getting in the way or creating a controversy.”

It’s a long way from five years ago, when, according to a witness in Rezko’s trial, Blagojevich confided that he wanted to be president.

Rezko, a fundraiser for Blagojevich and Obama, was convicted in June on charges that he tried to squeeze companies seeking state business for kickbacks and campaign contributions after a trial that exposed crooked politics in Illinois that Blagojevich says he has no part in.

Witnesses at Rezko’s trial described conversations in which Blagojevich suggested favors in exchange for contributions. Blagojevich has not been charged with wrongdoing, but federal court records show he has been questioned by prosecutors multiple times. Obama has also not been accused of any wrongdoing.

“People think ‘Blagojevich,’ part of what they think is ‘Rezko,’ and that’s the last thing Obama wants is anything that would call attention to that issue,” said political scientist Kent Redfield of the University of Illinois at Springfield.

Clinton made Rezko part of her campaign against Obama, but while his name was mentioned in Rezko’s trial, it did not come up with the regularity of Blagojevich’s.

More Congressional posturing?

John McCain certainly seems to have kicked over the ant hill with his comments about the water compact.

Here is what he said:

“I don’t think there’s any doubt the major, major issue is water and can be as important as oil. So the compact that is in effect, obviously, needs to be renegotiated over time amongst the interested parties,” McCain told The Pueblo Chieftain. “I think that there’s a movement amongst the governors to try, if not, quote, renegotiate, certainly adjust to the new realities of high growth, of greater demands on a scarcer resource.”

and

“Conditions have changed dramatically,” McCain said, while noting that he was not necessarily supporting a mandatory reopening of the issue.

Well. McCain is right about conditions having changed dramatically. That is the reason behind the 2007 Record of Decision, entitled "Colorado River interim guidelines for Lower Basin shortages and the coordinated operations for Lake Powell and Lake Mead", signed by the Secretary of the Interior on 13 Dec 2007.

That document is a set of interim guidelines that alters the original allocations as set forth in the 1922 compact and subsequent arrangements. The RoD sets up three levels of shortage conditions and specifies how water allocations will be reduced in each situation. It's very much like the water restrictions used in The Smile Hi City and The Holy Land, though on a much grander scale, of course. You can find it here:

Record of Decision

McCain's reasoning for 'renegotiating' the compact are in part covered in the RoD. The RoD's terms are to run through 2026. Why was the RoD necessary?

Because...

Over the last few years rainfall has decreased drastically over the whole drainage area. Back in 1922, the compact was negotiated with the expectation of an average river flow of 16.4 million acre/feet per year. But it's nowhere near that now. And, tree ring studies show that the river's flow over the long term is quite a bit lower than back in 1922, which now seems to have been in a time of abnormally wet weather.

The RoD will allow operators and users to examine how things are, and how to deal with lower river flow and reservoir levels, over a period of time.

The RoD, 61 pages, is well worth a read.

So McCain's comments, while impolitic, did have some basis in fact. If it comes to pass that the lower river flow of recent years is really the norm, and the river flow back when the compact was originally negotiated was abnormally high then common sense would seem to dictate a renegotiation, Senatorial corpses notwithstanding. The 1922 compact has been subject to modification and judicial review and enforced compliance in the past, and it will be in the future. How else will all those Phoenix golf courses be properly watered?

Here's the question:

Was McCain not aware of the 2007 RoD and its provisions? It doesn't sound like it, not from his comments. Kind of an 'oopsie', doncha think? The issue is already being examined, in a calm and rational manner upon which everyone seems to have agreed.

Then we have this from Ken Salazar:

"Senator Barack Obama wants to make sure that the contracts are sustained," said Salazar.

Really.

As Leece points out in her article here:

McCain's remarks on renegotiation of water compact cause stir

Obama is a senator, and an inexperienced senator at that, from Illinois. What does he know about Western water? He wants to make sure that the contracts are sustained? Based on what experience? On whose advice? Does Obama disagree with the RoD? Why? Or why not? Calls to the Obama campaign offices remained unanswered until after the press time deadline, of which they were aware. Their excuse? "We have 15,000 other media outlets to contact". La Junta, Colorado, a community in one of those Basin States, directly asking a question of the candidate, is not nearly as important, you see, as...oh...Le Monde or Le Figaro. Calls to McCain's office were never returned. We already know what our Congressional delegate's response is, and that is melodramatic commentary, the possibility of senatorial carcasses littering the river banks, and a call to place our trust in an easterner Senator with absolutely no experience in Western water rights.

8/21/08

8/19/08

Eminent domain, Wayne Allard, and Pinon Canyon

"Hey! Hey!" hollered DinkyDau Billy as he came to a gravel-spitting stop at the outside table in the Holy Land Quickee's parking lot.

"Hey yourself," replied Leece, as she dunked a Grandma's 'chocklit fudge' cookie in her cappie, "what's up?"

"Didja see about Wayne and the lejislashun so as not to use eminent domain in Pinon Canyon?" he asked. He was quite excited. This was a hot new development.

"Sure did," replied Tookie, as she snuffled a Juan Diego breakfast burrito. The burrito was a bribe. She had been 'nosed' over a scuffle at the house earlier in the week, when she and Michael knocked over a dinner plate in the living room. The initial investigation had wrongfully put the blame on her when Michael was the prime instigator. Tookie does not like standing with her nose on the wall. So the burrito was a bribe to get back into her good graces. Hopefully there would be no need for a pound of Michael's flesh to seal the bargain.

"Wutcha think?" Billy asked.

"Well..." I started to pontificate.

"I think it's about time our Congresscritters pulled their heads out of where ever they have had them and did something that's actually constructive," Toot Sweet replied.

"Tookie! That's disrespectful!" Leece admonished.

"Yes'm, maybe, but not nearly as disrespectful as our Congressional delegation treating us like a bunch of stupid hicks from the sticks over all this," Tookie rather defiantly stated.

She had a point, though one could offer the counterargument that they were just reacting to a mindset that seemed to want to be treated in that manner.

"Can they bar eminent domain statutorily? Legislatively?" asked Leece.

It was a good question. The exercise of eminent domain required Congressional approval. The executive branch might actually launch it, but since funding would be required because of that 'just compensation' provision, Congress could kill it or let it pass.

"I don't see why not," I said, "We've been saying for quite some time, right here, that this is what they need to do. Congress has the authority to exercise eminent domain, so they should have the authority to limit themselves in that exercise."

"But if this Congress, the 110th, approves it and passes it and the President signs it and it becomes law, can't some other Congress in the future 'unlegislate' it?"

Tookie was asking some good questions.

"Of course. But it is usually much more difficult to 'unlegislate' than you might think. Once it passes into law, it tends to stay there. Certainly, no future administration could just arbitrarily decide to ignore previous 'promises'. That was Eastin's point, which the ranchers might have grasped had they not been so rude."

"I noticed that Allard still puts it all on the Army, though," Leece observed, "when he makes his comment about Eastin's promise not to take land. Allard makes it look like Congress is being the good guys and defending the ranchers from the evil Army."

"Do you think Congress will go along with it?" Tookie asked.

"When pigs fly," I replied, "Congress is the kind of outfit that grabs for power, not relinquishing it. In that sense it has much in common with the meanest sort of tinpot dictator. It's one thing to get a fairly meaningless 'unambiguous ban' amended into a bill but it's something else entirely to get those people to give up a bit of power. On the other hand, and if nothing else, it demonstrates that the authority for eminent domain does in fact rest with the Congress and not with the Army, whether Congress has the balls to admit it or not. So rather than painting those who defend this nation as Satan Incarnate, out to crush the Little People, it should have the effect at least of pointing the fingers at the responsible parties. That's if anyone is really looking. Thing is, they want us to see the Army as Satan Incarnate. After all, our Congresscritters are 'fighting' for all of us here in southeastern Colorado."

"So is the Army," said Tookie, "so is the Army."

"Yeah, but bleeding and dying in some faraway pesthole is not nearly as selfless a sacrifice as fighting to make sure the farmers and ranchers get their subsidies. You gotta keep it all in the correct perspective."

We sat there dunking our cookies in our cappies, contemplating the relative importance of things.

8/18/08

The Great American Yardsale

The Great American Yardsale

"Made in America" has been something of a joke for quite some time now.

"I drive an American car. I drive a Ford!" says one all-American patriot. Yet if you go to the Ford website, you see they have Mazda and Volvo. Or do Mazda and Volvo have Ford?

The Toyota Sienna has about 80% domestic (US) made content. So does the Tundra. But the Ford Escape is down to 65% for 2008, and the Edge has dropped to 70%.

So if something as all-American as the automobile is of mixed-race, so to speak, why shouldn't most everything else be as well?

Not to worry, however. Volkswagen needs to build cars cheaply, so it will use American labor in a Tennessee plant. They want to export Volkswagens to...Europe.

America is for sale.

Pinon Canyon ranchland may not be, but it's about the only part of America that isn't.

Has anyone asked, "Who owns America's farms?" The ones that are producing almost all of the food?

Smith and Wesson, that great all-American company, that is really behind the motto, "God, Guts, and Guns" making America great...who owns them? Well, they seem to be back under American ownership. For quite some time they were a British-owned company. Yup. The Brits, who have some of the most insanely draconian anti-gun laws in the world, owned Smith and Wesson.

What about Winchester? That has to be an American company. Teddy Roosevelt would have it no other way. But...Winchester, that is, US Repeating Arms, and Browning, are owned by Fabrique Nationale.

So why should anyone be surprised, or even dismayed, that Anheuser-Busch has been bought out by the Belgians?

I don't even like Anheuser-Busch. I can't stand Bud. It's a rice beer, for one thing. Back in the day, it would reach our particular 'market area' after several weeks or even months bouncing around in the hold of ship. Then it would be off-loaded in some exotic port like Saigon or Cam Ranh Bay, and trucked in 6-by's (bouncing all the way) to a supply depot where it would lie in the sun till the cases fell apart and the cans rusted (Yes, Virginia, they used to use steel cans). Bud was not a premium beer. We swilled Ba Muoi Ba or Singha or San Miguel. Also, some time later, Duvel, a magnificent golden Belgian ale. If this new outfit can teach Anheuser-Busch to make a decent ale like Duvel, good on 'em.

Buy American.

8/17/08

The Army, the Congress, and the Pinon Canyon snow job

Back in the early 80's, the Army determined that it needed a manuever area close to Fort Carson. That maneuver and training area came to be down at Pinon Canyon.

In forming that maneuver area, based on the Army's assessment of its training needs, the Federal government exercised its power of eminent domain, and took some of the property then owned privately. In so doing, 'just compensation' was forthcoming, as required by the Fifth Amendment, and was made to the affected property owners.

Most people think that it is the Fifth Amendment that gives the Federal government the power of eminent domain. This is not true. Any duly constituted government inherently holds that power and the authority to exercise that power. What the Fifth Amendment does is what so much of the Constitution does, and that is to limit the power of the government. In the case of eminent domain, the Fifth Amendment states that eminent domain may not be exercised without 'just compensation' to the affected landowner. Other governments, lacking that Constitutional restriction, have simply taken property and have made no effort to compensate the property owner.

State governments have that power of eminent domain, and may exercise it. In fact, prior to the Fourteenth Amendment, people were at the mercy of their state governments regarding eminent domain. Most people fail to realize that the Federal Constitution, including the Bill of Rights, did not apply to anyone in any state unless the person in question was the subject of a Federal issue or matter. In other words, the Federal Constitution, including the Bill of Rights, did not apply to states' issues. This changed with the Fourteenth Amendment, though it was many years, decades, in fact, after the ratification of the Fourteenth before the courts actually recognized that the wording of the Fourteenth extended the protections of the Federal Constitution down through all levels of government, including local. This is why police and other government agents at state and local levels can be held liable for violating the rights of citizens otherwise protected under the Federal Constitution, for wrongs committed under state or local action. In fact, the wording of the Fourteenth extends the protections of the Constitution to anyone within the jurisdiction of the United States, even non-citizens, even those here illegally. It is very clear and completely unambiguous:

"No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

Note the unqualified use of the term 'any person' rather than 'any citizen'.

In the issue of eminent domain, what is often in dispute is what is meant by 'just compensation'. The coalitions in opposition to the Pinon Canyon expansion have put forth good argument over this, and have raised the moral question of taking land that has been held by one family or another for generations. These are good points, and I agree with the coalitions' viewpoints regarding the exercise of eminent domain. We won't touch on the issue of who had the land before the ranchers, and how the ranchers came to own it; if for no other reason that would tend to weaken the moral argument and we certainly wouldn't want to cloud the current moral issue with past immoralities.

In the current dustup, we have heard 'the Army'...'the Army'...and 'the Army', as though it is the Army that is taking the land, or has taken the land, or has reneged on such promises as PILT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) for lands taken off local tax rolls by change of ownership to the Federal government.

It is not the Army that is at fault here.

The Army is charged with the mission of defending these United States. So far, the Army has done very well in accomplishing this mission. The greatest testimonial to their success is that we are still here debating this. The Army is going to come up with requirements for conducting training and other military operations. That is what they do. It is their responsibility to do this.

But the Army cannot take your land, or my land.

That is the purview of the United States Congress. The Army can do nothing without Congressional approval. And incidentally, the state of Colorado cannot usurp the Federal government's power of eminent domain.

So when 'the Army' took those lands back in the early 80's, it was really our Congress that did that. Does anyone really think the Army can simply waltz in and take property on its own authority? It cannot. If nothing else, 'just compensation' must be made, and that means that money must be appropriated for that purpose. For that, we go to The Appropriations Clause, U. S. Constitution, Article I, Section 9, Clause 7 which states: "No money shall be drawn from the treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law." Congress, not the Army, decides where taxpayer money goes.

That holds true for PILT funding. Congress, not the Army, established that program, and Congress is the authority for sharing what is appropriated out among the states. Congress has never fully funded the PILT program, though they have managed to vote themselves pay raises, and enjoy a free health care system and other benefits second to none other.

For decades, our Congressional delegation has postured and pandered and published sound byte after sound byte about how they are all 'fighting' for us here in southeastern Colorado. And by and large, most people fall for it, hook, line, and sinker.

Our Congressional delegation is well aware of the strict limitations of this so-called 'funding ban' in the Military Construction Act. They know it does not apply to other military/defense appropriations acts. They know that the Army can use other funding to pursue certain aspects of the expansion not related to construction.

Yet, our Congressional delegation continues to let the Army take the heat for all of this. It is the Congress and only the Congress that has the authority to make good on those past promises, such as PILT, and it is the Congress and only the Congress that can move to exercise the power of eminent domain.

Our Congresscritters continue to demonstrate that they are perfectly willing to let the Army take the vituperative hatred and contempt that should be rightfully directed at the Congress.

For our Congresscritters to so blatantly subject our Army, our soldiers, to that kind of spineless duplicity is really the moral outrage here.

8/16/08

Market Time

No, not Operation Market Time, but time to go to the market.

Saturday we went veggie shopping at Vanhook's Market, which is our favorite of the ones in the local area:

There's a good selection of fruits and veggies, with more inside the store.


One tomato (in a manner of speaking) pinches another.


Proprietor Steve Vanhook and son Tim add more melons to the stocks.

And here we have some of those fresh, meaty tomatoes, with a bit of basil taken that moment from the garden, some coarse ground black pepper and a bit of coarse sea salt. We chop the basil and stir it in with the tomatoes, add pepper and salt to taste, and drizzle with a reasonably decent olive oil. This is really good stuff.

Fair aftermath

We took the opportunity to sample some of the wares offered by various vendors. Leece liked the Candied Jalapenos by F&J, sold locally by Scaff Bros, 119 Harriet here in the Smile Hi City.

I liked the XTraHot Habanero dip by Beary Best Dips of Walsenburg.

Now, the dip was perfectly fine as it was, with a very nice flavor and enough heat to cause a hiccup if you weren't quite ready for it.

But...

Everything can be improved a bit. So, I made up a batch of the dip, adding some Jalapeno powder that Leece picked up at the International Market next to Panera Bread on Colorado Springs' southside. And, I added some Thai peppers from the Thai Market up on Astrozon and Academy, as well as some fried garlic, same source of supply but by way of Saigon. You use real mayo, not Miracle Whip, and sour cream.

That added a bit more kick and a bit of different flavoring. First rate stuff.


Beary Best Dips
They do mail order

8/15/08

Fair

The ferris wheel is a colorful sight near the entrance to the fairgrounds.

Here's one catching the spin.

The lemonade stand is popular for socializing as well as grabbing a cold one.

Leece barges into the picture; some people have no sense of journalistic ethics, so we're told.

The light sprinkling turned into a heavy downpour for awhile, driving people into the exposition building...

...where salsa and sauce vendors had free samples of some most excellent wares. Fortunately there was no lack of places to sit and rest while waiting for the downpour to ease.