For Cities, Big-Box Stores Are Becoming Even More of a Terrible Deal

Under what has become known as the “dark store” method, big-box retailers are declaring their busy stores to be functionally obsolescent and therefore nearly worthless for tax purposes —and they’re winning big judgments for back taxes. It’s the latest example of the way that, even as local governments continue to bend over backwards to attract big-box development, these stores are consistently a bad deal for communities. … Read More

Once We Insisted On Civility: Reflections on Tucson

In the wake of the murders in Tucson, our leaders once again are calling for civility in public discourse. We forget that for almost 40 years we didn’t have to plead for civility. We demanded it. The story of how we did so, and why we stopped, illuminates the intersection of politics and culture. At the dawn of the broadcasting era, the government declared that the airwaves belonged to the public and fashioned rules to protect the public interest protect the public interest.… Read More

Every Justice is a ‘Judicial Activist’

Right-Wingers Just Don’t Like the Ones Who Don’t Agree with Them.  In 1787, writing in the Federalist Papers in support of state ratification of the Constitution, Alexander Hamilton argued that the proposed Supreme Court “will always be the least dangerous to the political rights of the constitution.” As for judicial activism, “contraventions of the will of the legislature may now and then happen; but they can never be as extensive as to affect the order of the political system.”… Read More

8 Words That Could Save Our Country

A rogue Supreme Court seems hellbent on establishing a corporate oligarchy. Congress can’t stop it. Every time Congress or state legislatures tries to curb the power of billionaires or mega corporations the Court slaps them down. Citizens United v. FEC, the recent Supreme Court decision that allowed corporations to spend unlimited sums of money to influence elections is only the most recent step in this process. There will be more. But the shocking decision may be sufficient to galvanize a political movement that can change the rules and ensure our democracy.

We can save our country by adding eight words to the fundamental law of the land, the US Constitution. "Corporations are not persons." "Money is not speech."… Read More

Might private, not public, be the dirty word?

Consider: Which of these sectors is the one really doing a number on society? At the birth of the American republic, the word “private” had a sinister connotation. Derived from the Latin privare, meaning to reduce or tear apart, it described behavior often contrary to the public interest. In the late 18th century, a pirate was called a privateer. Today “private” has become a positive, even boosterish word, while “public” carries a shady undertone. “Private sector” has become synonymous with efficiency and innovation, while “public sector” connotes bloat and unresponsiveness, even corruption.… Read More

Eminent Domain Documentary Creating a Buzz on Indie Film Circuit

Date: 11 Jun 2009 | posted in: governance | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

More than nine years in the making, the independent film ”Begging For Billionaires: The Attack on Property Rights in America” was selected as a “Best of Fest” feature by the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival and won “Best Documentary” at the Texandance International Film Festival.  In 2005, a divided U.S. Supreme Court gave city governments the authority to take private homes and businesses by eminent domain and transfer ownership to private developers for the purpose of building things like shopping centers, corporate office towers, luxury condominiums and professional sports arenas.

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