Tuesday, June 10, 2003

It's a moot point now, but ...

In the hoo-hah over Maplewood's settlement with the LDS Church, Mr. Profeta and Mr. Grodman (and, during the TC debate, Ms. Leventhal and Mr. Pettis) kept repeating the litany that a federal appeal would likely overturn RLUPA (The Religious Land Use Protection Act) that was the basis for the Mormon's lawsuit. IANAL*, but it's my understanding that a court decision in one federal circuit does NOT necessarily make it a settled precedent for other circuits. The case they kept referring to is in the Chicago area, and thus heard in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. We, here in New Jersey, are in the 3rd Circuit; i.e., only an appeal in the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals would be precedent-setting for the LDS' case against Maplewood. To set a precedent for our case, an appeal would have to be brought in the 3rd circuit, and the obvious candidate would have to be ... US. Even if the case in Chicago overturns RLUPA, it might well result in a further appeal to the US Supreme Court. Even if not, a 3rd circuit case such as ours might well go the opposite way, and then the Supreme Court might NEED to get involved, to reconcile the conflicting appellate decisions. It could have cost the Township - i.e., US again - several hundred thousands dollars.

In any case, the assertions of the Mr. Profeta and the "fredayeen," that we ought to have waited because the Chicago case might put us in a better bargaining position vis-a-vis the LDS Church, were disengenuous at best.

*IANAL = I Am Not A Lawyer

Tax and Spend Liberals? I don't think so...

AP via Dayton Daily News via The Agonist:
The Congressional Budget Office now expects this year's federal deficit to exceed $400 billion, shattering the previous record even as President Bush and lawmakers consider creating expensive new prescription drug benefits for Medicare recipients. The largest budget gap ever was the $290 billion in red ink produced in 1992.

A $400 billion deficit would be nearly 4 percent the size of the U.S. economy. Many economists consider that to be a significant measure of the government's ability to afford its red ink. As the condition of the budget worsened in the 1980s and early 1990s, there were seven annual federal deficits that were at least that large compared to the economy.

In recent months, Republicans who for years decried federal imbalances have minimized their significance, arguing that they were manageable in an economy whose size exceeds $10 trillion.

So, like most Maplewoodians, you probably think about blaming the property-tax mess on Vic DeLuca and Jerry Ryan ... or even, in your more lucid moments, on Christie Whitman. Think again.

In this past Sunday's New York Times Magazine*, there's an article called Drip, Drip, Drip. Its subtitle tells the tale:
Cut federal taxes and it's the governor's' problem. Cut state taxes and it's the mayors' problem. One way or another, the tax burden is what's really trickling down.

For Jim Doyle, it's a day like any other. In the morning, Wisconsin's new governor arrives at the Madison Concourse Hotel, where he informs drug makers that unless Washington comes through with a prescription drug plan, the state is going to have to force them to lower prices. Then he walks down the hall to the A.F.L.-C.I.O. convention, where he explains why almost 3,000 state jobs are going to be cut. A few hours later, he holds a news conference at a Milwaukee school to plead for more special-education financing from Washington.

''Everybody gets bad news,'' Doyle tells me wearily as he inhales a McDonald's fajita on the way back to the capital. His state is in financial free fall -- it's short about $3.2 billion -- and no one in Washington seems to care.

''Whatever the theory is behind trickle-down economics, I don't think people are seeing it here,'' Doyle says. ''You watch these school districts struggle mightily with their budgets, and you think that if even a small part of these tax cuts were going instead toward helping education in this country. . . . '' His voice trails off, and he turns up his hands in surrender.

While you're looking at the NY Times mag, check out Mapleberry resident and all around good guy Dirk Olin's article Prospect Theory, part of his somewhat regular Sunday Times series called "Crash Course."

*Obligatory "New York Times free online subscription required" statement.

Why we fight?

I just spotted this at Media Whores Online, a site i highly recommend. I'll quote it here, although at the risk of falling into the trap of Godwin's Law:

"Why, of course the people don't want war...But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship...Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to do the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger."

-- Hermann Goering, Nazi leader, at the Nuremberg Trials after WWII

Back online, full speed ahead

After nearly a month of limited, dialup only internet access, I'm finally back on the broadband track, with a shweet 1500/768 ADSL connection. I get my DSL service from Speakeasy and I'm very pleased with their service. (Of course, my daughter laughs when I complain about dialup - she just says "Welcome to MY life!")

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?