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Friday, June 24, 2005

Check It In

(Cross-posted at DailyKos, MyDD, and Booman Tribune.)

Growing up in Detroit, I - like all youth in Detroit - was well-acquainted with the criminal element. There were the Seven Mile Sconies, the West Wood Hoods, Pony Down, and the world-renowned Young Boys Incorporated running the streets. The Big Four also rolled through the 'hood in that dark blue Ford LTD, busting heads from time to time. When you grow up in the urban jungle you quickly learn which animals are predators, which animals are prey, and where you fit in the food chain.

It's a bad thing to be on the south side of the food chain - I learned not to wear jewelry the hard way. I was on the swim team of Henry Ford High School, and one afternoon after swim practice I was heading to the bus stop with another guy on the swim team. It was the 80's so I had my little rope chain on - nothing gaudy like Run-DMC's chains or Mr. T's mobile Fort Knox - just a little ¼" rope chain. Next thing I know, I hear from behind me, "Yo nigga, check that shit in!" It was three big guys in NY Yankees jackets. Pony Down. At that moment we had a choice - give up the chains, try to fight, or try to run. Seeing how they were already up on us, running wasn't an option - they'd have grabbed us as soon as we turned to run. Fighting wasn't an option either - the two of us may have weighed 250 pounds combined, while each of them were in the 250 range. Our only option was to check our shit in.

Technically, this is known as strong-arm robbery, but today it is known as Eminent Domain. The Supreme Court has ruled that the government can take your property whenever it feels like it in order to "foster economic development." In other words, if Wal*Mart wants to bulldoze your neighborhood in order to put up yet another SuperWallyWorld and you and your neighbors give the Waltons the finger, the city/county/state government can step in and tell you, "Yo nigga, check that shit in!" Nissan wants to build a factory on the 40 acres that your great-grandparents actually got and passed down through the generations? "Check that shit in, nigga!" If some developer wants to build condos where you home currently sits, "You gotta check that shit in, nigga!" This is now the law of the land - if you have something that corporate America wants, and you refuse to sell/lease/give it to them at the price that they dictate, then prepare to check your shit in.


Does the discussion about Bush's judicial appointments seem a little more relevant now? Are municipal and county elections a bit more relevant now? Can we please get our act together now, before we have to check all of our shit in?

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 1:00 AM

Read or Post a Comment

There's a saying that a broken watch is correct twice a day.

In this case, the justices arguing against us checking it in are the conservative appointees (Rehnquist, Scalia, Thomas) plus O'Connor, who wrote a sharply worded dissent.

Thomas filed a separate opinion:

“The consequences of today’s decision are not difficult to predict, and promise to be harmful,” Thomas wrote. “So-called ’urban renewal’ programs provide some compensation for the properties they take, but no compensation is possible for the subjective value of these lands to the individuals displaced and the indignity inflicted.”


Posted by Blogger Quintus Jett @ Friday, June 24, 2005 8:38:00 AM #

They say that politics makes for strange bedfellows, and it may be that true progressives and true conservatives will have to band together to fight the corporate liberals and the corporate conservatives. I mean, even George F. Will is making sense (when you filter out his knack for blaming everything on liberals).

We are definitely in Bizarro World.

Posted by Blogger Athanasius @ Friday, June 24, 2005 1:49:00 PM #

Hard to believe anything can surprise us nowadays. This is putting Mitt Romney's (MA Gov.) Fix It First; Smart Growth Policy in a whole new light for me. I've been wondering what his angle was but it's becoming more clear with this opinion.

A friend of mine didn't get why "activist judges" were important to him, until he read about an American's home being able to be taken in emminent domain for the sake of an office building. With the outrage he expressed over this decision, I welcomed him to the revolution.

He responded...but it was mostly liberals that voted for it, so who am I supposed to join the revolution with. I have to admit confusion at who sided with the municipality/corporation; however, I'm frustrated with the idea that people believe that the court is mostly liberal. How do they come to that conclusion when there are only 2 Democrats on the court in the first place?

How can we get people revved up about this? How do we let folks know that their rights are at stake? And can we use this as an opportunity to encourage citizens to rid their municipality of "corporate personhood?"

Posted by Blogger catamount @ Sunday, June 26, 2005 10:27:00 PM #

I think it would take Black people (again) to take the lead on articulating what our economic rights are...

Especially considering that the constitutional amendment that brought us 'corporate personhood" originally was meant to ensure the due process rights of former slaves.

Posted by Blogger Quintus Jett @ Monday, June 27, 2005 4:21:00 PM #

Tag, you're it, Quintus. Pick up the gauntlet and run with it. Lead the way against 'corporate personhood.' : )

Posted by Blogger catamount @ Monday, June 27, 2005 10:32:00 PM #

Apparently, Justice Souter is about to be Eminently Domained - justice of the poetic sort.

Posted by Blogger Athanasius @ Tuesday, June 28, 2005 11:19:00 PM #
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