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Friday, June 24, 2005

Kelo Case Could be a Blogosphere Turning Point if Bloggers Seize Investigative Reporting Skills

That 5-4 Kelo decision by the Supremes is inspiring quite a ruckus on the right side of the Blogosphere. Michelle Malkin notes the link of the Kelo decision to the broader scandal that underlies so much urban development, especially when it involves "public/private" partnerships:

"My wonk-ish hope is that more attention will be paid to bogus community redevelopment/urban blight eradication/tax increment-financing schemes masquerading as 'public use' projects.
"In the New London case, the private corporate beneficiary was Pfizer, the pharmaceutical giant. In Seattle, it was Nordstrom (reg reqd). Across the country, it's money-losing multiplexes and luxury stadium deals. In all cases, the losers are taxpayers, homeowners, and small businesses."

Go here for Michelle's complete post, which also includes a helpful listing of additional Kelo postings. Also check out Discriminations' extremely disturbing analysis of this decision and its potential for making "diversity" a justification for the bureaucrats taking your property from you. Here's Discrimination's bottomline:

"If 'diversity' is a 'compelling' state interest in colleges and universities, as the Court held in Grutter, surely it is equally if not more compelling in K-12 schools. And since 'diverse' neighborhoods are the clearest, and perhaps the only, path to 'diverse' schools, what could be a more compelling 'public purpose' than to exercise eminent domain over the homes of blacks in center cities and sell them to whites (at prices that will also enhance the tax base) and to take the homes of whites in the suburbs and sell them to minorities?"

Allow me, please, to note that Kelo points to what could be a tremendous opportunity for the Blogosphere to scoop the MSM in an unexpected arena - right in Everytown USA. The cozy relationships among urban and suburban government officials with private and corporate interests are a target-rich environment for energetic bloggers with a desire to uncover graft, waste and fraud, conflicts of interests and bribery schemes that daily newspapers mostly ignore.

To get at such stories, though, often requires knowing your way around arcane stuff like budget spreadsheets, consultants studies and campaign finance reports. It helps immensely to have some basic skills in using software programs like Excel and Access. Believe me, if a math-goof like yours truly can get this stuff down, truly anybody can!

You can get those skills Sept. 23-24 at the Database 101/201 Computer-Assisted Research and Reporting (CARR) Boot Camp co-hosted by the Media Bloggers Association (MBA) and The Heritage Foundation's Center for Media and Public Policy at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

More than 200 editors, producers, reporters and researchers representing virtually every major news media organization in the country have attended the CARR boot camps since their founding in 2000. BlogNashville featured the first CARR boot camp jointly hosted by MBA and the Media Center, which was held May 5-6 at the Freedom Forum's Diversity Institute Newsroom.

There are no enrollment charges for attendance and all classroom materials, including a textbook and much else, are provided at no cost, but registration is strictly limited to 12 attendees. All bloggers are eligible to attend, but priority is given to MBA members.

For more information on the CARR boot camps, go here. To enroll in the Sept. 23-24 event, go here.