August 23, 2006

An Immigration Law Non-Enforcement Preview, Courtesy of the French

Filed under: Immigration,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:44 pm

This is the kind of insanity in store here if the lack of will to enforce immigration law continues — and it’s not a multiculti paradiese:

PARIS, Aug 17, 2006 (AFP) – Police on Thursday cleared 800 people, most of them immigrants from the Ivory Coast and Mali, from a squat outside Paris that was one of the biggest in Europe.

The operation, in the southern suburb of Cachan, saw officers evacuate individuals and families from a university residency building that the squatters had taken three years ago.

The first bold intimates that there is a lot more of this bullding occupation going on elsewhere. The second indicates that those involved apparently just took over (presumably) public property, lived in it rent-free, and no one did anything about it.

A related BBC story stated that the number of squatters at 504 and noted that 500 police were needed to evict the squatters. The government’s stated motivation for the eviction was fire safety, as fires in similar living conditions led to 48 deaths in 2005.

A picture caption at the Beeb article reached a new height of “words fail” absurdity:

Some of those told to leave were upset at the loss of their home.

What part of the word “squatter” doesn’t the Beeb understand?


A Case Study in How The Associated Press Waters Down a Positive Story

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Ignorance,Positivity — Tom @ 1:34 pm

Here is a comparison of Jennifer Greff’s original story in The Omaha World-Herald (requires free registration) to what the Associated Press found and reported nationally (link is one of many having the identical story; both articles have been copied in their entirety for fair use and discussion purposes):

(Omaha World-Herald)
Boy Scouts’ deed
saves girl from drowning

__________________________

Some Omaha Boy Scouts are credited with a very good deed: rescuing a little girl from drowning.

At Two Rivers State Recreation Area on Saturday afternoon, 18-month-old Stephanie Pacheco slipped away from her mother and began floating face-down in the Platte River, said Duane Arp, a conservation officer with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

About five members of St. Cecilia’s Troop 100 were swimming nearby during a camping trip to earn merit badges. Christian Nanson, 11, spotted the girl in the water and yelled to fellow Scout John Fitzgerald, 9, said assistant Scoutmaster Matt Fitzgerald. Matt and John Fitzgerald are father and son.

The two boys ran to the girl and grabbed her out of the water. “She was probably literally minutes away from a tragedy,” Arp said.

Once ashore, the girl began vomiting water but started breathing. Douglas County Sheriff’s Deputy David Brock said the girl was treated for hypothermia and was in intermediate care at Children’s Hospital. A hospital spokeswoman declined to release Stephanie’s condition Sunday afternoon.<

Arp said the girl had been swimming with a group of family members but had chased after some dogs playing in the water about 3:30 p.m.

Matt Fitzgerald said all the boys in the troop remained calm during the rescue and they all helped. The two boys pulled the girl out of the water, while other Scouts located a cell phone to call for help and directed rescue vehicles.

"They were initially shocked. Right now, they're pretty proud of what they've done," Fitzgerald said.

One of the responding firefighters with the Yutan Fire Department visited the boys' campsite Saturday night and invited them to the station sometime for a celebration, he said. And the Boy Scout council will likely honor them as well.

"Thank God for Boy Scouts," Deputy Brock said.

(Associated Press)
Boy Scouts Save
Toddler From River

_________________

A troop of Boy Scouts on a camping trip saved an 18-month-old girl who had fallen in a river upstream from them and was floating face down, officials said.

The boys were swimming in the Platte River at Two Rivers State Recreation Area, about 20 miles west of Omaha, on Saturday when 11-year-old Christian Nanson spotted something floating in the water. It turned out to be a young girl.

Nanson and John Fitzgerald, 9, both member of an Omaha Scout troop, reached the girl and brought her to shore while others called for help on a cell phone, assistant scoutmaster Matt Fitzgerald told the Omaha World-Herald.

Douglas County Sheriff’s Deputy David Brock said the little girl, Stephanie Pacheco, was treated for hypothermia and released from a hospital Monday. The child had slipped away from her mother upstream, said Duane Arp, a conservation officer with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

The AP “strangely” left the following on the cutting room floor:

  • The fact that it was some of the troop, not all of it, that participated in the rescue.
  • That the boys were members of a specific scout troop (St. Cecilia’s Troop 100) and not just “an Omaha Scout troop.” I believe the troop and its leaders deserved specific recognition. Apply what I would call the Paul Harvey test: Do you think Mr. Harvey would neglect to specifically name the troop if her were reporting this story in the very compressed time frame of his show?
  • Deputy Brock’s “Thank God for the Boy Scouts,” or any direct quote or compliment.

I think The AP took all the humanity and recognition out of the story that got distributed nationally, and didn’t have to. I’ll leave it to readers’ imaginations as to why.

DC Court Says Emotional Distress Awards Aren’t “Income,” and Can’t Be Taxed

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:47 am

From TaxProf Blog (HT Instapundit):

The D.C. Circuit held today, in Murphy v. United States (PDF here), No. 03cv02414 (D.C. Cir. 8/22/06), that § 104(a)(2) is unconstitutional under the 16th Amendment as applied to a recovery for a non-physical personal injury (emotional distress and loss of reputation) unrelated to lost wages or earnings. Murphy received $70,000 from New York State for anxiety suffered and injury to her reputation as a result of being “blacklisted” after becoming a whistleblower against her employer (the New York Air National Guard).

The politics that went into the law make this decision deliciously ironic. As I recall, the Gingrich Revolution Republican Congress passed legislation that included taxation of personal injury awards for the first time in the mid-1990s (this link has what the law in this area has been since August 21, 1996).

Now the taxation of personal injury awards has been (for the moment) thrown out by a three judge D.C. Circuit panel consisting of Chief Judge Douglas Ginsburg, Judge Judith Rogers, and ….. (irony of ironies) conservative heroine Judge Janice Rogers Brown. Something tells me that this decision, especially if overturned (commenters at Volokh mostly don’t think the decision will survive appeal; Balkinization thinks the ruling was incomplete), will not help her if she is ever nominated for the Supreme Court.

Stat of the Day: Who Shops at Wal-Mart (and Who Doesn’t)

From a subscription-only column by Holman Jenkins in today’s Wall Street Journal — betcha didn’t expect this:

Pollster John Zogby found that 76% of people who shop weekly at Wal-Mart voted for George Bush, while John Kerry won 80% of those who say they never shop there.

Don Wildmon, Call Your Office

Filed under: Business Moves — Tom @ 11:37 am

Wildmon is the head of the American Family Association, which has called for a boycott of Ford because of the company’s alleged “promotion of the homosexual agenda, including homosexual marriage” (previous BizzyBlog coverage here , here, and here [4th item at link]). Wildmon has been taking some credit for Ford’s currently nearly-dire financial situation.

So what does one make of this?

WASHINGTON (AdAge.com) — General Motors, Toyota, Volkswagen, DaimlerChrysler and Nissan are among the nation’s worst advertisers, and Ford is among the best, according to the Parents Television Council (PTC).

The group based its fifth-annual listing on how often advertisers aired spots in “wholesome, family-oriented” shows vs. on programs containing “sexually graphic, violent or profane material.” All the analyzed ad placements appeared on prime-time broadcast TV during the last season.

“There is good news and bad news,” said PTC President Brent Bozell. “We compliment those who made the best but some [on the worst list] need to take responsibility.”

….. Last year PTC put GM, Toyota, Ford, Volkswagen, DaimlerChrysler and Nissan, along with Sprint and Pepsi, on its worst list.

….. All the car companies except Ford are back on this year’s worst list.

So Ford’s reward for going from worst to first on the TV “wholesome list” is an AFA boycott.

Ford CEO Bill Ford should jump at the chance to rub this in Wildmon’s face. If Wildmon ignores this big-picture report and continues his deliberate, targeted intimidation (now shown to be mis-targeted, especially given who is on PTC’s “worst” list), I would suggest that the AFA boycott will have crossed into the realm of hypocrisy.

Note: In addition to being president of PTC, Brett Bozell is also President/Founder of Media Research Center and Publisher of Newsbusters.org, where I am a Contributing Editor.

Judicial Watch Exposes NSA Wiretap Judge’s Potential Conflict of Interest

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Ignorance,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:13 am

Judicial Watch found this (HT Gateway Pundit):

Judge Anna Diggs Taylor, who last week ruled the government’s warrantless wiretapping program unconstitutional, serves as a Secretary and Trustee for a foundation that donated funds to the ACLU of Michigan, a plaintiff in the case (ACLU et. al v. National Security Agency). Judicial Watch discovered the potential conflict of interest after reviewing Judge Diggs Taylor’s financial disclosure statements.

Allah at Hot Air finds fertile ground in the Code of Conduct for Extra-Judicial Activities for construing a potential conflict that should have caused the judge to consider recusing herself, but thinks “she’ll walk.” Well of course she will. We won’t even hear a word from those who don’t hesitate to invent conflicts with strict-constructionist judges, even if we find out that she went hunting with someone on the plaintiff’s team.

__________________________________

UPDATE: RedHawk Review notes that Diggs Taylor at least owed everyone a disclosure of her situation.

UDPATE 2: As if on cue — The New York Times finds an “expert” who thinks Diggs Taylor should have disclosed her situation but did not need to recuse herself. Jim Taranto at Best of the Web found that this same person, Stephen Gillers, criticized Supreme Court Justice Scalia’s hunting trip with Vice President Dick Cheney in 2004 while a case involving the VP was under review.

LABOR MP Calls for an End to UK’s Death (“Inheritance”) Tax

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:53 am

Stephen Byers is the MP and former cabinet minister who must have some of his colleagues catching their breath:

Former cabinet minister Stephen Byers has called for inheritance tax to be scrapped and replaced.
He told the Sunday Telegraph removing the tax would allow Tony Blair’s successor to show New Labour’s middle class electors had not been forgotten.

He also described the tax as “a penalty on hard work, thrift and enterprise”.

The Treasury insisted that inheritance tax was “fair” and that an 18p increase on petrol duty would be necessary to plug the gap left by its abolition.

The Blairite MP and former transport secretary, who resigned in 2002 after a series of controversies involving his department, is a close ally of the Prime Minister.

He warned that soaring house prices threatened to bring millions more within the scope of inheritance tax, which was designed to target the very wealthy rather than ordinary families.

It’s not being received well, but the fact that it’s being brought up at all by a Labor official is remarkable.

Perhaps US death tax repeal opponent US Senator George Voinovich from Ohio might care to comment on how someone from the UK’s very liberal party gets it, yet he doesn’t.

Angela Merkel = Bush 41

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:16 am

From Expatica, Merkel does the “read my lips” thing:

Angela Merkel vows no new taxes for Germany
21 August 2006

BERLIN – Chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday her government did not plan any new tax increases other than next year’s already approved value added tax hike.

“Given the current situation I view tax increases as the wrong signal … more tax rises are not the right answer,” said Merkel at a news conference.

Voters chose her last year because she said she would cut taxes, not raise them, as she already has.

A Confession by a Member of a Thoroughly Dishonest Profession

I missed this “gem” from Kevin Drum at Washington Monthly a couple of months ago on why he (and, by inference, the WORMs [Worn-Out Reactionary Media, known to most as the formerly Mainstream Media], don’t speak out against Iran’s conduct and loony leader:

And yet, I know perfectly well that criticism of Iran is not just criticism of Iran. Whether I want it to or not, it also provides support for the Bush administration’s determined and deliberate effort to whip up enthusiasm for a military strike. Only a naif would view criticism of Iran in a vacuum, without also seeing the way it will be used by an administration that has demonstrated time and again that it can’t be trusted to act wisely.

So what to do? For the most part, I end up saying very little.

Junkyard Blog commented on it last week, and I agree:

He’d rather let Iran stand unrebuked than give W an excuse to do something about it. If I accused the Left of thinking like this, even though I suspected it, I’d feel kind of sheepish and get written off as a nut; but here’s black and white confirmation of some of my worst suspicions. Some of them.

This is a journalist, by the way; someone who—though he may be biased—is supposed to have some passing acquaintance with telling the truth. Even if it helps the other party. But his conscience is troubled more by possibly helping Bush with his super-important, oracular, weighty-smart words than it is by his helping the Mullahs—the antithesis of everything he believes, and who want to kill us all—through his dishonest silence.

Of course, Drum is a columnist and blogger. But don’t think for a minute that this mind-set hasn’t throroughly infected those whose job it is to bring us the news in the first place.

This is a “profession” blinded by political correctness and partisanship that won’t change even as its business ship is sinking, sinking (in print circulation), sinking.

Nationalized Health Care Mini-Update

Filed under: Consumer Outrage,Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:06 am

John Ray’s Socialized Medicine Blog continues plugging away with examples of nationalized health care outrages. The first item is particulary offensive in light of yesterday’s post about 9 year-old Tony Clowes, who died five years ago this month after he suffocated while employing a reused breathing apparatus during a routine operation.

  • Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) is building new hospitals — while the existing ones are starved for basics.
  • That same NHS has squandered billions, spending twice as much as it did six years ago — while productivity has gone DOWN.
  • In a July 27 item you’ll have to scroll a bit to see, you’ll find that the NHS has been bugged — by superbugs, that is, that have killed patients.

The “single-payer” advocates apparently don’t mind it if these things happen here.

A “Yeah, We Just Made It Up” Correction

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:01 am

From The New York Times (probably requires registration; HT Don Luskin):

An article on Tuesday about President Bush’s defense of American policy in the fighting between Israel and Lebanon incorrectly described the planning that led to Mr. Bush’s meetings on Monday at the Pentagon and the State Department. Mr. Bush’s schedule for the day was prepared weeks ahead as part of the annual presidential review meetings; it was not devised last week as part of a White House effort to seek political advantage on national security after Senator Joseph I. Lieberman’s loss in Connecticut’s Democratic primary and news of a disrupted terrorist plot in Britain.

In other words: “Never mind.”

A Local Newscast Throws in the Towel for a Night

Filed under: Business Moves,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance — Tom @ 7:56 am

Brian at Radio Equalizer notes that the local broadcasters at Channel 7 in Boston couldn’t wing it for more than a minute or so when they had a “technology meltdown.” Video can be linked from his post.

Is this a professional decision to move to better network coverage, or in stark contrast to talk radio folks, a betrayal of the anchors’ ignorance of the news of the day, and proof that they would have no idea of what to say if the teleprompter wasn’t there? You decide.

Positivity: The Barber Cutt-Off

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:02 am

One small businessman’s idea has turned into a tradition in metro Tulsa (OK):

Room abuzz as kids receive free haircuts
8/21/2006

He says it was many, many moons ago, but Dennis Ramey sharply remembers starting the school year with no paper, no pencils and a shaggy head of hair.

The longtime barber recalled that shameful feeling as he wondered how to help his community. “I think that’s the light bulb that went off in my head, and I knew that’s what I could do,” he said.

Ramey started giving haircuts and school supplies at the end of summer to kids in the neighborhood near his barbershop, The Look Style Shop, 782 E. Pine St.

He began 14 years ago with a few other volunteer barbers and 125 boys who needed haircuts. It grew to a near-spectacle that left Ramey, now 56 and bald under his ball cap, looking amazed as it unfolded Sunday afternoon.

More than 100 barbers and stylists cut and coiffed the hair of children in a line that wound through a bubbling crowd in the large Exchange Center at Expo Square for the 14th annual Barber Cutt-Off.

Most of the more than 2,000 kids who filtered in from 7 a.m. until late afternoon left with shorter hair, a bag of school supplies, and stuffed stomachs from a free lunch. Cooks prepared 3,000 hot dogs, 400 pounds of potato salad, brisket and beans.

The food came from the Reasor’s grocery chain, one of several sponsors Ramey has gathered for the Barber Cutt-Off Association, the nonprofit organization he started. Its original funding came from pocket change that customers put in pickle jars at a few local barbershops.

“It’s all coming from the heart,” Ramey said. “It’s the volunteers from Jenks, Sand Springs, Broken Arrow — all around Tulsa. That’s what keeps this thing going, and it’s getting bigger and better.”

….. Over a buzz of antsy children and electric hair clippers, Darrell Davis said he had cut hair at every Cutt-Off.

“It’s a way of hands-on giving to the community,” he said. “Not a lot of talk. Just hands-on giving to the community, and that’s something you can’t ignore.”

A friend of Ramey’s took the Cutt-Off to Denver a few years ago. But Ramey wants to take the effort nationwide after he retires in a couple of years.

“Just to see these kids who now have paper, have pencils, and have a haircut. I tell you, man. It gets me right here,” Ramey said, tapping his chest. “I get all choked up.”