December 6, 2006

Weblog Awards Daily Post (120606)

Filed under: General,News from Other Sites — Tom @ 11:45 pm

For those who haven’t gone back to yesterday’s posts, yours truly was, and still is, thrilled to be named a 2006 Weblog Awards finalist in the “Best Business Blog” category Tuesday evening.

Here are the other distinguished blogs in the Business Group of 10: Asymmetrical Information, Club for Growth, Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog, Doing Business in Real Time, Influential Interactive Marketing, KnowHr Bog, Problogger, Reasoned Audacity, and ShopFloor.org.

Special thanks (again) to those who nominated me (Matt at Weapons of Mass Discussion, Puddle Pirate at Brain Shavings, and [update - zheesh] the folks at Pundit Review, whom I inexplicably and unforgivably forgot about until I drafted tomorrow’s post), and of course to the WLA folks for selecting me.

More details on how to stuff the ballot box legally vote as often as possible will apparently be available later today, and this post will be updated and carried forward as that info becomes available. Voting starts Thursday and ends on Friday, Dec. 15.

Mistake, or Memory Hole? (JPost Paras re Dems and Euros Meeting with Hamas go Pfft)

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:40 pm

Several bloggers have linked to this paragraph from a Jerusalem Post story (Anchoress, Stop the ACLU, to name just a couple):

Meanwhile, sources close to the Hamas-led government claimed that Hamas representatives recently held talks with officials from the US Democratic Party at a secret location.

The sources told the Bethlehem-based Maan News Agency that Hamas representatives have also been holding secret talks with European government officials, including Britain and France.

Those two paras are no longer at the JPost link.

What happened?

Maybe Hamas is in discussons with the Democrats about Palestine becoming the USA’s 51st state. Or maybe Hamas wants to be the next NATO member. (/sarcasm)

__________________________________

UPDATE: The WorldNetDaily story hasn’t gone anywhere, and its last update is just before noon ET:

JERUSALEM – Hamas met with a delegation of “important Democrats” who expressed interest in relations with the Palestinian terror group even if it doesn’t recognize the right of Israel to exist, a Palestinian news website claimed today.

Maannews quoted a source in the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority stating the terror group felt it important to meet with members of the Democratic Party since, the Hamas source said, the party will likely win 2008 presidential elections.

Stacie Paxton, a spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee, told WND the party was not aware of any meeting.

Maannews is an independent Palestinian news website based in Ramallah and Bethlehem. Sources close to the website told WND the site receives some funding from the governments of Denmark and the Netherlands.

According to the report, the alleged meeting with the Democrats took place in a European country following a series of preliminary meetings with representatives from the British and French governments.

UPDATE 2: The dateline on the current JPost piece is “Dec. 6, 2006 19:38 | Updated Dec. 7, 2006 4:28.” 4:28 AM would be, give or take an hour, 9:28 PM ET USA.

UPDATE 3: Captain Ed’s theory:

My guess at the time was that Hamas was shooting its collective mouth off, trying to pose as the more influential faction while Mahmoud Abbas tried to evict them from the government. I tend to believe that terrorists spend more time lying than breathing, and Hamas maybe more than most. I suspect the Jerusalem Post reconsidered their sourcing on the story and withdrew it without explanation, a poor journalistic choice on their part after a poor journalistic choice for including it in the first place.

At least, I hope that’s the explanation.

So do I.

UPDATE 4 (via an e-mail from Noisy Room) From YNet News (bolds after headline are mine):

Report: Hamas ministers met with US, EU officials
Palestinian source says ministers of Hamas-led government met with senior political officials in Europe, who showed their understanding for organization’s stance. In US, Hamas representatives meet with senior members of Democratic Party.

Ali Waked
Published: 12.07.06, 01:49
The Palestinian news agency Maan, quoting a senior member of the Palestinian government, reported Wednesday that “ministers of the Hamas-led government recently held talks with European countries and with a delegation of the American Democratic Party.

According to the source, in the talks, the European officials showed their understanding for Hamas’ stance.

According to the report, several European countries are already holding talks with Hamas, and the dialogue has succeeded in bringing about a certain change in the European stance toward the Hamas-led Palestinian government.

The Palestinian official said that Hamas representatives held meeting in European countries and even succeeded in convincing the Europeans to accept the movement’s stance.

“Additional meetings will be held in the coming days between Hamas delegations and political officials in Europe and the United States,” he added.

….. The source also noted that Hamas made some achievement on the American front thanks to a meeting held with senior members of the Democratic Party.

He refused to elaborate on the meeting and where it took place, claiming that Hamas is not interested in harming the Democrats’ chances to win the 2008 elections.

This one got saved to the hard drive.

UPDATE 5: WashTimes has a story (HT Patterico e-mail).

UPDATE 6, Dec. 7: To be clear, the story here suffers from unnamed-source syndrome and shouldn’t be given beyond-rumor credence without naming. The post came about because a major publication pulled content without explanation.

UPDATE 7, Dec. 7: JPost has put up three-para item (HT Political Pit Bull) reporting that Stacie Paxton, Press Secretary for the US Democratic National Committee, said: “No such meeting took place.” That’s a stronger statement than what Ms. Paxton told WorldNetDaily: “Stacie Paxton, a spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee, told WND the party was not aware of any meeting.” The burden of proof is still on those using unnamed sources, but how can she, or even the DNC leadership, be so sure?

Cavuto v. Krugman: It’s a Rout (in the Interview and on the Facts)

Fox News’s Neil Cavuto interrupted a bit more than I would have liked in his Tuesday interview with Paul Krugman, but you can’t argue with Cavuto’s effectiveness. Krugman actually said that he had no idea about the controversy over the compensation of the Board Chairman of his own company several years ago, and Cavuto asked what any of us would ask: “How could you NOT know what your Chairman is doing?”

Cavuto elicited this stunningly out-of-touch statement from Krugman about the situation for the average person and the middle class that is obviously not true (excerpt is at the end of this Hot Air clip; go here for Fox News full vid):

Cavuto: …. You’re saying that it’s somehow dramatically worse now than it was 10 years, 20 years ago?
Krugman: It is dramatically worse now than it was 10 or 20 years ago.

Horse manure, Paul, and here’s the proof. The figures below are from the Census Bureau, and show real (inflation-adjusted) income from 1985-2005 (bottom half of data at linked page):

IncomeQuintilesCB1985to2005

Paul, you’re supposedly a smart guy, so follow me here:

  • Every 2005 quintile’s real income is higher than that of 1985, and of 1995 (remember, Krugman didn’t just say “not improving,” he said “dramatically worse”).
  • Based on data released so far this year, data showing that real incomes have increased this year, every 2006 quintile’s real income will come in higher than that of 1996, and of 1986.

Additionally, since these are gross income (pre-tax) figures, the following points must be made:

  • Income taxes are lower, especially in the bottom two quintiles, thanks to lower rates put into place in 2001 and 2003 plus the expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit.
  • Thanks to someone Paul Krugman and others love to hate (Wal-Mart), very many of the things that people buy are a great deal less expensive than they were 10-20 years ago. This paragraph, cited at this earlier BizzyBlog post, from Pete DuPont’s November 22 OpinionJournal.com column bears repeating, and re-repeating:

    A recent Global Insights analysis concludes that Wal-Mart’s 1985-2004 expansion of sales resulted in a 9.1% drop in the price of food at home, a 4.2% drop in the price of other goods and commodities, and a 3.1% decline in consumer prices overall, saving the average working family about $2,329 per year. And with that came a net increase of 210,000 Wal-Mart jobs in 2004 alone.

    That $2,329 is a very big percentage of the income of the bottom two quintiles, and turns what appear to be relatively nominal gains in those income groups into undeniably major improvements. UPDATE: Even if the lower quintiles spend substantially less on average on the items involved, the dollars saved are still going to be a pretty high percentage of the $2,329 (after the all, the items described are usually referred to as “necessities).

Krugman is the economist New York Times readers rely on for information on what is really happening in business and the economy. Chalk up this area as yet another in which Times readers are very poorly served.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.
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Earlier today Tax Foundation: Tears for the ‘Bottom Quintile’ Are Almost Completely Wasted

Cute, Very Cute (Jamil Hussein Graphic)

The graphic is credited by Curt at Flopping Aces to Jessica’s Well:

free_jamal_hussein_lrg

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UPDATE, 4:23 PM — As of this moment, AP has 9 hours and 6 minutes until Ali Bubba at Alabama Liberation Front “will declare that the AP has admitted that this “official source” is a fake, and that no less than 16 Associated Press reporters thereby have been implicated in one of the greatest frauds in the history of journalism” (10 hours and 6 minutes, if he’s on Central Time). Dec. 7 — Of course the deadline came and went, so “fake” it is.
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Previous Posts:
- Dec. 4 — Quote of The Day: Mary Katharine Ham on Why ‘Police Captain’ Jamil Hussein Matters (Plus Other Updates)
- Nov. 30 — Tonight’s Jamil ‘Captain Tuttle’ Hussein and AP (Always Paranoid) Update
- Nov. 30 — Jamil Hussein Update
- Nov. 29 — Burning Six Update: Michelle Malkin Sums It Up
- Nov. 27 — The Burning Question (Figuratively and Literally): Is Reliance on Bogus and Compromised News Sources Slanting Iraq Coverage?

Jimmy Carter Deserves Another Prize: Best Fiction Writer in an Alleged Non-Fiction Book

Filed under: Education,MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:35 pm

Great catch and follow-up comment by Nasty Brutish & Short on a story the WORMs (Worn-Out Reactionary Media, formerly known as the Mainstream Media) will almost certainly ignore — The Carter Center of Emory University has lost a Middle East Fellow, namely Professor Kenneth Stein, “solely as a result of Carter’s new book, Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid” (link is to a post at Powerline, which has Stein’s full e-mail; also discussed by J-Pod and Goldberg at NRO’s The Corner).

Here’s the money paragraph from Stein’s resignation letter:

President Carter’s book on the Middle East, a title too inflammatory to even print, is not based on unvarnished analyses; it is replete with factual errors, copied materials not cited, superficialities, glaring omissions, and simply invented segments. Aside from the one-sided nature of the book, meant to provoke, there are recollections cited from meetings where I was the third person in the room, and my notes of those meetings show little similarity to points claimed in the book. Being a former President does not give one a unique privilege to invent information or to unpack it with cuts, deftly slanted to provide a particular outlook.

NB&S notes that a professor resigning as a result of similar literary falsehoods, liberties with the truth, and apparent plagiarism perpetrated by a conservative author would not be ignored by the media, as Mr. Stein’s resignation will almost surely be (Update — See below; coverage is moderate in combination with other criticisms of Carter’s book.). In fact, I think that person’s resignation would make Page A1 in the New York Times and Washington Post, and that he would be on all three networks’ morning talk shows within 48 hours.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

________________________________

UPDATE, Dec. 7: NY Times (“Former Aide Parts with Carter over Book” with placement not known) and WaPo (“Carter Book on Israel ‘Apartheid’ Sparks Bitter Debate” on Page A04) covered Stein’s resignation, both in context of widening criticism of Carter’s book. A partial list of vocal critics includes –
- Attorney Alan Deshowitz.
- The Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles
- David Makovsky, director of the Project on the Middle East Process at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
- Republican Jewish Coalition executive director Matthew Brooks.
- Asaf Romirowsky, who column recalls “Resolution 242,” an early UN resolution that would have given back most occupied territories that was rejected by Arab states, who then formulated their mantra, which though seldom uttered currently, still holds in reality — “No peace, no recognition, no negotiation.” Carter’s book fails to mention that Arab states rejected what he claims would have worked.
TV coverage appears to be light to non-existent, which isn’t necessarily a surprise, since the Iraq Study Group is crowding out a lot of other news.

Carter’s book, combined with Stein’s resignation, based on a review of op-eds, appears to be a straw that broke the camel’s back for a lot of Carter’s defenders. Not that Investors Business Daily is one of them, but IBD has probably the most accurate take on things in their Wednesday editorial:

As an ex-president edges ever closer to the far-left fringe, once-staunch allies are beginning to cut their ties. Sadly, we’re not surprised.

….. Carter no doubt thinks that because he once brokered peace talks between Egypt’s Anwar Sadat and Israel’s Menachem Begin at Camp David he has the moral and intellectual heft to pontificate on the Mideast’s ills. He doesn’t.
Fact is, Carter has long since joined the Israel-hating left — where true anti-Semitism resides today.

….. those who go on and on about Carter being “the greatest living ex-president” need to get a grip. He isn’t. He’s a nuisance and a kook.

UPDATE 2, Dec. 7: Jack Tapper weighs in at ABC News’ Political Punch blog.

Tax Foundation: Tears for the ‘Bottom Quintile’ Are Almost Completely Wasted

OK, that’s not how THEY said it, but it’s a reasonable conclusion based on these four paras from the Foundation’s November 30 Tax Policy Blog post, where it also criticizes a New York Times article’s take (probably requires free registration) on the income distribution situation in the US:

….. the article attempts to show that low-income Americans rely on “$7 a day each” by looking at the bottom 20 percent of tax returns. There are three problems with this analysis. The first is that among the bottom 20 percent, over one-third of all tax returns are filed by dependents, a number of whom file a tax return just to get their money back from the IRS. These are mostly young people still living at home, declared as dependents on their parents’ returns. Obviously these young, part-time workers are not poor in the normal sense of the word.

The second problem is the way the article defines the total number of people in the bottom quintile. The article claims that 60 million people would fall into the bottom quintile by calculating 1/5th of the U.S. population (300 million). In reality, the number of people represented by total AGI in the bottom quintile is closer to 35 million (i.e., less than 12% of the USA’s total population — Ed.) due to the number of exemptions in that group. In addition, the income of non-filers is not represented in total AGI so they should be excluded when calculating per capita income.

Finally, the article flippantly mentions that the “$7 per day” figure ignores some government transfers like EITC and food stamps. Does it ever! In fact, this year the government will give low-income people $50 billion in refundable credits through the EITC and child credit – roughly equal to a quarter of the total AGI in the bottom quintile. Needless to say, $50 billion is a significant amount of income for the poorest Americans.

Astonishingly, it also fails to acknowledge Social Security benefits that are mostly tax-exempt for low-income individuals. The IRS does not count all of one’s Social Security income as part of Adjusted Gross Income, and for low-income individuals, a greater fraction of Social Security benefits are tax-exempt and thereby not included in AGI. The article flatly ignores a huge flow of money to retirees who may appear to be low-income when these benefits are not counted. In fact, retired couples who own a home outright and live mostly on Social Security are numerous in this group.

By the time you take the four items mentioned above into account, there are very, very few left in the kind of grinding poverty the New York Times and the rest of the WORMs (Worn-Out Reactionary Media, formerly known as the Mainstream Media) insist is still rampant. I would add a fifth (HT to Bill “Bellwether” Sloat in previous e-mails for the idea, though getting to the specifics is still an open challenge) — Even among those who are not dependents, I suspect that there are many in the lowest quintile who are students with little to no income who are getting by on student loans, savings, and temporarily frugal circumstances.

Carnival Barking (120606)

Filed under: News from Other Sites — Tom @ 8:49 am

Newshound’s 51st on Ohio Politics is here.

Boring Made Dull’s 23rd on Econ and Public Policy is here.

Your Tax Dollars at Waste: The Pleasure Inn, HOME, and the Ohio Civil Rights Commission

Filed under: Business Moves,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:18 am

The Cincinnati Enquirer finally got around to doing something beyond the perfunctory with a story from over two weeks ago:

MASON – A bar owner who recently removed his controversial “For Service Speak English” sign has found a new way to get his point across.

A new sign appeared in the window of the Pleasure Inn in downtown Mason last week: “Here We Speak English.”

“If someone doesn’t like it, have them call me,” said owner Tom Ullum. “The sign will stay up because it’s my right.”

This sign likely won’t cause much of a stir.

The original “For Service Speak English” sign triggered a complaint in July 2005 from the Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME) in Mount Auburn. The Ohio Civil Rights Commission in December 2005 found that the sign was discriminatory, launching a heated public debate over free speech rights.

HOME will not take issue with the new sign.

“There is a difference between signs that express political opinions and those who deny service,” said Elizabeth Brown, executive director of HOME. “The settlement said he would not put up any sign that would limit service. I do not see that (new) sign as limiting service.”

Ullum has long used his tavern windows to express his opinions on everything from the Ohio State vs. Michigan football rivalry, to the Happy Holidays vs. Merry Christmas debate.

Last week a sign in the window read: “Dec. 7 2006 Smokers Will B Shot.” Bars must be smoke-free by Thursday. This week, that sign was replaced with one reading, “Global Warming Bring It On.”

“He’s welcome to his politics,” Brown said. “They may not be the same as mine, but I would never interfere with people who want to express their opinions and political views as long as it is not done in a way that says we won’t serve people.”

It’s times like these when I (almost) regret my self-imposed PG-13 rating. So you’re on your own in completing the following statement:

Liz Brown, HOME, and the members of the Ohio Civil Rights Commission (which, oh-by-the-way, lost an, uh, employee discrimination lawsuit recently) are really a sad bunch of (insert your own epithet here) ____________________ with nothing better to do than harrass a business owner over a 4-word sign.

UPDATE: A non-bylined AP report handled the story pretty fairly.

______________________________

Related Previous Posts:
- Nov. 17 — Pleasure Inn Settles “For Service Speak English” Sign Dispute
- Oct. 26 — Ohio Civil Rights Commission Found Guilty of Bias
Sept. 25 — The Pleasure Inn Is As Feisty As Ever
June 19 — Geno’s Update: The Mayor, The Profile, and The Letter
- June 12 — Welcome to the Club, Joey Vento — Philly Human Relations Commission Has Filed a “Discrimination” Complaint
- June 10 — As in Greater Cincy, “For Service Speak English” Place in Philly Is Catching Flak
- May 31 — The Pleasure Inn Has “For Service Speak English” Company
- May 13, 2006 — Why Won’t the Ohio Civil Rights Commission Get Off Tom Ullum’s Back?
- Dec. 19, 2005 — Update: Thought Police 1, Bar Owner 0; Bar Owners Showing Solidarity–1
- Dec. 16 — Thought Police 1, Bar Owner 0
- Oct. 9 — Questions for the Thought Police at the Ohio Civil Rights Commission and The Cincinnati Enquirer

Recycling: The Control Freaks’ Dream Come True

Filed under: Consumer Outrage,Environment,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:13 am

Although I didn’t bring up this point in my “Recycling: It’s (almost) All BS” post last week, Penn & Teller alluded to it towards the end of their Showtime episode on the topic. The point is that there are certain people who seem to get perverse pleasure out of ordering other people around, and that the whole recycling regimen is made-to-order for these types.

The latest evidence of recycling control freaks gone wild (HT the Market Center Blog) comes from the UK, and makes you wonder how much longer the population will stand for it. And if you think “control freak” is too strong a term, check out the bolded items:

HOUSEHOLDERS face a £100 fine for dumping food in the wrong bin under a council’s new dustbin diktat.

The latest crackdown is part of an unrelenting rise of new rules on rubbish disposal in Britain but residents have condemned the move as simply a moneyspinner.

The Draconian demands insist that items to be recycled include pizza boxes minus the pizza, and cling film boxes and tubes but not foil. It will mean people meticulously separating empty containers of scraps of food and different materials.

Many householders fear that the detailed requirements for putting out the rubbish may be practically impossible to follow.

Anyone who puts the wrong refuse in the wrong bin could be fined £100 once the recycling scheme becomes mandatory on January 1. Those hit with the penalty could have their details stored on a council blacklist.

Last night angry residents slammed the rules and accused the council of trying to take more money from honest taxpayers. Many fear they will be slapped with the hefty fine even if someone just wanders by and dumps food in their bins after the council revealed the new policy in its annual calendar.

….. Many said the scheme was actually turning them against recycling even though they initially supported the greener procedure in principle.

They even feel they will now have to stand guard over their bins to prevent strangers from contaminating them.

Some (other town) councils have also introduced identity tags to bins in a bid to keep track of how much residents are throwing out. Others have threatened residents with fines if they place even just one extra rubbish bag alongside their wheelie bins.

A BLACKLIST??? Over something that, with the exception of aluminum cans, MAKES NO SENSE?

Ohio Vote Fraud: The Relative Silence Is Deafening

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:08 am

What appears to be massive vote fraud may have taken place in Cuyahoga County (HT Pain Dealer, in this case quite appropriately named):

CLEVELAND (AP) — Thousands of people cast ballots in Cuyahoga County on Election Day without signing in at their polling places, the latest voting mishap for a county where problems in the May primary delayed results six days.

Nearly 12,000 people voted illegally Nov. 7 in the state’s most populous county. More people voted than signed in at 533 of 570 precincts, according to board of elections records.

“We had too many reports from the polling places that people got in line without going through the precinct tables,” said Candice Hoke, director of the Cleveland State University’s Center for Election Integrity, which monitored the election. “That should not be allowed to continue. There should be some quality control.”

….. Ballots are anonymous, so officials cannot determine which were cast illegally.

Now I don’t suppose this result could possibly be related to this previous story (related BizzyBlog post):

Cuyahoga County has 1.05 million registered voters, which tops the number of adults in the county by 200,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Or could it?

And would there be so much complacency if all of the above had occurred in, say, Clermont or Warren County?

Manufacturers Turning Away Business Because of Lack of Skilled Workers

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,Education — Tom @ 6:03 am

This situation, described in Tuesday’s USA Today, is indicative of three things:

  • A good economy where unemployment is low.
  • Well over a quarter-century of “manufacturing is dying” hogwash, which has influenced young people to choose career paths that avoid manufacturing. Article quote: “‘Culturally, we have browbeaten manufacturing to such an extent that we don’t have people interested,’ says John Sinn, interim director of the Center for Applied Technology at Bowling Green State University.”
  • An aversion to blue-collar work. Quote from the article: “‘Everyone wants their kids to be doctors, lawyers and dentists. … (But) all of us can’t be that,’ says Lloyd McCaffrey, director of manufacturing technology at Williams International, a gas turbine manufacturer in Ogden, Utah.”

Positivity: Upon one foot, teen dancer leaps for her dream

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:58 am

I just got tipped to this story from a couple of months ago. It’s too good to ignore because of that trifle:

Teen amputee gains acclaim as a dancer
15-year-old amputee shines on stage for her dancing, not her disability
Updated: 3:40 p.m. ET Sept 20, 2006
It was just a tiny misstep during a dance class routine. But it was enough to cause Nathalie Calderon’s right foot to spin backward 180 degrees.

“My teacher nearly fainted,” said Nathalie.

But the determined Central Florida girl just asked for a screwdriver — and with a few twists, her foot was again righted.

Nathalie, who was born without the lower part of a tibia in her right leg, wears a prosthetic, something she hadn’t bothered to mention to her dance instructor.

“It was so embarrassing,” she said, remembering that day several years ago.

Now 15, Nathalie has moved on to another instructor, Georgio Fagan of Georgio’s American Dance Centre in Lake Mary, Fla., where she’s part of the senior company. She’s won three scholarships this year for her dancing, has earned the respect of her peers and the adoration of audiences when she performs hip hop, tap and ballet.

The attention is for her dancing, not for her disability, Fagan wants to make clear.

“She’s amazing when she performs. She totally draws you in,” he said. “(On stage) that soul of hers just blossoms. It’s almost like she was given a leg.”

Nathalie was born with a rare birth defect called tibial hemimelia. She had 10 fingers and 10 toes, but her right tibia stopped growing at the shin. Doctors amputated her lower leg when she was a year old.

As a little girl, she prayed at the dinner table for a leg so she could be like everyone else, remembers her mother, Julie Calderon.

For years, Julie, a nurse, cried all the way to and from Nathalie’s doctor’s appointments.

“But when she was 5, I said to myself, ‘You need to get over it. I want her to be able to do whatever she wants.’”

In preschool, when kids asked about her prosthetic, Nathalie told them her story. “My mom always said, ‘That’s how Jesus made you.’”

But as she got older, she grew more more self-conscious. She worked at learning to walk without a limp and took to wearing pants to hide her prosthetic. Unless she told people, no one knew.

‘I want to dance’
She did harbor a dream though. She had always admired the way the music moved her older cousin, Vanity, a dancer in New York. One day, Nathalie had something to tell her mother: “I want to dance.”

“I said, (sigh) OK,” said Julie, who wondered if her daughter had picked an insurmountable challenge.

At 13, Nathalie started taking dance classes at Georgio’s American Dancer Centre. As she embarked on her new passion, she focused on learning the moves, not mentioning her prosthetic foot to her instructor.

When Fagan posted a sign that his dance studio was going to be forming an apprentice company, Nathalie and her mom met with him to see what areas she’d need to improve in to qualify. When he suggested more tap and ballet, her mother intervened.

“I said, ‘She can’t do tap or ballet.’ He said ‘Why?’ and she showed him her leg.”

“I had no idea. I was blown away,” remembers Fagan. “And mind you, I’d been teaching her for eight months.”

‘As good as people with two legs’
Within a month, Nathalie got a letter saying she’d been accepted into the company.

“Georgio said, ‘You can be as good as these people with two legs.’ … I was smiling for two months.”

Soon, Fagan had Nathalie leaping and turning on her artificial leg. Today, as a featured dancer in GADC’s senior company, she performs in front of thousands as she leaps, pirouettes and glides as the music carries her. All three of the dance center’s annual shows have multiple performances that often sell out.

On stage, even at only 5 feet 2 inches tall with her long, ebony-colored hair swept up, Nathalie stands out as one of the dancers with the most rhythm and grace. She often looks as if she can’t help but smile.

“She even does tap,” Julie said. “Sometimes that leg doesn’t sound the same, but she does it.”

Her current prosthetic was specifically designed with more flexibility for dancing. When she tried it on, she burst into a vigorous dance routine, even landing one-legged leaps on her new prosthetic.

“We got a little scared there,” joked Bryan Sinnott, who has designed and fitted Nathalie’s prosthetics for the past five years at Shriners Hospitals for Children in Tampa, Fla. “We always try to go to the next level with her. … In her mind, there is no goal she cannot achieve.”

Nathalie says her latest prosthetic works great — but she has one complaint: “Oh, I can’t wear flip flops now!” she exclaimed when she saw her new foot for the first time and realized it has fused toes.