May 29, 2007

Couldn’t Help But Notice (052907)

What he drew.

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I hope he’s right:

Muslims are not silent in the face of radicalism, extremism, and other ideologies that support terrorism from within the ranks of the Islamic global community. But Western mainstream media – the MSM – have proven unwilling or incapable of reporting to Western audiences on the personalities embodying the Islamic “counter-jihad.” The problem is more that of “MSM silence” than of “Muslim silence.”

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Although I’ve been following the American Family Association’s boycott of Ford (now pushing 710,000 signers at boycottford.com), I’ve never been a big fan of the tactic. Given the dire straits Ford is in and the fact that a widespread boycott does exist, my concern has been that the company is going to commit corporate suicide in the name of so-called Corporate Social Responsibility and political correctness, and that Old Media will lend an assist by failing to acknowledge what the company is doing to itself.

As to the boycott tactic, I believe it is fair to ask the American Family Association why it concentrates all of its fire on Ford and not on other companies, given the results of its own monitoring of TV program advertisers. Yes, Ford is the worst according to its standards, but if you look at the detail (HT One News Now) you’ll see plenty of other potential targets for AFA’s wrath. So why only Ford?

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Let’s see now:

  • HE was for it before HE was against it.
  • SHE was for it before SHE voted against it.
  • This means that what this guy said about the man who was president from 1993 to 2001 (“no core beliefs”) is apparently true of at least two of the his party’s three major 2008 presidential candidates.
  • Surely, BHOO (Barack Hussein Obambi Obama) looks “good” (as in relatively consistent) by comparison — for now.
  • BHOO also apparently looks better in the polls against potential GOP rivals. But this guy wasn’t mentioned.

Follow-ups on Previous Posts (052907)

EU carbon emissions were up 3.6% in 2006. The US’s were down 1.3%, as noted in a weekend post.

Though those facts were known on about May 17 and May 23, respectively, a May 26 New York Times story (may require free registration) on how “The United States has rejected Germany’s proposal for deep long-term cuts in greenhouse gas emissions” omitted those inconvenient truths.

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Having ripped the Home Depot and departed CEO Bob Nardelli often (previous posts relating to Nardelli’s departure are here, here, here, and here), it’s only fair to note that this year’s annual meeting appears to have been a big improvement, but not across the board:

At first, it seemed that everyone was on the same page. The new chief executive, Frank Blake, took the stage and apologized for last year’s infamous annual meeting, when Nardelli refused to take questions from investors, and members of the company’s board stayed home, at their leader’s urging.

“There is no better way to deal with a mistake than to acknowledge it, fix it and move forward,” Blake said. “We apologize for last year’s meeting. It was a mistake, and we won’t do it again.”

But in an interview minutes before the meeting, the company’s lead director, Kenneth G. Langone, strongly defended Nardelli’s leadership and pay, both of which came under withering criticism before the board asked him to step down in January.

“We needed the best. We got the best. Bob saved Home Depot,” Langone said.

He said Nardelli was worth “the full value” of his pay, roughly $270 million over six years. “I am never going back away from it.”

Given that Nardelli’s pay is the subject of at least one shareholder suit, what else could Langone say? As to saving Home Depot, Nardelli couldn’t have screwed up what was a good thing worse if he had tried. The share price performance of the company versus Lowe’s tells the tale, Mr. Langone.

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A post last week on the overreaction to April’s 11% drop in the median selling price of a new home — the drop was attributable almost entirely to a change in the sales mix to lower-cost regions — noted that the real decline after factoring out the mix problem was in the neighborhood of 1.2% in the last month, and 1.5% in the past year. This fact was totally ignored by Martin “Where’s the Bad Economic News?” Crutsinger of the Associated Press.

Sure enough, the April National Association of Realtors existing-home sales report, which is less vulnerable to regional fluctuations, came in showing a 0.8% decline in the past year. What’s more, the Excel spreadsheet supporting the NAR announcement (link is at the same page) shows that the nationwide median existing-home selling price went UP 1.2% from March 2007 to April 2007, and went up in every region of the country (Northeast, +1.9%; Midwest, +3.5%; South, +0.7%; West, +1.0%).

Sorry about those erroneous estimates (:–>) — but only about 10% as sorry as Martin Crutsinger should be for not explaining the obvious problem in a nationwide Commerce Department report.

Positivity: Hero wardens lift 14-tonne bus to rescue trapped boy

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:57 am

From South London, England: (HT Good News Blog):

May 25 2007

A HEROIC team of passers-by lifted a 14-tonne bus off the ground to free a 13-year-old schoolboy trapped under-neath.

The youngster had tripped and fallen under the vehicle as it was pulling away from a stop in Katharine Street, central Croydon, at the junction with St George’s Walk.

Witnesses say the boy had missed the 250 bus and was trying to catch up with it in the hope it would stop when the accident happened shortly before 4pm on Wednesday.

As he fell he became trapped between the body of the bus and the pavement, breaking his leg.

With the boy in a dazed state, street wardens Nathan Thompson, 27 and Neville Sharpe,41, heard the commotion and organised an unlikely rescue operation.

Go here for the rest of the story.