November 30, 2007

Kelo Update: Old Media Ignores Latest New London Development Setback

As an exemplar of a government-run enterprise stuck in the mud, it’s hard to come with a better example than what is happening in the area that was the subject of the infamous Kelo v. New London ruling in 2005. Nearly 2-1/2 years after the US Supreme Court ruled that the city could evict Susette Kelo and other holdouts from their homes, and 17 months after the final settlement between the city and the final two holdouts, very little has been done in the affected area.

The latest setback to substantive progress in the area is significant, and is being totally ignored by the non-local press.

Here are the two major stories and the local paper’s editorial from earlier this week (New London Day links require a paid subscription after seven days):

Nov. 27 (report by Elaine Stoll) — Fort Trumbull Developer Asks For More Time, Misses Deadline
NLDC could claim default, but delay in project more likely

Preferred developer Corcoran Jennison missed an important deadline Monday for its Fort Trumbull peninsula housing development, whose groundbreaking will almost certainly be postponed again.

The firm informed the New London Development Corp. that it needed more time to secure financing for the $18 million project one hour before Monday’s noon deadline for the company for that and other obligations outlined in a Sept. 27 agreement with the NLDC.

++++++++++++++++++

Nov. 28 (report by Elaine Stoll) — Developer Says Lending Climate Reason For Delay
NLDC not yet ready to declare Corcoran Jennison in default

….. Corcoran Jennison attorney Glenn T. Carberry sent a two-page request for a six-month extension — ending May 29, 2008 — for the developer to finance the construction project, now estimated at $19 million. The Boston-based company failed to finalize financing and to sign a contract with a general contractor for the construction of 66 apartments and 14 townhouses on four acres by Monday’s noon deadline, delaying what the NLDC believed would be a December groundbreaking.

“They’re technically in default,” NLDC President Michael Joplin said Tuesday. “We haven’t called them in default. There are other approaches we ought to evaluate and try before we get to that point.”

++++++++++++++++++

Nov. 28 (editorial) — Skepticism Grows
Fort Trumbull developer has to stop raising false expectations and start delivering on promises.

It is understandable that given tightening credit and a changing housing market Corcoran Jennison would need more time to secure financing for its planned housing development on the Fort Trumbull peninsula.

It is not understandable, however, why the inability to get the financing was sprung as an 11th-hour surprise — and disappointment. The firm waited until one hour before Monday’s noon deadline to inform the New London Development Corp. that it could not meet the obligations of a Sept. 27 agreement, including getting financing approved. Surely the developer had to know well before then that it would have trouble getting the needed loan in time. It would have been far better to go public with the financing difficulties sooner.

The word “Kelo” does not appear in any of the three items above — perhaps to assist in avoiding search engine attention (I became aware of this because of an alert I have set up for “Fort Trumbull”).

Note that the neighborhood homes taken as a result of the Kelo ruling are being replaced by ….. apartments and townhouses. As I understand it, more grandiose plans have long since been scaled back.

Considering the firestorm that erupted in the wake of the Kelo ruling, it’s very disappointing to see the lack of any kind of meaningful follow-up media attention. I’m left to speculate why the clear and ongoing lack of progress isn’t news.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Couldn’t Help But Notice (113007)

The question-plants fiasco at CNN’s YouTube GOP debate on Wednesday (key links here, here, here, and here; the last link covers scrubbing of post-debate replays; late addition — how it developed on the night of the debate) is an almost-low point for a news network that has totally lost its way.

But this remains the lowest (both the original “story” and making it available as on-demand video).

________________________________________________

Given his radical proclivities, including his belief that there are wayyyyy too many people on the planet, it is worth asking what Ted Turner is really up to.

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More bad news for recession fans – Cyber Monday was strong:

American consumers jammed online shopping sites on Monday, the official start of the holiday season for e-tailers, resulting in robust sales, according to an Internet research company.

ComScore Inc. reported on Tuesday that consumers spent $733 million online on Monday, a 21 percent gain from the same day a year ago. ComScore had expected that sales would exceed the $700 million figure.

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RIP, prolife legend Henry Hyde.

On his show yesterday, Mark Levin replayed portions of Hyde’s Opening Statement during the Clinton impeachment. In retrospect, the former Illinois congressman stands ever taller, and those who opposed him at the time, up to and including the then-president, stand so much smaller. A full transcript of that Statement is here.

Positivity: Hero risks life to save teen

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:59 am

From Lancaster County, PA:

I had to do something, says father of three after roadside rescue.
Published: Nov 19, 2007 11:01 AM EST

The car (slammed) into the utility pole — The electrical wires everywhere. The crackling fire. The terrified kid trapped in the car, pounding on the windows.

People around you screaming, “Don’t touch the car! Don’t touch the car!”

What would you do?

Would you act? Could you?

Mark Sellers did.

Saturday night, the father of three yanked a 17-year-old driver out of a car before it went up in flames along Strasburg Pike in West Lampeter Township.

Today, police are calling Sellers a hero.

“He definitely saved his life,” West Lampeter Township Police Chief James Walsh said, adding that police plan to give Sellers a commendation for his actions.

Sellers, a 45-year-old drug sales rep, still is grappling with what happened in just a few minutes that could have forever changed his life and the life of a teen he had never met.

He says he could not have done anything else.

“I was not going to let that kid die in a car fire,” he says. “I had to do something. I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t do anything and he would have died.”

The teen, who police are not identifying due to his age, broke his leg in the accident. He still was in Lancaster General Hospital today, recovering from his injuries, but is expected to be discharged later this week. …..

Go here for the rest of the story.

November 29, 2007

Quote of the Day: Gregg Jackson on Mitt Romney (with Index, Links, and Cliff’s Notes for ‘Romney, the Courts, and the Constitutions’ Posts)

Filed under: Health Care,Life-Based News,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 4:05 pm

In today’s Washington Times, the author of “Conservative Comeback to Liberal Lies,” co-host of Pundit Review Radio, co-blogger at Pundit Review, and consultant to yours truly on Romney matters (not necessarily in that order :–>), nails it (“Romney’s bigotry crusade”; column co-authored by Paul Dinger):

When we published an expose on Mr. Romney on Townhall.com showing his governor’s record reveals him to be nearly as liberal as Ted Kennedy, Romniacs descended in droves clutching a large suitcase of evidence showing we were completely wrong. Just kidding. They called us “bigots.”

Though it’s probably on the way, I’ve managed to avoid the b-word epithet thus far, presumably because my arguments against Romney have nothing to do with religion, and everything to do with his performance, actions, and utterances relating to government-subsidized abortion services and same-sex marriage during his tenure as Massachusetts governor.

I am otherwise in the same position as Gregg, waiting for the “large suitcase of evidence” proving me completely wrong. So far, nothing. That is because I believe that Romniacs have nothing — except hopes that either we’ll go away or we won’t be heard.

Well, we’re not going away, and I suspect we’re already being heard. Rasmussen reported the following yesterday (link probably good for a few days at most):

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of the Iowa caucus finds former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee with 28% of the vote, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney with 25% support, and everyone else far behind.

Y’all would be well-advised to belly up with some kind of defense, if you have any. Otherwise I’ll assume you don’t.

UPDATE: Life News adds this:

Compared to the last survey, Huckabee’s 28% support represents a twelve point increase from a Rasmussen Reports poll conducted earlier in the month. Romney is down four points while Giuliani and Thompson are each down three points from the previous survey.

______________________________________________

Here’s the complete index to the “Romney, the Courts, and the Constitutions” series:

- Nov. 21 — Part 1: Abortion Coverage in RomneyCare
- Nov. 21 — Part 2: Mitt Romney and Same-Sex Marriage
- Nov. 23 — Part 3: Various Excerpts, Statements, and Comments
- Nov. 24 — Part 4: What’s Beck Got to Do with It?
- Nov. 25 — Part 5: The Next President and the Courts

For those who insist on the Cliff’s Notes versions of the above posts, here they are (Part 3 is excluded because it “only” has excerpts and quotes from elsewhere):

  • (Part 1) Mitt Romney did nothing to stop or restrict state-subsidized abortion in Massachusetts, and with the institution of RomneyCare, definitely expanded its scope, and may even have enshrined it into Massachusetts law for the first time. Also see Part 1 for links to the underlying columns, blog posts, and background info from Gregg Jackson, Kevin Whelan, and John Haskins.
  • (Part 2) The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage in the Goodridge case was legally absurd and in and of itself against Massachusetts’ law and constitution. Even setting aside that point, an SJC ruling in Massachusetts requires that either legislation or a constitutional amendment be enacted for implementation to legally take place. No legislation or constitutional amendment was ever enacted, yet Mitt Romney implemented Goodridge anyway. He had no legislative direction, so he in fact did not have the authorization to go ahead with implementation. By doing so, he violated his own oath of office to uphold the Bay State’s constitution.
  • (Part 4) A 1988 US Supreme Court ruling in a labor-law and free-speech case shows that rulings by the Supremes are often not automatic without enabling legislation. Only a few states have implemented the ruling involved (Communications Workers of America v. Beck). Congress has passed no legislation, meaning not only that our president can refuse to carry out the ruling, in point of fact he must refuse.
  • (Part 5) The next president may have to defy Supreme Court rulings that unconstitutionally rely on foreign law or that are clearly and obviously in violation of the clear meaning of the Constitution itself. I believe that any of the Democrat nominees would, if elected president, handle such situations opportunistically, opting to enforce the ones they like (in violation of their oath of office), and refusing to enforce the ones they don’t. I hold hope ranging from a little to a lot that four of the five major contenders for the GOP presidential nomination might take up this likely crucial challenge. Based on his record in Massachusetts as described above and in the detail of these posts, I hold out no such hope for Mitt Romney.

I have brought back a BizzyBlog term from previous elections, namely the BizzyBlog Dealbreaker. A Dealbreaker is “something that completely justifies a person not voting for you, regardless of your party or your current stands on the issues.” Romney’s handling of the subsidized abortion and same-sex marriage issues are each Dealbreakers. As such, absent satisfactory explanations, I believe that he is unfit to be president.

Carnival Barking (112907)

Filed under: General — Tom @ 2:32 pm

The 93rd Carnival of Ohio Politics, assembled by Ben Keeler of the Keeler Political Report, is here.

OFHEO: National Home Prices Dipped 0.4% in Quarter, Up 1.8% in Past Year

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 1:16 pm

The quarterly report on home prices issued by the government’s Office for Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) is the most comprehensive and most reliable measure available of what is happening in the housing market.

Here is how today’s OFHEO press release describing results for the third quarter of this year started off (bolds are in original):

For the first time in nearly thirteen years, U.S. home prices experienced a quarterly decline. The OFHEO House Price Index (HPI), which is based on data from sales and refinance transactions, was 0.4 percent lower in the third quarter than in the second quarter of 2007. This is similar to the quarterly decline of 0.3 percent (seasonally-adjusted) shown in the purchase-only index. The annual price change, comparing the third quarter of 2007 to the same period last year showed an increase of 1.8 percent, the lowest four-quarter increase since 1995. OFHEO’s purchase-only index, which is based solely on purchase price data, indicates the same rate of appreciation over the last year.

The full OFHEO report (PDF) is here.

The quarterly dip was the first since the fourth quarter of 1994. It was the worst quarterly drop since the fourth quarter of 1990, when prices fell 0.40%.

From 1995-2006, home prices nationally went up 117%, while inflation during that period was 36% (a complete historical inflation table is here). From 2002-2006, home prices went up 52%, vs. inflation of 15%.

In fact, I still say, “Bubble, schmubble.” If gas prices come down 25 cents a gallon in the next week, that will be a drop of about 8% — 20 times greater than the home-price drop just reported. I don’t expect to see any reports of a gas-price “bubble” any time soon.

Even conceding that after inflation, the current quarter’s 0.36% drop (rounded to -0.4% in the press release) represents about a 0.7% real decline (July – September inflation including food and energy was +0.3%), and that the latest four-quarter appreciation of 1.79% (rounded to +1.8% in the press release) is also less than inflation (3.5% during the period including food and energy), excuse me if I resist the urge to join the “Oh, the humanity” chorus.

The press release from OFHEO also makes these points that you won’t see covered much in the business press:

  • Home-price declines are not pervasive throughout the nation — “Of the 287 cities on OFHEO’s list of “ranked” MSAs, 204 had positive four-quarter appreciation and 83 had price declines.”
  • In fact, the big problems are relatively limited in geographic scope — “Seventeen of the 20 cities having the most depreciation were in Florida and California. The other three were in Michigan.” Even in Cali, which otherwise had lots of negative numbers, four-quarter price changes in the three large metro areas of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Jose came in about even at -0.07%, +0.93%, and +0.64%.

Moderate Mainstream contended that “the (housing price) numbers, they be lyin’” several weeks ago. She has a point, as I don’t doubt that most cities reporting overall steady prices have at least a few neighborhoods experiencing declines. I don’t doubt for a minute that there is more than a little suffering going on as a result of it. I also happen to believe that the so-called “Bankruptcy Reform” law passed in 2005 may be making the problem worse. It would not surprise me if many of those who might have been able to hang on to their homes under the old bankruptcy regime are losing them to foreclosure today. Perhaps unlike many readers, if more people are losing their homes as a side-effect of “bankruptcy reform,” I do not consider that a desirable result.

But today’s OFHEO report tells me that the housing market can and will, if left alone, mostly work itself out of its current difficulties; Moderate Mainstream essentially agrees. The situation surely is not one that calls for the massive, litigation-creating rewrite of mortgage lending law that Barney Frank and others in Congress are proposing.

The results today also don’t support the contentions of mass criminality asserted or implied by the likes of New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann. Yet, so far, there appears to be little media skepticism over Cuomo’s or Dann’s motives, which appear to be more about creating a recession, or the appearance of a recession, than they are about fixing whatever legitimate problems there are in housing and mortgage lending.

I expect Old Media coverage of the OFHEO report to be light, and not to be seen outside of the business pages and posts. Though it’s the best and most comprehensive info available, the reported decline isn’t big enough for Old Media’s taste, and won’t sufficiently promote their apparent agenda of talking down the economy. It’s much better to treat the relatively narrow (but well-done within its scope) Case-Schiller report as the gospel, and to pretend OFHEO’s number don’t exist.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Jumpin’ GDP: Revised Third Quarter Growth is 4.9%

This of course explains why a Google News search I just did on “recession” has hundreds and hundreds of articles talking about a possible recession, including 481 in the first 20 listings (/sarc).

The Bureau of Economic Analysis announcement is here.

Key excerpts (bolds are mine):

The increase in real GDP in the third quarter primarily reflected positive contributions from exports, personal consumption expenditures (PCE), private inventory investment, equipment and software, federal government spending, nonresidential structures, and state and local government spending that were partly offset by a negative contribution from residential fixed investment. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased.

….. The real change in private inventories added 0.98 percentage point to the third-quarter change in real GDP, after adding 0.22 percentage point to the second-quarter change. Private businesses increased inventories $32.9 billion in the third quarter, following an increase of $5.8 billion in the second quarter and an increase of $0.1 billion in the first.

Ever since the fourth quarter of 2006, when there was a big downward revision to GDP because of inventory reductions, I have been wondering when the reverse was going to occur, because it almost had to. Now it has.

I don’t expect this revision to break out of the business pages. The expectations that built up in the past week were barely news. 5.0% would have been tougher to ignore. We’ll see.

Two tidbits you may not see reported elsewhere (source info from BEA is here):

  • If it holds, and I believe it will, this is the best quarter since 3Q03, and the second best since 2Q-2000.
  • Again if it holds, the combined 2nd and 3rd quarter total of 8.7% (after the 2nd quarter’s 3.8%; quarterly percentages are presented in annualized form) is the highest since the 3Q03 and 4Q03′s 10.2%. 2Q03 and 3Q03 were a combined 11.0%.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Couldn’t Help But Notice (112907)

Keith Kerr and his slip through CNN’s poor pre-screening at last night’s GOP debate is THE story of the moment. He is the Hillary supporter (scroll down) who is a member of her “LGBT Americans For Hillary Steering Committee,” a member of the anti-”Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Servicemembers’ Legal Defense Network’s advisory council, and, per Wizbang, part of the National Veterans for Kerry Steering Committee in 2004 (scroll down in alpha order).

Not exactly an “independent” voter.

This is the kind of stuff, especially following similar verified Clinton campaign question-planting stories, that could very well break out past the involved 15% and become more widely known — if it hasn’t already.

The larger point here is that Hillary and her acolytes, including her husband, are trying to win a 2007-2008 campaign using tactics that worked in 1992 and 1996. How dumb is Bill to think no one would check this? Even the usually Clinton-friendly Ron Fournier of the Associated Press wouldn’t cover for him.

It’s a totally different media environment, Clintonistas. Your friends in Old Media may try to cover for you, but while they still dominate, they don’t have the ironclad control the news cycle they once did (even Fournier recognizes there are new limits).

If Mrs. Clinton and her husband keep this up, she will lose — if not the nomination, the general election. It may even be (emphasis may) that the ship has already taken on too much water, but that we (and they) just don’t recognize it yet.

Joe Biden’s 1988 presidential campaign ended with a controversy over one plagiarized speech. In a world with a fair and balanced Old Media campaign press corps, the accumulation of the planting stories would be ending Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy right about now.

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Speaking of old tactics not working (bold is mine):

November 26 (BBC) — Iraq journalist’s family killed

An Iraqi journalist who lives in Jordan has said that 11 members of his family have been killed by Shia gunmen in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

Dia al-Kawwaz said his two sisters, their husbands, and seven children were shot at the family home on Sunday.

The police in Baghdad have not confirmed the attack, but one officer told the BBC the killings had occurred.

+++++++++++++++++++

November 28 (AFP) — Family blasts Iraqi newsman over claims they were killed

So the BBC has its own Jamil Hussein.

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This isn’t necessarily victory (HT Don Surber, who thinks it is, via Instapundit). But it sure as bleep means Harry “The War Is Lost” Reid was wrong, and remains wrong.

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In advance of today’s government report on Gross Domestic Product, which is expected to report that third-quarter growth was over 4.5%, instead of the 3.9% originally estimated a month ago, the New York Times-owned International Herald Tribune stokes the recession talk.

Bloomberg (last para at link) expects 4.9%.

Positivity: Landscaper Thanks Rescuers Who Saved His Life

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:59 am

From Littleton, Colorado (video is at link):

Nov 18, 2007 10:00 pm US/Mountain

A landscape worker who was seriously injured last month while doing lawn work at a home in Littleton when a driver lost control of a van and eventually hit the worker was released from the hospital Friday and thanked the emergency workers who saved his life.

Victor Soto, 20, was dragged under the van Oct. 3, across the yard and finally came to a stop against a house with him pinned underneath the vehicle near University Boulevard and Easter Avenue.

Soto was badly injured and near death when emergency crews reached him.

Rescuers didn’t wait for air bags to lift the van off of him. They were able to quickly get him out from a very small space under the van and on his way to Swedish Hospital in 5 minutes.

Soto has been hospitalized at Swedish since.

“To see him do this well is great, in all honesty when he first came in I had my doubts,” Dr. Burt Katubig said.

Before leaving the hospital Friday, he thanked the doctors and paramedics who treated him. …..

Go here for the rest of the story.

November 28, 2007

What Time of Year Is It? (Year 3 Follow-up, Part 1)

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,MSM Biz/Other Bias — Tom @ 10:22 pm

As the Christmas shopping season went into full swing in 2005, I sensed that journalists in general have a strong preference for using the term “holiday shopping” instead of “Christmas shopping” when covering business and commerce, but that when it came to people losing their jobs, they preferred to describe layoffs as relating to “Christmas.”

My instincts have been proven correct, as you can see below from the results of three different sets of Google News searches in November and December in each of the last two years (links to last year’s related posts are here, here, and here; 2005′s are here, here, and here):

XmasShoppingLayoffs2007Pt1

News stories overwhelmingly prefer “holiday shopping” on the commerce side, and at an ever-higher rate, but use “Christmas” over twice as frequently in articles about layoffs.

I’ve decided to track the same items this year to see if there is any noticeable change or continuation in the trend.

Based on the first set of Google News searches during this Christmas season, I would say there is:

XmasShoppingLayoff112807

The continued upward creep in using “holiday shopping season” for commerce continues, while “Christmas” is still used with almost three times as much frequency in stories about layoffs.

What I concluded at the end of 2005 and of 2006 (with minor editing) is again proving to be true in 2007:

It seems beyond dispute that there is a strong bias against using the word “Christmas” to describe not only the shopping season, as noted above, but also events, parades, and festivals that happen during the Christmas season. There is, however, a bit of an exception — “Christmas” is a word that is much more acceptable to use when “Scrooge” employers are letting people go.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

______________________________

Previous Posts:
Dec. 22, 2006 — What Time of Year Is It? (Year 2 Follow-up, Part 3)
Dec. 9, 2006 — What Time of Year Is It? (Year 2 Follow-up, Part 2)
Nov. 26, 2006 — What Time of Year Is It? (Year 2 Follow-up, Part 1)
Nov. 11, 2006 — Will Christmas Be a Four-Letter Word This Year?
Dec. 22, 2005 — When You Can Say What at This Time of Year (UPDATE 2)
Dec. 7, 2005 — When You Can Say What at This Time of Year (UPDATE)
Nov. 29, 2005 — What Time of Year Is It?
Nov. 23, 2005 — When You Can Say What at This Time of Year

Couldn’t Help But Notice (112807)

This is one of the furthest stretches to defend the indefensible I have seen in quite some time.

Well, since Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann won’t apologize for his “Jesus had a better Good Friday” e-mail (near end of article; note the non-apology that follows), and Governor/”Minister Ted” Strickland doesn’t think it’s worth trifling over, their potential primary and general election opponents in 2010 will just have to ask Ohio’s “Christianist” voters how they feel about it. Also see posts at King’s place and at RAB.

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No wonder they think there’s a middle-class squeeze (HT Tax Prof) – earning $97,000 a years makes you “rich.” But, building on a point made by a Tax Prof commenter, if you are earning up to $80,000 a year or more, your children, and maybe even you, could still be eligible for the nearly-free health care of SCHIP, which was designed originally to be for the “working poor.” Yeah, I know that the second figure would often be for a two-income couple, but there’s still not a lot of “middle” left, is there?

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Michael Totten from Fallujah (bold is mine; HT Instapundit):

Baghdad is supposedly only half as violent as it was when I spent my quiet week inside the city, but it is still very dangerous. The trend lines are going in the right direction, but anything can still happen anywhere at any time. It remains a city at war.

Fallujah is different.

None of the Marines I’ve spoken to are nervous while walking the streets. “Complacency kills” is the new catchphrase in Fallujah, and it’s drummed into the heads of the Americans here every day. The Marines may not have yet won the war in this city, but it sure is starting to look like it. The insurgency in Fallujah is over.

Read the whole thing for news you won’t see anywhere in Old Media.

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This is makingHeaven’s Gate” ($3.5 million box office, $44 million production budget) and “Ishtar” ($14.4 million box office, $55 million production budget) look like all-time blockbusters:

RedactedMovie112507

Forgive me for waxing “poetic”:

I think that we will never see,
The production costs of this movie.

Positivity: Holocaust survivor from Tel Aviv, rescuer from Poland, reunited

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:58 am

From New York:

Nov 24, 2007 23:09 | Updated Nov 25, 2007 12:54

In a symbolic closing of a circle, a 94-year-old Holocaust survivor was reunited on Friday with the elderly Polish woman who sheltered her during the Holocaust, more than six decades after the two parted ways.

The special Thanksgiving weekend reunion, which took place at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, brought together Golda Bushkanietz, 94, of Tel Aviv with her Polish rescuer, Irena Walulewicz, 82, of Olsztyn, Poland.

Walulewicz and her late mother Zofia, who have been recognized as Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem for their selfless heroism, hid Bushkanietz in their home for several months during the summer of 1943, as the Nazi killing machine marched on, even after a neighbor denounced them to the Germans.

The two women, who had not seen each other for 62 years, were reunited by the New York-based Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, a group formed two decades ago that provides financial assistance to 1,200 non-Jews in 26 countries around the world who risked their lives to rescue Jews from the Holocaust.

“Don’t cry, don’t cry,” Bushkanietz said in Polish, as she hugged Walulewicz in a tearful reunion.

This story of heroism and bravery in the face of evil began in September 1941, after all the Jews from Swieciany, Poland, which is today in Lithuania, and the neighboring villages were rounded up by the Germans, and divided into two groups: some, like Bushkanietz and her husband Szymon, were sent to a slave labor camp after being deemed “useful,” while others were immediately murdered by the Nazis and buried in a mass grave.

In early 1943, when the Germans decided to liquidate the camp, the young Jewish couple managed to flee, with Szymon Bushkanietz heading for the woods to join the partisans and his wife fleeing to her home town to search for a hiding place.

It was 2:00 in the morning when Bushkanietz knocked on the window of the home of the daughter of the town’s pre-war mayor, whom her father had known slightly, in the hopes of finding refuge inside.

“I really wanted to live,” Bushkanietz recalled Thursday in an interview before leaving Israel for the reunion.

Zofia Walulewicz, the daughter of the mayor, who was home alone with her 17-year-old daughter Irena, who was deaf and mute, opened the window.

“Who are you?” the Polish woman asked.

“I am Fiegel’s daughter,” she answered.

“Come in,” she responded.

For the next several months, Bushkanietz found refuge in their house, hiding in the mice-infested attic, or even in the pigsty, to avoid capture. …..

Go here for the rest of the story.

November 27, 2007

Mitt Romney ROTFLMBO Howlers of the Day (with Index and Links to Previous Posts)

Filed under: Health Care,Life-Based News,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:55 pm

They are here at Romney’s campaign site (HT Rick Moran at American Thinker), where Romney rips into Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton over how they “share liberal values,” particularly abortion and same-sex marriage.”

They have me in “Rolling On The Floor Laughing My Butt Off” (ROTFLMBO)” mode.

Howler 1 (abortion):

BOTH (Giuliani and Clinton) WOULD KEEP ABORTION LEGAL

Mitt Romney’s Commonwealth Care aka RomneyCare health plan provides taxpayer-subsidized abortion services, with a $50 deductible. Yes it does. Additionally, RomneyCare at a minimum expanded the population with access to subsidized abortion services, and possibly even enshrined such access into law for the first time. Neither Rudy nor Hillary can “brag” about having done either for an entire state.

Howler 2 (same-sex marriage):

Mayor Giuliani And Sen. Clinton Both Say States Should
Create What Definition Of Marriage They Want

Mitt Romney unilaterally, and without proper legislative authorization, instituted same-sex marriage in Massachusetts, effectively creating his own definition of marriage and imposing it on the Bay State. Yes he did. Neither Hillary nor Rudy can “brag” about that.

Mitt Romney has a track record of ignoring the constitution he has sworn to uphold. What reason is there to believe he will act differently if elected president?

______________________________________________

Here’s the complete index to the “Romney, the Courts, and the Constitutions” series:

- Nov. 21 — Part 1: Abortion Coverage in RomneyCare
- Nov. 21 — Part 2: Mitt Romney and Same-Sex Marriage
- Nov. 23 — Part 3: Various Excerpts, Statements, and Comments
- Nov. 24 — Part 4: What’s Beck Got to Do with It?
- Nov. 25 — Part 5: The Next President and the Courts

For those who insist on the Cliff’s Notes versions of the above posts, here they are (Part 3 is excluded because it “only” has excerpts and quotes from elsewhere):

  • (Part 1) Mitt Romney did nothing to stop or restrict state-subsidized abortion in Massachusetts, and with the institution of RomneyCare, definitely expanded its scope, and may even have enshrined it into Massachusetts law for the first time. Also see Part 1 for links to the underlying columns, blog posts, and background info from Gregg Jackson, Kevin Whelan, and John Haskins.
  • (Part 2) The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage in the Goodridge case was legally absurd and in and of itself against Massachusetts’ law and constitution. Even setting aside that point, an SJC ruling in Massachusetts requires that either legislation or a constitutional amendment be enacted for implementation to legally take place. No legislation or constitutional amendment was ever enacted, yet Mitt Romney implemented Goodridge anyway. He had no legislative direction, so he in fact did not have the authorization to go ahead with implementation. By doing so, he violated his own oath of office to uphold the Bay State’s constitution.
  • (Part 4) A 1988 US Supreme Court ruling in a labor-law and free-speech case shows that rulings by the Supremes are often not automatic without enabling legislation. Only a few states have implemented the ruling involved (Communications Workers of America v. Beck). Congress has passed no legislation, meaning not only that our president can refuse to carry out the ruling, in point of fact he must refuse.
  • (Part 5) The next president may have to defy Supreme Court rulings that unconstitutionally rely on foreign law or that are clearly and obviously in violation of the clear meaning of the Constitution itself. I believe that any of the Democrat nominees would, if elected president, handle such situations opportunistically, opting to enforce the ones they like (in violation of their oath of office), and refusing to enforce the ones they don’t. I hold hope ranging from a little to a lot that four of the five major contenders for the GOP presidential nomination might take up this likely crucial challenge. Based on his record in Massachusetts as described above and in the detail of these posts, I hold out no such hope for Mitt Romney.

I have brought back a BizzyBlog term from previous elections, namely the BizzyBlog Dealbreaker. A Dealbreaker is “something that completely justifies a person not voting for you, regardless of your party or your current stands on the issues.” Romney’s handling of the subsidized abortion and same-sex marriage issues are each Dealbreakers. As such, absent satisfactory explanations for all of this, I believe that he is unfit to be president.

Big Upward 3rd Quarter GDP Revision Expected; Only Thing Bigger Is Its Secrecy

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 1:37 pm

Of course, the expectations game can be frustrating, and we won’t know for sure until the actual report is released Thursday at 8:30 a.m. But there appears to be remarkably good economic news ahead. Naturally, it is getting the barest of coverage from an Old Media business press corps that seems intent on talking the economy down.

First, a week ago Monday, MarketWatch’s Greg Robb, in an article entitled “Economists think U.S. can dodge recession,” said that “The economy grew at a 3.9% rate in the third quarter, and many economists expect an upward revision above 4.5% when the government revises the data on Nov. 29.

Then, at MarketWatch.com yesterday, (“Dollar under pressure as credit fears loom”; link requires free registration), reporter Lisa Twaronite got this quote from an industry expert:

“Even though the early indications from the weekend U.S. retail sales were not as poor as feared, and [third-quarter gross domestic product] is expected to be revised significantly higher later this week, the anticipation of more write-downs and losses related to the leveraged lending-subprime and otherwise-the credit-crunch to undermine growth in [the fourth quarter] and early 2008 weighs on the dollar,” wrote currency analysts at Brown Brothers Harriman.

Then there was this tidbit in the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday (link requires subscription). You would have no idea from the WSJ article’s headline (“How Rio Tinto Defensive Moves Could Make BHP Billiton Blink”) that this is coming. It starts the third of three items that originally came from behind the subscription wall at BreakingViews.com:

Credit Markets

In normal times, a U.S. recession would be a distant prospect. The biggest piece of economic data this week is the revision of third-quarter U.S. GDP growth rate, probably to a far-from-recessionary 5%. But these are not normal times.

If (emphasis “if”) Thursday’s actual result is 4.9% or higher, it will be the best GDP growth since the third quarter of 2003, and the second-best since the second quarter of 2000. See for yourself.

Chances are almost overwhelming that you haven’t read about the predicted GDP revisions anywhere, because this Google News search on [US revised "gross domestic product"] (typed as indicated, for date range of November 19-27) shows that the predictions aren’t being carried, or, as with the stories noted above, they are buried in otherwise downbeat reports.

As Larry Kudlow has often said (latest example here), it’s the “Greatest Story Never Told.”

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Maybe Shoppers Should Send a Thank-You Note to the Gloomy Business Press

Old Media reporters have worked themselves into such a lather trying to talk down the economy that you have to wonder if retailers got lulled into believing them.

The Associated Press’s report on Black Friday sales by reporter Anne D’Innocenzio went through the normal good news/”yeah, but” routine (bolds are mine throughout).

First, the good news:

The nation’s retailers had a robust start to the holiday shopping season, according to results announced Saturday by a national research group that tracks sales at retail outlets across the country.

According to ShopperTrak RCT Corp., which tracks sales at more than 50,000 retail outlets, total sales rose 8.3 percent to about $10.3 billion on Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, compared with $9.5 billion on the same day a year ago. ShopperTrak had expected an increase of no more than 4 percent to 5 percent.

But in bringing out the supposed “bad news,” D’Innocenzio may have inadvertently exposed a retailer miscalculation:

In an apparent sign of desperation, the nation’s stores ushered in the official start of the holiday shopping season on Friday with expanded hours, including midnight openings, and a blitz of early morning specials that were more generous than a year ago. J.C. Penney and Kohl’s Corp. (KSS) opened at 4 a.m., an hour earlier than a year ago.

The strategy appears to have worked, as shoppers jammed stores in record numbers for early morning deals on Friday. Martin noted that judging by the strong figures on Friday, stores were able to sustain strong sales throughout the day.

I think “desperation” is truly a disgraceful term to describe a retail sector that has mostly been, and continues to be, both growing and profitable.

Anyway, it’s quite possible that retailers misjudged the need for deep discounts because they bought into Old Media gloom over high gas prices, subprime mortgage problems, and flat-to-declining home prices. In overreaction to all of this, they may have lowered prices more than necessary to generate store traffic and sales.

If that’s the case, shoppers owe the gloom-and-doom press a hearty thanks for all the misdirection-based bargains they were able to, uh, gobble up this past weekend.

The fact is that consumers are in pretty good shape. A Conference Board released a few weeks ago reported that an all-time record 63.5% of American households had “disposable income” in 2006, up from 52% just a few years ago. This exactly the type of income that would go towards gift-buying splurges. A separate report issued by the Treasury Department shortly thereafter tracked the economic progress of specific households over a nine-year period (1996-2005), and showed that their median real income increased a mind-boggling 24% during that period — over twice the 11% increase recorded in the nine years before that. More recent government reports on personal income confirm that income gains continue to outpace inflation.

Perhaps retailers will learn that they buy into Old Media economic gloom at their peril. Christmas-season shoppers hope that their education won’t start until after the New Year.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.