July 31, 2009

AP Still Avoids Dem ID of Corrupt PA Judges After Briefly Doing So, Then Dropping, In Feb.

CiavarellaAndConahanPAjudges.jpgHere’s a “Name That Party” follow-up.

In a February post (“AP’s ‘Name That Party’ Twist: Disgraced PA Judges’ Dem Party ID Disappears After Initial Inclusion”; at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted that the Associated Press had originally identified the party of two Democratic judges involved in a shocking scheme that pushed thousands of juvenile offenders into detention centers for minor offenses in return for millions in kickbacks.

However, in longer subsequent reports, the AP dropped the party affiliation of Luzerne County Judges Mark Ciavarella (pictured at left) and Michael Conahan.

This evening, in a 5-paragraph story (as of 7:47 p.m.; story could change over time) about a federal judge’s refusal to accept plea agreements from the pair, AP Writer MaryClaire Dale stayed consistent with the wire service’s see-no-Democrats approach to developments in this grisly story:

APonPAjudgesStory073109at747pm

Here is the comparison I did in February of what had to have been an earlier report carried on the left at Topix (still there) and the story at MSNBC on the right (still there) to which Topix linked:

APtopixMSNBCcomparison0209

The red box on the left shows where the story as carried at Topix identified the two judges as Democrats; at the time, it was the only place I found the identifying sentence. The red box at the right shows a paragraph that was added later by AP at the MSNBC link; the “Both are Democrats” sentence originally in the previous paragraph is gone. No form of the word “Democrat” appeared in the revised story at MSNBC; that is still true today. The green boxes show that the specific story linked by Topix is indeed the MSNBC story on the right.

Relevant contentions I made back in February still stand (in revised form for the purposes of this post):

  • It is virtually inconceivable that Topix would have gratuitously added “Both are Democrats” on its own. Those words were almost definitely present at MSNBC when Topix did its excerpt.
  • Short of an open admission, the pulled party-affiliation sentence following a brief, demonstrated appearance is probably as convincing a piece of evidence as we’ll ever see that many members of the press, particularly alleged journalists at “The Essential Global News Network,” are deliberately playing “Don’t Name That Democrat” whenever they can.

Now Ms. Dale has continued AP’s negligent coverage of this particular story, despite clear guidance to the contrary in the wire service’s Stylebook (noted near end of text at link):

party affiliation Let relevance be the guide in determining whether to include a political figure’s party affiliation in a story. Party affiliation is pointless in some stories, such as an account of a governor accepting a button from a poster child. It will occur naturally in many political stories. For stories between these extremes, include party affiliation if readers need it for understanding or are likely to be curious about what it is.”

AP’s original instincts back in February were correct. People, especially parents, would of course be curious about the party affiliation of corrupt judges in a horrible case like this. Ciavarella’s and Conahan’s party is avoiding a deserved stain in this matter, especially given the AP’s tendency to rediscover its Stylebook’s party-naming rules when Republicans and conservatives are involved in crime, corruption, or scandal. Judging, if you will, on past behavior, it seems very unlikely that the AP would have pulled the Democratic  judges’ party affiliation after an initial identification had they been Republicans.

All in all, it’s just another day of “Cover For Democrats and Liberals Whenever Possible” in AP-land. This one’s just more outrageous than usual.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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BizzyBlog Update: Former Judge Ciavarella was clearly still a Democrat in late 2005, and was making what would appear to be unethical campaign contributions to the party.

Absurd Headline of the Day: ‘Cuba shuts factories, cuts energy to save economy’

Life in the Workers’ Paradise of Cuba is a bit less than perfect these days.

So is the absurd headline that begins an Associated Press story by writer Will Weissert:

APonCuba073109

Oh come on. This isn’t about “saving the economy.” This is about saving the Cuban government on the backs of its long-suffering people, as will be seen shortly in Weissert’s own text.

Readers will see grim humor in several of Weissert’s other excerpted paragraphs, especially the last one:

…. More likely, the shortages result from a global recession that hit an already struggling economy still reeling from last year’s hurricanes. President Raul Castro scolded Cubans in a national address Sunday to work harder because they have no one to blame but themselves.

“The only thing I know is that this is lousy,” said one 27-year-old who only gave the name Raul because he sells cement and housing materials on the black market. “I don’t work. I find a way to survive.”

…. Cuba may be trying to save unused oil to bolster strategic reserves while prices are still relatively low, said Dan Erikson of the Inter-American Dialogue in Washington.

But he also said the strict measures lend credence to whispers that Cuba is selling Venezuelan oil overseas – something the communist government did with some of the discounted oil it got from the Soviet Union.

“It’s been alleged they’ve been selling Venezuelan oil on the side. They’ve denied that, but if they are open to doing it, now would be the time,” Erikson said. “Cuba’s in a real cash crunch.”

Beginning June 1, the government ordered energy conservation measures as part of a broader plan to cut the national budget by 6 percent. Central planners also announced Friday they were revising their economic growth projections downward, from 2.5 percent to 1.7 percent. As recently as December, they had projected 6 percent economic growth in Cuba.

These days, most countries would cheer any economic growth. But Cuba counts what it spends on free health care and education, monthly food rations and other social programs as production – making economic growth figures dubious.

Since Cubans have no income or resources to tax, the government in effect is taxing its citizens by cutting the services and products they can consume. Just lovely.

It is also worth asking whether the average Cuban thinks health care and education are “free,” when they are “paying” for it by doing without defenses against the summer heat and eating less. P.J. O’Rourke’s smart-aleck remark about statist medicine (“If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it’s free”) comes to mind. The other thought is that, using typical establishment media parlance, women, children, and the elderly must be among those who are most affected by the island nation’s austere situation.

We also see from the Cuban example that there might be an ulterior motive in forcing state-run health care into the US. If costs spiral out of control upon enactment, as is expected, the value of services rendered will go up for a while, increasing the country’s gross domestic product in what may perhaps be the only way remaining at that point to demonstrate any kind of meaningful economic growth.

As is said in the Guinness Beer commercials: “Brilliant!”

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

From My Favorite Gold Star Dad…

Filed under: Activism,Health Care,Taxes & Government — Rose @ 2:59 pm

Mr. Jeffers, I’m glad that you and the United States Army are on our side!

His latest:

The last 193 days have been interesting, perilous, maddening, rewarding, and…well I’m sure I could go on.

If all goes as planned you will wake up Monday morning and a wonderful thing will happen in the House of Representatives.

It will be empty.

And if God truly blesses America in August, the same thing will be happening in the Senate the following Monday.

It too will be empty.

…When it comes to Obama care, please visit Peter Fleckenstein’s, former Marine from Phoenix, Arizona, blog Common Sense from a Common Man where Pete has done yeoman’s work in detailing the monstrosity that is Obamacare.

Become very familiar with the nonsensical and liberty-stripping measures that are included in this bill.

Then attend any public meetings that your US Representative and/or US Senators are holding and ask them which of these ridiculous measures they support.

And do not be surprised by the thousand yard stare they give you.

Most of them will probably never admit it but they are more than likely in agreement with John Conyer’s statement about reading the bill.

Also read both the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution, no matter how many times you have read both.

Go rent, or better yet, buy the HBO DVD series and soundtrack “John Adams.” It will inspire you.

…Even though Congress is in recess they can, just like kids on a school playground, cause trouble.

The whole thing is here.

NBRA Chair Frances Rice Nails It…

Filed under: Activism,Education,Taxes & Government — Rose @ 2:56 pm

Lt. Col. Rice, I’m also glad that YOU, the NBRA and the United States Army are on our side!

IS OBAMA A RACIST?
By Frances Rice

How do we decide who is a racist? The dictionary tells us a racist harbors feelings of antagonism and superiority based on biological differences, such as skin color. So, what demonstrates that President Barack Obama harbors such feelings toward white people?

…In “Dreams from My Father” Obama wrote: “I found a solace in nursing a pervasive sense of grievance and animosity against my mother’s race.” This book also contains an explanation of why Obama joined and remained for 20 years in Trinity United Church of Christ, the church of black liberation theologian Rev. Jeremiah Wright who preached hatred against whites. Obama wrote: “It came about as a choice and not an epiphany”. The core of black liberation theology is black separatism, a movement that, for more than a century, has been opposed to racial integration. Equally troubling is Obama’s church giving a lifetime award to one of our nation’s most racist men, Louis Farrakhan.

Obama’s belief system on race was on full display during the 2008 campaign when, on a Philadelphia radio sports program, he described his grandmother as a “typical white person” who fears blacks.

From the roots of Obama’s enmity toward white people sprang his gratuitous attack on Cambridge Police Sergeant James Crowley. Obama declared that the sergeant “acted stupidly” while doing his duty, when all Obama knew, admittedly, was that the sergeant was white and the person arrested, Obama’s friend Harvard Processor Henry Gates, was black. Without bothering to learn the facts, Obama used the power of his position as President of the United States to demonize an American citizen because of his race.

…Obama, in his rush to judgment, ignored pertinent facts, such as one of the arresting officers is black, the Cambridge Mayor is black and the Massachusetts Governor is black. From his lofty perch as the leader of the free world, Obama focused like a laser beam on the skin color of one man and engaged in grievance mongering about “racial profiling,” a charge that hampers law enforcement in black communities and was not even a factor in the Cambridge case. In an instant, Obama abandoned any pretense of being “post racial” and, before our very eyes, was transformed into our “race-baiter-in-chief”.

How ironic that the wrongs against blacks that are the genesis of Obama’s racial hostility were committed by the whites who supported the racist agenda of the Democratic Party (not that many years ago), the party Obama now heads. During his research, author Wayne Perryman uncovered documents which reveal that the Democratic Party was once proudly called the “Party of White Supremacy”. According to Perryman, Democratic Party campaign posters issued from 1868 to the early 1900’s declared: “This is a white man’s country – let the white man rule”. Perryman further pointed out that Democratic Senator Ben Tillman in 1909 said: “We reorganized the Democratic Party with one plank and only one plank, namely, that this is a white man’s country and the white men must govern it.”

…The intimidation tactics by Black Panthers are a chilling reminder about how the Democrats not long ago used the Ku Klux Klan, the terrorist arm of the Democratic Party, to intimidate and terrorize Republican voters, black and white. Democratic Party racism is precisely what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a Republican, was fighting against. In Obama’s world, the civil rights accomplishments of Dr. King have been abandoned, and we are now encouraged to judge people by the color of their skin, not the content of their character.

Read the whole thing here.

2Q09 GDP Down an Annualized 1.0%; BEA Does Massive Comprehensive Update

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:26 am

Uncle Sam’s lengthy report is here.

Given the comprehensive revision (apparently all the way back to 1929?) and the need to reconcile some clearly conflicting numbers, comments will have to come later.

The most obvious reconciliation has to be between the following:
- Full year 2008 growth: revised to +0.4%.
- Individual quarterly 2008 growth:
— First quarter , -0.7%
— Second quarter, +1.5%
— Third quarter, which still marks the beginning of the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy, -2.1%
— Fourth quarter, -5.4%

2008′s annual growth can’t be the old number, which would have been about -0.5% (result of +0.9, +2.8, -0.5, and -6.3), and it’s obviously not the result of combining the new numbers.

You don’t have to be a math whiz to be able to tell that the numbers are currently inconsistent. So I’ll wait until something is updated or I’m able to get other answers before commenting further.

Other items of note in the quarterlies:

  • 4Q07 moved from negative to positive (+2.1%), which would lead one to question the “official” recession starting point of Dec. 2007.
  • 1Q08 went negative (from +0.9% to -0.7%).
  • The second quarter of 2008′s +1.5%, assuming it stands, is still positive enough to ward off the idea that we were presumptively in recession then, absent sufficiently compelling evidence from elsewhere.
  • The previous two three points lend more credence to a non-recessionary mini-dip followed by a real, rip-roaring recession as normal people define it beginning in the third quarter of 2008.
  • 3Q-2000, which I think had been -1.4%, went positive.

Update: Reax is here, pegged to a Wall Street Journal editorial.

July 30, 2009

AP Headline Distorts Cambridge Cop Lashley’s Position on Crowley-Gates

CNNlashleyInterviewPic0709Cambridge Police Officer Sgt. Leon Lashley, the African-American cop who was with James Crowley during Crowley’s arrest of Henry Louis Gates last week, is learning the hard way that no good deed goes unpunished — especially one that involves speaking out in support of a fellow officer who happens to be white.

He’s also learning that the wretches who write headlines for the Associated Press can willfully distort his take on events in their headline in the hope that readers don’t read or click over to the actual text to see how he really feels.

Here is the example to which I refer:

APheadlineOnOfficerLashley0709

As written, the headline will gave many readers who go no further the impression that Lashley may somehow be sorry for supporting Crowley. But there is nothing in the unbylined four-paragraph report that indicates anything resembling “regret” on Lashley’s part. In fact, you’ll notice in the third paragraph that Lashley ripped into Gates, saying that Gates “may have caused grave and potentially irreparable harm to the struggle for racial harmony.” Truth to power, so to speak, with no tinge of “regret.”

As a reminder, here is what Sgt. Lashley told CNN yesterday about Crowley and the related incident (video is at link):

Sgt. Leon Lashley, Cambridge MA Police: It happened to be a white officer on a black man, and the common call a lot of times is to call it a racist situation.

Let me, don’t get me wrong, it does happen. It has happened here in Cambridge. And I can’t say it will not ever happen again in Cambridge. (But) the situation here was not a racial(ly) motivated situation.

CNN (Reporter Don Lemon): And you know people obviously are going to be paying closer attention to you, because you’re an African-American man. I’m just being honest. And you’re supporting this white officer, that it has been put out there by some that “he was racially profiling Dr. Gates.” They’re going to pay attention to you.

Sgt. Lashley: I hope they would. I heard one of the comments call him a rogue cop. There’s nothing rogue about him. He was doing his job.

Kelly King, a fellow African-American officer, also supported Crowley in that same interview:

CNN (addressing Officer King): When you heard about what happened with this sergeant, what did you think?

Officer King, Cambridge MA Police: I was appalled. I know Jimmy. I’ve known him for more than the 11 years with the Cambridge Police. I knew him when he worked for Harvard.

I know him to be a good police officer, a good man, with character, and I knew these charges were bogus. There has been a tremendous rush to judgment. And I think the thing to be learned first and foremost from this is to look at all of the evidence, to consider all, to weigh all. I think Professor Gates has done a very good job at throwing up a very effective smoke screen, calling “racism,” as it had nothing to do with it.

CNN: And the President?

Officer King: It’s unfortunate. I supported him. I voted for him. I will not again.

I agree that I think it’s admirable that he would speak on behalf of his friend. But he should have recused himself. He should have stepped back, and he should have said, “I support my friend but I don’t have all the facts. I won’t weigh in yet.”

CNN: The Governor? (Deval Patrick)

Officer King: I would apply the same to him.

CNN: What do want people in the country to know who have already made up their mind about Jimmy Crowley?

Officer King: Keep their minds open, and realize that we would not support someone that we felt wronged someone else. We took this job to do the right thing. We all took this job to do the right thing. We would not support anyone in blue doing the wrong thing.

It’s a safe bet that Sgt. Lashley and Ms. King still have not one iota of regret for their passionate support of Crowley. They may regret, as do many of us, that we live in such a breathtakingly irresponsible establishment media environment. There’s little doubt that they both regret that this country has a President who can make a self-admitted fact-lacking rush to judgment who won’t even say “I am sorry” for his errors.

There is a better though still less than perfect headline for the same story, found here at the Mount Vernon (OH) News:

Black officer at Gates’ home during arrest says he’s become ‘Uncle Tom’ for supporting officer

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

MA Zoo-Funding Battle Hints At PC Zoo-Management Infection

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:57 pm

BostonZooPostPic0709The zoo I’m referring to is the Franklin Park Zoo (FPZ), not the Massachusetts Legislature or the Bay State’s Executive Branch — though the slang version of the word’s meaning likely applies to all of them.

As reported in a July 10 Boston Globe story, in reaction to Governor Deval Patrick’s line-item veto of $4 million of the FPZ’s $6.5 million annual subsidy, Zoo New England, which runs the FPZ’s two zoo sites, “…. in a written statement that echoed a letter sent earlier to legislative leaders, said they would be unlikely to find homes for at least 20 percent of the animals, ‘requiring either destroying them, or the care of the animals in perpetuity.’”

After a fierce public and political backlash, zoo management appeared to pull back. Glen Johnson at the Associated Press on July 13 said that  ”it stepped back from that claim over the weekend, saying ‘there are no plans for the zoo to euthanize any animals in the collection as a result of the budget cuts.’”

Or did they?

On July 15, the Boston Herald reported that “The chief of the Boston area’s two major zoos is standing by statements that the facilities would shut down and some animals would have to be euthanized if the Legislature does not restore $4 million in state funding.”

Yesterday, the AP reported that state’s legislature plans to restore $2.5 million of Patrick’s $4 million cut yesterday in a veto override package.

With all the back and forth and the de facto animal death threats, it’s more than a little surprising that this story didn’t have a wider national breakout. But that is indeed the case: A Google News search on “Boston Zoo Patrick” (not in quotes), sorted by date but with no duplicates, returns only 74 results (not the 207 indicated by Google at the top of the related page). Fox News and USA Today appear to be the only outlets outside of New England that covered the story.

The July 10 Globe report by Matt Viser also notes that the FPZ’s two zoo sites receive 570,000 visitors a year, an $11 million operating budget (meaning that taxpayers are funding about 60% of its operations), and a strange penchant for secrecy given its publicly-funded status (bold is mine):

…. a film crew is laying the groundwork to begin filming a comedy, “The Zookeeper,” starring Kevin James and Rosario Dawson, near an unused outdoor gorilla exhibit near the zoo’s rear entrance. Filming is scheduled to run from July 20 through October, and the zoo was paid a substantial location fee that zoo officials would not disclose.

More significant in the long run, a lengthy July 26 report by the Globe’s Keith O’Brien on the status of the nation’s zookeepers’ thought processes (zoo-logic, if you will), has several clues that explain why zoos can’t beef up their receipts from attendees and non-government sources.

It seems that zoo managements are slowly abandoning popular attractions in favor of turning their enterprises into indoctrination camps.

Here are key paragraphs from O’Brien’s four-pager that reveal a bit of that zoo-logic:

Goodbye, Jumbo
The identity crisis of the modern zoo

Ron Kagan’s decision …. (was) shocking. The executive director of the Detroit Zoo announced in 2004 that he was voluntarily sending his zoo’s two Asian elephants to a California sanctuary, where the land was plentiful, the weather temperate, and the elephants could roam. The reason, Kagan said, was simple. To paraphrase: The zoo, despite its best efforts, was essentially ruining the elephants’ lives.

…. Kagan’s choice, which is still reverberating in the zoo industry five years later, marks the latest twist in a long, often clumsy, historical shift – from animals caged for our delight, to a more enlightened conservation message, and finally to the notion that zoos can actually change human behavior by teaching us about the ways we’re damaging the natural world. Now more than ever, zoos are bringing the message of wildlife conservation to the forefront, making it not only part of their marketing plans, but their core missions. Indeed, some zoo directors now say conservation is the only pure reason for keeping animals at all.

…. Even as government funding dries up, attendance at many zoos is steady, and even rising. And with the natural world in increasing peril – poachers killing elephants in Africa, climate change threatening habitats worldwide, and American children increasingly sealed off into safe suburban bubbles – many zoo officials feel that this is their moment, their chance to remind people why wildlife matters, before it is too late.

…. In a recent study conducted by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums titled “Why Zoos & Aquariums Matter,” researchers surveyed more than 5,000 visitors and reported that zoos are indeed helping to shape the way people think about the natural world. Fifty-seven percent said their zoo visits strengthened their connection with nature. Fifty-four percent said zoos and aquariums prompted them to reconsider their role in environmental problems, and 61 percent talked about what they had learned.

But visitors don’t come to zoos “to eat their vitamins,” said Thane Maynard, executive director of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. And so, zoos are trying to take on an ever more idealistic mission, while serving up fun by blurring the lines between the worlds of the humans and the animals.

…. Ron Kagan isn’t against conservation; that’s part of the mission, he said. What he’d like to see more of, however, is in-depth discussion about animal welfare, how to best gauge it, and what to do about it if zoos are falling short of meeting animals’ needs. It’s a discussion that may lead to the conclusion that the zoos’ ultimate mission means giving up more of its animals, but Kagan’s all right with that.

I don’t know about you, but it seems that there is an offensive undercurrent of thought in modern zoo-logic that treatment of animals in bygone years was presumptively cruel.

It would be one thing if the zoos were truly private entities making these decisions on their own. And of course attention must be paid to evolving standards relating to what constitutes proper animal care.

But given the fact that so many zoos are now at least partially subsidized by the government, it seems that there is less focus on pleasing customers within proper animal-care constraints and more focus on creating politically correct “teachable moments.” That focus may partially explain why non-government receipts from attendance and donations is mostly flat. Government-funding cutbacks in the form of gradual zero-outs might force zoos to get back to their core mission within more reasonable financial constraints. It should be tried. Meanwhile, zookeepers whose knee-jerk reaction is threaten the destruction of animals in their care if they don’t get their way need to grow up.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Latest Pajamas Media Post (‘The Associated Press Declares War on the Online World’) Is Up

It’s here.

It will go up at BizzyBlog on Saturday morning (link won’t work until then) when the blackout expires.

___________________________________________

Left on the cutting room floor: One of the reasons AP must be watched is that their reports change over time, and the wire service is getting better at making hard to find original or developing versions. If bloggers and others can’t excerpt on AP reports when they see them, the text they are referring to may very well be gone in mere hours, leaving no proof that the excerpted text was ever there.

I’d be more impressed with AP’s interest in accountability if AP would leave tracks to previous versions of its reports on individual stories. It’s not that hard; bandwidth is cheap. I just don’t believe the interest is there.

An example of how AP reports evolve and devolve is embedded in this May 2008 post, when President Obama announced (on a Saturday) that he was quitting (but not denouncing) Jeremiah Wright’s Trinity United Church of Christ. AP reporter Tom Raum thought it necessary to insert verbiage about John McCain’s virtual non-relationships with other preachers — as if that was relevant to a story about Obama terminating a 20-year membership at an objectively racist, separatist mockery of a church.

Lickety-Split Links (073009, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 9:43 am
  • France moves ahead with “controversial postal reform” — Meanwhile, our postal service, which should be privatized, is on track to lose a record-setting $7 billion, and wants to cut back service.
  • Thanks to Alo at Brain Shavings for e-mailing links to American Thinker’s ongoing series, currently up to four parts, called “What to Ask Your Congressman About Obamacare.” They are: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4. There are apparently more parts to come; they will be linked here. Update: Part 5, Part 6, and Part 7 of 7.
  • James Pethokoukis at his Reuters blog“Why ObamaCare is morphing into RomneyCare.” A 2012 electoral contest between the current alleged GOP front-runner and the current presidential incumbent would in many ways be Romney v. Romney. We have about two years for a candidate who supports sensible conservatism, which is actually a redundant term, to appear.
  • Debra Burlingame in the Wall Street Journal“Revenge of the ‘Shoe Bomber’; The terrorist sues to resume his jihad from prison. The Obama administration caves in.” Money sentence: “Meanwhile, in order to appease political constituencies both here and abroad, the Obama administration is moving full steam ahead, operating on the false premise that giving more civil liberties to (imprisoned) religious fanatics bent on destroying Western civilization will make a difference in the Muslim world.” Oh, it will make a difference, just not the one Obama naively expects. Or does he really understand what is really likely to happen, but okay with it?
  • According to a just-received CNN e-mail, “Exxon Mobil’s second-quarter income tumbles 66% to $3.95 billion, falling short of analysts’ estimates.” Before statists carrying out their own virtual jihad against producers break out the champagne, they should recognize that this probably means that their beloved Uncle Sam will get billions of dollars a year less in corporate income taxes if this continues at Exxon and other oil companies. The disaster in federal corporate income tax collections, and federal tax collections in general, shows no sign of abating, as shown in these individual line items making up the vast majority of all money collected:

    USreceiptsAprToLateJuly09v08

Four Years After Kelo Ruling, Now-Barren Area Still Needs ‘Springboard’

Four years ago, on June 23, 2005, a 6-3 Supreme Court majority ruled in Kelo v. New London that the New London, Connecticut government could condemn houses in that city’s Fort Trumbull area in the name of redevelopment. A bit over a year later, the city settled with the area’s final two holdouts, the Cristofaro family and Susette Kelo.

Since then the city has without success tried to engage a developer to build a hotel on part of the now-leveled area, and to put apartments or condos on the rest. Yes, you read that right; they’re building residences where residences used to be.

The idea behind the hotel was that it would serve as lodging for visitors to the anticipated U.S. Coast Guard Museum.

Now, as reported in last Friday’s New London Day, it seems that even the Museum’s ultimate presence in Fort Trumbull is in serious doubt:

Coast Guard museum plan on hold
Shelving of project disappoints city officials still looking for Fort Trumbull springboard

Plans for a Coast Guard museum, which city officials have long hoped would be the impetus for economic development at Fort Trumbull, have been put on hold.

Citing lackluster fundraising figures and a stagnant economy, the National Coast Guard Museum Association and the Coast Guard Foundation voted unanimously Thursday to postpone the $65 million project.

Jerry Ostermiller will step down as president of the Museum Association, a job he has held since January.

”This doesn’t mean we’ve given up on the project, it means we’ll put it on the shelf until the economic climate improves,” said Anne Brengle, foundation president.

Most of the rest of the article consists of city officials and politicians absurdly pretending that the news is no big deal. But a Day editorial punctured that nonsense:

New game plan

It would be hard to come up with more deflating news for the prospects of economic development in Fort Trumbull than the announcement Thursday that the Coast Guard Foundation is suspending its effort to raise funds for the construction of the National Coast Guard Museum.

…. Whether the revival of the museum project is possible when the economy improves is questionable at best. Association leaders say it will be at least a year before they are in a position to try. Many people donated generously to get this far. They will not jump back in easily.

The New London Development Corp. was counting on the museum and construction of an adjacent hotel as the linchpin for Fort Trumbull redevelopment. This newspaper has previously expressed concerns that the NLDC’s plans were too dependent on this one project. NLDC mentions the museum a dozen times in its development plan, to the exclusion of almost anything else.

The city must be open to other development possibilities on the 90-acre tract. Commiserating about the museum serves no purpose. The Fort Trumbull peninsula is prime waterfront land with significant potential when the economy improves.

The “New Game Plan” title of the Day’s editorial is an admission that there is currently “no game plan.”

This situation is especially infuriating because a primary underpinning of the Supreme Court’s decision twisting the 5th Amendment’s “public use” clause and allowing the city’s condemnation and takeover of the area was the judicial majority’s confidence that city elders knew what they were doing, as noted in this paragraph from the ruling itself (bolds are mine):

The city’s determination that the area at issue was sufficiently distressed to justify a program of economic rejuvenation is entitled to deference. The city has carefully formulated a development plan that it believes will provide appreciable benefits to the community, including, but not limited to, new jobs and increased tax revenue. As with other exercises in urban planning and development, the city is trying to coordinate a variety of commercial, residential, and recreational land uses, with the hope that they will form a whole greater than the sum of its parts. To effectuate this plan, the city has invoked a state statute that specifically authorizes the use of eminent domain to promote economic development. Given the plan’s comprehensive character, the thorough deliberation that preceded its adoption, and the limited scope of this Court’s review in such cases, it is appropriate here …. to resolve the challenges of the individual owners, not on a piecemeal basis, but rather in light of the entire plan. Because that plan unquestionably serves a public purpose, the takings challenged here satisfy the Fifth Amendment.

With nothing but barren land and no prospects for improvement four years later, how much more foolish can the Court majority possibly look?

One should also not forget that the high-powered, politically-connected Italian Dramatic Club was outrageously spared from the wrecking ball in a blatant act of city favoritism. As was ruefully stated as this sad process unfolded, “The Italian Dramatic Club can stay, but the Italians have to go.”

Despite all of the attention the original case commanded, the decision’s inactive aftermath has been virtually ignored by the establishment press. The news of the Coast Guard Museum’s suspension is no different. A Google News Search on ["New London" Coast Guard Museum] (typed as indicated between brackets) has four listings, all from Nutmeg State media outlets.

Why is this continued monument to judicial malfeasance and government ineptitude not getting more attention? I would suggest that the known biases present in the establishment media cause that question to answer itself.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

July 29, 2009

CNN: Cops Passionately Back Crowley

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:04 pm

This is CNN speaking with Cambridge, MA cops:

Transcript:

Sgt. Leon Lashley, Cambridge MA Police: It happened to be a white officer on a black man, and the common call a lot of times is to call it a racist situation.

Let me, don’t get me wrong, it does happen. It has happened here in Cambridge. And I can’t say it will not ever happen again in Cambridge. (But) the situation here was not a racial(ly) motivated situation.

CNN (Reporter Don Lemon): And you know people obviously are going to be paying closer attention to you, because you’re an African-American man. I’m just being honest. And you’re supporting this white officer, that it has been put out there by some that “he was racially profiling Dr. Gates.” They’re going to pay attention to you.

Sgt. Lashley: I hope they would. I heard one of the comments call him a rogue cop. There’s nothing rogue about him. He was doing his job.

CNN (addressing Officer Kelly King): When you heard about what happened with this sergeant, what did you think?

Officer Kelly King, Cambridge MA Police: I was appalled. I know Jimmy. I’ve known him for more than the 11 years with the Cambridge Police. I knew him when he worked for Harvard.

I know him to be a good police officer, a good man, with character, and I knew these charges were bogus. There has been a tremendous rush to judgment. And I think the thing to be learned first and foremost from this is to look at all of the evidence, to consider all, to weigh all. I think Professor Gates has done a very good job at throwing up a very effective smoke screen, calling “racism,” as it had nothing to do with it.

CNN: And the President?

Officer King: It’s unfortunate. I supported him. I voted for him. I will not again.

I agree that I think it’s admirable that he would speak on behalf of his friend. But he should have recused himself. He should have stepped back, and he should have said, “I support my friend but I don’t have all the facts. I won’t weigh in yet.”

CNN: The Governor? (Deval Patrick)

Officer King: I would apply the same to him.

CNN: What do want people in the country to know who have already made up their mind about Jimmy Crowley?

Officer King: Keep their minds open, and realize that we would not support someone that we felt wronged someone else. We took this job to do the right thing. We all took this job to do the right thing. We would not support anyone in blue doing the wrong thing.

CNN: Um, I know you can’t respond, you can’t talk, you can …. nod your head. You’ve got to be touched by this.

Sgt. Jimmy Crowley: (nods head “yes”)

Take that, PUNK (and Punk Jr. Patrick).

NYC Sending Homeless Away At City Expense; NYT Sympathetic

The Bloomberg administration in New York has happened upon an idea for at least partially solving the city’s homeless problem: Buy them tickets to get to the homes of relatives in the U.S. or abroad who will take them in.

Along the way, the New York Times’s coverage of the story throws out an estimate of annual costs to take care of a homeless family that is either ridiculously high, or indicative of out-of-control bloat. The story also reveals the dense logic of a so-called “homeless advocate” who believes that the people sent away are still homeless. Finally and separately, though I couldn’t find a reference myself, a well-known blogger asserts that a similar approach to the problem taken by another city was derided as uncaring.

Here are key paragraphs from the story by Julie Bosman (HT to an e-mailer):

City Aids Homeless With One-Way Tickets Home

They are flown to Paris ($6,332), Orlando ($858.40), Johannesburg ($2,550.70), or most frequently, San Juan ($484.20).

They are not executives on business trips or couples on honeymoons. Rather, all are families who have ended up homeless, and all the plane tickets are courtesy of the city of New York (one-way).

The Bloomberg administration, which has struggled with a seemingly intractable problem of homelessness for years, has paid for more than 550 families to leave the city since 2007, as a way of keeping them out of the expensive shelter system, which costs $36,000 a year per family. All it takes is for a relative elsewhere to agree to take the family in.

Many of them are longtime New Yorkers who have come upon hard times, arrive at the shelter’s doorstep and jump at the offer to move at no cost. Others are recent arrivals who are happy to return home after becoming discouraged by the city’s noise, the mazelike subway, the difficult job market or the high cost of housing.

The city …. spends $500,000 a year on the program ….

…. Once a family leaves New York, homeless services officials say they follow up with a phone call to make sure they arrive safely, then make a few more calls over the next two to three weeks. In rare cases, they will advance the family up to four months’ rent, a one-month security deposit, a furniture allowance and a broker’s fee.

…. The program fails to address the underlying problems that brought the families here in the first place, said Arnold S. Cohen, the president and chief executive of the Partnership for the Homeless, an advocacy group in New York.

“The city is engaged in cosmetics,” Mr. Cohen said. “What we’re doing is passing the problem of homelessness to another city. We’re taking people from a shelter bed here to the living room couch of another family. Essentially, this family is still homeless.”

Oh come on, Mr. Cohen. When they arrive, they have a roof over their heads and are with people who were willing to take them in. They’re not homeless any more. Extending Mr. Cohen’s definition, if there are two families living together in any dwelling, one of them must be considered homeless. How many immigrant and other families who are voluntarily crowded into single-dwelling living conditions would be added to the homeless stats under Mr. Cohen’s definition?

No wonder there is so much baloney in data about the homeless. About a year ago, I noted that a detailed study by the city of San Francisco into that city’s homeless population revealed that the city had 6,377 homeless — including those who were in what is known as “supportive housing” — and a related budget of $186 million, or $29,000 per homeless person, which is bad enough. New York’s spending of $36,000 per homeless person is almost 25% higher, and is spread over a larger homeless population, as Gotham is about 12 times larger than San Francisco. So there should be economies of scale instead of increased bloat, right? Wrong.

The homeless-magnet City by the Bay’s homelessness rate of 0.98%, if replicated in the entire country, would yield a homeless population of just under 3 million. But of course the nationwide rate isn’t anywhere near that high, and when you subtract out those in “supportive housing” — which, by the way, San Francisco believes is an appropriate step — the nationwide number probably is in the hundreds of thousands.

Of course, we have the Obama administration presiding over the economy, so that number could start to rise dramatically in short order.

Interestingly, Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit recalls that when Houston did something similar, “it was proof of uncaring degeneracy. Now that New York is doing it, it’s progressive!”

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.