March 23, 2011

New Home Sales Double-Dip Slump Is Official, And to Lowest Post-WWII Level

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:32 am

February’s new-home sales number is the worst ever on records going back to 1963, is certainly the worst since the aftermath of World War II, and is 30% below February 2010:

NewHomeSales0211

One word you almost most definitely won’t see in today’s coverage of this news: “Obama.” That won’t change the fact that his administration’s policies have not only kept the housing industry in the doldrums, but have plunged it to depths heretofore unimaginable.

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UPDATE:Unexpectedly” —

Sales fell 16.9 percent from January, delivering a shock to analysts who had expected a gain for last month.

Plus: An “unexpectedly” encore.

From the ‘Heaven Help Us’ Dept. (UPDATES: Ben Stein, Michael Kinsley)

Filed under: Taxes & Government,US & Allied Military — Tom @ 8:09 am

At the Hill (bolds are mine throughout this post):

Obama administration struggles to define American mission in Libya

The Obama administration scrambled to define the U.S. mission in Libya on Tuesday amid congressional criticism that it has not clearly explained its endgame for the war-torn country.

The White House strongly denied that regime change is part of its mission after a statement earlier in the day characterized the goal there as “installing a democratic system.”

Separately, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton struggled to respond to questions from ABC’s Diane Sawyer over whether the U.S. operation would be a success if Col. Moammar Gadhafi remains in power.

Clinton said the United Nations resolution authorizing force against Gadhafi was broad, but included nothing “about getting rid of anybody.”

At the same time, Clinton said it is “highly unlikely” a stable and peaceful Libya can be established with Gadhafi in power. She also said the U.S. mission was intended to give insurgents fighting Gadhafi a “level playing field” and a “much better chance” at toppling the dictator.

Well, we could get lucky. The rebels could topple Gadhafi. They could be legitimately interested in representative government and not in imposing sharia law. They could be free of Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist influence — Update: Despite indications to the contrary.

Well, Obama campaigned on “hope.” That’s a lot to hope for, and I fear that our leaders really have no idea how this will work out. If it works out well, it will be out of pure luck, period.

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UPDATE: Ben Stein

Maybe I missed something, but wasn’t that The Constitution of the United States of America that we just laid to rest this weekend?

It was buried in a private ceremony by Mr. Barack Obama of Chicago as he silently signed America on to the One World Government some of us have been worried about for decades.

… when did we amend the Constitution to declare that the United Nations had control over our military? When did we abolish the part of the Constitution that said Congress had the right to declare war? Now, I well know that in recent postwar conflicts, we don’t have declarations of war. But we have Congressional debates. We have funding votes. We have a sense of the Congress or some kind of resolution.

This time, zip. Nada. Nothing. Just France and the U.K. and Norway saying that it’s time to go to war, and off America goes to war. And off Mr. and Mrs. Obama go to a South American “fact finding” trip for the POTUS and a fun sightseeing junket for the Obama girls.

(I wonder if there has ever before in history been a national leader who sent his country to war — and the same day went off on vacation. Has that ever happened before?)

UPDATE 2: Even Michael Kinsley gets it —

So how comes it that the United States is now more-or-less committed to overthrowing the Qadhafi regime, and soon? That’s not yet our official position, of course. Officially, we are merely enforcing a “no-fly zone” imposed by the United Nations, and trying to protect a dissident movement from being crushed. What’s more, we are supposedly mere participants in a multilateral effort. Supposedly, in fact,we’re not even the leader of this coalition, a role we have turned over to the British and French. (You knew the war was serious when the New York Times started to refer to our side in headlines as “the allies.”)

As for that UN resolution, it’s more a matter of “let’s you and him fight.” The US is doing all the heavy lifting. And if the US had been opposed, it would not be happening. If Qadhafi is still in power a year from now, even if he is obeying the “no fly” rules, it will be regarded world-wide as more evidence of America’s decline as a great power and regarded in America as evidence that Democrats in general and Obama and Hillary Clinton in particular are not ready to play foreign policy with the big children.

Positivity: Doctors hope treatment will give Baby Joseph the gift of more time

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 5:58 am

From St. Louis:

Mar 22, 2011 / 06:26 am

Doctors who performed a recent procedure on a terminally ill 13 month-old expressed hope that the treatment will provide the baby’s family with the “gift of a few more months together.”

On March 21, physicians at the SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center in St. Louis, Missouri – where baby Joseph Maraachli was recently transferred – successfully performed a tracheotomy on the infant after doctors in a Canadian hospital refused to perform the procedure.

The London Health Sciences Centre in Ontario said that the treatment– which would allow for the baby to breath on his own – was reserved for patients who needed a breathing machine long term.

Baby Joseph, who suffers from a severe and fatal neurological disorder called Leigh Syndrome, was considered to be in a vegetative state by Canadian doctors, who recommended that he have his feeding and breathing tubes removed.

However, physicians at the Catholic St. Louis hospital said in a March 21 statement that after “a thorough examination by a multi-disciplinary medical team of specialists,” and “extensive consultations” with Joseph’s parents and the hospital ethics committee, “we concluded that a tracheotomy was medically appropriate.”

St. Louis doctors said the infant “is currently in the pediatric intensive care unit, where tracheotomy patients routinely spend 7 to 10 days following the procedure.”

The hospital said that after he is discharged from SSM Cardinal Glennon, baby Joseph will moved to Ranken Jordan – a Pediatric Specialty Hospital in St. Louis – before being transported to his family home in Canada.

Fr. Frank Pavone, who heads the New York-based Priests for Life, told CNA on March 14 it was a “victory for the family” that baby Joseph was moved from the Ontario medical center to the Catholic hospital in Missouri.

Joseph’s parents – Moe and Sana Maraachli – had asked Priests for Life for help after doctors in Canada refused to transfer the child to a facility that could perform a tracheotomy on him.

Fr. Pavone said that the treatment is considered by many doctors as a “standard procedure for Joseph’s condition.”

“We and the family felt that they were making a value judgment on his life,” Fr. Pavone said. “It’s one thing to say a treatment is worthless – it’s another thing to say a life is worthless.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.