November 23, 2011

Positivity: Pre-Thanksgiving Perspective

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 11:00 pm

Note: A slightly different version of this post originally went up in November 2007, and has turned into a BizzyBlog tradition.

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I saw this about halfway through this post at Obi’s Sister. It was written to make a political point, which is fine, but it also makes a universal one (paragraphing added by me):

A neighbor (say her name is Mary) sees her other neighbor (say her name is Nancy) and decides to make her a pie. She bakes a lovely pie the next day and takes it next-door. Nancy is overwhelmed that her neighbor would be so thoughtful and thanks her profusely.

The next week, Mary makes her another pie. When she takes it over, Nancy thanks her again, but with less enthusiasm.

The next week, Mary makes her another pie. When she takes it over, Nancy just says “Thanks.”

The next week, Mary makes her another pie. When she takes it over, Nancy says, “Thanks, and you’re a day late this time.”

The next week, Mary makes her another pie. When she takes it over, Nancy says “Thanks, but next time, can you make a cherry pie instead of apple? I’m getting tired of apple.”

The next week, Mary makes her another pie. When she takes it over, Nancy says “You know, if you put a little less sugar in the crust and didn’t handle it so long, the crust wouldn’t be tough.”

The next week, Mary has lots to do and forgets to make her pie. When she walked by Nancy’s house, she stuck her head out the door and yelled, “Hey! Where’s my pie?”

How quickly gratitude turns into a jaded sense of entitlement.

…. Why don’t we go back to the original idea? Simple people, pioneers really, expressing their pure and heartfelt gratitude …. A humble heartfelt thanksgiving. Not a holiday, but a state of mind.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.


Petty Toledo Blade Hearing Serious Footsteps From a Free ‘Competitor’

Sometimes it’s worth pausing and giving thanks for what you’re not.

Specifically, everyone except those who run or work for the Toledo Blade or WTOL in Toledo can be thankful that … they don’t run or work for the Toledo Blade or WTOL in Toledo.

Michael Miller and Maggie Thurber will explain.

First, Mr. Miller, who in case you weren’t aware is the Chief Editor of the Toledo Free Press, a free publication with reported circulation of 100,000 (to give you an idea of where this is going) as found at Facebook:

So, WTOL’s Jerry Anderson invited me to appear on his “Leading Edge” program this week to talk about the Make-A-Wish benefit CD. 30 minutes before taping, I was informed, “You are not allowed on our station” and the appearance was canceled. I have not been told the entire story, but I have no doubt WTOL’s alliance with The Blade is the reason.

It is very sad that anyone would punish a Make-A-Wish project, and deny its kids, over media politics. On the day before Thanksgiving!

WTOL’s Chrys Peterson has given her all for this project and the Make-A-Wish kids. I have always known her and Jerry to be class acts.

The powers that be (and bully) can keep me off a TV news show, but we are still going to sell our CD and we are still going to raise a ton of money and awareness for Make-A-Wish. At the end of the day, that is all that matters. Now more than ever, we need your support to make this CD a success. How long is this community going to allow a single entity to cast such a putrid shadow over our community’s potential?

Good question. But why would the Blade care? Well, because the high-and-mighty Blade, which can’t even properly distinguish between victims and perpetrators in crime stories, is suing the Free Press because the Free Press’s business manager, who left the Blade eight years ago, supposedly was involved in the creation of a cartoon disparaging the Blade, something he agreed not to do in his separation agreement. Miller says it ain’t so, with conviction.

But why would WTOL care? Well, it’s because the Blade and the station have an affiliation where they share news resources. WTOL apparently provides weather and perhaps other services for the Blade, and many Blade stories appear at WTOL’s web site.

Now it’s Maggie’s turn, wherein she carries a WTOL Facebook post I won’t link:

Hi, I’m CJ Hoyt, the News Director at WTOL 11. We are ecstatic that Chrys Peterson appears on the Make-a-Wish CD. We look forward to promoting this CD in our newscasts, on our website and through social media. Jerry will also be featuring the CD in a segment of Leading Edge next week. WTOL has a long relationship with Make-a-Wish and numerous charitable organizations throughout Northwest Ohio and we value those relationships and the benefits they bring to our community. However, we also value our partnership with the Toledo Blade. And it is our station policy to not promote a direct competitor of our valued partner. I, alone, made the decision not to use you in our Leading Edge segment. But that won’t stop us from finding lots of ways from promoting this worthy cause. If anyone has any questions about how our newsroom operates, they are always welcome to reach out to me directly. My phone number is 419-248-1108 and my email address is cjhoyt@wtol.com. Thanks!

Here’s the good news. The high and mighty Toledo Blade considers a free publication which it surely once viewed with utter contempt and ridicule as a serious competitor. The worm in the Glass City is turning, and it’s not going the Blade’s way.

We all — well, at least everyone except for those who run or work for the Toledo Blade or WTOL — can give thanks for that.

Remember this episode the next time you see an insufferable Blade editorial about how important it is that taxpayers empty their pocketbooks “for the children.”

Toledo Blade: Robber Killed by Store Clerk While Scooping Up Cash Is ‘Victim’

I admit that I haven’t kept up with trends in establishment press local crime coverage. But an item at Toledo-area blogger Maggie Thurber’s place about a robbery-related story in Monday’s Toledo Blade caught my attention. I hope the perspective Maggie saw on display is an outlier. I’m concerned that it may not be.

You see, someone robbing a convenience store in the Glass City was killed during the attempt, and the “Blade Staff” in the unbylined story called him a victim — twice:

Person fatally shot in North Toledo
Victim was suspect in apparent robbery attempt

Toledo police are at the scene of a convenience store robbery in North Toledo where one person has been fatally shot.

The deceased was identified by police as Lamar Allen, 25, of Toledo.

The incident occurred about 9:45 a.m. at the Express Carryout, 1920 Mulberry St.

The two adult male suspects were in the process of emptying the store’s cash register when the clerk fatally shot one of them, said Toledo police Sgt. Joe Heffernan. The victim, who was struck multiple times, collapsed right in front of the counter.

It was unclear whether the second suspect, who fled the store, was hit by a bullet or got away with any cash. He was last seen running toward Stickney Avenue.

Victim? Last time I checked, someone trying to rob a convenience store was referred to as an (alleged) “perpetrator,” “robber,” “suspect,” or “criminal.” It is undoubtedly awful that Mr. Allen was shot dead while carrying out his robbery (the Blade “somehow” doesn’t mention whether he was armed or pretended to be), and especially so for his family, relatives, and friends. But that doesn’t make him a victim, and by inference, it doesn’t make the store clerk a perp.

Maggie expounded on the matter a bit:

The bottom line is that the story could have been written and reported on without such biased words being used. But liberal bias in our local daily is a given, rather than the exception.

I have more concern for the store clerk. Even in self-defense, it must be a terrible thing to know you have taken someone’s life – and logic about it being the ‘right’ thing is usually not enough to overcome the feelings that must result.

So is characterizing criminals as “victims” killed or otherwise harmed something seen only occasionally in the far-left Blade, or an growing trend in irresponsible journalism? I certainly hope it’s the former.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Heaven and Hell

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:00 pm

Had to pass along this item I received from a frequent email correspondent:

Heaven and Hell

While walking down the street one day a Corrupt Senator (that may be redundant) was tragically hit by a car and died. His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance.

“Welcome to heaven,” says St.. Peter. “Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so we’re not sure what to do with you.”

“No problem, just let me in,” says the Senator.

“Well, I’d like to, but I have orders from the higher ups. What we’ll do is have you spend one day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity.”

“Really?, I’ve made up my mind. I want to be in heaven,” says the Senator.

“I’m sorry, but we have our rules.”

And with that, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell.

The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course.

In the distance is a clubhouse and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him. Everyone is very happy and in evening dress. They run to greet him, shake his hand, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the people.

They played a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster, caviar and the finest champagne. Also present is the devil, who really is a very friendly guy who is having a good time dancing and telling jokes.

They are all having such a good time that before the Senator realizes it, it is time to go. Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves while the elevator rises.

The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens in heaven where St. Peter is waiting for him, “Now it’s time to visit heaven…

So, 24 hours passed with the Senator joining a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing. They have a good time and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by and St. Peter returns.

“Well, then, you’ve spent a day in hell and another in heaven. Now choose your eternity.”

The Senator reflects for a minute, then he answers: “Well, I would never have said it before, I mean heaven has been delightful, but I think I would be better off in hell.”

So, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell…

Now the doors of the elevator open and he’s in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage. He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags as more trash falls to the ground.

The devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulders.

“I don’t understand,” stammers the Senator. “Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and clubhouse, and we ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne, and danced and had a great time. Now there’s just a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look miserable. What happened?”

The devil smiles at him and says, “Yesterday we were campaigning.”

“Today, you voted.”

Vote wisely.

Initial Unemployment Claims: 393K SA, 437K NSA; NSA Year-Over-Year Drop Only 6%

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:12 am

From the Department of Labor:

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

In the week ending November 19, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 393,000, an increase of 2,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 391,000. The 4-week moving average was 394,250, a decrease of 3,250 from the previous week’s revised average of 397,500.

… UNADJUSTED DATA

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 437,049 in the week ending November 19, an increase of 74,214 from the previous week. There were 464,817 initial claims in the comparable week in 2010.

Business Insider’s email expected 390K, as did Bloomberg, as did Reuters.

So instead of stuck at 400,000, we’re stuck in the 390s (really the mid-390s, if the typical upward revision happens next week), and the not seasonally adjusted drop from the same week a year ago was only 6%. That’s not impressive.

Understatement of the day, at Bloomberg: Today’s report is “a sign that the labor market is taking time to gain traction.” Yeah, about 3-1/2 years, the amount of time the nation has been enduring the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy.

Could Ohio Become a Right-to-Work State?

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:59 am

GDPgrowthTop12bottom4for10yrsTo2010

It could, if a Tea Party-inspired group gets its way. It could also ensure Barack Obama’s reelection.

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Note: This column went up at PJ Media and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Monday.

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Fresh off a resounding ballot-issue victory at the polls, many of those who worked to pass Issue 3, the “Ohio Healthcare Freedom Amendment,” on November 8, thereby hardwiring a statewide rejection of ObamaCare’s mandates into Ohio’s Constitution, have begun the process of getting a right-to-work initiative on the ballot in 2012 or 2013.

A spokesman for the usually aggressive John Kasich indicates that the Buckeye State’s Governor, fresh from the stinging defeat of Issue 2, his signature public-sector cost control and collective-bargaining reform law, doesn’t find this development particularly helpful: “Right now is the time to pause and take stock … Now’s not the time to be taking up or considering these types of issues.”

As explained at the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law, a self-described “legal center dedicated to protecting the constitutional rights of Ohioans from government abuse,” Ohio’s right-to-work initiative would provide that:

  • “No law, rule, agreement, or arrangement shall require any person or employer to become or remain a member of a labor organization.”
  • “No law, rule, agreement, or arrangement shall require, directly or indirectly, as a condition of employment, any person or employer, to pay or transfer any dues, fees, assessments, other charges of any kind, or anything else of value, to a labor organization, or third party in lieu of the labor organization.”

It also “would not prevent any person from voluntarily belonging to or providing support to a labor organization,” and would not affect preexisting agreements and contracts.

Currently, the U.S. has 22 right-to-work states. All of them are in the South, West, and Central Midwest. During the past 15 years, these states have collectively outperformed the rest of the nation to an almost embarrassing degree.

The aforementioned 1851 Center has a strong rundown of key statistics and facts, including these:

  • “From 1995 to 2005, incomes of residents in right-to-work states grew by 142 percent more than the incomes of Ohioans,” and “private-sector job growth was 500% greater.”
  • After passing right-to-work legislation in 1986 and 2001, respectively, Idaho and Oklahoma both experienced explosive growth in their economies and overall employment.
  • An after-tax dollar earned in a right-to-work state has more real purchasing power than it does in other states, “because union labor tends to raise (the) costs of goods and services.”

I took a look at economic growth in the individual states during the past decade as measured by gross domestic product (GDP). What I found, as seen at the top right, also shows that right-to-work states clearly outperformed the others:

The chart shows that right-to-work states made up nine out of the top twelve performers in economic growth during the past decade, while the four clear laggards, including Michigan and Ohio, whose economies both shrank, were not. 2001-2010 economic growth weighted by average population in all right-to-work states was 21.7%; in the rest of the states and the District of Columbia, it was only 13.6%. During the past thirty years, the tremendous leads in per-capita GDP industrial states like Ohio and Michigan once had over the right-to-work states have mostly and in a few cases entirely evaporated.

Despite the tantalizing prospects for economic improvement inherent in making Ohio a right-to-work state, it’s hard to blame Kasich for his caution. On the same day Ohioans passed Issue 3 by a stunning 66%-34% margin, they rejected his Issue 2 by 61%-39%. These somewhat contradictory results would appear to make a right-to-work initiative’s prospects — and its potential impact on the 2012 presidential election — more than a little murky.

It comes down to two critical questions:

  1. Do Buckeye State voters, as the Ohioans for Workplace Freedom umbrella group strongly believes, care as much about the fundamental freedom of being able to work anywhere they’re hired without being forced in some cases to join a union — or to pay its dues even if they don’t join — as they showed that they cared about being free of ObamaCare’s mandates?
  2. Or are they more worried about Ohio’s workers losing whatever “protections” supposedly exist (largely illusory, especially in the private sector) in union-controlled workplaces?

While it would be nice to get electoral answers to these questions, yours truly — and I suspect most Americans who understand how paramount it is to oust President Barack Obama next year — would prefer to wait until 2013 to find out. The last thing the country needs is to lose Ohio to Team Obama because a hyper-energized, spendthrift, out-of-state labor movement was able to maximize its sympathizers’ turnout in this most critical and unpredictable of swing states.

Whether my 2013 ballot appearance preference prevails depends on how quickly proponents can gather the required signatures (about 500,000 to ensure that about 386,000 are accepted after review). The initiative’s leaders, demonstrating their uncanny ability to be simultaneously endearing and infuriating, intend to pursue a 2012 ballot appearance if they have enough signatures by next year’s relevant deadline, regardless of its effect on the presidential election, but will hold off and finish the job for the 2013 ballot if they don’t. Given that they intend to pursue a primarily grassroots, blocking-and-tackling signature-gathering effort similar to the one used during the healthcare campaign (which was originally targeted for 2010 but was delayed until this year), I’m inclined to believe that we won’t see the initiative get on the ballot until the year after we learn whether Barack Obama was reelected.

I hope I’m right.

Occupy Update (112311)

Filed under: Activism,Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:50 am

As readers will see shortly, the Occupy folks have “expanded” their agenda; anyone with eyes has known for some time that it has been about promoting comprehensive far-leftism from the start, and not just the 1%-99% thing; it’s just becoming more obvious. Now they are moving their mayhem into non-economic areas. I’ll have to persist with Occupy Updates through the weekend, because, as explained previously, I want to keep readers up-to-date and to have the stories and links for future reference.

So here are just a few of the latest items relating to the Barack Obama-endorsed (proof hereherehere, and here) Occupy movement.

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At CNBC (“Demonstrators Plan to Occupy Retailers on Black Friday”) — “Organizers are encouraging consumers to either occupy or boycott retailers that are publicly traded, according to the Stop Black Friday website. The goal of the movement is to impact the profits of major corporations this holiday season. … A few of the retailers the protesters plan on targeting include Neiman Marcus, Amazon and Wal-Mart.”

If “successful,” the Obama-endorsed Occupiers will end up impacting jobs.

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Springfield, Massachusetts“Pro-family citizens stand firm and confront loud ‘Occupy’ demonstration attempting to harass & intimidate Pastor Scott Lively’s inner-city Christian ministry; Religious believers to left-wing activists: ‘We’re not taking it anymore!’” What exactly does “We’re here and we’re queer” to do with the 1%-99%?

From the link: “It’s believed to be the first time in the U.S. that any Occupy harassment action has been met with resistance by those they were targeting.” With one big exception: Police and fire officials and officers doing their jobs.

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Associated Press “Occupy protests cost nation’s cities at least $13M.” Least, schmeast. In just Oakland, the tab was $2.4 million (from Nov. 16 Occupy thread) a week ago.

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“Mostly peaceful” update, from John Nolte at BigJournalism.com“58 percent of Occupy Chicago survey respondents agreed that violence against the government is sometimes justified.”

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From the “No Sense of Irony” Department — The United Auto Workers along with two of its employers, General Motors and Chrysler, received perhaps the biggest direct bailout of any entities from the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Remember, in the vast majority of bailed-out banks repaid their TARP funds with interest. The government ripped off certain GM and Chrysler lenders in bankruptcy proceedings, gave the union a clearly disproportionate ownership interest in Chrysler, and let the union get away with virtually no pocketbook concessions for its current members. The government’s loss on the GM bailout is in excess of $20 billion.

So of course, the UAW, which as noted has benefited from the eeeeevil bailouts as much if not more than anyone, endorsed Occupy Wall Street in early October, saying in part: “The anti-worker, anti-middle class corporate GOP-agenda puts public education, public service and infrastructure investment at risk.”

But the Occupy movement isn’t partisan (/sarc).

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“Occupy” Photo of the Day (original source) — and a pre-Thanksgiving opportunity to thank our troops for their service:

MilitaryAntiOWSphoto1111

Wednesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (112311)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 7:00 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow later. Other topics are also fair game.

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Positivity: Edwards shows class and dignity in losing title

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:58 am

From Homestead, Florida — Given some of the bad actors in sports who get far too much attention, including occasionally in auto racing, it seems appropriate to excerpt an example of sportsmanship in the face of what had to be a bitter disappointment (bolds are mine), and on Thanksgiving Eve, to thank the Associated Press’s Jenna Fryer for noticing:

Nov 21, 5:05 PM EST

Carl Edwards did everything right in his quest to win NASCAR’s championship.

He was strong and steady for 10 consecutive weeks, he salvaged solid finishes on the days his Roush Fenway Racing team struggled, and he stood steely in the path of Tony Stewart’s unyielding verbal assault.

In almost any other year – and all five in the Jimmie Johnson reign – he’d have woken up Monday a NASCAR champion.

Not this year, though. And there’s nothing he could have done differently to change the outcome.

Edwards went round-for-round with Stewart in what might be the greatest fight for the title in NASCAR history and lost. The two finished tied in the final Sprint Cup Series points standings – a first in NASCAR history – and Stewart took the tiebreaker based on his five victories to Edwards’ one.

So despite winning the pole, leading the most laps in Sunday’s season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway and finishing second to Stewart, Edwards went home the bridesmaid in what many believe to be the most gripping championship-deciding race ever.

“We knew we could come into this thing and we knew that of all of the circumstances that could happen, this one was the least probable,” Edwards said. “I mean, for us to finish like that, tied, fighting for the win. That is the least probable outcome.”

… a disappointed Edwards sat silently in Homestead’s media center watching Stewart’s championship celebration on a bank of televisions. He’d shaken Stewart’s hand, and he’d consoled crew chief Bob Osborne, who had to be devastated by the final outcome.

But Edwards himself? He didn’t pout. He didn’t scowl. And if he had himself a good cry, he most certainly didn’t do it in public.

There are those who say Edwards is so very image-conscious that he must been less than genuine. But his conduct in the hours after Sunday’s race showed just how to act with class and sportsmanship in the face of defeat.

“I told myself, I told my family, that the one thing I’m going to do is I’m going to walk back to that motorhome, win, lose or draw, and I’m going to be a good example for my kids and work hard and go be better next season,” Edwards said.