February 25, 2012

AP’s Kravitz Plays ‘Let’s Pretend the New-Home Market Is Recovering’ Again

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:50 am

The Associated Press, aka the Administration’s Press, and designated drone Derek Kravitz clearly haven’t tired of putting smiley-faces on the ongoing, relentlessly awful conditions in the new-home market.

As shown on February 17 (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), the number of single-family homes under construction is barely above its all-time low (since records have been kept), while January’s figure for single-family units completed was absolutely the lowest on record. Yet Kravitz, as has been his habit, erroneously presented housing starts alone as a proxy for “construction” activity, made it appear to many typical readers that housing starts have been averaging about 500,000 per month (not per year), and pretended that the modest rise in starts “suggests builders are growing more confident that more buyers are ready to come off the sidelines.” In his Friday report on new-home sales, Kravitz noted a seasonally adjusted January drop, but trumpeted a minuscule upward adjustment to fourth-quarter sales which was barely more than a rounding error:

(more…)

Saturday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (022512)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 7:15 am

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

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Positivity: Youth catechism is best selling Catholic book worldwide

Filed under: General,Positivity — Tom @ 7:00 am

From Rome:

Feb 23, 2012 / 03:13 pm

The co-creator of the Church’s catechism for young people has revealed that it’s now the top selling Catholic book in the world.

“The latest figures show that Youcat has sold 1.7 million copies worldwide. It’s been a great success in nearly every country where it has been published,” said German publisher Bernard Meuser in a Feb. 23 interview with CNA.

“For example, it is number one in Spain, number one in America, and number one in Germany along with the Pope’s latest book.”

In 2006 Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna and Meuser decided to work on catechism that transmitted the Church’s teachings “in a way that younger people can understand.” He said Cardinal Schönborn’s key advice was that “if you do something for young people, you should do it with young people.”

Over the next five years the two men worked with theologians, educators, priests, and over 60 young people to create “Youcat.” The name is an abbreviation of “Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church.”

The distinctive, slim, yellow volume was published ahead of the 2011 World Youth Day in Madrid, and contains 527 questions and answers. They are accompanied by numerous quotations, images and illustrations including their trademark “stick man” who becomes animated by the rapid flicking of each page.

“I was astonished that the young people liked the book so much,” Meuser said. “We’ve had so much praise from young people and, yes, they really like the stick man.” The Youcat Facebook page has also garnered over 21,000 followers to date.

The book is currently published in 20 languages, but Meuser said that by next year that total will rise to 30, including Chinese and Arabic. …

Go here for the rest of the story.