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April 16, 2010     Post-Gazette
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, , . . . , Page 4 POST-GAZETTE, APRIL 16, 2010 THE Retail sales surged to a record pace; gains were broad-based as improving economy spurs purchases of luxury and discretionary sales. An early Easter helped sales in March, as spring wardrobes got an early start. March sales of stores open at least one year climbed 8.7% versus a year earlier fore- cast of 6.1%, the best since 2000. Eighty-six percent of retailers beat views and the seventh straight same store sales gains. Consum- ers are feeling better about their plight as the U.S. added 162,300 jobs in March, while the stock market has rallied sharply the last 13 months That all translated to a higher consumer confidence readings and higher spend- ing levels. Warm weather helped lift March sales as did pent up demand and an im- proving economy. Depart- ment stores saw a 12.2% rise and specialty apparels stores gained an 11.8% are re- sponding to spring fashions. Consumers willingness to pay full price is back said Michael Niemira, chief economist of the Interna- tional Council of Shopping Centers, and dohnanne Martis, director of consumer research at Thompson's Reuters. A lot of things are falling into place to give us more confidence, the retail recovery is sustainable, they said. Business was high in all stores. Target, a ECONOMY IS IMPROVING high priced discounters', rent float to revalue the cur- sales were up along with rency and let it fluctuate Nordstrom's, JC Penney, more widely. Saks, Costco and Macy's. President Obama and Rus- Perkins expects "the econ- sian President Medvedev omy to continue to see im- signed a pact pledging on proved sales, especially if the triming the number of subs market keeps expanding." and bombers and agreed to Stocks bounced back from harness Iran's nuclear ca- early losses, to finish higher pacity, and support the same as a rise in retail sales sanctions. overshadowed Greece's debt Chevron refinancing re- problems and the job mar- turns to profitability. The ket. The Dow and S&P nation's 2 nd largest energy climbed .3% each. Gold and company behind Exxon Mobil oil prices fell and the 10-year Corp., rose as refineries in US Treasury ticked up. California, South Korea and Airline stocks moved higher Thailand returned to profit- as UAL rose 7% and US Air ability, as margins from pro- jumped 11% on reports of a cessing crude oil into fuel merger. However, pilots have widened. The company ira- opposed the merger. Presi- proved from a depressed dent Obama is seen as more fourth quarter levels when hostile to airline mergers Chevron lost $6.7 million a than the Bush administra- day. Palms volume leapt to tion, which blocked United- 88 million shares on mar- U.S. Air merger in 2001. ket rumors as it is being British Air and Spain's I acquired by HTV Corp of Beria agreed to merge to ere- Taiwan. Boyd Gaming Corp., ate Europe's #3 carrier, a gaming company as Apple has sold 450,000 iPads revenues jumped 33% in since its Saturday debut, February from activity from CEO Steve Jobs said. Users Chinese New Year, a big have downloaded 600,000 period for gaming stocks. digital books and 3.5 million Speculation of a buyout applications for its iPhone boosted shares. TJX shares since its debut in January rose 12% in March, helped 2007. The new iPhone users by warm weather, better can switch between several traffic and the Easter holi- programs at the same time, day. TJX pulled in custom- and has a new ad platform, ers and sales of stores open The Yvan and other Asian a year rose 12%. currencies rose as specula- tion mounted that China It's time to call your would release its new cur- financial advisor or call me rency news and let the cur- at 617-261-7777. News Briefs (Continued from Page I) SEALS doing their job. America used to be better than this behavior. Speech You Hate Hearing Isn't Hate Speech Up in Canada, one can be bullied off the stage if the crowd doesn't like what you're selling them. The United States of America and Canada are both representa- tive democracies, both used to be part of England, both have constitutions that pro- tect its citizens but in Canada, they don't have a Bill of Rights that guarantees free speech. The govern- ment can actually charge you with a crime if your speech is deemed a "hate speech" enforced by the Anti-Hate Speech Police in Ottawa. Ann Coulter, a well-known conservative speaker in America is guaranteed her free speech here, but not apparently across the Cana- dian border. The best-selling author was blatantly dis- criminated by students at the University of Ottawa when their intolerance for views they disagreed with made it impossible for Coulter to speak at the university re- cently. She even received an e-mail warning from the school's provost "to educate yourself, if need be, as to what is acceptable in Canada and to do so before your planned visit here." Coulter has filed a complaint with Canada's Human Rights Commission (good for her) alleging she was the victim of hate speech and was The Agency for aft your Insurance Coverages Richard Settipane AUTO HOMEOWNERS TENANTS COMMERCIAL Experience makes the difference SPECIALIST in RESTAURANT and BUSINESS PoLICIEs CALL TODAY FOR YOUR QUOTE 617-523-3456 - Fax 617-723-9212 1 Longfellow - Place Suite 2322 - Boston, MA 02114 Conveniently located with Free Parking singled out for among other things, her conservative views. Students at the university celebrated their effort at keeping her "discriminatory rhetoric off campus." Thank God, we don't live in Canada with politically correct hate censors. Thank God, also, for the First Amendment. Sadly, there are even Americans right here who don't under- stand what free speech means. For example, two recently published letter to the editor (Boston Globe, Boston Metro) showed that both letter writ- ers didn't have the foggiest idea what free speech meant. The Boston Globe writer as- tonishingly stated, "How far do we go in the name of free speech? When can somebody say enough is enough. If Coulter is free to spew her venom, aren't stu- dents at the University of Ottawa free to say, 'No thanks, we don't want to hear it?'" Yes, there are "Ann of Dracut, "Yes they areI However, shouting down opposing thought or prevent- ing a speaker from showing up is spewing venom too against our Bill of Rights. Remember, they have free speech in every dictatorship as long as the speech is praising the government in power. Otherwise, your free speech ends inside your own mouth never to be heard. Bullies are Charged But What About Adult Enablers? The case of bullying in a South Hadley High School helped get the State Legis- lature to pass anti-bullying legislation and most re- cently charges against nine South Hadley students in the case of a victim who killed herself. It was a very sad story. Anti-bullying can't hurt, but the real fight against bullying has to be changing mindsets of young people, parents and school admin- istrators. Society seemingly has always had the bullied and the bullies. Many mis- takenly viewed it as simply a rite of passage, but it was never that. Bullies act tough because most of them are really quite weak. They wear a bully mask to make them- selves look strong. The bul- lied on the other hand are not responsible for being the victim of a bully. Growing up, I remember grammar school when I had buck teeth, wore glasses was fat and stuttered. Guess who the classroom picked on? Me, the fat kid. I didn't tell my parents, I didn't tell the nuns, I kept that pain to myself. As I grew, the teeth were fixed, I stopped stutter- ing, I bought cool-looking glasses and I lost weight. I may have been bullied as a kid, but no one bullies me today. I've always wanted to meet up with that childhood bully and whack him real hard, but then I would lower myself to his level. I feel sorry for him today. Nothing worse than an aging bully with no punch. That is, if he is still alive. I probably still wish him a little ill. Just enough to pain him. Laws are good, but the real cure is empowerment. No one should be bullied ever. Bullies are nitwits. They win because people fear standing up to them. Once challenged they always show their true colors which is a streak of yellow. The real culprits are parents and school administrators who watch bullies bully and do nothing. They are more responsible than the bullies themselves. If we are going to charge nine bullies with a crime, what of their parents and useless school officials? Mayods Column (Continued from Page i) provide families, young people and the public all across the city with the in- formation and support they need to address such a seri- ous issue. Schools have been reach- ing out to parents, encour- aging them to confront the issue head-on. It is impor- tant that parents know how to talk to their kids about bullying and are able to iden- tify whether their child might be a victim or an in- stigator. I urge parents to get involved with the issue and familiarize themselves with online platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to fully understand how students are using them to torment others. Parents and educa- tors should be aware of the extent to which the bullying has advanced. I have met with a group of high school students who act as cyber-mentors, who are working to educate their peers about the dangers of cyber-bullying and other cyber safety tips. It is impor- tant that students are aware of how they can protect their online information on social networking sites from being vulnerable to cyber-bullies. These peer mentors work with other students to make sure they know how to se- cure their personal informa- tion online and spread awareness of the resources available should they see or experience bullying. We are also holding a contest en- couraging students to create anti-bullying works of art such as posters, videos, or PSAs. Entries are due by April 30 th, 2010 and a win- ner from each grade will be chosen. For more informa- tion about the contest, cyber mentors and online safety, visit www.bpscybersafety.org. Prevention is important, but students must also understand that these harmful actions have seri- ous repercussions. The anti- bullying legislation pend- ing at the State House would be an important step in giv- ing administrators more power to investigate and dis- cipline bullying perpetra- tors. Through awareness and a proactive effort made by civic leaders, schools, par- ents and students, we can protect our youth and send a message that this type of harassment will not be tolerated in Boston. Editorial (Continued from crats have for the Constitu- tion, you need look no further than Congressman Phil Hare (D-Ill) in address- ing some of his constituents at a town hall meeting, and they are talking about health care, they ask him about the Constitution, and Page 3) the Congressman responds, "I don't worry about the Constitution ..." Judging by the silence of Pelosi and Reid, I conclude they are in accordance with Congressman Hare's con- tempt for the Constitution of the United States of America. WWW.BOSTONPOSTGAZETTE.COM