Monthly Archives: May 2012

S&P CASE-SHILLER HOME PRICE INDICES: Pace of Decline in Home Prices Moderates as 2012 First Quarter Ends; 2012 Home Prices at Mid-2002 Levels; Prices Worsen in Chicago, Atlanta, Detroit

S&P CASE-SHILLER HOME PRICE INDICES: Pace of Decline in Home Prices Moderates as 2012 First Quarter Ends; 2012 Home Prices at Mid-2002 Levels; Prices Worsen in Chicago, Atlanta, Detroit

Data through March 2012, released Tuesday, May 29, 2012 by S&P Indices for its S&P/Case- Shiller Home Price Indices, showed that all three headline composites ended the first quarter of 2012 at new post-crisis lows. The national composite fell by 2.0% in the first quarter of 2012 and was down 1.9% versus the first quarter of 2011. The 10- and 20-City Composites posted respective annual returns of -2.8% and -2.6% in March 2012.

 

As of the first quarter of 2012, average home prices across the United States are back at their mid-2002 levels. With this report, the National Index level hit a new low, down 2.0% over the first quarter of 2012 and 1.9% below the first quarter of 2011.

 

Month-over-month, their changes were minimal; average home prices in the 10-City Composite fell by 0.1% compared to February and the 20-City remained basically unchanged in March over February. However, with these latest data, all three composites still posted their lowest levels since the housing crisis began in mid-2006.

 

“While there has been improvement in some regions, housing prices have not turned,” says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Indices, the nation’s leading source of home price variations. “This month’s report saw all three composites and five cities hit new lows. However, with last month’s report nine cities hit new lows. Further, about half as many cities, seven, experienced falling prices this month compared to 16 last time.

“The National Composite fell by 2.0% in the first quarter alone, and is down 35.1% from its 2nd quarter 2006 peak, in addition to recording a new record low. The 10- and 20-City Composite mimic these results; also down about 35% from their relative peaks and hit new lows.

“There are some better numbers: Only three cities – Atlanta, Chicago and Detroit – saw annual rates of change worsen in March. The other 17 cities and both composites saw improvement in this statistic, even though most are still showing a negative trend. Moreover, there are now seven cities – Charlotte, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Miami, Minneapolis and Phoenix – where the annual rates of change are positive. This is what we need for a sustained recovery; monthly increases coupled with improving annual rates of change. Once we see this on a broader level we will be able to say the market has turned around.

“The regions showed mixed results for March. Twelve of the cities saw average home prices rise in March over February, seven saw prices fall and one – Las Vegas – was flat. The Composites were largely unchanged with the 10-City down only 0.1% and the 20-City unchanged. After close to six consecutive months of price declines across most cities, this is relatively good news. We just need to see it happen in more of the cities and for many months in a row. Since we are entering a seasonal buying period, it becomes very important to look at both monthly and annual rates of change in home prices in order to understand the broader trend going forward.”

In addition to the three composites, five cities – Atlanta, Chicago, Las Vegas, New York and Portland – also saw average home prices hit new lows. This is an improvement over the nine cities reported last month.

 

As of March 2012, average home prices across the United States are back to the levels where they were in late 2002 for the 20-City Composite and early 2003 levels for the 10-City Composite. Measured from their June/July 2006 peaks, the decline for both Composites is approximately 35% through March 2012. For both Composites, March’s levels are new lows in the current housing cycle.
In March 2012, 12 MSAs posted monthly gains, seven declined and one remained unchanged. Phoenix posted the largest annual rate of change, +6.1%, while home prices in Atlanta fell the most over the year, down 17.7%.

Atlanta, Cleveland, Detroit and Las Vegas were the four cities where average home prices were below their January 2000 levels. With an index level of 102.77 Chicago is not far behind.

 

 

 

s of the first quarter of 2012, average home prices across the United States are back at their mid-2002 levels. With this report, the National Index level hit a new low, down 2.0% over the first quarter of 2012 and 1.9% below the first quarter of 2011.

The chart above shows the index levels for the 10-City and 20-City Composite Indices. As of March 2012, average home prices across the United States are back to the levels where they were in late 2002 for the 20-City Composite and early 2003 levels for the 10-City Composite. Measured from their June/July 2006 peaks, the decline for both Composites is approximately 35% through March 2012. For both Composites, March’s levels are new lows in the current housing cycle.

In March 2012, 12 MSAs posted monthly gains, seven declined and one remained
unchanged. Phoenix posted the largest annual rate of change, +6.1%, while home prices in Atlanta fell the most over the year, down 17.7%.

Atlanta, Cleveland, Detroit and Las Vegas were the four cities where average home prices were below their January 2000 levels. With an index level of 102.77 Chicago is not far behind.

Advertisements

BOOK REVIEW: ‘Shades of Murder’: Mac Faraday Meets Joshua Thornton in Complicated Cold Case Mystery Tale

  • Reviewed by David M. Kinchen
BOOK REVIEW: 'Shades of Murder': Mac Faraday Meets Joshua Thornton in Complicated Cold Case Mystery Tale

Lauren Carr has created two series of mystery tales, one involving former DC Homicide Detective Mac Faraday, living in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland; the other involving Hancock County, West Virginia Prosecuting Attorney Joshua Thornton.

Mac and Joshua meet for the first time in Carr’s latest Mac Faraday mystery, “Shades of Murder” (CreateSpace, 230 pages, $14.99 print, $2.99 Kindle, available from Amazon.com). They’re brought together by two almost decade-long cold cases — one involving the murder of a woman near Pittsburgh, the other the murder of celebrity artist Ilysa Ramsay, the trophy wife of high-tech tycoon Neal Hathaway in Deep Creek Lake, where Mac Faraday lives.

Mac inherited the fortune of “Queen of Mystery” Robin Spencer, his birth mother, enabling him to leave his underpaid life in Washington, DC and live large in Deep Creek Lake. He has a palatial mansion, a German Shepherd with attitude named Gnarly and a girlfriend named Archie Monday, who was the personal assistant to Spencer and who conveniently lives in Mac’s guesthouse.

Thornton is a retired JAG attorney, a widower with five children, who learns about the case when a minister he knows, Rev. Brody, arranges a prison meeting in Pennsylvania with serial killer Oliver Cartright. Cartright admits to six horrific rape-murders, but says he didn’t murder a seventh woman, known only as “Jane Doe.” Cartright has been “born again” and wants Joshua to clear him of “Jane Doe’s” murder. 

 

Lauren Carr

Lauren Carr

 

Joshua finds an unexpected ally in Cameron Gates, an attractive 40-year-old widow who’s a detective with the Pennsylvania State Police. Cameron suspects that “Jane Doe” wasn’t murdered by Cartright and was the victim of a copycat killer. Cameron — who has a Maine Coon cat named Irving, who has the coloring of a skunk — and dog owner Joshua are immediately attracted to each other and join forces to investigate the crime — despite the opposition of Cameron’s superior officer, Lt. Sherry Bisby. (It’s a good thing Lauren Carr provides a cast of characters, because there are so many of them!)

Shortly after Mac Faraday is enlisted by Deep Creek Lake Police Chief David O’Callaghan — whose mother was also Robin Spencer — to help solve Ilysa’s murder, he’s gifted with the artist’s last painting, a self-portrait with all the suspects in the background. They’re a weird bunch, including Swedish housekeeper Greta, described by some as a female version of Lurch, the Addams Family character; Neal’s security chief Peyton Kaplan; his executive assistant Susan Dulin, and his son Scott from his first marriage and Scott’s social climbing wife Rachel. The painting was stolen and sold to a wealthy art collector and friend of the late mystery writer, who’s being unusually ethical and returning it to Mac. Who knew that harp playing Greta loved skinny-dipping at night in Deep Creek Lake?

Carr combines action with humor in a page-turning tale of intrigue. I reviewed two of her previous Mac Faraday novels, “Old Loves Die Hard” and “It’s Murder, My Son” (Link:www.huntingtonnews.net) and I’m delighted to write that Lauren Carr is a talented mystery writer whose books deserve wide readership. Mac Faraday is well portrayed as a down-to-earth man surrounded by the rich and wretched of Deep Creek Lake — and still maintaining his sanity. He also has to put up with Gnarly, a retired army dog, who relentlessly manipulates him, to the perverse delight of Archie.

About the Author

Lauren Carr fell in love with mysteries when her mother read Perry Mason to her at bedtime. The first installment in the Joshua Thornton mysteries, “A Small Case of Murder” was a finalist for the Independent Publisher Book Award. “A Reunion to Die For” was released in hardback in June 2007. Both of these books are in re-release. Lauren is also the author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries, set in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. The first two books in her series, “It’s Murder, My Son” and Old Loves Die Hard have been getting rave reviews from readers and reviewers. “Shades of Murder” is Lauren’s fifth mystery. The owner of Acorn Book Services, Lauren is also a publishing manager, consultant, editor, cover and layout designer, and marketing agent for independent authors. This spring, two books written by independent authors will be released through the management of Acorn Book Services. Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She also passes on what she has learned in her years of writing and publishing by conducting workshops and teaching in community education classes. She lives with her husband, son, and two dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV. Visit Lauren’s websites and blog at: E-Mail: writerlaurencarr@comcast.net Website:http://acornbookservices.com/ http://mysterylady.net/

BOOK REVIEW: ‘George Washington’s Military Genius’: For America’s General, it was Peg Mullen’s Beefsteak House

  • Reviewed by Gary R. Prisk
BOOK REVIEW: ‘George Washington’s Military Genius’: For America’s General, it was Peg Mullen’s Beefsteak House

A congressman, a land owner, not in the least showy, a man keen to the whims of economic and political intrigue, General George Washington’s landed will was his reason acting in concert with America’s grand goals—independence and westerly expansion.

Dave R. Palmer’s “George Washington’s Military Genius” (Regnery Publishing, Inc., 254 pages, $27.95) is a masterful synthesis of Washington’s tenacious longevity (The Old Fox) providing a logical trace of the general’s strategies as the Revolutionary War passed from winning America’s independence, to not wanting to lose.

With his army tied to the average speed of a horse, a medley of enlistments, untrained woodsmen and farmers, limited resources, and tactical strategies tied to the waterways that led to the Atlantic, Washington’s natural calmness while sorting the war’s perplexities allowed the general to make immobility to appear responsive.

Dave R. Palmer

Dave R. Palmer

The author cast the kernel of this great cause, the American Revolution, in four phases, for the reader a light ard that provides a sense of probability. “George Washington’s Military Genius” is not a load of old cod. Dave Palmer is a well-researched, master word smith. His book is well written, must be carefully read, and brings America’s first commander-in-chief to the crest of a hill top near Mount Vernon.

With care Palmer leaves Washington to carry his defeats — neither one of the Nine Worthies, yet nearly one of the Paragons of Virtue. Palmer paints the French tri-color with an amusing brush, and saves his best for King George III.

After seven years of fighting the pesky colonists, the pamphleteer, Thomas Paine, suggested that the number seven is a number rife with proper ghosts, a trifle wed to English law — Parliament was elected for seven-year terms, apprenticeships lasted seven years, leaseholds were signed for seven years — a time-span that influenced the English citizenry—the French and Indian War lasted seven years.

After seven years of trying to put a crown on the bull’s eye, King George III might as well have sent coal to Newcastle, or maintained England’s mastery of the seven seas.

The king met his match in the military genius of one man, General George Washington.

“George Washington’s Military Genius” will be required reading for all students of the American Revolutionary War. There are no short planks in this book. This enjoyable read is the kind of book we like to find sitting next to us, the meat of the gospel as it were. Dave Palmer’s research wins every toss.

Seven Stars.

About the author 

David Richard Palmer is a retired United States Army Lieutenant General, former Superintendent of the West Point (1986–1991), military historian and author, and former President of Walden University. A 1956 graduate of West Point, he served two tours in the Vietnam War and numerous command positions during the height of the Cold War.

About the reviewer

Gary R. Prisk is a best-selling author and an infantry veteran of Vietnam’s war and the first Gulf War. He began his army service as a Special Forces medic with First Group, attended parachute school at Fort Benning in 1964, received a regular army commission through ROTC at the University of Washington in 1966, fought in Vietnam’s war with the fabled 2ndBattalion of the 503rd Infantry, 173rd Airborne Brigade in 1967 & 68, and became an army Ranger in 1969. Joining army reserves in the Seattle, Washington area Prisk returned to the University of Washington earning degrees in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, an MBA in Finance, and taught Finance at the university as part of his doctoral studies in finance. Prisk continued his service in the army reserves for 29+ years ending his career as the reserve-component Chief of the Battle Coordination Center for VII Army Corps, headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany. After retiring from the construction industry Prisk began writing and lectures on Vietnam’s war. 

OP-ED: Cruise Lines Need Lesson In Truth In Advertising

  • By Rene A. Henry
Rene A. Henry

Rene A. Henry

The cruise line industry is notorious for its pricing. Every cruise is promoted as being a deal. 2-for-1 offers. 60 percent off. An 82 percent savings. But a savings of what and two for what? Everybody loves a bargain, especially a 2-for-1 sale in this economy. But sometimes with a 2-for-1 offer the buyer does not get 2-for-1.

 

Cruise lines have misled consumers for years with regard to pricing. In the more than 200 articles he has written, Thomas A. Dickerson, a justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, cites scores of lawsuits against cruise lines involving false, misleading and deceptive advertising. The industry is a crisis in waiting if consumer advocates, the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Justice and some state attorneys general decide to investigate pricing practices.

 

The Internet is filled with so many complaints about cruise lines it would take volumes to document all of the cases. This reflects how customer service has become an oxymoron with so many cruise lines. There are a handful of exceptions and they continue to be the best in the industry. The industry needs to be less honestly enthusiastic about promoting its so-called bargains and more enthusiastically honest when it comes to pricing.

 

According to the FTC, one of the most common forms of bargain advertising is a price reduction. Most consumers believe that a list or suggested retail price is the price at which a product or service is generally sold. If this price was not offered to the public on a regular basis for a reasonably substantial period of time, but inflated, then it could be considered fictitious, the bargain deceptive and the reduced price in reality is just the regular selling price.

 

Cruise lines are synonymous for fictitious pricing. I have been unable to find any travel agency or passenger that ever paid the so-called “brochure price” or the price from which reductions are made.

 

Further confusing the issue are web-based discount clearing houses which may offer even lower prices than those offered by the cruise line or through travel agents. According to Vacations To Go, an Internet clearing house for discount cruises, some cruise lines offer additional regional discounts for people who live in certain states or provinces, customers who are 55 years or older, airline employees, police, firefighters, EMTs, teachers, active and retired military personnel and former cruise passengers.

 

No one I know has travelled as extensively as my good friend Sir Clive Banfield of Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. He has taken more than 300 cruises since his first in 1955. He tells me that he has sailed on ships of more than a score of cruise lines and not once ever paid the full listed or brochure price for a cruise. And he adds that he does not know anyone who has paid the so-called fictitious price.

 

When I hear of a 2-for-1 sale, I think of Safeway selling two $1 lemons for $1 or the equivalent of 50 cents each. Or Nordstrom’s selling two $50 shirts for $50, a savings of $50 or the equivalent of $25 each. And Wolfgang Puck having a luncheon special on $25 entrees at Spago where I can pay $25 and my friend and I can each have a $25 entree for the price of one, or I can pay $25 and just eat two entrees. All prices are based per person, per sale, per customer.

So when I received a promotional mailing from one of my favorite cruise lines offering 2-for-1 fares, up to $1,000 savings and all inclusive wine, spirits and gratuities, I had my travel agency, Corniche Travel in Los Angeles, check it out. I’ve sailed on their ships a number of times and have praised them in my articles and books for their customer service.

 

However, my math doesn’t synch with cruise line pricing. I interpret 2-for-1 as being where an individual can pay one fare and two people can cruise for that amount, or the individual could pay that and cruise alone. I asked my agent at Corniche to check out a cruise the brochure listed at $6,420 with a special discounted price of $2,140, if booked before the end of June.

 

You can imagine my surprise when she came back and told me she was quoted $4,370. Somewhere along the way the cruise line discriminated against single travelers and marked up the original high-end, pre-discount price about 150 percent. Applying this same pricing principle to retailers, the lemons would be sold to a single buyer for $1.50, the shirts for $75 and the entrees for $37.50. The industry is becoming infamous for its pricing policies.

 

There is one company that is an exception and a shining star in the industry – American Cruise Lines, headquartered in Guilford, Conn., and the country’s largest cruise company. The line does not discriminate against single travelers and its listed brochure price is its only price. It flies the U.S. flag on the newest fleet of small ships in the industry and abides by all U.S. regulations and pays U.S. taxes.

 

“Over the years we’ve experienced an increase in solo travelers, so we naturally want to provide them with the best accommodations,” said Susan Shultz, the company’s director of sales. “All of our ships boast single staterooms and single rates so passengers traveling alone do not have to pay a single supplement rate, which is often upwards of 175 percent.

 

“When renovating the Queen of the West, our paddlewheeler on the Columbia and Snake Rivers, additional single staterooms were added to meet the demand. Furthermore, aboard our newly built paddlewheeler,Queen of the Mississippi, 15 percent of the staterooms are singles, an industry high.

 

“Our ships are very appealing to single travelers due to their small size and personalized service, a hallmark of our cruise line,” Schultz added. “Passengers traveling alone feel comfortable and at ease among like-minded guests and a friendly all-American crew.” American Cruise Lines has 35 itineraries along the inland waterways and rivers of the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, the Mississippi River System and the U.S. East Coast from New England to Florida.

 

The world’s two largest cruise lines are headquartered in Miami – Carnival Corporation and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Carnival has a fleet of more than 100 ships that sail under a number of brands and controls 49.2% of the market. Unlike American Cruise Lines, the ships of both Carnival and Royal Caribbean fly foreign flags and are exempt from both U.S. regulation and taxes.

 

With most cruise lines, forget trying to get your money back if your plans change even in the event of a medical or family emergency. The lawyers have written the contracts completely in favor of the cruise lines and passengers have waived away virtually all rights, even if the ship loses power and floats aimlessly for several days or runs aground and sinks. They also disclaim any responsibility or being accountable for the shore excursions they recommend. Even the medical practice or malpractice of the officer-doctor on board is exempted from any cruise line responsibility.

 

Holland America, owned by Carnival, even refused to honor its own pricing mistake. When the cruise line accidentally sold cabins for $849 that normally cost $1,399 a person on 10 sailings aboard its MS Noordam, it required the passengers who booked the fares and who had confirmed reservations to pay the difference or it would deny them boarding. Compare this with a mistake U.S. Airways made several years ago when it erroneously listed and sold flights for an unbelievable $1.86. The airline honored its mistake and reaped a public relations windfall.

 

In the face of crises that have plagued the industry and the economy restricting consumer discretionary spending, cruise lines are doing well. According to North American Cruise statistics reported by the Maritime Administration, more than 10.9 million passengers were on 4,222 cruises in 2011 for a total of 71.8 million passenger nights, an increase of 2.8 percent over the previous year. These people need some guarantee or protection and recourse when a cruise line behaves badly.

 

It would be refreshing to see several cruise lines break from the industry pack and think of the customer first before Congress does it for them. Sen. John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV (D-W. Va.), chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, is planning hearings to see if American consumers are protected. “Complicated ticket contracts limit passenger rights and antiquated laws prevent passengers from collecting fair compensation,” he said.

 

But with the cruise lines so lawyered-up and spending millions to lobby their special interests, I believe that the changes will have to first come voluntarily. In the past four years Cruise Line International Association, the industry’s trade association, spent $8.562 million and Royal Caribbean $6.847 million on lobbying. This does not include money given directly to members of Congress, PACs or Super PACs or routed through law firms. I wonder what Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), who in 2004 authored Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, would think about cruise industry pricing.

 

My favorite cruise line did get my business. I still consider them one of the very best. And the cruise is going to destinations I want to see.

 

Rene A. Henry, born in Charleston, WV in 1933, lives in Seattle, Washington. He has authored eight books and writes on a variety of subjects. In his book, “Communicating In A Crisis,” he devotes one chapter just to crises in the tourism and travel industry as well as one on customer service which should be on the must read list of all management in the cruise lines industry. For David M. Kinchen’s review of “Communicating in a Crisis” click:

www.huntingtonnews.net/…/080930-kinchen-columnsbookreview.ht...)

Many of his widely published articles are posted on his website www.renehenry.com.

BOOK REVIEW: ‘Political Woman’: How The Democratic Party Created ‘Neocons’ Like Jeane Kirkpatrick

  • Reviewed by David M. Kinchen
BOOK REVIEW: 'Political Woman': How The Democratic Party Created 'Neocons' Like Jeane Kirkpatrick

For all those on the left who ask plaintively what happened to “moderate, mainstream” Republicans who worked so well with Democrats, some would turn that question around and ask what happened to mainstream, moderate Democrats who didn’t demonize the U.S. and Israel in a manner not much different from that of the current president of Iran.

Peter Collier delves into this morass in his biography of Jeane Jordan Kirkpatrick (1926-2006) “Political Woman: The Big Little Life of Jeane Kirkpatrick (Encounter Books, 260 pages, eight-page photo insert, notes, index, $25.99), the first biography of a truly remarkable woman.

Born in the heartland town of Duncan, Oklahoma to a solidly Democratic family, Jeane Jordan Kirkpatrick was the embodiment of a mainstream, anti-communist Democrat — until the party of George McGovern and Jimmy Carter left her with no option but to become Ronald Reagan’s UN ambassador — the first woman to serve in that post — and the most forceful presence in the administration in shaping the Reagan Doctrine and fighting the Cold War to a victorious conclusion.

She later changed her registration to Republican — an act which brought her more than a little sadness, Collier writes. Jeane Kirkpatrick came to the attention of presidential candidate Reagan in 1979, when someone sent the former California governor a copy of Kirkpatrick’s Commentary magazine article “Dictators and Double Standards.” (link: http://www.commentarymagazine.com/article/dictatorships-double-standards/). Published in the November 1979 issue of Commentary, it became one of the most widely read pieces the magazine ever published, Collier writes.

Peter Collier

Peter Collier

Based on Collier’s friendship with Kirkpatrick, unique access to her private papers and many interviews, “Political Woman” is a portrait of an ambitious woman determined to break through the glass ceilings of her time and place. 
Jeane became an ardent Francophile after meeting fellow Barnard College student Anne de Lattre, from a prominent French family, when she enrolled at Barnard in September 1946. After two years at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri — then a 2-year college — the resident of Mt. Vernon, Illinois — she moved to the southern Illinois town at 12, where her oilman father relocated the family from Oklahoma — decided to further her education at a time when most women sought an “Mrs.” degree.

 

She had a choice between the University of Chicago and Barnard in Manhattan. In the fall of 1946 she chose Barnard, a fortunate choice because as Jeane later said: “New York was where the big ideas are…and I was definitely interested in the big ideas.” De Lattre noticed that — unlike most Barnard students — Jeane didn’t date students from nearby Columbia, preferring self-identified “bohemians” who hung out in Greenwich Village.

 

In 1955, she married Evron Maurice Kirkpatrick, an older man, twice married, a scholar and a former member of the O.S.S., the predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency during World War II. “Kirk”– as he was known to everyone — encouraged her to earn her Ph D, which she did at Columbia in 1968 — the year the university was occupied by radicals and anarchists. Following the granting of her doctorate, she studied in France for a year at the Institut des Science Politiques at the University of Paris. Her Columbia dissertation on Peronism after Peron in Argentina was later expanded into a book — a book which leftists used as a weapon in an attempt to destroy her reputation. Her husband died in 1995. They had three sons: Douglas Jordan Kirkpatrick (1956–2006), John Evron Kirkpatrick, and Stuart Alan Kirkpatrick (a.k.a. Traktung Rinpoche, a Buddhist lama).
A pioneering feminist, academic, and an important Democratic Party activist, Kirkpatrick would be hated for leading a group of Democratic liberals into the Reagan administration after what she saw as the trashing of the Roosevelt coalition and capitulation to Soviet advances. Collier says that, as Reagan’s UN representative, Kirkpatrick sharpened the spearpoint of a rearmed America ready to join the final battle of the Cold War, staging dramatic clashes over policy toward the Soviets, the Cubans, and the Contras in the process.

 

Collier’s writing partner David Horowitz, a fellow leftist turned conservative, penned this endorsement of “Political Woman”:

“My writing partner… has just written an important book about Kirkpatrick, Ronald Reagan’s closest ally in the belief that support of Israel [is] a moral imperative in and of itself and also a key part of the effort to drive a stake through the heart of the Soviet Union. This book… shows how Kirkpatrick saw job number one at the UN as reversing the unrelenting hatred of Israel at the world body throughout the 1970’s and into the early 80’s, a hatred she feared would justify ‘a new holocaust.’ When a call came to expel Israel from the U.N., it was Kirkpatrick who threatened to pull the U.S. and its financial support out of the organization. The Arabs and their Soviet patron backed down. In speech after speech, Kirkpatrick worked not only to remove the ‘kick-me’ sign from the back of America at the UN the Carter administration had allowed our enemies to place there, but also to make it clear that we would not stand by while Israel, the only island of democracy in a sea of despotism in the Middle East, was attacked by the enemies of Jews and of freedom itself.”
“Political Woman” tells a parallel story — the flight of centrist liberals out of the Democratic Party and the complex chess match of the end game of the Cold War— through the intimate story of a woman who was at the center of these dramas. It also shows the price she paid for her success in a private life filled with sorrow and loss as profound as her epic achievements. Collier, who’s been called by The New York Times“America’s premier biographer of dynastic tragedy” for his biographies of the Fords, Kennedys and Rockefellers — all written with fellow radical turned conservative David Horowitz — pulls no punches in his discussion of Kirkpatrick’s family problems. Her oldest son, Douglas Jordan Kirkpatrick (1956-2006) was an alcoholic, dying at age 50.

 

In a poignant passage (pages 196-7) Collier described how family tragedy crossed “party lines” when Kirkpatrick phoned George McGovern in 1996 to offer condolences on the death of his alcoholic daughter Terry “….who froze to death one night while drunk….They talked for a long time about missed opportunities and desperate gambits. The subject of ‘tough love’ came up. McGovern told her he had tried to practice it with his daughter and failed. Jeane admitted that she hadn’t even tried [with Douglas]. It was a touching moment in which two bitter enemies on opposite sides of the political divide found common ground at the end of their lives in shared grief over children they had been unable to save.”

 

I’d like to think of it as two Midwesterners displaying their shared qualities of helpfulness and compassion. Feminist Gloria Steinem once called Kirkpatrick a “female impersonator” because she wasn’t a radical leftist. I think Jeane Jordan Kirkpatrick was the real deal, a “mensch” in the resounding Yiddish word meaning “a person of integrity and honor”.

About the author
Peter Collier, born June 2, 1939, in Hollywood, CA, is a writer, and publisher. He was the founding publisher of Encounter Books in California and held that position from 1998 until he resigned in 2005, when it moved from San Francisco to New York City, and Collier was replaced as publisher by Roger Kimball. He remains a consultant to the company. Collier has collaborated with David Horowitz on many projects over many decades, e.g., co-editor of Ramparts; publishing articles on Horowitz’s FrontPageMagazine.com; co-author with Horowitz on several books; and promoter of other Horowitz ventures like the Center for the Study of Popular Culture, which he co-founded with Horowitz. Collier was also a co-organizer of the Second Thoughts conferences for the ex-leftists who had moved to the right. Collier is best known for “The Rockefellers: An American Dynasty”; “The Kennedys: An American Dream”; “The Fords: An American Epic”; and “Destructive Generation” (all with David Horowitz). He is also the author of “The Fondas: A Hollywood Dynasty” and “The Roosevelts: An American Saga”. Recent books include “Medal of Honor: Portraits of Valor Beyond the Call of Duty”, with photographs by Nick Del Calzo, and “The Anti-Chomsky Reader”, co-edited with David Horowitz.

BOOK REVIEW: ‘A Blaze of Glory’: Jeff Shaara Portrays the Horror of the Battle of Shiloh in Stunning First Entry of New Civil War Trilogy

  • Reviewed by David M. Kinchen
BOOK REVIEW: 'A Blaze of Glory': Jeff Shaara Portrays the Horror of the Battle of Shiloh in Stunning First Entry of New Civil War Trilogy
I am tired and sick of war. Its glory is all moonshine. It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, for vengeance, for desolation. War is hell. — William Tecumseh ShermanGrant stood by me when I was crazy, and I stood by him when he was drunk, and now we stand by each other. — Sherman

My vote for the most quotable general of the Civil War goes to William Tecumseh Sherman. He was also a very good commander, as demonstrated in Jeff Shaara’s “A Blaze of Glory: A Novel of the Battle of Shiloh” (Ballantine Books, 464 pages), the first of a new trilogy by the bestselling novelist.

Shiloh, fought April 6 – 7, 1862 at Pittsburg Landing on the Tennessee River near where Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama meet, brought together some of the best generals of the war: Ulysses S. Grant, fresh from his victory over the Confederates at Fort Donelson; Sherman, Don Carlos Buell, Lew Wallace, later to gain fame as the author of “Ben Hur”; another Union general, William H.L. Wallace (no relation to Lew), mortally wounded and dead at age 40 at Shiloh; Benjamin Prentiss, a native of Virginia, a non-West Pointer who fought the Mormons in Illinois and later fought in Mexico; (There’s no mention in the book of another native of Virginia, Union Gen. George H. Thomas, later “The Rock of Chicamauga”, who was instrumental in the capture of Corinth, Miss. in late May 1862. Thomas arrived at Shiloh on the second day, April 7, after the fighting was over.) Union “grunts” include Fritz “Dutchie” Bauer, of Milwaukee, a German-American private with the 16th Wisconsin Regiment,  his buddy Samuel Willis, and several others.

The Confederate forces at Shiloh were commanded by Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston, of Texas, who in 1861 commanded Federal forces in California, resigning his commission when Texas seceded from the Union. Born in 1803 in Kentucky, he was considered by many to be the best general in the Confederacy by President Jefferson Davis He was killed, possibly by a Confederate soldier, on the first day of the battle — the highest ranking officer killed on both sides of the 1861-1865 conflict that remains the bloodiest war in the nation’s history, with an estimated 620,000 deaths on both sides. In an irony of history, Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson was also killed by “friendly fire” the following year at the Battle of Chancellorsville in May 1863.

Jeff Shaara

Jeff Shaara

Other outstanding Confederate officers in Shaara’s book include P.G.T. Beauregard of Louisiana; Braxton Bragg, Nathan Bedford Forrest, and — representing the Confederate “grunts” — cavalry lieutenant James Seeley.

I particularly like how Shaara toggles between the actions of the generals on both sides, and the ghastly events of the war as experienced by the “grunts,”making the historical novel (with the emphasis on historical) well rounded. Even though Shaara advises the reader in his “To The Reader” to read historians Shelby Foote and Jim McPherson if you want a detailed history of the Battle of Shiloh, I think even those eminent historians would recommend “A Blaze of Glory” to the general reader.

Shaara includes twelve maps in his book; unfortunately the first map, on Page xxiii bears in the legend “Confederate Defensive Lines, January 1861”; it should be “January 1862”. I notified the publisher of this error and Shaara graciously acknowledged the error and thanked me; it will be corrected in future printings, he said.

The war wasn’t going well for the Confederacy in the Western Front in early 1862: After Confederate forces were defeated by Grant at Fort Donelson on Feb. 16, 1862, Johnston’s reputation suffered because he was accused of poor judgment in his choice of Brig. Gens. Lloyd Tilghman and John B. Floyd as commanders. Union Maj. General Don Carlos Buell captured the key city of Nashville, forcing the Confederates to abandon Tennessee and retreat to the railroad center of Corinth, Miss.

On his way to defeat the Confederate forces, Grant and his commanders set up a campground at Pittsburg Landing, anchored by a humble church called Shiloh. Sherman refuses to believe intelligence reports that Johnston will emerge from Corinth and attack the strategic encampment in force, which he does on April 6, 1862. Beauregard prematurely believes the rout of the Union forces resulted in a Confederate victory. On April 7 — reinforced by fresh troops led by Lew Wallace and Buell — Sherman and Grant are of a different opinion and they counterattack, forcing the Confederates to retreat to Corinth. In an afterword, Shaara describes the pursuit of the fleeing Confederate forces, as well as what happens to the major characters in the book.

“A Blaze of Glory” is a stunning achievement by an outstanding writer. I recommend it to anyone interested in the Civil War. It’s a vivid portrayal of the horrors of industrialized warfare, and it’s not for the faint of heart, with its graphic descriptions of killing and wounding.

About the Author

Jeff Shaara is the New York Times bestselling author of “The Final Storm”, “No Less Than Victory”, “The Steel Wave”, “The Rising Tide”, “To the Last Man”, “The Glorious Cause”, “Rise to Rebellion”, and “Gone for Soldiers”, as well as “Gods and Generals” and “The Last Full Measure” — two novels that complete the Civil War trilogy that began with his father’s Pulitzer Prize–winning classic, “The Killer Angels”. Shaara was born into a family of Italian immigrants in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He grew up in Tallahassee, Florida, and graduated from Florida State University. He lives in Tallahassee. Website:www.JeffShaara.com.

Publisher’s website: www.ballantinebooks.com

BOOK REVIEW: Robert Sirico Says There’s a Moral Case for Free Markets in ‘Defending the Free Market’

  • Reviewed by David M. Kinchen

 

BOOK REVIEW:  Robert Sirico Says There's a Moral Case for Free Markets in 'Defending the Free Market'

Is there a “moral” case for free markets, where governments don’t pick winners and losers and bailouts are forbidden? Robert A.Sirico says there is in a very provocative book entitled “Defending the Free Market: The Moral Case for a Free Economy” (Regnery, 256 pages, notes, index, suggestions for further reading at the end of each chapter, $27.95). If he sounds like a minister preaching a sermon, he’s entitled since he’s been a Roman Catholic priest since 1989.

It was a long and winding road for Sirico, born to an Italian-American family in Brooklyn in 1951. (His older brother is actor Tony Sirico, who played Paulie Walnuts in the HBO series “The Sopranos”).

 

Moving to California in the 1970s he became a leftist, with pals like Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden. In a telephone interview he told me he never was a radical, but was in step with the socialist agenda of the left-wing of the Democratic Party. He emphasized in the interview that he doesn’t like labels, but said that he pretty much follows the principles of the Austrian School of free market economics advocated by F.A. Hayek in “The Road to Serfdom” and Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973) in his many books.

 

While living in Los Angeles he campaigned for Tom Hayden — then the husband of Jane Fonda — in the 1976 California primary against incumbent Sen. John Tunney. In a chapter that will warm the hearts of recovering leftists (Chapter 1: “A Leftist Undone”) Father Sirico describes his experiences in the New Left and how he managed — to the dismay of his left-wing friends — to find his way back to his birth Catholicism.

Robert A.Sirico

Robert A.Sirico

He writes about his friends of the 1970s: “When they discover that this post-Vatican II Catholic priest is the president of an international think tank [The Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty, which he co-founded in 1990] dedicated to promoting a society rooted in unchanging moral truths about good and evil, to championing the free economy, private property, and the rule of law as the great safeguards of the poor — well, if they’re still like my old activist friends from my days in L.A., they shake their heads in bewilderment.”

 

How can one make a “moral” case for capitalism? Wasn’t it discredited in the economic meltdown of 2007-2008, when long-standing financial institutions that were the bedrock of the capitalist system went under or were rescued by the infusions of taxpayer funds, where the U.S. government under both Bush 43 and Obama decided it was necessary to bail out Chrysler and General Motors, when unemployment soared and millions of homeowners lost their homes in foreclosure and where many others owed more on their homes than they were worth?

 

Yes, Father Sirico argues, there are problems with capitalism and consumerism, which fueled the housing boom and almost unrestrained spending. Yes, he argues, consumerism is an appalling spectacle, with Americans glutting themselves on all kinds of excess, while people in the developing world starve. The rich seem to be hogging far more than their share of the worlds resources. Free markets may be efficient, but are they fair? Aren’t there some things—life-saving health care, for example—that we cant’ afford to leave to the vicissitudes of the market?

 

He argues that the unrestrained socialism practiced by countries like Greece and most of the Eurozone countries has been

discredited. Countries as diverse as France, Spain and Italy can no longer afford welfare states. The totalitarian states of the twentieth century have collapsed. And we beneficiaries of the globalized world economy are grateful that we enjoy plentiful food, clothing, shelter—and cheap electronics.

 

When I asked him how a moral case can be made for capitalism, Sirico said a free economy — necessarily including private property, legally enforceable contracts, and prices and interest rates freely agreed to by willing parties to transactions (not set by government bureaucrats) — is the best way to meet society’s material needs — from basic nutrition to sophisticated health care technology. Well-intentioned activists who seek to enlarge the state’s economic role are only killing the goose that laid the golden egg. The fact is, private enterprise in the free market has lifted millions out of dire poverty — far more people than state welfare or private charity have ever rescued from want.

 

In an interview with FrontPageMag’s Bill Steigerwald, a former colleague of mine at the Los Angeles Times, Sirico was asked whether capitalism and Christianity were natural enemies. Sirico answered: “I don’t think capitalism is a natural enemy of Christianity. Capitalism is really an inadequate word; it only describes one dimension of what is really human freedom and choice in the economic sphere. Choice is morally neutral. It’s the chooser who can be moral or immoral, not the ability to make the choice.”

Sirico argues that a free economy isn’t just by far the most efficient way of producing the largest amount of goods and services for the world’s population; economic freedom is also an indispensable support to the other freedoms we prize—such as freedom of speech and freedom of religion. The right to economic freedom doesn’t make things more important than people—just the reverse. Its only if we have economic rights that we can effectively protect ourselves from government encroachment into the most private areas of our lives—right down to our consciences.

 

As governments across the globe continue to act with unprecedented irresponsibility—burdening the creators of wealth with ever more regulation and borrowing colossal sums of money just as populations are set to decline precipitately—our prosperity, our economic freedom, and our most basic rights are threatened. The comfortable lifestyles and plentiful goods we take for granted are at risk. But so is the liberty whose source is found in our inherent dignity as human beings, endowed by our Creator with unalienable rights. Father Sirico sounds a timely warning—and reveals the principles that must be the basis for the recovery of our freedoms.

 

But can any moral person really be for capitalism? Isn’t there a place for a government safety net — Social Security and Medicare, for instance, I asked? Father Sirico chided my self-described “cafeteria libertarianism” saying that my support of Medicare — which provides health insurance for me and my wife, and for which we each pay almost $100 a month in premiums — is “outside the cafeteria.” I told him that he sounds like my anti-Medicare congressman, a physician and a member of House of Representatives — and a presidential candidate — Ron Paul (R-TX-14). He said there is no need for Medicare — let alone my view that the program should be opened up to all comers, widening the “risk pool” — since private insurance companies can perform the same function.

 

In Defending the Free Market you will learn:

> Why a free market system and economic freedom ensures that other freedoms we prize—including freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and individual liberty—are guaranteed

> How private enterprise has lifted millions out of dire poverty and starting a business is the best way to help the poor—not welfare

 

> Why the free market is not only the best way to ensure individual success and national prosperity, but how it actually promotes charity, selflessness, and kindness

> How Father Sirico, a reformed leftist and former colleague of Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden, discovered the merits of a free economy

 

Whether you agree with Sirico or not — and as I’ve indicated, I don’t agree with all of his views — “Defending The Free Market” will enlighten you on the intersection of free markets and freedom in general.

 

About the Author

The Rev. Robert A. Sirico has been active in public policy affairs for more than thirty years. He co-founded the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty in 1990. Father Sirico regularly lectures both in this country and around the world, and his writings have appeared in various publications, including the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, National Review, the London Financial TimesCrisis Magazine, and The New York Times. Raised in a Catholic family in Brooklyn, by his early teenage years he had left the Church. He received an associate’s degree from Los Angeles City College, studied at St. Mary’s University College, London, and received a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Southern California. While in California, during the early 1970s, he served as a Pentecostal preacher and promoted left-wing politics, but after a time he began to realize he did not agree with the principles of socialism. A deeper study of the human person led to his return to the Catholic Church in 1977, and later the writings of St. Augustine and the biography of Blessed John Henry Newman moved him consider the priesthood. He received an M.Div. from The Catholic University of America in 1987 and was ordained a Paulist priest in 1989. He was assigned to the Catholic Information Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

NAHB/WELLS FARGO: Nationwide Housing Affordability Reaches New Record High

NAHB/WELLS FARGO: Nationwide Housing Affordability Reaches New Record High

New home under construction near New Orleans, LA–David M. Kinchen photo

The good news: Nationwide housing affordability hit a new record high for a second consecutive quarter in the first three months of this year, according to the recently released National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI). The not-so-good news: Tight lending conditions continue to pose a major obstacle to many prospective home buyers.

The latest HOI data reveal that 77.5 percent of all new and existing homes that were sold in this year’s first quarter were affordable to families earning the national median income of $65,000. This beats the previous record set in the final quarter of 2011, when 75.9 percent of homes sold were affordable to median-income earners.

“Homes in this year’s first quarter were more affordable than they have been at any time in more than 20 years, yet many potential sales are not happening because of overly tight lending conditions that are keeping hardworking families from obtaining a suitable mortgage,” said Barry Rutenberg, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Gainesville, Fla. “Without this significant hurdle, the housing and economic recovery could be proceeding at a much stronger pace.”

NAHB/WELLS FARGO: Nationwide Housing Affordability Reaches New Record High

The most affordable major housing market in this year’s first quarter was Indianapolis-Carmel, Ind., where 95.8 percent of homes sold during the period were affordable to households earning the area’s median family income of $66,900.

Also ranking among the most affordable major housing markets in respective order were Dayton, Ohio; Lakeland-Winter Haven, Fla.; Modesto, Calif.; Grand Rapids-Wyoming, Mich.; and Buffalo-Niagara Falls, N.Y.; the latter two of which tied for fifth place.

Among smaller housing markets, Cumberland, Md.-W.Va. topped the affordability chart for the first time in this year’s first quarter. There, 99 percent of homes sold during the first quarter were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $53,000. Other smaller housing markets at the top of the index include Fairbanks, Alaska; Wheeling, W.Va.; Kokomo, Ind.; and Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, Iowa-Ill., respectively.

In New York-White Plains-Wayne, N.Y.-N.J., which retained the title of the least affordable major housing market for a 16th consecutive quarter, just 31.5 percent of homes sold in the first three months of this year were affordable to those earning the area’s median income of $68,200.

Other major metros at the bottom of the affordability chart included San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, Calif.; Honolulu; Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif.; and Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, Calif., respectively.

Ocean City, N.J., was the least affordable smaller housing market on the list, with 45.9 percent of homes sold in the first quarter affordable to families earning the median income of $71,100. Other small metros at the bottom of the list included Santa Cruz-Watsonville, Calif.; San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles, Calif.; Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta, Calif.; and Laredo, Texas.

Editor’s Note: Visit www.nahb.org/hoi for tables, historic data and details. 

FEUD MARATHON: Hatfield, McCoy Fans Mark Your Calendars for Saturday, June 2

  • By David M. Kinchen

For James Joyce fans, June 16 is “Bloomsday” — honoring the day in 1904 when all the events in Joyce’s massive novel “Ulysses” take place. For Hatfield and McCoy fans, “FeudDay” will be Saturday, June 2, 2012 on History Channel.

Kicking off the special day, according to Keith Davis of Chapmanville, WV, at 4 p.m. (Eastern) Saturday, June 2, will be the premiere of “America’s Greatest Feud: The Hatfields and McCoys.” Davis said the two-hour documentary, directed by Mark Cowen (”Band of Brothers”), stars several regional individuals including Raamie Barker, Bill Richardson, Dean H. King, and Keith Davis.

 

On Saturday, June 2, 2012, History Channel’s three-part miniseries “Hatfields & McCoys” (see accompanying story) will be repeated in its entirety starting at 6 p.m. (Eastern).

 

History Channel will also broadcast an episode of its popular “American Pickers” series, featuring feud items in West Virginia and Kentucky (check your local listings).

HISTORY CHANNEL: ‘Hatfields & McCoys’ Six-Hour Mini-Series Airs Beginning Monday, May 28

  • By David M. Kinchen
HISTORY CHANNEL: 'Hatfields & McCoys' Six-Hour Mini-Series Airs Beginning Monday, May 28

The hills are alive with the sound of feuding — but the hills are in Romania — not Kentucky and West Virginia

“Hatfields & McCoys”, a three-part, six-hour mini-series about the famous feud broadcasts beginning Monday evening, May 28 (9 p.m., 8 central time) on History Channel. It was filmed in Romania, better known for Count Dracula than Devil Anse Hatfield and Ran’l McCoy and their feuding clans, but that’s how movie making is these days. A look at the cast list on Internet Movie Data Base (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1985443/) shows that many of the feuding West Virginians and Kentuckians are played by Romanian actors and actresses. 

Apparently It was less expensive to film in Romania than in West Virginia and Kentucky.

 

“Hatfields & McCoys” stars Kevin Costner as William Anderson “Devil Anse” Hatfield and Bill Paxton as Randall McCoy and was directed by Kevin Reynolds, who directed Costner in “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.” Tom Berenger plays Jim Vance; Powers Boothe plays Judge Valentine “Wall” Hatfield and Lindsay Pulsipher plays Roseanna McCoy, Johnse Hatfield’s (Matt Barr) love interest. Jena Malone plays Nancy Hatfield, wife of William “Cap” Hatfield, who ended the feud; Sarah Parrish plays Devil Anse’s wife and the matriarch of the Hatfields, Levicy Chafin Hatfield.

 

HISTORY CHANNEL: 'Hatfields & McCoys' Six-Hour Mini-Series Airs Beginning Monday, May 28

 

According to a press release from History Channel: “Hatfields & McCoys” is the story of a clash of clans that evoked great passion, vengeance, courage, sacrifice, crimes and accusations, and includes a cast of characters that changed the families and the history of the region forever. The Hatfield-McCoy saga begins with ‘Devil’ Anse Hatfield and Randall McCoy. Close friends and comrades until near the end of the Civil War, they return to their neighboring homes – Hatfield in West Virginia, McCoy just across the Tug River border in Kentucky – to increasing tensions, misunderstandings and resentments that soon explode into all-out warfare between the families. As hostilities grow, friends, neighbors and outside forces join the fight, bringing the two states to the brink of another Civil War.

 

In an interview published in a New Orleans newspaper (http://www.nola.com/newsflash/index.ssf/story/hatfields-mccoys-feud-again-but-in-romania-not-appalachia/8e90ad523dcda44ebd127f8b7db30f26}, Costner said:
“I think we all would have preferred to be close to home, and on the Appalachian mountains, but we weren’t.”
In the same story, Paxton said he took a side trip to Kentucky on the way to work in Eastern Europe. “I thought, ‘Gee, if I’m going over to Romania to shoot this thing, I better go take a look to see what it looks like for real.’ And I was kind of amazed there were so many similarities.”

The hills made the region somewhat claustrophobic, leading Paxton to observe: “You can see how that part geographically was just so isolated so long. And how something like a feud like this could go on for a long time.”

“In researching the story, I guess I gathered as much as I possibly could, so I didn’t come to it thinking it was a fairy tale,” Costner said in the advance story on the series, referenced above: “I knew it was a real story with real participants, set against an era, a time, coming out of the Civil War, so I knew how deep the feelings were running just over that war.”

And yet, Costner continues, the offspring of the feuding heads of family “didn’t know what the Civil War was about, and they didn’t know what some of these old scars were about, and a combination of drinking and unemployment and all this stuff just led to these kind of murders, and then, of course, the patriarchs had to stand up.”

Costner says he sees Hatfield as an honorable man, an entrepreneur who hired McCoys in his lumberyard.

For his part, Paxton says, he had a hard time relating to McCoy. “But my job’s not to relate to him, but to try to give conviction of character.”

For all of its history, there is something resonant in the Hatfield-McCoy feud that continues today, the actors said in the above referenced story:

“There has certainly been revenge killing happening in this century. Based on what’s happening in Libya and Serbia-Croatia and Afghanistan and Iraq, there’s going to be honor killings for the next 50 to 60 years there,” Costner says. “So what’s really changed?”

“The theme is timeless,” Paxton says. “Revenge and obsession and reprisals — these things are going on all over the place, all over the world. A lot of the conflicts we’re in, we’re dealing with people who have been killing each other for hundreds of years, and it’s not going to stop: I kill your mother, and you kill my brother. And somebody comes along, it’s just violence begets violence. It’s a Biblical theme. It’s been around since the beginning of man.”

 

Here’s a cast list from History Channel’s website:

Kevin Costner as Devil Anse Hatfield
Bill Paxton as Randall McCoy
Joe Absolom as Selkirk McCoy
Matt Barr as Johnse Hatfield
Tom Berenger as Jim Vance
Powers Boothe as Wall Hatfield
Ben Cartwright as Parris McCoy
Max Deacon as Calvin McCoy
Noel Fisher as Cotton Top Mounts
Jeremy Fredrick as Jeffeson McCoy
Jilon VanOver Ghai as Ransom Bray
Michael Greco as Bill Staton
Katie Griffiths as Alifair McCoy
Boyd Holbrook as William “Cap” Hatfield
Andrew Howard as Bad Frank Phillips
Lloyd Hutchinson as Floyd Hatfield
Tyler Jackson as Bud McCoy
Michael Jibson as Phamer McCoy
Jack Laskey as Sam McCoy
Jena Malone as Nancy McCoy
Tom McKay as Jim McCoy
Damian O’Hare as Ellison Hatfield
Sarah Parish as Levicy Hatfield
Greg Patmore as Good ‘Lias Hatfield
Lindsay Pulsipher as Roseanna McCoy
Sam Reid as Tolbert McCoy
Ronan Vibert as Perry Cline
Mare Winningham as Sally McCoy