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Go ahead: Shop like it’s 1955

Mortgage rates are at some of the lowest levels of the year. It’s a good sign for both home buyers and sellers.

Much has been made of the influence of rising interest rates on home sales, but to anybody with a bit of a memory, the current rates of just a couple of tics over 6 percent remain remarkably low by historical standards.

In truth, the whole notion of a housing "bubble" and the influence it has on home sales has always been something of a side issue here in Austin.

Much of the so-called "bubble" story was driven by housing speculators buying and selling or "flipping" within the hot coastal markets.

For the vast majority of Americans, buying a house is about finding a place to live. From this perspective, any "bubble" means little and the current interests rates are fairly easy to manage.

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Economic upturn

Across the country consumers are feeling buoyed by reasonable home interest rates and especially by somewhat lower gasoline prices.

This has shown itself in a consumer confidence survey that has hit a two-month high.

Beyond easier to manage fuel costs, national unemployment has dropped

to a five-year low of 4.4 percent. People are working and bringing home

paychecks.

Such statistics seem to carry some holiday cheer for retailers and their customers with a burning desire to buy.

No O.J.? Smart move

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Thank goodness the company that owns Fox News has come to its senses and elected not to air an interview with O.J. Simpson in which he explains, hypothetically, how he would have killed his wife, Nicole, and her friend Ron Goldman in 1994.

The decision to cancel the special program was made after about a dozen Fox affiliates said they would not air the interview out of respect for the victims’ families.

There is absolutely nothing to be gained from airing an interview with Simpson. Morbid curiosity, you say?

Entertainment?

Conversation starter?

What kind of low has our culture reached when it would put television ratings and advertising revenue ahead of human decency on the morality spectrum?

The company should be commended for canceling the program. But it should be condemned for planning to air it in the first place.

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