5.6%. That’s how much the U.S. economy grew in the first quarter of the year. It’s the fastest pace in 2 ½ years and stronger than what had been anticipated. The most interesting part of the number is the fact that a large part of the growth was due to an improved trade deficit.
So lets review, since President Bush’s tax cuts:
The U.S. economy has continued to grow at an above average pace.
Unemployment has fallen to 4.7%
A record number of people own their own homes including minorities.
The IRS has received a record amount in tax receipts. (Imagine how that could be possible considering we cut taxes).
All this and the President still can get any credit.
Check out this faux article from William S. Smith over at TCS Daily:
And a follow-up note: There’s currently a resolution in the House to remove the Times’ Washington press credentials. It won’t pass, but it will at least put their pigheadedness on the books for history to see. We should never expect an apology from them for what they did – they’re too snobbish for that – but there may be an opportunity to shame them into thinking twice before they print stories that endanger this country.
Maybe if someone pointed out to the Times editorial board that another terrorist attack in the United States may actually decrease their subscriber base, they might listen.
First I want to tell Dennis I got a chuckle out of his post because I also give the cashier in these places the extra penny so I don’t get back unneeded change. I laughed because whenever I do I always wonder to myself if they know what I’m trying to achieve by giving them the penny. I do have to say Dennis that I have yet to experience what you did but the fact that I wonder every time if they’ll catch on says something about my faith in the people behind the counter.
Speaking of the education system, this weekend I had the pleasure of watching my son graduate from preschool. Now for the last 4 years I have sent my son to private school. The school is not connected to any religious institution and was actually a publicly traded company before it was bought out late last year.
My point is when watching my son and his classmates (15 in total) you can’t help but be amazed at their progress at this private institution at such an early age. They can recognize, pronounce and write the complete alphabet. They can spell and write their complete names and phone number. They can write all their numbers and count in English, Spanish and French. They also have been introduced to simple addition and subtraction.
They have been taught dozens of topics from how the weather works to the dinosaurs, including how they became extinct. They have been taught how to use a computer. They also have been taught proper manners, as my son says, “hold the door for the ladies”. They can also completely recite the Pledge of Allegiance (my personal favorite) and more.
Now my point is not to be a proud father, though I am, or to say my son is so smart. Frankly there are children in his class more advanced then he is. The goal is to compare my son’s school to that preschool program the city and Christine Quinn claim to be a huge success, Universal pre-k.
Now I’m not saying Ms. Quinn’s program isn’t a good idea or that the children don’t get something out of it but I wonder if after seeing my sons school if the taxpayers and parents who send their children to the city’s pre-k program could be getting more for their money. My wife and I have a friend whose son is the same age as ours who sent him to the Universal pre-k program. Her comments about the program are not that impressive with the best thing she can say about it being she now has some alone time during the day and he has had a chance for social interaction. The education portion has seemed to be left out. Further my son’s aunt who is a first grade teacher in the New York City school system has said after seeing my son that he is on the same level as some of the kids coming into her class.
Not satisfied with their comments I though I would do a little more research and came across a Universal pre-k newsletter sent to those involved in the program called “news flash”. In the programs own newsletter it bragged how:
“The children have learned various skills, such as identification of shapes and colors, cutting and gluing their own creations, and interpreting their environment”.
Cutting and gluing? Shapes and colors? Are you kidding me? My son was learning his shapes and colors in his private school when he was two not to mention at home. Are we supposed to be applauding that four year olds in Universal pre-k are learning the color blue?
Comparing the difference between what private school provides versus what public can provide is like comparing night and day. What’s really sad is what it costs the taxpayer for this level of education. Now my son’s school wasn’t cheap nor is the private kindergarten he’ll be going to in September but it’s less than what it costs for each public school student. This is why we need to continue the fight for school choice in the form of vouchers. Though I can afford to send my child to private school to get him the best education possible for his age there are families who don’t have that money but would love the chance to send them to a school that is actually teaching, then a school like Universal pre-k that is just growing vegetables. If New York wants to cut the budget they can start by paying private schools to do a better job at a lower cost, killing two birds with one stone.
I just got back from the Burger King down here in lower Manhattan, just across from Ground Zero and I am totally disgusted – not by Burger King itself (perhaps I should look at the “nutritional” infromation for my Angus Burger to remedy that) – but by the exchange at the counter.
The total came to $6.71. I gave the woman – who looked like she had just graduated high school – or was at least no younger than someone entering her senior year — $6.76. Predictably, she said “you gave me too much” and tried to give me back my penny.
Now, putting aside what it says about me that I give people an extra penny to get a nickel back, this exposes two serious failings of our school system:
1. The failure to impart basic math skills and
2. The failure to teach humility.
The first point seems obvious and need not be belabored here, but the second needs some explaining.
Our schools, in this self-esteem infected culture we live in, do our children a great disservice by teaching them that they are wonderful are winners and as good as everyone else at all things. By doing so, they empower children to think that because they cannot see the logic in something, and because I am a winner, the poor fellow advancing the competing logic must be wrong. Indeed, unlike the academics that preach this garbage, kids instintively know there are winners and losers – thus, because they’ve been taught that they are winners, unlike the academics that somehow believe we all can be winners, kids know the other guy must be a loser.
Had out schools taught my new friend humility — she would have had the sense to at least say “self, this crazy guy gave me 76 cents when only 71 cents were necessary, I do not know why, but perhaps there is a reason, perhaps he knows better.” Then she just woudl have punched it into the register – WHICH CALCULATES THE DARNED CHANGE ANYWAY – and she would have learned that I was attempting to change five pennies (one of my own and four she was going to give me) into a nickel. Instead, she was quick to correct me and thus violated the maxim “better to be though of as a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”
Humility. It is an underrated trait. Perhaps in light of the failure of our schools to teach basic math it is too much to ask that they teach this hallmark of character. Schools, however, cannot be graded a success until they do both.
PS – I told her three times “no ketchup, no mayo, no sauce.” It was like I told her to put a gallon of BBQ sauce on the thing.
HELP COLLECT SIGNATURES FOR CANDIDATES
As petitioning comes to a close, there are a number of candidates who need our help. As you may know, according to law, candidates running for State Senate, State Assembly, and other elected offices must gather a certain number of signatures from registered Republicans in order to get their names on the ballot in the fall elections.
We have a great stable of Republicans running for office this year, and I don’t need to tell you just how important it is for us to be successful in the November elections. A lot is riding on this one, and we all must play a role if we want the Republican Party to succeed.
So drop a line with Kendal Elliott, our Campaign Chair, at email@example.com, and let her know when you will be available to help out. If each of us contributes just a few hours to the cause, we will ensure our candidates’ placement on the ballot this fall.
But don’t delay! There are only a few days left and timing is critical.
See you on the campaign trail.
Over the last couple of days I’ve become a bit peeved by those in the media like Bill Hammond in the Daily News and some in our Republican ranks (I’ll not mention any names but they know who they are) who have attacked Gov. Pataki for winning a new AMD plant for the state. The attacks are based on the assumption by some that Gov. Pataki has recklessly given away $1 billion dollars of your hard earned money to AMD to convince them to build its new plant in the state. The problem with this assumption is that those who profess it have failed to research what Gov. Pataki already knows. Getting private enterprise to open up shop in your state with incentives will payback that state a hundred times over in the future.
First lets set it straight. The plant is going to cost AMD $3.2 billion to build. So that means for the $1 billion New York is going to invest it will get an initial $2.2 billion back that will be going to much needed construction jobs and everything else needed to build a high tech plant. This doesn’t included the billions of dollars that will go into the factory over its lifetime to help keep with its expansion and upkeep. Lets also remember that part of the roughly $1 billion going to AMD will be spent to improve roads and utilities in the area to make transportation to and from the plant easier. Of course the Governors attackers don’t want to recognize the importance local infrastructure adds in enticing business to open up shop in any particular area. Nor do they want to mention how the improved infrastructure, will not just be used by AMD but any other company that follows.
Yes I said any other company that follows, another point that the Governors attackers failed to mention. The beauty about capitalism is when something is built other businesses follow to take advantage of that company’s needs. These are benefits that don’t show up initially but occur over time and is known in economics as external economies of scale. This means once a nucleus is created in a certain location other business whether competitors or suppliers move in and concentrate to lower the cost of doing business for everyone. The result is economic expansion and the thousands of jobs that go with it, which in the end leads to higher tax revenue. For the Governor’s liberal attackers they can look to their beloved Hollywood as an example of the benefits of external economies of scale. They can also look at Mayor Bloomberg’s decision to put tax breaks in the budget for film studios that film their movies in New York. You can argue they don’t need the money either but the Mayor understands that those tax incentives bring more money to the city in return.
The Governors attackers mock him when he claims that AMD can start what can become the new Silicon Valley but they should be careful because history favors the Governor not his critics. In 1989 Ireland was at the bottom of the ladder when it came to economic activity. The country needed to do something and knew attracting a big name company to build a plant and be the nucleus was the answer. The country bid hard and finally convinced Intel to build a factory in the country. They convinced them by offering an extremely low corporate tax rate. Since that “bribe” (as the Governors critics put it) Intel has invested over $6 billion dollars in the surrounding area. The Economist Intelligence Unit (no offense to people who get their business information from the Daily News) has stated:
“Ireland’s telecoms and technology sectors expanded rapidly in the late 1990s as a result of telecoms liberalization and the country’s success in attracting overseas investment, particularly from the US.”
That expansion all started with Intel and accounts for 12% of Irelands GDP, double the average of the European Union. That “bribe” not only saw Ireland take in 12% of all inward technology investment in the last couple of years to Europe but also 42% of all inward software investment to Europe. Software an industry unrelated to Ireland’s initial “bribe” came and located because it wanted to take advantage of the external economies of scale that were created.
The Governors critics don’t need to look overseas for proof, they can just look down south. Though you would never know listening to the liberal media but the U.S. auto industry is as strong as ever. It’s not in Michigan with Ford and GM though, it’s down south in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and other surrounding states. Those states years ago did what Governor Pataki is doing now with AMD giving cash and incentives to foreign automakers to build plants in America. While Detroit was sleeping southern states were quietly moving the auto industry south. Since then every company from BMW to Toyota have built multibillion-dollar plants down south. Toyota alone employs over 360,000 Americans directly thanks to those “bribes” not to mention the thousands of jobs created externally by supporting industry. The trend continues with just today Honda announcing that it will open a $400 million dollar plant in Indiana after they “bribed” the company with tax incentives. It’s worth noting that other states including Michigan who has finally woke up to what it takes to keep your state going bid for the plant.
Well there you have it. I could go on and on with examples but I think you get my point. So next time you hear some journalist cry about incentives being given to big business just remember it takes money to make money.
Besides Senate, Governor and Attorney General, there are actually some other interesting races going on. One that I have been paying attention to is the open assembly seat in the 22nd district. The seat is being vacated by the first term Democrat Jimmy Meng.
Jimmy Meng was elected to the assembly behind the large number of Asians that have moved into the district over the last decade. These new Asian Americans have proved to be heavily Democrat and were the force behind the election of Democrat John Liu to the City Council. Behind these two men the Asians that makeup over 50% of the Flushing community have been rewarded with a relaxed attitude toward the Asian nationalism that has taken place, which can be seen in the ever expanding business up Northern Blvd that include signs in everything but English and the unfortunate defacing of a 100 year old land mark bank by turning it into a Asian mini mall. For the other half of Flushing that is not Asian, it has become an intimidating environment where longtime residents feel secluded and unable to patronize local shops. It’s easy to say that the veteran residents of both Liu and Meng’s district have been purposely forgotten with the ultimate hope being that they too will leave the area for the comforts of Long Island, New Jersey or somewhere down south.
Meng’s departure from the Assembly means that an opening has been created for a more objective official to be elected. One who wants to create a community where new Asian immigrants can still enjoy their culture while respecting that many still live in the district who would still like to feel like they can visit Main St. Flushing like the days of old when they could go into a store knowing what they sold while not feeling like the owners don’t want them there. This person does exist in former councilwoman Julia Harrison who is also running in the primary for Meng’s seat. Realistically Harrison does have a chance if Grace Meng (Jimmy Meng’s daughter) and her two Asian rivals Terence Park and Ellen Young split the Asian vote leaving Harrison to capture the large block of Democrats in the district who are unhappy with its direction. The problem for Harrison will be convincing this block to actually vote. One thing that the Asians in the district must be given credit for is their appreciation of their right to vote. The right to vote is something they all take serious and enforce their right by showing up on Election Day in droves. This is the opposite of the non-Asian section of the district who have taken their right for granted generally choosing to sit home. Another problem for Harrison is her limited exposure on the streets. As stated earlier the majority of businesses have become Asian in the last ten years leaving her no place to hang her signs as their windows are covered with vote for Meng or Park. It appears the only chance she has is to hope that people walk into the booth and choose the only name that’s not Asian.
The opening of Jimmy Meng’s seat will instead most likely see the box out continue as Jimmy Meng’s daughter Grace has decided to run to fill her dad’s seat. Grace already has all the needed contacts in the community from when she was her dads campaign manager not to mention his donors. With the primary basically deciding who will win the assembly seat comes November a victory for Grace will keep the already Asian nationalism high while starting what could become the Kennedy’s of the Asian community. As a registered Republican I can’t vote in the primary but as a 30 year resident I’ll be watching.
How much press coverage can this guy get. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel has him claiming that the American presence in Iraq is more dangerous to world peace than nuclear threats from North Korea or Iran. This after he called our marines cold-blodded killers and has advocated the “cut-and-run” method for war stategy for some time (with a notable exception in 1991).
Indeed, in April 1994, Murtha urged the Clinton administration not to use military force to stop the fighting in the former Yugoslavian republics. http://asp.usatoday.com/news/politicselections/CandidateProfile.aspx?ci=462&oi=H
Of course, since Robert Novak recently reminded us all, Rep. Murtha was involved in Abscam. (side note, the investigated parties (one Senator, six Representatives.) were all but one Democrat — and interestingly, Robert Luskin, Karl Rove’s lawyer, was in charge of DOJ’s sting)
The names of the losers: Rep. John W. Jenrette, Jr. (D), Rep. Richard Kelly (R), Rep. Frank Thompson (D), Rep. John M. Murphy (D), Rep. Jack Murtha (D) (unindicted co-conspirator), Sen. Pete Williams (D)
As video made clear (from Winkpedia) Murtha refused the inital bribe, saying “I’m not interested. I’m sorry, at this point.” Novak notes that he also boasted about his influence and “expressing interest in further negotiations.”
In fairness, the charges against him were dropped in return, although only after he agreed to testify against Rep. Frank Thompson. Murtha was eventually cleared by the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct (House Ethics Committee) in 1981. It was, fittingly, a party-line vote in a Democratically-controlled House of Repubrestentatives that “cleared” Murtha. As Robert Novak recently noted, the committee’s special counsel resigned in protest.
Murtha is continuing his sleazy ways, Roll Call (http://www.rollcall.com/issues/1_1/breakingnews/11329-1.html?type=pf) reports that the fiscal 2005 defense appropriations bill included more than $20 million in funding for at least 10 companies for whom KSA Consulting, a frim owned by Rep. murtha’s brother, brother, Robert C. “Kit” Murtha, lobbied. Carmen Scialabba, a longtime Murtha aide, works at KSA as well. Murtha also inserted earmarks in defense bills that steered millions of dollars in federal research funds toward companies owned by children of fellow Pennsylvania Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D).
Now, why does this man have any credibility?
Currently there’s debate in Washington on whether or not there should be a constitutional amendment to ban flag burning. Those who are against the amendment and the people who actually go through the despicable act of actually burning the American flag claim to do it in the name of free speech. The problem with that argument is that by burning the American flag they’re destroying the one symbol in this country that truly represents what they’re trying to prove.
The American flag with its beautiful stars and stripes, red, white and blue colors scream freedom. This is why it’s moronic when somebody in this country burns the flag and then claims freedom of speech. If they truly were interested in freedom of speech they would wrap the flag around them not burn it. They would wave the flag and denounce the government, using the flag as their symbol of being able to do so.
By burning the flag, these people are saying they’re against freedom not for it. Flag burners need to wake up and stop confusing our country’s one true symbol of freedom and free speech with their displeasure of how our government is being run at that time.
By now most Americans have at some point asked themselves just whose side is the U.S. media on. Whenever it comes to the bad guys, whether it be terrorists or murders on death row it seems the media has always taken it upon themselves to defend the guilty. As Americans we have come to understand this to be an unfortunate consequence of a country with a free press.
This week however we need to be asking themselves have they once again cross the line and at what point can such papers like the New York Times be considered enemies of the state and charged with treason. Though this might sound harsh what the New York Times did on Thursday with its intricate description of how the program works, graphics included is nothing short of aiding the enemy.
Such reports raise red flags to terrorists who may be using the system and unaware that they are being tracked. This then allows them to change their habits giving them more time to plan, as we must have to find a new way to find them. The Times admits in its report that the program was used to identify an al-Qaeda operative Hambail, who was the mastermind behind the 2002 bombing of the Bali resort. We have to ask ourselves if the program did not exist, what other attacks could a free Hambil plan.
At what point does the media become accountable for future attacks when it is their reporting and disregard for consequences that caused it? It makes me wonder just what kind of people are sitting in the office of the Times and what must be going through their minds as the decide to report such stories. What’s interesting is that these are the same people who jump to attack CEO’s for being greedy and only worrying about their selves.
Finally lets remember this is not the first time the media has used its freedom to aid the terrorists. The most famous was the media’s decision to tip off Bin Laden by reporting that the U.S. Government was tracking and almost successfully killed him in an air strike by intercepting his satellite phone, giving us his location every time he used it. Soon as they reported the secrete information, Bin Laden stopped using his satellite phone and we lost our ability to track him.
So the next time the New York Times writes some story about how the U.S. is loosing the war on terrorism at least now we officially know they’re doing it with a smile.