February 29, 2008

Weekend Good News Send-off

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 4:17 pm

From the Bureau of Economic Analysis earlier today:

2007 Personal Income and Outlays

Personal income increased 6.1 percent in 2007 (that is, from the 2006 annual level to the 2007 annual level), compared with an increase of 6.6 percent in 2006. DPI (Disposable Personal Income) increased 5.7 percent, compared with an increase of 5.9 percent.

….. Real DPI increased 3.0 percent in 2007, compared with an increase of 3.1 percent in 2006.

It’s clear, contrary to a lot of current political rhetoric, that “the average person” was better off in 2006 compared to 2005, and better off still in 2007 compared to 2006 — and by very decent amounts in both years. In real terms, the average person was 6%-plus better off at the end of 2007 vs. the end of 2005.

Not bad for an economy 47% of Americans think is in a recession already (/sarc).

Couldn’t Help But Notice (022908)

There’s Supply-side news from Hong Kong, and an interesting choice made in the tax targeted for elimination:

Booming Hong Kong cuts taxes as surplus soars

Hong Kong’s financial chief said Wednesday he will cut salary and corporate taxes and abolish duty on beer and wine after a booming economy pushed the city’s budget surplus to a record high.

….. Duty on beer and wine — currently at 40 percent — will be cut with immediate effect.

Tsang attributed the surplus to higher-than-expected tax revenues from the city’s booming stock and property markets as well as company profits and salaries.

Tsang fulfilled the government’s last year promise to cut salaries tax to 15 percent in 2008-09 from 16 percent and the corporate tax rate to 16.5 percent from 17.5 percent.

Tax rates went down and tax collections went up. How DID that happen?

Hong Kong residents will surely drink to that success.

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So ….. Basic medical hygiene may be less important than a kowtowed-to religion:

Muslim medics refuse to roll up their sleeves in hygiene crackdown – because it’s against their religion

Health officials are having crisis talks with Muslim medical staff who have objected to hospital hygiene rules because of religious beliefs.

Medics in hospitals in at least three major English cities have refused to follow the regulations aimed at helping tackle superbugs because of their faith, it has been revealed.

Women medical students at Alder Hey children’s hospital in Liverpool objected to rolling up their sleeves when washing their hands and removing arm coverings in theatre, claiming it is regarded as immodest.

Similar concerns were raised at Leicester University -and Sheffield University reported a case of a Muslim medic refusing to “scrub” because it left her forearms exposed.

Some students have said that they would prefer to quit the course rather than expose their arms, but hygiene experts said no exceptions should be made on religious grounds.

It’s worth reminding folks that in a nationalized health care system such as the British NHS, patients often don’t have an alternative as to which hospital they go to, or which doctor will serve them. And besides, in a forced-uniformity system, the problem may exist anywhere there is a Muslim female doctor.

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Jonah Goldberg makes a great point in discussing the “respectability” of unrepentant 1960s radicals William Ayers (“I feel we didn’t do enough [violence]“) and Bernardine Dohrn (HT Instapundit):

What fascinates me is how light the baggage is when one travels from violent radicalism to liberalism. Chicago activist Sam Ackerman told Politico’s reporter that Ayers “is one of my heroes in life.” Cass Sunstein, a first-rank liberal intellectual, said of Ayers and Dohrn, “I feel very uncomfortable with their past, but neither of them is thought of as horrible types now – so far as most of us know, they are legitimate members of the community.”

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This USA Today article shows that those who want to tear us apart are making very real progress:

Teens losing touch with common cultural and historical references

Big Brother. McCarthyism. The patience of Job.

Don’t count on your typical teenager to nod knowingly the next time you drop a reference to any of these. A study out today finds that about half of 17-year-olds can’t identify the books or historical events associated with them.

Twenty-five years after the federal report A Nation at Risk challenged U.S. public schools to raise the quality of education, the study finds high schoolers still lack important historical and cultural underpinnings of “a complete education.”

This is what a large part of the educational establishment wants: No common culture, (except perhaps “US – bad; rest of world, good”). Combine this with the the influx of millions of illegal aliens who clearly are not picking up on our heritage, and in fact are often hostile to it, and you realize that they’re getting their way. And we’re letting them. If there is no cultural glue holding a nation together, it runs the risk of falling apart.

The argument presented in the article that learning basic reading and math skills is getting in the way of learning our culture is as bogus as it comes. How is it that the culture got passed on during the first half of the 20th century, when basic-skills curricula were much tougher? Answer: Because educators almost univerally cared about it.

Positivity: ‘Angel’ Waiter Prevents Drink Drugging

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Colorado Springs, Colorado (HT Jezebel.com):

Feb. 21, 2008

Nancy McGrath considers Colt Haugen “an angel” and a life-saver.

Haugen, 22, a student at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, was in his third week as a waiter at a local Ruby Tuesday restaurant last month when, he says, he spotted a customer slipping a pill into the drink of the woman he was with.

Haugen told his manager, and they called police. Haugen also whisked the drink away and replaced it.

The customer, Robert Psaty, 56, was arrested on suspicion of inducing someone to consume a controlled substance. He is free on bail.

Police say they tested the drink, and it contained anxiety-relieving Valium.

McGrath was on a blind date with Psaty, whom she met through a dating service.

“It was just a typical table,” Haugen told Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith Thursday. “(An) everyday kind of thing; see it every night. A couple came in, they were just enjoying themselves, you know. It was kind of awkward at first. I noticed it was a first date. They were just sitting down to order food just like everybody else.”

McGrath ordered a drink, then went up to the salad bar.

“I was helping another server deliver food to a different table,” Haugen continued. “And she got up from the table, and I noticed it was the only time she got up from the table. She walked away. And as soon as she turned her back, he pulled a pill out of his pocket and put it in her drink and stirred it in and mashed it in with a straw.

“I almost dropped the food I was holding. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, you know. I’m watching this, all the signs of this are there. I’m blown away.

“I talked with the manager. I told her, I said, ‘I saw this plain as day. And if we don’t do something about this, something’s going to happen to this woman.’ So, we both just agreed that, no matter what the consequences were, we were going to do what was right.”

They then notified police, despite concern about the possibility of being accused by Psaty of making false accusations.

McGrath told Smith she didn’t know what was going on until police arrived and, “I didn’t know if I could believe him until I talked to Colt because he was, you know, so genuine and so sincere. I knew right away when I talked to him (Colt) that what he said was exactly true.

“He saved my life. He could have saved my life. … I can’t be grateful enough.”

McGrath says she takes other medications, so the pill that was put in her drink could have harmed her. …..

Go here for the rest of the story.