a service of NPRI

April 11, 2006 
Vol. 2, No. 6

Also in this issue:

Study: Charter schools
doing a better job

Nevada may sue tobacco
firms if payments are cut

Luxury condo projects
falling by wayside

How I Work: Bill Gates

Arrival of aliens
ousts U.S. workers

New Survey: Adults
want major tax reform


I still want to teach

Big Health in Massachusetts

The egg man

Taking a bite out of graft


from NPRI:


The higher-taxes crowd is misrepresenting America’s founders

The Silver State nowadays is hearing a lot of what America’s founding generation called bletherskate.

Though dictionaries today spell it blatherskite, the meaning remains the same as in the late 18th century: nonsense.

Dusting off the older spelling seems appropriate, however, because the rubbish being proclaimed concerns America’s founding generation itself.


Teacher unions
I still want to teach

By John Stossel

Last month, 500 angry schoolteachers assembled outside my office. The United Federation of Teachers (UFT) was furious that "Stupid in America," a "20/20" show I did on education, suggested that some union teachers were lazy. They shouted that I didn't understand how difficult teaching was, and chanted, "Shame on you!"

Randi Weingarten, head of New York City's union, took the microphone and hollered, "Just teach for a week!" She said I could select from many schools. "We got high schools, we got elementary schools, we got junior high schools!"

I accepted. I even said I'd let the union pick the school. I thought I'd learn more about how difficult teaching is.


The Big 'If'
Big Health in Massachusetts

The Washington Times

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney had a dream of universal consumer-driven health care. Then he met Beacon Hill and its Democratic legislators. Their plan, introduced this week, is a Frankenstein's monster of tax penalties, expanded government-insurance programs and unfunded mandates.

A presidential aspirant, which Mr. Romney certainly is, will decide what is the best he can do for his state. The rest of us, however, should not take this plan for a model.

(May require registration)

The Fed
The egg man

By Peter Schiff
Euro Pacific Capital

This week a Chinese banking official commented that China held too many dollars in reserve and that perhaps the bank should seek to reduce its exposure. Not surprisingly, the dollar reacted by falling sharply against the euro and Swiss franc and even more against gold and silver. (The greenback gain a temporary reprieve later in the week following dovish comments from the ECB.) Bond prices also fell, with yields rising to their highest levels since September of 2004. 


Taking a bite out of graft

By Jon Ralston
In Business Las Vegas

Never has there been a better opportunity for legitimate businessmen to capitalize on efforts targeting illegitimate businessmen. And save money, too.

The testimony at the G-Sting trial combined with the crimes and misdemeanors that have plagued Southern Nevada local governments for decades have imbued voters with a sense of cynicism and motivated candidates to inundate us with populist rhetoric about ethics and campaign reform.


WHY BusinessNevada


Public schools
for dollars

Failing elementary-level teaching strategies are now being injected into Nevada high schools

By Steven Miller
Business Nevada

In the late 1990s, Nevada lawmakers passed what they hailed as major initiatives in education accountability.

It was a new day for state public schools, they said.

Today, as some of those initiatives approach the 10-year mark, ample evidence suggests that, in many respects, actual progress by Nevada students is becoming even less likely.

Boneheaded, rule-obsessed implementation is behind much of the problem. For example, teachers now get dinged if the exact language of the state bureaucracy’s official academic standard is not displayed in the classroom.

Similarly, teachers get assessed negatively if all the books in their classroom are on the shelves in normal fashion, spines showing. State regulations defining a “literacy rich environment” say that at least one of the books must be positioned with its cover facing outward, and expensive flying teams of clipboard-bearing bureaucrats regularly sweep through schools to enforce such rules. The actual spirit and love of learning? For Nevada’s so-called Regional Professional Development Programs (RDPD), there’s no such checkbox.


Study: Charter schools
doing a better job

Dept of Education Reform
University of Arkansas

The first national study of charter schools comparing apples to apples—that is, test scores at charter schools and regular public schools serving similar student populations— finds charter schools out-performing in both math and reading instruction.

Nevada charter schools still running into resistance

Two charter schools slated to be within a mile of the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy are running into roadblocks on the path to opening.

LV Business Press

Charter schools are public schools that are exempt from many of the procedural regulations that apply to regular public schools. But assessing the academic performance of charter schools has been difficult, because many charter schools are targeted toward specific populations such as at-risk students, disabled students, and juvenile delinquents.

[more on the study]

Nevada may sue tobacco firms if payments are cut

By Valerie Miller
LV Business Press

The State of Nevada is ready to take legal action against a number of big tobacco companies if they hold out on annual settlement payments due in a week and a half, according to the state Attorney General's office.


Vegas growth
Luxury condo projects falling by wayside

Waning buyer interest has some developers quickly cashing out

By Tony Illia
LV Business Press

Unlike the Kevin Costner film, "Field of Dreams," if you build a luxury high-rise condominium, the buyers don't necessarily come. Demand for posh vertical living has softened somewhat during the past six months. It has resulted in several valley-wide project cancellations, including such recent casualties as the Hard Rock's $1.4 billion, 1,420-unit Flats, Bungalows, and Residences at Harmon Avenue and Paradise Road, and The Curve's 389 units at Durango Road and the Beltway.


Bill Gates:
How I work

Not much of a paper chase for Microsoft's chairman, who uses a range of digital tools to do business

By Bill Gates
Chairman & chief software architect, Microsoft
Fortune Magazine

It's pretty incredible to look back 30 years to when Microsoft was starting and realize how work has been transformed. We're finally getting close to what I call the digital workstyle.

If you look at this office, there isn't much paper in it. On my desk I have three screens, synchronized to form a single desktop. I can drag items from one screen to the next. Once you have that large display area, you'll never go back, because it has a direct impact on productivity.


Arrival of aliens
ousts U.S. workers

By Jerry Seper
The Washington Times

An Alabama employment agency that sent 70 laborers and construction workers to job sites in that state in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina says the men were sent home after just two weeks on the job by employers who told them "the Mexicans had arrived" and were willing to work for less.


Survey: Adults want major tax reform

By Scott A. Hodge and Andrew Chamberlain
Tax Foundation

Support for federal tax reform rose to a new high among adults in 2006. A majority even say they are willing to give up some tax deductions to make the tax system simpler.

East Coast Ds Seek Flat Tax

Budget & Tax News

Only about one in ten adults are willing to pay additional taxes to eliminate the deficit and balance the budget. A majority report the amount of federal income taxes they have to pay are “too high,” and rate the value they receive from the taxes they pay to the federal government as only fair or poor.

[More on the survey]

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