Florida Enterprise Zone Does Not Work for Immokalee | James Pat Guerréro


The Collier County Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) is relieved because the move to delay the review of Enterprise Zones in Florida, including Immokalee, will occur in 2015. The CRA, a government agency, almost lost funding for the Immokalee Enterprise Zone when Florida State Sen. Nancy Detert (R-Venice/Sarasota) filed S.B. 1296 before the 2011 legislative session. It has been settled that the review shall be held off until 2015 – due to some governmental outcries. Florida State Rep. Matt Hudson (R-Naples) is legislatively responsible for Immokalee.

Marketing government funding with the catchy phrase, “Florida in the 21st Century,” is a far stretch for convincing the public that the economy will improve in Immokalee. The CRA is bold, and IS the governing body, and traps itself in its own economic corner because of poor work on economic development by the whole Collier County government. The real problem with business in Immokalee is that large private businesses and Collier County government do not allow the free market to work nor stay out of selectively choosing businesses because of fear of competition. Immokalee is in economic doldrums because the State government controls business growth through funding (the CRA can also prove its own budget.) The CRA acts like a conduit for the funding, and to substantiate its own existence, it must decry Enterprise Zone, Itech, Immokalee Business Development Center (ImmBiz), and such other government-branded “entrepreneurial agents.” The government and its innovative devising of “entrepreneurial agents” do not work. If the law allows tax credits, businesses should accept them – they would be jeopardizing their own interest not to accept. But legalizing tax credits simply to control and regulate businesses is not right.

Steve Hart is incorrect in the title that Florida legislators have backed off. The Enterprise Zones must go because the concept does not work and intends to keep Immokalee from ever developing economically on its own free market initiatives. But Hart is correct in stating that Immokalee will remain the same, economically, for the whole of the 21st century. The Florida Enterprise Zone Act must go.

Enterprise zones should work in this way: (1) the State should provide tax incentives for businesses to work in the zone. This encourages families to move into Immokalee to live, work, and, hopefully, send their children to good schools. (There aren’t good schools in Immokalee.) The underlying idea is to get families to live in the surrounding area of the zone. If Immokalee can get families in, then good schools will prosper. (2) The State should do away with the CRA’s budget or budgets of any other governing body managing the enterprise zone. Tax credits are forms of opportunity cost to the State. They work if peer-reviewed studies exist that show that certain industries are better than others for enterprising initiatives in the zone.

Read More: Florida legislators back off move to shut down enterprise zones – Immokalee: Florida in the 21st Century.

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Reflection on Readings of the Third Sunday of Lent (March 27, 2011) | James Pat Guerréro


[The writer wants to reflect on Holy Scripture during the Lenten season to help that special group of people who suffer from and fight the many serious forms of depression. Whenever the writer refers to man, he means men and women of human kind, no other.] Continue reading “Reflection on Readings of the Third Sunday of Lent (March 27, 2011) | James Pat Guerréro”

The Final Days of the Glenn Beck Phenomenon? | The Americano


 

The left is terrified of Beck. He has become one of the biggest leaders in the conservative movement. His enemies have responded by trying to force him out of his Fox News show.

The mainstream media has been reporting with glee that Glenn Beck may be leaving his Fox News show for a web-only show or his own cable station. Beck’s detractors are hoping he is imploding and this is the end of his superstardom in politics. There have been signs of friction between Beck and Fox News, and the network will not confirm whether his contract will be renewed in December. 

The left is terrified of Beck. He has become one of the biggest leaders in the conservative movement. His enemies have responded by trying to force him out of his Fox News show. The far left group Color of Change organized a boycott of the show in 2009 after Beck called Obama a racist. The group claims that 300 advertisers have left, including Wal-Mart, Geico and Sprint. Liberal rabbis took out a full page ad in the Washington Post earlier this year asking Fox News to sanction Beck over critical statements he had made about them. Some Christian conservatives have kept quiet instead of defending him because of his Mormon faith. His theological differences with mainstream Christians occasionally surface on his television show.

The Glenn Beck Show has become one of the top cable news shows in just a few years. Unlike other prominent conservative talk show hosts, Beck educates his audience about our country’s history and philosophical foundations. He has figured out how to do so in a way that appeals to even our younger generations with their shorter attention spans. He wisely puts on many shows discussing Tea Party concerns that have become front and center over the past couple of years; hammering on the dangers of our expanding debt and deficits that risk economic doom if something does not change. He frequently lays into far left activists and exposes their seedy connections, unafraid to connect the dots when it comes to real conspiracies. His honest, folksy style of speaking with its sense of urgency, accompanied by unusual camera angles, invitingly draws viewers in. People from all walks of life easily identify with him due to his troubled past, which includes overcoming alcoholism, drug addiction and the suicide of his mother when he was only 13.

Lately, Beck’s shows have explored radical Islam, including whether Islamic prophecies coincide with Biblical endtime prophesies. Beck believes there is a possibility that the Antichrist foretold in the Bible will come from radical Islam. Considering around 80% of the U.S. population considers themselves to be Christians, and there are political overtones to Biblical end times prophesy, it makes sense for Beck to cover a topic that many of his viewers are interested in. Fox News viewers are even more likely to be Christians interested in these kinds of issues.

But Beck has become so wildly popular that every thing he says is a potential lightening rod. He has reached Sarah Palin levels of media scrutiny. There is now talk that his plain-talking style of covering controversial topics like radical Islam is hurting him and that his ratings have dropped drastically. Is there any truth to this? The big networks are down double digits, while cable networks have increased their viewers. Last year, Beck had the third most popular show on cable news, and just last week his ratings jumped up to second place, putting him ahead of Hannity and behind the number one O’Reilly Factor. And unlike O’Reilly and Hannity, Beck’s pre-evening time slot is not even a prime spot. O’Reilly has Beck on his show as a guest every Friday, no doubt realizing it helps his own ratings too.

Beck is even more successful outside of Fox News. Forbes Magazine has estimated that Beck’s web operations earn him $4 million per year, twice as much as the $2 million he earns from his Fox News show. He launched the website “The Blaze” last fall. It has more traffic than Fox News’ Fox Nation website.

Beck’s total earnings between March 2009 and March 2010 were $23 million according to Forbes. His radio show is carried by more than 350 stations, and he is the third-most-popular political radio talk show host after Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. He regularly goes on live comedy tours around the nation. He has his own magazine, Fusion. He’s authored six New York Times bestsellers.

He launched the popular 9-12 Project in 2009 and quickly became one of the biggest faces of the Tea Party movement. Over 500,000 attended his “Restoring Honor” rally last August in Washington, D.C., dubbed “Beckapalooza” due to its draw. Unlike most conservative rallies, it wasn’t put on by a conglomerate organization, this was a rally where people came because Beck was the theme. Prominent groups like the National Rifle Association, Americans for Prosperity, FreedomWorks and Tea Party Patriots supported the rally. It raised $5.5 million, which went to the veterans’ charity Special Operations Warrior Foundation after costs.

Critics of Beck reveal their desperation at finding a real flaw in him by trying to have it both ways in their attacks on him. They do not like the way he has been able to present the historical and philosophical background underlying political issues in an appealing way that doesn’t bore the average person. But at the same time, they attack his intelligence. They claim he has sold out and gone mainstream. Beck’s website The Blaze criticized investigative filmmaker James O’Keefe for selectively releasing portions of incriminating videotapes of figures on the left. Beck hired former Huffington Post CEO Betsy Morgan to run The Blaze. Yet on the other hand, critics claim he is part of the fringe right for attacking radical Islam, discussing Biblical end times prophecy, and calling Obama a racist.

The efforts to ruin Beck will not be successful. The boycott isn’t hurting Fox News. Those advertisers affected have simply moved to other shows on the network. The controversies Beck has brought while at Fox News are just enough to help the network, not hinder it. Beck is covering mildly controversial issues, he is not behaving like Charlie Sheen or David Duke. The fact he is Mormon means he is not the perfect conservative talk show host for most of Fox News’ base, but he is the only one on the network willing to cover subjects that desperately need to be aired on a popular network. Beck is charismatic, tireless and always coming up with creative new ideas that reflect the times. If Beck and Fox News cannot agree on renewing his contract, Beck will have no problem expanding his empire and drawing viewers elsewhere.

Rachel Alexander is the co-editor of the Intellectual Conservative.

via The Final Days of the Glenn Beck Phenomenon? | The Americano.

Preschool mom worries about Harvard admission


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Manhattan mom needs a reality check 

Did you hear about the New York City mother who’s suing her child’s preschool because she believes the teachers there didn’t prepare her daughter for admission to an Ivy League university?

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Our son is a gifted student, though he’s only five. We try not to talk about his achievements too much, but certain family members brag so much about their kids, we tend to jump into the game of “can you top this.” Afterward, we feel terrible that we let ourselves boast and be overly competitive. What can we do to avoid bragging when others go on and on about their children? Post answers on our Family Events Facebook Page.

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Last week we asked Family Events readers to suggest ways to deal with a teen who is respectful and courteous at home, but who morphs into a rude teen when friends are around or when out with the family. Here’s what our experts had to say:

Say something to her in front of her friends when she acts like that. If that doesn’t stop it then she can’t be around her friends until she agrees to behave and be herself everywhere; not just with you.

—LeeAnn

I would prefer not to embarrass my teen in front of his friends — even though he has just embarrassed me! But as soon as I see him at home, I will challenge him then, that there is no need to be rude to anyone in any context. After all, there are ways to be kind to your parents even in front of your friends!
—Dale

The toughest “pressure” there is, is peer pressure! Wish she had learned to make a “stand” for herself, not to emulate others. That training comes from home… She is not being “cool.” Would that she set the far better example and show her peers she is strong enough to do the right thing!

—Linda

Demeaning or confronting the youth in front of there peers will only dent their self-esteem even further. There definitely needs to be consequences for their action. if they are going to act like adults (or thinking this is how adults act and talk) it’s a learning curve that needs guidance. It is called situational behaviors that we all do. This is when honest and open communication really needs to happen.
—”Blue Seahorse”

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I couldn’t make this up. It’s true.

Nicole Imprescia filed a lawsuit against Manhattan’s York Avenue Preschool for a refund of the $19,000 per year she paid in tuition. She claims the preschool didn’t prepare her four-year-old for the entrance exams that would have gained her admission to a premier, private elementary school, and thus, her chances of getting into an Ivy League college already are dashed.

Apparently, the lawsuit claims the school was just “one big playroom.”

The school’s website indicates they offer a curriculum that seeks to develop preschoolers’ social, emotional, cognitive, language and physical skills.

I hate to break it to Ms. Imprescia, but in preschool, that sort of learning looks a lot like play – and it should!

Clearly, this little girl may have bigger issues down the road than college admission. Or, as my husband likes to joke, one of our duties as parents is to give our children something to tell the therapist when they’re adults.

Preschool is another word for “play”

This crazy story reminds me of an urgent email I received a few weeks ago from a friend who had concerns about the messages she was getting from her son’s preschool teacher. Apparently, the cause for concern was his inability to sit still, recite the alphabet, count objects, and manipulate crayons and pencils. The little guy is only four years old.

My girlfriend didn’t think her son was developmentally delayed, but the preschool teacher’s comments caused her to worry she was missing something.

I emailed back right away and told her she was right. She’s missing a preschool teacher with common sense!

The best advice I could offer to my friend was to grab a copy of Your Four-Year-Old: Wild and Wonderful by Louise Bates Ames, the guru of child development.

Within a day, my girlfriend emailed again to say, “Whew!” Once she learned what is normal and appropriate for a developing four-year-old, she knew that the problem was her son’s teacher, who demanded too much cognitive progress, and not her son. He was as right as rain!

A preschool setting should offer ample opportunities for children to do the “work” of growing, learning, exploring and mastering new skills, and should be staffed by folks who understand that normal development varies among children.

The fast track from preschool to Princeton

If you really want to assure your child has a shot at an Ivy League life – or for whatever the future may hold – the best strategy is to focus on who he is, not what he does.

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When we help our children to grow in virtues such as perseverance, trustworthiness, humility, self-discipline, moderation, honor, civility, reverence and reason, we give them the tools to achieve whatever dreams and goals their ambition suggests.

Instilling these virtues is the most important aspect of parenting and begins when our children are still very young (preschool!). We teach them to try their best to do hard things, tell the truth, follow through on the tasks we assign to them, speak respectfully to others and behave appropriately in various situations. This is how we equip our kids with the competencies and confidence to pursue big plans for themselves.

As they get older, we’ll have lots of chances to help our children enjoy the fruits of these virtues. Getting good grades, achieving in sports or music or the arts, excelling in science fairs and math competitions, or being recognized for public service at a young age are all wonderful accomplishments – for our kids, not for us!

So let’s all take a lesson from that maniacal mom in Manhattan and remember that our job as parents isn’t to plot out some magnificent success story for our kids, but to help them grow up with excellent character and be the best they can be at whatever they set out to achieve.

Thanks for reading and sharing Family Events!

Take good care until next week,

Marybeth

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Turning your child into a mature teen Will picture books hurt your kid’s chances for Harvard? 

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Bookstore
This week’s best buys at your local bookstore
Your Four-Year-Old: Your Four-Year-Old:
Wild and Wonderful 

by Louise Bates Ames

Part of an excellent series for every age and stage.

Stop Second-Guessing Yourself - The Preschool Years: Stop Second-Guessing Yourself – The Preschool Years:
A Field-Tested Guide to Confident Parenting 

by Jen Singer

Part of a three-book series on babies, toddlers and preschoolers – like having coffee with the best mom in the neighborhood!

What Your Preschooler Needs to Know: What Your Preschooler Needs to Know:
Get Ready for Kindergarten 

from the Core Knowledge Foundation

An anthology full of delightful stories that teach the basics.

No More Push Parenting: No More Push Parenting:
How to Find Success and Balance in a Hypercompetitive World  

by Elisabeth Guthrie

Helping parents discover the fine line between good parenting and pressure parenting

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EXCLUSIVE: Governors Barbour, McDonnell, and Perry Call on Congress for a Balanced Budget Amendment – HUMAN EVENTS | Emily Miller


Governors Haley Barbour (R.-Miss.), Bob McDonnell (R.-Va.), and Rick Perry (R.-Tex.) sent a letter to the Democrat and Republican congressional leaders on Tuesday evening calling on them to pass a Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) to the U.S. Constitution.

“We believe it is time that the federal government be required to live within its means and balance its books every year, just as we are required to do in our respective states,” wrote the three governors in a letter obtained by HUMAN EVENTS.

The governors’ letter was sent to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D.-Nev.), Speaker of the House John Boehner (R.-Ohio), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnnell (R.-Ky.), and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (R.-Calif.).

“Currently, 49 states have some form of a balanced budget requirement. Millions of working families across the country balance their checkbooks every year and we believe that Congress needs to do the same,” the governors wrote.

Because the federal government is not required to balance its budget, this year alone spending will exceed revenue by $1.5 trillion. The accumulation of the years of federal budget deficits has left the U.S. with a national debt of $14.1 trillion. The debt is projected to hit the statutory limit within the next two months, at which point Congress will have to decide to raise the debt ceiling.

“In Mississippi we are required to have a balanced budget. That legal requirement makes a world of difference. And [it’s] getting our legislature to live within our means,” Barbour told HUMAN EVENTS in an interview. “The country would benefit if there were a national Balanced Budget Amendment.”

“The fact that the federal government has no Balanced Budget Amendment is to me one of the great cancers of the republic,” McDonnell told HUMAN EVENTS by phone. “I think that transferring the spending restraints that are required in every state through a Balanced Budget Amendment is what needs to be done at the federal level.”

The governors’ letter supports specific BBA legislation in the House sponsored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R.-Va.) and in the Senate by Senators John Cornyn (R.-Tex.) and Orrin Hatch (R.-Utah). “We support and appreciate their leadership and their effort to solve the deepening budget crisis and ask that you work with them to pass a balanced budget amendment in the 112th Congress,” the governors wrote.

In early February, Cornyn organized a conference call with McDonnell, Barbour, Perry, and Goodlatte to get state support for a BBA. A constitutional amendment requires a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate, so it would require bipartisan support for passage.

“From my conversation with them, I think they see themselves as a kind of counterbalance to the overreach in Washington,” Cornyn told HUMAN EVENTS of the call with the governors.  “They can use the authority they’ve been given in their states by organizing together and forcing Washington to change.  I think that’s a very constructive development.”

The governors have all been struggling to balance their own states’ budgets during this current legislative term.  Along with a weak economy, the states are also forced to budget for the unfunded federal mandates, especially from the health care law known as ObamaCare, as well as education and environmental regulations.  ObamaCare has forced more people into the Medicaid program, which is split 50/50 between the states and the federal government.

“We have sued the federal government to try to declare ObamaCare unconstitutional.  It would increase our Medicaid rolls by two-thirds.  We already have more than 20% of our population on Medicaid.  And this will put us up to more than a third of our population on Medicaid.  And by the time the program is fully in effect, it will cost us an extra $440 million a year,” Barbour told HUMAN EVENTS.

“Medicaid is a budget buster for Virginia and, really, every state,” McDonnell told HUMAN EVENTS.  “This ObamaCare bill not only adds more spending, but it really hamstrings the governors with these maintenance-of-effort requirements.  I mean this is eligibility requirements.  But you really can’t do anything creative or entrepreneurial or try to reduce Medicaid spending in your states.  So it’s a bad situation.  And the federal government doesn’t seem interested at this point in giving us the tools to control the costs.”

According to Article V of the U.S. Constitution, an amendment must get a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate, and be ratified by three-quarters of the states.  So in the Democrat-majority Senate, the amendment would need all 47 Republicans votes plus 20 Democrats for passage.

McConnell is expected to launch an all-out push to get grassroots support for a BBA during the debate with President Obama over the terms of raising the debt ceiling.

The Senate voted on March 2 for a non-binding amendment for a BBA, sponsored by Sen. Mike Lee (R.-Utah). The final vote was 58-40. If that test vote would be an accurate measure for vote counting, then only nine more Democrats are needed to pass a BBA this year.

The last time that the Senate voted on a binding Balanced Budget Amendment was in 1997, when the measure sponsored by Hatch, failed by only one vote. The 1997 BBA was supported by 11 Democrats, four of whom are still in the Senate: Max Baucus (Mont.), Tom Harkin (Iowa), Herb Kohl (Wisc.), and Mary Landrieu (La.).

For the March 2 vote, Kohl voted in favor, but Baucus and Harkin voted against it. Landrieu did not vote. The three who voted in favor of the BBA in 1997 are considered good potential supporters of a 2011 BBA, which leaves six more needed for passage.

In the House, Goodlatte’s BBA bill is considered more likely to get bipartisan support for passage.  The House passed a BBA in 1995 as part of the “Contract With America.”

Under the new Senate Republican version of the BBA, the federal government would have to balance federal spending to incoming revenue each year, cap spending at 18% of the gross domestic product (GDP), require a two-thirds vote in Congress to pass a budget that is out of balance or to raise taxes, mandate that the President submit a balanced budget each year, and get a three-fifths vote to raise the debt ceiling.

“Undoubtedly, Washington has a spending problem, and this problem is getting worse,” the three governors wrote in the letter to Congressional leaders.  “Hence, a balanced budget amendment is a common-sense measure that is long overdue and whose time has come.”

via EXCLUSIVE: Governors Barbour, McDonnell, and Perry Call on Congress for a Balanced Budget Amendment – HUMAN EVENTS.

Texas Exes | Author Lawrence Wright Expects Turmoil As ‘Freedom Train’ Steams Through Middle East


He won the Pulitzer Prize for The Looming Tower, a deep look into Al Qaeda and what led to 9/11. So what does Lawrence Wright think about the unrest convulsing the Arab world today?

Before a jam-packed audience at the Avaya Auditorium Tuesday evening, at an event sponsored by UT’s Humanities Institute, Wright offered insights into what he calls the “freedom train” speeding through the Middle East.

Wright is a Texan who grew up in Dallas and later worked at Texas Monthly, but he also has deep experience in the Arab world. He both studied and taught at American University in Cairo and has lived in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the region.

It’s the countries with less developed civil societies and rule of law, like Libya and Yemen, that Wright said he worries about most.

“Once they get rid of their tyrant, then what? I’m very concerned about the growth of radicalism in certain peripheral areas,” he said. “I think we’re going to be looking at a lot of turbulence and chaos in the next few years, and Al Qaeda will certainly take advantage of that.”

Wright also talked about the United States’ history of involvement in the Arab world, from using air bases to torturing terrorism suspects.

“It would be nice to align our values and our interests as neatly as we would like to. In the Middle East,” he said, “it’s not always easy to do that. If the Saudi royal family were to fall tomorrow, what would happen? What would happen to the price of oil? It would go through the roof. The world economy would be in a terrible crisis. So we have an interest in not letting change happen too rapidly and chaotically in Saudi Arabia.”

At that point, the lecture lived up to its billing as part of the Humanities Institute’s “Difficult Dialogues” series. Associate journalism professor Robert Jensen spoke up forcefully, calling that thinking ethnocentric and entitled. “If I were an Arab, I would be very angry about that,” he said.

“You sound angry, Bob,” Wright responded, lightening the tension.

Then he added: “I am who I am. I don’t apologize for that. I go out in the world and I try to understand other perspectives. Certainly America has engaged in a lot of things I’m ashamed of, and I don’t deny that either. But I’m proud to be an American. When it fails to live up to those ideals, I’m ashamed of it. But I wonder, Bob, if America were not involved in the Middle East at all, would it be more democratic or free than it is now?”

via Texas Exes | Author Lawrence Wright Expects Turmoil As ‘Freedom Train’ Steams Through Middle East.