Chad’s Morning Brief: Las Vegas Casino Mogul Sheldon Adelson and Mitt Romney, Americans Still Blame Bush & More
Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of June 15, 2012. Give us your feedback below and tune in to Lubbock’s First News with Chad Hasty for these and many more topics from 6-9 am.
1. Vegas Money (link)
Mitt Romney has got to be loving this. Las Vegas casino mogul and former Newt Gingrich backer, Sheldon Adelson, has donated $10 million dollars to a Super PAC backing Romney. People close to him reportedly say that the money will be limitless, and since Adelson is worth about $24 billion, Romney could be looking at over $100 million in contributions. Adelson's thinking is, since Soros has been doing it for years, why shouldn't he?
Adelson vehemently opposes Obama’s policy on Israel, one of the issues closest to his heart, but he also has openly spoken of his anger over Obama’s “socialization” of the US, which Forbes also notes. Adelson is no stranger to putting his words into action, either, and not just in the context of political fights. His resort complex, the Venetian/Palazzo, is the only non-union shop on the Vegas Strip.
Does Adelson feel guilty about one American potentially steering the fate of the presidential election? “I’m against very wealthy people attempting to or influencing elections,” Adelson told me in February. “But as long as it’s doable I’m going to do it. Because I know that guys like Soros have been doing it for years, if not decades. And they stay below the radar by creating a network of corporations to funnel their money. I have my own philosophy and I’m not ashamed of it.”
Nothing wrong with this at all.
2. Americans Still Blame Bush More (link)
Americans still place more blame for the nation's bad economy on former President George W. Bush than on Obama. According to Gallup, the number hasn't really changed since last September.
Americans continue to name the economy as the most important problem facing the country, and in an election that likely will be defined by a struggling economy, the question of who is responsible for it will weigh heavily in voters' minds. Both Obama and presumed Republican nominee Mitt Romney as a result have focused heavily on the economy in their campaigns, the most recent example of which is the major economic speech Obama will deliver Thursday in the key swing state of Ohio. Romney has attempted to place blame for the country's continuing economic struggles squarely on Obama's shoulders. At the same time, the Obama campaign is trying to deflect blame away from the president, in part by assigning blame to his predecessor.
The relative amount of blame Americans give to Obama and to Bush has largely stabilized over the last two years. It remains to be seen whether Americans are open to further discussion of those issues in the months remaining before the Nov. 6 election, or whether their minds are made up.
Republicans and Democrats distribute economic blame in different ways, as was the case last September. Democrats follow what might be described as a fairly traditional pattern: 90% blame Bush, in contrast to 19% who blame Obama.
Republicans, however, are more ecumenical in their blame, with 83% blaming Obama a great deal or moderate amount and 49% ascribing the same level of blame to Bush. Republicans, in short, are significantly more willing to blame their most recent Republican president than are Democrats willing to blame Obama.
Pathetic. This has been Obama's economy for 3 years and it's getting worse. This is however great news for Obama and his campaign.
3. 37% is Passing? (link)
Good blog from the Dallas Morning News about how students can pass the STAAR with only getting 37% of the answers right.
I get that states have to set “cut scores” to determine how many of their students pass and fail achievement exams each year. Texas is certainly not the only state to look at test results and determine where the passing rate should start.
But it is troubling that the cut scores for several of the new end-of-course exams that Texas ninth graders had to take this year had to be set pretty low. For example, ninth graders had to only correctly answer 37 percent of their Biology I questions to pass the STAAR exam. With the cut score set so low, 87 percent of our ninth graders passed the exam.
A similar phenomenon happened with Algebra I. Ninth graders only had to answer 37 percent of the questions correctly. As a result, 83 percent of them made it through.
I don’t know about you, but I find it really alarming that we have so many students passing exams in key courses only because they have to answer so few questions correctly.
You've got to wonder how bad the scores would have been if 70% meant passing.
4. Fatherhood Could Alter Behavior (link)
How much did you change when you became a dad?
While many studies in the past decade have shown that a father's involvement can improve a child's well-being, newer research finds that becoming a father affects the men, too. New fathers exhibit hormonal changes and, in turn, alter their behavior, which suggests that having children influences men in far-reaching ways.
"We're finding that (fatherhood) does have mental health, well-being and actual physical health benefits," says David DeGarmo, a research scientist at the non-profit Oregon Social Learning Center in Eugene.
DeGarmo is lead author of an 18-month study of 230 divorced fathers of kids ages 4-11 that was published in 2010 in the American Journal of Men's Health. It found that when a father was more involved with his kids, "he had better health, drank less and had lower substance use."
Other recent findings have shown that "fatherhood prompts men to be less self-centered, more giving and more outward-focused. It can prompt them to be more responsible and become more mature, especially to temper some of their risks," says Richard Settersten Jr., professor of human development and family sciences at Oregon State University in Corvallis. He says involved fathering promotes "more positive attachments and relationships."
5. Dumb Story of the Morning (link)
Google doesn't celebrate Flag Day.
The search giant is known for its colorful, interactive logos for everything from the 78th birthday of the inventor of the Moog synthesizer to Earth Day to the anniversary of Pac-Man. But for Flag Day, the company was presenting visitors with nothing but its usual site, declining to play up the red and blue in its logo.
Meanwhile, Microsoft fully embraced the national holiday, with a colorful background that shows Old Glory in all its glory: a colorful display of fluttering flags against the backdrop of Rockefeller Center.
Bing’s homepage carries boxes that allow the curious websurfer to find out more about whatever holiday, event, thing or whatever the page is highlighting. In this case, facts about both the Rockefeller Center setting and the Flag Day event that prompted the picture.
LISD teachers get pay raises. According to KFYO News:
The Lubbock ISD Board of Trustees this morning approved raises for current LISD teachers, counselors, diagnosticians, librarians, nurses and administrators. Plus, they also approved a new salary schedule for beginning teachers, which will only be in effect for the 2012-2013 school year.
For existing teachers, on average they will receive a raise of $1,500. Administrative operations, instructional support and administrative/professional employees were given a pay increase of two percent, based on the midpoint for their pay grade.
Starting pay for new teachers will start off at $40,000. The bad news? Teachers with 20+ years only make $9 thousand more than a year 1 teacher.
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