After being in four countries in Southeast Asia over the last few weeks, a few observations: First, reading the local newspapers, the focus is mostly on the country itself and the region it resides. Obviously, the missing Malaysian airplane was huge, and, no, despite rumors to the contrary, your Editor was not on the flight. U.S. news was minimal, except surprisingly extensive coverage of U.S. sports. Second, for the average resident American's standard of living for the 95% far exceeds what the average citizens in the Asian countries we visited have, except Singapore, which is truly a world class city/state. Third, in the 21st century - specifically most of Myanmar where villages have no power or water, except what is drawn from wells. Despite that, in the rural areas there is an abundance of organic agriculture where fruits and vegetables taste the way they are supposed to taste. In Bagan, Myanmar we ran into corn with kernels bigger and tastier than any we ever encountered.
Time To End The 311th District Court Distraction
Since last fall, the 311th District Court and its Judge have been involved in a mounting scandal and controversy. It all culminated on Friday, March 28th, with the resignation by Judge Pratt and the ending of her runoff campaign against now presumed Judge Alicia Franklin.
Despite that resignation, stories continue to percolate, getting more bizarre by the moment, with the latest being Pratt intends to run a stealth campaign and hope to be nominated.
It is time that all responsible GOP leaders inform Judge Pratt that it's all over and it's time for her to move on. The party has zero interest in having her on the ticket, which she could only hamper us to the Democrats' delight. Continued fantasizing by her and any of her supporters still left does no one any good. Let's end this distraction here and now.
Have You Heard How Democrats In Virginia Used Twitter To Ensure A Historic Victory Last November?
A recent case study was released this week, which showed how the McAuliffe for Governor Campaign leveraged Twitter to connect with voters using Twitter Tailored Audiences to get out the vote.
This is a stunning development. Technology for elections is changing rapidly and we'd better be ahead of the curve on this or else.
For more, visit: business.twitter.com
Mideast Peace Delusions For Obama Exposed
Big surprise, the Palestinian's walk away again from a possible Middle East peace deal. If you study history, this is a least the tenth deal offered of land for peace that they have refused because they want all the land and no peace and won't ever recognize Israel as a Jewish state even though the Muslim states are Muslim states.
There is so much propaganda out there, but the fact is Israel has bent over backwards and only gotten more violence.
Public Policy Oriented Officials Are A Good Thing, Especially If They Are Conservative
There was a disturbing development in some legislative races this year, punishing public policy advocates.
Especially in the Dallas area, Senator Carona, Representatives Harper-Brown, Ratliff and Patrick all were interested in public policy, some of whom we agree with.
To be clear, we need people serving in Austin who care about conservative solutions to Texas challenges like Greg Abbott, Dan Patrick and Paul Bettencourt.
A Continuing Series: Part 2,
The Second 10 of 50 Reasons We Are Living
In The Greatest Period In World History
TCR Comment: Morgan Housel at the Motley Fool website recently put together a fascinating list of the reasons we are in good shape. We will put 10 reasons out each issue until we get to 50.
- Two percent of American homes had electricity in 1900. J.P Morgan (the man) was one of the first to install electricity in his home, and it required a private power plant on his property. Even by 1950, close to 30% of American homes didn't have electricity. It wasn't until the 1970s that virtually all homes were powered. Adjusted for wage growth, electricity cost more than 10 times as much in 1900 as it does today, according to professor Julian Simon.
- According to the Federal Reserve, the number of lifetime years spent in leisure -- retirement plus time off during your working years -- rose from 11 years in 1870 to 35 years by 1990. Given the rise in life expectancy, it's probably close to 40 years today. Which is amazing: The average American spends nearly half his life in leisure. If you had told this to the average American 100 years ago, that person would have considered you wealthy beyond imagination.
- We are having a national discussion about whether a $7.25-per-hour minimum wage is too low. But even adjusted for inflation, the minimum wage was less than $4 per hour as recently as the late 1940s. The top 1% has captured most of the wage growth over the past three decades, but nearly everyone has grown richer -- much richer -- during the past seven decades.
- In 1952, 38,000 people contracted polio in America alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In 2012, there were fewer than 300 reported cases of polio in the entire world.
- From 1920 to 1949, an average of 433,000 people died each year globally from "extreme weather events." That figure has plunged to 27,500 per year, according to Indur Goklany of the International Policy Network, largely thanks to "increases in societies' collective adaptive capacities."
- Worldwide deaths from battle have plunged from 300 per 100,000 people during World War II, to the low teens during the 1970s, to less than 10 in the 1980s, to fewer than one in the 21st century, according to Harvard professor Steven Pinker. "War really is going out of style," he says.
- Median household income adjusted for inflation was around $25,000 per year during the 1950s. It's nearly double that amount today. We have false nostalgia about the prosperity of the 1950s because our definition of what counts as "middle class" has been inflated -- see the 34% rise in the size of the median American home in just the past 25 years. If you dig into how the average "prosperous" American family lived in the 1950s, I think you'll find a standard of living we'd call "poverty" today.
- Reported rape per 100,000 Americans dropped from 42.3 in 1991 to 27.5 in 2010, according to the FBI. Robbery has dropped from 272 per 100,000 in 1991 to 119 in 2010. There were nearly 4 million fewer property crimes in 2010 than there were in 1991, which is amazing when you consider the U.S. population grew by 60 million during that period.
- According to the Census Bureau, only one in 10 American homes had air conditioning in 1960. That rose to 49% in 1973, and 89% today -- the 11% that don't are mostly in cold climates. Simple improvements like this have changed our lives in immeasurable ways.
- Almost no homes had a refrigerator in 1900, according to Frederick Lewis Allan's The Big Change, let alone a car. Today they sell cars with refrigerators in them.
TCR on the Air
Red, White & Blue featuring TCR Editor Gary Polland, liberal commentator David Jones and moderator Linda Lorelle on Fridays at 7:30 pm on PBS Houston Channel 8.1, replaying Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. on Channel 8.1, Mondays at 11:30 pm on Channel 8.2 and on the web at www.houstonpbs.org.
Former Houston Mayor Bill White to discuss his new book America's Fiscal Constitution.
The current show as well as past shows are available on YouTube.
About Your Editor
Gary Polland is a long-time conservative and Republican spokesman, fund-raiser, and leader who completed three terms as the Harris County Republican Chairman. During his three terms, Gary was described as the most successful county Chairman in America by Human Events - The National Conservative Weekly. He is in his fifteenth year of editing a newsletter dealing with key conservative and Republican issues. The last twelve years he has edited Texas Conservative Review. As a public service for the last 10 years, Gary has published election guides for the GOP primary, general elections and city elections, all with the purpose of assisting conservative candidates. Gary is also in his twelfth year of co-hosting Red, White and Blue on PBS Houston. Gary is a practicing attorney and strategic consultant. He can be reached at (713) 621-6335.