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Items filtered by date: Saturday, 28 October 2017
Saturday, 28 October 2017 21:59

Chicago comes to Fort Myers

Chicago will be the first band to play at the Suncoast Credit Union Arena located next to the Barbara B Mann Performing Arts Hall.

The band performs at 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 29 at the South Fort Myers venue on Summerlin Rd.

“This will be the first concert at the new arena,” said Mann Hall’s general manager, Scott Saxon, in a press release announcing the show Tuesday. “We are extremely excited to showcase this brand new facility to the audiences of Southwest Florida. Chicago is a legendary band and the perfect concert to christen the Florida SouthWestern State College facility.”

Tickets were still available as we went to press on Wednesday, but hurry this show will probably sell out.

Published in News Around The Bay
Saturday, 28 October 2017 21:52

NCAA Shows It Is Useless

When the NCAA turns a blind eye to criminal behavior while punishing players who legitimately make money for themselves, something is seriously wrong.

The NCAA is a toothless and increasingly useless organization, as shown by its decision last week in one of the worst cases of academic fraud in college sports history.

The NCAA announced Friday that it wouldn't punish the University of North Carolina for sham classes that were used for decades to keep hundreds of athletes eligible. Even though the practice disproportionately benefited athletes, the NCAA decided it couldn't punish the university because other students also took the classes.

The rulings come on the heels of the FBI arresting 10 people, including assistant coaches at some top-tier college basketball programs, in an alleged bribery scheme involving apparel companies. The NCAA subsequently announced the creation of a committee, which includes former University of Florida Athletic Director Jeremy Foley, to study how to guard against corruption in college basketball.

The committee's charge should be expanded to consider whether the NCAA should even exist in its current form. The North Carolina case shows how the organization cares more about protecting the billions of dollars in profits generated by football and men's basketball than its supposed mission to protect student athletes.

As if to drive the point home, the NCAA on the same day as the ruling announced a student transferring to another school in the state was ineligible to play men's basketball for a year. The student briefly attended classes at Ohio State University and stopped when the coach there quit, but the NCAA ruled that was enough to bar him from playing at North Carolina State University for a year.

Here in Florida, we have seen plenty of similar examples of the hypocrisy and moral compromises in big-money college athletics. Some that happened at Florida State University are detailed in a book by New York Times reporter Mike McIntire titled "Champions Way: Football, Florida, and The Lost Soul of College Sports."
McIntire writes of cases such as an FSU teaching assistant who alleged she was pressured to give special breaks to athletes in online courses. FSU, like other schools including UF, hides behind student-privacy laws to prevent reporting on whether such problems are prevalent.

UF deserves credit for suspending nine football players facing charges on credit card fraud, despite the negative impact of the team's season. The actions stand in contrast to the tenure of former coach Urban Meyer, who won two championships but also led major programs under which players were arrested.

The NCAA largely allows universities to police themselves for arrested players or academic fraud, but take a hard-line approach on athletes who receive outside money.

When the NCAA turns a blind eye to criminal behavior while punishing players who legitimately make money for themselves, something is seriously wrong.


Published in Lifestyle

Gov. Rick Scott’s spending priorities for 2018 continue to take shape as he enters his final year in office with a major statewide election on the horizon.

The Republican governor wants the Legislature to increase spending on environmental programs by more than $220 million next year. Scott planned a visit to the Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Naples for the announcement.

Scott wants to spend $50 million on Florida Forever, a popular land preservation program that conservationists have said has received too little money in recent years. He wants nearly $40 million more for state parks, a $36 million uptick in beach restoration programs to $100 million, and $55 million for springs restoration.

Scott’s record on the environment has been controversial on issues ranging from climate change to offshore oil drilling. Early in his tenure, he called for major budget cuts to the state’s five regional water management districts, and in non-election years he called for budget reductions in the Department of Environmental Protection.

Published in Lee County & Florida

President Trump and Republican lawmakers have plenty of legislative disagreements, but there is one issue that entirely unites them: tax cuts.

It isn't getting the fullest attention it deserves from the liberal news media here, but there hasn't been this much unity among Republicans on a transformative economic issue since Ronald Reagan.

Trump has become much more focused on his tax cut agenda in recent weeks, drawing strong reviews from the GOP's establishment economists -- from Lawrence Kudlow, one of the GOP's chief voices on economic policy, to Kevin Hassett, formerly with the American Enterprise Institute, who is now the president's economic adviser.

"Trump has seized and energized the tax cut issue," Kudlow wrote this week in his newspaper column. "Almost daily, he is pounding away on the themes of faster economic growth and more take-home pay, arguing that his plan will make America's economy great again.
"This is Trumpian leadership at its best," he said.

For much of this year, Trump has talked about his economic revival plan in generalities. But lately, he has been amplifying his rhetoric and discussing the impact of the tax cuts with more specifics, as he did this week in his White House news conference and in several speeches.

"Under my administration, the era of economic surrender is over," he told the National Association of Manufacturers.

Trump's first targets are those businesses that moved to countries like Ireland to profit from lower tax rates.

"We will eliminate the penalty on returning future earnings back to the United States, and we will impose a one-time low tax on money parked overseas so it can be brought back home to America where it belongs," he said in a speech in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania last week.

He also shot back at Democrats who said his tax plan would mostly benefit rich Americans, reminding them that Democrats passed a similar plan proposed by President Kennedy to, as JFK put it, "get America moving again."

Trump would do well to remind Democratic leaders, who are playing the tax-cuts-for-the-rich card just as they did in the 1960s, to remember Kennedy's response: "A rising tide lifts all boats."

Kennedy never lived to see his tax cuts enacted -- it was President Lyndon Johnson who pushed them through a Democratic Congress, producing a wave of stronger economic growth and increased tax revenue to boot.

Democrats never talk about the Kennedy tax cuts, nor do they mention President Clinton's capital gains tax cuts, which led to an explosion of growth in the high-tech industry and a sharp increase in capital gains tax revenues, too.

Doing so violates their sacred oath to always seek higher tax rates to pay for higher government spending levels, which always results in anemic economic growth, lower incomes and a weak job market.

Hassett is telling fellow economists that if companies had not moved their profits overseas, the median household income would have grown by $4,000 over eight years.

Some economists doubt his figures, but others say that Hassett's numbers are close to the mark. And Trump has been been using them in his speeches.

"When the U.S. has a more competitive tax system and we reduce the amount of profit-shifting, it makes sense to me that wages will be higher," University of Maryland economist Phillip Swagel told The Washington Post.

The U.S. economy runs on capital and when tax rates are cut, that frees up more capital for investment, new jobs, business expansion and higher incomes.

When President Reagan cut tax rates across the board in 1981 in the face of a severe recession, the economy was up and running two years later.

By 1983, the economy was growing by 3.2 percent in the second quarter, 5.6 percent in the third and 7.7 percent in the fourth.

In 1984, quarterly GDP figures were up by 8.5 percent, 7.9 percent, 6.9 percent and 5.8 percent, according to the U.S. Commerce Department and the Federal Reserve. He won re-election by carrying 49 states.

Trump is following Reagan's footprints with largely the same kind of economic policies: reducing the number of income tax rates from seven to three brackets, cutting the tax rates in each and lowering the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent.

Earlier this week, Kudlow sent this message to Republican lawmakers: "Play hardball, GOP. JFK did it. Reagan did it. And now you have Donald Trump doing it."

If the Republicans can deliver their tax cut bill, Trump will sign it in a New York minute. Then watch this economy soar.

Donald Lambro

Published in National

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