Published on Feb 18, 2013 by Kevin martuscello
Bobcats in Carrollton Texas neighborhood
Keep taxes low, regulations fair and predictable, and stand back and watch the jobs created. If you have ambition, confidence, and “know-how” – go to Texas!
by Wendell Cox
The American economy has had little to cheer about since the 2008 financial meltdown and the resulting recession. Recovery has been feeble, and many states continue to struggle. One bright spot in the general gloom, however, is Texas, which began shining long before 2008. Not only has Texas created jobs at a stunning rate; it has also—pace critics like the New York Times’s Paul Krugman—created lots of good jobs. Indeed, the rest of the nation could turn to the Lone Star State as a model for dynamic growth, as a close look at employment data shows.
The first thing to point out is that Texan job creation has far outpaced the national average. The number of jobs in Texas has grown by a truly impressive 31.5 percent since 1995, compared with just 12 percent nationwide, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data (see Figure One). Texas has also lapped California, an important economic rival and the only state with a larger population. The Texas employment situation after the financial crisis was far less spectacular, of course, with the number of jobs growing just 2.4 percent from 2009 through 2011. But that was still six times the anemic 0.4 percent growth rate of the overall American economy.
The National Establishment Time-Series (NETS) Database, which provides detailed information on job creation and loss for firms headquartered in each state, can tell us more about Texas’s employment growth. NETS data are divided into two periods—the first from 1995 to 2002, the second from 2002 to 2009. During the 2002–09 period, small businesses of fewer than ten employees were the Texas employment engine, adding nearly 800,000 new jobs; of those, about three-quarters were in firms with two to nine employees, as Figure Two indicates. Larger Texas companies—those with 500 or more employees—lost a significant number of jobs over this span, and medium-size firms likewise shrank, trends that also showed up on the national level.
Figure Three, shifting back to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, shows that many of the new Texas jobs paid well. Indeed, Texas did comparatively better than the rest of the United States from 2002 through 2011. For industries paying over 150 percent of the average American wage, Texas could claim 216,000 extra jobs; the rest of the country added 495,000. In other words, the Lone Star State, with 8 percent of the U.S. population, created nearly a third of the country’s highest-paying positions. Texas also added 49,000 positions paying 125 percent to 150 percent of the U.S. average; the rest of the country lost 174,000 jobs in that category. As Figure Four shows, two sectors in which Texas employment did particularly well during the same period were natural-resource extraction (in fact, the state gained 80 percent of all new jobs in the country in that field) and professional, scientific, and technical positions. [........]Texas did lose 10,000 construction jobs, but that was a modest downturn, in light of the massive national slowdown in building caused by the crisis of 2008.
Vital to the economic health of Texas is that people are moving to its cities in droves. In 2011, Houston surpassed Philadelphia in population and became the country’s fifth-biggest metropolitan region, with 6.1 million people. Dallas–Fort Worth, with 6.5 million, was already the country’s fourth-biggest. [.........]
Though the national downturn has slowed job creation in Texas’s cities, they’re still adding jobs, sometimes briskly, unlike many other American metropolitan regions (see Figure Five). Austin’s strong information-technology sector and government-related work (the city is Texas’s state capital) helped propel 4.3 percent job growth from 2009 through 2011 (and 15.3 percent growth from 2002 through 2009). The number of jobs in McAllen, which benefits from increased trade with Mexico under the North American Free Trade Agreement, grew 3.7 percent. [.......]
What accounts for the resilience of the Texas economy, which has outperformed the rest of the country not only over the long term but during the Great Recession as well? A pro-business climate has unquestionably been a substantial advantage. In its annual ranking of business environments, Chief Executive has named Texas the most growth-friendly state for eight years in a row. (California has been last for the same eight years.) The reasons included low taxes and sensible regulations; a high-quality workforce (Texas ranked second only to Utah in that category in 2012); and a pleasant living environment (an eighth-place finish, slightly below sixth-place Florida but, perhaps surprisingly, far better than 28th-place California).
Part of the explanation for the high living-environment score is doubtless Texas’s low cost of living. In 2011, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis put Texas’s “regional price parity,” a measurement of the price level of goods in an area, at 97.1, a bit lower than the national level of 100 and far lower than the California level of 114.8. Adjusted for cost of living, Texas’s per-capita income is higher than California’s and nearly as high as New York’s. Factor in state and local taxes, and Texas pulls ahead of New York.
More than three-quarters of the cost-of-living difference between Texas and California can be explained by housing costs. As Figure Six shows, Texas mostly dodged the real-estate bubble of the 2000s: the affordability of houses in large metro areas spiked in America as a whole but rose only modestly in Texas. A major reason that Texas real estate is so affordable is that the state lacks the draconian land-use restrictions that drive California housing prices into the stratosphere. [......]
All these considerations suggest that Texas is poised for further growth. And a final reason for Texans to be optimistic is that a major expansion of the Panama Canal will be completed in 2014. That could bolster the Lone Star State’s success by rerouting Asian commerce from West Coast ports to Texas alternatives, which are closer to the nation’s major markets.
Read the rest – The Texas growth machine
Here’s to America’s military dogs and their human handlers!
By Sue Manning October 30, 2012 12:00 pm
LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The act of Congress is in the books, the bills are paid, the sculptures are being cast, and one of the biggest parades in the world will start a glory tour and countdown to dedication.
The first national monument to pay tribute to military dogs will be unveiled in California in just two months. The U.S. Working Dog Teams National Monument will honour every dog that has served in combat since World War II.
Some cities, cemeteries and military bases across the country already have such memorials. But none has been elevated to national monument level, where it will be in the company of the Statue of Liberty,Yosemite National Park and Mount Rushmore National Memorial.
In 2000, John Burnam, a 65-year-old veteran military dog handler, wrote a book called “Dog Tags of Courage.” A year later, he got an email from a reader wondering why there were no national monuments to the dogs of war.
In “Dog Tags” and a 2008 book, “A Soldier’s Best Friend,” Burnam wrote about his time with the Army’s 44th Scout Dog Platoon when he was in Vietnam in 1967 and 1968.
His first dog, Timber, was injured in an ambush a few months after they teamed up, so he spent most of his tour with a German shepherd named Clipper.
“He saved my life and saved the lives of others by alerting on ambushes, snipers and booby traps. I wanted to give something back to these animals that have done so much and asked for so little, except for food and water and the love of their handlers,” said Burnam, who received the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
Back then, handlers were not able to adopt their dogs when they were retired.
“I always worried about them but I know they died over there and they died as heroes,” he said.
In 2004, Burnam and two other dog handler veterans pursued the idea in earnest, forming the John Burnam Monument Foundation Inc. But it took two more years, until he met Rep. Walter B. Jones, R-N.C., that the monument project started to take shape.
In 2007, Jones introduced legislation authorizing establishment of the monument. Passed unanimously by Congress, it was signed the next year by President George W. Bush, then amended and signed by President Barack Obama.
Burnam designed the monument, which depicts the modern military handler and four dogs — a Doberman, German shepherd, Labrador retriever and Belgian Malinois, all breeds used in wars.
The silicon bronze handler stands more than 9 feet tall and weighs 1,500 pounds. Each dog is about 5 feet tall and weighs 550 pounds. Burnam called them “hero-sized.”
The figures will stand on a pedestal, in front of a large granite wall. One side of the wall will have photos etched in black marble veneer showing dog teams in combat from the different wars. The other side will have an inscription written by Burnam.
The sculptor, Paula Slater, said it was the largest and most complex monument she had ever done. She worked for thousands of hours, saying that finishing a project of that size “is like giving birth to a baby — five of them.”
The money for the monument came slowly. Burnam made one of many fundraising pitches on the reality TV show “Who Let the Dogs Out,” featuring Tillman, the skateboarding, surfing and snowboarding bulldog. The president of New Balance Pet Foods Inc., the company that Tillman represents, attended the show taping and volunteered to pitch in more than $1 million.
“Don’t do a thing. Natural Balance and Petco (Animal Supplies Inc.) will take care of it,” Joey Herrick said. To raise funds for the monument and its maintenance, Natural Balance created a jerky bark treat sold by Petco. Maddie’s Fund, a family-funded pet rescue foundation, also signed on as a corporate sponsor.
The public will get a sneak peak of the monument at the Tournament of Roses parade in Pasadena on Jan. 1, when a floral replica will be used as Natural Balance’s float. Burnam, dogs and handlers from every military service branch will ride on it.
When the float goes on display afterward at Victory Park, the real bronze monument will make its public debut next to it, Herrick said. Then the bronze monument will go on tour as it heads to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. The location was chosen as the site for the monument because that’s where most of the nation’s military’s dogs are trained.
Meanwhile, Tillman, the dog that helped get Burnam the monument funding, is also getting personal recognition for his military service. For his work entertaining troops at bases and for going through a mini Marine boot camp, the athletic bulldog has been made an honorary private 1st class.
Tea Party favorite Ted Cruz has narrowed the gap with Establishment Republican Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. Although Dewhurt is polling at 40% and Cruz at 31%, this signifies a closing and would force a run off on June 31st. If this happens, Ted Cruz would have the advantage.
Texas’ Republican primary for U.S. Senate is close — and could be headed for a July 31 runoff — with Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst holding a single-digit lead over former Solicitor General Ted Cruz, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll.
Dewhurst had the support of 40 percent of likely voters, followed by Cruz at 31 percent. Former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert had 17 percent and broadcaster and former football player Craig James was at 4 percent, with five other GOP candidates bringing up the rear.
Daron Shaw, a UT-Austin government professor and co-director of the poll, said Cruz has been able to position himself to the right of the lieutenant governor for a May 29 Republican primary where that’s a big advantage — and he’s done that in a year in which insurgent candidates have been scoring big
“If they’re in a runoff, Dewhurst is in trouble,” Shaw said.
If Ted Cruz wins, this will be another defeat at for the GOP elites.
The battle of Indian ended in massive defeat for the Establishment. Now the battle of Texas has become. tea Party Economic Conservative Ted Cruz is battling The Establishment candidate David Dewhurst. Progressive Big Government Republican Mike Huackbee has endorsed Dewhurts.
This morning, Governor Mike Huckabee announced his support of David Dewhurst, calling him a “strong fiscal conservative, with a record to show for it,” and saying “Huck PAC and I are pleased to endorse Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst for U.S. Senate from Texas.”
“He’s been an ardent supporter of legislation to create new jobs and improve the economy of Texas,” said Governor Huckabee. “Lt. Governor Dewhurst helped pass the largest tax cut in state history, not to mention he’s balanced every budget since taking office. As a result, Texas’ economy has grown faster than the national economy and more Texans are employed than at any other time in our state’s history.”
Sarah Palin has come out in support of Ted Cruz.
AUSTIN—Just four days before the start of early voting in the Texas Senate primary, the Ted Cruz campaign announced the endorsement of Governor Sarah Palin and her husband Todd Palin.
In response to a letter from Ted Cruz, Governor Sarah Palin wrote: “We’re proud to join conservatives in Texas and throughout the nation in supporting your campaign to become the next Senator from the Lone Star State.”
“Your conservative principles, passionate defense of our Constitution and our free market system come at a time when these cornerstones of our freedom and prosperity are under attack,” Governor Palin added. “Our shared goal isn’t just to change the majority in control of the Senate, but to assure principled conservatives like you are there to fight for us.”
Ted Cruz responded, “Governor Palin has been an inspiration to conservatives across Texas and across the Nation. She is principled and passionate and never afraid to speak truth to establishment power. I am humbled and honored to have Governor Palin’s support as we fight to restore fiscal sanity to the circus that is Washington. With Governor Palin’s support, and the support of tens of thousands of conservatives from all across Texas, we will turn our country around, rein in out-of-control spending and debt in Washington, and restore the Constitution.”
I hope Ted Cruz pulls it and the establishments suffers another defeat. Ted Cruz is a viable conservative for the general election and would win handily in November.
Uploaded by SDAMatt2a on Mar 28, 2012
Feds: Yassine Brothers Funneled Money To Hezbollah
Owners of some of Austin’s most lucrative nightclubs were dealing in drugs, laundering the money through the clubs then funneling it to a family member with ties to a terrorist group in the Middle East, according to federal authorities.
During bond hearings in federal court in Austin Tuesday, an Internal Revenue Service investigator said Hussein “Mike” Ali Yassine and Mohammed “Steve Austin” Ali Yassine sent money in $2,500 increments to their uncle, Mohammed Ishmael in Lebanon. Authorities say he is associated with Hezbollah, a militant group and political party in Lebanon. The U.S. Department of State lists Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.
The Yassines, their brother, Hadi Ali Yassine and seven business associates were arrested last week on narcotics trafficking, money laundering and firearm charges.
Yassine Enterprises owns nine nightclubs — Pure, Stack, Fuel, Spill, Kiss & Fly, Hyde, Roial, Malaia and Treasure Island. The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has temporarily shut down the clubs.
Tuesday Hussein Ali Yassine, Mohammed Ali Yassine and Alejandro Melendrez were denied bond. Four were granted bond — Hadi Yassine, Marisse “Madi” Marthe Ruales, Amar Thabet Araf and Sami Derder. No decision has been made on bond requests for Nizar “Nino” Hakiki, Karim Faiq and Edgar Orsini.
During three hours of testimony, Assistant U. S. Attorney Gregg Sofer questioned Randall Gillette, special agent with the U. S. Drug Enforcement Agency and James Neff, criminal investigator with the Internal Revenue Service.
The agents explained its undercover sting operation in which a confidential source was used to arrange two sales of cocaine between Steve Yassine and Nizar Hakiki. The agents testified the proceeds from the deals were then funneled through Yassine`s nightclubs and Famous Vodka, owned by Hadi Yassine, the third brother.
Neff also stated in the hearing that the business was reporting income of $1 to $2 million when it actually was taking in between $7 and $10 million.
According to testimony, the Texas Comptroller’s Office has frozen Mike Yassine’s accounts. It was also revealed that he has bank accounts in Switzerland and Lebanon.
Several of the defendants are under investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
After a 5th place finish, Rick Perry is planning on reconsidering his campaign. Perry states that he will go back to Texas and “reassess” whether to continue the race.
After a disappointing fifth-place finish in Tuesday’s Iowa caucuses, Texas Governor Rick Perry said he is going home to Texas to assess “whether there is a path forward for myself in this race.”
“With the voters’ decision tonight in Iowa, I’ve decided to return to Texas, assess the results of tonight’s caucus, determine whether there is a path forward for myself in this race,” Perry told supporters at the end of the night.
It’s a wrap.
We await further details regarding the identity and motives of the perpetrator.
MIDLAND, Texas (AP) — A man was detained Saturday after trying to go through a security checkpoint at a Texas airport with explosives in military-grade wrapping, federal and local officials said.
The man was stopped at a security checkpoint at the Midland International Airport about 9 a.m. and taken into custody by the FBI, they said.
FBI spokesman Mike Martinez declined to say whether the man was in military uniform or how many explosives were found in the bag. He said he did not know where the man was being held, saying he was at either the airport or at the FBI office in Midland.
City of Midland spokeswoman Tasa Watts said she had no information on the suspect but the explosives were wrapped in military-grade wrapping. She said the specific grade won’t be known until the explosives are tested.
The Transportation Security Administration issued a statement saying one of its officers spotted a suspicious item in a carry-on bag during X-ray screening. It said the checkpoint was closed for about an hour while officers investigated and removed the item.
Watts said the man was entering a terminal when he was stopped, and a sweep was done to clear that terminal before normal operations resumed.
An American Airlines spokesman said the man had a reservation on Flight 3283 from Midland to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. The departure time for the American Eagle plane was 9:45 a.m.
“Welcome to Texas!” says Al-Jazeera reporter Gabriel Elizono. The Brazilian garnered a roadtrip, decided to find out what rural Texas was all about. Click the links to read the *ahem* reporter’s story, but make sure you read the school superintendent’s response. [Source: Kate Shellnutt/Houston Chronicle]
An Al Jazeera reporter from Brazil ended up in the Texas panhandle to report on post-9/11 America. He wrote about how an “obviously furious” high school principal denied him the opportunity to film at a football game.
Gabriel Elizono’s blog entry is titled “Welcome to Texas! Unless you’re Al Jazeera.”
After chronicling about the saga (which the school official corrected and clarified), he ends with this:
I got back in the car, and ponder how interesting it would have been to cut through the red tape of [the principal] and talk to the people at the game. How had 9/11 affected them? Do they feel safer now than they did on September 10, 2001? How would this All American town commemorate the 10 year anniversary?
I unwittingly get my answer to the last question, and I don’t need Mr Lee’s permission on this one. On a main intersection in Booker a little sign reads: “Gun Show. Sept. 10 – 11. Legion Hall.”
Well, I guess that’s my spin on this whole story.
The implication in Elizono’s story and its coverage on Gawker is that a decade after 9/11, Texans are suspicious of the name Al Jazeera and a bunch of gun-toting xenophobes. Or that they love football so much that they’d only talk to a reporter at a football game and not, say, the parking lot, a local restaurant or anywhere else in town.
I can’t speak to Booker, Texas, but on behalf of Houston—the most diverse city in the American South—I give this notion a great big eye roll.
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