Issue 478, October 13, 2006
Bush hosts conference on school safety
On Tuesday, President Bush hosted a national conference on school safety at the National 4-H Conference Center just outside of Washington. Representatives from Reading High School and Solanco High School made the trip down to Washington to attend. The conference comes on the heels of a recent rash of school violence, including last week's shooting at an Amish school in Lancaster County. Tuesday's conference brought together experts, law enforcement officials, school personnel, students, and families to discuss the best methods for protecting our nation's schools. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez and Education Secretary Margaret Spellings moderated panel discussions focused on concrete ways to prevent acts of school violence, as well as the short and long-term needs of schools and communities following traumatic events. As we've seen in recent days, this is an incredibly important issue, and I'm glad to see our highest-level government officials take it seriously and provide resources for our local communities.
Administration announces significant decrease in deficit
On Wednesday, Administration officials announced that President Bush's goal of cutting the deficit in half by 2009 has been met three years ahead of schedule. The significant shrinking of the deficit is due to increased tax revenues generated by strong economic growth. Specifically, officials announced that the fiscal year 2006 deficit is $248 billion, less than half of the projected deficit in 2004 when Bush pledged to halve the deficit by 2009. The increased tax revenues and shrinking deficit numbers show that Republicans' tax cut policies are working. The U.S. economy has experienced 19 consecutive quarters of GDP growth and 37 consecutive months of job increases. This strong economic performance has boosted federal revenues and made a strong case for making the Bush tax cuts permanent.
Rove fundraising benefits GOP election efforts
Chief White House political strategist Karl Rove has raised more than $12 million for Republican candidates during the 2006 election cycle, a huge amount for someone on the staff level at the White House. Former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie told The Hill newspaper this week, "I don't know of a cabinet secretary who has raised that much on behalf of candidates. It reflects the respect he commands in the party and reflects the Democrats' six-year effort to demonize him." Rove is largely credited with setting the key strategy for President Bush's election victories in 2000 and 2004 and is also involved in the GOP's midterm election efforts this year.
Security Council nominates new U.N. Secretary General
The announcement that North Korea has likely joined the world's nuclear powers largely drowned out another significant international announcement this week. On Monday, the United Nations Security Council unanimously nominated 62 year-old South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki Moon to succeed Kofi Annan as Secretary General of the U.N. Many see Ban's experience as a South Korean diplomat as an asset for future U.N. efforts to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program. Ban's nomination is expected to be approved by the full U.N. General Assembly as early as next week.
Quote of the Week
"What Kim Jong Il should understand is that if he verifiably gives up his nuclear weapons program, there is a better path. There's a better path through a negotiation. There's a better path to an opening to the international system. There's a better path for his people who are oppressed and downtrodden and hungry, for that matter."
-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, commenting on the situation with North Korea this week on CNN.