Week Review of News Facts 1/7/07

Below is a list of interesting NEWS FACTOIDS that appeared in the past 10 days:

1. Polar Bear Hype
2. How McDonald’s Rebounded — Lessons for Gov.
3. Federal Spending Growth Historically
4. AIDS Good News Thanks to Bush
5. More Private Charities Using Federal Bucks

1. Polar Bear Hype
The headlines have alerted the public that Polar bears are near extinct and must be put on the endangered species list. Yet, polar bear population has risen from 5,000 in 1950 to 20,000 today (source: NY Times, Coverbear.com, International Bear Association, International Wildlife, IUCN & Polar Bear Study Group). The polar bear hype was generated by a single report noting the loss of 250 polar bears in the Western Hudson Bay area.

2. How McDonald’s Rebounded — Lessons for Government
McDonald’s just experienced one of the greatest successes in its 51 year history –thanks to CEO Jim Skinner. Believe it or not they were able to increase profits without building new stores. Skinner saw how the fast food chain previously failed by spending nearly $5 billion in capitol expenditures without any proportional increase in profits. In response, Skinner went for getting more money out of existing stores. Skinner enacted big changes that improved customer service, reduced wait times and made changes to the menu to lure back key clients. Now let’s see government become more efficient and customer friendly.

3. Federal Spending Growth Historically
From 1792 to 1940’s federal spending as percent of GDP was around 10%. From 1950’s on it rose to 20%.

4. AIDS Good News Thanks in part to Bush
President Bush’s multi-billion Africa Aids plan is already reaping rewards, and not just because more money is being spent. Key to Bush’s plan is greater accountability, bureaucracy streamlining and data tracking of how funds & progress is being made. Data tracking requirements helped South Africa’s McCord Hospital see high death rates for patients using the antiretroviral Stavudine drug for certain patient demographics (overweight, mid-age females). The drug was pulled, and others followed suit on the news. Good news shows that AIDS rate have fallen by 10% in Botswana, 30% in Zimbabwe and 30% in Kenya. Bush’s plan played a small but necessary role.

5. More Private Charities Using Federal Bucks
Nearly 25% of human service charities received 50% of their income from the government in 2002. This is making more private charities more dependent on the government for their existence. Source: National Center for Charitible Statistics.

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