Down With the Boycott in Florida

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Hi.  I'm Bill O'Reilly.  Thank you for watching us tonight.

The latest on the terror bombing [in Saudi Arabia], but first, a call to boycott Florida products.  That's the subject of this evening's Talking Points Memo.

Some Floridians, mostly minorities, are angry that Governor Jeb Bush will not dump a statewide test required for graduation from high school.  Ten percent of Florida high school students failed the test this year and, thus, cannot get a scholastic diploma.  A number of people think that's unfair, but it isn't.

Here are the No Spin facts.  The student can take the test five times.  You have five chances to pass, and the passing grade for the test is 40.  That's right, 40 .  The student can get 60 percent of the answers wrong on this test and still graduate.

While the test does contain some questions, many are easy and presented in a multiple choice format.  Ninety percent of Florida high school students are able to pass the test.

So, what's the beef here?  Testing is necessary to impose academic discipline.  Most people understand that, and Florida is making it very easy to pass the test.  But that's still not enough for those who want no educational standards at all.

The tragedy here is that an 18-year-old American who can't pass the test five times will not be able to compete in a job that requires analytical skills.  The state is right to ask these people to take a GED track instead so they can earn a living.  Besides, you can always go back into the academic system and take the test yet again, a sixth time after you leave high school.

The threatened boycott is foolish but instructive.  There are Americans who simply want to give underprivileged people everything.  Degrees, money, job, on and on and on, but giving people stuff never works.  You must earn your way through this life if you want to succeed.  You must be disciplined and responsible and giveaways don't encourage those attributes.

It's simply not fair to underprivileged children, no matter what color they are, to hold them to lower standards.  That's one sure way to keep them down.  So, down with the Florida boycott.  That's The Memo.

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

Time now for "The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day"...

A couple of updates for you.  Word is that MCI is trying to get out from under the Danny Glover commercials.  As we recently reported, the actor is a fan of Fidel Castro but not of President Bush, calling him a racist.

MCI denies Glover's radical politics have anything to do with their decision-making, but we are skeptical, and it could be ridiculous.

Also, we asked you the question on Should the taxes paid by higher-income Americans be used to help lower-income Americans, income redistribution?  In other words, do you approve of that?

More than 20,000 of you logged on to  Eighty-four percent say no, no income redistribution.  Just 16 percent say yes.  One of the most lopsided polls we've ever had.

It's not ridiculous.  Americans do not want a Robin Hood-style tax-and-spend system by the federal government.