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True North Archives - January 9, 2007
Radio | Editorial | News & Views

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Featured Articles

Uganda: A Success Story in the Fight Against AIDS
By Todd Fillmore

While most of Sub-Saharan Africa was looking to Western AIDS pundits and their purses, in 1986 Uganda began crafting its own approach to AIDS, with little outside influence. The result was their balanced "ABC" program – (A)bstinence, (B)e faithful, and, if you must, (C)ondoms, with the primary emphasis on the first two…. Uganda, has achieved remarkable and unique success, wrestling its peak infection rate from 21% in 1989 to a low of 6% in 2002. This radical reduction remains unmatched in the world, least of all by its southern African neighbors, many of whom still suffer double digit infection rates as high as 33%, with only marginal improvements. – Todd Fillmore does research for Vermont Renewal (

The Governor's "Vermont's Way Forward"
By John McClaughry

…The Governor stood before a chamber heavily dominated by his Democratic opponents. He knew that the leading issue in the voters' minds is the rising burden of property taxes to support public education. Curbing the steady rise of education costs has been a major component of his Affordability Agenda…. – John McClaughry is president of the Ethan Allen Institute (

Vermont’s Baby Bust
By Robert Maynard

… The bureaucratic welfare state creates a sense of entitlement and a victim mentality. All of one’s problems are seen as someone else’s fault and the "victim" is entitled to the fruits of someone else’s labor. This resulting attitude makes it unlikely that the recipient of aid would feel any gratitude toward his benefactor, since he has been conditioned to see such aid as an entitlement rather than an act of human compassion. The impersonal nature of the state acting as a mediator for such aid further alienates the recipient from his benefactor. The end result is a society divided into groups of passive recipients clamoring for more entitlements and productive workers trying to find ways to avoid the heavy burden of taxes that are the result…. – Robert Maynard lives in Williston

Ice Age or Global Warming?
By Frank Mazur

…The Media Research Center’s Business & Media Institute researched the print media on climate change back until the late 1800’s.  Since 1895 the New York Times, Time magazine and Newsweek, reported three or four different climate shifts.  Most recently, publications that warned global warming today predicted an ice age in the 1970’s…. -- Frank Mazur is a small business owner and was a member of the Vermont House from 1995-2004 (

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This Week's Mail Bag

We Need School Choice Now

"I've been thinking about comprehensive statewide vouchers and am coming around to the point of view that in order to get it, we must go for the whole hog; incrementalism just won't work...."

Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

VT House Republicans raise profile of escalating property tax issue
WCAX, January 5, 2007

Democratic legislative leaders and the governor have played down the issue of escalating property taxes in the opening days of the 2007 session, but House Republicans want to move it back to center stage…. The Republicans stepped up because, they said, they weren't hearing enough discussion. "We still believe there are some here in this Statehouse who don't believe we have problems with the property tax," said Rep. Steve Adams, R-Hartland, minority leader…. "I think this biennium we will revisit that as a complete set of questions," [Speaker Gaye] Symington said. "How can we pay for these schools in a way that's perceived as more fair."

Editor’s Note: Bold, Italics, and Underline added. Why doesn’t the Speaker intend to focus on solutions that are ACTUALLY fair, and not just perceived (or misperceived) to be fair. It looks like all we can expect out of the majority leadership on the most pressing issue facing Vermonters in their daily lives is smoke-and-mirrors manipulation of perceptions. Vermonters deserve better. 

Sanders, Welch sworn in as new senator, congressman
By Erin Kelly, Burlington Free Press, January 5, 2007

WASHINGTON -- Bernie Sanders was sworn in Thursday as the first lifelong independent ever to become a U.S. senator. He immediately pledged not to let the staid Senate change his maverick ways. "We can't let the tradition and decorum of the Senate get in the way of the fundamental change we need to make in the way business is done in the United States of America…." 

Editor’s Note:Vermonters supposedly cherish civility, decorum and a traditional approach to politics dubbed "the Vermont Way." The Free Press editorialized on New Year’s Eve, "We are blessed with a capacity for reasonable political discussion because we know and respect one another." Others in the press have warned those in Montpelier not to criticize each other. One wonders if the editorial pages in Vermont’s "mainstream" media will now blast Senator Sanders for being out of touch with the feelings and priorities his constituents and will warn him not to trample on the culture we prize so highly in the Green Mountain State. 

Ruling diminishes open-meeting laws
Burlington Free Press, Editorial, January 6

When you break the rules, there will be consequences…. So when an elected body decides to flout the law, it's disturbing. It's even more so when a court recognizes the violation, but decides nothing needs to be done about it. That's what happened in the closing days of 2006 when Chittenden Superior Court Judge Matthew Katz ruled that the South Burlington School Board violated the state's open-meeting laws…. [in which] the School Board held an illegal meeting Feb. 5 with then-schools Superintendent Gail Durckel to negotiate a separation agreement under which she agreed to never again apply for a position with the school district and received a $104,000 payoff…. Judge Katz's ruling opens the door for the School Board, or any other public body, to hold illegal closed meetings without fear of punishment as long as it goes through the motions of affirming in public those decisions made in secret….

Editor’s Note: This is as frightening as it is outrageous. When the law does not apply to the lawmakers, it is nothing short of tyranny. 

Transgender bill being redrafted
By Lauren Ober, Burlington Free Press, January 2

After Gov. Jim Douglas' veto last year of a bill that would have protected the state's transgender population from discrimination, proponents of the measure began work to reintroduce similar legislation this legislative term…. Transgender advocates vowed to reintroduce the bill in 2007 and have been working with the governor's office to address his concerns, said Kara DeLeonardis, executive director of R.U.1.2? Queer Community Center…. Once the ambiguity is removed from the bill's language, [Press Secreatary, Jason] Gibbs said the governor is looking forward to working with the Human Rights Commission and the Legislature to pass the measure….

Middlebury plant employing 170 closes
Associated Press, January 6, 2007

Specialty Filaments Inc., a manufacturer employing 170 people, has closed….

Douglas: Take Vermont forward
By Shay Totten, Vermont Guardian, January 4, 2007

Gov. Jim Douglas kicked off his third term in office Thursday, calling on lawmakers to embrace his four-point plan to make environmental engineering the state’s new job growth industry and make Vermont the first "e-state" in the nation. Outlining what he calls the "Vermont Way Forward," Douglas called on the Legislature to put in place his four-point strategy of environmental leadership, job creation, technological advancement, and innovative education….

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From Elsewhere

Democrats can do lots of damage in 100 hours
The Detroit News, January 5, 2007

Democrats took over Congress Thursday promising to march through their populist agenda like Sherman through Georgia…. what Democrats are likely to deliver is a package of shallow bills that don't accomplish their goals, are filled with unintended consequences and beg for a presidential veto….

A Retreat on Rationing Free Speech?
By George Will

A three-judge federal court recently tugged a thread that may begin the unraveling of the fabric of murky laws and regulations that traduce the First Amendment by suppressing political speech. Divided 2 to 1, the court held -- unremarkably, you might think -- that issue advocacy ads can run during an election campaign, when they matter most…. Imagine: Judges scouring the political landscape, searching for evidence (people's past opinions or associations; e-mails and other communications) that would empower them to rule that grass-roots lobbying about an issue is "really" the functional equivalent of electioneering (express advocacy)…. Bob Bauer, a Democratic campaign lawyer, rightly warns that the prospect of such inquiries should "make a sensible citizen's blood run cold…."

Canadians Wait Longer for Medical Care
By Devon Herrick, Health Care News, January 2007

In recent years, patients treated by the Canadian health care system have increasingly experienced lengthy waits to see providers. According a new study on medical care in Canada, released in October 2006 by the Fraser Institute, "waiting times are the legacy of a medical system offering low expectations cloaked in lofty rhetoric"…. "Despite all of the promises made by Canada's provincial and federal governments, and despite the fact that Canadians are spending more on health care than ever before…."

Economics Is Not For Actuaries
By George Gilder, January 2, 2007

… As Peter Drucker once wrote in these pages, "Don't solve problems, pursue opportunities." When Republicans solve "problems," they feed their failures, starve their strengths, and fritter away their remaining power in political imbroglios and special interest pork-fests…. Instead we should take the offensive. Lower tax rates will yield the additional revenues and borrowing power we need to sustain social programs for the aged for decades to come…. 

Lessons of Vietnam
How to avoid a repeat, and why it's crucial to do so. 
BY Brendan Miniter, January 2, 2007

… When President Bush moved to topple Saddam Hussein, comparisons to Vietnam never seemed far from the surface. The media were looking for the first sign that the war had become a quagmire; and antiwar activists, this time with graying ponytails and faded peace signs, gathered in public squares to protest the "pre-emptive" war. But now, just as the conflict is in danger of becoming another Vietnam, few are willing to sound notes of caution of how to avoid it. And it's becoming increasingly clear that some policy makers in Washington would lead us down a similar road to defeat….

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