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True North Archives - January 16, 2007
Radio | Editorial | News & Views

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Radio archives coming soon! Please return later to listen to past shows of note. True North Radio airs daily on WDEV AM, WDEV FM and WSYB AM from 11am to noon.

Featured Articles

65 Cents is Useful Benchmark

One thing I noticed when I was in the state Senate was the degree to which the education lobby operated as a monolithic bloc. The Vermont NEA, Vermont School Boards Association, Vermont Superintendents Association, and Vermont Principals Association supposedly represent groups of educators who in reality have different interests; yet these lobbyists were in unison on nearly every issue, and together they represent the most powerful influence at the Statehouse…. -- Wendy Wilton of Rutland is chairwoman of First Class Education for Vermont.

Learn more about the 65 cent solution, and read John Nelson’s Op-Ed at:

"Shaman" Shumlin?
Is Vermont becoming an environmental theocracy?
By Rob Roper

…My first question is, if Global Warming is the religion its proponents declare it to be, when does the Constitutional separation of church and state kick in?... My second question is if Global Warming is, in practice, going to be the State Religion of Vermont, what kind of church is it we’re getting into? The good, nurturing kind that is inclusive, forgiving and open as it seeks to elevate humanity? Or, the scary as hell kind that plays on people’s fears, demands conformity and masochistic sacrifice… -- Rob Roper is State Director for FreedomWorks-Vermont (

The Iraq Study Group
By Rob Skinner

… If Senator Biden's hostility toward the president and Republicans continues then there can be no "successful way forward" and Americans will be more vulnerable to al Qaida plans to bring more "death to America…." – Rob Skinner lives in South Hero

Terror in the Green Mountains
By Karen Kerin

… The Vermont State police became impatient and responded to Joseph’s camp site at 7 PM with a SWAT team and proceeded in a twelve minute confrontation to pelt Joseph with shotgun fired beanbag rounds and commands yelled at him to surrender. After twelve minutes of abusive treatment amounting to assault and battery to his confused mind, he went to his car to get a gun to defend himself. Once the gun was in hand, a trooper yelled, "Gun". That immediately caused two SWAT members to fire, killing Joseph…. – Karen Kerin was a candidate for Vermont Attorney General

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True North News

New Chair of House Education: For the kids or for the Adults?
-- From Vermont Education Report: (

Janet Ancel (D-Calais) was appointed by House Speaker Gaye Symington’s to chair the House Education committee, replacing the retiring George Cross. Ancel is beginning just her second term in the House, but served as Tax Commissioner under Howard Dean. Given the property tax/education funding crisis Vermont is experiencing, House Ed will be a lively place this session. What can we expect from the new Chair?

According to quotes in the press, Symington is expecting the House Education Committee to play a big role in the debate over spending. "For example," the Speaker is quoted, "we should understand why the number of direct instructional staff in Vermont has increased by 22 percent during the period of time when the number of students has declined by 9 percent." This is a very good question. But, why choose Ancel to answer it? 

Ancel received a 100% voting scorecard from the Vermont State Labor Council, AFL-CIO in both 2006 and 2005, and received the endorsement of the Vermont State Employee’s Association in 2006. So, how likely is it that Ancel will find an unsustainable increase in the number of unionized teachers, under any circumstances, to be a problem? 

Vermonters are going to have to make some hard choices about how to best use scarce resources regarding our children’s education. We have to make sure those decisions are made in the best interests of the kids, and not just for the financial benefit of the adults. 

"Two Strikes" budget legislation for South Burlington

H. 47 An act relating to approval of amendments to the charter of the city of South Burlington which require voter approval of city and school district budgets; was introduced this week by Reps. Pugh of South Burlington, Audette of South Burlington, Head of South Burlington and Kupersmith of South Burlington, and referred to the committee on Government Operations.

This is the legislation that would make endless votes on school and municipal budgets a thing of the past in South Burlington by allowing only two votes. If the second fails, the budget reverts automatically to that of the previous years’. 

Check out the proposed amendments to the charter and see if you can bring this common sense law to your home town. 

Global Warming Lecturer Delayed by Snowstorm

Speaker Gaye Symington and Senate President Pro Tem Peter Welch have decided that rather than do the work voters sent their representatives to Montpelier to do, our legislators’ time would be better spent listening to lectures about the perils of Global Climate Change. 

Unfortunately, Thursday’s lecture had to be postponed because the speaker was trapped in a snowstorm. Rumor had it (tried to confirm this absolutely, but couldn’t get a definitive answer) that the person who was coming to tell us all the little things we could do help fight global warming couldn’t get his private jet off the ground.

Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

Child abuser avoids jail time
By Patrick McArdle, Rutland Herald, January 10, 2007 

…[Andrew] James must successfully complete sex offender treatment programming to the satisfaction of his probation officer…. James, who qualified for a public defender, also was ordered to pay a fine of $22. James pleaded guilty Monday to a felony charge of sexual assault on a victim younger than 10 years old. By law, he could have received up to life in prison, a fine of up to $50,000 or both…

Child abuse case reveals hurdles to convictions
By Patrick McArdle, Rutland Herald, January 12, 2007

A plea deal this week that allows Andrew C. James to avoid jail after admitting to sexually assaulting a 4-year-old boy is calling attention to what prosecutors and others say is a common problem they face when trying to put child sex offenders behind bars.

Man denies alcohol, teen fondling charges
Rutland Herald, Jan 10, 2007

A Rutland man is accused of providing alcohol to two 14-year-old girls and then fondling one of them. Michael A. Pratt, 22, pleaded innocent in Rutland District Court to two counts of enabling the consumption of alcohol by a person under 21 and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor…. If convicted of all the charges, Pratt could face up to eight years in jail and fines. 

State officials cautious about revenues
Associated Press, January 12, 2007

Revenues for Vermont state government missed the target for December set by budget writers and the Douglas administration said Friday that it remained cautious about the collection of taxes and fees for the first half of the fiscal year…. The shortfall was partly caused by personal income tax, the state's largest source of revenue, which lagged projections by $3.57 million last month at $8.6 million…. The shortfalls were offset by higher than expected revenues from the corporate income tax, while sales and use and rooms and meals taxes both failed to meet the monthly targets. The transportation and education funds also missed monthly projections by 4.7 percent and 8.1 percent respectively….

Local school budgets on the rise
By Matt Sutkoski and Dan McLean, Burlington Free Press, January 10, 2007

… Burlington, Colchester and Winooski school officials this week worked to put finishing touches on school budget proposals, and the numbers reveal residents of the three communities face tax increases…Budget increases in the three communities would range from 5 percent to 11 percent.

House, Senate prepares for major climate change initiative
By Ross Sneyd, Associated Press,  January 9, 2007

… Vermonters are in store over the next month or so for a tutorial on the issues surrounding global climate change and what might be done to begin resolving it.

The initiative gets under way Wednesday when four committees from both the House and Senate will begin three weeks of hearings about the issue…. Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin, D-Windham, said the effort was organized in many ways as a tutorial…. 

Control Of Our Pre-K Kids
Caledonian Record Editorial, Jan. 12, 2007

… If the government really cared about our children, it would find ways to deepen parental relationships rather than construct early education programming that will simply turn our children into whatever drones the system wants them to be…. A tax-supported early education program would add millions of dollars to a school system that people can already barely afford. In addition, there is no concrete research that proves early education is better or worse than what we've been doing all along….

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From Elsewhere

President Bush's New Way Forward in Iraq
by James A. Phillips, The Heritage Foundation

Last night, President Bush laid out his Administration's plans for a revised U.S. Iraq policy that combines stepped-up U.S. and Iraqi military efforts with increased Iraqi attempts to reach a national reconciliation, an enhanced and decentralized U.S. economic aid effort to reward political moderation and create jobs, and regional diplomacy to line up greater international support for Iraq's beleaguered government…. This is a calculated gamble, but it is far more likely to advance U.S. interests than the policy advocated by most of its detractors—an immediate withdrawal—which would lead to inevitable catastrophe….

Why Should the Middle Class Fight Tax Hikes on the Rich?
By Michael Medved 

… 1) Tax hikes hurt the economy….2) Higher rates are ineffective in producing higher revenues, and encourage both laziness and sleazy strategies of tax avoidance….3) High tax rates are wrong and unfair – and only lead to the growth of government…. And what can we learn from the current political mess in Washington? Three quick lessons: 1- There really is a big difference between Republicans and Democrats…. 2- Despite Democratic claims to the contrary, Republicans are unmistakably motivated by concern for the public good rather than efforts to protect their own bank accounts. 3- The biggest issue with the tax system should be tax simplification, not increasing or even decreasing rates….

GOP hits Pelosi's 'hypocrisy' on wage bill
By Charles Hurt, The Washington Times, January 12, 2007 

House Republicans yesterday declared "something fishy" about the major tuna company in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's San Francisco district being exempted from the minimum-wage increase that Democrats approved this week…. The bill also… extends exempts American Samoa, another Pacific island territory that would become the only U.S. territory not subject to federal minimum-wage laws. One of the biggest opponents of the federal minimum wage in Samoa is StarKist Tuna, which owns one of the two packing plants that together employ more than 5,000 Samoans, or nearly 75 percent of the island's work force. StarKist's parent company, Del Monte Corp., has headquarters in San Francisco, which is represented by Mrs. Pelosi…. 

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