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True North Archives - January 19, 2010
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Featured Articles

Political Leaders Lack an Understanding of Government‘s Role
By Tom Licata

Palpable was not only a lack of economic urgency by Committee members, but a lack of understanding government‘s role.  It is with this back drop that I decided to testify at the January 12 Joint House Hearing on Health Care Reform.  Here is that testimony...

Albany’s Covert Agenda: Theory? No. Question? Yes.
By Martin Harris

For reasons going back to Vermont’s 18th century origins as an illegal liberty-and-property-focused secession from New Hampshire on its right (map-wise and politics-wise) , and New York on its left, (likewise) Vermont has no control over the bridges which connect it to those States. That shrinks liability for maintenance expense, but it grows vulnerability to policy decisions made elsewhere, like the one in Albany which has just imploded the 80-year-old Lake Champlain Bridge into the liquid domain of the famed plesiosaur lurking below. The demolition came as quite a surprise to both Champ and the several hundred New York State residents who had been commuting to jobs in Vermont. The shutdown recommendation came in October;  a supporting "study" in November, demolition in December, and replacement with a similar two-lane design and restored vehicle usage is promised for the summer of 2011.

Climate Scandal Won't Go Away
By Linus Leavens

Career atmospheric scientists who have dared to question the almighty environmental elite were accused of taking money from big oil companies & called "deniers". One in particular was said to have received $10,000 from Exxon-Mobil. Shocking? Not really. Never once did we hear about the $22,600,000 that CRU- East Anglia received from Shell Oil, BP, the Sultanate of Oman, the World Wildlife Fund, Greenpeace, the US Dept. of Energy (DOE), & the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for "Climate Research".

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"We know two thousand pages of 'gov-speak' is one of the largest compendiums of bribes, favors and pork ever devised. We know that in all two thousand pages, there's not a single word about tort reform because the Democratic party is owned by the trial lawyers. We know the overwhelming majority of Congress won't even bother to read the bill before voting on it. And above all, we know the very same people who are foisting this boondoggle on the rest of us will never be subjected to its mandates, because they have their own Rolls Royce health care coverage. ... 2010 can't come soon enough."  --columnist Arnold Ahlert
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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

Shumlin's Arrogance More Than Vermont Can Afford
Caledonia Record Editorial, January 16, 2010

The Democratic leadership in the General Assembly apparently has learned nothing from the debacle of the Democratic non-leadership in Washington this year. They have learned nothing from pushing stuff the American voters want no part of. Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin has allowed and endorsed the Senate Finance Committee to be composed of all Democrats and no Republicans on the basis that there are many Democrats who have waited a long time to be on that committee, and that disallows any Republicans from being seated on it.

Tightening the Noose
By Art Woolf, Vermont Tiger, January 14, 2010

The state is facing a $150 million deficit in FY11 and, if our legislators don't do anything to fix the problem, even larger deficits for the following three years. Then we fall off a cliff (actually, no one forecasts farther out than FY14).

Education Spiral and the Myth of Local Control
From the Valley News, January 17, 2010

Since 1997, school staffing levels in Vermont have increased by 23 percent, while the student population has declined by 11.5 percent. Given that personnel costs account for 80 percent of total school spending, the governor says, it's no wonder that Vermont's K-12 system is among the most expensive in the country at $14,000 per student per year. School governance is fragmented among 290 separate school districts -- one for every 312 students -- 63 supervisory bodies and a state Board of Education. The opaque school funding system created by Act 60 and its successor, Act 68, has severed the link between local spending and tax burdens because, as Douglas says, income-sensitivity provisions have been expanded beyond the low-income people they were originally intended to protect to become a middle-class entitlement. The governor says 6,000 Vermonters living in homes valued at more than $400,000 are receiving education-property-tax subsidies, including 136 living in million dollar homes. Seventy percent of Vermonters are shielded from the full impact of education spending decisions, Douglas says, with the result that local control of education, a cherished tradition in Vermont, is further eroded.

Green Math
By Daniel Foty, Vermont Tiger, January 14, 2010

It was all rather simple:

All the Wilsons had to do, in order to earn that $17.20, was invest $58,000 in a new solar power system for their home. "

Yep, piece of cake.

Readers can feel free to do the math on what it will take to recoup that "investment."

Actually, if you follow the link, you'll see that you (yes, you, dear reader) are actually part of this.  Most of the cost ($36,000) is being covered by state and federal subsidies.

Mind Your Own Business Schools
Caledonia Record Editorial, January 14, 2010

It is a sterling business principle that you should not be in, or get into, a business that you aren't in. With the current flap over unsafe foods being served nationally in schools, it seems timely to state that schools should not be in any business that isn't about teaching kids. Schools should not be in the food service business, the property management business, the janitorial business, or the transportation business. Private companies can do every one of these services more efficiently and cheaper.

It's About the Children...
Whether they exist or not.
By Geoffrey Norman Vermont Tiger, January 14, 2010

That we are assessed money to pay for non-existent kids is established, conclusively, by Hugh Kemper in his latest adventure spelunking down the fathomless cave of Vermont's education funding system.  Though to call it a "system" is to assign it vastly more order than it deserves.  It is a labyrinth.  A hall of mirrors.  Anything but a system.  Act 60/68 is no more understandable to the average citizen/taxpayer than the disclaimer at the bottom of that Microsoft program you are trying to install on your computer.  And it was designed to be that way.

Parents Turn into Activists
Changes Sought in Math Curriculum in Charlotte.
By Molly Walsh, Burlington Free Press, January 17, 2010

Janssen-Heininger has learned as much about math as she has about the touchy role of publicly calling for changes at her children's school. It's very uncomfortable, she said, even for a seasoned public speaker.... 

School officials should listen and involve parents, but the final decisions should be driven by educators, [Superintendent] Pinckney suggested. 

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

Obama's Next Three Years
By John Bolton, Middle East Commentary, January 2010

Barack Obama’s blueprint for the United States spells trouble for American autonomy, self-governance, and defense, all key elements of national sovereignty. His undisguised indifference to repeated diminutions of that sovereignty is entirely consistent with the views of his European admirers, who, at their level, would like to see their nation-states dissolve into the European Union. In the end, however, the United States is exceptional and will not melt into any larger or global union; it will simply become less able to protect itself and its constitutional decision-making system. That is clearly where our first post-American president’s policies will take us.

Steven Emerson: Combating Radical Islam - Defeating Jihadist Terrorism
By George Michael, Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2010

Emerson believes that the Islamist movement in the West continues to strengthen, in large part due to what he refers to as the "cultural jihad," which provides a congenial environment in which Islamists can flourish. He cites survey data indicating that many Muslim communities in the West sympathize with aspects of the Islamist worldview. These cultural jihadists in turn give moral support to the terrorists. In Globalized Islam: The Search for a New Ummah, the French scholar Olivier Roy argues that Muslims in the West often experience a trauma of "deterritorialization" because they feel estranged from their native lands. To overcome anomie and alienation, young Muslims find solace in a new, purified Islam and attach themselves to a "virtual ummah [Islamic nation]" built by them on the Internet. This pool of mostly young, alienated, Muslim men provides a reservoir from which Islamists can recruit in the West.

North Korean Money Troubles
Kim Jong Il's currency revaluation is on the verge of sparking a hyperinflation.
From The Wall Street Journal, January 11, 2010

The past month has seen an extraordinary spectacle in North Korea: the failure of a hastily announced "currency reform" and the subsequent collapse of the won, the official domestic currency. These developments are of more than numismatic interest. Pyongyang's currency move marks the end of an era of hesitant economic experimentation and ushers in a new era of greater economic, and perhaps political, uncertainties.

Islam and the West: 'Overlapping Consensus' or Capitulation?
By Janet Doerflinger, American Thinker, January 12, 2010

Andrew March's position is that the West should submit. His nihilistic call for the abolition of civil marriage and his heedless disregard for the foundational values of the university allow us to view through a magnifying glass, as it were, the curious contortions by which the far left allies itself with uber-conservative Islam. Ironically, his approach is not helpful to European Muslims. U.K. journalist Melanie Phillips has noted how abandoning traditional British religious and cultural values, as March advocates, has contributed to the difficulties of assimilating the Muslim minority in her country. After all, you can't trump something with nothing.

The P5+1 meets on Iran: No agreement on sanctions
By Laura Rosen, The Politico, January 16, 2010

Pledging unity, the U.S., UK, France, Germany, Russia and China met for over two hours in New York this afternoon on Iran. But with China declining to send its political director to the meeting, sending its representative to the United Nations instead, there's no consensus yet on further measures to pressure Iran to accept a nuclear deal.

What Google's Threat to Pull Out of China Really Means
From Seeking Alpha,January 5, 2010

These developments raise two possibilities I did not previously entertain. The first is that Google has the unique size, visibility, and prestige to really play hardball with China, and that turning its censorship filters off and on again was a way to send a message to China that it is willing to hit the "nuclear" button, but is open to talking. The second is that the Chinese government is not completely unified on this issue, that the elements that (allegedly) attacked Google have created an unwelcome mess for other elements concerned that China's business reputation would be damaged if Google picks up its toys and goes home. It is quite possible that both scenarios are true, or neither. The story unfolds ... and is well worth monitoring closely. How it plays out will shape business-government relations in China in significant ways.

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From Elsewhere

Primary United States Climate Centers Now Caught in Data Manipulation
New Revelations Headlined on TV Climate Special
KUSI News, San Diego, January 14, 2010

It has been revealed that a "sleight of hand" was used in the computer program that rated 2005 as "THE WARMEST YEAR ON RECORD." Skeptical climate researchers have discovered extensive manipulation of the data within the U.S. Government's two primary climate centers: the National Climate Data Center (NCDC) in Asheville, North Carolina and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) at Columbia University in New York City. These centers are being accused of creating a strong bias toward warmer temperatures through a system that dramatically trimmed the number and cherry-picked the locations of weather observation stations they use to produce the data set on which temperature record reports are based. The two investigators say the system has been distorted in other ways as well. They have documented their findings in great detail in a scientific report that has been posted online. These findings are presented as a part of my television special report "Global Warming: The Other Side" telecast Thursday night, January 14th at 9 PM here on KUSI TV.

Related Article: Climategate Scientist Received Over Half A Million From Obama Stimulus Package

A Dollar Crisis?
From Investor’s Business Daily January 15, 2010

Recession: As federal spending and debt soar to new highs, many economists have alarmingly concluded that the dollar will soon collapse and take the economy with it. But that scenario is far from inevitable.

$222 Billion, Ho Hum
Another warning that reform 'bends the cost curve'—up.
Wall Street Journal Editorial, January 12, 2010

Among the astonishing things about the ObamaCare debate—or lack thereof—is that Washington is inundated with warnings about the destructiveness of this plan, and it doesn't matter. The agency that runs Medicare rung the latest alarm bell on Friday, and good luck finding any media mention.

Nelson's Ad Short on Facts?
By Grace-Marie Turner, Omaha World-Herald, January 10, 2010

Sen. Nelson tells Nebraskans the bill "lowers costs for families and small businesses, protects Medicare . . . and reduces the deficit. And it’s not run by the government."

In fact, polls show that a strong majority of Americans surveyed, including a majority of Nebraskans polled, oppose this health bill because they understand what independent experts have confirmed: The legislation would increase health insurance premiums for tens of millions of people, jeopardize access to care for many seniors, burden future generations with trillions of dollars of new debt and entrust government — not patients and doctors — with control over many personal health care decisions.

Is China Really Growing That Fast?
From Investor’s Business Daily, January 11, 2010

Competitiveness: A spate of new reports show China leapfrogging other nations on its way to economic superpower status. Time to concede the global economic lead to the world's most populous nation? Hardly.

Hungarian Physicist Dr. Ferenc Miskolczi proves CO2 emissions irrelevant in Earth’s Climate
By Dianna Cotter, The Examiner, January 12, 2010

For years now, we have been told that science is dedicatedly attempting to find out how the Earth’s Climate works. With all possible seriousness, the most publically vocal of these scientists, those working for the UN’s IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), have for the last several years blamed the warming they "found" on Carbon Dioxide. With the release of the CRU (Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia) email database, it is very clearly apparent that the scientists involved with the IPCC were doctoring data to give a specific result. That result was designed to look as if CO2 was causing climate change, warming the earth due to Human activities. It can be reported now that this theory has been solidly disproven by Dr. Ferenc Miskolczi and Dr. Miskolczi’s work will make history.

Labor's $60 Billion Payoff
A health tax that hits everyone except the Democratic base.
Wall Street Journal Editorial, January 17, 2010
Democrats seem impervious to embarrassment as they buy votes for ObamaCare, but their latest move makes even Nebraska's Ben Nelson look cheap: The 87% of Americans who don't belong to a union will now foot the bill for a $60 billion giveaway to those who do. ... Democrats wouldn't have to pay these partisan bribes had they chosen to write a less radical bill that could attract Republican votes.

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