North Archives - January 27, 2009
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By John McClaughry
has fallen to Gov. Jim Douglas to present to the 2009 legislature a budget
proposal replete with incandescent unpopularities. It's not that Gov. Douglas
is some kind of hard-hearted Scrooge, who revels in human suffering. Nor
is he a notable subscriber to President Reagan's 1981 inaugural declaration
that "government is not the solution to our problems; government is the
problem." Far from it.
But there is no doubt that
Vermont's state government faces a serious budget problem. Already the
administration has made severe cuts in the FY2009 budget, ending this June.
In the approaching FY2010, the General Fund, compared to a year ago, faces
a revenue shortfall of $152 million. That will produce a budget gap of
over $200 million.
By Martin Harris
been scant evidence of the gentry-left rising to the defense of one of
their own, that scion of the Kennedy-Camelot branch of American political-intellectual
royalty, Caroline, after her remarkable performance in a recent CBS interview.
They could have argued, for example, that she didn’t say "…and stuff"
even once. She did say "…y’know" about every two seconds for a total
of about a hundred or so, according to commentators who actually kept a
running count. It was cringe-productive to watch and hear. It was also
a demonstration of native-language incompetency which wouldn’t have been
tolerated by the Main Stream Media for a New York minute had it come from
the mouth of an identifiable non-leftist. Consider, for example, the journalistic
vitriol poured by the intellectually-superior (just ask them) MSM over
that "dumb-soldier" President Dwight Eisenhower for his use of the then-new
verb "finalize" at a time when such neologisms hadn’t yet secured academic
recognition. When one of their own does far worse, embarrassingly so, the
MSM chooses to ignore it. Or, in an isolated case, praise it.
Making of Useless Law
By Karen Kerin
In the wake of over 60,000
people signing a petition for Jessica’s Law to help protect our children
from pedophiles following the horrendous murder of Brooke Bennett, the
summer study group of legislators agreed to present such legislation, but
with a terrible oversight insisted on by the prosecutors; led by our attorney
general. Most people are unfamiliar with how the criminal law operates
and do not understand the oversight, so in a nutshell, this is how it works.
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"A popular government without
popular information or the means of acquiring it is but a prologue to a
farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance:
And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with
the power which knowledge gives."
-- James Madison,
letter to W. T. Barry, August 4, 1822, Ref: Letters and other Writings
of James Madison, vol. 3 (276)
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Weekly News Round-Up
Trends and the Need for Action (pdf)
Presentation by David Coates
Vermont Business Rountable
David Coates' analysis of
pension and other benefit liabilities (significantly underfunded) facing
the state. This is the not-so-obvious future consequence of government
spending spinning out of control.
'em Up - State of VT Would Seize Town's Surplus
By Peter Hirschfeld, Times
Argus, January 22, 2009
The unorganized town of Glastenbury
has amassed an impressive property-tax surplus, despite its sparse population.
The $254,000 reserve, funded by six full-time residents and a handful of
seasonal dwellers, has accrued at a rate of about $20,000 annually over
the past decade or so.
Now the state of Vermont
would like to take it.
Severs Choice Ties with Essex
By Molly Walsh, Burlington
Free Press, January 22, 2009
The Colchester School Board
decided this month to pull the plug on a school choice agreement with neighboring
Essex High School after concluding that the arrangement was too expensive
for a district in which enrollment is declining.
Students participating in
the choice agreement can continue to do so until they graduate, but no
new students can apply to enroll at Essex High School. Essentially too
many students were exiting the Colchester district for Essex, said Dirk
Reith, chairman of the Colchester School Board.
Hydro Project Stalls Over Water Rights Debate
By John Flowers, Addison
Independent, January 19, 2009
The developers of a proposed
small-scale hydroelectric operation at the base of the Otter Creek Falls
in Middlebury have secured a federal OK to ramp up planning for the project,
but that planning has apparently hit a snag at the local level.
Road To Nowhere
From WCAX-TV, January 22,
The Southern Connector has
a long and tortured history. The earliest conceptual drawings back in the
1960s showed a four-lane elevated highway along the Burlington waterfront.
That original plan never had a chance. But no other plan got the traction
it needed either.
Correctness Carried To The Ridiculous
From The Caledonia Record,
January 21, 2009
In a recent op-ed article,
John McClaughry put his finger on an ideological insanity that is hampering
Vermont's "green image" and helping to force unnecessary green regulations
and expensive goals on the state.
One of McClaughry's recommendations
for an affordable state budget follows: "Make Vermont's proportion of renewable-source
electricity the nation's highest. This requires only deleting the artificial
'less than 200 megawatts' definition of 'renewable,' thus making HydroQuebec
hydropower what it is everywhere but in Vermont, a renewable [power] resource.
That would ease the pressure to unwisely subsidize uneconomic renewable
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Global War on Terrorism
Israel Losing the Propoganda War? Maybe Not
By Dr. Laina Farhat-Holzman,
Family Security Matters, January 21, 2009
For several decades now,
the generous European policy encouraging Third World immigration (largely
out of need for labor to augment Europe’s shrinking population) has gone
unchecked. However, since 9/11, a small number of European writers, out
of sync with their leftist elite colleagues, have been sounding the alarm
that Europe has permitted an anti-democratic and increasingly violent Islamist
population into its midst. European police and security people have taken
note and action – but they are unfortunately often countered by leftist
judges who prefer to see terrorism as "freedom fighting." But this too
Ordinary citizens not enchanted
by theoretical liberalism have begun to resent the behavior of these immigrants.
They experience the increase of rapes, battery of women, exploitation of
generous welfare, and Islamo-fascist propaganda campaigns. Increasingly,
the alliance between Islamists and European anarchists (who have nothing
in common but their hatred of the U.S. and Israel) has produced street
mobs ready to rumble anywhere, which has spread to the U.S. as well.
Serious European leaders
are increasingly concerned about this Islamist threat – and seemingly overnight
have been throwing their support to Israel in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.
Even more heartening is new staunch support of the U.S. position on this
Are Pro-Israel' - Part II
By Nissan Ratzlav-Katz Israeli
National News January 13, 2009
The following is Part II
of an interview Israel National News conducted in recent days with
Amil Imani, an Iranian-born pro-democracy activist currently living in
North America. The discussion focused on an effort to understand Iran at
this critical time in history.
Qaeda Bungles Arms Experiment
Biological or Chemical
By Eli Lake, The Washington
Times, January 20 2009
this month after an experiment with unconventional weapons went awry, a
senior U.S. intelligence official said Monday.
The official, who spoke on
the condition he not be named because of the sensitive nature of the issue,
said he could not confirm press reports that the accident killed at least
40 al Qaeda operatives, but he said the mishap led the militant group to
shut down a base in the mountains of Tizi Ouzou province in eastern Algeria.
Lama: Terrorism resistant to non-violence
By Ethel C. Fenig, American
Thinker, January 21, 2009
The Dalai Lama, living in
exile since the Chinese Communists brutally took over his hereditary kingdom
of Tibet, revered for his wisdom and adherence to peace and non violence
some tough realities.
Speaking at a public lecture
in India he told his audience, "Terrorism cannot be tackled by applying
the principle of ahimsa because the minds of terrorists are closed. "
(According to Wikipedia,
ahimsa means "to do no harm (literally: the avoidance of violence - himsa).
It is an important tenet of the religions that originated in ancient India
(Hinduism, Buddhism and especially Jainism). Ahimsa is a rule of conduct
that bars the killing or injuring of living beings." ECF)
‘Karin in Saudi Arabia: A Look into What Saudi Arabia is Really Like’ by
Dr. Sami Alrabaa
The Editors, Family Security
Matters, January 21, 2009
Dr. Sami Alabraa has written
about the true story of Karin, a German woman who was living in Saudi Arabia
and fell in love
with a Saudi. Unfortunately for Karin, what should have been a fairy tale
turned into a nightmare, as were the situations of several others whose
tales Dr. Alabraa tells.
Minutes to Midnight
By Ilana Freedman, Canada
Free Press, January 14, 2009
These are dangerous times.
The volume and ferocity of anti-American chatter across the Internet have
reached a level we have not seen since the days leading up to 9/11. The
radical Islamists, who would use violence against those who do not accept
their view of life, have become arrogant enough to bring their savage methods
to new depths of depravity. To understand this bolder enemy, we must recognize
what they are capable of.
Mumbai - Last November,
a handful of terrorists came into Mumbai by stealth, and within hours brought
a city of 18 million to its knees. They attacked ten symbolic sites favored
by tourists, murdered some 200 people, and left a wake of indescribable
destruction, shattering thousands of lives in their wake.
They singled out American,
British, and Jewish targets, and ordered the terrorists to "kill to their
last breath". Many of their victims were savagely tortured before being
murdered. So brutal was the torture that experienced doctors who later
examined the bodies were in shock and could not find the words to even
speak about it.
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The Unspoken Jihad
Spivey, American Thinker January 22, 2009
In Arabic, the word "jihad"
means "inner struggle," and for those involved in one particular battle,
there is no simple answer and varying perspectives cause, in many cases,
violent reactions and repercussions. That word has come to signify
the murder of innocence and the demolition of security in a time of worldwide
uncertainty. The death toll keeps rising as years keep passing, and
fighting in this war guarantees earning the label of "radical," "extremist,"
or "fanatic." Yet those who do keep fighting are actually trying
to save lives. With the 36th year of Roe v. Wade passing
today, the war rages on.
for International Monetary Reform
By Jesus Huerta de Soto,
Ludwig Von Mises Institute, January 21, 2009
In chapter 9 of my book,
Bank Credit, and Economic Cycles (pp. 789–803), I design
a process of transition toward the only world financial order that, being
fully compatible with the free-enterprise system, can eliminate the financial
crises and economic recessions that cyclically affect the world's economies.
Such a proposal for international financial reform is, of course, extremely
relevant at this time, since the disconcerted governments of Europe and
America are planning a world conference to reform the international monetary
system in order to avoid future financial and banking crises such as the
one that currently grips the entire Western world. As I explain in detail
over the nine chapters of my book, any future reform will fail as miserably
as past reforms unless it strikes at the very root of the present problems
and rests on the following principles:
Dilemma: To be or not to be in the GOP
By Larrey Anderson, American
Thinker, January 21, 2009
The GOP heavily (almost exclusively)
relies on conservatives for grassroots campaign workers and financial support.
But the Republican Party has a long history of exploiting conservatives'
efforts and misusing conservatives' financial contributions. In many ways,
the situation is reminiscent of an abusive marriage. Is it time for conservatives
to finally recognize the lies and abuse and move out of the house? Or is
some sort of reconciliation still possible?
New Old Thing
By the Editors, National
Review, January 21, 2009
President Obama’s task in
his inaugural address was to unify the country behind his leadership, so
he did not give a partisan speech. He made several nods to post-partisanship,
as when he pledged to get past "stale political arguments" and "worn-out
dogmas"—pledges that both of his predecessors also made.
But Obama does not consider
the dogmas of liberalism worn out, as his speech made clear. From the financial
crisis he draws the lesson that "the market can spin out of control" when
it is not kept under the "watchful eye" of government. One need not deny
that government has a vital regulatory role to recognize ideology masquerading
From Investor's Business
Daily, January 21, 2009
Energy: After letting Europe
freeze for three weeks as Russia sparred over gas prices with Ukraine,
the taps are finally flowing for Europe. But the problem isn't over. It
will be when Europe gets real on nuclear energy.
Tax Cuts Will Help Economy More Than Spending
By Foon Rhee, The Boston
Globe, January 21, 2009
Obama and House Democrats
are pushing a stimulus package that includes about $550 billion in new
spending and $275 billion in tax cuts over the next two years. The poll
found 58 percent supporting infrastructure spending, and 71 percent in
favor of tax cuts. Asked whether the spending or tax cuts would be more
effective, 55 percent picked tax cuts. ?The higher faith in tax cuts is
apparently partly because 42 percent believe that the spending projects
would be done mostly for political reasons rather than to help the economy.
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