North Archives - February 13, 2007
| Editorial | News & Views
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Shame and our Therapeutic Culture
By Robert Maynard
It is clear where Professor
Golden comes down on this question: "If someone with diabetes were
imprisoned, they would be treated in the prison setting." Here
we arrive at the crux of the matter. A criminal is no more responsible
for his behavior than someone with diabetes is for their condition and
is as much of a victim as the person he or she committed a crime against.
Criminal behavior is not something that we have any control over, it just
happens to us. Given this belief, how can we expect decisions where the
punishment fits the crime? --Robert Maynard lives in Williston.
to the Numbers (II)
By Martin Harris
Vermont really spends a lot
more per pupil than other states in administration, both state ($268, compared
to US average $165) and local ($719, compared to US $452). The $719 number
is first-in-the nation. These numbers, too, are in Table 164. One might
reasonably raise this question: for spending well above the average for
administration, is the "we’re oh so rural" excuse valid, and is a proposed
school district reorganization (fewer but larger districts) a believable
answer? Based on past spending history, I’d say no, but it’s not my decision.
You decide. – Martin Harris is the former president of Vermont’s Citizens
for Property Rights.
By Pete Behr
I see Peter Shumlin is still
flogging his global warming agenda, to the detriment of state business.
I heard Shumlin has the whole Legislature taking days off from their duties
to listen to "experts" educate them on the global warming problem. As long
as Peter can keep VPR bleating about the atmosphere, he can avoid facing
up to the promises he and every other legislator, Democrat or Republican,
made to deal with the out of control property tax/education cost situation.
A smokescreen pure and simple. Don’t count on the media to remind Mr. Shumlin
of his promises; for some reason he has their number. --Pete Behr writes
a regular column for the Vermont Standard
Level of Child Sexual Abuse is Vermont Willing to Accept?
By Stephen Cable
By favoring probation and
counseling, Vermont's justice system allowed a violent predator to abuse
a child, and therefore failed its primary mission - to protect the public.
At the center of this discussion are the widely varied psychological treatment
programs to prevent re-offense. A thorough study of this topic yields
some disturbing facts… --Stephen Cable is President of the Vermont Center
for American Cultural Renewal
# # #
Week’s Mail Bag
Dear True North Editor:
for the day that Gaye Symington will actually agree with Governor Douglas
on something. The Governor put forward a budget with no signs of a future
state deficit, proposed a cap on general fund spending, and maybe most
importantly, showed that state general funding could be capped, and money
could be saved without raising any taxes on the people of Vermont. I would
think that people could see the benefits of this no matter what side of
the political fence they fall on.
It is times like these when
we see which elected officials really work for the people of Vermont and
which are playing partisan games. Treasurer Jeb Spaulding, a Democrat,
praised the Governor's budget plan, but the usual suspects, House Speaker
Gaye Symington and Peter Senator Shumlin, couldn't find one nice thing
to say in the press. Why wouldn't they support a cap on general fund spending,
especially when the extra money generated would go to something as important
as a new State Hospital? Even if Shumlin and Symington disagreed with parts
of the budget address, couldn't they at least agree with the Governor on
this? As a spectator you begin to wonder what political games are really
going on when it is always the same few voices of a party speaking out
- especially when members of the same party are able to see the good despite
party affiliation, and work with it.
Richard Bayer, Alburg
To the Editor:
I totally agree with Senator
Peter Shumlin's comments that we need to develop clean sources of energy
and that we need to deal with, and help solve, the problem of global warming.
But being the world leader in this seems totally unrealistic and not the
main issue upon which Democrats took full control of the Vermont legislature.
That was about finding ways to hold down the taxes and particularly over,
very over burdensome property tax.
Unfortunately, that is the
only point on which I agree with Mr. Shumlin - developing clean sources
of energy. On the other points he has made - it is irresponsible
to want to shut down Vermont Yankee and think that one-third of the state's
energy can be replaced with a combination of wind, solar and hydro power.
With the current mindset in Vermont, and the regulatory process on both
the Federal and state level, the likelihood of that happening is virtually
What about future energy
requirements? The Energy Information Agency predicts that worldwide demand
for electric power will double by 2030. Please refer to http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/ieo/index.html.
Currently there are over
150 coal fired power plants on the drawing boards in the U.S. alone. That
doesn't include the mad rush to produce ethanol that will require numerous
new ethanol producing facilities that currently use only natural gas or
coal-fired boilers to produce ethanol. The desire to significantly reduce
green house gases and that Vermont can play a major role - being
a "world leader" with anti-green house gas technology, as Peter Shumlin
and his Vermont Democrats advocate, is a pipe dream.
As for the nuclear waste
issue, the technology exists right now to safely store nuclear waste. The
problem is, which is the same problem in developing wind power, is the
NIMBY principle. Amazing, the opponents of nuclear power in many cases
base their opposition on the storage of nuclear waste. Yet it is the same
liberal crowd who also oppose any attempt to store it at a Mt. Yucca
Let's look at the three energy
sources that Peter Shumlin, and all Vermont Democrat leaders including
Pat Leahy, Bernie Sanders, and Peter Welch, think is going to replace
Vermont Yankee. Wind power !! ? There's too much opposition and
not enough open space to put the 400 foot plus wind mills without offending
somebody - liberals or conservatives. One project was rejected because
some liberal minded person worried overtime about bats flying into
the blades of wind turbines. Wind energy as a practical, viable "solution"
in Vermont is simply a non-starter.
What about solar power?
Unless they can figure out how to produce energy from the sun when the
sun is on the other side of the earth and at the same time clear the cloud
cover over Vermont for about 70% of the time, solar energy will not play
a major role in addressing Vermont's energy needs.
Finally - hydro power: This
is the one source that could be developed but won't be because of the ridiculous
and expensive regulatory process that will burden any company to advance
hydro-power. The problems afflicting the hydro project along the Otter
Creek in Middlebury is a prime example.
One rational way forward
would be to simplify and make much less expensive the regulatory process.
But that will never happen. Special interest groups and their lobbyists
are so embedded in Washington and Montpelier that a "fast track" approval
process is dead in the water. These so-called environmental groups are
tireless, highly motivated and well funded. The only make the
standard of living for Vermonters all the more diminished. Significant
exodus from Vermont by the squeezed, and squeezed again middle class is
certain. Again, because of national politics fueled by the environmental
crowd's fever, a viable hydro-energy solution to Vermont's energy
needs is a Titanic sinking.
Where does that leave Vermont's
energy future and the ability to control green house gases? Most likely
up the creek without a paddle. As Vermonters sit in the boat we observe
out of touch politicians like Peter Shumlin, Gaye Symington and the Washington
delegation standing on the river bank not offering a paddle, but an anchor.
If Vermonters want real change for the better then change the membership
in Montpelier with people with their feet on the ground - not high in the
Glenn W. Thompson, Essex,
# # #
Weekly News Round-Up
What Gives, Mr. Kilmartin?
Caledonian Record Editorial,
February 5, 2007
What gives, Mr. Kilmartin?
The special committee, appointed last year to study and make recommendations,
vis-a-vis public sponsorship and funding of early education for 3- and
4-year olds, just announced that Education Fund tax money may be used to
expand public education to include these two additional grades. That was
certainly to be expected, the special committee having been stacked with
zealots for that cause. But you, a Republican who ought to espouse Republican
positions, have been the spokesman for the committee twice, each time flacking
publicly funded pre-education as a wonderful thing.
are all the doctors?
By Tim Johnson, Burlington
Free Press, February 5, 2007
Compounding the pay issue
is what medical industry advocates call a low rate of reimbursement under
Medicaid, a federal-state partnership that provides health insurance for
people with lower incomes. In 2006, 146,821 people in Vermont were enrolled
in Medicaid, about 23 percent of the state's population. Vermont has expanded
eligibility for Medicaid benefits over the years, and with more people
covered, less money is available per patient to reimburse physicians for
their services. According to the Vermont Medical Society, Medicaid pays
58 percent of what private insurance pays. When higher numbers of patients
are on Medicaid, said Paul Harrington, executive vice president of the
Vermont Medical Society, that can put a financial strain on a private practice.
By Peter Jamison, Valley
News Staff Writer, February 04, 2007
The Norwich Selectboard has
put an article up for a vote at Town Meeting that would exempt from property
taxation any part of a home devoted to "alternative energy generation."
But because of a provision in the state tax code that takes effect for
the first time this year, the revenue lost from the exemption would be
made up by increases to the property tax bills of all in town. The impact
to individual taxpayers would be negligible, according to Dennis Kaufman,
chairman of the Norwich Board of Listers, the town's troika of elected
property assessors. There are only a handful of known green-energy systems
in Norwich -- the listers know of a half-dozen, though they suspect there
are more -- and the property tax on them, shared out, would likely amount
to no more than a few more dollars per person per year, Kaufman said. Kaufman
nevertheless opposes the measure. He said it's not the amount of money
involved that irks him. Like many disputes in Norwich, this one focuses
on an underlying idea.
Caledonian Record Editorial,
Feb. 7, 2007
It's time to connect the
dots. It's time to cut teaching staff and their support staff all over
the state. Salaries and benefits are 70 percent to 80 percent of all school
budgets. School boards are fooling themselves if they think there is any
other meaningful place to save money, but school boards regard a RIF as
an unacceptable dismissal of trusted employees. They continue to dodge
the issue, and the budget goes up.
Costly Housing Hurts Economy
By Dan McLean, Burlington
Free Press, February 7, 2007
An updated report by the
New England Public Policy Center at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston
bolstered the notion that affordable housing is crucial to the economy.
"The region's high cost of housing may undermine its ability to attract
and retain workers," according to the 173-page report, titled "The Lack
of Affordable Housing in New England." The report was released Monday.
... Roughly 58 percent of Vermont's lowest income families -- some 43,000
families that make no more than $20,000 a year -- suffer a "severe burden"
in paying for housing, more than any state in New England and more than
the U.S. average, the report says. The New England level is 51.8 percent
and the national average is 55.5 percent.
Made for Gay Marriage in Vermont
By Terri Hallenbeck, Burlington
Free Press, February 8, 2007
The proposed legislation
calls for a civil marriage license issued by town and city clerks. Clergy
who disagree with gay marriage would not be required to participate. The
Rev. Craig Bensen, whose group Take it to the People fought the civil union
legislation, said that nod to the opposition is hollow because clergy could
never be forced to participate anyway. Bensen said he opposes the gay marriage
bill, but if the Legislature wants to air the idea, they should let Vermonters
have a chance to vote on it. He took issue with the argument that civil
unions have had no adverse impact on Vermont. "We didn't say the sky was
going to fall," he said. "We said it was going to undercut marriage and
have long-term consequences." The jury is still out on that, he said.
stand tough; Democrats blink on tax increase.
Vermont GOP, February 9,
Republicans led by Minority
Leader Steve Adams and Governor Jim Douglas stood firm against Democrats
attempt to raise $3.7 million in new taxes to pay for aid to struggling
dairy farmers. Republicans insisted that the money be found within existing
revenues – helping farmers without hurting taxpayers. Democrats caved.
A highlight of the showdown
came from Representative David Ainsworth, a first term Republican legislator
and dairy farmer assigned to the Agriculture Committee. When the tax increase
was to be voted on, Ainsworth tried to recuse himself, feeling that he
had a conflict of interest. The chair ruled that he could not. So, Rep.
Ainsworth voted no, against his own self interest as a dairy farmer.
Said Republican Party Chairman,
Rob Roper, “Vermonters should take note of which party offered strong principles
and leadership here.”
# # #
Rev. Robert A. Sirico, Acton
Many of our current economic
problems have their roots in the moral crisis of our day. In these times
of moral turmoil many have mistakenly equivocated government sponsored
welfare with the virtue of compassion. Compassion is an adjective frequently
used to describe state supported social programs. The question needs to
be raised: Is State welfare truly compassionate? Are we really serving
the human needs of the people with state handouts? The theory behind today’s
welfare state is that people need material provision. Without denying the
fundamental importance of material provision, we cannot forget other aspects
of human life. In our minds we have reduced all giving to material giving.
One result of this materialism is our belief that the more money we allocate
for specific programs the more compassionate and person-centered we are
as a nation. What we fail to see is that material provision apart from
spiritual values is insufficient, empty and not truly compassionate.
take home-taught student to psych ward
By Bob Unruh, WorldNetDaily.com
A nation whose education
officials already have warned that they will, when necessary, "bring the
religious convictions of the family into line" with state requirements,
now has removed a 16-year-old girl from her family and placed her in a
child psychiatry unit after she turned in below-expected grades in math
and Latin. The news of nearly two dozen officials and uniformed police
officers physically taking the teen from her home in front of her shocked
family is just the latest horror story to come out of Germany, where homeschooling
was placed under a ban by Adolf Hitler and der Fuhrer's law still is enforced.
The stories are concerning to homeschoolers in the rest of the world, including
the United States, because of the real potential that international law
eventually could be used to ban such activities in places where it now
The political campaign to
shut up an American think tank.
Opinion Journal, February
Mark Twain once complained
that a lie can make it half way around the world before the truth gets
its boots on. That's been the case of late in the climate change debate,
as political and media activists attempt to stigmatize anyone who doesn't
pay homage to their "scientific consensus."
Doomed. What’s for Dinner?
By Alan Caruba, Environmental
Conservation Organization, February 04, 2007
On Sunday, Jan 28, the front-page
story in my daily newspaper was "A chilling conclusion on global warming."
By Tuesday, the front page story was "Climate Study: Millions will go hungry
and dry." Soon more revelations about a United Nations report on climate
change, due in April, will be in the news, but let me tell you its conclusion.
We’re doomed. Now, you might ask yourself, why would anyone have any confidence
in a report from an international institution that perpetrated the greatest
fraud, "Oil-for-Food", in modern history? Or that stacked its Human Rights
Commission with representatives of the most repressive nations? Or that
initiated a ban on DDT, thus leading to the needless deaths of millions
from malaria? Or that is currently dawdling around while thousands continue
to die in Darfur?
to the extreme
By Paul Greenberg, Washington
Times, February 5, 2007
Remember self-esteem? It
was one of the sillier -- and more dangerous -- fads in educational circles,
which keep going round and round. The theory was that promoting kids' self-esteem
would convince them they were great. And it just might. But that's no guarantee
they are great. On the contrary, this kind of psychological scam could
have the opposite effect. Having been told how well they're doing throughout
their well-insulated school years, these kids could be in for the shock
of their nice, cushioned lives when they're thrown into the real world.
And discover that their education wasn't so great after all. Or that a
better word for it might be shoddy. The realization might be so crushing
they would just give up.
Senate's Iraq Irresolution
by James A. Phillips, February
The compromise resolution
on the war in Iraq negotiated by Senator John Warner and Senator Carl Levin
(S. Con. Res. 7) is not a sign of resolve but of disarray, disunity, and
political posturing. ... Unfortunately, the Warner–Levin resolution is
likely to accomplish little except to send a dangerous signal of foreign
policy drift and weakness that will discourage America's friends, encourage
its adversaries, and undermine Iraqi efforts to build a broad-based government
capable of defending the Iraqi people from insurgents and sectarian militias.
"Men occasionally stumble
over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if
nothing ever happened." --Winston Churchill
"It may take courage to battle
one's President, one's party or the overwhelming sentiment of one's nation:
but these do not compare, it seems to me, to the courage required of the
Senator defying the angry power of the very constituents who control his
future." -- Words of John F. Kennedy in his Pulitzer Prize winning book,
"Profiles in Courage."
"Political Courage? This
was a political courage free zone. This was the same day the intelligence
estimate came out and said if we pull out of Iraq there will be, not genocide,
but there will be massive chaos. There will be decades of problems throughout
the region. Did a single Democrat take that reality into account? " --
New York Times political analyst and journalist David Brooks speaking about
Democratic National Committee's (DNC) rally (Feb 2, 2007) with nine
Democrat Presidential hopefuls criticizing President Bush and the Iraq
"To say its courageous to
stand up in front of a room of people who want to get out of Iraq immediately
- that's not political courage." --Political Analyst and journalist
George Will's comments on that Feb 2, 2007 DNC coming out extravaganza.
"One ought never to turn's
one back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you
do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly
and without flinching, you will reduce the danger . . Never yield
to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy."
"A lie can travel
halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." --Mark
Bill of "Non Rights" --by State Representative Mitchell Aye