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True North Archives - February 23, 2010
Radio | Editorial | News & Views

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Radio archives are here! Use the controls on our radio archive page to listen to past shows of note (archived shows are available for a limited time only). True North Radio airs daily on WDEV AM & WDEV FM from 11 am to noon.


Featured Articles

Think Again: Vermont's Nuclear Future
John McClaughry

Let's look at the consequences if Shumlin's forces succeed in voting Vermont Yankee off the island.

By late 2012 the cheapest and most reliable third of Vermont's electricity will disappear. There is zero possibility that it can be replaced by any believable combination of conservation, wind turbines, solar panels, cow power, and landfill methane. Moreover, the wind and solar kilowatts come with a price tag from three to five times the price of Vermont Yankee's nuclear electricity. Furthermore, keeping the power grid steady when a third of the supply comes from unreliable sources remains an unsolved engineering problem.
 
Lawmakers Need to Stand Up to Abortion Lobby
By Mary Beerworth

When Patricia Blair’s six-month old pre-born twins were killed as a result of a car accident caused by a driver cited for driving under the influence of drugs, she was devastated by the loss. Her grief was compounded when she discovered the accident report listed "no fatalities." Charges against the other driver could not include any consequence for causing the deaths of Kaleb Michael Blair, and Harley Olivia Blair because Vermont law does not recognize them as human persons.

So she vowed to change the law.  Patricia Blair told the media, "I never want any other mother to … have the State tell them their babies aren’t babies."

Gloriosky, Zero
By Martin Harris

Cartoonist/author Ed Verdier started the comic strip in 1927, and from his first depiction of Orphan Annie and her dog Zero he used the phrase "Gloriosky, Zero" for his heroine to express her sharp verbal reaction to any surprising and unexpected event. I never saw one while I was an occasional Golden Dome visitor, and I’m not one any more, but I’ve not read in the Vermont media of a single "Gloriosky, Zero" outburst from any Golden Dome professional when faced, as several of them suddenly were back in 2005 by a traveling road-show of political protest over just such things as taxes and housing, business shrinkage and transfer-payment growth, with private-sector distaste for these results. Not one said "Gloriosky, Zero, we never thought that up-zoning would raise housing costs". Since there wasn’t a single Golden Domer to display a Little Annie Rooney moment, I conclude that there wasn’t a single Golden Domer surprised or displeased by the results of the policies which they consciously voted to put in place.

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Quotable
"Japan and France have long invested heavily in this industry. Meanwhile, there are 56 nuclear reactors under construction around the world: 21 in China alone; six in South Korea; five in India,"  --President Obama, acknowledging that the U.S. has a lot of catching up to do in joining the nuclear renaissance.
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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

Vt. Action Against Vermont Yankee Could Trigger Federal Suit
Caledonia Record Editorial, February 17, 2010

With Vermont lawmakers poised to vote next week on whether to relicense the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant, questions are being raised about the potential for a federal lawsuit should the Legislature vote against the plant.

Some experts say the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission has exclusive authority over a nuclear plant's safety, and that the state can't say no to Vermont Yankee re-licensing based on safety issues.

School budgets are Down and Taxes are Up in Vermont Towns
By Molly Walsh, Burlington Free Press, February 21, 2010

The cheery scenes reveal no sign of the financial turbulence Georgia and many other school districts are experiencing as Town Meeting Day school-budget voting approaches March 2. When voters in Georgia go to the polls, they will find an unusual scenario: a proposed school budget that would go down — by 1.22 percent — yet still trigger a substantial school-tax increase of an estimated 6.2 percent.

Georgia is not alone among Vermont communities in this situation. The proposed school budget in neighboring Fairfax would go down 0.01 percent — while raising school taxes 8.7 percent. In Chittenden County, school budgets proposed in Charlotte, Hinesburg, Shelburne and Williston are roughly level or decreasing, but taxes would go up 5 percent or more. Communities in Addison County, Grand Isle and other parts of the state also are feeling the pinch.

Fact Check
The Herald (Like Many Others) Gets It Wrong
By Wendy Wilton, Vermont Tiger, February 19, 2010

Vermont's education funding is complex, and misunderstandings about how it really works are common.   So much so, that a recent Rutland Herald editorial stated the following about school taxes: "When student enrollments decline, school revenues decline."

This statement is incorrect. The Education Fund directs to a school district whatever education spending amount (in dollars) it approves regardless of the increase or decrease in numbers of students. The education spending/equalized pupil calculation is only relevant for determining the local homestead tax rate.

Some Brave Voices In A Sterile Moonscape
Caledonia Record Editorial, February 16, 2010

Initially it appeared Sen. Sears would introduce a bill that would put value and rights on a fetus killed in a criminal act. Then Planned Parenthood and the ACLU jumped all over Sears for fear that such a bill would threaten the right of a woman to choose an abortion. Sears chickened out and withdrew his promise. To his lasting credit, Sen. Vincent Illuzzi stepped up and wrote his own bill, S. 175, that does what turned Sen. Sears' into rubber. The sister bill, H.605, was introduced in the House.

Now, Sears and Smith appear to have delivered the death blow to this broadly supported correction of a serious defect in Vermont law. They are proving themselves to be champions of Planned Parenthood and the ACLU, rather than of the ordinary Vermonters who want, in the name of justice, a compassionate correction rather than a political accommodation that amounts to moral dodge ball.

No to Shumlin
Politics by Emerson Lynn, Vermont Tiger, February 9, 2010

Senate President Pro Tempore Peter Shumlin Tuesday gave Vermonters the evidence they need to rule him unqualified to be governor of the state of Vermont. His self-centered political agenda grinds in directions contrary to the debate necessary to improve the state’s energy portfolio and the state’s economy.

Mr. Shumlin plans to push through a vote on the future of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant next week, and he is doing so for pure political advantage. The longer the wait, the better the chance that Vermont Yankee identifies and stops the leak of tritium. That would subtract from the momentum those who oppose the plant feel they now have.

Dubie, Markowitz Favored in Early Poll for Vermont Governor
By Chris Graff, Vermont Business Magazine, February 17, 2010

Lieutenant Governor Brian Dubie would defeat four of the five Democratic gubernatorial candidates if the election were held today, according to a poll released today. Only Secretary of State Deb Markowitz would beat Dubie - and Markowitz’s edge, 43 percent to 41 percent, with 16 percent undecided – is within the margin of error of the poll, conducted over the past weekend for a trio of news organizations, WCAX-TV, Vermont Business Magazine and WDEV Radio Vermont.

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

The Meaning of Marjah
By Kamran Bokhari, Peter Zeihan, & Nathan Hughes, Strategic Forecasters, February 16, 2010

But from the earliest days following 9/11, the White House was eyeing Iraq, and with the Taliban having largely declined combat in the initial invasion, the path seemed clear. The U.S. military and diplomatic focus was shifted, and as the years wore on, the conflict absorbed more and more U.S. troops, even as other issues — a resurgent Russia and a defiant Iran — began to demand American attention. All of this and more consumed American bandwidth, and the Afghan conflict melted into the background. The United States maintained its Afghan force in what could accurately be described as a holding action as the bulk of its forces operated elsewhere. That has more or less been the state of affairs for eight years.

That has changed with the series of offensive operations that most recently culminated at Marjah.

Why Marjah? The key is the geography of Afghanistan and the nature of the conflict itself. Most of Afghanistan is custom-made for a guerrilla war. Much of the country is mountainous, encouraging local identities and militias, as well as complicating the task of any foreign military force. The country’s aridity discourages dense population centers, making it very easy for irregular combatants to melt into the countryside. Afghanistan lacks navigable rivers or ports, drastically reducing the region’s likelihood of developing commerce. No commerce to tax means fewer resources to fund a meaningful government or military and encourages the smuggling of every good imaginable — and that smuggling provides the perfect funding for guerrillas.

Sen. Leahy Pushes for Terrorist Trials in Civilian Court
By Jim Kouri, Renew America, February 13, 2010

While President Barack Obama watches his so-called national security team become politicized and partisan, some Democrats are attempting to put out the flames of discontent with gasoline by sending a letter yesterday to the President endorsing civilian court trials for suspected terrorists.

The key signatory of the letter urging Obama and his Attorney General Eric Holder to stick to their proverbial guns is none other than Senator Patrick Leahy, the chairman of the U.S. Senate's powerful Judiciary Committee.

In Mideast, Bet on a Strong Horse
A new book on Arab politics has diagnosed a pathology
By Daniel Pipes, National Review, February 16, 2010

Several excellent attempts to explain the pathology of Arab politics exist; my personal favorites include studies by David Pryce-Jones and Philip Salzman. Now add to these The Strong Horse: Power, Politics, and the Clash of Arab Civilizations (Doubleday, $26), an entertaining yet deep and important analysis by Lee Smith, Middle East correspondent for the Weekly Standard.

Smith takes as his prooftext Osama bin Laden's comment in 2001, "When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature, they will like the strong horse." What Smith calls the strong-horse principle contains two banal elements: Seize power and then maintain it. This principle predominates because Arab public life has "no mechanism for peaceful transitions of authority or power sharing, and therefore [it] sees political con?ict as a ?ght to the death between strong horses." Violence, Smith observes is "central to the politics, society, and culture of the Arabic-speaking Middle East." It also, more subtly, implies keeping a wary eye on the next strong horse, triangulating, and hedging bets.

French Bank: Euro Collapse 'Inevitable'
By Greg Brown, Money News, February 15, 2010

The euro, already under pressure, came under renewed attack Monday as a French bank speculated that the currency union would inevitably collapse.

Meanwhile, a former chief economist of the European Central Bank warned that a bailout for member country Greece could damage the euro's credibility.

Jihad: The Political Third Rail -- At CPAC
By Pamela Geller & Robert Spencer, American Thinker, February 11, 2010

The jihad against America is more active and assertive than ever -- and hardly anyone is talking about it. It is time to take action.

Over one-third of the attempted and successful jihad attacks on American soil since 9/11 took place in 2009. This sharp uptick comes at a time when conservative organizations and media figures are talking about jihad and its root causes in Islamic texts and teachings less frequently and less honestly than at any time since 9/11. At the same time, there is a global initiative at the U.N. and elsewhere to muzzle critics of Islam, criminalizing even honest discussion of the Islamic doctrines that terrorists use to justify jihad violence and Islamic supremacism.

Report: Taliban's Top Military Commander Captured
From the Associated Press, February 16, 2010

The Taliban's top military commander has been captured in Pakistan in a joint operation by Pakistani and U.S. intelligence forces, The New York Times reported.

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, described as the No. 2 behind Taliban founder and Osama bin Laden associate Mullah Muhammad Omar, has been in Pakistan's custody for several days, the newspaper reported on its Web site late Monday. It quoted U.S. government officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.

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From Elsewhere

Tea-Party Power to Solve the Debt Problem
A combination of gridlock and growth.
By Larry Kudlow, National Review, February 19, 2010

TThe New York Times ran a front-page story this week called "Party Gridlock in Washington Feeds New Fear of a Debt Crisis." As usual, they got it wrong. Instead, the headline should have read, "After Scott Brown’s Astonishing Senate Win in Massachusetts, New Political Gridlock in Washington Could Spell the End of the Liberal Crack-Up We Have Witnessed over the Past Year."

In fact, gridlock in Washington is good, since it will stop the assault of big government until the end of the year when Congress could be overturned by independents, tea partiers, Republicans, and probably some Democrats as well. Just take a look at the high spirits at the CPAC convention, where tea partiers are reinvigorating conservatives and Republicans.

Drilling Ban To Cost Trillions
From Investor’s Business Daily, February 16, 2010

Energy: A new study shows that our reluctance to develop domestic energy will cost the beleaguered U.S. economy trillions in opportunity costs, reduce our gross domestic product and increase our trade deficit.

Obama: U.S. Needs New Nukes
Christopher Helman,Forbes Magazine, February 16, 2010

In a speech this morning President Obama pledged his support for the construction of a new generation of nuclear power plants. "To meet our growing energy needs and prevent the worst consequences of climate change, we'll need to increase our supply of nuclear power," the president said to the crowd gathered at the headquarters of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in Lanham, Md.

Related: General Atomics Proposes a Plant That Runs on Nuclear Waste

Putting Innovation On Hold
From Investor’s Business Daily, February 16, 2010

Regulation: Rule-making bureaucrats want to force the country's two biggest phone companies to open their Web lines to rivals in the name of competition. The decree, however, would chill progress in the industry.

Special Edition: Phil Jones's Revelations and The Meltdown of Global Warming Alarmism
By E. Calvin Beisner, Ph.D.,  Right Side News, February 16, 2010

Forget all you've heard about unprecedented global warming; global warming so rapid it can't be natural but must be anthropogenic; global warming threatening to devastate economies, ecosystems, and perhaps even human civilization itself; global warming on which "the science is settled" and "the debate is over."

Forget it all.

Last Saturday (February 13), Dr. Phil Jones, long-time director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia (until he stepped down in December under investigation for scientific misconduct) and the provider of much of the most important data on which the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and many governments have based fears of unprecedented global warming starting in the mid-1970s, gave an interview to the BBC in which he made some shocking revelations.

Which Way, Not How Far
By Yuval Levin, National Review, February 8 2010

The Ezra Klein post that Stephen Spruiell ably criticizes below raises (by failing to see) an important point. The difference between most conservatives and most liberals on health care is not a difference of degree but a difference of direction — a difference on the question of which we way want to move from our existing highly inefficient system of paying for health insurance.

Both sides agree there are huge problems with the current system, and they even agree on what some of those problems are: there is a shortage of incentives for efficiency, and therefore costs are rising much too quickly, which leaves too many people unable to afford coverage. The system we have is neither a market nor a government program, it’s a private third-party payer system, and so makes very little economic sense. The question is, given that we want to change the existing system, how do we want to change it?

Obama Is Already Achieving Bipartisanship
By Libby Sternberg, American Thinker, February 19, 2010

The problem isn't that politicians and the electorate itself lack the spirit to put team loyalty aside and cooperate. The problem is that a large number of people don't like the substance of what the president is pushing. They're perfectly willing to cooperate in opposing him.

The president seems to be defining bipartisanship as a one-way street: principled opponents dropping their legitimate concerns so as to pass the president's agenda. Instead of viewing bipartisanship through this skewed lens, the president, along with House and Senate Democratic leaders, might want to look at the cooperative spirit of opposition and ask not what bipartisanship can do for them, but what they should be doing for bipartisanship. 

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