North Archives - February 23, 2010
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Again: Vermont's Nuclear Future
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.
Need to Stand Up to Abortion Lobby
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
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."
By Martin Harris
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.
# # #
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.
# # #
Weekly News Round-Up
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
# # #
Global War on Terrorism
Meaning of Marjah
By Kamran Bokhari, Peter
Zeihan, & Nathan Hughes, Strategic Forecasters, February 16,
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
# # #
Power to Solve the Debt Problem
A combination of gridlock
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.
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.
U.S. Needs New Nukes
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.
Atomics Proposes a Plant That Runs on Nuclear Waste
Innovation On Hold
From Investor’s Business
Daily, February 16, 2010
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.
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.
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
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?
Is Already Achieving Bipartisanship
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.
# # #