North Archives - February 24, 2009
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Letter to the Vermont Legislature from VMAC (pdf)
By the VMAC Board
A must read letter from our
friends at the "Vermont Marriage Advisory Council" to Vermont Legislators
spelling out the well documented problems associated with weakening our
definition of marriage.
Curse of Diocletian
By John McClaughry
been around for 1700 years, and it afflicts us yet today. It's not a natural
calamity, like herpes, but a man-made calamity. It's transmitted by ignorant
or venal politicians eager to curry favor with certain constituencies.
It's called the Curse of Diocletian....…
But the Curse of Diocletian
endures. It erupted in Montpelier again last week in the form of a bill
(S.89) to impose retail price controls on milk. This nitwit scheme, cosponsored
by 16 Democrats, is the handiwork of Senate President Peter Shumlin and
especially Sen. Bobby Starr (Essex-Orleans), surely the most determined
advocate of dairy price fixing in modern Vermont history.
By Martin Harris
are two definitions for "lulu" in the Webster’s Dictionary: one is the
Civil-War-era meaning of "any remarkable or outstanding person or
thing" and the other is the Depression-era meaning of "a fixed allowance
paid to a legislator in lieu of reimbursement for actual expenses". There
should be a third: in the current planning and zoning context it means
a Locally Unwanted Land Use. Recent LULU’s have been a Home Depot in Montpelier,
a Staples in Middlebury, and a McDonald’s in Ferrisburgh. There are occasionally
LALU’s and DULU’s for which the prime example is the Yankee nuclear plant
in Vernon, welcomed at the time of construction by the locals, but more
recently the object of get-it-outta-there efforts in the State Capitol.
"Admired" and "Distantly" are the relevant verb and (somewhat contrived)
Defense of America
By Tom Wilson
Not all cultures and religions
value human life, dignity, and freedom, as highly as Americans do. We are
identified by the high value we place on liberty for the individual, what
our Founders called "liberty of conscience," every person's right freely
to choose and act on what he believes.
The American colonies may
have started each with its own particular religious chauvinism or sectarian
turf, but by the time of the American Constitution, we fully realized that
theocracy and democracy just don't mix. Our founders decided against establishing
any official national religion, not because they were not religious
(they were very religious), but because they knew that truth would excel
only where men were not coerced to believe. In the free marketplace
of ideas, with healthy and open dissent, un-oppressed by the de facto predominance
of any mandated, establishment religion, truth would win.
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"Imagine you see a
person at work taking buckets of water from the deep end of a swimming
pool and dumping them into the shallow end in an attempt to make it deeper.
You would deem him stupid. That scenario is equivalent to what Congress
and the new President proposes for the economy."
-- Walter Williams Professor
of Economics, George Mason University
# # #
Weekly News Round-Up
Numbers: Crunched and Explained
An Analysis of Vermont's
From Vermont Tiger, February
Between FY97 and FY05 (the
most recent year of comparable spending data) Vermont’s per pupil spending
grew at an annual rate of 7.4%, the highest growth rate in the US (which
grew at a 4.9% annual rate). The principal cost driver in Vermont
was staff wages/benefits which comprise 80% of total current expenditures
and reflect, in part, a 22.3% increase in staffing while enrollment declined
7.5%. Vermont’s FY05 Pupil/Teacher (P/T) ratio at 11.3 (vs. 15.8 for the
US) and Pupil/Staff (P/S) ratio at 5.2 (vs. 8.1 for the US) were the lowest
in the US. With continuing increases in staff and declines in enrollment
the P/T and P/S ratios were 11.1 and 4.9 respectively in FY08.
Clear Message at Agriculture Hearing in Statehouse: Just Let Us Farm
By Peter Hirschfeld, Times
Argus, February 18, 2009
Diane Wyatt just wants to
sell her yogurt. Proceeds from sales at a local market helped the West
Newberry farmer support her family of seven, until a cease-and-desist letter
from the Agency of Agriculture shuttered the income-generating venture.
"I would be faced with the
penalty of law if I continued selling yogurts at farmers markets," Wyatt
told legislators Tuesday night.
Wyatt was in violation of
a law that prevents many local farmers from selling unpasteurized milk
products to consumers.
Wins $11 Million Contract
From WCAX-TV, February 18,
The IBM plant has landed
a contract with Ramtron International, a Colorado-based semiconductor maker.
The Essex Junction plant will install technology into its chips-- known
as F-RAMs. The chips are used in everything from cars to hearing aids.
Ramtron is investing $11 million in IBM to start and the contract will
extend for more than five years.
No Act 250 Permit for Gun Club
By Patrick McArdle, Rutland
Herald, Feb 21, 2009
Hale Mountain Fish and Game
Club won a significant victory recently when the Vermont Supreme Court
denied its neighbors' request that Hale Mountain file for an Act 250 permit
for changes to the property over the past 30 years.
Proper Half-Step; Now Take The Other Half
Caledonia Record Editorial,
February 19, 2009
Rep. Peter Welch has returned
$19,000 in campaign contributions to Rep. Charles Rangel. Because Welch
is on the House Ethics Committee, which is investigating several tax evasion
charges against Rangel, he wants to remove any appearance of bias toward
Rangel because of these contributions. He thinks that returning the donations
will wash him clean of the appearance of entanglements with Rangel.
That's an admirable half-step.
Welch is a Democrat and Rangel is, too. Rangel is in a special clique of
non-taxpaying Democrats. Welch's distancing himself is prudent and proper.
But it is only a half-step.
Welch should take the other half step, i.e. recuse himself from the whole
process of investigating and sitting in judgment on Rangel.
Farmer's Grand Jury Appearance Canceled
From WCAX-TV February 18,
A Vermont dairy farmer will
not have to appear before a grand jury Thursday to answer questions about
how illegal workers get here.
Last week Rob Hunt says federal
authorities came to his farm and handed him a subpoena.
In November, Hunt was part
of a special Channel 3 News report called Foreigners on the Farm. He talked
candidly about Hispanics working on dairy farms illegally.
Hunt says federal authorities
canceled his appearance Thursday before a grand jury and they have not
rescheduled. Hunt is not sure why it was canceled.
# # #
Global War on Terrorism
Bizarre Love Triangle – U.S., Russia, and the Arctic’s Untapped Resources
(Part One of Two)
By Dr. Robin McFee, Family
Securtiy Matters, February 19, 2009
Energy is not merely a commodity;
it is a weapon and a policy tool. Those who have an abundance of oil and/or
gas not only reap economic and financial benefit, but they can use these
resources towards geopolitical aspirations
and influence nations who are largely dependent upon steady supplies of
either. Consider how quickly the Ukraine capitulated to Moscow this winter,
or how over the years the U.S. has had to play nice with OPEC and Saudi
Arabia. Does anyone think Riyadh wouldn’t be one big parking lot after
9/11 if it wasn’t for oil? If the United States was energy independent
– either through a great expansion of its own supplies or new technologies
– we would be in an ideal position to throw off the energy extortion we
currently pay, as well as enjoy a greater ability to influence global events.
Europe receives precious little oil or gas from the U.S. or our allies
compared to Russia. Like tentacles on an octopus, Russia has pipelines
stretching from Northern Europe to Eastern Europe. And with it, a firm
grasp of/on each country. You would be hard pressed to identify a European
nation that was not dependent to some degree upon Gazprom or Putin, Inc.
Pakistan, Taliban Threats Reach New York
By Kirk Semple, The New
York Times, February 16, 2009
Last June, Bakht Bilind Khan,
who was living in the Bronx and working at a fast-food restaurant, returned
to his village in the volatile Swat Valley of northern Pakistan to visit
his wife and seven children for the first time in three years.
But at a dinner celebration
with his family, his homecoming suddenly turned dark: several heavily armed
fighters wearing masks appeared at the door of their house, accused Mr.
Khan of being an American spy and kidnapped him.
TV Had Ties to Both U.S. Muslim Brotherhood And U.S. Government
The Global Muslim Brotherhood
Daily Report, Family Security Matters, February 19, 2009
Further details are available
on connections between the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood, the U.S. government,
and an Islamic cable
TV station whose founder has been charged in the beheading of
his wife. As reported
yesterday by the New York Times.
Crisis & Terror Serves the Islamic Republic
By Amil Imani, February
As the Islamic Revolution
completed its third decade, it would not be too difficult to realize the
reality and the fruits of its mismanagement during its imperial and revolutionary
eras. Throughout the three decades of its existence, the Islamic Republic
has managed, notably, to produce more hunger, extreme frustration and anger,
prostitution at a record pace, drug addiction beyond control, child execution
without any regard to the international human rights bylaws. There are
many reports regarding cases of child sexual abuse and molestation reaching
epidemic proportions. Prosecution and imprisonment of the innocent people
and systematic and illegal abuse of detainees and hundreds of gruesome
acts have also been reported.
From Investor's Business
Daily, February 18, 2009
Tyranny: Sunday's referendum
in Venezuela was hailed as a "victory" for the Chavez regime and extolled
as participatory democracy. In reality, it was a farce undermining a multiparty
state. So why does the U.S. praise it?
Farewell Dossier? If They’re Not Doing It, They Should Be
By Nicholas Guariglia, Family
Security Matters, February 19, 2009
Reuters recently reported
that Israel has been involved in a “covert war of sabotage inside Iran”
to thwart the mullahs’ efforts to acquire a nuclear bomb.
# # #
Over The Climate Heats Up Even As Climate Itself Cools Down
By S. Fred Singer, Investor’s
Business Daily, February 18, 2009
President Obama will be hard
put to satisfy his several campaign promises: to restore prosperity and
jobs, to conduct a foreign policy backed by a strong economy and to satisfy
environmental demands to "save the planet." His job will be much easier
if he listens to independent advice on climate science.
Misdirection of Resources and the Current Recession
By Mario J. Rizzo, Mises
Daily, February 19, 2009
His argument was that "society"
does not naturally have a comprehensive hierarchy of values about how resources
should be spent. Therefore, any large-scale plan — like the current stimulus
package — will, if considered in detail and with the requisite amount of
time, reveal deep disagreements among various political constituencies.
The current "stimulus rush," as I have called it, is only partly about
the perceived economic need to do something fast. After all, according
to the Congressional Budget Office analysis of the House bill, most of
the spending will not take effect in the current calendar year. Furthermore,
there is no economic evidence that a program passed in the next few days
will be noticeably more effective than one passed in mid-March or mid-April.
I believe the real reason for the rush is the belief that if the bill is
not rushed through, its support will crumble as the people find out what
is in the bill and evaluate it according to their different values and
opinions. This is indeed the case.
Are the Big Spenders?
By Randall Hove, American
Thinker, February 19, 2009
How can any Republican complain
of Obama's spending habits or complain about his stimulus, given the way
Republicans spent "the last eight years"? Well, I'm going to tell
you exactly how.
'Rent' is Just the Tip of Ethics Iceberg
By Dick Morris & Eileen
McGann, February 17 2009
broke last week that Rahm Emanuel, now White House chief of staff, lived
rent- free for years in the home of Rep. Rosa De Lauro (D-Conn.)
- and failed to disclose the gift, as congressional ethics rules mandate.
But this is only the tip of Emanuel's previously undislosed ethics problems.
Rights and the Growing Rebellion – A Status Report
By Paul Hollrah, Family
Security Matters February 16, 2009
One of the inevitable consequences
of the last 75 years of Democrat rule in Washington
– augmented by a decade or more of gutless rule by Republican presidents
and congressional majorities who thought they could win hearts and minds
by imitating Democrats – is a quiet rebellion within that basic building
block of our American republic: the state legislatures.
Price Of Fear
From Investor’s Business
Daily, February 17, 2009
In his first month, President
Obama has talked down the economy and engineered a huge surge in federal
spending. Now the bills will come due. The pain may be just beginning.
Not All Socialists
By L. Brent Bozell III,
Media Research Center, February 18, 2009
the Democrat-dominated House and Senate thoughtfully passed judgment on
a 1,100-page "stimulus" bill that Sen. Frank Lautenberg admitted no one
would read before the vote, the media elite were positively giddy. On the
"NewsHour" on PBS, liberal analyst Mark Shields proclaimed "I think it's
a monstrous success" for President Obama. That's correct, with an emphasis
on the "monstrous."
It or Not, “We Are All Socialists Now”
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