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True North Archives - February 27, 2007
Radio | Editorial | News & Views

Radio Archives

Radio archives coming soon! Please return later to listen to past shows of note. True North Radio airs daily on WDEV AM, WDEV FM and WSYB AM from 11am to noon.


Featured Articles

Vermont is not an Island
By Art Woolf

We’re still stuck with two basic questions: Why does Vermont spend so much more than other states to educate each student in school and why have Vermont’s costs grown more rapidly than most other states?  To the former, I argue it's our small class sizes and low pupil-teacher ratio.  To the second, my answer is that Act 60 and Act 68 have reduced the only cost control that matters in public education--the property tax consequences that voters face after they leave the ballot box. --Art Woolf is an Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Vermont.

How Vermont Can Combat Global Warming
By John McClaughry

It’s important to understand the politics of the global climate issue. If the enviros can make people buy the idea that human-produced carbon threatens runaway heating, ice cap melting, coastline flooding, terrible storms, trouble for polar bears, and the eventual ruination of Planet Earth, then people will certainly agree that governments must crank down the world’s carbon–based energy economy to save the planet from Al Gore’s heat death. --John McClaughry is President of the Ethan Allen Institute (www.ethanallen.org).

In honor of Pro-Life Day
By Robert Skinner

A woman's love for her children runs so deep and this relationship is honored in all cultures.  I have to believe that millions of women, and far too many teens pressured to make a choice for abortion, harbor, or will harbor, secret and perhaps very deep sorrows like those of my grandmother who grieved over her lifetime as her loving son was lost to her.

Opportunity in the Year of the Pig
Peter. G. Behr

Citizens don’t realize it, but Acts 60/68 took away a lot of their independence. Towns used to have an incentive to recruit businesses and other investment, and if they succeeded, their tax base was broadened, and residents benefited from the new property owners, both from new sources of employment and from taxes, which accrued to the towns. Now the state has taken over; towns no longer have any significant incentive to recruit new businesses. Woodstock collects roughly $10 million in property taxes, and the state keeps half for its own purposes. 

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This Week’s Mail Bag

Dear Editor: 

Yesterday I got in the mail a so-called "petition" to get rid of Paul Beaudry as host of True North Radio. It was not a true petition because there was no return address nor did the author give his name. How did this person(s) get my address? The "petition" set out a list of particulars against Paul. The main argument of the nameless, gutless wonder was that Paul sometimes mispronounces words and sometimes uses incorrect grammar. The "petition" goes on to praise the former host who had a Ph.D. in English who never made those mistakes - we are told. 

I want to go on record as someone very unimpressed by formal degrees - specially in the field of a radio talk show host. The greatest talk show host in history (as measured by ratings) is Rush Limbaugh who dropped out of college. I find Paul's style refreshing. He is not trying to impress us with great intellect nor does he talk down to us. He is an everyday man. He may make a few mistakes but the "petition" says he committed the high crime of not once, but twice, saying "Libary" in one day. Paul is down to earth. Paul has a good style of interviewing and good sense of timing. He keeps the show moving and does not let it get bogged down for too long. 

The "petition" claims to be written by a conservative. But, it includes a line very reminiscent of Alex Baldwin. [He promised to leave America if President Bush won the election in 2000. He’s still with us making millions.] The "petition" says that Paul should go back to being a roofer. Alex Baldwin thought he was insulting Sean Hannity by calling him a "former construction worker." All he succeeded in doing was insulting construction workers. What type of conservative relies on "petitions" to change a radio host? Nonsense. When I don't like a radio host I just don't listen. In the end the ratings will decide if Paul succeeds. So far he has shown he can get ratings.

--Tom Trevor, Stowe



Dear Editor: 

Economist Milton Friedman said, "People are never as careless spending their own money as they are spending someone else’s money." The property tax totally ignores this concept. That is why last month, January 2007, I passed out to many of our elected officials and law makers at the State House the Talking Points shown below. They all were polite, and many seemed to agree. However, I've heard nothing further from any of them since that time. 

I ask you to read this, and if you agree that the property tax is unfair, and an increase in the present income tax is a better way to go, speak to your own elected representatives as I did mine. Hopefully your representative will be more responsive than mine. 

The income tax is the only tax solely based upon one’s ability to pay, which income provides. The property tax in many cases exceeds one’s ability to pay it, causing great hardship, including the loss of one’s home. That is not fair. If you replace the statewide property tax with a proportionate increase in the present income tax, everybody who is taxed would have received the needed funds and be able to pay their tax with much less difficulty than many property owners now have. That would be fair and equitable. 

Here are the common arguments against replacing the property tax followed by a counter response: 

1) We would not be able to tax out of state residents on their second homes in Vermont and would lose considerable revenue. Response: Why not keep the property tax on residents of other states who own property in Vermont? Our main focus is to replace the property tax on residential property owned by Vermonters.

2) This is strictly a tax shift and does not address the real problem, which is excessive spending. Response: The broader based income tax would affect more people, who would want to more carefully scrutinize their local school budgets before voting for them. The already existing income tax is simpler, much easier and less costly to administer than the complicated property tax rebate system. 

3) The act 60/68 tax rebates make the present system "income sensitive." Response: Even with the rebates, many homeowners pay a large percentage of their income for property tax, an amount that many of them cannot afford. Also, some people who do not own homes and/or pay no property taxes receive more income than many who do. Is that fair?

4) Real property is a good measure of a person’s wealth. Response: Most people bought their homes many years before retirement when they were earning good salaries. During their ownership the market price, and taxes, on these homes went up substantially. The people grew old, retired and now receive smaller incomes. Since the pensions of retirees are a fraction of their former salaries, how can the government expect our senior citizens to pay these higher property taxes without sufficient funds to do so? 

--Bill Day, Barre, VT. 


Dear Editor: 

It is disappointing to see that the Vermont Legislature has decided to act on their global warming agenda without hearing both sides of the scientific debate to determine whether action is even necessary. A decision by the Legislature that is analogous to a trial where only one side is allowed to present evidence. This is not supposed to happen to in America. 

Canadian climatologist Dr. Tim Ball said recently: "It is amazing how the debate has been monopolized by one side, not a very healthy situation in a democracy...if we don't pursue the truth, we are lost as individuals and as a society." Nonetheless, due to what Vermont Lawmakers have mistakenly perceived as an "overwhelming amount of evidence", the Legislature is taking action. If the Legislature’s real objective is to prepare an effective course of action with measurable results, then they must have answers to some basic questions such as: What is the exact percentage of human induced warming versus warming from natural cycles? Exactly how much do we need to reduce our carbon dioxide output to reduce warming by say one one-hundredth of one degree F? 

Unfortunately, there are no scientists on either side of the debate that can truthfully tell you the answer to these questions. In fact scientists are just beginning to understand some of the millions of factors that drive this planet's climate. All we really have is 100 years of questionable observed data on a rock that's 6 billion years old. Policy makers are in a rush to "do something." Given that no response afforded by any measure of legislation that passes into law will have any discernible affect on the hypothetical catastrophe that exists only in the virtual world of computer models, which have never shown any predictive ability whatsoever, what is the true motivation here? 

Another meteorologist recently said: "I'm not sure which is more arrogant for humans, to say we caused global warming or to say we're going to fix it." Some powerful figures at the State House are apparently determined to make their political stripes on this over-hyped issue. But, to take action without hearing all sides of the issue, including the minority voice, goes against the grain of fairness and the Vermont tradition of Democracy. To invest the tax dollars of hard working Vermonters on the pet projects of State House insiders without being able to answer the basic questions required to demonstrate quantifiable results would be irresponsible, and a betrayal of the confidence of the voters. The tax burden on Vermonters is already too high for us to be throwing money at "feel good" measures. 

I, and others, have repeatedly asked members of the House and the Senate in Montpelier to allow testimony from scientists on the other side of this raging scientific debate. The response from the State House has been either silence, or the blind insistence that there is no debate. Vermonters need to hear all of the facts regarding this issue, not just cherry picked data that fits the required agenda.

--David Stackman, South Burlington 

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Quotable

"The Iraqi nemesis bared his fangs at Clinton and the U.N. last week expelling American weapons inspectors from Iraq, threatening to shoot down U-2 surveillance planes and daring the world to do something about it . . .[and]  Saddam responds to diplomatic wrist slaps the way a tank does to toy guns.”  --Time magazine's political analyst Eric Pooley, in a special report in November of 1997 about Saddam's threat and his WMD. 

"Iraq's pursuit of WMD is one of the three or four most significant threats all of our people will face." --Bill Clinton in the fall of 1997.

"In Iraq, Saddam Hussein had again defied U.N. demands [in August 1998] requiring that weapons inspectors be granted full access to his facilities without notice." --Hillary Clinton in her latest book, Living History.

“What can we do to get him out of power? And I’m gonna say the ‘I’ word. Impeach. And we have to have everybody impeached that lied to the American public, and that’s the executive branch, and any people in congress, and we gotta go all the way down and we might have to go all the way down to the person who picks up the dogsh*t in Washington because We can’t let somebody rise to the top who will pardon these war criminals.” 
-- Cindy Sheehan; remarks made at a Veterans For Peace Conference. 

 “Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not insurgents or terrorists or the enemy.  They are the revolution, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow - and they will win.”  -- Michael Moore.  Moore and Cindy Sheehan are the far left’s most outspoken antiwar, anti-Bush  activists. 

“A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” -- Mark Twain.

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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

Zero Economic Emissions
By Oliver Olsen, Brattleboro Reformer, Feb. 17, 2007

As a state we do a good job educating people like me and preparing them for the global marketplace. But once prepared for this high-tech world, young Vermonters soon find that there are no relevant career prospects here in Vermont. And that is exactly why they leave the state. Only a lucky few are able to find jobs in Vermont in the booming tech fields.

Try Capitalism
Caledonian Record Editorial, Feb. 20, 2007

Well, how about trying plain old, homely capitalism. If the usual dairy farm can't hack it, why not try a different crop that can compete? Years ago, we suggested that the future of dairy farming in Vermont on marginal farms might be to go organic. Certified organic milk sells for a lot more than non-organic milk. We haven't heard of many, if any, organic farms going under. And simple organic milk opens the door to organic cheese and yogurt and other products that fetch higher prices because they are organic.

To The VT Legislature: How About ..... Getting Some Work Done?
Caledonian Record Editorial, Feb. 19, 2007

What haven't our legislators done? They haven't done anything that amounts to anything. They have wasted so much time preening in front of the mirror of self-approval that they haven't even begun to deal with the number one and two issues on Vermonters' minds, education costs and property taxes. Now, we are two weeks from Town Meeting Day with votes all over the state on school budgets and the Legislature doesn't have the time to do anything about these issues. A cynic would applaud. As long as they waste their time on their pet national and international issues, they won't have time to get into trouble pushing their socialist ideas on real issues.

VT Senate Moving Forward With Energy Efficiency Initiative
WCAX, Feb 21, 2007

Leading senators said Wednesday they were close to fulfilling one of their pledges - addressing global climate change - with a bill that would impose a surcharge on home heating fuel  to pay for improved energy efficiency.

Related Editorial: Heating fuel tax trips global warming bill
Related Editorial: Nickeled and dimed to death
Local Sexual Molestation Case Resurfaces in National Debate
Mike Gleason, Staff Writer Bennington Banner, Feb 22, 2007

A local child molestation case that drew national coverage in January was in the news again Wednesday after an appearance by Fox News Channel personality Bill O'Reilly on an "Oprah Winfrey Show" segment. In the case, Andrew C. James, 37, of Manchester pleaded guilty to the aggravated sexual assault of a 4-year-old in January and received a suspended sentence of 30 months to 5 years as the result of a plea deal. The sentence drew attention after O'Reilly highlighted the case in his "The O'Reilly Factor" show, claiming the sentence was much too lenient. He also went on to bash Vermont and allege that the state's laws and criminal justice system are soft on molesters. O'Reilly repeated the allegations on the Winfrey show Wednesday afternoon. 

Legal Bogey-Man Slain
Caledonian Record Editorial, Feb 23, 2007

The United States Supreme Court took a giant step this week in restoring equity to some civil lawsuits, those in which the plaintiff seeks punitive settlements from businesses that they allege have damaged enormous numbers of bystanders who are not plaintiffs. The Court reversed a $79.5 million punitive settlement upon Phillip Morris to pay a woman whose husband had smoked two packs a day for 45 years.

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From Elsewhere

The Problem Lies in Islamism -- Not Us
by Rabbi Aryeh Spero, Human Events, posted Feb. 23, 2007

The over 100 wars across the globe involving Islam are, according to the professional bureaucrats, always the fault of those defending themselves against Moslem aggression, never the fault of those engineering the world-wide push for dar Islam and revived Islamic messianism. "If only" … is the mouthing of those in denial about what is steadily chipping away at Western sovereignty: Islam on the move. To acknowledge the reality means that something must be done now to stop it. But because they are too emotionally weak or self-hating of their own civilization, they choose to deny while submitting, eunuch-like, to this self-abasing sensitivity nonsense.

Lieberman Warns Democrats: I May Join GOP
NewsMax.com Wires, Feb 23, 2007

Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut fired a shot across the bow of the Senate's Democratic majority, warning them he may bolt the party and join the GOP if Congress votes to withhold funding for the war in Iraq. The move would give Republicans control of the Senate, since Democrats hold the majority by one vote.

Related: The Choice on Iraq
By Joseph Lieberman, Opinion Journal, Feb 26, 2007

"What ultimately matters more to us: the real fight over there, or the political fight over here? ... I appeal to my colleagues in Congress to step back and think carefully about what to do next."

Human Capital and Poverty
Gary Becker Acton Institute

Where does human capital come from? What constitutes a successful investment in human capital, either at the individual or national level? One has to start with the family. It is the foundation of a good society and of economic success. Families have differed over time, but they are still very important in the modern economy. To understand human capital, you have to go back to the family, because it is families that are concerned about their children and try, with whatever resources they have, to promote their children’s education and values. Families are the major promoters of values in any free society and even in not-so-free societies. 

Apple CEO Jobs Attacks Teacher Unions
By April Castro, Associated Press, Feb. 16, 2007

"I believe that what is wrong with our schools in this nation is that they have become unionized in the worst possible way," Jobs said. "This unionization and lifetime employment of K-12 teachers is off-the-charts crazy."

The Earth was Warming before Global Warming was Cool.
BY Pete Du Pont, Opinion Journal, February 21, 2007

...[L]ooking back in history we see a regular pattern of warming and cooling. From 200 B.C. to A.D. 600 saw the Roman Warming period; from 600 to 900, the cold period of the Dark Ages; from 900 to 1300 was the Medieval warming period; and 1300 to 1850, the Little Ice Age.

Greenpeace Co-Founder Changes Mind
Thomas Lifson, The American Thinker, February 23, 2007 

As co-founder and former leader of Greenpeace, I once opposed nuclear energy. But times have changed, and new facts of compelling importance have emerged - and so my views have changed as well, as have those of a growing number of respected, independent environmentalists around the world. There are few places where nuclear power makes as much sense or is as important as in New York. Indeed, the state is a microcosm of the challenges America and the world face to have ample, clean and reasonably priced electricity. As such, I strongly support renewal of the license for the Indian Point nuclear plants in Westchester, which provides 30 percent or so of the electricity used in the New York metro area. 

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