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True North Archives - March 04, 2008
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Featured Articles

Simple AGW Editorial Goes Global in 48 Hours
By James A. Peden

Never underestimate the power of the internet.  Here's a truly amazing story:

I, too became suspicious of the Global Warming Hype several months ago, and having a background in Atmospheric Physics ( long retired ), I undertook a personal study spanning many weeks of primarily internet research - including much valuable data and analysis from contributors to ICECAP. (many thanks)

As the editor of a regional community internet network (, I summarized my findings in an editorial specifically designed to be read and hopefully understood by the non-rocket-scientist, including, when necessary, short breaks of teaching some elementary physics as I went along so regular folks could follow the story without choking on 2nd order partial differential equations.

I next placed an isolated page on the server for examination (peer review) by a select circle of colleagues to whom I sent the URL.

Somehow it was leaked prematurely.  The web logs showed it started immediately spreading virally, virtually all over the globe.  The following morning, I received an email from the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, indicating my still-under-review essay had been excerpted and distributed further.

"Scribblings" - An Occasional Newsletter from the Legislature
by Rep. Thomas F. Koch Barre Town

It’s called LEAF (Local Education Affordability Formula). One might suspect that the name was adopted to fit the acronym, rather than the other way around, but that wouldn’t be the first time that happened, and it might just be the most critical comment I have about this plan at the present time.

Developed with much hard work over many months, Reps. Hube of Londonderry, Branagan of Georgia, and McDonald of Berlin have brought forward a plan to replace Act 60/68. The plan is based on the premise that any successful education funding plan must conform to three principles.

Impact Fee: The Tax That Dares Not Speak Its Name
By Martin Harris

If there were (subjunctive contrary to all observable fact) a fully rational political environment, impact fees would be popular. The Left would like them because they’re yet another tax; what’s not to love? The Right would like them because they’re a form of user fee, which conservatives typically prefer over a broad-based tax-everybody-to-benefit-a-few formula wherein government collects a lot of money, keeps some to reward itself, and disburses the remainder to those it views favorably. The Center would like them, not for any consistent philosophical position, but just because, as long as they personally aren’t building a house, they won’t be affected. And yet, impact fees (IF’s) aren’t popular with the political class; unless cornered, they won’t even speak the two words. Whether IF’s are popular with their long-suffering taxpaying subjects, we don’t know; they almost never get a chance to vote on one. We do know, in exhaustive detail, what the construction industry, specifically the residential construction industry thinks of IF’s: not much.

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The most unresolved problem of the day is precisely the problem that concerned the founders of this nation: how to limit the scope and power of government. Tyranny, restrictions on human freedom, come primarily from governmental restrictions that we ourselves have set up." -- Milton Friedman

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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

Financing Your Future: 20s
From WCAXTV, Burlington Vermont, February 25, 2008

There's no shortage of people in their 20s spending money at the mall. But those saving money are harder to find.... Experts say it will take about $1 million to retire comfortably.

An Ironic Dilemma
Caledonian Record Editorial, February 25, 2008

The voters of Kirby are facing a truly ironic dilemma. Their school board has produced a budget that is the picture of responsibility. It is rising by 4 percent, and its average cost per student is smack on the average across Vermont. It will require only one vote because its spending is within the limitations of no more than the inflation rate plus one percent. Yet, the tax rate in Kirby is going up as much as 40 percent, thanks to the faulty assumptions that went into the creation of the Common Level of Appraisal. So, Kirby voters are in the position of rejecting a good budget because of an almost insane tax policy.

Democrats Cave on "Think Twice" Cost Containment
From Vermont GOP, February 29, 2008

Last fall, VTNEA president Angelo Dorta and National NEA president Reg Weaver demanded that the Vermont Legislature repeal the "think twice" cost containment provision of Act 82. On October 19, 2007, the VTGOP asked in our newsletter, "VTNEA says jump. Will D's say how high (do you want us to raise property taxes?)… Vermonters, who are screaming for property tax relief, now have a crystal clear opportunity to see if the Democrat super-majority in Montpelier is capable of governing on behalf of the people, or if it is little more than a tool of this powerful, left wing, special interest group…."

Today we got our answer. Despite previous statements by Speaker Gaye Symington like, "I'mnot interested in repealing the law that we passed last year. We do need to contain the pace that school spending has increased and those decisions happen at the local level," (VPR, October 30, 2007) the house did the exact opposite. 

"This just goes to show that if Vermonters want any kind of meaningful property tax reform to come out of Montpelier, we should ‘think twice’ about who we vote for," said Rob Roper, Chairman of the Vermont Republican Party.

Related: Douglas Administration Opposes Effort to Repeal Property Tax Containment Provision - Measure would be a step backwards for over-taxed Vermonters

An Issue Full of Sound and Fury, Signifying Nothing
Caledonian Record Editorial, February 27, 2008

The recommissioning of the Vernon nuclear plant, Vermont Yankee, is one of these issues. There is really nothing substantive, here. The conflict isn't really about Vermont Yankee. The conflict is between those who are rabidly opposed to nuclear power under any circumstances and those who recognize that nuclear power is absolutely necessary in today's world. Vermont Yankee is simply the current battleground in the zealots' secular religious war that has been going on for decades.

A Regulatory Mugging?
From, March 03, 2008

Viewed as a fight between the Act 250 regulatory regime and the robust and idealistic Intervale Center, can there be any doubt that the bad guys won?  As to the charge that this was a politically motivated hit job ... who knows?  Certainly no Vermont grown-up can doubt that the regulatory apparatus has, on occasion, been capriciously employed to take out enterprises that someone just didn't like.  Logging, for instance.

A Return To First Principles
Caledonian Record Editorial, March 03, 2008

The late Cola Hudson, the long time Republican representative from Lyndon, was asked once, during the last weeks of the 2007 legislative session, to predict how a particularly controversial bill would fare in the end, after all the skirmishing was done. He paused and said he really couldn't predict how a bill would end up anymore, whether it would pass or not, and whether different members would vote for it or against it. He said he once had a good feel for how most of his fellow legislators felt about a bill and had some confidence predicting the bill's success during a final vote. He explained that today's Legislature was now so dominated by political maneuvering and "gotcha" politics that very few legislators could be counted upon to vote in accordance with their own long-established personal political principles.

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

Turkey in Radical Revision of Islamic Texts
By Robert Pigott, Religious affairs correspondent, BBC News

Turkey is preparing to publish a document that represents a revolutionary reinterpretation of Islam - and a controversial and radical modernisation of the religion. 

The country's powerful Department of Religious Affairs has commissioned a team of theologians at Ankara University to carry out a fundamental revision of the Hadith, the second most sacred text in Islam after the Koran. 

The ABCs of Radical Islam
By Steven Emerson, Family Security Matters, February 29, 2008

On its website Tuesday, ABC News posted a story titled, "Common Misunderstandings About Muslims," which did its level best to carry water for the radical Islamist, and Jihadist, movement in America, going so far as to cite America's most notorious radical front group, the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) as the source to define the concept of "Jihad.

Related: The Prince Returns, a Hero and an Enemy
By Michael Evans, Sean O’Neill and Zahid Hussain, The Times of London, March 1, 2008

As the Queen, the Prime Minister and the Chief of the Defence Staff queued up to heap praise on the 23-year-old second lieutenant, protection for the Prince is to be upgraded. Al-Qaeda websites posted death threats against him yesterday after the worldwide coverage of his ten weeks in Helmand province, Afghanistan. ...The Times has seen messages posted on a password-protected al-Qaeda forum, al-Ekhlaas, calling for Prince Harry to be beheaded and a video of his murder to be sent to the Queen. 

Jihadists and Progressives: An Affair to Remember
By Miguel A. Guanipa, The American Thinker, March 01, 2008

In fact, as depressing as it may sound, the left is not merely devoid of the will to win the war in Iraq; they are irrevocably committed to the pursuit of a global exposé of their own country's moral, political, and military failure, with a passion that is rivaled only by our jihadist adversaries with whom we are presently engaged.

This rather unsettling ideological partnership is not one that is necessarily shared in equal measure between these two not so strange bedfellows. For the terrorists, who are eager to capitalize on a media convinced its survival depends primarily on the shock value of what it reports, this is only a marriage of convenience. 

Should Government Employ Terrorist Sympathizers?
By Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. Jewish World Review, February 26, 2008

Yet, Stephen Coughlin, one of the very few people working for the U.S. government who has rigorously studied the current "threat doctrine" - the wellspring in the traditions, practices and Shariah Law of today's totalitarian ideology known as Islamofascism - is, as of this writing, still being cashiered at the end of next month.

Worse yet, the individual who seems to be most responsible for shutting down Mr. Coughlin's essential doctrinal analysis and training by driving him out of the Pentagon - one Hesham Islam - seems to be staying in a sensitive position working for the Defense Department's Deputy Secretary, Gordon England. This notwithstanding serious questions raised about Mr. Islam's public biography, conduct in relation to Muslim outreach, the Coughlin affair and his top secret security clearance.

Study: 3 in 4 U.S. Mosques Preach Anti-West Extremism
From WorldNet Daily, February 23, 2008

The Mapping Sharia in America Project, sponsored by the Washington-based Center for Security Policy, has trained former counterintelligence and counterterrorism agents from the FBI, CIA and U.S. military, who are skilled in Arabic and Urdu, to conduct undercover reconnaissance at some 2,300 mosques and Islamic centers and schools across the country.

"So far of 100 mapped, 75 should be on a watchlist," an official familiar with the project said.

Muslims Want Unis to Fit Prayer Time
Richard Kerbaj and Milanda Rout The Australian February 25, 2008

MUSLIM university students want lectures to be rescheduled to fit in with prayer timetables and separate male and female eating and recreational areas established on Australian campuses. International Muslim students, predominantly from Saudi Arabia, have asked universities in Melbourne to change class times so they can attend congregational prayers. They also want a female-only area for Muslim students to eat and relax.

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From Elsewhere

A Profoundly Consequential Life
By Mona Charen, The Washington Post, February 28, 2008

The word "journalist" does not begin to encompass Bill Buckley's profoundly consequential life. In 1949, six years before the founding of National Review, critic Lionel Trilling spoke for the establishment when he wrote in "The Liberal Imagination": "In the United States at this time liberalism is not only the dominant but even the sole intellectual tradition. For it is the plain fact that nowadays there are no conservative or reactionary ideas in general circulation." Conservatives, Trilling continued, didn't so much have ideas as "irritable mental gestures."

And then came Bill Buckley, an intellectual starburst. Gathering a few refugees from the left to the masthead of National Review, Buckley famously announced in the 1955 maiden issue that his mandate was to stand "athwart history, yelling Stop." That's not precisely what happened -- not even the talents of Bill Buckley and his thousands of acolytes could hold back the tide of liberalism that swept the nation during the 1960s and 1970s. But the magazine did plant a flag -- and it did it with such style!

Cold Water On 'Global Warming'
By Thomas Sowell, GOPUSA, February 28, 2008

It has almost become something of a joke when some "global warming" conference has to be cancelled because of a snowstorm or bitterly cold weather. But stampedes and hysteria are no joke -- and creating stampedes and hysteria has become a major activity of those hyping a global warming "crisis." 

They mobilize like-minded people from a variety of occupations, call them all "scientists" and then claim that "all" the experts agree on a global warming crisis. 

McCain's Econ Brain
Economic conservatives take heart: Phil Gramm is influencing the candidate's platform.
By Shawn Tully, Editor-at-large, CNN, February 18, 2008

But economic conservatives should take heart. McCain's chief economic adviser - and perhaps his closest political friend - is the ultimate pure play in free market faith, former Texas Senator Phil Gramm. If McCain follows Gramm's counsel, and most of his current positions are vintage Gramm indeed, his policies as president would represent not just a sharp departure from the Bush years, but an assault on government growth that Republicans have boasted about, but failed to achieve, for decades.

Veterans Become Pro-War Candidates
Associated Press, February 27, 2008

"Despite the war's unpopularity, Americans still support their troops, and facing a veteran on the campaign trail can be difficult, said Michael Dejak, campaign manager for Summers' challenger in the Republican primary, Dean Scontras."

Clinging To Defeatism
Washington Times Editorial, February 27, 2008

Senate Democrats yesterday provided yet another sorry illustration of the fact that they are thoroughly invested in the defeat of U.S. military forces in Iraq. This happened despite the growing evidence that the troop surge is damaging al Qaeda, and that the Iraqis are making remarkable progress on the political front as well. ...

Zell Sees Start of Housing Recovery in the Spring
From, February 26, 2008

The US economy will avoid recession as the housing market begins to recover this spring, according to billionaire investor Sam Zell. 

Trade Tirade
By Kimberley A. Strassel, Wall Street Journal, February 29, 2008

...[I]t's hard to make nicey-nice with the global community when you are stiffing it on trade. Ask Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, who clearly tuned into the Ohio Democratic debate long enough to catch Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton threatening to withdraw from Nafta unless his country rolled over for their new demands.

Related: Trade Charade: Clinton and Obama are peddling false hope with their proposed NAFTA rollback

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