North Archives - March 09, 2010
| Editorial | News & Views
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Biblical Roots of American Civilization
Americans have historically
taken a great deal of pride in their tradition of the protection of individual
rights enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. What is less well known is that
the constitutional protection of individual rights represents the legal
codification of principles that developed over a period of 180 years.
That was the period of time
between the first Pilgrim settlers and the establishment of the U.S. Constitution.
During that time the "Puritans" set up Churches, schools, a university
system, charitable institutions and pretty much created an American Civilization
defined by a distinct worldview regarding human nature and the relationship
of the individual to society. This worldview culminated in the Declaration
of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.
(Editor’s Note: This is
the first in a series of pieces that are intended to be used as presentations
By John McClaughry
a combination of state employee layoffs, pay freezes, suspension of payments
into the Education Fund, and increased taxes on estates and capital gains,
this year's (FY10) General Fund budget will be nominally balanced. But
the February 24 "Vermont Revenue and Budget Picture" presentation by the
Joint Fiscal Office shows a yawning gap for FY11: $154 million - followed
by $254 million in FY12. Add in the projected deficits for FY13 and FY14,
and the four-year deficit abyss comes to approximately $848 million. ...
Whacking 61 mostly inactive
boards and commissions is worth doing, but it's high time to get rid of
By Martin Harris
for health insurance. States, like Vermont, which have adopted the "community
rating" collectivization principle, enable high-health-risk customers to
the same low premium as less actuarially expensive customers, whether their
adverse health prospects result from genetic inheritance or behavioral
choice. And then there was Rod Clarke’s anti-helmet motorcycle group, which
offered to sign waivers, disclaiming the right to expensive cranial care
should they crash while riding; Montpelier was neither amused nor receptive.
Finally, as those of advancing years know, the longer you wait to enroll
in long-term-care insurance, the higher the premiums. To me, as an amateur
actuary, it makes perfect sense. A rational person wouldn’t expect to be
offered insurance once he’s at the in-patient desk of the nursing home,
just as the post-Andrew de-roofed Floridian would have been and should
have been turned down (pre-existing condition) for storm coverage. By this
measure, the State government in Florida isn’t rational: it now offers
home-owners’ insurance at less-than-market rates. When the bill inevitably
comes due, look for Florida to demand dollar-denominated help from other
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government secures to the people the greatest portion of happiness that
any government can; yet noise and change, from the nature of man, are interwoven
in its institutions. Ambition is a shade of human nature; it is scarcely
more natural for men to breathe, than it is for them to wish to control;
at least to be free from the control of others. When in authority, men
have a little of both; i.e. a little power to control others, and a little
refuge from the control of others; hence the station of office is courted."
--John Leland, 1810
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Weekly News Round-Up
Price Economic Suicide?
Caledonia Record Editorial,
February 28, 2010
On Monday, a group of economic
heavy hitters, including business and labor leaders, called on the Vermont
Legislature to take a time-out on voting against Vermont Yankee's application
for a 20-year operating extension. The Vermont Energy Partnership, representing
large consumers of electricity in the state, added their voices to Gov.
Jim Douglas's call. They wanted to see lawmakers honor that request. At
a Monday news conference, the groups reissued a report by economist Richard
Heaps pointing to the large impact Vermont Yankee has on the economy in
southeastern Vermont and the state as a whole. The groups argued that Vermont
needs the jobs and that spending by the plant circulates throughout the
Two days later, on Wednesday,
the Senate ignored the governor's and the business and labor leaders' plea
and voted 26-4 against the continued operation of Vermont Yankee beyond
2012. The people they rejected are the companies and people who create
the businesses that create the money that pays the workers and the taxes
that assure the economic health of Vermont. Yet these politicians snubbed
them with a cut that not only will bleed profusely, but could cause a hemorrhage
that fatally wounds our economy.
Cost of Closing Yankee
Results Indicate ... whatever the hell we want 'em to.
From Vermont Tiger, March
Since the 2011 school budget
votes and discussions which are occurring on this town meeting day are
merely a kind of warm-up for the main event which will take place next
year when the bottom falls out (see Hugh Kemper for details), we take this
as very encouraging sign. You must first admit there is a problem
... etc., etc...
Visit from Another Planet
Caledonia Record Editorial,
March 3, 2010
At a time when Vermont businesses,
large and small, are struggling to stay afloat, three lawmakers want to
hang another expense around their necks. H-382, sponsored by Reps. Edwards
of Brattleboro, Fisher of Lincoln, and Poirier of Barre City, all Democrats,
would require employers of even one employee to provide 56 hours annually
of paid leave to each employee to take care of his/her own health needs,
from a headache to a blister on the foot. That's seven days of paid sick
leave, or about a week and a half.
These guys must have departed
their senses or have come from another planet where common sense is outlawed
and lunacy is celebrated. Vermont has just been named the fourth hardest
state in which to do business. Our Senate just crushed the promise of fixed,
reliable, low-cost electricity by killing off Vermont Yankee. Shap Smith
is doing his best to make the House do the same, and these three representatives
think it's the right time to invent a brand-new and expensive business
benefit and force our smallest, most beleaguered businesses to pay for
Why Property Taxes are Getting Worse
By Tom Pelham, Rutland Herald,
March 4, 2010
As this scenario of lower
enrollments and double-digit tax increases unfolds in Wallingford (up 19
percent), Poultney (up 15 percent), Mendon (up 19 percent), Chittenden
(up 28 percent), Rutland Town (up 11 percent), Fair Haven (up 14 percent)
and similarly all across Vermont, the Rutland Herald hangs tough, telling
voters it's not the fault of Act 60 or Act 68; it's about equity and local
Equity and local control
are important principles for Vermont's education funding system, but are
not the cause for increasing property tax bills.
National Gasoline Prices Edge Up
From Vermont Business Magazine,
March 8, 2010
Average retail gasoline prices
in Vermont moved just 1.6 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging
$2.79/g today. This compares with the national average that has increased
4.7 cents per gallon in the last week to $2.74/g, according to gasoline
price website VermontGasPrices.com.
E-State; More for Less
By Tom Evslin, Vermont Tiger,March
Technology can make government
both more effective and much cheaper to operate. Does this sound too good
to be true? It’s not; it’s a fact.
Bureaucracies in the private
and the public sector were designed around bureaus, places that records
were kept. It used to be that you had to go the branch of the bank where
your account records were to make a withdrawal; other branches didn’t know
what your balance was. If you needed to interact with the government bureaucracy,
you had to go to the office where your records were kept; otherwise no
one would be able to deal with you. To make life even more complex, your
tax records might be in one office; your fishing license in a second office;
and your property information elsewhere. Sound familiar?
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Global War on Terrorism
Strategic Role in Countering Jihadism
By Dr. Walid Phares, Family
Security Matters, March 06, 2010
The confrontation in the
sub Indian continent between al Qaeda, the Taliban and their allies on
the one hand and the three democracies they target, Afghanistan, Pakistan
and India, on the other hand must be reevaluated in terms of international
cooperation against the Jihadi threat. A regional system should be established
to integrate the struggle against all Jihadi forces in the subcontinent.
There needs to be a separation between the ethnic and territorial questions
from the fight against Terrorism. Once that distinction is made, the possibilities
of internationalization of counterterrorism will be high. Jihadists based
in any country of the subcontinent must not be given legitimacy by any
government on the ground of a local ethnic issue. Jihadi forces must be
confronted collectively, while diplomacy and international mediations assist
in solving the local problems.
An Example for the Region
By Richard Grenell,
Al Jazeera, February 24, 2010
The Iraqi people have voted
in free and fair elections locally, nationally and provincially since Saddam
Hussein, the Iraqi president, was ousted by the US military in 2003.
It has been a bloody and
deadly example the entire Middle East, but this week, Iraqis will show
the Arab World once again that their hard-fought freedom and painful sacrifices
are an example for all people struggling under oppressive regimes.
Is ‘An Enemy of God?’
By Dr. Laina Farhat-Holzman,
Family Security Matters, March 03, 2010
There is some very strange
language coming out of Iran today. Unarmed demonstrators are being arrested,
summarily tried, and executed. Their crime: they are "Enemies of God."
This now accompanies the earlier stupid crime designation: "a polluter
of earth." No, this is not an ecological crime; it is a crime against the
government that considers any backtalk pollution. But enemy of God implies
that the great ayatollah and the country’s illegitimately-elected president
are either Gods themselves, or God’s people.
The increase in targeted
killings makes urgent the need for Obama to clarify his whole anti-terrorism
By David Willetts, The National
Review, February 26, 2010
By all accounts, President
Obama has vastly increased the number of Predator drone strikes during
his 13 months in office and expanded the theater of missile operations
by thousands of square miles. Indeed, since inauguration day, 2009, Predator
and Reaper drone attacks may have killed over 500 suspected terrorists
in Waziristan and Pakistan.
In January of this year alone,
the United States conducted ten strikes, and may have killed some 70 suspected
al-Qaeda or Taliban terrorists — along with additional unknown others in
their vicinity. When we killed Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of the Taliban
in Pakistan, last summer, eleven others were blown up with him, among them
his wife and father-in-law — and, earlier, dozens of others were killed
in strikes that failed to target him. In the first two months of 2010,
the Obama administration conducted almost half the number of strikes that
were conducted in all of 2008, the last full year of the Bush administration.?
Why has Obama expanded a
killing program that seemingly is at odds with his own past statements
("We’ve got to get the job done there, and that requires us to have enough
troops so that we're not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians,
which is causing enormous pressure over there") — as well as with his general
efforts to envision the war on terror as more a criminal-justice operation
where terrorists are tried in civilian courts and given their Miranda
Pacifism VS Islamic Extremism
By Amil Imani, March 02,
The Gospel writers have noted
that Jesus called his disciples to a way of life in which any act of violence
can be overcome by love. We must not return evil for evil, Jesus taught,
but must return good for evil; we must not hate those who wrong us but
must love our enemies and pray for those who hate us. The Qur’an never
says this. Instead it explicitly declares that Allah does not love those
who do not believe in him:
"For He loves not those who
reject Faith" (30:45)
the Islamist Mindset Rationalizes - and Promotes - 'Sex Sins'
By Raymond Ibrahim, Pajamas
Media, March 1, 2010
Is it inconsistent for Muslim
"holy warriors" to engage in voyeuristic acts of lasciviousness? Because
would-be jihadists and martyrs have been known to frequent strip bars —
such as the 9/11 hijackers and Major Nidal
Hasan, whose "late-night jiggle-joint carousing stands at
odds with the picture of a devout Muslim" — many Americans have concluded
that such men cannot be "true" Muslims, leading to the ubiquitous conviction
that they are "hijacking Islam."
In fact, Islamists rely on
several rationalizations — doctrines, even — that make "jiggle-joint carousing"
consistent with Muslim piety. Considering that Islamic law permits sex
slaves (Koran 4:3), permits their masters to keep them topless,
and makes sex one of the highest paradisiacal rewards, this should come
as no great surprise. However, to elaborate:
First, the doctrine of taqiyya
allows Muslims residing among infidels to deceive the latter by, among
other things, behaving like infidels, e.g., frequenting strip bars: "Taqiyya
[deception], even if committed without duress, does not lead to a state
of infidelity — even if it leads to sin deserving of hellfire."
# # #
Death by Welfare
By Andrew Mellon, Big Government,
February 28, 2010
Ironically enough, the medicine
applied by our state as the antidote for our ills has proven to be poison.
The welfare state is killing our nation. Today entitlement spending
makes up nearly half of our budget. Long term, we know that there
will be no way to pay off our unfunded obligations — we will go bankrupt.
There will be three options ultimately, though ultimately can come quite
suddenly: default, hyperinflation or abolition of the welfare state.
Responsibility Doesn’t Pay - Welfare always breeds contempt.
Recession Did Not Have To Be Great
By Rich Karlgaard,Forbes
Magazine, March 3, 2010
Whether the 2007-09 slump
was the worst since the 1930s or is merely tied with the 1973-74 debacle
is an open debate. The economy appears to be weakening again, fueling fears
of a double dip. I am certain, though, that the 2007-09 Great Recession
didn’t need to be so great. It could have been, should have been, no worse
than the 1990-91 recession.
Finishes Flat as Obama Pushes Regulation
By Edward Krudy, Reuters,
March 3, 2010
U.S. stocks ended little
changed on Wednesday as worries about bank regulation and a setback for
drug company Pfizer offset signs of improvement in the labor market and
White House Land Grab
By Sen. Jim DeMint, The
Washington Times, March 2, 2010
You'd think the Obama administration
is busy enough controlling the banks, insurance companies and automakers,
but thanks to whistleblowers at the Department of the Interior, we now
learn they're planning to increase their control over energy-rich land
in the West.
A secret administration memo
has surfaced revealing plans for the federal government to seize more than
10 million acres from Montana to New Mexico, halting job- creating activities
like ranching, forestry, mining and energy development. Worse, this land
grab would dry up tax revenue that's essential for funding schools, firehouses
and community centers.
President Obama could enact
the plans in this memo with just the stroke of a pen, without any input
from the communities affected by it.
At a time when our national
unemployment rate is 9.7 percent, it is unbelievable anyone would be looking
to stop job-creating energy enterprises, yet that's exactly what's happening.
Reliance on Government at All-Time High
By Patrice Hill, The Washington
Times, March 1, 2010
Moreover, for the first time
since the Great Depression, Americans took more aid from the government
than they paid in taxes.
Finds College Students Fail Basic Civics Test
By Joe Wolverton, II, The
New American, February 26, 2010
"Those who don’t know history
are destined to repeat it" is one of the most oft-quoted aphorisms of Edmund
Burke, an 18th-century Irish-born member of the British Parliament and
fearless friend of liberty. Judging from the results of a recent survey
conducted by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI), most of the 14,000
college students who participated sadly will be repeating history.
Considering that most of
the 14,000 students who completed the exam (7,000 seniors and 7,000 freshmen)
scored an F on the portion of the test covering basic American history
and institutions, not only will they be repeating history, but with test
scores like that, they’ll be repeating history class, as well.
Schools Flourish in Harlem
But teachers unions
are still trying to stop their growth.
By Jason Riley, Wall Street
Journal, March 8, 2010
This year, Harlem’s charter
schools received more than 11,000 applications for 2,000 available slots.
More than 7,000 children are on wait lists. Yet the United Federation of
Teachers and its political acolytes in the New York state legislature are
hell-bent on blocking school choice for underprivileged families. Worried
that high-performing charters are “saturating” Harlem, State Sen. Bill
Perkins and State Assemblyman Keith Wright have backed legislation that
would gut state per-pupil funding at charter schools and allow a single
charter operator to educate no more than 5% of a district’s students.
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