North Archives - March 11, 2008
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Power and the Environment
By Robert Maynard
One theme that seems to be
popping up at several of the town meetings held by Tom Licata and "Vermonter’s
for Economic Health" is that deregulation to help our economic health would
come at a price. Political figures at these meetings constantly raise the
dire possibility that doing so would reverse the environmental gains that
we have enjoyed. The unstated assumption is that Vermont’s rural natural
beauty is mostly a result of such regulations.
The truth of the matter is
that North America as a whole has been moving in a relatively more "green"
direction since the start of the industrial revolution "despite" all of
In short, the next time one
of our political figures informs you that we can not deregulate our economy
without sacrificing our environment, just remember that it was the operation
of the free market, not the regulations, that made that environment possible.
the Tax Monster
by John McClaughry
and taxpayers will have to recognize that a state-controlled monopoly public
educational system, with its large and politically organized union always
demanding more spending to pay for higher benefits for its members, will
inevitably demand ever-higher tax resources - even if, as has happened
over the past decade, the number of pupils is decreasing.
Governments don't raise education
taxes just to prove they can do it. They raise taxes so they can spend
the money on the public school system.
Ultimately the only answer
to ever-rising residential property and other taxes for education is to
end the protected monopoly that demands and lobbies for the money.
By Martin Harris
can almost as easily get school-age-child-per-household data for a given
neighborhood or town –regional planning commissions are (in Vermont, were)
good sources for these data—and so, if you find that, in your part of town,
new housing in, say, the $260,000 range will send 0.5 of a new student
to school, you can see that the statistically-probable impact of that new
house will be about half of $29, 289, or just under $15,000. It would be
substantially higher in Vermont because, in recent decades, Vermont school
districts have been building much more than the traditional square footages
per pupil into their buildings, but its also substantially harder to determine
exactly how much because of the new edu-crat refusals to release square-footage
and capacity numbers for their schools. I’ve tried, recently, without success,
to get such numbers for Middlebury, Bristol, and Rutland, but you’re welcome
to se whether you can be more persuasive than I or my appointed delegates
whom I sent out for the numbers.
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"More powerful than an invading
army is an idea whose time has come." -- Victor Hugo
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Weekly News Round-Up
Observe Democracy in Richmond, VT
By Joel Banner Baird, Burlington
Free Press, March 5, 2008
"Most Iraqis think that a
total withdrawal cannot happen right now," said Sabeeh Radhi Al-Kaabi,
who serves on the Rasheed District Advisory Council. "Your military must
first reinforce the Iraqi army and police. You must first help us rebuild
His visit to Vermont, he
said, gave him hope.
From VermontTiger.com March
Tuesday's votes may have
gratified custodians of the status quo but they did nothing to alter the
long run outlook for the state's economy. Art Woolf has
it right, here, too. Vermont spends more than half
the money raised through state and local taxation on K through 12 education
and continues to spend more every year. This is not -- to use a word
sacred in the Vermont lexicon -- "sustainable."
Reductio ad Absurdum
Caledonian Record Editorial,
Now, teacher certification
requirements are so artificial and out of date as to be useless in guaranteeing
properly educated/trained teachers. They do serve a very useful purpose,
though, to a special interest group - teacher unions. They have established
a firewall between eminently qualified people and the profession, people
who didn't have time to take the education courses required for certification
or who viewed them with contempt.
Originator: Reagan? Laffer? Kennedy? Try Coolidge
From VermontTiger.com March
We now understand that a
series of misguided tax, trade and monetary actions either brought the
Depression on or dramatically deepened and extended it. The decisions to
tighten the money supply, raise taxes and enact the disastrous Smoot-Hawley
Act were entirely the responsibility of Herbert Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt.
And by totally rejecting the Coolidge policies, Roosevelt and Hoover unintentionally
prolonged the Great Depression by years.
So successful was the effort
to vilify Coolidge, the very utterance of this fact some 70 years later
is still seen as politically risky.
Coolidge had represented
traditional values; his upbringing in Plymouth, his religious faith, his
personal integrity, his trust in classic market economics – even his innate
shyness – were like a national touchstone in the twenties; an era of unequaled
progress, prosperity and liberal social change.
Caledonian Record Editorial,
Truth is, Vermonters pass
their school budgets because most feel they really don't have a choice.
To conclude budgets pass
because all those voters are satisfied is like concluding that everyone
who pays $3.50 a gallon for home heating oil must find the price reasonable
because they pay it.
Vermonters, by and large,
are loyal to their local schools and are willing to make sacrifices for
a quality education for their community's children. It's not a vote of
confidence in the Vermont Legislature or Act 68.
Unwilling to tackle meaningful
education reform that will tackle the costs of education in Vermont, the
Legislature ignores the intolerable burden of the statewide property tax.
Didn't Ask Me
From VermontTiger.com March
The average increase in school
budgets this year, according to the VSA, was 4.36% and 4.1% last year.
But the number of students in Vermont fell by 1.8% in 2006 and 1.2% in
2007, according to the Vermont
Department of Education. In 2006 there were 2,000 more students
in grade 12 than in Kindergarden. In 2007, there were 1,400 more.
That trend will continue for at least the next five years, so the number
of students will continue falling by one to two percent each year.
The four percent growth in
spending has to be looked at in the context of these declining enrollments,
which means per pupil spending is growing at a five to six percent annual
# # #
Global War on Terrorism
Rising Tide Lifts Mood in the Developing World
Sharp Decline in Support
for Suicide Bombing in Muslim Count
From The Pew Global Attitudes
Dwindling Muslim Support
Even as many people around
the world express more positive views of their lives and countries than
they did five years ago, opinions about regional issues and concerns are
a mix of good and bad news.
Among the most striking trends
in predominantly Muslim nations is the continuing decline in the number
saying that suicide bombing and other forms of violence against civilians
are justifiable in the defense of Islam. In Lebanon, Bangladesh, Pakistan
and Indonesia, the proportion of Muslims who view suicide bombing and other
attacks against civilians as being often or sometimes justified has declined
by half or more over the past five years.
Wide majorities say such
attacks are, at most, rarely acceptable. However, this is decidedly not
the case in the Palestinian territories. Fully 70% of Palestinians believe
that suicide bombings against civilians can be often or sometimes justified,
a position starkly at odds with Muslims in other Middle Eastern, Asian,
and African nations.
Leaves Young Iraqis Doubting Clerics
By Sabrina Tavernise, The
New York Times, March 4, 2008
After almost five years of
war, many young people in Iraq, exhausted
by constant firsthand exposure to the violence of religious extremism,
say they have grown disillusioned with religious leaders and skeptical
of the faith that they preach. In two months of interviews with 40 young
people in five Iraqi cities, a pattern of disenchantment emerged, in which
young Iraqis, both poor and middle class, blamed clerics for the violence
and the restrictions that have narrowed their lives.
By Jon Caruthers, The American
Thinker, March 08, 2008
That leaves us with Iran.
As mentioned above, Iran established a rat line during Operation Enduring
Freedom to "rescue" Al Qaeda terrorists from certain capture and annihilation
at the hands of the coalition. The rumor is that Saad bin Laden
- Osama's son Saad and Ayman Al-Zawahiri along with roughly 800 or so other
top Al Qaeda terrorists were thus extricated from Afghanistan. Iran
has shown that it has no fear of standing up to the west, and has a large,
and capable intelligence apparatus clearly capable of hiding bin Laden.
It's a Muslim country with a large Arab minority with a long history of
working closely with Al Qaeda in the past. For a time, Imad Mugneyeh
was the liaison between the Iranian mullahs and Al Qaeda. For Al
Qaeda, Iran is the perfect hiding place. For Iran, sequestering bin
Laden gives them effective control of Al Qaeda and having control of Al
Qaeda gives them yet another way to carry out murderous terrorist attacks
by proxy and gives them a degree of anonymity to carry out their low-level
war against the US that they've been carrying out since the revolution
Protesting Iranian Students
By Ethel C. Fenig, The American
Thinker, March 08, 2008
Nine consecutive demonstrations
at Shiraz University continued yesterday, with more than 3,000 students,
Shahin Gobadi, a spokesman for the group, said in a telephone interview
Trouble with Russia
By Herbert E. Meyer, The
American Thinker, March 06, 2008
Vladimir Putin has the heart
and soul of a KGB Commissar -- which, of course, he once was. He's
a thug, and he's learned nothing from his country's history. So he's
driving Russia into the same ditch the communists drove it into back in
the twentieth century. He's creating a one-party dictatorship in
which the country's wealth will be owned or controlled by the State.
Like all dictators, he's trying to gin up a foreign enemy -- that would
be us -- to justify his domestic policies. And he's embarking on
a course to achieve his communist predecessors' dream of imposing a sort
of Pax Sovietica on the world.
the Hype, Ahmadinejad’s Iraq Visit a Failure
By Alireza Jafarzadeh, Fox
News, March 05, 2008
Behind the orchestrated pomp
and pageantry during the visit to Baghdad last weekend by the Iranian ayatollahs’
president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, it was hard to miss the revulsion of Iraqis
of all stripes. Adjectives like "historic" could not disguise the frustrating
reality for Ahmadinejad and the ayatollahs: outside of Iraqi political
spheres dominated by Tehran surrogates, they are seen as enemies of a secure,
non-sectarian and democratic Iraq.
"Don't Protect America" Democrats
By Matthew Continetti, The
Weekly Standard, March 17, 2008
It's been three weeks since
Democrats in Congress allowed the Protect America Act of 2007 to expire.
Three weeks in which House Democrats have allowed marginal special interest
groups veto power over national security legislation. And no one in the
House Democratic leadership seems particularly bothered by it.
# # #
Ontario Keeps Sending Patients South
By Lisa Priest, The Globe
and Mail, March 1, 2008
More than 400 Canadians in
the full throes of a heart attack or other cardiac emergency have been
sent to the United States because no hospital can provide the lifesaving
care they require here. Most of the heart patients who have been sent south
since 2003 typically show up in Ontario hospitals, where they are given
clot-busting drugs. If those drugs fail to open their clogged arteries,
the scramble to locate angioplasty in the United States begins.
Channel Founder Blasts Network; Claims It Is 'Telling Us What to Think'
TWC founder and global
warming skeptic advocates suing Al Gore to expose 'the fraud of global
By Jeff Poor, Business &
Media Institute, March 3, 2008
The Weather Channel has been
an outlet for global warming alarmism. In December 2006, The Weather Channel’s
Heidi Cullen argued
on her blog that weathercasters who had doubts about human influence on
global warming should be punished with decertification by the American
Meteorological Society. Coleman also told the audience his strategy for
exposing what he called "the fraud of global warming." He advocated suing
those who sell carbon credits, which would force global warming alarmists
to give a more honest account of the policies they propose.
Must Seize Economic Issue While Democrats Fight On
By Matt Towery, Human Events,
March 6, 2008
I'll freely admit that McCain's
failure to originally support the Bush tax cuts was a serious error, but
I will also note that he truly was consistent with his longtime mantra
that spending must be reigned in at the same time that taxes were cut.
McCain has good advisors
and supporters -- as did Kemp -- who could serve as the nucleus of a dynamic
economic summit in which the brightest minds of not only the GOP, but of
a host of nonpartisan organizations, could meet to determine a realistic
and dynamic plan to turn our nation's economy around; not just for a year,
but for many years to come.
Skeptics Reveal ‘Horror Stories’ of Scientific Suppression
From the U.S. Senate Committee
on Environment & Public Works
Scientists skeptical of man-made
climate fears meeting at the 2008
International Conference on Climate Change in New York City described
the "absolute horror stories" about how some scientific journals have engaged
in "outrageous and unethical behavior" in attempting to suppress them from
publishing their work in peer-reviewed journals. The March 2-4 groundbreaking
conference, which featured about 100 speakers with over 500 people attending,
presented the report of a team of international scientists who formed a
group to counter the UN IPCC.
Hardball vs. Barack Softball: Is there a Genuine Difference?
By Kyle-Anne Shiver, The
American Thinker, March 07, 2008
Simply because a person uses
highfalutin words, has a flair for oratory, is practiced at fluidly changing
the subject and playing the perennially aggrieved-status guy doesn't mean
he's an innocent little-leaguer. As nearly anyone over the age of 12 should
know, these outward appearances of Obama's could just as easily mean that
he is a master manipulator.
After all, he learned his
political tactics from the Alinsky school of bloodless, socialist revolution.
Obama has been open and clear about one thing, at least. He has both
written and proclaimed that he got his best education in the wards
of Chicago, doing Alinsky-style people's organizing.
"Innocent" would be
the last word in the dictionary used to describe Saul Alinsky. Alinsky
transformed human manipulation into hard political science.
"Just" about Taxes?
By Samuel Gregg, D.Phil.,
In his Wealth of Nations,
Adam Smith said that taxes were necessary to enable governments to perform
three essential functions. One was national defense. Another was public
security and the administration of justice. The third was public infrastructure
needs, though Smith envisaged that governments could contract much of this
to private companies.
Today’s reality, however,
is that taxes are raised for purposes that go far beyond these limits.
Many politicians, for example, do not even bother to disguise the fact
that they regard high taxes as a means for massive wealth-redistribution
and financing social engineering. The fact that high taxes destroy incentives
for entrepreneurs and businesses to create the wealth that gradually improves
everyone’s material well-being — including the poor — appears to escape
many politicians’ attention. Likewise high tax rates are often justified
by the need to fund government-provided social services that families,
charities, private associations, and churches are invariably much better
Then there are the negative
moral effects of high tax rates.
First, high taxes undermine
respect for property rights. If the state routinely takes, say, 40 percent
of peoples’ incomes, then we should hardly be surprised that some individuals
become rather casual in the way they treat others’ private property. Second,
the existence of high taxes helps facilitate a culture in which some political
parties basically tell people that, in return for their vote, they will
effectively transfer large amounts of others’ property to them via taxation.
That’s surely a mild form of corruption.
Wall Street Journal Editorial,
March 10, 2008
What is it about Democrats
and Hugo Chávez? Even as the Venezuelan strongman was threatening
war last week against Colombia, Congress was threatening to hand him a
huge strategic victory by spurning Colombia's free trade overtures to the
Wall Street Journal Editorial,
March 10, 2008
Hillary Clinton and Barack
Obama are both promising to raise taxes enormously -- on capital gains,
dividends and high-earning Americans. That would make such tax-free investments
as munis more valuable as demand for them increased relative to taxable
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