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True North Archives - March 17, 2009
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Featured Articles

Gay Marriage: Unintended Consequences
By Tom Wilson

The gay marriage issue is not really about legal rights for gay people; it appears that no one can specify just what legal rights might be gained by redefining marriage away from its civilizational meaning, which has always been the heterosexual union of potential parents. But gay "marriage" will turn out to be the epitome, the poster boy of "unintended consequences."

Vermont No Longer Beckoning
By Deborah T. Bucknam

During the 1960s, Vermont launched a highly successful promotional campaign called "Vermont: The Beckoning Country." It was, I confess, one reason we decided to investigate Vermont as a place to live and bring up our family.

Vermont's welcoming gesture has turned into a closed fist (to paraphrase President Obama) to many across the country who dare to disagree with the political and cultural regime that rules our state.

By Martin Harris

Itís turning out, as a delicious historical irony, that the private sector in education is now, increasingly, filling the niche the public schools used to occupy: a relatively lower-cost higher-productivity basic literacy curriculum without social engineering or political indoctrination. One stat Iíve seen recently is that nearly 2/3 of parochial school enrollment is now non-Catholic. The public-school loss-of-market-share to non-public alternatives is now as it was at the height of the parochial-school-success curve, back in the Ď40ís and Ď50ís, and typically they produce graduates with far better achievement levels at about a third of the annual public-school per-pupil cost, even though, in most urban areas, the pupils they take in arenít exactly the cream of the public-school academic crop. Should the non-public market share continue to rise out of the teens into the 20ís, percentagewise, the political pressure for taxpayer education spending to follow the child (and not go to a designated target school) will be irresistible, even in a place like Vermont.  That and related pressures are already evident, as a recent Friedman Foundation study has shown.

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"The trouble with Socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money." --- Margaret Thatcher

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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

Some Are More Equal Than Others (Part Two)
From The Caledonia Record, March 12th 2009

Now, the Legislature is looking at a bill that would require Vermont taxpayers to buy each of its members a laptop computer. Four representatives, Atkins, Keenan, Jerman, and Howrigan, all Democrats, on March 9, introduced H.385, a bill assuring them a free computer at taxpayer expense. Poor things, having spent all of their campaign money getting elected, they can't now afford a laptop, so we must give all of them one.

More Vermonters Looking for Work
From WCAX-TV, March 11, 2009

New numbers show Vermont's unemployment rate grew from 5.9 percent in December to 6.8 percent in January. That's more than 24,200 Vermonters out of work-- the highest number in 17 years.

Pro-Business Permitting
From Vermont Tiger, March 14, 2009

If we donít change the way Vermont approaches business and economic growth, we will continue to see an aging Vermont demographic that is less and less able to support state spending through its tax receipts.  If the business climate does not change, we will continue to become more and more dependent on a federal entity for our very existence.  This may come as a shock, but Iím not ready or willing to walk the planet for the rest of my days expecting my rich Uncle (Sam) to bail me out when I canít pay my bills.

The Hassle of Local Oversight
From The Caledonia Record, March 11, 2009

Towle told residents that RCT had already successfully gained clemency in a number of area communities. He said that the petitioning process (getting signatures from 5 percent of a town's voters) was too labor intensive and time consuming and that RCT's time could be better spent in other endeavors. His request, essentially, "give us our money and shut up."

RCT receives virtually all of its money (approximately $3.5 million a year) from government handouts so we weren't surprised by the audacity of the request.

The Five Percent Solution
From Vermont Tiger, March 7, 2009

Layoffs would be the better way to go.  With permanent cuts, we might get some reorganization and efficiencies which every bureaucracy needs from time to time, no matter how much the bureaucrats insist otherwise.  In their world, a larger appropriation in next year's budget is always the prime mission.  We talked, a while back, to a man who had the unenviable job of managing workforce reductions for Governor Richard Snelling when the state's economy was in even worse trouble than it is now.  He told us that some of the strongest resistance that he encountered came from the department heads.  "The governor's own people," he said.  "Can you believe that?"

Burlington Cashing In On The Rest Of Us
From The Caledonia Record, March 10, 2009

It's interesting to learn that Burlington has agreed to buy more than half of the power that the Sheffield wind farm, if and when it is built, produces. Another way to look at it is that, since the profit in a wind farm derives entirely from the public subsidies that will fill the pockets of the owners, the rest of us will be subsidizing with our tax dollars the citizens of Burlington. Talk about ironies. Burlington and Chittenden County are frequently and derisively referred to as "The Socialistic Republic of Vermont," Now it is coming true. Our tax dollars will heat and light them.

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

Farrakhan Youth Paramilitary Drill Team - Mosque 7 Video
From, March 8, 2009

Farrakhan has a nation-wide, grown-up military called the Fruit of Islam, a Brown Shirt-like paramilitary group. Devils refer to white people. Killing refers to killing whites in End Times, according to NOI theology white devils then to be exterminated

Taliban say Obama's call on Moderates "Illogical"
From Reuters, March 10, 2009

Afghanistan's Taliban on Tuesday turned down as illogical U.S. President Barack Obama's bid to reach out to moderate elements of the insurgents, saying the exit of foreign troops was the only solution for ending the war.

Muslim Community Rallies Behind Sudbury Man Charged by the FBI
By Milton J. Valencia, Globe Staff, March 8, 2009

To friends and family, he was a maturing leader in the Muslim community, a passionate writer who was departing for Saudi Arabia for a career as a pharmacist. But the arrest of Tariq Mehanna in November, as he was about to board a plane at Logan International Airport for his new life in the Middle East, has cast the 26-year-old in darker terms, as a liar supporting and associating with terrorists.

With an indictment in federal court, the Sudbury man faces a maximum sentence of eight years in prison on charges of lying to investigators in a terrorism inquiry. But a community of supporters has rallied around him, questioning how Mehanna could have been ensnared in a federal case and whether he is being used a pawn in the FBI's war on terrorism.

Rehab for Jihadists
By Stephen F. Hayes & Thomas Joscelyn, Weekly Standard

During the final months of the Bush administration, top U.S. counterterrorism officials engaged in an intense debate about the fate of the Yemenis detained at Guantánamo Bay. There are a lot of them there--nearly 100 out of the total population of 248--and most can be directly tied to al Qaeda's global terror network. Barack Obama's Gitmo problem is, in many respects, a Yemen problem. And it just got worse.

In an interview with a Saudi newspaper last week, Yemen's foreign minister Abu Bakr al Qirbi was asked about the jihadist rehabilitation program his government is setting up to facilitate the return of Yemeni detainees. Saudi Arabia has made a comprehensive attempt to deprogram jihadists and to secure their promise to end their terrorist ways. U.S. counterterrorism officials like to point to the Saudi program as a model of what should be done with captured jihadists, though 11 former Guantánamo detainees who passed through the Saudi program just showed up on the kingdom's list of "most wanted" terrorists.

The Dream That Was America
By Robert Hawes, Camapign for Liberty

God forgive us. The men who froze at Valley Forge, who crawled up the beaches of Normandy into the murderous teeth of Nazi machine gun fire, who faced undreamed of horrors in steamy jungles thousands of miles from the comforts of home, did not fight so that we could let our country slip into the hands of those who would re-make us in the image of our enemies. Whether you agree with every cause that Americans have spilled their blood for or not, we can acknowledge that most of them believed that they were fighting for freedom, to protect the whisper-fragile American dream. They didn't sacrifice to give us Moscow on the Potomac. We owe them, ourselves, and the future generations who must live with the world we give them, more, much more, than to let this happen with so little struggle.

There was once a dream that was America. And friends, this is not it. This is not it.

Palestinians at Sea in a Rudderless Polity Divided Against Itself
By Leo Rennert, American Thinker, March 15, 2009

The real findings of the poll show a deeply conflicted society moving in contradictory directions.  A plurality of Palestinians favors a Hamas-Fatah "unity" government, but at the same time expects worse days to come if that allows Hamas to extend its rule to the West Bank.  To say nothing of what might befall Palestinians if Israel were to free Barghouti, their No. 1 favorite.

The lesson from this survey should be clear to President Obama and Secretary Clinton.  Palestinians are still very far from getting their political act together.  Bereft of any predictable or coherent agenda, alienated from their current leaders, they are in no position to play the role of a reliable peace partner in the kind of negotiations toward Palestinian statehood that the administration is so blindly pursuing.

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From Elsewhere

The Myth of Relativism and the Cult of Tolerance
By Larrey Anderson, American Thinker, March 14 2009

The traditional moral relativist, beginning at least as early as Thrasymachus in Platoís Republic, was a proponent of the strongman or the dictator or, in Nietzscheís refined phrase, "the will to power."  The traditional argument was simple: if there is no objective right and no objective wrong then might makes right and weakness is wrong.

What is good is what the strongest proclaims to be the good -- what he wills to be the good. What is good is an "overman," a dictator who knows how to use his will to and for power.  Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin, and Mao were all "supermen" who attempted to impose their "will to power" on the masses.

Mom will fight order against home schooling
By T. Keung, The News and Observer, March 13, 2009

Home-school groups and conservatives across the country are infuriated by a Wake County judge's declaration that he will make a North Raleigh mother stop teaching her children at home and send them to public schools. As part of a continuing divorce case, Wake District Court Judge Ned Mangum said last Friday that it would be in the "best interests" of Venessa Mills' three children to go to public school this fall. Mangum said at the hearing that while the children are "thriving," they need to be exposed to the "real world."

The Problem with Government Mortgage Relief
By Samuel Gregg, D.Phil., Acton Institute for Religion and Liberty, March 11, 2009

Homeownership has long been part of the American Dream, but current government plans to keep more people in their homes reflect the influence of failed economic policies from the past and may encourage more risky decision making in the future. These days, one could be forgiven for thinking there is a direct correlation between the public utterances of government leaders and declines in the value of stocks and investor confidence around the world. This may owe something to an unspoken awareness that the more-or-less Keynesian interventionist approaches being applied by most governments to the global economic crisis are unlikely to work. Indeed, there is considerable evidence to suggest that such policies actually tend to prolong recessions.

The Clear and Cohesive Message of the International Conference on Climate Change
By Marc Sheppard, American Thinker, March 15, 2009

United by that conviction, over 800 scientists, economists, and policy makers arrived in New York City last Sunday to attend the Heartland Instituteís 2nd Annual International Conference on Climate Change.  They came to talk a wide range of subjects, from climatology to energy policy, from computer climate models to cap-and-trade, from greenhouse gas (GHG) effects to solar irradiation.  But most of all they came to help spread the word that the answer to the question posed by this yearís theme -- Global warming: Was it ever really a crisis? -- is a resounding NO.

Criticism Shows Obama Is Losing Focus
By Michael Barone, March 14, 2009

We've been hearing a lot of criticism of Barack Obama in recent days from pro-Obama corners -- from celebrity investor Warren Buffett, from moderate conservative columnist David Brooks, from one of the Democratic Party's deepest thinkers, William Galston -- all along the same lines. Put aside your plans, announced in your budget, for national health insurance, for a cap-and-trade system to reduce greenhouse gases, for effectively abolishing the secret ballot in unionization elections. And, they might have added, for higher taxes on, and a reduction in, their charitable deductions to channel money away from charities and nonprofits and toward the government. Pay attention to the first thing on your platter and the nation's, Buffett and Brooks and Galston say: the financial crisis.

The answer Obama has given, in advance, is that we can only solve our economic problems by advancing these other programs. But the real answer came from White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel in November: "Never let a serious crisis go to waste."

Breathtakingly Bold Barack?
By L. Brent Bozell III, Media Research Center, March 4, 2009

It should be laughable for the White House to promote a "fiscal responsibility summit" days after they shoved through a $787 billion "stimulus" bill through Congress. But the gooey flood of positive adjectives from the press demonstrates that they are not government watchdogs. They're "breathtakingly bold" Obama enablers. The honesty deficit in our press just grows, and grows.

The Shame of the Senate
Fifty-eight pols to inner-city kids: Drop dead.
by Mary Katharine Ham, The Weekly Standard, March 23, 2009

Walden-Ford wishes another recipient of a private scholarship would help her save the D.C. program: Barack Obama, who attended the prestigious Punahou School in Hawaii on scholarship. But Walden-Ford is skeptical that he'll make a stand for the scholarship. 

"This has got nothing to do with children. It's about teachers' unions and special-interest groups," she says. "I'm concerned that he won't say it because he's controlled by the same people other Democrats are controlled by. I think it's difficult for him to say it. I hope and pray he does."

Related: NEA says "YOU DID IT": Congress Rejects Funding for DC Voucher Program

Scientists Locate 'God Spot' in Human Brain
From Fox News, March 10, 2009

Brain scans showed that participants fell back on higher thought patterns when reacting to religious statements, whether trying to figure out God's thoughts and emotions or thinking about metaphorical meaning behind religious teachings.

"That suggests that religion is not a special case of a belief system, but evolved along with other belief and social cognitive abilities," said Jordan Grafman, a cognitive neuroscientist at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in Bethesda, Maryland.

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