North Archives - March 20, 2007
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Law Not a Model for Vermont
By Charles J. Bentz, MD
To the Physicians and health
care workers in Vermont, is this where you want to go? Is this what you
want to become? Please learn the real lesson from the Oregon experience
of Doctor-assisted suicide. Despite all of the so-called "dittos" in our
Suicide law, numerous instances of coercion, inappropriate selection, botched
attempts, and active euthanasia have been documented in the Public Record.
This, however, is not the worst of it. In my opinion, the tragedy of Oregon
is that instead of doing the right thing, which is to provide excellent
care, patients' lives are being cut short by Physicians who are not addressing
the issues underlying patient suicidality at the end of Life. This change
in the direction of our profession after 2,400 years of "Do no Harm" has
me concerned. This should concern all Vermonters as well. --Charles
J. Bentz, MD, FCAP, Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine, Division
of General Medicine and Geriatrics, Oregon Health and Science University,
Rights and the Environment
By Bruce P. Shields
To many in the environmental
movement, private property is a necessary evil to be endured, but not a
desirable condition. In recent polemical books on environmental themes
such as global warming, species extinction, biological diversity, and wildlife
habitat, one can find almost no positive affirmation of the ecological
value of private property. To the contrary, one hears that protected
land is government owned land; a protected resource is government owned
or government controlled. The unstated corollary is that private
land is vulnerable, exposed, and subject to abuse. Economists, especially
several recent Nobel Prize winners, differ. The economists suggest
that private property may be a superior guarantor of ecological values.
Hernando DeSoto presents a satellite photo of the island of Hispaniola.
One side from space appears brown, the other side is green. A sharply
defined straight line divides the two colors. The brown side is Haiti,
the green side the Dominican Republic; Dominican Republic has strong enforcement
of private property rights, and Haiti no enforcement of any private rights.
--Bruce Shields has retired from three professions; college English
teacher, sawmiller and executive of the Vermont Forest Products Association,
and operator of a farm supply store. In retirement, he works his
woodlot and maple sugar place, sits on the boards of several statewide
organizations related to natural resources, and serves as Lister in the
town of Eden, VT.
or Grass-Killers on the Left
By Martin Harris
The received wisdom then
(and still is, except when circumstances dictate otherwise) is that smart
growth planning demands no medium-density areas outside cities; like medieval
European urban centers, the built-up area should be gated (well, maybe
walls can be omitted) and the peasantsí barley fields should extend right
up to city limits. An urban gateway should be green grass. Cities like
Vergennes should be "green-gated". You can see the desired pattern in the
western approaches to Middlebury: empty fields, a distinct urban-rural
joint (a little plannersí lingo there), then the towers of the baron (oops,
make that the college) on the hill. Smart-growth exemplified. And, in fact,
the evil Vergennes developer was persuaded to go away; the field was preserved
in grass, the "green-gate" concept was rescued, and a little corner of
Vermont was saved from buildings and bituminous pavement. Until now. Ö
Now, the formerly pro-grass anti-sprawl beautiful people of Vergennes want
to urbanize the corn-field.
Spend or Not to Spend
By Peter Behr
So dire, in fact, is the
present situation, that no less a personage than Peter Shumlin, President
Pro Tem of the Senate, told the Vermont Association of Chambers of Commerce
there is no more tax capacity in our state, saying "We need
to get spending under control because thereís nowhere to go for funding,"
as reported by Annette Compton. One would almost think Mr. Shumlin has
been reading my column, as this statement represents a refreshing change
of direction for him. Now, if he will follow up with proposals to reduce
the cost of state government, I will take back all the criticism
I have directed at him.
# # #
Weekís Mail Bag
House Speaker Gaye Symington
recently said in a critical tone that the construction of the interstate
highway 50 years ago brought rapid, uncontrolled development. Iíd be more
than curious how she actually defines Ďuncontrolled growthí? But
what the interstate highway system brought to this country, and Vermont,
was economic expansion and prosperity. Thatís good news. Why is she so
gloomy about it? If such negative attitudes, that seem to be held by the
Speaker and her Democratic colleagues, existed 50 years ago, would Vermont,
and the country, even have an interstate highway system? Their handling
of the Circ highway goes a long way in answering that question. The continuing
holdup of the Circís completion has led to clogged secondary highways thus
thwarting the business of a major Vermont employer, IBM, who canít get
materials and products in and out of itís facility in an efficient manner.
Thatís because of a transportation infrastructure that is at least 2 decades
behind the times and the Democrats are just fine with that. Is this the
kind of leadership and vision that Vermont generations have to look forward
Would IBM have located to
Essex 50 years ago given the current business climate hampered by high
utility rates, a restrictive regulatory and permit process, an outdated
transportation infrastructure and the likelihood that the project would
be held up in court for years by special interest groups? Of course, you
know the answer. And I can picture the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF)
50 years ago opposing the current IBM location until the proverbial pig
learns to fly. Is the CLF part of the "new direction" Gaye Symington plans
on sending Vermonters?
To date the current legislature
in Montpelier is most inept and incompetent Iíve ever seen - and it seems
a growing number of Vermonters feel the same. As a taxpayer and a voter,
I feel I have an obligation to point out my frustrations with the substandard
quality of work coming out of Montpelier. Itís apparent to anyone who follows
state government that this session is distracted, lost its direction and
focus on the purpose for which the voters of the state send them to Montpelier.
National political agendas, which the Democrats have obviously adopted,
have no place in Montpelier. Precious time was wasted discussing Global
Warming, the justification of the Iraq War, the impeachment of the president,
and planning visits of the likes of Cindy Sheehan. What on Earth has Cindy
Sheehan got to do with lessening the burdens of Vermonters?
If a private business shut
down operations for even half a day to watch a performance by, let's say,
Bozo the Clown, someoneís head would roll. How can Symington claim to be
working for the welfare of future generations when sheís lost her way,
her direction, to work for the best interest of this current generation?
She has no solutions for us now so why should we have confidence she has
the foresight to make Vermont better for the next generations? Given this
"new direction" we are headed in, future generations will simply move in
any direction out of this state because of diminished job opportunities,
high taxes, and the ever rising cost of living.
And just as amazing, Symington
and Peter Shumlin, leader of the Senate Democrats, appear to be proud of
our educational system that produces students barely above the performance
level of the average American student. And they think it does, but does
academic success relate to how much money is spent on education and a low
student to teacher ratio? I, and thousands of my fellow Vermonters, hate
to bust Symingtonís bubble, but the education I and thousands of Vermonters
received decades ago was superior to the education Vermont youth are now
receiving - and - we had about a 25 to 1 teacher to student ratio.
And I can tell you EXACTLY why Vermont cannot, will not, secure a high
quality education system. This state has been politicized and influenced
by special interests and the special interest Group in Chief is the VT-NEA
with a massive lobbying effort and influence on Democrats in Montpelier.
This VT-NEA helps Democrats get elected year after year after year and
they donít do it "for the children."
So what are the major issues
facing Vermont? As I see it (1) a restrictive and outdated permit process
that makes it just about impossible for new industries, green or not, to
even consider locating to Vermont; (2) High utility rates; (3) out of control
state government that continues to pile law on top of law, regulation on
top regulation, bureaucracy on top of bureaucracy without giving any consideration
how it all is going to be paid for nor how it is to be administered; (4)
cruel property taxes have been a major headache for anyone who lives in
What has this session of
the state legislature done to seriously, with focus, address all these
important issues? Nothing - absolutely Nothing that I or anyone else can
discern. Instead, we witness a state legislature that is more concerned
about discussing national political war issues which we can do very little
to affect, and working toward Global Warming solutions based on Goreís
hysteria and paranoia. If this is Symingtonís and Shumlin's pushing us
in their "new direction" then we need to push back next election and send
them in a "new direction" back home where they belong.
Glenn Thompson, Essex
"Is it a civil war or isn't
it? I think this is a problem. This characterization is a problem because
it oversimplifies. The reality is that stoking sectarian violence is a
very specific strategy of Al Qaeda ... and they make no bones about the
fact that that's their strategy. Well you don't have thousands of Shia
and Sunnis falling in on each other or attacking each other; you have hit
squads going around the city." --Remarks made
March 18, 2007 by Robert
Gates, new Secretary of Defense.
"The Iraqi government cannot
now govern, sustain, and defend itself without the support of the United
States . . The ability of the United States to shape outcomes is diminishing.
Time is running out . . . Left unchecked al Qaeda in Iraq could continue
to incite violence between Sunnis and Shia. Al Qaeda will portray any failure
by the United States in Iraq as a significant victory that will be featured
prominently as they recruit for their cause in the region and around the
world." --From the final report of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group
co-chaired by Democrat Lee Hamilton and James
"We know that Saddam has
stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout the
country. Iraq's search for [developing] weapons of mass destruction has
proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for
as long as Saddam is in power." --Al Gore
while Vice President.
"The war against terrorism
will not be finished as long as Saddam Hussein is in power." --Senator
Carl Levin before the invasion of Iraq.
"The strength of the resistance
lies in its maintaining secrecy regarding its weapons, its ammunition,
its caches, its cadres, its bases, its plans, its intentions, and so on.
So why do you expect us to transport the weapons openly? Even when we felt
secure on the domestic level... we did not transport weapons in broad daylight."
--A recent speech by the new Hizbullah secretary-general,
Abbas Musaw. It is near certain that Iran provides such weapons
to Hizbullah and many other terrorist groups including Al Qaeda.
# # #
Weekly News Round-Up
Warming Discussions in Schools
By Sky Barsch, Burlington
Free Press, March 17, 2007
As global warming has shifted
from the subject of scientific trade journals and alternative media to
the center of the public and political arenas, it also has become a hot
topic in public schools. That has some parents questioning what their children
are hearing. Parents who disagree with the global warming theory, or who
chalk it up to environmental alarmists or political hyperbole, are finding
that their points of view aren't given the attention afforded the "other
Weighs in Education Funding Reform
WCAX, March 15, 2007
School board members, teachers
and others offered suggestions for controlling costs, many saying they
opposed the concept of consolidating school districts, which they said
would weaken local control.
Police Poised To Strike Again
Caledonian Record Editorial,
March 13, 2007
Here come the food police.
They of the Church of Eat Right or Die are ready to strike again, and this
time from a quite unexpected source. Full of admiration of their followers
effecting a ban on trans fats in restaurants in New York City, they are
attempting to do the same thing in Vermont. That's not surprising, but
their champion is.
Leading the charge in Vermont
is Sen. Kevin Mullin, R-Rutland. Until this aberration, Sen. Mullin has
been the most reliably arch-conservative in the Senate.
Hammer is There'
By Terri Hallenbeck, Burlington
Free Press, March 12, 2007
When legislators return to
Montpelier on Tuesday from their weeklong town meeting break they'll have
deadlines hanging over their heads. Friday is "crossover," the point in
the legislative session when most bills are supposed to be out of committees,
onto the floor and ready to cross to the other chamber, where they face
the same process. While crossover is not a drop-dead, hard-and-fast deadline,
it is the due date for most committees -- not including the money committees
that handle budgets or tax policy -- to finish up bills.
Searches Require Warrant, Vermont Supreme Court Rules
By Adam Silverman, Burlington
Free Press, March 17, 2007
Police need a warrant to
search a vehicle even after they arrest an occupant except under extraordinary
circumstances, the Vermont Supreme Court ruled Friday in a 3-2 decision
notable for its acerbic language and its break with federal precedent.
The ruling, which represented
a rare departure from frequent unanimity, said the state constitution provides
Vermonters with greater protections from unreasonable searches and seizures
than does the federal Bill of Rights.
Eagle Times, March 16, 2007
Officials have a target in
mind to leverage enough business out of one particular country not known
for its environmental approach, a country so huge even the smallest sliver
of business can result in millions. That country, of course, is China,
a place looking for a cleaner image with the 2008 Olympics and other international
events coming in the near future. It could use one, especially since 75
percent of its growing appetite for power currently fed by coal.
- An Occasional Newsletter from the Legislature
by Rep. Thomas F. Koch,
March 17, 2007
I have been inundated with
telephone calls, letters, e-mails and messages left with the Sergeant at
Arms concerning the so-called Death with Dignity bill, most of them
urging me to vote against the bill. ...The other major issue of the year,
of course, is property tax reform. Two House committees are working
on it, without a whole lot to show for their efforts.
# # #
by Thomas Sowell, National
Review Online, March 15, 2007
The British Broadcasting
Corporation has produced a devastating documentary titled The
Great Global Warming Swindle. It has apparently not been broadcast
by any of the networks in the United States. But, fortunately, it is available
on the Internet. Distinguished scientists specializing in climate and climate-related
fields talk in plain English and present readily understood graphs showing
what a crock the current global-warming hysteria is. ... While the public
has been led to believe that "all" the leading scientists buy the global-warming
hysteria and the political agenda that goes with it, in fact the official
reports from the United Nations or the National Academy of Sciences are
written by bureaucrats ó and then garnished with the names of leading scientists
who were "consulted," but whose contrary conclusions have been ignored.
in D.C., Progress in Baghdad
by William Kristol, The
Weekly Standard, March 26, 2007
It may well be that Gen.
David Petraeus is going to lead us to victory in Iraq. He is certainly
off to a good start. If the karmic price of success in Iraq is utter embarrassment
for senior Bush officials in Washington, D.C.--well, in our judgment, the
trade-off is worth it. The world will surely note our success or failure
in Iraq. It will not long remember the gang that couldn't shoot straight
at the Justice Department--or, for that matter, the antics of congressional
Democrats--unless either so weakens the administration as to undercut our
mission in Iraq. Obviously, it's too early to say anything more definitive
than that there are real signs of progress in Baghdad. The cocksure defeatism
of war critics of two months ago, when the surge was announced, does seem
to have been misplaced.
Fraud Behind Carbon Credits
Thomas Lifson, American
Thinker, March 17, 2007
The sale of indulgences for
those who emit so-called greenhouse gases is built on widespread fraud.
The illusion of "carbon neutrality" is very often nothing more than smoke
and mirrors. Business Week, hardly a conservative source, has investigated
a number of these schemes and found widespread questionable practices.
... Common sense tells anyone that if you think it is a bad thing to generate
carbon dioxide, you should curtail your activities that do so. Anything
else is morally fraudulent.
Ox Is Gored? The media discover the former VP's environmental exaggerations
CIA: Clueless or Conniving?
Douglas Hanson, American
Thinker, March 16, 2007
Private correspondence and
discussions with people involved with organizations attempting to track
down Iraq's weapons, such as UNSCOM, remain convinced that Saddam had post-Gulf
War I WMDs in violation of UN resolutions. Even our Soldiers and
Marines in the field found CW which squashes any notion of a massive right
wing conspiracy. Therefore, the question remains as to why the CIA
would not thoroughly investigate these matters if they had a chance of
proving their "slam dunk" case. As Richards says, if the CIA was
burned by failure to predict critical events such as Saddam's progress
in building an A-bomb in 1991, wouldn't they want some sort of coup to
regain a semblance of credibility? This affair isn't only about Wilson's
trip. It's about fighting release
of unclassified documents, it's about abuse of classification authority
in the case of WMD findings reported in the open media, and it's about
bargaining with our enemies
in Iraq instead of killing or capturing them. And because of their
private war against the President, we are at risk of being overwhelmed
by our enemies.
Article: Battling the Beltway
A Q&A by Kathryn Jean
Lopez, National Review Online
A terrible blunder occurred
on 9/11 that cost the lives of 3,000 Americans. We were vulnerable and
the CIA bears substantial responsibility. It accepted and endorsed the
false notion promoted by the Clinton White House that a new kind of terrorism
had come into existence that did not involve states.
Hubbell Standard: Hillary Clinton knows all about sacking U.S. Attorneys
Opinion Journal Editorial,
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Congressional Democrats are
in full cry over the news this week that the Administration's decision
to fire eight U.S. Attorneys originated from --gasp-- the White House.
Senator Hillary Clinton joined the fun yesterday, blaming President Bush
for "the politicization of our prosecutorial system." Oh, my. As it happens,
Mrs. Clinton is just the Senator to walk point on this issue of dismissing
U.S. attorneys because she has direct personal experience. In any Congressional
probe of the matter, we'd suggest she call herself as the first witness--and
bring along Webster Hubbell as her chief counsel. As everyone once knew
but has tried to forget, Mr. Hubbell was a former partner of Mrs. Clinton
at the Rose Law Firm in Little Rock who later went to jail for mail fraud
and tax evasion. He was also Bill and Hillary Clinton's choice as Associate
Attorney General in the Justice Department when Janet Reno, his nominal
superior, simultaneously fired all 93 U.S. Attorneys in March 1993. Ms.
Reno--or Mr. Hubbell--gave them 10 days to move out of their offices....
of U.S. Attorneys' Firings Proves Hypocritical Double Standard of the Media:
Bush Fired 8, Clinton Fired 93, But Only Bush is News.