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True North Archives - March 31, 2009
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Featured Articles

The Purpose of Marriage
By Kelly Bartlett

The sexual union of a married couple is procreative. By its very nature, the heterosexual act has the potential to create a child; thus it is community-oriented. This is why marriage is so important: marriage actually creates communities, hence society’s interest in supporting it. In contrast, a homosexual union never produces children because it is intrinsically sterile; gay sex is not community-oriented. Vermont can never replenish her citizenry with gay sex. 

"Scribblings": An Occasional Newsletter from the Legislature
By Rep. Thomas F. Koch, Barre Town, March 22, 2009

Each year, the end of the legislative session is signaled by the adoption of the "big bill," the budget for the ensuing year.  As the legislature adjourns in April (we hope!) or May, or June (God forbid!), we adopt a state budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 and ending on the following June 30.  So in May 2008, we adopted the FY 2009 budget for the year ending June 30, 2009.

By the time the legislature returns in January, reality has set in.  Revenue estimates have been adjusted, anticipated expenses are more accurate, and circumstances have changed.  So the first order of business for the Appropriations Committee is to prepare a mid-year budget adjustment act.  This is an annual and reasonable routine.

This year, of course, is very different.  General fund revenue estimates for the current year are down by $55 million from last May, unemployment and social service program enrollments are up; and all other state funds except the education fund are showing sizeable reductions from previous estimates.  In July, and again in November, the joint fiscal committee, acting in the absence of the full legislature, approved budget cuts of many millions of dollars.  Now it is up to the entire legislature to modify the budget in light of facts that were not known last May. 

Common Ground: Pro-Sprawl and Grow-It-Yourself Blocs
By Martin Harris

You can, of course, find a study or two with any "finding" to match your pre-disposition or ideology, but more indicative, I’d argue, are those intended for in-house "expert" consumption only, such as the 2007 report entitled "Lot Size, Zoning and Household Preferences: Impediments to Smart Growth?"  published by the Environmental Protection Agency in co-operation with the University of Maryland. On page 2 it lists the potential obstacles to smart-growth as including new homebuyer preference for larger lots, and on page 16 the writers worry specifically that "the bigger issue [than minimum lot size] may be household preference for larger lots". In short, they complain, the average American is too dumb or stubborn to recognize what the experts know is better for him, housing-wise.

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"Forced to choose, the poor, like the rich, love money more than political liberty; and the only political freedom capable of enduring is one that is so pruned as to keep the rich from denuding the poor by ability or subtlety and the poor from robbing the rich by violence or votes." --Will Durant

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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

Once More -- Call Your Representative(s)
An update from "Take it to the People" on the gay Marriage struggle

This is the time to make a big push on our representatives. The same-sex marriage bill (S.115) is set for a floor vote on Thursday or Friday of this week. The House Judiciary Committee will vote the bill out on Tuesday. The House will then deal with the Appropriations bill -- what we sent them to Montpelier to -- before dealing with what we didn't send them to Montpelier to do.

When Parents Act Like 2-Year-Olds
From the Caledonia Record, March 26, 2009

These brawling men embarrassed their kids, their spouses, and their neighbors. We can forgive 2-year-olds, because they are toddlers in early stages of development. Every parent knows the "terrible twos." But, it is nearly beyond forgiveness when their fathers (or, in some cases, their mothers) throw fighting temper tantrums at kids' events. There are too many times at youth sporting events when supportive, cheerleading parents become enraged lunatics.

We'll See That Five Million
...and raise you another five.
From Vermont Tiger – March 28, 2009

The leaders in the legislature insist that they cannot possibly find $24 million in budget cuts without hurting Vermont's  most vulnerable citizens. 

This was absolutely predictable.  When the people who run a government are faced with cutting a budget – their budget – they inevitably do it in a way to maximize public outrage.  This is known, among the congnescenti, as "the Washington Monument Ploy."  Faced with a public demand for budget cuts, the political class decides to give the taxpayers what they want ... and give it to them good and hard, as Mencken would say. 

School Choice Program: R.I.P.
From the Caledonia Record, March 24, 2009

One of the most successful new school choice programs in America is the one in Washington, D.C. that gives $7,000 vouchers to parents and students, almost all Afro-Americans, who choose to escape the worst school system in the country and go to the schools of their choice. This voucher program has been acclaimed and applauded for the five years of its operation, not only by these parents and kids, but by educational authorities all over the nation. Its success has become its poison pill. It is a pointed stick in the eye of, and a constant embarrassment to, the NEA. 

Now, the Democratic majority in Congress has killed the program by burying in President Obama's national budget a provision that bans funding of the program after this year. So, these kids will have to return to their utterly failing public schools next year, because the Democratic party and the NEA are inseparable allies. It's worth it to the NEA to diminish the futures of a bunch of kids; it must maintain its monopoly on public schools, teachers, and kids.

Dealing With Vermont
From Vermont Tiger, March 27, 2009

If this bill becomes law – it needs to pass the senate and the governor must sign it, or the legislature must override his veto – then the Vermont Yankee plant will be shut down in 2012, at the latest.  This will be bad for Vermont, though supporters of the bill will argue that renewables will take up the slack, providing both the necessary jobs and the essential electricity. Maybe. But what about the reputation of Vermont as a place to do business? 

Gov. Douglas rebuffs gay-marriage backers
BY Terri Hallenbeck, Burlington Free Press, March 28, 2009

"No minds were changed," Douglas said, noting that supporters were also unswayed by his argument. He said despite the size of Friday’s crowd, many other Vermonters agree with him. 

"I think many Vermonters who agree with me don’t have the time to come to the Statehouse to rally."

Douglas announced Wednesday he would veto the same-sex marriage bill making its way through the Legislature, saying marriage should remain between a man and a woman. The bill passed the Senate, 26-4, this week. The full House is expected to vote Thursday and Friday.

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

CAIR’s Well-Deserved Expulsion
Terrorism is only one expression of jihad — there are others as dangerous.
By Andrew C. McCarthy, National Review, March 24, 2009

That threat is not, essentially, about terrorism. Given the life-and-death stakes involved, it is understandable that government is preoccupied by terrorism (or what Obama’s homeland-security secretary, Janet Napolitano, absurdly calls "man-caused disasters"). But jihadist terror is merely the means to a specific end: the installation of sharia, the Islamic legal code, which Muslim fundamentalists regard as the necessary precondition for the achievement of Islam’s universalist ambitions.

Sharia should be of grave concern to us because it is antithetical to the U.S. Constitution and to our way of life. It rejects several core American propositions: that liberty cannot co-exist with an established state religion, that free people have a right to govern themselves irrespective of any religious code’s dictates, that there should be freedom of conscience (sharia holds that apostasy from Islam is not merely a crime but a capital offense), sexual liberty (homosexuality is also a death-penalty offense), and equal protection under the law (sharia privileges Muslims over non-Muslims and men over women). Sharia, furthermore, is the rationale commonly trotted out by militants to justify the use of force (whether we call it "terrorism" or employ such sophistries as "resistance" or "man-caused disasters") for resolving policy disputes — under the rationale that policies that do not privilege Islam constitute an attack on Islam and therefore justify jihadist violence.

Obama and Khamenei
By Amil Iman, American Thinker, March 27, 2009

During the U.S. presidential election, President Obama boasted that he would embark on personal diplomacy to solve our foreign policy problems with terrorist countries such as Syria and the Islamic Republic. He said that he would meet their leaders without any preconditions to settle our disputes. Doesn't that sound like a change of heart, a real change and a great relief to us all? Never mind the fact that this president has about zero experience in foreign policy matters, he is foolish enough to aim to negotiate with the ever-conniving Assad of Syria and masters of deceptions such as the mullahs of Iran.

Japan Issues Order to 'Destroy' N. Korea Rocket
From the AP, March 27, 2009

The Japanese government is urging people to remain calm as Japan's defense minister ordered the military to prepare to shoot down any debris that could fall on Japanese territory if a North Korean rocket launch fails, mobilizing interceptor missiles and sending two warships to the Sea of Japan.

Somali Muslims Changing Small Tennessee Town
From Family Security Matters, March 27, 2009

It has been nearly 20 years since Somalia last had a functioning government. Islamic Jihadists now control most of the country – and sharia is the law of the land. Tens of thousands of Somali refugees have resettled in America in recent years to escape the chaos of their homeland, which is located in the Horn of Africa. But the transition isn't going smoothly in one small town.

U.S. Intelligence Official about Israel: "This is just the beginning"
From the Northeast Intelligence Network

Northeast Intelligence Network director Doug Hagmann interviewed a highly-placed U.S. intelligence official late yesterday who not only confirmed rumors about escalated and more intensive Israeli military operations against the Muslim terrorists in Gaza, warned of the increasing probability of abandonment of Israel by the U.S. and other Western countries based on what he termed "malicious intelligence."

"Remember that term," advised this well-placed intelligence official, "you’ll be hearing it again."

"This is just the beginning," stated this intelligence official, who wished to remain anonymous. This official stated that the possibility for a much more protracted ground war is more likely today than at any other time in the past, adding that Israel is exercising her right to protect herself from her enemies in Gaza. But there is a catch, noted this official, and a big one at that: Israel could be about to lose the support of the United States.

Britain's Double Vision of Hezbollah?
By Dr. Walid Phares, Family Security Matters, March 25, 2009

The British government’s announcement to open a dialogue with "the political wing of Hezbollah" is most troubling. In a statement to a parliamentary committee, Bill Rammell, the British foreign office’s minister for Middle East affairs, rationalized the decision on the grounds of what his office perceives to be "more positive developments within Lebanon."

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From Elsewhere

EU Leader Condemns US ‘road to hell’
By Tony Barber in Brussels and Edward Luce in Washington, Financial Times, March 25, 2009

European Union hopes for a new era in relations with the US were thrown into chaos on Wednesday when the holder of the EU presidency condemned American remedies for the global recession as "the road to hell". ...

"The US Treasury secretary talks about permanent action and we, at our spring council, were quite alarmed at that . . . The US is repeating mistakes from the 1930s, such as wide-ranging stimuluses, protectionist tendencies and appeals, the Buy American campaign, and so on," he told a European parliament session in Strasbourg. "All these steps, their combination and their permanency, are the road to hell."

Judaism's Sexual Revolution: Why Judaism Rejected Homosexuality
By Dennis Prager, Catholic Education Resource Center

(Editor’s note: this is an article that we ran with over a year ago but thought that it was relevant to our current political discussion)

Societies that did not place boundaries around sexuality were stymied in their development. The subsequent dominance of the Western world can largely be attributed to the sexual revolution initiated by Judaism and later carried forward by Christianity. This revolution consisted of forcing the sexual genie into the marital bottle. It ensured that sex no longer dominated society, heightened male-female love and sexuality (and thereby almost alone created the possibility of love and eroticism within marriage), and began the arduous task of elevating the status of women.

Win the Culture
By Andrew Klavin, American Conservative Union, March 25, 2009

For the last forty years, we conservatives have allowed the left to monopolize the culture. Partly, sure, that’s because the left excludes and blacklists conservative artists. But it’s also due to our own neglect, philistinism and old-fogey-ositude. Whatever the causes, though, movies, television, literature, music, mainstream news, liberal arts courses in universities—all the bastions of cultural power are in the hands of leftist rascals, fools and clowns.

Transformational Obama Budget
By Donald Devine, American Conservative Union, March 25, 2009

"The nine most terrifying words in the English language: I’m from the government and I’m here to help" will be multiplied by at least 100,000 additional bureaucratic voices if President Barack Obama’s first budget has its way; and it probably will considering that Congress cannot wait to "help" even more.

Now we know why Mr. Obama admired Ronald Reagan for being a "transformational" figure. He wants to transform Reagan’s transformation. During President Reagan’s first term, inspired by his quotation that leads this editorial and an existing economic downturn that was in many ways worse than today’s (certainly so far in terms of unemployment and interest rates), he decreased non-defense employment by 100,000, cut (discretionary) domestic spending rather than increased it, and (with the help of tax cuts) let the economy hit bottom so that it could bounce back—which it did—rather than prop up failing firms. Facing a worse stock drop in 1987, he again let the market fall—and it came right back, in weeks rather than months or years.

U.S. Seeks Expanded Power to Seize Firms
Goal Is to Limit Risk to Broader Economy
From the Washington Post, March 23, 2009

The Obama administration is considering asking Congress to give the Treasury secretary unprecedented powers to initiate the seizure of non-bank financial companies, such as large insurers, investment firms and hedge funds, whose collapse would damage the broader economy, according to an administration document.

The government at present has the authority to seize only banks.

Giving the Treasury secretary authority over a broader range of companies would mark a significant shift from the existing model of financial regulation, which relies on independent agencies that are shielded from the political process. The Treasury secretary, a member of the president's Cabinet, would exercise the new powers in consultation with the White House, the Federal Reserve and other regulators, according to the document.

The Real Meaning of Earth Hour
By Keith Lockitch,  Ayn Rand Center for Individual Liberty, March 23, 2009

Those who claim that we must cut off our carbon emissions to prevent an alleged global catastrophe need to learn the indisputable fact that cutting off our carbon emissions would be a global catastrophe. What we really need is greater awareness of just how indispensable carbon-based energy is to human life (including, of course, to our ability to cope with any changes in the climate).

It is true that the importance of Earth Hour is its symbolic meaning. But that meaning is the opposite of the one intended. The lights of our cities and monuments are a symbol of human achievement, of what mankind has accomplished in rising from the cave to the skyscraper. Earth Hour presents the disturbing spectacle of people celebrating those lights being extinguished. Its call for people to renounce energy and to rejoice at darkened skyscrapers makes its real meaning unmistakably clear: Earth Hour symbolizes the renunciation of industrial civilization.

Why Card Check Is Unconstitutional
By David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey, The Wall Street Journal, March 30, 2009 far the debate has not focused on the other compelling interest at stake: the constitutionally protected right of employees to keep their opinions on controversial issues like unionization to themselves.

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