North Archives - April 20, 2010
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and Tea Parties
Today it is clear that we
have strayed far from a non-intrusive revenue generation system designed
to fund only the essential functions of government. Our founders would
be horrified with our current tax system and would have considered it a
toll of tyranny, as would the ancient Israelites and Greeks. In short,
todayís Tea Party movement has a lot to protest.
Dumbest Bill of the Year
By John McClaughry
I have the envelope, please? And now Ė the dumbest bill of the year is
Ö S.88! Letís give a big hand to its author, Sen. Doug Racine!
S.88 is Sen. Racineís bill
to create a government run single payer health care system for Vermont.
But we donít have $2 billion
dollars to make that thing work!
Thatís true. So Sen. Racine
set aside his original bill and produced a new one, that directs the Health
Care Reform Commission the Democrats created four years ago to do a big
new study to develop three different varieties of socialized medicine that
next yearís legislature can choose from. The senator asked for $400,000
to pay for it.
to (or from) Proficiency (II)
By Martin Harris
chose to purchase, deploy, and publicize the results from NECAP, a test
designed to show a 2/3 proficiency rate from the same cohort of students
who made only 1/3 proficient on the federal (with unpublicized results)
NAEP tests. Maryland chose to purchase, deploy, and publicize the results
from MSA, the Maryland State Assessment. As for VT, the non-NAEP test seems
to put public education in a far better light than the NAEP one. A
University of Maryland study in 2007 documented exactly that conclusion,
and if you use the Web to read "Cross-Grade Comparisons among Statewide
Assessments and NAEP", Schaefer, Liu, and Wang, 2007, youíll find on page
7 a pair of charts showing that, just as in VT, the seeming 70% reading-and-math-proficient
result is actually 30% NAEP-defined proficient. Adding insult to injury
(your scribeís comment, not the authorsí) the charts show a downward proficiency
line across the grades: the longer students stay in school, the worse they
do. Punting from proficiency, you might say.
# # #
in the hearts of men and women. When it dies there, no constitution, no
law, no court can save it." - Justice Learned Hand
# # #
Weekly News Round-Up
Party Vents Anger at Montpelier Rally
By John Curran, Burlington
Free Press, April 16, 2010
Staged April 15 to coincide
with income tax filing deadlines, the rally was one of several planned
observances by the nascent tea party movement in Vermont, including a vigil
for "The Forgotten Man" later Thursday in the capital and a Tea Party Tax
Day Rally on Saturday in Rutland.
"People are fed up," said
Linda Chagnon, a 57-year-old caregiver from Burlington, who carried a sign
that read: "Give Me Liberty, Not Debt."
Related Article: On
Tax Day, Vermont Tea Party Speaks Up
A 14-Decade-Old VT Policy Be That Wrong?
Caledonia Record Editorial,
April 14, 2010
There are 92 towns in Vermont,
many of them in our area, with parental choice of high schools under Vermont
law. Among them are St. Johnsbury, Lyndon, Barnet, Waterford, Gilman, Lunenburg,
Walden, Sheffield, Sutton, Wheelock, Burke, Peacham, Kirby and Victory.
All of these towns, for the
past 140 years, have enjoyed parental/student choice of high schools because
thrifty Vermont Yankees who long ago, rather than build public high schools
that would duplicate existing independent high schools, academies, seminaries
and institutes, required towns provide secondary education but need not
build schools. All of these towns were allowed to issue vouchers to parents
of high school-age students, vouchers that have been used ever since to
pay the students' way to independent or other public high schools.
It has always stuck in the
craw of public education authorities, but especially administrators and
teachers, that they have not been able to capture and/or control the parents
and students who exercise their right to choose their high school, rather
than march in lock step to the neighboring public high school, good or
bad, because they are captives of the public system.
Now, Commissioner Vilaseca
is on the verge of getting a public reorganization passed that will slowly
but surely choke off parental and student choice. [See
John McClaughry column of last week.]
More Important: Reducing Poverty or Greenhouse Gases?
FromVermont Tiger, April
That's one of those questions
that does not have win-win answers. Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy
believes reducing greenhouse gases trumps alleviating poverty in South
Africa. In a
letter he sent to World Bank President Robert Zoellick
in late March, Senator Leahy argued that the Bank should not provide a
$3 billion loan to help finance the construction of one of the world's
largest coal-fired power plants in a rural part of South Africa.
South Africa, although relatively
prosperous by African standards, is still a very poor country. Consider
that in South Africa
Regulation Sets Up Clash of Cultures
life expectancy is 48 years
(the US is 78)
out of every 1,000 babies born,
44 die (in the US it's 6).
per capita income is $10,100
($46,000 in the US)
the unemployment rate is 24%
(9.7% in the US)
50% of the population
earns less than the poverty level of income (12% in the US)
per capita electricity consumption
is 4,500 kwh per year (12,500 in the US)
By Candice Page, The Burlington
Free Press, April 18, 2010
Meet Terry Carter, an affable
man in grease-stained blue work clothes: Terry Carter, struggling businessman,
recycler, host of last resort for your broken-down Subaru, your over-the-hill
refrigerator, that old RV you canít sell.
Or is he Terry Carter, unlicensed
junkyard operator, scofflaw, headache for town government and threat to
He is both, the correct answer
runs ó and that is the challenge state government faces as it begins its
first comprehensive effort to regulate junkyards and reduce the environmental
risks they pose.
From Vermont Tiger, April
There is, evidently, a fair
possibility that the legislature will adjourn without completing its business
Rep. Oliver Olsen,
a Jamaica Republican, and some other members of the House plan on offering
an amendment to the bill that would bring the Legislature back to review
and approve the administration's changes to government under the Challenges
legislation in the middle of June. -- Rutland
Well ... actually, it is an
absolute certainty that the legislature will adjourn before it completes
its business this session since it most likely will have done nothing to
the exhausted unemployment trust fund which will, therefore,
have to get along on borrowed federal money. Eventually this will
have to be paid back. With interest, which is the price we shall
pay for the legislature's inaction.
Jobless Fund Needs Action Right Now
Burlington Free Press Editorial,
April 19, 2010
The Legislature and the Douglas
administration add to Vermont's fiscal peril by failing to deal with the
bankrupt state fund
that pays for state unemployment benefits.
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Global War on Terrorism
Bear is Back
By Arthur Herman, The New
York Post, April 13, 2010
The plane crash that killed
Poland's president and 95 others is a tragedy for the Polish people and
a loss of a good friend for the United States. For Poland's neighbor Russia,
however, it's an opportunity to push for hegemony over Eastern Europe,
as in the Iron Curtain days.
For the Russian bear is back.
Like Dracula rising from his coffin, it now stalks the world long after
we thought it dead and buried. And President Obama's feckless handling
of foreign affairs is giving Russia's authoritarian leadership a chance
like no other to expand its power -- and steadily diminish ours.
Wins Again: Rebuilding imperial Russia
Terrorism: "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" (Part 4 of 10)
and the Russian Resurgence
By Peter Huessy,Family Security
Matters, March 25, 2010
The history of sanctions
efforts to change the behavior of rogue regimes is mixed. For nearly 30
years, the Iranian regime has been restricted from doing some business
with the world, most specifically the United States. Nevertheless, during
that period of time, Iran has grown into the worldís premier sponsor of
terrorism, while seeking both nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles to
provide them the top-cover under which they conduct their murderous business.
One of the positives of the
past year is that some of our allies have come to understand the Iranians
are the primary problem, and that previous failures to secure a negotiated
of Iranís violations of the NPT were not the fault of the United States
or our allies. While engagement probably has failed, it took a year of
such efforts to convince some of our important allies that the United States
really was interested in "making a deal"
War of Ideas: Jihadism Against Democracy
By Raymond Ibrahim, American
Thinker, April 17, 2010
After the strikes of 9/11,
a plethora of books dealing with the threat of radical Islam appeared in
the West. In The War of Ideas: Jihad Against Democracy, Dr. Walid
Phares -- who had been studying Islamism and its impact on international
relations decades before 9/11 made it popular -- goes one step further
by articulating the struggle from democracy's point of view. That is, not
only does he delineate the general threat that radical Islam and jihad
pose to the non-Muslim world, but he does so through a distinctly democratic
paradigm, showing what, specifically, is at stake.
The result is eye-opening.
The conflict between the West and radical Islam -- or as Phares more accurately
shows, the conflict between democracy and theocracy -- is wide and far-ranging,
and hardly limited to a few, finite grievances (whether Israel, oil, or
unflattering cartoons of Muhammad): "Between the mosaic of democracies
and the panoply of Jihadism, the disagreement is philosophical, historical,
and doctrinal: it is about how the world has functioned for centuries and
how it should evolve" (p.3).
Radical Lives in the Poconos -- but it's not what you think
By Dan Berrett, Pocono Record
Writer, April 18, 2010
Gülen is an ailing Turkish
cleric whose vision of an Islam that embraces science, education and interfaith
dialogue has earned him millions of followers ó and the suspicion of many
in Turkey's secular establishment. To his supporters, Gülen is the
face of a more contemporary and tolerant Islam.
But his critics perceive
Gülen's benign face as a mask ó one disguising an Islamist wolf in
a moderate sheep's clothing.
Was the ĎChristmas Bomberí Radicalized?
By Dr. Laina Farhat-Holzman,
Family Security Matters, April 14, 2010
National Public Radio (NPR)
has been doing a fascinating series on how the young Nigerian wannabe bomber,
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, was radicalized. Much of what they have provided
resonates with the research I did for my book, Godís Law or Manís Law,
published just before 9/11/2001. I tracked fanatical and violent religious
movements around the world that appeared threatening to all secular governance.
Although there are fanatics in every religious and ideological denomination,
Islam is currently the most prominent.
One conflict area even then
was in Nigeria, where radical Islamic and radical Christian missionary
movements were already in collision. Northern Nigeria is heavily Muslim,
whereas southern Nigeria is Christian,
Animist, and secular. But until radicalization became the mode, all of
these groups managed to coexist. For the past decade, however, coexistence
is no longer an option.
Safer with New Nuke Policy?
By Gregory D. Lee,Family
Security Matters, April 7, 2010
Obviously the Russians still
donít trust the United States when it says it will never initiate a nuclear
attack against them. At the Russians insistence, the U.S. already backed
off on a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe to protect it from a
missile attack by Iran.
So, do you feel any safer
today than you did last week? I donít. I do not believe that the U.S. is
about to be attacked by any nation, including the Russians. I donít believe
there is a reason to be overly concerned at this point, but the actions
of the White House to purposely weakening our national defense for ideological
reasons is unacceptable.
# # #
The tea partiers want
a return to the Foundersí principles of constitutional limits to government.
By Larry Kudlow, The National
Review, April 7, 2010
So much is being written
in the mainstream media about who the tea partiers are, but very
little is being recorded about what these folks are actually saying.
We know that this is a decentralized
grassroots movement, with many different voices hailing from many different
towns across the country. But the tea-party message comes together in the
"Contract from America," the product of an online vote orchestrated
by Ryan Hecker, a Houston tea-party activist and national coordinator for
Bautschís Mother Speaks Out
Says Daughter Was
Attacked by Leftist Political Protesters
By Jim Hoft, Gateway Pundit,
April 18, 2010
On Friday April 9, 2010,
GOP official Allee Bautsch and her boyfriend Joe Brown attended
a Republican dinner at Brennanís restaurant in New Orleans. When they left
this event they were followed from the restaurant by a group of five white
men who hurled
insults at them calling Allee a "little blond bitch" and
calling Joe a "f**king f*ggot." They brutally beat
and stomped on the young Republican couple just blocks from
Allee Bautsch suffered
a broken leg from the beatdown outside to the SRLC dinner at Brennanís
Restaurant in New Orleans. She had her leg operated on over the weekend
and it will take her months to recover. Her boyfriend Joe Brown
suffered a broken nose, a broken jaw, and a concussion. They were attacked
after leaving the Southern Republican Leadership Conference dinner at Brennanís
On Saturday, Allee Bautschís
mother spoke out about the vicious attack. She joined
Alleeís friend and said the attackers were leftist protesters.
Bad Could 2010 Really Get For Democrats?
By Sean Trende, Real Clear
Politics, April 14, 2010
Though Election Day is still
months away, pundits have already begun to speculate on possible outcomes
for this year's midterms. There's a general consensus that Democrats will
lose seats in November, but beyond that opinions vary widely on how big
those losses might be. Some argue that because of the advance notice, passage
of health care, and an improving economy (or some combination of all three),
Democrats will be able to limit their losses significantly. Others are
predicting a repeat of 1994, when Democrats lost 50+ seats and control
of the House.
So how bad could 2010 get
for the Democrats? Let me say upfront that I tend to agree with analysts
who argue that if we move into a "V"-shaped recovery and President
Obama's job approval improves, Democratic losses could be limited to
twenty or twenty-five seats.
That said, I think those
who suggest that the House is barely in play, or that we are a long way
from a 1994-style scenario are missing the mark. A 1994-style scenario
is probably the most likely outcome at this point. Moreover, it
is well within the realm of possibility - not merely a far-fetched scenario
- that Democratic losses could climb into the 80 or 90-seat range. The
Democrats are sailing into a perfect storm of factors influencing a midterm
election, and if the situation declines for them in the ensuing months,
I wouldn't be shocked to see Democratic losses eclipse 100 seats.
Romney Could Kill the ObamaCare Repeal Movement
By Philip Klein, American
Spectator, April 16, 2010
Over the past several weeks,
political observers have speculated about how passage of the national health
care law modeled after the one Mitt Romney signed in Massachusetts could
hurt his presidential ambitions. But more significant for conservatives
is how Romney's presidential ambitions could stymie the effort to repeal
As it is, achieving a full
repeal of the recently-passed health care law will be extremely difficult.
Given that Obama would veto any bill to undo his signature legislative
accomplishment, it means that to get rid of the law, Republicans will have
to not only take back Congress, but capture the White House. It also means
that conservatives will have to relentlessly campaign against ObamaCare
during the next two elections and keep public outrage at an elevated level
for at least the next three years. And even if they achieve all of this,
they will have a short window to repeal the bill in 2013, because by 2014
the federal government will begin to dole out hundreds of billions of dollars
in subsidies, which will create a whole new constituency to preserve the
If Romney were the Republican
presidential nominee in 2012, it would make this already challenging fight
even harder. Romney's role in creating a health care program quite similar
to the one that just passed nationally would allow Obama to neutralize
the issue during an election that would otherwise be a prime opportunity
to make the case for repeal.
Country of 'Third Rails'
By D.L. Hammack, American
Thinker, April 17, 2010
Since the inception of Social
Security, there has been an unspoken rule in politics: When
campaigning for national office or running for re-election, a candidate
could never pledge to touch, cut spending for, dismantle, or otherwise
look crossways at Social Security unless it was to raise the payouts to
its recipients. Social Security has always been referred to as the "third
rail" in politics. You simply never touch it.
It would now appear that
the US is riddled with a plethora of untouchable third rails and holy grails.
Social Security no longer resides as the lone example of third rail politics.
The recent extension of unemployment
benefits by Congress is a perfect example of how the entitlement
mentality will no longer afford any consideration for cuts to programs
that the left would deem to be "rights" given to the beneficiaries by their
warm-hearted leaders. It would be a safe assumption to believe that these
unemployment benefits will be extended again and again as no politician
wants to appear as heartless for taking away this benefit. The problem
is this, however: The longer these benefits continue; the more recipients
become addicted to the monthly checks. The more they become addicted, the
more pressure from the voting block to consider this a "third rail."
It is a sad state of affairs
when it is no longer feasible for politicians to consider virtually any
program for cuts, unless it is defense, national security, NASA, or simple
Falls 3.2% During Obama's Term
By Joseph Curl, The Washington
Times, April 13, 2010
Real personal income for
Americans - excluding government payouts such as Social Security - has
fallen by 3.2 percent since President Obama took office in January 2009,
according to the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis.
For comparison, real personal
income during the first 15 months in office for President George W. Bush,
who inherited a milder recession from his predecessor, dropped 0.4 percent.
Income excluding government payouts increased 12.7 percent during Mr. Bush's
eight years in office.
"This is hardly surprising,"
said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, an economist and former director of the nonpartisan
Congressional Budget Office. "Under President Obama, only federal spending
is going up; jobs, business startups, and incomes are all down. It is proof
that the government can't spend its way to prosperity."
Parties vs. Hard-Left Protests
By L. Brent Bozell, Media
Research Center, April 13, 2010
A new study of Tea Party
coverage on ABC, CBS, and NBC found that the anti-tax protesters were first
ignored, and then deplored. That's much different from the substantial
and promotional "news" of left-wing protests.
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