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True North Archives - April 22, 2008
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Featured Articles

The Fanatic Anti-Nuclear Movement
By John McClaughry

In the face of all science, reason, and experience, the anti-nuclear zealots fiercely maintain that the Vernon nuclear power plant is a standing death threat against the population for miles around, that its pall of radiation will produce deformed children, and that the plant's present owner Entergy is a reckless and sinister enterprise making enormous profits while scornfully dismissing the concerns of its likely Vermont victims.

The Northern Agrarians
By Martin Harris

The quantitative outcomes of such majority-public-opinion situations show up in such reports as the latest effort of the American Legislative Exchange Council. Itís entitled Rich States Poor States and you can read it on line or in your own personal copy for about $15. It ranks the states in terms of economic competitiveness, using measures ranging from taxation and demographic trends to government employment and quality of state legal system. Vermont comes in at #50 out of 50 in this analysis by authors Stephen Moore and Arthur Laffer, while Utah comes in at #1. North Carolina, arguably the least-red (in terms of political philosophy, red being conservative and blue liberal under the now-famous USA Today color-coding of such trends in 2000) of the southern states comes in at #19, while New Hampshire, arguably the least blue of the northern states, comes in at #20. This being an opinion column, hereís my opinion: public preference driving public policy as it does in state governance, the majority of voters in both Vermont and Utah are getting just about what they want in no-growth or pro-growth policies, which then show up in the ALEC numbers. For example, Vermont now has high rates of growth in taxation and of shrinkage in certain aspects of population, while Utah has just the opposite. (Utah spends less than half of Vermontís public-education per-pupil budget and gets about the same student test score results, but thatís another story.)

As Months Become Days
By Rob Roper

In Nancy Remsenís article on the proposed budget cuts, Steve Klein, chief legislative fiscal officer, is quoted as saying. "How do you respond in three days to cut $24.5 million?" This is a very telling statement. The legislature has been in session since January. Thatís over three months.

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"It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress." -- Mark Twain (1897)

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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up
Across The River And ... Into The Future
By Jack Harding,, April 16, 2008

Vermont is 20 years behind and our elected officials are working half-time to catch up.  Thank goodness.  This means the legislature has less time to spend money we donít have on ideas disproven so long ago that even Communist China bailed on them in the 90ís. In any case, we are blessed with the mind-clearing asset of nothing to lose. Letís take a lesson from our regional brethren down the road and craft a vision for Vermontís future beyond maple products. Letís join the best part of the clean, environmentally-friendly tech world and put down a bet. Albany did it. We can too.

False hopes meet real bitterness
By Ruben Navarrette Jr., The Burlington Free Press, April 19, 2008

For decades, Democrats have peddled cynicism, negativity, fear, powerlessness -- and yes, bitterness, and so it's hard for them to argue that Americans aren't stewing in those juices. 

Anchor Quits Al-Jazeera, Cites anti-American Tone
By David Bauder Associated Press Apr 16, 2008

Marash was the highest-profile American TV personality hired when the English language affiliate to Al-Jazeera was started two years ago in an attempt to compete with CNN and the BBC. He said there was a "reflexive adversarial editorial stance" against Americans at Al-Jazeera English. ...

Al-Jazeera English has been largely unsuccessful in getting U.S. cable or satellite systems to pick it up, except for the municipal cable system in Burlington, Vt., and a small system visible in Toledo and Sandusky, Ohio. But its programming is available on the network's YouTube site.

The Pace of Foreclosures in Vermont is Quickening
By Dan McLean, The Burlington Free Press, April 17, 2008

Foreclosure filings through March 2008 have increased 37 percent to 423 in Vermont, compared with 308 filings for the same period last year, according to the Vermont Department of Banking, Insurance, Securities and Health Care Administration. Vermont's increase in foreclosures, though, remains well below the national rate.

Anti-School Choice: Ideology Trumps Compassion
Caledonia Record Editorial, April 14, 2008

Once again, the hardnoses on the left have let their ideology trump their compassion, this time on an attempt to make life a little easier for pregnant teens. School choice is one of those issues that the ideology of the left demands absolute obedience to - no school choice anywhere or anytime. Public school is the only proper place for school kids that are paid for with tax money. Any attempt to broaden choice must be defeated by any and all means.

Vermont's Revenue Shortfall Continues its Dramatic Slide
By Louis Porter Vermont Press Bureau, Times Argus, April 16, 2008

It's not pretty. After weeks of wondering how much will have to be trimmed from next year's state budget as the impact of an unwelcome recession deepens, officials got word Tuesday it will be at least $24.5 million in General Fund spending alone. That is more than 2 percent of the state's main spending plan of roughly $1.2 billion.

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

Iraqi Army Transformed Into National Force
By Fred W. Baker III, American Forces Press Service, April 17, 2008

In the past year, the Iraqi army has transformed into a national force that has deployed across the country in operations that show its increasing combat capabilities, a senior commander there said today. 

Turkey's Turning Point
Could there be an Islamic Revolution in Turkey?
By Michael Rubin National Review Online April 14, 2008

Few U.S. policymakers have heard of Fethullah Gülen, perhaps Turkey's most prominent theologian and political thinker. Self-exiled for more than a decade, Gülen lives a reclusive life outside Philadelphia, Pa. Within months, however, he may be as much a household a name in the United States as is Ayatollah Khomeini, a man who was as obscure to most Americans up until his triumphant return to Iran almost 30 years ago.

Reconstruction and Development (R&D)
From the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, International Security Assistance Force

R&D achievements in numbers:

  • In 2001, 8% of Afghans had access to basic healthcare. In early 2007, the figure is up to 83%. 
  • In 2001, 1.2 million children attended school daily; today, 7 million do, including 2 million girls. A total of 43,000 Ė 45,000 teachers were trained in 2006. 
  • 825 of the ring road network is open to traffic, through portions are still under construction.
  • There were 88,136 anti-personnel mines destroyed, as well as 11,524 anti-tank mines. 
Britain monitoring 30 terror plots
From Reuters, April 13, 2008 

BRITISH police and security agencies are monitoring 30 terrorism plots, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said in extracts of a newspaper interview released today. "We now face a threat level that is severe. It's not getting any less, it's actually growing," she said in an interview to be published tomorrow in News of the World.

One suspected terrorist detained in joint operation; local SOI groups reject AQI
From Multi-National Force-Iraq,April 16, 2008

Coalition forces patrolled a group of islands along the Tigris River during operations Apr. 12-14 and discovered that Sons of Iraq groups had already cleared an area once occupied by al-Qaeda in Iraq terrorists. Local Iraqis in the area reported that the last time AQI had a major presence in that region near Samarra was about two months ago.  They told Coalition forces that SOI groups had forced much of AQIís operations out of the area and remain vigilant in defending their neighborhoods against terrorist operations. 

Shilling for Sharia at Harvard
By Hillel Stavis,

Harvard Law School professor Noah Feldman touched off a fierce debate when he recently wrote in The New York Times Magazine that Islamic Sharia law represents the highest state of "the rule of law." But what many of Feldmanís critics did not recognize is that his argument has been building over several years.

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From Elsewhere

Marriage Breakdown Costs Taxpayers at Least $112 Billion a Year
Institute for American Values

In first-ever research, a new report quantifies a minimum $112 billion annual taxpayer cost from high rates of divorce and unmarried childbearing. It identifies national, state, and local costs which account for more than $1 trillion in the last decade. This landmark scholarly study, entitled The Taxpayer Costs of Divorce and Unwed Childbearing: First-Ever Estimates for the Nation and All 50 States, was released on April 15th at the National Press Club by four renowned policy and research groupsóInstitute for American Values, Georgia Family Council, Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, and Families Northwest.

IPCC Challenged to Recant Global Warming Position
By Roger F. Gay, Menís News Daily, April 19, 2008

A group of scientists have challenged the IPCC to admit that there is no evidence that human activity drives climate change. Specifically, they sent a letter this month to the Chairman of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change asking those associated with the panel to:

...retract support from the current IPCC position and admit that there is no observational evidence in measured data going back 22,000 years or even millions of years that CO2 levels (whether from man or nature) have driven or are driving world temperatures or climate change.

President Bush Welcomes His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to White House
The White House, April 16, 2008

From the dawn of the Republic, America's quest for freedom has been guided by the conviction that the principles governing political and social life are intimately linked to a moral order based on the dominion of God the Creator. The framers of this nation's founding documents drew upon this conviction when they proclaimed the self-evident truth that all men are created equal and endowed with inalienable rights grounded in the laws of nature and of nature's God. 

What Price Freedom?
By Lawrence Kudlow, National Review, April 14, 2008

Then again, the anti-war forces might want to recall John F. Kennedy's inaugural address, in which he called on Americans to "Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to ensure the survival and the success of liberty." Do these folks actually think 1% of GDP is too large a price, too heavy a burden? I sure hope not.

Political Crusaders
By Thomas Sowell, GOPUSA, April 16, 2008

The latest political crusade is the crusade to replace ordinary light bulbs with the new CFL light bulb that is supposed to save electricity, reducing the need for fossil fuels and helping the fight against global warming. Since crusaders seldom stop to weigh the cost of what they are advocating, it is especially important that the rest of us do so before we get swept along by rhetoric and emotions. With the CFL light bulb, the initial cost -- several times that of a regular light bulb -- is only the financial cost. A bigger problem is what to do if a CFL light bulb breaks.

The Inanity of Obamanomics
By Marc Sheppard, American Thinker, April 17, 2008

When Barack Obama repeated his call to nearly double the capital gains tax rate last month, most observers wrote it off to fiscal naivety.  But during last night's debate, the Democrat frontrunner let slip that his motives were more socially than economically driven.  And that his reasoning was nothing short of ridiculous.

Obama's Tax Evasion
From the Wall Street Journal Editorial, April 18, 2008

Either the young Illinois Senator is ignorant of this revenue data, or he doesn't really care because he's a true income redistributionist who prefers high tax rates as a matter of ideological dogma regardless of the revenue consequences. Neither one is a recommendation for President.

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