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True North Archives - April 24, 2007
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Featured Articles

Putting Parents Back In Charge
By Robert Maynard

We should take notice of two points here. First, "the provision of early care and pre-kindergarten education through high-quality private providers" is FAR from being "one of the most crucial elements supporting the strength and stability of the system serving young children", in fact, it is viewed as a compromise. Secondly, if the bill acknowledges that "Families have the primary responsibility and right to nurture and provide for the early childhood development and education of their children", why are their concerns not being addressed. Not only does this bill fail to address the core concerns of parents and families, it moves in a direction that is guaranteed to further aggravate the situation.

Vermont's Number One - In Tax Burden
by John McClaughry

So why would a rational business decision maker choose Vermont over New Hampshire (or Tennessee or Delaware)? Does Vermont have enough of an edge in environmental quality, educational quality, personal security, beautiful views, recreation, small town amenities and personal security to win such a competition? Almost certainly not, and when it comes to business opportunity, regulatory cost and risk, transportation and telecommunications, and mandates and taxes, New Hampshire is a clear winner.

Hidden Taxes
By Bruce Shields

Vermont legislators have recently boasted of shifting the property tax burden onto non-resident property owners.  That is just one kind of hidden tax on ordinary Vermonters.  Some hidden taxes are disguised as fees: for instance, every corporation must now each year pay at least $250 to maintain its registration within our state.  The license to operate a truck, depending on its capacity, may cost up to several thousand dollars annually.  Many truck operators are required to buy a weight permit in each town the truck enters.  These are just a few of the imposts faced by a basic Vermont business -- every penny of which must be charged to that business’s customers.

Vermont Has the Smartest Students?
By Robert Skinner

As linear logic goes, if Vermont is the "highest taxed state" and paying the highest cost per pupil then Vermont students should logically be the “smartest”. And that's the story line here. As aforementioned and explained, the problem with these wild claims is that they are based on unreliable statistical comparisons.  But hey - if you’re a liberal journalist or editor who favors Democrats ruling Vermont and want to help them out, "Never let the facts get in the way of a good story”.

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"I want to talk about our common responsibilities in the face of a common danger. The events of recent weeks may have helped illuminate that challenge for some; but the dimensions of its threat [advance of communism] have loomed large on the horizon for many years.... Every newspaper now asks itself, with respect to every story: "Is it news?’ All I suggest is that you add the question: "Is it in the interest of the national security?".... I am not asking your newspapers to support the Administration, but I am asking your help in the tremendous task of informing and alerting the American people. For I have complete confidence in the response and dedication of our citizens whenever they are fully informed." --- President John F. Kennedy in a speech to the American Newspaper Publishers Association on April 27, 1961. Kennedy was alarmed that some newspapers had published "details of the nation’s covert preparations to counter the enemy’s covert operations." 

"He [Osama Bin Ladin] offered President Bush as the leader of the American people on three different occasions a chance to convert to Islam saying 'I will be your guide'. Now both of those things in Western context sound comical but both of them are fulfilling requirements that the Prophet laid down for making war - 'Warn them - offer them a chance to convert'. On the third issue he found a very prominent Sheik in Saudi Arabia who wrote a treatise on the use of weapons of mass destruction, especially nuclear weapons. And it authorizes the Mujahideen to kill up to 10,000,000 Americans using nuclear weapons. Now he's tied up any number of loose ends and I think they are ready to attack us in the United States." --- Michael Scheuer, a Former chief of the CIA Bin Ladin Unit from 1995 - 2004. His remarks were made on Monday, April 16 on a PBS special entitled "Jihad: The Men and the Ideas Behind Al Qaeda." 

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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

Controlling school costs needs to remain the focus
Burlington Free Press Editorial, April 15, 2007

The proposal to substitute a flat income tax for the property tax as a way to pay for public schools is more a sign of frustration over education costs than a real solution to the problems that face the system. By changing the funding system at this point, the task of controlling budgets becomes that much harder by making it nearly impossible for ordinary taxpayers to keep track of their share of school spending. The switch creates a diversion that is sure to pull attention away from tackling spending.

Manure in Montpelier
By Geoffrey Norman,, April 20, 2007

John McClaughry put together a formidable group to consider the demographic future of Vermont and this panel met yesterday in one of those imposing hearing rooms in the statehouse; first to hear from Richard Heaps and then comment on his presentation.

Economist sees unintended consequences in Vt. emissions limits
By Candace Page, Burlington Free Press, April 20, 2007

Harrison's analysis was intended to bolster automakers' argument that Vermont's rules could increase greenhouse gas emissions, if some motorists drive more and others hold on to their old, more polluting cars. "In my opinion, these regulations would reduce new vehicle sales," he testified. "Overall the fleet of vehicles will become older ... (and) there will be an increase in vehicle miles traveled in Vermont."

If Fred Thompson's not running, he should
By Cal Thomas, reprinted in the Burlington Free Press, April 17, 2007

Thompson conveys Middle American, common sense values. When he is asked a question, he doesn't sound as if he's giving a poll-tested pabulum answer. Agree or not, his statements spring from conviction.

Ethanol may cause more smog, deaths
By Seth Borenstein, The Associated Press, April 18, 2007

Switching from gasoline to ethanol -- touted as a green alternative at the pump -- may create dirtier air, causing slightly more smog-related deaths, a new study says.

Shumlin will push Douglas budget cap
By Nancy Remsen, Burlington Free Press, April 17, 2007

In an unexpected political turn, Senate President Pro Tempore Peter Shumlin, D-Windham, will lead an effort today to make the Douglas administration's school budget cap the heart of the Senate's education cost-containment legislation.

Instant Runoff Voting Is A Bad Idea
Caledonia Record Editorial, April 19, 2007

Instant runoff voting (IRV) is a bad idea whose time has not come, but Vermont's legislative leadership is going to try to resurrect it.

They're from another planet
By Weiland Ross, Bennington Banner, April 17, 2007

 There was a time, not too long ago, when comedians and others referred to Southern California as the "national granola bowl — the land of flakes and nuts." No more. This honor now belongs to the majority party in the Vermont House of Representatives. Their unwillingness to deal with important matters that they could actually solve, if they had the courage to do so, has converted the "veto-proof majority" into a mandate for mediocrity. On the other hand, their willingness to spend time and energy on matters that they can not actually solve has even attracted "Doonesbury." 

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Freedom Under Fire: The Global War on Terrorism

Dr. Walid Phares on the Future of Jihad Part I (video)

Dr. Phares is an expert on Jihadism, Terrorism and the clash of civilizations and author of The War of Ideas. In this interview Dr. Phares discusses the influence that Middle Eastern oil money is having on U.S. education.

Dr. Walid Phares on the Future of Jihad Part II (video)

In part II of this interview, Dr Phares discusses the home grown jihadist movement.

The Surge Is Working
YouTube Video

The troops on the ground in Iraq report on their progress themselves.

Can Petraeus Pull It Off?
A report on progress in Baghdad, Baqubah, Ramadi, & Falluja.
by Max Boot, The Weekly Standard

Until recently Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, was the most dangerous city in Iraq if not the world. It was run by al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), which had declared it the capital of its Islamic State of Iraq. The Iraqi police presence was limited to one police station, which the police were afraid to leave. Soldiers and Marines engaged in heavy combat every day, losing hundreds of men since 2003, simply to avoid having insurgents overrun the government center and close down Route Michigan, the main street. That began to change last year when the 1st Brigade Combat Team of the 1st Armored Division expanded the U.S. troop presence on the west side of town, losing almost 90 soldiers in the process.

Iraqi oil reserves could be twice as large
The Associated Press, on MSNBC, 4/19/2007

Iraq’s oil reserves could be nearly twice as large as previously estimated, containing more than 200 billion barrels, a new analysis of the war-torn country’s oil resources says.

"I found Saddam's WMD bunkers."
By Melanie Phillips, The Spectator, April 19, 2007

It's a fair bet that you've never heard of a guy called Dave Gaubatz. It's also a fair bet that you think the hunt for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq has found absolutely nothing, nada, zilch. Dave Gaubatz, however, says you could not be more wrong. Saddam's WMD did exist. He should know because because he found the sites... the American administration failed to act on his information, 'lost' his classified reports and is now doing everything it can to prevent disclosure of the terrible fact that, through its own incompetence, it allowed Saddam's WMD to end up in the hands of the very terrorist states against whom it is so controversially at war. You may be tempted to dismiss this as yet another dodgy claim from a warmongering lackey of the world Zionist neocon conspiracy... If so, perhaps you might pause... Mr. Gaubitz is not some marginal figure. He's pretty well as near to the horse's mouth as you can get. Mr. Gaubitz told the ISG of his findings, and asked them to come with heavy equipment to breach the concrete of the bunkers and uncover their sealed contents.

From Elsewhere

Drafting Fred Thompson: People Power In Action
By J.B. Williams, The

What we want is a real conservative president, even if we have to go draft one ourselves. The fact that this causes so much pain and anguish for so many career politicos accustomed to dictating our political choices, is just a bonus. This is a very new and exciting form of grassroots activism and it threatens to forever change how politics will work in America from this moment forward. How did it happen and where are we headed? This is a story for those who thought nobody was listening.

The Danger of Environmentalism
By Michael S. Berliner, The eco-logic Powerhouse, April 19, 2007

The expressed goal of environmentalism is to prevent man from changing his environment, from intruding on nature. That is why environmentalism is fundamentally anti-man. Intrusion is necessary for human survival. Only by intrusion can man avoid pestilence and famine. Only by intrusion can man control his life and project long-range goals. Intrusion improves the environment, if by "environment" one means the surroundings of man - the external material conditions of human life. Intrusion is a requirement of human nature. But in the environmentalists' paean to "Nature," human nature is omitted. For environmentalism, the "natural" world is a world without man. Man has no legitimate needs, but trees, ponds, and bacteria, somehow, do.

Signs of Intelligence?
By Fred Thompson National Review Online

Virginia, like 39 other states, allows citizens with training and legal permits to carry concealed weapons. That means that Virginians regularly sit in movie theaters and eat in restaurants among armed citizens. They walk, joke, and rub shoulders everyday with people who responsibly carry firearms — and are far safer than they would be in San Francisco, Oakland, Detroit, Chicago, New York City, or Washington, D.C., where such permits are difficult or impossible to obtain.

How About "Teacher Control"
by Bob Parks,  Black & Right, April 18, 2007

Maybe after years of being taught that this was a messed up place, maybe that’s why America made Hui’s sh|t list. The problem is, after the coming weeks of student psychiatric privacy, gun control, campus security, rich and poor, and race debates, one aspect of this story will never be touched.

You Da Man!
by Mac Johnson, Human Events Online,  April 20, 2007

During the period from about 1960 to the fall of the Berlin wall at the end of 1989, the message of the Red left was that Capitalism was exploiting the world, America was destroying the world, and the only solution was for the international intelligentsia to run the world. Contrast this with the much-improved message of the modern Green left, which is… that Capitalism is exploiting the world, America is destroying the world, and the only solution is for the international intelligentsia to run the world.

Conservatives Must Rally
By Quin Hillyer, Senior Editor of The American Spectator, April 18, 2007

Fight back against the outrageous "mainstream" media bias. Fight back against the Leninists who run much of academia. Fight back against the baseless smears from two-bit cheap-shot artists masquerading as Democratic U.S. senators. Fight back against Hollywood's cultural rot.

Supreme Court Upholds Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act
Fox News, April 18, 2007

The Supreme Court upheld the nationwide ban on a controversial abortion procedure Wednesday, handing abortion opponents the long-awaited victory they expected from a more conservative bench.

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