North Archives - April 27, 2010
| Editorial | News & Views
archives are here! Use the controls on our radio archive page to
listen to past shows of note (archived shows are available for a limited
time only). True North Radio airs daily on WDEV AM & WDEV FM from 11
am to noon.
Don't Come First
"To be glib about it," said
Nelson, "if all we cared about was what individuals want, then we don't
need to have public schools." Nelson explained that the public school system's
duty is to take a broader view of society. It makes decisions and sets
priorities based on its own particular interpretation of "the public good,"
and the needs of individual children are, and should be, a secondary priority.
By Martin Harris
avoid the right-brain/left-brain question, and the underlying statistics,
in this column and go directly to the basic principle of consumer behavior
and the charts which illustrate it. The principle has been called "the
tipping point" and it refers to the repeated empiric observation that,
if and when 20% of the population make a consumer choice of goods or services,
the remaining 80% mostly soon follow. ...
In modern basic English,
two-syllable words max, the percent of age 5-17 students in non-public
schooling is 17 (oops, a three-syllable number, there, twice).
Finally, compare 17 to the
20 which is the 80/20 tipping point number. It’s close. Is non-public enrollment
about to embark on the steep part of the Harry Dent S-curve? Is the Pareto
Moose steaks will
signal era of Vermont’s recovery
By James Ehlers
All of this is symptomatic
of a state being governed by emotion rather than reason. No reasonable
person would allow one moose to endanger the health of Vermont’s wild population,
especially not when there are all those steaks that could be sent to the
Vermont Foodbank seemingly always needing food. Shoot the moose.
# # #
children start paying union dues, that 's when I'll start representing
the interests of school children."
# # #
Albert Shanker, former president of the American Federation
of Teachers union
Weekly News Round-Up
the Legislative Cart Before The Economic Horse
By Chris Campion, Vermont
Tiger, April 19, 2010
What the Free Press does
not bother to discuss, however, is the reason why there's such demand for
unemployment dollars, and it's not because everything's rosy on the VT
employment front. Interestingly, the Freeps does offer this mild
slap to the collective wrists in Montpelier.
The administration and
lawmakers have been grappling with the unemployment fund since at least
last year. Yet the issue remains unresolved in the Legislature with only
a few weeks left in the session and lawmakers already facing a crowded
But the crowding of the calendar
with unproductive work is of their own doing. The realities of Vermont's
economy cannot change without a fundamental change to how education is
funded (I would argue that the Gordian knot of education funding needs
to be removed entirely and rebuilt from the ground up), a permitting reform
project, and a highly simplified tax structure that encourages economic
growth. Unfortunately, Vermont's
place in these state rankings reflects the economic climate
that has been created by legislative leadership over the past decade or
Douglas Criticizes Senate Vote on Tax Increase
From Vermont Business Magazine,
April 23, 2010
Governor Douglas criticized
senators who today voted to follow the lead of the House and pass a harmful
tax increase on manufacturers, farmers, contractors and others by not extending
the pass through domestic production deduction as expected. The domestic
production deduction is meant to protect and grow domestic manufacturing
and other productive activities. An amendment to prevent the tax increase
failed by a vote of 17 to 12 on the Senate floor this afternoon.
By Michael Gardner, Vermont
Tiger, April 23, 2010
As if property tax equality
isn’t skewed enough by the vote-buying structure of income sensitivity
payments, Senator Anne Cummings, D-Washington, wants to make it worse.
By three fold!
The head of the Senate Finance
Committee proposes counting income from interest and dividends 3 times
when used in calculating income sensitivity payments. Such that every one
dollar in dividend and interest income over $5,000 would be counted as
$3 in income for the purposes of the prebate formula.
House of Representatives Passes Own Health Reform
By Dave Gram,The Burlington
Free Press, April 24, 2010
Vermont lawmakers made clear
Friday that recently enacted federal health
care reform did not go far enough toward a public model, passing legislation
that could bring to the state the "public option" health insurance rejected
by Washington or even a Canadian-style single-payer system.
By a vote of 91-42, the Democratic-controlled
House passed its own version of legislation passed earlier by the Senate.
Both bills call for designing a single-payer system, in which a government
agency would administer and make all payments for health care.
Tale of Two Stories
From Vermont Tiger, April
Recently, IBM announced that
it was hiring 100 workers for its Essex Junction, VT, manufacturing site.
Listening to VPR today on the drive home, they announced this hiring with
some fanfare, but the reality is that these are temporary positions, not
permanent ones. You would not have learned that from the story on the radio,
nor from their website. In fact, VPR's
online site mentions nothing of "temporary" [Editor's note:
The website has been updated and now states that the jobs are not permanent]
5 gets it right, however, in terms of the positions being
Plans to Seize Farm Land from Family
From WCAX-TV, April 25,
The federal government is
taking a Franklin County farm family to court. The Department of Homeland
Security is threatening to take part of their land through eminent domain
to increase border security.
The Rainvilles say the move
will put them out of business.
The Department of Homeland
Security wants to expand its outdated and crumbling border station at Morse’s
Line. Originally the government was in need of 10 acres. But after further
review, which revealed only 40 cars use the port each day on average, they
scaled the project back to 5 acres.
"They are pitching this as
a stimulus project. Putting my family out of business is not economic development,"
# # #
Global War on Terrorism
of the Day: How America Will Beat Back China with Its Killer Labor Force
By Vincent Fernando, CFA
and Kamelia Angelova, Business Insider, March 31, 2010
There's an enormous yet simple
reason why America will remain an extremely powerful nation out to 2050.
Thanks to a relatively high
fertility rate, plus a rich culture of immigration, America is set to grow
its population by another 100 million people through 2050. This is based
on U.S. census projections and is supported by other projections as well
Over the next four decades,
America will grow its labor force, ie., its productive population, by a
whopping 42%, as shown below.
Meanwhile, China's labor
force will shrink by 10%, Europe's will shrink 25%, and that of Korea and
Japan's will shrink by horrendous amounts.
See, China's labor force
has been growing very fast lately, which has helped it stun the world,
but this growth is set to peak and then start falling by the middle of
this decade. So be prepared for the hype to die down by about 2020, even
though China will of course keep developing.
In contrast, from about 2015
onwards, the U.S. will start showing how its national model isn't so bad
The attempt to destroy
democracy in Latin America.
By Otto J. Reich, National
Review, April 23, 2010
The Obama administration
started out on the wrong foot in world affairs. It used techniques better
suited for domestic political campaigns — popularity contests — in its
foreign policy. In our own hemisphere, the result was confusion for our
allies and our enemies alike.
The overriding objective
of U.S. policy — in Latin America and elsewhere — should be to advance
U.S. national interests, not to curry favor with foreign leaders. If we
can be liked while advancing our interests, so much the better. But when
we try to befriend undemocratic leaders and ignore their belligerence in
the process, we neither become better liked nor advance our interests.
Some of the despots in Latin America to whom the Obama administration extended
an open hand, only to encounter a clenched fist, include the rulers of
Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Ecuador, and Honduras’s former
president José Manuel Zelaya.
Foremost among our national
interests is security, but, caught up in trying to be liked, the administration
is underestimating the threats we face. The main threat to the peace, freedom,
prosperity, and security of the U.S. and the Western Hemisphere comes not
from military coups, but from a form of creeping totalitarianism that calls
itself 21st Century Socialism; it is allied with some of the most virulent
forms of tyranny and anti-Western ideology in the world.
Increasingly Alarmed by China's Growing Naval Power
Warships off Okinawa
and other incidents with an increasingly far-roaming and competent Chinese
navy likely a harbinger of shocks to come.
By Jonathan Manthorpe, Vancouver
Sun, April 21, 2010
Tokyo's shock, horror and
alarm at the sighting a few days ago of a flotilla of 10 Chinese warships
off Japan's southern Okinawa island is undoubtedly contrived.
It has been evident for the
past two decades as it invested huge amounts of money, time and effort
into military modernization that Beijing intends to be able to project
military power that supports its growing economic and diplomatic supremacy.
Just a few days before the
latest encounter, a helicopter from a Chinese warship "buzzed" a Japanese
naval vessel that was keeping watch on the exercises.
Terrorism: ‘From Tehran with Love’ (Part 5 of 10)
By Peter Huessy,Family Security
Matters, March 29, 2010
If the United States and
Russia reduce their nuclear weapons by 650 deployed warheads, out of stockpiles
of some 5,000 warheads for the United States and some 14,000 for the Russians,
does this qualify them for the winning ticket in the disarmament sweepstakes?
Do countries that previously would not help in keeping Iran and North Korea
from acquiring nuclear weapons now help us? In addition, would these same
countries now actively help to secure nuclear material – both weapons grade
and commercially available for nuclear reactors – that they would not do
in the past? In short, would the "international community" think enough
of the U.S. and Russian new START agreement to help fulfill the promises
of the NPT or the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty and significantly move
humankind toward: (1) a world without nuclear weapons; and (2) a world
in which nuclear dangers, especially nuclear terrorism, were significantly
This is indeed the hope of
the leaders of the two nuclear powers as they conclude a new arms control
agreement. The two Presidents will sign it in Prague, the Czech Republic
the first week of April 2010. Numerous analysts have concluded that while
modest in scope, the new agreement establishes a new measure of "trust"
between the two countries, and will allow them to establish their "arms
control" credentials prior to a follow-up meeting dealing with securing
nuclear materials and the upcoming review conference on the NPT. This in
turn, it is hoped, will "unlock" a series of non-proliferation doors, through
which we and other nations can walk toward a nuclear weapons free future.
By Doug Bandow, American
Spectator, April 17, 2010
The U.S. is a rarity among
nations. Among its unique attributes is a commitment to religious liberty.
study by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life explores religious
persecution around the world. According to Pew: "64 nations -- about one-third
of the countries in the world -- have high or very high restrictions on
religion. But because some of the most restrictive countries are very populous,
nearly 70 percent of the world's 6.8 billion people live in countries with
high restrictions on religion, the brunt of which often falls on religious
Include moderate restrictions,
which most Americans also would consider to be intolerable, and more than
half of the world's nations limit religious liberty. Fully 86 percent
of the globe's people face significant limits on their right to worship
The Americas, including the
U.S., happily have the least restrictions in both cases. The U.S. is joined
by Brazil, Britain, Italy, Japan, South Africa, and the United Kingdom
in the free category.
Qaeda Beheaded in Iraq?
By Dr. Walid Phares, Family
Security Matters, April 21, 2010
We should underline the following
four points in our initial reaction to foreign reports, including a statement
from Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Maliki, that "Abu Omar al-Baghdadi and Abu
Ayyub al-Masri were killed by an Iraqi team."
Between the Reefs
By Matthew Omolesky, American
Spectator, April 14, 2010
The Republic of Indonesia
-- that bewilderingly diverse land of 17,508 islands which, in Multatuli's
immortal words, "wind about the equator like a garland of emeralds" --
has long seen itself as something of a nation "in training," a term Oswald
Spengler used with respect to those polities capable of shaping their own
and their region's destiny, but only after a lengthy limbering process.
Since 1948 the Indonesian state has assiduously erected and strengthened
the two pillars that have enabled the republic to prepare to take what
it deems its rightful place in the community of nations. The first, a longstanding
policy of anti-kolonialisme, for better or worse ensures that Indonesian
relations with the United States will never be without turbulence, while
the second, the bebas-aktif doctrine, likewise ensures that Jakarta
will never submit to a Chinese influence often described as "neo-tributary."
That being the case, Indonesia serves as a sort of geopolitical barometer
in the Pacific region, and its behavior in the coming months and years
will function as an indicator of the relative strength of the United States
and China in the region. Long accustomed to "rowing between two reefs,"
Indonesia will be conducting a clinic in the application of a realist foreign
policy, and its shifts and oscillations, "curious" or otherwise, should
and will garner considerable international attention.
# # #
Report: Police Find TEA Parties More Peaceful Than Anti-war Protests
By Candance Moore, News
Busters, April 21, 2010
On Monday, the Christian
Science Monitor bucked its mainstream peers by reporting something truthful
about the TEA party movement: police officials have begun to relax security
requirements at conservative rallies because of the remarkable absence
Yes, you read that right:
despite nonstop media warnings about hateful protests, violence from TEA
party attendants is so nonexistent that police feel safe allowing them
to bring large items and sometimes even guns.
The Monitor was compelled
to check things out when a TEA party in Raleigh, North Carolina, persuaded
officials to overturn a ban on flag poles. Such items are typically banned
because a flag pole is really just a very big stick that could be used
as a weapon. The Monitor's research led the paper to admit that conservative
protests are far less threatening than many past demonstrations.
Merion Report: Web Cams Snapped 56,000 Images
By John P. Martin, Philadelphia
Inquirer, April 19, 2010
Lower Merion School District
employees activated the web cameras and tracking software on laptops they
gave to high school students about 80 times in the past two school years,
snapping nearly 56,000 images that included photos of students, pictures
inside their homes and copies of the programs or files running on their
screens, district investigators have concluded.
In most of the cases, technicians
turned on the system after a student or staffer reported a laptop missing
and turned it off when the machine was found, the investigators determined.
But in at least five instances,
school employees let the Web cams keep clicking for days or weeks after
students found their missing laptops, according to the review. Those computers
- programmed to snap a photo and capture a screen shot every 15 minutes
when the machine was on - fired nearly 13,000 images back to the school
at the Edge of the Cliff
Democrats are spending
trillions at the worst possible moment, with a new poll showing public
trust in government at a historic low of 22%.
Wall Street Journal Editorial,
April 22, 2010
There was always something
eerie about the way the Democrats said their health-care legislation was
what the American people had waited "70 years" for. Invoking the ghosts
of 1939 was kind of creepy. Then when the moment in history finally arrived,
history got no votes from the other party. Whatever the politics, there
was something ominous about all this. One felt something else was
A Pew Research Center report
just out, the one that says trust in government is at an "historic low"
of only 22%, looks like the something else.
Dig past the headline of
the Pew study and one discovers why Bill Clinton is insinuating that "demonizing"
government could cause another Oklahoma City bombing. If these numbers
are at all close to reality, something one can hardly doubt just now, the
American people have issued a no-confidence vote in government, at both
the national and state level. To the extent one believes in the "consent
of the governed," consent is being eroded.
Goldman Obama's Enron? No, it's worse
Says Arctic Getting Colder
You Gonna Trust?
From UPI, April 23, 2010
A Russian scientist says
the Arctic may be getting colder, not warmer, which would hamper the international
race to discover new mineral fields.
An Arctic cold snap that
began in 1998 could last for years, freezing the northern marine passage
and making it impassable without icebreaking ships, said Oleg Pokrovsky
of the Voeikov Main Geophysical Observatory.
By D.L. Hammack, The
Washington Times, April 17, 2010
The rising wave of popular
activism in the United States is ritually derided by liberal commentators,
politicians and academics as fringe-movement politics. But recent polling
reveals that skepticism about government is broad and deep. Discontent
with Washington has become the mainstream position; those who defend big
government are the real extremists.
The annual Pew Research Center
survey on trust in government released this week found "a perfect storm
of conditions associated with distrust of government - a dismal economy,
an unhappy public, bitter partisan-based backlash and epic discontent with
Congress and elected officials."
The details are sobering.
Fifty-six percent of Americans are frustrated with government, and an additional
21 percent are "angry." Anger at government has doubled in the past 10
years and now is equal with the percentage of people who are basically
content. As well, 30 percent identify the federal government as a major
threat to their personal freedom.
By Martin Hutchinson, Asia
Times, April 21, 2010
Commentators, including the
egregious Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, are increasingly claiming
that the United States is in the process of a V-shaped recovery from the
Great Recession. Certainly first-quarter gross domestic product (GDP),
to be announced next week, is likely to show a substantial bounce, albeit
not quite the inventory-driven 5.6% annualized growth of the fourth quarter.
Yet commentators should be careful what they wish for: a V-shaped recovery
is likely to lead not to a prolonged period of healthy growth, but to an
economic explosion and collapse.
This may seem counter-intuitive.
You would normally expect a period of above-normal growth after such a
deep recession, whatever the political environment. After all, even in
1934, a year in which the federal government was taking a hatchet to the
banking system and capital markets through the Glass-Steagall Act and was
micro-managing wages, prices and product specifications through the National
Recovery Administration, US GDP,
it is now estimated, rose by an extremely healthy 10.9%. Indeed, 1933-34
form the principal supporting evidence for the efficacy of Keynesian "stimulus"
- real federal expenditure rose by 23.7% in 1933 and no less than 34.2%
in 1934, a public sector bloat rate of which even President Barack Obama
might be proud.
Myths about Green Energy
By Robert Bryce, Washington
Post, April 25, 2010
Americans are being inundated
with claims about renewable and alternative energy..... But before we wrap
all our hopes -- and subsidies -- in it, let's take a hard look at some
common misconceptions about what "green" means.
# # #