North Archives - April 29, 2008
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By Tom Licata
I founded Vermonters for
Economic Health (VEH), a grassroots, citizen-led organization in 2007.
More than 800 Vermonters have signed our on-line petition. To educate Vermonters
on our deteriorating economic condition, beginning in the fall of last
year we've conducted nine "Town Meeting Forums" throughout the state. Several
Senators, Representatives (including Speaker Symington) and the Governor's
emissaries have attended.
Among our observations has
been a disturbing lack of understanding and "sense of urgency" from Montpelier
to confront squarely what Vermonterís face: (1) 0% private-sector job growth
over this past decade (2) $3.5 billion of looming costs with no plan to
pay for them (3) Vermont's demographic free fall: losing our youth at four
times the national average (4) Vermont's housing shortfall: expected to
grow to over 30% of need over the next four years (5) A federal government
whose financial assistance will only decrease over time. With an entitlement
deficit of some $50 trillion and our depreciating dollar, we can no longer
rely on Federal bailouts.
Example of Frugality in Government
By Martin Harris
more recent example came about a decade ago, when a friend in Sharon asked
about what was then a new regional planning commission practice when drawing
up land use plans for member towns: the RPCís were urging their clients
to let them show such informal uses as hiker paths, snowmobile trails,
deeryards, and the like on the maps, and the locals were protesting, on
the logical grounds that they didnít want their informal accommodations
of the recreational wishes of their neighbors to become permanent legal
encumbrances on their properties, and they were foresighted enough to anticipate
just that happening.
Itís perfectly legal under
24VSA 4421, which authorizes the creation of an official Town Map, on which
everything from present hiker trails to future school sites may be shown,
given the force of law to prevent development by owner ("any such land
development shall be removed at the expense of the owner") and of course,
to reduce the value of the designated and adjacent lands because of the
"no zoning permit may be issuedÖ for lands [so shown] in the official map"
requirement. So far, the Underhill Center-based Citizens for Property Rights
group reports, only three towns have adopted an "official map". I guess
the other 248 are a bit more skeptical about this particular effort at
frugality by the GD folks in government.
Economic Health - A Taxing Problem
By James Ehlers
Vermont is ailing. And I
am not certain most of us are recognizing the symptoms. A few are, however.
The Public Assets Institute (PAI), Ethan Allen Institute (EAI) and Vermonters
For Economic Health are among them.
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"In a time of universal
deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."--George
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Weekly News Round-Up
Hypocrisy is Shameless
The Vermont Public Interest
Research Groupís answer to getting big money out of politics is to, well,
give big money to VPIRG!
After failing for a second
year in a row to pass a self-serving campaign finance bill masquerading
as reform, VPIRG didnít miss a beat before using the issue as a fundraising
Paul Burns, Executive Director
for the special interest 501c4 group wrote, "Now more than ever, special
interest dollars are competing for our legislators votes. Click
here to donate to support the public interest." (Rep. Pillsbury Chooses
Special Interests Over His Constituents, 4/25)
Clearly, the special interest
stuffing big money into its pockets is VPIRG, and they will use that money
to fund their team of lobbyists who by definition compete for legislatorsí
votes. Consolidating money and power in VPIRG's own hands is what S.278
has been all about.
This rank hypocrisy and crass
opportunism only goes to show what a farce S.278 was, that Governor Douglas
was right to veto it, and fifty-one House Members did the honorable thing
by sustaining that veto.
Soliciting 'Big Money' for 'Reform'
Hypocrisy on Campaign Finance
Face a Daunting Task
By David S. Broder, The
Burlington Free Press, April 25, 2008
For battle-weary Democrats,
the big news out of Pennsylvania is pretty simple: Their nightmare continues.
Bill With No Upside
From VermontTiger.com, April
Vermonters have the lowest
energy costs in New England, an advantage that could come to a screeching
halt if Vermont legislators this week approve legislation forcing Vermont
Yankee to pledge $300 to $400 million into a decommissioning fund.
Is An Embarrassment
Caledonia Record Editorial
April 24, 2008
Once again, Senate President
Pro Tem Peter Shumlin has opened his mouth and inserted his foot. At a
hearing on the Shumlin-engineered Senate demand that Entergy put up double,
again, the $400 million that they already have escrowed to decommission
Vermont Yankee at some point in the future, Shumlin called IBM lobbyist
John O'Kane a liar. Shumlin claimed that O'Kane lied when he said that
Vermont Yankee would have to come up with significant cash, now, to meet
the requirements of the bill. O'Kane was insulted and left the hearing
as Shumlin began to realize what a gaffe he had just pulled and started
Good or Feeling Pain: Fighting Global Warming
From VermontTiger.com, April
On the first page of the
Freep's Living section, an article
to show how you can reduce your "carbon diet" in your neighborhood.
The boxed insert, titled What You Can Do, makes almost no sense to me (unfortunately,
they are not available on line).
Real Cost of Tackling Climate Change
Was Too Good To Be True
Caledonia Record Editorial,
April 23, 2008
Last week, in what appeared
to be a spirit of cooperation, the administration and the Democratic leadership
in Montpelier stood shoulder to shoulder and pledged to work together on
cuts, difficult or not, to bring the state's new budget expenses into line
with anticipated revenues. We applauded their spirit of cooperation.
# # #
Global War on Terrorism
Iraq They Won't Talk About
By Amir, New York Post,
April 23, 2008
THE only useful debate
about Iraq would focus on what is happening now - not what happened five
years ago or what might happen five years from now. It is what is happening
that makes new Iraq worth fighting for - not only for the Americans but
also for all who dream of a free, pluralist, prosperous Middle East. Iraq
has bled, but remained unbowed. Iraq has resisted al Qaeda and the Iranian
terror machine. Iraqis are learning to build a new society based on pluralism
and are discovering the values that, in time, helped develop the Western
Petraeus Picked to Lead Iraq and Afghan Wars
By Kristin Roberts and Andrew
Gray, Reuters, April 23, 2008
The Bush administration picked
Gen. David Petraeus, its top commander in Iraq, on Wednesday to take charge
of operations across the Middle East and chose his former No. 2 to take
over in Baghdad.
Lies, and Videotape
From the National Review,
April 25, 2008
ĎWhen exactly did Kim Jong
Il become trustworthy?" That was our question following the deal, announced
last February, by which the aid spigot to North Korea would be turned back
on in exchange for Kimís renouncing the pursuit of nuclear weapons. Trouble
was, the spigot started turning before we had any reason to think Kim Jong
Il was telling the truth. Sanctions were lifted and the anti-Kim consensus
that had begun to form on the U.N. Security Council fell apart, all without
the slightest evidence that anything was changing inside the Hermit Kingdom.
And now we have one more reason to call Kim a liar.
From Investor's Business
Daily, April 24, 2008
"Iraq has passed its crises
and divisions," said the Shiite leader elected to head the Baghdad government.
... Al-Maliki has bet on military force being the only thing terrorists
like al-Sadr understand. Iraq's Sunnis seem now to realize that al-Maliki
bet right, and they have cast their lot in favor of freedom and reconciliation,
governed by the rule of law.
booted from U.S. Government Lexicon
From the Associated Press,
April 24, 2008
Federal agencies, including
the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security and the National
Counter Terrorism Center, are telling their people not to describe Islamic
extremists as "jihadists" or "mujahedeen," according to documents obtained
by The Associated Press. Lingo like "Islamo-fascism" is out, too. The reason:
Such words may actually boost support for radicals among Arab and Muslim
audiences by giving them a veneer of religious credibility or by causing
offense to moderates.
Obama's Name Removed from Terrorist Fundraiser's Web Page
By Little Green Footballs,
April 25, 2008
As we noted a few days ago,
Hatem El-Hady, former chairman of the Toledo-based Islamic charity Kindhearts
(closed by the US government in 2006 for terrorist fundraising), has now
devoted himself to raising money for the Barack Obama campaign. He has
a web page at the official Obama campaign site. On Wednesday when we posted
about El-Hady, there were three "friends" listed on his page, and one of
them was none other than Barack Obamaís wife, Michelle Obama.
# # #
Pope's Challenge to Conservatives
By Christopher Chantrill,
American Thinker, April 23, 2008
If relativity is here to
stay, then so too is relativism. And ideas have consequences.
The relativist narrative of creativity and godlessness and its enticing
apology for political power are the chief components in the "belief system"
of our modern educated progressive class. Unless that belief system
is engaged and challenged in its own terms its naive adepts will continue
to believe that all opposition to its ideas and to its power is bitter-end
The German pope answered
this challenge. He had to. Josef Ratzinger is a German who came to
manhood exactly at the moment, in 1945, when the proud German ideology
of creativity and state power had crumbled to dust and humiliation and
the most advanced country in the world lay at the feet of four foreign
By Michael J. New, National
Review, April 25 2008
Events during the past few
years have caused many conservatives to be decidedly pessimistic about
their future political prospects. Republicans fared poorly in the 2006
U.S. midterm election, losing control of both the House and Senate. Furthermore,
many conservatives were uninspired by the field of candidates seeking the
Republican nomination for president in 2008, and disappointed that John
McCain emerged as the nominee. In the wake of these defeats, numerous pundits
have argued that the conservative movement needs to fundamentally restructure
itself. However, Americans for Tax Reform
president Grover Norquist takes a far different view. In his recent book,
Us Alone: Getting the Government's Hands Off Our Money, Our Guns, and Our
Lives, Norquist makes a compelling case that the future actually
looks quite bright for limited-government conservatives.
Earth Cooling, Not Warming
By Philip V. Brennan, Newsmax.com,
April 24, 2008
A San Francisco-based scientist
says that current solar activity strongly indicates that the earth is on
the verge of a new ice age. "Sorry to ruin the fun, but an ice age cometh,"
warns Phil Chapman writing in The Australian. Chapman is a geophysicist
and astronautical engineer who was the first Australian to become a NASA
By Paul Weyrich, American
Conservative Union, April 23, 2008
There is a tendency in times
of financial crisis to look to government as the solution. Yet government
solutions often exacerbate the problem or permanently limit the free market.
What should occur in this housing crisis is a market correction.
In other words, the Federal Government should let home prices, which were
inflated grossly, correct themselves to more realistic values.
First-Time Dems May Switch Back
By Bradley Vasoli, The Bulletin,
April 23, 2008
Many residents of the traditionally
Republican Philadelphia suburbs have saliently moved toward the Democrats,
with more than a 9,000-voter advantage in Montgomery County and a 3,500-voter
lead in Bucks County. But to state Rep. Jay Moyer (R-Montgomery), also
a county committeeman from Lower Salford Township, some of the Democrats'
gains appear transitory. Mr. Moyer said many new Democratic voters have
temporarily flocked from the GOP or from independent registration to help
nominate either the Democrat whom they mind the least or the one whom they
believe would more likely lose to Republican presidential hopeful Sen.
John McCain (Ariz.).
By L. Brent Bozell III,
American Conservative Union, April 23, 2008
The Beatles sang "All You
Need Is Love," but the counterculture thought love was overrated, especially
if it meant long-term attachments, like marital fidelity. Love was a "groovy"
feeling, but it had to be "free," which often meant it was best carried
out in a long series of "random acts of kindness" with a string of strangers.
The counter-culturalists professed to be apostles of love, but counseled
self-absorption in narcotic highs. Timothy Leary advised "Tune out, turn
on, drop out." He told his devotees to seek detachment from troublesome
"involuntary" commitments and find happiness in "mobility, choice, and
change." Sincerity in love doesnít happen without commitment, and it doesnít
merge well with an ardent desire to seek mobility and change.
to crush the National Union of Teachers
By George Bridges, The Telegraph
(UK), April 22, 2008
By blocking school reform,
it [the National Union of Teachers] is denying many children the education
they deserve and hobbling our economy for years to come. ... If we are
to raise standards in education, we have to break the NUT's grip on schools.
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