North Archives - May 05, 2009
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Government is the Problem
On April 15, 2009, the day
hard working Vermonters officially paid up what
magazine just labeled (again) the nation's highest individual
tax burden, Vermont Democrats and Progressives responded by voting to increase
Vermont's tax burden by $24 million. By passing H.442, they voted for higher
income taxes. Higher death taxes. New taxes on iTunes and other electronic
downloads. The vote was 82
Return of Reactionary Liberalism
By John McClaughry
old and true liberalism gained a legislative majority, it enacted government
programs to meet those perceived needs - and it unashamedly raised taxes
on the better-off to pay their costs.
recognizes the same needs, but its practitioners lack the political courage
to raise the taxes to pay the bills, and face the wrath of the taxpayers.
So reactionary liberalism contrives to use the power of government to force
third parties to shoulder the costs of its liberal agenda. Those third
parties - usually private businesses - are then forced to raise their prices
to cover the additional burden of supporting the mandated benefits.
Testing, 1,2,4, Whatever
By Martin Harris
Princeton, President Tilghman answered her West Virginia alumnus as follows:
"Princeton students are such a remarkable group that they can’t be judged
by fact-based tests". That’s where I failed the contemporary-culture-shock
test; within living memory, the educational culture once used fact-based
tests at every level from K to 12 to determine grade-to-grade promotion,
and universities used them to see whether engineers about to graduate were
capable of designing bridges which wouldn’t fail under traffic load, whether
wannabe economists had learned how to qualify mortgage loan applicants,
whether future agronomists had become reasonably expert in crop-seed DNA
analysis. As recent untoward events have suggested, that sort of educational
rigor doesn’t prevail any more, illustrating just how fact-based tests
have become the Rodney Dangerfields of formal education: they don’t get
no respect. Except, superficially, when they seem to show improvement:
a recent (25 Mar 09) Rutland Herald headline says "Test Results Improving
Statewide" and you have to read deep into the article to learn that the
"good news" is that 88 Vermont schools, this year, failed to meet Federal
Adequate Yearly Progress standards, down from 116 last year.
the Federal Reserve
By Jessica Bernier
For all of the talk about
government being more transparent I find it interesting that Peter Welch,
who sits on this same committee has not joined over 100 of his colleagues
in cosponsoring legislation which would provide transparency into one of
these institutions-- the Federal Reserve. HR1207, The Federal reserve Transparency
Act, would require a much needed and never performed audit of the Fed.
# # #
"You cannot legislate the
poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. What
one person receives without working for, another person must work for without
receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government
does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get
the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going
to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does
no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for,
that my dear friend, is the beginning of the end of any nation. You cannot
multiply wealth by dividing it." -- Adrian Rogers, 1931
# # #
Weekly News Round-Up
marriage groups spent more than $228,000
By Dave Gram, The Associated
Press, April 28, 2009
Supporters of Vermont's new
gay marriage law spent more than $228,000 lobbying for it in the three
months before the historic April 7 votes to pass it over Gov. Jim Douglas'
An opposition group, Take
It To The People, which advocated a nonbinding statewide referendum on
the question, spent more than $10,000 on its efforts from January through
Private Whenever You Can
From the Caledonia Record,
May 2, 2009
A fundamental axiom of successful
businesses, whether private or public, is not to get into, or, if you are
already in it, get out of any business that you should not be in. Schools
are about education. They are not about food service, transportation systems,
even cleaning and ground care, yet virtually every school board we know
is trying, usually ineffectively, to manage these illegitimate spin-offs
from their real business - education.
Little Station that Could
GNAT to study Act
60 and education spending
By Andrew McKeever, Manchester
Journal, April 23 2009
The drumbeat of criticism
and controversy about Act 60, and its successor legislation, Act 68 — the
state's educational finance law may no longer match the intensity
of a decade ago, but below the surface, misgivings simmer.
Into the debate has now stepped
Manchester's own cable access television station. GNAT — Greater Northshire
Access Television — finished filming a show last year about the effects
of Act 60, 10 years later. It's now in the process of putting together
a follow up that looks at the growth in education spending in Vermont,
which has ballooned by almost 67 percent since 1997.
Ticketing An Abuse Of Rights
From the Caledonia Record,
May 1, 2009
Environmental ticketing is
simply another reduction of citizens' rights to a free and fair trial of
allegations of wrongdoing by, in this case, an emotionally partial lobby
and enforcement agency.
Filaments to lay off 54 Workers
By John S. McCright and
John Flowers, Addison Independent, April 27, 2009
Bristle manufacturer Monahan
Filaments on Wednesday said it will layoff 54 employees, or more than half
of its Middlebury workforce, by late June. When the layoffs take effect,
the company’s workforce will have fallen by around 100 employees in a year,
leaving between 30 and 40 workers at the Case Street plant, which makes
synthetic monofilaments for household, janitorial and industrial brushes
and other applications.
"It’s the economy," said
Jon Monahan, president of Monahan Filaments in explaining the reason for
the job cuts. "Orders are down more than 50 percent from last year.
From the Caledonia Record,.
April 29, 2009
Like a bad dream, the effort
to legalize assisted suicide is back on the docket of the Vermont Legislature.
However its proponents choose to euphemize it, assisted suicide is still
euthanasia, mercy killing, and, if it is passed, it is a door swung open
to half a dozen pernicious kinds of justification for putting people out
of their misery, beginning with their own desire to die, progressing to
somebody else's desire that they die, and, finally, to a government decision
that they ought to die. The movement ought to be snuffed, itself, before
it goes anywhere in Vermont.
# # #
Global War on Terrorism
Marines in Afghanistan
Help the 3/8 Marines
based out of Camp Lejeune provide for Afghan security and civillian needs
A "Spirit Of America" Project,
Spirit Of America
As success in Afghanistan
is increasingly recognized as central to the war on terror, over 3,200
Marines have been deployed to the region to provide civil engagement and
counterinsurgency support. The men and women of the 3rd Battalion,
8th Marine Regiment (3/8) based out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina arrived
in the southern region of Afghanistan in late 2008 to help combat the ongoing
insurgency in this troubled area. With your help, Spirit of America will
support the mission of the 3/8 by responding to the request of Lieutenant
Colonel David Odom and Major Brian Mulvihill for supplies critical to proper
training of local Afghan National Police forces and humanitarian items
to improve conditions for local citizens in Farah Province.
The UN Can Repeal, Destroy US Way Of Life
By Herb Denenberg, The Bullentin,
April 28, 2009
We spend at least $5 billion
every year to finance campaigns by the U.N. and such groups as its Human
Rights Council (HRC) to propound anti-Americanism and bigotry on a grand
international scale. For example, the HRC has praised some of the worst
human rights violators, such as Cuba and China. It is set up so voting
blocks can protect human rights violators, such as North Korea and Zimbabwe,
But what is even worse, the
U.N. and the international agreement and treaty process can be used to,
in effect, amend, repeal and destroy our Constitution and way of life....
Many groups lobby the U.N.,
as they want to influence American law through the treaty process at the
U.N. If ratified by the Senate, such treaties become American law.
So when groups can’t get Congress to pass their proposals, they go to the
U.N. and its diplomatic and treaty process. That approach can be more likely
to succeed due to the views of other nations and due to the fact that the
whole process is not monitored as carefully as the congressional process.
Remember, this is the U.N. that shields human rights violators and often
takes an anti-American stance.
Conspiracy Trial, Dark Tale Emerges of Jihad Training
By Mike Carter, Seattle
Times, April 29, 2009
Speaking publicly for the
first time, former Seattle resident James Ujaama testified Tuesday about
his efforts in 1999 to create a terrorist training camp in rural Oregon
for would-be jihad warriors wishing to take up the fight against the U.S.-backed
Northern Alliance in Afghanistan.
Miles from the Capital
By Michael Rubin, Weekly
Standard, May 11, 2009
On April 22, several hundred
Taliban fighters moved from their stronghold in the Swat Valley to the
neighboring district of Buner, just 60 miles from Islamabad, the capital
of Pakistan. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton underscored the seriousness
of the crisis, accusing the Pakistani government of "abdicating to the
Taliban" and suggesting that instability in Pakistan posed a "mortal threat"
to international security. While the Taliban retreated to Swat, the challenge
they pose remains. Indeed, on April 30, General David Petraeus said that
the Taliban's challenge makes the next two weeks critical to Pakistan's
These events illustrate the
weakness of the Obama foreign policy. Addressing the House Foreign Affairs
Committee the day of the Taliban's advance, Clinton declared, "The government
of Pakistan must begin to deliver government services, otherwise they are
going to lose out to those who show up and claim that they can solve people's
problems." The issue in the Swat Valley, however, is not simply lack of
Public Mood Swings Over Taliban
Glick, Jerusalem Post, April 22, 2009
It is a strange situation
when Egypt and Jordan feel it necessary to defend Israel
against American criticism. But this is the situation in which we find
Last Friday, US
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the House of Representatives
Appropriations Committee that Arab support for Israel's bid to prevent
Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons is contingent on its agreeing to support
the rapid establishment of a Palestinian state. In her words, "For Israel
to get the kind of strong support it's looking for vis-a-vis Iran, it can't
stay on the sidelines with respect to the Palestinians and the peace efforts."
As far as Clinton is concerned, the two, "go hand-in-hand." ...
And Egypt and Jordan are
not alone in supporting Israel's commitment to preventing Iran from becoming
a nuclear power. American and other Western sources who have visited the
Persian Gulf in recent months report that leaders of the Gulf states from
Bahrain - which Iran refers to as its 14th province - to Saudi Arabia to
Kuwait and, of course, to Iraq - are praying for Israel to strike Iran's
nuclear facilities and only complain that it has waited so long to attack
Spokesman 'Paints' a Troubling Picture of U.S. Islamists
By Sid Shahid, Islamist
Watch, April 28, 2009
The Talibs have been quickly
their control in this troubled region of Pakistan, gaining strength and
legitimacy. Most telling is what their spokesman Muslim
Khan recently said in a CNN
interview, not only about gladly harboring and protecting
Osama bin Laden, but also about his desire to see Shari'a law implemented
beyond Pakistan, even in America. The kicker is that for four years the
Taliban spokesman lived in the United States, apparently working as a painter
All of a sudden, what has
been depicted in the media as the cancer of Taliban extremism half way
around the world seems to hit perilously close to home.
It is almost unimaginable
that a person like Muslim Khan, who supports and advocates the extremism
of the Taliban, actually worked and lived a seemingly unremarkable life
as a painter in Boston. We can recall the NYPD
report on homegrown terror and wonder how many more with
such a trajectory are lurking within our cities. Mr. Khan seemingly evolved
from a Boston painter to the radical voice of the Taliban. Real counterterrorism
work by "American" Muslims would demand such an analysis urgently.
# # #
By Rick Brookhiser, The
National Review, May 3, 2009
Was there ever a man of such
high spirits as Jack Kemp? Reagan was sunny; Kemp was a perpetual solar
flare. He had an athlete's energy and an optimist's expectation that all
would come out well. He also felt the respect for learning that only those
who come to it late and under their own steam have. Ideas, he believed,
really could save the world.
Kemp in His Own Words
In-Security and the Economic Crisis
By Dr. Jonathan Witt, Acton
Institute for Religion and Liberty, April 29, 2009
The federal program had a
worthy goal—to care for our nation's elderly during an economic crisis.
At the same time, however, the program allowed many more people than before
simply to skip the hard work of raising responsible children who would
look after them in their declining years. Cashing a check is easier than
rearing children; to believe that Social Security had no effect on the
fertility rate is to believe that humans are not affected by incentives.
What does all this have to
do with the economic crisis? While the causes of the crisis are complex,
at its foundation is a supply/demand problem brought on partially by a
demographic shift. As David Goldman explains in First Things, "The
collapse of home prices and the knock-on effects on the banking system
stem from the shrinking count of families that require houses. We are now
a mélange of alternative arrangements in which the nuclear family
is merely a niche phenomenon."
This demographic trend undermined
the housing market. It undermined the financial system that came to depend
on the housing market. And in the wider picture, it undermines the long-term
solvency of Corporation USA, beginning with its pension plan.
By James Tooley Cato Institute
April 29, 2009
But is it really so grim?
After all, my research had shown that significant numbers of parents had
tried free primary education in the public schools but had decided to move
their children back to the private schools. Surely, they weren't doing
something so counterintuitive if they thought that the private schools
really were hopeless? My research assistant from Newcastle, James Stanfield,
and I decided to interview groups of parents in four schools that had reported
parents' returning their children, having moved them first to the government
schools. These parents at least were clear that they had behaved rationally
moving back to private school.
In each discussion, parents
eagerly told us how the education being offered in the slum private schools
was higher quality than in the neighboring government schools — however
much the buildings' appearances might suggest the contrary. Not one parent
expressed the opposite view.
– The Soft Way
By Samuel Gregg D.Phil.,
Acton Institute for Religion and Liberty, April 22, 2009
Democracy, Tocqueville argued,
encouraged this fixation with equality because it requires people to relate
to each other through the medium of democratic equality. This encourages
us first to ignore, then to dislike, and finally to seek to reduce all
differences that contradict this equality -- particularly wealth disparities.
This is key to what Tocqueville
considered democracy’s tendency to "soft despotism." Democratic despotism,
Tocqueville thought, would rarely be violent. Instead it would amount to
a Faustian bargain between the political class and the citizens. He predicted
that "an immense protective power" might assume all responsibility for
everyone’s happiness – provided this power remained "sole agent and judge
of it." This power would "resemble parental authority" and attempt to keep
people "in perpetual childhood" by relieving them "from all the trouble
of thinking and all the cares of living."
Science Battles Alarmist Politics
By Jay Lehr, Ph.D, Environment
& Climate News, May 2009
Climate is an extraordinary account of both the science contradicting the
anthropogenic global warming theory and the fraudulent manner in which
activists have vested themselves in a life-and-death struggle for control
of the future of the human race.
The book focuses primarily
on these experiences in Sweden and Norway, where the alarmists have particular
political clout. Those two countries are on the brink of economic disaster
because of their limitless adherence to the false credos of climate alarmists.
Sows Seeds of Demise
By Dick Morris, The Hill,
April 28, 2009
When the Obama administration
crashes and burns, with approval ratings that fall through the floor, political
scientists can trace its demise to its first hundred days. While Americans
are careful not to consign a presidency they desperately need to succeed
to the dustbin of history, the fact is that this president has moved —
on issue after issue — in precisely the opposite direction of what the
people want him to do.
Right now, Obama’s ratings
must be pleasing to his eye. Voters like him and his wife immensely and
approve of his activism in the face of the economic crisis. While polls
show big doubts about what he is doing, the overwhelming sense is to let
him have his way and pray that it works.
But beneath this superficial
support, Obama’s specific policies run afoul of the very deeply felt convictions
of American voters. For example, the most recent Rasmussen Poll asked voters
if they wanted an economic system of complete free enterprise or preferred
more government involvement in managing the economy. By 77-19, they voted
against a government role, up seven points from last month.
Choice for the Few
The new do-as-I-say double
By William McGurn, The Wall
Street Journal, May 4, 2009
Some hypocrisies are apparently
more equal than others. If, for example, you are a politician who preaches
"traditional values" and you get caught in a hotel with a woman who is
not your wife, the press is going to have a field day with your tartuffery.
If, however, you are a pol
who piously tells inner-city families that public schools are the answer
-- and you do this while safely ensconcing your own kids in some private
haven -- the press corps mostly winks.
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