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True North Archives - May 18, 2010
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Radio 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.

Featured Articles

Giving Up Liberty to Satisfy Wants
By Jim Goff

It seems that many people, including some national leaders, are no longer able to distinguish needs and wants from rights. If a woman wants to abort her unborn child, we're told by the Supreme Court that she has the right to do so. Or if a man wants to marry another man, we're informed by a small but growing number of courts and legislatures that he has the right to do so.

For most of our history, we never knew that we had such rights and for a very good reason: We didn't. "Rights" of this kind have been created by people who presume that their wisdom exceeds the collective wisdom of all preceding generations. The creation of such "rights" demonstrates a profound confusion between our needs and wants, and our rights. And now we're to understand that health care -- a basic human need -- is a fundamental human right.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
By John McClaughry

From the standpoint of preserving the state's solvency, making life easier for revenue-generating businesses, and defending our liberties, the 2010 legislature's work is a mixed bag of the good, the bad and the ugly.

Question Authority: A Commencement Address for Today’s Graduates.
By Deborah T. Bucknam

Baby boomers are now the Establishment; but today’s Establishment is more monolithic and narrow-minded than the Establishment we railed against in our youth. The leaders of our great cultural institutions, namely, mainstream churches, the media, academia, trade unions, Hollywood, our powerful charitable foundations, the Washington political establishment, and even much of Wall Street now think in lockstep.

What are the tenets of faith of members of today’s Establishment? It is certainly not the faith of our early life. In those long ago days our generation had faith in freedom, equal opportunity, and "doing your own thing." Now the Baby Boom Establishment’s faith lies in unprecedented government power and control over nearly every aspect of our lives, disguised in platitudes about compassion, fairness, safety, "environmental protection" and "social justice". Worse, these tenets are held not only by the American Establishment, but by most of the elites around the globe.

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Letters to the Editor 

Stop Bailing Out Poor Judgment 

On top of mortgaging our children’s future, the federal bailouts have essentially killed a very effective teacher – the natural consequences of poor judgment. When will this irresponsible bailout foolishness stop? 

This week’s bailout is the Homeowner's Defense Act (H.R. 2555), which appears to shift responsibility and risk from people who inappropriately build homes in locations prone to hurricanes, mud slides or other quite predictable natural happenings to people who do not build in such locations or build their homes to withstand the likely natural events of their region. 

While we in Vermont are much less likely to encounter hurricanes, earth quakes, mud slides and tornadoes, we do have our challenges and they require just as much preparation and are just as costly as the challenges mentioned above.  We have to pay extra to build our homes to keep us warm or we pay extra in heating costs.  We also have to build foundations deep enough to prevent damage from deep frost. It would be considered irresponsible if we ignored these realities of our region and built by less expensive standards that might be fine in another part of the country.  And it would indeed be irresponsible. 

Likewise it would be irresponsible for us in Vermont to build our roads to the standards of the south and then expect the nation to bail us out every spring by funding the rebuilding of the roads that could not withstand the predictable winter frost. 

Each region has its weather patterns and it is irresponsible for us as a nation to create a system whereby people are encouraged to build in an irresponsible manner.  Shifting the cost of predictable hazards is encouraging irresponsible building and increases the cost of living in places like Vermont. This makes Vermont a less affordable place to live and a less competitive place to do business. 

Peter, Pat and Bernie, are you listening?  Enough is enough. 

Mark Shepard

Mark Shepard is a former Sate Senator from Bennington County and a former candidate for Vermont’s U.S. House Seat. 

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"Liberty is not a means to a political end. It is itself the highest political end."   – Lord Acton

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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

Vermont Candidate's Tire Slashed While Parked in Waterbury
The Burlington Free Press, May 14, 2010

A tire on a car belonging to a Republican candidate for Congress was punctured Thursday, and the victim believes the incident was politically motivated.

Police received a phone call at about 1 p.m. from Paul Beaudry, 47, reporting the right, rear tire on his Suzuki SX4 had been slashed while the car was parked on Stowe Street. Beaudry is the former radio host of "True North," a radio program broadcast from WDEV on Stowe Street. Beaudry was in Waterbury on Thursday to make a guest appearance on the show.

Any Reason to Spend $4.7 Billion
Caledonia Record Editorial, May 15, 2010

It was troubling to read that the state of Vermont has reached the point where it now spends $4.7 billion a year to operate state government. You might ask: how can a state with such a low population spend so much money? Take the Lyndon pedestrian bridge and you'll begin to understand.

The bridge serves as an excellent case study of how a small, no-cost project - designed for a very limited purpose - can morph into an out of control boondoggle.

Solving the UI Problem?
By Art Woolf, Vermont Tiger, May 11, 2010

The media reported on the grand compromise between the Governor and legislature over the state's Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund.  The solution, a combination of tax increases and benefit limitations, passed with only nine opposing votes and will eliminate the deficit in Vermont's jobless fund by 2015.

That means that the fund will be in the black in five years.  But being $1 in the black doesn't help much.  The fund had a balance of $300 million in 2001, $200 million in 2005, and $150 million as recently as 2007.  Today it's in the red by about $30 million--a decline of $100 million in the past twelve months--and is sinking fast.

Is It The Dawn Of Reality?
Caledonia Record Editorial, May 4, 2010

Winton Goodrich, an associate director of the Vermont School Boards Association (VSBA), recently spoke to the school board in Canaan about coming negotiations. Goodrich spoke some fundamental truths that the whole state ought to hear and take to heart. He underlined a sea-change in public sentiment about automatic 4, 5, and 6 percent annual increases in teacher salary scales. He pointed out, with references, that the current economic stringencies have school boards asking, even demanding, 0 percent, level funded salary scales. He made the point that 75 to 80 percent of school budgets go to salary and benefits and that the economy simply can't afford the former, customary raises.

What is noteworthy about Goodrich's remarks is that the VSBA often sides with the Vt. NEA on educational issues. Maybe, this time, the VSBA has swallowed a dose of hard reality, the fact that we can no longer afford an ever-rising plane of higher salaries and more costly benefits for teachers, salaries and benefits that almost universally are among the highest income packages in every district. Maybe the VSBA has rediscovered that their raison d'etre is to represent parents' and students' interests, especially when their interests are opposed to or are in conflict with Vt. NEA's.

Vermont Goes Bold
By Tom Evslin, Vermont Tiger, May 13, 2010

Last night, before the Vermont state legislature adjourned, it did an extraordinary thing: it LOWERED both capital gains and estate taxes. Vermont is investing in its own future (see the Associated Press story here). Especially in the midst of a revenue crunch, this move makes great economic sense even though it defies conventional political wisdom on a couple of fronts.   Vermont, like most states, is cutting costs in the face of declining tax revenues and the imminent end of federal stimulus dollars. But most states are also raising taxes. Why not Vermont? There are two good reasons:

1. We’re already among the most highly taxed populations in the country; we simply don’t have room to raise taxes.

2. In the not-very-long-term we’ll get more revenue by lowering taxes and would simply lose revenue by raising them further.

Vermont's Teen Drivers React to Texting Ban
From WCAX-TV, May 10, 2010

The Vermont House has agreed to ban texting while driving, and a bill on that topic is now headed to Gov. Jim Douglas for his signature.

Under the bill, anyone caught sending or reading text messages while driving could face a $100 fine for a first offense and a $250 fine for each subsequent offense within a two-year period. The bill is finding mixed reviews from teens.

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

Iran’s Navy Already a Threat to Oil Tankers, Moscow Analyst Concludes
By Paul Goble, Georgian Daily, May 10, 2010

Despite its efforts over the last several years, Iran is not yet the naval power it hopes to become, according to a Moscow analyst, but Tehran already has sufficient capacity to disrupt shipments of oil in the Persian Gulf, an ability that already "represents a serious danger and requires an adequate response from the international community."

More Proof of How Jihad is Funded
Shariah Finance Watch, Family Security Matters, May 11, 2010

One of the most popular web sites among American Muslims is Islam Online, which was founded by Sheikh Yussef al-Qaradawi, a man we have written about extensively on SFW.

Qaradawi is perhaps best known in the Western world for being banned from travel to the USA and the UK because of his ties to Jihadist terrorist organizations. Qaradawi also served as the chair of the Shariah Advisory Board for Bank al-Taqwa, a bank shut down by the US Treasury Department several years ago because it was funneling millions of dollars to several Jihadist terrorist groups.

Obama Fiddles, a Rogue Schemes
The U.S. strategy toward North Korea leaves us in danger.
By John Bolton,New York Daily News, May 12, 2010

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il has now left Beijing and returned home after a typically secretive visit, his first trip abroad in four years. Kim's last trip was also to China, the North's dominant benefactor; his core mission was undoubtedly to ensure continued Chinese support for his ironfisted rule.

Also undoubtedly central was North Korea's nuclear weapons program. President Obama has been silent for many long months on Pyongyang's continuing nuclear threat, but silence does not equal good news. Although "all quiet" on the North Korean nuclear front might seem to indicate that the menace is receding, precisely the opposite is true.

Nuclear Terrorism: The President of the United States Hung Up the Phone (Part 8 of 10)
By Peter Huessy,Family Security Matters, April 21, 2010

A decade later, the U.S. is again trying to secure the help of these same nations. But not with Iraq. It is Iran this time. At stake is not whether Tehran does or does not have "stockpiles" of chemical or biological weapons. It is whether they are pursuing an atomic bomb. For over two decades, Iran’s nuclear program had been shrouded in secrecy and the mists of a totalitarian state.

But now we know. Enriched uranium is being made, now at least at the 20 percent level. Nuclear triggers have been purchased, technology that makes an atomic bomb explode. Evidence mounts of repeatedly attempts by the Pakistani-based Khan network, a "Nukes ‘R Us" conglomerate, to sell nuclear weapons to Iran. Rafsanjani, known by the Western media as a "moderate" Iranian leader, has openly discussed the destruction of Israeli from one well-placed Iranian nuclear weapon. President Ahmadinejad has called for both the destruction of Israel and wished for a world "without the United States". He believes the end of the world is required to bring back the 12th Imam or "Mahdi." 

Al-Qaeda’s Global Reach
Who’s missing from the State Department’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations? And why?
By Charlie Szrom & Chris Harnisch, National Review Online, May 12, 2010

How dangerous does a group have to be to get included on the State Department’s Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) list? In the wake of the Times Square attack, the omission of the Pakistani Taliban from the FTO list revealed a gap in understanding of the threat posed by a violent Islamist network that consists of al-Qaeda franchises and affiliates. But there are other cases where terrorist groups that pose a clear threat to American interests have been omitted from the list. For example, according to a recent report, the State Department will not include the IslamicEmirate of the Caucasus (IEC), a group based in the North Caucasus region of southern Russia, on the FTO list. Why not?

Setting the Record Straight on Grassroots Jihadism
By Scott Stewart, Strategic Forecasters, May 13, 2010

In the wake of the botched May 1 Times Square attack, some observers have begun to characterize Faisal Shahzad and the threat he posed as some sort of new or different approach to terrorism in the United States. Indeed, one media story on Sunday quoted terrorism experts who claimed that recent cases such as those involving Shahzad and Najibullah Zazi indicate that jihadists in the United States are "moving toward the "British model." This model was described in the story as that of a Muslim who immigrates to the United Kingdom for an education, builds a life there and, after being radicalized, travels to a terrorist training camp in Pakistan and then returns to the United Kingdom to launch an attack.

A close look at the history of jihadist plots in the United States and the operational models involved in orchestrating those plots suggests that this so-called British model is not confined to Great Britain. Indeed, a close look at people like Shahzad and Zazi through a historical prism reveals that they are clearly following a model of radicalization and action seen in the United States that predates jihadist attacks in the United Kingdom. In fact, in many U.K. terrorism cases, the perpetrators were the children of Muslim immigrants who were born in the United Kingdom, such as suicide bombers Mohammad Sidique Khan, Shehzad Tanweer and Hasib Hussain and cyberjihadist Younis Tsouli, and were not first-generation immigrants like Faisal Shahzad.

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From Elsewhere

Tea Partiers of the World, Unite!
By Nick Rizzuto, Town Hall, May 15, 2010

While international organization might have been deficient for the liberty movement historically, it appears that that is on the verge of changing. For the first time, there appears to be a growing international liberty movement, springing forth from the roots of our current American civic reawakening.

In recent months, inspired by what they are observing here in the states, Tea Party organizations have begun to rise in up the furthest corners of the world. While these organizations might have different concerns, ones that are specific to their particular nations, it is clear that each has formed around the same concepts: limited governance and individual liberty.

Debt, Credit and the Virtuous Life
By Rev. Gregory Jensen, The Acton Institute for Religion and Liberty, May 12, 2010

Cashill locates our current distress in the gradual cultural changes in the "fifty or so years since interest rates" were last at 1 percent.  This cultural shift has "had less to do with the behavior" of lenders and more to do with our unwillingness to censure "the behavior of consumers, especially the prodigal" among us. While not minimizing the "downside" of "major investment houses" shifting "from partnerships to corporations" (which both "democratized Wall Street" even as "it diminished long-term loyalty and distanced executives from the consequences of failure") he locates our moral failure in our growing evermore "dependent on credit."

Through governmental and private institutions, Western culture is now eager "to oblige its prodigals" and extend to them the credit that allows them to live, for a short time at least, above their means.  In addition where once we thought of "prodigals as sinners" today we "think of them as they think of themselves--as victims."  Cashill points out that "the real divide in America today is not between left and right but between those who would sympathize" with the prodigals among us "and those who would not." While we condemn "predatory lenders" we never even discuss, much less censure, the "predatory borrower" who also played a central role in the collapse of the housing market.

Shale Gas will Rock the World
Huge discoveries of natural gas promise to shake up the energy markets and geopolitics. And that's just for starters.
By Amy Myers Jaffe, The Wall Street Journal, May 10, 2010

There's an energy revolution brewing right under our feet.

Over the past decade, a wave of drilling around the world has uncovered giant supplies of natural gas in shale rock. By some estimates, there's 1,000 trillion cubic feet recoverable in North America alone—enough to supply the nation's natural-gas needs for the next 45 years. Europe may have nearly 200 trillion cubic feet of its own.

We've always known the potential of shale; we just didn't have the technology to get to it at a low enough cost. Now new techniques have driven down the price tag—and set the stage for shale gas to become what will be the game-changing resource of the decade.

The Other European Volcano
When Greece started to erupt, the volcanic ash spread over the social democrats’ smug vision of a perfect European Union.
By Victor Davis Hansen, National Review, May 14, 2010

Few wanted to listen when it was pointed out — well before the Greek meltdown — that on key questions of demography and immigration, the future of the European Union was bleak. The very idea that, in historical terms, socialism, agnosticism, pacifism, and hedonism were not only interrelated and synergistic, but also suicidal for civilization, was considered crackpot.

Furthermore, even in the days of loud socialism, Old Europe’s notion of class made it hard to assimilate Islamic immigrants. Unlike other newcomers, North Africans and Turks channeled their resentments through religious fundamentalism. Something about their European hosts — the pacifism, the liberal perspective on matters of sex, the agnostic and atheistic proclamations — infuriated Muslims in a way not even the Great Satan did. The result was that the more a liberal Europe tried to appease radical Islam abroad and its own estranged Muslim underclass at home, the more it was despised as weak, decadent, and — worst of all — increasingly irrelevant.

Related Article: Big-Bang, Trillion-Dollar Euro Burial?

Elena Kagan Is Obama’s SCOTUS Pick; Now What?
How should the GOP handle her confirmation?
By Geoff Dyer, National Review, May 11, 2010

So it’s Elena Kagan, then. The questions are already flying: What is the solicitor general’s judicial philosophy? Is she an ideologue? Should there be a filibuster? Perhaps most important: What questions should Republicans pose during her confirmation hearings? This is an opportunity for a national discussion of politics, law, and the Constitution; National Review Online asked the experts how this opportunity should be used.

Related Article: The Socialist Judge: Kagan and the Teachable Moment

Climate Bill, in Shifting Political Winds, Would Further Restrict Offshore Drilling
By Sean Higgins, Investor’s Business Daily, May 12, 2010

Top senators backed away from offshore drilling in a major new energy bill unveiled Wednesday, revealing the dramatic shift in drilling politics since the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico began last month.

The bill, authored by Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., would let a state ban drilling within 75 miles of its coastline vs. 3 miles currently.

A state also would be able to veto neighbors' drilling projects if a mandatory study indicated that an accident could harm the state's economy or environment.

This is a major reversal from late '09, when Kerry called for a bill that included "additional onshore and offshore oil and gas exploration."

The Sky is Blue, but the List is Black:
The Left cannot tolerate dissenting views.
By Andrew Klavan, City Journal, May13, 2010

Over the last 40 years, leftism has failed in every particular but one: it has succeeded in demonizing the opposition. Leftists will blacklist you—and then if you complain, they’ll attack you for whining. They will call you a racist and compare your leaders to Hitler—and then if you return the insult, they’ll scream about the decline of civility. ...

As a result of leftists’ success in marginalizing dissenting opinions, nothing now creates a greater commotion in modern American discourse than speaking the obvious truth.

Obamacare’s Hidden Costs:
Democrats have unleashed a tidal wave of unintended consequences.
By Paul Howard, City Journal, May 13, 2010

Obamacare is barely two months old, and the nation is already discovering what opponents of the legislation argued all along: that it will cost taxpayers far more than expected and send health-care spending into the stratosphere.

One-Third of Students Need Remedial College Math, Reading
At public two-year colleges, that number rises to about 42%.
From USA Today, May 11, 2010

Nationwide, about a third of first-year students in 2007-08 had taken at least one remedial course, according to the U.S. Department of Education. At public two-year colleges, that number rises to about 42%.

In October, the Education Department reported that many states declare students to have grade-level mastery of reading and math when they do not. In a 2007 ACT National Curriculum Survey of college professors, 65% said their states poorly prepare students for college-level coursework.

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