North Archives - May 18, 2010
| Editorial | News & Views
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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.
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.
Authority: A Commencement Address for Today’s Graduates.
By Deborah T. Bucknam
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.
# # #
to the Editor
Bailing Out Poor Judgment
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?
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.
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.
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
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.
Pat and Bernie, are you listening? Enough is enough.
Shepard is a former Sate Senator from Bennington County and a former candidate
for Vermont’s U.S. House Seat.
not a means to a political end. It is itself the highest political end."
– Lord Acton
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Weekly News Round-Up
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
was punctured Thursday, and the victim believes the incident was politically
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.
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.
the UI Problem?
By Art Woolf, Vermont
Tiger, May 11, 2010
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
# # #
Global War on Terrorism
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
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.
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
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.
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."
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?
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.
# # #
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.
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.
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
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
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?
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
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."
Sky is Blue, but the List is Black:
The Left cannot tolerate
By Andrew Klavan, City Journal,
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.
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.
of Students Need Remedial College Math, Reading
At public two-year
colleges, that number rises to about 42%.
From USA Today, May 11,
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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