North Archives - May 19, 2009
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the Budget Whack-a-Mole Game
By John McClaughry
June 30 the Vermont budget crisis of 2009 will most likely be over. It
is also likely that all parties involved in that exhausting process will
be more open to a better way of prioritizing what government does, finding
more efficient ways of doing it, dropping low priority programs, and living
within the revenues produced by the present tax structure.
This will mean stepping
on some powerful interest group toes, but it has to be done - or Vermont
will simply slide toward eventual insolvency.
By Deborah T. Bucknam
Not just content to win
elections, the Left is trying to destroy its political opponents by calling
for criminal prosecution of Bush administration officials for political
and legal decisions the Left does not like.
Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy
is leading this banana republic style campaign to criminalize policy decisions
made by a duly elected previous administration.
Montpelier Steps in to Table Waste
By Martin Harris
interesting about this tale isn’t so much the skillful use of the law to
grab the table waste from one re-cycler and give it to others (themselves)
more entitled, in their own opinion; it’s the growing list of areas
in which Vermont’s Beautiful People and politically-dominant Gentry-Left
(the two demographics pretty much overlap) have, on the basis of their
own innately superior wisdom and judgment, made Vermont law more
restrictive and demanding than Federal law.
A partial list of such areas
includes the American with Disabilities Act, wherein Vermont has included
a number of handicap-access requirements not found in Federal law;
more stringent requirements for asbestos management in buildings; more
stringent requirements for radiation management at Vermont Yankee; and
even activist demands for more stringent air-quality standards at International
Paper’s New York State plant because prevailing winds are westerly. One
area in which the B-P’s have chosen easier standards: locally-purchased
school achievement tests, to supplant the Federal requirements, so that
Vermont students appear more capable than they really are.
An Occasional Newsletter from the Legislature
Rep. Thomas F. Koch Barre
About 30 years ago, a California
state senator wrote a bill titled What Makes You Think We Read the
Bills? The title says it all—you can pretty well figure out what
was between the covers!
I have been wanting to send
out an end-of-session "Scribblings," but between getting caught up on a
backlog of chores around the house, working in my greenhouse, teaching
a safe boating course, serving as scoutmaster of Barre Troop 95, and a
few other things I have concluded that won’t happen—at least right away.
However, Rep. Anne Donohue of Northfield sent out her legislative report
this week, and I thought you might find it both interesting and revealing.
What Anne does not report,
out of an excess of modesty, is that she is the one who asked most of the
questions she writes about. Many people in the legislature work hard—nobody
works harder than Anne Donohue. In the almighty rush to adjourn by
last weekend, she actually had the audacity to want to read and understand
the bills she was being asked to vote on! In the process, she irritated
more than a few people. She also uncovered numerous drafting errors
and little nuances that had been inserted in bills while most people were
not looking! The fact that she was slowing down the adjournment process
and aggravating a some people was simply secondary to her desire to be
able to answer a constituent’s question about one bill or another.
# # #
"One of the best ways
to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go
about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the
great struggle for independence." --
Charles A. Beard, 1935
# # #
Weekly News Round-Up
in Green - The Nightmare Continues
From Vermont Tiger, May
Sometime last week, fellow
Tiger Chris Campion mentioned the new report that has come out of Spain,
analyzing the outcomes of that country's big "green energy" drive - a drive
that is frequently held up to us as a model for emulation.
As Chris noted, the results
have been - to say the least - not only disappointing, but very negative.
The salient economic highlights are findings that: 1) For every four "green"
jobs created, nine other jobs were destroyed; 2) Among those "green" jobs,
1 in 10 was a real, full-time job. None of this is a surprise;
"alternative energy" requires overly-massive use of scarce resources -
resources that can only be taken away from better and more productive activities.
From the Caledonia Record,
May 12, 2009
The Vermont Legislature adjourned
on Saturday. The term "adjournment" may be used only if it is allowed to
mean "continuance," too. That's because the most significant piece of business
of the session, the budget, is in a Democrat created limbo unless and until
the governor signs the pretend budget they passed Saturday. The likelihood
of that is less than Willa Warthog being named Miss America. Barring a
miracle, the governor will veto that budget and everybody will be back
at square one.
Promises Budget Veto
From WCAX-TV May 15 2009
Governor Jim Douglas, R-Vermont,
says he will definitely veto the state budget and call lawmakers back next
month for a special session to re-work it. He says the $4.5 billion plan
passed by the Legislature will result in economic harm to Vermonters through
tax increases and unsustainable spending.
from Governor Douglas Calling Lawmakers Back for a Special Session
growing number of Vermonters share my concern that steps taken by the General
Assembly this session are only short-term patches that set our state on
a dangerous course for years to come." Click
here to view references
referred to in the letter (pdf).
From Vermont Tiger, May
Between now and June 2nd,
when the legislature reconvenes in special session, we will be hearing
a lot about fairness and shared sacrifice and how the legislators have
struggled with their responsibilities. Political boilerplate, in other
words. One will have to concentrate to keep in mind certain facts.
As, for instance, the fact that the educational establishment is not being
asked to give up much of anything. Nor is the housing and land trust empire;
the cuts in its budget being largely illusory. What the legislature took
away with one hand, it gave back with another. Income sensitivity still
insures that some people living in million dollar homes can get a break
on their property taxes. People who ride Amtrak will continue to be subsidized
at the rate of $71 per ticket. And so on.
Posts Ready with Crossing Scanners
From the Caledonia Record,
May 10, 2009
The scanners and the new
computer systems are in place at Vermont's largest border crossing with
Quebec and people in both the United States and Canada are starting to
get identification cards that makes it easier for them to cross the border.
Leahy Proposes Reforms for Immigrant Farm Workers
By Daniel Barlow, Vermont
Press Bureau, May 16, 2009
There are an estimated 2,000
immigrants working illegally – and often surreptitiously – on Vermont farms
during busy seasons. And U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy would like to see as many
of them as possible brought into the light.??Leahy, a Vermont Democrat,
has once again sponsored legislation in Washington, D.C., that would make
it easier for farm workers who may not be in the country legally to obtain
proper documents and possibly become U.S. citizens.
# # #
Global War on Terrorism
Has Plan to Secure Pakistan Nukes if Country Falls to Taliban
By Rowan Scarborough, FOXNews.com,
May 14, 2009
American intelligence sources
say the military's chief terrorist-hunting squad has units operating in
Afghanistan on Pakistan's western border and is working on a secondary
mission to secure foreign nuclear arsenals if the Taliban or Al Qaeda overwhelm
Pope Stands Up
From The New York Post,
May 12 2009
In an action that spoke far
louder than words, Pope Benedict yesterday walked out of an interfaith
meeting in Jerusalem after the chief Islamic judge of the Palestinian Authority
launched into an anti-Israeli diatribe.
Wing Extremist' Report Withdrawn
By Rick Moran, American
Thinker, May 14 2009
File this one under "closing
the barn door after the horse escaped."
The Department of Homeland
Security is withdrawing the notorious report that branded our returning
veterans as possible terrorist recruits and hinted that immigration and
abortion activists were likely terrorists.
West is Naïve, Greedy, and Cowardly When it Comes to Appeasing Islamists
By Dr. Sami Alrabaa, Family
Security Matters, May14, 2009
Some Westerners, especially
politicians, act in good faith toward Islamists and Muslim terrorists.
Guantanamo will be closed, and its inmates will be rehabilitated in the
U.S. and some European countries – although everybody knows that these
men were not accidentally roaming Afghanistan as tourists, but were
criminals fighting along side their Taliban comrades when they were arrested.
Alongside Hamid Karzei, the
Afghan president, and Pakistan’s
president, Asif Ali Zardari, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said
during a press conference on May 6, 2009, that she "deeply regretted" the
death of civilians in a recent clash with Taliban terrorists, and promised
a thorough investigation.
But Clinton should by now
know that terrorists, whether they are Taliban or Hamas do not value human
life. They use civilians as human shields when they fight the "infidels."
This has become a pattern in Afghanistan and Gaza. Besides, as these terrorists
do not wear a uniform, it is difficult to tell whether they are civilians
on Tape: The Middle East's Culture of Cruelty
By Daniel Pipes, FrontPageMagazine.com,
May 15, 2009
Some of the bravest and most
distinguished analysts from the Middle East emphasize that region's culture
of cruelty. Kanan Makiya titled his 1994 book about Arabs Cruelty
and Silence. Fouad Ajami writes about Beirut being "lost
to a new reign of cruelty," about Iraq's "plunder
and cruelty and sectarian animus," and about the region's
waste, and confusion."
That cruelty, usually at
a remove from outsiders, became cinematically vivid on April 22, 2009,
when ABC News aired a tape of a prince from the United Arab Emirates sadistically
torturing an Afghan merchant he accused of dishonesty. No less instructive
were the passive reactions of his government and of American officials.
The story reveals much and is worth pondering:
In Abu Dhabi, the UAE's largest
and most powerful emirate, the Nahyan family has long ruled and dominated.
After the 2004 death of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who had ruled
the emirate since its independence in 1971, his long-restrained 22 royal
sons and grandsons reveled in their new-found freedom of action. One of
them in particular, Issa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a younger brother of Abu
Dhabi's current ruler and president of the seven-member United Arab Emirates
federation, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan (b. 1948), went crazy. "It's like
you flipped a switch and the man took a wrong turn in his life and started
getting violent," comments Bassam Nabulsi, 50, of Houston, Texas, a native
of Lebanon and former business associate of Issa's.
in European Prisons
By Imaad Malik, Islamist
Watch, May 14, 2009
Jihadists are radicalizing
Muslims in prisons outside the U.S., in Europe and elsewhere, through aggressive
indoctrination and recruitment. A new RAND
Corporation report, "Radicalization or Rehabilitation: Understanding
the Challenge of Extremist and Radicalized Prisoners," cites prisons as
a key venue for Islamist recruitment. Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, a former
inmate and mentor of the late al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia commander Abu Musab
al-Zarqawi, describes jihadist tactics in prisons in the radical periodical
ul-Islam to include:
Refusal to cooperate in the
prison's administrative regime, intimidating prison staff, and attacking
Using prison visits to communicate
with followers in the outside world.
Holding alternative Friday prayers
to draw other prisoners away from the official prison services.
Producing and distributing
ideological literature within, and for dissemination beyond, the prison
# # #
By Samuel Gregg D.Phil,
Acton Institute for Religion & Liberty, May 13, 2009
But in the midst of this
enthusiasm about entrepreneurship, we risk forgetting that entrepreneurship’s
capacity to create wealth is heavily determined by the environments in
which we live. In many business schools today, it’s entirely possible to
study entrepreneurship without any reference being made to the role played
by factors such as rule of law, property-rights, and low-taxes in stimulating
In short, entrepreneurship
doesn’t just depend on a particular understanding of human nature. Its
wealth-creating character also requires a certain moral and institutional
setting. If taxes are high, property-rights unprotected, and corruption
the norm, then the environment embodies major deterrents to wealth-generating
entrepreneurship. Why would people risk being entrepreneurial when they
can’t assume their ideas won’t be stolen or their profits arbitrarily confiscated?
Coming Ice Age
By David Deming, American
Thinker, May 13 2009
Earth's climate is controlled
by the Sun. In comparison, every other factor is trivial. The coldest
part of the Little Ice Age during the latter half of the seventeenth century
was marked by the nearly complete absence of sunspots. And the Sun now
appears to be entering a new period of quiescence. August of 2008
was the first month since the year 1913 that no sunspots were observed.
As I write, the sun remains quiet. We are in a cooling trend. The
areal extent of global sea ice is above the twenty-year mean.
America About to Go Broke?
for Social Security and Medicare may soon exceed the combined net worth
of every household and nonprofit organization in the country.
By Scott Burns, MSM Money
The figures exist, but they
are ignored. News reports regularly inform us of the growing federal deficit,
projected at a stunning $1.75 trillion for fiscal 2009 and $1.17 trillion
for 2010. But regularly reported, less visible government obligations have
been growing much faster.
In the four years from January
2004 to January 2008, the Medicare trustees reported that the unfunded
liabilities of Social Security and Medicare grew by a stunning $10.4 trillion.
The average annual growth topped $2.5 trillion. That was well over the
expected formal deficit of $1.75 trillion this year.
Related Article: Report
on Social Security and Medicare could be bleaker
the Biggest Missing Story in Politics
By Bruce Walker, American
Thinker, May 14, 2009
In August of last year I
wrote an article,
"The Biggest Missing Story in Politics," which reviewed the single most
important datum in the last thirteen Battleground Polls over a period stretching
from early 2002 to late 2008. The critical fact, completely ignored
by almost everyone, was that in answering Question D3, which asked the
respondent what he considered his ideology to be, sixty percent of the
American people described themselves as "conservative" or "very conservative."
Times for Christian America?
By Hunter Baker, American
Thinker, May 06, 2009
America is a complicated
place. We are a dynamic society because we are a free society. From our
birth as a republic, we have been a quasi-stable partnership of enlightenment
modernism and vigorous Christian belief working together for the preservation
of ordered liberty. There will be more proclamations of the death of Christian
America. It is as good a story as the "war" between science and religion,
which gets a makeover every time we have a slow news day.
The smart money is on Christianity
to be around and relevant for as long as the American republic endures.
The even smarter money says the faith will outlast the republic just as
it did the empire into which it was born.
Majority identify as 'pro-life’
UPI, May 16, 2009.
A Gallup Poll indicates for
the first time since it started asking the question 14 years ago that a
majority of U.S. adults describe themselves as "pro-life."
In the poll released Friday,
51 percent called themselves "pro-life," while 42 percent considered themselves
"pro-choice," The Washington Post reported Saturday. That's a significant
reversal from last year's poll when 50 percent said they were "pro-choice"
while 44 percent called themselves "pro-life."
After the Lawyers
By Kathleen Parker, Washington
Post Writers Group, May 16, 2009
Even if Bybee and Yoo were
wrong, their error doesn't rise to the level of an ethical offense, much
less a war crime. Under the Justice Department's own standards, an ethical
issue would arise only if their opinion was so obviously wrong that no
reasonable lawyer could possibly reach the same conclusion. By that standard,
the only obvious wrong is the continued persecution of Jay Bybee and John
Yoo. The effect sanctions might have on future lawyering, meanwhile, could
of the Oppressor
Another reason why
U.S. ed schools are so awful
Sol Stern, City Journal,
This ed-school bestseller
is, instead, a utopian political tract calling for the overthrow of capitalist
hegemony and the creation of classless societies.
War on the Democrats
He might be unpopular,
but he's winning the debate.
by Stephen F. Hayes, Weekly
Standard, May 25, 2009
Well, that settles it. Maureen
Dowd thinks Dick Cheney should shut up.
# # #