North Archives - June 17, 2008
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Costs and Results
By John McClaughry
42 percent of its students in Vermont' s best category, eighth grade reading,
scored "proficient" or above. Nationally, the figure was 29 percent. One
has to conclude that either the "proficient" standard is unreasonably high,
or America's kids aren't getting much proficiency from their education.
The national average expenditure
per pupil for 2006-07 was $9,295. Minnesota spent $9,366, less than one
percent above the national average. Massachusetts spent $12,566, 35% above.
Vermont (4th highest in the nation) spent $13,102, 41% above. New Hampshire
spent $10,562, 14% above. South Dakota spent $8,077, 13% below.
Parenthood Event Reveals "Glib" Attitude On Abortion
By Bob Sekerak
Planned Parenthood of Northern
New England held a fundraiser entitled "Our Right to Shoes" on April 19th
in Burlington. The event featured the auctioning of shoes and other items
donated by area retail outlets. The glib play on words, ‘shoes’ for ‘choose‘
(in other words, abortion), typifies Planned Parenthood’s disdain for the
taking of human life in the womb and the organization’s disordered sense
of humor. Similarly, Planned Parenthood has celebrated the Supreme Court
decisions Roe v Wade and Doe v Bolton, which decriminalized
abortion during all nine months of pregnancy, by serving ‘birthday’ cake.
to Fix Pre-School
By Martin Harris
but the really interesting part pops up on p.355 of Race, where author
Urie Bronfenbrenner opens a different line of thinking and starts by conceding
that "long-term effects of pre-school programs…significant differences
between experimental and control groups…were no longer visible at the end
of second grade". By the mid-90’s, it turns out, experts in the pre-school
education field were aware that it wasn’t working, something that contemporary
advocates of public school expansion still refuse to recognize.
The same conclusion came
from a February 2006 U-Cal/Santa Barbara study: "any advantage from pre-school
in kindergarten performance had faded away by third grade". Chris Braunlich
of the Thomas Jefferson Institute has written a two-page summary of that
and multiple similar findings. The title is "Arguments for Universal Pre-School
Don’t Add Up".
On p. 358 of Race, therefore,
Urie Bronfenbrenner proposes a fix: home-based intervention, to replace
or supplement group-based (public school, Head Start, et al) programs.
In subsequent pages he focuses on the students’ mothers, describing not
only mother-child-tutor home visits but mother-classes in some sort of
classroom. By p. 363 he’s writing that "the generalization that parent
intervention has more lasting effects the earlier it is begun can now be
extended into the first year of life", because (p.365) "a parent education
component is important", and that is because "…it appears to enhance the
mothers’ perception of themselves [as] capable of independent thought".
# # #
"Mr. Obama reserves the
right to define what is and is not a 'special interest.' He has ordered
the DNC not to accept money from lobbyists and special interests, yet it's
still alright for him and the DNC to accept money from unions, trial lawyers
and environmentalists." -- Charles W. Baird, WSJ Blog
# # #
Weekly News Round-Up
Wal-Mart Season Again
Caledonia Record Letter
to the Editor, June 11, 2008
On April 23, a city council
meeting was held in Newport in which the main topic of discussion was Wal-Mart.
Predictably, the Wal-Mart opponents prophesied devastation for the area
if Wal-Mart were to move in (obviously having learned no lessons from St.
Johnsbury and the devastation that occurred there because they forced Wal-Mart
across the river into New Hampshire) and the proponents who say the people
need a department store. After all, there has been no department store
in this area since Ames went belly-up and closed their Derby store in 2002,
a bleak day for this area.
From VermontTiger.com, June
"The oil companies pass
everything on to us, you know. Tax-breaks, no tax-breaks – we’ve got to
get off this addiction and when we do, we’ll be free of them. That’s how
I look at it."
Boxer, explaining why an "excess profits" tax on oil companies is a
good thing. The oil companies as pushers. Rehab by government intervention.
This is what passes for policy analysis in the energy-strapped summer of
2008. Well, as long as we are going to go down the road of argument
by pop-culture cliché how about this one: the definition of insanity
is doing the same thing over and over in the expectation of different results.
Taxing the excess profits of oil companies during an energy crisis has
been tried before. Didn't work.
Vacant Office Space in Chittenden County Hits Record High
From The Burlington Free
Press, June 6, 2008
The vacancy rate for Chittenden
County office space has hit a record high: 10.4 percent, according to an
analysis released today. During the last six months, the amount of vacant
office space in Vermont’s most populous county is "up sharply" from 7.4
percent, according to Allen & Brooks, a South Burlington-based real
estate analysis firm. The current vacancy rate means 708,000 square feet
of office space sits idle in Chittenden County, the report said.
Must Do Better
Caledonia Record Editorial,
June 13, 2008
As Lunderville describes
it, it's not just that there's not enough money to even begin to upgrade
Vermont's highways and bridges - significant external pressures block progress
and prevent the efficient repair and replacement of highways, bridges and
The bridge between Middlesex
and Moretown illustrates the Vermont governmental culture of "paralysis
by analysis." The bridge is a steel truss bridge, one of many built in
Vermont after the 1927 flood. There are 86 steel truss bridges in Vermont.
As early as 1991, the bridge was identified as needing replacement, but
federal agencies decided in 1998 that the bridge needed to be saved and
remain in place
To EU: Take A Hike
From VermontTiger.com, June
By an impressive majority,
voters rejected one of those European Union treaties that is designed
to empower unelected elites. Those elites insisted that the treaty would
do nothing of the sort and that "groups opposed to the treaty successfully
played on people's fears it would mean a loss of national sovereignty."
Well, perhaps those people's
fears were validated when they looked across the way at Scotland where
the EU bureaucrats took it upon themselves to regulate
the volume at which bagpipers may play their instruments.
Real Stretch, Even In An Election Year
Caledonia Record Editorial
The main point of Jewett's
Op Ed piece is that a wonderful bill that would have effectively saved
the lives of junior operators could have been agreed to by both the House
and Senate if only Gov. Douglas had used his moral authority, leadership
and influence to pressure the members of the Legislature to pass the bill.
Once passed, Jewett argues, Douglas could have signed the bill into law.
He asserts that Douglas is the sole reason the bill failed to become law.
Once the bill got to the
House, representatives like Jewett, who had given up on trying to get their
own bill passed by the House, decided to take all the provisions included
in all the House motor vehicle bills and tack them onto the Senate bill
in the form of an amendment. It worked and Senate bill S.133, now weighted
down by provisions adding a primary enforcement seat belt law, restrictions
on passengers in cars driven by junior operators, a prohibition on nighttime
operation by young drivers, and other amendments, passed the House. Since
the House rewrote the bill, it had to return to the Senate to be voted
on in its amended form. The Senate, on a voice vote, rejected the House
# # #
Global War on Terrorism
Free Europe/Radio Liberty: An Effective Tool for Winning Hearts and Minds
By Jeffrey Gedmin, Ph.D.,
Heritage Foundation, June 13, 2008
So, I commend the Administration,
certainly, for selecting Jeff to lead Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty.
Today, it broadcasts in 28 languages to 30 million people in Russia, Central
Asia, and the Middle East, including Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan.
RFE/RL continues to do what it did so well in the Cold War, defending our
principles of freedom and disseminating our ideas of liberty and civil
society. That's very likely why Russia (under President Vladimir Putin)
and other leaders in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan have banned its broadcasts.
By Victor Davis Hanson,
National Review, June 13, 2008
In the end, the U.S. military
has achieved the near impossible by removing the worst government in the
Middle East and fostering what has a real chance to become by far the best.
In some sense, whether Iraq was worth the high cost depends on whether
one thinks the present-day liberal and humane democracies in Europe, Japan,
and Korea were likewise worth the past, and far more terrible, price that
America paid in blood and treasure to secure their enduring freedom.
Nations May Have Nuclear Blueprints
CBS News, June 15, 2008
A former U.N. weapons inspector
is set to reveal publicly that blueprints for nuclear devices were found
on computers belonging to an international nuclear smuggling ring -- two
years ago. The illicit group was once led by Pakistani scientist, A.Q.
From Investor's Business
Daily, June 13, 2008
Saudi money buys a lot in
Washington, even an extension of a lease to an Islamic school that graduates
terrorists and teaches its students it's OK to kill non-Muslims.
Troubling Texts at Va. Islamic School
The books say it’s
OK for Muslims to kill adulterers and converts
From The Associated Press,
June 11, 2008
Textbooks at a private Islamic
school in northern Virginia teach students that it is permissible for Muslims
to kill adulterers and converts from Islam, according to a federal investigation
of the Dupes and the Anti-Anti-Communists
Kengor, American Thinker, June 13, 2008
A couple of weeks ago in
Washington, Herb Romerstein and Cliff Kincaid, two veteran investigators
of American communism, held a press conference on Capitol Hill to announce
the release of two new reports on Barack Obama's radical past, or, more
specifically, his association with extremist elements from the American
left -- yet more evidence of a frightening pattern of associations by Obama
throughout his distant and recent life, from Bill Ayers to Reverend Jeremiah
Wright, all of which at the least shows bad judgment. At the press conference,
they discussed Romerstein's report on Frank Marshall Davis, an influential
figure in Obama's early life, whom Obama refers to only as "Frank" (albeit
affectionately) in his autobiography Dreams From My Father. Davis
was a communist, a member of CPUSA. Romerstein developed that fact very
carefully in his report, which contained at least a half dozen exhibits
and other forms of reliable documentation -- a fact that itself is news,
since many (on the gullible left) still like to question whether Davis
was a Party member.
# # #
More Excuses: The U.S. Needs To Tap Into Its Own Oil Reserves
By Tim Walberg, Investor’s
Business Daily, June 13, 2008
Why is our country facing
a rising trade deficit even though American-made exports grew 19.2% over
the last year (April 2007 to April 2008)? The answer is found at gas stations
across the country and in America's $34.5 billion petroleum deficit, which
is roughly half of our monthly trade deficit. ... Our country has vast
and large supplies of energy, but unfortunately tapping into American energy
sources has become controversial and mired in politics. And while political
games are played in Washington, D.C., Americans keep paying more at the
Million Reasons For Radical Education Reform
By Anthony B. Bradley, The
Acton Institute, June 11, 2008
What reports overlook, and
all the political rhetoric during the presidential campaign will miss,
is that high school graduation rates are tied to a stable family life,
a sense of self-efficacy, and moral agency, rather than to money spent
per pupil or the number of standardized assessments given from kindergarten
through grade twelve.
Fatherless children are twice
as likely to drop out of school as their classmates who live with two parents.
Children whose fathers are absent consistently score lower than the norm
in reading and math tests. ... Regardless of race or class, education reform
will only be successful in concert with other needed reforms. Family, self-efficacy,
and agency work in concert like one of Bach's Brandenburg concertos. We
have over one million annual reasons to stop playing rhetorical political
games and ignoring the fact that educational success is forged outside
of the classroom.
and Environment Experts Praise Senate for Rejecting Lieberman-Warner
By Dan Miller, The Heartland
Institute, June 10, 2008
Energy and environment experts
are praising the U.S. Senate for its rejection of stifling energy restrictions
contained in the Lieberman-Warner climate bill. Proponents of the bill
mustered only 48 votes, and some observers predicted many of those votes
would likely melt away if the bill had any real chance of success.
By Tom Coburn, American
Conservative Union Foundation, June 11, 2008
Becoming Republicans again
will require us to come to grips with what has ailed our party – namely,
the triumph of big-government Republicanism and failed experiments like
the K Street Project and "compassionate conservatism." If the goal of the
K Street Project was to earmark and fund raise our way to a filibuster-proof
"governing" majority, the goal of "compassionate conservatism" was to spend
our way to a governing majority.
The fruit of these efforts
is not the hoped-for Republican governing majority, but the real prospect
of a filibuster-proof Democrat majority in 2009. While the K Street Project
decimated our brand as the party of reform and limited government, compassionate
conservatism convinced the American people to elect the party that was
truly skilled at activist government: the Democrats.
By Dennis Avery, American
Conservative Union Foundation, June 11, 2008
In 1998, Dr. Arthur Robinson,
Director of the Oregon Institute for Science and Medicine, posted his first
Global Warming skeptic petition, on the Institute’s website (oism.org).
It quickly attracted the signatures of more than 17,000 Americans who held
college degrees in science. Widely known as the Oregon Petition, it became
a counter-weight for the "all scientists agree" mantra of the Global Warming
Recently, with America being
dragged toward Kyoto-style energy limits by cadres of alarmists, Robinson
mailed a new copy of the petition to his original signers, asking them
to recruit additional qualified scientists. Now his list includes well
over 31,000 American man-made warming skeptics with science qualifications.
More than 9,000 hold scientific Ph.Ds. Almost 32,000 thousand skeptics
happens to be twelve times as many scientists as the 2,500 scientific reviewers
claimed by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to form a scientific
Again Lards Iraq War Spending Bill
By Brian M. Riedl, The Heritage
Foundation, June 12, 2008
Despite vowing to rein in
spending, cut the budget deficit, and implement pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) rules,
the Democratic Congress recently voted to cast these promises aside. Rather
than making the success and safety of American troops a top legislative
priority, both the House- and Senate-passed versions of the Iraq war spending
bill (H.R. 2642, now in conference committee to reconcile the two versions)
focus on adding tens of billions of dollars in new spending unrelated to
the war on terrorism.
Pushes Windfall Profits
By Neal Boortz, Boortz.com,
June 10th, 2008
Ok .. first of all, just
what are "windfall profits?" Does anyone have a handy definition? Might
I offer one? Damn right I might. Try this: "A tax levied on a industry
by a politician eager to pander to economically ignorant voters who, for
whatever reason, are upset with that industry." This term "windfall profits"
has become another buzzword for liberals, and particularly the Barack Obama
campaign. A majority of Americans probably couldn’t tell you the first
thing about windfall profits … but the word inflicts these feelings of
evil and wealth envy.
Economic Plan Deserves Close Scrutiny
Give Media Failing Grades in Objectivity for Election 2008
Rasmussen Reports, Sunday,
June 08, 2008
Just 17% of voters nationwide
believe that most reporters try to offer unbiased coverage of election
campaigns. A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that four
times as many—68%--believe most reporters try to help the candidate that
they want to win.
Wall Street Journal Editorial,
June 11, 2008
Democrats in Congress have
finally found a federal program they want to eliminate. And wouldn't you
know, it's one that actually works and helps thousands of poor children.
We're speaking of the four-year-old
Washington, D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program that provides vouchers
to about 2,000 low-income children so they can attend religious or other
private schools. ... Kevin Chavis, the former D.C. City Council member
who sits on the oversight board of the scholarship program, says, "If we
were going to do what was best for the kids, then continuing it is a no-brainer.
Those kids are thriving." More than 90% of the families express high satisfaction
with the program, according to researchers at Georgetown University.
Many of the parents we interviewed
describe the vouchers as a "Godsend" or a "lifeline" for their sons and
daughters. "Most of the politicians have choices on where to send their
kids to school," says William Rush, Jr., who has two boys in the program.
"Why do they want to take our choices away?"
says "Tell Congress: End the DC Voucher Experiment!"
# # #