North Archives - June 22, 2010
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It would appear that a more
free marked oriented model would not only be more economically sustainable,
but would be more likely to achieve the lofty goals of social justice as
Lottery is a Winner
A new documentary film about
the Harlem charter school lottery is being billed as a veritable wrecking
ball to anti-school choice forces. The Lottery, by Madeline Sackler, exposes
just how hostile the pubic school system, particularly the unions and their
political allies, can be to the best interests of students and their families.
Fake, But Too Good to Waste
By Martin Harris
over a century ago, a rapidly urbanizing US (the Census of 1880 found farmers
a minority in the labor force for the first time) decided, through the
political process, that farming was too important to be left to the farmers
to manage –with due credit to Clemenceau for his original comment about
war and generals-- and that, in a tradition going back to the Pharaohs
and recorded in the Bible, government should control the food supply and
its price for consumers, then a royalty/priestly 2% minority, now a 98%
voting majority. Various methods have been used since that post-Civil-War
political/ideological turning point –deflationary monetary policy, surplus
exports (rejected in the ‘20’s, adopted in the ‘50’s) , a fixed parity
formula, floating parity, deficiency payments, emergency aid. As farmers
responded with soaring productivity gains, over-supply and inadequate producer
prices have been the central problem. In the early decades, farmer-quits
weren’t a problem – indeed, as late as 1962, the USDA was still preaching
about a surplus of farmers and a labor shortage for industry—but since
the ‘30’s, the strategy has been of one of providing the least amount of
aid needed to keep farmers producing, not quitting, to ensure enough
commodity supply to keep consumer food prices from rising as fast as urbanite
incomes. Adjusted for inflation, farm income continues to drop while urban
income doesn’t, so food-spending-as-a-percent-of-income for urbanites continues
to shrink. From near 25% in the ‘50’s, it’s below 10% today. The 1951 $1
gallon of milk should cost $8.26 today. It doesn’t. Milk left the farm-gate
at parity then. Today it doesn’t. Dairymen now lose money on milk production.
Without some subsidy, some might quit. Supply might drop. Retail prices
might rise. Consumers would go political.
# # #
"For if the
nineteenth century was a century of individualism it may be expected that
this will be the century of collectivism and hence the century of the State...."
# # #
-- Benito Mussolini
Weekly News Round-Up
Vermont Earning the Dubious Distinction of First Place, Northeastern States
Dominate the Moocher Index
By Dan Mitchell, International
Liberty, June 16, 2010
The Center for Immigration
Studies recently put out a study
that immigration has had negative effects on California. One of their measures
was a comparison of how many people in the state were receiving some form
of welfare compared to other states. I found that data (see Table 3 of
very interesting, but not because of the immigration debate (I’ll leave
others to debate that topic). Instead, I wanted to get a better understanding
of the variations in government dependency. Is there a greater willingness
to sign up for income redistribution programs, all other things being equal,
from one state to another? The "all other things being equal" caveat is
very important, of course, since the comparison produced by CIS may simply
be an indirect measure of the factors that determine welfare eligibility.
One obvious (albeit crude) way of addressing this problem is to subtract
each state’s poverty
rate to get a measure of how many non-poor people are signed
up for income-redistribution programs. Let’s call this the Moocher Index.
Vermonters Paying Too Much for Housing
From WCAX-TV, June 15, 2010
Realtor Bill Desautels agrees
development restrictions keep the housing market tight and prices high.
And he says Vermonters have tended to value their green space more than
saving green. ...
"It is frustrating when we
see a really solid housing developments be delayed and turned down, because
people think it's too dense or too much traffic," Carpenter said.
The report also mentions
that a persistently high proportion of Vermonters pay too much for housing--
48 percent of renters and 39 percent of homeowners pay more than 30 percent
of their income for housing costs. That ranks Vermont as the 7th worst
state in the nation for housing costs.
Ranks High in Economic Performance, Low in Outlook
From Vermont Business Magazine,
June 15, 2010
A new report by American
Legislative Exchange Council shows that Vermont is ranked 22nd for economic
performance and 49th for economic outlook. Though Vermont is ranked 48
for both tax burden and state minimum wage, it is ranked 8 for state liability
system survey and 9 for sales tax burden. As states face their toughest
budgetary climates in a generation, the authors of the report point out
what states should and should not do to alleviate the fiscal pain.
Begins on Crown Point Bridge
From Denton Publications,
June 16, 2010
The construction of a new
Lake Champlain Bridge is much more than an engineering project.
"This is a critical link
between two states," Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas said at a ground breaking
ceremony marking the start of construction June 11. "Those who live and
work in the area surrounding the Lake Champlain Bridge share family, friends
and business relationships on both sides of the lake. The ease and timeliness
of transportation across Lake Champlain is critical to their way of life
Government At Its Worst
Caledonia Record, June 17,
The Vermont Department of
Corrections has to find a way to cut its $134.4 million budget for 2011
by $7 million. That sounds like a lot, but it is actually only a 5 percent
cut. Andrew Pallito, commissioner of the Vermont corrections department,
intends to get the money by reducing the inmate population of Vermont's
prisons enough to save that much. Pallito's approaching release of hundreds
of jailbirds in order to save money is bad government at its worst.
Vermont's judges' failure,
amounting to a refusal, to jail serious offenders is already a joke among
our neighbors, but this release goes to the middle of ludicrous. It renders
useless any threat of imprisonment for most of our offenders. What's to
fear when people who did what they did multiple times are getting out,
not going in?
Words. Who Said This?
From Vermont Tiger, June
So try to figure out the
identity of the speaker as you read this....
.... will loosen the
state's controls on the economy and abolish a key tax to spark a desperately
needed "investment boom," ....
.... invited more
competition and vowed less state intervention in the economy ....
The moves are designed
to attract massive foreign investment, without which .... is doomed to
.... needs a real investment
boom," .... "Creating suitable conditions for investors is, in effect,
our most important goal. Today we are putting this goal at the center of
our activities." To this end, .... said that starting next year .... will
scrap the capital gains tax on long-term direct investment....
.... lamented the state's
grip on the economy .... and even resorted to vivid imagery to drive home
his point. "People often think that the person who picks apples does the
main job, but in fact it is the one who plants the apple tree whose job
is crucial," he said. "The state should not always pick the apples on its
own. In a free economy there will always be people who will do it better
.... hopes to use innovation
and high-technology to diversify .... economy and prepare it for future
generations. During his speech, he waxed lyrical about .... as a future
land of opportunity, "where people from around the world will flock in
search of their particular dream." …
And given who is really in charge
in Russia, once again we're being outflanked on the right by a former KGB
# # #
Global War on Terrorism
Defense Can’t be at China’s Discretion
By Peter Brookes, Family
Security Foundation, June 16, 2010
of the most under-reported national security stories is the growing angst
over our ability to continue to produce some high-tech components for our
most advanced defense systems.
parts in question are composed of "rare earth elements," which are found
in high-value weapons and support platforms like missiles, destroyers,
tanks, aircraft, radars and satellites.
all rare earth elements, with out-of-this-world names like ytterbium and
thulium, are currently mined and processed in China, a country challenging
the United States for top billing on the world stage.
Weekly: The Kyrgyzstan Crisis and the Russian Dilemma
By Peter Zeihan, Strategic
Forecasters, June 15, 2010
STRATFOR often discusses
how Russia is on a bit of a roll. The U.S. distraction in the Middle East
has offered Russia a golden opportunity to re-establish its spheres of
influence in the region, steadily expanding the Russian zone of control
into a shape that is eerily reminiscent of the old Soviet Union. Since
2005 when this process began, Russia has clearly reasserted itself as the
dominant power in Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan,
Tajikistan and Ukraine, and has intimidated places like Georgia and Turkmenistan
into a sort of silent acquiescence.
But we have not spent a great
amount of time explaining why this is the case. It is undeniable that Russia
is a Great Power, but few things in geopolitics are immutable, and Russia
is no exception.
The World’s Most Wanted: A "Moderate Islam"
By Jamie Glazov, Front Page
Magazine, June 10, 2010
In this special edition of
Frontpage Symposium, we have invited four distinguished guests to discuss
the question: Is there a moderate Islam? Our guests today are:
Timothy Furnish, a
former U.S. Army Arabic interrogator, he is a consultant and author with
a Ph.D. in Islamic History. He is currently working on a book on modern
Muslim plans to resurrect the caliphate. His website, dedicated to Islamic
eschatology, is www.mahdiwatch.org
Tawfik Hamid, an Islamic
thinker and reformer who is the author of Inside Jihad: Understanding
and Confronting Radical Islam. A one-time Islamic extremist from Egypt,
he was a member of Jemaah Islamiya, a terrorist Islamic organization,
with Dr. Ayman Al-Zawahiri, who later became the second in command of al-Qaeda.
He is currently a senior fellow and chairman of the study of Islamic radicalism
at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies.
M. Zuhdi Jasser, M.D.
is the President and Founder of the American
Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD). A devout Muslim, he served 11 years
as a Lieutenant Commander in the United States Navy. He is a nationally
recognized expert in the contest of ideas against political Islam, American
Islamist organizations, and the Muslim Brotherhood. He regularly briefs
members of the House and Senate congressional anti-terror caucuses and
has served as a guest lecturer on Islam to deploying officers at the Joint
Forces Staff College. Dr. Jasser was presented with the 2007 Director’s
Community Leadership Award by the Phoenix office of the FBI and was recognized
as a "Defender of the Home Front" by the Center for Security Policy. He
recently narrated the documentary The
Third Jihad, produced by PublicScope Films. His chapter, Americanism
vs. Islamism is featured in the recently released book, The
Other Muslims (Palgrave-Macmillan) edited by Zeyno Baran.
Robert Spencer, a scholar
of Islamic history, theology, and law and the director of Jihad Watch.
He is the author of ten books, eleven monographs, and hundreds of articles
about jihad and Islamic terrorism, including the New York Times Bestsellers
Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and
Truth About Muhammad. His latest book, The Complete Infidel’s Guide
to the Koran, is available now from Regnery Publishing, and he is coauthor
(with Pamela Geller) of the forthcoming book The Post-American Presidency:
The Obama Administration’s War on America (Simon and Schuster).
Rushed Afghan Troop Withdrawal Could Be Disastrous
Editors, Family Security
Matters, June 16, 2010
The Taliban have only succeeded
because they come from regions that have no official power structures to
resist them. In regions where feudalism and tribalism are the main means
of government, there will not be a long-term political solution.
The Taliban cannot be allowed to thrive, but military solutions alone cannot
bring answers unless the social, tribal, economic
and infrastructure problems are also addressed. Only when there is social
stability, even in a worst-case scenario within a partitioned Afghanistan,
will it be safe for Nato troops to leave.
Qaeda Operatives Killed in North Waziristan Strike
By Bill Roggio, The Long
War Journal, June 17, 2010
The US killed two al Qaeda
commanders and a Turkish foreign fighter during a Predator airstrike in
North Waziristan earlier this month, a jihadist group stated.
Sheikh Ihsanullah, an "Arab
al Qaeda military commander"; Ibrahim, the commander of the Fursan-i-Mohammed
Group; and a Turkish foreign fighter known as Harun were killed in the
June 10 airstrike in the village of Norak in North Waziristan.
Islamist Group Is Returning to Chicago for Major Recruitment Drive
Diane Macedo, Fox News, June 16, 2010
back. A radical Islamist group critics say has links to Al Qaeda is gearing
up to host its second annual U.S. recruiting event.
group, Hizb ut-Tahrir America, which is committed to establishing a caliphate,
or international Islamic empire, kicked up controversy in Chicago last
year with its first U.S. conference, "Fall of Capitalism & Rise of
# # #
The Real Green Fuel
but oil is greener than "green" fuels, and the oil spill doesn’t change
By Jonah Goldberg, The National
Review, June 16, 2010
Alas, I’m not talking about
the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. As terrible
as that catastrophe is, such accidents have occurred in U.S. waters only
about once every 40 years (and globally about once every 20 years). I’m
talking about the dead zone largely caused by fertilizer runoff from American
farms along the Mississippi and Atchafalaya river basins. Such pollutants
cause huge algae plumes that result in oxygen starvation in the Gulf’s
richest waters, near the delta. ...
Indeed, as Steven Hayward
notes in the current Weekly Standard, if policymakers continue to
pursue biofuels in response to the current anti-fossil-fuel craze, these
dead zones will get a lot bigger every year. A 2008 study by the National
Academy of Sciences found that adhering to corn-based ethanol targets will
increase the size of the dead zone by as much as 34 percent.
Believe the Double-Dippers
By Alan Reynolds, Cato Institute,
June 10, 2010
The only double-dip recession
in modern times began during the election year of 1980, when President
Jimmy Carter's newly appointed Fed Chairman Paul Volcker slashed the federal-funds
rate to 9% that April from 17.5% in July. Inflation returned with a vengeance,
so the Fed gradually reversed course by pushing the fed-funds rate above
19% by the time Ronald Reagan took office in January 1981. Are those currently
predicting a double-dip recession expecting the Fed to raise interest rates
It is also misleading to
label this a "jobless" recovery, which indeed took place in the early 2000s.
After the recession of 2001 ended that November, the number of private
jobs continued to fall by 1.3 million through July 2003. Yet production
continued to grow.
Year After Its Bankruptcy, GM Is Still Married to the UAW
By Henry Payne, National
Review, June 18, 2010
Detroit — They’re b-a-a-a-a-ck.
Actually, they never left. And that’s the problem.
It’s fitting that — one year
to the month since GM declared bankruptcy — the annual United Auto Worker’s
convention is being held here amid renewed, militant calls that the Detroit
Three give back last year’s labor concessions. In
retrospect, the White House–engineered bankruptcy looks like a brilliant
move, artfully dodging a prolonged bankruptcy of a major American industry
in the middle of a national economic free-fall.
Gulf Speech Was Gusher of Goo
By Jonah Goldberg, American
Enterprise Institute, June 16, 2010
In a peculiar instance of
synchronicity, President Obama's Oval Office speech to the nation last
night resembled the very calamity it was intended to address: Like the
oil spewing into the Gulf, it began as a focused and narrow stream of words--and
quickly spread out into an amorphous cloud of goo.
Related Article: The
Gulf Spill, the Financial Crisis and Government Failure
Pence and the Winning Back of America
By Ed Lasky, American Thinker,
June 21, 2010
Mike Pence has been in the
forefront of devising new policies for many years. Even before entering
politics, he was president of a think tank. After entering politics, he
has led the way on immigration
reform (focusing on securing our borders and following and enforcing
our laws as well as providing a way for honest immigrants to meet our labor
speech (battling Democratic plans to impose the Fairness Doctrine
on us -- that would be the death knell for talk radio and independent voices.
He battled the health care plan water boarded down our throats by Democrats
(see his Wall Street Journal op-ed,
"This Law Will Not Stand"), the budget (as he was in the forefront
opposing the disastrous "stimulus" bill and has tried to prevent
yet another bailout -- this time of spendthrift European nations
who have avoided the tough choices need to bring this fiscal affairs in
order). He wants to stop "the freight
train of big government " (a ringing phrase coined by him) before
we are crushed by it. The big spending that is endemic in D.C. and has
become a pandemic across state governments -he wants to end the waste of
our money and restore fiscal sanity to the asylum that Democrats now run-into
or Unanimity at Reformed Council?
By Jordan Ballor, Acton
Institute for Religion and Liberty, June 16, 2010
The compounding problem with
the Accra Confession is that it takes the wrong side, the side that embraces
an essentially neo-Marxist narrative of Third World alienation and victimization,
and seeks "justice" in the form of retribution against First World villains.
Far from promoting the kind of unity that is at the core of ecumenical
efforts, this kind of rhetorical and ideological confessionalism drives
apart those who ought to be joining together. It pits the rich against
the poor, north against south, east against west, inserting the divisive
language of economic class into the definition of the Christian church.
Morning Shows Rage Against BP CEO's Yachting Trip, Ignore Obama's Golf
By Scott Whitlock, Media
Research Center, June 21, 2010
All three morning shows on
Monday railed against BP CEO Tony Hayward for attending a yachting race
in England on Saturday, but they found no such anger for Barack Obama's
golf outing on the same day, ignoring the story.
# # #