North Archives - June 29, 2010
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Local Control of the Storm
The Health of our
Water, our Property Values, and the General Fund depend on it.
By James Ehlers
NPDES. MS4. NPS. 303(d).
BMP. TMDL. CWA. 305(b). WWSRF. TSS. WWTP. NMP. EPA. The list of acronyms
involved in water quality protection and enhancement is enough to send
one running for cover, never mind the sometimes actual storm to which they
may be related and the political storm to which they almost always are.
I suppose that is what happens though when we look for a mammoth bureaucracy
to address the problems that start in our own roof gutters and around gazing
balls perched on our front lawn pedestals.
the Planet Through Higher Taxes
By John McClaughry
planet's destruction" could be the consequence of Congress's failing to
pass a sweeping energy tax, carbon regulation, and subsidy cornucopia bill
this session, according to Senate leader Harry Reid.
The House has already passed
the Waxman-Markey bill with all these features. In May Senate Democrats
unveiled their version, called Kerry-Lieberman. Both sound a shrill alarm
about greenhouse gas "pollution" and the Menace of Global Warming, but
that increasingly derided term has now been replaced by "climate change",
after Mother Earth refused to validate the UN's bogus computer models.
Real, Fake or Man-Made?
By Martin Harris
of the observeable ways in which politicians prove that they’re destined
–indeed, obligated-- to govern because they’re more intelligent and clever
than the rest of us (the Progressive theorem) is their ability to produce
a well-turned phrase. Case in point, from the Chicago School of Politics:
"never let a crisis go to waste". Its author used just seven words to describe
the skillful use of events to move public opinion toward his preferred
ideological position. Historically, conspiracy theorists had invented,
much earlier than the Emanuellian phrase, much shorter acronyms to express
the same crisis-utilization concept: LIHOP and MIHOP. You’ll recognize
these from the discussions of the Pearl Harbor attack almost 70 years ago
and the discussions of the Twin Towers attack almost 10 years ago. I’d
add a new one: MIWOP, to describe a situation wherein a politician, in
the context of an ideological argument over public policy, chooses to create
a fake crisis where none exists or to seize on a real crisis and, by deliberate
action or inaction, taking steps to advance it, to Make It Worse On Purpose.
In terms of political intent, it falls somewhere between Letting It Happen
On Purpose, which was the accusation against FDR, or Making It Happen on
Purpose, which is the accusation against GWB.
Watch Rob Roper & Bill
Sayre discuss Vermont Issues.
# # #
"It is sobering
to reflect that 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 struggle for independence."
# # #
– Charles A. Beard
Weekly News Round-Up
Sinews of Modern Prosperity
By Daniel Foty, Vermont
Tiger, June 25, 2010
As part of this news story,
the (English language) Moscow Times apparently asked Esther Dyson
to pen a
short column of advice for President Medvedev about this
effort - and what it will really take.
This advice is directed at
Russia - but it encapsulates in more general terms what it takes to build
economic growth, prosperity, and social contentment in the contemporary
world. An excerpt:
Think of the project
as a garden rather than a construction site. For this garden to grow, Russia
must create the following conditions:
1. No killer weeds.
Entrepreneurs must be free from blackmail, expropriations and other shakedowns.
Right now, the Russian Silicon
Valley project is still very much a mystery. The location has been selected,
and a number of large companies are being invited to set up incubation,
and research and development facilities. That’s a start, but what will
be most important is the people and the culture they establish. Entrepreneurs
need to be encouraged to take sensible risks, and they need support and
mentoring to build sustainable companies that can make useful products
and services from their inventions and market them successfully.
2. Healthy seeds. Russia
needs to attract and reward technical talent and scientists for good ideas.
3. Nutrients in the soil.
There must be a steady source of good managers, businesspeople, and marketing
and sales talent.
4. Careful gardeners and
consumers. There must be mentors for entrepreneurs, as well as customers
who buy the products and services on the basis of quality and price rather
5. Cross-fertilization. There
must be critical mass so that people can learn from and compete with each
6. Sunshine. There must be
By Fox 44 News
An overview of the various
political races in 2010.
By Chris Campion, Vermont
Tiger, June 25, 2010
Our esteemed Senator Sanders
(S - Brooklyn) uncorks another howler - he wants to make sure that the
tax rates increase even more on the highest earners.
All in the interests of fairness, as determined by our patriarch:
Mr. Sanders and his co-sponsors
said, "It's time for multi-millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair
Sanders conveniently ignores
the progressive tax rate, which ensures that higher earners already paid
a "fair" share on their incomes over the course of their life. The
estate tax is simply a tax on what's left over after people have already
paid taxes on their income. Leave alone that the top
1% of income earners pay 40% of all income taxes collected, the top 10%
pays 71%, the top 50% of income earners pays 97% - then
we have to ask the question: How much is enough, let alone "fair"?
Our gov't has the gall to insist on taxing income you've already paid income
tax on while earning it or investing it.
Construction will Bring Jobs
From Denton Publications,
June 25, 2010
Help Wanted: Labors to assist
in the construction of the Lake Champlain Bridge.
The $69.6 million project
to reconnect New York and Vermont is expected to create at least 200 jobs
for local workers, according to officials.
Bucket Brigade, Neighbors Helping Neighbors
From the Caledonia Record,
June 21, 2010
It was a heart-warming story
when we learned of a woman taking the time to stop and rescue an aimless
steer with its head stuck in a bucket. He couldn't see where he was going
and was in danger of wandering into the road or stepping into a hole and
tumbling down. Mary Batten, of Hale Road in Waterford, jumped out of her
car and, after guessing what a farmer would say to get the steer and a
companion to stop walking away ("Come on, boys!"), she grabbed the bucket
and held on until he could pull his head out of it. She said the steer
looked back at her in gratitude.
Numbers for Crunch Time
By Hugh Kemper, Vermont
Tiger, June 25, 2010
Education Commissioner Vileseca
has written a memo
alerting School Boards/Superintendents and others to Challenges for
Change’s target for reducing FY 2012 education spending by $23.2 million
or by 2%. Putting this target in perspective – if Vermont K-12, the
most staff intensive public school system in the country, were to reduce
teacher/teacher aide staffing alone to levels of the second most
staff intensive system, savings would approximate $86 million or 3.7 times
the target reduction.
In short, this savings target
is eminently achievable – a slam dunk so to speak - and should be viewed
as just the beginning of an effort to put K-12 spending on a rationale
and sustainable basis.
off the Press
Art Woolf, Vermont Tiger, June 29, 2010
U.S. Census Bureau today released its annual report Public Education Finances
2008... the comparisons between Vermont and the nation are stark.
# # #
Global War on Terrorism
Intent and Militant Funding
By Scott Stewart, Strategic
Forecasters, June 24, 2010
STRATFOR is currently putting
the finishing touches on a detailed assessment of the Islamic State of
Iraq (ISI), the al Qaeda-inspired jihadist franchise in that country. As
we got deeper into that project, one of the things we noticed was the group’s
increasing reliance on criminal activity to fund its operations. In recent
months, in addition to kidnappings for ransom and extortion of businessmen
— which have been endemic in Iraq for many years — the ISI appears to have
become increasingly involved in armed robbery directed against banks, currency
exchanges, gold markets and jewelry shops.
This increase in criminal
activity highlights how the ISI has fallen on hard times since its heyday
in 2006-2007, when it was flush with cash from overseas donors and when
its wealth led the apex leadership of al Qaeda in Pakistan to ask its Iraqi
franchise for financial assistance. But when considered in a larger context,
the ISI’s shift to criminal activity is certainly not surprising and, in
fact, follows the pattern of many other ideologically motivated terrorist
or insurgent groups that have been forced to resort to crime to support
Coming Crisis in the Middle East
By Herbert London, Family
Security Matters, June 23, 2010
The gathering storm in the
Middle East is gaining momentum. War clouds are on the
horizon and like conditions prior to World War I all it takes for
explosive action to commence is a trigger.
Turkey’s provocative flotilla
- often described in Orwellian terms as a humanitarian mission - has set
in motion a flurry of diplomatic activity, but if the Iranians send escort
vessels for the next round of Turkish ships, it could present a casus
from Ally to Enemy
Commentary by Michael Rubin,
Traveling abroad on his first
trip as president, Barack Obama tacked a visit to Turkey onto the tail
end of a trip to Europe. "Some people have asked me if I chose to continue
my travels to Ankara and Istanbul to send a message," he told the Turkish
Parliament. "My answer is simple: Evet [yes]. Turkey is a critical
ally." On the same visit, however, the president showed that he considered
Turkey more firmly part of the Islamic world than of Europe. "I want to
make sure that we end before the call to prayer, so we have about half
an hour," Obama told a town hall in Istanbul. Obama was not simply demonstrating
cultural sensitivity. The fact is that Turkey has changed. Gone, and gone
permanently, is secular Turkey, a unique Muslim country that straddled
East and West and that even maintained a cooperative relationship with
Israel. Today Turkey is an Islamic republic whose government saw fit to
facilitate the May 31 flotilla raid on Israel's blockade of Gaza. Turkey
is now more aligned to Iran than to the democracies of Europe. Whereas
Iran's Islamic revolution shocked the world with its suddenness in 1979,
Turkey's Islamic revolution has been so slow and deliberate as to pass
almost unnoticed. Nevertheless, the Islamic Republic of Turkey is a reality—and
Related Article: Turkey
Solicitor General Subtly Soliciting Shariah Law?
Frank Gaffney Jr., Family Security Matters, June 16, 2010
off to Senator Jeff Sessions! The top Republican on the Senate's Judiciary
Committee has opened up an important new front in the debate over Solicitor
General Elena Kagan's fitness to serve on the Supreme Court: Her
attitude towards the repressive legal code authoritative Islam calls Shariah
and her enabling of efforts to insinuate it into this country.
so doing, the Alabama legislator has given his colleagues and the country
an opportunity not only to flesh out and evaluate the thin public record
of President Obama's second nominee to a lifetime appointment on the nation's
highest court. The Senator has also afforded us all what Mr. Obama
might call a "teachable moment."
By Bill Roggio, Investor’s
Business Daily, June 22, 2010
The summoning of the president's
hand-picked Afghan commander to the White House to explain a critical magazine
profile does not bode well. Are we looking for scapegoats or victory?
To some, it evokes President
Truman's meeting with Gen. Douglas MacArthur on Wake Island during the
Korean War, shortly before Truman sacked the general who believed that
in war there's no substitute for victory, a word that doesn't appear on
administration teleprompters these days.
Related Article: McChrystal
relieved of command, Petraeus chosen to take over
Web School for Suicide Bombers, Radical Islam
By Yohanan Manor and Ido
Mizrahi, Middle East Quarterly
All states use education
as a medium to encourage responsible behavior in their children, at least
in part to develop a law-abiding, civic-minded citizenry. Authoritarian
regimes have a history of distorting this trust, often turning schools
into places of indoctrination for a state or religious ideology. The Palestinians
have, for some time now, created an educational system exemplifying this
indoctrinational approach: Their textbooks deny Jewish and Israeli legitimacy
within historic Palestine, demonize Jews and Israelis, discourage compromise
or negotiated peace, and glorify violent struggle to achieve what are often
termed "Palestinian aspirations." Since coming to power through elections
in early 2006 and following its military coup in Gaza in June 2007, Hamas
has continued this path of indoctrination, utilizing its popular children's
# # #
The G20 Won't Listen To Obama
The U.S. president's
message of spending is out of step with the other members.
By Andrew B. Busch, Forbes
Magazine, June 25, 2010
Therefore, the call by President
Obama to keep stimulating is at best ignored and at worst scoffed at by
the G-20. But it's worse than that.
The U.S. is not only calling
for more spending, but it is also failing to reduce its own deficit, which
will reach $1.4 trillion in 2010. Now, the question becomes when will this
come back to hurt the country?
Immediately. The U.S. loses
its leadership position with the G-20 when it advocates measures that would
harm those countries that followed its advice. Can any European nation
risk additional stimulating or even delaying action on deficit reduction
without a negative repercussion from the markets?
Kagan Not Qualified for Supreme Court
By Elisabeth Meinecke, Human
Events, June 23, 2010
Judge Robert Bork said Elena
Kagan’s admiration of Israeli Judge Aharon Barak is "disqualifying in and
of itself" for her to sit on the Supreme Court.
Bork said Barak "may be the
worst judge on the planet" because of his judicial activism and that the
Israeli court under Barak was the "most activist court" he’d seen. Kagan
has called Barak her judicial hero.
Bork said that if people
understood that a U.S. Supreme Court nominee would follow Barak’s lead,
there would be misgivings and "probably a refusal to confirm."
Patch or Double-Dip?
By Larry Kudlow, National
Review, June 23, 2010
latest batch of lousy economic data took a sharp turn for the worse this
morning with an awful report on new home sales for the month of May. New
home sales plunged a record 33 percent to a record four-decade low. In
addition, the April sales number was revised lower while inventories jumped
from 5.8 months in April to 8.5. This ain’t good.
matters worse, existing home sales surprised on the downside yesterday
with a 2 percent decline. Before that, we had big drops in housing starts
and retail sales, and an upward tilt to weekly jobless claims. So it’s
really no surprise that there’s a growing debate over whether we’re muddling
through a soft patch, or whether a double-dip recession lies ahead. ...
As for me, I remain in the
slow-growth camp. No double-dip, just slow, muddied growth. I also think
an overly strong dollar — neglected by many on Wall Street — is interrupting
the rate of recovery.
Havoc is Here - 50 Million Medicare Claims Get Trimmed
From ABC News, June 22,
It’s been five days since
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said there would be "havoc" in America
Congress could not act to stop a 21 percent pay cut for
Congress failed to act. Havoc
is here; the 50 million claims that Medicare has gotten since the beginning
of June have started processing and somewhere a Medicare doctor is looking
at his direct deposit transaction and shaking his fist at Uncle Sam.
Halt Work on LA Sand Berms
By Jeannie DeAngelis, American
Thinker, June 24 2010
Sand berms are an insurance
policy meant to protect the Louisiana coastline from oil spill damage.
The Louisiana sand berm venture involves moving "sand from a mile out in
the Gulf of Mexico and pumping it closer in to shore to build manmade barrier
Nevertheless, lacking a more
formidable idea and one week into the project the federal government decided
to shut "down the dredging that was being done to create protective sand
berms in the Gulf of Mexico."
halts Obama's oil-drilling ban
and Global Warming
oil skimmer makes stop in Norfolk on way to Gulf oil cleanup
By Benjamin B. Phillips,
Acton Institute for Religion and Liberty, June 23, 2010
If helping the poor in developing
nations is made more difficult by the public policy proposals of evangelical
environmentalists, then these policies would also undercut the traditional
evangelical strategy of using social ministry to win a favorable hearing
for the gospel. Drastic reductions of carbon dioxide emissions call for
sacrifice on the part of both rich and poor nations. The rich however,
are better able to absorb these changes with only marginal adjustments
to their lifestyle. The global poor face the more difficult choice. To
poor nations, the choice between electricity from expensive and/or unreliable
carbon neutral sources and inexpensive, reliable fossil fuel burning sources
is no choice at all. If required to build only carbon neutral power plants,
which they cannot afford, they will not have power at all. The result will
be continued exposure to a wide range of environmental hazards that lead
to disease, malnutrition, and early death.
To hear a Western (i.e.,
rich!) evangelical environmentalist tell the poor that they must sacrifice
the technologies that would improve the length and quality of life for
them and their families in order to achieve a merely speculative benefit
they will never see can only make the poor less likely to listen to the
gospel that the evangelical brings. Such disillusionment will only deepen
when it is realized that those evangelicals continue to enjoy the same
lifesaving technologies they are effectively asking the poor to forego.
U.S. Economy Needs Fewer Public School Jobs, Not More
By Andrew J. Coulson, Cato
Teachers unions, the Obama
administration, and most Democrats in Congress want to spend another $23
billion that we don’t have to shore up public school employment. If we
don’t go along, they tell us, it’ll be a “catastrophe” for American education.
With fewer teachers our kids will supposedly learn less, further crippling
our already wounded economy. They couldn’t be more wrong.
# # #