North Archives - July 21, 2009
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Dead Keeping Vermont Alive
By James Ehlers
Usually people are saddened
when they hear of another’s passing. Not here. We celebrate. Not openly,
of course. That is tacky. We disguise our glee with a few token words of
feigned sorrow, but, hey, $13 million is $13 million. And $13 million is
the sum that landed in politicians’ laps recently just when they could
not agree how to keep our state fiscally alive due to a lack of funds and
an unwillingness to slow spending. Plugging a budget hole, it seems, is
just the tonic for coping with the loss of a fellow Vermonter.
By Martin Harris
recent event in Somerset and Glastonbury (sometimes, recently, spelled
with an "e") brings to mind, if your memory span is relatively short, the
1993 movie in which an upper-income-quintile (trophy?) -wife agrees to
engage in seduction with a playboy for a million dollars. The theme – what’ll
you sell your honor for?-- was first put to print in a 1988 novel
by one Jack Englhard. If your memory span is a bit longer, you’ll recall
that many years earlier, the same theme was discussed in the form of a
college campus joke: BMOC invites co-ed to an overnight dalliance for a
million; she agrees, he drops the offer to a sawbuck, she angrily refuses
with a rhetorical "what do you think I am?" and he replies with "We’ve
already settled that question; now we’re just discussing price". It’s not
a perfect analogy, but I’d opine that the legal-but-not-ethical confiscation,
by the State, of collected-but-not-spent monies taxed from property owners
in those two unincorporated towns demonstrates that the posted price of
virtue-loss in Montpelier is a mere $400,000, less than a thousandth of
the total State budget of $4.4 billion. In this case, it isn’t merely an
"Indecent Proposal" presumably consummated with mutual consent, but an
actual unilateral indecent action, backed by the full and ultimately lethal
power of the State.
Left Wing Media Bias Real?
Of course, Republicans are
immediately labeled paranoid and delusional for suggesting such a thing.
Even after CBS reporter Carl Cannon's recent admission "We
Took Sides, Straight and Simple" and Bernard Goldberg's book
"A Slobbering Love Affair" describing in minute detail the, well, slobbering
love relationship, tingly legs and all, the media has with Barack Obama,
it's still "all in our heads," right?
# # #
NEA Union Official Admits
Promoting Union Is More Important Than Improving Education. —
"This is not to say
that the concern of NEA and its affiliates with closing achievement gaps,
reducing dropout rates, improving teacher quality, and the like are unimportant
or inappropriate. To the contrary, these are the goals that guide the work
we do. But they need not and must not be achieved at the expense of
due process, employee rights, and collective bargaining. That simply
is too high a price to pay. When all is said and done, NEA and its affiliates
must never lose sight of the fact that they are unions, and what unions
do first and foremost is represent their members."
-- (NEA General Counsel Bob
Chanin, Farewell Address
to the National Education Association's annual Representative Assembly,
# # #
Weekly News Round-Up
Unemployment Rate (7.1 percent) Falls, But So Do Jobs
From VermontBiz.com, July
The Vermont Department of
Labor announced today that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for
June 2009 was 7.1 percent, down 0.3 tenths of a point from the revised
May rate and up 2.6 points from a year ago. When seasonally adjusted,
June job levels fell by 1,200 or -0.4% from May. Only the Construction
sector, (+300 or +2.2%) and Health Care, (+200 or +0.4%) showed any over
the month seasonally adjusted growth. Manufacturing, Leisure and Hospitality
and Administrative Support & Waste were the largest job losers, shedding
500, 300 and 300 jobs respectively.
of the Burlington Healthcare Rally
A Clip of the rally in Burlington
opposing the Obama Health Care plan.
for Thee, Not Me
From Vermont Tiger July
I notice that on Senator
Sanders' website there's no mention of his voting
"Nay" in requiring all Senators and staff enroll in the "public option"
health care plan that's currently under discussion, if and when
it materializes. In other words, the Senator is quite happy to ram
government-mandated health care down his constituents' throats (at an economy-destroying
cost), but is unwilling himself to sign up for this solution to a long-simmering
outrage of inequality and, well, you know the rest.
Took So Long?
Caledonia Record Editorial,
Jul 18, 2009
Here we are. It's the middle
of July. The Vermont Legislature convened Jan. 6 and adjourned on May 9.
Two months after adjourning, House Speaker Shap Smith has said the state
should look for $30 million in savings in the coming year by designing
a more efficient government.
Where was he during the legislative
session? The process of belt-tightening should have started in January.
Agreeing with the
Toms – Salmon & Jefferson.
From Vermont Tiger, July
It is rare to find a Vermont
Democrat espousing fiscal responsibility. Thus, it was very refreshing
to read Montpelier Report by Thomas Salmon, our state auditor, in the July
2 edition of The Vermont Standard. Mr. Salmon, who has been
on active duty in Iraq, returned to find, to his dismay, a dysfunctional
Legislature hell-bent on passing a budget which failed to face reality,
and imposed new taxes on already overtaxed Vermonters.
Caledonia Record Editorial,
July 14, 2009
The Vermont State Employees
Union, VSEA, is now claiming that Vermont lost $4 million of federal money
by laying off 132 employees. In a masterpiece of false reasoning, Conor
Casey, VSEA legislative coordinator, asserts that keeping those employees
would have saved the lost federal money. He neatly avoids acknowledging
that keeping them would have cost Vermont about $13 million more by continuing
to pay them Vermont's share of their salaries. The VSEA's cockeyed math
adds up to this ridiculous equation. Spend $13 million of our money to
save $4 million of our money.
# # #
Global War on Terrorism
on Iran to Include Ground Forces
By Dr. Sam Vakin, Intenrational
Analyst Network, July 16, 2009
An eventual attack on Iran
may include ground forces. Units of Sayeret Matka"l ("Headquarters Scouts",
Israel's elite special forces) have been transferred to the mock in Biq'at
Hayareach ("Moon Vale"), not far from Eilat. They have spent the last few
weeks training there: parachuting, paragliding, urban warfare (laba"b in
Hebrew), and hand to hand combat. Special emphasis is placed on explosives.
The area is isolated (it got its name from its eerie similarity to the
moonscape), but various civilian suppliers have reported massive explosions
during the day.
Centres to Keep Tabs on China's Missiles, Navy
By Sachin Parashar, The
Times of India, July 18, 2009
Stung by China's aggressive
posturing, including its deployment of missiles in Delingha near Tibet,
and other increasingly hostile activities in India's neighbourhood, the
Cabinet Committee on Security
is considering a proposal to set up separate centres for nuclear or missile
intelligence and maritime security. In fact, with strong backing by National
Security Advisor M K Narayanan, the CCS, which is still smarting under
the Chinese `aggression', is all set to give the go-ahead to the proposal.
Protesters Galvanized by Sermon
By Borzou Daragahi and Ramin
Mostaghim, The LA Times, July 18, 2009
Reporting from Tehran and
Beirut -- A sermon by powerful cleric and opposition supporter Ayatollah
Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani reignited Iran's simmering protest movement
Friday, heartening thousands of supporters who braved tear gas and club-wielding
militiamen to march and chant slogans across Tehran.
the restless Chinese are Warming to Russia's Frozen East
By David Blair, Telegraph
UK, July 16, 2009
The endless silver birch
forests of the Russian Far East might appear so desolate and windswept
that no one could possibly be interested in them. Yet the vast swath of
territory between Lake Baikal and Vladivostok may become a new theatre
of confrontation between Russia and China in the decades ahead.
For now, the two giant neighbours
have been thrust together by their shared suspicion of America and they
cooperate as tactical allies, working in the United Nations Security Council
to contain Washington's power. But this affinity is based on little more
than having the same rival. The empty lands of the Russian Far East, far
closer to Beijing than Moscow, contain major sources of tension between
the two powers.
the Language of Jihad
By Brig Barker, Middle East
Quarterly, Summer 2009
Local law enforcement is
the first line of defense to counterterrorism in the United States. The
task of recognizing and identifying terrorists in the local jurisdiction
is, however, challenging. While law enforcement officers are trained to
respond to suicide bomb attacks or other terrorist events, little training
and few resources are available for the preventative and preemptive side
of security work. Preemption is controversial and carries inherent risk.
However, it may also prove to be the most effective form of protection
in the frenetic and ambiguous world of terrorism,
and so the question remains: What are the flags and indicators that suggest
someone is involved in terrorism-related activities?
Calls for Overthrow of Free Market Ideology
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard,
Telegraph UK, July 16, 2009
The United Nations has called
for a return to state-led "industrial policy" for poorer countries in what
amounts to a rejection of the free-market thinking that has dominated global
institutions for the last 30 years.
Thumps U.S., Again: First lower taxes, now freer trade
# # #
Pope, the Rabbi, and the Moral Economy
By Samuel Gregg D.Phil.,
Acton Institute for Religion and Liberty, July 15, 2009
In our oh-so-secular age,
it’s paradoxical that religious leaders’ pronouncements on subjects ranging
from marriage to markets invariably receive considerable media attention.
This makes it even more surprising that no one seems to have noticed the
parallels between Benedict’s XVI’s encyclical, Caritas in Veritate,
released on July 7th, and a provocative op-ed written by Britain’s Chief
Rabbi, Lord Jonathan Sacks, in the London Times two weeks earlier.
Showing Her 'Serious Side' With Obama Critique
have criticized Sarah Palin for failing to join the national debate.
Kenneth T. Walsh, U.S. News and World Report, July 16, 2009
Palin, who was the GOP vice
presidential nominee last year and remains the subject of intense fascination
as a possible presidential
candidate in 2012, criticized President
Obama for proposing a "cap and trade" system for limiting carbon
emissions. Palin wrote that the Obama plan is "an enormous threat to our
economy. It would undermine our recovery over the short term and would
inflict permanent damage." In addition to boosting energy costs, Palin
argued that the plan would increase unemployment in the energy industry.
She said the answer is to "responsibly tap the resources that God created
right underfoot on American soil" while at the same time protecting the
Prominent Republicans in
Washington have criticized Palin for failing to join the national debate
on major issues since last year's campaign, but her essay suggested that
she will now become much more vocal.
Dakota Could Have a Huge New Oil Field?
By James MacPherson, Associated
Press, July 14, 2009
Dozens of fruitful wells
beneath the rich Bakken shale in North
Dakota continue to fuel a hunch among oilmen and geologists that another
vast crude-bearing formation may be buried in the state's vast oil patch.
Helms, director of the state
Department of Mineral Resources, said recent production results from
103 newly tapped wells in the Three Forks-Sanish formation show many that
are "as good or better" than some in the Bakken, which lies two miles under
the surface in western North Dakota and holds billions of barrels of oil.
Poll: Most Americans Want Strengths and Weaknesses of Darwinism Taught
By Christopher Neef, CNS
News, July 13, 2009
A Zogby poll commissioned
by the Seattle-based Discovery Institute says more than three-quarters
of Americans would like teachers to have the freedom to discuss both the
strengths and weaknesses of Darwinian evolution, with an even higher number
reported among Democrats.
Bader Ginsburg and a Question of Eugenics
By Jonah Goldberg, Jewish
World Review, July 15, 2009
Here's what Supreme Court
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said in Sunday's New York Times Magazine: "Frankly
I had thought that at the time (Roe v. Wade) was decided," Ginsburg told
her interviewer, Emily Bazelon, "there was concern about population growth
and particularly growth in populations that we don't want to have too many
Culture Wars' New Front: U.S. History Classes in Texas
By Stephanie Simon, The
Wall Street Journal, July 10, 2009
The fight over school curriculum
in Texas, recently focused on biology, has entered a new arena, with a
brewing debate over how much faith belongs in American history classrooms.
The Texas Board of Education,
which recently approved new science standards that made room for creationist
critiques of evolution, is revising the state's social studies curriculum.
In early recommendations from outside experts appointed by the board, a
divide has opened over how central religious theology should be to the
teaching of history.
New Old 'Card Check'
Labor's top priority
isn't dead yet.
From The Wall Street Journal,
July 20, 2009
Politicians don't typically
broadcast their defeat, and when they do it pays to watch for the blindside
hit. That's surely the case with last week's reports that six liberal Senators
are abandoning part of labor's top priority, "card check" legislation.
# # #