North Archives - July 22, 2008
| Editorial | News & Views
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Economy Marches on Stomach, not Heart
use, regulatory and tax reform are desperately needed to keep and grow
business in Vermont. Given that over 75 percent of Vermont is farmed, forested
or conserved, it's absurd to think that these necessary reforms would materially
disrupt our "bucolic paradise." Al From, CEO of the Democratic Leadership
Council said it best: "Growing the economy and creating jobs remain the
best ways to fight poverty, and neither is possible with a cocoon around
our economy." Vermont's private-sector job growth this past decade: 0 percent.
less than two weeks away from the deadline to become a candidate, and we
still have a few House and Senate seats in search of candidates. If you
have ever thought of running for public office, NOW is the time to contact
on the Left Coast, in The Golden State to be specific, there’s an NGO (shorthand
for non-governmental organization, a typically tax-subsidized group with
partial autonomy created to pursue some governmental agenda) by the name
of "The Collaborative for High Performance Schools". You might be so naïf
as to think that "high-performance" schools are those which produce high-performance
/ high-achievement students, but if so, you’d be wrong. The CHPS has just
published a new set of high-performance criteria for schools in its Basic
Practices Manual, and not a one of them has any connection with the primary
attribute a simpleton like me might consider exemplary school performance:
teaching better. Instead, every one of the criteria is architectural or
urban-design. I have nothing against things architectural (unless they
stray into the "crushed-tin-can" school of admire-me trendy modern design,
as pioneered by one Frank Gehry, AIA) but calling them "performance" indicators
is, I’d opine, a stretch. Here’s a partial list: school gardens, energy
efficiency, safe neighborhood walking routes for students, net-zero energy
useage, and limits on mercury.
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have never let my schooling interfere with my education."
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Weekly News Round-Up
Wants Special Session on Sex Crime Bills
Nancy Remsen, Burlington Free Press, July 15, 2008
Gov. Brian Dubie urged Gov. Jim Douglas to convene a special session of
the Legislature in 30 days to take up proposals that would strengthen Vermont
laws on sex crimes. Dubie's call Monday follows the slaying of 12-year-old
Brooke Bennett, who disappeared June 25. Her body was found in a shallow
grave July 2.
know that Vermonters from every walk of life feel as I do that we need
to act to protect our state's children from violent predators like those
who brought young Brooke Bennett's young life to such a tragic end."
v. Democrats on the Economy
Sales Tax Holiday v. Symington’s Why Vermont Works
past weekend, Vermonters enjoyed a two day break from the Vermont sales
tax. The "holiday" was one part of Governor Jim Douglas’ fifteen point
economic stimulus package, and was vehemently opposed by Democrat leaders.
At the time Douglas proposed the holiday Gaye Symington called it a "gimmick,"
and later referred to it derisively as "cotton candy."
by all accounts the tax reprieve was a resounding success. Press reports
from around the state describe merchants and customers as gleeful about
record sales and big savings.
Mayer, owner of Small Dog Electronics, told the Burlington Free Press,
"’If you want to stimulate the economy there’s no better way than to stimulate
small business.’ He had doubled up on staffing at his South Burlington
and Waitsfield stores …. ‘We’re doing 10 times the business we would normally
do,’ he said. ‘Maybe 20 times before we’re done.’" (Burlington Free Press,
Congdon, owner of Star Electric on Main Street, said it was the best weekend
in his store's history. He has been in business for 43 years. ‘We've sold
more in two days than we usually do in a month.’" (Burlington Free Press,
seems reality has trumped Symington’s and her party’s hard-left, ideological
belief system. The sales tax holiday was good idea, well executed, and,
most importantly, it got results. It also left Vermonters happy and feeling
good – a welcome change in tough times.
positive results stand in sharp contrast to Gaye Symington’s own Why Vermont
Works economic "plan," which she unveiled as the 2008 legislative session
opened. (Haven’t heard much about it lately? Well, that’s not surprising,
as it hasn’t done or accomplished anything.)
hatched her proposal in reaction to a Vermont Chamber of Commerce sponsored
symposium for legislators. The business community reached out in an inclusive,
non-partisan forum to discuss several specific areas of Vermont’s business
climate that needed fixing, among them: lowering Vermont’s highest-in-the-nation
taxes, permit reform, ensuring Vermont’s supply of cheap, abundant energy,
and the need for more affordable housing for workers.
wanted no part of this. Rather than do anything to fix these problems,
she turned around and blamed the business community for our state’s economic
woes by being "negative." Rep. Warren Kitzmiller, who Symington appointed
to chair the House Commerce Committee, actually called the business community
"myopic" for being worried about their bottom lines. Symington then trotted
out Why Vermont Works, a PR scheme aimed at putting a positive spin on
the status quo, while ignoring all the areas where real work needed to
to say, Symington and her supermajority in the legislature (which, all
should remember, needed not one single Republican vote to pass and veto
override anything they wanted to do) proceeded to waste the entire 2008
legislative session talking about Why Vermont Works, but doing nothing
meaningful to actually make Vermont work better.
results of Symington’s and the Democrats’ approach our economy are reflected
in recent loss of Vermont Tubbs and its 90 jobs to New Hampshire. Tubbs
owner Kyle Tager said, "There are lots of challenges currently with facility
costs, energy costs, even local property taxes, which are certainly making
it a challenge [to keep the business in Vermont]." These concerns closely
echo those the Vermont’s business community laid out seven months earlier,
but which Symington and her party refused to address.
Tubbs has not been an isolated event. KBA in Williston decided to pull
all of its 55 jobs out of Vermont in favor of Texas. Their Chief Financial
Officer said, "‘We are getting more concerned about our Vermont location."
(Burlington Free Press, 6/21/08) IBM cut 180 jobs from its Essex, Vermont,
operation, but is reportedly investing a new $1.5 billion in Fishkill,
New York. Green Mountain Coffee Roasters in expanding, but in Tennessee.
witnessing the success of the sales tax holiday, Symington remains sourly
grumbling: "Symington said Sunday that despite the popularity of the sales
tax holiday, the state could have better used the $3 million in revenue…"
(Fox 44, 7/13/08) This is not only out of touch with the sentiment
in Vermont, it’s out of touch with reality.
two plans and governing philosophies – one positive, proactive, empowering
to Vermonters with proven results; the other based on lots of talk, little
action, and nothing to show for it – give Vermonters a clear choice in
November regarding the direction we want our state to move.
Governor Douglas said in his campaign kick-off speech, Vermonters want
a Government that’s by their side, not on their backs. For a too short
time, we had a window into how such a philosophy put in place would work.
It worked well. Vote for Vermont Republicans in November, and you will
see more of this sort of initiative, and more results.
Choice Between Wrist Slapping And Mandatory Sentencing
Record Editorial, July 19, 2008
week, the Caledonia County District Court news reported on a woman who
has at least 10 charges of violating her probation, illegally using prescription
medicines, driving drunk (three times), driving with a suspended license
half a dozen times, assault (twice), theft of services, and retail theft.
She has yet to do hard time.
another reported case, a young man was arrested for driving a car with
phony license plates and a phony inspection sticker, for having no insurance
and no license, and driving with a suspended license for the seventh time.
He got 59-60 days on pre-approved furlough.
is the rule in Vermont courts. Between Nov. 1 and Nov. 15, 2007, Caledonia
County District Court heard and passed sentence upon 41 lawbreakers who
pleaded or were found guilty of 51 charges, both felonies and misdemeanors.
They were sentenced to a total of: minimum of 153 months to maximum of
344 months. They had their sentences reduced to a total of 54 months to
serve. One defendant served 48 of them; the other 40 guilty defendants
served only six hours total.
In New York
VermontTiger.com, July 16, 2008
... what are we hearing about the economic future of the state? What
plans and initiatives for taking Vermont where it needs to go are being
put forward for debate? Who has an idea for what we will do to replace
the economic activity generated by our small sliver of the IBM pie when
it goes away – as it inevitably will?
Taste Of Freedom
Record Editorial, July 15, 2008
weekend had a festive, carnival-like feel to it, with Vermonters turning
out in droves to go shopping. They seemed to exude the carefree, happy
optimism of domestic animals, who are used to being in the harness or penned
behind a fence and suddenly get loose. Not used to the freedom, they are
rambunctious and high-spirited. They know the freedom is temporary, but
they are going to enjoy it while they can. The happy occasion was the Vermont
sales tax holiday that took place Saturday and Sunday. Vermonters could
enjoy the tax freedom our neighbors to the east enjoy every day of the
Culture Of "Can't Do"
VermontTiger.com, July 15, 2008
initiative, however, is handicapped by its parentage. Seems it was put
forward by (hide the children) the Republicans. Which might explain
why it hasn't made much news. Also why the legislature's Joint Fiscal
Committee has not even deigned to consider the proposal. So ... as it turns
out, somebody is actually coming forward with proposals for doing something
about the problems facing the state and, in this case, one of the
most compelling of those problems. But those behind the proposal
lack the proper pedigree and, thus, their proposal is ignored by the party
in power. And also, it should be said, by the press that carries
that party's water.
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Global War on Terrorism
You Want Something Done Right, Do It Yourself
Rick Moran, American Thinker July 16 2008
look now but Pakistan is apparently about to be in for a very rude awakening.
After years of frustration in dealing with the Paksistani's reluctance
to go after the Taliban and al-Qaeda sanctuaries along the border with
Afghanistan, the US may finally be ready to violate the territorial integrity
of their extremely difficult ally and go in themselves to destroy those
Qaeda's Market Crash
Ralph Peters, New York Post, July 19, 2008
the immediate aftermath of 9/11, Osama bin Laden was the darling of the
Arab street, seen as the most successful Muslim in centuries. The Saudi
royal family paid him protection money, while individual princes handed
over cash willingly: Al Qaeda seemed like the greatest thing since the
right to abuse multiple wives. Osama appeared on T-shirts and his taped
utterances were awaited with fervent excitement. Recruits flocked to al
Qaeda not because of "American aggression," but because, after countless
failures, it looked like the Arabs had finally produced a winner. What
a difference a war makes....
do Osama & Co. stand today? They're not welcome in a single Arab country.
The Saudi royals not only cut off their funding, but cracked down hard
within the kingdom. A few countries, such as Yemen, tolerate radicals out
in the boonies - but they won't let al Qaeda in. Osama's reps couldn't
even get extended-stay rooms in Somalia, beyond the borders of the Arab
world. And the Arab in the (dirty) street is chastened. Instead of delivering
a triumph, al Qaeda brought disaster, killing far more Arabs through violence
and strife than Israel has killed in all its wars. Nobody in the Arab world's
buying al Qaeda shares at yesterday's premium - and only a last few suckers
are buying at all. Guess what? We won.
Investor's Business Daily, July 18, 2008
told, 600 American children are being indoctrinated into jihad in 22 madrassas
across Pakistan. A U.S. filmmaker stumbled on them while tracing the path
of the London suicide bombers. He discovered they attended the same radical
Islamic schools. A congressional delegation has confirmed his findings.
Universal Empire to the World State
Chantal Delsol, Intercollegiate Studies Institute, July 16, 2008
the eighteenth century, therefore, the idea of a thoroughly universal unity
was limited on one hand by the relative modesty of the actual imperial
territory and the great extent of the surrounding world, and on the other
by the restriction of its rule to spiritual ends by the Christian community.
With the French Revolution, we see the two ideas combined for the first
time. What emerged was the notion of a world government deployed throughout
the entire earth with all the prerogatives of what Christians called "temporal
French revolutionaries demanded the abolition of borders and their replacement
by a universal republic: "The division of the human race into different
peoples is like feudal anarchy . . . and two sovereigns on the earth are
as absurd as two gods in heaven" wrote Anacharsis Cloots, who also spoke
of his "aversion to the fragmentation of the world." As we will see, the
denial of diversity is rooted in the absolute certainty that only one right
way of life exists.
the ACLU on This One?
Baron Bodissey, The Gates of Vienna, July 17, 2008
State Department is selling a "Mosques of America" calendar. Yep, you read
that correctly. It’s "perfect for Muslim outreach efforts". Since Islam
is not really a religion, but a political ideology, the government’s sale
of an Islamocentric calendar evidently doesn’t violate the separation of
church and state. It’s like selling photos of local Democratic Party Headquarters..
Investor's Business Daily, July 10, 2008
a sign background checks are far too lax, an alarming number of Arabs and
Muslims have landed sensitive government jobs only to be caught later spying
for the enemy.
The Democrats, And The Surge
Peter Wehner, The Weekly Standard, July 18, 2008
has a political party been so uniformly wrong, in such an obvious way,
on such an important matter. And when Americans cast their vote on November
4, they should carefully consider how Barack Obama and the entire Democratic
party fought ferociously and relentlessly to undermine a policy that has
worked extraordinarily well and may yet prove to be among the most successful
military plans in modern times.
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Says Drill, Drill, Drill — and Oil Drops $9!
Larry Kudlow, National Review, July 15, 2008
a dramatic move yesterday President Bush removed the executive-branch moratorium
on offshore drilling. Today, at a news conference, Bush repeated his new
position, and slammed the Democratic Congress for not removing the congressional
moratorium on the Outer Continental Shelf and elsewhere. Crude-oil futures
for August delivery plunged $9.26, or 6.3 percent, almost immediately as
Bush was speaking, bringing the barrel price down to $136.
isn’t this interesting?
keep saying that it will take 10 years or longer to produce oil from the
offshore areas. And they say that oil prices won’t decline for at least
that long. And they, along with Obama and McCain, bash so-called oil speculators.
And today we had a real-world example as to why they are wrong. All of
them. Reid, Pelosi, Obama, McCain — all of them.
Michael Novak, National Review, July 17 2008
like the United States simply must defeat envy, and focus on a better future
for each family. The only way that can be accomplished is by reasonably
consistent and gently upward economic growth. Growth is the necessary condition
for the pursuit by each of his own happiness. A happy society is a more
generous and loving society. In this light, the U.S. — with a growing GDP
from the year 2000 until today, along with a steady growth in the number
(and percentage) of people employed — is better off than almost all nations
in Europe. Whatever else is happening in the U.S. economy today, these
are very good indicators.
Grows in the Desert
Samuel Gregg D.Phil., The Acton Institute, July 16, 2008
the credit crunch and oil prices continuing to shake economies across the
globe, the world's more prominent financial centers, most notably Wall
Street and the City of London, have lost much of their luster.
Geneva to Hong Kong, thousands working in financial industries have lost
their jobs. Banks, hedge funds, and private equity groups continue to downgrade
their profit forecasts and write off massive losses. Such is the price
of poor investment decisions, loose monetary policy by central banks, and
a casual attitude toward debt by consumers, businesses, and governments
alike in North America and Western Europe.
the gloom, however, a dim light is beginning to shine in an unexpected
place. Most people associate places such as Dubai, Qatar, Abu Dhabi, and
Bahrain with oil. Rather fewer think of these locations -- in the very
heart of the Arabic and Islamic worlds -- as emerging financial centers.
As They Say
Investor's Business Daily, July 18, 2008
to allow any expansion of drilling in American territory, Democrats are
instead focused on changing American lifestyles. It's consistent with the
goals of the party that wants to run everyone's lives.
Sam Can Bail Out Fannie, But Who'll Bail Out Uncle Sam?
Nicole Gelinas, Investor's Business Daily, July 18, 2008
the government has put the taxpayer in an unenviable position. If home
prices continue to fall, the government's explicit backing of Fannie and
Freddie, into the trillions, imperils the sterling credit rating of the
Treasury itself. That exacerbates the stress of looming obligations for
baby boomers' Social Security and Medicare benefits.
Fannie and Freddie were isolated cases, the situation would be bad enough.
But the squeeze gets worse. The government has spent the past six months
creating mini-Fannies and mini-Freddies out of the nation's risk-taking
It Have To Take A Decade To Bring New Crude To Market?
Monica Showalter, Investor's Business Daily, July 18 2008
show most Americans favoring opening federal lands and offshore areas to
energy production. As it stands, 97% of our offshore areas and 94% of our
federal lands are off limits. President Bush raised the likelihood that
that could change with his lifting of the federal moratorium on offshore
drilling. But he's been opposed by Congress, which argues it will simply
take too long — as much as 10 years or more — for the new oil to come to
market to do any good.
doesn't appear to be true. To begin with, industry analysts note, much
of the drilling delay is self-inflicted — a result of excessively stringent
environmental and land-use regulations. Scrap those, or modify them, and
new oil can be produced in far less than 10 years.
of Global Warming Hype Published
Men's News Daily, July 18 2008
proof that there is no "climate crisis" has been published in debate on
global warming in a major scientific journal; Physics and Society, a scientific
publication of the 46,000-strong American Physical Society.
Monckton, who once advised Margaret Thatcher, demonstrates via 30 equations
that computer models used by the UN’s climate panel (IPCC) were pre-programmed
with overstated values for the three variables whose product is "climate
sensitivity" (temperature increase in response to greenhouse-gas increase),
resulting in a 500-2000% overstatement of CO2’s effect on temperature in
the IPCC’s latest climate assessment report, published in 2007.
Audacity Of Vanity
Charles Krauthammer, The Washington Post, July 18, 2008
the first few months of the campaign, the question about Obama was: Who
is he? The question now is: Who does he think he is?
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