North Archives - July 29, 2008
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Law: Brooke Bennett’s legacy?
again. We must pledge ourselves to that future. Never again." These were
the words of Tom Harty, Pastor at Brooke Bennett’s funeral on July 9, 2008
in Randolph. The abduction and death of 12-year-old Brooke Bennett and
revelations about her accused kidnapper’s history of violent sexual abuse
beginning in the 1980s, has led to renewed calls for passage of Jessica's
Law in Vermont. Lt. Governor Brian Dubie said, "I know that Vermonters
everywhere feel as I do-- that action is required now to protect our state’s
children from violent predators like those who brought Brooke Bennett’s
young life to such a tragic end." Dubie continued, "I am calling upon Vermonters
to unify in memory of Brooke Bennett, and make their voices heard in Montpelier."
Dubie went on to call for the Vermont State Legislature to adopt Jessica’s
law. He also called for civil confinement.
Indefensible Regulatory Excess
by the Federal Clean Water Act, the state of Vermont has struggled with
stormwater discharge regulation since 1985. In 2000 the Dean Administration's
Water Resources Board carried out a lengthy process to adopt objective
standards for dealing with stormwater "impaired" waterways. Two years later
the legislature hammered out a law that promised happier and healthier
aquatic biota. Then began a grotesque carnival of bureaucratic and legal
infighting. This has involved vague Federal rules, conflicting federal
and state permit requirements, a surprise attack by the enviro-dominated
Water Resources Board, a trip to the Supreme Court, its confused instructions
to the Agency of Natural Resources, passage of a complicated new statute,
abolition of the Water Resources Board, and more contentious stakeholder
Rights in Alabama and Vermont
can verify this discovery for yourself: the full name of the publication
is "Mapping 2005 State Proficiency Scores Onto the NAEP Scales". It is
Publication 2007-482 of the National Center for Educational Statistics,
and is the result of grassroots political pressure: parents and taxpayers
across the country asking why their children’s test scores seemed to be
so much higher on State-preferred tests (in Vermont, there’s been a succession
of them, most recently the NECAP diagnostic, which is currently popular
for producing higher apparent test scores than its predecessors) than on
the federal National Assessment of Educational Progress tests for, typically,
math and reading at various grade levels. In Connecticut, Massachusetts,
and New Hampshire, for example, students showing 60-to-80 percent "proficient"
on State-preferred tests show a much less impressive 30-to-40 percent on
the Federal tests. You can see why Vermont edu-crats would embrace "States’
Rights" so as not to cooperate with a federal effort comparing NECAP (on
which, the 2008 Addison Central Supervisory Union Annual Report proudly
announces, its elementary school students are showing "proficient" percentages
as high as 84 (4th grade math, Weybridge) with the State-wide NAEP tests
(not mentioned in the Report) which show about 2/3 of all Vermont students
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all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the
world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.
It is a weapon our adversaries in today’s world do not have." --Ronald
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Weekly News Round-Up
Law supporters rally in St. Albans
David Gram, The Associated Press, July 27, 2008
ALBANS — About 30 people turned out Saturday for a rally to demand that
Vermont adopt tougher penalties for child sex offenders, one month after
the state saw its first-ever AMBER alert issued for a 12-year-old Braintree
girl later found dead. Speakers at the rally organized by conservative
radio talk show host Paul Beaudry demanded that Vermont adopt Jessica’s
Law — a 25-year mandatory minimum sentence for anyone convicted of aggravated
sexual assault of a child.
July 22, 2008
regulatory apparatus has been employed many times to restrain economic
development in this state. Critics of the system maintain that it
is capricious, heavy-handed, and subject to political manipulation.
That Vermont is punishing itself, economically, by inflexibly enforcing,
for example, Act 250. Supporters respond that this is merely sour
grapes, the law-is-the-law and were it not for stringent regulation, the
state would look like New Jersey.
One Is Served When The Public Is Shut Out
Record Editorial, July 26, 2008
Vermont Supreme Court decision in the matter of St. Johnsbury School Principal
Janet Haley's firing and license suspension is a valuable public document.
It is Exhibit A of what happens when local and state governments decide
it's "in the public interest" to shut the door on the public and conduct
government in secrecy.
Have to Want Prosperity First
July 24, 2008
situation was getting desperate in Bulgaria. We were losing our population
and our best workers. They were leaving for Western Europe to find jobs
and the No.1 form of foreign capital came from remittances." All that began
to change when the corporate tax was cut to 10% in 2007 and the personal
income tax to 10% in January of this year. " (source)
familiar? Declining tax revenue, a shrinking economy, workers leaving,
a sense of desperation. Like Bulgaria was, our tax policies are designed
to raise tax revenue at any cost - they're not designed to promote prosperity.
The question being – is a no-growth, no-prosperity policy really a good
long term strategy? Perhaps we, like Bulgaria, should consider
thinking about economic consequence when we design our policies?
Minimums, Civil Confinement, and an Expanded Sex Offender Registry
possibility that the legislature will convene for a special session for
the purpose of passing tougher laws against sex offenders does not look
good at this point. Governor Douglas met with Speaker Gaye Symington and
Senate President Pro Tem to discuss what such a session would cover. The
Governor insisted upon mandatory minimum sentences, civil confinement (extending
for sex offenders still deemed to be a threat), and an expanded sex offenders
registry. (Click HERE
to read the Governor’s official statement)
and Shumlin refused.
Democrats want to take a narrow, minimalist approach to this issue, looking
only at the Brooke Bennett case and what could have been done to stop that
tragedy from occurring. Republicans want to take a broader approach, concentrating
on measures that might stop the next tragedy from occurring. Every case
is different, and any action taken by the legislature should reflect that.
can take action on this issue by calling Gaye Symington at 802-828-2245
and Peter Shumlin at 802-828-3806 and tell them that we need increased
mandatory minimum sentences, civil confinement, and an expanded sex offender
registry. You can also download a copy of the petition calling on the legislature
to pass these common sense measures into law, get your friends and neighbors
to sign, and return the completed petition to the Vermont Republican Party,
PO Box 70, Montpelier, VT 05672.
Bobby Jindal 'the one' for the GOP?
Kathleen Parker, July 25, 2008
Jindal is less well-known, and though he insists he's not interested in
the VP slot, he's got rising star power. Importantly, he's young -- and
looks even younger. If he had cheeks, you'd want to pinch them. Reed-thin,
Jindal has the metabolism of a hummingbird and the kind of intellect that
makes Vulcans uneasy. Often referred to as the smartest man in the room,
Jindal's mind can wrap around anything but the idea of repose. More to
an important point, he's not another white guy. The son of Indian immigrants,
Jindal is both the Republican Barack Obama and the anti-Obama. To a vote,
he's a fiscal and social, pro-life conservative who came to the governorship
on a promise of reform in the wake of Katrina.
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Global War on Terrorism
Revamps To Counter Enemy Within
By Alireza Jafarzadeh, Fox
News, July 24, 2008
The revamping of the IRGC
underscores the reality that while the ayatollahs' foreign policy imperatives
are to establish a client state in Iraq and acquire a nuclear weapon, domestically
they are at risk from the Iranian people and their democratic resistance
movement - the enemy within. The success of this domestic movement is the
key to a non-nuclear, peaceful Iran and to an independent and democratic
Doesn't Need a 'Surge'
By Ann Marlowe, The Wall
Street Journal, July 22, 2008
Afghanistan needs many things,
but two more brigades of U.S. troops are not among them.
Barack Obama said: "We need
more troops, more helicopters, better intelligence-gathering and more nonmilitary
assistance to accomplish the mission there." Mr. Obama should have supported
the surge in Iraq, but that doesn't mean that advocating one in Afghanistan
Afghanistan's problems are
not the same as Iraq's. Its people aren't recovering from a brutal, all-controlling
tyranny, but from decades of chaos and centuries of bad government. Afghanistan,
unlike Iraq, is largely illiterate and has a relatively undeveloped civil
society. Afghan society still centers around the family and, for men, the
mosque. Its society and traditions are still largely intact, in contrast
to Iraq's fractured, urbanized and half-modernized population.
From Investor's Business
Daily, July 24, 2008
Islamofascism: A new
study confirms our "ally" Saudi Arabia is still poisoning young Muslim
minds with anti-Western textbooks. So? Its hate-filled graduates are enrolling
at our colleges.
New Taliban Tactics Have a Catch
From The Strategy Page,
July 22, 2008
The Taliban have developed
more effective tactics this year. After a disastrous outing last year,
the Taliban were under a lot of pressure to reduce their casualties this
year, and they have. The Afghans have always been adaptable, especially
when it is a matter of life and death, and there have been many small changes
in Taliban tactics to counter the greater lethality of NATO forces (who
use UAVs, smart bombs and better trained troops). Taliban forces now operate
in smaller groups, keeping weapons (which can be identified from the air
by UAV or aircraft cameras) hidden, and concentrate forces just before
an attack. Cell phones and walkie-talkies make this easier. Taliban will
also break off an attack quickly, knowing that the smart bombs are on the
way. The Taliban will stay near the Pakistani border, because the Americans
and NATO rarely pursue, although smart bombs are more frequently dropped
on the Pakistani side. But once a group of armed Taliban have made it into
Pakistan, they can melt into the civilian population. ...
Despite new tactics, the
Taliban still get chewed up pretty badly. A Taliban war band, of about
300 men, was spotted as it crossed over from Pakistan, and quickly jumped
on by NATO troops and smart bombs. About half the Taliban were killed,
and the rest wounded, captured, or scattered. It's catastrophes like this
that force the Taliban to pay better, and to encourage their commanders
to keep their fighters dispersed. But many of the Taliban big shots are
traditionalists, and just love the feeling of leading a column of several
armed men through the mountains. It's a tradition that's become an expensive
luxury, one that often costs you your life.
Evil: Hezb'allah's Children
By Lance Fairchok, The American
Thinker, July 22 2008
In 1979, Samir Kantar was
16 years old when he pulled Danny Haran and his young daughter from their
apartment in the Israeli town of Nahariya. He shot to death the father
and smashed the little girl's skull against a rock with an AK-47. After
29 years in prison, he was welcomed back to Lebanon as a hero last week.
Congressional Representatives' Stance on Jihad and the War of Ideas
By Jeffrey Imm, The
Counterterrorism Blog, July 2008
Last week, there was an interesting
development in the U.S. House of Representatives that will give Americans
a clear view as to exactly where their individual representatives stand
on the war of ideas in fighting Jihad.
Per my previous article on
this subject, on May 8, 2008, Congressman Peter Hoekstra attempted to add
an amendment on the "terror lexicon" to a House Permanent Select Committee
on Intelligence bill on 2009 intelligence funding (House Resolution 5959).
Hoekstra's amendment condemned
efforts by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), National Counter
Terrorism Center (NCTC), and the State Department to recommend a "terror
lexicon" that prohibits use of words such as "Jihad," "jihadist," "Islamist,"
"mujahadeen," "caliphate," etc. In this amendment, Congressman Hoekstra
called for the House of Representatives to prohibit the use of intelligence
funding in support of such "terror lexicon" efforts. The House Intelligence
Committee voted against this amendment, and over 900 people signed a petition
condemning the actions of the House Intelligence Committee that was sent
to members who voted against the amendment.
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election time, pols can't help but "do something" — even if it makes matters
Thomas Sowell, National Review, July 23, 2008
don’t look to arsonists to help put out fires but we do look to politicians
to help solve financial crises that they played a major role in creating.
How did the government help create the current financial mess? Let me count
addition to federal laws that pressure lenders to lend to people they would
not otherwise lend to, and in places where they would otherwise not invest,
state and local governments have in various parts of the country so severely
restricted building as to lead to skyrocketing housing prices, which in
turn have led many people to resort to "creative financing" in order to
buy these artificially more expensive homes.
Have Some Love for Nuclear Power
William Tucker, The Wall Street Journal, July 21, 2008
over the world, nuclear power is making a comeback. British Prime Minister
Gordon Brown has just commissioned eight new reactors, and says there's
"no upper limit" to the number Britain will build in the future. German
Chancellor Angela Merkel has challenged her country's program to phase
out 17 nuclear reactors by 2020, saying it will be impossible to deal with
climate change without them. China and India are building nuclear power
plants; France and Russia, both of whom have embraced the technology, are
fiercely competing to sell them the hardware.
just last month John McCain called for the construction of 45 new reactors
by 2030. Barack Obama is less enthusiastic about nuclear energy, but he
seems to be moving toward tacit approval.
Congressional Democrats Pushing To RAISE Federal Gas Tax by 50%
Politically Drunk on Power, July 21, 2008
perhaps the most distasteful and contrarian effort yet, stories are surfacing
through news agencies this morning of a private congressional talks that
would actually raise the Federal Gas Tax by approximately 50%. That's right,
a 50% increase in the federal gas tax at a time when Middle Class and Lower
Americans, along with the backbone of our economy, the trucking industry,
are suffering from oil prices that have more than doubled since the beginning
Warming Game Tells Children They Should Die
Maureen Martin and Aleks Karnick, Environment & Climate News, The
Heartland Institute, August 2008
global warming alarmists encouraging children to commit suicide because
their carbon footprints supposedly are harming the planet? It certainly
appears so in a children's game concocted by the state-funded Australian
Broadcasting Corporation's Science Department, available online.
Obama in Iraq: Did he really find support for his withdrawal plan?
The Washington Post, July 23, 2008
INITIAL MEDIA coverage of Barack
Obama's visit to Iraq suggested that the Democratic candidate found
agreement with his plan to withdraw all U.S. combat forces on a 16-month
timetable. So it seems worthwhile to point out that, by Mr. Obama's own
account, neither U.S. commanders nor Iraq's principal political leaders
actually support his strategy.
David H. Petraeus, the architect of the dramatic turnaround in
U.S. fortunes, "does not want a timetable," Mr. Obama reported with welcome
candor during a news conference yesterday. In an interview with ABC, he
explained that "there are deep concerns about . . . a timetable that doesn't
take into account what [American commanders] anticipate might be some sort
of change in conditions."
Prime Minister Nouri
al-Maliki, who has a history of tailoring his public statements
for political purposes, made headlines by saying he would support a withdrawal
of American forces by 2010. But an Iraqi government statement made clear
that Mr. Maliki's timetable would extend at least seven months beyond Mr.
Obama's. More significant, it would be "a timetable which Iraqis set" --
not the Washington-imposed schedule that Mr. Obama has in mind. It would
also be conditioned on the readiness of Iraqi forces, the same linkage
that Gen. Petraeus seeks. As Mr. Obama put it, Mr. Maliki "wants some flexibility
in terms of how that's carried out."
Foreign Courts, and the Moral Consensus of the International Community
Jordan Ballor, The Acton Institute, July 23, 2008
the last few years observers of the Supreme Court have noticed a trend
among some of the justices to cite the decisions of foreign courts as part
of the relevant precedent in deciding the cases before them. In 2005, justices
Scalia and Breyer engaged in a rare public conversation on this very topic,
Relevance of Foreign Court Decisions." In the recently-decided D.C.
v. Heller neither of the two dissenting opinions, written by justices
Stevens and Breyer respectively, make substantial reference to foreign
court decisions. But the growing phenomena of reference to foreign judgments
as precedents raises the question of what the justices might have found
if they had consulted such materials.
Can't Obama Admit The Obvious? The Surge Worked
USA Today, July 24, 2008
it's too much to ask that Obama risk being taunted by headlines such as
"Obama says Bush was right." But for the nation to move forward on its
single most vexing debate, it would help if the next president could admit
the obvious....Americans don't expect their president to be right all the
time. They do expect him to change course when he's proved wrong.
The Wall Street Journal, July 28, 2008
profound failure of inner-city public schools to teach children may be
the nation's greatest scandal. The differences between the two Presidential
candidates on this could hardly be more stark. John McCain is calling for
alternatives to the system; Barack Obama wants the kids to stay within
that system. We think the facts support Senator McCain.
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