North Archives - August 03, 2010
| Editorial | News & Views
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Pitfalls of Municipally Owned Broadband
By Robert Maynard
this week’s elsewhere section there is a Burlington Free Press article
that covers the efforts to bring municipally owned broadband services to
about 22 towns of Central Vermont. The project is known as the East Central
Vermont Community Fiber Network. Some watchers of this program have raised
a red flag in noting that the person behind this project, Tim Nulty, is
the same person behind the ill-fated Burlington Telecom project. By now
most of our readers should be familiar with the problems associated with
BT that left taxpayers on the hook for $17 million and counting. There
is an argument over whether the problem of mismanagement should be left
at the feet of Nulty or his successor. A question that has not been considered
is whether municipally owned broadband services is a good idea to begin
with. Perhaps we should be re-examining the concept itself, rather than
trying to determine who to blame for mismanagement.
Toward that end, I would
like to refer our readers to a study done in 2004 by the Heartland Institute
Owned Broadband Networks: A Critical Evaluation". There was an update
to the report which concluded: "This analysis, revised and updated to
reflect national and local changes during the past two years, finds the
case for municipal ownership of broadband networks is even weaker than
it was then."
Here is a brief summary of
the nine points expressed in the study...
Profits from Racism, Conservatives or Liberals?
No, what is truly disturbing
are the tactics these so-called "mainstream" media types were willing to
stoop to in order to fulfill their agenda. Specifically, the call by JournoList
member Spencer Ackerman to, "take one of them [any conservative Obama critic]
— Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares — and call them racists," in order
to distract attention away from negative stories about their preferred
There it is in black and
white (no pun intended): the left playing the race card and consciously
lying about it with no moral inhibitions whatsoever. Nice people, huh.
At least the light of truth and transparency is now shining brightly on
this practice and its perpetrators.
Geste or Mal Geste?
By Martin Harris
maybe it simply proves the Progressives’ basic point of self-identification:
that they are smarter than the rest of us, are therefore our natural-born
leaders, and that we should be grateful for whatever they do even when
we can’t comprehend why they’re doing it. If so, what I have mistakenly
interpreted as a pair of "mal gestes" or political gotchas, should be accepted
with suitable humility, each as a "beau geste" of noble intent, executed
by a pair of noble institutions each acting as pater familias
for us, their political children in constant need of adult supervision.
North Radio Special
Listen to our recent program
on Education with special guest Retta Dunlap.
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is not only whether we ourselves shall be free, but whether there shall
be left to mankind an asylum on earth for civil and religious liberty."
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Weekly News Round-Up
Campaign to Nowhere
From Vermont Tiger, July
These are times when voters
and the people they elect actually will be confronting those famous "tough
choices" we hear so much about. In Vermont, the new governor and
legislature will be faced with a budget deficit that is estimated to be
more than $120 million. For the last two years, the state has managed
to balance its budget through a combination of modest spending cuts and
massive doses of federal "stimulus" money. The presumption was that
fiscal reforms and economic recovery would put the state back on its feet
so that it wouldn’t need additional handouts from Uncle Sugar.
So now we are where we are
and wondering what to do about it.
Nobody seems to know.
Or, anyone who does, isn’t talking.
program to bring high-speed internet to rural Vermont
By John Briggs, The Burlington
free Press, July 27, 2010
Project Director Tim Nulty
said the pilot would "prove our concept" of creating a high-speed
Internet network for rural Vermonters, at no risk to taxpayers.
Nulty has projected profitability for the network in its fifth year of
operation, if 49 percent of the households in the 22 towns subscribe.
Nulty was general manager
of Burlington Telecom from 2001 until November 2007. Burlington Chief Administrative
Officer Jonathan Leopold has said BT was in serious financial difficulties
by late 2007. A Blue Ribbon Commission
said earlier this year that BT spent "far too much" on the construction
of its network. BT's promise of self-sufficiency has never been met.
Price Culturally Irreversible Sentimentality?
Caledonia Record Editorial,
July 28, 2010
We were disappointed to hear
that Brian Dubie, Republican candidate for governor, has climbed aboard
Sens. Leahy and Sanders' latest plan to save Vermont's family dairy farms.
We are disappointed because it won't work, and only a cynic in an election
year would propose it.
Leahy and Sanders are pushing
a plan to subsidize Vermont dairy farmers for not producing milk. As old
timers say, if you wait long enough, what went around will go around again.
This is one of those times. Way back in the 1950s, the federal government
paid farmers not to grow wheat because we had mountains of surplus wheat
throughout the mid-west and prairie states. Whatever went wrong, as long
as the subsidies for not growing wheat continued, the mountains of surplus
Candidate for U.S. Senate Hits Trails to Campaign
From Fox 44 News, July 22
The campaign trail can lead
candidates to all sorts of places, including actual trails.
"I'm here today to go up
and take a look at things, and to talk about the environment to family,
friends and supporters, and whoever we meet along the trail," said Len
Britton is the Republican
challenging Senator Patrick Leahy for his seat this November. He
chose the Burrows trail up Camels Hump for the backdrop to announce his
vision for policies on energy and the environment.
at Salvation Army Wasting Precious Dollars
From Fox News 44, July 26,
I bet you never thought you
could do harm by dropping off things at the Salvation Army, but sadly that's
the reality the group is dealing with.
A few weeks ago, the Burlington
organization closed their storage warehouse, but people are still using
it as a drop off.
"Most of the things people
are leaving there are not items we can sell, so we have to pay to have
them disposed of," said Chuck Bongiorno, development director at the Burlington
He's asking people to stop
because it's costing them up to $100 each month. Money that could be used
By Art Woolf, The Vermont
Tiger, July 29, 2010
A major organization in Vermont,
with hundreds of well-paid employees, is fined $420,000 by the federal
government for allowing its employees to be exposed to deadly hazards.
Another example of an organization that should be shut down for safety
Not unless you don't want
to receive your mail any more. The
fine wasn't levied on Vermont Yankee. It was levied
on the U.S. Postal Service's White River Junction processing facility.
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Global War on Terrorism
Al Qaeda Maintains an Extensive Network in Afghanistan
By Bill Roggio, The Long
War Journal, July 29, 2010
On May 21 there was a suicide
attack in Paktia province in Afghanistan that was initially claimed by
the Taliban, but was later traced back to al Qaeda. The facts surrounding
that strike and others, as well as information gleaned from US military
press releases, paint a picture of al Qaeda that contradicts recent statements
by top US intelligence officials who estimated al Qaeda's strength in Afghanistan
as being limited to between 50 and 100 operatives.
Brothel Named Iran
By Michael Ledeen, Pajamas
Media, July 26, 2010
Rulers of the Islamic Republic
are looking more and more like the gang that couldn’t shoot straight, and
uncovered a document that should cause them considerable
embarrassment. It’s a flyer, recruiting virgin women for prostitution in
a brothel located in the holiest site of one of the two holiest cities
in Iran: the Imam Reza Shrine in Mashad. You might wish to read the whole
thing—it includes going rates—but here’s the essence of it:
"In order to
elevate the spiritual atmosphere, create proper psychological conditions
and tranquility of mind, the Province of the Quds’eh-Razavi of Khorassan
has created centers for temporary marriage (just next door to the shrine)
for those brothers who are on pilgrimage to the shrine of our eighth
Imam, Imam Reza, and who are far away from their spouses.
It’s a religious thing, you
To that end, we call on
all our sisters who are virgins, who are between the ages of 12 and 35
to cooperate with us."
To me, this is a perfect
symbol of the Islamic Republic: even the holiest places have been corrupted
and turned into brothels and charnel houses. Degradation is the common
denominator of Iranian life, and the women, starting at age 12, are its
most common victims.
Corruption and 'Humanitarian Aid'
By Eileen F. Toplansky,
American Thinker, August 2, 2010
For more than a quarter of
a century, the United Nations has "extended
fake mercy to Palestinians at the expense of Jews" and the world at
large. The persistence of so-called refugee camps testifies to the world's
failure to integrate people and make their lives meaningful. Thus,
the end result has been a creation of vast slums and terrorist training
camps where hatred consumes generations of human beings.
In 2009 Joel
Mowbray wrote that the "State Department still cannot ensure
that U.S. taxpayer dollars are not subsidizing terrorists or underwriting
terrorist propaganda in schools across the West Bank and Gaza. Comforting,
In fact, President
Obama recently sat for a White House photo-op with the Palestinian
Authority's leader and then announced a $400 million aid package for the
West Bank and Gaza. The editorial staff of Investors Business
Daily wondered why "the U.S. should be supporting a regime that so
far this year has fired 370 lethal rockets into Israel, that still refuses
to recognize Israel's right to exist and that has made a cottage industry
of teaching children to hate."
Ayatollah Condemns an Unjust Ruler
Iranian Reform and
From the Middle East Quarterly,
Ayatollah Husayn-'Ali Montazeri
(1922-2009) was a Shi'i cleric of very high status, a leading figure in
the 1979 Iranian revolution, and the man originally designated as the heir
apparent to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Iran's first supreme leader. Like
Khomeini, he was an exponent of the Islamic state. Montazeri subsequently
fell out of favor with Khomeini over issues related to the regime's abuse
of human rights (including women's rights) and democracy, was stripped
of his titles, and demoted. Until 2003, he lived under house arrest in
Qom where he acquired a reputation as a relatively liberal cleric associated
with the reformist opposition. In the course of the protests that took
place in Iran following the June 12, 2009 presidential elections, he wrote
several remarkable fatwas (religious rulings) in reply to questions from
another progressive cleric, Mohsen Kadivar. In these fatwas, he speaks
in support of the protesters who challenge the Islamic regime (which he
considered unjust) and declares Iran's supreme leader Sayyed 'Ali Khamenei
to be illegitimate. Elsewhere, he has written of his own error in supporting
Ayatollah Khomeini's doctrine of velayat-e faqih, that urges the rule of
a single, supreme cleric (such as Khomeini and his successor Khamenei).
Such rulings are of profound importance in lending legitimacy to the forces
of reform in Iran. Ayatollah Montazeri died on December 19, 2009, in the
clerical city of Qom.
Russian Dissident Ignored by Obama White House
By Kim Zigfeld, American
Thinker, August 1, 2010
A brave soul speaking truth
to power in Russia was just arrested for blowing the lid off corruption
there. But President Obama is not lifting a finger to help democracy and
liberty take root in Russian soil. Two years ago, I wrote
about an academic treatise produced by former Russian First Deputy
Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov. It was an eye-opener for the entire
world. But not, it seems, for President Obama.
In meticulously documented
fashion, Nemtsov undertook to review the performance of Vladimir Putin
as President of Russia, as Putin's first two terms in office were coming
to an end. Across the board, Nemtsov found stunning failure combined
with horrifying anti-democratic moves to conceal that failure from the
Newt Gingrich resets
our national-security debate
By Andrew McCarthy, National
Review, July 21, 2010
2010 midterms have not happened yet, but the 2012 campaign is under way.
For that we can thank Newt Gingrich. Not because Gingrich is a candidate,
though he almost certainly is. And not because he can win, because that
is by no means certain. We should thank Gingrich because he has crystallized
the essence of our national-security challenge. Henceforth, there should
be no place to hide for any candidate, including any incumbent. The question
will be: Where do you stand on sharia?
former speaker of the House gets the war on terror. For one thing,
he refuses to call it the "war on terror," which should be the entry-level
requirement for any politician who wants to influence how we wage it. Gingrich
grasps that there is an enemy here and that it is a mortal threat to freedom.
He knows that if we are to remain a free people, it is an enemy we must
defeat. That enemy is Islamism, and its operatives — whether they come
as terrorists or stealth saboteurs — are the purveyors of sharia, Islam’s
authoritarian legal and political system.
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Pill: The New Senate Energy Bill
By Brian Sussman, American
Thinker, August 2, 2010
The latest Senate energy
bill, quietly unveiled last week, looks like sweet compromise on radical
measures like cap and trade, but buried within is a bitter poison pill
that will could be swallowed in a vote that may come this week.
World Federation Misses the Mark on Work and Wealth
By Jordan Ballor, Acton
Institute for Religion and Liberty, July 28, 2010
The problem with the social
witness of the LWF and the broader ecumenical movement is not simply that
it addresses problems like hunger or poverty. It is, instead, the way in
which it has done so, as typified in the recent Stuttgart meeting. Here
we saw statements decrying "illegitimate debt," the privileging of "profits
over people," and in the words of LWF general secretary Rev. Dr. Ishmael
Noko, "the gap between those who do not have enough to eat and those who
have far more than they need." But beyond this kind of activist jingoism,
or pietistic bewailing, there was precious little in terms of helpful analysis
of the complex realities of a globalized world.
Rather than engage in the
difficult work of providing a coherent and normative basis for responsible
social proclamation, the LWF preferred instead -- as is so often the case
in the deliberations of mainline ecumenical groups -- to point to "neoliberal
globalization" as the structural injustice causing extreme poverty in the
world. The missing element in the LWF’s poverty discussions, most recently
at the General Assembly, has been a nuanced and comprehensive valuation
of the role of creative work and entrepreneurship in the creation of material
wealth. The social witness of ecumenical groups like the LWF have, for
the better part of the past 50 years, consistently undermined work and
labor as God’s order of blessings to provide material sustenance for humankind.
Ryan says he’s trying to provide leadership for "decentralized" GOP
By Jon Ward, The Daily Caller,
July 27, 2010
Rep. Paul Ryan, the fast-talking,
number-crunching Republican from Wisconsin, caused a stir last week when
he called out his own party for not offering Americans a substantive alternative
in this fall’s elections.
"They’re talking to their
pollsters and their pollsters are saying, ‘Stay away from this. We’re going
to win an election,’" Ryan said, speaking
at the liberal-leaning Brookings Institution.
Ryan, in the second of back-to-back
high profile speeches touting his
"Road Map" plan that proposes to make long-term entitlement
spending solvent, lumped Republicans
in with Democrats as having failed to talk seriously about the nation’s
debt and deficit problem.
It, Don’t Supersize It
The voters want supersized
government put on a crash diet.
By Michael Barone, National
Review, August 2, 2010
Let’s put government on a
diet. That’s what voters seem to be saying in response to the Barack Obama
Democrats’ vast expansion of the size and scope of government.??
Evidence comes from pollster
Scott Rasmussen. He asked likely voters — his usual sample, which tilts
more Republican than all adults — whether increased government spending
is good or bad for the economy.
The results were unambiguous.
Good for the country? Twenty-eight percent. Bad for the country? Fifty-two
New War Between the States
By Joel Kotkin Forbes Magazine,
July 27, 2010
Nearly a century and half
since the United States last divided, a new "irrepressible conflict" is
brewing between the states. It revolves around the expansion of federal
power at the expense of state and local prerogatives. It also reflects
a growing economic divide, arguably more important than the much discussed
ideological one, between very different regional economies.
This conflict could grow
in the coming years, particularly as the Obama administration seeks to
impose a singular federal will against a generally more conservative set
of state governments. The likely election of a more center-right Congress
will exacerbate the problem. We may enter a golden age of critical court
decisions over the true extent of federal or executive power.
Some states are already challenging
the constitutionality of the Obama health care program. Indiana, North
Dakota, Mississippi, Nevada and Arizona joined
a suit on March 23 by Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum
to overturn the law. And Arizona's right to make its own pre-immigration
regulations has gained
support from nine other states: Texas, Alabama, Florida, Nebraska,
Dakota, Michigan and Virginia.
Cure for Political Dejection
By Quin Hillyer, The American
Spectator, July 29, 2010
What are you going to do
about all this? What do you want to see happen? How much do you care about
your country and your community?
If you are reading this,
the answer to the questions in the last sentence is probably "one heck
of a lot." You care. You have aspirations for communities of freedom and
comity. You want to stop all of these political horrors, and you want to
stop cultural horrors not even touched upon here but that could take pages
and pages of exposition. You want to believe in America. And, dare we say
it without sounding too pie-in-the-sky, you want to do what Ronald Reagan
said all good Americans want to do: "to dream heroic dreams." And to work
to make them reality.
So get to it. Keep up your
activism. Talk to your neighbors. Volunteer at campaign headquarters. Contribute
financially to candidates. Make phone calls. Go to rallies. Write thoughtful
and concise letters to the editor. Help register like-minded voters. Drive
elderly or infirm like-minded voters to the polls in November.
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