North Archives - August 04, 2009
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Will Find a Way
By Robert Maynard
Free market optimists like
Larry Kudlow and George Gilder are not the first to insist that prosperity
and individual initiative often finds a way to triumph even in the face
of folly and numerous obstacles placed in the way. This week in our quotable
section, we have included a relevant quote from Adam Smith’s "Inquiry Into
the Wealth of Nations".
and Emanations II
By Martin Harris
some risk of over-simplification I conclude, based on first-hand observation,
that the intellectual make-up of the planning and zoning world, from global
theorists to local regulators, has changed markedly in the last few decades.
It used to include a much higher percentage of participants coming out
of a left-brain engineering, quantitative-analysis, fact-based background.
Now, I’d guess, the p&z field is dominated by right-brain folks, more
highly skilled in things verbal, pictorial, and symbolic. If that guess
is accurate, it explains why efforts within the p&z discipline, from
the academic end to the grass-roots end, aimed at popularizing "performance-standards"
zoning, have shown a steady decline in acceptance over the last four decades
or so. After all, assigning measurable quantitative values to all the criteria
which planning and zoning are intended to manage is pretty much the characteristic
of left-brain, not right-brain, thinking.
Past our Graveyard
By Linda Kirker
The latest state revenue
downgrade (another $28 million for this fiscal year and $23 million more
for 2011) demonstrates just how right Governor Douglas was to veto the
supermajority Democrats' unrealistic and unsustainable spending.
It demonstrates just how right all House Republicans and Independents were
to support the Governor in opposing the Democrats' budget. And it demonstrates
just how dangerous it is for one party to have total control of our government.
Jim Douglas' veto was, as we know, overridden by the Democrat/Progressive
supermajorities, and the result is what we have today.
# # #
"The natural effort
of every individual to better his own condition, when suffered to exert
itself with freedom and security is so powerful a principle that it is
alone, and without any assistance, not only capable of carrying on the
society to wealth and prosperity, but of surmounting a hundred impertinent
obstructions with which the folly of human laws too often incumbers its
operations; though the effect of these obstructions is always more or less
either to encroach upon its freedom, or to diminish its security."
--Adam Smith, An Inquiry
into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations par. IV.5.82
# # #
Weekly News Round-Up
Captive Insurance Conference to be Held in Burlington
From VermontBiz.com July
Captive insurance professionals
from throughout the United States and around the world will gather in Burlington,
Vermont for the world's largest captive insurance conference, August 11
- 13, 2009 at the Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center and the UVM Davis
Center. The event is the 24th Annual Conference hosted by the Vermont Captive
marriage backers spent big in Vt.
By John Curran, The Associated
Press, July 28, 2009
The leading proponent of
Vermont’s gay marriage bill spent about $294,000 on lobbying and advertising
in advance of the Legislature’s vote — more than seven times as much as
opponents did, according to disclosure forms filed Monday.
shell game in full swing with VY
From Vermont Tiger, August
But we know a political shell
game when we see it. What we can expect is more of the same. Mr. Shumlin
can be expected to push the same political buttons he’s been pushing for
the last several years and if anyone expects him to be pushed over into
Vermont Yankee’s corner because of the sweetness of the deal struck with
the state’s utilities, then they rush to the corner store and buy the winning
lottery ticket that’s been set aside.
After The Delinquent Taxpayers
Caledonia Record Editorial,
July 28, 2009
One thing is for sure. Property
taxes in Vermont are way too high. They were in 1990 and they are today.
Similar delinquency totals 20 years apart aren't a simple coincidence.
They are the result of tax and spend politicians dominating Montpelier
for the last 20 years.
If You're Happy
From Vermont Tiger, July
UVM researchers, computer
scientist Chris Danforth and mathematician Peter Dodds, looked at 10 million
blog sentences that began "I feel... " or "I am feeling..." They scored
the words in the sentences, compiled averages, and looked for patterns,
or mood swings — over the course of a year, say, or over the days of the
Uh, huh. There is much to
be said about blogs and one can learn a lot by reading and, even, studying
some of them. But the key to happiness?
Blogs, it turns out, are
not the end of the journey. There are also tweets to be studied for insights
into the nature of human happiness. Seems Aristotle and Marcus Aurelius
and Kant, and all the poets in all of time – up to now – were just groping
around in a dark and primitive analog age waiting for the dawn of the digital
Yes And Get Out Of The Way
Caledonia Record Editorial,
July 31, 2009
When the 2010 Vermont legislative
session begins in January, the first order of business should be a vote
to grant Vermont Yankee's wish to pursue an operating license extension.
The vote can be held on the first day back, and it should be unanimous.
# # #
Global War on Terrorism
Chess, and Other Sins"
From the Middle East Quarterly,
In the United States, Muslim
communities and Islamist advocacy groups are demanding establishment and
support of Arabic and Muslim schools. In New York City, controversy erupted
over the charter Arabic-language Khalil Gibran International Academy after
exposure of the radical associations and statements of its principal Deborah
and over Minnesota's Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy after an investigative reporter
exposed Islamist indoctrination in the state-funded school.
Expansion of the Islamic Saudi Academy in Virginia has also come under
fire after exposure of textbooks preaching hate and intolerance.
While Muslim schools in the United States are a relatively new phenomenon,
in the United Kingdom they are better established. In February 2009, Civitas,
a London-based think tank dedicated to the discussion of social problems
and civic society, published a 154-page report,
excerpted below, exploring the challenge to social cohesion presented by
many Muslim schools in the United Kingdom. There are twenty-four Saudi
schools in the United Kingdom alone; many of the other 132 registered Muslim
schools have Saudi ties.
Situation of Post Election Iran
Briefing by Ali Alfoneh, Middle East Forum, July 21, 2009
to Alfoneh, we are witnessing the end of the Iranian theocracy. The power
of the Revolutionary Guard has grown to such an extent that they are now
more powerful than the clergy. There are two potential futures for Iran.
Iran could become a democracy—this is what most of the protestors want.
The other, more likely, possibility is that the Guard will successfully
quash the democratic movement, and Iran will transform into a military
his view, Iran's election fraud was a calculated move by the Revolutionary
Guard. For years, the Guard has been accumulating power under the pretext
of preventing a "Velvet Revolution"—a Western-backed takeover by democratic
forces. Alfoneh noted that, while Iran has a long history of election fraud,
Ahmadinejad (himself a former Revolutionary Guardsman) was unusually blatant
in stealing the 2009 election. The transparency of the fraud incited the
democratic forces to action, thus giving the Guard an excuse to seize power.
We’ll Win in Afghanistan
Gen. Petraeus knows
how to defeat an insurgency. But he will need congressional support.
By Bing West, Task Force
Chosin, Afghanistan, The Wall Street Journal, July 24, 2009
War is not complicated. You
have to separate the guerrilla forces from the population and kill them
until they no longer want to continue. Al Qaeda, dominated by Arabs, is
finished inside Afghanistan. The Taliban are Afghans, to be dealt with
by Afghans. As he did in Iraq, Gen. Petraeus wants to recruit local forces
to protect their own villages. That will expand the Afghan forces to 300,000
and stabilize the situation. On patrols, Afghan soldiers spot the enemy
10 times more frequently than do coalition solders. Afghan soldiers are
brave, hardy, ill-disciplined, individualistic, temperamental and trustworthy.
A year from now, coalition
forces should be able to gradually withdraw, replaced by robust support
and adviser units embedded in Afghan security forces. We shouldn’t make
this a NATO war, allowing the Afghans to stand back. We’re outsiders, no
matter how many schools we build or cups of tea we drink.
Carolina: Meet Taqiyya Jihad
By Dr. Walid Phares, Family
Security Matters, Aug 1, 2009
With shock and malaise, Americans
are discovering that their country is penetrated by Jihadi terrorists,
particularly those we call "homegrown." Over the past few months, several
alarming cases have been revealed by law enforcement. Not only the frequency
of these revelations but also the type of Jihadi cells are teaching the
public that something very troubling is happening within the homeland:
the surge of a threat deserving a greater attention than the current attitude
dispensed by the administration.
Crunch Time for Israel on Iran
After Years of Failed
Diplomacy No One Will Be Able to Call an Attack Precipitous.
By Michael John Bolton,
The Wall Street Journal, July 28, 2009
Legions of senior American
officials have descended on Jerusalem recently, but the most important
of them has been Defense Secretary Robert Gates. His central objective
was to dissuade Israel from carrying out military strikes against Iran’s
nuclear weapons facilities. Under the guise of counseling "patience," Mr.
Gates again conveyed President Barack Obama’s emphatic thumbs down on military
The public outcome of Mr.
Gates’s visit appeared polite but inconclusive. Yet Iran’s progress with
nuclear weapons and air defenses means Israel’s military option is declining
over time. It will have to make a decision soon, and it will be no surprise
if Israel strikes by year’s end. Israel’s choice could determine whether
Iran obtains nuclear weapons in the foreseeable future.
Egyptian Education: Unsteady Egypt
From The Middle East Quarterly,
A recent study by Adel Guindy
published in the Coptic weekly Watani
shows that rather than being a pole of opposition to Islamism, the Egyptian
government has Islamized its curriculum, perhaps to accommodate Egypt's
growing Islamist base, which has hitherto provided some support for the
Muslim Brotherhood. Guindy, writing through a prism of rights for Coptic
children, demonstrates Islamist religious indoctrination throughout much
of the ostensibly secular Arabic language curriculum and provides examples
of lessons encouraging students to limit friendship to co-religionists
and assigning students to search for hadith (the sayings of and anecdotes
about the Prophet Muhammad) and Qur'anic verses. A small sample is provided
— The Editors.
# # #
Problem with "Business Ethics"
By Samuel Gregg D.Phil.,
Acton Institute for Religion and Liberty, July 29, 2009
For several decades, there
has been no shortage of ethics-courses for aspiring business leaders at
innumerable business schools. Naturally, as long as people have free will,
no formation can guarantee that business executives won’t sometimes make
imprudent or simply wrong decisions. But the sheer number of bad decisions
and, in some instances, morally-evil actions by some business leaders before
and during the financial crisis must surely cause us to reassess the content
of business ethics classes.
A brief perusal of any number
of business schools’ curricula soon indicates that some are doing excellent
work in this area. Generally, however, the picture is discouraging. Business
schools have not proved immune from the tide of ethical relativism – and
the political correctness that often substitutes for serious moral reflection
– that has swept the West since the 1960s.
in the Making
Obama’s repeated demonstrations
of his amateurism and immaturity.
By Thomas Sowell, National
Review, July 29, 2009
Many people are rightly worried
about what this administration’s reckless spending will do to the economy
in our time and to our children and grandchildren, to whom a staggering
national debt will be passed on. But if the worst that Barack Obama does
is ruin the economy, I will breathe a sigh of relief.
He is heading this country
toward disaster on many fronts, including a nuclear Iran, which has every
prospect of being an irretrievable disaster of almost unimaginable magnitude.
We cannot put that genie back in the bottle — and neither can generations
yet unborn. They may yet curse us all for leaving them hostages to nuclear
Coming For Your Tonsils
From Investor's Business
Daily, July 29, 2009
Health Costs: Lawyers
are responsible for more unneeded procedures than "greedy" doctors. But
instead of capping malpractice awards, bureaucrats will soon decide which
treatments are OK and whether you're worth it.
Politics of ‘Speculation’
Some pre-emptive scapegoating
over rising oil prices.
From The Wall Street Journal,
July 28, 2009
There is an alternative to
the market price—it’s called price controls. And the danger is that this
is where we’re headed politically. If curbing speculation by limiting trader
positions or restricting the ability of "non-commercial" buyers to trade
is a politically acceptable way to dampen volatility (remember the onions),
the logical next step is a political diktat that oil will not be bought
or sold above a certain price.
Truth is, we need more speculators,
not less. They’re the people who can help prices find the right level,
because there is no "right" level other than the one the market gives us.
And that’s why, in turn, excessive speculation is nothing more—or less—than
a convenient fiction for when prices don’t move the way politicians would
Republicans the Economic Pessimists?
What’s their strategy
when Obama takes credit for the recovery?
By Larry Kudlow, National
Review, July 28, 2009
Senator DeMint told me during
our interview that the economy is getting better mainly because of the
corrective forces of free-market capitalism in the private free-enterprise
sector, and not from all this government spending and borrowing. Abstracting
from the Fed’s big stimulus effort, he’s right. But the White House is
going to take credit for economic recovery anyway, and that’s the newest
political challenge for the GOP.
in the U.S.A.
controversy is about Obama’s honesty, not where he was born.
By Andrew C. McCarthy, National
Review, July 30 2009
The point has little to do
with whether Obama was born in Hawaii. I’m quite confident that he was.
The issue is: What is the true personal history of the man who has been
sold to us based on nothing but his personal history? On that issue, Obama
has demonstrated himself to be an unreliable source and, sadly, we can’t
trust the media to get to the bottom of it. What’s wrong with saying, to
a president who promised unprecedented "transparency": Give us all the
raw data and we’ll figure it out for ourselves?
Your Teachers Well
children’s hell will slowly go by.
Street Journal Editorial, August 3, 2009
conflicting interests of teachers unions and students is an underreported
education story, so we thought we’d highlight two recent stories in Baltimore
and New York City that illustrate the problem.
maverick on Obamanomics, Sarah Palin, and the media.
Stephen Moore, The Wall Street Journal, August 1, 2009
McCain is red in the face and hopping mad. I’m sitting in his office in
the Senate Russell Office Building, and he’s just rushed in after delivering
a speech on the Senate floor where he seethed about the earmarks in the
Homeland Security Bill. “Can you believe they are putting $6 million of
pork into Homeland Security?”
E.J. McMahon, New York Post, August 2, 2009
what do you know? After raising taxes on high-income households by up to
31 percent, New York state is collecting far less income tax than it had
anticipated just a few months ago.
# # #