North Archives - August 10, 2010
| Editorial | News & Views
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By Tom Licata
the fall of 2007, I founded "Vermonters for Economic Heath" and began a
series of "Town Meeting Forums" to discuss the facts of Vermont and our
nation’s economic health. On our original web-site – in 2007 - were these
"In The Gathering Storm,
Winston Churchill’s stated purpose was "to show how easily the tragedy
of the Second World War could have been prevented." In Churchill’s
time – as now - a storm was brewing but "people were viewing it and not
Again, I ask: Are any of
Vermont’s Gubernatorial candidates – or for that matter, any Vermont candidate
running for this coming November’s election - really listening? Do they
Up to the Fiscal Storm
By John McClaughry
Washington once observed that "We should avoid ungenerously throwing upon
posterity the burdens that we ourselves ought to bear." The fiscal facts
contained in the Congressional Budget Office's long-term budget outlook,
released last month, would leave the normally unflappable Washington appalled.
Just to set the stage: we
have an accumulated federal budget debt approaching $15 trillion. That's
staggering, but it is small compared to the additional $47 trillion in
unfunded liabilities for benefit programs, notably social security and
Studying Secession Separately: VT and TN (Part 1)
By Martin Harris
VT, the secession argument, I dare say, is symbolic rather than specific,
less based on the economics and scope of wealth transfer (in straight
dollar terms, VT gets somewhat more from the Feds than its taxpayers send
in) than on esthetics and the power-seeking of Progressive politics: an
advocacy of small-scale farming by folks who don’t, personally, want to
farm as a real livelihood, an advocacy of small business by folks whose
Volvo’s can often be found in the parking lots of the big-box stores they
profess to despise, an advocacy of local governance by folks who
don’t refrain from the use of ad hominem attack at a Town or school meeting
and don’t find fault with the throwing of compost at a federal one, who’d
rather that school votes be held raised-hand fashion, during school meetings
and not by Australian ballot, by folks who see economic retaliation –boycotts
and the like—as a legitimate and respectable economic tactic against any
merchant, vendor, or professional who doesn’t share their Gentry-Left viewpoint.
In TN, candidate posters can still be found in country-store windows, but
not so much any more in VT, where most storekeepers have become fearful
of the probable majority-customer retaliation.
Extra August 8 2010
Rob Roper compares comments
on Vermont education scores by John McClaughry and Art Woolf and Democratic
Senator Susan Bartlett in light of the JounoList "racist" tactic and the
Free Press' discovery that not enough Vermonters are qualified to fill
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of liberty - your respect for the laws - your habits of industry - and
your practice of the moral and religious obligations, are the strongest
claims to national and individual happiness." -- George
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Weekly News Round-Up
Candidates Saying Legislature Is Part Of The Problem?
Politics by Emerson Lynn,The
Vermont Tiger, August 6, 2010
It’s worth asking whether
the five Democrats running for governor are having a Pogo-like moment.
In trying to figure out how to move the state’s economy forward, are they
admitting they have found the problem and they are it?
In Matt Dunne’s economic
development plan released on Monday, he lists four things that need to
be achieved to move the state forward and the last of the four was: "Reshape
the culture in Montpelier to reduce costs, create better collaboration,
and eliminate unnecessary regulations." He said Vermont needs to "shift
how state leaders think about business."
Deb Markowitz offered some
of the same reflections in her economic development plan, complaining that
the state has no plan and that our economy has stagnated as a result.
Has the Right To Lay Off State Employees?
Caledonia Record Editorial,
August 4, 2010
The conflict between Vermont
Gov. Jim Douglas and the Democrats over who has the right to dismiss an
employee by eliminating his job is of particular interest now because the
tide of shrinking state government employment roles hangs in the balance.
After several such skirmishes, the three Democrats leading the charge,
Senate President Pro-tem Peter Shumlin, House Speaker Shap Smith, and chairwoman
of the Senate Finance Committee Susan Bartlett - two candidates for governor
and a House Me-too-er - threw what they thought would be the knockout punch
at Gov. Douglas. They vociferously asserted that Douglas illegally eliminated
a Fish and Wildlife Department job. All three cried out that lawmakers
told the Agency of Natural Resources, in the budget, to keep the biologist's
job overseeing the state's community wildlife program because of its strong
community support. For that reason, they claim, Douglas broke the law because
he signed the budget and was obliged to keep the position and the man.
"The administration is thumbing its nose at the constitutional separation
of powers and the Legislature; that is simply bad government," said Shumlin.
the BT Looking Glass
From Vermont Tiger, August
As reported by WCAX,
on Monday night, the Burlington City Council
met in executive
session ... to discuss the fiscal future of the troubled company.
That "troubled company" would
be Burlington Telecom and what's known, outside of executive session, is
The company previously
had a forbearance agreement with its lender CitiCapital. Under that agreement
Burlington Telecom did not have to pay the principal or interest on its
loan for the month of August. And after this executive session it's been
confirmed that the company will not pay in September either.
BT is hanging on by its fingernails,
in other words, and will probably be sold in distress at a few cents on
too! Me, too! Me, too! Me, too! Me, too!
Caledonia Record Editorial,
August 3, 2010
All five Democrats running
for governor have accepted a contribution from what used to be known as
Death With Dignity, but now is named Patient Choices. (Apparently, the
word "Death" in the title told the public too accurately what they were
about.) And all five made public statements that they welcome and support
legalization of assisted suicide, and that they will get behind whatever
bill Patient Choices intends to sponsor that will legalize assisted suicide,
a la Oregon, in Vermont.
In stark contrast, the Republican
candidate for governor, Brian Dubie, refused to answer Patient Choice's
questionnaire, did not accept a contribution from them and did not pledge
support of their cause because he is declaredly pro-life and anti-assisted
suicide and euthanasia.
Spending: Beginning of the End?
By Hugh Kemper, Vermont
Tiger, August 6, 2010
By law, the Department of
Education distributed earlier this week voluntary spending reduction targets
individualized for each Supervisory Union, Supervisory District and technical
center – targets that in the aggregate total $23.2 million or a 2% reduction
in education spending.
The SU and SD boards must
report back to the Commissioner of Education by December 15th on whether
the budgets of their respective school districts, in the aggregate, will
or will not meet the targeted reductions. The Education Commissioner, in
turn, is required to report to the Legislature’s education committees by
January 15th his recommendation(s) for meeting the $23.2 million target
should there be a shortfall.
In short, what eventually
transpires is entirely up to the Legislature. What was "voluntary" could
well become "mandatory". Then again, the Legislature’s track record on
constraining K-12 spending is non-existent.
Deficits And Special Education
Caledonia Record Editorial,
August 7, 2010
Every year, significant numbers
of schools surprise their constituents by announcing an unexpected deficit.
Thus, more than a score of Vermont school districts recently had that unpleasant
fact to report to their towns and voters. Common among all of the causes
of these deficits is budget busting, unpredictable special education costs.
Typical of these hidden bombs is the Monroe, N.H. deficit. It was essentially
caused by a single special education student moving into the district and
requiring a program that cost Monroe an unbudgeted $73,286. That was unbudgeted
because the move came after the budget was approved. We remember another
town that had a family with five children who required special education
services. They moved to that town in October. The combined services for
their children put the district into a six-figure deficit that year.
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Global War on Terrorism
Russia Be the Superpower That Will Stop Iran from Going Nuclear?
By A. Savyon, The Middle
East Research Institute, July 29, 2010
In our assessment, the more
Ahmadinejad promotes his efforts, on both on the nuclear level and the
ideological messianic revolutionary level, and as the U.S. continues to
back down from confronting extremist Islam, Russia will be increasingly
faced with a need to protect its regional and security interests on its
Under these circumstances,
Russia is likely to again draw closer to the Sunni Arab countries, which
are also showing concern about where the Obama administration is headed,
and thus are reinforcing Russia's power and prestige in the Middle East
vis-à-vis the U.S.
Thus Russia, more so than
the U.S. or Europe, can be seen as interested in and capable of preserving
the status quo in the Middle East, preventing Iran from going nuclear,
and likewise stopping it from laying the groundwork for the new axis that
it is trying to establish and to lead.
of al-Qaeda’s New Operations Chief Increases Threat to U.S.
By Charlie Szrom, National
Review, August 7, 2010
Yesterday, FBI counterterrorism
agent Brian LeBlanc said that al-Qaeda leader Adnan el Shukrijumah had
become al-Qaeda’s "chief
of operations." Shukrijumah served as part of what once was a three-member
council overseeing al-Qaeda’s external operations, including attacks against
the West. The deaths of the two other members of the council evidently
him within the organization. His familiarity with the West — he lived
in New York and Florida and holds a passport
from the South American nation of Guyana — also increased his value, giving
him the ability to more easily select a wide array of targets, connect
with operatives, and move more freely. "Dirty bomber" Jose Padilla and
plotters who aimed to blow up the New York City subway and the John F.
Kennedy Airport all had ties to Shukrijumah, who may also have been associated
with hijacker Mohammed Atta prior to 9/11.
Gitmo Detainee Turned Taliban Leader Threatens Afghan Elders
By Thomas Joscelyn, The
Long War Journal, August 4, 2010
A former Guantanamo detainee
who is currently a senior Taliban leader has threatened to kill tribal
elders cooperating with Coalition forces and the Afghan government. According
Abdul Rauf Khadim, who was transferred from Gitmo to Afghanistan in 2007,
authored a "short handwritten note" on "the letterhead of Mullah Mohammed
Omar’s defunct Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan."
The note, which was shown
to Newsweek, reads: "We have made a decision for your death. You
have five days to leave Afghan soil. If you don’t, you don’t have the right
Christian Leader Takes on Hezbollah
By Erick Stakelbeck, Family
Security Matters, August 4, 2010
President Barack Obama's
top counterterrorism advisor John Brennan created a stir recently when
he talked of building up the "more moderate elements" of the terrorist
But in response to such an
idea, one Christian member of Lebanon's Parliament said, "Good luck with
"Hezbollah is a very dangerous
party because they are trying to impose to Lebanon their policy and their
vision of jihad and martyrdom," said Nadim Gemayel, member of the Lebanon
Parliament. "And this is unacceptable."
Abandoning Counterinsurgency Is Not Abandoning the Afghan War!
By Thomas Snodgrass, American
Thinker, August 5, 2010
Many in the American conservative
community have signed on to support President Obama's Afghan war strategy
-- counterinsurgency (COIN) -- out of the mistaken belief that not supporting
COIN would mean abandoning the main theater of war against the Islamic
jihadis. But what in this situation is causing normally clear-thinking
individuals to back a war strategy that is obviously on a trajectory to
Are Islamists Attacking Jordan?
By Melanie Phillips, Family
Security Matters, August 4, 2010
Those who persist in the
delusion that the Middle East conflict is a fight over ‘Palestine’ between
Israel and the ‘Palestinians’ should look at what happened last weekend,
when terrorists fired Grad missiles from Egyptian territory not merely
at Eilat, Israel’s tourist resort but also at Aqaba, Jordan’s tourist resort,
where one Jordanian was killed and three others injured. This is not the
first time Aqaba has been targeted along with Eilat: exactly the same thing
happened last April. …
The fact is that Gaza, rather
than being the ‘prison camp’ of UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s idiotic
depiction, is in fact a terrorism camp for the global jihad (beyond the
eponymous terror organisation) of which Hamas – whether or not it was involved
in last weekend’s attack, which it has denied
– is undoubtedly one armed wing. But beyond Hamas, there has been for years
a steady build-up in Gaza of Islamist groups, which are even more extreme
and similarly aim to undermine or topple existing Arab regimes, as well
as Israel. Jordan, which has long been the target of such terrorism, knows
this only too well. That’s why, as Ha’aretz also notes, Jordan has been
quietly co-ordinating with Israel on security matters, helping provide
information which has thwarted terror attacks on both Israel and Jordan.
# # #
Movement Gains Steam: Missouri Rejects Healthcare Mandates
By Michael Boldin, Tenth
Amendment Center, August 3, 2010
Today, voters in Missouri
helped bring the Jeffersonian principle of Nullification one step closer
to the mainstream by approving Proposition C – the Health Care Freedom
The new Missouri statute
is nearly identical to Virginia’s Health Care Freedom Act – which is being
defended by Virginia AG Ken Cuccinelli, and was given
the green light to proceed in court by a Federal Judge this week.
The Missouri proposition passed the Senate on May 4th by a 26-8 vote, and
the House on May 11th by 108-47 vote. Today, voters approved Prop C by
a wide margin – early returns showed over 75% in favor.
a Sense of Taste in Political Leadership
By Hunter Baker, Acton Institute
for Religion and Liberty, August 4, 2010
When watching the Food Network
on television, the viewer focuses on a number of things. What technique
does the celebrity chef use in dicing an onion? How is her hair highlighted?
What kind of appliances has the network placed in the kitchen set? How
does the food look? The attention is everywhere except on how the
food will taste because that part of the process is too difficult to convey
through a glass screen. A celebrity cooking program could be made
in such a way that the viewer would be fully entertained and ready for
another episode even if the dish were an absolute failure. Audiences
lock in on everything other than the actual eating because they are culinary
American politics resembles
cooking on television because our palate has been out of practice.
We’ve eaten a relatively unseasoned mash of policy for a long time with
little variation based on the chef. With the taste of the food varying
so little, we have focused more on the politician as a celebrity.
How does the prospective office holder look? What obstacles has the candidate
overcome in childhood? Who makes for the best profile in People Magazine?
David Brooks, a columnist for the New York Times, memorably swooned
at the sight of President Obama’s "perfectly creased" pant leg. The
presentation has taken precedence over the taste.
Primary Victors Mostly Strong Conservatives
By John Gizzi, Human Events,
August 4, 2010
In most of the contested
Republican primaries held in three states last night, the winners were
conservatives. The GOP nominations for open U.S. Senate seats in Kansas
and Missouri, for example, were won by conservative Representatives Jerry
Moran and Roy Blunt respectively. If there was any disappointment on the
right, it was in the GOP primary for governor of Michigan, where the least
conservative candidate emerged the victor. With two strong conservatives
running mean-spirited attacks on one another, millionaire businessman Rick
Snyder—who refused to answer questionnaires from conservative groups and
openly appealed for Democratic and independent votes—won with 37% of the
Spill Is Gone, So End Drilling Ban
From Investor’s Business
Daily, August 2, 2010
Now that the nation's newspaper
of record has told us there is "little additional risk" from the Gulf oil
spill, maybe the government can give us our offshore oil industry back.
We could sure use it.
Heeding White House aide
Rahm Emanuel's now-famous dictum — "never let a good crisis go to waste"
— Democrats wasted little time in moving on major legislation after the
Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. In the process, they
created a government-made disaster the impact of which may be felt far
longer than the oil spill itself.
By Jonah Goldberg, Star
Telegram, August 8, 2010
Indeed, the Volt’s price
is $41,000, but the cost is much higher. "Government Motors" is already
selling the car at a loss. According to the blogger Doctor Zero, if you
apply the subsidies that have gone directly into the car to just the first
10,000 vehicles, the cost is more like $81,000 per car.
Of course, electric-car boosters
say this sort of thing is necessary to get the industry up and running
(To which Green responds: "Supporters claim that electric cars need subsidies
because they’re still in their infancy. Electric cars have been around
for over 100 years. That’s some infancy.")
But would it be a good thing
if we all switched to electric cars? The point is to reduce CO2 emissions,
right? But in some regions, we get our electricity from CO2-spewing coal.
The more electricity pulled from the grid, the more coal is burned, essentially
replacing dirty oil with dirtier coal (which is why some coal backers see
much promise in electric cars). Studies confirm that China — which is allegedly
"beating us" in the race to a green economy — would produce vastly more
greenhouse emissions if it switched to electric vehicles.
Democratic Panic Attack?
By Larry Kudlow, GOPUSA,
August 9, 2010
With the disappointingly
soft jobs report for July, and a faltering recovery overall, is Team Obama
getting ready for some sort of new, liberal-left, Keynesian, big-bang stimulus
package? Will they be desperate to "do something"?
Already there are rumors
of an August surprise (to use the phrase of business columnist Jimmy Pethokoukis)
where Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac forgive underwater mortgages held by millions
of Americans. And with state and local government jobs having fallen 169,000
year-to-date, perhaps the Democratic Congress and the White House will
seek an even bigger spending plan for teachers and Medicaid workers --
top of the $26 billion plan that just passed the Senate.
I'm Not Hiring
you add it all up, it costs $74,000 to put $44,000 in Sally's pocket and
to give her $12,000 in benefits.
Michael P. Fleischer, President of Bogen Communications, The Wall Street
Journal, August 9, 2010
offset tax increases and steepening rises in health-insurance premiums,
my company needs sustainably higher profits and sales—something unlikely
in this "summer of recovery." We can't pass the additional costs onto our
customers, because the market is too tight and we'd lose sales. Only governments
can raise prices repeatedly and pretend there will be no consequences.
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