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True North Archives - August 10, 2010
Radio | Editorial | News & Views

Radio Archives

Radio archives are here! Use the controls on our radio archive page to listen to past shows of note (archived shows are available for a limited time only). True North airs daily between 11:00 am - 12:00 noon on Radio Vermont's WDEV, AM 550 & FM 96.1, and on WTWK, 1070 AM (Burlington).


Featured Articles

Is Anyone Listening?
By Tom Licata

In 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 words:

"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 doing anything." 

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 really understand?

Facing Up to the Fiscal Storm
By John McClaughry

George 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 Medicare.

States Studying Secession Separately: VT and TN (Part 1)
By Martin Harris

In 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.

Video 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 high-tech jobs.

 

        

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Quotable
"Your love 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 Washington


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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

Are 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.

Who 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.

Through the BT Looking Glass
From Vermont Tiger, August 4, 2010

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 that 
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 the dollar. 

Me, 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.

Ed 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.

School 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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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

Will 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 own.

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.

Rise 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 boosted 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.

Former 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 to Newsweek, 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 to complain."

Lebanese 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 group Hezbollah.

But in response to such an idea, one Christian member of Lebanon's Parliament said, "Good luck with that."

"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."

Conservatives: 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 failure? 

Why 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.

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From Elsewhere

Nullification 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 Act.

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.

Regaining 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 voyeurs.

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.

GOP 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 vote.

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.

Low Volt-age
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.

A 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 -- on top of the $26 billion plan that just passed the Senate.

Why I'm Not Hiring
When 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.
By Michael P. Fleischer, President of Bogen Communications, The Wall Street Journal, August 9, 2010

To 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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