North Archives - August 24, 2010
| Editorial | News & Views
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Vicious Acts of 2010
By John McClaughry
as "local control" of subdistrict schools went out with the Vicious Act
of '92, "local control" as it existed prior to 1997 will soon give way
to one of two outcomes: either complete state control, or parental control.
The former is the French
model, with its nationwide curriculum and all-powerful Ministry of Education.
The latter would decentralize
"local" down to the family level: empowered parents would choose the educational
program that they believe is best for their children, and providers would
compete to please them as customers, not subjects.
Candidates Want to Spend More Taxes on Early Education, While Parents Want
By Kelly Bartlett
Let parents choose: Are
bureaucrats most qualified to determine which school is best for your child?
"Why not funnel this money to the parents directly?" Dunlap encourages
school choice since it "gets the money and the decision making as close
to the child as possible so that parents can have the resources to make
Serving Vermont parents:
parents means supporting children. What the candidates for governor might
want to keep in mind before the election is that there are a heck of a
lot more parents voting than teachers.
So, while the political class
may continue to scratch their heads in the faculty lounge about the President’s
dismal approval ratings, to the rest of us are learning some very important
lessons: 1, the people enacting this Progressive agenda have demonstrated
that they really have no idea about how what they’re doing will ultimately
impact the economy, the country or the people. And, 2, when this Progressive
agenda is enacted its average working people who end up suffering.
These are lessons voters
will take to the polls in November, and, if we’re smart, we will not misoverestimate
progressive politicians and their promises at any level ever again.
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of sheep will beget a government of wolves."
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– Edward R. Murrow
Weekly News Round-Up
By Tom Evslin, Vermont Tiger,
August 23, 2010
Question: Now that
the funding for border-to-border no-residence-left-behind highspeed broadband
access in Vermont is at hand, what could stop us from fulfilling our e-state
dream? (see here
for the good news on funding).
Question: How can
we save us from ourselves?
V.S.A. § 248a.
To understand this bureaucratic
answer, read on...
With The Public's Money
Caledonia Record Editorial,
August 17, 2010
Burlington, Rutland, and
South Burlington officials have 'fessed up to multi-million-dollar deficits
in their public employee retirement funds. According to Rutland City Treasurer
Wendy Wilton, the deficits grew essentially out of speculation in the stock
market by those in charge. During the market's salad days of big returns
and big increases in investment values, all three of the city's bigwigs
substantially increased employees' benefits in the expectation the market
would keep on laying golden eggs. When the market sprang a big leak in
the years after 2000, all three were stuck with deflating financial balloons.
Now, and for several more years, they are singing the blues and trying
to figure how they can fill the huge deficits (Burlington: $39 million
shortfall of $74.4 million in liabilities; Rutland: $39 million shortfall
on $72.4 in liabilities; and South Burlington: $9 million shortfall on
$18 million in liabilities).
Cost, Low Carbs. What's Not To Like?
By Brad Ferland, Vermont
Tiger, August 20, 2010
Right now we have the lowest
cost electricity in New England and the second lowest carbon emission per
capita in the country. Our current electricity portfolio success is due
to Hydro Quebec and Vermont Yankee. That’s a fact! And the way we
are going to have continued sensible electricity supply is through capable
leadership making policy decisions based on fact and not on emotions or
Raise Just For Staying Alive
Caledonia Record Editorial,
August 17, 2010
One of the goals set by school
boards is to control inflated teacher contracts subject to automatic annual
step raises. The theory is that each year makes teachers more effective
- for up to 30 years. Without an evaluation system that measures teacher
effectiveness as a determinant to salary increases, automatic increases
are simply a series of rewards for living a year longer. A teacher may
be more effective year over year, but if they are, it is unrelated to their
The fact is that too many
teachers are simply piling on years. Having ossified in the first few years
or even in the first year, the final 20 to 30 years are simply the first
year repeated 20 to 30 times. As long as school boards and state education
departments don't require effective performance to qualify for salary increases,
we will never know. Once a lousy teacher is tenured he/she is safe in a
30-year career with automatic raises every year.
Biodiesel Plant Closes, Victim of Federal Decision Not to Renew Tax Credits
By Louis Porter, Times Argus,
August 21, 2010
A Swanton plant once promoted
as the largest biodiesel production facility in New England is shuttered
and unlikely to reopen, at least in the short-term, according to state
and company officials.
The state’s economic development
authority is now in the process of trying to recover more than a half-million
dollars it provided to the facility in low-interest loans, according to
officials. State tax credits were also awarded to the company that built
the plant, Biocardel, a subsidiary of a Canadian company, although the
credits were never used.
The expiration of a federal
tax credit for the production of biofuels at the end of 2009 has hammered
the industry nationally and the Biocardel facility in Vermont is one casualty.
The company does not have plans to reopen the facility.
By Art Woolf, Vermont Tiger,
August 21, 2010
A privatized system would
mean that every American worker would have a stake in the health and success
of the U.S. economy, which means a healthy market economy. Moreover, it
would force all Americans to save,
and with more saving, the nation would have more investment. And
with more investment, we'd have more capital and more growth.
Senator Sanders would prefer
simply raising Social Security taxes on everyone making over $100,000,
which would give the U.S. a top marginal federal tax rate over 50%.
Include state taxes in places like Vermont, New York, or California, and
you're talking about a top marginal tax rate of 60%. That's sure
to reduce economic growth. I don't know where the
Laffer Curve reverses
its slope, but at 60% we'd probably be dangerously close
to that point where tax revenues actually decline.
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Global War on Terrorism
from Israel Believing That Peace Is Possible
Two weeks in Israel
gave me optimism about what is happening on the ground, away from the radical
By Ryan Mauro, Pajamas Media,
August 10, 2010
The biggest obstacle to peace
isn’t the settlements or any other land dispute. It is the lack of integration
with the world that allows extremist forces to poison minds. As the lines
of support from the state sponsors of terrorism are severed, you will see
things rapidly change as the truth comes to light. The ideology of radical
Islam cannot survive without outside subsidies.
There may be no peace process
in the traditional sense of the term, as you cannot accommodate those seeking
your destruction, but a process towards peace outside of the official
negotiating table is underway. The Israelis I hung out with during my stay,
the ones who should be most pessimistic about the prospect for peace, are
the most optimistic. And now I see why.
China's Military Power Growing
By Anne Flaherty, MyWay,
August 16, 2010
China's drive to transform
itself into a major military power is being pursued in a secretive manner
that increases the potential for misunderstanding and military conflict
with other nations, the Pentagon says in a new report.
The Defense Department's
annual assessment, released Monday, says Beijing is upgrading its hefty
arsenal of land-based missiles, modernizing its nuclear forces and expanding
its fleet of attack submarines.
Related Article: Clinton
Administration's Chickens Come Home to Roost
U.S. Withdrawal and Limited Options in Iraq
By George Friedman, Strategic
Forecasters, August 17, 2010
The United States cannot
withdraw completely without some arrangement, because that would leave
Iran in an extremely powerful position in the region. The Iranian strategy
seems to be to make the United States sufficiently uncomfortable to see
withdrawal as attractive but not to be so threatening as to deter the withdrawal.
As clever as that strategy is, however, it does not hide the fact that
Iran would dominate the Persian Gulf region after the withdrawal. Thus,
the United States has nothing but unpleasant choices in Iraq. It can stay
in perpetuity and remain vulnerable to violence. It can withdraw and hand
the region over to Iran. It can go to war with yet another Islamic country.
Or it can negotiate with a government that it despises — and which despises
it right back.
Given all that has been said
about the success of the Petraeus strategy, it must be observed that while
it broke the cycle of violence and carved out a fragile stability in Iraq,
it has not achieved, nor can it alone achieve, the political solution that
would end the war. Nor has it precluded a return of violence at some point.
The Petraeus strategy has not solved the fundamental reality that has always
been the shadow over Iraq: Iran. But that was beyond Petraeus’ task and,
for now, beyond American capabilities. That is why the Iranians can afford
to be so confident.
Less Than a Week to Stop Iran's Nuclear Threat?
From Family Security Matters,
August 18, 2010
John Bolton, former US Ambassador
to the UN, has warned
that Israel had only days to strike the nuclear reactor at Bushehr in Iran.
Bushehr is in the south of Iran, on the coast of the Persan Gulf, and here
there is a complex of nuclear reactors under construction.
So far, only one of these reactors is ready to go online. Bolton claimed
on Tuesday that once Russian technicians had loaded fuel into the reactor,
any attack upon the reactor could release large amounts of radioactive
material into the outside environment.
Muslims Condemn Ground Zero Mosque as a 'Zionist Conspiracy'
By Raymond Ibrahim, Middle
East Forum, August 11, 2010
In a recent article,
I argued that the Ground Zero mosque is counterproductive to Islam. The
following day, on August 5, the Egyptian newspaper Al
Masry Al Youm reported that none other than Al Azhar — one
of Sunni Islam's most authoritative institutions — agrees. My translation
of the relevant excerpt follows:
A number of Al
Azhar ulema expressed their opposition to building a mosque near [where]
the events of September 11 [occurred], convinced that it is "a conspiracy
to confirm a clear connection between the strikes of September  and
Islam." Dr. 'Abd al-Mu'ti Bayumi, a member of the Islamic Research Academy
[of Al Azhar] told Al Masry Al Youm that he rejects the building of any
mosque in this area [Ground Zero], because the "devious mentality" desires
to connect these events [of 9/11] with Islam, though he maintains that
Islam is innocent of this accusation. Instead, it is a "Zionist conspiracy,"
which many are making use of to harm the religion. Likewise, Dr. Amna Nazir,
professor of doctrine and philosophy at Al Azhar, expressed her rejection
that a mosque be built near the World Trade Center, saying: "Building a
mosque on this rubble indicates bad intention — even if we wished to shut
our eyes, close our minds, and insist on good will. I hope it is a sincere
step, and not a new conspiracy against Islam and Muslims."
Aside from the hackneyed "Zionist
conspiracy" charge, Al Azhar has it right: from negative media attention
to subliminal associations with the 9/11 strikes, the "9/11 mosque" has
great potential to backfire on Islam. Many otherMuslims
agree. That Al Azhar has labeled it a "Zionist conspiracy"— an appellation
usually reserved for especially heinous charges attributed to fellow Muslims,
such as the strikes
of 9/11 — is indicative of how absurd the mosque project
must appear to them.
Stewart Baker explains
the difficulties facing DHS.
From National Review Online,
August 23, 2010
‘Without a shot being fired,
without even a clear sense of who the attacker is, much of the United States
could find itself living in post-Katrina New Orleans,
but without hope of a rescue anytime soon." Stewart Baker, the founding
policy director at the Department of Homeland Security under Pres. George
W. Bush, makes this and other alarming announcements in his new
on Stilts: Why We Aren’t Stopping Tomorrow’s Terrorism. He
explains why he’s so worried, what he learned about the ACLU, and more
in an interview with National Review Online’s Kathryn Jean Lopez...
# # #
Debt, and Self-Deception
By Samuel Gregg, The Acton
Institute for Religion and Liberty, August 18, 2010
It passed almost unnoticed,
but in late July the Obama Administration raised the Federal Government’s
budget deficit forecast for fiscal year 2011 to $1.4 trillion. That’s up
from February’s forecast of $1.267 trillion. In July alone, the Federal
Government’s deficit was $165 billion, of which $20 billion was for interest-payments
The long-term outlook is
even worse. The U.S. Government is now borrowing approximately 41 cents
of every dollar it spends. It’s also predicting additional borrowing of
$8.5 trillion until 2020. If that eventuates, America’s national debt would
exceed 77 percent of its annual economic output.
the U.S. to a Free Economy
From The Heritage Foundation,
August 17, 2010
In 2010, for the first time
ever, the United States has fallen from the ranks of the economically "free"
as measured by the Index of Economic Freedom, published annually
by The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal, falling
below the cutoff that earns countries the right to call themselves "free."
The status of the United States today? "Mostly free." The reason? Notable
decreases in financial freedom, monetary freedom, and property rights.
The U.S. scores particularly badly in areas where the government has taken
too large and intrusive a role. This decline must be reversed.
Summit to Focus on States Stopping Unconstitutional Laws
From The U.S. Report, July
States’ rights are in the
air, along with a renewed focus on the US Constitution, and The Tenth Amendment
Center will hold a summit to inform the public how to "stop federal mandates
at the state border." The Florida Tenth Amendment Summit will be held in
Orlando at the Omni
Orlando Resort at Championsgate on 10-10-10—there’s a nice touch
of marketing savvy in the selection of that date.
Economic Freedom Act: Economic and Fiscal Effects
By Karen Campbell, Ph.D.
and Guinevere Nell, Heritage Foundation, August 19, 2010
The Economic Freedom Act,
proposed by Representative Jim Jordan, would terminate the ineffective
Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP), and substitute a proven way to stimulate
the economy: tax relief—from permanent repeal of the capital gains and
death taxes to significant reductions in payroll taxes and the top corporate
tax rate. Analysts at The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis
(CDA) conducted static and dynamic analyses of the act (H.R. 5029), finding
that over the long term, dynamic economic effects would offset much of
the cost of the tax relief. In the short term, the act would increase the
deficit if it was not coupled with reductions in spending. This means a
specific plan for spending cuts is imperative. The CDA analysts detail
the economic and fiscal effects of the Economic Freedom Act’s spending
and tax cuts.
IMF Say USA Is DOA?
By Tim Cavanaugh, Reason,
August 12, 2010
Recent International Monetary
Fund statements on U.S. fiscal solvency have been alarming. But do they
point to a future debt of $202 trillion?
Boston University econ prof.
Laurence J. Kotlikoff has put
together some pleasingly apocalyptic documentation:
Benefits of Immigration
By Diana Furchtgott-Roth,
The Hudson Institute, August 19, 2010
It's no coincidence that
the debate over birthright citizenship has sprung up in the wake of the
expansion of the welfare society enacted by Congress and the Obama administration
- accompanied by prospective tax hikes. European countries cannot welcome
immigrants because the welfare benefits they confer upon their citizens
are simply too expensive to offer to newcomers.
For instance, our new health
care law allocates $1.5 billion to expanded community health centers where
illegal immigrants can get free care.
As America slouches towards
the European economic model, the European immigration model appears newly
attractive. The European economic and immigration models are complementary
- we need to reject both.
Businesses Fear Hit From Rise in Tax Rates
By Martin Vaughan and Corey
Boles, The Wall Street Journal, August 23, 2010
Tax cuts enacted under President
George W. Bush are slated to expire at the end of this year. Obama has
proposed extending the tax cuts for married couples with income of less
than $250,000, or single taxpayers with income of less than $200,000. But
rates on income higher than that would rise to 36% and 39.6%, respectively,
from current levels of 33% and 35%.... Some entrepreneurs say the increase
in personal tax rates could hurt their ability to make new investments
or hire workers.
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