North Archives - September 07, 2010
| Editorial | News & Views
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Efficient is "Green" Energy?
By Robert Maynard
order for energy and power to be used, it must be converted from potential
energy stored in the fuel of choice into usable energy. Much of the cost
and impact on the environment associated with energy production is associated
more with the energy conversion process than the choice of the fuel used.
The higher the energy density of the fuel used, the cheaper it is to extract
usable energy out of it. Oil, uranium and coal have high energy density,
while many renewable sources have low energy density. The lower energy
density not only makes it more expensive to extract usable energy out of
such sources, but it can also mean that the use of such sources actually
have a bigger impact on the environment than their less "green" alternatives.
Perhaps it is time that we
left the choice of which energy source to use up to engineers and the market,
rather than politicians and political activists.
Their Feet to the Fire
By John McClaughry
primaries are over and the winning candidates are now in their final run
toward Election Day (November 2). Now is the time that citizens concerned
about the state's future can pin down those candidates on their positions
on key issues they'll face in the forthcoming legislative session.
Bear in mind that candidates
do not want to be pinned down. Their natural tendency is to evade, sidestep,
mislead, and obscure. The trick to pinning down candidates is to ask straightforward,
informed questions that minimize the candidate's opportunity to squirm
out of a commitment. (Getting answers in writing, or declared before witnesses,
is also very valuable.) Here are twelve questions that may be useful.
Video Extra, Shumlin Ad
Rob Roper looks at the price
tags associated with Peter Shumlin's "plan" for Vermont's economy.
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there is one Supreme most perfect being... I believe He is pleased and
delights in the happiness of those He has created; and since without virtue
man can have no happiness in this world, I firmly believe He delights to
see me virtuous."
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-- Articles of Belief and
Acts of Religion, 1728. Ben Franklin
Weekly News Round-Up
Arithmetic and It's Scary
By Tom Licata, Vermont Tiger,
September 3, 2010
"What is critical to keep
in mind is that this situation is part of a broad, multiyear process driven
by national and global realignments. It's a secular phenomenon that needs
to be better understood and navigated -- by recognizing its structural
dimensions…. Unfortunately, the approach in too many industrial countries
[and states such as Vermont] has been to kick the can down the road, seemingly
hoping for a series of immaculate economic recoveries."
Yes, I understand that this
- from Mohamed El-Erian, CEO of Pimco - is a mouthful.
But, it is a mouthful that
needs to be understood, especially by gubernatorial hopefuls Lt. Governor
Dubie and Senators Shumlin or Racine, other Vermont legislative candidates
and Vermont’s various public stakeholders and business leaders.
Correctness Gone Awry Again
Caledonia Record Editorial,
September 1, 2010
A public high school in Dearborn,
Mich., has moved its football practices from the afternoons to the middle
of the night (no kidding!), from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. Why? Because an undisclosed
number of Muslim players on the team must observe Ramadan, an Islamic month
during which Muslims may not eat or drink during daylight hours. So the
schedule of practices was switched to midnight and later just to accommodate
their practice of religion.
Meanwhile, throughout a good
part of the United States, Christians may not call a Christmas tree a Christmas
tree; they may not sing Christmas carols; they must call Christmas vacation
December vacation; and in at least one school, school decorations may not
use the colors green and red, because those are Christmas colors.
Investors Sought for Vt. Power Projects
From WCAX-TV /AP, September
Backers of a $500 million
proposal to build biomass power plants in Pownal and Fair Haven are hoping
to lure foreign investors with the promise of a U.S. residency permit.
The Bennington Banner says
Beaver Wood Energy has applied for the EB-5 visa program of United States
Citizenship and Immigration Services. In exchange for their investment,
the foreign investors are granted conditional green cards that can lead
to permanent residency if the projects create jobs.
News on Housing
By Art Woolf, Vermont Tiger,
September 3 2010
For the last two decades,
I've been publishing my Vermont Housing Affordability Index in The Vermont
Economy Newsletter. And affordability has been improving for the past few
years, as I noted here.
My measure of affordability, and my view that housing affordability has
improved recently, has been challenged by several housing advocates, and
by Doug Hoffer, who is now the Democratic candidate for state auditor (see
his comments last year on my analysis here
and this year's, in audio, here).
The Thrush To Death
Caledonia Record Editorial,
September 3, 2010
Mankind is astonishing in
its capacity, through empathy and compassion, to make a bad situation worse.
So it is that, fearing the effects of global warming on the thrush and
all other life on Earth, man devised an ingenious solution - wind farms!
This once quaint invention,
traditionally seen in idyllic pictures of small Dutch children on ice skates,
migh save us and the thrush from the scourge of us. The facts that they
can't exist without enormous government subsidy and aren't particularly
efficient are but inconvenient truths when held up to the standard "We
must save the thrush!"
So Vermont began laying plans
to string wind farms across the landscape, reduce global warming and save
the Bicknell thrush and the polar bear at the same time. Unfortunately,
the windmills quickly developed another, less savory reputation. It turns
out the turbines carelessly slice and dice all manner of winged species
including bats and Bicknells. It now appears, at least for the thrush,
that the cure is worse than the illness. It's not clear which will exterminate
the Bicknell thrush more quickly, mankind's invention of global warming
or mankind's solution for global warming, the Vermont wind farm.
Vermont Best for Poor Students, Falls Behind Other Countries
By Cristina Kumka, Times
Argus, September 2, 2010
If you are a student with
an economic disadvantage, Vermont is the state where you are best off,
according to a new report commissioned by a nonpartisan group that offers
policy-making advice to legislators nationwide.
The 16th edition of the Report
Card on American Education, by the American Legislative Exchange Council,
ranks Vermont the top state in test scores among its low-income, fourth-
West Virginia was ranked
last in education performance, according to the report.
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Global War on Terrorism
View of South Asia and the Indian Ocean
By Dean Cheng, The Heritage
Foundation, August 31, 2010
The Indian Ocean is becoming
increasingly important to China’s economic and security interests. China
appears to be pursuing what has been widely characterized as a "string
of pearls" strategy of cultivating India’s neighbors as friendly states,
both to protect its economic and security interests and to balance a "rising
India." With Chinese influence in the region growing, it is essential that
the U.S. not fall behind in the Indian Ocean, but maintain a steady presence
in the region, both to signal its resolve to stay engaged and to avoid
the difficulties of reentering a region.
As the People’s Republic
of China (PRC) expands its global economic and security interests, one
region of growing importance to Beijing will be the Indian Ocean area.
Not only must a significant portion of China’s oil imports transit this
region, but one of China’s enduring friends (Pakistan) and one of its long-time
rivals (India) border this region, as well as China’s sensitive Tibetan
Tyranny and Freedom
By Herbert I. London, Linden
Blue The Hudson Institute, September 1, 2010
Thinking about the unthinkable
is a phrase attributed to Herman Kahn, founder of the Hudson Institute.
In the 1980s, Kahn wrote that it was essential to think seriously about
nuclear war - in order to have the best chance of avoiding it. Nuclear
war was and is an existential issue brought about by the structural change
in our ability to manipulate the atom.
Now structural changes in
world economics and technology and the leverage of terror are bringing
about new existential challenges. Information is available worldwide at
the speed of light. (There are 4.5 billion cell phones in the world today.)
Moore's law (the exponential growth in computing power), the prospect of
unlimited energy and the unlimited potential of free people to be creative
allow dramatic improvements in the human condition.
It is important to think
about these possibilities just as we must think about the potential for
widespread destruction from unimpeded terror or grinding irrational cultural
developments. The structural elements are in place to take us in either
direction. How we think about the direction and how decisively we make
course corrections will largely determine how the future looks.
By Patrick Dunleavy,New
York Post, September 2, 2010
Reporting on the terrorism
trial now under way in federal district court in Manhattan is focusing
on defense attorneys' "entrapment" claim. But to me, the more interesting
question is how the four accused were radicalized to the point where they'd
even consider plotting to bomb synagogues in The Bronx and shoot
down aircraft with missiles.
What stands out is the prison
All four defendants were
former inmates. More important, all three imams at the mosque in Newburgh
that the defendants attended after being released from prison had a connection
with the prison system.
Responsibility to Explain Why Iraq Matters
By Douglas J. Feith, The
Hudson Institute, September 1, 2010
President Obama’s Oval Office
speech was long on statements of resolve. "America intends to sustain and
strengthen our leadership," he said. He declared that "there should be
no doubt: the Iraqi people will have a strong partner in the United States,"
adding, "Our combat mission is ending, but our commitment to Iraq’s future
is not." But the speech was short on why — that is, what America’s interests
are in making such a commitment.
The speech did not connect
developments in Iraq to U.S. national interests. The president spoke extensively
of Iraq’s interests. He commented that the Iraqis are no longer subject
to "a regime that terrorized its people" and that they have interests in
preventing civil war, building democracy for themselves, resettling their
refugees, etc. But Obama spoke as if the key American interests were withdrawal
of U.S. forces and relinquishment of responsibilities. He gave no reason
why the United States should continue to exert itself in Iraq as a "strong
Cold Economic War is Better Than a Hot Naval War
By William R. Hawkins Family
Security Matters, September 1, 2010
No one wants a military clash
with China, but it is clear that a new Cold War is brewing in Asia. Indeed,
it might be better to think in terms of the old Cold War never ending.
The Berlin Wall fell in 1989, but nothing comparable happened in Asia.
The old rivalries and disputes continued.
The Soviet Union was brought
down without a Hot War by internal fissures exacerbated by outside economic
pressure. President Ronald Reagan sought to isolate the USSR from outside
trade and investment so that the "evil empire"
could not hope to keep up with American economic and technological advances.
The widening gap in economic power would translate into a widening strategic
gap. The strains Moscow put on its backward system to keep up brought the
regime down. This had always been the aim of the containment policy adopted
by President Harry Truman. President Reagan just took it more seriously
after a period of "coexistence" that had given the Soviets a breathing
space during which they expanded their military.
Islamic Moderates Are So Scarce
It goes back to a
ninth-century theological dispute
By Joshua Gilder, National
Review Online, September 2, 2010
Reilly does in fact locate
the elusive moderate Islam — back in the 8th and 9th centuries, when the
rationalist Mu’tazilites dominated Islamic thought under Caliph al-Ma’mun.
The period is often referred to as the "golden age of Islam," when that
civilization produced some of its highest achievements in philosophy and
science. It didn’t last. In 849, the second year of the reign of Caliph
Ja’afar al-Mutawakkil, the Mu’tazilites were overthrown. Holding Mu’tazilite
beliefs became a crime punishable by death, and the decidedly anti-rationalist
Ash’arites soon came to dominate the faith, as they would continue to do,
in one form or another, through the modern era.
What makes Closing
so compelling is Reilly’s ability to tie seemingly arcane questions of
Islamic theology to many of the characteristics of Islamic civilization
that we in the West find so hard to fathom. Fundamentally, Ash’arism was
a rejection of "natural law" and reason in favor of an all-powerful God
of pure will and power. The idea of an ordered universe that behaves according
to certain ordained laws — whether moral or physical — would have been
understood by the Mu’tazilites. For the Ash’arites, this was blasphemy,
an outrage against God’s omnipotence.
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By Norah Petersen, American
Thinker, September 2, 2010
Last Tuesday, Dr. Thomas
Sowell was interviewed on The Rush Limbaugh Show by Walter Williams, who
was serving as guest host. During this interview, Williams inquired about
Sowell's opinion of direction that America is heading in. "Are you optimistic
or pessimistic?" Williams asked. "Pessimistic, and I am fighting
off becoming despairing," replied Sowell.
Sowell's words should not
be taken lightly. As a recent Investor's
Business Daily editorial about Sowell said, "Doomsters are a
dime a dozen. But when a leading economist who's been called "the nation's
greatest contemporary philosopher" sees serious trouble ahead, we'd better
It Time to Listen to Rep. Paul Ryan's Economic Prescription?
By Samuel Gregg, Forbes
Magazine, September 1, 2010
Paul Ryan, a professional
policy wonk from Wisconsin, sees trouble ahead if the country stays on
its present course. The cost of entitlement programs like Medicare and
Social Security is racing ahead, at the same time that the federal government
is ladling out dollars to fight the recession and collecting less in tax
revenue because of the recession. Meanwhile, he argues, we are contending
with chronically high unemployment, insurmountable debt payments and a
crushing tax burden that could kill U.S. competitiveness. Maybe, just maybe,
those entitlements have to be redesigned. He's not quite saying, "Stop
Social Security!," but he is getting dangerously close to the thought.
Who is this guy? It would
be no surprise if he turned out to be a wealthy financier who had taken
up budget policy as a retirement hobby (like Peter G. Peterson) or a professional
forecaster whose views on consumer spending are bearish (like Gary Shilling).
The surprise is that Ryan is an elected official. He's running for election
to a seventh term in Congress, representing a district with a razor-thin
Republican edge south of Milwaukee.
By Kenneth Spitz, American
Thinker, September 2, 2010
James Jay Lee bought into
the doomsday environmental ideology. His concerns were certainly radical,
but they are not unique to him. There is evidence Lee was led to his warped
conclusions. It is a relatively short trip from"humans are killing the
planet" to "humans must die to save the planet".
In fact, A&E Network's
The History Channel aired a series entitled "Life After Humans". One of
the show's premises was that the planet would quickly return to a better
state if people were not present. Perhaps, Mr. Lee felt that Discovery
had dropped the ball vis-a-vis the History Channel.
New Face of the Union Movement: Government Employees
By James Sherk, The Heritage
Foundation, September 1, 2010
Unions have been a familiar
part of American working life for more than 70 years. Less familiar is
the state of the union movement today: More union members now work for
the government than for private employers. The above-market salaries and
benefits that government employees receive are paid for by taxpayers. So,
the union movement that began as a campaign to improve working conditions
and salaries for workers in the private sector, now pushes for ever-higher
taxes to increase the generous compensation that government employees enjoy.
Heritage Foundation labor policy expert James Sherk details the changes
in the union movement, and explains how Congress can react to this new
The American union movement
has reached a historic milestone—more union members currently work for
the government than for private businesses. As a result, the union movement’s
priorities have shifted. Because taxes fund government pay and benefits,
unions are now pushing for tax increases across the country. The union
movement that once campaigned to raise private-sector workers’ wages has
transformed into a government union movement that campaigns to raise their
DeMint Looks toward November, and Beyond
The American people
are finally waking up -- and the Senate Republican old bulls had better
By Robert Costa, The National
Review Online, September 3, 2010
Joe Miller (Alaska), Sharron
Angle (Nevada), Ken Buck (Colorado), Pat Toomey (Pennsylvania), Marco Rubio
(Florida), Dino Rossi (Washington), Ron Johnson (Wisconsin), Mike Lee (Utah)
— these are just a few of the Reaganite insurgents with whom Sen. Jim DeMint
(S.C.) hopes to work in the upper chamber come January. Should they win
in November, DeMint predicts, this new crop of conservatives will help
to push the GOP back toward the party’s principled, free-market roots.
"These candidates have gotten
the message," DeMint says in an interview with National Review Online.
"They understand that if we get the majority, and we don’t do what we said
we would, then we’re dead as a party — and should be."
Taxpayer Bailout for Union Pensions
By Diana Furchtgott-Roth,The
Hudson Institute, September 3, 2010
This Labor Day some labor
union officials should be concerned. The Financial Accounting Standards
Board, a private organization that sets the standards for financial standards,
is considering a proposal that would require companies to disclose their
potential liability from collectively bargained multiemployer pension plans.
With the liability on view
for all to see, it would be difficult for unions to assert to potential
new members that failing pension plans are solvent. Unions would lose a
valuable tool to recruit new members.
Day Special: Top 10 Union Highlights of the Obama Administration
Big Labor has reasons
to celebrate: an ally in White House and a cheerleading left-wing media.
By Jeff Poor, Business &
Media Institute, September 1, 2010
On Labor Days past, we’ve
seen a sort of labor union celebration, particularly from pro-union voices
in the media. But in commemorating the 129th celebration of Labor Day in
the United States, the Business & Media Institute has compiled the
10 top moments for Big Labor [since Barack Obama was elected].
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