North Archives - September 09, 2008
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Frenzied Attack on Nuclear Energy
By John McClaughry
the perspective: According to the NRC, the average American absorbs 296
millirems a year from rocks and soil (29), cosmic rays (29), radioactive
potassium-40 in the blood (40), and indoor radon (198). Manmade emissions
- mostly from medical X-rays and consumer products - add around 60 more.
Emissions from the nation's 104 nuclear power plants add one millirem.
This one millirem is thus
less than one third of one percent of the normal background radiation.
Yankee's contribution to this one millirem is on the order of one one-hundredth
of a millirem. Increasing that tiny contribution by 30% is ridiculously
insignificant. In fact, a conventional Geiger counter at the plant boundary
cannot even tell whether the reactor is shut down or running at full power.
Responsible for Education?
By Retta Dunlap
Ensuring that a child gets
a good education is a responsibility that should not be taken lightly.
This responsibility implies that one is accountable for actions taken,
that the education chosen is a good one. There are many ways this can be
accomplished. Parents have taught their own children for centuries, and
the United States, even before its inception as an independent republic,
has had schools of one kind or another. There are many definitions of what
constitutes a good education as well. This editorial will not cover those
definitions but rather who is responsible for that education. Is there
someone we can point to? Yes, there is. The responsibility to ensure delivery
of a good education lies ultimately with the parents.
SED on SAT
By Martin Harris
the caption of the –dare I say "gleeful"?—news release from The State Education
Department (SED) on the subject of the College Board’s recent release of
nationwide, state-by-state, Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT), results for
2008: "Vermont Students Show Strong Results". The article went on to do
exactly what the College Board warns against, as you can read for yourself
on its web site: engage in a state-by-state comparison. The text offers
this: "Vermont has higher mean scores in each SAT section compared to both
New England and the nation". The College Board offers this, as reported
by Stateline.org: "The College Board released average SAT scores from the
States Tuesday (8/28) but warned journalists not try to use the scores
to rank states. Instead, the examination board listed the states by the
percentage of students that sat for the test". And, the SED concedes, Vermont’s
percentage went down 2 percent from last year, illustrating a test result
pattern which explains why Mississippi, with 4 percent participation, posts
far higher scores than Connecticut with 82 percent of students enrolled.
# # #
Week’s Mail Bag
Flunks Rick Warren's Abortion Question by Deal W. Hudson, InsideCatholic.com,
August 18, 2008... After hearing Obama's response to when human life begins,
I just had to address his "above my pay grade" comment.
If Obama were really concerned
about the black race, he wouldn't be pimping for Planned Parenthood and
the abortion industry. Rather, he would be exposing them for what
they are... racial bigots that target black neighborhoods to reduce (I
believe eliminate) the black population.
To quote from the website
, "...If the current (abortion) trend continues, by 2038 the black vote
will be insignificant".
Blacks like Obama who purport
to identify with poor blacks are nothing more than political pimps and
whores for the abortion industry. I neither respect nor condone them
or their actions. Obama, simply put, is no Dr. Alan Keyes, a black
man I would vote for in a heartbeat because he recognizes that abortion
is worse for the black race than slavery. Millions of black babies
have been murdered by abortion.
As for Obama's "above my
pay grade" statement, he's absolutely right. He's not qualified to
lead our country. If a man cannot make a decision based on solid
biological science that has determined that human life begins at conception,
but defers to an ideological agenda with an evasive answer, he's absolutely
not fit to lead our country. I sure as hell will not follow his lead
if he ends up in the white house.
What will America do when
the majority of blacks in the inner cities learn the true intention of
Planned Parenthood and their abortion agenda? Whatever their response,
it will make the riots after the Rodney King beating look like a Sunday
walk in the park.
David D. Demar
"Unless we announce
disasters, no one will listen" --Sir John Houghton, first chairman
# # #
Weekly News Round-Up
EDUCATION TAX REFORMERS
STILL WORKING HARD
(This article first appeared
in the Vermont Education Report)
Proponents of the Vermont
Local Education Affordability Formula (LEAF) continue to talk
throughout the state about their proposal, hoping to gain supporters and
refinements to their plan as they go. LEAF seeks to address the issue of
high property taxes and the unintelligible formulae of Act 60, the state’s
education tax law passed in the wake of the 1997 Brigham decision mandating
more equitable funding for the state’s schools.
We are really been listening
to people, says Rep. Pat McDonald (R, Berlin) of LEAF’s community presentations.
When we first put LEAF out there, we said it was a framework and needed
One of the discussion points
is what defines equity. The Vermont State Supreme Court ruled in the Brigham
decision that the state needed to address education equity. LEAF
supporters believe that the Brigham decision is still open for analysis
and discussion, particularly on the issue of absolute equity whether it’s
required and what exactly it is.
LEAF sponsors’ goal is twofold:
to support local education efforts with appropriate help from the state
and to relieve local taxpayers of heavy education tax burdens.
One of LEAF? guiding principles
is that what is controlled locally should be paid for locally. With this
in mind, LEAF sponsors welcome discussions on how to pay for things like
special education services, which come with various state and federal mandates.
LEAF sponsors, Rep. Rick
Hube (R, South Londonderry), Carolyn Branagan (R, Georgia) and Pat Mcdonald
(R, Berlin) have set up a comprehensive web site (www.vermontleaf.com)
that provides answers to frequently asked questions about the plan, as
well as a way to look at what tax obligations would be under a LEAF plan.
Pasted below is the explanation of LEAF from that web site:
How LEAF Works
In summary, each school district
would receive a per-pupil grant equal to 85% of the average statewide per-pupil
spending for the prior year (we have used a figure of $8,500 for discussion
purposes, which would require an additional $158M in revenues). The grant
will be funded through existing broad-base tax revenue sources, the existing
non-residential education property tax structure, and cost savings accrued
under this plan.
There would no longer be
a statewide property tax on residential property, and the CLA for residential
properties would be eliminated. However, any spending in excess of the
grant would be paid for with a property tax raised on the local residential
grand list. Towns that spend less than the grant would receive a credit
for 20% of the per-pupil savings, as an incentive to hold spending increases
below the grant amount. Non residential property would continue to be taxed
under the existing structure.
The LEAF proposal would
bring transparency and clarity to the local budgeting process - there would
be a direct correlation between the decisions of voters and the impact
on their tax bills.
Of course, it is difficult
to evaluate any new funding proposal without understanding the impact on
individual circumstances. For that reason, we have provided tools to help
illustrate the impact of our proposal on individual property tax bills.
Using the options in the left-hand column of this site, you can lookup
your property and see what your education property tax bill might look
like under our proposal. We hope that you find the information provided
here to be helpful.
Highlights of the Plan:
Eliminates statewide property
tax for residential properties
Eliminates Common Level of Appraisal
(CLA) for homesteads
Restores local control of school
Eliminates excess spending penalties
Eliminates the rural acreage
penalty by eliminating the 2 acre limitation
All special education to be
paid from the state education fund
Reduces complexity of current
education funding plan (Act 60/68)
Increases transparency of school
Directly ties local education
spending decisions to local tax liability
Vermont Special Interest Research Group
Caledonia Record Editorial,
September 03, 2008
The Vermont Public Interest
Research Group (VPIRG), if it were to be truly honest, would rename itself
the Vermont Special Interest Research Group (VSIRG). That's because its
research and cheerleading is always for issues to the left of left, over
to the place on the left margin where they used to say of uninhabited,
unmapped, essentially unknown areas, "Here be dragons."
Much Does Carbon Cost?
Actually, the real question
is, how much does it cost a utility to reduce its output of carbon by one
ton? That will be equal to the amount a utility will pay for the
right to produce one more ton of carbon, at least at the margin. We'll
find out on September 25, when the first Northeast Regional Greenhouse
Gas Initiative (RGGI)
auction takes place.
Age Laws And The Social Conscience du Jour
Caledonia Record Editorial,
September 06, 2008
The new and current social
conscience du jour is our national obsession with obesity and the demons
that cause it. All over the country, newly appointed Food Police are outlawing
the strangest things and prosecuting thoughtless offenders. Salt is out.
Trans-fats are verboten. Peanuts and peanut derivatives are anathema in
schools. Fast-food restaurants in low income neighborhoods are tools of
the corporate devils. Soft drinks are as bad as hard liquor. French fries
are all being sent back to France, and room temperature water is far healthier
than ice water in restaurants (where water is even served, anymore).
We've seen it before; we
will see it again. In the 16th century, chocolate came to Europe from the
New World. It was so exotic that only the rich could afford it. In the
age of the Inquisition, when virtually all pleasures were condemned, chocolate
became a seduction of the devil in the eyes of many. That belief became
so pervasive that the Jesuits made it part of their permanent vows not
to eat chocolate. It was a springboard to hell. And as late as the 1960's
(and perhaps, even now), newly professed Jesuits still forswore chocolate.
More Activist Supreme Court Than Ours?
The ruling junta that is
the Florida Supreme Court nixed
items to require a 65 percent rule for classroom spending and allow parents
to be issued vouchers for any school they wish their children to attend.
Said one union official, "Public education will be saved!" Saved
for what? There was a movie that came out two years ago called
brings to mind what we are saving our public education system for.
Well, anyway. It appears that the Florida Supreme Court now has the
power to set fiscal policy in Florida. Even more so than ours does
As VP - The People’s Choice
Caledonia Record Editorial,
September 4, 2008
Palin is proud of her old-fashioned
rural American values and is more than willing to stand up and defend them.
Palin terrifies the left wing who have wasted no time in launching vicious
attacks on her. They fear her strength and her resolve. They fear her support
for states' rights, honesty in government and a willingness to challenge
the Washington establishment.
Palin is the instrument of
change that Obama claims to be, but is not.
# # #
Global War on Terrorism
Human Chain Stronger than Russian Tanks
By David J. Smith, American
Thinker, September 06, 2008
Priests joined hands with
enthusiastic teenagers. More sedate youngsters prayed in Rustaveli
Avenue before the Kashueti Church. Catholicos-Patriarch of all Georgia
Ilia II blessed the human chain, which wound up the hill to Sameba Cathedral.
Inside Sameba, a power greater than any tank was in charge. With
the serenity gained inside Sameba, gazing down the marble promenade, across
the city, the reason for the hullabaloo was clear: Georgia won; Putin's
One westerner scoffed at
this conclusion. "It looks like a football game; too many flags; disgusting,
with all these people dead." Sorry. If you do not understand
it, then you do not understand it.
The human chain was not a
funeral procession; the anthem, "Freedom" is not a funeral dirge.
The girl with the green sneakers, the priests, the old ladies did not march
like Putin's tin soldiers in a Red Square Mayday parade. They gaggled-proud,
defiant and cacophonous. They celebrated Georgia the Georgian way.
Under the gaze of Russian invaders-in some places, literally-while effete
westerners dithered, they joined hands to say, we are Georgia and we will
The staff and volunteers
of Information Center on NATO wore the best T-shirt of the day: "We are
from Georgia's future!" Indeed! Georgia's human chain leads
to the future; Putin's tanks lead to the past.
Baghdad Being Transformed
By Patrick Walters, The
Australian, September 03, 2008
The first impression after
an absence of two years is the stunning reduction in the appalling level
of violence that had torn the city's suburbs apart over the past four years.
A relative calm has now descended. On the day I arrived, there was not
a single serious security incident across the whole of Baghdad.
Pentagon is Sudying Ways of Countering the Tthreat of an Electromagnetic
By Patrick Chisholm Military
Amid increasing reliance
on computer networks and other electronic technology and the rise of new
and technologically sophisticated potential adversaries, military officials
are taking a renewed look at ways of countering the threat of an electromagnetic
pulse (EMP) attack.
During the Cold War, the
possibility of an EMP attack was a prominent concern for U.S. defense planners.
In such an attack scenario, a nuclear bomb is exploded miles—typically
hundreds of miles—above the target area. The explosion generates an EMP
that disrupts or destroys electronic devices everywhere in the target area,
which could include an area as large as the continental United States.
With the downfall of the
Soviet Union, the threat of EMP from that part of the world has greatly
receded. However, since the end of the Cold War, new EMP vulnerabilities
have emerged, the most obvious of which is terrorism. As a 2004 report
by a panel of experts warned, terrorists or other adversaries could launch
an EMP attack without having a high level of sophistication, such as through
a short-range Scud missile. Also of concern are non-nuclear, small-scale
E-bombs that target localized areas. (See MIT, Volume 8, Issue 8, page
Warriors and the Georgian Crisis
By Tony George, American
Thinker, September 06, 2008
Russia's bait and switch
plan using South Ossetia militiamen to goad the Georgian Army into an ill-advised
attack and then ride to the rescue of its newly minted Russian citizens,
was a masterful operation using all of the tools in the combined arms and
services toolbox. And while there will be no new
Cold War, the Russian offensive into Georgia has revealed that despite
our individual unit superiority, our military is no longer the global hyper-power
as touted by the Pentagon's PR machine.
Russia went into Georgia
to accomplish its regional goals simply because Putin realized that a weakened
West could only respond with a lot of shouting and diplomatic finger-pointing.
Security Forces Continue Improving, Army Colonel Says
By Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg,
Special to American Forces Press Service, September 4, 2008
An Army colonel working with
Iraqi security forces in the country’s southern provinces said yesterday
their proficiency and dedication have been impressive.
"I am very impressed with
the professionalism and the willingness of the Iraqi army to go out there
and fight and go after the insurgents, smugglers or other special groups
out there," Army Col. Philip F. Battaglia, commander of the 1st Cavalry
Division’s 4th Brigade Combat Team, told bloggers during a teleconference
about the brigade’s mission in Iraq since deploying there in mid-June.
Long Run, Russia Is Still Third World
By Richard Ebeling, Investor’s
Business Daily, September 05, 2008
Still, Russia's ability to
throw its political and military weight around heavily depends upon the
state of the Russian economy and how much fat can be sliced off to feed
the purposes of those in power. In the short term, revenues from an energy-hungry
world will enable Moscow to play for its place in the sun. In the longer
run, Putin's authoritarian and nationalistic insistence on a strong, centralized
and intrusive government will prevent a truly normal and prosperous Russia.
# # #
They Hate Her
Sarah Palin is a smart
missile aimed at the heart of the left
By Jeffrey Bell, The Weekly
Standard, September 15, 2008
The simple fact of her being
a pro-life married mother of five with a thriving political career was--before
anything else about her was known--enough for the left and its outliers
to target her for destruction. She could not be allowed to contradict symbolically
one of the central narratives of the left. How galling it will be to Sarah
Palin's many new enemies if she survives this assault and prevails. If
she does, her success may be an important moment in the struggle to shape
not just America's politics but its culture.
For Oil And Cut Interest Rates
From Investor's Business
Daily, September 05, 2008
Two things need saying about
Friday's jobs data showing marked deterioration in the U.S. economy. One,
it's not as bad as it looks. And two, it might get worse if policymakers
Peasants Are Revolting (updated)
Rosslyn Smith, American
Thinker,September 06, 2008
The national press corps
is beginning to get a taste of the anger they have created among a large
percentage of the American public over their treatment of Sarah Palin.
It will take some longer than others to grasp the magnitude of the disaster
they have created for their failing industry.
Energy and Food Prices: Driving the August Employment Report Slowdown
By James Sherk, The Heritage
Foundation, September 5, 2008
On Friday, September 5, the
Bureau of Labor Statistics released its employment estimates for August
2008. Government data shows that employers continued to shed jobs for the
eighth consecutive month, while the unemployment rate rose to 6.1 percent,
a five-year high. The manufacturing sector experienced particularly
large job losses, mostly in automobile manufacturers. Temporary employment
services also experienced large job losses.
Given such statistics, economic
concerns are understandably weighing on the minds of many Americans. However,
these economic concerns must be considered in the proper context. Job losses
are largely confined to sectors affected by the collapse of the housing
bubble or the high cost of energy. Although the job security of American
workers has deteriorated over the past year, workers still have much greater
job security in this downturn than a generation ago. Workers are significantly
less likely to lose their jobs now than during the downturns of the early
1980s or 1990s. The economy faces significant challenges, but it is not
in a recession.
it Really 'Public' Education If Voters Get No Say?
By Andrew J. Coulson, Cato
Institute, September 2, 2008
But, ever since the Florida
Supreme Court's 2006 decision in Bush v. Holmes, legislators have
been forbidden to offer families any new alternatives to the traditional
public-school system. If Amendment 9 does make it onto the ballot, and
voters approve it, lawmakers would once again be free to design new educational
options to serve Florida families. The amendment wouldn't create a single
new program; it would just permit legislators to create such programs if
they wished to do so.
And that's what's so remarkable
about the case before the court on Wednesday. The Florida Education Association,
the union representing the state's public-school employees, has sued to
prevent Floridians from even having a say on the future of public education.
Would it even make sense to keep calling it a "public" school system if
voters are given no voice in the matter?
Mae and Freddie Mac: Avoiding the Next Big Mistake
By David C. John, The Heritage
Foundation, September 4, 2008
While the political establishment
may prefer to do nothing and hope that they can survive, this would be
a huge mistake. The one clear lesson of the past several months is that
the basic structure of Fannie and Freddie is fatally flawed. While both
may have made significant contributions to housing ownership in the past,
they are remnants of the 1960s Great Society and no longer reflect today's
realities. Doing nothing is likely to both increase the eventual cost to
the taxpayer and delay the creation of a more modern housing finance system
that can meet the needs of homebuyers without the risk posed by Fannie
If doing nothing is the worst
option, then nationalizing Fannie and Freddie is the second worst. ...The
best way to deal with Fannie and Freddie would be for a receiver to take
over and then to sell the remaining good quality assets either as several
newly chartered entities or to other financial services firms. These new
entities would not retain any type of taxpayer backing—either explicitly
or implicitly. Bad assets would be liquidated over time in a way that would
recoup to the maximum feasible extent any costs to the taxpayers.
To Drill or Not to
Considers Cutting Oil Production
By George Jahn, Associated
Press, September 7, 2008
With oil prices off nearly
30 percent from their highs of almost $150 a barrel, OPEC oil ministers
are considering what was unthinkable just a few weeks ago — cutting back
output to prop up the price of crude.
# # #