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Since Shumlin is running for governor, the fact that Shumlin's appointee Blittersdorf sat on a board that handed out subsidies that advanced Blittersdorf's business interests put the story on page one. To his credit, Shumlin asked Blittersdorf to resign from the board. Blittersdorf didn't see the need to do that, and went on to approve a tax credit distribution policy that handed out $4.3 million in valuable tax credits to solar PV generators economically linked to his own businesses.
Shumlin, Blittersdorf, VPIRG and their allies have promoted a remarkable combination of junk science, polar bear hysteria, nuclear phobia, business mandates, hidden taxes, price fixing, corporate welfare, government debt, and subsidy handouts to benefit - well, mainly themselves.
Since the August recess Democratic candidates across the country have spent three times as much money on ads opposing health care reform than for commercials touting it, reports Politico.com. "Go back to 2006, and even before that, and Democrats used health care as their No. 1 issue," Tracey said. "They had a villain in the pharmaceutical industry. Now that they passed this law, it's almost disarmed them rather than given them an opportunity."
Meanwhile, Peter Shumlin, the Democrat candidate for governor of Vermont says his top priority is health care reform. What do those other folks know that candidate Shumlin.
My own experiences —maybe a couple dozen over several decades— with the won't-learn group weren't as dramatic as Blackboard Jungle film clips; within VT, for example, once as an OVUHS sub I ejected a disruptive student from the classroom and once as a Community College lecturer I invited a disengaged student to come forward and list the differences between Italianate and Second Empire architecture on the chalkboard. Both gambits worked. Probably, neither would be an approved classroom management technique today. The first was disapproved by the principal, even back then.
If there were after-class help for the engaged student of this subject, I'd ask this question: why are teachers, so vocal on subjects ranging from credits-for-continuing-ed to mandatory lunchroom duty, from years paid to days worked, so silent on the new prohibition against managing their own classrooms? In my reading I find massive teacher resistance to evaluation-by-student-scores, but nary a word on the specific question of the refusal-to-learn group. In my own basic math, I'd see teacher evaluations rising as their student scores rose, if only by removing those "students"-who-won't-learn from their scope of teaching responsibility.
Republican Candidate for Vermont Governor Brian Dubie says cutting taxes will bring jobs to Vermont. Dubie released his 10-point economic plan Monday. Lower taxes, and reduced regulation are some of the main points. His others include:
Hold spending to affordable levels
Provide tax relief for families and employers
Laser focus on job creation
Market Vermont's strengths
Streamline permitting and regulation
Lower health care costs
Steady leadership for long-term challenges
Build next-generation business infrastructure
Strengthen education and training
Power up our energy future
He says he wants to cut taxes by $240 million.
For the rest of Dubie's plan, click here.
A few weeks ago, the family, friends and neighbors of Spc. Tristan Southworth of Walden went through the heart-rending experience of receiving his body, honoring him and burying him. Tristan was a member of the Vermont National Guard, killed in action in Afghanistan. In early July, Army Pfc. Ryan J. Grady's body was returned to Burke when the aircraft carrying the slain soldier son, husband, father and brother brought him home. A year ago, we grieved for Lt. Joey Fortin of St. Johnsbury, whose body came home from Iraq after he was killed in action by a roadside bomb. These names are added to a list of other military heroes who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Our Three Amigos in DC are busy touting their ability to spend our own money for us. Again. The three members of Vermont's congressional delegation say the state's clean energy efforts have been given a $140 million boost from federal recovery money.
Well, of course they say it's a "boost". They want to be recognized for the difficult task of spending someone else's money for them.
A week ago, we endorsed three points of Republican candidate for governor Brian Dubie's 10-point plan for Vermont's economic recovery. We encourage voter support for those points: holding spending to an affordable level, legislation to streamline permitting and regulations, and powering up Vermont's energy future. Here are our thoughts on the remaining seven points.
There is bad news on the economic front when it comes to poverty. The Federal Government says the number of people living below the poverty line continues to increase, and Vermont is not immune to this national trend.
Marissa Parisi is the executive director of The Campaign to End Childhood Hunger, a mission she says gets harder every day, because the number of Vermont families in need continues to grow.
One of the not-surprising-but-underrated problems with lavish subsidies for "alternative energy" is that they are the social equivalent of keeping a dirty kitchen - they attract roaches:
Police in Italy have seized Mafia-linked assets worth $1.9 billion the biggest mob haul ever in an operation revealing that the crime group was trying to "go green" by laundering money through alternative energy companies.
Investigators said the assets included more than 40 companies, hundreds of parcels of land, buildings, factories, bank accounts, stocks, fast cars and luxury yachts.
At the centre of the investigation was Sicilian businessman Vito Nicastri, 54, a man known as the "Lord of the Wind" because of his vast holdings in alternative energy concerns, mostly wind farms.
Investigators said Nicastri's companies ran numerous wind farms as well as factories that produced solar energy panels.
"It's no surprise that the Sicilian Mafia was infiltrating profitable areas like wind and solar energy," Palermo magistrate Francesco Messineo told a news conference.
"Profitable," of course, solely because of lavish subsidies and other sorts of "assists"…
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Did the U.S. spending of $53 billion on reconstruction efforts, or "nation-building," work in Iraq? According to New York Times' columnist David Brooks, it did. Unfortunately, however, his argument is flawed on numerous counts by selective evidence.
Unfortunately, there is nothing to indicate North Korea will change its belligerent stance anytime soon. That is certainly troubling for its near neighbors, as well as the U.S., which has security commitments in the region. And while many see the Korean War as Cold War history, we must be mindful that North Korea clearly sees it differently. The senseless attack on the Cheonan was a provocative violation of the existing armistice at best and a hostile continuation of the war at worst.
But it is not just the Korean peninsula that needs focus. One of the gravest dangers is Pyongyang's proliferation practices beyond Northeast Asia to other volatile regions of the world, including the Middle East, where U.S. interests are vast.
Making matters worse, some national security specialists sense that North Korea's nuclear capability has changed the security dynamic drastically, leaving the North undeterred by superior U.S. and South Korean conventional forces. Unafraid of conventional retaliation due its nuclear arsenal, the result is a North that may feel emboldened to push the envelope on bad behavior, risking misperception and miscalculation with dire consequences. If that is true, what will North Korea do next to raise the ante in its dangerous game to garner attention, legitimacy and the upper hand on the peninsula? And what should the U.S. and South Korea be doing to prevent it? What of China?
Team B II, a group of highly accomplished civilian and military national security professionals, is releasing a major new national security assessment examining the threat posed by Shariah to America. The 177-page report, Shariah: The Threat to America, will be released at a Capitol Hill press conference on Wednesday, September 15, 2010 at 12:30 p.m. EDT in U.S. Capitol Room HC-6. Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), and Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) will offer remarks, along with leading Team B II authors including Center for Security Policy president Frank Gaffney, former Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Lieutenant General William G. "Jerry" Boykin and terrorism expert and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew C. McCarthy.
Against secular power has emerged the perennial winner Erdogan. There is no doubt that his rallying cry has been Islam, the accusations and the arrests of the military, the adoption of a Middle East policy that lately led him to vote against sanctions on Iran. His anti-Israel rhetoric has reached and promoted frightening heights in the Country. The United States has blocked the appointment of Francis Ricciardone as Ambassador to Ankara because he was considered "too soft to deal with the current government".
Capable in economic policy, Turkey has promoted mass meetings and signed agreements with the worst dictators in the Middle East. Syrian President Bashar Assad proposed just yesterday to celebrate the victory of his ally and called upon Turkey to resume its role of mediator with Israel. Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu met in mid-July with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal; the Turkish leadership's sympathy for Ahmadinejad is not a secret. And it's recent news that the Turkish intelligence and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards may have signed an agreement to assist Hezbollah in receiving arms.
There Oughtn't Be a Law The burqa ban won't save France, and preemptive capitulation won't save us. ANDREW C. McCARTHY National Review, September 18 2010
The new French burqa law was announced this week. Not a social debate: a law. Western societies are running out of gas for the same reason Western economies are sputtering: They are over-lawyered and, hence, hyper-regulated. We're incapable of comprehending public controversy through anything but the most legalistic prism, particularly when individual liberty is implicated.
Thus we have the tyranny of the lowest common denominator. The tune is called by that rarest of creatures: the woman living in the West who wears the burqa because she wants to wear the burqa. Of course there are such women. Some are merely eccentric, but most burqa volunteers are affirming a civilizational chasm. In Islam, the concept of "freedom" is nearly the opposite of what the non-Muslim West takes it to mean; it is perfect submission to Allah. That is the only life choice the voluntarily shrouded woman makes, and the burqa is emblematic of all the doctrinal subjugation that necessarily follows.
Bully for her. But what about the other women who don the burqa? What about the women who are extorted into cloaking themselves under pressure from a culture characterized by arranged marriages and honor killings? These women are pressured to submit because others have submitted. They are "captive women behind bars," as French president Nicolas Sarkozy describes them, making a metaphor of the grilled visor the burqa places across women's eyes. These women and girls are in France, but they are not free. They are "shut out from social life and robbed of any identity," as Sarkozy puts it, and the burqa is their moving prison, enveloping every step. It extends the republic's 750 zones urbaines sensibles, "sensitive urban areas" Islamic enclaves over which the French state has effectively ceded sovereignty to sharia authorities.
Special Hizbullah units in Iran have successfully launched and tested a new Iranian missile "Fatah 110," according to a report over the weekend by Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Rai, Channel 2 news reported.
According to the report, the Iranian missile, which was displayed with great pride in Teheran less than a month ago, has a maximum range of 200 kilometers. This means it is capable of reaching Jerusalem and Ashdod if it was to be launched from the Israel-Lebanon border. The Kuwait newspaper said the test launches took place in Iran since such an event could not take place in Lebanon.
Which brings us back to the entitlements. It's easy to say: Well, we'll just raise the retirement age, or cut benefits, or means-test them, or raise taxes on the wealthy who receive them (which amounts to means-testing, but Democrats like that version better). And, yes, that probably is what we will do, eventually. But that does not get us out of the economic pickle: People have been making decisions for years and years —decisions about saving, investing, consuming, working, and retiring based at least in some part on what are almost certainly faulty assumptions about what sort of Social Security, Medicare, and other benefits they will receive when they retire. When those disappear, a lot of consumption is going to have to be forgone and a lot of capital dedicated to producing those goods and services for consumption will be massively devalued. Businesses will have to retrench, probably in a way that is more disruptive and more expensive than the housing-bubble recession necessitated.
This is the boom. The bust is going to be a nightmare.
Republican Senator Jim DeMint conceded to CNN that he is trying to send a message to the GOP establishment by backing conservative candidates like Christine O'Donnell in Delaware, but rejects concerns that his moves could rob the GOP of the Senate majority.
"The GOP establishment is out," DeMint said in an interview in his Senate office, "what we're going to do is help the American people take back their government, and I hope the Republican Party will be the party that carries that banner."
Extending the Bush tax cuts —permanently— is a crucial step in restoring economic growth. The Bush cuts provided lower taxes on ordinary income, especially for taxpayers at the high end of the income distribution. These are some of the most energetic and productive people in society; raising tax rates would discourage their effort and entrepreneurship. High-income taxpayers also have multiple ways of avoiding high tax rates, so any revenue gain from raising rates would be modest.
The Bush cuts also lowered taxes on dividend and capital gains income; maintaining these lower rates is even more important for economic performance. Capital is mobile: when it is taxed heavily here, it flees somewhere else, meaning lower investment and employment in the United States. And because capital income taxes discourage investment or drive it overseas, they generate little if any tax revenue.
Many undocumented children such as Eric don't have the right papers because of missed deadlines and bureaucratic error. Nevertheless, their presence in America would benefit us because they are hard-working and talented, and produce streams of income taxes and Social Security payments to bolster our fiscal position.
One indication of the potential benefits of undocumented immigrant children is to look at how well their peers -- legal immigrant children -- do as they grow up.
Many become high-achieving students, then outstanding workers and entrepreneurs. Undocumented immigrant children might do just as well, if not better, given the especially difficult circumstances that they had to overcome.
Supporters of health reform said it would never happen. Maybe they got caught up in their own rhetoric. Maybe they just didn't want to believe it was possible. But rationing in America has started.
This week, the Food and Drug Administration is expected to revoke approval of the drug Avastin for the treatment of advanced breast cancer. Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter has described the anticipated move as "the beginning of a slippery slope leading to more and more rationing under the government takeover of health care."
The mere fact that the hegemony of labor unions in the state of Michigan is a serious topic of critical discussion is remarkable on its own. But the fact that the majority of Michigan residents might support the move to make Michigan a right-to-work state represents a watershed moment in the state's history. This is, after all, a state known around the world for the Big Three, the Motor City, and the UAW. The Press commissioned a poll that asked voters the question, "Should Michigan pass a right-to-work law that means employees cannot be forced to join a labor union?" The results are surprising, to say the least. A slim majority of the respondents (51%) answered the question affirmatively, while only 27% opposed it. Now this is a single poll and a small sample size, but it does indicate the shift in public opinion about whether union membership ought to be a mandatory requirement for certain kinds of jobs.
But maybe this shift shouldn't be all that surprising after all. Even the opponents of the right-to-work proposals admit that it has at least rhetorical appeal to the inherent rights and dignity of the worker. Where right-to-work is understood as a ban on "union shops," in which "union dues and membership are a condition of employment," the program resonates with basic understandings of freedom. The AP reports on the story of Peggy Mashke, who found herself one of 40,000 at-home childcare providers automatically and unknowingly enrolled as members of the UAW. Mashke and others are suing to break free from union membership, which includes mandatory contribution of union dues. As Mashke says, the fight is about the "principle" and her "constitutional rights."