North Archives - October 07, 2008
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Meddling, Not Deregulation, Caused The Financial Meltdown
By Rich Tarrant
popular theme in the media is that the financial meltdown was a failure
of the "free market." A careful look at events, however, shows that this
is not true. In fact, the origins of this crisis can be traced back
to the exact opposite of free market principles: government meddling in
which politics trumped sound business practices.
started with The Community Reinvestment Act in 1977. Jimmy Carter signed
this bill into law, caving in to grassroots political pressure for more
affordable housing in low-income communities, which sounds nice and is
very politically correct. However, it ignored the staunch opposition of
the banking community.
from jumping into the sub-prime market with dollar signs in their eyes
and greed in their hearts, banks wanted nothing to do with this scheme.
fact, ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) liberal
activist Martha Talbot noted proudly that her organization and political
allies were "dragging banks kicking and screaming" into making these loans
– hardly the free market at work. For voicing what turned
out to be very legitimate concerns, banks were labeled "racist" by the
same political opponents who are now blaming them as "greedy."
Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (Part II of IV)
By Martin Harris
I reported in this column space last week, a funny thing happened at (or
on the way to) that Forum: the participants decided to solve the problem
by re-defining the NCLB all-students-proficient–by-2014 requirement as
merely an all-students-basic requirement, that "there are two definitions
(who knew?) for "proficient", one for NAEP and one for NCLB" and that students
who can make basic on the NAEP tests should be considered proficient for
meeting that onerous NCLB AYP all-students-proficient-by-2014 legal requirement.
You can read the above quote for yourself in "Using NAEP to Compare States
or to Confirm State Test Results" published by the Idaho State Board of
Education, Dr. Stoneberg’s home base. As an exercise in brilliantly flexible
semantics, it’s another example of your tax dollars at work in the sophisticated
leadership of public education, I would opine.
From Miss Hayes I received
a four-page study commissioned by the State Education Department to make
up for the embarrassing blank space for Vermont on the federal "Mapping
2005 State Standards onto the NAEP Scales". It reports, on page 3, that
Vermont 4th graders in 2005 made the NAEP equivalent of 236
in math and 215 in reading on the State-preferred NECAP exams, those same
exams which local districts cite in claiming about a 2/3-of-all-students-proficient
accomplishment in their annual reports. These numbers are well below their
actual NAEP scores: 244 in math and 227 in reading, but even so the study
author then says that "Vermont’s NAEP Scale Equivalents are very high…Vermont
is at among (sic) the top performers in both reading and math at grade
4" and so on. More on this happy interpretation of the 236 and 215 out
of a possible 500) numbers next week.
Fish or Cut Bait
By John McClaughry
every candidate running for the legislature is urgently promising to work
- or better yet, fight - for or against a list of causes framed to win
the support of the maximum number of voters. Thus we have candidates from
every point on the spectrum vowing to fight for more jobs, more affordable
housing, better roads, and lower tax rates (for you), or the Sanderista
favorite, higher tax rates on "the wealthy". How they expect to achieve
these wonders is rarely discussed.
So let's force the candidates
to fish or cut bait. Here are ten pointed questions that will put candidates
on the spot.
Tales of Good and Bad and Ugly
By Rob Skinner
Nancy Pelosi simply could
not put Americans first as she stood before the House of Representatives
and went into a partisan lecture about how financial meltdown was the result
of eight years of failed policies under President Bush and the Congressional
Republicans. Of course she failed to mention that she was the leader
in the US House for the last two years. Her arrogance, and that of
the Democrat leadership under DNC Howard Dean, simply could not resist
a political cheap shot thinking it would push Obama's favorability numbers
to 50% or higher. Hey - McCain hit the 50% mark not long ago and Obama
has to match this at some point before the election so Pelosi stung the
conservatives in the House. In essence becoming the wicked witch
of the West in this Frankenstein Fairy Tale sticking her bony finger into
the eyes of Republicans. Like the towns folks who revolted and raided
Frankenstein's lair, they revolted against Pelosi and the elitist millionaires
on Wall Street who took full advantage of the liberal mortgage practices
of pressuring banks and lenders to just Say "YES" to any low income
person who wanted to have a home. Now get this - a CNN poll
taken on Lou Dobbs on his show September 29th, 77 percent of Americans
who voted said the rejection of the bill was the right call.
# # #
Week’s Mail Bag
Martin Harris, Retta Dunlap
Ruth Dwyer, WOW!
Wow! Both Martin Harris and
Retta Dunlap on education, and then to top it all, the bit by Ruth Dwyer!
Terrific! And thanks!
I loved the article by Ruth
Dwyer. One wonderful, down-home woman talking about another wonderful
--Ethel Brousseau, Milton
are more dangerous than standing armies." -Thomas
# # #
Weekly News Round-Up
Caledonia Record Editorial,
October 1, 2008
Because of some of the things
that are said and promised during the election season, that season has
come to be called the "silly season," by some. Did you ever think that
hanging your clothes on an outside line could become a political issue?
No? Well, it has. Sen. Richard J. McCormack, D-Windsor. has introduced
"right-to-dry" legislation for several years to enable residents to line-dry
their clothes despite community covenants that might ban the practice.
From VermontTiger.com, October
Back by popular demand, the
3.0 Creative/Technology Career Jam will reconvene on Saturday,
October 25 at Champlain College. This tech job expo showcases some of Vermont's
most innovative companies, many of whom are hiring. Yes, hiring! Exhibitors
include Dealer.com, NRG Systems, Brighter Planet, Union Street Media and
Big Bank Walks the Edge, Falls Off
Caledonia Record Editorial,
September 29, 2008
A really big news story slid
past last week with nary a peep from the media. The story? TD Banknorth
came out on the short end of a Vermont Supreme Court decision that affirmed
a lower court's decision on an earlier ruling by Tax Commissioner Tom Pelham,
that TD Banknorth illegally dodged a huge piece of bank franchise taxes
owed Vermont by setting up three sham holding companies in 2000 and 2001.
Soup With A Fork
From VermontTiger.com, September
Did someone say "declining
enrollments?" If you have fewer students to educate, wouldn't that imply
that you'll need to spend less on education? In Vermont, that qualifies
as a silly question.
# # #
Global War on Terrorism
Stable Iraq could influence Mideast
By Robert H. Reid, AM 620
- WIND, October 03, 2008
Still, countries of the Middle
East cannot ignore the potential role of a resurgent Iraq, a nation of
28 million people, bordering Iran to the east, Syria and Jordan to the
west and sitting on one of the world's major pools of oil. ... However
unlikely it may seem today, a relatively stable Iraq would have all the
cards necessary to emerge as a major player in the Persian Gulf, where
Saudi Arabia and Iran are competing for leadership. Those three countries
account for most of the population and most of the oil in the Gulf, which
has about 60 percent of the world's proven reserves.
How the three deal with one
another will shape the Middle East for decades. Iraq's vast oil reserves
alone should guarantee the country a major regional role.
Suffers a Bloody Nose in Georgia
By Joel J. Sprayregen, American
Thinker, October 02, 2008
Viewed from Georgia, Russia
suffered a significant bloody nose in its August invasion. Russia dislodged
Georgian soldiers and ethnically cleansed South Ossetia and Abkhazia, setting
up puppet regimes in both breakaway regions. But Russian armed forces performed
poorly and Moscow sustained economic and political damage.
anti-blasphemy resolution will curtail free speech: Critics
From Daily India.com, October
An anti-blasphemy resolution
passed by the United Nations has been criticized in certain quarters as
attempting to curtail the right to freedom of speech. Religious groups
and free-speech advocates are banding together to fight the resolution,
which they say is being used to spread Sharia law to the Western world
and to intimidate anyone who criticizes Islam. The non-binding resolution
on "Combating the Defamation of Religion" is intended to curtail speech
that offends religion -- particularly Islam, they add.
of Sunni 'Awakening' Militias handed to Iraqi government
By Rick Moran, American
Thinker, September 30, 2008
In a step that at the moment
appears to have uncertain consequences, the US military is handing control
of the 100,000 Sunni "Awakening Council" militias to the Shia dominated
government. ... The Sunnis fear that the Shia-led government will kill
or arrest them. The Americans fear the Iraqi government - who has shown
a distaste for the very idea of armed Sunnis in the past - may deliberately
force their disbanding by not paying them. And the Iraqi government is
resentful that the Americans seem so interested in the fate of these "Sons
of Iraq" when all they see are former killers who should be punished.
Hunts American Citizens Ttrained Overseas for Terror
From Worldnet Daily, September
As Pakistani investigators
hunt the terrorists behind the massive Marriott Hotel bombing in Islamabad,
FBI agents in the U.S. have begun aggressively hunting for Americans who
have recently returned from trips to Pakistan where they may have trained
at al-Qaida camps, WND has learned.
A coast-to-coast dragnet
has been launched partly in response to leads developed in the arrest of
one of al-Qaida's "fixers" in the U.S., say FBI officials. They report
the bureau is in a race against time to identify Pakistan-trained sleeper
cells and disrupt a possible pre-election "October surprise."
Slippery Slope...to Peace?
From Defensetech.org, September
The overall security
situation in Iraq has greatly improved this reporting period. Security
incidents have remained at levels last seen in early 2004 for nearly three
consecutive months, while civilian deaths across Iraq have declined to
a level 77% lower than the same period in 2007. The surge in Coalition
forces, the growth of more capable Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), the contributions
of the Sons of Iraq (SoI), the ability of forces to secure the population,
operations against Al
Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and other extremist elements, and the increased
willingness of the people and the Government of Iraq (GoI) to confront
extremists are important factors that have contributed to the improved
security environment. Periodic high-profile car and suicide vest bombings
have occurred, but the number of these attacks and the resulting casualties
have decreased dramatically. Moreover, these attacks have not rekindled
the self-perpetuating cycle of ethno-sectarian violence that plagued Iraq
in late 2006 and the first half of 2007.
# # #
Not Bailout, is the Right Answer
by Jeffrey A. Miron, CNN,
September 29, 2008
The fact that government
bears such a huge responsibility for the current mess means any response
should eliminate the conditions that created this situation in the first
place, not attempt to fix bad government with more government.
The obvious alternative to
a bailout is letting troubled financial institutions declare bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy means that shareholders typically get wiped out and the creditors
own the company.
Bankruptcy does not mean
the company disappears; it is just owned by someone new (as has occurred
with several airlines). Bankruptcy punishes those who took excessive risks
while preserving those aspects of a businesses that remain profitable.
In contrast, a bailout transfers
enormous wealth from taxpayers to those who knowingly engaged in risky
subprime lending. Thus, the bailout encourages companies to take large,
imprudent risks and count on getting bailed out by government. This "moral
hazard" generates enormous distortions in an economy's allocation of its
Big Lies: All 14 of Them
Rick Moran, American Thinker,
October 03, 2008
The McCain campaign was out
of the box quickly last night, releasing a damning list of 14 lies told
by Joe Biden during the debate.
We highlighted below the
biggest lie he uttered - that Obama would meet with the leaders of Iran
without precondition. Now come 13 more Pinnochios that are breathtaking
in their shamelessness:
Here are all 14 lies as compiled
by the McCain campaign:
Nature of Rights in American Politics: A Comparison of Three Revolutions
By Charles R. Kesler, Ph.D.,
Heritage Foundation, September 30, 2008
The American Declaration
maintains that from man's place in the natural order arises the principle
of human equality: "that all men are created equal, that they are endowed
by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights." But at the end of the
Declaration, the Revolution's leaders proclaim their willingness to risk
"our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor" for the cause, implying
a certain inequality among men. A special set of risk-takers, the signers
of the Declaration, were willing to lead the Revolution and take upon themselves
the important responsibility of saying that King George III was now a tyrant.
So is man equal or unequal
in the American scheme? He is both. In his fundamental rights, he is equal,
but not every human being has the same talents and capacities. The very
equality that exists by nature and forms the baseline of our politics also
makes it possible for certain inequalities—like abilities for statesmanship
and political leadership—to come to the fore and play their natural role
The French view of natural
rights, in contrast, is a Rousseauian view. In the Rousseauian model for
the social contract, when individuals form a society—when unaffiliated
individuals in a state of nature decide to affiliate—they give up or alienate
everything to society, including their powers, possessions, and natural
rights. Under the American doctrine, however, individuals never give up
their nature: The natural rights of individuals are inalienable. In some
sense, they are always behind one's civil rights—behind the positive rights.
and the Stealth Welfare State
By Christopher Chantrill,
American Thinker, October 02, 2008
It is hard enough trying
to reform headline programs like public education or Social Security.
At least everything is out in the open. But with stealth programs burrowed
into the Community Reinvestment Act our liberal friends are learning to
emulate the methods of the cold war Pentagon. They have learned how
to keep controversial programs under the radar, and they usually succeed.
It's only when a program blows up that people realize what is going on.
We are going to see more
of these meltdowns in the future. Fannie/Freddie isn't the only government
program adapted to serve a hidden agenda. But how did we get from open
and accountable government to the new era of stealth social programs operating
under the radar?
McKnight In Shining Armor
From Investor's Business
Daily, September 29, 2008
Obama needed help getting
into Harvard Law School. He got it from a disciple of Saul Alinsky who
shared the socialist agitator's belief in the radical change the young
community organizer could embrace.
'ACORNization' of America
By Ed Lasky, American Thinker,
October 03, 2008
Remind me why protest groups
who interfere with the running of the US government deserve taxpayer dollars,
which they already receive and which they would have received in abundance
if the Democrats had their way and created a slush fund for ACORN in the
This is especially grating
when the same group has a history of voter fraud. Of course, if Barack
Obama wins and the Democrats continue to control Congress - which looks
guaranteed - we can expect increased funding for ACORN.
ACORN Falls from the Tree A congressional outrage
Down The House: What Caused Our Economic Crisis?
# # #