North Archives - October 09, 2007
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Symington gain special treatment for Intervale?
By Rob Roper
Speaker of the House Gaye
Symington has made it clear that environmental legislation and campaign
finance legislation will be top priorities when the Legislature reconvenes
in January. The recent controversy surrounding Symington and her employer,
Intervale Center, relates directly to the speaker's credibility on both
of these issues.
SCHIP Veto Confrontation
By John McClaughry
sad thing here is that this political steel-cage match diverts attention
from what ought to be the central debate over health care. That debate
addresses such questions as, who is primarily responsible for your health
care? You and your doctor, or everybody? How can people better learn to
self-manage their own health and treatment protocols, thus reducing the
costs now paid to drug companies and the medical industry?
By Martin Harris
of those notions show up in a recent web posting of an article in The Valley
Reporter, in which "the Editor" (that’s the by-line) writes that "the Waitsfield
Planning Commission had an interesting and candid discussion about ;and
use, prime agricultural lands, and the perceived notion of a speculative
right to a financial return on land". Note the pejorative spin in the final
phrase, and never mind that there’s not an acre in Waitsfield which would
be considered "prime ag soils" in comparison with Corn Belt land in Indiana
The Editor continues: "Part
of the discussion by planners this week had to do with the notion of the
land, specifically the prime agricultural lands by which we are fed, being
an asset that needs to be held in trust for all the public." This
notion has ancient roots, going back to royal ownership of the kingdom
parceled out to barns and earls whose serfs actually worked it, to the
more recent Karl Mark prescription that the means of production must be
owned by government and managed in collectives. The same notion of collective
ownership showed up in the first years of the Jamestown colony 400 years
ago, but was abandoned for private ownership after a few years when everyone
came to realize that land owned by, supposedly, "all" was actually worked
poorly by a few, and there wasn’t enough food produced to feed not only
the few producers but the many non-producers as well.
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Week’s Mail Bag
Protecting Our Children
On Saturday, September 15,
Ken Wooden, nationally recognized expert on child safety and founder of
Lures Prevention, presented at the First Unitarian-Universalist Society
in Burlington, "Let’s Keep Our Children Safe! What Sexual Predators
Don't Want You to Know." I thank Ken and his staff for donating their
time and for sharing such invaluable information, as well as effective
strategies on how to ensure the safety of our children, especially from
those who prey on them.
Anticipating a standing-room-only
crowd, I was surprised by the disappointingly low number in attendance
at this very important community awareness and prevention seminar. Was
this just a lack of interest, or is it due to the fact that many are naïve
in believing that crime, especially such as these, only happens to others?
No one is immune, however, as crime does not discriminate.
Ninety percent of the sex
crimes against children are committed by someone they know. Listen, believe,
and talk to your children. Open communication is essential. Successfully
proven tools, programs such as Child Lures Prevention, should be
disseminated in our schools, as well as in our colleges and in our homes.
Awareness and prevention are crucial in this continuous battle to protect
our children from those who sexually abuse them. Educating them and ourselves
is our best defense.
* * *
Property Tax Pre-Bate
I am so upset about the property
tax pre-bate situation. My husband and I always used our prebate to pay
our August payment in Colchester. I own a small business in Colchester
and while the other two tax installments come during a time of year that
my business is busy and we are able to do an owner draw to pay the installments,
July and August are slow and we don't have the extra cash. This year the
town of Colchester decided to take OUR money and divide it up evenly between
all three installments and so we still had a large tax installment to make
in August. Even though we HAD the money, it was taken and used in a way
that caused us to be unable to pay our August payment on time so the town
penalized us with an extra 200.00 in late fees and interest, adding to
our hardship. It is simply maddening! When I went in to pay the late payment,
before they added another 200.00, I asked if there is a procedure to ask
the town to waive the fees, and I was told that there is no procedure.
I seriously feel that we have a case in court to recover our money but
I don't really know how to go about it. The people in the town offices
say there is nothing they can do. I am also afraid of ruffling feathers
and suffering consequences. What is your take on this, and do you have
any ideas for us? I also am very concerned about our personal income information
being public knowledge.
Thank-you for your time,
I am an advocate for children
and a member of the Vermont Victim's Compensation Board as well as the
Vermont Sentencing Commission appointed by Governor Douglas.
"The chronic shortage of
good scientists, engineers and other professionals which plagues us is
the result of time wasted in public schools which must be made up later
on." -- Vice Admiral Hyman G. Rickover (often called the
"father of the atomic submarine")
# # #
Weekly News Round-Up
an Education: Part III of VI
Ten years after Act 60 was
enacted into law, we continue to measure education equality on the basis
of dollars going in, to the exclusion of results coming out. This
remains the single greatest flaw in the Brigham decision. The crux
of the problem is that we have no definition of what constitutes an education
Environmentalists Bad For The Environment?
According to Nobel Laureate
chemist Paul J. Crutzen, crops grown to make 'green' fuel actually increase
global warming. The plants could produce up to 70% more
greenhouse gases than conventional diesel, due to the nitrous oxide released
by fertilizers. "The study suggested scientists and farmers focus on
crops which required less intensive farming methods to produce better benefits
for the environment." Of course, we wouldn't be growing green fuels
at all if it didn't serve the political ambitions of someone. A better
suggestion would be for politicians to focus on wasting less money and
let the scientists worry about science and the farmers worry about farming.
Does It Take?
Caledonian Record Editorial,Friday
October 5, 2007
On Monday's new charges,
Sleeper was sentenced to 6 years in prison. That's one tenth of the 60
years that he could have been sentenced to. The question begs to be answered:
What does it take for a hardened criminal like this man to get the maximum
sentence? And since he didn't get it, what is the point in having maximum
sentences at all? This man, over a period of seven years, has pleaded to
or been found guilty of at least 18 felonies, yet he will be out on the
street within about four years to do it all over again. Vermont law calls
for life imprisonment of repeat felonious offenders. If 18 convictions
for felonies don't qualify Jacob Sleeper for that imprisonment, it is doubtful
that any number will. Isn't it time that the courts start using the teeth
that the Legislature has given them?
in Charge Here?
From VermontTiger.com, October
Funny, I think that ending
U.S. cotton subsidies is a good thing (although remember that the WTO has
no enforcement mechanism). Ending cotton subsidies helps provide
higher incomes to destitute cotton growers in Africa and it gives U.S.
cotton consumers lower prices--and last time I looked, there were more
cotton consumers than cotton producers in the U.S.. Could it be that
the legislature thinks that at some time in the future, the state of Vermont's
ability to raise the price of milk to 600,000 Vermonters in order to give
higher prices to 1,000 Vermont dairy farmers may be jeopardized by an international
Should Not Forget Where The Money Comes From
Caledonian Record Editorial,
October 2, 2007
So, why did UVM ask for this
money for this redundant project? Because the money was there. That UVM
might discover something heretofore unknown about Lake Champlain is doubtful,
but if they do, will it be worth $6.7 million? Highly doubtful. Which brings
us to our second caution. Where did the money for this academic boondoggle
come from? It came from our pockets as federal taxpayers. Because it came
from the NSF shouldn't fog our judgment. It is an earmark as surely as
the new awnings we paid for in John Murtha's Pennsylvania were paid for
with an earmark. It is pork, pure and simple.
From VermontTiger.com, October
The Next Gen report demonstrates
the State’s complete acknowledgment of the real, underlying problems and
their willingness to divert attention from these issues to seduce young
grads away from the relative prosperity of neighboring states. For example,
the report notes "The state’s estimated individual "tax burden" of $11,600
per capita placed Vermont in 15th among the 50 states in 2006." This
is an interesting claim because a Tax Foundation report
based on U.S. Census Bureau data showed Vermonters are the most heavily
taxed people, per capita, in the entire country. Regardless, the actual
(#1) or imaginary (#15) tax status of Vermont is something any would-be
migrant should be aware of.
Vermont's Tax Revolt
By Tom Licata, October 3,
Please sign Vermont’s Tax
Revolt Petition – and pass the word on to others. Reading through it should
convince you that our problems go beyond Vermont's weighty tax burdens.
# # #
Global War on Terrorism
simple message appeals to Muslim youth
By Michel Hoebink, Radio
The fundamentalist Islamic
movement Salafism is spreading rapidly around the world via Internet. With
its simple message, it exerts a strong attraction on identity seeking Muslim
youths both in the Islamic world and in the west. An international conference
on Salafism took place in the Dutch city of Nijmegen last week.
Muslim Brotherhood: An Association for Jihadists
By Frank Salvato, The New
Media Journal, October 5, 2007
One of the more clandestine
groups in radical Islam is the Muslim Brotherhood. Originating in Egypt
in 1928, the group has been outlawed in Egypt yet it members hold seats
in the Egyptian government. That this radically fundamentalist Islamist
group is the parent organization to some of the most violent terror groups
operating today. It thrives as a pseudo professional association for terrorists
while feigning legitimacy as a political movement. So, what is the Muslim
Brotherhood and why should every American be concerned about its activities
both within the United States and around the world? The Muslim Brotherhood
has become a central issue in federal court proceedings now taking place
in Dallas, Texas. These proceedings involve what, until now, has been portrayed
as an Islamist philanthropic organization, The Holy Land Foundation. But
the Muslim Brotherhood, the Holy Land Foundation and over 300 unindicted
co-conspirators are enabling and funding terrorist groups around the world
with money derived from people right here in the United States. The Muslim
Brotherhood is the name of a world-wide Sunni Islamist movement, which
has spawned several religious and political organizations in the Middle
East, including Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, dedicated to the jihadi
"God is our objective,
the Quran is our Constitution, the Prophet is our leader, struggle is our
way, and death for the sake of God is the highest of our aspirations."
Two Faces of Al Qaeda
By Raymond Ibrahim, Victor
Davis Hanson’s Private papers
Whatever position one takes
as to why Al Qaeda has declared war on America, one thing is clear: We
must begin to come to terms with all of Al Qaeda's rhetoric, not just what
is aimed specifically at Western readers. We must particularly come to
better appreciate the theological aspects that underpin radical Islam.
As Butt puts it:
"The main reason why radicals
have managed to increase their following is because most Muslim institutions
in Britain just don't want to talk about theology. They refuse to broach
the difficult and often complex truth that Islam can be interpreted as
condoning violence against the unbeliever — and instead repeat the mantra
that Islam is peace and hope that all of this debate will go away."
When news of The Al Qaeda
Reader leaked to the press in 2005, some on the left questioned whether
the book would be a pseudo-scholarly attempt to demonize Muslims. Others
on the right worried that unfiltered exposure to the radical beliefs and
propaganda of bin Laden and his cohorts might unintentionally lead to more
converts or sympathizers.
On the ground in Iraq
By Rich Lowry, National
Review Online, October 5, 2007
Inspired tactics by our troops,
coupled with a Sunni turn against al-Qaida, have — in a microcosm of what’s
happening throughout Iraq — transformed the northwest part of Baghdad controlled
by this brigade. "People ask me if we’re at a tipping point," says the
brigade’s leader, Col. J.B. Burton. "I say, ‘No, we have a window of opportunity.’"
The opportunity is knocking at, among other places, an intersection on
one of the main roads in the Sunni neighborhood of Ghazaliya. Once, Americans
couldn’t come here without getting hit. Now, they stop and get out to shake
hands with some of the same people who had been shooting at them. They
are the "Ghazaliya Guards," local Sunnis who volunteered to police their
neighborhood and man a checkpoint controlling access in and out. They don’t
look like much. One American soldier jokes that their plain tan uniforms
could have been bought at JCPenney. But they have been a game-changer.
Is Not Small Change
By Clifford D. May, National
Review Online, October 4, 2007
As for why was the Army was
unprepared, Nagl’s explanation is simple: "After the Vietnam War we purged
ourselves of everything that had to do with irregular warfare or insurgency,
because it had to do with how we lost that war. In hindsight, that was
a bad decision." Eventually, however, a good decision followed. The military
went to work on the problem and this year published the results: "The U.S.
Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual," a 419-page guide to
fighting what military scholar Andrew Krepinevich expects will be "the
dominant form of warfare over the next decade." Gen. David Petraeus, the
current commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, was a principle author of the
manual. Following its rules for counterinsurgency — abbreviated as COIN
— he has "surged" more troops into Iraq and stationed them not inside FOBs
but on the hot, dusty streets of Iraqi cities and villages. To conventional
military thinkers, this is insanity: It gives the enemy more troops to
kill — and it places them in more vulnerable positions. But Petreaus’s
soldiers and Marines have quickly made it clear that their mission is to
provide security for their hosts. Local populations have responded by treating
the U.S. forces as valued guests rather than foreign occupiers. And they
have been providing the one thing a COIN operation must have to succeed:
intelligence on where the enemy is lurking.
Cleric Issues Edict Against Foreign Jihad
By Rick Moran, The American
Thinker, October 04, 2007
Blog is reporting that the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia - the leading
Wahhabi cleric in the Kingdom - has issued a surprising edict that forbids
Saudis from participating in Jihad outside the country. ... It has been
the worst kept secret in the world that Saudi Arabia is one of the leading
financiers of terrorism in the world today. Their funding of the religious
schools in Pakistan supply a ready stream of jihadists to the Taliban and
al-Qaeda while individual Saudis have funded terrorist groups around the
world. Part of the problem has been the Royal Family's policy of trying
to buy off the terrorists by allowing them to be financed as long as they
don't target the Kingdom or the government. There are signs that this myopia
with regards to terrorists has been changing in recent years as the government
has begun to crackdown on cells that set up shop in Saudi Arabia.
# # #
Part 8 of 'The Crisis
of the Republic'
By Alan Keyes, 2007 Renew
a republic such as the United States is supposed to be, the sovereignty
of the people derives from and reflects the personal sovereignty of the
who comprise it. Therefore, the capacity for private choice and
the nature of the choices made are inherently matters of
Failure to take account of this fact has produced enormous confusion and
error in defining and dealing with vital issues of self-government. Demagogues
in politics and the judiciary, with the help of self-worshipping elitists
in the communications and entertainment media, have relentlessly promoted
the idea that issues of personal morality (those in particular having to
do with sexual gratification) are strictly private concerns that do not
involve, and should not be subject to the authority of, the people as a
whole. "You can't legislate morality" is their absurd mantra. "It's a private
Money changes everything.
By Victor Davis Hanson,
National Review Online, October 4, 2007
Still, there are problems
with these easy rationalizations about charge-it America. First, we will
have to spend trillions of dollars for unfunded Social Security and Medicare
commitments in the next few years as our population ages. Ever fewer workers
must support more lavish benefits for ever more retirees. Our military
has put off necessary plane and ship replacements, and needs billions to
replace worn equipment. At home, neglected bridges, roads, airports and
railroads need even more money in fresh investment. So we should be saving
now, not going into debt, for an upcoming nasty date with fiscal reality.
Even more critical is the toll on our national psyche. Americans don’t
like to read that they are borrowing to pay their annual bills, borrowing
to import their gas, borrowing to buy Japanese
Is Full of SCHIP
Expansion isn’t the
best way to help the uninsured
By Paul Howard, Ph.D., Medical
Nicole Garrett is not one
of the uninsured. Her family is covered by Michigan's Medicaid program.
And so when her daughter Jada developed painful joint inflammation and
needed to see a specialist, she turned to her Medicaid plan. But if she
had coverage, she lacked access: there was only one rheumatologist in her
network, and the wait to see him was more than three months. Unfortunately,
her story is all too common, an example of the failure of public programs—designed
with the best of intentions—to produce acceptable outcomes. With Congress
debating a massive expansion of such programs, the better prescription
is for a smarter safety net, not a pricier one.
Back: Sandy Berger Now Advising Hillary Clinton
By Bill Sammon, The Examiner,
October 8, 2007
Sandy Berger, who stole highly
classified terrorism documents from the National Archives, destroyed them
and lied to investigators, is now an adviser to presidential candidate
Hillary Rodham Clinton. ... Berger has admitted stealing documents from
the National Archives in advance of the 9/11 Commission hearings in 2003.
By James Lewis, The American
Thinker, October 05, 2007
Everybody talks about the
Neo-Cons, but nobody talks about the resurgent Neo-Commies. "Communist"
has been expelled from the Politically Correct lexicon -- which tells us
a lot about the Commissars of the PC. They bear the most amazing
resemblance to the old Commissars of (deleted) who killed 60-100 million
people in the 20th century. (And Kim Jong Il, not to mention Red China,
are still doing it....)
Mikhail Gorbachev, who should
know them when he sees them, recently warned
about a "resurgence of Stalinism" in Russia and Eastern Europe.
The history of Communist crimes was being erased, he said.
Well, he was right. But resurgent Stalinism is not limited to those countries.
It's in the US and all over the world, as David Horowitz, another former
radical, continues to document
in great detail. The Boomer Left is simply filled to the gills with
those who used to be called Commies, but who are now "progressives."
Day Celebrates Western Civilization
From the Ayn Rand Institute,
October 04, 2007
"Columbus Day is, at root,
a celebration of the worldwide spread of Western civilization--a value
that is under attack from multiculturalists at home and Islamic totalitarians
abroad. Multiculturalism, which rejects the idea that some cultures are
superior to others, makes it possible for American Indian activists to
get away with castigating Columbus as a 'cultural imperialist,' calling
for abolition of his holiday and replacing it with 'Indigenous Peoples
Day.' This is outrageous. Contrary to the multiculturalist position, it
is possible to demonstrate objectively that one society is superior to
another--by the standard of what benefits human life. By this standard,
modern industrial society is incomparably superior to the barbaric, tribalistic
Stone Age culture of the Indians who predated Columbus.
"Those who attack Columbus
Day are attacking the distinctive values of Western civilization that America
so proudly embraces--reason, science, individual rights, and capitalism.
This is especially dangerous at a time when those exact values are under
assault from Islamic totalitarians who terrorize us as part of their quest
to destroy our civilization and replace it with a worldwide Islamic theocracy.
Says Climate Change Natural, Not Man Made
"What we're experiencing
now is entirely natural, not manmade," he said. "It has nothing to do with
carbon dioxide gas, greenhouse gases. It has nothing to do with the burning
of fossil fuels, coal or gas.
"I want you to reflect on
that. If indeed this is correct and it is natural, then it is unstoppable
-- nothing you can do about it. Just enjoy it. Be glad it's not cooling."
He said two significant factors
influence climate change -- solar activity and clouds -- and humans cannot
control either one. He presented data from the analysis of stalagmites
from a cave in Oman that show a correlation between solar activity thousands
of years ago and a concurrent rise in temperatures.
# # #