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True North Archives - October 14, 2008
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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (Part III of IV)
By Martin Harris

How could so many of us mentieni/mentienae have gotten the silly idea that NCLB "proficient" equates to NAEP "proficient"? The Forum report lists those of us dummies guilty of wrong-think, in think-tank organizations ranging from the Brookings Institution on the Left to the Hoover Institute on the Right, and the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing in the middle, accusing us of either intentional or incompetent misinterpretation. Ominously, a footnote to the list of 9 such dummy-enclaves adds: "This list is illustrative, not exhaustive". Read it for yourself on page 4 of "An Explanation for the Large Differences between State and NAEP "Proficiency" Scores Reported for 2005", the report coming from the 2007 Nashville Forum. Beyond my apparently numbskull assumption that "proficient" always means "proficient", I seem to have gotten something else wrong, as well. Now it looks as if some funny things happened, not only on the way to, and at, the Forum, but in the official write-up afterwards.

Where Do the Candidates Stand on Abortion?
By Mary Beerworth

A look at where the candidates for President and Vice President stand on then issue of protecting the life of the unborn.

An Open Letter to Peter Welch
By Jessica Bernier

This last part is so ironic I don't even know where to start. The doublespeak is so clever some people may not get it. "Our economic problems will not be solved with this new law." Then why did you vote for it? "We can't spend and borrow beyond our means." It sure doesn't appear to be the policy there in Washington. "We must reward work and entrepreneurship, not speculation and market manipulation." Please, Mr. Welch, then why did you vote to for this bill? 

Vermonters aren't feeling the effects of this mortgage crisis as painfully as other parts of the country because as you said in your statement we are thrifty people, we understand the value of hard work. Yes, Mr. Welch, the people of Vermont know all about common sense values. What happened to yours?

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This Week’s Mail Bag

Who's drilling into your pockets?

If oil companies were allowed to drill for oil where we know it exists, off our shores and in desolate parts of Alaska, oil prices and our dependence upon unfriendly foreign nations would be greatly reduced.

Unfortunately, Congress has blocked our oil companies from doing this. One Democratic Congressman said, "The deeper the oil companies drill for oil, the deeper they drill into your pockets."

Here are the facts. In 2006 Exxon Mobil earned $39.5 billion, but paid 2.47 times that, or $97.5 billion, in taxes. 

In 2007 Exxon Mobil earned $40.6 billion, but paid 2.52 times that, or $102.5 billion, in taxes. 

If the oil companies did not pay these billions of dollars, you other taxpayers would pay them.

From 2006 to 2007 Exxon Mobil’s earnings increased $1.1 billion, but their taxes increased $5 billion. In other words, when Exxon Mobil drilled deeper and earned $1.1 billion more than they did the year before, they saved you taxpayers an additional $5 billion.

Who’s really drilling into your pockets, the oil companies who pay taxes, or the politicians who raise taxes?

Bill Day, Barre VT

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"Only other politicians’ special interests are called 'special interests' by Barack Obama, whose world-class ability to rationalize is his most frightening skill. --Thomas Sowell

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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

Vermont Experts Try to Explain Meltdown
By Dan McLean, Burlington Free Press, October 9, 2008

James Gatti, a professor in UVM’s School of Business Administration, placed blamed Congress for pressuring Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, hybrid public-private lending institutions, to approve mortgages for people with spotty credit in an effort to expand the number of Americans who own homes.

"The cost of trying to achieve that goal is what we’re seeing today," Gatti said.... 

Gatti said he feared the fall of the markets and the collapse of the country’s investment banking industry will lead to too much regulation. "The problem is not deregulation," Gatti said. "The problem is there is too much interference in the markets. I’m simply afraid of regulation expanding and making things worse."

Pork Barrel Politics
Caledonia Record Editorial, October 11, 2008

It is axiomatic that, in a democracy, the public gets and deserves the government for which it votes. In the recent giveaway to Wall Street, Congress loaded up the bill that they passed with billions of dollars worth of pork in order to buy the votes of cynical legislators who were just waiting for that giveaway. The magnitude of the pork feast can be estimated by the fact that the bailout bill was several hundred pages long, more than half of the pages filled with the Oinks of pork barrel requests.

BUT, before we all bemoan the pork barrel greed of predatory representatives and senators, we must face the fact that we elected them. In virtually all cases, we were fully aware of their rapaciousness. We gave them a pass on their pork appetites, because their snouts were in the trough to buy our own votes. We overlook their largesse because it funds our pet projects, and that includes both of Vermont's senators. (Rep. Peter Welch hasn't been in Washington long enough to develop a pork diet.) As every con-man knows, a successful con-game requires that the victim have a little larceny in his own heart. That makes the mark both one of the perpetrators and the ultimate loser. That's us, folks.

Please Shut The Court System's Lights Off When You Leave
From, October 06, 2008

Red lights have been flashing in this state for some time, in terms of its economy.  A near zero job growth rate, with its subsequent declining tax revenues and reductions in services provided (like the courts), should alarm Vermonters on both sides of the political coin.  Yet we continue to see very little of consequence from our elected officials.

Candidates Agree Economy Needs TLC
By Daniel Barlow, Vermont Press Bureau, October 12, 2008

Throughout 2008, Vermonters saw the bad news roll in. Private sector job growth in the state lags the rest of the nation, and last year Vermont was the only New England state to see a drop in exports. Meanwhile, the state's unemployment rate hit 4.9 percent for the second time this year, its highest level since 1994 (the national unemployment average is 6.1 percent). And then the economic crisis on Wall Street.

"Vermont's economy continued to cool for the third straight year," according to a recent report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. "With only slight employment growth and declining exports, and the subprime mortgage crisis softening the real estate market in 2007, Vermont lagged its New England brethren."

Getting The Answer They Want
Caledonia Record Editorial, October 08, 2008

Most Vermonters, reading the NRC news release, would breathe a sigh of relief and welcome the news. It is a sign Vermont Yankee is a safe, clean source of one third of Vermont's power, delivered without incident for close to 20 years at a fraction of the cost of most other power sources. Most Vermonters would assume, with safety questions addressed, relicensing of Vermont Yankee for another 20 years would be a foregone conclusion.

That's not what will happen. Instead, the Vermont environmental groups who despise Vermont Yankee, probably because its continuous production of clean, zero emissions, low cost baseload power makes their cherished renewable energy efforts look impractical by comparison, will never stop fighting relicensing.

Gov. Douglas Says Weight Restrictions Bizarre
By Robin Smith, Caledonia Record, October 08, 2008

Gov. Jim Douglas this week called the U.S. government's weight restrictions on interstate highways that force heavy trucks through Vermont's villages "bizarre."

"It's been a major frustration for me since I came to office," Douglas said Monday at a public forum at the Haskell Free Library and Opera House with Quebec Premier Jean Charest.

"It, from my perspective, is bizarre, frankly," Douglas said.

Douglas was responding to a question from Derby Line Village Clerk Karen Jenne, who asked what Douglas could do about the damage that heavy trucks are doing to village roads.

Derby Line, like many of Vermont's small villages, struggles with the problem of trucks weighing more than 80,000 pounds that are not allowed on Interstate 91.

The heavy trucks clog downtown intersections, create delays for truckers and for motorists, and leave towns and villages to pay for road and bridge repairs.

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

A Twenty-Year Plan: Islam Targets America
By Dr. Anis Shorrosh

When we immigrated from Jerusalem, Jordan in January, 1967, little did I imagine that Islam would become center-stage in world news. As my sincere interest in the growth of Islam in America intensified, I began to discuss, dialogue, and then debate Muslim leaders throughout the world from an Arab Christian's view of Islam. So far, I have had the privilege of participating in over 20 debates and discussions on every continent plus T.V. and radio. "Islam Revealed" was released in 1988 and is now in its 8th printing. The True Furqan is now in its third printing in the three years it has been published. It is the only book which challenges the Quran in substance, style, language and contents. "The True Furqan" can be located on or

This is my analysis of the Islamic invasion of America, the agenda of Islamists and visible methods to take over America by the year 2020! Will Americans continue to sleep through this invasion as they did when we were attacked on 9/11?

Europe's New Liberty Movement
By Ashley E. Herzog, Human Events, October 10, 2008

Irish businessman Declan Ganley declares that he is proud to be a European. But, as he said in an important speech in France September 21, Ganley – founder of the Libertas organization sees European cooperation through a much different lens than the European elites who have tried unsuccessfully to create a European super-state under the banner of the European Union. ... Libertas wants to preserve Europe’s tradition of "individual liberty and free markets"—as well as national sovereignty, which is slowly being eroded as more power is transferred to Brussels.

Good News: NoKo No Longer a Terrorist State
By Rick Moran, American Thinker, October 11, 2008

Did you catch that? We are taking them off the terror list not because they have modified their behavior or ideology but in order to "salvage" our nuclear agreement with the Communists. In other words, Bush's legacy tops national security.

Islam's Transcendent Challenge
By Mike Gonyea, American Thinker, October 12, 2008

November 4th will be historic not only because the U.S. will elect its first black president or its first female vice president, but also because Pope Benedict XVI will convene the most important interfaith conference in recent history.

Responding to his controversial 2006 speech at the University of Regensburg -- in which he seemed to imply that Islam is inherently violent and irrational -- 138 Muslim leaders sent an open letter to Benedict and the heads of other Christian denominations titled "A Common Word Between Us and You." The letter said, in effect, "We need to talk." The Vatican subsequently announced the formation of a new Catholic-Muslim Forum. Its first meeting will be held on Election Day.

Is There A Foreign Force Waging War Against the US Economy? (Part One)
By Dr. Walid Phares, American Security Matters, October 10, 2008

A thorough psycho-economic observation of the public’s financial behavior, however, tells us that there may be more to the crisis. It reveals that an outside "push" – I now coin it economic terrorism - may have been the tipping point of the collapse. For monitoring how and why buyers massively abandoned their plans shows that it followed, or coincided, with an abrupt rise in the cost of gas dividends. With the numbers at the pumps going ballistic, the cost of living suddenly rose, goods became less attainable and the price of enjoying, let alone using, the newly purchased properties soared. Hence, undoubtedly the lifestyle that was sought by the tens of millions of home buyers wasn’t possible to achieve anymore; thus they surrendered financially in droves, taking the system down with them. 

Economists will tell us if this diagnosis stands up. But if it does, then we cannot avoid investigating the factor that caused the strategic stress in real estate, which turned into economic chaos. In bypassing a narrow economic analysis, we can detect clearly the connection between the dizzying ups in petrol pricing and the slowing of American buying capacity. Stunningly, one can conclude that while it is sadly true that both Wall Street’s corruption and politicians’ abuse of the system handed the tools of doom to the middle class, Main Street’s rapid disenfranchisement was manufactured overseas, thousands of miles away, at the hands of OPEC, or perhaps in some quarters of the oil-producing Cartel. 

U.S., Future Tense
From Investor's Business Daily, October 07, 2008

Buried in last week's news, the CIA director warned that the next president's top national security problem is the Axis of Oil. With campaigns focused on wars all but won, will our next leader be ready?

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From Elsewhere

The Government Is Contributing to the Panic
It's time to let markets do their messy work.
By Jonathan Macey, The Wall Street Journal, October 11, 2008

Despite all the hard work and good intentions on the part of our public officials, when economists and historians look back on the current financial crisis they are likely to conclude that government intervention prolonged and deepened it. In particular, officials at the Federal Reserve, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Treasury Department are to blame for publicly losing confidence in the very economic system they are supposed to protect.

A New Ice Age?
By Alan Caruba, The American Conservative Union, October 9, 2008

There’s a wonderful irony in the fact that, back in the 1970s, the Greens were issuing warnings and even writing books about the coming Ice Age. They would abandon this issue, based in well-known and accepted solar science, in favor of a vast international hoax alleging man-made global warming.

As the global warming hoax begins to lose its power to influence public opinion and policy, the Greens are not likely to be heeded for a long time to come because they were right about an Ice Age and lying through their teeth about global warming.

Scientists and laymen who follow the Ice Age cycles have been warning that, if not a full-fledged Ice Age, at the very least a Little Ice Age comparable to one that lasted from 1300 to around 1850 is on its way.

Investors' Real Fear: A Socialist Tsunami
From Investor's Business Daily, October 10 2008

"Why has the market dropped so much?" everyone asks. What is it about the specter of our first socialist president and the end of capitalism as we know it that they don't understand? 

Welfare State Failures Are At Bottom Of The Crisis
By Star Parker, GOPUSA, October 6, 2008

But, in fact, what we are watching is not a failure of markets, but the latest failure of the welfare state. The sad part is how few who wield political power seem to understand, or want to understand, that this is what's happened.

As the details behind the current debacle are unraveled, we see how government created one more entitlement -- the right to own a house -- and then devised an array of programs to subsidize in various ways "affordable housing." Like all welfare programs, the subsidies succeeded in influencing behavior, but the wrong behavior. 

The greedy part, or, if one wishes to be forgiving, the confused part, of the Wall Street guys is their willingness to play ball with politicians over these years in turning our free country into a welfare state. Wall Street has regularly been a generous contributor to politicians who love to grow government and use it as a tool for social policy.

Obama Camp Downplays Payments to ACORN
By S.A. Miller, Washington Times, October 10, 2008

Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama's campaign distanced itself Thursday from its $800,000 payment linked to the liberal ACORN organization, which is under investigation in several states where it is suspected of filing fraudulent voter registrations. 

Federal Election Commission reports show ACORN-affiliated Citizens Services Inc. got $832,598 from the Obama campaign for get-out-the-vote work during the primaries. But those payments stopped in May and the Obama campaign says they should not be an election issue. 

Related: Vote-Fraud-A-Go-Go

The Media's Vendetta Against Palin
By Rowan Scarborough, Human Events, October 10, 2008

Conservatives know by now that the dominant liberal media is not just out to criticize Gov. Sarah Palin. They are on a drive to destroy her. But conservatives are missing the reason why.

It's not really about defeating John McCain. Running mates do not decide a presidential election. The real reason is the future. Never again will the Left media (New York Times; Washington Post; the networks; Hollywood) allow a young politician to ascend to the leadership of a national conservative movement  -- at least not without all-out character assassination.

The media have learned their lesson. They generally tolerated the rise of Ronald Reagan. They didn't take him that seriously. ...

But Reagan fooled them. His campaign wasn't only about him. He ushered in a new generation of conservatives who won local  and federal elections. They eventually captured both sides of Congress in 1994, stopping Bill Clinton in his tracks. The Reagan conservatives led to right-leaning judges who started to rule in favor of gun owners and parents and the military. ...

Bush was never a movement conservative. He is not creating a new generation of young conservatives. But Palin can be. That's what makes her so dangerous. Her convention speech which so dazzled the Republican base was all the evidence the big media needed.

Spreading The Virus
By Stanley Kurtz, The New York Post, October 13, 2008

House Speaker Newt Gingrich was scheduled to address a meeting of county commissioners at the Washington Hilton. But, first, some 500 protesters from the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) poured into the ballroom from both the kitchen and the main entrance. ... The demonstrators' target, Gingrich, hadn't yet arrived - and his speech was cancelled. When the cancellation was announced, ACORN's foot soldiers cheered. ...

Related: An ACORN Falls from the Tree

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