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True North Archives - October 21, 2008
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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (Part IV of IV)
By Martin Harris

Alas, it was all intended by the 2007 Forum–goers to disappear down the memory hole, as the Nation’s Council of Chief State School Officers (a group including Vermont’s then-Commissioner of Education, Richard Cate) convened in Nashville to change the definition of "Proficient". Whether he was an active or passive participant, I know not. I do know that, when the Forum was concluded and the final report issued, no Vermont voice was raised to object or disagree, Commissioner Cate included. The new definition of "proficient" is now "basic". Here’s the quote from the Forum’s report: "there are two federal definitions for proficient, one for NAEP and one for NCLB….basic is the most appropriate standard for confirming State reports of Annual Yearly progress.." towards the 2014 all-students proficient requirement. Read it for yourself in "Using NAEP to Compare States or to Confirm State Test Results" authored by a key Forum-goer, Dr. Bert Stoneberg, Idaho NAEP Coordinator. Since basic is a lot easier than proficient, it’s an easy score-booster: 2/3 of all students, roughly, already make basic, while only 1/3, roughly, make proficient, and that number hasn’t been going up much in recent years.

Taxation by Unaccountable Strangers
by John McClaughry

It would seem crystal clear, then, that Vermonters insist that if tax dollars are to be taken from their pockets, their servants the legislators have to vote to do it, and answer for it to the people.

But to a majority of legislators in recent years, that fundamental principle is not clear at all. They understand that faithfully observing that constitutional language can cause trouble for them at election time. Thus, they conclude, it's best to disguise revenue raising measures so that the voters can't figure out who's taking their money, and who authorized them to do so.
A Big Fairy Tale
By Rob Skinner

We understand that Democrats will likely have a strong majority in the US Senate and Congress and this is attributed much to  Barack Obama's  political rhetoric that Republicans are "bad" and not "trustworthy" yet you just read he does not truly believe this.  But believe this that if Democrats dominate the US Senate and the US House of Representatives this is not a good idea as this means there will be no viable "checks and balance" of political power.  Do believe this idea expressed in Barack's book, sp. 45 and 46,  that "I [am] reminded of the dangerous isolation [concentration] that power can bring, and appreciate the Founders' wisdom in designing a system to keep power in check."As men and women have known throughout history that "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

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"Temporary deviations from fundamental principles are always more or less dangerous. When the first pretext fails, those who become interested in prolonging the evil will rarely be at a loss for other pretexts. The first precedent too familiarizes the people to the irregularity, lessens their veneration for those fundamental principles, & makes them a more easy prey to ambition and self Interest. Hence it is that abuses of every kind when once established have been so often found to perpetuate themselves." -- James Madison

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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

Statewide Science NECAP Results Disappoint
Caledonia Record Editorial, October 13, 2008

Science results from New England Common Assessment Program tests generally left a lot to be desired. Besides indications that most students were not proficient across the state, there also seem to be a huge drop in proficiency between fourth-grade and eighth-grade results, while 11th-grade results trailed even further behind. Statewide there were 48 percent of fourth-graders who measured proficient, while at the eighth-grade level 27 percent were proficient. At the 11th-grade level, 25 percent measured proficient.

"Certainly we're disappointed," said Jill Remick communications director of the Vermont Department of Education. "We feel the assessments were aligned with state standards for tests."

To Save a Buck VT Shoppers Head for NH
Economy drives customers to cross state lines
Rutland Herald, AP, October 15, 2008

The struggling economy and recent drop in gasoline prices are bringing more customers to discount grocery stores in New Hampshire. Angela Russell is a cashier at the Discount Food Warehouse in Walpole. She says people have been stocking up more than usual in the past several months. And besides regulars, Russell says there are many new customers.

Strong Wind Destroys Searsburg Wind Turbine
By Louis Porter, Vermont Press Bureau, Rutland Herald, October 15, 2008

A blade on one of the Searsburg wind power turbines flew off during a recent windstorm, hitting the tower the turbine sits on and destroying it. It is unclear when, or even if, the nonfunctioning turbine will be back to full capacity. It was one of 11 that make up the Searsburg project owned by Green Mountain Power.

Lawsuit: Vt. Misreported Overseas Absentee Ballots
By Daniel Barlow, Vermont Press Bureau, Rutland Herald, October 14, 2008

The U.S. Department of Justice sued the state of Vermont on Friday for allegedly not reporting to the federal government the number of absentee ballots sent overseas to residents for the general election.

The four-page complaint states that Vermont Secretary of State Deborah Markowitz did not tell the DOJ's Election Assistance Commission the number of absentee ballots sent to Vermonters overseas for the 2006 general election.

Economists Debate Aging in Vermont: Can State Afford It?
By Thatcher Moats Times Argus, October 17, 2008

Two local economists and a representative from the Vermont Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living each gave presentations on the topic of Vermont's aging population, an issue Gov. James Douglas has raised as a concern and taken steps to address.

Wind Firm Hit by Legal, Financial Troubles
By Gordon Dritschilo, Rutland Herald, October 17, 2008

Noble Environmental Power is having financial and legal difficulties, but it was unclear Thursday what that will mean for the proposed wind farm at Grandpa's Knob.

New York media reported Thursday that Noble had laid off employees and stopped work at two planned wind farms there, linking the development to the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, one of the company's chief backers. Meanwhile, the New York Attorney General's Office announced in July it would subpoena Noble and another company developing wind farms in upstate New York as part of an investigation into a variety of allegations against the companies, including bribery and anticompetitive practices.

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

Will Russia Fall Apart?
By Vasko Kohlmayer,, October 17, 2008

Late last month, Russian president Dmitry Medvedev made a startling admission. Speaking at a conference on social-economic development in Kamchatka, he said:

"If we do not step up the level of activity of our work [in the Russian Far East], then in the final analysis we can lose everything."
What Medvedev’s words betray is the fear of Russia’s leaders that their country may not hold together. Even though this may come as a shock to many, the only surprise is the frankness with which Medvedev expressed himself. So much so that one Russian news agency described his statement as "unprecedented." But whether Russian officials admit it or not, it is a matter of historical record that Russia has never been a stable nation. Rather it has always been a country that struggled to maintain its territorial cohesiveness. This was the case under the Czars, under the communists and also in the post-Soviet era.

A New American Mission
By Jim Talent, Heritage Foundation, October 17, 2008

Defense policy and foreign policy are not the same thing. And that's the problem. There is increasing frustration among the leaders of the military because they have the job of preparing to accomplish America's strategic mission in the post-Cold War world, and they are not sure what that mission is. They have resorted to deducing a national military strategy from the various operations they have been ordered to perform over the past 20 years. That means they have been slower than usual to adjust to new requirements. For example, three times during the past 20 years, the military has been involved in building democracies -- in Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq. But neither they nor their civilian counterparts have developed comprehensive nation-building capabilities, and it will be years before they do so in the absence of strategic direction, because nation-building is controversial, difficult and only tangentially related to the more traditional foreign policy and defense functions. ...

The U.S. must define a strategic mission statement for its foreign policy, and it should be one in which a substantial part of the free world can join. I am going to suggest what that mission might be, but first I have four observations about how it should be developed and what it should try to achieve.

Iran's 'World Without America'
By James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., Heritage Foundation, October 17, 2008

Which world leader is on record musing about "a world without America" - a goal he calls "attainable"? Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Until recently, it was possible to believe that whatever Mr. Ahmadinejad's intentions, Iran was a long way from acquiring the capabilities it needs to achieve its goals. But a blue-ribbon commission has reported to Congress on what appears to be an Iranian drive to obtain the means to carry out an EMP (electro-magnetic pulse) attack.

Congress Cozying Up to CAIR
By Steve Emerson, Family Security Matters, October 18, 2008

Politicians normally are pretty protective of their public images. They might take campaign money from some shady characters, but common sense dictates that they avoid too many public associations that can prove embarrassing.

One exception seems to be when the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) is involved. Growing public evidence shows that CAIR has been dishonest about its roots and its ultimate objective. But that fact has done nothing to give pause to several members of Congress who continue to speak at CAIR functions and support the group's political agenda.

Are Cyber Terrorists Pulling the Last Straw Out of the World’s Economy?
By Mark Taylor & Renee Taylor, Family Security Matters, October 17, 2008

While many Americans see the huge move of the Federal government into the private banking business another sharp turn towards socialism, are there underlying forces at work – a shadowy group of cyber terrorists – poised behind cloaked computers ready to pull the last straw out from under an economy weakened by corruption and fraud?

Welcome to Islamberg: The Terrorists of Middle America?
By Wes Vernon, Renew America, October 16, 2008

There are secretive Muslim military compounds right here in America. We're not talking about Mosques in our midst (where more than a few "Death to America" threats have been uttered — tolerated, under the rubric of "religion," by the most open society on earth).

No, we are talking about real hostile military compounds into whose confines the normal citizen dare not tread.

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From Elsewhere

Obama's Radical Revolution: Its Alinsky Root and Global Vision
By Kyle-Anne Shiver, American Thinker, October 15, 2008

Saul Alinsky was the father of community organizing.  Before Alinsky devised his diabolical plan to bring the international socialist revolution to America -- working within the very liberal and free system upon which the U.S. was founded -- he was an older fellow traveler and advisor to student radicals of the 1960s.

Alinsky was a sort of father figure, to whom many radicals turned in the aftermath of the infamous DNC Convention of 1968 in Chicago....

Obama did everything Alinsky prescribed.  He went to Chicago, home of Alinsky and the place where Davis had worked for the communist revolution.  Obama trained at the Industrial Areas Foundation, an Alinsky training institute.  He organized in Chicago and did voter registration and training for ACORN.   He went to law school.  He built political alliances.  He kept a tight lock on his records and his past.

The Left Declares War On Joe The Plumber
By Michelle Malkin, GOPUSA, October 17, 2008

Six-term Sen. Joe Biden's got some nerve going after citizen Joe the Plumber. But the entrenched politician from Delaware, who fancies himself the nation's No. 1 Ordinary Joe, had no choice. Obama-Biden simply can't tolerate an outspoken citizen successfully painting the Democratic ticket as socialist overlords. And so a dirty, desperate war against Joe Wurzelbacher is on.

Smaller Banks Resist Federal Cash Infusions
By Binyamin Appelbaum, Washington Post, October 15, 2008

Community banking executives around the country responded with anger yesterday to the Bush administration's strategy of investing $250 billion in financial firms, saying they don't need the money, resent the intrusion and feel it's unfair to rescue companies from their own mistakes. But regulators said some banks will be pressed to take the taxpayer dollars anyway. Others banks judged too sick to save will be allowed to fail.

Evidence Mounts: Ayers Co-Wrote Obama's Dreams
By Jack Cashill, American Thinker, October 17, 2008

The question is often asked why Obama associated with Ayers.  The more appropriate question is why the powerful Ayers would associate with the then obscure Obama.  Before Obama's ascendancy, it was Ayers who had the connections, the clout, and the street cred.  Ayers could also write and write very well.  By the mid-1990s he had had several of his books published.  What Ayers could never do, however, was run for office on his own.

My suspicion is that Ayers saw the potential in Obama, and chose to mold it.  The calculation in Dreams is palpable.  Nothing about the book would deny a black Democrat the White House.  If it were revealed that the ghostwriter is Ayers, it would suggest that Ayers has played a major role all along in the shaping of Barack Obama.  It is unlikely that the McCain camp would have invested so much energy in establishing the Ayers-Obama link if they did not think this was the case.

All the One's Men
By Amil Imani, American Thinker, October 16, 2008

Manipulation and control of the media is of critical importance to the rule of totalitarian states. Free societies, although less subject to laundered information, are still at considerable risk of being selectively informed or misinformed outright. The public can be deceived more easily by the overlords of the media when political correctness is used as subterfuge for promotion of certain ideas or certain people.

These are indeed trying times for the American people. Free people must decide their priorities with foresight and wisdom and shy away from shortsighted simplistic solutions. We live in a Democracy and Democracy, by its accommodating and benign nature, is susceptible to corruption and even destruction by forces from within and from without. ...

According to the Media Research Center, the mainstream media does more to protect Barack Obama than report on his shortcomings, judging by the way it has ignored the story about his questionable relationship with a supporter who's now on trial for influence peddling. The American public deserves to know who Mr. Barack Obama really is. I am sure we would all prefer the truth come out now rather than after the election.

Unsure Voters Surely Against Dem Tax Plan
By Brad O'Leary, Investor's Business Daily, October 15, 2008

Though undecided voters may not know who they're voting for on Nov. 4, they are hardly indecisive about Obama's tax plan. It seems that even the politically unsure know something fishy when they smell it.

The largest percentage of undecided voters (36%) think the Obama tax cut plan is nothing more than a "political gimmick." A good number (28%) think it's just another attempt at wealth redistribution, and 13% (these folks win the gold star) think it's impossible for him to give 95% of Americans a tax cut when only 70% of us pay taxes in the first place.

A Liberal Supermajority
The Wall Street Journal, October 17, 2008

If the current polls hold, Barack Obama will win the White House on November 4 and Democrats will consolidate their Congressional majorities, probably with a filibuster-proof Senate or very close to it. Without the ability to filibuster, the Senate would become like the House, able to pass whatever the majority wants. Though we doubt most Americans realize it, this would be one of the most profound political and ideological shifts in U.S. history.

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