North Archives - October 21, 2008
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Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (Part IV of IV)
By Martin Harris
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.
by Unaccountable Strangers
by John McClaughry
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.
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."
# # #
"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
# # #
Weekly News Round-Up
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."
Save a Buck VT Shoppers Head for NH
Economy drives customers
to cross state lines
Rutland Herald, AP, October
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
# # #
Global War on Terrorism
Russia Fall Apart?
By Vasko Kohlmayer, FrontPageMagazine.com,
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.
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.
'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
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
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
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
No, we are talking about
real hostile military compounds into whose confines the normal citizen
dare not tread.
# # #
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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