North Archives - October 30, 2007
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Long-Term Economic Plan: Solutions
By Tom Licata
What I witness in Vermont
reminds me of something I read, where the Roman historian Livy writes of
the moral confusion of the late Roman Republic, in which he talks of "the
dark dawning of our modern day when we can neither endure our vices nor
face the remedies needed to cure them." We can either begin to manage our
vices or have our remedies dictated to us by coming economic and demographic
events (see Vermont’s Economic & Demographic Crisis: Its Symptoms).
for a Notebook, or, Memory Hole II
By Martin Harris
in the days when Rupert Spencer manned the facilities-management desk at
the State Education Department, annual per-pupil costs for public education
in Vermont were $344, compared to a national average of $375, a 1959-60
number which, adjusted for inflation, would equate in purchasing power
to $2552 today. Vermont now spends a bit north of $12,000: quite a change.
Conversely, some things in public education here haven’t changed since
Spencer’s day: the basic criterion for student space requirements in public
schools remains at 30 square feet per pupil. Back then, the National Digest
of Educational Statistics also says, the national average for pupil-teacher
ratio, which fairly closely equates to class size, was 25.8, and about
the same in Vermont, (although the NDES doesn’t offer a precise number)
which explains why such elementary schools as Bridport’s were designed
in the late 50’s with classrooms in the nearly-1000 SF range with seating
Cost Containment: Round II
By Curtis G. Hier
a nation, we are spending way too much money on non-classroom personnel.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has released
numbers that show that the U.S. spends 25.7 percent of available funds
on non-teaching staff – compared to 15.5 percent among other members of
OECD. Vermont is no exception.# # #
(The following stories
come to us courtesy of our friends at Outdoors Magazine http://www.outdoorsmagazine.net/)
Gracie’s First Deer:
is Gracey Delisle of Charlotte with her first White-Tailed Deer taken
the opening morning of Youth Weekend 2006 . It was her Uncle
Tim's first time taking her out. Currently looking for a good used freezer
for the expanded Trophy Room!
Lending a Helping Hand
guy with the bushey thing above his lip is Steve Beckwith. He stepped forward
and helped Cheyenne and I with our first turkey hunt 5 years ago. I never
met him before and we became turkey hunting buddies from that day on. He
has been involved in every hunt with my daughter and has called in every
one of her birds while I sit with Cheyenne and offer any guidance she may
need. Steve really has been a super sport with helping others get into
Someday, a short story about
helping the kids get into the sport would be nice and use Steve as a spokesman
# # #
Weekly News Round-Up
and Rich... or Cool and Poor?
From VermontTiger.com, October
The simple question "do we
want to be warm and rich or cool and poor?" cogently summarizes the "global
warming" policy position advocated by Dr. Marlo Lewis of the Competitive
Enterprise Institute. A Senior Fellow with CEI, Lewis is an engaging
intellectual who is extraordinarily comfortable with his knowledge and
understanding of the global warming debate. Having mastered the facts and
figures, he addresses his subject with an unassuming, modest, casual, reasoned
approach. How refreshing. Lewis is, unsurprisingly, no fan of Al
Demon In The Church Of The Global Warming
Caledonian Record Editorial,October
There's a new demon in the
Church of the Global Warming; it is the Anti-Fall Foliage Demon. Zealots
in the Church have divined that this demon is actively working to ruin
the foliage season in Vermont and probably everywhere else. One of the
priests of the Church, University of Vermont plant biologist Tom Vogelmann,
a Vermont native, said, "It's nothing like it used to be." He is among
those who believe warming weather is to blame for lackluster foliage. He
says autumn has become too warm to elicit New England's richest colors.
You could hear 'Amen's!' all over the Church from the true believers when
he announced this new truth. The trouble is, this has been one of the most
brilliant, best, and longest lasting foliage season in many people's memories,
and every time that the subject comes up, people speak of other seasons
that were wonderful or not so wonderful, long or short, brilliant or dull.
Ten Reasons Why Teachers Should Quit the Vermont-NEA
Written by a teacher
and former VTNEA member
From VermontTiger.com, October
All American Game
10. They want an unlimited,
uncapped right to set agency fees.
9. They pay
several of their employees six-figure salaries. They pay even their clerical
assistants more than the highest paid teacher in Vermont.
8. They greedily
encourage the proliferation of unqualified classroom aides and other paraprofessionals
to enhance their dues revenue -- but at the expense of higher teacher salaries.
7. They suck
money from your local with very little in return. For instance, they’ll
say you can’t win an issue in arbitration – because they don’t want to
pay their share of it.
6. They never
poll teachers on any of the political stances they take.
5. They are
unelected representatives who actually write legislation coming out of
4. They oppose
statewide contracts without ever polling their members on this important
willing to negotiate away your right to strike.
a bunch of hypocrites. They’ll talk about how important it is to support
our public schools. But then their president, Angelo Dorta, sends his kids
to private schools.
1. They don't
really have to represent you in a legal matter.
From VermontTiger.com, October
The gist of the story is
that although only 7% of Vermont's ski area workers are foreign workers,
Sanders opposes allowing more foreign workers into the U.S. under temporary
work visas. How about an industry where 25% of all workers are foreign
born, clearly taking jobs away from very well qualified Americans. Red
Sox fans, you know where I'm going with this. Think of all the fine American
baseball players, struggling to make it in the big leagues, who can't get
a job because of David Ortiz, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Javier Lopez, Manny Ramirez,
and many more are taking positions that American born players could be
Green Energy Programs - A Policy Of Bribes And Penalties
Caledonian Record Editorial,
October 27, 2007
When the Vermont Legislature
convenes in January, Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin has promised
he'll pass an even stronger energy bill this session. We hope the legislators
will pursue common-sense, kitchen table economics-based proposals that
will provide real world opportunities to reduce energy bills through energy
conservation. We hope legislators will insist on cost effective green energy
proposals that are capable of paying their own way. An important maxim
used by the department of public service states that, "Cost causers pay
costs." The same maxim should guide legislators' policy decisions as well.
From VermontTiger.com, October
Suppose the school board
wants to raise spending by 10%. That family's taxes will go up by
about 10%, or $100. That money, with similar amounts coming from
other taxpayers in town, is not enough to fund the entire cost of the budget
increase. They remainder comes from the Montpelier magic money machine,
also known as other taxpayers. As anyone who has sat through a town meeting
where the school budget is being voted on knows, school board members
are quick to point out that most people in town, people who are income
sensitized, will see only a very modest increase in their tax bill for
any school spending increase. That's what I call insulation.
Plame's Visit to Vermont
The Wilson-Plame "scandal"
was political pulp fiction
The Wall Street Journal,
July 15, 2004
All of this matters because
Mr. Wilson's disinformation became the vanguard of a year-long assault
on Mr. Bush's credibility. The political goal was to portray the President
as a "liar," regardless of the facts. Now that we know those facts, Americans
can decide who the real liars are.
for Joe Wilson: When
you pound Bush, you’re hot. When you’re exposed as a liar, you’re not.
Spy's Memoir Contains a Paradox
# # #
Global War on Terrorism
Soft Jihad Grows in Brooklyn
By Aryeh Spero, Human Events,October
In Brooklyn, New York, a
public school named the Khalil Gibran International Academy (KGIA) has
opened. Its primary purpose -- demonstrated by its advisory board,
its apparent curriculum and the lining of school walls with pictures of
Arab figures and heroes, is to teach Arabic and Muslim language and culture
and to inculcate the children with radical Islamic ideology.
By Our Own
By Michael J. O'Shea, The
American Thinker, October 25, 2007
Snipers aim for a soldier's
heart; congressional leaders aim for the heart of why he serves: Honor,
Country, Duty to both. But to congressional leaders, there's no honor in
Iraq. There can't be: it's immoral. Illegal. And it's not even their country's
war: it's Bush's. Telling parents their child died for George Bush is telling
Christa McAuliffe's folks she died for Ronald Reagan. JFK committed the
US to space, but it wasn't his race -- it was America's. Astronauts knew
the risks, the myriad of things that could go wrong, yet signed on, boosted
by their countrymen as much as by rockets. There's no such lift for soldiers
today; they're stranded, ignored unless exploited, gains unseen, achievements
unheard. The Tomb of the Unknowns isn't only in Arlington.
You’re getting colder
By Michael Ledeen, National
Review Online, October 25, 2007
If you were Vladimir Putin,
what would you think of Iran? You’d worry a lot about it, that’s what.
Your own Russia is losing Russians, due to the usual grim demography that
characterizes most of Europe. And, like the others, you’ve got a Muslim
problem, with surging birthrates both within Russia and all along its borders,
from Chechnya to the ‘stans. ... You therefore want to see this regime
destroyed. The last thing in the world that you want is a gigantic Chechnya,
armed with nuclear weapons, launching waves of fanatical terrorists against
infidels like you. ... Direct attack is not your way; you prefer cunning.
You’d rather have someone else do your dirty work for you. Someone like
Israel, or better yet, the United States. And best of all would be to get
the Americans to do it in such a way that the whole world condemns them
and the Islamist Scarecrow
By Magdi Khalil, The American
Thinker, October 26, 2007
The term "Islamophobia" is
a tool of deception that serves to mislead the world, blackmail the West,
terrorize whoever dares to criticize Islam, fuel the anger of Muslim youth,
and minimize the danger of Islamic terrorism, in addition to being a threat
to the freedoms of thought, creativity and criticism in the West, ultimately
the term can serve the interests of the terrorists. While Tariq Ramadan
holds the first place among the promoters of the concept of "Islamophobia",
Saad Eddin Ibrahim takes the lead in using the term "Islamist scarecrow".
The term is meant for the ears of the West as well, and suggests that the
autocratic governments play on the fear of the West that an Islamist rule
will be the alternative if those regimes fall, so that by waving this "scarecrow"
around, and alluding to the ominous repercussions of reform for Western
interests, for non-Muslim minorities, and the Middle East as a whole, they
have managed to scare off the West and stall the reform project. Though
I agree with my dear friend Prof. Ibrahim that the autocratic regimes in
the Middle East have skillfully used this scare tactic to alarm not only
the West, but also the non-Muslim minorities in the East, the liberals
and women, nonetheless the term itself is inappropriate if not misleading,
and plays right into the hands of Islamists and their plans to establish
a religious state. The Islamists should not be compared to a scary looking
but harmless scarecrow; they are by no means an empty threat, but rather
a genuine menace that alarms the advocates of civil society, who realize
that if Political Islam gets its chance to take control of the Middle East,
the region will plunge into total darkness.
Surge is Only the First Step
By Jeff Emanuel, The American
Thinker, October 22, 2007
In the massive swath of western
Iraq that makes up Anbar Province -- including its major cities of Ramadi
and Fallujah, which many in the Coalition were all but ready to write off
entirely as recently as last summer -- progress unhoped-for and unimagined
seemed to come from nowhere, and blossomed into the ‘Anbar Awakening.'
This saw the numerous tribes and clans of the region putting aside their
historical differences and banding together (with a Coalition force that
they could not be sure would even be present to help protect and secure
them within months of their action) to drive out the majority of al Qaeda
in Iraq (AQI) and other terrorists from their territories. Whether this
alliance of tribes will last into the future, once there is no longer a
common enemy who offers to the people there, in the words of one tribal
sheik, "only death," is another matter altogether. But, if the counterinsurgency
mission in Iraq is to end in a successful exercise in stable nation-building,
then that issue will have to be addressed at some point in the future.
In all likelihood, once the
larger enemy has been destroyed or driven out to a sufficient degree that
such an alliance is no longer absolutely necessary for survival, the tie
that binds these tribes and sects together will dissipate, and violence
and competition between these historically opposed groups will once again
build to a level that will shock the casual observer back home in America
into once again writing off the region as being one that is beyond both
help and hope. Whether American resources (if we are even still in Iraq
at that point) will be shifted back into the West from wherever they happen
to have been placed at that time in order to deal with this hypothetical
-- but extremely likely -- rise in violence in what is currently a relatively
peaceful region of the country cannot be determined at this point. It is
simply a decision that will have to be made when that eventuality occurs.
bin Laden's growing anxiety
He's struggling to
direct fewer and fewer followers.
By Fawaz A. Gerges, Christian
Science Monitor, October 26, 2007
In yet another sign of trouble
for Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden publicly conceded that his like-minded militants
in Iraq "made mistakes." In an audiotape broadcast by Al Jazeera this week,
he sounds deeply anxious about the survival of Al Qaeda in Iraq – a group
that is largely independent of his own organization but adheres to a similar
ideology. Al Qaeda's top leader appealed to Sunni Arab tribes and other
armed Iraqi Sunni groups to stop fighting Al Qaeda members and unite against
the real enemy – the US-led coalition.
# # #
Rights' and the Moral Threat to Freedom
Part 9 of 'The Crisis
of the Republic'
By Alan Keyes, 2007 Renew
But as life is the
first unalienable right, disregard for the rights and obligations that
constitute respect for life involves abandoning the principle of respect
for unalienable rights. Once that is gone, the whole idea that justice
requires government based upon the consent of the people goes with it.
The foundational premise of republican self-government crumbles to dust.
"Abortion rights" On
today's political scene, the chief representatives of the demagogues' strategy
and its consequences are the advocates of so-called "abortion rights."
Tragically, they have turned the just demand for an end to discrimination
against women into support for a practice that vitiates the principle of
equal rights for all.
Hillary Revived the GOP
By Richard Baehr, The American
Thinker, October 23, 2007
Nothing unites the GOP faithful
more than a race against a Clinton, particularly Hillary. I expect
that when it becomes clear who the GOP nominee is, that the party's fund
raising problems will begin to disappear. At that point, the nominee to
be will be perceived as the head of the party, not a lame duck President
with low approval ratings. Finally, on the congressional front, the GOP
has had some success recruiting top tier candidates for two open Senate
seats: former Governor Mike Johanns in Nebraska, and Congresswoman Heather
Wilson in New Mexico. This may limit the extent of the party's likely
losses in that chamber next year, when the GOP has to defend 22 of the
34 contested seats. In addition, a GOP challenger outspent by 5 to
1 still came within 6% of winning an open house seat in Massachusetts in
a district that has been about a 60% democratic district in recent years.
Overall, Hillary Clinton's ability to pull into a big lead at this stage
of the race has energized Republicans, freed up some independent voters
to consider GOP nominees in that party's primaries, and created more media
attention for the GOP race, providing national exposure to its candidates.
of Civilized People
By Reginald Firehammer,
While the possiblity of civilization
can be curtailed by a political system, it is not ultimately a society's
politics, or its economy, or the artifacts of its culture that determines
the degree of its civilization. Whether a society is civilized or not is
determined by the kind of people that comprise it. American society of
the fifties was dominated by young and middle-aged people who were the
most civilized of the entire 20th century. The clearest picture of the
fifties can be formed by examining the characteristics of the people who
dominated it. To do that, I'm going to use some words that are seldom used
these days, words like courtesy, decency, respect, reverance, and dignity.
Growing Fiscal Dependence on Its Top Earners
by J.T. Young, Human Events,
October 25, 2007
Despite the vicissitudes
of U.S. tax policy’s last two decades, there has been one constant: an
ever-narrowing tax base. Through tax hikes and tax cuts, the goal has been
to pluck a shrinking gaggle of geese laying revenues’ golden eggs. There
is an ironic economics in this growing dependence on America’s top income
groups at the same time that perceptions of income inequality are increasingly
lamented. However that irony should be secondary to the serious concerns
about volatility and sustainability it raises for America’s fiscal and
Last March Of The Dinosaurs: The Death Of Network News
By Hugh Hewitt, Townhall.com
The death of news judgment
is their greatest failing, but their greatest burden for which they are
only partially responsible is their loss of trust. People trusted Walter,
Chet and David. They simply do not trust the current gang. Too much memory,
too many National Guard fake documents, too much ax grinding. Really, how
can Brian Williams expect to escape the brand that is nightly damaged by
the ravings of Olbermann and the frenzies of Matthews? Explain all day
and all night how past experience doesn't predict future bias, but you'll
still have Cuomo aide Tim Russert and Clinton aide George Stephanopoulus
making major "news" decisions which red state America is supposed to believe
are not in any way influenced by their politics.
Fox News' Special Report
is the newscast for serious center-right viewers now, and though it is
only at 1.5 million viewers a night --a third of Couric's audience-- it
is the right 1.5 million, and it will continue to grow. Wolf Blitzer has
a daily three hour run which also attracts the serious news consumer (and
would attract more if they dumped the peptic and predictable Cafferty.)
Bennett, Laura, Rush, the two Denni, Medved, Hannity, and yours truly do
the news for 15 hours a day, in the car, where you have the time to hear
and Health Care Should Mix, MU Study Says
Religion and spirituality
important coping mechanisms for persons with disabilities
Jennifer Faddis, University
of Missouri-Columbia, October 22, 2007
Research shows that religion
and spirituality are linked to positive physical and mental health; however,
most studies have focused on people with life threatening diseases. A new
study from the University of Missouri-Columbia shows that religion helps
many individuals with disabilities adjust to their impairments and gives
new meaning to their lives.
New York Sun, October 26,
Mrs. Clinton runs the risk
of being used as propaganda echo-chamber by an Iranian government eager
to portray America as the aggressor. It's not only irresponsible, but,
in light of Mrs. Clinton's previous statements, difficult to subject to
a charitable interpretation.
Charlie Rangel's very
revealing tax increase
Wall Street Journal Editorial,
October 26, 2007
You can't say Charlie Rangel
lacks for ambition. The House Ways and Means Chairman has been saying he
wants to pass "the mother of all tax reforms," and even that doesn't do
justice to the trillion-dollar tax baby he delivered unto Washington yesterday.
Merry Sage of Broadcasting Excellence
By R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.,
The American Spectator, October 22, 2007
My guess is that the Democrats'
threats to the First Amendment will continue. Yet, an even better bet is
that Rush will continue to get the better of these brutes. From all I can
tell, the 41 Democrats' attack on him made him genuinely angry, but Rush
has a gift. He remains cool under fire and responds with devastating weaponry,
wit and humor. In a free and open society, those weapons defeat the Democrats'
phony indignation every time. Rush left the 41 Democrats looking like clowns...
Is Foul: Liberals vs. the First Amendment
# # #