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True North Archives - October 30, 2007
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A 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).

Requiem for a Notebook, or, Memory Hole II
By Martin Harris

Back 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 for 30.

Education Cost Containment: Round II
By Curtis G. Hier

As 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.

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The Outdoor Forum

(The following stories come to us courtesy of our friends at Outdoors Magazine

Gracie’s First Deer:

Here 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

The 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 turkey hunting.

Someday, a short story about helping the kids get into the sport would be nice and use Steve as a spokesman about it.

Take care,
Jay Wagner

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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

Warm and Rich... or Cool and Poor?
From, October 28, 2007

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 Gore.

New Demon In The Church Of The Global Warming
Caledonian Record Editorial,October 26, 2007

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.

Top Ten Reasons Why Teachers Should Quit the Vermont-NEA
Written by a teacher and former VTNEA member
From, October 26, 2007

  • 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 Montpelier.
  • 4.   They oppose statewide contracts without ever polling their members on this important issue.
  • 3.   They’re willing to negotiate away your right to strike.
  • 2.   They’re 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.
The All American Game
From, October 28, 2007

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 taking.

Vt's 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, October 28, 2007

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 in Context:

The Yellowcake Con
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.

Related: APB for Joe Wilson: When you pound Bush, you’re hot. When you’re exposed as a liar, you’re not.

Related: Former Spy's Memoir Contains a Paradox

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

A Soft Jihad Grows in Brooklyn
By Aryeh Spero, Human Events,October 25, 2007

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. 

Ambushed 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.

Red Army Dreams
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 for it.

Islamophobia 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.

The 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. 

Trouble Ahead?

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. 

Osama 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.

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From Elsewhere

'Abortion Rights' and the Moral Threat to Freedom
Part 9 of 'The Crisis of the Republic'
By Alan Keyes, 2007 Renew America

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.

How 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.

Characteristics of Civilized People
By Reginald Firehammer, The Automist

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.

America's 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 economic policy.

The Last March Of The Dinosaurs: The Death Of Network News
By Hugh Hewitt,

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 it.

Religion 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.

The Real Belligerents
New York Sun, October 26, 2007

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.

Trillion-Dollar Baby
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.

The 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...

Related: 'Fairness' Is Foul: Liberals vs. the First Amendment

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