North Archives - November 02, 2010
| Editorial | News & Views
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From the Ethan Allen Institute’s November
The Vermont Public Interest Research
Group (VPIRG) has for years been the leading promoter of the Menace of
Global Warming and the necessary remedies thereto (cap and trade, greenhouse
gas inventories, gas guzzler taxes, thermal efficiency utility, prohibition
of single-occupant vehicles from the highways, "Clean Energy Fund" subsidies,
feed in tariff, and mandates, climate supergovernment, etc.). It is notable
for continually declaring that "the science of climate change is settled!"
and sponsoring the 2007 State House polar bear festival urging override
of a Douglas veto of Sen. Peter Shumlin’s thermal efficiency utility bill.
(The override failed.)
to Think About Election Reform
By John McClaughry
Vermont's 2010 elections are over,
to the relief of exhausted candidates and voters alike. Now is a good time
to start thinking about what a much-improved electoral process would look
School Bus Was a Schwinn, Not a Thomas
By Martin Harris
Will Rogers (sort of) most of what I know is what I’ve read in the papers.
Thus, I know that Vermont’s Ed Commissioner wants to cut public education
spending by –gasp—2% or $23MM. He has (ever-so-cautiously) suggested that
Vermont’s schools, with lowest-in-the-nation pupil-teacher ratios and smallest
class sizes, as well as lowest-in-the-nation pupil-staff ratios (approaching
cruise-ship passenger-crew proportions) be modestly adjusted upwards. With
a little math previously recited here, it works out to a seat or two in
a class of eleven. The usual suspects have responded in the usual ways,
with Rutland Superintendent (active) Mary Moran claiming her schools are
"excellent" and Rutland Northeast Superintendent (emeritus)
Bill Mathis lauding the "very high achievement" of the State’s schools
and students, both in blithe dismissal of grim reality, the national (NAEP)
test score results for Vermont. About 2/3 of their young charges can’t
function at grade level in math and reading and therefore can’t be labeled
"proficient". Their howls of denial and protest have reverberated
under the Golden Dome, and, as an amateur education/politics observer,
I’d wager that, in Vermont, staffing reductions to capture the budgetary
$23MM cost-savings (in a fastest-in-the-nation enrollment decline
environment) jes’ain’t gonna happen. Quite the opposite: the latest argument
for pre-K (the one about it improving subsequent student achievement in
the real grades no longer capable of being made with straight face)
is that the new staffers’ paychecks serve as an economic stimulus to the
larger economy, at a ratio of $1 invested for $7 in multiplier-effect.
Progressive economist Lord Maynard Keynes would have been proud of this
innovative math. Here’s an alternative.
"I am unabashedly pro-teacher.
I believe in collective bargaining. But what you see up here is a broken
system... The most powerful defender of that broken system, without a question,
is the teachers' union."
-- Los Angeles Mayor (and former
teacher union organizer) Antonio Villaraigosa. (October 5, 2010, Sacramento
Weekly News Round-Up
Eyes Making Public School a Private One
By Andy Kirkaldy, Addison Independent,
October 25, 2010
Addison selectmen are sponsoring a
Thursday evening forum at Addison Central School to explore the possibility
of converting ACS into an independent private school, known as a town academy,
that would serve Addison’s elementary-school-age pupils.
Of Shifty Pete
Caledonia Record Editorial, October
Honestly, we've given up trying to
keep track of shifty Pete Shumlin's ever-changing positions and ethical
lapses in his race for governor. On Tuesday, he repudiates a position he
took on Monday. On Wednesday, he denies ever having taken either position.
Shumlin Sending Mixed Signals On Vt. Yankee
From Vermont Tiger, October 28, 2010
Mr. Shumlin is blessed with an extra
political chromosome and he has the skills both to adapt to the moment
and to see the shape of things two or three moves ahead. So he surely
realizes that while running against Yankee is good politics, closing the
plant would be traumatic – to say the least – for the economy of Vermont,
costing more than 600 desirable jobs at a stroke, not to mention the hit
to ancillary suppliers and contractors. Then, there is the loss to
the state of tax revenues and the likelihood that ratepayers would be hit
with higher prices for power.
of Schools Talk Slows
By Dawson Raspuzzi, Bennington
Banner, October 27, 2010
More than a year ago, separate
school committees in Bennington and North Bennington formed to study governance
options -- although there has been little mention of the committees in
In North Bennington, the
Governance and Sustainability Committee met monthly from its creation in
April 2009 until early this year. Over that span, it had multiple conversations
about collaboration with the school boards in Arlington and Shaftsbury
and funded an outside study on the effects of leaving Southwest Vermont
The study showed no financial
savings from changing its governance structure.
Ultimately, the committee
concluded in March the current governance system is best for its district
at this time.
For Balance, Austerity And The Future
Caledonia Record Editorial, October
Vermont's fiscal house is in disarray
and the legislative balance of power tilts hopelessly left. Our population
is aging, the private sector is in full retreat and its parasitic public
counterpart has swollen to disgusting, unsustainable proportions. These
conditions coalesce to make Vermont the anti-business laughingstock of
the nation - deterring new ventures from coming here and chasing longtime
employers away from our communities.
Rectifying this gross inequity is the
only campaign issue that matters to us this season. Not surprisingly, we
intend, in all of our local races, to vote Republican.
Vt. Hospital Concerned by Healthcare Tax
From WCAX, October 19, 2010
Officials at Southwestern Vermont Health
Care in Bennington say they're worried about a new tax they calculate will
cost them about $1.7 million a year.
The provider tax is designed to fund
Medicaid and helps the state pay more than 50 percent of its Medicaid charges.
The tax is 5.5 percent of a hospital's revenue. The tax is also levied
on nursing homes and home health agencies.
Officials at Southwestern say they
recognize the need to fund Medicaid, but they feel the tax needs to be
structured so it doesn't hurt their bottom line.
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Global War on Terrorism
By Mark Tooley, The American Spectator,
October 29, 2010
In their tragic slide toward the far
left in the 1970s and 1980s, America's Mainline churches and their ecumenical
councils largely lost interest in religious freedom and even the plight
of persecuted Christians. Engagement with communist regimes and their allies
took priority. In more recent years, liberal Protestants often have preferred
similar collaboration with Islamist regimes rather open advocacy in defense
of their Christian and other minority religious victims.
Of late, there have been some small,
refreshing exceptions to the scandalous church silence about persecuted
Christians, at least by the National Council of Churches, World Council
of Churches, and the United Methodists.
In mid-October, Sudanese church leaders
were hosted by the National Council of Churches (NCC) in New York. Not
so many years ago, the NCC infamously hosted Fidel Castro, who assured
a largely sympathetic church audience there was no religious persecution
in communist Cuba. These Sudanese doubtless offered a very different message.
Mostly from southern Sudan, which is majority Christian, these church leaders
have survived decades of Islamist persecution by Khartoum. The Islamist
regime's war against southern Sudan, which the Bush Administration helped
negotiate to a precarious truce, killed 2 million. In January, southern
Sudanese will vote on potential autonomy for themselves, amid widespread
doubts that Khartoum will peacefully respect the result.
to Revise Obama’s Russian "Reset" Policy
By Ariel Cohen, Ph.D., The
Heritage Foudation, October 26, 2010
In March 2009 in Geneva, U.S. Secretary
of State Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov pressed
the "reset button" to restart the frozen Russia–U.S. relationship. Since
then, the Obama Administration has hailed the reset as a great accomplishment.
However, U.S. concessions on New START, limitations on missile defense,
and hands-off policies in Eurasia did not prevent Russia from pursuing
policies that are often harmful to U.S. interests.
By Jed Babbin, American Thinker,
October 25, 2010
Several news organizations, including
apparently the New York Times, Britain's Guardian newspaper,
and al-Jazeera, were given advance access to the documents. From
their reporting, and from my own scant review of just a few of the documents,
they appear to illustrate the inherent -- and foreseeable -- problems with
the nation-building strategy we pursued in Iraq and are still pursuing
The Guardian headlines report
torture, murders, and war crimes. It reports,
"US authorities failed to investigate hundreds of reports of abuse, torture,
rape and even murder by Iraqi police and soldiers whose conduct appears
to be systematic and normally unpunished." In an occupation, we would have
the obligation to investigate and punish such crimes. But from the moment
the Iraqis resumed sovereignty over their own nation, any moral obligation
we had was abrogated by the Iraqis' authority over their own affairs.
World with Victor Davis Hanson: Chapter 4 of 5
By A. Millar, National Review Online,
October 4, 2010
What are the Russians thinking? What
is Putin thinking? Victor Davis Hanson responds.
Odyssey of Islamism in America
By Amil Imani, Family Security Matters,
October 20, 2010
Islamism is a mutation of Islam and
is rapidly advancing on two fronts. In every Islamic country, it is cowing
the non-radicals while recruiting more and more radicals into its own ranks.
In non-Muslim lands, flush with Petrodollars, Islamism is establishing
itself as a formidable force by enlisting the disaffected and attracting
the delusional liberals with its promises. For the faithful, there is the
added incentive of Allah’s heaven and its irresistible attractions.
Wherever Islam goes, so goes its ethos.Throwing
acid in the face of women who fail to don the hijab or just by going
to school, flogging people for sporting non-Islamic haircuts, and stoning
to death violators of sexual norms are only a few examples of a raft
of daily barbaric acts of Islamists in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan,
Iran, and many Islamic lands. Other forms of Islamic brutalities such as
Killing have already found their way to America,
Germany and other European countries with the ever-burgeoning Muslim populations.
Jihad: The One Incontrovertible Problem with Islam
By Raymond Ibrahim, Middle East Forum,
October 28, 2010
A recent MEMRI
report titled "Arab Columnists: Stop Talking About Offensive Jihad," alludes
to the ultimate problem between Islam and the non-Muslim world: offensive
jihad, or jihad
al-talab — the Islamic imperative to subjugate the world.
The report opens by saying "One dominant theme during Ramadan in the Arab
world is the discussion, in the media and in religious circles, of the
commandment of jihad and the obligation therein to wage war against the
infidels." It then focuses on two recent op-eds, written by Arab-Muslims,
that discuss the need to suppress Muslim talk of offensive jihad.
One writer, Khaled Al-Ghanami, states
that the "wiser" supporters of offensive jihad believe that Muslims "must
sit and wait until the era of our strength returns." In the meantime, according
to these Muslims, "there is nothing shameful about taqiyya
[deception] until the time is ripe." Al-Ghanami bemoans the fact that such
Muslims operate naively "on the assumption that the world doesn't read,
doesn't monitor… and is not paying attention to the calls for killing,
tyranny, and aggression that we are spreading."
# # #
By Anthony B. Bradley, The Acton Institute
for Religion and Liberty, October 27, 2010
The November congressional elections
are not so much a referendum on the Obama administration as a check on
whether President Barack Obama’s implementation of a Bismarckian vision
of government will continue.
Otto von Bismarck, the Prussian prime
minister/German chancellor from 1862 to 1890, is the father of the welfare
state. He advanced the vision that government should serve as a social
services institution by taking earned wealth from the rich and from businesses
to deliver services to those who are not as advantaged. Bismarck’s Kulturkampf
campaign intended both to keep radical socialists at bay and undermine
the church’s role in meeting the needs of local citizens by positioning
government to be the primary source of social services. He initiated the
ideal of an ever-expanding, beneficent government, which was subsequently
imported to the United States in Franklin Roosevelt’s New
Deal, expanded further with Lyndon Johnson’s War
on Poverty, and currently drives the policies of the Obama administration.
Barack Obama is not a 19th-century socialist, but his agenda
is unquestionably Bismarckian.
Video with Daniel Hannan! America vs. Europe
From Human Events
This week's video is with Daniel Hannan,
a British member of the European Parliament, journalist, and author of
New Road to Serfdom. He's also known for his speech on the floor of
the European Parliament where he said to the Prime Minister Gordon Brown
"You cannot spend your way out of a recession." Daniel discusses why a
Tea Party movement can occur in America and not in Europe, and why the
European social-welfare model is diseased and unsustainable.
If Republicans want to keep
power, they are going to have to show the courage to make some very, very
Tanner, National Review Online, October 27, 2010
Of course, the Pledge to America calls
for returning some discretionary spending to 2008 levels. But by 2008,
spending was already out of control. Moreover, the pledge does not specify
exactly which programs Republicans plan to cut. Unfortunately, budgets
have to be balanced on specifics, not generalities.
To show just how tough balancing the
budget will be, consider an analysis by the National Taxpayers Union Foundation
of the budgetary proposals of four Republican candidates: Pat Toomey in
Pennsylvania, Carly Fiorina in California, Marco Rubio in Florida, and
Mark Kirk in Illinois. Most of their calls for spending cuts (or increases)
were too vague to be fully costed out. But once the budget proposals that
could be assigned a price tag were added up, Fiorina was the champion cost
cutter, calling for a net reduction in government spending of $155 billion.
Rubio was close behind with $153 billion. Most of Pat Toomey’s proposals
could not be scored, but the cuts that could netted just $2.5 billion in
And Mark Kirk would actually increase spending by $734 million.
America Really A 50-50 Nation? Not Even Close, New Polling Finds
By Jason Jones, Investor’s
Business Daily, October 27, 2010
Here's a well-kept secret: Americans
are in overwhelming agreement on social issues. Here's a not-so-well-kept
secret. Many in the media and politics have absolutely no idea.
We are told that in America today,
partisanship has never been so bad, that it threatens our nation's unity.
At the same time, we've been told we should keep our faith, our values
and our morality to ourselves, and that our public spaces, traditions and
celebrations must remain devoid of God and Christianity.
Now there's proof that the truth is
actually quite different. That proof is in the form of a new book being
released on Nov. 2 by Doubleday. In "Beyond a House Divided: The Moral
Consensus Ignored by Washington, Wall Street and the Media," the leader
of the Knights of Columbus, Carl Anderson, shows how recent polling conclusively
reveals that the culture wars are being won by those with traditional values.
Money Funneled to Unions
By Kevin Hassett, Cincinatti.com,
October 26, 2010
Unions and corporations got the green
light from the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year to spend their own
money on political advertising. The 1.6 million-member American Federation
of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) is, for now, the biggest
outside spender of the 2010 elections, according to the Wall Street Journal.
And America's unions, which are among Obama's biggest political backers,
rake in foreign money by the bushel.
According to financial reports filed
with the Labor Department - and available online - unions received at least
$46 million from foreign sources in 2008 alone.
Security: Ryan or Ruin
From Investor’s Business Daily, October
In the Pomeroy/Social Security actuary
travesty, Blahous notes that "the provisions analyzed in the study do not
correspond to" Ryan's plan. "The study, for example, analyzes a provision
to change the calculation of the annual Social Security" cost-of-living
adjustment "by using a chain-weighted Consumer Price Index. That provision,
however, is not in the Ryan plan."
Cato Institute senior fellow Michael
Tanner's work over more than a decade on how to transform Social Security
from a government dependency scheme destined for bankruptcy to an individually
controlled program based on personal accounts has helped end Social Security's
longtime status as political "third rail."
Tanner calls Pomeroy's claim that under
Ryan "the average American worker" would "lose 30% of their Social Security"
an assertion that is "just untrue." "Under Ryan's proposal," he told IBD,
"no one in the future will receive lower Social Security benefits than
anyone receives today — in real terms, after adjusting for inflation."
# # #