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True North Archives - November 02, 2010
Radio | Editorial | News & Views

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Radio archives are here! Use the controls on our radio archive page to listen to past shows of note (archived shows are available for a limited time only). True North airs daily between 11:00 am - 12:00 noon on Radio Vermont's WDEV, AM 550 & FM 96.1, and on WTWK, 1070 AM (Burlington).

Featured Articles

From the Ethan Allen Institute’s November Newsletter

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.)

Time 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 like.

My School Bus Was a Schwinn, Not a Thomas
By Martin Harris

Martin Harris photoLike 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.

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"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 Press)

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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

Addison 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.

Beware Of Shifty Pete
Caledonia Record Editorial, October 30, 2010

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.

Related: Peter Shumlin Sending Mixed Signals On Vt. Yankee

Deal Us In
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.

Consolidation 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 recent months.

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 Supervisory Union.

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.

Vote For Balance, Austerity And The Future
Caledonia Record Editorial, October 28, 2010

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.

Southern 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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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

Breaking Their Silence
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.

Time 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.

WikiLeaks Attacks!
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 in Afghanistan.

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.

The 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.

The 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 Honor Killing have already found their way to America, Germany and other European countries with the ever-burgeoning Muslim populations.

Offensive 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."

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From Elsewhere

Barack von Bismarck
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.

New 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 The 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.

After November 2nd
If Republicans want to keep power, they are going to have to show the courage to make some very, very tough decisions.
By Michael 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 savings. And Mark Kirk would actually increase spending by $734 million.

Is 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.

Foreign Money Funneled to Unions
By Kevin Hassett,, 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.

Social Security: Ryan or Ruin
From Investor’s Business Daily, October 25, 2010

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."

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