North Archives - November 03, 2009
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New Solar Electricity Ripoff
By John McClaughry
of the most intense concerns of the enviro-laden majority party in recent
legislatures has been to find some invisible way of subsidizing its favorite
corporate welfare recipient, "renewable energy".
The 2005 legislature created
a "Clean Energy Development Fund" to make grants and loans to qualified
wind, solar, biomass, methane, small hydro and other renewable energy promoters.
The solons funded it by socking Vermont Yankee to the tune of $28 million,
in return for permitting the nuclear plant to store spent fuel rods in
concrete casks on its own property.
But that wasn't enough. The
follow-on idea is called SPEED. It requires electric utilities to purchase
up to 50Mw of wind, solar and methane-generated electricity at shockingly
Montpelier and Burlington Can Teach Us About Healthcare
By Rob Roper
P.J. O'Rourke couldn't have
been more right when he said, "Giving money and power to politicians is
like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys." This hypothesis is proving
itself in Burlington and Montpelier as the mayors of those cities, Democrat
Mary Hooper and Progressive Bob Kiss, deal with scandals involving fiscal
incompetence and questionable ethics that will cost their constituents
By Martin Harris
mid-October, the Rutland Herald reported with obvious delight that "Vermont’s
students are at the top of the class" in math, according to this year’s
federal NAEP tests of 4th and 8th graders, placing behind only New Hampshire
and Massachusetts in numerical proficiency. Education Commissioner Vilaseca
was equally jubilant, calling his students "well-performing", the same
self-congratulatory wording quoted in the Herald as used by Rutland Superintendent
Moran and Barstow Principal Prescott. What they curiously didn’t mention
the percentage of their young charges actually scoring "proficient". That
number is 51%. The other 49% didn’t achieve the "ability to function at
grade level" measure, and are less-than-proficient in math. When you add
in the other disciplines –reading, science, history, and so on-- the overall
proficiency accomplishment of the public schools is in the 30-to-40% range.
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I arrived to a state of manhood, I have felt a sincere passion for liberty.
The history of nations doomed to perpetual slavery, in consequence of yielding
up to tyrants their natural born liberties, I read with a sort of philosophical
horror; so that the first systematical and bloody attempt at Lexington,
to enslave America, thoroughly electrified my mind, and fully determined
me to take part with my country."
# # #
--Ethan Allan as quoted
in "In the name of the Great Jehovah and the Continental Congress!"
Weekly News Round-Up
From Vermont Tiger, October
Considering the fact that
elected officials may or may not want BT troubles to impact re-election
chances, as the Freeps
effectively discusses here, it's quite possible that Burlington's
elected leadership purposefully looked askance at BT's financial problems.
What will never be discussed is whether or not the creation of BT was a
wise idea in the first place, considering the fact that other providers
for the same service already exist. This is the same discussion happening
at the national level, where government has decided it needs to introduce
"competition" into a market that already has thousands of competitors.
The histories of government-mandated, government-controlled entities is
already disastrous - and we now have an example of it right here on our
Caledonia Record Editorial,
October 30, 2009
Efforts to reorganize the
state's court system are headed in the wrong direction. Preliminary recommendations
from the Commission on Judicial Operation include eliminating the judicial
function of assistant judges, known also as side judges.
Side judges are the only
elected judges in the state's court system. The judges are elected by county
voters. Among their duties are the creation and oversight of the county
budget and the assessment of county taxes.
Side judges sit alongside
the presiding judge in non-jury civil trials in Caledonia Superior Court.
They take the place of the jury and decide the facts of a case while the
presiding judge, always an attorney, applies the law to the facts and reaches
From Vermont Tiger, October
I was leafing through a publisher's
catalogue and found a book
review with this
quote by Robert
Costanza, a professor of ecological economics at UVM:
Overcoming our addiction
to economic growth is one of the most important challenges for the 21st
century. Peter Victor’s masterful summary of the history and fallacies
of this particularly pervasive and increasingly dangerous addiction will
be a great help in getting over it.
dictionary defines addiction as:
compulsive need for and
use of a habit-forming substance (as heroin, nicotine or alcohol) characterized
by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal;
broadly : persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the
user to be harmful.
Does Professor Costanza really
think that the beneficiaries of economic growth know it to be harmful to
themselves? Or is it just Professor Costanza who thinks economic
growth is harmful to all of us? And does he really believe that economic
growth is like heroin? I thought it was pretty bizarre when President
Bush called for an end to our "addiction
to oil," and this is equally bizarre to me.
NYDOT Abandon Chipman's Point as Site for Temporary Bridge
From VermontBiz.com, October
New York State Department
of Transportation (NYSDOT) Acting Commissioner Stanley Gee and Vermont
Agency of Transportation (VTrans) Secretary David Dill today announced
that the states will not explore the crossing between Putnam, Washington
County, New York, and Chipman’s Point, Addison County, Vermont, as a potential
temporary bridge site. The states also advised motorists, pedestrians and
boaters to avoid the closed Lake Champlain Bridge as a safety hazard.
From Vermont Tiger, October
Emerson Lynn's (typically)
essay on the looming crackup in the state's unemployment trust fund
gets to the nub of the problem. Which is ... that without an
increase in the tax on employers or a reduction in benefits to the unemployed
– or some combination of both – the fund goes broke and the state goes
deeply into debt. And to delay action makes the problem worse.
Auditor Offers Help for Schools
By Cristina Kumka, Rutland
Herald, October 26, 2009
State Auditor Tom Salmon
is vowing to use a first-ever information inventory of the state's schools
to help them work together and save money.
Salmon, a school teacher
in Los Angeles for 10 years, and his "independent, objective" office of
eight auditors and two support staff sent a survey earlier this month to
the state's 62 supervisory unions to gather information on a range of services
shared by schools — from food contracts to buses to autism projects.
The goal: Start a conversation
on how to share services, stop duplication and cut costs based on fact
rather than emotion, Salmon said.
# # #
Global War on Terrorism
Army an Ally Against Taliban
By Peter Worthington, Toronto
Sun, October 30, 2009
What has always made the
war in Afghanistan especially hazardous, is not the warlike independence
and xenophobia of Afghans, but that Pakistan has long been a refuge for
That may be changing, now
that the Pakistani Taliban (similar but different from the Afghan version)
have decided they want to overthrow the existing government and take charge.
Puzzles: Blaming America First – Again (Part One of Two)
By Peter Huessy, Family
Security Matters, November 2, 2009
Whatever track the new administration
takes with North Korea, it should start with an appreciation of exactly
what kind of regime we are dealing with, what its objectives are, and whether
we should continue to accept the template that sees the West and particularly
the United States as the prime culprit in the tensions created by Pyongyang’s
nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.
In much analysis of the problem,
there are loud echoes of the "Blame America First" catechism so well explained
by our former Ambassador to the UN, the late Jeanne Kirkpatrick. Having
now acceded to power, the very Americans many so frequently blamed for
the tyrannies in Pyongyang and Tehran are now the folks they see in the
mirror every morning. Now, if they continue with the same worn-out analysis,
they will have no one else to blame, except for themselves.
for Iranian Hegemony in the Middle East
By Gary H. Johnson, Jr.,
American Thinker, October 19, 2009
Following the first official
U.S. diplomatic effort with Iran on October 1, a few Westerners realized
that Iranian hegemony in the Middle East was virtually assured by the Geneva
P5 plus 1 sit-down. Iran had proven itself a rational actor on the
geopolitical stage by simply passing a letter to the Council on Foreign
Relations to be handed to President Obama's foreign policy team in early
September. In that letter, Iran agreed to assume the role of a regional
superpower through a process of engagement. The fact that Iran's
new nuclear facility near Qom was not a bombshell in the international
community indicated that the world readily accepted Iran's rejection of
the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Regime's rules in defiance of the sanctions
it was facing from the international community. In so doing, Iran
beat Western leaders to the nuclear punch, agreed to set up token inspections,
and set the world on a new axis.
It was not surprising, to
me, then, when I saw a recent cover for Newsweek: AFTER IRAN GETS
THE BOMB It Won't Be The End Of The World... It surprised me even
less to see the name Fareed Zakaria in the vortex of a mushroom cloud under
the title. What did surprise me, however, was Zakaria's confident
assertion that Iran's historic role in the region was "as a crossroads
of commerce and capitalism." Really? When did that happen?
I could have sworn that capitalism required individual liberty.
An Ally No More
By Daniel Pipes, Jerusalem
Post, October 28, 2009
Toward that end, Muslim
Mafia shows how CAIR has assiduously sought to penetrate U.S. decision-making
circles, mounting successful influence operations against the executive,
congressional and judicial branches. Its agents have been: included in
official outreach efforts to the Muslim American community; selected by
the State Department to represent the United States to foreign Muslim populations
through government –underwritten speakers programs overseas; tapped to
provide "sensitivity training" to the FBI and other law enforcement organizations;
and prominently involved in legal proceedings advancing Shariah's supremacist
Killed in FBI Shootout Sat on Board of Muslim Lobby Group MANA
By David J. Rusin, Islamist
Watch, October 29, 2009
Ameen Abdullah, the head of Detroit's Masjid al-Haqq, was killed during
an FBI raid on October 28 as he engaged federal agents in a gun battle.
Prosecutors call Abdullah "a highly placed leader of a nationwide radical
fundamentalist Sunni group." Several other men were arrested on "charges
including conspiracy, receipt of stolen goods, and firearms offenses."
Terrorist Plots in Great Britain: Uncovering the Global Network
By Ted R. Bromund and Morgan
Roach, The Heritage Foundation, October 26, 2009
Data on major Islamist terrorist
plots in Britain reveal a physical and ideological terrorism pipeline between
Britain and Pakistan. At least 27 of 87 convicted individuals were trained
or sought training in Pakistan or Afghanistan. Homegrown Islamism is also
a major threat: 18 individuals received terrorist training in Britain.
Britain and the U.S. need to fight and win both the counterterrorism war
and the broader war of ideas. This will require fighting Islamism both
in Afghanistan and at home, continuing and expanding cooperation in intelligence
and homeland security, and opposing the Lisbon Treaty and other European
Union initiatives that would undermine Britain’s ability to control its
# # #
1,990-Page Medical Monstrosity
From Investor’s Business
Daily, October 29, 2009
Medical Care: Speaker Nancy
Pelosi's cry in unveiling the House's massive reform bill might as well
have been "Viva la health care revolution!" America never voted for change
Just as most congressional
Democrats refused to listen to the angry public at town halls in the summer,
Speaker Pelosi was not interested in ordinary Americans attending the outdoor
rally on the West Front of the Capitol, where she and her fellow House
Democrats rolled out their 1,990-page monster health reform bill on Thursday.
YouTube recorded someone
not on the RSVP list being refused entry and asking a staffer why the announcement
of legislation that will radically affect the lives of all Americans isn't
open to the public. "Because that's how we're handling this event," she
From Investor’s Business
Daily, October 28, 2009
The Washington and media
elites say Reaganism is finished as a political force. A citizen politician
bucking the Republican Party establishment is proving them wrong — in of
all places liberal New York.
See a Positive in a Bad Economy
Robert Pear, Investor’s Business Daily, October 24, 2009
The bad economy is good for
Obama and Democrats as they try to reinvent the health care
system with scant Republican support.
That is the conclusion of
many Congressional Democrats, who say that economic insecurity and high
unemployment stoke public support for their proposals to guarantee insurance
for millions of Americans.
Schools Flunk the Test on Black Males
By Anthony B. Bradley Ph.D.,
Acton Institute for Religion and Liberty, October 28th, 2009
Do at-risk black males need
to be emancipated en masse from America’s public school complex? A new
study released about high school dropout and incarceration rates among
blacks raises the question. Nearly 23 percent of all American black men
ages 16 to 24 who have dropped out of high school are in jail, prison,
or a juvenile justice institution, according to a new report from the Center
for Labor Markets at Northeastern University, "Consequences of Dropping
Out of High School."
Look Gloomy for Long Term
By Irwin Stelzer, Hudson
Institute, October 30, 2009
First Amendment: Diversity
czar Mark Lloyd's FCC votes Thursday on the issue of net neutrality. Advertised
as providing access to all, it will do to the information superhighway
what Lloyd proposed for talk radio.
Public Option Opt-Out Is No Panacea
By Diana Furchtgott-Roth,
Hudson Institute, October 29, 2009
Pity poor Harry Reid. The
Senate Majority Leader has been grappling with the challenge of combining
the two Senate health care plans into one, legislation that must also be
palatable to Democrats in the House of Representatives.
Mr. Reid's compromise is
a bill with a public plan that allows individual states to opt out. That
puts him squarely in the liberal camp, because few states end up opting
out of federal benefits, however hard their initial resolve. The question
is whether he can carry the votes of all senators of his own party and
muster the 60 ayes needed to block a filibuster.
There are just 60 senators
in the Democratic caucus, and Joe Lieberman (Connecticut), Ben Nelson (Nebraska),
Blanche Lincoln (Arkansas), Evan Bayh (Indiana) and Mary Landrieu (Louisiana)
are said to be especially wary of any form of public option. Mr. Lieberman
has even threatened a filibuster.
We can't have health
care reform without tort reform.
By Stanley Goldfarb, M.D.,
associate dean of clinical education at the University of Pennsylvania
School of Medicine, Weekly Standard, October 29, 2009
The current malpractice system
has contributed to an overall health care system that is inefficient. The
large awards to a few have contributed to the unsustainable costs for many.
This should not persist.
Voices for School Choice
Attorney General Eric
Holder tries to kill a TV ad supporting D.C. school vouchers.
by Sheryl Henderson Blunt,
Weekly Standard, October 27, 2009
President Obama isn't taking
kindly to a television ad that criticizes his opposition to a popular scholarship
program for poor children, and his administration wants the ad pulled.
Former D.C. Councilmember Kevin Chavous of D.C. Children First said October
16 that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder had recently approached him and
told him to kill the ad.
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