North Archives - November 20, 2007
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By Bruce Shields
Surely the entire reason
for public education is to break the linkage between poverty and education.
Economic data shows a strong correlation between years of schooling and
lifetime income levels, and a modest correlation between rank in school
and income. Vermont education as presently constituted is reinforcing
economic segregation, and creating an ever sharper divide between the haves
and have nots. The failure of our schools helps fill our prisons with economically
disabled young men. The present governance of our schools is designed to
make life comfortable for employees, and not to focus on a successful outcome
for the consumers of education. Vermont schools should not be permitted
to continue to enforce economic segregation.
School Choice Lessons for Vermonters
By John McClaughry
are taxing themselves some $1.4 billion a year - most of it through property
taxes - to pay to give their kids an education. One would think that the
leading policy issue would be, "How can we get the best possible education
for our kids with that large amount of tax dollars?" Or "How can we get
as good an education for our kids with a less painful tax burden?"
But alas, the majority in
Montpelier frames the issue as "what do we need to do to strengthen the
public school monopoly for the benefit of the politically powerful people
who profit by it (and elect us), regardless of what's best for Vermont's
By Martin Harris
Pricing is usually based on vehicular traffic and two related functions:
one is the use of extra expense to discourage vehicles from using some
part of a road or street system which is already over-crowded, and the
other is to fund construction from user fees from which only the users
benefit. It usually takes the form of a toll, from the fee charged for
vehicles entering a core area of downtown London to the fee charged for
use of, say, New York City’s Holland Tunnel.
# # #
(The following stories
come to us courtesy of our friends at Outdoors Magazine http://www.outdoorsmagazine.net/)
Father and Son Each get
The first pic was 12 point
162 3/8 green; the other my son shot on Sunday 6 point 210 Lbs in Washington
SFC Michael S. Gilman
Marketing & Advertising,
R&R Command, GMA
789 Vermont National Guard
Colchester, VT. 05446-3099
Illinois bow kill, 11/01/06
# # #
Weekly News Round-Up
Some Doctors Don't Like Catamount
WCAX-TV, Montpelier, November
St. Albans Primary Care is
affiliated with several practices across the state totaling about 45 doctors.
All may stop taking patients covered by Catamount Health. 130 other health
care providers have already said they won't accept Catamount. But it's
a small fraction of the more than 5,000 medical practices expected to accept
Catamount. "We want to take care of everybody," says Dr. Toby Sadkin. "The
question-- is it affordable for us to do it?"
Sadkin says Catamount could
potentially close numerous primary care practices because they're already
struggling due to a high number of Medicare and Medicaid patients. Those
insurance programs reimburse at or below cost. Adding Catamount patients--
they say-- would continue to lower their profit.
Of Pain From Predictable Places
Caledonia Record Editorial,
November 16th, 2007
Act 82, the school finance
reform bill, passed the last Vermont Legislature and avoided a veto by
Gov. Jim Douglas because of a last minute compromise initiated by Sen.
Vincent Illuzzi, R-Essex-Orleans. The compromise was this: a school district
whose budget increase exceeds the inflation rate plus one percent must
pass two votes. The first vote will be to ratify the basic budget that
stays within those limits. The second vote will be to adopt or deny the
amount of the increase that exceeds those limits.
Now, we are hearing squeals
of pain from some very predictable places. The educators union, VT-NEA,
is pulling out all stops to repeal this compromise. The Vermont School
Boards Association (VSBA) recently passed a resolution demanding the repeal
of Act 82. And, locally, the North Country Union School Board publicly
and scathingly denounced the two-vote budget law.
Problem; Unserious Explanation
From VermontTiger.com, November
Vermont's hospitals are short-staffed
on physicians. So much so that the Bennington hospital briefly considered
suspending obstetric service on weekends. You either had to do some
term planing or make sure you could get to, say, Albany in time.
REPORT: Power Struggle, Part 3
From WCAX-TV, Vernon, VT,
November 15, 2007
Yankee provides 1/3 of the
state's power -- so what would happen if it shuts down? For answers we
turned to Sue Tierney, a Boston based energy analyst. "Vermont's going
to keep it's lights on," explained Tierney. "Vermont is interconnected
to an electrical system to the rest of New England so in a very real sense
Vermont will be able to get power from the rest of the region," said Tierney
with Analysis Group.
While power is available,
Tierney says it would cost much more than what Vermont pays now. The current
Yankee contract is 4 cents a kilowatt hour. Tierney says no matter where
Vermont turns in state or out of state... to natural gas, coal, wind, nuclear,
or hydro -- each source is now around 8 cents a kilowatt hour. Experts
say Solar energy is even higher. And by 2012 when Yankee's license expires
-- all the prices are expected to rise.
County Cries Out For Senate Re-districting
Caledonian Record Editorial,
November 13, 2007
Back when Vermont's Legislature
was reapportioned by demand of the one-man-one-vote Supreme Court mandate,
at least one gross inequity emerged. Chittenden County surfaced from the
scramble with six Senate seats. The fact that that county got six seats
is not the inequity. The agreement was reached that each senator should
represent 20,000 voters, and Chittenden County probably has that population.
The fact that all six senators are elected at large is the inequity.
Districts - The Supreme Court has made clear its preference for
single-member legislative districts by discouraging the use of multimember
districts in court-drawn plans absent extraordinary circumstances. Congress
has prohibited multimember districts for the purposes of redistricting
seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Table 8 summarizes multimember
From VermontTiger.com, November
Yo-Yo Ma could not teach
music to a high school classroom in Vermont. Michael Jordan could not teach
phys ed. A Nobel laureate in science could not teach high school
science. Not that these things are likely to happen, but people with
valuable knowledge and lifetime experience do sometimes decide that they'd
like to teach. And Vermont is rated low for its alternative licensure
Last year, Education Week's
"Quality Counts" State Report Card for Vermont said that our state lost
points for teacher quality for "its lack of alternative-route programs
for teachers." Well, actually we had, and still have, an alternative
licensure program. It's called the "Peer Review" program. But
it's such a well-kept secret that Education Week couldn't find it.
Our colleges certainly don't want people to know about it.
# # #
Global War on Terrorism
Basra Violence Down 90 Percent
Associated Press, November
Attacks against British and
Iraqi forces have plunged by 90 percent in southern Iraq since London withdrew
its troops from the main city of Basra, the commander of British forces
there said. The presence of British forces in downtown Basra, Iraq's second-largest
city, was the single largest instigator of violence, Maj. Gen. Graham Binns
told reporters Thursday on a visit to Baghdad's Green Zone.
They Did It
Executing the winning
strategy in Iraq.
By Kimberly Kagan, The Weekly
Standard, November 19, 2007
The surge of operations that
American and Iraqi forces began on June 15 has dramatically improved security
in Baghdad and throughout Iraq. U.S. commanders and soldiers have reversed
the negative trends of 2006, some of which date back to 2005. The total
number of enemy attacks has fallen for four consecutive months, and has
now reached levels last seen before the February 2006 Samarra mosque bombing.
IED explosions have plummeted to late 2004 levels. Iraqi civilian casualties,
which peaked at 3,000 in the month of December 2006, are now below 1,000
for the second straight month. The number of coalition soldiers killed
in action has fallen for five straight months and is now at the lowest
level since February 2004. These trends persisted through Ramadan, when
violence had typically spiked. "I believe we have achieved some momentum,"
General Raymond T. Odierno, commander of coalition combat forces in Iraq,
said modestly in his November 1 press briefing. Since security was deteriorating
dramatically in Iraq a year ago, how U.S. commanders and soldiers and their
Iraqi partners achieved this positive momentum deserves explanation, even
though hard fighting continues and the war is not yet won.
Says Chinese Spies Top Tech Threat
Associated Press, November
A congressional advisory
panel said Thursday that Chinese spying represents the greatest threat
to U.S. technology and recommended counterintelligence efforts to stop
China from stealing the nation's manufacturing expertise.
A radical reversal in
By Victor Davis Hanson,
National Review, November 15, 2007
There’s an old expression
about war: "Victory has many fathers, while defeat is an orphan." But in
the case of Iraq, it seems the other way around. We’ve blamed many for
the ordeal of the last four years, but it is the American victory in Anbar
province that now seems without parents.
Over the last few months,
the U.S. military forced Sunni insurgents in Anbar to quit fighting. This
enemy, in the heart of the so-called Sunni Triangle, had been responsible
for most American casualties in the war and was the main cause of unrest
in Iraq. Even more unexpectedly, some of the defeated tribes then joined
in an alliance of convenience with their American victors to chase al-Qaeda
from Iraq’s major cities.
Agent with Family Ties to Hezb'allah Posted to Iraq (updated)
By Rick Moran, The American
Thinker, November 15, 2007
NBC has learned that Nada
Prouty, the woman who has pled guilty to conspracy and unauthorized access
to a classified computer played
a larger role in American national security than either the FBI or
CIA have let on...
Islamic Republic’s War with the Dead
By Amil Imani, Freedom
of IraN, November 13, 2007
"The hatred of the extremist
mullahs for the Baha'is is such that they, like the Taliban of Afghanistan
who destroyed the towering Buddhist sculptures at Bamiyan, intend not only
to eradicate the religion, but even to erase all traces of its existence
in the country of its birth," says the statement, which took the form of
a paid advertisement in the New York Times. Such has been the
plight of one of the greatest segments of the Iranian population.
In 1993, in Tehran alone,
under the orders of the Islamic authorities, more than 1500
graves were bulldozed on the pretext of
constructing a municipal center. In a similar fashion, the Islamic Republic
of Iran, which holds in great contempt any non-Islamic belief or heritage,
has embarked on destroying the archeological sites of Pasargad, Persepolis
and the tomb of Cyrus the Great as well, also on another pretext of building
# # #
As Dependency: The Aim of the Welfare State?
Part 13 of 'The Crisis
of the Republic'
By Alan Keyes, 2007 Renew
The welfare state represents
a response to human neediness that weakens individual freedom and responsibility.
As we have discussed it, the natural family also represents a response
to human neediness — but it involves a concept of the individual that assumes
responsibility, even as it affirms the distinctively human capacity for
freedom. The welfare state's destructive impact on the natural family is
therefore not accidental. It reflects an essential contradiction between
the two different conceptions of humanity.
U.S. Economic Map Vs. The World
From Nicholas Vardy’s The
In the midst of a housing
collapse and credit crunch, the impending doom of the U.S. economy is taken
as gospel. But look behind the headlines, and the numbers tell a different
story. The U.S. economy grew by 3.9% in the credit turmoil-ridden third
quarter -- following a 3.1% jump in the second quarter. That means that
the United States added the equivalent of a new Saudi Arabia to its economy
just since the beginning of April. And the fact that the World Economic
Forum ranked the U.S. economy the most competitive economy in the world
last week got little press. And even when it did, the #1 ranking of the
United States was explained away as a statistical mirage.
This is not to say that the
U.S. economy is in ship shape. But with all of the talk about China and
India dominating our economic futures, it's worth reminding ourselves where
these new economic challengers stand in comparison to the United States
today. Despite the high economic growth rates of developing nations, the
United States is by far the world's wealthiest nation as measured by GDP
-- the broadest measure of economic wealth. And the rest of the world isn't
even close. This year, U.S. GDP is projected to be $13.22 trillion. That
means that the U.S. economy is as large as the next four-largest economies
in the world -- Japan, Germany, China, and the United Kingdom -- combined.
Decadence—Part 2 of 4
of Civilized People
By Reginald Firehammer,
There was no government supplied
"sex education" in the fifties. It was considered a parent's job, and they
did that job pretty well. No one died from VD. Today the government has
taken over the parents job. The purpose of government supplied sex education
was to prevent the spread of STD's and limit teenage pregnancies. So far,
on the STD front, STDs are killing women at the rate of 5000 a year, and
which was not even heard of in the 50s, had already killed over 520 thousand
by 2003, "including 18,017 in 2003," which is just about the yearly rate
Oh, yes, and how has sex
education done on the pregnancy front? "In
the 1950's, less than a third [far less, actually] of first births
to teen mothers were conceived out of wedlock. By the 1980's, close to
two-thirds of all Caucasian teen mothers were unmarried when they became
pregnant. And almost all (97%) of African American teen mothers were single
at the time of conception in the 1980's. (What have we done to our sweet
black girls?) "Four percent of births in 1950 were to out-of-wedlock mothers."
"In 2004, about 36 percent of births were out of wedlock."
"Sex Ed," is just one of
the failures of government supplied "education," and there are worse things
happening in the schools, which I'll address. But this began with the sexualization
of little girls, and there is much more to say about that.
all House GOPers back Pence’s Discharge Petition on Fairness Doctrine
By Jackie Kucinich, The
Hill, November 14, 2007
Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.)
has persuaded nearly every House Republican to sign a discharge petition
that would force a floor vote on legislation banning the so-called Fairness
One hundred ninety-four out
of 200 House Republicans are backing the effort to block the anticipated
revival of the Fairness Doctrine, which they believe is a tool Democrats
will use to cut down on the number of conservative radio talk shows. The
Fairness Doctrine was discarded by the Federal Communications Commission
(FCC) during the Reagan administration in 1985. Not one Democrat has signed
the petition, which requires 218 signatures to trigger a vote.
Death Of The Dollar
From Nicholas Vardy’s The
But like the presidential
candidacy of my Harvard classmate Barack Obama, the talk about the demise
of the United States is more about wishful thinking than what is really
there. Yes, the dollar has declined. But it's hardly fallen off a cliff.
It may have hit record lows against the euro, but the euro is a young currency.
It's only if you look at the short term, say, since January 2002, that
the dollar's fall against the euro seems out of whack. Turns out, the value
of the dollar in euro, (assuming the German mark transformed into the euro
on January 1, 1999), is about the same as it was in the mid-1990s. According
to research by Brown Brothers Harriman, the now-defunct German mark hit
a record high in 1995 that would be the equivalent of a euro level of $1.4575.
Yesterday, it closed at $1.4576.
Nor is a weak dollar all
bad news. A weaker currency provides a boost to the U.S. economy, making
U.S. exports more attractive at a time when consumer spending is slowing
down and the housing market is a drag on growth. Thanks to a weaker dollar,
growth in U.S. exports is already shrinking America's external deficit.
During the past three quarters the deficit has been cut by $119 billion,
falling from about 6% of gross domestic product to 5%. The adjustment appears
to be continuing as the U.S. trade deficit narrowed by a stronger-than-expected
$56.4 billion in September. The federal budget deficit has also come down
sharply to 1.2% of GDP, well below its historical average.
Meanwhile, U.S. economic
growth numbers were revised upward from 3.1% to 3.9% in the third quarter
of 2007. U.S. worker productivity in the third quarter rose to 4.9%, the
strongest pace in four years. The United States also was rated the #1 most
competitive economy in the world by the World Economic Forum. None of that
sounds like "the next Argentina" to me.
Poll Shows Americans "Angry and Frustrated" with Dems in Congress
By Rick Moran, The
American Thinker, November 15, 2007
Just 8% of the public is
"Pleased" with the job the Democratic Congress is doing on immigration
while 65% are either "Angry" or "Disappointed." The numbers on Iraq are
just as bad with 11% Pleased and 68% Angry or Disappointed.
# # #