North Archives - December 01, 2009
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Education Cost and Value
By John McClaughry
new report, entitled Better Value, Fewer Taxpayer Dollars, includes a detailed
economic analysis of today's public education system. That analysis concludes
that "it is very clear than Vermonters - taxpayers and parents - are not
getting their money's worth from our very high per pupil education spending.
It is also clear that this spending trend is unsustainable."
The Commission believes that
"the great majority of parents and children have the capacity to identify
the kind of education most suitable to their children's needs and preferences,
and that public financial support for education should flow not through
overgrown and nonproductive bureaucracies, but directly through the consumers
to a wide array of educational providers, some public, some private, that
attract revenues by offering a product that their customers want."
By Robert Maynard
In this week’s "Elsewhere"
section there is an Editorial by The Washington Times that weighs in on
the latest revelations regarding "The Global Cooling Cover-up", better
known as "Climategate". The editorial raises an important issue: "Anyone
interested in accurate science should be appalled at the manipulation of
data 'to hide the decline [in temperature]' and deletion of e-mail exchanges
and data so as not to reveal information that would support global-warming
skeptics." This is a take on the issue that has not been commented
on to the extent that it should be. The threat to the credibility of science
has been present within the environmentalist movement long before this
latest fraud. That threat comes from using science as a thinly disguised
cover for what appears to be a nature worship religion.
Ideology Trumps Ethics
By Martin Harris
an attempt to preclude accusations of snarkiness (you might test your recent
high school grad on definition and etymology) I’ll refrain here from asking
why the "higher" professions have found it necessary to develop and publish
elaborate canons of moral and behavioral ethics for mandatory compliance
by members while plying their various trades. I’ll simply note that the
productive professions have done just that, while the political profession
--ideologues and pragmatists, active politicians and passive commentators—hasn’t.
# # #
as ingratitude is one of the most odious of vices, let me not be unmindful
gratefully to acknowledge the favours I receive from Heaven; For all Thy
innumerable benefits; For life and reason, and the use of speech, for health
and joy and every pleasant hour, my Good God, I thank Thee."
# # #
--Ben Franklin, Articles
of Belief and Acts of Religion, Nov. 20, 1728
Weekly News Round-Up
Caledonia Record Editorial,
November 24, 2009
Shumlin made his announcement
at the Earth Turbines facility in Williston. The fortunes of the Blittersdorfs,
who run Earth Turbines and NRG Systems, rest upon the development of wind
turbines and wind farms.
David Blittersdorf is a familiar
face in the Legislature. He is also a board member of the Vermont Public
Interest Research Group, an ever present lobbying group. VPIRG's two wind
gurus, Paul Burns, the group executive director, and James Moore, VPIRG's
designated clean energy advocate, are on the Democrats' A list in the Legislature.
A familiar name in Northeast Kingdom wind development, Matthew Rubin, is
Stop the Spending
From Vermont Tiger, November
Last Thursday’s article
addressed the imperative need to reduce K-12 education spending
to levels consistent with providing a quality education and restoring Vermont’s
financial viability. This piece addresses what voters can do to help reduce
education spending by doing their homework on a proposed budget, identifying
cost savings opportunities and proposing an amount by which a proposed
budget may be responsibly reduced. However, since many mistakenly believe
spending and performance go hand-in-hand, I begin by briefly putting into
perspective the resources (a.k.a. capacity) vs. performance (a.k.a. outcomes)
of the Commission on Rebalancing Education Cost and Value
Wants Burlington Telecom Records
Public service entities
submit 124 questions
By John Briggs, Burlington
Free Press, November 28, 2009
The Vermont Department of
Public Service and the Vermont Public Service Board have made clear their
intent to understand Burlington Telecom’s violation of its license and
its overall financial
Condition 60 of BT’s Certificate
of Public Good required the municipally owned provider of broadband Internet,
telephone and cable television to repay any city money it uses within two
months. Chief Administrative Officer Jonathan Leopold has said he became
aware of BT’s violation of the condition in November 2008. Leopold informed
and the Public Service Board in September.
I Am an Optimist (Thanksgiving Edition)
From Vermont Tiger, November
The early years in Plymouth
were hard, with
45 of the 102 settlers dying during their first winter of 1620-21.
Governor Bradford realized that the settlement's organization needed to
be changed from one based on what today we might call communitarianism
to one based on individual ownership. ...
As long as we don't forget
those lessons, we will celebrate many more happy and productive Thanksgivings.
Marriage Momentum Stalls in Liberal N.Y., N.J.
By Geoff Mulvihill, Associated
Press, November 27, 2009
The state-to-state march
to legalize gay marriage across the left-leaning Northeast has lost more
momentum since a major setback three weeks ago at the ballot box in Maine.
Since then, legislatures in New York and New Jersey have failed to schedule
long-expected votes on bills to recognize the unions in those states.
Christmas Tree Farms Donate Trees to Military
From the Associated Press,
November 27, 2009
Vermont Christmas tree growers
hope to make the holidays
a little brighter for members of the Vermont National Guard by providing
400 free trees to soldiers and their families.
About 1,500 members of the
Guard will leave for Afghanistan after Christmas, in the state's
largest Guard call-up since World War II.
# # #
Global War on Terrorism
SEALs Face Assault Charges for Capturing Most-Wanted Terrorist
By Rowan Scarborough, Fox
News, November 25, 2009
Navy SEALs have secretly
captured one of the most wanted terrorists in Iraq — the alleged mastermind
of the murder and mutilation of four Blackwater USA security guards in
Fallujah in 2004. And three of the SEALs who captured him are now facing
criminal charges, sources told FoxNews.com.
The three, all members of
the Navy's elite commando unit, have refused non-judicial punishment —
called a captain's mast — and have requested a trial by court-martial.
Ahmed Hashim Abed, whom the
military code-named "Objective Amber," told investigators he was punched
by his captors — and he had the bloody lip to prove it.
Now, instead of being lauded
for bringing to justice a high-value target, three of the SEAL commandos,
all enlisted, face assault charges and have retained lawyers.
Next Founders? Voices of Democracy in the Middle East
By Joshua Muravchik, Encounter,
Reviewed by Michael Rubin, Middle East Forum
In the late 20th century,
the world witnessed a democratic revolution. Since the 1970s, the percentage
of countries with governments chosen by their people has doubled from 30
to 60 percent. Not only has Eastern Europe come in from the cold, but in
West Africa, East Asia, and Latin America, states once dismissed by Western
diplomats as impervious to democratic liberty now hold elections and regularly
and peacefully transfer power from government to opposition.
The Middle East, however,
remains a fitful holdout. Not a single Arab state is a democracy, nor is
the Islamic Republic of Iran. Until 9/11, few people in Washington policy
circles cared. Those of the "realist" school justified almost any partnership
with autocrats; as Muravchik summarizes, "it was alright if they were bastards,
if only they would be our bastards." But al-Qaeda's attacks on New York
and Washington heralded a paradigm shift: "perhaps the internal affairs
of Middle Eastern states was a strategic consideration."
Eight years and two trying
wars later, Obama told his audience in Cairo that "no system of government
can or should be imposed upon one nation by any other." The value of The
Next Founders is to show that a policy of democratization need not
mean, as in the leftist caricature, a program of obnoxious American imposition.
"The fact that there is precious little democracy in the Middle East does
not mean, however, that there are no democrats," Muravchik observes. His
book profiles seven dissidents and reformers among the many he encountered
in his extensive travels in the Middle East.
By Daniel Pipes, Jerusalem
Post, November 25, 2009
To borrow a computer term,
if Ayatollah Khomeini, Osama bin Laden, and Nidal Hasan represent Islamism
1.0, Recep Tayyip Erdo?an (the prime minister of Turkey), Tariq
Ramadan (a Swiss intellectual), and Keith
Ellison (a U.S. congressman) represent Islamism 2.0. The
former kill more people but the latter pose a greater threat to Western
If the violence of Islamism
1.0 rarely succeeds in forwarding the Shari'a, the Islamism 2.0 strategy
of working through the system does better. Islamists, adept at winning
public opinion, represent the main opposition force in Muslim-majority
countries such as Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon, and Kuwait. Islamists have enjoyed
electoral success in Algeria in 1992, Bangladesh in 2001, Turkey in 2002,
and Iraq in 2005.
Green Movement Reaches Out to U.S.
By Robin Wright, Time, November
After more than five months
of going it alone, Iran's opposition Green Movement is reaching out to
the United States for help. Via public and private channels, the Obama
Administration has received several appeals in recent weeks to take a stronger
stand against human-rights abuses in Iran, avoid military action and impose
more aggressive and rapid-fire sanctions against the Revolutionary Guards
and its vast business interests.
Path to Islamist Terror
By Michael Rubin, Middle
East Quarterly, Winter 2010
While the Obama administration
and congressional leaders may justify renewed engagement with Syria with
their desire to jumpstart the Middle East peace process, they ignore the
very issue that lies at the heart of the Syrian threat to U.S. national
security: Syrian support for radical Islamist terror. This may seem both
illogical and counterfactual given past antagonism between the 'Alawite-led
regime and the Muslim Brotherhood, but there is overwhelming evidence that
President Bashir al-Asad has changed Syrian strategic calculations and
that underpinning terror is crucial to the foreign policy of the country.
Domestic and International Fronts
A briefing by Patrick Clawson,
Middle East Forum
First, the Iranian régime's
approach to domestic issues is often misconstrued as secondary to its concern
for the nuclear issue. In fact, the government is primarily concerned about
the domestic opposition, which does not "appear to be going away" and is
antagonistic to the Islamic Republic itself, unlike the reformist candidates,
who have the same long-term objectives as the present régime. The
latter, according to Mr. Clawson, merely wish to end Iran's international
isolation created by the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei. The government
of Tehran also displays a certain "paranoia" about "cultural infiltration"
from the West as well as groups such as the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK)—despite
the fact that the MEK has not been active in Iranian politics for twenty-five
# # #
Reform Threatens Voluntary Charitable Action
By Rev. Robert A. Sirico,
Acton Institute for Religion and Liberty, November 25, 2009
As it’s been said many times,
if you think health care is expensive, wait until it’s free.
I also worry about the "crowding
out" effect that this vast expansion of the government into health care
will have on voluntary charitable action. Somewhere along the line we have
lost sight of the fact that charity and health care was not an invention
of Washington bureaucrats. How did the more than 600 Catholic hospitals
and clinics, and many more hospitals bearing the names Jewish, Presbyterian,
Methodist, Adventist and Baptist, get built in this country? It wasn’t
through the sufferance of government. Faith is the source of these works,
not policy initiatives. Faith, because it involves the entire scope of
the human person, body and soul, has not only a larger claim on our allegiance
but a deeper commitment to our well being. Our faith communities know us
as persons, not as welfare case numbers or voting blocs.
White House Involvement in Scandal Will Make It Harder for MSM to Ignore
By P.J. Gladnick, NewsBusters,
November 26, 2009
Yesterday Brian Williams
delivered an NBC Nightly News report about President Obama attending the
Copenhagen global warming summit. Guess what hot topic was left untouched?
If you had guessed Climategate
you would have been correct. Not only Williams but also the other TV networks,
with the exception of FOX News, have completely ignored what is considered
to be the biggest scientific scandal in history. However, new Climategate
made by the Canada Free Press about a White House connection to the scandal
will soon make it much more difficult (and ridiculous) for the networks
Canada Free Press editor
Judi McLeod and Canadian climatologist Dr. Tim Ball reveal the involvement
of White House Science Czar John Holdren (photo) in the Climategate Scandal.
The picture presented of Holdren is not a pretty one:
Lift up a rock and another
snake comes slithering out from the ongoing University of East Anglia Climate
Research Unit (CRU) scandal, now riding as "Climategate".
Labor's Multi-Billion Dollar Bailout
By Diana Furchtgott-Roth,
Hudson Institute, November 25, 2009
It's Thanksgiving, the start
of the holidays, the season of giving -- and getting -- and many labor
union officials have a lot to be thankful for. Some members of Congress
are thinking about giving the union bosses a multi-billion dollar gift
-- a bailout of failing, collectively-bargained multiemployer pension plans.
No matter that this would
increase the federal deficit, putting even more pressure on the American
taxpayer and the economy. After the $787 billion "stimulus" plan, the $700
billion Troubled Asset Relief Plan, and the potential $1 trillion health
care "reform" plan, what are a few more hundreds of billions of dollars?
Our GM (Government Motors) Await Same Sorry Fate As Britain's?
the Liberal Media Think the Obama Bubble has Burst
By Nile Gardiner, Telegraph
(UK), November, 26, 2009
You know things are going
seriously wrong for the Obama administration’s ultra-liberal agenda when
even The Washington Post begins to question it. Here’s a quote from
rather good piece by Joel Achenbach, a senior staff writer for
the Post, in yesterday’s front page story on Barack Obama’s slow,
Spock-like decision-making process:
With multiple crises on
his docket, the president has much to contemplate as he enters the holiday
season. The economy has shown signs of growth and the stock market is up,
but it’s a jobless recovery, unemployment is at the highest rate since
he was in college, and there are fears of a double-dip recession. The dollar
is down. The national debt is oceanic. Obama’s health-care plan is imperiled
by the whims of a handful of lawmakers. His approval rating has dipped
below 50 percent. Even once-Obama-friendly "Saturday Night Live" has taken
to mocking him as a do-nothing president. This follows historical patterns:
New presidents always experience a drop in popularity as the romance of
the campaign trail gives way to the mundane bill-paying and grocery shopping
Kamikaze Mission: Health Care by New Year's
By Byron York, Washington
Examiner, November 27, 2009
Democratic Sen. Richard Durbin
recently was asked if a national health care bill would pass the Senate
by the end of the year. "It must," Durbin responded. "We have to finish
Many other top Democrats
share Durbin's determination to meet this deadline. But it's almost certainly
not going to happen, for three reasons: the calendar, the Senate's other
business, and, most importantly, growing public opposition to the health
Year of Magical Thinking: The Democrats' health care dream is everyone
admit their data is 'garbage'.
The Washington Times, November
The climate-gate revelations
have exposed an unprecedented coordinated attempt by academics to distort
research for political ends. Anyone interested in accurate science should
be appalled at the manipulation of data "to hide the decline [in temperature]"
and deletion of e-mail exchanges and data so as not to reveal information
that would support global-warming skeptics. These hacks are not just guilty
of bad science. In the United Kingdom, deleting e-mail messages to prevent
their disclosure from a Freedom of Information Act request is a crime.
The story has gotten worse
since the global-cooling cover-up was exposed through a treasure trove
of leaked e-mails a week ago. The Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of the University
of East Anglia has been incredibly influential in the global-warming debate.
The CRU claims the world's largest temperature data set, and its research
and mathematical models form the basis of the United Nations Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) 2007 report.
to Pay Your $6 Trillion 'Climate Justice' Bill?
# # #