North Archives - December 14, 2010
| Editorial | News & Views
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as a "Laboratory for Change"
You can be sure that this
scheme is where the funding will come for what Shumlin expects to be the
first single payer health care system in the U.S. See this article
in the Boston Globe: "Governor-elect Peter Shumlin yesterday announced
his appointments to a team he hopes will lead Vermont to become the first
state with a single-payer health care system." He sees the Vermont
effort as a "laboratory for change" that the administration is looking
for and will not hesitate to ask for funding for it that would otherwise
go to other states. This quote is from a Burlington Free Press article:
"He said Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
made it clear that they see states as laboratories for change." Vermont’s
Congressional delegation has already asked the Department of Transportation
to send money to Vermont that was rejected by other states. See this article.
The DOT turned down that brazen request, but who is to say that the administration
would turn down a request to fund a program that would be billed as a model
for the nation to follow?
A Cautionary Tale
By John McClaughry
for last month's court case. Act 80 of 2007 sought to ban the sale or use
of commercial "data mining" to improve marketing of prescription drugs.
The U.S. Second Circuit held that unconstitutional: "The legislative findings
are explicit that Vermont aims to do exactly what has been so highly disfavored
[by the courts] - namely, put the state's thumb on the scales of the marketplace
of ideas in order to influence conduct."
Big Pharma, with its embrace
of high entry barriers for new products and patent law manipulation, ought
not be immune from political attack. But 12 years of liberal chest-thumping
against Big Pharma, involving at least two judicial embarrassments and
a failed program, has produced, essentially, nothing but a lot of demagoguery,
bureaucracy, legal costs, and incompetence - plus, admittedly, some coerced
"supplementary discounts" and lots of useful name recognition for the leading
chest thumper, Sen. Peter Shumlin.
By Martin Harris
you find Steinberg’s research findings and conclusions more persuasive,
you have to find the current focus on booting out teachers-who-don’t-teach
less persuasive. You also have to question one of the new themes in the
pre-K argument, the one which says that parenting is so poor that, for
Head Start to work successfully, government will have to remove the kids
for large blocks of non-school time from mom or, more rarely, from mom
and dad. Under the Steinberg thesis, parental failure to wield books at
home doesn’t matter; getting kids into groups which think an after-school
jaunt to the town library beats basketball is the key factor. He doesn’t
say where such teen groups are more or less likely to be found, but I’d
guess that the odds favor the neighborhood around PS 7 somewhat less than
the neighborhood around, say, the Chicago-suburb New Trier High School.
Boston Latin is in a separate Brown-v.-Board-and-bussing classification;
high-SES neighborhood from which local kids are shipped by their parents
to non-neighborhood schools, and BL itself enrolls mostly bus-ins from
elsewhere in Boston. It has a lot of SWWL problems it didn’t have when
enrollments were local.
Health Care for Vermont - Act 128
By Charlie Bucknam
Burdening Vermonters with
higher taxes to fund more bureaucracy to control our health care choices
is not the solution to lower costs or for better health care. Instead,
we should be seeking solutions that preserve and expand Vermonters’ freedom
to choose their health care options, and, that will attract the best and
brightest physicians and other health care providers to our State.
As a special service of True
North and the Defenders Council of Vermont for our Returning Veterans,
we have done some research and found an online employment and social networking
site to help those returning Patriots who are seeking employment and have
a desire to network with other returning Patriots. The first group is a
social network that is dedicated to providing a "fresh approach to transition
from military to civilian life". The group is called "My Vetwork"
and can be accessed here. There
is another group called "Hire Patriots" which is an employment network
for people looking to hire veterans and for veterans looking for work.
This site can be accessed here.
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of sheep will beget a government of wolves."
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– Edward R. Murrow
Weekly News Round-Up
By Sen. Randy Brock, Vermont
Tiger, December 7 2010
Now that Vermont’s Attorney
General and several score of his non-profit association acolytes have determined
that we all must be protected against Coca-Cola, it’s time to begin looking
more broadly for other dragons that we can slay with our tax code...
The beauty of all of
this is that we can create hundreds of good-paying government jobs to enforce
this new regimen. Indeed, we may need to create an entirely new agency
to monitor, tax and police our personal habits. It could be called
the Department of Uniform Monastic Behavior (DUMB), and would likely soon
become the largest agency in state government. George Orwell’s nanny
would be proud.
Businesses Give Back This Holiday Season
From Fox 44 News, December
Many local businesses are
choosing to give back to the community this holiday season including Boloco,
which for the next twelve days will give 50 cents to a local non profit
for each burrito sold.
Last year it raised $2,100,
and the money goes to a different local non-profit each day.
By Art Woolf, Vermont Tiger,
December 13 2010
Home and Garden TV's Dream
Giveaway features a home in Stowe. It's not your usual
Stowe fixer-upper. This one, according to the Freep, is...
a $1.5 million ski house
on the slopes of Stowe. One that comes with a new SUV and hot tub....The
home is in the final stages of construction in the picturesque alpine setting
of Stowe Mountain’s Spruce Peak.
But wait! There's more!
The winner of the sweepstakes
gets the keys to the 3,000-square-foot home that has an outdoor hot tub
in a surround of native boulders, is stocked with more than $30,000 worth
of kitchen appliances and sleeps 14. In the driveway will be a 2011 GMC
And still more! Although
the Freeps does not mention it, VPR's
story notes that the grand prize also includes the minor
$500,000 in cash…
The lucky winner of the house
will pay about $1 million in taxes in 2011 on their good fortune.
With the $500,000 cash that is part of the winning package, the winner
will only have to come up with an additional half million bucks.
Maybe they can rent out some of those extra beds to help pay the taxes.
Cabinet Meetings in D.C. 'Exciting'
title: "Shumlin's Wealth Redistribution Goals")
By Neal P. Goswami, The
Bennington Banner, December 2 2010
Early education was also
discussed, Shumlin said. Duncan will be seeking $300 million from Congress
to implement early education programs across the country, according to
Shumlin. He said he urged Duncan to require states to provide matching
funds because it will likely increase Vermont's share.
"I've made very clear that
Vermont wants to be an active partner with him to make sure that we get
our share," Shumlin said. "Many of the governors were swept in Tea
Party electoral landslides. I don't think you'll see many of them committing
state funds. A lot of these tea party states, I do not believe, will have
the political persuasion to do it."
Shumlin was coy, however,
on where Vermont will find state dollars for early education. "We're working
hard on trying to find the money. Let's remember that we have to cut $112
million in the budget," he said.
Headline: Act 250 Board Keeps Vermont Yankee Open
By Tom Evslin, Vermont Tiger,
December 9 2010
Vermont Governor-elect Peter
Shumlin and Deb Markowitz, his designee for Secretary of the Agency of
Natural Resources "suggested that climate change should become listed as
one of the criteria in the Act 250 process for new projects" according
to vtdigger.org coverage
of the announcement of Markowitz' appointment. Just so out-of-state readers'll
understand, nothing significant gets built in Vermont without an Act 250
permit, and the permits are hard to get and easy to delay.
At the same news conference
Shumlin reportedly said: "When the telephone rings … we want someone on
the other end to say Vermont is open for business." Adding an impossible-to-define
criterion or criteria to Act 250 isn't going to convey that message, but
to Vermont Lawmakers: Can’t have the Rail Funds
(Editor’s note: More
Begging from our Political Leaders)
By Neal P. Goswami, Bennington
Banner, Dec 10, 2010
The U.S. Department of Transportation
has rejected a request by Vermont’s Congressional delegation to redirect
high-speed rail funding to Vermont from two states that have rejected it.
announced Thursday that about $1.2 billion in rail funding rejected by
Ohio and Wisconsin will be redirected, but only to projects already under
way. California secured the most of 14 states splitting the funding with
more than $620 million.
U.S. Sens. Patrick Leahy
and Bernie Sanders and Rep. Peter Welch sent a letter to Transportation
Secretary Ray LaHood last week asking that a project to return passenger
rail service to Vermont’s western corridor be funded from the pot of money
turned away by Ohio and Wisconsin.
# # #
Global War on Terrorism
Brotherhood Group Trains Airport Screeners
By Connie Hair, Human Events,
December 6 2010
The Muslim Public Affairs
Council (MPAC) has completed training for 2,200 Transportation Safety Officers
(TSOs) at the Los Angeles International Airport according to a press
release found on the MPAC website.
The MPAC release notes that
the two-month training course informed officers of "the diversity of Muslims
around the world from cultural dress to language to tenets. The four trainers
taught the TSOs how to properly handle a Quran and discussed the different
ways Muslim women and men choose to cover or dress. For example, the TSOs
learned if a woman wears hijab and needs a secondary screening she should
be screened in a private area by a female TSO officer."
(The Drudge Report shocked
the nation with this photo of a nun being patted down by a Muslim woman
in head garb. Apparently Christian women are afforded only public groping
Post-Iran Proliferation Cascade
By Peter Brookes, Family
Security Matters, December 9 2010
With the exception of a handful
of capitals friendly to Tehran, and of course the Iranian regime itself,
few now dispute the notion that the Islamic Republic of Iran is involved
in a nuclear weapons program—and one that will, unfortunately, come to
fruition in the next few years. News of Iran’s seemingly-unstoppable drive
for nuclear status is no real surprise, of course; despite four UN Security
Council Resolutions condemning Iran and imposing punitive economic sanctions,
Tehran continues to enrich uranium for those weapons virtually unhindered.
Making matters worse, Iran
recently informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that it
would move beyond the 3-4 percent uranium enrichment level normally used
for reactor fuel, alarmingly increasing enrichment to 20 percent. While
not illegal under the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), to which
Iran is a signatory, there is no reason to enrich uranium beyond the 3-4
percent required for the production of nuclear fuel, leaving little doubt
about Tehran’s strategic intentions. It clearly puts Tehran on track to
being able to enrich uranium to 80 percent or more—the levels needed for
a nuclear weapon.
By Lee Smith, The Hudson
Institute, December 8 2010
This is how U.S. diplomats
used to talk about their work in the Middle East: "Every American ambassador
in the region knows that official meetings with Arab leaders start with
the obligatory half-hour lecture on the Palestinian question," one with
a long tenure in the Middle East told the New York Times before
Thanksgiving. "If we could dispense with that half-hour and get down to
our other business, we might actually be able to get something done."
But that was in the pre-Cablegate
age. One of the surprising (to some) revelations of the leaked diplomatic
cables published by Wikileaks is that, counter to what we’ve been told
for over a half century, the Palestinian question does not dominate the
thinking of Arab officials.
American journalists still
get the "half-hour drill"—I’ve gotten it most recently from the prime minister
of Lebanon—but with U.S. diplomats, Arab rulers have more pressing issues
to discuss. Indeed, the Wikileaks cables seem to confirm that our Arab
allies are consumed by their fear of the Iranians. But are they really?
News From WikiLeaks: Sky is Falling in Iran, North Korea
By Ryan Mauro, Pajamas Media,
December 8 2010
The release of confidential
diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks (and the pending release of thousands more)
has undoubtedly done damage to our ability to win the trust of informants,
foreign officials, and intelligence services. There is ample reason to
be angry over this scandal, but there is also reason to be encouraged.
The content of the documents shows the roof is collapsing on the Iranian
and North Korean regimes and that a coalition has formed to support regime
change for both.
Obama’s Justice Department
should ask Obama’s State Department about jailing jihadists.
By Andrew C. McCarthy, National
Review, December 11 2010
Attorney General Eric Holder
is dismayed over Congress’s refusal to cough up funds
that would allow the Obama administration to close down Guantanamo Bay
and transfer the 170 fire-breathing jihadists still detained there to the
United States — where, he insists, they’ll be kept under lock and key.
P. J. Crowley, the State
Department’s assistant secretary for public affairs, is dismayed, too.
He claims that federal judges are ordering the release of fire-breathing
jihadists in droves, purportedly requiring that we free them out from under
lock and key — whereupon they return to the anti-American jihad at an alarming
clip, a totally predictable outcome Mr. Crowley says the Obama administration
Do these guys ever talk to
Rift with the Afghans
The U.S. needs to
rebuild a few bridges.
By Ahmad Majidyar, National
Review, December 10 2010
The latest WikiLeaks disclosures,
in which U.S. ambassador in Kabul Karl Eikenberry described Pres. Hamid
Karzai as a "paranoid"
leader without knowledge of "the most rudimentary principles of state-building,"
will further strain relations between Kabul and Washington and undermine
war efforts against the Taliban.
In an effort to limit the
damage from the leaks, Eikenberry issued a statement:
"The United States is absolutely committed to building and strengthening
a long-term partnership with the Afghan people and the Afghan government.
Our shared goals do not change based on the release of purported diplomatic
reporting from the past." Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also phoned
Karzai to reassure the Afghan president of her support.
But the damage containment
was too little, too late.
# # #
By Kevin E. Schmiesing,The
Acton Institute for Religion and Liberty, December 6 2010
Among the reasons socialism
does not work is one that Austrian economists Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich
Hayek called the economic calculation problem. The economy cannot be planned
but must develop organically. A central role in this development is the
market price, which, they observed, functions as a carrier of information.
The amount of information the price carries is so large that it defies
the capacity of any central authority or single intelligence to gather
and analyze it.
Hayek put his finger on the
source of the error that leads governments to attempt—usually with disastrous
results—to manage centrally an economy or any piece of it. He called it
the "fatal conceit." The agnostic Hayek did not write about it in religious
terms, but his language rightly identified this seemingly political-economic
mistake as, at root, a moral failing.
Rejects Key Part of Obama Healthcare Law
By Lisa Lambert and Jeremy
Pelofsky, Yahoo News, December 13 2010
A judge in Virginia on Monday
declared a key part of President Barack Obama's landmark healthcare law
unconstitutional in the first major setback on an issue that will likely
end up at the Supreme Court.
U.S. District Judge Henry
Hudson, appointed to the bench by President George W. Bush in 2002, backed
the state of Virginia's argument that Congress exceeded its authority by
requiring Americans to start buying health insurance in 2014 or face a
Index of Economic Freedom
From The Heritage Foundation
The 2010 Index of Economic
Freedom covers 183 countries around the world, ranking
179 of them with an economic
freedom score based on 10 measures of economic openness, regulatory efficiency,
the rule of law, and competitiveness. The basic principles of economic
freedom emphasized in the Index are individual empowerment, equitable treatment,
and the promotion of competition.
The results of the 2010 Index
include the following:
Four Asia–Pacific economies
continue to lead the world in economic freedom. Hong Kong maintains
its position as the world’s freest economy, a distinction it has enjoyed
for 16 consecutive years. Singapore remains close, ranked as the world’s
second freest economy. Australia and New Zealand, ranked 3rd and 4th this
year, have solidified their position at the top of the rankings. As in
2009, a total of seven economies have attained "free" status in the Index
rankings, although the composition of this group has changed a bit, with
Switzerland moving in and the United States dropping out.
Let Protectionism Expire
By Harry de Gorter and Jerry
Taylo, The Cato Institute, December 6 2010
If the economic rationale
for the ethanol-import tariff is to offset the tax credit, then the tariff
should expire along with the tax credit. Letting the tariff expire can
provide more competition in the ethanol market and allow more environmentally
friendly ethanol onto the market — such as Brazilian sugarcane ethanol.
The primary reason sugarcane ethanol is, by far, the world's lowest-carbon-intensity
biofuel produced on a commercial scale is that one obtains twice the amount
of ethanol per land unit from sugarcane as from corn. Furthermore, sugarcane
is not a staple food crop and, unlike corn, has only an indirect effect
on food prices. It is better for Brazil to produce ethanol and the U.S.
to produce corn.
Brazil ended subsidies for
ethanol over ten years ago and eliminated its ethanol tariff early this
year. The U.S. should reciprocate. As the world's top producers of ethanol,
the U.S. and Brazil should collaborate in building an open and global biofuels
marketplace for clean, renewable energy.
Exposes Myth of the Common School
By Jennifer Marshall, The
Heritage Foundation, December 9 2010
'Each morning, wanting to
believe in our schools, we take a leap of faith," filmmaker Davis Guggenheim
says in Waiting for Superman. His much-acclaimed documentary then gives
us every reason to doubt. By framing this account of the public school
system's failure in terms of trust, the film manages to do something far
more subversive than merely record union-induced systemic dysfunction.
The documentary does nothing less than cast doubt on this core belief of
America's civil religion: our faith in the public school system as the
mediator of our national ideals and the gateway to opportunity for all
From Guggenheim's own admission
that he's "betraying the ideals" he thought he espoused (driving his children
past three public schools to a private school he's chosen) to deplorable
facts (for example, six in 10 students in East Los Angeles do not graduate
from high school), the film breeds skepticism about a popular national
Rhee Brings her Fix-the-Schools Drive to Sacramento
Bush Tax Cuts Never Went Far Enough
A permanent reduction
in capital taxes would increase productivity and wages. Postwar Britain
shows how higher capital tax rates reduce investment and damage economic
By Thomas F. Cooley &
Lee E. Ohanian, The Wall Street Journal, December 8 2010
The Obama administration
has announced its willingness to compromise on a temporary extension of
the Bush tax cuts for all income levels. But the Bush tax cuts never went
far enough in providing sufficient incentives to promote higher rates of
savings and investment. Temporary solutions like this one or the administration's
proposed investment tax credit for businesses will not solve our problem
of low capital accumulation. What matters is how the income from capital
is taxed over its lifetime.
Economists agree that a large
capital stock is a key ingredient for prosperity, as it expands our productive
capacity and raises worker productivity, which in turn increases wages
and consumer purchasing power. Our capital stock is comparatively much
smaller today than it was before the Great Depression. The ratio of business-sector
capital to output is about 30% smaller today than it was in 1929. This
shortfall reflects the fact that recent investment rates have been lower
and consumption rates have been higher compared to earlier in our history.
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