North Archives - December 19, 2006
| Editorial | News & Views
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improve government, send the legislature home
By Mark Shepard
… I suggest that shortening
the legislative session would indeed result in a new, and I believe more
effective, approach to solving problems.… Sessions running five to six
months prohibit many qualified people from bringing their real-life experiences
to the legislature. It's nearly impossible for anybody with a regular job,
a business or a young family to make such a time commitment…. – Mark
Shepard is a State Senator representing Bennington County & Wilmington
Because It Is Pretty Doesn’t Make It Nice: The things I understand now
that I am older
By James Ehlers
A visit to any newspaper
editorial section will reveal the vitriol some of our neighbors direct
at one other. Nasty, childish letters dominate subjects like wilderness
and preservation, school budgets, "global warming," property taxes, and
business development…. Seems like we could use less baby and more boom
from our ruling generation. – James Ehlers is editor emeritus of Elk
‘em Snell: Reason Foundation Expert Testifies on Early Ed.
By Rob Roper
… Snell eviscerated the previous
expert testimony by Steven Barnett of the National Institute of Early Educational
Research (NIEER), describing his claims for long-term cost savings and
academic successes through universal pre-k as, “Bait & Switch.” The
reason, as Snell meticulously pointed out, is that none of the studies
Barnett used to promote large scale, diverse, “universal” preschool programs
were in any way, shape or form large-scale, diverse or universal…. – Rob
Roper is State Director for FreedomWorks-Vermont and Editor of the Vermont
apartment rents eat up more pay
By Dan McLean, Burlington
Free Press Staff, December 13
What a Vermont household
must earn to rent a two-bedroom apartment, including essential utilities,
jumped 10.4 percent since last year to $15.34 per hour, or $31,897 annually,
according to a national report released Tuesday…. According to the study,
49 percent of Vermont's 71,000 renters can't afford to live in a two-bedroom
apartment, which rents for an average $797…. State and federal government
must focus on creating more affordable housing and establish a stronger
safety net, Mahnke said.
Editor’s Note: No,
state and federal government must focus on policies that encourage and
enable the private sector to produce higher paying jobs, while resisting
the temptation to create a host of laws and regulations that drive up the
cost of home construction. It would also help if they reduced Vermont’s
sky high property taxes, a cost that landlords must inevitably pass on
to the renters.
have two years to determine old roads
AP, December 11
…But if the old road is on
an official map and is found to pass through a property or even a house,
it can make titles unclear and hamper property sales….Towns have until
July 1, 2009 to determine if they want to keep the rights of way.
Activists Condemn Senator Leahy's Promise to Renew Judicial Obstruction
David Almasi, Project 21,
…members of the Project 21
black leadership network are renewing their demand for fair and timely
consideration of judicial nominees. "Senator Leahy's comments are disgraceful
and hypocritical, but they are certainly not out of character," said Project
21 Chairman Mychal Massie. "For the past six years, Senator Leahy
and his liberal colleagues have openly and shamelessly engaged in the obstruction,
character assassination and abuse of their committee responsibilities with
regard to judicial nominees…." There are currently 51 judicial vacancies,
with 24 of these vacancies considered "judicial emergencies" due to a court's
large caseload and extended vacancies….
Story: Leahy takes lead on Judiciary Committee
Burlington Free Press Editorial,
In his new assignment as
chairman of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Patrick Leahy will
have a prominent role in Americans' lives and liberty…. Leahy returns to
the chairmanship, which he held briefly in 2001 to 2002, promising "an
agenda of restoration, repair and renewal: Restoration of constitutional
values and the rights of ordinary Americans. Repair of a broken oversight
process and the return of accountability. And renewal of the public's
right to know." [Bold & Italics Added]
1985, Senator Patrick Leahy, "…inadvertently disclosed a top secret communications
intercept [regarding Arab terrorists who murdered US citizens] during a
television interview." According to the San Diego Tribune, "The reports
cost the life of at least one Egyptian operative. The Washington Times
reported in July 1987 that Leahy leaked secret information about a 1986
covert operation. As a result,"Leaky" Leahy "voluntarily" resigned his
seat on the Senate Intelligence Committee. But the full story of Leahy’s
leaks, and their impact on lives and national security, remains CLASSIFIED.
So, if the Senator really
is interested in a "renewal of the public’s right to know," perhaps he
will start by demanding the declassification of reports detailing his own
deadly mishandling of intelligence. .
on Zinni's speech skewed
Kenneth Ciongoli, Burlington
Free Press Letter to the Editor
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Free Press readers were subjected
to media spin, distortion, and bias at its worst in The Associated Press'
review of Gen. Anthony Zinni's discussion in Montpelier ("Ex-commander
finds fault in war effort," Dec. 7). I was there. The general gave an exquisite
hour-long explanation of the historical forces that are responsible for
contemporary "aberrant Islamic radicalism." The reporter cherry-picked
two sentences, cumulatively 45 seconds in duration, and used them as his
byline and his major conclusions to fortify his anti-administration prejudices.
Zinni largely avoided this
rhetoric. He told the audience, at great length, that the west, America,
this administration are not the definitive causes of Islamic radicalism.
After 17 years in the Middle East he concluded that Islam is at war with
itself, moderate vs. fundamentalist, Sunni vs. Shiite. He opined that if
there were no Iraq conflict that we would still be faced with decades of
Islamic instability, while they adjusted to modernity.
Zinni disagreed with the
Iraq war, but declared, "we broke it, we own it." He thinks that we need
more troops in Iraq and that a rapid withdrawal would be catastrophic.
He disagreed with the changes that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
made to the armed services but clearly stated that Rumsfeld had the best
interests of our country at heart and Zinni could not/would not fault him.
In a dinner conversation
before the speech Zinni acknowledged that although he disagreed with the
Iraq war, George W. Bush was a "decent, honest and honorable man." These
sentiments influenced the substance and tone of his speech. The reporter's
distortion is shameful.
article in question, by By David Gram of the Associated Press
# # #
U.S. Schools Not Making The Grade
CBS., Dec. 14, 2006
A bipartisan panel is warning
that America's students are falling behind those in even some of the poorest
countries…. Students from Asia to Europe outperform Americans on tests….
Emerging giants like India are churning out college graduates who often
have more advanced skill sets than American graduates. Many go on to take
U.S. jobs….The commission calls for a radical overhaul to stream all students
to college. Public schools would no longer be run by local districts. Instead,
schools could be managed by groups of teachers or private companies….
Related Story: To
fix US schools, panel says, start over
By Amanda Paulson
The Christian Science
What if the solution to American
students' stagnant performance levels and the wide achievement gap between
white and minority students wasn't more money, smaller schools, or any
of the reforms proposed in recent years, but rather a new education system
|SOURCE: NEW COMMISSION
ON THE SKILLS OF THE AMERICAN WORKFORCE, USING DATA FROM THE NATIONAL ASSESSMENT
OF EDUCATIONAL PROGRESS/RICH CLABAUGH - STAFF
push for 'fair trade' puts U.S. economy at risk
Democrats should resist
pressure to kill deals with Peru, Colombia.
USA Today, Dec. 12, 2006
…with the Democrats getting
ready to take over, labor groups are pressuring the incoming Democrats
to take more draconian steps, particularly to defeat pending trade deals….
But if Democrats defeat trade agreements with Peru and Colombia, go after
others in the pipeline, or fail to extend the authority for the president
to negotiate such deals, those actions would be some of the most counterproductive
gestures ever made in the name of political accommodation. The years since
the passage of NAFTA in 1993, and a major multilateral trade accord in
1994, have seen very robust growth by almost any measure. About 17 million
private-sector jobs have been created, personal income has nearly doubled
and the Standard & Poor's index of 500 stocks has nearly tripled….
Rahm Emanuel lie about his knowledge of Mark Foley? Yes.
Sunday, December 10, 2006
At the height of the Mark
Foley scandal in October -- when Democrats were pounding Denny Hastert
and company on a daily basis for having taken no action despite knowing
about the emails sent by Foley to at least one page (and for lying about
their past knowledge) -- Democratic Congressman (and DCCC Chair) Rahm Emanuel
went on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos (along with GOP Rep.
Adam Putnam). I haven't been able to find a full transcript, but the full
video is here,
and this article
provides an account of the segment....
well-meaning end to discrimination
By Cathy Young
The Boston Globe, December
DEPENDING ON who you talk
to, the passage of Proposal 2 in Michigan last month was either a great
victory for freedom and equal rights or a disastrous setback for minorities
and women. The ballot measure, known as the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative,
attracted little national attention after 58 percent of voters approved
it Nov. 7. Its language is simple: "The state shall not discriminate against,
or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis
of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of
public employment, public education, or public contracting."...
no to AP’s shoddy work
By Jules Crittenden
Boston Herald City Editor,
Sunday, December 3, 2006
If newspapers don’t have
an alternative, readers do. It’s called the Internet. That’s why newspapers,
if they don’t want to be dragged further into irrelevance and disrepute,
have to tell The Associated Press they are dissatisfied with its product.