North Archives - December 25, 2007
| Editorial | News & Views
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taints Act 82
By Glenn Foster
Most of the negative talk
regarding Act 82 (two-vote requirement for extraordinary school budget
increases) has come from those associated with public education: union
leadership, school administrators, teachers and school board members. It
is interesting (if not disappointing) that those associated with educating
our children have provided misleading information regarding Act 82. The
voting requirement of Act 82 is quite simple.
Two conditions must be met
in order for a school district to fall under this requirement of Act 82:
per-pupil spending increases by more than inflation plus one percentage
point and the district spends more than the state average per pupil. The
appalling "second vote" would be to approve spending above the inflation-plus-1
percent level. If the inflation rate is 4 percent and a district budget
proposes a 5 percent increase, then the additional vote under Act 82 does
not apply. If the district spends less than the state average per pupil
and proposes an increase higher than 5 percent, then Act 82 does not apply.
"present" from Peter Welch
By Rob Roper
cherish our small communities and the togetherness they foster. Christmas,
in many ways, plays an important role in keeping that community togetherness
real. It helps tighten our bonds with neighbors with parties, school pageants,
and church ceremonies. As family members and friends, Christmas brings
our best qualities of charity, sharing, and thinking of others back to
the surface where they belong. Christmas nourishes the soul of Vermont
long past its date on the calendar. And, likewise, it also nourishes the
belly. Ask any inn, restaurant or shop owner in Vermont if they recognize
the importance of Christmas. For many, this is the most critical two weeks
of the year. Christmas in Vermont – the quintessential New England experience
– is a vital pillar supporting the "Vermont Brand." This is why Congressman
Peter Welch’s (D-VT) December 11 refusal to support a House Resolution
recognizing the importance of Christmas was so stunningly bizarre, insulting,
and, what’s worse, totally unnecessary.
14th Amendment in Vermont?
By Martin Harris
things go as planned, a quite long-standing effort of a private-sector
provider to sell a service –at-home nursing services, primarily-- into
the health-care industry will soon be ended, and the non-profits can go
back comfortably to their nobody-competes-with-us monopoly status. The
presumptuous invader of exclusive quasi-governmental turf for these last
28 years has been Professional Nurses Service, and it has been cutting
into the market share –no, make that official monopoly-- of VAHHA, the
Vermont Association of Home Health Agencies. In sharp contrast to government’s
hostile treatment of PNS stands the Montpelier program called Project Big
Dog, whereby favored industries are showered with grants and loans, zoning
changes and bridge promises to do just what PNS was prevented from doing:
business in Vermont. The label Project Big Dog is Montpelier’s idea of
a fun-loving play on words when referring to Husky Industries, which set
up shop in Milton almost a decade ago. How these two entities have fared
raises questions, if you’re Constitutionally-minded, about the equal
treatment under the law provision of the Fourteenth Amendment.
# # #
to the Editor
School Tax Relief Plan
Vermont’s public education
costs are breaking the bank. Taxpayers are tapped out and need help. The
Republican Party can provide that help. Consolidation does not help. It
just makes a school system bigger and more bureaucratic. In any free market
when a business with a better product at a lower price moves into the neighborhood,
quality goes up and price goes down.
Private schools, with their
proven record of high quality at a reasonable price, given a level playing
field including universal school choice, would cause the same improvement.
Because Vermont’s private schools make up a small fraction of all schools,
the change would occur slowly enough to allow our public schools plenty
of time to improve without any harm done.
If Vermont’s Republican legislators
really want to help taxpayers and improve the quality of public education,
they can show it by introducing and openly supporting legislation that
would allow fair competition between public and the better run private
schools. Instead of sending taxpayer money directly to the public schools,
this legislation could have the money go with the students to the schools
of their choice.
A halfway plan of public
school choice would not work without the only component that would improve
education, our private schools.
Those who say that we first
need to elect a majority of Republicans to achieve this, miss the point.
We’re not going to elect a majority of Republicans by simply saying, "we
want lower taxes." Vermont’s taxpayers want to see action and a real plan
that will lower our already too high taxes.
Republicans need to introduce
and strongly push for universal school choice and the removal of unnecessary
state mandates. To convince voters how vital this issue is, such a plan
must be part of the 2008 Republican Party Platform.
In this issue – What Did
The Democrats Say About Iraq? ("That was Then")
we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading
an oppressive regime ... He presents a particularly grievous threat because
he is so consistently prone to miscalculation ... And now he is miscalculating
America's response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for
weapons of mass destruction ... So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons
of mass destruction is real..."
- Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Jan. 23. 2003 Source
"I will be voting to
give the President of the United States the authority to use force -- if
necessary -- to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal
of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat
to our security." - Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA),
Oct. 9, 2002 Source
"One way or the other,
we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass
destruction and the missiles to deliver them. That is our bottom line."
- President Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998 | Source
"If Saddam rejects
peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously
diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program."
- President Bill Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998 | Source
"We must stop Saddam
from ever again jeopardizing the stability and security of his neighbors
with weapons of mass destruction." - Madeline
Albright, Feb 1, 1998 | Source
"He will use those
weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983."
- Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb, 18, 1998 Source
"[W]e urge you, after
consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and
laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile
strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed
by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs." Letter
to President Clinton from (D) Senators Carl Levin, Tom Daschle, John Kerry,
others, Oct. 9, 1998 | Source
"Saddam Hussein has
been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology
which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery
of the weapons inspection process." - Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D,
CA), Dec. 16, 1998 | Source
"Hussein has ... chosen
to spend his money on building weapons of mass destruction and palaces
for his cronies." - Madeline Albright, Clinton Secretary
of State, Nov. 10, 1999 | Source
"We begin with the
common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace
and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandate of the United Nations
and is building weapons of mass destruction and th! e means of delivering
them." - Sen. Carl Levin (D, MI), Sept. 19, 2002 | Source
"We know that he has
stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his
country." - Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002 | Source
"Iraq's search for
weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should
assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power."
- Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002 | Source
"We have known for
many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass
- Sen. Ted Kennedy (D, MA), Sept. 27, 2002 | Source
"The last UN weapons
inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein
retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he
has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological
warfare capabilities. Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking
nuclear weapons..." - Sen. Robert Byrd (D, WV), Oct.
3, 2002 | Source
"There is unmistakable
evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear
weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years
... We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress
Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction."
- Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D, WV), Oct 10, 2002 | Source
"In the four years
since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein
has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile
delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort,
and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members ... It is clear,
however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase
his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying
to develop nuclear weapons." - Sen. Hillary Clinton
(D, NY), Oct 10, 2002 | Source
"We are in possession
of what I think to be compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein has, and
has had for a number of years, a developing capacity for the production
and storage of weapons of mass destruction."
- Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL), Dec. 8, 2002 | Source
# # #
Weekly News Round-Up
Gives Vermont Worst Economic Rating
Darren Perron, WCAX-TV,
December 17, 2007
Which state has the worst
economic rating in the country? According to the American Legislative Exchange
Council-- Vermont does. A new report puts the Green Mountain State dead
last in a ranking of all 50 states. According to the report, it's because
Vermont has some of the highest taxes in the country-- personal income,
business, estate and property taxes. In addition, the ALEC cites a high
minimum wage and rising workers comp costs. The study looked at 16 variables
that impact the migration of people and investment capital. Just last week,
more than 130 learned that they'd be losing their jobs when Qimonda announced
it was moving its Williston operations to North Carolina. But economist
Art Woolf says the new study won't impact new businesses or the expansion
of existing businesses. He says it simply points out the obvious.
You'll Reduce CO2 Doesn't Make It So
From VermontTiger.com, December
The next time somebody/anybody
proposes some new law in the name of reducing CO2 emissions they might
want to pause and consider this:
The Kyoto treaty was agreed
upon in late 1997 and countries started
signing and ratifying it in 1998. A list
of countries and their carbon dioxide emissions due to consumption of fossil
fuels is available from the U.S. government. If we look at that data and
compare 2004 (latest year for which data is available) to 1997 (last year
before the Kyoto treaty was signed), we find the following:
Emissions worldwide increased 18.0%.
Emissions from countries that signed the treaty increased 21.1%.
Emissions from non-signers increased 10.0%.
Emissions from the U.S. increased 6.6%.
In fact, emissions from the
U.S. grew slower than those of over 75% of the countries that signed Kyoto.
Below are the growth rates of carbon dioxide emissions, from 1997 to 2004,
for a few selected countries, all Kyoto signers. (Remember, the comparative
number for the U.S. is 6.6%.)
Urges Bush Administration Not to Issue Carbon Dioxide Emission Standards
for New Vehicles
Ethan Allen Institute
The Ethan Allen Institute
has joined with nineteen other organizations to urge the Bush Administration
not to issue EPA carbon dioxide emission standards for new vehicles.
The December 17 letter, initiated
by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, argues that "such EPA action will
likely have grave consequences that extend far beyond motor vehicles. The
end result may well be an unimaginably broad and devastating energy-suppression
program, with massive job losses and skyrocketing increases in consumer
The letter is another round
in the conflict initiated by environmental organizations – plus fourteen
states including Vermont – in the case of Massachusetts v. EPA,
decided by the U.S. Supreme Court on April 2, 2007.
In that case, a five-member
majority of the Court directed EPA to either issue carbon dioxide emission
regulations for new vehicles, or explain why such an action was impractical
or unwise. The Court’s opinion held that because of its effect as a "greenhouse
gas", carbon dioxide is a major cause of global warming, and if left unchecked
by government regulations, global warming could at some future time cause
rising sea levels and longer summers, etc. that could endanger human "health
The Court’s majority reached
this conclusion in spite of the fact that at no time since enactment of
the Clean Air Act in 1970 has Congress ever declared carbon dioxide to
be a covered "pollutant", and on at least two occasions has explicitly
rejected amendments to require such a declaration.
The letter points out that
an EPA finding that carbon dioxide is a "pollutant" that must be regulated
will trigger enforcement of severe regulatory mandates, such as the Prevention
of Significant Deterioration rules and National Ambient Air Quality Standards.
"The construction delays,
economic uncertainty, paperwork burdens, and engineering expenses this
could impose on hundreds of thousands of small establishments for no measurable
environmental benefit boggles the mind, "the letter stated. "It would give
anti-growth litigation groups a bottomless well of excuses for demanding
ever more onerous restrictions on energy production and use."
EAI President John McClaughry
said "it is clear that the enviro groups, aided and abetted by Vermont
Attorney General Bill Sorrel, are using the excuse of ‘global warming’
to gain full control of our energy-dependent economy. It would be a tragedy
if this administration caved in and accommodated them."
The Ethan Allen Institute
is Vermont’s independent free market public policy education organization.
The letter and its signers
Debate Goes On
From the Eagle Times, December
Vermont and New Hampshire
have bandied about different ideas since the dawn of time, or at least
since property tax bills started to get high enough to prompt voters to
find ways to lessen the bites taken out of their wallets. One state says
adequate, the other says equal, but the bottom line is any system is destined
not to go more than a year or two without tweaking, some major, some minor.
You can't please everyone, especially when it comes to school funding.
Higher spending in the face
of flat or declining enrollments is one problem. People buying properties
and driving up their values, forcing other properties higher while doing
the same to tax bills, is another. Unfunded mandates, maintaining aging
buildings and higher fuel and health care costs also jack up the pressure
Local school boards are going
through their budget deliberations now. They will feature the same complaints
about lack of support from the state, and don't expect that to change.
Ever. Vermont will hack away at Act 82 until something new is passed. Again.
New Hampshire will wait and see if its state supreme court will flex its
collective muscle. Again.
When Things Were Looking Up
From VermontTiger.com, December
Just when I was beginning
to believe Vermont was going to turn around by leveraging its 'green' credentials
I find out that 'green' isn't hip anymore. It turns out a whole
lot of scientist just went
before Congress to dispute global warming. It starting to look like
the tide is turning and we haven't even figured out how to make a buck
yet. The pace of change is dizzying. First it was cooling, then is was
warming, now its not changing at all. How can a planned economy keep up
with such a maddening pace?
The Other Half Lives
Caledonian Record Editorial,
December 18, 2007
Vermont holds the distinction
of having the highest four year public institution costs in the United
States. The in state tuition cost at UVM is $20,050 with in state tuition
at Lyndon, Johnson and Castleton set at $14,464. Nationally, the average
four-year public university tuition cost is $13,589. The average private
four-year tuition cost is $32,302.
Those Vermont students who
are having a hard time figuring out how to pay for four years at UVM may
want to consider going to Harvard, a more affordable option for most Vermont
families. There is no reason to believe the state Legislature is going
to provide any extra money to the state's university or its colleges and
an annual lament heard every year in the Legislature's stingy approach
to higher education. In short, it's likely that going to school in Vermont
is going to get harder, not easier in the years ahead. For those who have
decided to give Harvard a try, now comes the harder part. Getting accepted
at Harvard requires some evidence of perspiration and inspiration on the
high school level, but it won't cost much to apply.
# # #
Global War on Terrorism
Signs of a Sophisticated Intelligence Apparatus
By Fred Burton and Scott
Stewart, STRATFOR (Strategic Forecasting, Inc.), December 12, 2007
On Dec. 4, Samar Spinelli,
a U.S. Marine captain, pleaded guilty in U.S. district court in Detroit
to conspiring to commit citizenship and passport fraud. By pleading guilty,
Spinelli admitted to having conspired with her former roommate, Nada Nadim
Prouty, to fraudulently obtain U.S. citizenship. Prouty, a former FBI agent
and CIA case officer, pleaded guilty in the same court in November to accessing
a federal computer system to obtain information about the Lebanese-based
militant group Hezbollah and conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government,
among other charges. Spinelli's other former roommate, Elfat El Aouar --
Prouty's sister -- is serving an 18-month prison sentence for tax evasion.
All three women were born in Lebanon.
The evidence, allegations
and related cases suggest that Hezbollah has established a sophisticated
intelligence apparatus that reaches into the United States. Moreover, it
is possible -- though certainly not proven -- that Spinelli and Prouty
used their positions in government agencies to provide Hezbollah with sensitive
information. If these women were indeed Hezbollah plants, the magnitude
of the information they provided to Hezbollah and Iran could be similar
in importance to the information Robert Hanssen provided to the Soviets
and Russians -- and the damage could prove to be just as great.
Spiritual Leader Recants
By Rick Moran, The American
Thinker, December 20, 2007
A senior al-Qaeda theologian
has changed his tune and is calling on al-Qaeda members to put
down their arms.... Al-Qaeda's destruction in Iraq must have really
unnerved the leadership. Along with Zawahri's unreal pronouncement last
week that the British "fled" Iraq and that the jihadis were winning there
(a view shared by perhaps no one else in the world except Harry Reid),
it appears that the organization is losing it. What effect this will have
on al-Qaeda rank and file is uncertain. But it is a sign that whatever
we're doing to combat the terrorists is working.
Muqtada al-Sadr Giving Up?
By Rick Moran, The American
Thinker, December 20, 2007
If he has, it may be the
most significant development of all in the recent string of successes being
enjoyed by the coalition and the Iraqi government. Al-Sadr is actually
considering extending the cease-fire his militia has been following
since last August.... The potential for civil war was always greatest in
the south where the two sides squared off in a deadly contest for control.
But with much of the Badr Organization joining the police and army (another
problem that must be dealt with separately) and the Mahdi's backing down,
the prospects for a successful transition to peace in Iraq just jumped
From Investor's Business
Daily, December 20, 2007
is calling on Muslims to sponsor copies of the $20 guide for local media
"to help improve coverage of Islam in the American news media." CAIR, which
seeks to mainstream Islam in America, is worried about polls showing a
majority of Americans associating Islam with violence and intolerance.
Its propaganda campaign, backed by Arab governments tied to 9/11, isn't
working. It's sad commentary when you can't get better press from today's
newsrooms, which are already so culturally sensitive they won't even publish
newsworthy cartoons for fear of offending Muslims.
Bomb, Iran's Mullahs, and Doomsday
By Amil Imani, Freedom of
Iran, December 16, 2007
Mr. President, in addition
to the comforting NIE report (which was incidentally ordered by your adoring
fans, Congress Democrats), you probably want to hear the dissenters and
the skeptics before impulsively singing the praise of the mullahs, as Jimmy
Carter did, or hastily launching a re-enactment of " Shock and Awe," this
time on Iran. Prudence demands that you, as our President, make your decision
on the basis of facts, first and foremost, and then weigh the opinions,
conjectures, and advice of others. You need to do the same with the report.
Don’t let the medium, the clever packaging of the report, become or even
obscure the message. Once you do that, you will find an awful lot of troubling
Not Just Another Religion
Levy, The American Thinker, December 16, 2007
Worldwide, Islamic fundamentalists
continue to make inroads into Western culture, political structures and
in the economic system, while, at the same time, insisting on severe and
outrageous punishments for even minor violations of sharia or Islamic law.
It is unprecedented that a minority group that freely immigrated to the
United States and Europe of its own accord is now endeavoring to overhaul
Western civilization to its Koran-dictated, specifications. The West, particularly
America, has a tradition of welcoming people from other cultures and practitioners
of different religions. However, immigrants have always assimilated and
strengthened American society rather than demand that we adopt their ways
at the expense of our own.
Many Westerners, who worship
at the altar of multiculturalism and erroneously believe that Islam is
just another faith, fail to understand the inherent cultural and political
dangers of a religion that is a consummate ideology for the faithful. Unwitting
Westerners write off barbaric punishments as mere cultural differences,
enthusiastically embrace blatant acts of appeasement and readily respond
to demands for special privileges and allowances never before conferred
on other groups.
# # #
Senate Report: Over 400 Prominent Scientists Disputed Man-Made Global Warming
Claims in 2007
Senate Report Debunks
From The U.S. Senate Committee
on Environment and Public Works, December 20 2007
Over 400 prominent scientists
from more than two dozen countries recently voiced significant objections
to major aspects of the so-called "consensus" on man-made global warming.
These scientists, many of whom are current and former participants in the
UN IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), criticized the climate
claims made by the UN IPCC and former Vice President Al Gore. The new report
issued by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee's office of
the GOP Ranking Member details the views of the scientists, the overwhelming
majority of whom spoke out in 2007.
Moving to Derail Fraud Investigations
By Ed Lasky, The American
Thinker, December 21, 2007
The UN bureaucracy has once
again acted to insulate itself from punishment for engaging in fraud that
has cost the UN (and America, since America by far is the largest contributor
to the United Nations) hundreds
of millions of dollars. Buried in today's New York Times paper is article
by Warren Hoge (who wrote a glowing book on former UN Secretary General
Kofi Annan -under whose reign this fraud- and the related oil-for-food
scandal happened) titled "U.N. Body Plans to End Investigation of Contracts".
This is a rather anodyne headline for fraud that costs hundreds of millions
Father of Postmodernism and Anti-rationalism—Part 2
By Reginald Firehammer,
It is not necessary to dissect
all of Hume's errors with regard to cause, but some of them have had important
unfortunate influences on the future of philosophy. It is not so much the
particular philosophical errors in Hume that are of primary importance,
but the aspects of those errors that amount to an assault on the human
mind and man's capacity to rationally comprehend reality. Remembering Hume
stated, "all reasonings concerning matter of fact seem to be founded on
the relation of Cause and Effect; by means of that relation alone we can
go beyond the evidence of our memory and senses," he proceeds to use his
absurd view of causation to prove cause can never be discovered: "The mind
can never possibly find the effect in the supposed cause, by the most accurate
scrutiny and examination. For the effect is totally different from the
cause, and consequently can never be discovered in it. Motion in the second
Billiard-ball is a quite distinct event from motion in the first; nor is
there anything in the one to suggest the smallest hint of the other."
His explanation of why we
then "believe" in cause and effect may seem like nothing more than a silly
innocent mistake, but it is far from innocent. According to Hume, our belief
in cause and effect is nothing more than a habit. "It appears, then, that
this idea of a necessary connexion among events arises from a number of
similar instances which occur of the constant conjunction of these events;
nor can that idea ever be suggested by any one of these instances, surveyed
in all possible lights and positions. But there is nothing in a number
of instances, different from every single instance, which is supposed to
be exactly similar; except only, that after a repetition of similar instances,
the mind is carried by habit, upon the appearance of one event,
to expect its usual attendant, and to believe that it will exist." [Emphasis
Based on this seemingly innocuous
mistaken conclusion, Hume introduces two of the worst concepts ever to
infect philosophy, concepts which are having a profound destructive effect
on all of Western society and culture today. Those two concepts will be
introduced in the third part of this article.
Energy Bill: The Death of Small Government Conservatives
By Martha Zoller,
Human Events, December 21, 2007
"Pelosi: ‘This is a choice
between yesterday and tomorrow’: Energy bill promises to change how we
live." Headline from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Wednesday,
December 19th. I don’t know about you but I’ve had about enough of government
changing the way I live. From the moment I get up in the morning,
until I go to sleep at night, the government is in my life and now they
want to tell me what kind of light bulbs to use and what kind of car to
drive and what kind of fuel to use.
To make it worse, the candidates
on both sides, except for Fred Thompson, have rolled over to the church
of Global Warming and that’s in this bill, too. I interviewed Sen. Johnny
Isakson regarding the Global Warming mantra in the energy bill. He
said, "It depends on whether you mean global warming as science or as politics."
Many conservatives, including me, have a knee-jerk reaction to the words,
global warming and when you couple that with the words, energy bill --
it makes us shudder.
Outdoes Hummer in Environmental Damage
By Chris Demorro, Central
Connecticut State University Recorder
The Toyota Prius has become
the flagship car for those in our society so environmentally conscious
that they are willing to spend a premium to show the world how much they
care. Unfortunately for them, their ultimate ‘green car’ is the source
of some of the worst pollution in North America; it takes more combined
energy per Prius to produce than a Hummer.
News For the GOP
By Rich Galen, TownHall.com,
December 19, 2007
There has been very good
news for the GOP over the past few weeks, which has gone unnoticed in the
laser focus on the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. You may
have noted a recurring theme in the Popular Press: How the disillusion,
disappointment, disenchantment and dissatisfaction among Republican voters
with the GOP is likely to lead to the end of the Republican Party as we
know it. The PP looks at the five major candidates in the Republican Presidential
race being within 10-or-so percentage points of one another as evidence
that Republican voters don't like any of them. How about this as an alternative
theory: ANY of the five will be acceptable to the overwhelming percentage
of Republican voters in a race for President against Hillary.
# # #