North Archives - December 29, 2009
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Ain't Easy Bein' Green: Especially when you have none.
By James Ehlers
The Vermont Agency of Natural
Resources has a plan to clean up at least Lake Champlain: $800 million
and 15 years is what is needed to clean up our "greenness." The only issue
is, we don’t have $800 million. We owe retiring and retired teachers and
state employees some $2 billion, among other obligations, so we are going
to ask the federal government to pay while we continue to spread the "brown"
hoping everyone thinks our "blue" is "green," even when it actually is.
Quite a gamble when you consider we are two to three times more dependent
on visitor spending than the national average.
a Path Away from Insolvency
next week to a statehouse near you: perhaps the most critical legislative
session in Vermont's modern history.
Over the past fifty years
our state government has expanded into a gigantic money-eating machine.
That machine sucks in taxpayer dollars and spews out benefits - minus the
usual government handling charge. This makes lots of people happy, so long
as the revenues keep on rolling in.
the Achievement Bar in One Place in Appalachia
By Martin Harris
factoids: from the 2008 National Digest of Educational Statistics, you
can read that average pupil-teacher ratio in Vermont is 1-to-10.8 and annual
per-pupil cost $13.5K.... No mention in the various news accounts of any
(beyond the basic inflation rate) budget change. Related factoids: NDES
Table 66 shows the TN p/t ratio at 1-to-15.7 and Table 182 shows the annual
per-pupil cost at $7.7K.
Like Bennington County and
all of Vermont, Unicoi is, at 98%, statistically all white for NDES purposes,
which shows in Table 121 that the US 4th grade average reading score is
220 overall and 230 for whites (out of 500) with VT at 228 (229w) and TN
at 216 (224w) while Utah, with the largest p/t ratio in the nation at 1-to-22.1,
and a resulting annual per-pupil cost of $6.7K, comes in at 221 (226w).
The "proficiency" percentages by race aren’t shown, but all are well below
50% and at about 30% when you do your own adjustment. For example, the
VT(w) average score is a point or two below the US(w) average, but the
VT total at 41% "proficient" with a score of 228 is 9 points above the
US total at 32% "proficient" with a score of 220.
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of providence has been so conspicuous in all this, that he must be worse
than an infidel that lacks faith, and more than wicked, that has not gratitude
enough to acknowledge his obligations."
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Weekly News Round-Up
From Vermont Times, December
Last week while I was chilling
at Fletcher Allen Hospital (another story), Art Woolf dropped by to cheer
me up and his visit almost made the whole trip to Burlington – ambulance
and all – seem worth the bother.
Sometime during our talk,
Art suggested that we might want to run a series of posts from our regulars
in which they would tell readers of a charity that they think especially
worthy and to which they will be sending a contribution this season.
The project is intended to
accomplish three things:
Spread the word about organizations
that need help and may not be especially well-known.
Celebrate the spirit of giving.
Convince our detractors that
we won't be spending the season down in Whoville stealing Christmas.
Caledonia Record Editorial,
December 23, 2009
In a state like Vermont,
there is no excuse to remain ignorant of what's going on and why, when
public education opportunities like legislative breakfasts are readily
available. We urge citizens who care about those things to go to these
breakfasts, or listen to them on the radio, or read about them in The Caledonian-Record.
They are a welcome source of news and conversational exchange between voters
and their Northeast Kingdom legislators. It is a low-keyed way to hear
what's going on - and to tell our legislators they're all wet when they
need to get that direction. We're all for them.
From Vermont Tiger, December
"I think voting for this
bill this morning was the right thing to do and the day after this bill
is passed, I will start working as hard as I can to make it even stronger
and to address some of the deficiencies in it," Sanders said. -- Freeps
What the bill delivers –
Steyn puts it – is lots and lots of government and not very
much health care. It is bad. Very bad. But Senator Sanders
can surely make it worse.
Consider Changes to Land Conservation Deal
From the Addison County
Independent, December 23, 2009
Selling conservation easements
is a big decision; signing over development rights means a farmer’s land
can never be used for anything other than agriculture, which eliminates
the chance to subdivide sometime in the future.
But Wood said his family
never thought twice about the decision.
"We had come from where there
were houses," Wood said, pointing out that building subdivisions and houses
is a decision that has lasting ramifications, too.
"Once there’s a house there,
it’s never going to be farmland again," he said.
Right now, the only way for
farmers to sell their development rights — deals typically arranged through
the VLT and Vermont Housing and Conservation Board — is to agree to these
perpetual term agreement.
But some Vermont farmers
are beginning to question whether or not preserving farmland in perpetuity
is the only option for conservation, and members of the Vermont Farm Bureau
are angling to create a way landowners can set land aside in 20-, 30-,
or 40-year easements, what farmers have called "generational" periods.
Property Taxes: A Look Inside
From Vermont Times, December
As, barring a significant
course correction, property taxes are likely to increase
significantly yet again over the next three years, it is
useful to revisit the property tax itself. More specifically, revisiting
(1) who pays property taxes and (2) income sensitivity and current use
policies that continue to narrow the tax base thereby placing more of the
property tax burden on fewer Vermonters. In practice, these policies desensitize
the pocketbooks of a large majority of Vermont homeowners (and voters on
school budgets) from the full impact of public K-12 spending and, thus,
have undoubtedly encouraged the profligate education spending that has
occurred since enactment of Act 60. Common sense suggests that desensitized
voters on school budgets won’t be as fiscally responsible when spending
others’ money as they would be when spending their own money.
Heart Of A Community
Caledonia Record Editorial,
December 24, 2009
So often we're assailed with
bad news - drug-driven burglaries, sexual assaults, spousal and child-abuses,
DUI's. The list, unfortunately goes on. It's tempting to mistake the peccancy
of area aberrants as a defining characteristic of our communities.
We'd prefer, during this
holiday season to herald the people who better define us - the people who
go to work everyday, and who are always available with a charitable act
or gesture. So, let's take a look at some people of excellent heart who
are the heart of the community.
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Global War on Terrorism
Start of an Iranian Intifada
By Meir Javedanfar, Tel
Aviv Front Line, December 28, 2009
An Iranian-style intifada
seems to be in the making.
At the beginning of the current
period of opposition, which started soon after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's controversial
reelection, quiet periods of seeming normalcy occurred between what were
less frequent demonstrations.
Judging from the events of
Ashura, however, the protests now seem to carry the potential to turn into
a full-scale civil disobedience campaign, not unlike the first intifada
the Palestinians initiated against Israel in 1987. Such an uprising will
mean continuous periods of strikes and civil disobedience, as well as more
confrontations between members of the public and security forces.
and Premature Death of Pax Obamicana
By Spengler, Asia Times,
December 24, 2009
History speaks of a Pax Romana,
a Pax Britannica, and a Pax Americana - but no other namable eras of sustained
peace, for the simple reason cited by Henry Kissinger: nothing maintains
peace except hegemony and the balance of power. The balancing act always
fails, though, as it did in Europe in 1914, and as it will in Central and
South Asia precisely a century later. The result will be suppurating instability
in the region during the next two years and a slow but deadly drift toward
great-power animosity. Those who wanted an end to US hegemony will get
what they wished for. But they won't like it. ...
America's failure to sustain
its own power will be as tragic as it is unnecessary.
in Afghanistan Kill, Detain Militants
From American Forces Press
Service, KABUL, December 23, 2009
Afghan and international
forces in Afghanistan killed or detained numerous militants today in various
operations, military officials reported. In an operation led by the Afghan
general directorate of special operations, several known instigators of
a kidnapping group were detained.
Warning and a Ray of Hope from an Intelligence Operative
By Douglas MacKinnon, Town
Hall, December 22, 2009
Recently, I sat down with
a friend who has spent almost three decades working as an intelligence
operative in the defense of our nation. During the course of our conversation,
I asked him what -- based on his vast experience -- was the number one
threat facing our nation? Without even pausing to think about it, he forcefully
answered, "Our mainstream media."
More than Al Qaeda, more
than homegrown terrorists, more than heavily armed Mexican drug cartels,
more than non-existent borders, more than out-of-control and extremely
violent domestic gangs, and even more than biological and nuclear terrorism,
this dedicated intelligence operative felt that our own liberal media was
a greater threat to our safety. Why?
Court Acquits Christian Girl and Her Father Accused of Blasphemy
By Dan Wooding, ASSIST News
Service, December 21, 2009
A Pakistani Christian girl
and her father who were accused of defiling the Qur’an (Muslim holy book),
in October of last year were acquitted on December 14, 2009 after serving
thirteen months and fourteen days in prison.
Isn’t Immune to Homegrown Terrorism
By Dr. Laina Farhat-Holzman,
Family Security Matters, December 22, 2009
A nightmare scenario for
America is terrorists in our midst, and unlike those who perpetrated the
horror of 9/11, difficult to profile. Our security forces look for young
men (aged 16-30) of Middle East or South Asian origin. This is no longer
good enough; many wannabe terrorists are American born Muslims or converts
recruited in prison and universities. Add to this the occasional woman,
for whom we would not usually be on alert. The terrorist next door has
become a big concern.
Ignorance and poverty might
be true for the poor starvelings being brainwashed in Afghan and Pakistani
Madrassas, but they are only good for cannon fodder in the hands of their
keepers. This profile certainly does not match what we are seeing in the
U.S., and unfortunately, more than we had expected.
First, consider Maj. Hasan,
a native-born U.S. citizen, soldier, and psychiatrist whose education was
paid for by the military. This man – neither young, poor, nor ignorant
– cold bloodedly murder 14 or his colleagues and wound 34 more before he
was wounded himself. All we know about him was that he was a religious
fanatic and his "spiritual adviser" with whom he corresponded, was a jihadi
who had fled from Virginia to Yemen (he himself born in the U.S.).
# # #
so Liberating: The Twilight of Liberation Theology
By Samuel Gregg D.Phil.,
Acton Institute for Religion & Liberty, December 22, 2009
As time passes, liberation
theology is well on its way to being consigned to the long list of Christian
heterodoxies, ranging from Arianism to Hans-Küngism. But as Benedict
XVI understands, ideas matter – including incoherent and destructive ideas
such as liberation theology.
Best Christmas Present Ever
Senator DeMint Objects
to the Appointment of the Conferees
By Dan Perrin, Red State,
December 24, 2009
When Senator DeMint engineered,
and Republican Leader McConnell actually objected to the appointment of
the conferees, he was really handing the ball off to the left wingers —
progressives if you will — and now they have their shot to either hold
their own clan members who are against the Senate compromises and force
them to vote No, or have their policy demands be ignored and take the crumbs
from Senator Nelson’s and Senator Lieberman’s table.
Now, because of the Senator
DeMint’s objection, unless the House votes for the Senate bill unchanged
— which is highly unlikely (see below) — then the Senate ObamaCare bill
must be amended on the House floor to gain the votes they need to pass
it on the House floor. And because of Senator DeMint’s objection to the
appointment of the conferees, there will be no conference, or conference
Substitute For Fossil Fuels
From Investor’s Business
Daily, December 22, 2009
America has long relied on
fossil fuels to power its economy. Oil, natural gas and coal provide about
84% of the nation's energy. And for good reason. They are plentiful and
typically easy to retrieve, and consequently, cheap.
At the other end of the spectrum
are renewable sources such as solar, wind, biomass and geothermal. They
supply only about 4% of our energy, the remainder coming from hydro and
It's clear that renewables,
which have benefited from government subsidies far in excess of what fossil
fuels have received, can't compete in today's market and won't be faring
much better a quarter century from now, according to the government's own
Growth Predicted for Semiconductor Spending in 2010
By Dan Worth, V3.co.uk,
Semiconductor equipment spending
is set to increase by 45.3 per cent in 2010, according to the latest research
The analyst firm said that
2009 will see a 42.6 per cent decline in spending on semiconductor equipment,
although the market is currently in the middle of a very strong period
of growth recovery.
Qualifies for Funding in Senate Health Care Bill
By John McCormack, The Weekly
Standard, December 21, 2009
Senator Roland Burris is
claiming credit for a provision in Harry Reid's "manager's amendment,"
unveiled Saturday morning, that could funnel money to ACORN through the
health care bill.
Faults Pelosi for Switch
By Josh Kraushaar,The Politico,
December 22, 2009
Democratic Rep. Parker Griffith
announced Tuesday that he's switching parties – saying he can no longer
align himself "with a party that continues to pursue legislation that is
bad for our country, hurts our economy and drives us further and further
Power – Clean And Green – Well, Not Really
From PA Pundits International,
December 28, 2009
Renewable power is not clean.
It is not green. It is just a huge joke being perpetrated on a public who
has not been told the real facts.
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