North Archives - December 30, 2008
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Tribute to President George W. Bush
knew from state politics how rare humility is at any level of public life,
and had personally encountered enough national celebrities to accept its
total absence in the political stratosphere. Yet here was a presidential
candidate who somehow radiated confidence and a genuine connection to those
around him. Those qualities were unexpected in the political arena, but
I had certainly encountered them before – in people of profound religious
are other examples of the "politics of personal destruction" targeting
overtly spiritual people in political life prior to Bush; Ken Starr comes
to mind. Before investigating Clinton he was well liked, respected, considered
bi-partisan in his public activities, no less than Bush was as Governor
of Texas. Yet in a short time Starr was vilified, discredited, marginalized
– why? Because he sang hymns while jogging. That one fact, continually
repeated, was enough to send the press and mot Democrats into a frenzy
of revulsion. If Starr had belted out gangsta rap on his morning runs,
the focus of his investigation might have remained on the prosecuted rather
than the prosecutor, and the course of history altered accordingly. But
no. Ken Starr was – gasp – a real Christian! Compared
to that, nothing Bill Clinton did seemed particularly sordid.
Distant Trumps Local (or Doesn’t) Part II
Vermont’s movers and shakers hadn’t recently shed their willingness to
look beyond State boundaries for attractive solutions to various problems
as they once did (see last week’s column) they might look at underground
construction as the resolution for the seemingly intractable in-State development
confrontation: the need for new construction to house (taxable) jobs and
commerce versus the desire to create a theme-park landscape with meadows,
forest, 12-cow barns and wooden silos, as lovingly depicted in most issues
of Vermont Life magazine, or, in the absence of that, to protect all existing
grass and trees from any sort of replacement by buildings or pavements
(see last week’s column) unless it’s a governmental sponsored or
supported project. There’s a chance that even a despised big-box store
permit applicant might get his approval if he’d design his building so
it couldn’t be seen, except for the front entrance –just like that new
ultimate-government-construction example, the Federal Visitors’ Center.
To the extent that putting grass and trees on the roof now qualifies zoners
and architects to claim credit for a "green" design, an underground Home
Depot or McDonald’s might well be acceptable to all the usual suspects,
objection-wise; after all, the Volvo’s and Audi’s of the usual objectors
are quite frequently seen, parked as discreetly and unobtrusively as possible,
in the parking lots of those entities at above-ground locations.
need frontiers: unoccupied wilderness, space without the clutter of other
people's lives. A person's own life can be a frontier, if he learns to
live it that way, sets his own boundaries, keeps his own counsel, surveys
his own domain. In the vast domain of self autonomy, every free man is
a king, a voyager, an explorer, a frontiersman, but only ifhe is first
a separatist: one who has cut the ties to the old order, burned bridges,
turned from the old established contracts, and pioneered his own path.
Democrats Should Embrace Obama's Slogan
the Democratic majority in Montpelier needs leadership guidance, they need
look no further than their supreme leader, Barack Obama. In naming his
director of the Office of Management and Budget on November 25, the President-elect
these challenging times, when we are facing both rising deficits and a
sinking economy, budget reform is not an option. It is an imperative. We
cannot sustain a system that bleeds billions of taxpayer dollars on programs
that have outlived their usefulness, or exist solely because of the power
of politicians, lobbyists, or interest groups. We simply cannot afford
isn't about big government or small government. It's about building a smarter
government that focuses on what works. That is why I will ask my new team
to think anew and act anew to meet our new challenges.... We will go through
our federal budget - page by page, line by line - eliminating those programs
we don't need, and insisting that those we do operate in a sensible cost-effective
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government expands, liberty contracts." --Ronald
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Weekly News Round-Up
Budget cut Ideas from True North Radio
Paul Beaudry, True North Radio, December, 2008
True North Radio conducted a series of live call in radio shows where the
CITIZENS could call in and express their ideas for budget cuts in FY 2009
for the state of Vermont. Host Paul Beaudry set up some very fair rules
for all callers. Callers were not screened and had 1 minute to make
suggestions, and had to give name and town.
Church Targeted by Gunfire??
Molly Walsh, Burlington Free Press, December 23, 2008
evangelical church in the Northeast Kingdom was sprayed with bullets over
the weekend in an unsettling attack that police believe is part of a pattern.
As before, there were no injuries, and the suspect or suspects remain at
Bennett Slaying Voted 2008's Biggest Story in Vermont
WCAX-TV, December 26, 2008
biggest news story in Vermont in 2008 was the tragic death of a young girl,
and its disturbing aftermath. The killing of 12-year-old Brooke Bennett
has been voted the top story of the year by Vermont news organizations.
Cuts Must Be Made And Very Soon
Record Editorial, December 23, 2008
has an increasing deficit, but the responsible committee for doing things
when the Legislature is not in session has stuck its head firmly in the
sand and refuses to get serious about budget cutting.
Bonus Is Bad; But My Raise Is Okay
Vermont Tiger, December 23, 2008
Welch doesn't want the recipients of Federal bailout money to be
paying themselves bonuses this year. Which seems okay and, perhaps,
insufficient to some of us who believe that maybe they shouldn't even have
I mean, if you are a banker and you bankrupt the bank, isn't that pretty
much clear evidence of incompetence ... at best?
Welch – and everyone else in Congress – will be getting
a pay raise next year and you wonder if they could keep a straight
face and say it is for "performance." Their
fingerprints all over the scene of the crime and in a just world,
they'd be unemployed or breaking rocks ... along with the bankers.
Sue State to Set Tax Rate
Molly Walsh, Burlington Free Press, December 26, 2008
has deviated from normal procedure and declined to make a tax rate recommendation
on the grounds that forestalling will give Gov. James Douglas and lawmakers
flexibility as they wrestle with a fiscal crisis characterized by deep
deficits and cuts to many government services. Many school officials are
worried that the education surplus will be used to plug the large holes
in the state budget.??Instead, it should go back to taxpayers in the form
of a cut to the education tax rate, said John Nelson, executive director
of the Vermont School Boards Association. "It's time to recognize that
there has been an overpayment of property taxes, and it ought to go back
to the property taxpayers," Nelson said Wednesday.
Reserve Funds - To Spend Or Not To Spend
Vermont Tiger, December 23, 2008
the debate over the most effective response to the state’s present financial
crisis, there are many who advocate spending the "Rainy Day Fund" reserves.
Some argue that the state is already on the edge and cannot sustain further
spending reductions from current levels, while others don’t seem to have
the stomach (or political will) to make the hard, priority-based decisions.
There are still others who will always advocate more spending, sometimes
as an economic stimulus, without regard for where the funds come from or
the consequences. Several folks at the Tiger have already provided
excellent reasons to resist the call to spend the reserve funds, but let
me offer a couple more based on my personal experience with the state’s
deficits in the early 1990’s.
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Global War on Terrorism
5-year Terrorism Forecast
By Rick Moran, American
Thinker, December 26, 2008
A leaked forecast of the
prospects for terrorism attacks in the United States over the next 5 years
shows that the government appears to be most concerned about a biological
attack that could devastate
Russian Bailout? Not On Our Dime
From Investor's Business
Daily, December 23, 2008
Recession has left many of
the world's worst-run economies in roughly the same condition as General
Motors. Russia is one of them, and the World Bank thinks they're going
to need a bailout. Not so fast.
Corporate Security and Indo-Pakistani Conflict
By Fred Burton, Strategic
Forecasters, December 24, 2008
The Trident-Oberoi and Taj
Mahal hotels in Mumbai reopened Dec. 21, less than one month after the
Nov. 26 Mumbai attack that left more than 170 people dead. During that
crisis, hotel guests and visitors became trapped after coming under attack
from militants using guns, grenades and other weapons to kill indiscriminately.
As the investigation into the perpetrators of the Mumbai attack continues,
New Delhi has demanded that Islamabad take action to control its militant
proxies and militants operating from Pakistan. Because Islamabad has not
yet met New Delhi’s demands, Pakistan
and India stand on the brink of military confrontation.
President Comforts a Marine Mom
By William McGurn,The Wall
Street Journal, December 23 2008
This Thursday morn, Julie
McPhillips will awake to the great hope that is Christmas Day. And amid
her joy for the Savior born of woman in a Bethlehem stable, she will offer
The first will be for her
son, Lt. Brian McPhillips, killed in action in April 2003 as the First
Marine Division fought its way into Baghdad. The other will be for the
man on whose orders Lt. McPhillips was sent to Iraq: George W. Bush.
From Investor's Business
Daily, December 23, 2008
The Pentagon will add thousands
of troops to Afghanistan next summer, setting up the smart war Barack Obama
prefers. We hope he won't one day regret his choice and pull troops out
Convicted in Fort Dix Plot
By Robert Spencer, Human
Events, December 24, 2008
According to a recent survey,
fewer Americans believe terrorism is a threat now than at any time since
September 10, 2001. But if five Muslim men in New Jersey had had their
way, this threat might loom larger in the public mind today. These men
face life in prison after being convicted Monday of plotting to enter the
U.S. Army base in Fort Dix, New Jersey and murder as many soldiers as they
War on Terror Has Not Gone Away
Despite economic woes,
this is no time to let our guard down
By Thane Rosenbaum, The
Wall Street Journal, December 29, 2008
Perhaps it was inevitable
that the events of 9/11 would not forever define our national character.
And certainly we would be expected to move on to other challenges. But
are we unwittingly endangering our national security by the kind of neglect
and failed oversight that ruined our economy? Lapsing into the complacency
that might expose America to a repeat performance of mass murder is not
a sound trade-off for economic health.
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John Stossel, Creator’s Syndicate, December 17, 2008
Obama wants to use the recession to remake the U.S. economy. "Painful crisis
also provides us with an opportunity to transform our economy to improve
the lives of ordinary people," Obama said (http://tinyurl.com/67x8ec).
designated chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, is more direct: "You never want
a serious crisis to go to waste" (http://tinyurl.com/5n8u58).
they will "transform our economy." Obama's nearly trillion-dollar plan
will not merely repair bridges, fill potholes and fix up schools; it will
also impose a utopian vision based on the belief that an economy is a thing
to be planned from above. But this is an arrogant conceit. No one can possibly
know enough to redesign something as complex as "an economy," which really
is people engaging in exchanges to achieve their goals. Planning it
Doesn't Have to Mean Pork
Scientist Fired By Gore Says Warming Alarm ‘Mistaken’
Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works, December 22, 2008
winning Princeton University Physicist Dr. Will Happer, who was reportedly
fired by former Vice President Al Gore in 1993 for failing to adhere to
Gore’s scientific views, has now declared man-made global warming fears
am convinced that the current alarm over carbon dioxide is mistaken," Happer,
who has published over 200 scientific papers, told EPW on December 22,
2008. Happer made his remarks while requesting to join the 2008
U.S. Senate Minority Report from Environment and Public Works Ranking Member
James Inhofe (R-OK) of over 650 (and growing) dissenting international
scientists disputing anthropogenic climate fears.
Happer as new additions to the Senate report, are at least 10 more scientists,
including meteorologists from Germany, Netherlands and CNN, as well as
a professors from MIT and University of Arizona. See below for full
quotes and bios of the skeptical scientists newly added to the groundbreaking
report, which includes many current and former UN IPCC scientists.]
Pursuit of Happiness ~ Fuzzy Thinking
Walter Williams, Freeman Online, December Edition
Orwell warned, "But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt
thought." That is the challenge—not allowing language and ill-defined terms
to corrupt thought—that I face teaching economics to both graduate and
undergraduate students. Terms that are widely used can have considerable
emotional worth but little or no analytical value, ambiguous meaning, or
unappreciated implications. In analytical usage precise, operational definitions
must be found.
Roosevelt Was No Conservative
a reason he left the GOP to lead the Progressive Party.
Ronald J. Pestritto, The Wall Street Journal, December 26, 2008
know that Barack Obama and his allies identify themselves as "progressives,"
and that they aim to implement the big-government liberalism that originated
in America's Progressive Era and was consummated in the New Deal. What
remains a mystery is why some conservatives want to claim this progressive
identity as their own -- particularly as it was manifested by Theodore
fact that conservative politicians such as John McCain and writers like
William Kristol and Karl Rove are attracted to our 26th president is strange
because, if we want to understand where in the American political tradition
the idea of unlimited, redistributive government came from, we need look
no further than to Roosevelt and others who shared his outlook.
Free Market Is Failing? It Just Aint So!
Steven Horwitz, Freeman Online, December Edition
is no doubt the U.S. economy has hit a rough patch over the last several
months. As is often the case when economic problems make headlines, pundits
rush to declare that capitalism is "in trouble," or "is ailing" or even
"has failed." This reaction to economic bad news is as old as capitalism
itself. It is also consistently wrong. What the pundits fail to realize
is that economic problems, from the recent housing and credit crisis to
things like the Great Depression, are far more often, if not always, the
result of attempts to intervene into the free market rather than failures
of capitalism itself.
Doug French, LewRockwell.
economy is doing what legislators around the country could never do: shrink
state and local governments. California Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger
has declared a fiscal emergency because his state is $40 billion in the
red and may actually be completely busted by February. He even "ordered
state officials to prepare to furlough and lay off employees to cut costs,"
according to Reuters, which would make the Golden State’s 8.4 percent unemployment
rate still worse. ...
course that’s the difference between state budgets and the federal government’s.
States cannot create fiat money out of thin air to pay bills. The federal
government has a central bank at its disposal to create money and subversively
tax people by making their money worth less.
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