Monday, August 1, 2011

Mark Your Calendar!!!: Come Show Support for Bob Perry on August 8th!!!!

If you are a voter in NH, please come to a visibility for Bob Perry, Democrat running in a special election for NH House (August 9-Barrington, Milton, Strafford, Middleton and Farmington).

On Monday, AUGUST 8, at Calef's Corner, Barrington, rt 9 and rt 125 we are holding signs for Bob twice to catch the attention of commuters; 7-8am (we can go out for breakfast at 8) and then again from 4-6. We will carry on this vis NO MATTER WHAT THE WEATHER DOES. If raining, bring large golf type umbrellas. Bob's signs are orange so if you have it, wear it. Please share this email with friends everywhere in NH. I figure that anyone in NH can get to Barrington in 3 hours tops. A swell prize will be given to the person who comes from the most distance. See you Monday at Calef's Corner. We have signs or you can make hand-made ones.

P.S. The Victory Party is at The Governor's Inn in Rochester at 7 on election night, the 9th. Onward.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Recent Columns from Carol Shea-Porter: No. 3 of 3 - "Medicare Works, Leave It Alone"

Medicare works, leave it alone

Beware, anyone who is old or disabled or might ever get old or disabled. If the Republicans in theUnited States House of Representative have their way, Medicare is going to be destroyed. The Paul Ryan plan, the so-called Path to Prosperity, privatizes Medicare and turns it into a voucher program that would hurt the old, the future old, and the disabled.

As USA Today reporter Catalina Camia wrote on April 12, “Medicare, the federal health insurance program for seniors and people with disabilities, would be turned over to private insurers under Ryan’s budget plan and would end up costing beneficiaries more money or give them less in services.”

Why would our Republican members of Congress do this to the old and the vulnerable?

They claim that it will save seniors money and allow them to choose. However, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says it will actually cost seniors more. How much more? The CBO says it would double the cost of insurance for seniors. And that is just for starters.

My mother is 87 and very ill. How in the world is she supposed to “shop around” for a good insurance deal, and what for-profit company would ever choose to insure her? Under Medicare, my mom already gets to choose. She has chosen her doctors, her hospital and her hospice. The Republicans are deliberately misleading people about this.

Republicans also claim that this will somehow drive down costs because they claim that Medicare issues blank checks and does not try to control costs. That also is false. Medicare operating costs run between 3 percent to 7 percent for overhead, while private insurance companies have been passing their overhead costs of up to 37 percent to their customers.

As the April 18, USA Today Editorial stated about Medicare: “In fact, it delivers coverage for lower costs. Doing away with the most efficient system hardly seems the best way… ”

Medicare also has set reimbursement rates for hospitals and providers, which helps save money.

Still, they must do better with our money, so I am pleased that the new health care law gets tougher on waste, fraud, and inefficiency.

Improving a great system is better than destroying it, but our members of Congress voted to destroy Medicare.

Paul Ryan and our members claim this does not hurt seniors or those who are 55 and older. This, too, is false. Their plan slashed Medicaid, and the elderly who cannot afford to pay for nursing home care use Medicaid. As a matter of fact, 25 percent of Medicaid dollars are spent on seniors, and 42 percent is spent on the disabled. That equals 67 percent of the Medicaid budget! This opens up another problem for middle-class Americans. If the Federal Government is not going to help pay for the nursing home, where will the money come from? Most hardworking middle class families will not be able to pay for their parents and pay for their children’s educations. The squeeze will just be too much, so this Medicare and Medicaid slashing will hurt all ages.

Here is the ugliest part of all. This budget plan that both of our New Hampshire congressmen voted for hurts the old and the disabled and the middle class, and our representatives admit it by saying there has to be “shared sacrifice.”

However, the money that they save will not be used to pay down the deficit. No, it will be used to cut taxes for the very rich. That’s right – the very rich will see their taxes reduced while you or your loved one see essential services reduced.

Is this what Americans really want? Apparently, it is not. Across the country, good people of all parties – Republicans, Democrats and Independents – are showing up at town halls and telling their members to leave Medicare and other essential programs alone, that they want to support programs that help their neighbors and communities, that they care about each other. House Republicans miscalculated when they figured that most people only care about themselves, so seniors would not speak up for others. Turns out they were wrong.

Just as I have always believed, we are a great nation full of great people who help each other. It is the American way. So is Medicare. Leave it alone, House Republicans.

Find the money to pay down the debt by voting against tax loopholes, taxpayer subsidies for oil companies and other huge conglomerates, by cutting waste, and by campaign finance reform, which will clean up abuse. But leave Medicare alone.

Recent Columns from Carol Shea-Porter: No. 2 of 3 - "Where are the Jobs?""

Where are the jobs?

Where are the jobs? This is the burning question of our time because we have so many people unemployed. The economy has a mix of good signs--such as continuous private sector job growth for 15 straight months and manufacturing up for 22 months now. This is great news, but we still have a high unemployment rate. So the questions remain. Where did the jobs go, and when will they come back?

We have to look in the rearview mirror to clearly see where we are now. The first devastating blow was when US corporations sent jobs overseas. The US Chamber of Commerce, which is different from the local Chambers, has been an enthusiastic proponent of sending jobs overseas, and also happens to be the top group making outside expenditures in 2010, running ads and engaging in other activities to sway the electorate about candidates and issues. They have too much influence on policy, and for too long, Congress has not forcefully acted against unfair trade policies and created enough incentives to keep American jobs in America.

During the Bush era, we lost 1/3 of our manufacturing jobs. However, the biggest whack came in October 2008 when Wall Street bankers did themselves in, taking down small banks and workers and retirees along with them. America lost more than 700,000 jobs just in the month of December 2008, the last full month before Barack Obama became president. The economy was reeling, and it looked as if the world was on the verge of another depression. Thankfully, policies enacted by the 111th Congress and President Obama pulled us back from a depression, but we lost eight million jobs, and that has created great suffering.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, called the Stimulus, was passed by Congress in February 2009. Congress faced a very difficult choice. It raised the already largest debt in history that President Obama had inherited from the previous administration, but it also created or saved jobs and funded projects around the country. The Congressional Budget Office recently confirmed again that the Stimulus did help by keeping the unemployment rate from climbing even higher. I always believed that 1/3 of the stimulus money should have been used for a jobs program to build and repair infrastructure. This would have served two purposes--it would have brought jobs and money to our communities and rebuilt our failing infrastructure, so I view that as a missed opportunity.

Congress also passed and President Obama signed the HIRE Act and the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act. The latter bill brought more money to community banks, which in turn lent it to the small businesses that had trouble getting credit from the very big banks who had created the mess in the first place. Congress beefed up the Small Business Administration (SBA), and the SBA worked very closely with businesses around the country. Small businesses still need help, so I am very concerned that the current US House Majority has actually cut the SBA budget and programs to help small businesses.

The situation is not as dire as it was in 2008 and 2009, but high unemployment persists and is wreaking havoc on many families. What is the solution? There are many steps America must take to address unemployment. First, the current Congress has to start working on a jobs bill. They have not passed a single jobs bill out of the House yet—not one! At the same time, they are trying to pass Free Trade Agreements with Columbia and Korea, which will instead cause more job losses.

We need to provide tax incentives for manufacturing to keep jobs here. We need to make things instead of always importing them. We need to stop providing subsidies for companies that take jobs overseas. We need to find and eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy that hurts business. And yes, government still has a role to play in job creation and preservation. There are many public sector jobs that are essential to the health, safety, and well-being of our communities. We should not be shortsighted and eliminate those jobs. We still have children to teach, fires to put out, criminals to catch, roads to fix, bridges to repair, airports to maintain, etc.

We should not dismantle this great country by dismantling our great workforce. If we truly want to end unemployment in our country, we must set aside our political differences and concentrate on what is best for our people, not for our politics.

Recent Columns from Carol Shea-Porter: No. 1 of 3 - "What's Really Behind Debt-Ceiling Politics"

What’s really behind debt-ceiling politics

The debt limit debate has become a sign of all that is wrong in Congress these days. This Congress, the most partisan in recent history and, as the LA Times notes, “underperforming even the ‘do-nothing Congress’ of 1948,” simply cannot stay at work long enough or even work together to get the job done. As NH Senator Kelly Ayotte commented in that July 3 article, “I thought we would vote on a lot more bills.” Yes, so did we. At least, we thought they could vote on the looming debt ceiling vote before our country defaulted, but the deadline, August 2, is getting too close for comfort, and Congress had to be shamed into coming back to work this week to even argue about it. They have not passed a single jobs bill, which is a disaster for the millions of unemployed in this country, but if they let America default on its debts, the consequences would reverberate in the markets around the world.

As Ronald Reagan said in 1983, “the full consequences of a default, or even the serious prospect of default by the United States, are impossible and awesome to contemplate.” In 1987, Reagan called refusing to raise the debt ceiling “brinksmanship” that “threatens the holders of government bonds and those who rely on Social Security and veterans benefits. Interest rates would skyrocket, instability would occur in financial markets, and the Federal deficit would soar.”

Fast-forward to today. In Atlanta Business Chronicle, US Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donahue said: “…the country cannot afford to not pay its bills. To those newly-elected representatives who say they aren’t going to raise the debt ceiling and will shut down government, Donahue said the U.S. Chamber has its own message: We’ll get rid of you.” This is pretty serious stuff. When Republican icons from the past and the head of the US Chamber are warning Republican leaders of dire consequences if they don’t raise the debt ceiling and default, why isn’t Congress listening?

Sadly, the answer lies in politics. Political ideology trumps reality. Republicans are so against any kind of tax on the wealthy that they voted repeatedly to increase the ceiling through the Bush years rather than raise revenue to pay for their spending. As USA Today stated in their July 5 editorial, “…the nation has used trillions of dollars in borrowed money to finance two wars, Medicare’s prescription drug program, and President George W. Bush’s broad tax cuts—all initiated with the GOP controlling both the White House and Congress. Now Republicans have belatedly decided that borrowing is bad too, but they dogmatically resist even the most sensible and painless tax hikes.”

The Republicans are so opposed to either collecting any income tax from GE and other corporations, or stopping taxpayer subsidies for oil companies and other special interests, that they are refusing to raise the debt ceiling unless Democrats agree to slash Social Security, Medicare, education, housing, transportation funding, infrastructure, research, healthcare, or anything else that actually benefits communities and the middle class. They tell people through mailers and tele-town halls that they have to reduce benefits to save Social Security, all the while knowing that Social Security is solvent enough to fully pay benefits until 2036, and is not contributing to the debt at all right now.

Republican members are also misleading the middle class and small businesses by asking them if they want to pay more taxes, and then reporting back the answer was no. Of course it is no. The middle is tired of paying for the breaks the tax structure gives to the top 1% and multinational corporations. NOBODY is talking about raising the taxes on the middle class, and Republicans know that. They are misleading the public and distracting them from the real issue. Their ideology and agenda will not allow them to raise revenue to help us dig out of this mountain of debt that their ideology got us in. Democrats do not get a free pass on the debt since they certainly have contributed, and many voted to continue the Bush tax cuts for two years, but as USA Today noted, it was the recent spending since Clinton’s budget surplus that got this country into deep trouble.

Sad, isn’t it? Although NH members vote with their party at least 95% of the time, I hope they will rise above politics and vote with Ronald Reagan rather than their current leadership. America is counting on them to do the right thing.

Susan Bruce's Column for 6.24.11: Impulse Control and Pledge Politics

Impulse Control and Pledge Politics

It has become increasingly obvious that the current NH legislature is not just trying to turn the state into a Randian/Dickensian paradise, but they’re also intent on repealing any law they can, just because.

A case in point would be the recent repeal of the NH minimum wage law. NH has had it’s own minimum wage law since 1949. The party that claims to be all about “states rights” just passed a bill that repealed a law that gave us the right to set the state’s minimum wage, rather than just abide by the federal minimum. Governor Lynch vetoed the repeal, and the Freebaglicans decided that it was so important to thumb their nose at the Governor (who was defending the actual right of the state) that they overturned the veto. This is the kind of brilliant thinking that’s been going on in Concord this year, in a legislature overrun with Tea Partiers, Free Staters, and John Birchers.

The current crop of Republicans is badly behaved. You’d see better impulse control in the ape house at the zoo. House Majority Leader D J Bettencourt calling Bishop McCormick “a pedophile and a pimp” comes to mind as an example. NH GOP Chairman Jack Kimball had this to say about the re-election of President Obama: ‘‘look at who we put in the White House. You think about that and we realize the profound responsibility that we have this time. In my view, if we re-elect this man, all that all of the people fought and died for is completely in vain.” In other words: if you die in the service of your country when the president is a dark skinned Democrat whom we like to pretend was born in Kenya; you’ve died in vain. A number of veterans groups are rightly unhappy with this statement. Those of us who remember being called traitors for questioning the invasion of Iraq are unsurprised by the level of hypocrisy shown by the leader of the NH GOP or his NH media stenographers.

Another badly behaved Republican recently in the news is our very own Ray Shakir, whose lack of impulse control has been on display for a number of years in the op-ed section of this newspaper. Ray achieved national fame for his brand of commentary in Mother Jones magazine, in a piece on his support for presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty. Writer Andy Kroll quotes Shakir’s description of President Obama: "a jungle alien. Because that's what he is—he's not an American. You can call me a birther if you want." A “jungle alien.” I’m sure old T-Paw is thrilled to have his association with a racist go national, especially given that Pawlenty himself has tried to avoid rolling in the stench of the birther cesspool.

The Freebaglican legislature passed their budget this week. As legislature discussed the bill, prior to the vote, the Republicans in the House got up and walked out when former Speaker Terrie Norelli spoke in opposition to the bill. The GOP majority has shown repeatedly that not only do they lack impulse control; they are incapable of common courtesy.

This budget makes drastic cuts in the few safety net programs our state has. NH will be returning to the GOP glory days of the wait list for services for people with developmental disabilities, always a source of pride for our state. There are further cuts to domestic violence programs, to mental health programs, and to substance abuse treatment programs. It’s hard to imagine that a state that uses alcohol as a source of revenue could spend any less than we have been on treatment, but we will be. Prison and jail will be the increasing source of treatment for addicts and the mentally ill. Despite the recent heap of baloney served up by DJ Bettencourt and Gene Chandler on the op-ed pages of this paper, be prepared for cost shifting to the counties and towns. Expect your property taxes to rise as a direct result of this reckless budget.

Another area of concern is NH’s failing infrastructure. The annual infrastructure report card gives NH a barely passing grade. NH has 142 bridges on the red list. Our roads, bridges, dams, schools, public water, and public sewer systems are all in need of attention. Pledge politics mean we’ve kicked that can down the road for decades. Pledge politics guarantee that we’ll continue to, and that we’ll pay the pound of cure when some kind of disaster occurs.

When the recent unemployment numbers came out for NH, showing that our state has among the lowest numbers in the country, the NH GOP took credit for it, saying it was their policies – even though those policies had yet to be enacted. When those numbers rise, as a direct result of the budget cuts, one wonders if they’ll be so eager to take credit for the increase.

This legislature has slashed programs carelessly, and has worked hard to cut revenue sources. This week, as Speaker O’Brien returned from meeting with special interest groups (including one funded by Big Tobacco) the House cut the NH tobacco tax. NH is the first state to decrease the tobacco tax in 50 years. This is expected to result in a $15 million loss in revenue over the next two years.

At the same time, the new budget slashes state aid to higher education by 45%. NH already has the dubious distinction of ranking dead last amongst the 50 states in spending on post-secondary education. NH was firmly in 50th place – well behind states like Mississippi and Arkansas. We’re in 70th place now, behind the other 50 states. This means that sending a NH kid to a NH college is now going to be even more cost-prohibitive. In-state tuition at UNH is going to increase by 8.7 percent. If this budget becomes law, it’s going to be cheaper for NH kids to go to college in other states. When they do, the likelihood of their returning to NH is small. They’ll be helping to build the economy and the future of other states, while NH remains a hostage of the past.

Pledge politics combined with a tax system that designed in the 1800’s, but fails in the 21st century will continue to conspire to keep our state moving backwards. Businesses considering moving to our state will not find our property taxes and our negative attitude about education to be an enticement. The real NH advantage is being slowly destroyed by pledge politics.

“New Hampshire is not a poor state, NH is a cheap state.” Blue Hampshire blogger tchair.

Jackie Cilley's Legislative Action Alert, Week of June 27, 2011

Legislative Action Alert
Week of June 27, 2011
Jackie Cilley

“You Got to Know When to Hold ‘em, Know When to Fold ‘em”
The trip to the Bangor casino was out of compassion, at least that’s how I sold it to my very gambling-averse husband. My friend Norma, a decidedly down Maine gal complete with the accent and derisive tone reserved for out-of-staters, had been hospitalized and home-bound for the past couple of weeks. Her favorite pastime is slots so it was a natural way for me to cheer her up.

The hour long ride to and fro is always filled with chatter about the happenings of South China. I don’t know any of the people mentioned, but I’m beginning to feel as though I do. The conversation moves beyond news of the day and onto flora and fauna and a host of other topics.

For someone lacking a formal education, Norma’s one of the sharpest folks I know. There simply doesn’t seem to be anything for which she fails to know something about and have an opinion on. In the early days of our friendship I thought she delighted in pulling my leg about her “data” and information. I’ve checked up on her facts and she’s generally dead on. (Damned if it didn’t turn out that she was right on such an esoteric fact as mosquitoes are attracted to blue! Who knows that kind of stuff??)

On this particular trip, she talked of more pressing concerns -- her stay in the hospital, the treatment plan for the lung infection and out-of-pocket costs of the illness. They were substantial. Norma is on one of those very limited insurance plans due to age and previous illness. She manages by doing everything in her control to stay healthy and by going to the doctors only when absolutely necessary. That might have been what landed her in the hospital. The doctor said she had waited too long before seeing him and the result was full blown respiratory distress that was more dangerous and difficult to treat.

Thankfully, she was considerably better by the time we got together and she was definitely more cheerful to be on her way to pursue her hobby. I suspect she may enjoy gambling a bit because she’s actually lucky at it, something I am most assuredly not. She plays a bit, loses a bit, wins a bit. A day’s entertainment is often less than the price of the one egg and dry toast she sometimes splurges on for a breakfast out.

This occasion went considerably better than that for Norma. At the end of the afternoon she was several thousand dollars up and I was just envious. All the way back to the camp she ticked off the co-pays that were about to be dispatched. Of course, there was also a discussion about the taxes on the winnings which suddenly seemed steep to her. (Honestly, this is the part I never understand. A few thousand minus a few hundred still puts one up rather nicely. But that’s never quite the way it is viewed.) She asked me how I had handled this. I told her I’d never had the occasion to worry about it.

Later that evening I reflected on the trip and what singularly good timing her win had been. I also thought about the fact that at the beginning of the day we were both certain we would be winners. Only one of us was. And, the odds against even that were very high. Depending upon the type of slot machine either one of us played at any given time the odds could be as high as thousands to one that either of us would hit a jackpot. Nonetheless, and despite knowing that, we both entered the casino in the secure belief that we would each be winners. We humans can be odd creatures.

Speaking of which reminds me of the extreme libertarians who are now in control of our state. It seems to me that the world they are shaping for the rest of us will be a bit like waking up in a casino every day – without the entertaining bells and sirens of the slot machines.

The luck of the draw will either place us with parents competent at homeschooling or with sufficient resources to send us to a private school -- or not. If we hit the jackpot, we will have parents able to afford college for us or we’ll be sufficiently brilliant enough to attract full boat scholarships -- or not. The hand we’re dealt and our ability to negotiate a good deal with a prospective employer will either provide us with a livable wage and decent benefits to carry us into a ripe old age – or not. If Lady Luck smiles on us we’ll be safe in our place of employment and our schools, we won’t be hit by a speeding car, our property won’t be polluted by a bad corporate citizen, the air we breathe won’t harm us and the food we eat at our favorite restaurant won’t poison us. We’re going to need luck because many of the government regulations that seek to help in those ways are targeted for elimination.

We can’t eradicate misfortune. We can’t (or at least I hope we don’t want to try) engineer Mensa candidates. We can’t stop the devastation of an earthquake or a hurricane or a tornado. There are lots of things we can’t prevent and that lead to awful consequences to those who are impacted. But it does seem to me that an enlightened, compassionate society creates conditions for all of its citizens that offer better odds than the pull on a one-armed bandit. Some bills passed this year, coupled with those on the docket for the upcoming year, suggest we are being governed by folks who are just fine with casino odds.

Late Breaking News
The Alert typically stays pretty focused upon legislative antics and activities and sidesteps party politics. However, from time to time something happens that seems to have an obvious connection to what is happening in our Statehouse. An article printed in the NH Journal today was a case in point.
In an article entitled “State GOP in Disarray” author Shawn Millerick notes that the GOP party coffers are down to $1,300 from which to pay its bills and that the situation is “so dire that the party has asked the Strafford County GOP for a loan of $1,000 so it can host a fundraising even with presidential candidate Herman Cain…”

The sad state of GOP financial affairs is being laid right at the feet of the Tea Party-inspired and supported Chairman Jack Kimball. Millerick goes on to say “The New Hampshire Republican State Committee is in disarray and Chairman Jack Kimball is reeling under the strain of a job he thought would be a piece of cake, multiple sources tell NH Journal…” These same sources claim that “…Kimball is now visibly regretful that he ever took the job [sic] of State Party Chairman.”

So, what’s the connection between this and the current legislature? In the GOP-Free Stater sweep of last fall there were far too many who gained the power but failed to grasp the significance of actually governing. They have not listened to constituents who presented expert testimony on numerous bills nor have they spent time assessing the consequences of their actions. Like Kimball, they are “reeling from a job they thought would be a piece of cake…” The difference between the two? When they are done, New Hampshire is going to need a whole lot more than $1,000 loan to correct the damage!

The Week in Brief
Earlier in the legislative sessions there were attempts to defund Planned Parenthood through HB 228. Opponents cited the thousands of NH citizens who receive cancer screenings and reproductive healthcare. Retained by the committee, it was anticipated that the bill would come to the floor next January.
Consequently, it came as a shock last week when the Executive Council suddenly voted to defund Planned Parenthood by withholding a $1,861,116 contract, two-thirds of which are federal dollars, targeted to women’s healthcare by that provider. This puts 15,000 patients who currently receive routine reproductive health services, cancer and STD screenings at risk.

This is a purely ideological attack (also occurring in several states in this country). Supporters of defunding Planned Parenthood have repeatedly cited its abortion services. However, no public dollars are allowed to be expended on abortions. For all of the talk of greater individual freedoms, personal responsibility and patient choice, the extreme ideologues in our legislature and in the Executive Council have denied 15,000 of our New Hampshire citizens the ability to access affordable reproductive healthcare services.

With the Governor declining to veto the budget (either HB 1 or HB 2), Speaker O’Brien notified the troops their services would not be necessary this week. The House calendar for this week listed Thursday, June 30 as a potential session day. The day was reserved for the possibility of a gubernatorial veto of the budget. With that possibility out of the way, the House is “recessed at the call of the Chair.” While most observers anticipate that the next session day will occur in the fall, it is possible for one to be scheduled at any given time.

On June 27 the Governor vetoed yet one more bill, SB 129 the voter ID bill. Assuming the legislature will be called back into session in the fall, this bill along with HB 474 the Right to Work Act will likely be taken up at that time. Several other bills the Governor vetoed were overridden by the legislature before recessing, including the repeal of New Hampshire’s minimum wage, parental notification and the ability of communities to require certain sprinkler systems that best suit the needs of that communities residential and commercial areas. Two other vetoes that have not been dealt with include SB 3, the bill that made substantial changes to the NH Retirement System, and HB 218, legislation that weakened the Rail Authority.

Select List of New Laws
This one is more a new “non” law – After seven decades New Hampshire no longer has a minimum wage law.
Individuals can now use deadly force to protect themselves or a third person in any place s/he is legally entitled to be and has immunity for such use.
There is no longer a minimum mandatory sentencing requirement for felony convictions that include the possession, use or attempted use of a firearm.
By law, NH will not accept the funds to establish nor will it establish a health exchange under the new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
New Hampshire is now one of only three states that has privatized weights and measures certification and enforcement (a program that ensures you receive the unit of something you pay for – i.e., a gallon of gasoline). The other states have a public/private partnership for this program. Under the new law, New Hampshire will have essentially privatized the entire function.

Sneak Preview:
The list of “legislative service requests” are posted to the General Court website and can be accessed at Legislative service requests are the precursor to actual bills. An LSR becomes a bill once it is given a number and assigned to a committee for its first hearing. In each edition of the Alert over the summer I will include some of the more entertaining pieces of legislation.

If Susan Emerson of Rindge (serving Cheshire, District 7) has her way bullying in the Statehouse will be unlawful. After experiencing firsthand the verbal battering of House leadership, Rep. Emerson felt it appropriate to file the first ever bill “prohibiting bullying in the Statehouse and Legislative Office Building.” I can’t wait for this one to make national news!
Robert Kingsbury of Laconia (serving Belknap, District 4) has been a truly busy beaver. You may recall in the last list of bill requests that he was the legislator sponsoring a bill to require the courts to provide a woman who is given a restraining order a gun, a box of ammunition and shooting instructions. One that just might resonate with many folks on the seacoast is a bill “establishing that the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard is within the boundaries of New Hampshire.” This has been a contentious issue and one over which there has been longstanding controversy between Maine and New Hampshire. I believe that there was a final court case that settled the dispute, but maybe not. Perhaps our legislators declaring it is ours will simply make it so. This one should be worth watching. I wonder if we can get Maine’s Tea Party governor to come in and break bread with his New Hampshire counterparts? Now that would be worth the price of admission!
Free Stater Jennifer Coffey apparently wants our citizens to know if they inadvertently cross over into Massachusetts because she is sponsoring a bill “requiring the Department of Transportation to post signs on roads that cross the border into Massachusetts.” I just hope that Rep. Coffey of Andover (serving Merrimack, District 6) is going to find a way to include funding for these new signs. Given that our Department of Transportation is losing $90 million just on the loss of vehicle registration monies that will severely impact its ability to maintain our already distressed roads and bridges, it is difficult to see where it will have much excess to spend on signage saying “leaving NH.” Interesting that this is the only border she’s concerned with.
Now here’s one that could really benefit all of us – a bill requiring a course in business or financial literacy as a prerequisite for high school graduation! Just goes to show that every once in a while you can find a diamond in a coal mine. This bill is being supported by Rep. Shaun Doherty of Pelham (representing Hillsborough, District 27). There are MANY things that I could find to disagree with Rep. Doherty about – not the least of which is his support for nullifying any federal law he might not like – but I have certainly found my point of agreement with him on this one. If payday and title loan lending are coming back to our state it would be a particularly good idea for our citizens to have a higher level of financial literacy to determine if these products are a good deal for them.

A Distinction With a Difference
In light of the “thought of the week” that I wrote a few weeks back about NH natives and those who move to our state, the following letter to the editor really resonated with me. This would have made such a fitting ending for that piece as it describes clearly the distinction between….

Carpetbaggers vs. immigrants
For the Monitor
Created 06/17/2011 - 00:00
John R. White, Wolfeboro

A glimmer of hope shines in Concord: The Free State/Tea Party Express seems to have lost a few wheels on the way to the station. Some of the GOP faithful are beginning to doubt the wisdom of Speaker William O'Brien, he who must be obeyed, and his campaign to dismantle the machinery of government in New Hampshire.

Up to now, O'Brien has been able to browbeat his party reluctants into doing things his way. Those who deviated have been summarily relieved of committee assignments, threatened, slandered, verbally abused and libeled. Grudgingly, for the most part, they have sustained the party super-majority.
So who is this William O'Brien who rules the House with an iron fist? And how, in only his second term in the Legislature, is he commander of the House?

He's a carpetbagger from Massachusetts, a Democrat when he was law partner of Tommy Finneran, erstwhile speaker of the Massachusetts House who left that post in disgrace.
In New Hampshire, O'Brien latched on to the Free State movement; in the aftermath of the 2010 election he courted the radicals and won the speaker's chair. He owes his power to a group dedicated to the destruction of state government, reducing the civil obligation to the protection of life and property - nothing more. Strangely, that protection of life and property seems to devolve upon the individual - why else the over-weaning concern that every man carry a gun?

O'Brien is a carpetbagger, as differentiated from an immigrant. Lots of us here in New Hampshire are immigrants. I'm one - moved here in 1991. The difference?

Immigrants come here to change their lives; carpetbaggers come to change your life.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Another gem from the Pickup Patriots: Some words are as powerful as a picture...this one's a Mona Lisa

Every once in a while, we see a letter and perspective that is too good NOT to share. This LTE to the Concord Monitor from Wolfeboro resident, John White, is one such letter. We share it with PuPNation so that you can make it viral. Please send it to everyone you know -- it's that good.

Carpetbaggers vs. immigrants

For the Monitor
Created 06/17/2011 - 00:00

John R. White, Wolfeboro
A glimmer of hope shines in Concord: The Free State/Tea Party Express seems to have lost a few wheels on the way to the station. Some of the GOP faithful are beginning to doubt the wisdom of Speaker William O'Brien, he who must be obeyed, and his campaign to dismantle the machinery of government in New Hampshire.

Up to now, O'Brien has been able to browbeat his party reluctants into doing things his way. Those who deviated have been summarily relieved of committee assignments, threatened, slandered, verbally abused and libeled. Grudgingly, for the most part, they have sustained the party super-majority.

So who is this William O'Brien who rules the House with an iron fist? And how, in only his second term in the Legislature, is he commander of the House?

He's a carpetbagger from Massachusetts, a Democrat when he was law partner of Tommy Finneran, erstwhile speaker of the Massachusetts House who left that post in disgrace.

In New Hampshire, O'Brien latched on to the Free State movement; in the aftermath of the 2010 election he courted the radicals and won the speaker's chair. He owes his power to a group dedicated to the destruction of state government, reducing the civil obligation to the protection of life and property - nothing more. Strangely, that protection of life and property seems to devolve upon the individual - why else the over-weaning concern that every man carry a gun?

O'Brien is a carpetbagger, as differentiated from an immigrant. Lots of us here in New Hampshire are immigrants. I'm one - moved here in 1991. The difference?

Immigrants come here to change their lives; carpetbaggers come to change your life.