Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Daddy State

This is a transcript of my remarks, given today at the Unite Against the War on Women in NH rally on April 28, at the State House in Concord:

Conservatives, especially in NH, love to throw around the term “nanny state.” Generally speaking, anything that involves legislation that protects people (food labeling, professional licensing, seat belt wearing, non-smoking in restaurants/bars, drunk driving laws -(you get the idea) is labeled as “nanny stateism.” “Nanny state” must be said with a Randian sneer. The implication is that pesky liberals want to micromanage your life, force political correctness upon you, and prevent you from allowing your kids to play dodge ball and feeding them deep-fried Twinkies for breakfast.

It’s been my experience that whenever the far right tosses terms like this around, what they’re REALLY doing is projecting their own behavior on to others. Sure they love to bleat about FREEDOM and LIBERTY, but as soon as anything even remotely related to the freedoms of any group NOT comprised of white male, heterosexuals comes up, we see how invested in freedom they really are.

Over the last decade or so, we’ve seen an increase in authoritarian laws. Protestors can now be sequestered in so-called “free speech zones.” Security personnel can feel you and your children up at the airport, all the while telling us this is necessary for our safety and security. We can be wiretapped without our knowledge. We’ve seen NH become the only state in the union to actually decide to USE the death penalty, as opposed to ending the death penalty, which many states are doing.

In the last 2 years, we’ve seen the NH legislature eager to regulate women’s bodily autonomy, by attempting to limit access to both abortion and affordable birth control. We’ve seen that same legislature attempt to strike down NH’s marriage equality law. Apparently the silly women and homosexuals of NH need Big Daddy to make our decisions for us. That’s why I mentioned projection. They complain about the nanny state, while initiating something far more sinister: The Daddy State.

Daddy is an authoritarian, a stern patriarch who wants to set the rules, and punish the girls when they’re bad. 

It's Daddy who must make the rules for our reproductive decisions. After all, left to our own devices we might continue to use birth control and choose not to have children so that we can have careers - and even run for political office! Women might actually choose to continue to compete with men!

The Daddy Staters don't like that. Daddy Staters know what's right for silly girlies.

Last year, Executive Councilor Ray Wieczorek voted against funding for Planned Parenthood in NH. At the time, he said: "I am opposed to providing condoms to someone. If you want to have a party, have a party but don't ask me to pay for it." Councilor Wieczorek stated that he was opposed to abortion. Planned Parenthood provides mammograms and pap tests. Apparently the health of the incubator is of no concern to Wieczorek - who, by the way, wisely chose not to run for re-election.

Rush Limbaugh, one of the Stern Patriarchs of the Daddy State gave voice to what many didn't dare to say, when he called college student Sandra Fluke a slut for testifying before Congress about the importance of birth control. Somehow, in Rush's drug addled brain, Fluke's testimony on how birth control is used as a treatment for some serious medical conditions, turned into a demand that the gubmint give her excessive amounts of free birth control. The Daddy State Patriarchs know that only bad girls have sex, and bad girls must be punished. They think forced incubation is an appropriate punishment.

That the Daddy Staters want to cut every safety net program that would help women and children tells you all you really need to know about how deep their concern for the unborn really is. Once that little nipper hits the chute, it’s pick yourself up by your bootie straps time.

We saw the Daddy State go wild when CNN pundit Hilary Rosen commented that Mitt Romney’s advisor on how to speak to women…his wife had never worked a day in her life. What Ms. Rosen meant was that Mrs. Romney had never worked outside the home. In the ensuing backlash and round of apologies, the most important part of the discussion failed to occur.

Certainly anyone who has been a mother knows how hard it is. Mrs. Romney had 5 boys. I know how hard I struggled with only one girl. Feminism has always been about giving women choices: reproductive choice certainly, but also the choice to go to school, join the military, work outside the home, or be a stay at home mom. Ann Romney was lucky that being a stay at home mom was a choice for her. Unfortunately she’s completely tone deaf when it comes to that.

Ann Romney never had to worry about how she was going to pay the electric bill or the rent. She didn’t have to agonize over how to stretch the groceries till payday, health insurance, or how on earth she was going to get new shoes for the kids. Most moms have to worry about money. Ann Romney never did. She is married to an incredibly wealthy man. Her failure to acknowledge that is – for me anyway – the most irritating thing about her. Wealth is the best insulation there is. Not only will you never be cold, you’ll also never have to even consider what life is like for those who lack insulation of any sort.

And Mitt is a Daddy. He wants to regulate women’s reproduction for them. He wants to cut the kind of safety net programs that help low-income women and their children stay afloat.

In fact, Mitt, while Governor of Massachusetts proposed raising the required number of work hours for people on welfare so that they could have “the dignity of work.” In NH, Mitt had this to say:

"I wanted to increase the work requirement," … " even if you have a child 2 years of age, you need to go to work. And people said, 'Well that's heartless.' And I said, 'No, no, I'm willing to spend more giving day care to allow those parents to go back to work. It'll cost the state more providing that daycare, but I want the individuals to have the dignity of work.'"

Apparently wealthy white women are born with an innate sense of dignity. When they stay home with the kids its hard work – but doing the right thing for the children. When low-income women stay home with the kids, it’s because they’re lazy.

The Daddy State has no real concern for women or children. They just want to govern them.

Birth control has been the big game changer for women. It ensured that anatomy was no longer destiny, and allowed women to pursue careers, including political ambitions. We hear the representatives of the Daddy State frequently express a desire to “take our country back.” I bet I’m not the only one who shivers a little when I hear that phrase. Perhaps I’ve read The Handmaid’s Tale too many times.

The lesson for all of us is this: Constant vigilance is the price of women’s equality. Somewhere along the way we may have thought we’d won, that we didn’t have to fight these battles any more. We were wrong about that.

No matter how much the right wing media smirks and denounces the very idea of a war on women – women know it’s true. And we must fight back, harder than ever. One of the easiest ways to fight back is at the ballot box. Women fought and died to give us the right to vote – and we have a responsibility to honor them by VOTING!
We need to encourage women to run for office, and support them when do. We must also support the men who believe in equality - because as the old bumper sticker says: Men of Quality Support Women's Equality!

We must also speak out against injustice, even when it makes us uncomfortable.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton was one of my favorite suffragists. She said a lot of smart things, but this is one of my favorites, and the thought I leave you with, today:

“The best protection any woman can have... is courage. “

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Live Free and Porta-Potty

New Hampshire’s old tourist slogan: “You’re Going to Love it Here,” has been retired. We now have a new slogan, designed to lure tourists to NH where they can spend lots and lots of money. The new slogan: “Live Free and ____.” The advertiser can fill in that blank with the activity of their choice, “Live Free and Ski,” or “Live Free and Hike” – you get the idea.

This exciting new slogan was recently unveiled by the NH Dept. of Resources and Economic Development (DRED) and discussed last week on the NHPR call in program The Exchange. DRED is an appropriate acronym for this department, given the level of esteem our state has for our natural resources. Commissioner George Bald did a fine job of making this slogan seem like a great idea. Not everyone agrees. A commenter known as “elwood” at the blog Blue Hampshire quipped, “Live Free and… Sorry - No Budget to Complete Slogan.”

Tourism is the second largest industry in NH. Given that fact, one might think that the state would do all that it could to welcome visitors and provide amenities to ensure those tourists enjoyed their stay, and returned at every opportunity. One would be wrong.

Along the NH highways and byways lurk 16 rest areas /welcome stops. At this moment in time, 3 of them are closed, with no plans to reopen. Sorry visitors – if you expect a welcome in Rumney, Antrim, or Epsom, better make other plans. Four rest area/welcome stops are seasonal: open from May through October. Colebrook and Shelburne are seasonal rest areas. Lebanon and Littleton are seasonal rest areas and welcome stops. Apparently our winter visitors do not require welcoming. Best of all are the new hours at the Sanbornton rest area on I-93 south. It is now open Friday through Sunday, with the exception of 3 holidays: Independence Day, Labor Day, and Columbus Day. Since it’s a southbound stop, apparently the state assumes that we’ve wrung all of your tourist dollars out of you by that point, and you should just go home. For those who absolutely positively must empty their tourist bladders, porta-potties are provided at all of these sites. Nothing says “Welcome to NH, we value you” like a bank of porta potties at a closed rest area. Or, to use our sexy new slogan: “Live Free and Porta Potty!”

I learned a little about this first hand last week, as I drove to Concord, listening to the Exchange, hearing about closed rest areas. Being a female of middle age, drinking copious amounts of coffee, I elected to stop in Sanbornton as is my custom. I was surprised to discover the new hours, and the bank of porta potties lined up off to the side of the building. The building is in need of a new paint job, some of the shutters are broken, and the grounds are covered with dead leaves and litter. This is the NH idea of providing “services” to visitors and residents alike.

Tourism is our second largest industry. Hippo Press (a weekly NH paper) did a story called “Where NH Goes to Play” about our state parks. They interviewed interim Parks and Recreation Dept. director Gail Wolek. According to Ms. Wolek, outdoor recreation annually contributes $45 million directly to our state, and another $450 million indirectly – via restaurants, hotels, liquor stores, etc. That’s a big chunk of change for a small state.

NH is the only state in the union that funds its state park system solely by user fees. There’s a reason we’re the only one. It doesn’t work. The decision to fund the parks this way was enacted by the legislature in 1991. This means that for 20 years, our state parks have been consistently under funded. Generally the parks are about $400,000 a year over budget, and that is without fixing most of what needs to be repaired. A 10-year plan for the parks was written up in 2009. Doing everything that needs doing in that 10 year plan (which is available online) would cost about $75 million, or approximately 2 years worth of the direct monies brought in by outdoor recreation. Like everything else requiring maintenance, NH has been kicking that can down the road for decades. Now the road is covered with potholes, the bridge is out, and the parks are in disrepair.

People who visit our state never speak eloquently of the natural beauty that drew them to visit Salem. Some 31% of visitor traffic (the lion’s share) to state parks is to the White Mountains. Cannon Mountain (which our legislature is dying to get rid of) is one of the most visited attractions in the state. NH legislature eliminated about $1 billion in revenue streams to our government, thereby ensuring that education, infrastructure, and maintenance of all kinds goes undone.

As of July 1, NH is losing its Poison Control Hotline, which for some years now has been funded by the Dept. of Homeland Security. The hotline costs about $600,000 a year to run. NH’s Department of Health and Human Services doesn’t have the money. Mothers, school nurses, babysitters, and all who rely on that service to be there, should it ever be necessary, are out of luck.

Worst of all, at least for me, is that we aren’t embarrassed by any of this. NH has never been a state that provided any sort of responsible level of services, but we’re living in the land of ridiculous now. Some money is needed to run this state. Despite the fact that tourism is our second biggest industry, we don’t bother with our state parks, we provide smelly porta potties to the folks who come here to spend money, and we expect them to be grateful and return with even more cash.

A reminder: NH is the wealthiest state in the union. Chew on that for a minute, as you consider the fact that we have the 11th worst infrastructure in the nation, and we rank 50th in the nation for state spending on post secondary education. We don’t pay our legislators. NH is home to over 27,000 millionaires. We have no excuse for our lack of concern for our natural resources (and 2nd biggest industry). We have no excuse for our bad roads, failing bridges, and completely inadequate telecommunications infrastructure.

There are no excuses, but there is one simple reason for all of it:

“NH isn’t a poor state. NH is a cheap state.” Gubernatorial candidate Jackie Cilley

© sbruce 2012
Published as an op-ed in the April 27, 2012 edition of the Conway Daily Sun

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ann Romney Visits the Let Them Eat Cake Bakery Again

Ann Romney, advisor-in-chief to her husband Willard on women's issues, steps in it again.From
Romney, 63, still stinging from recent comments by Democratic pundit Hilary Rosen that she's never worked a day in her life, received a multiple standing ovations from a crowd of 800 Republicans at the party's annual Prescott Bush Awards Dinner.
Certainly one problem Mrs. Rmoney has is that she was speaking at a dinner celebrating Nazi collaborator Prescott Bush.
"I know what it's like to finish the laundry and to look in the basket five minutes later and it's full again," Romney said. "I know what it's like to pull all the groceries in and see the teenagers run through and then all of sudden all of the groceries you just bought a few hours ago are gone. I know what it's like to get up early in the morning and get them off to school. I know what it's like get up in the middle of the night when they're sick And I know what it's like to struggle and to have those concerns that all mothers have."
Mrs. Rmoney still doesn't get it. She may have been awfully busy and concerned raising five sons, but she did NOT have to deal with the concerns MOST mothers have. Concerns like how to pay the electric bill, how to stretch the contents of the refrigerator till payday, and how to pay for health insurance. This is the most irksome thing about Ann Rmoney - she absolutely refuses to acknowledge how much money has insulated her from the "same concerns" other mothers have. Then there's this:
"I love the fact that there are also women out there that don't have a choice, that they must go to work and they still have to raise the kids," Romney said. "Sometimes life isn't easy for any of us."
Mrs. Rmoney loves the fact that so many of us are struggling. Mr. Rmoney might be better off sending Marie Antoinette home to the palace.

The misspelling of Romney/Rmoney is intentional.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Let's Be Frank About Frank's Franking

Remember the Great Franking Outrage of 2010? Suddenly Guinta and the rest of the teanuts were everywhere, barking about Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter's abuse of the so-called franking system. This is the system (enacted in 1775) which allows members of Congress to send out mail under their signature, with no stamp or postage. Congress reimburses the Post Office for the franked mail that it handles.

In any case, the GFO of 2010 looked like this post from Guinta:

There must be a more efficient, and most importantly, less costly way to distribute these papers. Many of her points in the pamphlet include keeping taxpayers from "paying the price" for acts such as bailouts. In this case, because of her elaborate, expensive design and excessive distribution, the taxpayers did pay the price. How is this supposed to help our deficit?

One would expect, that given Frank's frank commentary about CSP's franking, he'd be mighty careful of his own.
I'm sure many of you got this recent mailer. A gaudy, multicolored mailing comes every week from Frank, the concerned franker:

The Bakersfield Californian had a story in their Sunday edition about how much members of Congress spend on franking privileges:

* Also among individual House members, Rep. Frank C. Guinta, R-N.H., spent the most on franked mail in 2011: $164,650.

After all that noise about franking during 2010, Frank goes on to distinguish himself by being the biggest franker. Does he think he gets a deal because the system is named after him??

No wonder our Frank earned a spot in CREW's list of most corrupt members of Congress.

Luckily, we have Carol Shea-Porter running against franking Frank - and we have the Credo Super Pac working to take down the
Tea Party Ten.

One of the 10 is our own Frank Guinta. So, that means 4 organizers in state, working on nothing but calling attention to what a lousy job Frank Guinta has done of representing our state and our country.

Check out their website, and friend 'em on Facebook
and find out what they're up to - and how you can help.

cross posted at Blue Hampshire

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Daddy State

From the Christian Science Monitor. What Hilary Rosen said:

“What you have is Mitt Romney running around the country, saying, 'Well, you know, my wife tells me that what women really care about are economic issues, and when I listen to my wife, that’s what I’m hearing.' Guess what? His wife has actually never worked a day in her life. She’s never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing, in terms of how do we feed our kids, how do we send them to school, and why do we worry about their future.”

The Romney campaign pounced, with Ann Romney putting out her first-ever tweet: “I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work.”

Feminism is all about honoring choices. Ann Romney chose to be a stay at home(s) mother, and as any parent knows, it IS hard work taking care of a bunch of kids.

Ann Romney had the option of making that choice, which is something that most women do not have. Most women have to work outside the home, in order to help support the family. Very few women are married to men as wealthy or wealthier than Ann Romney's husband.

Ann Romney never had to worry about the electricity being shut off, how to stretch the food budget till payday, or how to juggle kids, work schedule, and day care. She never had to worry about being able to afford health insurance, or losing her job if she took a day or two off with a sick child. Ann Romney's wealth insulated her - then and now - from the kinds of harsh realities faced by working women every single day. If Ann Romney were given the same stipend a woman on TANF gets, would she be able to live within her means? She does have 2 Cadillacs, after all. We all know that welfare queens only get one.

Then there's the ironic aspect of the Romneys nattering on about choice - when he supports economic policies that would make life even harder for working women, especially the ones at the bottom of the wage scale. Not to mention that he wants to be in charge of women's reproductive choices.

Of course this whole tempest is really about income and class divisions. No one wants to admit that - including the ever spineless Democrats, who began apologizing for Hilary Rosen as soon as the opportunity provided itself. None of them were brave enough to admit that Rosen may not have said it well, but there are some kernels of truth in what she said.

At least now we know that the outraged Republicans value stay at home moms.
Except when they don't.


In January, Romney touted his proposal as governor of Massachusetts to raise the amount of work required of parents on welfare so that they could “have the dignity of work.”

“I wanted to increase the work requirement,” said Romney in New Hampshire. “I said, for instance, that even if you have a child 2 years of age, you need to go to work. And people said, ‘Well that’s heartless.’ And I said, ‘No, no, I’m willing to spend more giving day care to allow those parents to go back to work. It’ll cost the state more providing that daycare, but I want the individuals to have the dignity of work.’”

Because when rich white women stay home with the kids, that's hard work. When poor women stay home with the kids, they're lazy, and need to learn dignity.

Wealthy women aren't required to learn dignity - it comes with the silver spoon they're born with.

This is condescending, paternalistic, and elitist. Never mind the nanny state. Mitt wants to give us all the Daddy State.

Attacking Ann Romney isn't a good idea - but pointing out Mitt's hypocrisy is a very good idea. The Romney's level of wealth is a great insulator. The only way these two could be further removed from real people's lives would be if they lived on another planet. And for all practical purposes, they do.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

New Hampshire Has a Revenue Problem

Rep. Gene Chandler

After fielding a team of abundantly mediocre primary candidates, the GOP finally has Mitt Romney as a presumptive nominee. Mitt seems to have been anointed because he’s the wealthiest of the mediocre, and the Republicans appear to be operating under the theory that if they can’t come up with a good candidate, they should at least be able to buy the office.

In 2011 the GOP took aim at women, and enacted 135 new laws governing female reproduction. Male reproduction, however, is still a bastion of liberty. The party of “less gubmint interference in the lives of individuals” showed us all that when they say “individuals” what they really mean is MEN. Wisconsin just repealed their equal pay enforcement act. GOP talking heads are telling us that women want to receive lower pay for equal work, because they go off and have babies. These are babies that the same party claims to worship and venerate so much that they would like to force women to involuntarily incubate them. In summary: the GOP would like to ensure that women have no affordable access to birth control, would force involuntary incubation, and will then punish women for having a baby by eliminating the safety net and eliminating equal pay laws. It’s guano squared.

This is proving to be a conundrum for Mediocre Mitt. He’s been in Wisconsin praising Governor Walker, who repealed the equal pay act. Mitt has made tepid claims of supporting equal pay, but has proven to be unable to answer questions about women and reproduction – preferring to leave those to his wife. Now that Mitt’s the probable nominee, he’s firing back, claiming that the REAL war on women is being waged by Obama, who has personally caused millions of women to lose their jobs, and not helped them get new ones.

The current recession/depression began during the Bush administration. The current crop of folks elected in 2010 was mostly Republicans. Republicans who slashed state budgets, and caused hundreds of thousands of public sector losses. The bulk of those jobs were held by women. Teachers, nurses, librarians – mostly women. The NH Freebaglican budget cost some 2,000 hospitals to lay off employees – mostly women. We have the GOP trying to legislate gynecological rape via transvaginal probe on the one hand, and claiming they’re not waging war on women on the other. It’s going to prove a hard sell. Women just aren’t dumb enough to buy the guano squared.

There is plenty of stupid to go around, however. This week, the NH House Criminal Justice and Safety Committee took up SB 274, a bill that would change some of the language in NH’s aggravated rape statute. This bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee 5-0, but it’s run aground in the House. Some representatives argued against removing phrases like “mentally defective” from the language of the law. There are judges who feel that using that terminology to describe a rape victim is offensive. Representatives Jason Antosz and Ken Kreis disagree. Antosz referred to this as: “PC nonsense” and that words such as “defective” and “retarded” were “just words.” In looking at one particular case, Kreis commented that the woman in question was 29 years old and “had her entire life to get used to being called defective.” These two are right out of the Martin Harty School of Tact and Diplomacy. Martin Harty was the 90-year-old GOP freshman legislator who had to resign shortly after taking office, for telling a constituent that it was too bad we couldn’t send the mental defectives to Siberia.

It’s my experience that those who bang on the loudest about how they hate PC are people who bitterly resent the fact that racist and misogynist slurs are no longer considered acceptable in polite conversation. Rep. Antosz has attempted to defend himself by saying he’s “defective” because he has a bad knee. He is indeed defective, but his knee has nothing to do with it. As for Kreis, anyone who can say that the victim of an aggravated rape should be accustomed to being called defective is someone who is a disgrace to the People’s House and should resign immediately.

The arrogance visible in our current legislature is breathtaking. Not only are they arrogant, they take for granted that voters are not paying attention, and dumber than dirt. A recent story in the Conway Sun illustrates this phenomenon. Erik Eisele’s story about the condition of East Conway Road came with some quotes from our once and future Speaker of the NH House, Rep. Gene Chandler. East Conway Road is actually a state road, but it is designated as an unnumbered state highway, and is therefore at the bottom of the funding barrel. There is no money. Rep. Chandler said that not only is there no money to do the fixing, but, “there’s no place to get the money from.”

Chandler wrote editorials with Speaker O’Brien, defending the budget they passed last year. That budget cut state revenues. Of course there’s no money. They made sure that there wouldn’t be enough money. It was deliberate. We’ve been hearing for decades, “NH doesn’t have a revenue problem, NH has a spending problem.” As we can all see now, that is, and always has been a lie. Our roads and bridges are a disaster. Far from being ashamed, Chandler will tell you “this is what the taxpayers want.” That, dear readers, is a crock. It’s what the Free State/Tea Party/far right fringe of the Republican Party wants. These are people who are living in the 19th century, and prove every day that they lack any qualifications to move our state into the future.

NH is the seventh wealthiest state in the nation. We have 27,000 millionaires living here. Yet 15% of our bridges are structurally deficient. NH is in 11th place nationally for having the worst bridges.

This is the direct result of pledge politics. The Freebaglicans will continue to extol the virtues of what they call the NH Advantage. Strange as it may seem, businesses don’t seem to be falling all over themselves to move to a state where a broken infrastructure and lack of support for education are considered an advantage.

h/t to NH_GOP for the photo. Would you buy a used ear of corn from that man?

© sbruce 2012

this was published as an op-ed in the April 13, 2012 edition of the Conway Daily Sun newspaper

The Forced Birth Terrorists Lie

THIS is what an early abortion looks like:

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I'm Supporting Jackie Cilley

I moved to North Conway in 1984. I've lived in northern Carroll County for most of the last 28 years. I've been here for the varying terms of six different governors. None of those who have served were from the North Country, or had ties to us. The northern part of the state is almost invariably treated like a pretty, yet redheaded stepchild. NH politicians love our hiking, skiing, fishing, and the beauty of our mountains. They ignore the economic devastation, the lack of infrastructure, the lack of telecommunications capability, the high unemployment and high rate of poverty and lack of health insurance. Instead, the north is a dumping ground for prisons, and other projects the rest of the state is too good for.

To be fair, both Jeanne Shaheen and John Lynch did a whole lot more than pay lip service to the north. Shaheen fought hard for the mill workers of Berlin. Governor Lynch was in a helicopter to Harts Location, to assess the damage to Rt. 302, as soon as the rains of Hurricane Irene stopped. He also helped facilitate the last sale of the mill in Gorham.

Jackie Cilley won't ever have to be reminded to care about the North Country. She's part of it. Jackie was born in Berlin. She grew up in a 3rd floor tenement, in a working class neighborhood. Her grandpa worked at the Brown Co. paper mill. Her mother worked in a factory, and her father was a truck driver. After graduating from Berlin High School, she moved to Manchester, where she moved in to the YWCA and went to work in a textile mill. After a brief marriage, as a single mother in her 20's, Jackie went to college at UNH, where she earned a BA in psychology. She was the first member of her family to graduate from college. Jackie went on to earn an MBA at the Whittemore School (at UNH) and became a member of the faculty. Jackie has been a successful small business owner, and she has served in both the NH House and Senate.

You may have heard this before. I repeat it, because it is important. Jackie Cilley is the embodiment of the American dream. No matter how modest our beginnings, we're all supposed to be able to grow up, work hard, get an education, and become a success. That's the promise of our nation.

It is a promise that is increasingly broken. NH has amongst the highest costs for in-state students of any state university system. NH ranks a firm 50th in the nation for state spending on post-secondary education. Our young people can't afford to get an education here, and if they go out of state to get one, they never come back - especially to the North Country.

We've all heard the NH GOP mantra: "New Hampshire doesn't have a revenue problem, New Hampshire has a spending problem." At this point in time, we all know that's a lie. NH doesn't have enough money to fix our ailing roads and bridges. Why not? Because we have an outdated tax structure, and because our current legislature has delighted in cutting revenue streams, as though businesses are just falling all over themselves to re-locate to a state that has a broken infrastructure and doesn't value education.

It's time for NH to stop kicking the can down the road. We must deal with the problems we have, and start building our future. Jackie's refusal to take the Loeb/Thomson pledge shows me that she won't march forward in mindless lockstep. Taking The Pledge means there is no discussion, just obedience. If those who want to lead are too afraid to even have the conversation, than how can we call them leaders? Jackie not only thinks for herself, she’s willing to stand up and be counted.

The current legislature is going to be leaving behind a mess comparable to what Hercules faced in the Augean Stables. We're going to need a tough leader to oversee the clean up. Someone who has a proven ability to work hard, and fight for what is right. Someone who loves every part of our state. I believe that leader is Jackie Cilley, and I'm proud to support her candidacy for governor of New Hampshire.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter

A recent letter in the Conway Sun comes from Jim Shuff, a Freedom resident who has, essentially, been writing the same letter to the editor about me for at least a decade.

His latest rantlet is at least humorous, though probably not in the way he intended:

I had to chuckle while reading the two letters in a recent paper concerning a letter from Bill Catalucci. While I missed Bill C's letter and do not know what it was about, I have to wonder if these same folks would go along with banning the offensive rants of Susan and Bill that are published weekly as Conway Daily Sun contributors?

Mr. Shuff admits rather blithely that he didn't even read the letter people complained about. Armed with absolutely no knowledge, he bravely goes forth to take potshots at other writers.

This is why the Republican Party is in trouble. Willful ignorance and stupidity can't sustain the conservative movement indefinitely.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

New Jobs for Peons

The current NH legislature has been promising a "laser like focus on job creation," since 2010, when they were campaigning. Once ensconced in office, they've been far more interested in union busting, uterus policing, and marriage ending, along with a heaping helping of education stopping and gun promoting.

On Friday, an estimated 3000-4000 showed up at a job fair for a mall being built in Merrimack. NHRP:

Patrice Noelle from Wilton, New Hampshire has been out of work for almost two years. When asked what type of work she was looking for, Noelle said, "I’ll do basically anything. I’ll sweep floors. My degree is in business."

When the doors opened at 8 a.m., a legion of hungry applicants — with résumés in tow — flooded the large hall.

Representatives from big chain stores were ready to interview for positions ranging from custodians to customer service.

Governor Lynch stopped in to check out the action:

The Governor says New Hampshire’s unemployment rate is 40 percent below the 8.3 percent national average.

"But we still have over 30,000 people out of work. The outlet mall will end up creating a minimum of 800 jobs, which is very exciting, and it may end up being more jobs than that," said Lynch.

The possibility of 800 new jobs is nice,but it's a drop in the bucket, when one considers 30,000 out of work. And that's only the people who are out of work - it doesn't take into consideration the number of people who are underemployed.

Just as these people getting these new jobs will be underemployed. Retail jobs don't pay enough to actually live on in our state. Many retail jobs don't provide health insurance. And many will be part time.

The jobs being created in our new economy are largely low paying service jobs. The creation of a permanent poverty wage level underclass is something that should concern us all.