Friday, January 31, 2014

Guinta - Former Mayor of...Where?

Senator Ayotte is bringing the Zombie Eyed Granny Starver (big admiring h/t to Charlie Pierce) to NH, for an evening of fundraising for Funny Money Frank Guinta. This time he can't unearth another "forgotten" bank account with half a million bucks in it. 

I'm curious about a few things: what does a "private briefing" consist of? (And why does it sound so creepy?) What City is this event taking place in? If you can charge $2,600 for a "private briefing" why can't you afford a proof reader? 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

SB 319 - Buffer Zones for Womens's Health Clinics

Today the NH Senate Judiciary Committee had a public hearing on SB 319 , the bill to create a 25 foot buffer zone around women's health clinics, to ensure that the "sidewalk counselors" of the forced gestation movement aren't able to get too close and personal in their desire to counsel. And by counsel - I mean harass - because that's what they do. 

My patience with this crowd is at a low ebb. I'm weary of pious liars and their pretend concerns. These same people who carry on so about their right to free speech could give two shits about anyone else's rights. I don't remember them defending the rights of anti-war protesters during the Bush years, when we were penned up, out of sight, in the marvelously Orwellian Free Speech Zones. For that matter, none of these people who carry on so about LIFE were at those antiwar demonstrations. War kills, but they don't care about the fetuses, babies, children, and adults killed in war. Only the fetuses. 

And what a bunch. They don't know nuthin' bout no problems at no clinics. They've never seen anyone get harassed. They're just there to mind their own bidness and pray - BUT - that 25 feet is a terrible, awful, thing that is unfair to them!

Apparently God doesn't hear prayers from 25 feet away. 

It was a long and tiresome hearing. Senator Sam Cataldo told a story about getting harassed on a job site in 1966, and expected us to all break down in tears with empathy for him. Because whatever happens to men is more important. He brought it up to each person who testified for well over an hour. It was painful, and tedious - and really disrespectful. The committee was there to hear testimony about access to women's health clinics, not 50 year old anti-union grievances from a grumpy old man. 

A woman who volunteers as a clinic escort described situations she's observed and been part of. The forced birthers deny these things ever happen. They just want to pray and offer love and help to these women. A very brave woman told the story of what happened to her when she went to have an abortion - from the moment she got out of her car she was surrounded by a crowd of protestors who were yelling at her and waving their fake pictures at her. When she came out they were waiting for her, and harassed her all over again. 

The next speaker was Dr. Kenneth Arndt of Windham, who said he didn't believe any of that ever happened. 

Dr. Kenneth Arndt of Windham is affiliated with the Army of God. Remember them? They're terrorists.  Eric Robert Rudolph, Shelley Shannon, James Kopp, and Clayton Waagner are among the more famous names. James Kopp murdered Dr. Bernard Slepian. Shelley Shannon is in prison for trying to kill Dr. George Tiller (someone else finished the job.) Clayton Waagner sent anthrax letters to 550 clinics, and had announced his intention to kill anyone working at a clinic. That's the Army of God.

Dr. Arndt is one of them. He's signed their petition that states clearly that they believe killing doctors and clinic violence is not only acceptable - but justified. Arndt didn't give the Judiciary Committee full disclosure of his position. Instead he engaged in flagrant hypocrisy - lecturing about life and morals. Yeppers - a terrorist  (a matter of public record) wagging the pious finger of morality. 

They think their right to harass is more important than a woman's right to privacy. The fastest way to ensure buffer zones would be for women to start harassing men at their urologist's offices. If we stood outside shouting about impotence at every man going in or coming out, and held up big signs telling men to accept impotence as God's will, we'd see buffer zones that went on for miles. 

BIG  h/t to Kevin who Tweets as @SolidGraniteNH for clueing me in on Kenneth Arndt's terrorist ties.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Goffstown Warrant Article

It's Article 31 that is interesting. Just like the Rindge petitioned article, there's no provision for the acceptance of emergency funds. At least Rindge stipulated that grants or funds would have to be presented and accepted once a year at town meeting. 

In Goffstown there's no explanation of what happens next. The way this is worded suggests that the town will not accept any money from any source. That would include a wealthy donor who wanted to help fund a town project. Tough luck, pal - we don't want your money!  

The voters are also likely to be befuddled. 

Rindge Warrant Article

Friday, January 24, 2014

Regulating Ladyparts

I suggest we change the spelling of the word UTERUS to G-U-N, thereby eliminating all future regulatory attempts. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Foiling Regional Planning

After the Tea Party took over the GOP in 2011, we began hearing talk of a strange and frightening thing…. Agenda 21. This agenda, we were told, was a devious secret plot by the United Nations to secure global domination by taking away our property, our cars, and our toilets, and making us ride the bus, or something like that. Planning? Planning is the work of Satan and his minions! The John Birch Society threw the gasoline on the fire, and the Tea Partiers, 912 groups, and the liberty crowd fanned the flames.

The outrage grew and grew to the point where small town planning board members were harassed by irate residents about something they’d never even heard of. Reliable media sources like WorldNetDaily, infowars, Glenn Beck, and of course Fox News were churning out the agitprop about this nefarious plot. 

Agenda 21 is a document that came out of the UN and the Rio Conference on the environment – in 1992. Yes, that’s over 20 years ago. And yes, if they planned to take over the world, it’s the slowest takeover of anything ever. It’s a non-binding set of resolutions, intended to encourage countries to conserve resources, protect open spaces, and promoting sustainable growth. You can see why that would become a tinfoil encrusted nightmare.  How dare anyone tell us to conserve! That’s commie talk! Freedom means using up everything and never having to say we’re sorry!

The flames spread. Agenda 21 conspiracy films were shown at the Majestic Theater in Conway. Books were written. Videos were made. Propaganda was spewed. Even though the Tea/Birch crowd was mostly deposed from our state government in 2012, eventually the tinfoil trail led to the NH State House.

Last year a bill was proposed to phase out lead sinkers and jigs from fishing tackle. The lead kills our loons. This seemed pretty reasonable, and there was science behind it. This simple bill turned into hours of debate thanks to the Agenda 21 crowd. Apparently part of the UN’s slow motion plan for global domination includes invading the tackle boxes of NH fishermen. Perhaps most egregious was a bill to allow municipalities to work together to finance and build water and sewer projects. It turns out that the UN doesn’t just want your tackle box; it wants to take over your toilet. The wailing and gnashing of teeth went on for hours, and still the bill passed by a huge margin.

The Reynolds rappers are still with us. Last week I sat through part of the hearing on HB 1573, a bill that would eliminate all nine of the regional planning commissions in the state. This is because NH’s regional planners are engaged in a project to have a dialogue about planning for the future. It’s called Granite State Future. The dialogue includes business, towns, cities, regions, old timers, newcomers, and anyone that wants to be involved. The discussion involves nefarious stuff like how best to manage our shared natural resources going into the future – like forests and water. This has become linked to Agenda 21, by the tinfoil brigade, who believe that planning ahead is really all about the permanent loss of your privacy rights and of course, the UN’s plot for global domination.

The first speaker I heard was Rep. Glen Cordelli from Tuftonboro, who muttered dire warnings about regional planning commissions, and how “advice is not their game, power is their game.” A man from Jaffrey spoke about how the RPCs are an asset to his small town, because they have resources that the town does not. Planning board members from a variety of towns praised the RPCs and the help they provide. Rep. Bill Butynski from Hinsdale testified that property taxes would have gone up in his town if the RPCs hadn’t helped with their process of rebuilding the bridge to Vermont. Carol Miller, Director of Technologies at the Dept. of Resources and Economic Development, is focused on broadband needs, and has worked with the RPCs to develop a state broadband plan. She said she’s found the data they provided from the various regions to be invaluable. Bill McNally, a Bircher from Windham handed out information on Granite State Futures and Agenda 21.

 That’s how it went. Speakers who were well versed on the planning needs of their towns were followed by speakers who were not at all interested in the needs of our state – just convinced that there is a conspiracy afoot to defraud them of their property and pave the way for the UN takeover. Or something like that. It was painful. The Free State Project is heavily involved with the destruction of the RPCs – and indeed all planning. In their Randian paradise, we’re all free market buccaneers with no rules or regulations – every pirate for himself. And if your water gets Freedomed, as W. Virginia’s recently did, well, that’s too bad. You’ll just have to buy your water on the freedom market.

Without planning and zoning that’s what we get. Pirates come in and take over. We saw it happen in Tamworth with the racetrack. When Tamworth voted on zoning, Club Motorsports came in and bought the election. A bill changing the definition of a racetrack (SB 458) was allowed to glide silently through the legislature, and most of those who kept the silence were rewarded with campaign donations from Club Motorsports.

Where there is no planning and zoning, the big money privateers come in and do what they want. If the town doesn’t like it, well, suck it up buttercup, because freedom.
A few of the tinfoil legislative brigade have tired of wreaking havoc in their own towns, and are moving on to mischief in other communities. They’ve been working successfully in Rindge, where all the talk of the evils of gummint money, led by Rep. John Burt of Goffstown, has created an ugly us v. them climate in the town. Rindge has petitioned article this year on their warrant that specifies that the town would not be able to accept any federal funds, except once a year at town meeting. In other words, natural disaster like the flood in Alstead or the devastation created up north by Hurricane Irene? Too bad. You’ll have to wait till March to vote on getting federal aid to rebuild your roads, bridges, or businesses. That’ll teach the feds!   

As always, this serves to underscore how badly we are served by the NH media. Our only statewide media doesn’t report on these stories, so people around the state don’t connect what’s happening in their town to other areas of the state.

© sbruce 2014 
published as a biweekly column in the Conway Daily Sun Newspaper

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Restoring Local Control

This was published in the Conway Daily Sun on February 4, 2005. Given that "Silent" Joe Kenney is now the GOP nominee for Ray Burton's Executive Council seat, it seemed a good time to remind folks of Joe Kenney's less than stellar career in the NH Senate. 

Two years ago, the citizens of Tamworth learned of Club Motorsports, Inc. (CMI), and learned of their intent to build a racetrack on Mount Whittier in Tamworth. Tamworth was chosen by the developers, because it remains one of the few towns in New Hampshire that has no zoning laws- therefore, a perfect spot to put the kind of businesses or attractions that most towns have intentionally planned against.

In the spring of 2003, a group called Citizens For the Ossipees formed in reaction to the proposed racetrack. CFTO filed two petitions, one for Emergency Temporary Zoning (ETZ) and the other for a Race Track Ordinance (RTO). The Tamworth Board of Selectmen formed a committee to develop the RTO. The committee included representatives from CMI, members of CFTO, and the selectmen. They met throughout the summer of 2003, and had two public hearings about the RTO. CMI was at all of those meetings, providing input at every step. At one point, they threatened a lawsuit unless the noise restrictions were eased-and so changes were made. The RTO was written with public input and with compromise from all sides. CMI was quoted four times in the press saying that they could live with the RTO. The RTO was enacted on Oct. 1, 2003, by the Tamworth selectmen.

On Oct. 4, 2003, the town voted against Emergency Temporary Zoning, just days after the RTO was put in place. Anti-zoning signs sprang up all over Tamworth like mushrooms after a spring rain. Later, the residents of Tamworth learned that CMI had funded the anti-ETZ campaign. Zoning has long been a contentious issue in Tamworth, and because the RTO had been adopted only days before, the citizens believed the RTO was all the protection they needed, in order to have a say in the regulation of the racetrack. CMI was sitting pretty at this point. They'd help to write the RTO, said they could live with it, and they'd ensured that no zoning, temporary or otherwise, would be coming along to mess up their plan.

That wasn't enough. At this time last year, SB458 was gliding silently through the N.H. Legislature. SB458 turns a racetrack into a "private driving instruction and exhibition facility," which, due to lack of zoning, is exempt from regulation by the town. SB458 did not redefine the term racetrack-it vaguely and magically transforms nearly any two-mile loop of pavement into a private driving instruction and exhibition facility. Any town that does not specifically prevent a private driving instruction and exhibition facility in their zoning ordinances could find one happening to them. SB458 slid silently through the Transportation Committee, and silent Sen. Joe Kenney chaired the hearings and never uttered so much as a peep to his Tamworth constituents about the bill. SB458 went on the consent calendar and passed unanimously. It was signed into law by former Governor Benson on March 5, 2004. On March 10, the voters of Tamworth overwhelmingly voted in the RTO-with 84 percent of the vote. They didn't know that some members of the state Legislature had sold them down the river. They wouldn't learn about it until the day before the Legislature ended the 2004 session.

Most of the sponsors of SB458 were from the southern part of the state-save for Sen. John Gallus. In an unusually scathing editorial last year, George Epstein suggested keeping an eye on the campaign contributions of the sponsors, Gallus in particular. George's instincts were excellent. Every one of the legislators who sponsored CMI's special interest legislation received a campaign contribution from them. Senator Gallus (who owns a Corvette, by the way) received $250 from CMI.

Silent Joe Kenney did not get a contribution, but he has failed to express outrage at the legislation, and failed to take a stand against it-and is no longer compelled to, since he was re-elected. Reps. Harry Merrow and David Babson began the repeal process as soon as they learned of SB458. They were outraged that a developer could draft, lobby, and pass special interest legislation that trounces local control.

This is an affront to the way we do government in this state. Local control is revered and protected in New Hampshire. That it could be so blatantly bypassed should horrify everyone, regardless of their feelings about the racetrack project. This goes beyond Tamworth. This could happen in any town in the state. Reps. David Babson and Harry Merrow filed HB90, a bill that repeals SB458 and returns local control to the town of Tamworth. Supporting HB90 sends a clear message to our state Legislature-that we the people are paying attention and we won't tolerate special interests writing their own laws. Supporting HB90 sends the message that we value local control, and they have no right to sell it off to developers or big business.

There will be two hearings on HB90, in two locations, which is a rare and wonderful gift from the Legislature. The first hearing will be on Feb. 17, at the K.A. Brett School in Tamworth, from 5 to 7 p.m. The second hearing will be on Feb. 22, at the Legislative Office Building in Concord, beginning at 10 a.m. Testimony will be restricted to the topic of repealing SB458 and restoring local control to the towns, where it belongs. This is an issue of crucial importance. No matter how folks feel about the racetrack, we should all be united in maintaining the tradition of local control, and not allowing developers to ride roughshod over the voters in any municipality.

"It is not the function of our government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the government from falling into error." -Robert H. Jackson 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Those Peace Loving Free Staters

Free Keener and US presidential candidate Darryl W. Perry's candidate website (be sure to check out the platform and issues section) has the sub-heading of "Peace, Freedom, Love & Liberty. 

Darryl Perry is part of the Free State Project, a group of armed insurrectionists invading NH with the intention of colonizing, taking over, and dismantling our state government, then threatening secession. The Free Staters always tout their desire for peace, even as they insist on carrying weapons. They love to natter on about the "non-aggression principle" - a bit of libertarian philosophy that they all claim to embrace. Despite this belief in non-aggression, one of their members murdered his son in August before turning his gun on himself. Members of the cult also routinely use violent rhetoric and threats against those who dare criticize them. 

Peace is a word that the FSP loves to use. They aren't part of an organized peace effort in NH, or anywhere else. It's just a word that they use as an attempt to make themselves seem benign. Guns are one of their primary concerns. They think that if they throw the word peace around often enough, we won't notice the contradiction. People of peace are not obsessed with owning and carrying weapons. 

Darryl Perry and his fellow miscreants in Keene declared their home a parsonage, in the hopes of avoiding taxes. I have great admiration for people of principle who refuse to pay taxes in opposition to war. They go to prison. It's honorable. The Free Keeners are just unprincipled grifters who expect everyone else to pick up the tab. Their idea of civil disobedience is writing on the pavement in Keene parks with chalk. They're not exactly competing with MLK. 

Darryl Perry is a prolific writer - one who claims to be an award winner. After looking through several of his publications I would award him a proofreader. But I'm not here to criticize his writing skills - I'm here to talk about content. 

Given the emphasis Darryl W. Perry has placed on "Peace, Freedom, Love & Liberty" I was surprised to find this  paragraph as I looked at one of his books:

Yep, that's right. "While I support peaceful means to reclaim freedom, I'm not opposed to using force if necessary."
You can find it on page 52 of Perry's book 1776 & Today: Why We Need A New American Revolution

That's some real peace, freedom, love & liberty at work right there, Darryl. You're bound to be a contender for a Nobel Peace Prize. 

Darryl W. Perry is not the only one. I've written about early Free State Project signer Vin Suprynowicz who wrote a fanboy paean to domestic terrorist Carl Drega. Muni Savyon taught us plenty about the FSP and the non-aggression principle when he shot his nine year old son 6 times. The Free Staters made a big public show of excommunicating one of their own,  Chris Cantwell, for his comments:

The government doesn't much care if you are peaceful or not, all they care about is if you are obedient. Free Staters are not being labeled as terrorists because they are violent; they are being labeled as terrorists because they are disobedient. Being violent is not a prerequisite for government violence being used against a person, and in the entire history of statism, it never has been. The only prerequisite of government violence is disobedience, and in entirely too many cases, even obedient slaves are harassed, assaulted, kidnapped, or murdered by government agents.

So what to do? It’s a terribly unpopular thing to say, but the answer, at some point, is to kill government agents. The government agents know that, and that’s why they want a tank.

Careful Darryl. You've got competition for that Nobel Peace Prize. 

On a site called Liberty is my Homie-Tats, we see the ink that some of our peace loving Free Stater friends are sporting, including this: 

Because nothing says "peace, freedom, liberty &  love" like BORN TO KILL. 

This is what is under the mask. They do not come in peace.

Dr. King

"We must concentrate not merely on the negative expulsion of war 

but the postive affirmation of peace." ~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


"The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind 

of extremists we will be... The nation and the world are in dire need 

of creative extremists." ~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Worth reading today, especially in NH, where MOAR GUNZ is often touted as a solution - When Martin Luther King gave up his guns  is in today's issue of The Guardian. 

Dr. King ultimately found that guns and peace cannot peacefully coexist. If weapons and violence were a solution, we'd have been finished with war centuries ago.  

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Live Free or Die on Someone Else's Terms

The 2014 legislative session has begun. This week marked the first day of voting. In the NH House, this meant beginning with dealing with some old business, including possible overrides of three bills that were vetoed over the summer by Governor Hassan. One of those bills was HB 403, a bill to establish a study committee to examine end of life issues. Hassan’s statement on the veto essentially said that we have great advanced directives, and therefore the study committee isn’t necessary.

Governor Hassan has a son who has developmental disabilities. The DD community and their advocates have serious concerns about end of life issues and assisted suicide. People who have developmental disabilities may experience indifferent medical treatment, especially in hospitals, where they are sometimes regarded as something less than human. Their fears of being fodder for euthanasia are not unfounded.

I don’t think Hassan’s (very legitimate) fears should determine our public policy. This was a bill for a study committee. A study committee would involve a lot of different views from all over the spectrum. It would be a big and potentially rich conversation - if it were allowed to happen. It’s great that we have strong advanced directives in NH, but that still means dying on someone else’s terms.

Death is something we apparently aren’t adult enough to discuss or plan for. We have a whole language of euphemisms created to avoid and disguise it. No one dies any more. They “pass away,” or simply “pass.” In a world of sophisticated medical treatment, we need very much to have a big  conversation about how we die, and what our rights in that process are.

Unfortunately, the ability to have thoughtful discussions becomes less likely with each passing day. A look at the comment section of any online WMUR story provides an illustration of the level of public discourse present in our state. The study committee would have been able to transcend that. In fact, the study committee would have provided Governor Hassan and other DD advocates with a platform to educate the public on their concerns, and the awful history of how people with developmental disabilities have been treated. I wish she’d chosen to trust the process.

The House voted not to override the governor’s veto, on a vote of 218-124. Thanks to the shiny new voting system in the House chambers, roll call votes are posted almost automatically on the General Court website. A look at the way folks voted was interesting. There were very clearly those who voted not to overturn the veto out of partisan loyalty to the governor. Just as clearly, there were those who voted to override the veto as a statement of partisan opposition to anything the governor does. There were also those who voted to override the veto for thoughtful reasons. I don’t believe that Gene Chandler or Karen Umberger voted for the override out of sheer partisan mean spiritedness.

The votes from the Free Staters and their allies were also illustrative. These are folks who love to lecture us about freedom and gummint interference, so one might expect them to have been united in their votes to override the veto, and have the conversation about getting Big Gummint out of our personal decisions. One would be sadly disappointed.

Free State Representatives Laura Jones, Carol McGuire, Keith Murphy, Calvin Pratt, Emily Sandblade, and Mark Warden all voted nay on overriding the veto. They love lofty theoretical discussions about freedom and liberty, but when it came right down to the freedom to have a discussion, these liberty lovers voted to shut it down. They’re okay with the state telling you how you get to die.  

Free State Representatives Michael Garcia, Dan McGuire, Tim O’Flaherty, Joel Winters, and Michael Sylvia voted to override the veto, which is consistent with Free State philosophy.

Some of the FSP’s loudest allies voted inconsistently as well. Representatives Burt, Rideout, Itse, and Lambert all voted not to override the veto. George Lambert is so concerned with freedom that he wants to eliminate sugar packets from restaurants, to free you from the awful tyranny of sanitation – but he doesn’t think a study committee on end of life issues is relevant to freedom.

As for those who voted nay out of loyalty to the governor – you disappoint me.

Should someone with a terminal illness be allowed to opt out when they choose? I vote yes for that. The late David Emerson wanted to die about 6 months before he actually did. He should have been able to make that decision. Whose body is it, anyhow? Whose life is it? We ought to dive in and discuss all of the fears, doubts, religious beliefs, and hear all of the pros and cons. Put it all on the table and talk about it – all of it - with respect for every position. If only we could.

“I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America.”  Alexis de Tocqueville

© sbruce 2014   Bi-weekly column published in the Conway Daily Sun newspaper. 

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

NH Governor Afraid of End of Life Study Committee

Governor Hassan vetoed HB 403 in July. It was a bill to establish a committee to study end of life issues. It wasn't a bill for assisted suicide - it was a bill to set up a study committee. 

Governor Hassan's son has developmental disabilities. The DD community is worried about assisted suicide bills, and not without reason. People who have developmental disabilities often receive indifferent medical care - especially in hospitals. I understand her worries in that regard. 

My husband died a long, slow death of cancer, and one that he would have pulled the plug on a good six months before he died. That was before the cancer started turning his brain to mush, before the pain got so bad. He should have been able to choose his own death. 

Governor Hassan's fears shouldn't determine policy. Especially something as benign as a STUDY committee - where everyone's voices could be heard. This could have been a robust dialogue, where people from every part of the spectrum could be heard. Hassan, it seems, is too afraid to trust the process and let that conversation take place. 

And seriously, I don't give a shit how great our advanced directives are. They still force people to die on someone else's terms. 

It's hard to see this as anything but the most cowardly sort of censorship. I'm disappointed.

Here's her statement on the veto,  from the House Journal

By the authority vested in me, pursuant to part II, Article 44 of the New Hampshire Constitution, on July 12, 2013, I vetoed House Bill 403, establishing a committee to study end of life decisions.

With any discussion of the complex and emotional issues related to en-of-life decisions, our focus must al- ways be first and foremost on helping all of those in our society to fully live their lives with the dignity that they deserve.

In New Hampshire, we have approached these issues very seriously and thoughtfully, always seeking to include the input of those who understand these issues best: doctors, patients, advocates for the elderly and those who experience chronic conditions or disabilities, and the people of New Hampshire.

This thoughtful process has already produced important laws, including New Hampshire’s advanced directive statute (RSA 137-J). In fact, I have just signed into law SB 170, which sought input from numerous stakeholders, ranging from medical community, patients, advocates for the elderly and people who experience disabilities, the religious community and many others, in order to clarify New Hampshire’s advance directive statute.

Therefore, I see no need for the study committee outlined by HB 403 and have vetoed the legislation.
Respectfully submitted, Margaret Wood Hassan Governor
Date: July 12, 2013 

Texas Owns Your Body if You're Pregnant

I don't like the term "pro-life," given that the prolifers almost always lose any interest in that life once it hits the chute.  Those who claim to venerate life are often the same people who are trying to eliminate the safety net (such as it is). They are often in favor of the death penalty, drug testing for food stamp recipients, and telling homeless children to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. I prefer terms like "fetus fetishists," "forced incubation crowd," or "involuntary gestation advocates." 

This story illustrates why. From the  Dallas News:

Marlise Munoz died the week after Thanksgiving.
Doctors believe she suffered a pulmonary embolism -- a blood clot to the lungs -- that cut off her oxygen. When her husband, Erick, found Marlise in their Tarrant County home, she wasn’t breathing and had no pulse.
She was gone.
If there is any mercy in the sudden loss of this happy young wife and mother, it’s that she doesn’t know she has since lingered in a hopeless twilight, her respiration artificially supported by machines.
She made it clear she didn’t want this. Her grieving husband and parents don’t want it either. But a not-very-well known statute under state law says Marlise, 33, doesn’t have the same right to a peaceful, natural death as other Texans because she is pregnant.
Her husband, a paramedic gave her CPR. At the hospital, they got her heart started with drugs and electric shocks. It's still beating with mechanical support. Her brain waves are completely flat. She was without oxygen for too long to ever recover. BUT doctors could detect a fetal heartbeat. 
According to a 2012 report by the Center for Women Policy Studies, laws governing end-of-life preferences for pregnant women vary by state. Texas is one of 12 that automatically invalidates a woman’s legal prerogative if she “is diagnosed with pregnancy.”
Because of the fetal heartbeat, Marlise Munoz is laying there, dead, and serving as an incubator. Against her wishes - against the wishes of her family. There are no words for the kind of suffering this is putting her family through. There are no words for what an abuse of state power this is. Conservatives wail and moan about BIG GUMMINT INTERFERENCE when it comes to guns - but when it comes to a woman's body - that's a different matter. Her body belongs to the state. 
Even after she's dead. 

My heart breaks for the Munoz family. This should be a private, family decision. 

Thursday, January 02, 2014

He Oughta Move to NH

Remember Erick Bennett? He ran (unsuccessfully) for mayor of Portland, ME. Undaunted by that defeat, he's mounting a primary challenge against Susan Collins for US Senate. Also....he ain't right.

From the   Bangor Daily News

Erick Bennett, a conservative Portland consultant who has launched a Republican primary campaign against incumbent U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, says his experience with the justice system — which he obtained when he was convicted of domestic violence assault 10 years ago — is driving him toward what he calls a “pro-family” agenda.
Bennett held a news conference Monday in Portland, during which he talked about his campaign, the domestic violence conviction, and controversy over his self-described role as a staffer for Gov. Paul LePage’s 2010 campaign — a role that others in LePage’s campaign team said Bennett never played.

All righty then. The guy was convicted and jailed for assaulting his wife, and is now running on a "pro-family" platform. Bennett recently referred to US Rep. Mike Michaud of Maine as "a closet homo."  Ya gotta hand it to him. This definitely isn't the same old same old. 

He's also boasting of his role as a LePage staffer - a role that he never had. Most people would fight to distance themselves from any connection to LePage, but Bennett is LYING to establish one. That's  REALLY sick.

The Maine GOP is trying hard to distance themselves from this guy. What is truly frightening is that if he crossed over the border, Bennett would not be thought of as unbalanced. He'd be embraced as a hero by the NH GOP. 

h/t to Maine Sun Journal for photo

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Striking a Blow for Freedom and Liberty in NH!

As the New Year dawns, we turn our attention to the 2014 session of the NH legislature. So far there are 703 bills awaiting the return of our solons. Thus far, 96 bills have been withdrawn. (a quick look through that list reveals some real doozies. Apparently GOP leadership put the kibosh to some of that nonsense seein' as how it's an election year.)

Our state's freedom and liberty crowd have filed many bills this year to free us from the tyranny of the state. Today, we turn our attention to HB 1378, filed by Rep. George Lambert. Thus far, he's been unsuccessful in finding any co-sponsors. The text of the bill:

This bill repeals requirements for sugar packets dispensed in restaurants.

HB 1378 is aimed at repealing RSA 143:6-a:

No establishment which serves food or drink to the public with or without charge shall provide sugar except in individually wrapped packets or in covered containers from which sugar is poured through a hole not more than 3/8 of an inch in diameter.

Right on, bro. Nothing says tyranny and oppression like SANITATION! 

Remember these? 

They sat on tables in restaurants. Sometimes you could see bugs in them. People picked them up, kids licked them, kids stuck their fingers in their noses and then in the hole where the sugar comes out, servers wiped them down with dirty rags - one can see why Lambert is eager to return us to the good old days. After all, germs are your right! You should be able to choose to choose to have a vessel that anyone can open and put anything in! The gummint shouldn't force you to forgo these pleasures. 


After all, if someone puts something in there that makes you sick or kills you, you won't be going back to that restaurant now, will you? 

NH Rebellion

Have you heard about the NH Rebellion?:

As the first step in rebelling against a broken system and a dysfunctional Congress, the NHRebellion invites you to continue Granny D and Aaron’s work by walking down through New Hampshire.  On January 11, 2014—15 years after Granny D began her walk, and beginning on the day Aaron died—we will walk the state from the top to the bottom, recruiting as many citizens in New Hampshire to this cause as we can.  Our walk will end on January 24th, the day Granny D was born.  We hope you will dedicate yourself to joining this monumental cause, as New Hampshire’s citizens light the first flames of sweeping, nation-wide reform.

I encourage you to read all about it. It's a lot of different people from across the political spectrum: Republicans, Democrats, Undeclared, Occupiers and Free Staters. (I'm not without personal ambivalence when it comes to Lessig's embrace of the libertarian cultists.) 

That said - this kind of awareness is always a good thing, especially when it reminds us all of the work that Granny D did before the Supreme Court gave us Citizen's United. We have an even more uphill battle now. Government by the highest bidders is just not acceptable. 

The walkers need beds and meals along the way - from Errol to Nashua. If you can help, please send an email to

Setback for FL Governor in his War on the Poor

From SaintPetersBlog - bad news for Florida Governor Rick Scott, a brave warrior in the War on the Poor:

In a major setback for Gov. Rick Scott’s administration, requiring welfare applicants to submit to drug tests is unconstitutional, according to a district court ruling Tuesday.
Scott immediately announced he would appeal the decision on the controversial 2011 law, reports Dara Kam of the News Service of Florida. The ruling by U.S. District Judge Mary Scriven is a significant defeat for the governor in the extended dispute over drug testing many of Florida’s poorest residents.
Scriven found that demanding urine tests as a precondition for government aid violates the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.
Governor Scott's response:
Running on a campaign platform of mandatory drug testing, Scott insisted that urine tests are necessary to ensure poor children do not grow up in drug-riddled homes.
“Any illegal drug use in a family is harmful and even abusive to a child. We should have a zero tolerance policy for illegal drug use in families — especially those families who struggle to make ends meet and need welfare assistance to provide for their children,” Scott said in a statement response to Tuesday’s ruling. “We will continue to fight for Florida children who deserve to live in drug-free homes by appealing this judge’s decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals.”
Yep. Because drug use is harmful and abusive to children. Growing up homeless and hungry is just character building! 

Scott's ties to drug testing company.