The grind-it-out side of public policy occupied me this morning, as I went to the State House to listen to a subcommittee patiently work out the language of a bill. That done, I walked outside to see what was up on the State House plaza.
And my day was made.
A collection was underway for the Red Cross, with an eye to the disaster in Puerto Rico. Pallet upon pallet of water awaited loading onto trucks. Other types of donations were being sorted, labeled, and packaged. One large “check” was on display, indicating a substantial cash donation by one of the state’s larger utilities. Kids coming off school buses for their State House tour carried armloads of things to donate to the effort.
State employees, elected officials, just plain folks, those wonderful fourth-graders: everyone on the plaza was on the same page. This was a relief effort in every sense.
The Governor was on the scene, delighting the schoolkids with a photo op, and someone said to him, “Will any of this actually get where it’s supposed to go?” He said reassuring things. I hope he’s right. Distribution: that’s the sticking point. How will this get to Puerto Rico? How will the Red Cross allocate things among the multiple disasters it’s addressing these days? I wish I knew the answers.
The people on the plaza weren’t being paralyzed by discouragement or uncertainty over what comes next. They were doing their best with what they had. They left me inspired, refreshed, challenged. That was a fine midday course correction.
Ellen is a New Hampshire pro-life activist and writer who blogs at ellenkolb.com.
I’m inspired by the Independence Day posts from Juliette & Christopher of DTG’s Magnificent crew. Each celebrated a beauty not to be found in the political world I often choose to inhabit.
In the same vein, I offer an unapologetic plug for a friend’s project, inviting all New Hampshire-area DTG readers to attend something special.
Come to hear Massenet’s oratorio “Marie-Magdaleine” on July 22. One performance will be at 2 p.m. at Northeast Catholic College in Warner, and the other will be at Cathedral of the Pines in Rindge at 7 p.m. The performance at the College is donations-accepted, while the one at Cathedral of the Pines has (I think) a $10 admission fee. Call 603-781-5695 for more information.
I’ll be going out of my way to hear one of these performances. Why?
Sheer beauty. With the first note, I know workaday concerns will fall away for awhile. The next deadline, the next gosh-forsaken tweet, the next bill to pay: all will be in abeyance for an hour or two as I undergo the attitude adjustment that’s one of music’s little gifts.
Hope. For my husband and me, Northeast Catholic College is a favorite place, dedicated to education in faith and reason. It’s a place of encouragement and challenge and laughter. The world’s a better place because it exists. Likewise with Cathedral of the Pines, which was established by grieving parents in memory of their son, who died in the service of our country during World War II. It was a true act of hope for those parents to experience such terrible loss and then go on to create a place of peace and tranquillity.
Encouragement. I think you’ll find encouragement simply by being in the same room with the producer of these performances. I’m acquainted with her. She’s a pro-life warrior, a conservative woman, an opera singer, and a patron and leader of nonprofit agencies that enrich the community. Oh, and she was formerly a volunteer legislator (which is how we roll in the Granite State). When things look discouraging – and as a legislator and a volunteer activist, she has some experience with bad days – she responds dynamically and positively. No whining.
You go, girl.
If you’re inclined to attend the performance in Warner, be aware that the College is offering Mass (11:30) and a light lunch (12:30) before the 2 p.m. show, with RSVPs requested. (More about that here.)
Let it be known that this is not a paid promotion. I just want to share good news.
The State House and the White House and my work as a writer will all still be there after the show. When I turn back to them, I’ll be refreshed and ready for whatever comes along. Beautiful music, whatever the source, has that effect on me. Maybe on you, too.
I’ll tag this one “culture victories,” not “culture wars.”
Hulu got some free publicity last week when several costumed “handmaids” showed up in the New Hampshire House gallery to protest a fetal homicide bill, which would allow prosecution for acts of violence causing the death of a preborn child.
The bonneted “handmaids” were inspired by the Hulu original series The Handmaid’s Tale, based on Margaret Atwood’s 1985 dystopian novel. The story is about “handmaids” used by men for sex and surrogate childbearing in a society where fertility is at a premium. In the story, women are used, sex is coerced, and the government is fine with that: bad situations all around.
So what does The Handmaid’s Tale have to do with a fetal homicide bill?
Following the lead of the ACLU, abortion lobbyists, and perhaps UltraViolet, the bonneted protesters in the House gallery apparently believed that a bill recognizing unborn victims of violence was somehow an attack on women’s rights. New Hampshire’s bill specifies that it would not apply to any decision made by a pregnant woman, including abortion; the protesters nonetheless objected to the bill. The “handmaids” were silent right up to the point when the House passed the bill anyway. That was enough to provoke a handmaid or two to call out “shame!”
I wonder how that “shame” sounded to the man sitting nearby in the gallery whose pregnant daughter had been injured in an auto collision and whose injuries had led to the death of her preborn child, a boy named Griffin. The child was delivered in the aftermath of the crash, but died shortly thereafter. Because his injuries had been sustained in utero, his death could not be considered a homicide under law, regardless of any culpability that the driver may have had for the mother’s injuries. Since then, Griffin’s grandfather has fought for fetal homicide legislation.
In the 2009 Lamy decision, the New Hampshire Supreme Court had to overturn a drunk driver’s homicide conviction. That driver had slammed into a taxi at 100 miles per hour. The taxi driver’s son was delivered by emergency c-section but died two weeks later from injuries sustained in utero as a result of the crash. That was no homicide, ruled the Court, with obvious regret.
The unanimous Lamy decision included this nudge to legislators: “Should the legislature find the result in this case as unfortunate as we do, it should follow the lead of many other states and revisit the homicide statutes as they pertain to a fetus.” Now, in 2017, that nudge just might yield a fetal homicide law. Might. Abortion advocates are fiercely lobbying the Governor to veto the bill, in spite of the Governor’s previously-announced support for the measure. They successfully beat back another fetal homicide bill five years ago when a previous Governor cast a veto.
The women whose losses I’ve described sustained serious physical injuries themselves, and prosecutors had the option (which in the Lamy case was exercised) of filing criminal charges against the party responsible for those injuries. The deaths of their children, though, were not crimes under current New Hampshire law. The women’s childbearing choices were thwarted. Their reproductive rights were compromised in deadly ways, and the law could not recognize that.
Apparently, women who choose to carry their pregnancies to term aren’t exercising the kind of reproductive rights the costumed “handmaids” wanted to promote. Go figure.
The main impact of the bonneted protesters was to bring Hulu’s program to the attention of many people in the State House who hadn’t been aware of it. I hope Hulu appreciated the free promotion.
During one of my more heated exchanges with the liberal NIRFTA folks at CPAC I was asked if I believed that three million voted illegally last time around and tried to refer them to this piece on the subject. But at Granite Grok they noticed another source of shall we say interesting votes
Eleven out-of-state UNH students were arrested Wednesday 02/23/2017 on criminal mischief charges during the Patriots over-celebration. I checked the Durham voter checklist today for coincidences and had six coincidences pop up.
Garrett Colantino, 22, of Reading, Mass. – A Garrett John Colantino is NH voter #300469904
Elizabeth Connolly, 19, of Dorchester, Mass. – An Elizabeth Mary Connolly is NH voter # 300469921
Sophia Benedetti, 20, of Danbury, Conn. – A Sophia Marie Benedetti is NH voter # 300471995
Jean Douglas, 19, of Canandaigua, N.Y. – A Jean Riley Douglas is NH voter # 300467558
Reid Shostak, 19, of Augusta, Maine, A Reid Quin Shostak is NH voter # 300437735
Michael Barbieri, 19, of Newton, Mass. There are TWO! One is a NH voter. Checking police records. For one of the two middle names I have. I will have birth dates shortly. The week is young.
It’s even more fun if you extrapolate the math out
Since UNH has about 10,000 students and about half are out-of-state tuition kids, this random sample provided by the Durham Police may indicate, statistically, that we have a number to work with if we want to measure non-citizen voters. Just for arguments sake, how about 2,500 just from UNH.
Stuff like this is one of the reasons why the MSM never interviews Ed Naile or any of the Grok team on the subject. They know too much, have written about it too long and backs up what he says
And while I wait for my helpers to dig up birth dates on the Durham coincidences I will use resources I have to see if any of these coincidences voted at their legal domicile – the ones they gave the Superior Court and Durham Police. The one on their driver’s licenses. The domicile they pay out-of-state tuition from – where they are liable for state income taxes, etc.
Maybe I will go to Concord and see if I can get them all a NH fishing license. Oh, wait. You need a valid NH ID to get a fishing license.
Yet you don’t need one to vote in the state.
If you wondered how Hillary managed to hold NH and why Kelly Ayotte is not still in the Senate, now you know.
There is plenty more from CPAC coming over the next couple of weeks, but what is also going to be coming are a lot of hospital bills and debt from work that both my wife and I are going to be missing because of the complications from her “routine” surgery.
If you are able and inclined to help mitigate them I’d ask you to consider hitting DaTipJar
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Last week a person on Gab asked me to: “explain how to journalism” I replied with seven points
1. Write the truth as you see it
2. Don’t be afraid to admit a screw up.
3. Say what you think, let the other guy do so too.
4. Never edit an interview dishonestly.
5. Don’t get angry over critique
6. remember being wrong isn’t the same as being evil
7. be open about your biases
I think that hold up pretty well, and I’d add one thing for the sake of CNN’s Anderson Cooper who just spent the last hour saying there’s no evidence of any voter fraud in NH.
8. Remember Choosing not to cover a story doesn’t make it not exist.
That’s important because while CNN and the left totally ignored voter fraud stories out of NH, Granite Grok the premiere political blog of the state was on the job
Well, she’s got another opportunity for fame and misfortune. Elected house Democrat and Fiance Committee and party leader Cindy Rosenwald has the additional distinction of having allowed someone who is currently a regional field director for Virginia candidate for Governor Terry McAuliffe to register to vote from her home in Nashua last November.
Skip broke the story last night on the Grok. He nick-named Rosenwald’s 101 Wellington Street in Nashua home “The Rosenwald Rest Home for Wayward Voters.” I was thinking more along the lines of the “Rosenwald’s Vote Fraud Redoubt”, or “Cindy’s Nashua ballot Box Buffet- “Everyone leaves stuffed.”
I’m sure CNN has an intern or two who could go through those stories and maybe interview some of the groksters, but of course that wouldn’t be good for the narrative would it?
Incidentally I wrote about this back in 2013, where was CNN then?
New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan appeared to be unaware during a Senate confirmation hearing on Tuesday that a Washington Post story about Russian hacking into the Vermont power grid has been completely debunked and retracted.
“Two weeks ago The Washington Post reported that a hacking group connected with the Russian government managed to infiltrate the Burlington Electric power company in Vermont,” Hassan said to retired Marine Gen. John Kelley during his confirmation hearing to head the Department of Homeland Security.
Hassan, who took office this month after serving as governor of New Hampshire, showed no indication during the questioning that she was aware that The Post’s story has been found to be “fake news.”
The retractions on that story were rather epic and it’s quite an embarrassment for Senator Hassan and her staff.
Then again did anyone familiar with Senator Hassan’s record as NH governor or her campaign against Senator Ayotte really expect her to know or care about the difference between the truth and falsehood?
Following the money can be an intriguing political exercise. Take one Planned Parenthood affiliate’s political expenditures, for example. When a candidate benefits from PP expenditures and later has to vote on a PP contract, when does business-as-usual becomes a matter of ethical concern?
Darlene Pawlik wants to find out. She’s checking things out close to her New Hampshire home, and she has filed a complaint with the Executive Branch Ethics Committee against Governor Maggie Hassan and Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern. The complaint might be heard formally at the committee’s next meeting, scheduled for August 3.
Pawlik was prompted to act by a June 2016 “do-over” vote by the state’s Executive Council that sent “family planning” money to Planned Parenthood of Northern New England only months after the same Council turned down a similar PPNNE contract proposal. It’s unusual for a contract denied in a fiscal year to be re-introduced and approved in substantially the same terms later in the same fiscal year, but that’s what the Executive Council did with its 3-2 vote on June 29.
A bit of background: PPNNE is the region’s largest abortion provider, although the New Hampshire contracts are for “family planning” services and are not meant to be used for abortions. (Thereby hangs a tale for another day.) The denial of the original contract hardly de-funded PPNNE, however much the denial gave PP supporters the vapors. PPNNE’s budget is $20 million a year. The original contract was for $638,000; the do-over contract was for a little less than that. By comparison, PPNNE spent $1.5 million on “public policy” in 2014. That doesn’t count campaign donations and independent campaign expenditures by PPNNE’s political arm.
Back to the do-over vote. The more recent contract passed because executive councilor and GOP candidate for governor Chris Sununu switched his vote from 2015. PPNNE’s Action Fund stayed out of Sununu’s race in the 2014 election. On the other hand, the campaigns of Governor Hassan and Councilor Van Ostern were the beneficiaries of PP donations. Hassan, a Democrat who is running for U.S. Senate, named a pro-PP commissioner of health and human services earlier this year who promised during his confirmation process that he would “bring back” the PP contract. Van Ostern was the chief cheerleader for PP on the Council during the recent reconsideration vote. He is a Democratic candidate for governor.
In her ethics complaint, Pawlik alleges that as recipients of PP donations, Hassan and Van Ostern should have recused themselves from any action on contracts with PPNNE. The governor has no vote on the Executive Council, but she presides at Council meetings and was more than happy in that capacity to speak in PP’s favor at the June meeting before the contract vote was taken.
It’s hardly news that political committees get involved in elections, and it’s hardly news that governments do business with entities associated with those committees.What’s news is that a concerned citizen is taking action to clarify how much back-scratching is too much. The same-fiscal-year reconsideration of a rejected contract begs for further scrutiny.
The New Hampshire Union Leader quoted PPNNE’s vice-president for public policy as saying “PPNNE and its Political Action Fund are ‘separate and distinct organizations with different funding, different activities and different tax status.’” Presto: no conflict of interest, says PP.
Look again, says Darlene Pawlik.
She is appealing to an Ethics Committee that is under most New Hampshire residents’ radar. The Committee itself has been moribund for several months, with its three most recent scheduled meetings cancelled. There’s a meeting scheduled for August 3, though, and we know now that at least one complaint should be getting a hearing.
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The first part of this story about Magnificent Seven Writer and Author Tim Imholt’s arrival and mine at St. Anselm and our denial of press credentials is here I pick up the story at the top of a rise under a tree overlooking the parking lot & entrance to the press and candidate area of the hall were the event takes place.
By the time I recharged my laptop candidates like Rick Perry & Rick Santorum had arrived. There were a few passers-by including a visiting couple that had inquired about getting in and had been initially told that some spots were reserved for students if some of the ticket holders didn’t make it they might gain admission. I offered to interview them, as the lady worked for the state department she demurred but her husband, a naturalized citizen, was kind enough to give me a few minutes:
I found his interest in a challenger for Hillary fascinating but what I found much more immediately interesting was the revelation that all of the attendees were pre-screened (which I suspect had a lot more to do with their inability to get in). That said more about the event than anything else.
I spent a fair amount of time with a retired local resident who was a former local official who I would consider fairly far left, nevertheless we had a great and friendly conversation and his anecdotes concerning various candidates were quite amusing. (It’s often forgotten that people can strongly disagree on political beliefs but get along famously.
With the colleges wireless internet signal I was able to tweet and write a bit but with a limited battery I had to occasionally head into the building behind me to charge, while charging I was able to monitor the event just as effectively as if I was in the press room since they had no access to the stage (many people don’t realize that at the vast majority of events like this press are in rooms like this and wait until either individuals leave a state or said event ends before approaching to try to get their interviews (or wait in a “spin room” for the candidates or their reps to come). With lightning flashes outside (but not rain) in sight I went back inside and decided my plan would be to watch the stream until the event was over, then go outside to try to grab interviews of either individuals or candidates.
As far as the event itself, it was very substantive except for the stupid $20 bill question. (Frankly the answer should have been. “I think american women care less about who is on the twenty than having an economy that makes jobs so they can have more of those $20 in their pocket.”) The main effect was to display to political junkies (who frankly were the only people watching) that all of the candidates are competent people of actual accomplishments. Any one of them in a normal year would be a credible candidate.
But with 17 candidates including Donald Trump who changes the normal dynamic it remains to be see what will happen.
The drawbacks were large, it was dark so the video quality might be iffy and as candidates would likely be moving I’d want the microphone connected to the laptop to get audio on the fly and as the mic drew its power from the laptop it would kill my battery faster, so I would have to carry the open laptop, the mic and the monopod with the camera all at once, so the plan was this. I started the record button on Audacity with the mic off and let it run, cradled the laptop with my arm while holding the mic in my right hand turning it on with my thumb while carrying the monopod & camera in my left figuring I’d could hit record with that thumb when ready.
I would produce two products my normal video interviews and an audio (coupled with stills from the video) with the entire set of interviews which you can watch here:
The people coming out that I approached seemed disinterested in talking to me. I briefly considered trying to enter as the event was over but given the tightness of the security decided against it (that decision was validated when after everyone left I was challenged when I tried to get a drink from a bubbler that was near the door within seconds.)
I noticed that the SUV’s were approaching the exits for some candidates but was too slow to get to Gov Perry with all I was carrying but I had better luck with Gov Pataki who came out right as I was near his door.
It was a bit tough keeping the gov centered while keeping the separate mic steady (I could really use an intern but finances can’t justify one), but the interview was good.
A few minutes later I noticed Gov Scott Walker in another part of the area doing what appeared to be an interview. I moved over and requested 2-3 minutes but he declined. So I headed back toward the parking lot just as Governor Jindal was leaving and managed to get 40 second walking interview 25 second of it on video.
by now most of the lot was empty but I saw Rick Santorum coming and the Senator recognizing me was kind enough to stop for a full interview which contained the line of the night concerning Iraq:
And in this interview he gave, in my opinion the line of the night (emphasis mine) “Here’s what I would say is that everybody who votes against this resolution and votes for the Iran deal, everybody who votes for the Iran deal owns everything Iran gonna do from this point forward. If you feel comfortable that this deal will do what the President says, you go and vote for it, but if you don’t if you know and I can’t imagine anyone whose watched Iran for any length of time knows Iran’s not going to keep this deal they’re going to pursue a nuclear weapon and they’ll probably be a nuclear power within in a very short period of time under this deal. You’re going to own that and you’re going to take responsibility for everything that happens.“
You can see the flashes lighting up the sky behind the senator and as I couldn’t cover the 3rd exit that I presume the candidates I didn’t see left from I figured it was time to get myself as I’d been there since 1 PM before those thunderstorms became rain.
Unlike most of the people allowed in that press room the only pay of any type I get for any of this comes from you. If you think this kind of thing is worthwhile I ask you to kick in to support it.
Normally I wouldn’t put it this way but right, with a car falling apart, a floor that needs to be torn up and some big debts I’m really in a bind and I’d really appreciate it if you can give me a hand getting out of it.
My goal for 2015 is Twenty Two grand which will give me a nominal living doing this.
That gets all the bills paid. (including my writers like Fausta) If I can get to Forty Thousand I can afford to travel outside of New England and/or hire me a blogger to help me get it done.
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