Thursday, November 26, 2009

"How Many Days to America? - A Thanksgiving Story"

My children range in age from 13 to 24. In their younger years, one of the traditions in which our family faithfully engaged was the evening reading of books together before bedtime. "How Many Days to America? - A Thanksgiving Story" (authored by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Bev Peck) was a traditional read in our home - a home that was rather unique, as our six adopted children had widely varied backgrounds and 'personal stories.' The book does not recount the Pilgrim's tale, but tells the story of a Carribean family's efforts to come to America in modern times via a small boat to be "safe and free." It is a book I was never able to finish (as my children still remind me), because my eyes would well up and my voice would crack and I had to put it down.

The Immigrant Story is one that touches the very essence of my soul. Oddly enough, my own family has been here since the Dutch landed in Nieuw Amsterdam (New York) in the 1600s...but there is something about the human desire for freedom that resonates very deeply within me. Whether it was Dutch traders looking for a new business venture in the New World; religious refugees in 17th Century Europe; victims of the Irish famine, the Scottish Clearances, or the 30 Years War that ripped apart the German lands; Haitians fleeing the most impovershed and corrupt nation in the western hemishphere; Russians looking to taste freedom for the first time in their lives; Jews seeking a new start upon the liberation of Buchenwald; the forced travels of African slaves, Native Americans on the Trail of Tears, or the expulsion of the Acadian French; or Latin Americans seeking a just rule of law and better opportunities...the immigrant experience of leaving everything known and familiar and seeking to carve one's own place in peace, freedom, and prosperity is one of humankinds' most astounding and emotional stories.

And so, on Thanksgiving, I am doing much soul-searching, and offering much thanks for my nation...and also soberly recognizing the threats we are under from both the socialist left and the theocratic right. Having been involved in political battles my entire life, I don't believe I have ever seen this nation so divided and so 'under siege' from within as well as from without. Even the riots and political divisions of the late 1960s, through the Kent State Massacre and the Watergate era seem to pale in comparison to the current regime's power grab throughout the economy and the strident, shrill opposition being commandeered by Neo-Puritans on the far right.

It gives one pause. It strengthens Resolve. And it spurs one on to new adventures in the reclaimation, preservation and expansion of Freedom.

Stay tuned for a coming announcement...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

NH Holiday Gift Drives

This year the New Hampshire Bears will sponsor THREE Holiday Gift Drives: Dec 4 in Keene, Dec 5 in Manchester, and Dec 6 in Salisbury Beach (MA). As always, these gifts help families affected by HIV & other chronic illnesses, as well as families separated by military service or incarceration.

The NH Bears is a Registered Charity in the State of New Hampshire. Last year you provided over $1,000 worth of gifts to families in need. This year, the need is greater than ever. Join us in Holiday Spirit at any of these drives, and, if able, bring unwrapped gifts or food items to any of the following three drives:

Friday, December 6, 9:00 pm
'Vendetta '
43 Central Square, Keene, NH
(603) 283-0233

Saturday , December 5, 9:00 pm
The Breezeway Pub
14 Pearl Street & Elm Street
Manchester, NH
(603) 621-9111

Sunday, December 6, from 4pm - 8 pm
Chef Howie's Hobo Cafe
5 Broadway & Route 1A (on the Beach)
Salisbury Beach, MA (just over the border from Seabrook NH)
Reggae Music with D.J. Khandie and Complimentary Buffet!
(978) 465-4626

It will be *wonderful* to see you at any of these events!


Sunday, November 22, 2009

"If They're Democrats, It's Not Homophobia."

(Published today at the Indeoendent Gay Forum)

by Stephen H. Miller

Yet another fawning Washington Post puff piece on an Obama staffer looks at White House deputy chief of staff Jim Messina, who was formerly chief of staff to Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.).The post relates this bit of history. In Baucus's 2002 senate race:

Messina masterminded a bruising attack ad against Republican state Sen. Mike Taylor, a former hairdresser. The ad featured video footage of Taylor, then decades younger and bearded, setting the hair and massaging the temples of a mustachioed man in a beauty salon chair -- with a funky bomp-chic-a-bomp-bomp '70s beat in the background. The spot ends with a frozen frame of Taylor reaching down and out of sight toward the other man's lap. Disapprovingly, a voice-over declares, "Mike Taylor: Not the way we do business here in Montana." ...

Stephanie Schriock [Montana's junior senator Jon Tester's chief of staff] cited the ad as one example of how Baucus has long appreciated and been served by Messina's killer instinct. "Jim was willing to make the hard call to put an ad out there," she said.
Nowhere does reporter Jason Horowitz question the use of overt homophobic stereotypes (regardless of the fact that Taylor wasn't, in fact, gay) to aid the Democrat's cause. But then, neither the politically supplicant media nor LGBT Democratic activists seem to mind pandering and promoting the denigration of gay people when it serves the interests of their party. (Which is to say, if it were a Republican administration, the appointment of a White House deputy chief of staff with this history would have triggered loud protests; here, it's just an amusing anecdote.)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

H1N1 Vaccines, Breast Cancer, and the Congressional Health Care Bill.

The Anti-Government Health Care Arguement: "Around the world, socialized medicine has resulted in a rationing of care. Governments have found themselves limiting access to services and establishing waiting lists. In Canada, patients wait an average of 27.9 weeks just to see an ophthamologist after referral by their GP ( )

Americans will end up with higher costs and less care as it is rationed."

Real? Or just fear-mongering? Those in favor of government-provided insurance and care say this is nonsense, and point to anecdotal incidences of friends receiving care in Canada and finding it just fine.

So let's stop talking "what ifs...," and look at Current Reality:

The H1N1 vaccine *is* a socialized, government program. The shot is free.
It is also in short supply everywhere, and doses are restricted to only the most at-risk patients. Conversely, the usual vaccinations, provided by the market, are readily available.

The Federal Government recently funded a study released by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which recommended that women of average breast cancer risk start mammograms at age 50, not 40, and have them every two years rather than annually. Breast Cancer is currently the leading form of cancer in women. Many of us know women who are alive today because they caught a vigorous form of breast cancer early (including my own mother).

But now, the feds are recommending that women reduce their preventative mammograms. Meanwhile, page 1,190 of the House health care bill specifically states that Government Insurance shall not pay for preventative care that exceeds the Task Force's guidelines - even though NOT ONE member of the Task Force specialized in cancer or women's health!

There is the reality of Socialized Medicine. Rationing. Less Care. But we can all feel 'good' because Government is Caring for us, right?

Health Care needs reform - but this bill must be defeated.

And if it is passed, it needs to be repealed.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Theocratic Right a danger to NH, her citizens, & the GOP's health

Nationally, many Republicans have become upset with the national party. And in an effort to bring the party back to its small-government, individual-liberty Republican roots, "Republican Liberty Caucuses" have sprung up around the country. The RLCs embrace a libertarian approach to government: fiscal responsibility and social tolerance. And yet, in some places (such as NH), this group has entangled itself with Social Conservatives who are as antithetical to liberty as any other Statist.

In New Hampshire, Tim Condon, VP of the state chapter regularly offers snarky comments about gay rights issues (such as today's post, "... If you don't grant their every demand for special "gay rights," then you're anti-gay and "homophobic." Haven't you heard?")

Today's performance of the Theocratic Right, however, wins the prize for its open display of hostility and mean-spiritedness. Maybe they're not homophobic. Maybe they're just juvenile and filled with hate.


"After his radio show "Meet the New Press" ended today, co-founder Doug Lambert looked into a live web-streaming camera, mockingly wished state Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley a Happy Birthday and then called Buckley a "faggot" before basically wishing him dead.

...After co-host Skip Murphy (a frequent poster on the RLCNH Group list) said that he should probably shut off the feed, Lambert looked into the camera and said, "Speaking of gays, Happy Birthday Ray Buckley. Are you going to Holland or taking another trip with your buddies?"

He then dances in a way meant to mock a gay male and says: "Yeah you Faggot. [Pause.] That's right I said it and I meant it. You are reprobate. How the people, the Democrats, I think of some of the gray haired ladies and older people from the old party would stand behind you is beyond me. You are a disgrace to yourself to humanity to mankind and to your party.

"Other than that Happy Birthday Ray and many more -- not," Lambert continued before the feed was quickly shut off."

Disgusting. And if the Theocrats in the GOP want open warfare, they've got it.


Doug Lambert has issued a crocodile-tear apology on, including these gems:

"I made a play to the camera that was watched and reported on by an online media outlet..."

Hey, I was having some fun and got caught by 'outsiders.'

"...Being human, and an honest person that is used to freely speaking my mind, my passion got the best of me. Politically correct? Nah, that's not my style. Calling people names, THAT'S usually not my style, either, as I prefer to debate the issues in a battle of ideas...."

I'm a great guy, so you can overlook this. No PC pansy-ass here (like that faggot, Ray Buckley)

"...I care deeply about my family, my state and my country. My sole reason for having this show is to shed light on just how quickly our country is being led down the wrong path. My remarks were not helpful to protecting the rights and the freedoms I fight for everyday...."

I'm a Pro-Family Guy (you know what I mean), so I need my fans to gather round me to prevent us from going to hell in a handbasket because of those faggots

The apology is just as bad as the initial tirade....


The Spin Control is in full operation over on the RLCNH list. Various posters have re-framed the issue as one of 'free speech,' criticizing Ray Buckley for an Amsterdam video escapade (all the while fauning all over Carrie She-of-the-8-Sex-Videos Prejean), and pointing to Gay activist nastiness.

But *none* of those are the points. This is not about free speech (a Constitutional Right), or Carrie Prejean (Don't get me started), or nasty gay ativists (I've been on the receiving end more than I care to admit).

It's about an underlying mean-spirited, divisive nastiness that lies just under the surface of the theocrats. They may speak in the language of love and forgiveness and freedom and liberty, but that's only to avoid being exposed as the hate-mongers they are. This year we will see a variety of challenges to GOP candidates, and 'smart' theocrats will try their best to keep their Social positions out of public view, and try to ride public discontent with fiscal issues to electoral victory.

God help us all at that point.

The GOP needs to return to it's Goldwateresque roots of fiscal responsibility and social libertarianism. The GOP's Theocrats - NOT the Democrats - represent the biggest threat to the party's re-emergence. 37% of gay men and women actually voted for McCain in the last presidential election. We fight in the armed forces and lose our pensions because of DADT. We are forced to lie on our income taxes about our filing status because of DOMA. It's time the GOP acted in accordance with it's stated philosophies and reject control of the Party by the Far Right

In case readers haven't heard about it, the owners of WEMJ Radio, which had carried the Saturday morning talk show on which Doug Lambert made the offensive comment about Ray Buckley this past weekend, will no longer carry the program. Nassau Broadcasting has on the WEMJ WEBSITE an announcement stating that it "has terminated its contract to air the local radio talk show "Meet the New Press" on its station WEMJ 1490 AM with PoliGrok, LLC, owned and operated by Mr. Doug Lambert..." The announcement further states that Nassau "...terminated the show based on highly offensive and unacceptable comments made by Mr. Lambert during an off-air segment of the show."

Mr. Rob Fulmer, Nassau's NH Regional Manager, said "Although the comments by Mr. Lambert were not aired on our station, we find the comments by him to be completely out of line and unacceptable and we will not allow Mr. Lambert the opportunity to continue to air his show on our radio station." Pulling of the program is effective immediately.

NOTE: On the GraniteGrok website, Doug Lambert has issued an apology that I believe is genuine: he identifies the hatred he has harbored, and in his own religious terms, expresses true sorrow. He has also left the Grok. Unfortunately, that leaves Skip Murphy in control of the emasculated program, and Skip still doesn't get it. In commenting on the incident, Skip mentions the phrase "Politically Correct" (or "incorrect") not once, not twice, not three or four times - but SIX times in one post.

This is NOT about being "PC" - it is about political activism borne of Hatred. Doug, apparently, gets it. Skip still doesn't.

Civilian Criminal trial in NY for Khalid Sheik Mohammed: the wrong choice

Anyone who has read this blog knows that there are few Republican bloggers who were as critical of George Bush as me. I opposed Guantanamo, waterboarding, the Patriot Act, and the wholesale trashing of the Constitution. Obama offered Americans a 'change' from those's unfortunate that this 'change' is no better, and by many measures, is far worse.

The decision to try Mohammed - who masterminded the 9/11 attacks - in the civlilan court system raises some difficult questions:

1) If Mohammed's acts are merely "criminal" and not part of an Act of War by Al Qaeda, then why are we fighting in Afghanistan? Our incursion into Afghanistan was based on the notion that the US was under attack by a foreign entity, warranting a military response to defeat the attackers. If Mohammed was an upper level operative of the attack, then he should be tried in a military tribunal. If he is simply a 'criminal,' then Obama should withdraw us from Afghanistan immediately and proclaim the incursion an unwarranted mistake. Anything short of this is illogical and hypocritical.

2) The Federal court in New York will need to deal with the issue of the admissibility of evidence obtained during the 183 waterboarding sessions used with Mohammed. This is a no-win situation for the American public: if the Court rules the evidence in inadmissible, it endangers the possibility of a conviction. But if it rules that the evidence *is* admissible, it's even worse: it could establish the right of the State to use torture to obtain evidence in domestic criminal investigations, which will complete the evisceration of the Bill of Rights.

I wish I knew what Obama was thinking when this was announced....

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

May 24-May 28: Marriage Equality March in Maine

Like Martin Luther King's marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama - the mission of the Maine LGBT Civil Rights March is to bring thousands of LGBT rights supporters together to march from Portland to Augusta, Maine with one simple message: Civil Rights Now.

Planning: We planning an event like Maine has never seen before. A 5-day march from Portland to Augusta. A 5-day march from Bangor to Augusta. Meeting in the Middle for Equality. Join us.

Info and Signup on for MAINE LGBT Civil Rights March

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Health Care Bill HR 3962 passes House - overall, a bad bill

I am not one of those Republicans who opposes all health care reform. However, I strongly oppose bad reform, and on balance, this bill is very, very bad.

The Good: The bill removes Insurer's exemptions from antitrust laws, and creates a national marketplace for shopping for insurance. This is good for consumers, good for competition, and will improve insurance access. The bill also eliminates restrictions on pre-existing conditions, an important aspect of any insurance reform. While it is true that insurers need to make a profit to survive and pay claims, it is also true that the purpose of an insurance pool is to spread the risk - both good risks and bad risks - across the entire pool of insurees. For far too long Insurance companies have gotten away with creating pools that are guaranteed 'winners,' further enhanced by their near monopoly status in some states and ability to limit competition across state lines. These are positive aspects of the bill, and aspects that the GOP ought to get behind in the public marketplace of ideas.

The Bad & The Ugly: The bill requires large companies to offer insurance, and requires citizens to secure insurance, period. The element of freedom of choice will been eliminated, as the government forces us to purchase a product. The cost to individuals and employers in terms of premiums could be disastrous in a recession. Worse, the Government Budget Office readily admits it is planning on offsetting the cost of the new program through 167 BILLION in fines on individuals and employers over the next 10 years. In other words, they are actually counting and planning on consumers and businesses being unable to comply in order to pay for the program!

The bill charges the IRS with compliance with the mandatory insurance provision. This is modeled after Massachusetts, which requires proof of health insurance coverage before one is able to file their State Tax Return. In practice, this has proven to be a nightmare for accountants, who with increasing frequency are preparing returns due to the complexity of the tax code. Now accountants and tax preparers will need to prove insurance coverage on a national scale, and will vastly complicate their practices and increase the costs of filing income taxes for both preparers and taxpayers.

And worst of all is the creation of a Government-run Health Care Insurance Company. There are three ways this can go:

1) It can be so successful, that private insurers, now facing stiffer competition and requirements to cover expensive pre-existing conditions, go out of business, and the government becomes a sole insurance provider.
2) It can be financially unsound, and taxpayers will be called upon to bail it out.
3) Both of the Above (the most likely scenario)

In the course of the debate, those against government health-care have pointed to a shortage of coverage in countries with socialized medicine, the rationing of care based on cost-benefit analysis, and the prospect of government-insiders having better access to medical care than the citizens in times of shortage. Could that really happen?

Well, a real-life, real-time personal case in point: The "free" government-run Swine Flu (H1N1) vaccines. The supply of vaccines is woefully short and late. Then, last week we got a call from the local hospital telling us that they ran all of their patients through a database and one of my sons 'qualified' for a shot. Meanwhile, the news reported that Goldman Sachs (you know, the company which supplied us with the Fed Reserve Governors, the Sec. of Treasury, and Bailout Gurus?) received 200 doses of Vaccines.

Oh? Why is that? Are they all children with pre-existing conditions? Health Care Workers? Or just "connected" to the right people?

Lastly, the fact that this is a 1,990 page bill that was passed in the middle of the night. I sincerely doubt how many members of Congress actually read the bill. Upon completion, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi remarked that this was landmark legislation, and compared it to the advent of Social Security.

Great comparison, Nancy. Social Security is a ponzi scheme headed for bankruptcy within our lifetime. And that's what you compare this legislation to?! Let's hope calmer heads prevail in the Senate...

Friday, November 06, 2009

Keene State College wins "distinction" for Unconstitutional Silencing of Free Speech

Speech Code of the Month: Keene State CollegeNovember 2, 2009
by Samantha Harris

FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for November 2009: Keene State College in New Hampshire.

Keene State's "Statement on Sexist Language," found in the college's Student Handbook, states that "Keene State College will not tolerate language that is sexist and promotes negative stereotypes and demeans members of our community." Keene State is a public university, legally bound to uphold the guarantees of the First Amendment, yet this policy blatantly prohibits constitutionally protected speech. Not only does it prohibit protected speech, but it also leaves a great deal of what we would call core protected expression—that is, the kind of political and social commentary at the heart of the First Amendment—vulnerable to punishment. Indeed, there are many serious and legitimate expressions of opinion that some would say are sexist and promote negative stereotypes. One need only recall the uproar over former Harvard University President Larry Summers' speech suggesting that differences in aptitude might be a factor in women's underrepresentation at the highest levels of math and science—a speech that led to his resignation from Harvard and that led the University of California to disinvite him from speaking at one of its campuses in the wake of a faculty petition stating that he "has come to symbolize gender and racial prejudice in academia."

In the university setting—which the U.S. Supreme Court has called peculiarly the "marketplace of ideas"—the expression of different and controversial views is an essential element of the learning process. A policy like this, which chills debate by threatening to punish any expression that might be deemed "sexist," is not only unconstitutional but also runs contrary to what a university should be. For this reason, Keene State College is our November 2009 Speech Code of the Month.

If you believe that your college or university should be a Speech Code of the Month, please e-mail with a link to the policy and a brief description of why you think attention should be drawn to this code. If you are a current college student or faculty member interested in these issues, consider joining FIRE's Campus Freedom Network, a loose affiliation of college faculty members and students dedicated to advancing individual liberties on their campuses. And if you would like to help fight abuses at universities nationwide, add FIRE's Speech Code of the Month Widget to your blog, website, or Facebook profile and help shed some much-needed sunlight on these repressive policies

Quote of the Day (Week? Year? CENTURY ?!)

"You can't put a civil rights issue on the ballot and let the people decide. You have to have elected officials who have courage to make the right decision. If you left it up to the people, we'd have slavery, depending on how you worded it." - Former Minnesota governor and pro wrestler Jesse Ventura, responding to Maine's vote on CNN last night. (Source-JMG)

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

"Congratulations" to the Purists....

Well, Congratulations for a Pyrrhic Victory goes to the Right-Wing GOP Purists. Sarah Palin, Tim Pawlenty, and the National Organization for Marriage managed to replace Assemblywoman Scozzafava with an out-of district Conservative, Doug Hoffman, in the special election to fill NYs 23rd CD.

In the end, the Democrat, Bill Owen, won the district, which has been Republican for over 150 years. So now, instead of Dede (who understood the district and its politics) voting with the GOP on 80% of issues, they have a Democrat who will support the Obama agenda.

There are now TWO Republican Congressmen left in all of New England and New York.

Good going, morons.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Dede drops out in NY's 23rd CD

Dede Scozzafava, a 'moderate' Republican whose voting record is consistent with New York's brand of Republicanism, has been forced out of the sepcial election for that state's 23rd Congressional District.

I must admit, I find this entire chapter to be disappointing and troublesome.

Little that has set blogs abuzz has been true.

Dede Scozzfava was elected multiple times as a Republican to the NYS Assembly.

Dede, by every measure, has a *more conservative* voting record than the average Republican in the NYS Assembly.

Local Republican leaders - 11 County leaders - chose this seasoned Republican to represent the party in a special election. The RNC did what the RNC *should* do: it accepted the *local* decision.

Then, in the space of a few weeks, weirdness ensued.

With little understanding of the candidate or the district, and armed with outright *lies* about her positions on multiple issues, national conservatives tripped over themselves trying to out-flank each other on the right. The reality is that Dede is NOT the Big Liberal Socialist she was painted as: in fact, her bigest crimes are the union card-check (and I disagree with her on this, but there is a local history that is important and lost on out of state leaders), and guess what: Marriage Equality and Abortion Rights. BINGO! The religious Right springs into action, the Eagle Forum weighs in, the National Organization for Marriage (a despicable group of disingenuous liars) weighs in, and Dede is re-imagined as the Wicked Witch of the North.

They flock to Hoffman, their conservative Superhero...who doesnt even live in the district and who has managed to make a fool of himself in local press conferences due to his lack of knowledge of the area. But no matter, the dice have been rolled. Dede is out.

I am honestly reminded of the townspeople in Disney's "Beauty and the Beast," who listen uncritically to what Gaston has told them, pick up their pitchforks and torches, and march on the castle.

This is a no-win situation for our party. On one hand, the District could elect the first Democrat in 150 years. Or, more likely, Hoffman could win - thus emboldening the Purge of both "moderates" and true "libertarians" within the party in favor of a a Purer, Narrower, and ultimately Ineffective Social-Statist Southern Republican Party.