Showing posts with label New Hampshire. Show all posts
Showing posts with label New Hampshire. Show all posts

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Democrats Lynch & Obama Betray Progressives on Medical Marijuana

In 1969, the vaunted Gallup Polling organization asked Americans about their attitudes towards legalizing marijuana. At that time, a mere 12% of Americans favored it, while 84% were opposed.

Today, support for legalizing marijuana has surpassed the 50% mark, with more Americans in favor than opposed. When asked about marijuana for medical use, support jumps to over 70%.

The advocacy group National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws claims that marijuana is the third-most-popular recreational drug in America, behind only alcohol and tobacco. Some states have decriminalized marijuana's use, and some have made it legal for medicinal use. A growing crowd of Law Enforcement officials, as well as former U.S. Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders, have called for legalization.

So why are Democrats like Governor John Lynch (NH) and President Barack Obama digging their heels in on an issue that has become a no-brainer for most Americans?

Yesterday, the Republican-dominated legislature of New Hampshire passed a sweeping measure legalizing medical marijuana. . It would allow patients with debilitating medical conditions or the patient's designated caretaker to cultivate and possess up to six ounces of marijuana, four mature plants and 12 seedlings at a registered location.

But as he did in 2009, Gov. John Lynch declared he will veto the bill once again.

The NH House clearly has the votes to override his veto: the measure passed by a lopsided 236-96. However, the margin in the Senate was only 13-11 last month, short of the 15 votes needed for override in that chamber. The prime Senate sponsor, Sen. Jim Forsythe, (R-Strafford), said he was not giving up.

“We’ve gone from having one Senate Republican in support of this issue a few years ago to now having at least eight Senate Republicans ... I believe three additional Senate votes are very possible, and it’s a goal we’ll be working very hard to achieve in the coming weeks,” Forsythe said in a statement.

If Lynch’s position is frustrating, President Obama’s can only be described as an infuriating betrayal.
When he was running in 2008, Obama said he supported the “basic concept of using medical marijuana for the same purposes and with the same controls as other drugs” and that he was “not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws.” In fact, a Justice Department memo in March 2009 from Attorney General Eric Holder announced that federal government raids on medical marijuana distributors who were in compliance with state and local law would end.

And yet, precisely the opposite has occurred.

During 2011, federal forces from several agencies raided 26 dispensaries across 13 Montana cities where medical marijuana is legal under state law. Other dispensaries were raided in California, Washington, Michigan, and Colorado. All told, the federal government has raided more than 100 dispensaries. All of the old Bush administration anti-medical marijuana appointees in key administration positions have been retained.

“I’m very disappointed,” Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), recently said. “They look more like the Bush administration than the Clinton administration...Obama now lags Pat Robertson in a sensible approach to marijuana.”
President Obama attempted to clarify his position on medical marijuana in an interview with Rolling Stone, telling publisher Jann Wenner that he can't "nullify congressional law."

"What I specifically said was that we were not going to prioritize prosecutions of persons who are using medical marijuana. I never made a commitment that somehow we were going to give carte blanche to large-scale producers and operators of marijuana – and the reason is, because it's against federal law. I can't nullify congressional law," Obama said. "I can't ask the Justice Department to say, 'Ignore completely a federal law that's on the books.'

Of course, he can, and he has, quite recently:

The Executive Branch of government is a co-equal branch of government; in order to maintain the checks and balances that our system envisions, the Executive must exercise its own judgment. When Obama declared that the Executive branch would not defend legal actions against DOMA, (the Defense of Marriage Act passed by Congress) that is precisely what he did. He chose not to permit the Attorney General to act. When Harry Truman ordered the integration of the military in defiance of Congressional policy, that is exactly what he did as well.

His actions are in direct contradiction to his original campaign promises, and make no sense in the larger legal, moral or political environment.

If Obama loses progressive support on his left flank in his re-election bid, it is his own fault.

Blogger's Note: Before my father died of esophagal cancer, he expressed to me how he thought that Marijuana ought to be legalized - a strong turn of events for a man who was otherwise viewed as a conservative Republican. In his last days, medical cannabis was not available to him, so his pain was relieved by morphine, which put him into a state of near-sleep and confusion almost 24 hours a day. It was that experience that made Medical Marijuana an important issue for me.]


Monday, March 19, 2012

Medical Marijuana Prognosis Looks Good in NH

[Update to this post found HERE

[Blogger's Note: Before my father died of esophagal cancer, he expressed to me how he thought that Marijuana ought to be legalized - a strong turn of events for a man who was otherwise viewed as a conservative Republican. In his last days, medical cannabis was not available to him, so his pain was relieved by morphine, which put him into a state of near-sleep and confusion almost 24 hours a day. It was that experience that made Medical Marijuana an important issue for me. What follows is a guest blog article written by Matt Simon, a personal acquaintance, who is a resident of Goffstown, NH and a legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project of Washington, D.C. It is reprinted here by his express permission]

Nearly three years have passed since House and Senate lawmakers first approved a medical marijuana bill to protect patients with debilitating illnesses in New Hampshire.

That bill fell just short of becoming law in 2009, when an effort to override Gov. John Lynch’s veto passed the House but failed by only two votes in the Senate.

When the 2010 election resulted in Republican supermajorities in both chambers of the General Court, many felt this issue would be placed on hold for two years. On the contrary, last year the GOP-dominated House showed it wasn’t at all afraid to pass medical marijuana, voting to approve the measure in a 221-96 landslide.

Last year’s bill reached a stalemate in the Senate, when senators voted to table the bill rather than casting an up-or-down vote, but this year patients and their advocates are feeling more optimistic than ever about their chances. Their new bill features three Republican senators as sponsors.

So what objections remain?

First, the attorney general’s office points out that marijuana remains illegal under federal law and says the program could lead to interventions in New Hampshire by federal agents. Second, it observes that, in a few states, badly implemented medical marijuana laws have led to undesirable outcomes.

When considering the merits of these objections, New Hampshire legislators should focus on two very useful counterexamples: Vermont and Maine.

Vermont and Maine have been protecting medical marijuana patients from arrest since 2004 and 1999, respectively. There have been no federal raids on patients or caregivers in either state, and the laws continue to enjoy strong public support.

After years of allowing patients and their caregivers to grow their own marijuana, both states recently approved the addition of state-regulated dispensaries to improve patients’ access.

Have these reforms led to increased rates of recreational marijuana use and teen use in Maine and Vermont? According to government surveys, they have not. In fact, the federal government’s own data shows that teens and adults use marijuana at a nearly identical rate in all three states.

Unfortunately, the U.S. attorney for New Hampshire has indicated that dispensaries here would not necessarily be safe from federal prosecution. Thus, Granite State lawmakers appear to be left with two policy options: they can continue leaving desperate patients to fend for themselves on the black market, or they can acknowledge their plight and permit them to simply take care of themselves.

SB 409 would protect patients from arrest and give them a way to access marijuana safely, legally and unobtrusively. A 2008 Mason-Dixon poll showed 71 percent of New Hampshire voters agree, with only 21 percent opposed.

Will 2012 be the year that public opinion finally translates into public policy?


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hallelujah Corporations...A Musical Satire

If any music video deserves to go viral, it's this one: a fantastic parody performed at the Grover Cleveland Dinner, held by the Carroll County (NH) Democrats (Funny, Great singing, and subtitles for ease of understanding)


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Making sense of the NH Republicans...and the UNPUBLISHED poll....

In the wake of yesterday's election of Jack Kimball over Juliana Bergeron as New Hampshire State Republican Chair, many news articles have attempted to present this as a battle between "two sides." And in America, we tend to simply battles into just two sides: Republicans vs. Democrats, Packers vs. Bears, Yankees vs. Red Sox, Toby Keith vs. The Dixie Chicks. But the reality behind the scenes is that the state GOP can be divided into at least three different factions, and the direction the party - and the State - will take is a function of how those coalitions come together - or fall apart - on individual issues.

In brief, the three main factions are The Establishment Yankees, The Theocrats, and the Libertarians.

The Establishment Yankees are best represented by the House of Sununu and the House of Gregg, two Republican families that have dominated NH politics for 40 years. These two families provided State Party Chairs, Senators, Governors, and White House Advisors (Sununu The Elder was Bush the Elder's Chief of Staff). And while the Sununus tended towards very conservative politics, their base has been the old tyme Republicans who worked the polls in the past, provided the votes, and had moderate tendencies (The McCain - Romney faction)

The Theocrats are a vocal, blistering minority of social conservatives, most of whom have moved in from out of state. They belong to Bible, Pentecostal, and Independent Churches. The Home Educate in droves. They are Pro-Life. And they have found their voice in the Cornerstone Policy Institute and its mouthpiece, Ken Smith. They are both fiscal and social conservatives, but it is the social issues that inflame their passions and drive them to organize and campaign and vote. When choosing candidates, they are the ones most likely to ask in a knowing whisper, "Is he saved?"

The Libertarians draw from two sources: young, fresh blood, drawn to the Granite State by its traditional bent towards libertarianism and publicity from organizations such as the Free State Project and the New Hampshire Liberty Alliance (Not to be confused with the House Republican Alliance); and from old tyme Yankees who have rejected some of the 'entrenched' politics of the Establishment Houses (see above). This group is fiscally conservative...but quite socially tolerant, if not liberal. This is the faction within the GOP seeking to preserve Marriage Equality through a variety of approaches (including getting government out of marriage all together), and support medical marijuana (as well as outright decriminalization).

To muddy the waters, there are many news reports trumpeting the success of Tea Party favorite Jack Kimball. But the Tea Party movement, while united on fiscal issues, is extremely fractured on social issues, and does not speak with one voice (a mistake often made by those on the left when commenting on the Tea Party).

And so, the recent election fell along these lines:

Julia Bergeron, Chair of the Cheshire County GOP, who rose through the ranks working within and for the party. Unsurprisingly, she had the support of The Establishment, including most of the GOP Senators, 4 of 5 Executive Councillors, and the House of Sununu.

Jack Kimball, former candidate for Governor, businessman, and Tea Party activist.

But where did they stand on the issues?

Juliana Bergeron was seen by some as a 'moderate,' by others as a conservative...and Marriage Equality was the lightning rod issue. Bergeron was not very clear where she stood: she voted against including an anti-same-sex marriage plank in the state GOP platform, and afterwards stated, “I’m 100 percent for our platform, but we have to respect those who don’t agree with every portion of it..." But she also made statements such as, “I have never been a proponent of gay marriage; I support traditional marriage." Her attempt to negotiate a bitter feud between pro-Equality and Anti-Equality Republicans in the Town of Swanzey resulted in her being seen as 'liberal' on this issue: she lost the support of Cheshire Republican strongman (and former NH Christian Coalition Chair George Fellendorf), and could not secure the support of one of five Executive Councillors, David Wheeler of Milford, a hero of the Theocrat faction.

Kimball, on the other hand, who cut his teeth on fiscal, not social, issues, came out with this beaut: “I won’t tolerate our party deviating from its conservative platform,” he told “I plan to get involved in activities at the Statehouse if and when I think we are straying from our platform."

In getting elected, Kimball attempted to make his agreement with the socially conservative platform very clear.

However, his actions belie his words: He then said Thursday he would name abortion rights supporters and U.S. Senate candidates Bill Binnie, of New Castle, and Jim Bender, of Hollis, to co-chair the GOP Finance Committee. Binnie openly appealed to abortion rights supporters in his unsuccessful campaign for Senate, and while news reports claim that he supports the the state’s same-sex marriage law, he told your Blogger, to his face, that he opposed it.

In the end, Bergeron had the Establishment. Kimball had the Libertarians (who were suspicious of Bergeron's moderation on fiscal issues) and the Theocrats, who were unimpressed with the strength of her support for the social issues in the Platform...though it's not certain that Kimball's action will support his words.

It was a close vote: 222-199.

Now, the straw poll...the media are announcing Mitt Romney's win among the delegates (an Establishment win), even if they are ignoring Ron Paul's second place showing (a Libertarian win).

But the "other story" is the poll that is not being reported. Delegates were asked, in a second poll, to indicate ALL the candidates they could support. Here are the results:

Tim Pawlenty 46
Michele Bachmann 44
Mitt Romney 42
Rick Santorum 41
Sarah Palin 38
Ron Paul 38
Jim Demint 34
Mike Huckabee 29
Mike Pence 24
Paul Ryan 24
Gary Johnson 20
Rudy Guiliiani 20
Haley Barbour 19
Newt Gingrich 19
John Bolton 15
Judd Gregg 15
Joe Arpaio 12
Donald Trump 11
John Thune 10
Mitch Daniels 9
Herman Cain 8
Jon Huntsman, Jr. 6
George Pataki 5
Scott Brown 4
John Cornyn 2
Tom Tancredo 1
Steven King 1

Notice the cluster of hard-line social conservatives at the top of the list: Pawlenty, Bachmann [shudder], DeMint, Huckabee, Santorum, Palin.

Notice the Libertarians in the second tier: Paul, Johnson

Notice no one gets more than 1/3 of the delegates voting.

Any appearance of a united, monolithic NH Republican Party is a news media invention. Any announcement that the "Tea Party" has taken over is premature and unhelpful. The NH GOP remains divided between its three camps. In the short term there will be an unpredictable dance between these the long term, as The Establishment dies off and loses ground....we will see a war between social conservatives and social libertarians. Who knows how far off that was is...

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Bishop Gene Robinson to retire

Sad news that brought me to tears this evening.

It is not hyperbole to say that the Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson will go down in history alongside Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Susan B. Anthony, Cesar Chavez, Bishop Desmond Tutu, and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. And I have been blessed to have lived and worshipped during this time, in the state of New Hampshire, in the Episcopal Church while he has been our shepherd.

Bishop Robinson has stood in the face of criticism and hate and death threats in order to proclaim a greater truth, and to offer a gospel message of hope and love and humanity for all at a time when many have confused the Gospel of Jesus with an ignorant, fundamentalist "churchianity." He has sacrificed his personal privacy and safety in a never-compromising outreach to Gay and Lesbian men and women...and at a time when the Ugandan Church is calling for the execution of gays and conservatives in the Anglican Communion threaten to tear the church apart over the acceptance of gay and lesbian parishioners - - Bishop Robinson has stood and spoken with a blinding truth and honesty that is painful.

Indeed, he has been"...a stone to make men stumble..." (1 Peter 2:8)

My husband-to-be and I were with him in the gallery of the New Hampshire Statehouse when Marriage Equality was finally approved. And he personally gave his blessing to clear the way for our wedding, and promised us personally that he would provide clergy to perform our ceremony.

Coming less than a week after a political tidal wave of change in our nation and in our state legislature, rendering all of our marriages "at risk," this is doubly distressing. But we take heart, knowing that

"...the arc of history is long, but it bends towards justice." - Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Time for the rest of us to step up our vigilence.

I have included his the Bishop's entire statement, released today the Episcopal Diocesean Convention.


Bishop of New Hampshire Calls for Election of Successor

Convention of the Diocese of New Hampshire

November 6, 2010

I am using this time for closing remarks to announce to you an important decision I have made regarding our common life. On January 5, 2013, I will retire as your Bishop. To that end, I am hereby calling for the election of a Bishop Coadjutor for the Diocese of New Hampshire, who will succeed me in 2013. While this is an excruciatingly long period of time – two years and two months – from now, this period of time is essential for a smooth and unhurried process of transition, for the diocese and for me.

Let me share with you the reasons for announcing my retirement at this time:

I wanted to make this announcement to you in person. While I might have delayed this announcement a few more months, I could not imagine doing so by letter. I have been in the Diocese of New Hampshire 35 years, the last 24 of which have been in a diocesan position. Our time together has always focused on “relationship,” and I could not imagine changing this relationship without telling you so personally.

By January, 2013, I will be approaching my 66th birthday. (This is where you say, “But bishop, you look so young!”) I will have been a bishop over nine years, a reasonable and typical tenure for a bishop my age in the Episcopal Church, in what I consider to be one of the great and healthy dioceses of The Episcopal Church. Since the very beginning, I have attempted to discern God’s will for me and for you, and this decision comes after much prayer and discernment about what God wants for us at this time. I received the diocese under my pastoral care in good shape, thanks to Bishops Phil Smith and Doug Theuner, and believe that I will be passing it along to my successor ALSO in good shape. I have tried to be a faithful steward of the trust and responsibility you placed in me. Only you can be the judge of that.

The fact is, the last seven years have taken their toll on me, my family, and YOU. Death threats, and the now-worldwide controversy surrounding your election of me as Bishop, have been a constant strain, not just on me, but on my beloved husband, Mark, who has faithfully stood with me every minute of the last seven years, and in some ways, YOU. While I believe that these attitudes, mostly outside the Diocese, have not distracted me from my service to you, I would be less than honest if I didn’t say that they have certainly added a burden and certain anxiety to my episcopate. While my resignation may not stop such pressures completely, it does seem to be the right time for me to initiate the nearly-two-year process for your election of a new bishop. A three-month overlap will allow for a smooth and appropriate transition.

There are still things left for me to do. First and foremost, there is continuing to be a good bishop for you during the next two years. I don’t intend to be a “lame duck,” as you deserve a bishop during this interim that is “on all burners” for the remaining two years. I intend to continue to be fully engaged as your Bishop in the remaining time we lead the diocese together. You can do YOUR part by not sweeping me aside, either literally or emotionally, over the next two years, while I lead as your Bishop Diocesan.

Let me assure you that I am in good health – having lost 25 pounds put on over the last seven years in part by eating all your good food!! Especially that coconut cream pie in Colebrook! I continue in my fifth year of sobriety, which has been a total blessing to me. I continue to treasure my work and ministry with you, and it is a total joy and privilege to serve you and to serve God in this holy collaboration with you. After two more final, vigorous years with you, there are other things that I hope to do, in a new chapter in my life and ministry.

In the meantime, there is mission and ministry to be done. I have been on retreat with the senior staff, and we have set priorities for the next two years. My first priority during these two years will be to continue to support, nurture and pastor our clergy, lay leaders and congregations. Our School for Vestries, under the able leadership of our new Canon for Lay Leadership, Judith Esmay, is the fulfillment of one of my dreams for us. We will continue our focus on stewardship, vitality and leadership development in congregations. We will continue to be responsible stewards of our finances. We will continue to work with congregations in finding the best clergy available for ministry here in New Hampshire. Our fantastic diocesan staff will continue to see, as their primary mission, serving you, the people of the diocese. The Diocesan Council will shepherd us through a new and exciting accountability process for Fair Share giving. Our Mission Resources Committee, under the leadership of Benge Ambrogi, will be freed to focus on new and creative ministry projects in small and large congregations alike. It is such an exciting time in the life of our diocese, and I intend to jump into it with both feet!

For my own ministry as your bishop, both within and beyond the diocese, I will continue my work of evangelizing the unchurched and the “de-churched.” I get to talk to probably more unchurched people than any other bishop in The Episcopal Church. On college campuses, speaking to various public forums, and also in my work with gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people, I get the opportunity to make the case for God and for God’s Church – either to those who have never known God’s unimaginable love, or to those who have been ill-treated, in the name of a judgmental God, and who have left the Church. Recent news brings us the tragic stories of teenagers who have taken their own lives because religion tells them they are an abomination before God and who believe that their lives are doomed to despair and unhappiness. I get to tell them a different story. By all accounts, I have had the privilege of bringing many people into the Church for the first time, or convincing them that the Church is becoming a safe place to which they can return with a reasonable expectation of welcome. This is EVANGELISM, for me, pure and simple. This is my attempt at fulfilling “the Great Commission” to go forth into the world, baptizing in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit – a calling not just for a bishop, but for each one of us.

I must admit to some anxiety about this change, but I’ve got plenty of time to deal with that. Since I was ordained at the ripe old age of 26, the Church has been my whole life. I love getting up at 4:30 in the morning to pray and to begin work answering your emails and questions and to respond to the needs of our clergy and congregations. Sundays continue with my weekly, official visitations in congregations which have enlivened, nourished and excited me for much of the last decade. I look forward to continuing in being intimately connected with you and your ministries. But as we are told in Ecclesiastes: “to everything there is a season.” And now it seems to be the season to continue that ministry among you over the next two years, as you carefully choose your next bishop. He or she has no idea what a joy and what a privilege it will be to serve you, the people of the Diocese of New Hampshire

I have talked with the Standing Committee about my decision and they will meet on December 9th with Bishop Matthews of the House of Bishops Pastoral Development Office. The Standing Committee will begin the process of choosing both an Episcopal Search Committee and an Episcopal Transition Committee, which will begin their work in the new year. About a year later, in early 2012, nominees will be announced, with an election in the late spring of 2012. Allowing for the necessary consent process at General Convention, we will consecrate our new Bishop on (tentatively, subject to consent) Saturday, September 15, 2012. As with my own election, there will be a few months of overlap for the new bishop to get acclimated and for a smooth transition to occur. On Saturday, January 5, 2013, I will pass over my authority, and the Bishop’s Staff which symbolizes it, to our new bishop, with joy and thanksgiving for what has gone before and for what is to come under new leadership.

I make this announcement with nothing but praise and thanksgiving to God for having the privilege of serving you. While I know that I have not been God’s perfect servant during this time, I will leave in early 2013 knowing that I have given this ministry my best efforts. YOU are, and will continue to be, the reason I have not only survived, but thrived, during this tumultuous time in the wider Church. New Hampshire is always the place I remain, simply, “the Bishop.” This is the one place on earth where I am not “the gay Bishop.” I believe that you elected me because you believed me to be the right person to lead you at this time. The world has sometimes questioned that, but I hope you never did. You always treat me as a human being, a beloved child of God, and an eager servant of Our Lord. That is what I have tried to be, all along the way – and with every ounce of my being, I will continue. And God willing, I will leave this office in 2013 with even more love, more affection and more gratitude for you than when I assumed this role.

I know that this will have come as a shock to many of you, especially given how much I love being your Bishop and love the work we have undertaken together. I even hope that my energy and enthusiasm for being your Bishop has caused you to forget that I am approaching retirement age. But there it is!

There will be plenty of time in the future for remembrances, thanksgivings and reflection on our time together. For now, though, there is important work to be done. We need to let our fine Standing Committee and the future Search Committee do their jobs, and in the meantime, get on with being the Church and preaching the Gospel in this part of God’s vineyard. New Hampshire has made a name for itself in the last few years, and although unwittingly, we have been on the national and international stage. It has given us the opportunity to proclaim God’s love for ALL of God’s children in profound ways. I do not expect that to be diminished in any way as we move through the next two years of transition and as you move into a new partnership with your new bishop! All I can say is that it is the most profound, blessed and exciting honor to continue as your bishop. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for loving me and working alongside me in bringing the Church in New Hampshire and the world ever closer to the Reign of God.

It’s been a great, collaborative ride, and it will continue to be. All in the name of God, who loves us beyond our wildest imagining, and who will continue to lead us into the future as surely and as faithfully as in the past. Thanks be to God.

And now, I will ask our outgoing Standing Committee President to lead us in prayer, sending us into the world, to care for the People of God, preach the Good News, and continue as faithful witnesses to the Gospel.

The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, IX Bishop of New Hampshire

Thursday, July 15, 2010

NOM in NH: The Bizarre World of a Theocracy...

The New Jersey-based “National Organization for Marriage,” or NOM, rolled its bus into Manchester NH in order to rally the troops against Marriage Equality and get signatures in support of DOMA. It must have been embarrassing for them that including the out of state contingency they brought on their bus, only about 50 people showed up in the City Hall Plaza. By contrast, those of us who showed up to quietly support NH’s Marriage Equality numbered 40 – with no bus, no campaign, and no organized effort.

I can only describe the hour-long ‘rally’ as bizarre. Even Circus-like.

One of the touted speakers was Dr. Jennifer Morse, who was introduced as a college professor who would address the group on the scientific basis for prohibiting same-sex marriage. She insisted that religious reasons were not necessary, because there were “bold” scientific reasons. My curiosity was piqued!

I was disappointed to say the least. Her ‘scientific’ opinion was that “Heterosexuality is Normal for our Species.”

Huh? That’s it?! Yup.

After a little research I discovered that our Scientific Doctor has a degree in Economics (not science, not sociology, not psychology, not family studies…). She runs the “Ruth Institute,” a NOM-Project, working with church and college youth groups, and the faith-based Acton Institute.

She then informed us of all the horrible things happening in Canada as a result of same-sex Marriage. Three times she referred to the strange land of “KWEE-beck.” Being a Californian, she apparently was unfamiliar with either the English or French pronunciation for the name of our neighboring Province, so she instead made it sound oddly remeniscent of the word “QUEER”.

She concluded by warning us about what lay ahead for the US. Soon, she said, we might have Language Police listening in on (and I kid you not…) the jocular statements made between guys in locker rooms after sporting events to make sure they complied with politically correct speech codes.

Such was the Scientific Approach. Then we were treated to a sermon by Thomas Peetz, the Pastor at the Pentecostal Word of Life Church in Concord. Detecting another out-of-state accent, I checked his church bio to see that he claims to come from “the nation’s heartland,” and studied under Kenneth E Hagin. Yes, the Health & Wealth Televangelist who claims that “It is always God's will that every believer be 'financially blessed' through faith…," and who, apparently, died three times and even went to hell on one of those trips. Pastor Peetz said, “I’d like to read from the Good Book…if I’m allowed to call it that,” in what became a constant, scripted litany for the rally: that religious people were being silenced. He then instructed us all that there is no ‘separation of church and state in the Constitution...that’s just in a letter Jefferson wrote.” He concluded his sermon by imploring the group that “What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.”

I wonder if he realized the irony in that his purpose there today was to “put asunder” my lawful, Church-approved marriage.

NOM’s Director, Brian S. Brown, probably took top prize for bizarre logic today. Towards the end, he waxed eloquently about how Christian leaders throughout history stepped out and championed unpopular causes in the name of civil rights, from William Wilberforce’s fight against slavery to Dr. Martin Luther King’s marches for racial justice. He emphasized how these men were ridiculed even by other churches and by the public, but they fought and expanded decency and civil rights.

He then took a spasmodic leap in irrationality and claimed that these good works could not happen now, because Christians had been ‘silenced.’

Perhaps, being from out of state, he was blind to the logical, appropriate leap he SHOULD have made: that of Bishop V. Gene Robinson, who walked in the very tradition of those other leaders he mentioned in the fight for GLBT civil rights. It was not lost on those of us who live in New Hampshire.

One theme became very clear throughout the hour: no fewer than 16 times did speakers mention “the children,” or the effect of same-sex marriage on “children,” or depriving “children” of a mom and dad, or the primary purpose of marriage being to raise “children. And throughout the rally, Biblical and moral references were rampant…and the desire for a Theologically Appropriate response to Marriage Equality was the blatant, unabashed and constant undercurrent of this group.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Gun-Happy New Hampshire rated the Safest state in America - AGAIN.

According to CQ Press, the nation's leading publisher on government statistics, New Hampshire is the safest state in the nation for the third year in a row.

According to CQ, which rated the states on 500 crime-related categories, New Hampshire "reported only 15 murders out of a population of 1.3 million—the lowest rate in the country. New Hampshire was also below the national average for rape, and had the second lowest rate for aggravated assault with only 78 cases per 100,000 citizens."

Now, why is this? Is this because New Hampshire is a largely rural state, and crimes generally happen in urban centers?

Hardly. In spite of tourism brochures touting mountainsides and maple sugar shacks, more than 700,000 Granite Staters - more than half the state's population - live in Urban areas. In fact, it terms of urbanization, New Hampshire ranks #15 in the entire country. (By comparison, New York is #11 and Virginia is #18.)

Perhaps it's tough prison sentences that prevent the 'bad guys' from running amock in New Hampshire ? ? ?

Nope. A 2009 study showed that out of 50 states, New Hampshires was #48 in terms of the percentage of its citizens locked up in jail. In fact, New Hampshire prides itself in utilizing reform, rather than outright jailing, in its justice system.

Gun laws! That must be it! Tough gun laws that keep anybody from getting a gun!

No, try again. Anyone in New Hampshire can buy a gun without a license. And without "registering" the gun. And in fact, they can carry that gun on their person, loaded, without permission or a permit and walk down the street.

What a concept.

An urbanized state, with liberal gun laws, that doesnt believe in a draconian "throw-away-the-key" style of justice is the safest place to live in the USA.

Something to think about, huh?

Friday, April 02, 2010

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

New Hampshire House Preserves Marriage Equality, 201-135

More good news from my home state...about an hour ago, the New Hampshire House rejected a proposed constitutional amendment that would have prohibited gay marriage in New Hampshire. CACR 28 would have defined marriage by restricting it to a man and a woman.

As a Constitutional Amendment, it required a 60% margin in the legislature...and it did not even gain 50%. It was rejected 201-135, a big change from last fall when Marriage Equality squeaked through the state legislature by less than a dozen votes. While this may show significant movement in the right direction, the cheering is a little dampened by the fact that 60 legislators did not show up to vote. If they were all "anti" Marriage Equality, then there has really been very little movement at all. We will need to see who was absent before we draw too many conclusions. [UPDATE: 40 republicans supported Marriage Equality this time around, suggesting an actual shift...]

Had this passed, it would have gone on to a vote by the public, which was the main argument that CACR28's supporters kept making: that 'the people' ought to be able to vote on marriage. It apparently never occured to these legislators that 'the people' dont get to vote on "rights:" we never subject questions of free speech, or Miranda Rights, or gun ownership, to majoritarian votes, because majoritarianism is the antithesis of liberty and rights.

A concurrent effort to ask Town Meetings to adopt a "let the people vote resolution" effort is failing miserably. Even in reliably Republican Towns, such as Rindge, town meeting voters are removing and rejecting Town Meeting Warrant items seeking a public vote on Marriage Equality. Winchester (my home town), Rye, and Deerfield have all rejected it in recent days.

A second vote to repeal the bill that established Marriage Equality last fall failed by an even bigger margin: 210-109.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

New Hampshire's turn for an Independent?

Looking to both the East and West of the Granite State, there have been a series of successful state-wide Independent candidates. As far back as 1975, Mainers elected their first Independent Governor, James B. Longley. Longley, a center-left Democrat on social issues, left the Democratic Party over fiscal issues. Running as a fiscally-conservative and socially progressive Independent, he struck a chord with more Mainers than either the Republicans or Democrats, and left as his mark a reorganization of the University system. From 1995 to 2003, Mainers again elected an Independent, Angus King, with an eclectic philosophical record but who was perceived as very strong on educational issues, a recurrent issue in Maine politics.

To the West, Vermont sent Jim Jeffords to the U. S. Senate as a Republican three times. But in 2001, Jeffords switched to Independent, and the catalyst was Republican opposition to the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Jeffords would strongly represent a civil libertarian position, opposing the ban on gays in the military and the FCC Decency Act (which would eventually be struck down by the Supreme Court), and opposing background checks at gun shows, the flag desecration amendment, and the use of military force in Iraq. On Economic issues, he supported the Balanced Budget Amendment and Free Trade agreements.

To the south of New Hampshire, Independent candidates are polling ahead of Democrats and Republicans in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Ex-Democrat Tim Cahill is running strongly in Massachusetts, with - surprise, surprise - a socially moderate and fiscally conservative approach. In Rhode Island, ex-Senator Lincoln Chaffee, who was targeted by the conservative wing of the GOP, is positioned as a pragmatic independent who is not as 'mean' as the shrill Republican base, but more fiscally responsible than the chaotic Democratic-lead statehouse. And of course in Connecticut, Independent Joe Lieberman felt ostracized by liberal Democrats, and has almost single-handedly prevented a new socialized health program from leaving the Senate.

One must ask: what traits do all of these Independent victories have in common?

First, Fiscal irresponsibility among Democrats.
Second, capture of the Republican Party by an extreme and shrill right wing.
Third, voter rejection of both (1) and (2) above, and falling party identification.
Fourth, Independent candidates who support fiscal responsibility; social tolerance and civil liberties; and who have strong pro-Education platforms.

Which brings us to New Hampshire, and the 2010 Gubernatorial election.

Governor John Lynch's record of fee & tax increases, free-wheeling spending, and fiscal incompetence will go down in history as legendary. Not in recent history has this state seen such deceitful budgeting, nor so many tax and fee increases. Combined with the national Obama juggernaut of staggering deficits and spending, a growing number of Americans from "the middle" - where elections are won - are pushing back against the Democrats irresponsibility.

Unfortunately, the Republican Party will not necessarily benefit from this anger. The Bush years convinced an entire generation of Americans that Republicans, too, stand for big government and big spending. Worse, the histrionics of right-wing media idols like Glenn Beck have painted the GOP as a party of the lunatic fringe.

NH GOP contender Karen Testerman represents the fringe that the public rejects: a co-founder of the Christianist "Cornerstone Policy Research," in 2003 she compared gays and lesbians to "shoplifters and drug addicts," and told the Nashua Telegraph that she would have to "prayerfully assess" her role in the Republican primary. In the second least 'evangelical' state in the union (Vermont being first), Testerman represents everything that most independents and moderate - and many former Republican voters fear most: a religious fringe candidate who will see the Office of Education and the Office of Health and Human Services as a personal crusade to impose theological opinion.

With the Democrats in disarray over the financial meltdown for which they and they alone are responsible, and the Republicans insisting on pandering to a shrill far-right base, New Hampshire and its swelling ranks of Independent voters may well be poised to elect an Independent who represents fiscal sanity, social tolerance, and a strong commitment to both Jobs and Education.

Now...who's stepping up to the plate?

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

New Hampshire approves Marriage Equality, 198-176

What a LOOOONG day! Rally at the Capital Building Plaza at 9 am, and then a LOOONG wait all day in the visitors gallery in 90 degree-plus heat,until the House took up HB 73....after 3:45 pm!

The victory of 22 votes was larger than any of the previous margins. Steve Vaillancourt, a Republican who opposed the current version because of Gov. Lynch's needless dramatics, came around and supported it, as did Rep. Tony DiFruscia (Republican) from Windham. Several other Dems (including a clearly choked-up Rep. Roberts, from Keene) who previously opposed the bill changed their minds. Our Bishop, the Rev. V. Gene Robinson, was also in the gallery. Loud Cheers went up from the gallery when the vote was posted, in spite of the Speaker's efforts to tell us to keep quiet.

Immediately after the vote, supporters moved to Reconsider the bill, which they then defeated: a parliamentary tactic to avoid having the bill reconsidered 'by surprise' later this session.

Outside, on the Capitol Building steps, on this historic day for New Hampshire, I proposed to my partner Scott. And (after saying, "Are you serious?!"), he said yes :-)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

New Hampshire House defeats Marriage Equality 188-186

It ain't over...but here's what's happened:

The Senate approved HB 73, which were a series of Amendments proposed by Governor Lynch. The House voted AGAINST concurring by a vote of 188-186. (This, after having approved the original marriage equality bill that was sent to the Governor two weeks ago)

They THEN approved a motion 207-168 to go to a Conference Committee withthe senate to try and work out common ground.

The strongest arguement *against* concurring with HB 73 was offerred by Rep. Steve Vaillancourt, a Republican and strong supporter of Marriage Equality. As much as I want to see Marriage Equality, Steve was 100% on target.

Under the Federal & State Constitutions, and included in most of the Goevrnor's amendments, it is/was clear that religious institutions were free to marry whomever they found qualified under their own rules. And under these laws, religious groups can legally 'discriminate' against other religions when it comes to membership and services in their own operations - as it should be. However, under state law, if a religious body holds themselves out as a Business to the public, then they must serve the entire public, and not pick and choose, say, to serve whites but not blacks, or to serve Baptists and Methodists but not Pentecostals. That law prohibits organizations from discriminating based on sexual orientation when they hold out business services to the public.

Governor Lynch threw down a gauntlet: in effect, he said he'd approve a Marriage Equality bill, but he wanted an 'exception' so that businesses with a religious foundation could legally discriminate against same-sex couples engaging in marriage and 'related' services, such as receptions. In other words, if the business was held out to the PUBLIC, they could still discriminate against couples based on orientation.


Let's hope that the House and Senate can recraft the bill in a way that grants Marriage Equality WITHOUT going backwards on discrimination, and let's hope that hte Governbor actually signs the bill and stops playing both sides against the middle with his usual infuriating cowardice.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Gov. Lynch is a Coward

I'm rarely that dramatic in my headlines, but the label fits.

Two weeks ago, the N.H. legislature adopted a Marriage Equality Bill. The Speakers of the House and Senate delayed delivering the bill to the Governor, because once delivered, state law only gives him 5 days to make a decision, and he wanted more time. During that time, the state was baraged with hateful ads from out-of-state groups proclaiming the virtual end of western civilization if he signed. Two days ago, the Governor met with opposition leaders. And yesterday, he announced his decision.

He stated that he would veto the bill in its current form, but sign it if certain amendments were added. Most of these amendments are meaningless: they insure the right of religious institutions to refrain from conducting same-sex ceremonies. This is meaningless because churches already have this right under both the US and State Constitutions; For years Roman Catholic Churches refused to marry non-Catholics, and there was -and is - no legal repurcussion for this. The Constitutions guarentee them their right to conduct their ecclesiastical rites their own way. From this perspective, Lynch's amendments are simply political posturing.

However, one of his 'required' amendments is a clear step backwards.

"a religious organization, association, or society, or any individual who is managed, directed, or supervised by or in conjunction with a religious organization, association or society, or any nonprofit institution or organization operated, supervised or controlled by or in conjunction with a religious organization, association or society, shall not be required to provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods or privileges to an individual if such request for such services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods or privileges is related to the solemnization of a marriage, the celebration of a marriage, or the promotion of marriage through religious counseling, programs, courses, retreats, or housing designated for married individuals..."

On its face, this sounds like a statement in support of religious liberty. In reality, it is a step backwards for equality.

The proposed amendments enable organizations that own businesses (such as lakeside retreats, function facilities, etc.) AND WHO HOLD THESE FACILITIES OUT TO THE PUBLIC, to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.

All agree that religious institutions must be permitted to do as they wish in the conduct of their own religious life. HOWEVER, once they begin engaging in business with the public, a different set of laws apply. Under current law, businesses may NOT discriminate in the provision of services or housing based on sexual orientation. Under Lynch's proposed amendments, this discrimination would now be legal.

Lynch, once again, can claim to be all things to all people:

He will tell gays and liberals that he supports Marriage Equality.

He will tell theocrats that he supported rolling back the anti-dsicrimination laws to give them an exception.

If it passes, the Conservatives have won a right to discriminate in the conduct of Public Business.

If it fails, Lynch can blame the Legislature for "not doing a good enough job."

Governor, you are pandering the right and avoiding leadership. Whereas you could have had my unending support, you now have my unending scorn, regardless of the outcome of your political games.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

NH State Senate votes to Allow Gay Marriage

By NORMA LOVE | Associated Press Writer
1:41 PM CDT, April 29, 2009
CONCORD, N.H. - The state Senate has voted to make New Hampshire the fifth state to allow gay marriage.

The 13-11 vote came after a 45 minute debate over an emotional issue that drew 500 people to the Statehouse for a hearing earlier this month.

The vote establishes a two-tier system with a civil marriage and a religious marriage license. The House now must consider the proposal, which is similar to one it rejected earlier this year.

Gov. John Lynch has said marriage is a word that should be reserved for the union of a man and a woman, but he has not said specifically that he would veto the bill.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Have YOU contacted YOUR State Senator yet?

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Cheshire Co., New Hampshire Republicans offer opinions on the GOP's direction

This afternoon, Republicans in Cheshire County, NH were invited to an open meeting in Keene to voice their opinions about the future of the Republican Party. To be sure, there were many opinions.

Jennifer Horn, last year's unsuccessful candidate for Congress, served as the MC. Those who attended were quickly divided into groups to discuss issues such as voter outreach, party logistics, ranking issues by importance, media relations, etc. Oddly, attendees were not invited to join the work sessions of their choice, but were assigned topics haphazardly depending on their seats. Your truly, of course, defied the established order and participated in two groups: Voter Outreach and Issues. At the end of the hour or so meeting, summations were offered, and some short general discussion ensued.

The results were mixed, I think. Some members clearly understood the need to be technologicaly adept. Others were stuck in the 1950s, believing that phone trees were important, and that telling College students that Republicans supported Civil Rights in the 60s (over 40 years ago!) would somehow win them over...

I spoke up, of course. I believe that the Republican Party needs to do some real soul-searching. Unfortunately, the Elephants appear to be terrified of The Elephant in the Room: the stranglehold on the party by Religious Conservatives.

In spite of Jennifer Horn's stated belief that the GOP does not need to rebrand itself, she is terribly, terribly wrong.

An entire generation of new voters came to the polls believing that the Bush administration and Rush Limbaugh represent Republican ideals. Republicans spent eight years defending sickening deficits, exploding budgets, and “big-government” programs that they would have railed against had they been proposed by a Democratic Administration. We were inexcusably silent as America, the great hope of the world, became represented by images of torture and Guantanamo Bay. Republicans should have been outraged…but instead, we defended “our guy” in the white house, and earned the public’s disdain. They grew tired of the Bush administration’s vision of America.

The GOP must articulate in clear terms positive, pro-active solutions for the problems and concerns that the American people have. Access to health care and secure retirement provisions are national concerns: We cannot simply be ‘against’ universal health care or social security, we must present clear, pragmatic, appealing alternatives.

As these proposals are formulated, we must be careful not to fall prey to the idea that we must choose to side with either the “moderates” or the “conservatives” within the Party. A lukewarm, “me-too” version of the Democrats is not a solution, but neither is cliché-ridden pandering to a shrill religious right. Rather, Republicans must forge a new path, a path that is consistent with both the Republican philosophy and the American spirit, and which resonates with voters of all stripes: we must combine fiscal conservatism and responsibility with social tolerance and liberalism. The Republican Party claims to be the party of small government and maximum personal freedom. It’s about time we reclaimed that heritage in a consistent manner.

As we present our alternatives, we must eradicate the mean-spiritedness, the innuendos, the mud-slinging, and the anger from our speech. We must offer vision, hope, and a future to all. If we want young people, minorities, and immigrants in the party, then we need to really want them, not just tolerate them and accept their contributions.

At the gathering, numerous snide remarks were made about the 'liberal media,' lawyers, teachers, and liberals in general. "Immigration" - a complete non-issue to anybody in Cheshire County, New Hampshire - somehow emerged as an important 'issue' to address. At my table, one religious conservative insisted that gay marriage and abortion were leading us to Socialism (I can't even begin to explain the twisted logic here...) On a positive note, I would say the majority at my table was tired of being the reloigious rights bludgeon.

I stated openly that we need to stop blaming immigrants, young people, gays, and the 'liberal media' for our problems, and was cut off by Horn, who insisted that the party does not 'blame' those groups for anything. And yet, that appears to be more of a political 'talking position' (the media was present) than the reality, as understood by the millions of Independents - and Republicans - who abandonned the GOP in the last election.

To be sure, there was a definite contingency present who agreed enthusiastically with me. We will not go away. But it will be a long hard fight - a fight that the GOP leadership seems very, very eager to avoid at all costs. But if they do not address it, one of those costs will be their own electoral success.

Monday, January 07, 2008

How Ron Paul blew it in New Hampshire

I will vote for Ron Paul on Primary day here in New Hampshire. I have been a Ron Paul fan for a very long time. But he and his supporters have snatched defeat out of what could have been a stunning showing, and its a shame.

The Republican Party has lost its principles and its soul. The GOP used to be the party of low taxes, fiscal responsibility, states rights, and a small-is-better philosophy when it came to the federal government. The Bush Empire has turned all that on its head, running up fantastic deficits, enacting Steel Tariffs, imposing No Child Left Behind on the states, and strengthening the power of the federal government to unprecedented levels through the Patriot Act and related provisions. Surely, somewhere, some Republican must be willing to stand up and declare that the Good Guys have actually morphed into the Evil Empire. For his entire career, Ron Paul has stood squarely in the true liberty-loving tradition of the Republican Party. And for that reason, I will cast my vote for Ron Paul in the Primary.

He has raised mind-blowing amounts of cash on the internet, drawing on the passion of the younger generation that tends to live on the net. But his numbers are not catching on much past the 10% mark in polls, even here in libertarian New Hampshire. Why is that?

Its not because of a media blackout. It's not because of a conspiracy against him.

It's because with all the issues he could have chosen to seize on, he chose the wrong ones: Immigration and The Federal Reserve System.

Someone needs to inform the political operatives that no one here in New Hampshire cares much about immigration. It's a virtual non-issue. New Hampshire is about as far from Mexico as you can get and still be on American soil. The immigrants who do arrive are by and large French-Canadian, and have been part of the New Hampshire social fabric for several hundred years. Further, all of the Republican candidiates are tripping over themselves trying to be the most mean-spirited, anti-immigration candidate...and no one here cares. Worse, Ron Paul is unable to differentiate himself from the pack on this issue. And even more troublesome, is that his position represents a retreat from the libertarian notion of greater freedom and less government.

Worse still is the near obsession that Dr.Paul and his followers have surrounding the Gold Standard and the Federal Reserve System. Dr. Paul has called for the abolition of the federal Reserve and a return to the gold standard. The more I hear him talk about this issue, the more convinced I become that he truly does not understand what he is talking about:

Dr. Paul has staked out this position because of the deblitating effect that inflation has on household savings. And he is correct: inflation destroys savings and value. What he doesnt seem to understand is that the United States has not seen high inflation in generations, and that is due largely to the effectiveness of the Federal Reserve Bank.

Every industrialized nation in the world has a "Central Bank." Most third world countries do NOT. Nations with these central banks experience low inflation (rarely double digits). In fact, the US inflation rate has been a mere 2% to 5% over the last few decades. (The seventies were an exception). Meanwhile, third-world nations without a central bank regularly experience inflation of 30%, 80%, 100%, or more.

The Role of the Federal Reserve System is to control inflation. They have done it, admirably. Authority for the System lies in the Constitution's clause giving the Federal Government the right to coin money.

The falling value of the US Dollar (which Dr. Paul has lamented) has been GOOD for New Hampshire: it means that the Chinese, and the Europeans, and next-door Canadians can now afford to purchase US goods, helping the manufacturing, retail, and tourism sectors upon which the New Hampshire economy is based. Ron Paul's lament about the falling value of the US Dollar carries little weight here: Retailers saw more Canadians crossing the border to buy US goods than ever before, *because* of the falling US Dollar.

And no one gives a crap about the Federal Reserve except college-aged idealists. Yup, that's right. Here in New Hampshire, people are concerned with fuel oil prices, health insurance, social security and pensions, jobs, and taxes.

Ron Paul could speak powerfully to Granite Staters about issues that are important to them. Instead, he has been sidetracked by non-issues.

And as a result, pragmatic New Hampshire voters will select John McCain (who is *not* seeking to be THE anti-immigration candidate), and who's frank talk about REAL issues resonates well with this state.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

New Hampshire enacts Civil Unions

Today, New Hampshire became the first state in the country to adopt civil unions for gay couples without a court order or a pending lawsuit against a marriage statute. And the bill even uses the term, "spousal union" to describe gay relationships. Once again, the Granite State stands in the vanguard of liberty for all.

Two years ago, state lawmakers held a series of "information gathering" meetings around the state. I attended the meeting held in Keene, NH, at the Keene Public Library.

The 'agenda' was set from the beginning. The overflow crowd of residents who had come to make their opinions known were told they would have to wait until the 'special guests' got to speak. The 'guests' were anti-civil union activists from Massachusetts.

That's right, New Hampshire legislators came to gather public opinions...but the residents of New Hampshire who took the time and effort to stand up in public and offer their opinion were delayed until the out-of state, non-resident, non-voting 'experts,' chosen by the panel itself, could tell us all what a disaster civil unions would be.

As the panel then turned to the audience, we were warned over and over that any disruption or impoliteness would result in the panels getting up and leaving. (Now there's a great example for lawmakers to set, huh?) Mere objections to allowing out of state testimony were promptly classified as disruptions, and people who's voices were shaking with nervousness at their first 'public hearing' were nastily shot down by the panel chair.

Predictably, the panel recommended a ban on same-sex unions.

Appropriately, the residents of New Hampshire threw them out at the next election.

Throughout the national media, one hears tales that New Hampshire has gone from 'conservative' to 'liberal' in one election. In actuality, nothing is furter from the truth: New Hampshire never *was* conservative. New Hampshire was, is, and remains, a libertarian state. In the area of taxes, firearms rights, and government regulation of business, the Republicans were the guardian of libertarian values. But today, as big brother Federal government pokes it nose into our library reading lists and our bedrooms, the Democrats are our best bet for guarding our liberties.

The average Granite Stater doesnt care who their neighbor sleeps with. And they dont care to have the government telling them what to do. For years, we relied on Republicans to carry the torch of liberty. Now, the Democrats have their chance....and this was another step in the direction of liberty.