Rep Steve Vaillancourt



Tuesday
Nov252014

70 Percent Of NH Gay Marriages Involve Women

In the nearly four years marriage equality (that is to say gay marriage) has been law in New Hampshire, 70.4 percent of the same sex marriages performed here have been between two lesbians.

Since the first gay marriage on January 1, 2010, 2278 lesbian couples have tied to knot and "only" 959 gay male couples.

Those numbers are a bit misleading because numbers in the first two years were skewed by the automatic conversion of couples who had been granted civil unions in 2008 and 2009, 412 in 20ll and another 373 in 2011.

Here are the year by year numbers.

2010--707 female marriages, 280 male (including the conversions)

2011--631 female marriages, 219 male (including the conversions)

2012--278 female marriages, 111 male

2013--351 female marriages, 215 male

2014 so far--311 female marriages, 134 male

Ah yes, but what about divorces?

I know that's what you're wondering, and rightly so.

So far, 200 lesbian and gay male couples have been divorced, 156 females (78 percent) and "only" 44 males (22 percent). Obviously, we should expect to see an increase in divorces as time passes and more and more gays and lesbians are in the married pool. For example, only two male couples and 14 female couples divorced in 2011. In the following four years, the numbers were 14, 42, 56, and 44 for females; 16, 14, and 12 for males.

Thus in the limited data we have so far, we can say that lesbians are more likely than gay men to marry but they are also more likely to divorce.

I've saved the most interesting data for last. What percent of the overall marriages in the state have been with same sex rather than heterosexual couples? Actually the number of heterosexual marriages is fairly stable, 8665 for 2010; 8529 for 2011; 8632 for 2012; 8570 for 2013; and 8354 for 2014 so far.

Let's just use the past three years (since the conversions skew the same sex numbers for 2010 and 2011).

In those three years, we've had 25,558 heterosexual and 1400 homosexual marriages in New Hampshire for a total of 26,958.

Do a little more math, and you should agree with my number that 5.2 percent of all marriages in the state in the last three years have been less than straight (sorry, I couldn't avoid the pun).

That number is actually is higher than I would have imagined. Some social scientists like to say that gay people are one in ten or ten percent of the population; others insist the number is closer to one in a hundred; I've always use a number in between; let's say five percent. My guess is that with marriage equality such a new thing, the percentage would have been slightly lower.

If anyone has any data from other states (Vermont has been at this slightly longer than we have), feel free to drop it in here.

As I argued on the House floor when we manage to stun the world by becoming only the second legislature in the country to pass marriage equality, it really isn't about numbers. As long as one couple is denied the right to consummate their love with the right to get married, we fail to live up to basic principles of equality.

Add 3236 to that one, and that's where we are in New Hampshire--up to 3237 and counting.

Tuesday
Nov252014

Don't Count On Right To Work In NH Next Year

Despite the support of prospective Speaker Bill O'Brien, R-Mt. Vernon, and of Senate President Chuck Morse, R-Salem, don't expect New Hampshire to become a right to work state in the next two years.

The legislation may well be introduced, and with a 239-161 Republican advantage in the House, it most likely will survive the first obstacle.

However, the bill most likely will never clear the Senate and even if it does, chances of an override of Governor Maggie Hassan's all but certain veto are close to zero.

With Republican of the Senate only 14-10 and with Republicans Senators David Boutin, of Manchester, and Sharon Carson, of Londonderry, historically opposed to right to work, it's tough to see how right to work supporters get to 13 votes.

Passage in the House, while likely, is not a certainty. Remember that in the 2011-12 session, Republicans enjoyed a 298-102 edge in the House, and O'Brien, despite using every ploy in a Speaker's bag of tricks (totally legal of course), could not even come close to getting the two-thirds required for an override.

Traditionally 30-40 Republicans have opposed right to work. My quick look at the lay of the land reveals that number has been cut in half.

Let's say two dozen anti-right to work Republican opponents remain in the House (I could name names but won't). Let's also say that every Democrat except two is opposed Let's also postulate that every House member is there for a given vote (that, of course, will never happen), that means that right to should pass with a 20-40 vote majority, between 210-190 and 220-180.

239 minus 24 equals 215 plus two equals 217.

161 plus 24 equals 185 minus two equals 183.

That's a far cry from the 267-133 which would be required to override a veto, so the issue is really dead on arrival for the next two years.

Three things are required for right to work to become reality in New Hampshire.

1) A Republican edge in the 220-180 range in the House.

2) A 15th Republican state senator (as long as Boutin and Carson are still two of the 14).

3) Most importantly, a Republican governor who will not veto the bill.

With Maggie Hassan most likely running against U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte in 2016 (and failing miserably thus serving as a drag on Democrats on down the ballot), Republicans should have the 220 Reps and could well have the governorship (Walt Havenstein came closer than most pundits thought he would). Whether they can get a 15th State Senator...hey, we're getting way ahead of ourselves.

One thing is sure. An attempt will have to be made again in 2017 because right to work is sure to fail in 2015-16.

Monday
Nov242014

Will NH GOP Leave Marriage Equality Alone?  Probably

 

  1. Same-sex marriage in Montana - Wikipedia, the free ...

    en.wikipedia.org/.../Recognition_of_same-sex_unions_in_Mo...
     
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    The state of Montana has recognized same-sex marriage since a federal court ruled the state's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional on November

As Montana last week became the 35th state to move forward with same sex marriage equality, media silence is deafening concerning whether or not any New Hampshire State Representative or Senator will move forward with a repeal attempt.

As I've noted here in the past, any one of 424 Reps or Senators is empowered to file any bill he or she so desires.

The most likely candidate to subject our state to the stress of a repeal effort would be David Bates, R-Windham, who is back after sitting out the 2012 election.

 

He's the one who attempted (and failed) with a gay marriage repeal bill in 2011 after Republicans had taken a 298-102 advantage in the New Hampshire House and 19-5 lead in the Senate in the 2010 election.

That was when Governor John Lynch most assuredly would have vetoed any marriage repeal bill, but in fact, the Bates effort never made it out of the New Hampshire House.

You gotta believe that if he couldn't get repeal through then, Bates won't even try not that 1) The Republican advantage is only 239-161 and 14-10 and even more significantly 2) The nationwide trend is more and more in favor of same sex marriage equality, not repeal.

Bill O'Brien, R-Mt. Vernon, a long time opponent of marriage equality and the most likely choice for Speaker when the House meets next Wednesday, has indicated in the media that he will attempt to steer his caucus (and party) away from such divisive social issues.

Like with Democrats who would like to repeal the death penalty, anti-marriage equality Republicans most likely will decide--why pick a bitter fight when you can't win it anyway.

That's just my guess.

Let's put it this way. Odds of marriage equality repeal are zero (Maggie Hassan would certainly veto such an effort) and odds of even an attempt at repeal are close to zero.

The other big proponent of repeal in 2011, Leo Pepino, of Manchester, died just prior to the 2012 election, proof that opposition to marriage equality is dying both figuratively and literally (sorry if that offends some readers, but it's a fact of life--and death--that needs to be faced).

As my final request for House researcher Myla Padden, one of the state's finest public servants, I've actually received the numbers of same sex marriages (and divorces--yes, gays are equally apt to end marriages as are straight people, a point I always made during the equality debate), for both men and women, since the same sex marriage bill took effect January 1, 2010. I'll post them here as soon as I clear up a few issues.

In the meantime, here's some nationwide data. Note that of the eight states which legalized same sex marriage by way of the legislature, only Vermont got there prior to New Hampshire. I actually spent some time last week talking with former Rep. James Splaine, D-Portsmouth, about the epic struggle here. What a great story, replete with twists and turns including how Governor John Lynch, viewed by history as a proponent, was actually a bitter foe of gay marriage until the very end. So was openly gay Democratic Party Chair Raymond Charles Buckley. Either Jim or I or someone should write the history of the struggle here in New Hampshire before revisionists like Lynch and Buckley can spread their lies.

Sorry, but that's the truth. Lynch and Buckley opposed marriage equality at the time it passed the House and was supported by only about a dozen Republicans (me and 11 or so others, depending on the particular vote, and there were many, many votes).

35 States Have Legal Same-Sex Marriage gay marriage icons legal
 
24 by Court Decision
Alaska (Oct. 17, 2014), Arizona (Oct. 17, 2014), California (June 28, 2013), Colorado (Oct. 7, 2014), Connecticut (Nov. 12, 2008), Idaho (Oct. 13, 2014), Indiana (Oct. 6, 2014), Iowa (Apr. 24, 2009), Kansas (Nov. 12, 2014), Massachusetts (May 17, 2004), Montana (Nov. 19, 2014), Nevada (Oct. 9, 2014), New Jersey (Oct. 21, 2013), New Mexico (Dec. 19, 2013), North Carolina (Oct. 10, 2014), Oklahoma (Oct. 6, 2014), Oregon (May 19, 2014), Pennsylvania (May 20, 2014), South Carolina (Nov. 20, 2014), Utah (Oct. 6, 2014), Virginia (Oct. 6, 2014), West Virginia (Oct. 9, 2014), Wisconsin (Oct. 6, 2014), Wyoming (Oct. 21, 2014)
 
8 by State Legislature
Delaware (July 1, 2013), Hawaii (Dec. 2, 2013), Illinois (June 1, 2014), Minnesota (Aug. 1, 2013), New Hampshire (Jan. 1, 2010), New York (July 24, 2011), Rhode Island (Aug. 1, 2013), Vermont (Sep. 1, 2009)

3

by Popular Vote
Maine (Dec. 29, 2012), Maryland (Jan. 1, 2013), Washington (Dec. 9, 2012)


Washington, DC legalized gay marriage on Mar. 3, 2010, the date marriage licenses became available to same-sex couples.

 

Monday
Nov242014

Before We Review 2014, Let's Look Back To 2013

Fast away the old year passes.  We're moving headlong into December, a sure sign that I'm another year older and soon it'll be time to announce the person of the year, the top stories for 2014, and other fun best and worst categories.  Not until the week of the election did I decide upon my Person of the Year, one that will certainly make some people squeal.  I was going with a golfer for Sports Person of the Year until the World Series that I totally avoided watching but did manage to read about; now if I could only remember his name--that's what Google (or Bing) is for.

In preparation for this year's  announcements (which I'll undoubtedly reveal either from Vergennes, Vermont, around Christmas time or from the Second Cup Coffee Shop in Montreal around the first of the year), let's review the best and worst for 2013.  I'll keep the categories the same for 2014, so everyone can be thinking ahead to the 2014 recipients; this is my first look at most of these in a year, so let's do it together.  Wouldn't it be something if a winner in 2013 turned out to be a loser this year?  That's what I'm thinking about for media personality...is it just me or has George Will become much more conservative and much less insightful and honest since moving from ABC to Fox News?  Alas, for media loser of the year, he'll be in for stiff competition...and let's add a NH media winner and loser as well this year.

Alas, my local up and comer for 2013, Goffstown Rep. Mark Warden, chose not to run again while my down and outer for 2013, Nashua Rep Peter Silva, is back.  C'est la vie...or is it...c'est la guerre?

Best And Worst--And Fun Things--From 2013

 

1. Person of the Year--Edward Snowden. In the two weeks since I announced Snowden as my choice over Pope Francis (or anyone else), the NSA leaker has been proven right twice more, one with a judge ruling that what the NSA did (or is still doing?) is most clearly a violation of the Constitution and again when Obama's own investigating panel came forward saying that the spying on American citizens should be stopped. Duh! Of course it should be stopped, but were it not for Edward Snowden, we never would have known about this most outrageous violation of our rights in the history of this country, rivaled only by the Alien and Sedition Acts under John Adams and Woodrow Wilson's treachery. To me, Edward Snowden is a hero, not a traitor, but even if you think otherwise, he should top any list for most influential person of the year.

2. International Person of the Year--Vladimir Putin. John McLaughlin could hardly stop talking about Putin on his year in review show. He named him person of the year overall, but since I've always gone with an international category, I had chosen him for that and certainly feel vindicated. For pulling Barack Obama's Syrian chestnuts out of the fire, among other things, Putin is my top choice. Assad would be number two.

3. New Hampshire Person of the Year--Chuck Morse. This one wasn't easy, but scratch your head, and chances are you won't come up with a better choice. As much as Democrats might claim otherwise, the budget which passed was the Senate budget. Governor Maggie Hassan and House Democrats virtually capitulated to Senator Morse who then went on to become Senate President and the capitulation continued on Medicaid. Morse and Senate Republicans got just about everything they wanted, including some things I didn't want them to get, such as continuation of the unconstitutional school voucher bill. Come to think of it, this choice should have been an easy one!

4. Sportsperson of the Year--David Ortiz. One need not be a Red Sox fan to concur in this choice. In fact, I'm surprised others have not headed in this direction. LeBron James, indeed, Peyton Manning, indeed! It's got to be Ortiz.

5. Biggest Winner Nationally--The NRA's Wayne LaPierre--With approval of the President and Congress both in the tanks, there weren't many winners nationally. I've had to ask others for help here, and more than one person has come up with the NRA a choice for winner. Since I prefer to go with a person over an individual, I've chosen Wayne LaPierre, the NRA leader at the time when it appeared stiffer gun control laws would be enacted but then never were.

6. Biggest Winner Locally--Jim Rubens--Senator Morse could easily fill this category but since he's my statewide person the of year, I looked elsewhere and came up with the man who fought hardest to make sure that, despite the governor’s wishes and tons of money being pumped into the state, expanded gambling would fail once again. Jim Rubens was tenacious in radio debates (he cleaned Lou's clock on GIR) and with every other outlet. If his current efforts are as successful, we just could be looking at U.S. Senator Jim Rubens next year at this time. No that's not a prediction, just an acknowledgement that this man has a history of success.

7. Biggest Loser Nationally--Barack Obama--Hands down. Not only did he go from up eight points to down 12 in popularity rankings (and that's a Real Clear Politics average, not just one or two polls; in fact it's Rasmussen, long derided as pro Republican, in which Obama does best at "only" minus seven), but he's lost his base of young people and independents, and worse of all, he's now viewed by a majority as a liar, plain and simple. PERIOD! Not since Richard Nixon uttered those words "I am not a crook" have so many Americans viewed our President as a liar.

8. Biggest Loser Locally--Former NH State Rep David Young--I was going to go with Congressperson Annie Kuster for her inability to recall that Benghazi is in the Middle East (not to mention here taxing problems at the start of the year), but hey, at least she's not in jail. That's where this former State Representative is heading, and rightly so.

9. Best Non-Fiction Book--Those Angry Days by Lynne Olson. I'm currently reading (and thoroughly enjoying Double Down, the review of the 2012 Presidential race). I expected to be reading Henry Bushkin's' Johnny Carson here in Vermont at Christmas, but that was so good, I finished it before I left, but for book of the year, I'll go with this illuminating look at the struggle for America's soul, as epitomized by FDR v. Charles Lindbergh, in the lead-up to American involvement in World War II. I might have come down on the America Firster side (I have to think more about it), but Olson not only writes very well but she is fair to all sides in this troublesome chapter of our history. A great read on several levels (including how pro war Wendell Willkie was, even more so than FDR).

10. Best Work of Fiction--Alas Vince Flynn died of cancer in mid-summer. Those of us into mindless fiction already miss him. I usually turn to Michael Connolly and Kathy Reichs, but truth be told, I haven't been reading much recent fiction this year (lots of Dickens and Agatha Christie, so I'll leave this category blank...for now. Of course, there was Jeff Greenfield' fictional look at what would have happened had Kennedy not been killed on November 22, 1963, but would that be a fair choice?

11. Story Of the Year Nationally--Failure of Obamacare--My only regret is that I can't be more original here, but it's about 25 points under water in the RCP polling average. It may prove to be the end of modern day big interventionist government; it may even salvage the Republican Party form its own demise, so who needs originality. It may also be the story of the year for 2014 as well; time will tell.

12. New Hampshire Story of The Year--Gambling Fails Again--Even with Maggie Hassan trying to convince Democrats that the budget couldn't be balanced without gambling revenues; even with the Know Nothing segment of the media predicting it would either pass or come close to passing, expanded gambling failed again by a huge margin in the NH House. Only those regular readers of this blog knew it never had a chance! That's no boast, just the facts...if you don't believe me; check out the prior entries here this year.

13. Most Over-Reported Story--It's a Tie--Miley Cyrus (or is it Molly?) twerking and the birth of George Louis whatever his name was in England. Blah! Blah! Blah! Big deal! Actually there were many more over reported stories (the media over reports just about everything these days), but even to go into them here would be to add to the over reporting.

14. Most Under-Reported Story--Afghanistan. Does anyone realize we're going to be involved in Afghanistan for another ten years? If you don't, it's probably because the media, so involved with twerking and George Louis's birth, failed to keep us informed about something that really, really matters. In the words of that great entrepreneur, J.D. Clampett...pitiful...pitiful. Pardon me, but I often think of the Clampetts when I'm back here in Vermont. Ouch!

15. Winning Media Personality--George Will. After receiving limited exposure of ABC News all those years, George Will has moved on to Fox, and he's just as prescient and pithy and wonderfully incisive as ever...even with increased doses. His most recent gem concerned the Duck brouhaha--the right not to be offended, alas, is not ingrained in the Constitution or anywhere else. Keep it up George. My runner-up is the libertarian judge Andrew Napolitano.

16. Losing Media Personality--Charles Krauthammer--Some many from which to choose here. Until the very end, I was going with John Bolton, a truly despicable Fox Newser who never tired of telling us how our person of the year should be hanged from an oak tree. However, Charles Krauthammer, who worked mightily this year to go from Charles The Wise to Charles The Glib, took the honor at the wire when last Sunday he insisted to Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace that he be allowed a further comment after a commercial because he was, after all, a bestselling author. Yes indeed, success has spoiled Charles the Glib who would win the most hackneyed comment of the year hands-down incorrectly calling the Iran settlement the biggest sellout since Munich. Glib, Charles, oh so glib, but not so wise.

That's only halfway through the list, but alas my time at the Bixby Library here in Vergennes, Vermont, has run out. Maybe the second half from the Grand Bibliotheque in Montreal tomorrow. Hey, how are the roads?

17. Up And Comer Nationally--Rand Paul. Last year, I listed Rand under the "we want to see more" category, and indeed we saw more of his in 2013. Even as a big supporter of Rand's father for President, I began the year thinking I might support Marco Rubio for President. I come out of the year as an even bigger fan of Rand, every bit as Libertarian in his views as father Ron but less of a lightning rod; thus with a greater chance of being a legitimate contender for the oval office, if he can convince his wife that running is a good thing. As I discovered in reading Double Down, it's amazing how many families are not gung no about the patriarch running, the Mitch Daniels family in Indiana being perhaps the best example. My guess is Rand will be running in 2016, and I will be supporting him. The left wing attacks of him plagiarizing is just plain loonie, but then again much the far left does is just plain loonie, thus my favorite appellation...left wing loonie.

18. Up And Comer Locally—Goffstown State Rep Mark Warden—His passion for defending individual rights is a commodity all too rare on the New Hampshire Criminal Justice Committee (I’m on that panel with him and we agree most of the time) or all too rare anywhere for that matter. From marijuana legalization to the death penalty to his opposition this insane bill coming up which would New Hampshire police to spy on us with electronic devises, Rep. Warden is in the vanguard of standing up for his rights. With another dozen or so Reps like Mark, I could retire and feel confident that the issues which concern me would be properly addressed. Not only is he right and intelligent but Rep. Warden works hard to master the facts and come across as less strident than certain freedom fighters (like me).

19. Down And Outer Nationally—New Yorkers Anthony Wiener and Eliot Spitzer. Not only were both these ethically challenged individuals rejected by voters in the Big Apple, but by year’s end, Spitzer’s wife was leaving him. Who knows if Uma will follow suite (actually only Hillary knows).

20. Down And Outer Locally—Former NH Rep Peter Silva--Not only did the former Republican Majority Leader (could he actually have risen that high…only in a land of Peter Principle run amok) lose again, in a special election in Nashua, but he did so in an especially disgraceful and undignified manner, uttering comments about his opponent’s “nationality” so vile that I won’t repeat them here. Hey, former Majority Leader, we are ALL Americans and deserve to be respected as such.

21. Biggest Outrage—Nationally—The NSA Scandal--It should go without saying, the fact that our government is spying on hundreds of millions of American citizens, a fact only brought to light due to the courage of Edward Snowden. Perhaps equally as outrageous is that the CIA director would continue to stonewall, to actually lie before a Congressional committee. Outrage number three in one—he was never even fired for that treasonous activity.

22. Biggest Outrage Locally Democratic Lemmings—Toeing the party line is never a good thing, especially when the party line is repulsive to democratic principles, but New Hampshire House Democrats set new records in lemming-like behavior this past year, to such a degree that I for one will be happy to see many of them turned out of office come next fall. Particularly egregious was how most Democrats simply went along to get along on an abrogation of legislatively responsibility, voting to allow the governor to rob from any number of hundreds of dedicated funds if she needed to do so in order to balance the budget. Worst of all, the vote wasn’t even necessary since the need never arose, but all but a handful of Democrats went for this outrage, and then they all went a bad Medicaid expansion scheme at the very time Obamacare was falling apart at the national level. No wonder Republicans will regain control (hopefully without a majority leader Silva) in 2014.

23. Happiest Moment For Me Nationally—Gay Marriage—Not only did the Supreme Court rule 5-4 (thank you Justice Kennedy) in favor of gay marriage, but a handful of states, whether through legislation or the courts (Utah most recently) legalized gay marriage as well, and by the end of the year, polls showed that 58 percent of Americans are in favor of this simply move toward equality. In reading Double Down, I was stuck not only by how Barack Obama’s endorsement might well have changed opinions in the African American community, but that how in his previous stated opposition to gay marriage, Obama was actually lying (if one can believe this man would lie). He never “evolved”; he always favored gay marriage; he was just afraid to admit it in 2008. We have come so far as a society that fears of telling the truth are lessened, always a good thing.

24. Happiest Moment For Me Locally—Marijuana ProgressAfter the Criminal Justice committee voted against a bill to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana possession, a bill which had even passed with Republicans in three to one control last session, we decided to fight it on the House floor. As I was speaking in favor of the bill, various Democratic Chairmen were approaching Crim Chair Laura Pantelakos giving her a heads up that they couldn’t go along with her and her committee “majority:. Sure enough, they didn’t; the bill passed with overwhelming support from Democrats as Republicans were split. The bill failed in the Senate, and the Reefer Madness-induced Chairman from Portsmouth continues to oppose all reasonable measures in the House, but a UNH poll shows public support at nearly three to one for a legalization bill which will be voted on in January. The time has come to get Big Brother off our backs whether it be telling us we cannot eat foods which will make us fat; drink alcohol which will make us drunk or smoke a joint which will cause far less harm to our bodies! Oh happy day, Americans are for legalization even if their elected officials aren’t quite there yet.

25. Funniest Something—The South African Signage—Toronto crack smoking mayor Rob Ford seemed destined to win this award and then along came Nelson Mandela’s death and the sign language jibberish. That was so funny because, hey how many of us have wondered in the past if this sign business is really accurate? Apparently it wasn’t in South Africa, but the signer was so enthusiastic that only the hearing impaired could have realized what a hilarious fraud he was.

26. Funniest Something Locally—Congressperson Annie Kuster—All right, she didn’t know that Benghazi is in the Middle East; that wasn’t funny, but the absolute deer in the headlights look on her face was simply priceless. Seldom has a politician come across as so totally clueless, so totally stupid, or so totally knock down drag out funny. Whether this will cost Annie her seat in 2014…too soon to tell…but rest assured we haven’t seen the last of that funniest clip of the year.

27. Smack Down of the Year Nationally—Ted Cruz—Don’t get me wrong; I actually like Ted Cruz and most likely would have voted to shut the government down (but I would never have agreed to reopen it without concessions; that’s how I differ from House so-called conservatives; in for a penny, in for a pound), but let’s be honest. The Green Eggs and Ham reading was lame; the whole filibuster was lame, and polling clearly showed that Republicans were hurt…until the failed Obamacare rollout overshadowed the shutdown and made left Democrats more sullied than Cruzing Republicans.

28. Smack Down of the Year Locally—School Voucher Bill--A New Hampshire court smacking down the likes of Rep. David Hess, R-Hooksett, and talking head Charlie Arlinghaus who insisted that the school voucher bill passed last year was legal. Since the bill provided tax money, albeit after a good dose of money laundering, the bill most certainly was never legal, as the court asserted so well. Yet Arlinghaus and Company were back to their punditry within moments, opining that the Supremes would overturn the lower court and legalize this scheme to place tax money in the hands of religious schools. Aren’t’ we overdue for that decision?

29. Biggest Surprise Nationally—Immigration Reform Failure—After 68 Senators voted for a grand immigration reform package, one would have thought that a lesser deal would have had enough support to get through the House. One would have been wrong; now most pundits are saying that we’ll get no immigration reform even in 2014. I’m not quite so sure; stay tuned for predictions; Speaker Boehner (I just head this on POTUS) may be willing to leave conservative Republicans in the dust and strike a deal with moderate Democrats. I would not be unhappy with that; Peter Silva probably would.

30. Biggest Surprise Locally—Resomation Failure—After the House carefully weighed all the arguments and the science and passed a bill for “liquid cremation” by more than a two to one margin, Neanderthals (and confusion) prevailed in the NH Senate and this well thought out bill was defeated. Let’s get this straight now; it’s all right for you to have your body burned and disposed of, but it’s sacrilege to have your body chemically treated and then disposed of. Troglodytes win again, sadly!

31. Just Go Away Award (someone you’d prefer to never see or hear from again)—The Triumvirate of Stooges—There are so many people I’m sick of seeing ever again, but these three stand out, the oft-referred to (in this blog) triumvirate of stooges led by Arizona Senator John McCain with South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham and our own Kelly Ayotte (replacing Joe Lieberman) in McCain’s panoply of stooges. If only they would shut up even for a few weeks in 2014, but here’s a prediction you can count on—they won’t Neither will Congressman Peter King whom I’m equally sick of hearing pontificate. Oh well, as I often say, if you don’t want to hear some idiot exercising his or her right to free speech, just turn the channel.

32. We Wanna See More Award (someone you want to hear more from)—Utah Senator Mike Lee—We heard enough of Ted Cruz during the filibuster, but the Utah senator helped out with a few moments of wisdom during the 28 hours, so much Tea Party wisdom in fact that I’d like to hear more not from Cruz but from Senator Lee in 2014. Yes indeed, I remain a proud tea party member, always quick to note that the Tea Party stands for three things and three things only—less government spending which is driving us to the brink of bankruptcy; free enterprise capitalism which if unfettered will life millions more into prosperity; and a dedication to Constitutional principles. More of that from the likes of Mike Lee (and less green eggs and ham) and the Tea Party just might make a comeback.

Friday
Nov212014

This Week's Trivia--Megan Marshack And The Dead American

Meet Megan Marshack. She's the force behind this week's trivia question which I discovered in the course of wading through a new 850 page biography. If I were to name the bio, the answer would be all too obvious.

The question is--With the death of which famous American will Ms. Marshack be forever linked?

Hint--The first four words of the biography, by Richard Norton Smith (I saw him on CSpan), are "On His Own Terms".

 

Was the famous American?

 

President Abraham Lincoln

 

President John F. Kennedy

 

President Warren G. Harding

 

Vice President Nelson Rockefeller

 

General George C. Patton

 

Don't be confused by the reference to Patton (with Bill O'Reilly's bestselling pop culture book). After all, take all of O'Reilly's books together and you don't get all that many words.

 

In fact, author Smith worked 14 years on the book "On His Own Terms, A Life of Nelson Rockefeller".

Of course, I'm probably not the only one who began with the last chapter, death of Nelson Rockefeller. That's where we meet the 26 year old media wannabe Marshack whom the former New York Governor and Vice President was most assuredly screwing (is bopping a more refined word?) at the time of his death by a massive heart attack.

I thought everyone knew that, but apparently I was wrong.  When I told someone the story, the response was, "So he died happy."

"No, no," I said without missing a beat.  "Happy was his wife, the woman he was cheating on."

But that would require many more words of explanation. 

The book is sensational, and by that I most assuredly do not mean that Nelson Rockefeller is sensational. As a 12 year old seventh grader in 1964, I recall going through the halls of Vergennes (Vermont) elementary school saying, "In your heart, you know he's right," Barry Goldwater's slogan. Then before he became a crook and a big government enabler, I was a fan of Richard Nixon.

 

Rockefeller was never my cup of tea, and after reading (parts of) this book, I'm even less fond of him. He was a typical tax and spend Republican who never met a bloated program he didn't like. He was among the first in the country to fund something government should not be involved in at all, cultural affairs.

 As a human being, Rocky was the worst sort of womanizer (he would put JFK and Clinton to shame) who had no respect for women, either those he married or those he screwed. He was also a bully and a wheeler dealer.

Yes, the book is great, but Rocky was a despicable human being and leader; it's kind of like the Woodrow Wilson bio I read earlier this year, a great book about the racist who was our worst President ever.

 But I come here to bury Rocky not to demean him. Let Smith's words do that.

Here's a brief passage from page 710 of the book. (Paturas was a medic called to the death scene). Be forewarned--you may learn more than you care to know...and I don't mean about Dom Perignon.

 

"Paturas's eyes were drawn to the profusion of paintings and sculptures throughout the room. He glimpsed unfinished boxes of Chinese food and a bottle of Dom Perignon. And sprawled on the floor next to the coffee table he saw an apparently lifeless man, nude, bluish in color, without pulse or respiration. The man exhibited all the signs of full cardiac arrest. He had thrown up his last meal, complicating efforts to insert a plastic oxygen tube into his lung. Traces of his vomit clung to Megan's outfit, variously described as a black evening gown and a caftan, fully zipped."

 

Great book, horrible man...and let's not even get into the deaths he caused by inept handling of the Attica uprising.

 

Here's one more story, one regarding the 1964 New Hampshire primary which Rockefeller and Goldwater both lost to write-in Henry Cabot Lodge. Later in the year, Rocky met Paul Grindle, the man who had organized the Lodge write in. Let's go to page 443 of the book (not interested in a history of the Rockefeller family, I admit to having skipped to the political stuff).

 

"They (Rockefeller and Grindle) met at Margate, the Scranton estate outside the Pennsylvania mill town of which the family had given its name. Amid these baronial surroundings, reminiscent of Pocantico (one of Rockefeller's estates), Rockefeller relaxed sufficiently to ask Grindle what it would have taken to bring about a withdrawal from New Hampshire. 

"A bribe," Grindle said deadpan.

 

"How much?" asked Rockefeller. 

"For ten thousand dollars, you would have seen the back of me."

 
"Oh, my Christ," sputtered Rockefeller. "And I spent three million."

 

 I repeat—this is a great book…about a very bad man. He may not have bedded as many women as Wilt Chamberlain, but then the Big Dipper never died, ever so famously as minions tried to cover it up, while bopping a woman named Megan Marshack.

As for the reference to Harding, that's due to an even better book I'm reading, "One Summer--America 1927" by Bill Bryson.  Along with Lindbergh, Dempsey-Tunney, The Babe, Sacco and Venzetti, and an inside story on the evils of Prohibition (not unlike Reefer Madness), we're treated to the story of Harding, yet another President who couldn't keep it in his pants, and Nan Britton...and what she did after Harding died mysterioulsy...another time perhaps.

If you read nothing else this holiday season, check out Chapter 12 of the Brisson book and Chapter 26 of the Rocky book.