Here’s a roundabout way of introducing a new weekly feature to this blog.
As I was waiting for bills in Criminal Justice last week, Rep. Brenda Grady, the only Democrat from the town of Merrimack, introduced herself to me as someone I should remember from college days. She and her husband John, she said, went to Plymouth State the same time (early 70s) I did.
Sure enough, I remembered John from student government; as a newspaper reporter for The Clock, the PSC paper, I was never overly fond of student government, and I also remembered that I have every issue of the paper from my final year down in my basement.
I promised to dig out a few issues for Rep. Grady.
In doing that, I ran across a regular feature from The Clock back then. It was the weekly TUTD Award, standing for Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down awards.
In fact, I once used TUTD awards for my old TV show, but I’d forgotten all about it until I unearthed old CLOCKS.
Thus, I thought, why not start a weekly TUTD segment for this blog? There’s never a shortage of people to praise or to condemn. Just to be fair, let’s make a rule that we have an equal number of thumbs up to offset any thumbs down in a given week.
This week, two gracious ladies (Gnadige Fraulein in German; one of my favorite German phrases) are the first winners of Thumbs Up Awards. They are both Democrats on the Health Committee. On my bill regarding liquid cremation, they asked questions which did my heart a world of good. Even as I was running around with four bills being heard the same day, these two questions stood out in my mind.
The Catholic Church spokesman, testifying against the bill, said that this type of body disposal would amount to a sacrilege against the body, strange I thought. How is liquid cremation any worse than burning the body, but then, not being a member of the committee, I couldn’t ask the question.
To the rescue came the gnadige Fraulein.
Rep. Barbara French, D-Henniker, in such a quiet unassuming manner, really put the church spokesman in his place when she asked if it were not true that the church is more concerned with the soul than with the body itself.
Hip, hip, hooray for Rep. Barbara French!
Thumbs up for Rep. Barbara French.
Then Rep. Susan Ticehurst, D-Tamworth, in question form elicited what I myself would have done had I been on the committee. Isn't it true that nothing about this bill would force any Catholic or anyone else to so dispose of his or her body in such a manner? Yes, that would be true.
Hip, hip, hooray for Rep Susan Ticehurst!
Thumbs up for Rep. Susan Ticehurst.
Remember the character from The Cider House Rules, Mister Rose who wielded a knife with such skill that he could take a button off your shirt without even touching your skin. That’s the surgical skill Reps. French and Ticehurst displayed in dealing with the church spokesman.
As for the accompanying thumbs downs, Rep. Ken Weyler, former Finance Chair, really deserves them both. He worked overtime to get them. Even as the bill on greyhound simulcasting was still going one, Rep. Weyler took to the hallways to slur the fine folks from Grey2kusa, the organization devoted to ending greyhound racing across the country.
First Rep. Weyler suggested, without any evidence whatsoever, that this group is funded by big casino interests. Moments later in the committee room, Christine Dorchak put the lie to the Weylerism by noting the one room office grey2k operates out of and that she if president, treasurer and legal counsel of the organization. If the group is so flush with big casino money, Rep. Weyler, why such a low budget for grey2k? The answer is simply. Grey2k is funded by thousands of small contributions from dog lovers across the country, not big casinos. It’s Weyler’s gambling efforts that have big, big money behind them.
Thumbs down number one to Rep. Weyler.
But that wasn’t enough for the former Finance Chair who should know better; he is after all a smart man. He went on to spread hallway rumors that Massachusetts interests are behind this bill. This was quite the statement from a man who has been pushing casinos to be funded by hundreds of millions of dollars from Las Vegas money (that is after all where Millenium is based, at least last time I checked).
It’s not Massachusetts people with their names on this bill. It’s the dean of the Manchester delegation, Steve Vaillancourt, a nine-term Republican Representative from Ward 8; Mary Cooney, a long-time Democratic Rep (and a very good one) from Plymouth; and Peter Schmidt, a Democrat from Dover. In the past, a leader in the fight to ameliorate unspeakable cruelty to greyhounds, Rep. Weyler Sir, was Republican Senator Shelia Roberge of Bedford.
Get your facts straight Rep. Weyler before you shoot for a double slur behind people’s backs in the hallways.
A big double Thumbs Down to Rep. Ken Weyler.
And that’s the way TUTD works; a big thanks to Rep. Grady for jogging my memory.
Who knows, next week maybe someone reading this now will merit a Thumbs Up....or even a Thumbs Down (Weyler certainly can’t get them all although he seems anxious to try for such a monopoly).