Rep Steve Vaillancourt



Saturday
Oct182014

NH Support For Marijuana Legalization Reaches 59-35%

With much of the focus on the Brown/Shaheen United States Senate race, another result from the recent WMUR Granite State Poll (from the highly respected Andy Smith at UNH) seems to have fallen a bit through the cracks.

Support for full-fledged legalization of marijuana (not just decriminalization or medical marijuana, mind you) contines to grow in leaps and bounds in New Hampshire.

It's up to 59 percent in favor and only 35 percent opposed, and by a stunning margin of 72-24, people support legalization with sale and taxation at outlets similar to state liquor stores.  (Unfortunately as long as the feds continue to ban the substance, sale at state-sanctioned outlets would be problematic legally, we were told earlier this year).

Wow!  72-24 percent.  Double wow!

Rather than quoting the numbers, I'll site the Channel 9 story and links here.   Maybe I can even find a chart or two; it's out there, but doesn't seem to be reproducing here; just click on the poll in the Channel 9 story.

Remember that the New Hampshire House stunned the political world when last spring it passed my bill on total legalization.  Of course, the bill was then sent to the Ways And Means Committee (stacked with Reefer Madness types) for further review, and was it defeated the second time around on the House floor even though clear data indicated the state would realized $25-50 million a year in taxation of the newly legalized substance; I use the two numbers because the Revenue Administration figures did not take into account sales to out of staters.

Of course, my bill never had a chance to get through the Senate and the governor even had the House passed it a second time, but we sent a powerful statement, and the battle continues.   Our best data is that about 12 percent of New Hampshire residents indulge regularly even though the substance is illegal; the rate of use for legal cigarettes is about 19 percent.

Rest assured, decriminalization will be back in 2015, and I trust legalization will not be far behind.  My sources tell me that our neighbors in Vermont and Maine are both ready to move for legalization, most likely in the form of a referendum in Maine (as was the case in Colorado).

By increasingly large margins, people want legalization. It's almost become a "no brainer".
How long will it take elected officials to catch up with the people?  Probably about as long as it took for marriage equality, it seems to me. 
Poll: Support grows for legalizing marijuana in NH

Majority of Granite Staters support legalizing recreational use of drug

Published  5:00 PM EDT Oct 17, 201NEXT STORY
Number of marijuana citations up since legalization in Portland
WMTW Image

MANCHESTER, N.H. —Support for legalizing marijuana continues to grow in New Hampshire.

A new WMUR Granite State Poll shows that 59 percent of New Hampshire adults support legalization of marijuana for recreational use, with 35 percent opposed.

Click to read full poll.

Support has increased by 8 percentage points over the past year, while opposition has dropped 6 points.

The polls shows that 27 percent of Granite Staters would like to keep marijuana laws as they are, with most of the rest favoring legalizing the drug or at least decriminalizing it.

The poll of 543 randomly selected New Hampshire adults was conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center by landline and cellphone from Oct. 6-13 and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.



Read more: http://www.wmur.com/news/poll-support-grows-for-legalizing-marijuana-in-nh/29199890#ixzz3GXMtz41l

Saturday
Oct182014

Why Billy Idol Reminds Me Of Russia And The Ukraine

 Billy Idol Autobiography Gets Release Date

  • KINGS & QUEENS OF THE UNDERGROUND | Billy Idol

    billyidol.net/kings-queens-of-the-underground/
    Billy Idol 
    New Billy Idol album October 21! New single available now! And in his long-awaited autobiography Dancing With Myself, released October 7, 2014, Billy Idol ...
  • 35 years ago (or maybe even more), Billy Idol broke onto the punk scene with that patented sneer and hit after hit including "Rebel Yell", "White Wedding" and "Dancing With Myself."

    In the early 80s when I was being born as a new wave child (yes, I was and remain a punk rocker), Billy Idol was a particular favorite (no B52s of course), and apparently he's back...if in fact he ever went away.

    He's hosting the entire weekend on XMSirius First Wave (Channel 33), and while I only get the station when I'm in my car, I was lucky enough to just hear him explain how the song "Dancing With Myself" virtually wrote itself one morning when he was in the midst of a hangover.   

    First Wave is also playing songs off Billy's new album, and if you're like me, you probably usually prefer the old stuff.  From what I've heard, the new Billy Idol songs are as great as ever, perhaps a bit milder than those days in the 80s, but still great.

    Seems that Billy (now 60) can write stories as well as songs.  He's been reading from his new autobiography entitled...of course..."Dancing With Myself."

    Turn it up loud.

    "If I had the chance, I'd ask the world to dance, and I'll be dancing with myself."  Great lyrics, "with the record selection and the mirror's reflection, I'd be dancing with myself."

    Anyway, I have a great Billy Idol story, especially appropriate because remember how earlier this week, after running into a visitor from Dresden, Germany, at the State House plaza, I wrote about my time in Berlin.

    Jim, an Irish American and one of my best friends, was fond of going to Russian air shows (the Russians were in the process of leaving Germany in 1992) and he made friends with numerous Russian pilots.  One in particular (Valery) invited Jim and me to spend a weekend with him, his wife and young son at the Russian air base about 40 miles northeast of Berlin (near Templin).  It took us eight hours to make the necessary train and bus transfers to get to the base, but after we sneaked through a barbed write fence, they treated us to a shashlish (shishkabob) BBQ outside.
     
    I never was sure if what we were doing was legal or not (we communicated in our limited German; Jim knew just enough to get us in trouble), but Jim and I joked about hoping no international incident occurred that weekend.

    Knowing that Russians are very fond of giving gifts, we decided to bring our own assortment of gifts. Knowing that Valery was a punk rock fan (aren't all Russians?), I brought an assortment of CDs to play for them  (Bowie, Squeeze, Devo, ect).  When I told Valery he could have one...you're way ahead of me...he chose the best of Bily Idol.

    Actually, I thought of Valery this summer because you see...while Russian, he was a Russian minority citizen of the Ukraine.
    The highlight of our trip to the Russian base was when, to get us back to the train station, one of Valery's friends changed license plates on an old car and went bombing along about 100 miles an hour down a runway (used by Russian bomber planes) to get us back to German soil.

    Another great sidelight.  Valery's nine year old son Dimi was especially amused by the t-shirt I was wearing at the time.  I hadn't done laundry for a while, so grabbed a joke Loonie Tunes t-shirt I had.  Dimi, with my camera rolling (of course I filmed the entire trip and plan to watch it tonight) was translating Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, Daffy Duck, etc. into Russian...one of the best snippets of film I have.

    Ah yes, Billy Idol, I'll never forget how important you were not only to this punk rocker but apparently to a Russian pilot punk rocker at all.

    You just can't make this stuff up. I lack imagination so I can't make much up, but I just might fictionalize this little episode (maybe we'll get caught and thrown in a Russian jail) and make it a chapter in the great American novel "The Emperor of Quebec", but that's another story...a very long story.

     you are here.

     

    Wednesday
    Oct152014

    From Daniel Webster To Dresden...Or Vice Versa

    The Frauenkirche in Dresden, Germany, has been maginficently restored, I was told today.

     

     

                     File this under the heading, “It’s a small world.”

                    As I was walking across the State House plaza moments ago, I stopped to chat with a middle aged man taking a picture of the Daniel Webster statue.  When he mentioned how the plaque mentions that Webster died in Massachusetts, I decided to give him a short history lesson of the great statesman, including the part you won’t hear in most history books.  Webster was indeed a “great” man, but from everything I’ve been able to read, he wasn’t an especially good (that is to say…nice) man.

                    Yes, indeed, Daniel could apparently be bought, not that my goal is to disparage one of our more famous native sons.

                    I detected an accent from the visitor to the plaza, and sure enough, he was born in Berlin, Germany and currently lives in Dresden.

                    Regular readers here undoubtedly recall that I lived in Berlin for more than a year (1992-93) and filmed more than 50 hours of historical “stuff” in and around the city.  I was sitting in my Prenzlauer Berg apartment as 1992 became 1993, the Czechoslovakia was no more.

                    However—and this is a story I’ve never told—the very word “Dresden” usually bring me close to tears.  I refer of course to the devastation wrought upon the city with the firebombing during Lent, 1945.   I was in Dresden only briefly once, enroute from Berlin to Prague on one of those bus tours in 1985.  I don’t even think we were supposed to get out in the city, but the drive gave us a few minutes, and signs of the devastation were universal even 40 years later.

                    I know, I know, the Germans were responsible for many terrible things in World War II, but I’ve always considered the bombing of Dresden, a city with no military significance at the time and full of people traveling through, a particular tragedy.

                    Of course, the story is immortalized by Kurt Vonnegut in the classic science fiction book Slaughterhouse Five (Schlachthof Funf).

                    This German tourist today was certainly not alive during the war, and he had not read the Vonnegut classic; maybe he will now.

                    He was born in the Zehlendorf section of Berlin, far to the Southwest , near the American army base at Dahlem, near Potsdam, and as I recall and (something I chose not to mention tp him) home of the infamous Wannsee conference center.

                    His English was nearly perfect and we spoke for several minutes about how life in Germany is today; it’s been more than 20 years since I’ve been back.  When I was there, three years after the wall came down, Easterners and Westerners were not getting along all that well.  The East, having survived 40 years under Communist rule, was by all means the poor sister.

                    Not surprisingly, I learned today, the East is much more modern today; after all, it was rebuilt only after reunification.

                    I also learned that most of Dresden has now been restored to the glory it was prior to that unfortunate day at the start of Lent, 1945.

                    It’s a small world after all.

                    Maybe I should forego a few trips to Montreal next year and head back to Germany, the capital once again, and Dresden, the restored Florence on the Elbe, instead.

    Wednesday
    Oct152014

    Gallup Proves Just How "Stupid" People Really Are

    "Stupid" is probably too harsh a word; let's go with "ignorant" instead.

    Gallup released data last week that, more than anything else, shows that there are certain issues about which simply should not be polled. Prime among these are questions asking "the unwashed public" (whoops! I bet the PC police will be after me again) what they think will happen.

    At times, the public truly doesn't have a clue. For example, look at this data. 33 percent of those surveyed actually think Democrats will take control of the United States House. Absolutely no pundit worth his or her salt would say they; in fact, my guess is that even partisan Democrats like Ray Buckley and Kathy Sullivan here in New Hampshire wouldn't even say that.

    Why? Because Democrats would need to pick up 17 seats to take control of the House, and "experts" such as Charlie Cook, Larry Sabato, and Stu Rothenberg are pretty much in agreement that Democrats will in fact lose anywhere from two to 12 seats (I'm holding to an eight seat gain for Republicans which would make it  242R-193D come January). Yet, Gallup shows us that 33 percent of the public (including 51 percent of Democrats!) think Democrats will do the impossible and take control of the House.

    Go figure.

    Let's just take a quick look at University of Virginia guru Larry Sabato's most recent numbers. He notes that the current House is 233R, 199D with three vacancies.  He's projecting a six to nine seat Republican gain, but just to show you how Democrats have virtually zero chance of picking up 17 seats necessary t take the majority, consider this.  Sabato has 232 seats ranked "safe" Republican, 190 "safe" Democratic, and only 13 toss-ups.  In other words, if Democrats won all 13 toss-up seats (which they won't), they'd still trail 232-203.  Of course, probably not one in a hundred people polled by Gallup knew that!

    The Senate question makes a bit more sense. By a 52-42 percent margin, people believe Republicans will take control (65 pecent of Democrats say they will keep control--wishful thinking perhaps). That 52 percent is a lot lower than most "experts" are telling us; most of them (including Nate Silver at fivethirtyeight.com) are placing odds in the 60-40 percent range or higher, but at least the public number has some basis in reality on this question.

    Enough already; stop asking people questions like this...or perhaps I should scold myself and simply stop reporting this nonsense, but then, even nonsense should be passed along from time to time.

    Americans' Predictions for Who Will Win Control of U.S. House and Senate

     

    Wednesday
    Oct152014

    Rasmussen Remains Out To Lunch

    For the fourth or fifth time this year, I feel the need to point out just how out of synch with the rest of the polling world the once proud firm of Scott Rasmussen is.

    Look at these numbers from Real Clear Politics, all released just today. Obama is down 18, 10, and 15 points with three pollsters (ABC, NBC, and Gallup) yet Rasmussen has him even at 49 percent approve, 49 percent disapprove.

    I've learned from pollsters that Rasmussen has abandoned human callers in its quest for constant new data; its polls are all automated leading to the question--Is it really a service to the public (or to your own reputation, Scott) to continue to church out polls at the expense of your credibility?

    I think not.

    President Obama Job Approval

    ABC News/Wash Post

    Approve 39, Disapprove 57

    Disapprove +18

    President Obama Job Approval

    NBC News/Wall St. Jrnl

    Approve 42, Disapprove 52

    Disapprove +10

    President Obama Job Approval

    Gallup

    Approve 40, Disapprove 55

    Disapprove +15

    President Obama Job Approval

    Rasmussen Reports

    Approve 49, Disapprove 49

    Tie

    Now let's look at all polls RCP uses in calculating its average. Note that Obama is down 10.7 points, but if we were to remove Rasmussen from the mix, he would be down 11 points (110 divided by 10), and it would be even more than that if RCP didn't have so many polls in its sample right now).

    Polling Data

    Poll

    Date

    Sample

    Approve

    Disapprove

    Spread

    RCP Average

    9/25 - 10/14

    --

    42.1

    52.8

    -10.7

    ABC News/Wash Post

    10/9 - 10/12

    629 LV

    39

    57

    -18

    NBC News/Wall St. Jrnl

    10/8 - 10/12

    1000 RV

    42

    52

    -10

    Gallup

    10/12 - 10/14

    1500 A

    40

    55

    -15

    Rasmussen Reports

    10/12 - 10/14

    1500 LV

    49

    49

    Tie

    Reuters/Ipsos

    10/3 - 10/7

    1651 A

    39

    53

    -14

    The Economist/YouGov

    10/4 - 10/6

    695 RV

    44

    52

    -8

    CBS News

    10/3 - 10/6

    1260 A

    42

    50

    -8

    Reason-Rupe/PSRAI

    10/1 - 10/6

    1004 A

    43

    50

    -7

    FOX News

    9/28 - 9/30

    845 LV

    39

    53

    -14

    Associated Press/GfK

    9/25 - 9/29

    958 LV

    42

    58

    -16

    CNN/Opinion Research

    9/25 - 9/28

    1055 A

    44

    52

    -8

    All President Obama Job Approval Polling Data

    It's not just on Obama's favorability. Let's look at the all-important generic ballot. As you can see in the RCP chart below, Republicans are ahead in five of the last six polls released (by as many as seven points)...yet Rasmussen reports a tie (and Rasmussen actually had Democrats ahead for the past two weeks).

    How the once mighty pollster, Scott Rasmussen, has fallen!

    Polling Data--Generic Ballot

    Poll

    Date

    Sample

    Republicans (R)

    Democrats (D)

    Spread

    RCP Average

    9/24 - 10/12

    --

    46.3

    43.9

    Republicans +2.4

    ABC News/Wash Post

    10/9 - 10/12

    629 LV

    50

    43

    Republicans +7

    NBC News/Wall St. Jrnl

    10/8 - 10/12

    666 LV

    48

    47

    Republicans +1

    Rasmussen Reports

    10/6 - 10/12

    3500 LV

    40

    40

    Tie

    CBS News

    10/3 - 10/6

    575 LV

    49

    43

    Republicans +6

    FOX News

    9/28 - 9/30

    845 LV

    47

    40

    Republicans +7

    Gallup

    9/25 - 9/30

    1095 RV

    47

    46

    Republicans +1

    McClatchy/Marist

    9/24 - 9/29

    884 RV

    44

    45

    Democrats +1

    CNN/Opinion Research

    9/25 - 9/28

    701 LV

    45

    47

    Democrats +2

    All 2014 Generic Congressional Vote Polling Data

    However, lest you think this is a plot to hurt Republicans, Democrats won't be happy either if they look at the latest Louisiana Senate result. Rasmussen has Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu down 9 points (52-43) while the RCP average is 5.3 points. If we removed Rasmussen from the sample, Landrieu would be down only four points (12 divided by three).

    How the once mighty pollster, Scott Rasmussen, has fallen!

    Beware whenever you look at a Rasmussen poll these days.

    Louisiana Senate - Cassidy vs. Landrieu

    Poll

    Date

    Sample

    MoE

    Cassidy (R)

    Landrieu (D)

    Spread

    RCP Average

    9/20 - 10/14

    --

    --

    49.3

    44.0

    Cassidy +5.3

    Rasmussen Reports

    10/13 - 10/14

    965 LV

    3.0

    52

    43

    Cassidy +9

    CBS News/NYT/YouGov

    9/20 - 10/1

    2187 LV

    2.0

    47

    41

    Cassidy +6

    PPP (D)

    9/25 - 9/28

    1141 LV

    2.9

    48

    45

    Cassidy +3

    CNN/Opinion Research

    9/22 - 9/25

    610 LV

    4.0

    50

    47

    Cassidy +3

    Data above is for the runoff election that will take place on Dec. 6 if no candidate receives
    50% of the vote in the open primary on Nov. 4.