Rep Steve Vaillancourt


UNH Poll--Marijuana Legalization Reaches +17% Support; 67% Favor Regulation And Taxation

                Just when you thought support for legalization of marijuana couldn’t get much higher in New Hampshire, along comes the latest WMUR Granite State Poll from Andy Smith at UNH showing even more powerful public opinion.

                Support for simple legalization now stands at 55-38, up from 53-38 in February.

                Support for decriminalization, similar to a bill which has already passed the House with a 70 percent majority, is at 61-24 percent, and of the 61 percent, 49 percent express “strong support”.

                Support for the idea of legalization with regulation and taxation at retail outlets is also setting new records.  It’s gone from 65-29 percent to 67-30 percent, but perhaps the most significant news out of the UNH poll is that people really prefer the legalize and tax option.

                When asked which option they would prefer, New Hampshire voters were 49 percent for legalization and taxation; 18 percent for decriminalization; and only 29 percent for keeping laws the way they currently are.

                In announcing poll results, Andy Smith wrote, “Legislation is most likely to be preferred by young people (67%), high school graduates (62%), liberals (61%), and residents of the Manchester area (66%) and North Country (60%).  Decriminalization is most likely to be preferred by residents with a postgraduate education (29%).  Keeping the laws as they are now is more likely to be preferred by regular churchgoers (51%), older residents (45%), conservatives (41%), and residents along the Mass border (39%).”

                A link to detailed polling data, including a breakdown by regions, age, and reading and viewing habits, is available below.  510 New Hampshire residents responded to the poll conducted  between March 24 and April 1.

                Support for legalization is even stronger in New Hampshire (plus 17 points)than nationwide; a recent Pew Poll had support at 54-42 percent.  A recent poll out of Colorado shows that support has doubled from the ten point margin which passed legalization at the polls (55-45) in November, 2012.

                This is a sharp repudiation of the House which two weeks ago, after initially passing the legalization and taxation bill, struck it down.

                Estimates are that taxes on marijuana alone could generate $60 million a year, not to mention the business profits and business enterprise taxes which would be generated along with more than a thousand good new jobs.

                In announcing poll results, Andy Smith wrote, “Legislation is most likely to be preferred by young people (67%), high school graduates (62%), liberals (61%), and residents of the Manchester area (66%) and North Country (60%).  Decriminalization is most likely to be preferred by residents with a postgraduate education (29%).  Keeping the laws as they are now is more likely to be preferred by regular churchgoers (51%), older residents (45%), conservatives (41%), and residents along the Mass border (39%).”

                According to data provided by the Department of Revenue Administration, illegal marijuana sales are in the $160 million range.  This is money which goes to street dealers who are then able to use it to hook their clients are truly dangerous drugs.  The state, of course, realizes zero revenue from that black market trade, most likely a reason why such a large majority of New Hampshire residents prefer legalization, regulation, and taxation, numbers which surprisingly continue to rise.\

                I say surprisingly because the swing upward has been so strong and so rapid that one would expect a backing off some time in the near future. 

                Democrats and Independents continue to lead the way.  They both support legalization by nearly a four to one margin, 77-20 percent.  However, in the recent House vote, no less than two dozen Democrats, mostly those influenced by leadership which seems timid on dealing with such an issue during an election year, moved from the positive to the negative side.

                Talk about an inability to read public opinion.

                Even Republicans support legalization, albeit by a narrow margin of 50-46 percent.

                The licensure at retail outlets is favored by a 79-15 percent margin in the Manchester area, but support is generally universal throughout the state.

                It is favored 67-30 percent in the first CD; 66-30 percent in the second CD.          

                Union Leaders are in support 55-38 percent; WMUR viewers 63-27 and New Hampshire Public Radio listeners 69-26.

                Here’s the link for the UNH press release.

  1. [PDF]
  2. THE WMUR GRANITE STATE POLL - College of Liberal Arts

  1. 6 days ago - DURHAM, NH – Support for legalizing marijuana and taxing it like alcohol ... These findings are based on the latest WMUR Granite State Poll,.

Parties Remain Far Apart On Death Penalty Repeal


Why is it that neither party wants the truth known when it comes to support or opposition to the death penalty?

In this case, the truth is so easy to determine; numbers tell the tale that Republicans by and large are still much, much more likely to support the death penalty than Democrats.

How can it be then that death penalty supporter Republican Senator Jeb Bradley, of Wolfeboro, can be quoted in the Monitor as saying? "I think it will not break down all that much on party lines."

How can it be that repeal supporter Rep. Renny Cushing, D-Hampton, can be quoted in the same article as saying? "It's not a party issue."

Of course it's a party issue. At last check (and admittedly I've been out of the state for four days), only one Republican senator, Sam Cataldo, of Farmington, had come out in favor of repeal. Only one Democratic senator, Lou D'Allesandro of Manchester, has traditionally voted against repeal (I still have him as undecided this time around, but he's made his position clear in the past).

As reported here last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday reconsidered its previous vote and came out 3-2 in favor of repeal, but it's important to note Sen. Cataldo sits on that committee. Apparently, the bizarre Cushing Amendment, which would have kept the death penalty on the books until this July (an attempt to make sure Addison is put to death), was never considered by the committee.

Time will tell whether or not it is offered as a compromise on the Senate floor. It seems to me there's not much room for compromise on this issue; either you favor state executions or you do not, and Republicans obviously do while Democrats do not.

Among recent Democrats to change from pro death to prolife are Majority Leader Steve Shurtleff, of Concord, and Criminal Justice Chair Laura Pantelakos, of Portsmouth.

Thus, while Republicans remain for the most part in favor of the death penalty (I and many other Libertarian minded are exceptions), Democrats are becoming more and more in favor of appeal.

When the repeal bill (HB1170) passed the House 225-104 on March 12, Democrats were 166-20 in support. That's an amazing 89.2 percent. Republicans were 59-84 against repeal; only 41.3 percent in support.

All national opinion polls, and a recent one from Andy Smith at UNH, show Democrats narrowly supporting repeal while both Republicans and Independents are overwhelmingly opposed. There's no way to spin the numbers otherwise, and why Sen. Bradley and Rep. Cushing would even try such a spin is beyond me.

Most recently, Gallup found support for the death penalty at 60-35 with 81 percent of Republicans in favor, 60 percent of Independents, and only 47 percent of Democrats.

Andy Smith broke it down by those who voted for Romney (73-18 in favor of death--wow!) to those who voted for Obama (40-43 against) and those who didn't vote at all (75-16 for death). I guess that last number tells us that if more people in fact voted, repeal would be in even bigger trouble.

I have long told repeal supporters that they could expect this type of party breakdown, but they just didn't want to see the truth. Nor do they, apparently, now as the bill heads to the Senate showdown in a few days. If Lou fails to pull a Pantelakos, in other word if he votes against the death penalty once again, at least three Republicans would have to vote for it for passage.

That's simple math.

The truth will out this case the truth can and is quantified.

How can it be that "leaders" in both parties want to keep this type of support a secret.

There must be some strange motivation I fail to see.


This Week's Trivia--1 Prez, 4 Years, 6 Court Appointees

Which President, although in office for only four years, appointed no less than six Supreme Court justices, three from his own party and three from the opposition?

Hint--Perhaps it was appropriate that Taft would be so involved in court appointments.

A--John Quincy Adams

B--John Tyler

C--Martin Van Buren

D--William Howard Taft

E--Jimmy Carter


Taft is the answer; Carter on the other hand, appointed none.  The hint is based on the later development that Taft himself would be named Chief Justice.

Here are Taft's apointtes; note how justices, by and large, seem to serve much longer terms these days.

United States Supreme Court Justices[edit]

Justice Seat State Began active
Ended active
Ended senior
Hughes, Charles EvansCharles Evans Hughes Seat 6 New York May 2, 1910[2] June 10, 1916
Lamar, Joseph RuckerJoseph Rucker Lamar Seat 3 Georgia December 17, 1910 January 2, 1916
Lurton, Horace HarmonHorace Harmon Lurton Seat 1 Tennessee December 20, 1909 July 12, 1914
Pitney, MahlonMahlon Pitney Seat 8 New Jersey March 13, 1912 December 31, 1922
Van Devanter, WillisWillis Van Devanter Seat 4 Wyoming December 16, 1910 June 2, 1937 February 8, 1941
White, Edward DouglassEdward Douglass White Chief Justice Louisiana December 12, 1910[3] May 19, 1921



Liberals In, But Life Goes On In Montreal


From The Grand Bibliotheque

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Despite Monday`s stunning defeat by the separatist Parti Quebecois (only 25 percent of the vote and 30 seats in the 125-member provincial parliament), life goes on pretty much as expected in Montreal.

Poutine, that concoction of French Fries topped with gravy and cheese, and smoked meat remain popular (not with me).

Elderly men and women continue to mindlessly press the buttons every five or six seconds at their slot machines at the Casino de Montreal--I find it much less attractive since the province poured $350 million into renovations, but at least this time, I heard a few whoops of joy, not from the slot players but from those playing a new mechanized Black Jack game ($10 minimum as opposed to $25 where a real live human being deals the cards).

My first few minutes walking on St. Catherine Street, I was approached by a half dozen panhandlers; sorry, make that five; I wouldn`t want to be accused of exaggerating.

I managed to get past the Berri/UQAM metro stop and Place Emil Gamelin, site of numerous free outdoor summer concerts, without being approached by a single drug dealer.   

Police on foot and in their cars seem to be as friendly as usual.

The receptionist at the grand Bibliotheque renewed my guest computer pass, noting that he visits the casino occasionally; he used to bet the horses but says that`s no longer possible. He didn`t seem interested in talking about the election results.

Nor does anyone else, particularly.

This is the first day since the election that the Gazette, one of the world`s finest newspapers, hasn`t led with a story about the PQ defeat. Today the banner headline is Little Progress on surgical waits; ah yes, even without Obamacare, Quebecers are concerned about their health care.

I hadn`t planned to be here this weekend, but frankly, after sitting through yesterday`s Ways and Means hearing on expanded gambling (Senator D`Allesandro`s two casino plan) and hearing the same old tired arguments, I was so bored, I needed to get away. Plus, I wanted to explore what the election results meant.

Enroute, I listened to POTUS on XM (WMUR`s James Pindel was excellent as Julie Mason`s guest on the The Press Room; he says Scott Brown is the best retain politician he`s ever seen; a UNH-Channel 9 poll has the Missourian up by six points, about what I expected it would be; look for Brown to continue to close the gap) and when I had enough of that, I popped in the B52s and turned up the volume. Let`s rock.

My only New Year’s resolution was to spend more time with my brother; I`m living up to it. We had a great time together in Vergennes, riding bikes around the city. The ice is out on Otter Creed, and the falls are roaring. Along Main Street, we compared businesses today with what used to be there. I remembered a bowling alley and movie theater, long gone by the time my brother was old enough to be aware of such things (he`s nine and a half years younger than I am).

Great fun; he was amazed at how many Jeopardy answers I knew, but then the category was the Supreme Court. Had it been mechanical engineering, he would have been much better than I.

But the real purpose of the trip, aside from relieving boredom, is to gauge the political climate here.

No mention of Quebec on POTUS, Julie Mason insists on playing a guessing game of when the scandalized Louisiana Congressman will resign. Apparently soon.

Steven Colbert has been tapped by CBS to replace Letterman; I see John Distaso is out at the Union Leader; and the Yankees beat the Red Sox.

Here are the week`s headlines in the Gazette.

Thursday--PQ to pick interim leader at election post mortem. They went with Stephan Bedard a young man from Chictoutimi--I just had to get that word into this blog. He`s described by the paper as ``à bulldog during question time``.

Wednesday--Reality of PQ thrashing sinks in.

Tuesday--70-30-22-3 (the total of Liberals, PQ and the other two parties) in color above the all caps two line banner Couillard`s Liberals in, Marois Out as PQ leader. Couillard--this would be a great trivia question--is a neurosurgeon.

Marois lost her own riding (district), northeast of Quebec City in the 33-31 range. For future trivia use, it`s Charlevois Cote De Beaupre (with an accent on the final e).  Ironically, the PQ candidate who caused the party the most headaches, with a clenched fist salute to sovereignty, won his riding.

Here`s a great piece of writing, by Philip Authier, from today`s Gazette.

``Referendum talk, the charter of values, scaremongering of Liberals, youth turning their backs on them, the blasted media. The theories were outnumbered only by the number of long faces.``

French people, if we dare generalize, are lovers; not fighters. Monday`s vote reflects that. Quebecers decided that stability is far more important than chasing the windmill of separatism.

The up and coming opposition leader could be Francois Legault, not a PQer but from the third party. He`s trying to revive the old Union Nationalist party of Maurice Deplessis who was the longest serving premier of the province (for 18 years prior to his death in 1959). ``There will never be a referendum with the Coalition Avenir Quebec,`` he told the Gazette. ``We can affirm ourselves without separating.``

That one sentence perhaps best sums up the mood of Quebecers, but I`ll know more after a few more days of immersion into Quebec politics and people.

No poutine or smoked meat for me--and no more time at the casino-- but I`m headed for my favorite Chinese buffet restaurant out by the Olympic Stadium and a leisurely coffee (with more papers) at a Second Cup in the Village.

Life doesn`t get much better...unless one is bicycling around Vergennes.

Sibelius is out at`s about time. Obama is down 9.5 in the RCP average.

I hear the Senate is one or two votes shy or the 13 needed to repeal our death penalty, but enough already.

I`ll try to banish such mundane thoughts, such worldly concerns, from my least for three days.


Channel 9 Blocked Its Signal From Dish

I don't know about you; nor do I know exactly how many people were affected, but I'm a Dish subscriber (generally happily so) and WMUR Channel 9 Manchester and WCVB Channel 5 Boston (both apparently Hearst stations) were blacked out for me last night and into this morning.  All of a sudden, the signal was back, so I assume Hearst and Dish reached an agreement.  Apparently no details were released; not even details about why the blackout occurred.  It was only 14 hours, but we have a right to know what this was all about.  Until I know more, I plan to blame Hearst.  Boo to you, Channel 9; I suspect Channel Nine's (and Hearst's) greed is responsible for this silly 14-hour stalemate.  Greed should not trump the public interest.  After all, there was a time when the airwaves were considered in the public domain!  If Hearst cannot provide the signals, maybe Channel 9 and all Hearst stations should lose their licenses to some more viewer friendly company.


UPDATED: Dish, Hearst TV Reach Deal Ending 14-Hour Blackout of Station Blackout

dish network logoApril 9, 2014 | 08:52AM PT

NY Digital Editor@xpangler

Dish Network and Hearst Television said they reached an agreement restoring the broadcast group’s stations in 25 markets to the satcaster, after the channels went dark for about 14 hours starting Tuesday evening.

Terms of the agreement are not being disclosed, and it’s not clear what the dispute was about.

The blackout began after the parties’ previous retransmission-consent deal expired at 10 p.m. Eastern last night. About 2 million Dish subscribers lost access to 29 Hearst-operated stations in markets including Baltimore, Boston, Kansas City, Mo., Milwaukee, New Orleans, Orlando, Fla., and Pittsburgh.

In a statement announcing the agreement with Dish, Hearst Television said: “We appreciate the support and patience of our viewers, advertisers and local communities served by our stations. We regret the inconvenience they’ve experienced over the past several hours. We are pleased the interruption was brief and that our stations have been restored on Dish Network systems.”

Previously, Hearst TV had said Dish was seeking terms “that we don’t have in our deals with any other cable or satellite distributor or telco, nor do we have them in our current deal with Dish.” The broadcast group did not specify what those terms were. “Apparently, Dish does not have a problem with rates, so it is hard to understand why Dish is holding subscribers and viewers hostage over terms that are radically off-market,” the broadcasting company said.

In a previous statement, Dish didn’t shed any light on what it was seeking from Hearst TV, either. “Hearst blacked out its channels to use viewers as bargaining chips as it makes unreasonable demands on Dish and its customers,” Dish exec VP Dave Shull said in a statement. “We offered to keep the channels on while we try to reach a deal, but Hearst refuses to put viewers first.”

Dish has been involved in a disproportionate share of retrans fights with broadcasters. Media General stations in 17 markets were dark on the satcaster for 47 days last fall, before the parties inked a deal. That was after the satcaster in August lost access to 53 TV stations owned by Raycom Media in 36 markets for eight days before resolving the standoff over fees.

In another high-profile retrans fight, Time Warner Cable suffered a 32-day blackout of CBS stations in New York, L.A. and Dallas as well as the loss of Showtime and other CBS-owned cablers nationwide before the two sides came to terms Sept. 2.

Hearst Television’s 29 TV stations reach approximately 18% of U.S. TV households. The company owns 13 ABC affiliated stations, 10 NBC affiliates and two CBS affiliates.

The 25 markets where Hearst TV operates are: Albuquerque, N.M.; Baltimore; Boston; Burlington, Vt.; Cincinnati; Des Moines, Iowa; Ft. Smith-Fayetteville, Ark.; Greensboro, N.C.; Greenville-Spartanburg, S.C.; Harrisburg, Pa.; Honolulu; Jackson, Miss.; Kansas City, Mo.; Louisville, Ky.; Milwaukee; Monterey-Salinas, Calif.; New Orleans; Oklahoma City, Okla.; Omaha, Neb.; Orlando, Fla.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Portland-Auburn, Maine; Sacramento, Calif.; West Palm Beach, Fla.; and Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla.