Rep Steve Vaillancourt



Friday
Aug292014

Fetishists, Scoff Laws, Thieves, Panhandlers, And Bad Pizza

Montreal Fetish Weekend 9th annual edition

More than your usual share of colorful (some would say unusual) characters are strutting their stuff through the pedestrian only St. Catherine Street in the Village of Montreal this weekend.

Labor Day Weekend is the annual Fetish Festival (the 10th edition nothing less). I stumbled upon it a few years ago and should have known that it's an annual event, not quite up there with the Jazz Festival or Just For Laughs yet but getting there.

As I sit here outside at the Second Cup Coffee shop with the sun going down, I look up every now and then to see people walking by dressed in various colors of latex, often black but pink and purple seem especially stylish, or leather or lace or whatever--the more outrageous the costumes, the better.  Just the next block up, there's some type of s. and m. display right in the middle of the street, some beautiful young lady being bound.  Sounds like a Warren Zevon lyric ("She asked me if I'd beat her...I don't wanna talk about it.")

Hey, it's not my thing, but this represents the ultimate in my philosophy of life--live and let live; whatever turns you on; it's all harmless fun and quite colorful and fun, and what those latex lovelies do in the privacy of their own rooms, well...I don't wanna talk about it....or even think about it.

Three years ago--I was still doing my TV show at the time--I had a camera with me and actually filmed the arrivals of "celebrities" at the Erotic Ball Festival theater--talk about the red carpet treatment!  I'll never forget an old man dressed as a baby, pacifier and all.  It was at the same theater which is hosting Cheryl Crowe in a few days.

I get absolutely no sense of Canadian politics this trip.

Panhandlers, apparently being driven north from Hudson, NH (only kidding) are literally everywhere.  Normally I don't give to them; in fact, I try to ignore them, but last night I broke down when an elderly gentleman came riding up on a bike and  asked if I'd give him 25 cents for a cup of coffee.  Sure, I thought, if he's trying to raise coffee money in 25 cent increments, he needs my help (my regular medium at Second Cup is $2.42--$2.40 actually since they've gotten rid of pennies here--with free WIFI of course).

My favorite panhandling story is that of a man who said he wasn't going to lie to me--he needed money for a beer.  I think I might have even given him some...money, not beer.

It's been a bizarre trip.  I've visited here off in the past 25 years, often with a bike which I lock up against parking meters (as does everyone).  When I unlocked it and swung around to get on yesterday, lo and behold, the seat was gone.

I guess thieves and panhandlers are everywhere.

Then I received a parking ticket, particularly disturbing because I had looked all over to make sure I was parked legally; apparently I wasn't.  I always like to claim that I know only enough French to be able to avoid getting parking tickets--no so this time.

Then I had one of the worst pizzas known to man.  Dominos was closed when I got into the city late and I was so hungry, I went to a nameless joint...never more.   For some strange reason and for the first time ever, I took a wrong turn on the Jacques Cartier Bridge coming up from the casino.  After driving around aimlessly for 15 minutes (this just doesn't seem right, I kept thinking) I stopped and three young kids told me I was in Longeuil.  It sure wasn't right--that's on the other side of the river!

Ah, it all makes life more interesting.

Panhandlers, scoff laws, thieves, pizza that sucks, and hundreds of colorfully dressed fetish fans...not to mention there's an Elvis impersonator free of charge at the casino tonight.

So much to do...so little time.

Friday
Aug292014

Rubens And Smith--The Rodney Dangerfields Of 2014 Politics

 

UPDATE--PPP, a Democratic polling firm, just released a new poll (Friday afternoon) showing Shaheen leading Brown 50-44, at least half confirming the UNH poll numbers showing the race closing.

Pity Bob Smith and Jim Rubens, both serious and intelligent candidates (I've personally endorsed Rubens) who have become the Rodney Dangerfields of the 2014 political season.

Pardon the grammar, but they don't get no respect, at least when it comes to the national media.

A week after the WMUR Granite State Poll which showed New Hampshire native Scott Brown within two points of our MIssouri-born Senator Jeanne Shaheen, the national media is paying more and more attention to the race.  The word you don't hear concerning the poll is outlier, so although we've seen no polls yet to confirm the trend, you have to believe that internal polls from both Democrats and Republicans show how vulnerale Shaheen truly is.  

Real Clear Politics features a lengthy story on the race today, and there's a link to a very long Fox News discussion with a pair of talking heads ("fair and balanced" of course).  Here it is.

You won't hear the names Smith or Rubens mentioned.  In fact, the only reference to the primary is that Scott Brown should get a bump once he wins it; it's a foregone conclusion that he's going to advance on Sept. 9. 

Although I've seen zero polling data (have you?), count me among those who think Brown will win (even though I'm voting for Rubens), but it just doesn't seem fair for two such serious candidates to be so ignored.  After all, Bob Smith is a former Congressman and a former two term United States Senator, and Rubens was a very well respected State Senator, and for years, he led the fight against expanded gambling in New Hampshire.

The Fox News talking heads stressed Jeanne Shaheen's 99 percent voting support in support of Barack Obama who is extremely unpopular in the state. They also referred to troubled waters ahead for Shaheen as Obama moves ahead this fall with international climate agreements (yet another end run around the Senate which constitutionally is required to approve--with a two-thirds vote nonetheless--all treaties).

Coming soon to a TV screen near you most certainly will be an ad stressing Shaheen's support for a climate tax.

Chicken Makes POTUS

Since I've ben in the car more the past few days, I've had more of a chance to listen to Julie Mason's Press Pool on POTUS 124 (Love that Jules).  It airs 3-6 p.m. with rebroadcasts 9-midnight and 3-6 a.m.  She interviewed Roll Call's Niels Lesniewski two days ago.  He had been in New Hampshire when the "chicken attacks Shaheen story" broke, and you can rest assured Jules had great fun with that.  Live free or die but get that chicken out of our parade!

Here's a link to the Roll Call story.  Lesniewski  has also done a major piece on the Marilinda Garcia campaign. That's not my congressional district, and I'm not endorsing anyone, but Garcia has all the makings of a new media darling--young, female, attractive, Hispanic, and oh yes...intelligent and extremely conservative.  

I'll have to add rollcall.com to my list of sites to visit each day. It's actually better than Politico which seems intent on charging these days (at least here in Canada).

In New Hampshire, Town Halls and an Arrested Chicken (Video)

Niels Lesniewski | Aug. 25, 2014

LOUDON, N.H. — Will the 2014 midterms prove the death-knell for the traditional New Hampshire town hall?


POLITICS

Will New Hampshire GOP Voters Anoint a Rising Star?

By Niels Lesniewski

RINDGE, N.H. — The total Hispanic population in the sprawling 2nd District hovers just above 3 percent, making it one of the least diverse House districts in the country. But Granite State Republicans could nominate a young Latina with star potential who’s already earned plaudits from national conservatives.

Thursday
Aug282014

The Polls--Republicans Take 61-32 Lead In "Expectations"

 

In a generally slow polling week, undoubtedly the most significant number is from Pew Research.  The question is rather esoteric, but past election cycles indicate that this should give us a good indication of how a Republican wave year might be in the offing.

Pew found that 61 percent of Republicans polled think their party will do better in this election than in recent eledtions.  The number for Democrats is only 32 percent.  Pundits call this the expectations gap; a more descriptive phrase might be the "throw in the towel" gap.

Last December, Republicans led only 55-43 in this rather stange pulse taking of the public mood.

When Republicans scored a big sweep in 2010, the number was 76-26.  

When Democrats had a big year in 2006, they led 66-23 with this indicator.  

Throw in the towel?

Indeed Democrats appear ready to concede the election, never a good sign when you're trying to gin up turnout to stave off a disaster.

Here are the numbers.  I would be more likely to discount the value of this poll...were it not for past success; nothing succeeds like success.

 

Republicans More Optimistic that 2014 Will Be Better Election for Party


As we head into Labor Day and Nate Silver is working on his models for fivethirtyeight.com, he's written a lengthy and infromative article on the state of polling in this era when pollsters have more and more trouble getting people to sample
The conclusion seems to be that polls remain more or less reliable, much more so in general elections than primaries and much moreso for "bigger" races, President and U.S. Senate as opposed to House races.  That makes sense since the pool to be sample is larger.

Here's a link to Silver's article; it's for real insiders and numbers crunchers, but there are a series of graphs revdealing how close pollsters have come in the past 16 years in all races.  It's generally only within six points for House races, four to five points for Senate races, and three to four percent for presidential races.  Primary numbers can be off by as much as eight or nine percent on average.

 

ACCURACY

Is The Polling Industry In Stasis Or In Crisis?

Wednesday
Aug272014

Smoke 'Em If You've Got 'Em...Roll 'Em If You Don't

From The Second Cup Coffee Shop

St. Catherine Street East

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

The music wasn't my cup of tea.  Truth be told, I was just passing through Emil Gamelin Park this evening on the way to the Grand Bibliotheque at the Beri/UQAM subway station in Montreal.  Hundreds of people were lounging on a hill overlooking the stage, a nice setting.  As I walked among the crowd, I kept smelling somthing that rang a bell (can a smell ring a bell?).

Sure enough, marijuana was being smoked right out in the open in this city, province, and country which has yet to legalize the substance.

Not just one or two people but seemingly everybody; of course I'm exaggerating, but the number of indulgers was very large.  Not only that, several people were actually rolling joints as they listened (it was really bad music).

Isn't it time for governments here in Canada and back in the United States to realize that a certain percentage of the population wants to smoke pot and will smoke pot regardless of laws fobidding it?

Of course it is.

Only with legalization can we also add a layer of regulation to properly protect consumers and...oh yes...a layer of taxation to help our always financially strapped governments.  

In the process we'd be saving tens of millons of dollars arresting, prosecuting, and incarcerating people who aren't harming anyone.

During the debate on my legalization bill in New Hampshire last year, we learned that the state would most likely generate about $50 million a year in windfall taxes.

I assume it would be five times that much here in Quebec (the population is about five times ours).

Oh yes, in case you're wondering.  I did NOT smoke any of the stuff...although I experienced a fair share of second hand smoke.  Had the concert been even tolerable, I might have stuck around longer.

Maybe I'll try again tomorrow.

 

Tuesday
Aug262014

Will Perry Bypass Legislature To Bring Slots To Texas?

 


NHINSIDER.COM EXCLUSIVE

Even as Republicans at the national level are expressing increased concerns about Barack Obama acting by executive fiat and without legislative approval for a series of actions, a story out of Texas has surfaced that potential Presidential contender Governor Rick Perry might be about to totally bypass the Legislature there to bring a deceptive form of slot machines into his state.

Apparently having been told that I've been intimately involved with the expanded gambling struggle here in New Hampshire for more than a dozen years, an Austin,Texas, reporter (from the American Statesman) contacted me today for a reaction.

I find it inconceivable, I responded, that any state would take such a major step as expanded gambling without legislative approval.  This would be anathema to everything we believe in in New Hampshire, I noted, explaining in detail how dozens of hours of hearings are held every year in New Hampshire (before the legislature ultimately gives a thumbs down to slots at tracks...or anywhere else).

The reporter seemed fascinated.  So you don't think it will play well in the first primary state if Perry goes ahead and authorizes what are called "historical slots" at tracks, the reporter led me.

Of course what Texas does is its business, but at a time when Republicans in D.C. are attacking the President for his "I have a pen and I have a phone" approach to government, I can't imagine we'd favor an imperial or dictatorial president (or governor), I took the bait.

The reporter must have liked what he heard; he asked me to slow down and repeat the comments so he could get it all down.

I resorted to the word "inconceivable" again.  Whether one is for or against gambling, it should be a legislative decision not one which some executive can bring about by fiat with a state bureaucracy (apparently the state racing commission is set to act on the plan as early as this Friday).

I explained how only through the legislative process can any gambling proposal be refined and improved (vetted) to the point in which it sees the light of day (not that we've ever passed such a plan in New Hampshire).

As the reporter explained the particular slots involved, a light went off in my head.  Texas is apparently looking to the machines which Belmont Track tried to foist upon an unsuspecting New Hampshire legislature a few year ago (and then again this past session with Senators Hosmer and Soucy carrying the water).  I was on the Local and Regulated Revenues Committee which quickly shot the down proposal last time.  Even back then there was talk of circumventing the legislative process here, but we quickly received a legal opinion to nix that scheme.  Just as a rose by any other name is still a rose, so a slot by any other name is still a slot.

The Texas reporter had not heard how slots are called "the crack cocaine of gambling" (not by me, mind you, but by their avid opponents).  You can be sure I enlightened him.  Let's see if he uses it in his story.

Here's a lead sentence I'd write if I were a Texas reporter (remember I have a newspaper background).

At the same time he is exploring a run for the Presidency in the first in the nation primary state, one which time and again has legislatively struck down slot machine gaming proposals, Governor Rick Perry may be about to bypass the Texas legislature to bring the "crack cocaine of gambling" into the Lone Star State.

Not half bad.  Hey, maybe I should get to back into the business.  I didn't want to scoop myself, so I thought I'd post the story here first.  As always, media in New Hampshire (or anywhere) is welcome to run with it.  I think I heard on the POTUS Press Pool (love that Julie Mason!) that Perry is heading to South Carolina for a tailgate fundraiser soon.

I understand the Texas reporter, with whom I spoke, also had contacted sources in Iowa and South Carolina to see how the good folks there might react to such executive overreach.

Hmmm. should be an interesting story.  Look for an Austin paper coming to an online site near you soon.  

Here's what I came up with my first effort at googling the story.

Here's what I came up with my first effort at googling the story.

Republican nominees for state Senate submit statement on ...

starlocalmedia.com/...expanded-gambling/article_88f27dbc-1667-11e4-...
Jul 28, 2014 - We strongly support Texas' constitutional process. As such, anyexpansion of gambling in Texas requires legislation that goes through the full ..

And another...this is like deja vu all over again.

Boise Guardian | Horseless Racing, Slot Machines In Disguise

boiseguardian.com/2014/08/.../slot-machines-disguised-as-historic-racing...
Aug 14, 2014 - Whatever the gullible legislators of Idaho think they approved with “Historic Horse Racing on Video Terminals,” they got slot machines and .