Rep Steve Vaillancourt


The Week's Trivia--Publish And Perish

This week's trivia question is from the great new biography Ulysses Grant In War and Peace (The Man Who Saved The Union) by H.W. Brands (which I finally managed to finish--700 plus pages; I learned a great deal).

Having been the victim of a 19th century Ponzi scheme (a la Bernie Madoff), Ulysses Grant lost most of his life's savings the year prior to his death.  To assure a flow of money for his wife, even as he battled throat cancer in 1885, he struggled to complete his memoirs which are deemed to be among the best written by a former President.  Equally as interesting is the man who put together a great financial deal for the destitute general in his waning days.  Famous to Americans in another capacity, was this publisher of Grant's autobiography?

A--William Randolph Hearst;

B--Joseph Pulitzer;

C--Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain);

D--Alexander Graham Bell;

or E--Thomas Alva Edison.

Hint--The publisher had a history of financial problems in his own life.  I seem to recall that he wasted a lot of money trying to bring a new-fangled printing press to market, but he got out of the hole by hitting the lecture Europe in fact.

Answer--That would be Mark Twain who arranged to sell Grant's work in subscription form even as he was writing it.  Grant finished the work just prior to his death on July 23, 1885.  The book raised enough for Twain to give $400,000 to Grant's widow and keep a tidy profit for himself. 


Final Score--10-1; Ten Law Breakers; One Slowpoke

Time--Sunday night between 9 and 10 p.m. (The Giants were mauling the Packers on WFAN.  Over the weekend, rather than listen to new wave on complimentary Sirius Radio, I couldn't tear myself away from the FAN with New York Jet fans moaning about the Jets' Thanksgiving Day loss to the Patriots--what fun!).

Stretch of road--Interstate 89; 60 miles from Lebanon to Concord.

Results of our traveling at 65-66 mph survey--

10 cars sailed past me as I was observing the speed limit; they were obviously law breakers.

1 car was going so slowly, I had to pass it.  Yes, that was the law abiding citizen out and traveling our road.  I nearly got all the way to Concord without coming upon a single person obeying the law, but around Hopkinton, I did in fact come upon this law abider.

I saw no state troopers on the highway, but then it was dark.

Would I lie?

Of course not.

You do the math.  10-1; what percentage is that of law breakers? 

91 percent sounds right to me.  If we raised the speed limit to 70 or 75 miles an hour, society would be just as safe, but we wouldn't have 91 percent of decent folks making criminals of themselves!

Next time, maybe the week after Christmas, I'll raise my speed to 70 miles an hour and see what percentage of people still pass me.  My guess is it'll be 50/50.

Do it!


Yes Really, Family Does Come First

When I was going door to door for my landslide election win last month, I happened to run into former alderman, State Rep and Senator Betsi DeVries.  She said something with which I totally agree.  Last year, she decided not to run for alderman again because her husband is ill, and she`s helping with his care.

"Family and friends come first," she stated.

How true it is.  I can`t imagine how so many elected officials manage to provide the amount of time necessary for their families, especially when they must supplement their $100 a year jobs as New Hampshire Reps and Senators with jobs in the real world.

Of course, I`ve never had a wife and kids, but as I get older, I realize just how much family matters.

Thanksgiving has become my favorite holiday because I get to spend it with my brother and his extended family.

Yesterday was one of the most enjoyable days I can ever remember.

All the food was delicious (I make the stuffing; my brother’s mashed potatoes and gravy were the best ever; the turkey fell on the floor, but we managed to salvage it--nice and dry...just the way I like it...sorry all you moist lovers).

The best part was after dinner.  As I was about to help with the clean-up, somehow it was suggested that I watch two young grandchildren we set off with the eight year old on a bike and the four year old on a trike on a magnificent adventure to play land.  You know me; I don’t believe in controlling other people’s lives, so whenever they ask me if they could do such and such, of course my answer was, "Of course; do whatever you want." 

The only problem was that they didn’t always want to do the same thing; she wanted to go to the playground; he to the skateboard park; so we did both of course.

I may not be liked or admired by everyone in the New Hampshire House (I’ve always prided myself on the bigots who don’t like me), but after yesterday, my popularity is way up with two young Vermonters (New Yorkers actually) named Violent and Aiden.  

I see to be getting more, rather than less tolerant, with the noise and fury of the grandchildren...time was I used to get tired just listening to, I can’t wait to see how they are at five and nine next year. 

And my brother is just the greatest.  In fact, he shares a birthday was my second favorite person on the planet, Rep. Irene Messier who deserved better than what happened election day from the voters of Ward 10 after 30 years of service to them.


Free Tuition, More Expensive Beer, And Really Big Scandals!

Laval's Gilles Vaillancourt resigns - YouTube

NO RELATION! 9, 2012 - 3 min - Uploaded by themontrealgazette
Gilles Vaillancourt, Laval's mayor since 1989, resigned from office at city hall in the face of allegations of ...

From the Grand Bibliotehque

Montreal, Quebec, Canada


When last I reported from north of the border, the province was in the final week of an election which, as it turns out, produced a minority government for Quebec separatist party (54 to 50 with 19 votes for the third party and one or two for the fourth party).  On the evening of the PQ victory, an English speaker from a few hours north of Montreal showed up at the victory rally and shot someone to death.

Back the college students were marching in the streets for lower tuition rates.

Fast forward two and a half months.  The PQ has just submitted its budget (including a 25 percent tax hike on beer and wine sold in restaurants and bars--hey I hope I’m not giving Maggie Hassan and New Hampshire Democrats any crazy ideas).

College students are still marching in the streets of Montreal.  This time, they don’t want to pay any tuition at all.  Education should be a natural right...and it should come free of charge, they say.  What’s the old line about give them an inch and they’ll take a yard.  Well, at least they won’t be taking any more beer or wine...not without paying 25 percent more in taxes at least.  Entrepreneurs are furious because the tax hike is retroactive to stock on hand.

I’ve always wondered why beer is so expensive in Quebec (yes, I do indulge a bit up fact; it’s the only place I drink at all!).  I read in the Gazette that the tax is now 82 cents on a liter (quart) of beer; $2.47 on a liter of wine. 

Gas is $1.39 a liter (about $5.50 a gallon); the highest in Canada but relief may be in sight.  Separatist Premier Pauline Marois is striking a deal with the Alberta premier (also a woman) to have oil from the rich oil sands diverting here (rather than to China) for refining.  That makes sense.

Silliness and high drama pervades the political scene here.

The silliness involves whether or not to keep the Canadian flag in a committee room (the red room) of the Quebec legislature or go with just the Quebec flag as is the case in the main room (the blue room).  Believe it or not, a vote is actually likely on this burning issue next week with the 14 third party members holding the key to the flag.

On a serious note, the Montreal area is in the midst of a major construction kickback scandal.  The city’s mayor just resigned and was replaced by Michael Appelbaum who actually left his party after failing to win its endorsement and won a majority on the City Council by promising to share power with all parties (take note, New Hampshire Legislature).

It’s even worse in Laval.   A new mayor (Duplessis--ah yes, a French name) was voted in by the council after the mayor of 23 years resigned after being accused of taking a 2.5 percent kickback on every contract bid out in that city.  If I told you the name of the disgraced mayor, you would immediately know it’s very French indeed.

I would also feel compelled to add quickly (as I did when I showed my driver’s license to get this computer pass at the library) least, I hope not.

Having just resigned in disgrace as Mayor of Laval was Gilles Vaillancourt...yes, same spelling.

Then there’s a bit which falls somewhere in between silly and serious.  Justin Trudeau, Minister of Parliament in Ottawa (he represents the part of Montreal very near where I’m sitting now) and son of the famous Pierre Elliot, had to apologize today for saying that Canada would be better off if Quebecers (presumably himself) rather than Albertans were running the country.  He says it wasn’t intended as a slur to Albertans, merely to Prime Minister Steven Harper who is off in China.

That’s enough fun for one session.  If I can find an extra 17 cents, I think I’ll try some of that more expensive beer.


Final Score 33-9 With Five Cops Aprowl

Despite the presence of at least five state police cruisers out and about in the 60 mile stretch of Interstate 89 between Concord and Lebanon between 4:15 and 5:15 p.m. on Thanksgiving eve, my survey revealed that most of the law abiding citizens of our good state were in fact breaking the law, at least when it came to obeying he 65 mile an hour speed limit.

As usual, I kept count of how many cars zoomed past me (in other words, speeders) while I was locked in at that speed as compared to the number of cars I needed to pass (in other words, law abiders).

As noted in the headline, the final score was 33 to 9.  Actually, at 80 percent, the law breaking percentage was down slightly from my most recent survey (Labor Day weekend), but that was undoubtedly due to the heavy police presence on one of the busiest travel days of the year (not to mention to electronic signs urging people to slow down).

I could tell when police were up ahead because I noticed that cars ahead of me were slowing down.  Sure enough, just after they got by the police, they began speeding up again.

As I’ve noted in the past, it’s not speed which kills but the variation of speeds which causes people to slow down and speed up zigging and zagging and changing lanes.  Thus, it could be argued that police presence was creating--not solving--problems.

Ironically, I noted that four of the nine non-speeders were all from the same state.  Guess which one?  Yes, that would be Vermont.  While I didn’t continue up 89 very far after I hit Vermont, I do recall doing a survey once between White River and Burlington and noting that the number of speeders was in fact considerably less than in New Hampshire.

I’m not trying to say that left wing tax and spend extremists (which Vermonters are for the most part) are more inclined to obey silly laws...well, maybe I am saying that.  A sociologist would have to pass such judgment; I just note the data.

Anyone wishing to co-sponsor my bills to raise the speed limit to levels which would make 80 percent of us law abiders, feel free to contact me at my legislative address.

I’ll try another survey on my return trip.

Pardon some of the strange typing symbols herein; I’m writing from the Grand Bibliotehque in Montreal where things are kind of strange, but that’s another blog.