Rep Steve Vaillancourt



Wednesday
Sep262012

Bill Filing "Secrecy" Is No Big Deal

You might expect me, as a frequent critic of House Speaker Bill O'Brien, to be outraged by his decision to order that proposed bills be kept secret until after the November election (as reported in the lead story in today's Concord Monitor).

You would be wrong.

I find it impossible to get excited about this development.  It's truly much ado about nothing.

Here's how it works.  Although the election is still six weeks away, incumbent State Representatives, who advanced in the September primary, have a window of opportunity to file bill requests prior to the election (the window closes today).

Basically this is a house keeping procedure.  Were we to wait until after November 6, the legislative drafting office would be inundated with requests (as they are anyway).

The early filing gives the hard working staffers a chance to get a head start on drafting legislation.

Every Rep, whether an incumbent or a newbie, will have another opportunity to file bill proposals after the election, so it's truly a case of no harm, no foul.

Sorry O'Brien haters, but I tend to agree with Rep. Neal Kurk, R-Weare, on this one.  These early filings are simply requests and could very well be changed completely by the time the drafting is completed.  While the media would certainly like to gin up some controversy by latching onto bill titles and using them against certain incumbents, that would probably be more of a disservice than a service to both voters and those seeking office.

As I told Monitor reporter Annmarie Timmins (and she apparently chose not to use the comment), if any incumbent is worried about something he or she files at this time, that incumbent can simply wait until after the election.

Truth in blogging, I've filed some drafting requests already, including my usual attempt to allow sanity to prevail on our interstate highways, that is to say, to raise the speed limits as other states are doing.  I'm also looking into that disposal of bodies by the water method (remember that bill from the last two sessions) and a "loser pays" law for civil law suits.

All of these (and any others) could be filed later (by me or any other person who wins in November), but early filing is a useful way of spreading out the work burden at the State House.

I repeat--it's no big deal.

Cut the outgoing Speaker some slack on this one.

Tuesday
Sep252012

How A Three Point Obama Lead Could Mean A Romney Win

When you see Mitt Romney trailing by two or three (or even four) points in some of these national polls, don't automatically think he's going to lose.  Even if the numbers are perfectly accurate, it's important to look at the number of undecided voters.

All you need is a little knowledge of math and history of late deciding voters, for example, to determine that a 47-44 Obama lead, for example, could translate into a Romney win.

Here's how.

47 and 44 adds up to 91, so that leaves 9 percent undecided.  I don't go along with Dick Morris's assertion that nearly all the undecided voters break for the challenger at the last minute, but it does seem logical to assume--and history bears this out--that a significant number voters are undecided because they have big problems accepting the incumbent and are just waiting to accept the challenger.

I wouldn't put that number at four-fifths or even three-fourths, but it's probably in the two-thirds range.  Let's say it's 70 percent (a compromise number).

Take 70 percent of the nine percent undecided and give that number to Romney.  Seven times nine is 63, so the percentage to add to Romney is 6. percent.

43 plus 6.3 comes out to 50.3 percent.

Similarly, give Obama 30 percent of the nine percent.  That's 2.7 percent.  Add that to 47, and he comes up with 49.7 percent, thus losing even though he's ahead by three among decided voters.

You can do this for any number you see in polls.  Obviously if it's 49-46, the undecided vote, even when skewed to Romney, would not be enough.  Using the 70 percent number, Obama would win 50.2-49.8 (70 percent of four is 2.8; 30 percent of four is 1.2; add them into the 49 and 46 numbers).

The larger the percentage of undecided voters, the more Romney could be behind and still pull it out if you accept the 70 percent premise.  I wouldn’t recommend using any number greater than 70.

For example, let's say Romney trails 44-40 in a poll.  Do the match with me now.  That's 16 points undecided.  16 times 3 is 4.8; 16 times 7 is 11.2.  Add 12.2 to 40 and Romney comes out with 51.2 points.  To add up to 100, Obama must get 48.8, and sure enough--44 plus 4.8 equals 48.8.

Two things matter here, the number of undecided voters, and the assumption that the challenger will capture 70 percent of them.  Clearly, if we rework the numbers at 60/40, we don't get the same result.

This is basic math, so even without much effort, you should be able to plug the 70 percent in to any polling result you see (perhaps with Tom Lehrer's song "New Math" in background).  If you're hoping Romney wins, the exercise will prove most beneficial.

Let's say the poll shows Obama up 48-46.  What do we get?  Six point undecided...six times seven gives Romney 4.2 for a 50.2-49.8 win.

However, it the margin is 49-47 for Obama, he would win--four points undecided--four times seven gives Romney 2.8 or only 49.8 percent to Obama's 50.2.

Don't waste too much time on this exercise, but for what it's worth, try it with the next poll you see.

Ain’t math (it’s basically simple arithmetic) fun?   Mais oui, mon ami.

"Hooray for new math, new-ew-ew-ew-ew math; it won't do you a bit of good to review-ew math.  It's so simple, so very simple, that only a child could do it!

Tuesday
Sep252012

Republican Extremists Gin Up Phony Outrage

Obama campaign print

You just can’t make this stuff up.

Just when you thought Mitt Romney and Republicans were about to settle down and discuss real issues facing this country, along comes another silly distraction which ranks right up there with the birther controversy as far as voter interest is concerned.

Naturally, it's Fox News which is spreading the word about the Obama flag logo.  Some people on the right, the same people who will guarantee the Demagogue In Chief's re-election, are blasting the Obama campaign for developing this design as being sacreligious to Old Glory.

 Get real, Republicans!  This is the kind of distraction which cannot possibly help and most likely will hurt at least a little, by taking attention away from real issues and by providing more evidence, as if any is needed, that Republicans will complain about anything Obama does.

You probably haven't heard about this on the major networks (most people I talk too were not aware of it), but Fox is out there with it.  I've heard about it on that network at least twice.  Google it, and you'll most like find it on The Blaze (isn't that Glen Beck's new outlet) and other right wing web sites.

Oh, the outrage!  The phony outrage!

Even as Romney falls farther and farther behind in state and nationals polls (as many as four to five points in the Real Clear and Pollster averages), certain Republicans seem determined to talk about this flag non-issue.  It's almost as if the Obama campaign has secretly infiltrated Republican circles with some type of Vulcan mind blend to make GOP operatives focus on the silly side, on the ridiculous rather than the sublime.

If in fact it's Fox and the radical right making a big deal out of this inane issue, the old admonition applies--Save me from my friends more than my enemies. 

To borrow a line from The Exorcist, "MAKE IT STOP!  MAKE IT STOP!"

Tuesday
Sep252012

Beware! No Early Voting In New Hampshire

New Hampshire voters beware! 

Both parties apparently are sending out mailers (I've seen one) urging people to vote by mail, thus being able to vote early.  This is very misleading and could lure voters into committing fraud.

When you hear that early voting begins this week in Ohio and that as many as one-third of the votes in the election will be cast prior to November 6, don't think you can just get an absentee ballot and vote early in New Hampshire.

This state has very specific rules for voting absentee.  You are only able to request an absentee ballot and vote early if you are unable to make it to the polls in your voting district on election day.  If you are disabled or infirmed and cannot leave the house, you're eligible to vote absentee.  If you go south and spend the winter in Florida, you're eligible to receive an absentee ballot.  If your business requires that you be out of your city or town while the polls are open on election day, you're eligible to vote absentee.

That's about it.

You cannot simply decide you want to vote early and ask for an absentee.  If you plan to vote by absentee, make sure you read the instructions when you sign the form requesting a ballot.  It'll spell out the limited reasons for voting absentee.  When you sign the form, you are on record that you have a valid reason for voting absentee.

You might get away with voting absentee when you don't have a valid reason, but it's voter fraud in this state.  

It's not a good idea!  For example, let's say you ask for an absentee ballot claiming that you will be out of town election day and then your neighbor sees you in your driveway at noon on November 6, you might be in trouble.  Of course your defense could be that you had planned to be away, but your plans changed.  Why take the chance if you know you'll be here and can get to the polls?

I personally am not a big fan of early voting.  While I believe we should make it easy to vote, I don't believe it's asking too much for voters to show up in a timely manner and cast their ballot at specific polling locations.

Monday
Sep242012

Media Watch--Define Soft Porn, Ms. Carlson

on photo

   

Lame Stream Media exemplar extraordinairre Margaret Carlson, even for a left wing loonie as she constantly proves she is, sunk to a new low (and that's saying quite a bit) when she was asked on Bloomberg's weekend show (it runs over and over again; hosted by Al Hunt) to name a U.S. Senate race that could prove a surprise.
She mentioned how with Democrat Chris Murphy such a bad candidate in Connecticut, Republican Linda McMahon might just spring an upset.
But Carlson couldn't leave it at that.
It wasn't even enough to mention that Linda McMahon, who was defeated two years ago, is into the wrestling business. We all know that she and husband Vince have made a small fortune with the WWE, and Linda doesn't hesitate to spend millions on her races in the Nutmeg State.
Fair enough, but loonie Carlson didn't stop there.
She felt the need to taint candidate McMahon as being in the "soft pornography" business.
Really?
Does Carlson know something the rest of us don't know?
Is Linda McMahon out there filming porn some place or does loonie Carlson simply consider the WWE to be in the soft porn business?
I don't get the wrestling channel, but the last time I checked, there were indeed some scantily clad ladies (not to mention men) parading in front of the cameras on wrestling extravaganzas.  Hey, give the people what they want!
But if you're going to call that soft porn, what about Fox News which insists on bring us the short-skirted long-legged ladies sitting on stools every weekday morning at 5 a.m.  No desk allowed, please; after all we need to see those legs and a hint of what lies beyond.
What about NFL cheerleaders strutting their stuff (and showing their cleavage) every weekend?
Then there's Sunday Night Football.  I just happened to set Daniel Webster aside to watch the intro last night, an intro no longer featuring "Are You Ready For Some Football?" with the male singer but now with a skimpily clad female...I didn't catch her name (Faith Hill maybe?), but it seems every bit as soft pornographic as the WWE.  (The Pats should have used their time outs when Baltimore was waiting to kick the winning field goal...we knew it was going to be good; using the time outs would at least have given the Pats a few seconds left to come back; how stupid can a legendary coach be!)
But I digress.  Margaret Carlson, if she's going to tar Senate candidate Linda McMahon, a true capitalist, the sort of elected official we need to get this country back on its feet, as a soft pornographer, then she should at least explain what she means.  If all she refers to is WWE, then she should retract the reference.  If that's what loonie Carlson calls soft porn, she ain't seen much porn, soft or otherwise.
By the way, I was ready to blog that Elizabeth "Professor" Warren needed to be rescued by her handlers throwing in the towel in her debate with Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown last week.  That's how bloodied the Indian woman was; she was just awful, a fact Dan Ray alluded to on WBZ radio and Andy Hiller noted on Channel 7 news.
But no, there was loonie Carlson on the same Bloomberg show saying that Warren won big, trying to convince the entire nation (does anyone watch Bloomberg other than me?) that Brown came across as snarky when in fact he appeared most dignified and landed haymaker after haymaker on the Indian professor.
Margaret Carlson is perfect proof that certain members of the media will say or do anything, will make up anything, to get their out of favor point across, to foist their poison into the body politic.
This isn't the first time I've singled out this loonie for a thumbs down.  Wanna bet it won't be the last either?
Boo to you, Margaret Carlson, soft porn indeed!
Spell check apparently wants loonie as loony...oh well...I'll try to remember that next time I have to write about a left wing fanatic like loonY Elizabeth Warren or Margaret Carlson!