Rep Steve Vaillancourt



Friday
Dec302011

82 Percent of Drivers Are Law Breakers

Traffic wasn`t particularly heavy as I navigated Interstate 89 between Concord and Lebanon between 7 and 8 p.m. last night, but since I promised a reporter that I would run my usual analysis of speeders, I did just that.

I kept at 65 miles an hour and counted every person who passed me (obviously speeding) and every person I had to pass (those going less than 65).

The envelope please.

Although the numbers aren`t great, they are in the same range as always.  18 people flew by me going at various rates of speed, all in excess of 65 mph.  I only had to pass four people.  18-4 is 82 percent, and I had told the reporter it`s usually around 85 percent.  (I decided not to count tractor trailer driverse, so this is a passenger car and light truck survey only.  Tractor trailer drivers, the few I encountered, seem to be either obeying the law or are unable to go faster than 65 due to the hills on 89).

I rest my case.

But it was worse than that.  In the area near the turnoff heading to Keene, a SLOW driver posed a safety hazard.  He was in the passing lane abreast of me, going just less than 65 miles an hour.  I noticed traffic massing behind him, and lo and behold, not one, not two, but three people zigged around him, came into the lane behind me and then darted out to get by this slow driver causing a safety problem.

Speed is not what kills.  Divergence from speed is the problem.

Any law that is broken by 82 percent of the people on a regular basis is a law that must be changed.  Maine has changed it.  New Hampshire should folow suit.  When 82 percent of the people break the law every time they get in their car, we see an erosion of respect for laws which really need to be obeyed.  Laws must be based on consent of the public.  By their actions, people are not consenting to a 65 mile and hour limit.

The reporter asked me about Vermont, so I tried to keep my survey going there, but traffic was so sparse, numbers aren`t really valid.  I will note that there were some Vermonters going very very slowly, and they were creating a hazard.  I followed one car for about 40 miles (he was obviously going exactly 65) and one time he almost had to slam on his brakes when he came upon someone who couldn`t have been going more than 40.

Those slowpokes are hazards on our roads, not those going 70-75 which is in fact the 85th percentile speed...that is to say, the speed 85 percent of the people go regardless of the limit...so please, don`t give me the argument that if you raise the limit, people will simply go faster.  No, they will continue to go around 72...except they won`t be criminals!

By the way, if you're ever journeying northward, fill up with gas before you leave our fair state.  It was $3.15 a gallon in Concord, $3.45 in northern Vermont, and it appears to be $1.40 a liter (about $5.30 a gallon) on the island of Montreal.  No wonder all those Canadians make so many tirps to Plattsburg, NY.

Also, something must be up.  For the first time ever, I was stopped by the U.S. border patrol upon leaving the county.  Law abiding citizen that I am, they let me go quickly--didn't even check an ID which I had ready.

Thursday
Dec292011

Quaker Parrots, The Speed Limit, and Two Garys

 Quaker ParrotsA truly hilarious bird!    

    Since I posted my choices for people and events of the year for 2011 and predictions for 2012, a few interesting responses have surfaced.  Feel free to join in (unless of course, like RL Fortin, you've been banned from this blog).

            Not one but two newspapers (The Concord Monitor and the Lebanon Valley News) have expressed an interest in my bill to raise to speed limit to a more reasonable 70 miles an hour on interstate highways.  The Valley News reporter posed numerous questions which I answered in great detail, so it’ll be interesting to see exactly how the story comes out.  I always tell other people that the less they say, the less the media will have to make you look bad, but then I never follow my own advice.  I can only surmise that the reporter will pick out the most “outrageous” things I said in an attempt to make me look bad.  

            Hmm…let’s see…I think I avoided using the “v” word (v as in vile) to describe sure opponents on the Transportation Committee. 

            I can’t wait to read the article, but I’ll be out of touch with the New Hampshire media until next Tuesday.

            In fact, I’m heading up Interstate 89 as soon as I finish this, and I promised the reporter to do my usual survey—maintain a 65 mile an hour speed limit and see how many people go sailing past me for every person I have to pass.  It’s usually an eight or nine to one ratio of law breakers.  I’ll blog the results tomorrow if I make it to the Grand Bibliotehque in Montreal.

 

            Rep. Seth Cohn, R-Canterbury, answered my call of trying to recall something funny on the local level this past year.  We did More Politically Alert live last night (it’s posted on vimeo.com/channels/mpa) and he suggested the debate about Quaker parrots on the House floor.  I’d forgotten all about that, yet another good reason for having a panel for the year in review show.  I was also joined by Hopkinton Democrat Denis Goddard, host on a weekly show on Concord TV, and fellow nhinsider blogger Rick Olson.

            Our Ron Paul panel (including Reps Cam DeJong, Andy Manuse, and Mark Warden) will be back for next week’s show.  Hopefully it’ll be in the wake of a Ron Paul victory in Iowa.  When we talked about Ron Paul in mid-December, more than 2500 people (an astounding number) were watching live from around the country on the web, a fact none of the lame stream media picked up on, and more than 600 people attempted to call in.

            Rather than experience a raise in blood pressure as I leave the state I’m in, I avoided reading hack McQuaid’s editorial attacking Ron Paul today.  Apparently, the publisher of the sinking paper warns that Ron Paul would be a dangerous choice for president when the truth of course is that false conservatives like The Eft and McQuaid pose the greatest danger to our society…but let’s not get started on that.  Suffice it to say that the attacks are an indication that Ron Paul is doing better and better (he’s up to 22 percent and within 15 points of Romney in New Hampshire according to one poll out today).  Let the…it’s time to use the v word…vile attacks continue.  They are expected and welcome.

            Long Live Lady Liberty.

            Ron Paul for President.

            But I digress.

 

            As for the two Garys, Durham Rep Tim Horrigan emailed with an interesting response to my predictions. He predicts Hopkinton Democratic Representative Gary Richardson will be the next Governor and Milford Republican Rep Gary Daniels will be the next Speaker.

            Hmm…I don’t believe any Democrat will be the next governor, but it’s intriguing to hear that Richardson may run.  I’ve confirmed that rumor with other sources since Rep. Horrigan broached the subject.

            Denis Goddard predicted Maggie Hassan, Rick Olson Ovide Lamontagne, and Rep. Cohn joined me in predicting Ted Gatsas.

            As for Gary Daniels, it’s really food for thought.  I’ve run the idea by numerous people who all agree that he would make an outstanding compromise candidate if Speaker Bill O’Brien loses support and former Speaker Gene Chandler decides not to try again.

            Gary Daniels probably doesn’t even know it yet, but my sense is he could very well be the next Speaker...(if in fact this note doesn't doom his candidacy before it even gets off the ground).

            Have a Happy.  I’ll check in from North of the border where I see it’s a balmy negative 18 degrees now (but that’s Centigrade…or just about 0 degrees F).  I can handle it…after all, I grew up in northern Vermont, n'est-ce pas?

Wednesday
Dec282011

12 For 12--2012 Predictions Revealed

            President Mitt Romney, Governor Ted Gatsas, Speaker Gene Chandler.  No repeal of gay marriage and no expanded gambling in New Hampshire.  Despite expected losses, Republicans maintain firm control of the New Hampshire House and Senate.  Republicans actually lose very few seats in the US House (Guinta and Bass both are re-elected), and they recapture the US Senate with three seats to spare.  Unemployment remains north of eight percent with growth around two percent.  

            After losing in Iowa, Mitt Romney comes back strongly in New Hampshire, and oh yes, you’ll be able to legally speed up on New Hampshire interstates.

            Those in a nutshell are 12 for 12, my 12 predictions for 2012.   Here are details in chronological order.

1.  A—Which Republican will win the Iowa caucuses on January 3 and by how much?   Ron Paul by three or four points over Mitt Romney and I’m beginning to think Rick Perry will pass the Eft for third.

      B—Which Republican will win the New Hampshire primary on January 10 and by how much?  Mitt Romney by more than a two to one margin over his nearest competitor (something in the 40-20 range).

2.  Will gay marriage be repealed by the New Hampshire legislature? This is easy.  No.  Even if the House passes HB473 (no sure thing), Governor John Lynch’s veto will most certainly be sustained.

3.  Will the New Hampshire legislature vote to expand gambling with some form of racinos, casinos, or slot parlors?  This is another easy one.  No.  Even in the unlikely event that the House and Senate pass such a proposal, Governor John Lynch’s veto will most certainly be sustained.

4.  A—What will the national unemployment rate be at the time of the November election?  8.5 percent.

     B—What will the growth rate be at the time of the November election?  2.0 percent

5.  Who will replace John Lynch as New Hampshire governor?  By what margin?

Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas by a comfortable margin (albeit not a landslide) of 10-12 points.

6.  With a 63 seat gain in 2010, Republicans took control of the United States House of Representatives by a 242-193 margin.  How many seats will Republicans gain or lose in November?  Losses will be minimal, in the range of six seats which means Republicans would remain in control, 236-199.

7.  Regarding New Hampshire Congressmen Frank Guinta and Charlie Bass, which one, both, or neither will be re-elected in November?  By approximately what margin?  Both win, Guinta by eight points or so, Bass by about four points.

8.  After the 2010 election, Democrats controlled the United States Senate 53-47 (including independents Lieberman and Sanders).  Keep in mind that Democrats must defend 23 of the 33 seats in play in 2012, and seven incumbent Democrats, including Nebraska’s Ben Nelson (announced this week), are retiring.  How many seats will Republicans gain or lose in November? 

Republicans will net a gain of seven seats to take control 54-46.  North Dakota and Nebraska are sure to turn.  Missouri, Montana, Virginia, and Wisconsin will most likely go Republican.  That’s six.   Florida, New Mexico, Ohio, and yes…even Hawaii  (very popular former Republican governor Linda Lingle is running and only Obama strength at the top of the ticket will save the seat for Democrats) are possibilities.  Scott Brown will withstand a challenge from Margaret Warren to hold Massachusetts for Republicans (and Nevada will stay in GOP hands as well).

9.  After the 2010 election, Republicans controlled the New Hampshire House 298-102.  With so many seats to defend, Republicans are sure to lose seats, but how many?

Unless Democrats nominate an income taxer for Governor (then, all bets are off), Republicans will lose “only” 54 seats, nearly half of them in Hillsborough County including a dozen in Nashua and eight in Manchester.  Republican control will be in the 244-156 range; that simply represents a return to the historical norm.

10.  After the 2010 election, Republicans controlled the New Hampshire Senate 19-5.  How many seats will Republicans gain or lose in November?  Redistricting should minimize Republican losses.  Let’s call it a loss of three seats (most likely in the Nashua and Seacoast areas) for GOP control by a margin of 16-8.

11.  Who will win the Presidency and by approximately what percentage of the popular vote and with how many electoral votes?   (Remember 270 electoral votes are needed to win).  If you want to play with individual states, there’s an interactive map at the americanresearchgroup.com web site.  Check it out; it’s been recalibrated to reflect the change in electoral votes due to new census numbers.  See below.

Mitt Romney beats Barack Obama by about the same margin Obama beat McCain four years ago, six points in the popular vote and with 300-310 electoral votes (it came out at 308 when I used the ARG calculation).  Romney will add swing states of Florida and Ohio (as well as retaking Virginia and North Carolina for Republicans).  He’ll win New Hampshire by about the same margin as nationwide.  The blue state most likely to go red will be Michigan where Romney’s father once served as governor. I also have him turning Iowa and Wisconsin red, but those I would rate as toss-ups.

12.  When newly elected New Hampshire State Representatives meet on organization day in December, who will be elected Speaker?

Since Republican losses are most likely to be among freshmen representatives who for the most part supported, Bill O’Brien, my guess is that Gene Chandler will be in the Speaker’s chair when it’s time to make committee assignments.

BONUS--This has been far too easy thus far.  It’s time to go out on a limb with a long-shot prediction. The sky is the limit here.  I personally plan to opt for a particular piece of legislation which will pass in the New Hampshire House.  Make sure you hurry—a hint—here Friday for the answer.

New Hampshire will join Maine as the only states in the Northeast to increase the speed limit on interstate highways.  It’s now 75 in Maine; the proposal in New Hampshire calls for 70, but it could well be amended to 75.

Long live Lady Liberty!

The totals for the Republican and the Democrat are automatically recalculated as the candidates are selected. The calculator can be returned to the 2008 results by clicking the reset button.

 

AL (9)

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ME (2)

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NC (15)

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AK (3)

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  -CD1 (1)

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ND (3)

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AZ (11)

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  -CD2 (1)

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OH (18)

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AR (6)

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MD (10)

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OK (7)

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CA (55)

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MA (11)

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OR (7)

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CO (9)

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MI (16)

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PA (20)

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CT (7)

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MN (10)

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RI (4)

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DE (3)

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MS (6)

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SC (9)

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DC (3)

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MO (10)

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SD (3)

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FL (29)

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MT (3)

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TN (11)

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GA (16)

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NE (2)

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TX (38)

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HI (4)

RepDem

  -CD1 (1)

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UT (6)

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ID (4)

RepDem

  -CD2 (1)

RepDem

VT (3)

RepDem

IL (20)

RepDem

  -CD3 (1)

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VA (13)

RepDem

IN (11)

RepDem

NV (6)

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WA (12)

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IA (6)

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NH (4)

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WV (5)

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KS (6)

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NJ (14)

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WI (10)

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KY (8)

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NM (5)

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WY (3)

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LA (8)

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NY (29)

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11 For 2011 Updated—Since, unlike Dick Morris, I believe in accountability, let’s review how I did on 11 for 2011 released last year at this time.

1.  Only token opposition for Mayor Ted Gatsas.  Bingo!

2.  Manchester elects new Alderman at large for first time since 1999.  This was my out on a limb prediction.  Bingo!  JKL beat Lopez.

3.  Only token opposition for Obama among Democrats.  Hillary will not run.  Bingo!

4.  Sarah Palin will not run; Newt will. So far so good, but I added that Huckabee and Romney should beware the Barbour (wrong).

5. Parental notification becomes law in NH.  Right, but I failed to see the Lynch veto and subsequent override.  I thought he’d let it become law without signing it.

6.  Republicans fail to override Lynch’s veto of gay marriage.  This is on hold, but most likely will occur in 2012.

7.  NH becomes right to work state.  Wrong!  Republicans fell 13 votes short of overriding Lynch’s veto.

8.  GOP balances the budget the old-fashioned way with no gimmicks, real spending cuts.  Bingo!

9.  Spending cap bill passes easily.  Bingo!

10.  Slots at tracks loses big time.  This didn’t even come up for a vote, so it lost big time, but it’s still lurking in the background.

11.  Photo ID for voting passes overwhelmingly.  That was correct, but the Senate failed to override a Lynch veto, and the issue will be back in 2012.

All in all, not too shabby.  I hope I do as well in 2012.

Wednesday
Dec282011

In Praise of Dr. Paul--Eft Is The Indecent One

 

 

Even as he speaks out of one side of his mouth claiming he's running a positive campaign, Newt Gingrich (hereafter known simply as The Eft) unleashes a heap of vitriol not only attacking Ron Paul but claiming that millions of people who support Dr. Paul, as I most certainly do, are indecent.

You just can't make this stuff up.

Here's the exact quote.  "I think Ron Pau's views are totally outside the mainstream of virtually every decent American."

I for one share Ron Paul's views on virtually every subject, and for The Eft to suggest that I'm indecent is certainly among the most negative comments I've heard in 60 years of following American elections on this planent (all right, let's make it 52 years; I didn't start until I was eight years old--Nixon v. Kennedy as a fourth grader in 1960).

If anyone is indecent, it's The Eft.

If anyones's views are indecent, they are The Eft's views.

Ron Paul believes in less government intrustion in our lives, the most decent philosophy one could embrace.

Ron Paul believes in following Constitiutional priniciples.

Ron Paul believes in reining in spending, not continuing outlandish programs (such as those supported by The Eft) which are most assuredly bankrupt this country.

Ron Paul is no isolationist, a canard postulated by frantic opponents who can't attack Dr. Paul on real issue.  Ron Paul, as I do, believes that America cannot be the policieman of the world, that the age of American imperialism is over, that we can no longer afford to spend billions defending nations far richer than we are, that we must defend ourselves rather than attacking others.

These are all decent pricniples as opposed to the indecency that The Eft embodies in both his personal and public life.

As Dr. Paul comes under attack these final days before Iowa and New Hampshire, don't believe that'she's anti-gay, anti-black, anti-semitic or anti-anything.

Just a few months ago, I recall listening on the radio when Dr. Paul was asked if there is anything that Obama has done that he supports.  As he paused for dramatic effect, I began yelling at the radio, "Geting rid of don't ask, don't tell."

Seconds later, Ron Paul stated that getting rid of don't ask, don't tell was something Obama did which he supports.

So much for Dr. Paul being anti-gay.  As a libertarian, Dr. Paul cherishes the value of each individual.  Every human being should be free to suceed (or fail) on his or her own merits.  Dr. Paul is not anti-anything. 

The Eft and those in the media from the vile liar Dick Morris to Charles The Wise should need to all take a deep breath and realize, as millions of decent Americans have done, that Ron Paul is perhaps the only salvation for this county.

 

Wednesday
Dec282011

Inside Republican Poll Shows Strong Support For Gay Marriage

            In what just might be the death knell for those who want to repeal gay marriage in New Hampshire, word has leaked that an internal Republican poll, conducted by George Bush’s polling outfit in Houston, Texas, verifies what other surveys have been saying—support for keeping the law is very strong, so much so that New Hampshire voters consider it a “settled” or “older” issue.

            According to Voter Consumer Research (VCR), which surveyed 712 likely NH voters, “64 percent believe the law allowing gay couples to marry in New Hampshire should stay in place.  Only 31 percent believe the law should be repealed.

            Not only that, but 51 percent feel strongly that the law should stay in place.       

            It’s not as if people haven’t been following the issue.  VCR finds very high awareness (“fairly universal”) of 94 percent.

            Even among likely Republican primary voters, support for leaving the law is at 47 percent (47 percent also favor repeal).  Not only that but VCR found gay marriage is not a major voting issue even among Republicans.  When asked how they would react if their state legislator voted against repeal, 60 percent said they would either support that legislator or the issue “would make no difference in their vote”.

            While not yet released to the public, this survey has been made available to Republican insiders who must devise a strategy of how to deal with HB437, the gay marriage repeal which came out of the Judiciary Committee with an ought to pass recommendation and is due on the House floor in mid-January.

            Proponents of gay marriage, never alarmed since they knew Governor John Lynch’s veto of the repeal would most certainly be sustained, can now take heart that they can stop this troglodytic (my word) measure before it gets to his desk.

            Not surprisingly, support for leaving the law in place is strongest in Southwest New Hampshire (the Keene area).  Even in Hillsborough County, support only falls off to 62 percent.

            “In each region,” VCR reports, “we see intense support for leaving the law untouched with a plurality or majority of voters saying they feel strongly that the law should be left in place.”

              The poll summary warns Republican insiders that those in risk of not being re-elected are ones who do not appear to be focused on more important issues (fiscal and economic matters) or those "voting for repeal of a law that the majority of voters support leaving on the books as is".  This would be espcially true of Republican incumbents who would need Independent or Democratic support for re-election, that is to say those in swing districts (like Manchester, Nashua, and Rochester for example).

             The poll, which includes a wide range of other issues, was conducted December 11-15.  The margin of error is 3.7 percent.