Rep Steve Vaillancourt


Thumbs Down To NBC's Olympic Coverage

Like that thrill no longer going up Chris Matthews' leg when he thinks about Barack Obama, I suspect the thrill is gone for many of us when it comes to devotion to Olympic coverage.
Those old enough to remember the black power salute at Mexico City in 1968 (I was watching through snowy reception with rabbit ears back in Vermont) or the horrors of the slaughter in Munich in 1972 (I was watching from the student union building at Plymouth State) or any number of more mundane Olympic moments undoubtedly mark passages in our lives with references to great Olympic moments.  Like zombies in Dawn of the Dead drawn back to the shopping mall (because that's what they did when alive), we are drawn back to the Olympics every four years.
However, primarily for two reasons, the thrill will never return.
Unlike in Barack Obama's America when individual accomplishment takes second place to the communal good, in sports, individual effort counts for everything.  These athletes did indeed build it themselves, through the type of hard work and dedication that no nanny or big brother could ever come close to matching.  As fans, we should continue to honor athletic accomplishments for individual sacrifice involved.
Still, the demise of the Cold War accounts for half my waning interest in the Olympics.  As much fun as it might be to root for the American swim relay team against those Frenchmen or Australians, it just doesn't quite seem the same as rooting against the "evil" Russian or East Germans.
Maybe it's just me getting older, but I find it exceedingly difficult to put patriotism ahead of individual achievement (hey, I remember when I was devastated when the "evil" Keene would beat Plymouth).
I began seeing good in Russians even before the Cold War ended, but the ability to do so does little to add to the Olympic spirit--no, not the spirit of higher, stronger, faster--but that spirit of Go USA!
NBC will claim that it sees value in all Olympians regardless of country of origin, but that's just part of the big lie.
In fact, NBC is even more responsible for the demise in Olympic interest than the Cold War's status on the ash heap of history.
More than any other endeavor, sports appeals to us because of its spontaneity.  We watch the Super Bowl or the Red Sox because we never know what's going to happen next.  We can't know because it hasn't happened yet.
However, not just this year with the five hour delay between here and London, NBC has long since drained every ounce of spontaneity out of the Olympics by replacing live coverage with pre-packaged highlight reels.
For me it began in Atlanta in 1996..  Great, i thought, at last we have an Olympics in our own time zone, so we'll get to see everything live, as it should be in sports.
Wrong!  Preferring to package events within an ounce of their life, NBC even then decided that in this Show Biz Era, we don't need live sports any more.
NBC was wrong then, and it's even more wrong today.
Take last night for example.  Even with a taped delay basis, it could have covered women's (dare I say little girls) gymnastics as a great even unfolding.  We were told that competition was proceeding on four apparatuses at the same time, yet did NBC go back and forth, a floor here, a floor exercise there?  Not at all.  It stuck with American competitors.  It gave us newsreel footage at the expense of live sports drama.  Even when it took minutes to get a score for an American woman (little girl) were we allowed to glimpse another event.  Of course not.  That would be contrary to NBC's packaging guidelines.
But it's even worse than that.  NBC has devolved into actual deceit, doing everything it can to make us beleive we are watching some live event.  Yesterday afternoon for example, we may have thought the men's beach volleyball game was live, but I certainly could not have been the only person to note that at a critical point the score suddenly jumped ahead several points.  That could not have happened in a live event; NBC had obviously edited the package to make it fit its time constraints, kind of like ABC did when rather than provide the traditional Breakfast at Wimbledon, the network decided to serve up a great match on a taped delay basis and cut out one entire set! 
How stupid do network sports executives think we are?
Very stupid indeed apparently.
This bastardization of sports must stop!
NBC has forever ruined the Olympics for me as ABC did with Wimbledon and the British Open Golf tourney. 
Fortunately, I'm a fan of bike racing, and it's such a minor sport that NBC deems it not worth of the big package treatment.  We got to watch six hours of it live Saturday morning and four more hours far away from prime time in a great women's (not little girls) race Sunday.
Shh...don't tell NBC or they'll attempt to ruin what little they haven't already spoiled of live coverage.  Apparently the bigger the event, the more NBC decides to ruin it be pre-packaging.  It's a midsummer night's outrage.
I trust the ratings will verify what I say.  The demise of the Cold War and live coverage have combined to take the thrill out of the Olympics for this former partisan who looked forward to the spectacle every four years.
Now, two days of packaged pablum is quite enough for me.  Back to reruns of Frasier please.

It's Not A Bar Room Brawl Which Should Force Garrity To Resign

Notice that the headline does not say, "Rep. Garrity Should Not Resign".
I tend to believe that any State Representative, who has a record of less than 50 percent attendance, should resign and never run again.
Manchester Ward 7 Rep. Pat Garrity, a Democrat, would fit into the "ought to resign" category for that reason, but then, he'd have lots of company, a fact I reported here last week.
Garrity was present for only 31 percent of House votes in 2012, but that's hardly the worst record for Reps in general or for Manchester Reps in particular.  in fact, it's a Manchester Republican, Tom Beattie from the West side, who has the city's worst attendance record; a pathetic 14 percent, and we don't hear for the Speaker or Peter Principal Silva calling for his resignation.
Also worse than Garrity are Manchester Democrats Tom Katsiantonis from my own Ward 8 (a pitiful 24 percent) and Jean Jeudy (23 percent; from Ward 3), and Republican Norma Champagne, 26 percent, from Ward 5.
At least Norma and Beattie have decided not to run again; and Jeudy could conceivably be given a pass (he was reportedly ill much of the year), but Garrity and Katsiantonis apparently think it's perfect okay to flunk attendance and then ask to be re-elected.  And they are correct; it's up to voters. 
Voters get what they deserve, but sadly, bad voters make the rest of us suffer, and anyone who would vote for a Garrity or a Katsiantonis (not to mention his brother George from the west sid) is a bad voter.  Until bad voters decide to resign, our society is doomed!
The Speaker is dead wrong when he contends that Garrity should bow out of his race for re-election.  The Speaker should know the law.  Maybe he should check with Secretary of State Bill Gardner.  Once the filing period is over, there are only three reasons a candidate may be removed from the ballot--death (Leo Pepino), having come down with a serious illness SINCE the filing period, or moving from the district.  Note in fact that Senator Dick Green, when he was appointing to a high paying job in the real world, had to move out of Rochester to get his name off the ballot a few cycles back.
The Speaker should know this.
Garrity cannot get his name off the ballot.  His fate is with the same (mostly) Ward 7 voters who re-elected him following another brawl at the same bar room (in which a broken leg resulted) a few years back.  Remember that one?  Frank Guinta was also implicated in it, and voters rewarded him with a trip to DC.
Thus, voters apparently don't believe that bar room brawling is a sin which should keep one from office.
Thus, I say that Pat Garrity, whom I disagree with on virtually everything, should not resign.  It's not as if we'll be called back in session this year, but then one never knows with O'Brien wielding the gavel.
Absenteeism, is seems to be, is a much greater sin than alleged ball room brawling yet we don't see the Speaker or the Union Leader calling upon no show Reps to step aide.
If they did, they could start with one of their own darlings.  The Union Leader never ceases to heap praise (and endorse) Ward 6 Rep Will was the case last week when he spoke out against Obama.
Infantine, O'Brien's choice for Labor Vice Chair, is great for talk and public relations spin (not to mention for gossiping), but when it comes to voting, he's the lowest scoring Rep in a leadership position.  This labor vice chair has a barely passing score if you consider 60 passing; he's been present for only 62 percent of roll call votes this year...and to cover up for his malfeasance in office, he takes to the Channel 23 air waves to complain about mileage payments for those who choose to serve their constituents.
Now, you just can't make up blather from the likes of No Show Infantine.
Maybe he should resign.
By the way, I've combined the records of all Manchester Reps on attendance, HRA, and Liberty scores in a chart which I feature for no less than 15 minutes on this week's Liberty Express (on TV23 Monday at 10 p.m., Thursday at 9 p.m., and next Sunday at 6 a.m. and noon).
It's time Manchester citizens know who their No Show Reps are and apparently the Union Leader is either incapable or unwilling to provide the service.
Hippo Press perhaps???
Meanwhile, Garrity should not resign.  He cannot get off the ballot, and you know what?  I bet he gets re-elected.  Even as a no show, he's better than the spooky Ward 7 Republican Ross Terrio. the Olympic spirit of Howard Cosell this week..."telling it like it is."
For those who have asked me to post attendance for all 400 Reps, I've asked Clerk Karen Wadsworth. Apparently, if you can believe it, in this year of our Lord 2012, we lack the electronic technology.
Here's a good platform plank for Speaker candidates--if elected, I will assure the public that attendance scores for all Reps be made available to the public in a timely manner.


OBs (Obama And O'Brien) Share Delusions Of Grandeur

Neither diehard Republcans nor diehard Democrats will be happy with this posting, but hey, the truth always hurts, and my goal has never been to comfort the diehards.
We have an abundance of proof this week that President Barack Obama and New Hampshire House Speaker Bill O'Brien have more in common that just the OB at the start of their last names.
Both are evincing not only to usual hubris but rampant delusions of grandeur in their attempts, hopefully unsuccessful in both cases, to hold on to their jobs.
Republicans will undoubtedly decry--and rightly so--Obama's comments this week that his economy program has been a success.  The demagogue in chief appears to have taken total leave of his senses.  He's living in a world void of reality, but then so too is O'Brien who has already been assailed--and rightly so--for his inane comments on New Hampshire Public Radio earlier in the week.
Mind you, I never listen to NPR (perhaps it goes back to the days when I was living in Berlin, Germany and came to dislike the only two English broadcasts I could pull in on a regular basis--NPR from Armed Forces Radio--and the BBC--I swore off both of them when I returned to the land of American English).
Thus, the only thing I know about O'Brien's ridiculous comments are what I've heard from friends or read in the media or in other blogs, but that's not going to stop me from noting how O'Brien seems to rival Obama in taking leave of his senses.
O'Brien had the utter gall to contend, against all evidence, that the cigarette tax cut did not cos the stat revenues.  I can't imagine even Republicans (if they choose to be honest rather than hacks) on Ways and Means saying such an outrageous thing.  Facts are facts; they aren't tricky things, these facts.  They tell us the truth, and the facts tell us that the 10 cent per pack cut cost us between $10 million and $12 million.  We can argue which of those numbers is closer to reality, but only someone who has taken leave of his senses would continue to spin the big lie, that the tax cut didn't result in a loss of revenue.
As with Obama, O'Brien merely erodes any shred of credibility he still has when he tries to defend the indefensible.
Perhaps even worse than he cigarette tax lie is his the tortured logic he needed to employ to claim that the advent of gay marriage is costing the state money, made ironically enough on the same day that a study in New York revealed that that state has seen an increase of a couple hundred million dollars since gay marriage took effect.
We certainly don't have that many gay marriages here, but the state gets a cut of every marriage license applied for (it's something like $50).  O'Brien somehow contends (it's on the NPR site) that gay marriage is costing society by destroying families.  Just the opposite is true.  People who are married take care of each other when necessary.  Rather than relying on government as a crutch, married people help each other, so if anything, gay marriage is reducing costs to the state.
For O'Brien to say otherwise makes as much sense as for Obama to contend that his economic program has been a success.
Come on folks.  Isn't it time to put the lie to leaders whether they come at us from the left or from he right; whether they be Republicans or Democrats.
O'Brien seems to be mimicking Obama in two other areas these days. Republicans contend--and rightly so-- that Obama is doing too much by executive order, thus bypassing the founders' insistence that the legislative role be paramount in certain areas.  However, you don't hear many Republicans for criticizing the Speaker/Tyrant who can't help but meddle into non-legislative matters whether it be nepotism in the Department of Employment Security, clearly an executive function, or looking into what happened to liquor supplies, another executive function.
We should not be surprised that O'Brien is ferreting out areas to meddle into beyond what the founders intended for the Legislature.  His delusions of grandeur are unsurpassed except perhaps by the delusional man who sits at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Then there's the treatment of the media.  Obama has Fox News to beat up on (although he hasn't tried to ban its reporters from his press conferences); O'Brien has the Concord Monitor.
O'Brien and Republicans should heed the words of Thomas Jefferson.
"Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter."
The best of all possible worlds is what we very well might achieve this year, a government without both Barack Obama and Bill O'Brien.
I suspect Republicans will believe half of that; Democrats will believe half of it.
We need to all concur on both halves.  Despotism must be eradicated at both the national and state level.  It's time to throw out those with delusions of grandeur, those who spin with such outrageous falsehoods that spins can only be termed lies.
There's more than OB that these two leaders share. 
Out, out, damn OBs, from both our houses.


Update On New Hampshire House Attendance

In my posting of New Hampshire State Reps with 99 percent attendance yesterday, I inadvertently left off Lester Bradley from Grafrton County.  He missed only two votes, so he should have been included.  Mea culpa.  If you find anyone else I missed, please let me know.

I also was informed by the House Clerk that Moe Villeneuve, of Bedford, was one with 289 votes and since there were only 289 (not 300), he deserves a 100 percent ranking.  In fact, I'm told that the clerk checked into the numbers when she saw that Mo was not at 100 percent.  She probably would have done the same when she saw I was not at 100 percent, but then I'm sure she remembered the tyranny by the speaker.  It's hard to vote when the tyrant has the voting key ripped away, a moment that will live in infamy.


27 NH Reps Were Absent More Than Half The Time

UPDATE--Since I posted this story, I have been informed by the House Clerk that there were 289 roll call votes rather than 290.  While this will not change the percentages much at all, we will discover a few more people with 100 percent.  Sorry.

There may be some adjustments to these numbers as we go along, but the House Clerk's office has released the much anticipated (at least for yours truly) attendance record for all 400 State Reps for the 2012 session.

The data is based on 290 roll call votes for the year which appears to be some type of a record.  Neither committee attendance nor votes other than roll calls in taken into account, but with so many roll calls, we can assume the percentage represents a good indication of the work put forth by each of the 400.

The average attendance was 81.9 percent.  In other words, the average Rep was present for 237 of the 290 roll call votes.

Only 14 Reps had perfect attendance, a significant decrease over prior years.  However, 32 more Reps had at least 99 percent.  In other words, 32 missed three or fewer votes.

27 Reps (not counting a couple who never showed up at all due to year-long illness) were on hand for less than 50 percednt of the votes.

I consider it vital that every voter know the attendance record of all incumbents seeking re-election.  I'm not sure if these are avaialble on line, but the Clerk's office should certainly have them for any and all media wishing to inform the electorate.

Here, I will list the 14, the 32, and the 27 alphabetically.

Present for all 290 votes were:  David Bates (not running again); John Burt; Labor Committee Chair Gary Daniels; Mary Griffin; Edith Hogan; Lawrence Kappler; Neal Kurk; Thomas Laware; Jeanine Notter; Joe Osgood (running for State Senate); Laurie Pettengill; William Remick; Chares Townsend; and Stella Tremblay.

Those present for 99 percent of the votes were:  Mary Allen; Susan Almy; David Babson (not running for Rep again); Anne Cartwright; Sam Cataldo (running for State Senate); Jennifer Daler; Susan DeLemus; Joe Duarte; Philip Ginsburg; Harry Hardwick; Tim Horrigan; Laura Jones; Joseph Krasucki; Donald LeBrun; Jonathan Maltz; Sean McGuinness; Carol McGuire (Dan had 98.6 percent); Robert Moore; Robbie Parsons; Laurence Rappaport; David Russell; Stephen Shurtleff; Steven Smith; Franklin Tilton; Jordan Ulery; Steve Vaillancourt (any guess why I missed the 100 percent mark for the first time in years???); Moe Villeneuve  (another who usually is at 100 percent); Carol Vita; Lucien Vita; David Watters (running for the Senate); David Welch; and Finance Chair Kenneth Weyler.

Worst attendance for a Chair of Vice Chair was Manchester's Will Infantine (Labor Vice Chair).  He was present for only 181 of 290 votes, 62.4 percent (yet he's running again--against Ben Baroody with an 85 percent attendance and Larry Gagne with 87 percent!).

I've saved the worst for last.  Here are the 27 Reps who missed for than 50 percent of the roll call votes (and their percentage scores.  There may have been good reasons--such as prolonger illness, but my guess is that most of the 27 do not have good reasons.  7 of the 27 were from Manchester, meaning that a city which has 8.75 percent of the Reps had 26 percent of the worst no-shows.  That's more than a statistical glitch!

Tom Beattie, Manchester West Side,  14; Norma Champage, Manchester Ward 5, 26; Baldwin Domingo 19; Stephnie Eaton 15; Susan Emerson 36; Larry Emerton 19; Pat Garrity, Manchester Ward 7, 31; Tim Hogan 24; Dorothea Hooper 44 (she was furious last time I named her, but I'm only the messenger here); Karen Hutchinson 6 (although I do recall her getting out of a sick bed to vote against gay marriage repeal); Jean Jeudy, Manchester Ward 3, 23; Tom Katsiantonis, Manchester Ward 8, 24 (he and his no show brother George from Ward 10 are both running this year; Fred Leonard 47; David Lundgren 49; Bruce McMahon 37; Bruce Marcus 41; Jeff Oligny 23; William Panek 6; Michele Peckham 46; Leo Pepino (since deceased), Manchester Ward 4, 49.7;  Peter Ramsey, Manchester Ward 1, 46; Jon Richardson 45; Marie Sapienza 15; Dino Scala 33; Kevin Sullivan 49.7; James Summers 49.7; Dan Tamburello (part of the O'Brien re-election team) 44; and Michael Weeden 46.