Rep Steve Vaillancourt


This Week's Trivia--1 Prez, 4 Years, 6 Court Appointees

Which President, although in office for only four years, appointed no less than six Supreme Court justices, three from his own party and three from the opposition?

Hint--Perhaps it was appropriate that Taft would be so involved in court appointments.

A--John Quincy Adams

B--John Tyler

C--Martin Van Buren

D--William Howard Taft

E--Jimmy Carter


Taft is the answer; Carter on the other hand, appointed none.  The hint is based on the later development that Taft himself would be named Chief Justice.

Here are Taft's apointtes; note how justices, by and large, seem to serve much longer terms these days.

United States Supreme Court Justices[edit]

Justice Seat State Began active
Ended active
Ended senior
Hughes, Charles EvansCharles Evans Hughes Seat 6 New York May 2, 1910[2] June 10, 1916
Lamar, Joseph RuckerJoseph Rucker Lamar Seat 3 Georgia December 17, 1910 January 2, 1916
Lurton, Horace HarmonHorace Harmon Lurton Seat 1 Tennessee December 20, 1909 July 12, 1914
Pitney, MahlonMahlon Pitney Seat 8 New Jersey March 13, 1912 December 31, 1922
Van Devanter, WillisWillis Van Devanter Seat 4 Wyoming December 16, 1910 June 2, 1937 February 8, 1941
White, Edward DouglassEdward Douglass White Chief Justice Louisiana December 12, 1910[3] May 19, 1921



Liberals In, But Life Goes On In Montreal


From The Grand Bibliotheque

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Despite Monday`s stunning defeat by the separatist Parti Quebecois (only 25 percent of the vote and 30 seats in the 125-member provincial parliament), life goes on pretty much as expected in Montreal.

Poutine, that concoction of French Fries topped with gravy and cheese, and smoked meat remain popular (not with me).

Elderly men and women continue to mindlessly press the buttons every five or six seconds at their slot machines at the Casino de Montreal--I find it much less attractive since the province poured $350 million into renovations, but at least this time, I heard a few whoops of joy, not from the slot players but from those playing a new mechanized Black Jack game ($10 minimum as opposed to $25 where a real live human being deals the cards).

My first few minutes walking on St. Catherine Street, I was approached by a half dozen panhandlers; sorry, make that five; I wouldn`t want to be accused of exaggerating.

I managed to get past the Berri/UQAM metro stop and Place Emil Gamelin, site of numerous free outdoor summer concerts, without being approached by a single drug dealer.   

Police on foot and in their cars seem to be as friendly as usual.

The receptionist at the grand Bibliotheque renewed my guest computer pass, noting that he visits the casino occasionally; he used to bet the horses but says that`s no longer possible. He didn`t seem interested in talking about the election results.

Nor does anyone else, particularly.

This is the first day since the election that the Gazette, one of the world`s finest newspapers, hasn`t led with a story about the PQ defeat. Today the banner headline is Little Progress on surgical waits; ah yes, even without Obamacare, Quebecers are concerned about their health care.

I hadn`t planned to be here this weekend, but frankly, after sitting through yesterday`s Ways and Means hearing on expanded gambling (Senator D`Allesandro`s two casino plan) and hearing the same old tired arguments, I was so bored, I needed to get away. Plus, I wanted to explore what the election results meant.

Enroute, I listened to POTUS on XM (WMUR`s James Pindel was excellent as Julie Mason`s guest on the The Press Pool; he says Scott Brown is the best retain politician he`s ever seen; a UNH-Channel 9 poll has the Missourian up by six points, about what I expected it would be; look for Brown to continue to close the gap) and when I had enough of that, I popped in the B52s and turned up the volume. Let`s rock.

My only New Year’s resolution was to spend more time with my brother; I`m living up to it. We had a great time together in Vergennes, riding bikes around the city. The ice is out on Otter Creed, and the falls are roaring. Along Main Street, we compared businesses today with what used to be there. I remembered a bowling alley and movie theater, long gone by the time my brother was old enough to be aware of such things (he`s nine and a half years younger than I am).

Great fun; he was amazed at how many Jeopardy answers I knew, but then the category was the Supreme Court. Had it been mechanical engineering, he would have been much better than I.

But the real purpose of the trip, aside from relieving boredom, is to gauge the political climate here.

No mention of Quebec on POTUS, Julie Mason insists on playing a guessing game of when the scandalized Louisiana Congressman will resign. Apparently soon.

Steven Colbert has been tapped by CBS to replace Letterman; I see John Distaso is out at the Union Leader; and the Yankees beat the Red Sox.

Here are the week`s headlines in the Gazette.

Thursday--PQ to pick interim leader at election post mortem. They went with Stephan Bedard a young man from Chictoutimi--I just had to get that word into this blog. He`s described by the paper as ``à bulldog during question time``.

Wednesday--Reality of PQ thrashing sinks in.

Tuesday--70-30-22-3 (the total of Liberals, PQ and the other two parties) in color above the all caps two line banner Couillard`s Liberals in, Marois Out as PQ leader. Couillard--this would be a great trivia question--is a neurosurgeon.

Marois lost her own riding (district), northeast of Quebec City in the 33-31 range. For future trivia use, it`s Charlevois Cote De Beaupre (with an accent on the final e).  Ironically, the PQ candidate who caused the party the most headaches, with a clenched fist salute to sovereignty, won his riding.

Here`s a great piece of writing, by Philip Authier, from today`s Gazette.

``Referendum talk, the charter of values, scaremongering of Liberals, youth turning their backs on them, the blasted media. The theories were outnumbered only by the number of long faces.``

French people, if we dare generalize, are lovers; not fighters. Monday`s vote reflects that. Quebecers decided that stability is far more important than chasing the windmill of separatism.

The up and coming opposition leader could be Francois Legault, not a PQer but from the third party. He`s trying to revive the old Union Nationalist party of Maurice Deplessis who was the longest serving premier of the province (for 18 years prior to his death in 1959). ``There will never be a referendum with the Coalition Avenir Quebec,`` he told the Gazette. ``We can affirm ourselves without separating.``

That one sentence perhaps best sums up the mood of Quebecers, but I`ll know more after a few more days of immersion into Quebec politics and people.

No poutine or smoked meat for me--and no more time at the casino-- but I`m headed for my favorite Chinese buffet restaurant out by the Olympic Stadium and a leisurely coffee (with more papers) at a Second Cup in the Village.

Life doesn`t get much better...unless one is bicycling around Vergennes.

Sibelius is out at`s about time. Obama is down 9.5 in the RCP average.

I hear the Senate is one or two votes shy or the 13 needed to repeal our death penalty, but enough already.

I`ll try to banish such mundane thoughts, such worldly concerns, from my least for three days.


Channel 9 Blocked Its Signal From Dish

I don't know about you; nor do I know exactly how many people were affected, but I'm a Dish subscriber (generally happily so) and WMUR Channel 9 Manchester and WCVB Channel 5 Boston (both apparently Hearst stations) were blacked out for me last night and into this morning.  All of a sudden, the signal was back, so I assume Hearst and Dish reached an agreement.  Apparently no details were released; not even details about why the blackout occurred.  It was only 14 hours, but we have a right to know what this was all about.  Until I know more, I plan to blame Hearst.  Boo to you, Channel 9; I suspect Channel Nine's (and Hearst's) greed is responsible for this silly 14-hour stalemate.  Greed should not trump the public interest.  After all, there was a time when the airwaves were considered in the public domain!  If Hearst cannot provide the signals, maybe Channel 9 and all Hearst stations should lose their licenses to some more viewer friendly company.


UPDATED: Dish, Hearst TV Reach Deal Ending 14-Hour Blackout of Station Blackout

dish network logoApril 9, 2014 | 08:52AM PT

NY Digital Editor@xpangler

Dish Network and Hearst Television said they reached an agreement restoring the broadcast group’s stations in 25 markets to the satcaster, after the channels went dark for about 14 hours starting Tuesday evening.

Terms of the agreement are not being disclosed, and it’s not clear what the dispute was about.

The blackout began after the parties’ previous retransmission-consent deal expired at 10 p.m. Eastern last night. About 2 million Dish subscribers lost access to 29 Hearst-operated stations in markets including Baltimore, Boston, Kansas City, Mo., Milwaukee, New Orleans, Orlando, Fla., and Pittsburgh.

In a statement announcing the agreement with Dish, Hearst Television said: “We appreciate the support and patience of our viewers, advertisers and local communities served by our stations. We regret the inconvenience they’ve experienced over the past several hours. We are pleased the interruption was brief and that our stations have been restored on Dish Network systems.”

Previously, Hearst TV had said Dish was seeking terms “that we don’t have in our deals with any other cable or satellite distributor or telco, nor do we have them in our current deal with Dish.” The broadcast group did not specify what those terms were. “Apparently, Dish does not have a problem with rates, so it is hard to understand why Dish is holding subscribers and viewers hostage over terms that are radically off-market,” the broadcasting company said.

In a previous statement, Dish didn’t shed any light on what it was seeking from Hearst TV, either. “Hearst blacked out its channels to use viewers as bargaining chips as it makes unreasonable demands on Dish and its customers,” Dish exec VP Dave Shull said in a statement. “We offered to keep the channels on while we try to reach a deal, but Hearst refuses to put viewers first.”

Dish has been involved in a disproportionate share of retrans fights with broadcasters. Media General stations in 17 markets were dark on the satcaster for 47 days last fall, before the parties inked a deal. That was after the satcaster in August lost access to 53 TV stations owned by Raycom Media in 36 markets for eight days before resolving the standoff over fees.

In another high-profile retrans fight, Time Warner Cable suffered a 32-day blackout of CBS stations in New York, L.A. and Dallas as well as the loss of Showtime and other CBS-owned cablers nationwide before the two sides came to terms Sept. 2.

Hearst Television’s 29 TV stations reach approximately 18% of U.S. TV households. The company owns 13 ABC affiliated stations, 10 NBC affiliates and two CBS affiliates.

The 25 markets where Hearst TV operates are: Albuquerque, N.M.; Baltimore; Boston; Burlington, Vt.; Cincinnati; Des Moines, Iowa; Ft. Smith-Fayetteville, Ark.; Greensboro, N.C.; Greenville-Spartanburg, S.C.; Harrisburg, Pa.; Honolulu; Jackson, Miss.; Kansas City, Mo.; Louisville, Ky.; Milwaukee; Monterey-Salinas, Calif.; New Orleans; Oklahoma City, Okla.; Omaha, Neb.; Orlando, Fla.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Portland-Auburn, Maine; Sacramento, Calif.; West Palm Beach, Fla.; and Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla.


Scott Brown Leads The Missourian By Five; A Look Back To1978

To be sure, the poll was commissioned by Republican governors, so some bias might be expected, but with that caveat, it's still mighty interesting to note that New Hampshire native Scott Brown has pulled ahead of the Missourian Jeanne Shaheen in the race for New Hampshire Senator.

Detailed results are available in The Weekly Standard, but and while the word "confidential" appears at the top of the poll, how can anything available around the world really be considered confidential?  You can google it and click on the results; heck, I'll even provide the link for you here--so much for confidentiality.

600 likely voters were polled on March 19-20. The margin of error is plus or minus four percent.

Scott Brown's lead over the Missourian is 49-44 percent. 36 percent say they will definitely vote for Brown; 13 percent say they probably will.

Meanwhile, the Missouri native (that's incumbent Shaheen for those who don't remember her past) gets 37 percent definite and six percent probable (I know, that adds up to only 43, but we're undoubtedly dealing with fractions here).

Both Brown and the Missourian have a plus five favorability--48-43 for Shaheen; 41-36 for Brown. The news is even better for Brown in that 16 percent express no opinion while that number is only six percent for Shaheen.

Even as Democrats will be quick to pooh pooh these polls results, word is out that UNH pollster Andy Smith is in the field and comparative results should be available soon.

Prior to this poll, the Missourian was up 7.9 points in the Real Clear Politics average. She was up 50-38 with ARG; 50-41 with Rasmussen; 52-39 with Suffolk; 47-37 with WMUR (those would be Smith's numbers from January 21-26); 46-43 with Democratic-leaning pollster PPP. Purple Strategies had the race even at 44-44 in a poll conducted January 21-23.

Let's say that the Weekly Standard poll is off a few points. Let's say Brown actually trails the Missourian by five points rather than leads by five points.

That still would be very bad news indeed for New Hampshire Democrats. I declared recently, and other pundits have expressed agreement, that Brown would be hampered in poll results until after the September primary. Only then will Republicans come to realize that it's either Brown or the Missourian and be compelled to opt for Brown.

Oh yes, I shall continue to refer to Shaheen as the Missourian, at least as long as Democrats try to portray Brown as someone who has just moved up from Missouri, a strategy doomed to backfire rest assured.

A Lesson From 1978

If you don't believe me, look at the history. In 1978, incumbent Democratic senator (for 16 years) Tom McIntyre took upstart Gordon Humphrey for granted and even tried to portray him as an outsider. In fact, Humphrey had lived here for only three years. New Hampshire law required (and still does today) a seven year residency in the state to run for state senate, but there is no requirement for U.S. Senate.

Lo and behold, team Humphrey discovered that McIntyre's Laconia home was little more than a room; he was living in rather luxurious fashion in Florida. The Republican challenger filmed McIntyre's Florida estate and feature it in a commercial the last weekend of the campaign.

Who will forget how, on election night, ARG pollster Dick Bennett was on Channel 9 predicting McIntyre would win by 30 points. When asked how he could explain his prediction, Bennett confessed that he had stopped polling the weekend prior to the election at which time the commercial of McIntyre the Floridian hit the air waves.

The political lesson was "people who live in glass house (or in this case Florida mansions) shouldn't throw rocks."

The Missourian would be well served if she stops throwing the carpetbagger rock at New Hampshire native Scott Brown, lest Brown's five point lead become locked in stone.

As always, Raybo and the Missourian need not thank me for this sage advice and the main stream media is entitled to use this stroll down memory lane, as usual, without attribution.

Scott Brown Pulls Ahead 5 Points In New Hampshire Poll

9:29 AM, Apr 8, 2014• By MICHAEL WARREN
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Republican Scott Brown leads incumbent Democratic senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire by five points in a recent poll obtained by THE WEEKLY STANDARD. The poll, commissioned by the Republican Governor's Association, was conducted on March 19 and 20 and asked 600 likely voters in New Hampshire who they would vote for in the U.S. Senate election. Respondents were given both Brown and Shaheen's names and their respective parties.

Scott P. Brown



According to the poll, 36 percent said they would "definitely" vote for Brown, the former senator from Massachusetts, while 13 percent said they would "probably" vote for him, bringing his total support to 49 percent. The same poll found 37 percent said they would "definitely" vote for Shaheen with 6 percent saying they would "probably" vote for her, with a total of 44 percent in support of the incumbent Democrat. Seven percent said they did not know who they would vote for.

Shaheen, a one-term senator who also served as governor of the small New England state, appears to be a known quantity: 48 percent say they approve of her (higher than Brown's 41 percent), but 43 percent say they disapprove of her (also higher than Brown's 36 percent).

The RGA poll is the first to show Brown with a lead. According to the Real Clear Politics poll average, Shaheen has a nearly 8-point lead, and the seat leans Democratic.

New Hampshire's senior senator, Shaheen was first elected in 2008 over Republican incumbent John E. Sununu. She was one of several freshman Democratic senators to vote for Obamacare. A February poll showed 53 percent of New Hampshire residents oppose the health care law.


Quebec Separatist Movement Dealt A Fatal (?) Blow 

As alluded to here yesterday, the separatist Parti Quebecois was in trouble going into yesterday's election in the province. In retrospect, that is an understatement.

Main stream media wasn't covering the story here at all (Fox News of course was too busy bashing Obama; and CNN never stops looking for the plane), so it was only on Bloomberg, and then only with a headline at the bottom of the screen, that I learned about the PQ defeat. By midnight, the magnitude of the defeat was clear, but probably the full impact hasn't even sunk in yet today.

Google the Montreal Gazette and find out not only about how the Liberals took 70 seats (of 125) in the Quebec Parliament while the PQ was held to only 30, but rumor is already out that the election may foreshadow the end of the separatist party.

Wow! I was planning a spring trip to Montreal next weekend. Maybe I should move it up to this week to get the full impact.

Even as some in the eastern Ukraine think of leaving and forming their own country; even as we saw the Czechs and Slovaks split apart 22 years ago; even as we saw Yugoslavia torn asunder; yesterday's vote should make it clear once and for all (although never say never) that Quebecers are happy as part of Canada and the separatist movement is all but dead.

RIP, Rene Levesque, RIP.

Here are a couple of perspectives from Canadian and Quebec press. Just look at the expression on the face of ousted Separatist Premier Pauline Marois. That says it all.  She couldn't even hold her own seat.  That would be like Democrats being thrown from power in the NH House, but Terie Norelli losing in Portsmouth as well...not that Cassandra is predicting such a thing! 

Elections in Quebec

Separated from power

Apr 8th 2014, 8:49by M.D.  



CONCERN that the largely French-speaking province of Quebec might soon separate from Canada vanished on April 7th when the separatist Parti Québécois government led by Pauline Marois (pictured) was soundly defeated in a provincial election by the federalist Parti Libéral led by Philippe Couillard. It was a rout. Ms Marois could not even hold her own seat and stepped down as party leader once the results were in. She set two records while in power: the first woman premier of the province and leader of the shortest government in Quebec history. History may yet award her a third title: the woman who presided over the death of the separatist movement.


When Ms Marois called the snap election on March 5th, the ruling Parti Québécois looked set to transform the minority government won in September 2012 into a majority. Mr Couillard, a neurosurgeon, was still finding his feet after winning the leadership of the Parti Libéral just over a year ago. The party was still in disarray after being tossed from power under a cloud of suspicion over corruption. But a series of disastrous decisions during an erratic campaign led to the PQ’s defeat.


Thirty seats and no leader – how long can the PQ last?


The numbers from last night’s general election tell it all: Quebec Liberals, 70 seats; PQ, 30 seats; Coalition Avenir Quebec, 22 seats and three seats for Quebec Solidaire. A solid majority for the Liberals and a solid punch in the political gut for the Parti Quebecois, which also saw its leader, Pauline Marois, lose her seat in the electoral rout. After 40 years of trying to sell sovereignty to this province in one form or another, Quebec no longer seems interested in the sales pitch, much less the product. But if that is indeed the case, how much longer will the PQ be around? We asked that question to Gazette chief editorial writer Hubert Bauch. Click on the grey icon below to hear what he had to say. And remember, you can listen to all of our podcasts at on iTunes  and follow us on Facebook


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