Richard Barnes

A wise and frugal government which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government. – Thomas Jefferson



When You Have Nothing To Say

One good way to see how well a party is doing is how it motivates its base.  If you look back when G.W. Bush was president Democrats were in full force attacking him at every turn (ironically for many thing Obama is now doing that they are silent on).  After Obama first took office they continued to sound off blaming Bush for every wrong in the country, ignoring that they controlled the house and senate since the 2006 elections.

Now we're about half way into Obama's second term in office approaching the mid-term elections.  If ever there was a time to get excited about your side it's now.  Democrats should be sounding off about all their accomplishments... only problem is they have none.

I look often at the website as a way to see how the other side thinks and to see what their current hot topics are they are railing Republicans about.  Lately it has been nothing more than crickets.

The last posting on their site was made Oct 13th, prior to that Sep 10th.

Do they have nothing to sound off about?  No accomplishments they can brag about?

It seems all their prior attacks against Republicans can now be used against them so that card can no longer be played.  They attacked Bush for his deficit but we see far worse deficit spending under their watch.  They attacked Bush for the wars in the Middle East but now the situation in the Middle East is a complete mess.

The article from October isn't even about current events, it a flashback about Goldwater and Clinton.

Not even a peep about the "war on women" or the Koch brothers.


Ugly As Sin

Steve Vaillancourt, I've disagreed with him a few times on this very site but there are times he's correct too.

He's not a nice person for claiming Kuster is "Ugly as sin" but I'm finding that the media, as it often does, is focusing on a rude comment instead of the over all point he was trying to make.

take a look at the coverage from WMUR, found in full HERE:

A Republican New Hampshire state lawmaker has called a Democratic congresswoman "ugly" and said the GOP opponent in her November re-election race is one of the most attractive women in politics.

Manchester Rep. Steve Vaillancourt called U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster "ugly as sin" in a blog post last week and compared her to a drag queen.


Reading that you would think he had no other point then to blast Kuster for her looks.  I read this and another article someone had shared out on facebook before going to his column to see what he'd actually said and was shocked that he would make such an attack based on looks alone.

Then I read his full column found HERE.

He came off rude and a little childish in his statements but his over all point was that we have a lot of uninformed voters in this country that do vote based on looks instead of facts.

Whether it's a large percent or not is debatable but it is a fact there are people who vote like this.  I've seen it first hand on more than one occasion.

In a local election in Merrimack I was having a discussion while holding political signs on election day with some of those heading in to vote.  One male voter pointed out some of the physical traits of a woman running for school board and flatly stated he was voting for her so he could see more of her on public access.  When questioned about political views, since she was new to the Merrimack political scene, he openly admitted he had no idea where she stood on issues but again confirmed how attractive she was.

And it's not just male voters either.  I have witnessed first hand female voters bragging that they voted for Scott Brown or Barack Obama because of the fact they were "studs".

There are people who voted, both for and against, Obama because of the color of his skin.  And there are voters who will support female candidates over male solely based on gender alone.

Even Democratic Congresswoman Carol Shea Porter made a comment that congress would be much better off if we got rid of all the men.

It would be nice to dream of a world where people are not judged by their looks, color of their skin or gender but there are people who can't see past the surface.

In Kusters case there are a lot of valid reasons to toss her out on her butt.

For informed voters there are plenty of reasons not to support her, her looks are not one of them.  Sadly though, people will vote on looks.  They will vote on gender.  They will vote on a lot of things that may actually put someone in office who is opposite their own views.


People walking around wearing guns

An article surfaced in the Concord Monitor about the Department of Public Safety changing wording on conceal carry permits.  You can read the article in full HERE, but it isn't the article I wish to discuss.

The new wording changes the intent of the form from being a "shall issue" for anyone who meets the requirements to giving the state the power to pick and choose who it feels should qualify for licensing.

It is the comment someone posted to the article though that I find disturbing.  Nelle wrote:

When it comes to guns, some just don't believe in common sense. Do we really want a society where people are walking around wearing a gun?

Simple statement made up of two sentences.

First is that when it comes to guns we should "believe in common sense".  My first though on this is who defines "common sense" because what is common sense to me apparently isn't what the anti-gun left view as common sense.

If you live in an area with high crime and are concerned with your safety, would it not be common sense that you would want a way to protect yourself?

Then there is the second part to this statement, "Do we really want a society where people are walking around wearing a gun?"

Just today there is a story about threatening letters sent to schools in RI.  In response parents and the public are calling for police ("people walking around wearing guns") to be present in the schools in case something happens.

Politicians surround themselves with people with guns, to protect themselves from danger.

In troubled neighborhoods people demand that politicians hire more police (people with guns) to walk around day and night to keep their streets safe.

People constantly want "people with guns" to walk around in their daily lives.

Given this, wouldn't common sense therefore dictate the if you want to be protected by people with guns, wouldn't it make more sense to have a gun instead of waiting several minutes (when seconds count) for someone with a gun to show up?


Remembering Those Lost On 9-11

I know a lot of people who can share stories of those they lost on the morning of September 11, 2001.  There are also countless stories of those who consider themselves lucky.  One of my prior co-workers had a ticket for the first flight to crash but had to trade for a different flight because his mother was sick.

But not everyone was lucky.

I could spend a year writing stories just from people I've spoken with first hand who knew someone they lost that day.  Fathers and mothers losing their children, brothers or sisters losing siblings, wives and husbands who lost their spouses and children who lost parents.

I could write a book about the feelings I had when I traveled to NY City just a few days after seeing police blocking off several roads in the city and the dust that still hung in the air.  Remembering fire departments with memorials set up showing pictures of the brave men and women they lost chokes me up even today.

My fraternity lost two of its national members that day.  I didn't know either of them personally but over the years I've had the chance to speak with people who did.

Robert Tipaldi was 25 and worked on the 104th floor of the North Tower.  He pledged Alpha Phi Delta in 1994 at Saint John's University

The other was Christopher Mozzillo, who was 27 at the time.  Christopher pledged Alpha Phi Detla in 1993 also from Saint John's University.  Christopher was one of the brave fire fighters who rushed into the building while others were running to safety.

These are just two of the many people lost that day, taken before their time.

Take a moment today to pray for their families and loved ones, or the families and loved ones of those you may have known or had close connections to and reflect on your own memories of what happened on this day back in 2001.


Alpha Phi Delta 100 years of positive fraternity history

Last week my family and I made a trip down to Pennsylvania to celibate the 100th anniversary of my fraternity, Alpha Phi Delta.

Alpha Phi Delta is an Italian American fraternity started in 1914.  Until the 1960s it was exclusive to men who are at least half Italian but was opened to allow college men of any heritage to join.  However we continue to celebrate that Italian American heritage that the organization was founded in.

It was an interesting trip, meeting members who range in age from 18 up to 100 (yes one member showed up who was 100 years old).  As a past national president of the organization I partook in a leadership breakfast in which 17 of the 22 living past presidents ate breakfast with all of our current undergraduate chapter presidents to help share knowledge and guidance.  Honestly I think I got as much out of it as they did listening how much has changed within universities and colleges over the past 20 years.  The oldest national president in the room was 91 and listening to how much more has changed since his time made it a real eye opener.

One of the biggest problems they face today is the negative stereotype of college fraternities.  When you think of a fraternity what do you think of?  Most people today think of Animal House and the few bad eggs out there who continually get busted for hazing or criminal activities become national news.  The good examples like Alpha Phi Delta are ignored.

What's even more troubling is even when an individual is caught doing something wrong, if they can in any way be linked back to a fraternal organization, it is the organization that dominates the news, not the individual who did something wrong.

Alpha Phi Delta faces that discrimination when we approach news schools seeking expansion.  They don't care that we've raised tens of thousands for charities just in fund raises from our local chapters alone or that we have over 20 scholarships we give to young men and women each year.  They don't want to hear that members of all age come back year after year to help guide our younger members and help assure they will become the leaders of tomorrow.

As part of our 100 year celebration Alpha Phi Delta tried to come up with a list of the members who stood out the most over the past 100 years and it was amazing hearing the accomplishments of the 32 members they finally identified. Members like myself who have successful professional lives and who have made accomplishments in local government and worked with charities in their local communities didn't even come close to reaching the level of excellence of some of our members.

Founders of universities and businesses,  CEOs, governors and congressmen, inventors of technology we all use today, top figures in sports and entertainment.  The committee in charge of coming up with the list had quite the challenge because fraternity men over all succeed at far higher rates in life then those who have never been involved in a fraternity.

Why am I writing this?  Not to be an advertisement for Alpha Phi Delta but because like most stories in the news these days, all the facts are not coming out.  People aren't hearing the positives or even the full stories, they hear what makes news.  They don't want to know that most fraternities are positive not only for their members but for the universities they are connected to (fraternal members donate back to schools at a higher rate then non fraternity members) and for their local communities. In NY City alone Alpha Phi Delta even marches in the annual Columbus day parade.

So next time you hear a sensationalize headline about a pledge being injured or killed or a fraternity being expelled for drugs, remember that those stories do not represent the majority of fraternal organizations out there.  There are some like Alpha Phi Delta that stand apart for good reasons.