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



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.



Local Impact Federal Cause

As someone who has served on a local budget committee for several years I can tell you there are times when local politicians take the brunt of it for tax increases that are outside their control.  School boards get the worst of it because they are forced to comply with state and federal mandates pushed down on them which often times require additional spending but do not deliver additional outside funds.

The Union Leader has an article found HERE that has exactly that, a new tax coming down on the people of Manchester (and most likely other NH towns) brought on as a side effect of ObamaCare.

Ayotte wrote the letter in response to concerns raised by Mayor Ted Gatsas over the possibility that the city and school district could be hit with a combined $5.8 million tax bill in 2018 if its current health plans remain in place. The Cadillac tax is to be levied on employers who offer unusually expensive health plans to their employees.

“This significant new tax burden will put additional pressure on municipalities like Manchester that are working diligently to balance their budgets and operate in a fiscally responsible manner,” Ayotte wrote in the letter to Obama, which was presented to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen at its meeting Tuesday.


U.S. Democratic Rep. Annie Kuster also replied to his letter, stating that she shared concerns about the impact of the tax, while also pointing out the positive aspects of the health law.

Starting in 2018, the Affordable Care Act will levy excise taxes on employers whose health plans cost more than $10,200 for individuals and more than $27,500 for families. The plans will be taxed at 40 percent of the cost above those limits.

The issue is a pressing concern for the city because most of its union contracts expire in a year, while the city’s largest union, representing teachers, has yet to come to terms on a new contract.

Contracts typically run for three to four years, and health care costs are a key component.

I could not find any comments from Carol Shea Porter or Senator Shaheen on the burden this is putting on local NH communities.

How many people seeing their local property bills going up will make the connection between that and ObamaCare being the cause?  This goes hand in hand with the other story I put up about how uninformed the young voters are today, found HERE.

This is why people need to be informed.  Voters will beat up local politicians over things they have no control over and cheer for the same federal level politicians causing their problems.


Kids Today

I came across a poll conducted by Reason Foundation that should scare everyone regardless of their political view.  There are things within it that both right and left wingers could pick and say favors their side but the basic result is that young people are clueless in some dangerous ways.

The poll results can be found in full HERE, however I would like to share a couple quotes from a summary article, you can read in full HERE, about the survey.

Millennial politics is simple, really. Young people support big government, unless it costs any more money. They're for smaller government, unless budget cuts scratch a program they've heard of. They'd like Washington to fix everything, just so long as it doesn't run anything.


Millennials hate the political parties more than everyone else, but they have the highest opinion of Congress.
Young people are the most likely to be single parents and the least likely to approve of single parenthood.
Young people voted overwhelmingly for Obama when he promised universal health care, but they oppose his universal health care law as much as the rest of the country ... even though they still pledge high support for universal health care.


  • On spending:
    Conservatives can say: 65 percent of Millennials would like to cut spending.
    Liberals can say: 62 percent would like to spend more on infrastructure and jobs.
  • On taxes:
    Conservatives can say: 58 percent of Millennials want to cut taxes overall.
    Liberals can say: 66 percent want to raise taxes on the wealthy.
  • On government's role in our lives:
    Conservatives can say: 66 percent of Millennials say that "when something is funded by the government, it is usually inefficient and wasteful."
    Liberals can say: More than two-thirds think the government should guarantee food, shelter, and a living wage.
  • On government size:
    Conservatives can say: 57 percent want smaller government with fewer services (if you mention the magic word "taxes").
    Liberals can say: 54 percent want larger government with more services (if you don't mention "taxes").


Forty-two percent of Millennials think socialism is preferable to capitalism, but only 16 percent of Millennials could accurately define socialism in the survey.

Take a moment and absorb what this poll is actually saying.

The youth of today want things but don't want to be the ones paying for it.  They support people and things they have no knowledge or understanding of.

This is dangerous.  These are the uninformed voters who make the mistakes that end up costing all of us.


Twisted World of Democratic Opposition to Hobby Lobby

It has been interesting reading the rantings of Democrats in reaction to the ruling about Hobby Lobby this week.

What I find the funniest about it all is that they passed the bill that allowed for it to happen.  The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 introduced by Chuck Schumer (D - NY), passed Senate with a 97-3 vote, passed the house unanimously and signed into law by Bill Clinton.

Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 - Prohibits any agency, department, or official of the United States or any State (the government) from substantially burdening a person's exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, except that the government may burden a person's exercise of religion only if it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person:
(1) furthers a compelling governmental interest; and
(2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.
Sets forth provisions pertaining to judicial relief, attorney's fees, and applicability.
Declares that:
(1) nothing in this Act shall be construed to interpret the clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution prohibiting the establishment of religion;
(2) the granting of government funding, benefits, or exemptions, to the extent permissible under that clause, shall not constitute a violation of this Act; and
(3) as used in this Act, "granting" does not include the denial of government funding, benefits, or exemptions.
This bill came into being because of the ruling on the case Employment Division v. Smith (1990) in which two Native Americans took peyote as a religious ceremony.  Since they were working as drug rehab counselors they were both fired from their jobs.
Justice Scalia warned in the ruling that exemptions for religious reasoning “would open the prospect of constitutionally required exemptions from civic obligations of almost every conceivable kind.”
Of course now that their law is being implemented the Democrats are crying foul and claiming it's about greed and money.  They ignore that Hobby Lobby pays full time starting wages of $15 an hour and part time of $9.50 an hour.
My favorite slam is that they are now also claiming Hobby Lobby finances the same birth control they oppose because employees choose to invest their employer matched 401k in such a way as to include those stocks.
Or even better, attaching Hobby Lobby because it purchases goods from China where abortions are mandates.  Do Democrats not remember their own chants about when they support the troops even though they opposed the wars under Bush?  Same thing here.  Just because Hobby Lobby supports Chinese business and the people in China doesn't mean they support it's government.  Equating that to a direct choice of what they ensure their employees for is not the same thing.