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

Email: lildog@comcast.net

Tuesday
Aug212007

Follow the Money to Federal Coruption

I found an interesting article recently discussing a bill with $1 million earmarked by Democrat John Murtha going toward the "Center for Instrumented Critical Infrastructure".  Republican Jeff Flake questioned if the center actually exists as he was unable to find a web site for it or any information about such a group.  Democrat Peter J. Visclosky chairman of the spending subcommittee in charge of the project responded "At this time, I do not know.  But if it does not exist, the monies could not go to it."

If it doesn't exist the monies could not go to it?  That's an answer???

Flake's challenge of money going toward a group that may or may not even exist fell flat with a vote of 326 to 98.

The bill itself (HR 2641) passed 312 to 112.

 Now here's where it really gets interesting... investigating further into what exactly the "Center for Instrumented Critical Infrastructure" actually is, it turns out that it is part of a corporation called Current Technologies Corporation (CTC).  Now CTC is also listed by Washington Technology magazine in the list of top 100 government contractors.

So far fairly interesting right?  Here's the real kick in the pants... the CTC board and directors nearly have all contributed to Murtha's campaigns and their president, Daniel DeVos, is part of the PMA group heavy funders of Murtha's campaigns.

Now in all of this you may ask are our own state representatives questioning this as Rep. Flake is?  Are they watching out for where our money goes?  Surely Rep Shea Porter and Rep Hodes would do the right thing here and question this right?  NOPE!  They both voted in support of this bill and against Flake's trying to remove the earmarked money!

Tuesday
Aug212007

Get Off The Bus

Reported in the telegraph today, Nashua is looking to install an alarm system on school buses to assure kids are not left on the bus.  What makes me wonder about this is that the article goes on to say this is not a problem here but it is in other areas of the country.  David Rauseo the Director for Transportation even admits that they currently have a policy strictly enforced that bus drivers check their buses at the end of each shift.

despite this non existent problem, First Student Transportation is looking to install an alarm at the tune of $350 a pop for 128 buses.  This totals up at $44,800.

Roughly $45k for a problem that doesn't even exist here!  If anyone wonders why the cost of education continues to climb out of control this is a perfect example.  Not to mention this is just one more reason why education competition needs to be pushed for.  If you are concerned your child wont get off the bus then you can send them to a school which uses such technology on their buses.  Maybe you can find a school that takes the next step mentioned in the article and uses the technology to scan kids as they board and exit the bus and put them in a complete police state.

Here's an idea, how about actually spending the $45k to educate our kids instead of paying for solutions to problems we don't even have! 

 

Tuesday
Aug142007

In Memory of the Scooter

"Holy Cow!", those two words will forever remind me of one person... Phil Rizzuto.  Phil passed away earlier today at 89 years old.

Phil was a baseball great.  He played along side Joe DiMaggio. Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford and Yogi Berra and yet was still able to stand out and be noticed.

For Red Sox fans it is worth noting that it was Red Sox great Ted Williams who is perhaps the most responsible for Phil being inducted into the baseball hall of fame.  Williams had said about Phil, "If we'd had Rizzuto in Boston, we'd have won all those pennants instead of New York."

Phil, you'll be missed! 

Tuesday
Aug142007

Sex Offenders Rights

According to the Union Leader this week, Manchester is currently debating whether or not to ban sex offenders from being able to live near schools, playground or other places children would gather.  Sounds great, but is it actually a good idea?  For that matter, is the sex offender registry even a good idea?

As a parent I certainly appreciate knowing who in my town or near by towns are sex offenders, but just because you know Mr. Smith down the road is a sex offender doesn't mean Mr. Jones down the other side of the road may not also be someone dangerous we should keep our children away from.  The lists only point out known sex offenders yet it is the ones you don't know who you should be most worried about.

Also there is the question of when has a criminal done their time? The 5th Amendment states, "nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb".  In other words if you've already done the time the court has given you that's it, you cannot be re-punish for the same crime twice.  Yet that is what we are looking to do in many cases.  Criminals who have done their time and since been released are later sentenced a second time by being told they must "register" on a list.  And now as in what is being discussed in Manchester, they are being told they must sell their homes and move from where they live.

 The 5th Amendment also states however, "nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;".  So someone convicted of a crime can be put to death if that is what is deemed correct punishment for their crime.  But that's just it... once punishment is given, that's it.

Ideally then when someone is released from jail we consider them having adequately being punished for their crime.  In some cases we continue the punishment after jail with probation and yes the sex offender registry but that was given as part of the sentence when the person was punished.  However, those who were sentenced and punished before the registry was created are now being given a new punishment for a crime they've already done their time for.  And as more and more towns seek to enact bans such as the one Manchester is looking at, that too is creating even more new punishments on top of what was already given.

There are also people who irresponsibly use sex offender lists to target ex-criminals for harassment and tormenting as was the case Gloria Hout in Manchester who had a mob of 15 people show up outside the apartment building she lives in shouting out names and even lighting a scarecrow on her wood front porch nearly setting the entire apartment building on fire.  While I'm of the mind that a bullet in the back of the head is correct punishment for many of these offenders, I'm also of the mind that regardless of the crime, once someone has done their time that's it... they did their time.  And in this case there were children living in that same apartment building.  Who was the greater threat to those children I ask you, the known ex-criminal or the angry mob who nearly burned the building down while the children were inside?

And now if Manchester does pass the ban, Gloria and others like her will be forced to move and in some cases to sell their homes after they've already done what the court has ruled as the correct sentence for their crime.

Re-sentencing someone who's already done their time, regardless of the justification for it is not just.   And in doing so as I already pointed out, it does nothing but create a false sense of security.  Sex offenders are out there.  Forcing those who are identified and known about to move away doesn't prevent new unknown sex offenders from moving in.  The other fear is that forcing more and more restrictions on those who are known will only drive them underground.  Think about it, if someone is a known criminal and they wish to continue committing the same types of crimes they were already convicted once for (or worse crimes) do you really think they would hesitate breaking others laws as well?  Of course there are those who think that stopping someone doing nothing wrong simply because they choose to use their second amendment rights actually accomplished something as well.  News flash, it doesn't.  It makes you FEEL safe but that's it... you feel safe.  Just like those at Virginia Tech felt safe because the campus banned guns.  Lots of good that did.

 

Tuesday
Aug072007

Merrimack and the Toll Revolt

By now I'm sure most of you have read the news surrounding Merrimack's upcoming toll revolt planned for August 27th in which people using the toll booths at exits 10, 11 and 12 will be paying their tolls in pennies. At 12:20 there will be an extra protest in that a group will gather in a motorcade and stop one by one at each of the 3 tolls paying in full in pennies.

The revolt has been a long time coming due to the government of New Hampshire continually ignoring the pleas of the people of Merrimack to eliminate the tolls. Merrimack is the only community in NH where you can not get on or off the highway without paying a toll regardless of what direction you travel thus placing an unfair burden on the town. While not the answer Merrimack was looking for Deb Pignatelli at least offered to toss some form of table scraps by seeking to offer a discount. Gov. Lynch stripped that option away from the executive council. That was the final straw, the people of Merrimack are now at war with the state and this is the first of what I hope to be many different forms of protesting that will continue until the tolls are removed (ideally from everywhere in the state).

The papers are predicting the protest could cause the machines to jam up leading to backups in traffic. Personally I think this will be just a glimpse of what the tolls will look like once the Outlets off exit 10 open but that's a different issue. Regardless of the outcome, the protests are already working in that they are getting papers to discuss the unfairness of the tolls and getting other forums across the state to likewise discuss the unfairness of them.

So the question remains will the state listen to the people it works for? Will it seek to eliminate the tolls or will it continue the unfair taxation on the people of Merrimack to the point they need to continue pushing for more forms of protests that will eventually impact the entire state to the point they will have to listen?

Here's something to think about...

Tolls tax only those who travel those roads.  Since the tolls are not equally distributed through the state the amount people pay have very little to do with how much traveling they actually do on the roads so in other words it taxes based on location rather then by use.

The tolls in Merrimack bring in about $3 million from the tolls collected.  Half to two thirds of that goes back to simply running the toll booths themselves.  That leaves the state with about $1.3 million revenue.

The state uses  about 715 millions gallons of gas per year.

A single one cent tax on gas would bring in $7.15 million a year equally collected across the state based on how much people drive and how environmentally unfriendly their car is.  Far more then the $1.3 million or so revenue the Merrimack tolls actually take in.  And the one cent gas tax would be better for the environment as cars would no longer need to idle needlessly at toll booths and the money would be collected for more efficiently since 50% or more wouldn't be going toward the method of collecting.  A 10 cent per gallon tax would collect over $71.5 million again far more then the $63 million or so the state wide tolls collect and it would do so in a more efficient manor and collect more evenly across the state without the need to place unfair burdens on certain locations over any others.

Alas, instead of looking at reasonable and efficient forms of taxation which do not place unfair burdens, the state like always does everything completely backwards.  Yup, they are looking to put in MORE toll booths along the Nashua border which would place more of a tax burden those who work in MA.  Sure it would collect some from MA residents who are coming to NH for tax free shopping, lower price cigarettes or just weekend get always at one of our lakes or destinations, but a gas tax would likely bring in money from those same people, not to mention the toll may end up harming many of the southern businesses in NH as it could discourage those living on the border from shopping here if they were forced to pay 50 cents or more just to cross the state line.