September 21, 2012
Jeff Feingold is Editor of NH Business Review's print and
on-line editions. He has been a business journalist for more than 25 years, and recognized
by the Small Business Administration as National Small Business Journalist of the Year.
Sign of the times
Anyone take any time out of their day to get a comment from House Speaker Bill O'Brien on the recent display of signs depicting President Obama as Hitler - signs that were posted near Nashua's post office?
The speaker certainly threw down the gauntlet earlier this year on the use of Hitler imagery after Concord Monitor cartoonist Mike Marland added a toothbrush moustache to his rendition of O'Brien himself. O'Brien was so enraged that he subsequently banned Monitor reporters from attending his press conferences, and actually continues to vilify the newspaper.
So you'd think he would have spoken up after some Boston-based "activists" posted the signs near Buckingham Place, a veterans housing facility.
Well, you'd think wrong. Unless he said something in Maxwell Smart's Cone of Silence.
Maybe the difference is that the posters weren't published in a newspaper. Or maybe it's because they weren't published in the Monitor.
Commute his sentence?
When last seen, the southern sections of Interstates 93 and 95 - the ones that lead motorists to and from Massachusetts -- reside in New Hampshire's 1st Congressional District.
You knew that, didn't you? Apparently, Congressman Frank Guinta needs a refresher.
At the very least, Guinta, in his recent debate with 1st C.D. Democratic opponent Carol Shea-Porter, appeared to a) forget that fact or b) never been on or near either highway during rush hour.
The congressman, in his zeal to condemn the very idea of commuter rail ever being revived
in the state - an idea that several major business groups in southern New Hampshire have embraced - went kinda nuclear on the whole thing.
After the issue was raised, he said: "I never quite understood this notion of sending our residents out of the state to work somewhere else. It doesn't make fiscal sense here in our region to support it."
A few things:
• First, thousands, if not tens of thousand, of tax-paying New Hampshire residents commute to Massachusetts every day to go to work. They don't need rail to do it, either. They go by car and, occasionally, by bus. Thus the reference to I-93 and I-95 - you can listen to the a.m. and p.m. traffic reports and confirm it for yourself.
• Second, the idea that people working elsewhere and living in New Hampshire is necessarily a bad thing is slightly whacked, considering they actually are bringing the money they earn in salary into the Granite State from Somewhere Else, and they use it to buy everything from cars and houses to groceries and Powerball tickets.
• Third, does the congressman remember just how many tax dollars go into building and subsidizing highways in the United States?
One other point on the Great Commuter Debate:
• In her rebuttal, Shea-Porter cited the usual defense of rail - reduction in energy usage and traffic - but she also had a curious rejoinder to Guinta's anti-commuter claim. "The reality is our unemployment would shoot up quite a bit" if New Hampshirites couldn't commute elsewhere for work, said the former congresswoman.
Indeed it would. Indeed it would.
Ed Mackay: The University System of New Hampshire chancellor says the system will freeze tuition in exchange for restored state aid.
Bing Judd: The longtime Coos County commissioner falls seven votes short in the GOP primary and his bid for another term after being challenged over his lukewarm position on Northern Pass.
Bobby Jindal: The Louisiana governor and potential presidential candidate in 2016 delivers the keynote address at the recent New Hampshire GOP unity
Bode Miller: The Olympic and world champion skier - a Franconia native - reveals he's engaged to professional volleyball player Morgan Beck.
Dick Green: The former state senator, mayor of Rochester and state economic development official loses in the Senate District 6 race to Rep. Sam Cataldo, who was aided by a series of attack mails targeting Green, the product of the New Hampshire Advantage Coalition.
WMUR-TV: NBC News reports that $25.5 million has been spent on TV and radio ads by the presidential campaigns and their supporters in New Hampshire since March 19, most likely the bulk of it with the Manchester TV station.
It's been naking the rounds ...
• Carol Shea-Porter and Frank Guinta really don't like each other, do they?
• So what do Mitt Romney's campaign handlers say when they hear advice urging them to tell the candidate to "just be himself"?
• What can it mean when the contact for the newly formed NH Liberty Party - an anti-government group formed by Free Staters that supports secession for New Hampshire - has a "202" area code? That's the area code for Washington, D.C., in case you didn't know.
• Say what you will, but the House committee investigating the liquor commission is striking a lot more than one nerve.
• You may not know who Josh Youssef is right now, but you will by Nov. 6 --- whether you want to or not.
Your Primary Day questions answered
• Yes, Ovide "The Mountain" knows how to run when he's ahead.
• Yes, "Kornerstone" Kevvy Smith is secretly hoping Charlie Bass loses in November so he can run for the 2nd C.D. seat in '14.
• Yes, "Cabletron" Craig Benson's checks still clear, but he still don't have the juice, even in a GOP primary.
• Yes, the media cranked up the volume on "Professor" Jackie's chances. Probably just to make things interesting.
• No, Maggie "No Labels" will not be re-running a Governor Flinch-style campaign. She'll be channeling back to
"I Dream of Jeannie" Shaheen's '96 bout against "The
Mountain", hoping that history and social issues repeat themselves.
• No, Carol Shea "It Ain't So" is not in the catbird seat in the 1st C.D. In fact, she's pretty much been giving Congressman
"Passbook" a pass so far.
• Yes Annie "Armstrong" Kuster is in the catbird seat in the 2nd.
• Yes, Andro Sanborn's little foray into Senate District 9 paid off. For now.
• Yes, enough voters were pissed off on Tues. that Voter ID will be a sleeper issue in Nov.
• Yes NH GOP-ers are a little bit nervous about going into Nov. with just about the same House Clown Car they had in Nov. '10.
• No, Frank Szabo "The Clown" didn't surprise anyone by losing in the Hillsborough sheriff's race. But he did better than he would have if he had kept his trap shut.
• No, that wasn't an aberration - Speaker Bully-O's win in his House primary was impressive.
• No, it still sez here the odds are against "Bully" getting re-elected speaker next session are slim.
• Yes, Dems need to make him an issue.
• No, they really haven't figured out how to do it yet, except to keep repeating his name.
• No, no one ever went broke underestimating the competence of the NH Dem Party.
Snitch's Words of Wisdom
Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the people are right more than half of the time.