Attention citizens: I have received inside information revealing that global terrorists are targeting us again. Their target is not Washington, New York City or even Disneyland. Rather, it is: Concord.
You know, in New Hampshire. The state capital. Even though only about 43,000 people live there, Concord apparently has some sort of secret significance that makes it a target. We can infer this from an extraordinary defensive action being taken by local authorities. Concord police, fully backed by the city council, are preparing for a horrific terroristical assault. Specifically, they sought a $258,000 grant from the Department of Homeland Security so they can gird themselves for the onslaught by purchasing a "Lenco BearCat G3" armored vehicle. Sure enough, DHS gladly coughed up the cash.
This bold stand to defend the homeland was revealed by the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union, which obtained a copy of the grant request. Actually, it is not al-Qaida terrorists that have Concord's police gearing up for war, but, as their request put it, "the domestic type" of terrorists.
Really? Terrorists in Concord? Yes, claim police, referring vaguely to "daily challenges" and warning that the "threat is real and here."
Who are these domestic demons? The police finger two groups. First, Occupy N.H. But it's a benign bunch that legitimately protests inequalities in our country, and its only "violence" has been directed at litter, having joined in local litter pickup days. Second, the Free State Project. But it's just a libertarianish outfit trying to convince 20,000 like-minded people to move to New Hampshire and support limited government. How's that for irony?
Neither group is armed or dangerous, and both are committed to nonviolence. Still, the police insist they need a BearCat G3 because of terrorist threats that might involve "chemical, biological and radiological materials, as well as explosive gases."
However, the most explosive gas in Concord is spewing directly from the out-of-control police officials who assail their own peaceful citizens as "terrorists." And the real threat to our security is DHS, which keeps shoveling our tax dollars into the militarization of America's police forces.
In fact, the real motive behind Concord's desire for this war toy seems to have been BearCat envy — it turns out that the nearby towns of Keene and Manchester already had BearCats, so Concord cops wanted to keep up with the Joneses in the ever-escalating police arms race.
But this ridiculous and dangerous conversion from honest police work to a martial force in our own land is not just a matter of acquiring arms, but of our police departments acquiring a military attitude. An example of this alarming shift can be found in, of all places, the Garden of Eden.
The Biblical Garden, we're told, was heaven on Earth ... until Adam ate that apple. Then all hell broke loose. Well, hell recently erupted in the garden again — this time in Arlington, Texas, on a small organic farm named "Garden of Eden." At about 7:30 on the morning of Aug. 2, a SWAT team of armed police agents, code enforcement officers and narcotics detectives suddenly exploded all over Shellie Smith's little farm. They burst through the gate, handcuffed the terrified residents and held them at gunpoint while the agents executed the raid's mission.
Which was what, exactly? A City of Arlington spokeswoman explained, "The purpose was to improve the quality of life (and) to resolve life safety issues within neighborhoods." It seems there had been complaints about marijuana being grown on the farm and about the place being unkempt.
So, what did the derring-do raiders achieve? Widespread ridicule for their farcical bust. They captured 17 blackberry bushes, 15 okra plants, 14 tomatillo plants, some native grasses and all the sunflowers. Then they whacked down Shellie's sweet potato patch with a Weed Eater, and seized the farm's compost, along with some wooden pallets, old tires and furniture.
Notice what they did not find? Marijuana plants. Nor any other illegal products. In short, on the basis of rumor, autocratic police power was unleashed to "improve the quality of life" by destroying an organic farm.
Why would police resort to paramilitary force just to check out a few marijuana plants and some trash? Because right-wing officials and arms-industry lobbyists have been pushing hard to get police departments all across America to switch from a peacekeeping attitude to an aggressive, militarized SWAT mentality, with officers being armed, trained, and psyched to treat common citizens as enemies.
To learn more and help push back, go to aclu.org/militarization.
(Jim Hightower has been called American's most popular populist. The radio commentator and former Texas Commissioner of Agriculture is author of seven books, including "There's Nothing In the Middle of Road but Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos" and his new work, "Swim Against the Current: Even Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow".)
Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 August 2013 11:10
Imagine if you will, two young men meet somewhere in their town. They strike up a conversation and quickly become friends. It doesn't seem to matter that one of the young men is obviously poor while the other seems to be from a rather well-off family. They meet on a regular basis and talk of the things that interest them both . . . their friendship grows.
One morning before leaving home, William, the well-to-do young man, is advised by his mother that they are having friends for dinner and he replies that he will bring his friend. And he did.
Sadly, William's friend was embarrassed as he entered William's beautiful home and saw all those people beautifully dressed chatting as they awaited to be served a sumptuous meal in the elegant dining room. It was, to say the least, awkward and humiliating. William's heart ached for his friend and he couldn't understand how his parents and their friends could not see beyond the tattered clothes of his friend and discover the person that he knew and respected, the person who was his friend.
That experience so moved young William that he dedicated his life to bringing respect and nourishment of the body and soul to those who are often invisible to others.
Young William Booth founded what we now know to be the worldwide Salvation Army.
In Laconia, we are fortunate to have a very active and diverse branch of that army, headed up by Captains Steven and Sally Warren.
Among their many outreach programs, the Salvation Army offers a noon day meal at what they call The Friendly Kitchen. Over 20 different churches and other organizations contribute to providing a substantial meal every Tuesday through Sunday noon at their main building on Union Avenue. There are no restrictions on who may enter the dining hall. Often, some of the diners are workers in the area who know they are welcome and who know that volunteers from some local church or other organization have prepared a nice luncheon, including beverages and desert. Other diners may be temporarily residing at the Carey House or be local folks who enjoy the meals and the social aspect of community dining. Often, if there are left-overs, the remaining food can be given to the Carey House next door, where it will be used to help feed some of their residents.
There are a number of organizations who contribute food stuffs to the Salvation Army, including local supermarkets, farms, and individuals. Should you like to make a food contribution please call the main office at 524-1834.
Next door to the main building is the Salvation Army's Carey House, 528-8086. This house provides temporary shelter for up to 31 people each night. Within that number there are three modest sized family units, and the other rooms can accommodate up to 14 men and 6 women. The Carey House staff works with each of the residents to develop action plans to help them find work and regain their independence. As part of those plans the staff assists in myriad ways to help the residents find permanent housing. In speaking with Amanda Lewis, the director of the Carey House, I asked what kinds of items are most needed to help support the Carey House operation. One of the first items mentioned was paper products, particularly toilet tissue. As you can imagine, the bodily functions of 31 people requires substantial amounts of bath and facial tissues, paper towels, bar soap, washing machine detergent, and other cleansing agents. Of course there are any number of food stuffs that would also be welcome. Please consider the Carey House needs when you make your next shopping trip . . . they are located on the corner of Union Avenue and Spring Street and have an ample parking lot right off Union Avenue.
Another of the Good Works of the Salvation Army is its Thrift Store at 77 New Salem Street, in Laconia, 737-9998. This is a sizable location and it accepts most donations, except mattresses. Because of space limitations, on occasion they will put a hold on some electronics items that get overstocked. Otherwise, clothing (regardless of season), household items, furniture, toys, and most everything else is welcome. Those wishing to take a tax deduction simply need to ask and a receipt will be provided for the goods donated. This location provides temporary work for Carey House residents while also providing a shopping outlet for those seeking useful clothing, household, and electronics at very reasonable prices.
These are but of the few good works done by this wonderful organization. If you would like to make a contribution to help in the continuation of their good works, you may send your donation to them at P. O. Box 326, Laconia, NH, 03247-0326, or, if you would like to make a continuing monthly contribution, please send in to The Salvation Army Laconia Corps Processing Center, P. O. Box 955, Keene, NH 03431-0955.
Out of the goodness of his heart, and a desire to respect those less fortunate, young William Booth created this wonderful organization. Please help to continue to fulfill its promise.
(Bob Meade is a Laconia resident.)
Last Updated on Monday, 19 August 2013 07:38
We logged a very healthy 16 waterfront sales on Winnipesaukee in July with an average sticker of $812,125. That's a big improvement over the four transactions last July, but the average sales price was well off the $1.153 million posted then. So far, through the end of July, there have been 61 waterfront sales on the big lake at an average price of $942,325. That's down from the 66 sales for the same period last year at an average price of $936,634. So, even though we were off to a slow start, things are catching up.
The least expensive Winni waterfront sale is typically an island property and so it is again with the sale of a 1970 vintage, four room, two bedroom, open concept cottage at 289 Cow Island in Tuftonboro. You won't get lost in this 800 square foot panel but you could get mesmerized by the sweeping lake views through the two walls of glass of the main house and from the wrap-around deck. There is a waterside bunk house that sleeps six, a huge deck over the water, and a 30' dock. The house sits on a .41 acre lot with 100' of frontage. This property was originally offered at $349,000, was reduced to $250,000, and sold for $232,000 after 650 days on the market. It is assessed at $290,400 so someone finally saw the value there.
The property representing our median price point sale is at 43 Brickyard Road in Alton. This 1940's, two bedroom cottage may likely make way for a new home as shore land protection approvals and a new septic design are already in place for a new structure. The .53 acre level lot is in an area of very nice homes and has fantastic sunset views, a sugar sand beach, and 90 feet of frontage. This property was listed way, way back in July of 2009 at $995,000 and has been on the market on and off ever since. It was offered this year at $797,000 and sold for $755,000. The property was on the market for a total of 1,048 days. The current assessed value is $794,000.
The highest sale on the big lake in July is the property at 5 Dock Road in Moultonborough. This 4,294 square foot, contemporary home was built in 1967 and features mostly one floor living with three bedrooms including the master "wing" on the main level and guest quarters upstairs. Walls of glass bring the views and light into this spacious home that features hardwood floors, a large stone fireplace, sun porch, a family room, and den. The real draw here, however, is the 1.7 acre lot with 287 feet of westerly facing frontage. This home is very usable as is but will undoubtedly undergo some renovations to make it is as stunning as the views. This home was offered at $1.99 million and sold for $1.675 million after only 81 days on the market. It is assessed at $2,147,300.
There were two sales on Winnisquam in July. A 1960's vintage, three bedroom, one bath cottage in need of some major renovation work or replacement at 59 Stoneybrook Road in Meredith found a new buyer who likely saw the value in the secluded 2 acre lot with 112' of frontage. This property is also situated next to 382 acres of State Forest that helps enhance its privacy. It was listed at $359,000 and was under contract for $322,000 after just after 20 days on the market. Over at 208 Eastman Shore Road a 2,500 square foot, 60's vintage, remodeled contemporary cape with four beds and three full baths on a .82 acre lot with 160 feet of frontage also found a new owner. This meticulously maintained home features hardwood floors, master suite, natural woodwork, vaulted ceilings, fireplace, a walk out basement, and great westerly views. This home was listed at $749,900 and quickly went under agreement for $740,000. It is assessed at $690,900.
There were three sales on Squam in July. The property at 518 High Haith Road in Moultonborough was the highest sale of the month on Squam. This 1975 vintage, five room, one bedroom, one bath home has 788 square feet of space and was originally built as a guest house for a neighboring property. It sits on a 1.23 acre lot providing nice privacy but just 35' of frontage...but, ah yes, it is Squam frontage after all! It was listed at $999,000 in Oct 2012, brought back on the market this year at $799,000 and sold quickly for $625,000. It is assessed at $1.277 million...and yes, like I said, it is Squam after all...
Please feel free to visit www.lakesregionhome.com to learn more about the Lakes Region real estate market and comment on this article and others. Data was compiled using the Northern New England Real Estate MLS System as of 8/10/13. Roy Sanborn is a REALTOR® at Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty and can be reached at 603-455-0335.
Last Updated on Friday, 16 August 2013 08:42
The failure of our corporate and political leaders to make sure every worker gets good health care is causing some unpleasant consequences — like widespread stomach flu.
Ill workers often spread illness, because millions of employees who deal directly with the public are not covered by paid sick leave policies. So, when they come down with something like the stomach flu, they tend to drag themselves to work, rather than going to bed until they recover, since staying home means a loss of pay — or even the loss of their jobs.
Low-wage workers in the restaurant industry are particularly vulnerable and, since they handle food, particularly threatening. Nearly 80 percent of America's food service workers receive no paid sick leave, and researchers have found that about half of them go to work ill because they fear losing their jobs if they don't. As a result, a study by the Centers for Disease Control finds that ill workers are causing up to 80 percent of America's stomach flu outbreaks, which is one reason CDC has declared our country's lack of paid sick leave to be a major public health threat.
You'd think the industry itself would be horrified enough by this endangerment of its customers that it would take the obvious curative step of providing the leave. But au contraire, amigos, such huge and hugely profitable chains as McDonald's, Red Lobster and Taco Bell not only fail to provide such commonsense care for their employees, but also have lobbied furiously against city and state efforts to require paid sick days.
Ironically, the top corporate executives of these chains (who are not involved in preparing or serving food to the public) are protected with full sick leave policies. For them to deny it to workers is idiotic, dangerously shortsighted — and even more sickening than stomach flu.
But what about our lawmakers? Where's the leadership we need on this basic issue of fairness and public health? To paraphrase an old bumper sticker: "When the people lead, leaders will follow. Or not."
Not when the "leaders" are in the pocket of corporate interests that don't like where the people are leading. Take Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, who never met a corporate pocket too grungy to climb into.
This story starts in 2008, when the people of Milwaukee took the lead on the obvious need for a program allowing employees to earn a few days of paid sick leave each year, to be used if they fall ill or must care for a sick family member. Seven out of 10 Milwaukee voters approved that measure in a citywide referendum.
Corporate interests, however, sued to stall the people's will, tying the sick leave provision up in court until 2011. By then, the corporations had put up big bucks to put Walker into the governorship — and right into their pocket. Sure enough, he dutifully nullified the Milwaukee vote by passing a "state pre-emption" law, autocratically banning local governments from requiring sick leave benefits for employees.
Just three months later, Walker's pre-emption ploy was the star at a meeting of ALEC, the corporate front group that brings state legislators into secret sessions with CEOs and lobbyists. There, legislators are handed model laws to benefit corporations — then sent home to pass them. At a session overseen by Taco Bell, attendees got copies of Walker's no-paid-sick-leave edict, along with a how-to-pass-it lecture by the National Restaurant Association. "Go forth, and pre-empt local democracy!" was the message.
And, lo, they did. Bills summarily prohibiting local governments from passing paid-sick-leave ordinances are being considered in at least 12 states this year, and Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Kansas, Mississippi and Tennessee have already passed theirs.
Florida's process was especially ugly. Organize now, a coalition of voters in Orlando, had obtained 50,000 signatures to put a sick leave referendum on last November's ballot. But, pressured by the hugely profitable Disney World empire, county commissioners arbitrarily removed it from the ballot.
The scrappy coalition, however, took 'em to court — and won, getting the referendum rescheduled for a 2014 vote. Disney & Gang scuttled off to Tallahassee this year to conspire with Gov. Rick Snyder and GOP legislative leaders. Quicker than a bullet leaves a gun, those corporate-hugging politicos obligingly delivered a "kill shot" to Orlando voters by enacting a Walkeresque state usurpation of local authority.
By spreading Walker's autocratic nastiness from state to state, money-grubbing low-wage profiteers are literally spreading illness all across our land.
(Forner Texas Agriculture Commissioner Jim Hightower has been called America's most popular populist.)
Last Updated on Friday, 16 August 2013 07:19
The culture war has gone global. And the divisions are not only between, but within nations.
"Suddenly, homosexuality is against the law," wailed Jay Leno. "I mean, this seems like Germany. Let's round up the Jews. Let's round up the gays. ... I mean, it starts like that."
Leno was speaking of Vladimir Putin's Russia. Obama eagerly agreed: "I have no patience for countries that treat gays or lesbians ... in ways that intimidate them or are harmful to them. ... Nobody is more offended than me by some of the antigay and lesbian legislation that you've been seeing in Russia."
Leno and Obama were referring to a new Russian law prohibiting "homosexual propaganda." Moscow is also warning foreigners, including visitors to the winter Olympics in Sochi, that propagandizing for gay rights can get them two weeks in detention. No kiss-ins allowed.
"Medieval," howled The Washington Post. "Mr. Putin's war" on gays and lesbians is "part and parcel of his lapse into xenophobia, religious chauvinism and general intolerance."
Monday's New York Times has a front-page story — "Gays in Russia Find No Haven, Despite Support From the West" — featuring photos of roughed-up protesters.
Our moral and cultural elites have put Putin on notice: Get in step with us on homosexual rights — or we may just boycott your Sochi games. What this reveals is the distance America has traveled, morally and culturally, in a few short years, and our amnesia about who we Americans once were, and what it is we once believed.
Only yesterday, homosexual sodomy, which Thomas Jefferson said should be treated like rape, was outlawed in many states and same-sex marriage was regarded as an absurdity. Was that America we grew up in really like Nazi Germany?
In the Catholic schools this writer attended, pornography — let alone homosexual propaganda — would get one expelled. Was this really just like Kristallnacht?
As Father Regis Scanlon writes in Crisis Magazine, in 2005, Pope Benedict XVI reiterated Catholic doctrine that homosexuality is a "strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil," an "objective disorder." That homosexual acts are unnatural and immoral remains Catholic teaching. Thus, if we seek to build a Good Society by traditional Catholic and Christian standards, why should not homosexual propaganda be treated the same as racist or anti-Semitic propaganda?
We can no longer even agree on what is good and evil.
When Pope Francis said, "Who am I to judge?" he was saying that a sexual orientation is something over which an individual may have no control, dating to birth or infancy. Hence homosexuals ought not to be condemned, but welcomed into the community. As for homosexual propaganda and acts, that is another matter.
What, one wonders, is the view of those Evangelical Christians who sustain the Republican Party on homosexual propaganda in the public square? Do they agree with the Post? Or do they agree with Putin?
When the Socialist regime of Francois Hollande enacted a law endorsing same-sex marriage, a million Frenchmen marched in protest in Paris. Is America on Hollande's side, or the side of the protesters?
When the ultra-Orthodox haredim of Jerusalem denounce the annual gay pride parade in the Holy City, whose side is America on?
The Post weeps for the "young women of the persecuted rock band Pussy Riot," who engaged in half-naked obscene acts on the high altar of Moscow's most sacred cathedral. Had these women crayoned swastikas on the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., would the Post have been so sympathetic?
Putin suggested the ladies try the same stunt in Mecca.
In our late Mideast wars, America has fought for secularist democracy. Yet Christians have suffered horribly, with the murder of priests, the burning of churches, terrorism and wholesale flight.
According to LifeSiteNews, Putin, meeting with Orthodox Christian leaders, urged the world to come together to stop these violent persecutions. "Especially in the Middle East and North Africa ... the rights of religious minorities are infringed, especially Christians and Orthodox Christians. ... This pressing problem should be a subject of close attention for the entire international community."
Urging America and the West to join with Russia in saving Syria's Christians, Orthodox Patriarch Kirill said their expulsion from Syria would be a "catastrophe" for civilization.
Has Obama ever spoken out so forcefully for international action to save Christians? Has The New York Times ever exhibited a fraction of the concern for persecuted Christians it daily exhibits for harassed homosexuals?
What did the Post mean by "religious chauvinism"?
Putin is trying to re-establish the Orthodox Church as the moral compass of the nation it had been for 1,000 years before Russia fell captive to the atheistic and pagan ideology of Marxism. "The adoption of Christianity," declared Putin, "became a turning point in the fate of our fatherland, made it an inseparable part of the Christian civilization and helped turn it into one of the largest world powers."
Anyone ever heard anything like that from the Post, the Times or Barack Hussein Obama?
Last Updated on Thursday, 15 August 2013 07:59