Michael Barone - The presumptive nominees

So Republicans now have a presumptive nominee — one headed to a clear delegate majority without visible opposition — sooner than the Democrats. It's another way in which this year's presidential race has defied expectations and ignored precedent.

Donald Trump will now have months to stage-manage his Cleveland convention, while Hillary Clinton must spend the next four weeks going through the motions of campaigning against Bernie Sanders in 10 primaries and the North Dakota caucus.

Clinton will then be the presumptive Democratic nominee. But if Democrats used Republicans' delegate allocation rules, she would have been that two months ago.

Trump, despite his complaints about the "rigged" nomination process, actually used that process to great advantage. His celebrity and $2 billion worth of media coverage enabled him to win early contests in a 17-candidate field with minorities of the vote.

The same 36 percent of the vote that gave Trump a win in Michigan left him far behind a single competitor in nearby Ohio. Overall, in February and March Trump won just 38 percent of popular votes, but the winner-take-all rule and similar rules he later decried gave him 47 percent of delegates.

There is an eerie similarity between the patterns of support of the two parties' nominees. Both Trump and Clinton got their bedrock support from their parties' most downtrodden (and, in general elections, most faithful) constituencies.

Blacks, especially Southern blacks, produced just about all Clinton's popular vote margin over Bernie Sanders. Non-college-educated whites produced the highest percentages for Trump. "I love the poorly educated!" he exclaimed after winning in low-education Nevada.

It also appears that Trump and Clinton ran worst among groups with high degrees of what scholars Robert Putnam and Charles Murray call social connectedness, or social capital. Trump was especially weak among socially connected Mormons and German-Americans and strong in areas with high opioid addiction. Both were weaker in caucuses, which favor the socially connected, than primaries.

After Ted Cruz beat Trump in Wisconsin April 5 it appeared that Trump could fall short of the 1,237-delegate majority. At which point he charged repeatedly that the process was unfair. The candidate with "most" votes, whether or not it's a majority, should be nominated, he said; exit polls showed most Republicans agreed. As for the Cruz campaign's moves to choose sympathetic delegates, and Cruz and Kasich's partnership to divvy up states — unfair!

Attitudes evidently changed. Voters preferred the clarity of a Trump nomination to the uncertainty of a contested convention. Up through mid-April Trump never got 50 percent. He hasn't gotten less since. On April 19 and April 26 he, for the first time, outperformed his poll numbers in primaries in six Northeast states. But that could be discounted; like Clinton, he's run best in the Northeast and the South.

Indiana this week was another story. Trump got 53 percent there, 12 to 18 points better than in other Midwestern primaries; in contrast, Indiana Democrats gave Bernie Sanders his sixth Midwestern victory. Republican opinion has clearly swung toward Trump. Ted Cruz, who hoped for an Indiana victory, and John Kasich, who carried just seven counties outside his home state of Ohio, both left the race.

Trump's success in improving his standing among Republicans in the past six weeks raises the question of whether he can do so among general election voters in the next six months.

There's certainly plenty of room for improvement. Current polling averages show him trailing Clinton 47 to 41 percent, and the latest poll has him behind 54 to 41. About two-thirds of voters have unfavorable feelings toward him, including larger proportions of women and millennials.

Standard analysis says these are losing numbers and that a candidate universally known will have a hard time turning them around. That's plausible. But Hillary Clinton also has high (circa 55 percent) unfavorable numbers and even lower numbers on honesty. Results in a few recent target state polls look like the close partisan division that's prevailed for two decades, not a Democratic blowout.

Much could depend on turnout. Contrary to conventional wisdom, Democratic turnout has been declining during the Obama presidency and, in contrast to 2008, turnout this year has been higher in Republican than Democratic primaries. In nearly all contests, Clinton has received fewer votes than she (or Obama) got in 2008. Sanders has swept young voters, suggesting many may not turn out this fall.

Clinton's still the favorite. But Trump has shown his capacity to disrupt political alignments, and he'll be trying to do so again.

(Syndicated columnist Michael Barone is senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner, is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and co-author of The Almanac of American Politics.)

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Lakes Region Profiles — Meredith Bay, a beacon overlooking Winnipesaukee

By Frank Roche

President, Roche Realty Group, Inc.


It's amazing when you look at the landscape surrounding Lake Winnipesaukee and observe some of the new undertakings that have occurred in recent years. Keep in mind, these have been difficult years since 2008 with the financial downturn. Fast track to 2016 and we are in the midst of a nice expansion in our local economy, with all sorts of real estate activity taking place. One very masterfully planned community overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee is generating a tremendous amount of interest. I must say it takes a world class company to create such a prestigious community. Meredith Bay is one of those communities.
Meredith Bay, perched atop the former Brickyard Mountain Ski Area, encompasses 410 acres and is located between the quaint lakeside village of Meredith and the nostalgic vacation area of Weirs Beach. Meredith Bay's first neighborhood, Akwa Vista has 270 degree views that extend from Mount Washington to Gunstock. I can remember the ski area during the 1970s and early 80s, as I actually skied there once, had a vertical drop of 420 feet and had one chairlift and a rope tow. It seemed like the trail came to an abrupt stop before the lake. This location has certainly morphed to its highest and best use since that time.
So what do I mean when I say world class company? The developer, David Southworth, of Southworth Development, LLC, brings tremendous accolades and accomplishments to the table. Together with Paul Fireman of Reebok International fame, Southworth developed the communities of Willowbend, located on Cape Cod, The Westin Rio Mar Beach Resort and Country Club in Puerto Rico, The JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort located in Tucson, Arizona and Liberty National, a golf and residential community located adjacent to the Statue of Liberty on New York Bay in Jersey City, New Jersey. Southworth Development also developed a project on the west coast of Scotland called Machrihanish Dunes, involving a seaside links golf course, the restoration of two beautiful old Scottish hotels and the creation of residential homes. His largest project is the PGA village The Bahamas, a 1,906-acre ocean front community, with a 36-hole championship course, 5-star hotel, casino and 1,500 residential units. The arrival of a world class developer into the Lake Region real estate market is a great step forward and demonstrates the attraction and uniqueness of our region, centered around Lake Winnipesaukee and a multitude of other quality lakes.
When you drive into the community you will see an upscale variety of quality built homes and recreation opportunities. The gated entrance off Route 3 provides access to Akwa Vista; this neighborhood involves 129 lots and features a fine selection of exquisite single family homes, many with sweeping views of the lakes and mountains. 32 home sites have been sold and 25 luxury homes have been constructed to date. They feature a blend of Craftsman and Adirondack shingle style architecture. The "Pinehurst" is priced at $576,000 and grabs my attention. The "Keniston" and the "Timber" are other examples of traditional fine architecture with contemporary flare.
The lighthouse at the top of the hill is probably the most recognized on the lake and actually services as a 500,000-gallon water tank, with a lighthouse motif and an attached "Keepers Cottage" which acts as the Meredith Bay sales center.
Down further on the site on Scenic Road, along the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee, the 19 townhomes at Meredith Bay were constructed. These tri-level homes with garages offer commanding lake and mountain views and have an eye appealing modern Adirondack design. 17 have sold and there are two resales priced from $545,000 to $689,000. I can remember in the late 1970s when I sold the Look Off Rock Motel and Cottages, and it now has become the site of these gorgeous townhomes. What is unique about these townhomes is their size, which can go up to 2,600 square feet.
Spindle View townhomes are presently under construction. These unique duplex buildings are contiguous to the townhomes across the street and the prices range from $575,000 to $650,000.
A totally new concept for the Lakes Region, Blue Gill Lodge includes 23 luxurious one level 2 to 3-bedroom condominium homes, constructed within a four level lodge building, with an underground parking garage. Each of the luxury units feature private elevator access to the heated garage below. An on-site fitness center and grilling pavilion is located within the building. The views from the expansive decks of each home are breathtaking. The architecture and unique quality construction reminds me of Beaver Creek and Vail, Colorado. State of the art and first class. So far six units have sold in the new building and they range from 1,400 to roughly 2,000 square feet.
The Akwa Marina and Beach Club, which consists of approximately five acres, is adjacent to the Meredith Bay Development on Scenic Road and all residents, under an exclusive use and access agreement, can enjoy the natural sandy beach, heated club pool with hot tub and children's pool. There are 76 boat slips at the Akwa Marina and based on availability, residents have the possibility of leasing a slip or leasing a slip from a number of nearby marinas. The Akwa Marina Beach Bar and Grille offers a nice casual spot to enjoy lunch or dinner and a cocktail overlooking the lake, within its unique post and beam octagon structure.
Additionally, the community includes its own timber frame pavilion, heated pool, tennis courts, playground, extensive walking trails, kayak cove on the lake, with access for swimming and fishing and a community garden. The community is very active with seasonal events. According to Dave Southworth, future plans call for a community retail village and possibly a boutique hotel. There is considerable room for expansion across the road on Route 3, on land which the company owns.
I have to say hats off to Dave Southworth and his fine development team! It truly is exciting to watch this new community mature into one of the Lakes Region's finest.
To find out more information regarding Meredith Bay, visit www.rocherealty.com and visit the communities page, or go to www.meredithbaynh.com. Frank Roche is president of Roche Realty Group in Meredith and Laconia, and can be reached at 279-7046.

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Sanborn — The disappearing clothesline

I was skimming through this month's issue of the Northern New England Journey magazine put out by AAA and on the last page there was a short article about clotheslines called, "For the Love of Laundry." Basically, the writer was expounding on how she was happy to get back to hanging her laundry out on the line after a long winter and how doing so was a relaxing and enjoyable chore for her. It reminds her of her childhood days and trips to a cottage by the sea where bathing suits and towels were strung out on the line to dry. I say it does for me too... not the hanging the clothes part, but being reminded of simpler times.

It got me thinking that you really don't see many clotheslines anymore. It is one of those things akin to the once prevalent and ugly TV antenna that adorned just about every home in the country at one time. At least clotheslines are colorful. And, you don't see many five foot round wire mesh satellite dishes any more. Improved technology has reduced dishes to a fraction of the size but these miniature versions aren't very aesthetically pleasing either...

Modern innovation has replaced the clotheslines full of sheets, dresses, jeans, T-shirts and underwear with a wide array of dryers that not only dry your clothes, they can "talk" to the repair man on the phone, connect to your NEST thermostat so it can set a longer dry time at a lower temperature to save you money when you're gone and they also play music to boot (although their jingles can be a bit annoying.)

But, back to clotheslines. Many subdivisions or associations have banned clotheslines for aesthetic reasons. I heard that it all started in California because Mama Cass's neighbor didn't like looking at her mumu and under things being strung up on the line and started a petition. Maybe it was because she was three sheets to the wind (pun intended) and it was the mumu she was wearing at the time that she hung on the line. Michelle probably could have pulled it off without a complaint? But the clothesline prohibition caught on in many of the "high class places." I guess some folks think looking at colorful clothes drying on the line to be very undesirable. I've never seen a clothes line in Long Bay or Governor's Island, have you?

If you want one, you will have to decide on which kind of clothesline you would like. There are the kind that go between poles, the rotary style, and the kind on pulleys. I like the pulleys the best as you can also send secret messages across the yard. You also need to decide on the kind of clothespins and then you need a clothespin bag. There's a lot that goes into this!

There's lots of information and tips on the internet about how to use a clothesline. Believe it or not, it could get complicated... for some people. There are tips on how to hang laundry like "if you wear it in the top hang it from the bottom and if you wear it on the bottom hang it from the top." You should hang the sheets and blankets on the outside and hang the unmentionables and undies on the inside so the neighbors don't see them. And, don't hang clothes on an extremely windy day or the undies could be in the neighbor's yard. Don't hang clothes when it's freezing out. In the old days they used to boil the clothesline bag in water and heat the clothespins by the stove so their fingers wouldn't freeze. You also shouldn't hang clothes when it's raining out... they will get wetter.

Using a clothesline is supposed to reduce your carbon footprint and save a polar bear or two. But, one tip to prevent towels from feeling scratchy is to warm them up in a dryer first for five minutes. That makes sense... they might be dry in ten? You can also do an extra spin cycle in the washer so stuff isn't so wet. Maybe we could hook up a bicycle to the washing machine so we save some juice there? But dryers do use the most electricity per hour of anything in the household. The refrigerator uses far less but we run it way more compared to the dryer. They estimate it will save you $120 per year if you use a clothesline instead of the dryer. You could use that money to buy beer to put in the refrigerator. You might as well make this venture worthwhile. Of course using that dryer that "talks" to your Nest thermostat might save you about half of that but it would cut down the amount of beer you can buy. Maybe that would be a good thing.

While the iconic clothesline might be disappearing, people are still getting hung out to dry, getting twisted in the wind, and kids are still hanging around a lot. So, I guess the clothesline will always live on in that respect.

There were 921 residential homes on the market as of May 1, 2016 in the 12 Lakes Region communities covered in this report. The average asking price was $518,237 but don't despair, the median price was $269,500. That means there were 460 homes below $269,500 so there are plenty of affordable homes to go around.

P​lease 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 compiled using the NNEREN MLS system as of 5/1/16. ​Roy Sanborn is a sales associate at Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty and can be reached at 677-7012

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Jim Hightower - Who says crime doesn't pay?

Hey, can we all just stop complaining that our government coddles Wall Street's big money-grubbing banks?

Sure, they went belly-up and crashed our economy with their frauds, rigged casino games, and raw greed. And, yes, the Bush and Obama regimes rushed to bail them out with trillions of dollars in our public funds, while ignoring the plight of workaday people who lost jobs, homes, businesses, wealth, and hope. But come on, Buckos, have you not noticed that the feds are now socking the bankers with huuuuuge penalties for their wrongdoings?

Wall Street powerhouse Goldman Sachs, for example, was recently punched in its corporate gut with a jaw-dropping $5 billion for its illegal schemes.

Wow, $5 billion! That's a stunning amount that Goldman Sachs has agreed to pay to settle federal criminal charges over its shameful financial scams that helped wreck America's economy in 2008. That's a lot of gold, even for Goldman Sachs. It's hard to comprehend that much money, so think of it like this: If you paid out $100,000 a day, every day for 28 years, you'd pay off just one billion dollars. So, wow, imagine having to pull Five Big B's out of your wallet! That's enough to make even the most arrogant and avaricious high-finance flim-flammer think twice before risking such scams, right? Thus, these negotiated settlements between the Justice Department and the big banks will effectively deter repeats of the 2008 Wall Street debacle... right?

Actually, no.

The chieftains of the Wall Street powerhouse say they are "pleased" to swallow this sour slug of medicine. It's not because they're contrite and eager to make amends. Wall Street bankers don't do contrite. They are pleased (even thrilled) because this little insider secret: thanks to Goldman's backroom dealing with prosecutors, the settlement is riddled with special loopholes that could eliminate nearly $2 billion from the publicized "punishment."

For example, the deal calls for the felonious bank to put a quarter-billion dollars into affordable housing, but generous federal negotiators put incentives and credits in the fine print that will let Goldman escape with paying out less than a third of that. Also, about $2.5 billion of the settlement is to be paid to consumers hurt by the financial crisis. But the deal lets the bank deduct almost a billion of this payout from its corporate taxes — meaning you and I will subsidize Goldman's payment. As a bank reform advocate puts it, the problem with these settlements "is that they are carefully crafted more to conceal than to reveal to the American public what really happened here."

Also, notice that the $5 billion punishment is applied to Goldman Sachs, not the "Goldman Sackers." The bank's shareholders have to cough up the penalty, rather than the executives who did the bad deeds. Goldman Sachs' CEO, Lloyd Blankfein, just awarded himself a $23 million paycheck for his work last year. That work essentially amounted to negotiating the deal with the government that makes shareholders pay for the bankers' wrongdoings — while he and other top executives keep their jobs and pocket millions. Remember, banks don't commit crimes — bankers do.

One more reason Wall Street bankers privately wink and grin at these seemingly huge punishments is that even paying the full $5 billion would only be relatively painful. To you and me, that sounds like a crushing number — but Goldman Sachs raked in $33 billion in revenue last year, so it's a reasonable cost of doing business. After all, Goldman sold tens of billions of dollars in the fraudulent investment packages leading to the settlement, so the bottom line is that crime can actually pay — if it's big enough.

(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".)

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Flat Mountain Pond and a hike through history

view across Flat Mountain Pond to Whiteface Mountain

View across Flat Mountain Pond to Whiteface Mountain

Gordon DuBois 

In the early Twentieth Century, New Hampshire's White Mountains were laced with logging railroads. From Berlin to Plymouth, the rail lines were crowded with trains, hauling thousands of logs and pulpwood, from deep within the forest to mills around the Granite State. Over a dozen logging railroad companies and hundreds of miles of tracks formed a web of rail beds that are still visible today. Logging railroads such as the Saco Valley, Wild River, Zealand Valley, Success Pond, Rocky Branch and Sawyer River ran through New Hampshire's mountain country. The best known and largest of these companies was the East Branch and Lincoln which operated from 1892 to 1947. Rail beds were laid through the rich stands of virgin forests in the Pemigewasset wilderness. The company, located in Lincoln, was owned by the lumber baron J.E. Henry and his sons. As with many of these now abandoned rail lines, they no longer carry a Shay locomotive, log cars and loggers, but have become walking, biking and hiking trails that now take outdoor enthusiasts deep into the forest of northern New Hampshire.

Last week I decided to hike the one of the now abandoned rail beds of the Beebe River Railroad. This rail bed actually starts in Holderness, and winds its way along the Beebe River, continuing through a valley south of Sandwich Mountain and then climbing into the Flat Mountain Pond region, ending at the base of Whiteface Mountain. Along the route of the rail bed can be found reminders of a bygone era, when lumber was king: log rail ties, clearings where lumber camps once stood, rusty bed frames, parts of cook stoves, saw blades and much more.

The Beebe River Rail Road was started in 1917 and completed in 1921. It was owned and operated by the Woodstock Lumber Company and the Parker Young Company. The company not only built the rail line into the wilderness and an accompanying saw mill, but also constructed a village with homes for its workers, a hotel, company store, boarding house and even a movie theater. Trees harvested from the forest were turned into stock for piano manufacture, lumber and other products. Poorer grade logs were shipped to the Lincoln Paper Mill. In 1924, the Draper Company purchased all the holdings for the manufacture of bobbins used in the cotton and woolen mills to the south. At its peak, the mill produced 100,000 bobbins per day and employed up to 350 people. Today you can still visit the small village of Beebe River off Route 175 in Campton and see the abandoned mill, mill pond and general store. It's truly a unique experience.

When I planned this hike I was assuming spring would be well underway, but thanks to Mother Nature we were hit by a snow storm that dumped several inches of wet snow throughout portions of Northern New England. However, I wanted to keep to my plan and I invited a couple of hiking friends with me, Steve Zimmer and Ken Robichaud. Of course Reuben was assuming he would also join me, as he always does. The plan was to hike the Bennett Street Trail, to the Flat Mountain Pond Trail and then bushwhack into abandoned logging camps via the network of rail beds that were laid in the beginning of the 1900s. We would then continue on the Flat Mountain Pond Trail that would take us to our waiting car at the White Face Intervale. As our hike began at the trail head we encountered one of the first signs of spring: a mass of Trout Lilies and Purple Trillium sprouting up through the snow, ready to unfold their beautiful flowers. My spirit was uplifted, knowing that the snow wouldn't be around very long and we were heading towards summer.

The gradual incline of the trail followed along the bank of Pond Brook. Here we encountered roaring cascades with numerous deep pools, ideal for a dip on a hot summer day. This however wasn't summer, so we quickly moved along to the junction with the Flat Mountain Pond Trail and the Beebe River rail bed, where the railroad ties are still visible. The hike from this point forward was a gradual climb along the road bed into the Flat Mountain Pond valley, so called because the pond lies between two mountains, North and South Flat Mountain. At the south end of the pond are several campsites along with a lean-to that overlooks the pond, Lost Pass and South Tripyramid Mountain. This is a picturesque setting that would make for a great overnight camping experience. It was here that we took a break for lunch. A stiff cold breeze blew across the pond, but the bright sun warmed our faces.

Following lunch we made our way along a rough trail high above the pond. We could look down and see the old railroad ties lying underwater where they once guided logging trains up and down the mountain. The trail brought us to the north end of the pond and we followed barely visible road beds that took us to a logging camp, probably abandoned in the early 1940s. The rails were torn up at that time and used to manufacture armaments for the war effort. At one site there was a plethora of bed frames, cooking gear, saw blades, an old cook stove and other effects that were a part of everyday life of the loggers and the logging camp, where they once lived, months at a time. There were additional camps that we would have loved to visit, including the Hedge Hog camp located at the base of Whiteface Mountain, but it involved a difficult bushwhack of over a mile. We decided that we needed to begin the five mile hike down the Flat Mt. Pond Trail to our waiting vehicle at the Whiteface Intervale.

This intermediate hike of ten miles is wonderful for anyone who wants to relish in the beauty of a mountain stream, a scenic pond, breathtaking vistas and explore the history of the logging industry and the associated railroads that once dominated this state's economy. For more information on this trail, check out the AMC Guide. Also, there are several good books on logging railroads in the state including, Logging Railroads of the White Mountains, by C. Francis Belchert, and Logging Railroads of New Hampshire's North Country, by Bill Gove. The Campton Historical Society has a display and information on the Beebe River Railroad, the Beebe River village and the Draper Mill.

Gordon has hiked extensively in Northern New England and the Adirondacks of New York State. In 2011 he completed the Appalachian Trail (2,285 miles). He has also hiked the Long Trail in Vermont, The International AT in Quebec, Canada, Cohos Trail in northern New Hampshire and the John Muir Trail in California. Gordon has summited the New Hampshire Hundred Highest peaks, and the New England Hundred Highest in winter. He spends much of his time hiking locally and in the White Mountains with his dog Reuben and especially enjoys hiking in the Lakes Region due to the proximity to his home in New Hampton. He is also a trail maintainer for the BRATTS (Belknap Range Trail Tenders) and can be found often exploring the many hiking trails in the area. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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