To The Daily Sun,
I love professional fireworks. They go off at a scheduled time, the fire department is on alert, police and security are there to keep the spectators at a safe distance, and most of all they are handled by licensed and experienced personal.
Now amateur fireworks scare the heck out of me; they can go off at any time morning, noon, or night. You will be lucky if they have any sense to have a garden hose available; kids of any age are handling them without adult supervision.
Maybe the solution is to have the person who is to display the fireworks obtain a fire permit from the local fire department. The permit would be good for certain days and hours. The fire department is now alert. But most of all it would place responsibility on the person who took the permit out — just like a bonfire. After all, it is not just fire in the works.
Last Updated on Friday, 06 February 2015 10:49
To The Daily Sun,
With due respect to Dr. Ronstadt's commentary concerning free community college tuition. His article represents simply more populist, political pandering with a doctor's certification to increase the chances the reader will swallow the "free worm" along with his hook, line and sinker. This is precisely the type of "increased dependency logic on others" we have heard from Barack Obama for six years. We all know how well the lower 90 percent of this country has fared following the "free," "subsidy" and "welfare" path over the past six years.
Dr. Ronstadt's commentary follows the same "obfuscation model" education has used for the past 30 years. The results in education from K to grad school in this country are beyond a national disgrace. Dr. Ronstadt wants to double down on that failure again. This country spends more per student on education, per year than just about any country on earth while producing the most middling of results. Taxpayers wallets get surgically castrated by education. Dr. Ronstadt suggests we will get better results if we use a bigger knife.
The story always sounds so convincing. Its success depends on human weakness and envy. Always trying to get something for free, when it is well known what we appreciate most in life is what we pay for ourselves, and work hard to achieve. Giving something of great value for free dilutes its value to the person receiving it while it dilutes the living standards of the people paying for it. Reducing the stake of the stake holder only invites failure with little pain.
Have we already forgotten the tens of millions thrown in the street with "free down payment" mortgages debacle justified with the same Swiss cheese logic Dr. Ronstadt now uses. Populist panderers highlight "free" while conveniently forgetting the horror trail of unintended consequences tied to every one of these schemes. Of course that is the intention of obfuscating commentary. Ignore the negatives.
Free community college is just another education con game. In the same corruption league with "free money" from the state or the federal government with the supposed intent to lower the cost of education for all. Government and the states have conjured up endless reasons to throw money at higher education. None of it has worked. It will never work. "Free" money becomes a "slush fund" that allows colleges to ignore making the difficult efficiency and productivity decisions necessary to truly control and lower tuition costs to keep college affordable over the long term.
Macro education does all possible to avoid taking responsibility for its product. If it did tuition would not have increased faster than almost any product in Americas for decades. Education is "hogtied" by unions which abhor improvements in productivity and efficiency because that means reduced labor needs. Unions are opposed to paying the brightest and best most while it defends the worst of personal performance to the Supreme Court. Education has the absolute antithesis of a structure designed to produce the best product for the lowest price for all. "Free" only assures the continued quality decline while it gives the people who run education even more excuses to run education in the same failed fashion it has concerning cost and quality for the past three decades.
Last Updated on Friday, 06 February 2015 10:46
To The Daily Sun,
Rep. Frank Guinta wrote to me on Jan. 30: "As you may know, Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) introduced H.R. 5844, the Protect our Public Land Act in the 113th Congress. This legislation amends the Mineral Leasing Act and would ban hydraulic fracturing on public lands. It was referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources, and from there referred to the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources.
Hydraulic fracturing is an energy extraction method in which pressurized liquid is injected deep into rock formations, creating cracks and freeing natural gas and petroleum. Raising my family in New Hampshire, I understand the importance of protecting our environment. The Granite State is home to thousands of acres of pristine forests, and people from around the world come to New Hampshire to enjoy our state's natural surroundings."
On Feb. 2 he wrote: "On January 28, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 351 with my support in an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 277-133. As you know, H.R. 351 was introduced by Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH) on Jan. 14, 2015. If enacted, this legislation would expedite the approval process of exporting natural gas from the United States to trading partners around the world. It would require the Department of Energy to approve applications to construct a liquefied natural gas export terminal within a specified period after an environmental review has been conducted.
"Increasing LNG exports will help strengthen our economy and create American jobs while increasing energy security. It is estimated that by 2018, the construction of new LNG export projects will create up to 45,000 American jobs. It allows us to send a message to oppressive regimes that we are not reliant on them for our energy needs."
So fracking is not okay, but it's okay to export LNG (liquefied natural Gas) to our trading partners? Has this LNG been produced by some other method than fracking? Fracking is one of the topics covered by Naomi Klein, in her new book, "This Changes Everything." Fracking should be banned everywhere in the world. It's dirtier than coal, permanently polluting our groundwater, despite what a slick TV ad says. But if the LNG is already here, we should make some money on it? Is that the idea? If it's already here, we should do something with it?
It has become obvious to me that we need to wean ourselves from fossil fuels, conserve more energy, and invest in renewables. Creating jobs does not justify polluting our air, water, and soil, anywhere in the world, and I still wonder how many new jobs will actually be created. Fixing our broken infrastructure and installing solar panels and other forms of renewable energy would probably produce many more jobs, strengthen the economy more, and increase national security more, in the long run.
Last Updated on Friday, 06 February 2015 10:40
To The Daily Sun,
The current proposal of renovating the old mill into a Town Hall Facility, in my opinion, is not in the best interest of the taxpayers and residents of the Town of Belmont. The cost of renovating and converting structure problems is way more expensive than new construction. The cost is quoted at approximately $225-per-square-foot, whereas the cost for new conventional office space is approximately $150-per-square-foot.
The size of the four-story mill is much more space than what is needed. My suggestions would be to cordon off the fourth floor and not invest in the space for renovation, move the senior center to the first floor and provide space for the Parks & Rec Department on that level as well. Allow the Belmont Family Health Care Center to take the needed space for their expansion into the second floor. This will then allow them to make the necessary lease hold improvements for their needs for both the second and third floors.
I have looked at the Northway Bank Building, which the town recently purchased for $250,000. I believe this structure is in excellent condition structurally and is located directly on Main Street and with improved expansion, architectural enhancements could and should function as a town hall facility at a much more reasonable budget.
I would also suggest that it would serve our community well to reappoint the building needs committee to regroup and come up with a better plan. I also think that a new bond should include the upgrade of the Belmont Police Station, which is probably more in need of attention than the town hall. There is no urgency to move the proposal that will be voted on March 10.
I agree with Donna Hepp's statement, that "Belmont needs a better Capital Investment Program".
Mark A. Mooney
Last Updated on Friday, 06 February 2015 10:34
When I was a tyke, Momma warned me not to eat anything unless I knew where it came from. That advice is so sensible that even Congress acted on it in 2002, passing a straightforward law called Country Of Origin Labeling. COOL requires meat marketers to tell us whether the meat they sell is a product of the USA, China or Whereintheworldistan.
This useful information empowers us consumers — which is why globalagribusiness giants hate it and are trying to get a secretive, autocratic, plutocratic, private court in Switzerland to kill it.
This can't be, you say? But it is. Unbeknownst to most Americans, when the U.S. joined the World Trade Organization in 1999, we surrendered a big chunk of our sovereignty to this corporate court.
Here's what's happening: (1) American consumers have a basic right to know where their meat comes from, but (2) that right has been pitted against American corn flakes and ketchup in a "trade war" that (3) is being forced upon us by a handful of corporations that produce, slaughter, butcher and package meat outside of our country but (4) are allowed under trade agreements to challenge a U.S. law that had been duly enacted for the people inside our country, so (5) America was sued in an obscure, autocratic, private organization created by and for corporate interests and headquartered in Switzerland. Then (6) that corporate "court" did indeed rule that the "profit right" of foreign meat packers is superior to our people's basic right of self-determination.
Holy Tom Paine, this is corporate tyranny! But it's about to get worse, for President Obama and Congress intend to hang another bad trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, around our necks this spring.
What? You haven't heard of the TPP? Dubbed "a corporate coup d'etat" by Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, it's a grandiose grab for power masked as a trade deal, allowing an unprecedented level of global corporate rule over Americans. One reason we commoners don't know about it is that the corporate and governmental elites of the 12 nations that have been negotiating this momentous deal in strict secrecy, not only are keeping us in the dark but also Congress. Another reason, however, is that the mass media has been shockingly silent, apparently even incurious about what clearly is a huge story with historic consequences.
FAIR, the excellent watchdog group that tracks media coverage, found that ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox and NBC have offered the American public practically zero to little news stories about TPP. Even though the looming power grab has now spawned protests around the world, generated a major coalition of some 500 grassroots groups in our country loudly opposing the ripoff deal and has produced an odd-bedfellow, a rare bipartisan alignment of opponents in Congress, there's been a TV blackout. Could it possibly be that the global conglomerates that own our so-called "news" networks don't want us knowing what's up behind TPP's closed doors?
Let's do the media's job for them and find out what's in this bad deal:
The trade hoax
Of the document's 29 chapters, only five address tariffs and other actual trade matters. The other 24 consist of various ways to "free" corporations from any accountability and from any responsibility to the world community's common good.
Bye-bye "Buy American"
TPP dictates that all corporations based in any member nation must be given equal access to the public dollars that any government spends on equipment, food, highway projects, etc. Thus, our own national, state and local governments would no longer be free to give preference to suppliers of our choice. "Buy American" and "Buy Local" programs could be challenged by private corporations.
Wall Street rides again!
If anyone doubts this pact is a corporate boondoggle dressed in trade clothes, let them read its shameful financial provisions. Our nation's financial regulations would have to be "harmonized" to comply with TPP's extreme deregulation, re-creating the anything-goes Wall Street ethic that crashed the world economy in 2008.
To help stop this anti-democratic nasty, go to www.exposethetpp.org.
(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 Wednesday, 31 December 1969 07:00