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Froma Harrop - Oklahoma!

The world looked upon the tornado-flattened landscape of Moore, Okla., with awe. The destruction was shocking, as were the personal losses. Many Americans in the audience also felt — and this must be said — some comfort. Here was a country of strong people rolling with some very serious punches. It still exists.
On CNN, BBC or wherever, one heard plainspoken voices describing their ordeal with natural stoicism. These were victims (a word they might not apply to themselves) standing in front of the trash piles that were their houses. Some were bearing the death of loved ones, including nine schoolchildren. They spoke calmly of what happened and what they must do next.
In the world of TV coverage, miles of devastated streetscapes make for arresting visuals. For this viewer, seeing Oklahomans discuss the monstrous funnel's rampage in a straightforward manner, only choking up at the end, was far more moving than a sensational telling drenched in passion.
But did that fit into the prewritten script that TV news follows in a disaster?
The camera does not love quiet forbearance. The script calls for wailing victims. And there must be heroes.
In this calamity, there was no shortage of brave people, putting themselves in danger to save others. Reporters found them easily and asked the stock question: "Do you consider yourself a hero?"
It's rare that anyone will come out and say, "Yes, I'm a hero." But there are ways to imply it. You often hear, sometimes with false modesty, "Anyone would have done what I did." Television likes that. But when the Oklahomans were asked whether they considered themselves heroes, they were more likely to brush off the question or answer in a flat "nope."
We glued to screens vividly recall the memorable moments when CNN's Wolf Blitzer prompted a young mother to describe her close escape. Standing beside the exposed carpet of her wrecked house, Rebecca Vitsmun related in a matter-of-fact way how, when she saw the tornado heading her way, she grabbed her baby and made a run for it.
Vitsmun smiled through the entire interview, and so did the toddler. No tears. No moaning about how everything her family owned is lost. No mention of irreplaceable heirlooms smashed to bits. Hers was a harrowing story delivered matter-of-factly.
Almost in a fit of frustration for drama, Blitzer gives the woman her cue. "You've gotta thank the Lord, right? Do you thank the Lord for that split-second decision?" The script says that people in the heartland are prone to publicly thank the Lord with great emotion.
Showing considerable patience, the woman answers, "I — I'm actually an atheist."
Taken aback, Blitzer says: "Oh, you are? All right."
Vitsmun then responds with perfect grace, "We are here, and I don't blame anybody for thanking the Lord."
Tornado alley is a special kind of danger zone. When flooding is expected, people can move to high ground. There is no obvious place to flee in Tornado Alley. When the warning comes, it's often just a few minutes' worth. And any structure could be a bowling pin about to be knocked down.
A tornado is terrifying to look at, its freight-train roar horrifying. Coastal Americans visiting Kansas City take special notice of the "tornado shelter" signs in tall buildings. "We know we live in Tornado Alley," many interviewees said with resignation. And they're staying in Tornado Alley.
Most of the world has never been to Oklahoma. What it knows about Oklahoma may have come from the musical "Oklahoma!"
Note the exclamation point in the title. People in Oklahoma don't talk in exclamation marks, and that's all the more reason to keep it.
(A member of the Providence Journal editorial board, Froma Harrop writes a nationally syndicated column from that city. She has written for such diverse publications as The New York Times, Harper's Bazaar and Institutional Investor.)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 07:00

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The organization is a reflection of the boss & that man is Obama

To the editor,
As I watched the Obama administration spokespeople on the Sunday morning talk shows, I couldn't help but wonder why they believed the Sergeant Schultz reply of "I know nothing" would absolve the president and his department managers of their culpability in the Internal Revenue Service scandal. If anything, that answer only makes matters worse.
The essence of management is to prevent things from happening, that you don't want to happen. For the president, or his appointed managers, to now say they need to ensure that these things don't happen again, begs the question. Common sense management would have put in place procedures to prevent these failures in the first place.
Workers want to please their bosses. That's human nature. By pleasing the boss, they can retain their job, perhaps get a raise in salary, or maybe receive a promotion or some other recognition or reward. Don't please the boss, and suffer the consequences of failure. Keep that in mind when you think of the administration's public reaction to the Supreme Court's decision, labeled Citizens United. That ruling struck down restrictions in the commonly called McCain-Feingold act which prevented corporations (including nonprofit corporations) and unions from making independent expenditures to political campaigns.
The Obama administration railed against this ruling, essentially claiming that it would allow businesses to unfairly fund Republicans running for elected office. However, if one looks at the amounts of money each candidate collected, such was not the case. On a head to head basis, the Federal Election Commission, the New York Times, and the Washington Post all show that President Obama raised over $250 million more than did Governor Romney. Overall, Republicans and Democrats raised about $1.2 billion each. Because of their extended primary period, and multiple candidates seeking the nomination, much of the Republican contributions were siphoned off into the primary period.
In spite of the fact that there was not a significant difference in overall contributions, the Obama claims of an unfair advantage to the Republicans, because of the Citizens United ruling, in all probability stimulated followers in the Internal Revenue Service to do what they could to stifle organizations that were likely to be opposed to Obama.
Anyone with some modicum of management experience would have taken steps to ensure that political preferences would not override the essence of the Supreme Court's ruling. For managers within the IRS, the Treasury Department, the president, and his staff, to feign outrage over not knowing of the outrageous conditions that were imposed by the IRS on the "right leaning", Not for profit corporations, is absurd.
Can you imagine a corporate CEO telling his/her shareholder's that he/she didn't know his people were breaking the law and no one in the entire chain of command knew anything about it? If that were the case, a rapid change of management would take place.
The organization is a reflection of the boss, of the boss, of the boss. Workers do their best to satisfy the boss and they look for the recognition they earned in doing so. For people to pretend that the workers stifled the "right leaning" Not for profits, and did not make their bosses aware of those achievements, defies credulity.
To accept the unacceptable will stimulate its growth.
Bob Meade

Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 May 2013 12:07

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Time to consider stepping up & running for seat on City Council

To the editor,
There are just three weeks before filing opens for City Council, mayor, and two school board seats.
This is the opportunity for you to step up to the plate and fill a position that is open or to challenge someone who is presently on the council. The first date is June 5th and the filing period runs until the 14th.
At present, the councilor from Ward 2, Matt Lahey is not running for re-election and our mayor, Michael Seymour, is also not running. At the present time the remaining councilors have indicated they are running for re-election.
The council meets two nights a month and committee meetings are generally held on the same evening as the meeting, so the rest of the month you can put what time you feel is necessary to do your job and your homework.
It is important that people from all walks of life are represented on the council. It takes young, old, business people, blue collar workers, working together to represent the city as a whole. Different ideas, different styles, different personalities. All these things make for a better understanding and the ability to come together most of the time. Disagreements aren't a bad thing, but when the fight is over, the council comes back together for the next problem and puts the last one to bed.
I think the more that run is best. Take a chance, step up. You will not only be doing a service to your city, but you will you get more out of it than you put in. Out of all the candidates that file in June, the two persons getting the most votes in each category in the September Primary will go on to the election in November.
To me there is no election more important than the city election as it affects everyone of us directly and instantly. It is our city and we must take care of it.
In the Presidential election, over 80 percent of the registered voters came out, but in the last city primary only 3 percent came out and not much more for the election. Come on you 80 percenters. Show your support for Laconia.
Councilor Brenda Baer
Ward 4 - Laconia

Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 May 2013 12:04

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It's simple, my primary concern is for the victims of gun crimes

To the editor,
As usual, Steve Earle misses every point I make. The reason I get nauseated when hearing about the oh-so-touching burdens on the law abiding gun owner is that I am concerned about the law abiding victim first. Unlike Kelly Ayotte and her ilk, my first concern is not about the burdens to gun dealers but gun victims.
Once again, Steve attacks a study because the study doesn't agree with his right wing fantasies. I learned long ago to check the facts before attacking the messenger. Look for other studies, etc. If a study says something different than what Steve wants to hear, well, golly gee, it must be a liberal poll! Does anyone remember how sure the Fox Snooze pundits were that all the polls that had Obama beating Romney were fixed? The idiots STILL think Romney won and there were WMDs in Iraq! Well, that is the land Steve lives in. He hates facts which brings me to his 75 percent figure. Its not true that gun crimes are down 75 percent since 1993. (http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-u.s.-2010/tables/10tbl01.xls) It's in the upper 40s. with much of it occurring 1992-2000.
But these figures are masking the truth: Regardless of any decline, we have a gun murder rate that is 20X the average of the rest of OECD nations' average (minus Mexico). (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/files/2012/12/firearm-OECD-UN-data3.jpg) So when I hear a right winger again parade this statistic, I get out another one of my trusty airline approved barf-bags because once again they can't see the larger picture. TWENTY TIMES! Homicidal maniacs of America! Got a problem? Get a gun!
On the matter of Chicago, yes, Steve misses the point again. Gun-nuts love to parade Chicago's strict gun laws as some kind of evidence gun control doesn't work. But they lie, distort and omit things. Illinois does not require a gun dealer to be licensed so 57 percent of the crime guns in Chicago come from outside of Chicago but in Illinois. Forty-three percent of crime guns come from other states with Mississippi, Indiana, and Michigan leading the way. Kelly Ayotte and her ilk are the people who open the doors for criminals to get more and more guns. And what is with the whining? By trying to keep more guns out of the hands of criminals we are constantly being told that we are targeting "law abiding citizens". What a load! Where's my bag?
James Veverka

Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 May 2013 11:59

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Thanks for opportunity to serve on selectboard for 3 more years

To the editor,
Thank you to the Sanbornton residents for giving me the opportunity to serve you as selectman for the next three years. I'm looking forward to continue working with our other two selectmen, town administration and employees.
Please contact your Board of Selectmen with any thoughts or ideas you may have.
Selectman David Nickerson

Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 May 2013 11:52

Hits: 298

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