To The Daily Sun,
Just as a reminder, the plan for my radio show Saturday will include discussion of some Letters to the Editor in The Daily Sun this past week.
It is unfortunate for those who do not appreciate that my position is different than theirs re: spending taxpayers dollars (hard to come by) on construction of a county jail expansion.
If THEIR plan is $42 million or more; if their plan is hire 16 more employees; if their plan is to house those who are free to go after their sentence has been served get to stay for who knows how long — then count me as opposition. My hometown of Laconia is a Tax Cap city; we have many older folks like me who are fortunate to stay in our homes. The commissioners want more money for those who break the laws? Do the commissioners care if we have a Tax Cap or SB-2 in the communities that make up Belknap County?
As a former elected official (not a bureaucrat), one thing those who are elected by their peers should not accept insults from those who take those $90,000 plus checks a year home. Or a retired, pensioned judge who is insulting to those House members who receive $100 a year and mileage who care about the taxpayers? We have B. Hussein Obama that we have to watch every minute for our freedoms are being taken away, and county government who says; "if you don't like it, sue me". We aren't going to sue you. We are going to remove you from office.
I urge all concerned taxpayers of Belknap County to only vote for those you can count on for fiscal sanity-in touch with reality. And that includes some Republicans right here in Laconia.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 July 2014 09:39
An aspiring rapper posts his lyrics on Facebook, suggesting a Halloween costume with his estranged wife's "head on a stick."
He goes on: "I'm not going to rest until your body is a mess, soaked in blood and dying from all the little cuts. Hurry up and die, bitch, so I can..." and so on and so forth.
Anthony Elonis insists that he was merely engaging in artistic expression per his right to free speech. His wife disagreed. She saw his writings as a real threat of bodily harm, a crime not protected by the First Amendment.
Courts sided with the wife, and Anthony spent 44 months behind bars.
But the case won't hurry up and die. It's now before the U.S. Supreme Court, which will hear arguments in the fall.
A core issue will be Elonis' intent in writing those words. Did he mean it?
His defenders say that social media make the job of getting into anyone's head so much harder. And that's what makes this case interesting.
"In social media, you're deprived of interaction" with the author, Elonis' lawyer, John Elwood, told me. "People can't see your face, can't hear your voice."
The Facebook audience is crowded with strangers who don't know the writer. They're not well-equipped to judge whether he's the type to follow through on a threat or merely prancing on his stage. Miscommunication is easy in these circumstances.
But, you may say, his wife knows him and insists she's terrified. That brings up a long-running debate in such cases over whether to be a crime, a threat has to look real in unbiased eyes or simply strike fear in the target.
Elwood believes that the lower courts ignored the cues in Elonis' Facebook posts suggesting, "I don't mean anything by this."
For example, Elonis quoted and linked to a comedy group called The Whitest Kids U' Know. He also wrote in the middle of a post, "Me thinks the judge needs an education on true threat jurisprudence."
"These things indicate this is not intended to intimidate anybody," Elwood said, "but that he is blowing off steam."
Clearly, not everyone has caught the yuk-yuk-yuk disclaimers. And not everyone appreciates Elonis' brand of wit or, more to the point, identifies it as such.
Many of today's threat prosecutions are based on things said on social media platforms, a reason the Supreme Court has taken up the case. No easy task labeling impermissible speech on the Internet, where fantasies run amok alongside sober opinions, insanity, stupidity, irrationality and just plain bad writing.
Recent history shows not all of these online threats are idle. Elliot Rodger posted warnings on YouTube and online forums before stabbing and shooting several people to death in Santa Barbara, California. Jerad and Amanda Miller wrote of their "coming sacrifices" on Facebook before embarking on a murderous rampage in Las Vegas.
Some worry that the nine justices have not shown themselves to be keenly aware of communications technology. Questions such as these will arise:
Elonis didn't tag his wife on the Facebook threats. Does that mean that they weren't directly aimed at her?
He put an emoticon with a tongue sticking out at the end of the Halloween reference. Is this evidence that he was only kidding around?
Do the Supreme Court justices know what an emoticon is?
"Art is about pushing limits," Elonis has posted. But if a threat is written as rap lyrics — or in iambic pentameter, for that matter — does it get a pass as art?
Heaven knows we don't want to lose the sacred right to say moronic things online. And yet...
(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, 02 July 2014 07:36
To The Daily Sun,
As a former small-business owner, the gas tax affects me in a very negative way.
My business was greatly affected by gas prices. I ran a moving company, and anytime gas prices went up our profit margin went down.
The increase in the gas tax to 22.2 cents per gallon is completely unreasonable. The gas tax increase would make it harder any small business to be successful. I do not know what the governor thinks she is doing, but she is not helping any small-business owners.
Anyone who owns a business knows that the first thing you need to get under control is your budget. However, that is something that Maggie Hassan, as governor, has not done. As a result she needs to increase revenue, which means taking more money from my business with her gas tax.
Businesses cannot just create revenue by picking it from someone else's pocket, so why is it fair that she can?
Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 July 2014 10:31
To The Daily Sun,
A local Moultonborough company, CruCon Cruise Outlet Plus, recently had a grand opening, at which their employees officially greeted the community, providing a tour of their operation. I believe the event was significant because it represents how we can attract commerce and jobs to our area. This marvelous company has attracted career-minded employees, many of whom, are just starting their families. In a short time, the company has grown to more than 100 employees, with $160 million in gross sales.
Employees expressed to me their delight that the company is situated in an ideal location with its beautiful lakes and mountains, and easy lifestyle. Through technology, a company like CruCon can operate just about anywhere. Through the telephone and the Internet, the company books cruises to anywhere in the world, on any cruise line.
Using this company as an example, we can attract other growing businesses. One way is to establish an Enterprise Zone in our district that provides businesses with certain incentives to relocate, such as tax breaks and help in finding investment. Businesses can also offer services to each other. Called "B2B," — business-to-business creates a strong middle class that invigorates our entire economy.
In my race for State Representative in Moultonborough, Sandwich and Tuftonboro, I am not running against any individual. I'm campaigning against an extreme philosophy that sees no role for state government or any public agency in helping people or businesses succeed.
As a former entrepreneur and businessman, I know how important government is to the success of any enterprise. A CEO knows it's important to relocate to a business-friendly area. A builder knows the importance of public construction projects. An independent tradesman knows the expense of medical care. Even a piano teacher knows that terrible winter roads can prevent her students from getting to their lessons. These are the types of things that should concern your state representative.
Candidate, NH. House of Representatives
Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 July 2014 10:23
To The Daily Sun,
Bowe Bergdahl, a soldier from Idaho, is on American soil after nearly five years in the hands of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Seemingly invisible for all that time, he has been the subject of media intense concern since his release and return to the United States.
Media ignorance and governmental avoidance have plagued POW/MIA advocates for decades, and offered us challenges that were and are huge impediments to our fulfilling our pledge and a tragic disservice to those we attempt to serve.
For those who know the Northeast POW/MIA Network and many who joined us in our drive to make Bowe's return a reality, may I first extend my sincerest and most heartfelt appreciation? I don't know how many of you were encouraged by the concerns and information we presented, but, please, understand that we were offered nothing by the U.S. government in this instance and, based on decades of POW/MIA activism/advocacy, anything we might have been given would have been scrutinized very carefully and required corroboration by multiple sources before being accepted as fact.
The family's request for privacy was honored every step of the way, but limited opportunity for direct communication, also, made this journey much more difficult. Our efforts were apolitical and coincident with the founding goals of this organization: The return of all live American POW/MIAs, repatriation of the remains of those who have not survived, and comprehensive explanations for cases where the previous two options do not exist.
Once Bowe was listed as a Prisoner of War, our responsibility was clear, and we pursued it with vigor, and an American soldier came home.
Bowe made it home amid a barrage of information from every possible corner. To date, separating fact from fiction remains a herculean endeavor. He faces an exhaustive journey the result of which remains unknown. But one fact is certain: His life and those of his family and loved ones have been altered forever.
I will never know what part the Network played in this entire process, but I remain firm in my belief that we adhered to the dictates of our organization and I neither regret our involvement nor offer any excuses. Our stance remains solid and unaltered. Should another American in uniform find himself/herself in enemy hands — and I hope they won't — our response will be one of focused, unrelenting resolve.
Giving up is not a choice.
Donald C. Amorosi, President
The Northeast POW/MIA Network
South Glens Fall, N.Y.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 July 2014 10:20