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Harlem Ambassadors thank Lakes Region for warm hospitality

To the editor,
On Friday, April 5, the Lakes Region Habitat for Humanity hosted the Harlem Ambassadors professional show basketball team for a night of high-flying slam dunks, hilarious comedy, and feel-good family entertainment.
The Harlem Ambassadors would like to extend a special thank you to event organizers Laura Brusseau and Marilyn Deschenes who planned and promoted the game. The Winnipesaukee Warriors proved to be an energetic, enthusiastic and challenging team and we thank all of the players for their good sportsmanship. The event would not have been possible without the support and generosity of local community sponsors, the Lakes Region Habitat for Humanity members, and the event volunteers.
The Harlem Ambassadors thank the community of Laconia for its warm hospitality and look forward to returning to Laconia in the future!
Dale Moss
Harlem Ambassadors President
Fort Collins, Colorado

Last Updated on Monday, 08 April 2013 11:53

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Scalia: 'Like most rights, the Second Amendment is not unlimited'

To the editor,
Recently Greg Knytych told us, "Barbara Perry of Moultonborough actually said what all liberal progressives think when she wrote "I hate guns and I believe that the person who invented guns should be shot!". While it is very unfortunate that Barbara voiced her warranted anger and contempt towards the gun nuts and enablers that way, Greg reveals how brainwashed he is by the right wing's fake outrage media machine. All liberal progressives? What planet is he on? I am a proud progressive liberal and I certainly don't hate gun nuts nor do I wish them harm. Disdain is a better word for gun nut ideology. I support gay marriage, reproductive rights, and the strict separation of church and state. I also support a public option in health care. But I also support the right to self-protection with firearms, too. That includes concealed carry in warranted circumstances. Its just, like the Supreme Court, I don't see any right as unlimited. The laws that exist already prove that.
Kevin Leandro also has not considered the restrictive laws that exist. He tells us that his right to bear arms "shall not be infringed". Well, they already are for some because felons and those adjudicated as dangerous and mentally ill are denied this right. Your right to carry is also infringed, as it should be, in sensitive places like courthouses. All the rights of the first amendment are limited, too. People are subject to libel and slander laws in speech and press matters. Permits are sometimes denied protesters so the right to assembly is also limited for various reasons regarding public order. "Disturbing the peace" laws also limit people. There is no free pass as the gun nuts think. No right is unlimited.
As to the silly analogy that since cars kill people we could ban cars that reminds me of the TeaPublican logic on gun control laws which translates to "since we can't stop rape, we shouldn't have rape laws". Well, we have banned some cars. If Corvettes had gas tanks like Corvairs, they would have been banned just as the Corvair was. Since the 1960s we have been on a long wise trend of safety regulation, yes that evil of regulating. Everything having to do with how cars are made, who can drive them and how we are to drive them is regulated and this saves thousands of lives a year. As with regulating guns, we can only hope to reduce the death toll. Regulating cars, guns, or booze will not save every life but it does save lives.
Steve Earle makes some good points in the first half of his letter but then reality slips from his grasp when he gets to hammers; yes hammer control! Well, Steve, if hammers need to be regulated, then we should regulate them. Mr. Earle also appears to have bought in to the paranoid delusional extremist point of view that the real intent of gun control is to take away guns. Sure, that is likely to happen! And where did "The experience in other nations which confiscated guns is that there is not a reduction in murders but there is a significant increase in other crimes" come from? Ann Coulter! The fact is that in the latest 2012 OECD report on gun murder rates in these "civilized" nations, excluding the warring nation of Mexico, shows that the USA has 20X the gun murder rate of the average of the OECD nations. Only Chile even comes close.
Mr. Earle's notion that "there is no evidence that the Founding Fathers intended to limit the arms available to citizens" is thoroughly naive. That notion certainly is not as the Supreme Court sees it. Antonin Scalia, Mr. Wackadoodle Wingnut himself doesn't even agree with that. In the most recent important gun rights case — Heller v. District of Columbia, 2008 — the court ruled in favor of Heller and struck down DC's gun law. But in Scalia's holding are precious gems of reason. And since case law and precedent is all-important in deciding cases, I would not bet on much of the new gun laws in Colorado, N.Y., Delaware, Maryland or Connecticut getting overturned at the USSC. The majority of these laws are constitutional no matter how loud the NRA leadership and its mobs scream. Scalia wrote: "Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The court's opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. Miller's holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those "in common use at the time" finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons."
James Veverka
Tilton

Last Updated on Monday, 08 April 2013 11:49

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Per N.H. law, Belknap Convention voted to restrict budget transfers

To the edtior,
As part of its decision making process, the Belknap County Delegation agreed that NH RSA 24:15 would guide fund expenditures of the 2013 Belknap County Budget. The delegation voted, per N.H. statute, to require the commissioners receive prior written permission from the Executive Committee to transfer funds within a department or between departments. In the past, concerns have been voiced that the commissioners may have not spent your hard earned tax money wisely.
Our system of government, on the county, state and federal levels, has intentionally been set up with "checks and balances" for a reason. The commissioners form the Executive Branch, while the convention is the Legislative arm. Two separate body politics designed to serve and protect the citizens of our county, state, and nation — and both, obviously necessary.
Specific examples of inappropriate spending are cited below.
According to the headlines of March 21, 2013, the Belknap County Jail is in real need of repairs. This is not a new issue. So why has nothing been done? The short answer is that the Belknap County Commissioners did not see this as a priority. In 2010 and 2011, the county received $2,656,682 in stimulus money. This money would have funded significant repairs. So what, you might ask, did the commissioners choose as their priorities? The funds were spent on a phone system, dispatch consoles, community corrections, and finance software; maintenance expenditures included duct cleaning, the installation of a vent hood, roof repairs, and the installation of a HVAC system in the courthouse. The largest waste of this stimulus money was expended for the county complex renovation, which included building separate offices for each of the commissioners and furnishing such as fancy new chairs and tables. Additionally, this renovation forced the Extension Service to move out, resulting in inconvenience to residents and added lease expenses to the county taxpayers. But for the tremendous publicity it got, it almost included a gym for the employees. No additional funds were expended for repairs or maintenance of the Belknap County Jail, which was already in need of repairs at the time.
Also receiving tremendous media coverage was the lawsuit against our Register of Deeds. In addition to the issues that resulted, most shameful is the fact that the attorney's fees of the commissioners were paid, at the expense of the taxpayers, but those of our Register of Deeds still remain unpaid despite the delegation appropriating funds to do so.
In another lawsuit, the commissioners sued the State of N.H., challenging the constitutionality of the reduction of the state's share of their employee retirement funding. When they lost this case, the commissioners then appealed to the Supreme Court, again they lost. Still not happy, they filed a motion to reconsider. This request was denied. Again, all legal fees were at the expense of the taxpayers.
Most recently, rather than accept and live within the directives of N.H. laws and statutes, the commissioners sought council to circumvent the statutes. They hired Sharon Somers of Donahue, Tucker & Ciandella, PLLC, to attack the Belknap County Delegation. They refused to accept the oversight of the delegation. The commissioners also rejected the cost saving measures outlined by the delegation, wasting additional taxpayer funds by preventing the convention from seeking the services of our County Attorney in a legal matter. More wasted taxpayer money.
As shameless as these examples are, in my opinion, the worst travesty to the taxpayers is the over-taxing that has resulted from these less-than-honest budgeting actions. During many recent years, the commissioners have presented budgets that underestimated revenue and overstated expenses. Consequently, more hard-earned money has been required in the form of increased taxes from the residents of this county.
Remember, the delegation is comprised of your local representatives who are responsible for appropriating the funds per line of the Belknap County Annual budget. The commissioners' responsibilities are to handle the day-to-day duties within the amount approved per line by your representatives (the delegation.)
Your representatives have been working overtime to limit unnecessary expenditures and reduce the tax burden on our fellow citizens. It is our intent to reduce taxation by budgeting for what is mandatory and essential and to ensure that your funds are spent wisely.
Please note these are my comments and do not necessarily represent all members of the convention.
Rep. Colette Worsman
Gilford & Meredith

Last Updated on Monday, 08 April 2013 11:44

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Gun lovers are like pro-choicers, they don't trust any restrictions

To the editor,
Gun lovers are like pro-aborts. Pro-aborts won't accept ANY restrictions on abortion because they don't trust pro-lifers to stop. They know that pro-lifers think abortion is murder and that a true pro-lifer won't stop until abortion is illegal everywhere.
Similarly, pro-gun folks don't trust anti-gun politicians one inch. Gov. Cuomo has spoken of confiscating guns. Mayor Bloomberg, while standing in the midst of Uzi-toting bodyguards whom we pay for, has said guns are unnecessary and dangerous. Pres. Obama, while surrounded by gun-toting secret service people whom we pay for, has said that guns don't keep us safe and that we shouldn't have them.
Gun rights have nothing to do with hunting. They have everything to do with fighting tyranny.
Why should a pro-gun person trust ANY politician?
Bill Taylor
New Hampton

Last Updated on Monday, 08 April 2013 11:38

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Froma Harrop - Thatcher would have been labeled 'European socialsit' by today's Republicans

In honoring Margaret Thatcher, some of her greatest fans complain, "They don't make conservatives like that any more."
But they do. Problem is, the Republican right wing now running the party primaries would chew a Thatcher-type politician into unelectable shards.
It takes a brave conservative to engage in detail-oriented fights over what government should and shouldn't do. How much easier to draw simple-minded cartoons of bloated government and condemn any public program as "socialism." Ideological purists may shudder, but this hard process is called governing.
Thatcher would have laughed at when Obamacare foes' called the reforms "a government takeover of health care." Recall how, in the heat of battle, the right waved Britain's National Health Service as a warning of terrible things awaiting American health care under the Affordable Care Act.
But here is what Thatcher wrote about the NHS in her memoir, "The Downing Street Years," after she had left the thick of politics: "I believed that the NHS was a service of which we could genuinely be proud. It delivered a high quality of care — especially when in it came to acute illnesses — and at a reasonably modest unit cost, at least compared with some insurance-based systems."
In Britain, doctors work for the government, making the NHS truly socialistic. As for government control of health care, Obamacare doesn't come close. But had candidate Obama likewise praised NHS to the skies, his consultants would have passed around smelling salts.
As prime minister, Thatcher raised the value added tax — a kind of national sales tax — to help pay for cuts in income tax rates. (She wasn't into borrowing money for tax cuts.) When Mitt Romney said he'd consider a similar tax during the Republican presidential primaries, Newt Gingrich called him a "European socialist."
Note that the founder of free-market economics, Adam Smith, regarded such taxes as a swell idea. "Taxes on consumptions are best levied by way of excise," he wrote in his 1776 classic, "The Wealth of Nations." "They have the advantage of 'being paid imperceptibly.'"
Another Thatcher hero was the late conservative economist, Milton Friedman, hailed as Smith's spiritual heir. Conservatives often cite Friedman's view that the bigger the share of government spending in a national economy, the less free the people are. But, hmmm, at what point would government's share set off an alarm that freedom was really in peril?
Friedman offered a number: 60 percent of the gross domestic product. Right now our government spending — federal, local and state put together — accounts for about 35 percent of GDP, well below the panic point.
Thatcher revered Friedrich Hayek's "Road to Serfdom," a book conservatives raise high as the great repudiation of socialism. One hopes but can't assume that their praise extends to the parts where Hayek defends a minimum wage, guaranteed health coverage and other government programs. Hayek wrote that "there can be no doubt that some minimum of food, shelter, and clothing, sufficient to preserve health and the capacity to work, can be assured to everybody ... Nor is there any reason why the state should not assist the individuals in providing for those common hazards of life against which few can make adequate provision." For insurable risks, he added, "The case for the state's helping to organize a comprehensive system of social insurance is very strong."
However one feels about Thatcher's politics, there's no question that she chose crusades and framed arguments with great care. She didn't talk of drowning governments in bathtubs. For her pragmatism, much of today's Republican right would have panned Thatcher as "socialist," "statist" and, heaven forfend, "European" — though they now hail her.
(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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