To The Daily Sun,
With all the lies and deception being disseminated by the right, it's hard to distinguish fact from fiction — could this be their strategy? It's unfortunate, but deceit and lies have become a staple of American politics.
In Saturday's Sun, I was alarmed to read Mr. Young's letter declaring that "Obama Forcing New Gun Buyers to Declare Their Race and Ethnicity." Apparently Young is regurgitating the right-wing outlets' claim that the Obama administration is using the standard form for the federal gun background checks to engage in racial profiling and to find out who has guns because the form asks about race and ethnicity.
Young fails to tell us that the form (Form 4473) has asked for this information since 2001 — eight years prior to President Obama's inauguration. The form asks buyers for information such as name, height, weight, date of birth, and race and ethnicity. The form was revised in 2012, but still asks the standard questions, including race and ethnicity. The form has asked for this information since at least 2001, and the identifying information is destroyed within hours of a background check being processed.
The claim that the Obama administration is racially profiling and tracking gun owners has been touted by Fox Nation, where commentators are badly misleading about the history of the gathering of this information. In addition to the race and ethnicity question appearing on the previous version of the form, the questions have been included for at least the past 13 years.
Anyone in the least bit interested in the truth, rather than hate and rancor, could have done the research and uncovered this obviously misleading news story. It appears that Young unquestioningly accepted conservative deceptive reporting, thus calling into question his ability to make unimpaired commentary on other matters.
Years ago, two national figures, Robert F. Kennedy and Hillary Clinton, moved to the state of New York for the sole purpose of pursuing political office — conservative Republicans were outraged. We now have the same scenario unfolding here in New Hampshire with the candidacy of Scott Brown, but because he has an (R) after his name, Mr. Young doesn't seem to mind.
What could be Brown's rational for moving to New Hampshire other than being motivated by mere electoral opportunism. He is not running to represent the people (and by people, I mean all people) of New Hampshire. He is running to represent the political agenda of the Republican Party. Considering that he ran twice in three years for the Senate from Massachusetts, and also considered running for governor there, it will be tough to run away from the notion that this is just a continued, calculated move by him to get back into public office.
L. J. Siden
Last Updated on Thursday, 25 September 2014 10:28
What should we do about immigration policy? It's a question many are asking, and some useful perspective comes from an article in Foreign Affairs by British-born, California-based historian Gregory Clark, unhelpfully titled, "The American Dream Is an Illusion."
The dream to which Clark refers is the idea, promoted by Emma Lazarus's poem at the Statue of Liberty, that this is "a country of opportunity for all, a country that invites in the world's tired, its poor and its huddled masses."
The problem, says Clark, is that upward mobility is something of a myth, in America and elsewhere. In his recent book, "The Son Also Rises: Surnames and the History of Social Mobility," he shows that advantages that some families have over others — in social position, genetic endowment, traditions of literacy and numeracy — tend to be passed on, not inevitably from parent to child, but persistently and to a considerable extent to descendants for seven and 10 generations.
Clark charts the prevalence of last names in high-status occupations and positions over generations. After the 1066 Conquest, Englishmen with Norman surnames appeared disproportionately to population at Oxford and Cambridge in 1170 and in Parliament in 1259. They continue to do so, to a lesser extent, today.
He finds the same phenomenon in Sweden, Chile, Japan, China and (especially) caste-bound India. Upward and downward mobility exist, but usually at a glacial pace.
An exception, as he notes, is America in the period from 1892, when the Ellis Island immigration station opened, until mass immigration was ended by World War I in 1914 and restrictive legislation in 1924. Ellis Islanders and their descendants rose rapidly up the educational and economic ladder.
The opening of Ellis Island coincided with a shift of immigration from Northwestern Europe to Southern and Eastern Europe. These people were not just seeking economic opportunity. Rather, as I argued in my 2013 book, "Shaping Our Nation," they were second-caste residents of multi-ethnic states — Jews from the Czarist and Austro-Hungarian empires, Poles from those nations and Germany, Czechs and Slovaks, Slovenes and Serbs from Austria-Hungary and the Balkans, Southern Italians from a recently unified northern-dominated Kingdom of Italy.
For these second-caste citizens, America's prime attraction was the principle of equal citizenship. As George Washington told the elders of the Touro Synagogue, toleration in America was not a favor from the majority, but a recognition that "all possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship."
As Clark notes, there was a lot of upward mobility among these groups — most spectacularly among Jews, but also among Italians, Poles and other minorities who exceeded national income averages by the 1950s. It was matched during these years also by the cumulative but slower upward mobility of Irish Catholics who arrived between the 1840s and 1890s.
The Ellis Islanders, blocked from upward mobility at home, brought to America advantages of genetic endowment and cultural tradition — nature and nurture — which enabled them to move upward unusually rapidly.
Asian immigrants seem to be moving upward similarly today. But not the group the Census Bureau calls Hispanics. In my 2001 book, "The New Americans," I predicted that Hispanics would move upward, much as Italians had a century before. That was overoptimistic. There has been little or no upward mobility among third- and fourth-generation Hispanics.
Why the difference? One reason is that current Hispanic immigrants seem to be characterized by economic need rather than second-class status. Immigrants from Mexico and illegal immigrants (mostly from Mexico) are particularly downscale.
The second reason is that the America that welcomes them is no longer a nation with equal citizenship for all, but a nation that shunts them into a special supposedly privileged but also stigmatized minority group. Anomalously, racial quotas and preferences benefit those never discriminated against in the United States.
Some preferences have hurt more than helped. Steering mortgages to non-creditworthy Hispanics produced foreclosures and personal tragedies — and a financial crisis. As author Michael Gonzalez notes, Hispanic advancement has been minimal in California with its high welfare spending and taxes. Hispanics have done better in low-welfare, low-tax, high-economic-growth Texas.
There's an obvious lesson here for immigration policy. Immigration can promote social mobility, but not always. The United States got high-skill immigrants in the Ellis Island period largely by happenstance. Today, Canada and Australia profit from upward mobility because their immigration laws admit only those with high skills. If we want similar results, we should follow their lead.
(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.)
Last Updated on Thursday, 25 September 2014 10:22
To The Daily Sun,
Industrial wind developers are accustomed to problem neighbors that wish to keep towering turbines out of their backyards.
Wind promoters have and will continue to mischaracteriz our community as fear mongers and NIMBYs, when in fact our community is the exact opposite — we've embraced five renewable power plants to date. Oh, don't forget, Northern Pass will be cutting though our community as well.
Can one community support nine energy facilities within a 15-mile radius? What will that look like? How will that impact our community? Why are ski resorts not interested in year-round wind revenues? Why don't schools, prisons or state lands have wind turbines?
Developers are accustomed to opponents not being very influential — rather they see opponents as only capable of stirring up local opposition based on fears and lies. Our community does not fit that profile. We continue to ask important questions ... with no answers.
It is rumored that developers fear our community opposition so much — they've lobbied harder with Gov. Maggie Hassan. Last week Gov. Hassan nominated Sen. Bob Odell and state Rep. Amanda Merrill to sit on the first public committee in charge of permitting Northern Pass and any future wind farms projects in the state.
These two nominations tell me that our community has been enormously successful. It was our grass-roots community focus. It was our aggressively unified community voice. It was our community fundraisers and pot luck dinners. It was our voting record. That's what stopped additional wind development in our community.
Our community is full of self-proclaimed environmentalists, and we're all working hard to protect our local environment. Developers are clearly targeting our ridge lines, and we all know there's no recreating our forests in our lifetime.
We are simple folk. We know right from wrong and we know where the power is destined — southern states. Simply put, developers should have just announced from the beginning that they are going to destroy our landscapes, erect 100 500-foot-tall turbines and charge us to connect and ship this electricity to southern states. Why are southern states outsourcing their renewable energy tax credits?
A new question rumbling in our foothills: How can a state senator be appointed to a public committee before officially retiring from his Senate seat? Will Sen. Bob Odell resign his from his Senate seat prior to his Oct. 1 appointment? Or can he hold two seats at the same time? Two paid seats?
With the increased number of renewable energy projects proposed for New Hampshire in the coming years, the SEC finds itself stretched and we see the need for appointing a fair and balanced public committee.
But, there's a chill in the air and it has nothing to do with the temperature outside. There's a chill on our land values, a chill on our home sales and a chill up and down the spines of New Hampshire residents as they consider if anyone is looking out for them.
Are we being represented, or shafted?
Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 September 2014 11:18
To The Daily Sun,
I have a deep concern over the appointment of state officials to fill the public representation positions on the Site Evaluation Committee, as mandated in SB-245. This is clearly not the intent of the bill in regard to public representation.
Both candidates are legislators, one a career state senator and the other a state representative. Even more concerning, is the past involvement of both legislators in the crafting of state energy bills, the very ones over which they would be providing input and decisions from a public perspective. This is clearly a conflict of interest and ethically wrong.
The three public positions should be filled by laypeople, void of state legislative and political affiliation, who truly represent the public.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 September 2014 11:06
To The Daily Sun,
The last day of the Thursday outdoor market season is on Thursday, Sept. 25, and we've arranged for a great finale in the Savor the Season tent.
Rachael Burklund of Laconia Village Bakery returns, preparing butternut squash latkes with sage yogurt sauce, and coffee-balsamic brined pulled pork. All the main ingredients come from vendors at the market, including squash and sage from Minglewood Farm, pork roast from Biblical Acres Farm and the coffee from Woodshed Roasting Company. The yogurt is local too, from Swain Farm in Sanbornton. Rachael will be in the tent serving samples and explaining how to make this savory yet simple combo from 3:30-4:30. Be sure to visit the Savor the Season tent and then check out all the great produce still available from our local farmers.
If you miss the Thursday market, you'll have one more chance at the Saturday Farmers' Market, which is from 8 a.m. to noon in the City Hall parking lot. It has been a great market season and all of the vendors at both markets appreciate your patronage.
The Savor the Season events this summer have been sponsored by the Lakes Region Food Network (LRFN), with grant support from the New England Grassroots Environment Fund and support from the Main Street Outdoor Marketplace. For more information about LRFN, visit www.lrfn.org or call Karen at 528-8560.
Lakes Region Food Network
Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 September 2014 11:01