Vol. CCLVI, No. 20 June 29, 2012
The New Hampshire Gazette
Free! or Die
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The Fortnightly Rant
The best thing to be said of the Iraq War is that it is over, and even that is not quite true. Ask a survivor forty years from now. Nine days from now, the City of Portsmouth will host a Welcome Home Parade for Iraq War Veterans. This a pretty big deal. We will be just the second city in the U.S. to do so, and the first in New England. The last American troops left Iraq six months ago, so it’s none too soon. The Pentagon thinks otherwise, though. It would prefer that the nation postpone any parades until Afghanistan has settled down. Officially that should happen relatively soon; the smart money bets otherwise. Curiously, in this instance at least, Conservatives seem not to mind that their precious generals are being overruled. Because other franchises in the Global War on Terror [GWOT] are still open for business, the July 8th parade will be a concrete marker of a somewhat arbitrary distinction. Some of the active duty troops marching that day will no doubt be told, sooner or later, to report to Afghanistan. Iraq and Afghanistan are two different places with different cultures, but for an American soldier those distinctions probably don’t matter much. Both places are utterly foreign and essentially hostile. Always half-assed, now the GWOT is half-over. Decisions, Decisions Six out of ten Americans supported the Iraq War when it started. Now six out of ten Americans think it was a bad idea. And some days — certain Tuesdays in November, in particular — it seems like they are the same six.
Thanks to an earlier military adventure that didn’t go well, we’ve learned to distinguish our warriors from the wars we send them to fight. Better to have that skill than not. If we could just learn not to start bad wars, though, we could safely let that skill grow rusty. Dubious Battle The Iraq War was conjured up out of falsehoods by men who dodged the war of their own youth then camouflaged their cowardice with protestations of patriotism. It was fought by so-called volunteers who were goaded by an economic draft and lured by public approbation, itself a reaction to residual remorse left over from the poor treatment received by a previous generation of conscripts. From its inception through its execution the war was a pretty shabby affair, pitting tin doors against buried bombs and skimping on body armor, for example. But that’s no reason to skimp on a celebration of its ending. All We Can Do = Little Enough Quite the opposite, in fact. Amends should be made. We are holding this parade to ceremoniously honor our men and women who fought in Iraq. Ceremonies are literally the least thing that we can do — this parade will cost the city less than the ordnance a single platoon in Kandahar might use on a bad day — and the least thing we should do. The parade’s organizers have thoughtfully arranged to follow the pomp and circumstance with more practical exercises such as a jobs and services fair. It’s a start — a small, local, isolated start. One might have thought, judging from the praise lavished on
the members of our military before we sent them off to Hell, that when they returned needing help from the Veterans Administration [VA] they would find it waiting for them. But one would be wrong yet again. The VA did increase its mental health staffing by 46 percent between 2005 and 2010, but apparently that wasn’t enough. It claimed until recently that 95 percent of the time it was meeting its goal of evaluating new clients within 14 days. A recent Inspector General’s report revealed that the average wait is more like 60 days. The backlog of cases now stands at 860,000. At least the VA can claim it’s overwhelmed — the Pentagon has no excuse. It has discharged thousands of service members for having previously-undetected “personality disorders” — which do not qualify for disability com-
pensation — when in fact many or most of them no doubt suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder which does. That is a disgraceful flim-flam clearly intended to hide the real cost of war. That the same voices which once called for war can now be heard protesting that taxes must not raised for any reason further compounds the disgrace. Veterans For Peace? Those planning to march include several chapters of Veterans for Peace and Portsmouth’s own Leftist Marching Band. The decision for these vets to participate did not come easily. Though expressly invited by the organizers, their first instinct was to decline. In the context of a parade that would surely be full of military trappings, their presence might be seen as an endorsement by some. Ultimately they decided not to let the risk of misunderstanding
stand between themselves and their fellow veterans. One Last Really Tough Battle It’s too late now to make this war right — it was far too wrong from the beginning. But you cannot honor a sacrifice by telling fairy tales. We owe it to those who were in it to tell the truth. That’s likely to be a perpetual battle. The public has known for decades that the Vietnam War was an irredeemable catastrophe. But the Pentagon is now burning tax dollars to officially “observe” the war’s 50th Anniversary — and rewrite it. A timeline on its official website, VietnamWar50th.com, makes no mention of the 1956 elections that we would not allow. It cites Operation Farm Gate — the start of the air war — but not its violation of the Geneva Convention. When the time comes, the site will ignore the role GIs played in stopping the war, too.
State Director of Americans for Prosperity [AFP], an IRS-registered 501(c)(4) organization.* AFP was created and is supported by David Koch, who, along with his brother Charles, owns Koch Industries, a privately held company with annual revenues estimated at $100 billion. The brothers obtained the company the traditional way: they inherited it from Daddy. As was said of George Herbert [Hoover]
Walker Bush, the brothers were born on third base and thought they’d hit a triple. In his capacity as the Koch Brothers’ local puppet, Lewandowski filed a Right to Know request Monday morning demanding to know the identity of the anonymous donor. “The donor may have business pending before the town or may be trying to skirt (Federal Election Campaign) law, which precludes this sort of donation. We are deeply troubled over the anonymity of this donation and hope Town Administrator Selig will respond to our request in a timely manner.” Is this a great country or what? Where but in America could the hired stooge of hereditary plutocrats be found shedding such copious tears over the amount of
money his bosses take in every 6.3 seconds? Lewandowski, it must be said, is a real pro at faking concern over the democratic (small ‘d’ of course) process. He was similarly exercised in August of 2009 when Mr. Obama spoke at Portsmouth High School. The best part of this show is its robust, full-throated hypocrisy. The whole point of AFP’s being registered as a 501(c)(4) rather than a (c)(3) is so that donors can remain anonymous. Hey! Let’s Try This! This being New Hampshire, the home of cautious, conservative self-government, there’s a brilliant new program in the works: we’re going to turn the state prison over
Dear Mr. President: Beat It President Barack Obama visited Durham on Monday during a campaign swing through the Northeast, sparking excitement at both ends of the political spectrum. Local Democrats were naturally happy to see their champion in the flesh once again, and Republicans were pleased to have another excuse to make a big fuss. Todd Selig, Durham’s Town Administrator, sent out a press release on Saturday calling for an “Emergency Counil [sic] Meeting” first thing Monday morning to discuss “as a Council in public in full [sic] and whether the Council desires to take the symbolic action of disinviting the President from visiting Durham.” “Our sincere hope,” Selig’s release went on to say, “is that this meeting will not be necessary and
that the campaign will agree to reimburse the town’s projected public safety costs associated with the event.” Translated from Republicanese into English, that sentence would read, “Oh, Lord, please let this insignificant kerfuffle go all the way to the Supreme Court.” According to our sources Selig does not have the power to call an “emergency” meeting on his own hook, but not to worry: Jay Gooze, Chairman of the Town Council, being a good Democrat, immediately knuckled under and called the meeting for Selig. At about this point an anonymous benefactor — John Beresford Tipton, Jr., perhaps — pledged up to $20,000 to cover the town’s costs. End of story, right? Not hardly. Cue Corey Lewandowski, the
* According to the U.S. Tax Code these are supposed to be “civic leagues and other corporations … operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare, or local associations of employees with membership limited to a designated company or people in a particular municipality or neighborhood, and with net earnings devoted exclusively to charitable, educational, or recreational purposes.” [Definition courtesy of SourceWatch.org.] AFP qualifies, so long as you consider “grinding the middle class into the dirt” and “social welfare” to be synonymous.
News Briefs to page two
Page 2 - The New Hampshire Gazette - Friday, June 29, 2012
News Briefs from page one to a private company. Because, really, what our system for confining dangerous felons has been lacking all this time is somebody making a fat profit. Last November the Department of Corrections issued a 187page request for proposals. Four companies have submitted bids. Governor Lynch and the Executive Council are mulling them over now to decide whether the state will accept one of the proposals or stick with the old socialist model. There are those who don’t care for this idea, naturally. They point to the Pennsylvania judge who was found guilty of sentencing innocent teenagers just so he could collect kickbacks from the slammer. In Lansing, MI, a Township Supervisor complained that, despite the state’s promise that security at a local facility would not be compromised, the company now running the Woodland Correctional Facility has gone from providing around-the-clock armed patrols on the grounds to random patrols, and finally to surveillance cameras.
But let’s face it: there will always be people who object to the free market system, where those with capital to invest can risk it in the hope of getting a good return — thanks to a contract with the state. As Opposed to What? We were informed on Tuesday by email that Frank W. Szabo of Goffstown has declared his candidacy for Sheriff of Hillsborough County. Mr. Szabo makes a point of specifying that he “will be a Constitutional Sheriff, protecting the Citizens as well as their Rights and property.” He seems to be implying that James A. Hardy, the incumbent, is somehow operating in an unconstitutional manner. “Far too often,” according to Mr. Szabo’s announcement, “we hear of rogue federal and state agencies trampling the Rights of Citizens, unlawfully taking personal property and intimidating and harassing Citizens. As recognized by the United States Supreme Court and a multitude of historical documents and court cases, a Constitutional Sheriff has the authority to protect Citizen and private businesses from all unlawful actions. Frank W. Szabo
NARAL Pro-Choice America held a function on Friday, June 22nd at the Discover Portsmouth Center. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen was reportedly in attendance, though our Wandering Photographer was unable to spot her. Members of N.H. Right to Life were somewhat less elusive. 427-2919
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will be that Sheriff.” A resident of Goffstown with the same name — we presume it is the same individual — wrote a letter to the Nashua Telegraph last fall promoting a “Free State Farm CSA [Community Supported Agriculture] & Education Center,” suggesting that Mr. Szabo is most likely a member of the Free State Project. A judgment of the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, available online at leagle.com as In Re: Appeal of Frank W. Szabo and Madeline J. Szabo, &c., &., recounts a two-year legal struggle by the Szabos to maintain a chicken coop on their 1.6 acre, residentially zoned property in Upper Dublin Township. “In addition to approximately 17 chickens,” the judgment drily notes, “the Szabos feed 12 ducks, although it is unclear whether the ducks actually live on the property.” On being informed that chicken coops are permitted only on parcels of 5 acres or more, the couple challenged the jurisdiction
of the Zoning Board. Notified of the appeals procedure, provided with the appropriate forms, and given an extension of the filing deadline, “the Szabos responded with a letter to Barton [the Township’s enforcement officer] stating that it was inappropriate for him to communicate with the Szabos; that the Szabos had filed a demand with the Board; that Barton was in violation of his oath of office; that the law did not require the Szabos to fill out the appeal form; and that the Szabos did not need to pay the filing fee.” So, Mr. Szabo is just a random Libertarian crackpot convinced that 1) the law does not apply to him and 2) he is just the man to enforce it. He’s harmless, no one will vote for him, just forget about it, right? Well, there is just one more thing …. A page on the official Republican Party website, nhgop.org/ events/detail/4795, listed this event for May 1, 2012: “Power of the County Sheriff ” “The County Sheriff is the
highest elected official in the county. They are [sic] the Chief Law Enforcement Officer. They are empowered and charged with protecting the Citizens of the county, their property and their Rights. Frank Szabo will be discussing the history of, and potential for restoring freedom through, the Office of the County Sheriff.” So apparently the State GOP is just fine with all this. Szabo’s seminar was held at Liberty Harbor Academy in Manchester, an alternate-reality institution which will soon be siphoning off money that would otherwise go to public schools. Time Keeps On Slippin’ … Good news, everyone: according to a report published in the Award-Winning Local Daily on Tuesday, components for two “mammoth concrete vaults” were floated into Seabrook Harbor by barge last Sunday, whence they will be hauled by night, aboard freakish 100-wheeled trailors, to the Seabrook nuclear power plant. After they are assembled on-site, the vaults will relieve crowding in
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the spent-fuel pool by providing additional space to house the reactor’s spent nuclear fuel rods “for an undetermined period of time.” That indeterminacy arises from the cancellation three years ago of a proposed permanent nuke dump at Yucca Mountain, NV, due to that location’s permeable and earthquake-prone nature. The AWLD article made no mention of a relevant June 8th decision by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals. The court threw out a rule promulgated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission raising the time limit for on-site fuel rod storage from 30 to 60 years. The Boston Globe published an AP article about that decision on June 9th. It noted, undoubtedly referring to the 1986 Crystalline Repository Project [CRP], which briefly considered a site in western New Hampshire as one of 26 potential nuke dumps east of the Mississippi, that “attempts to force [nuclear waste dumps] on unwilling states, tribes, and communities have failed spectacularly.” Amen to that. The alleged Editor witnessed a frail, elderly woman in Henniker wag an index finger a Federal official at a
public hearing on the matter and say, “You’d better watch it. I keep a shotgun by my door.” Her threat drew cheers from the crowd. A Presidential Blue Ribbon Commission noted in January that much of the opposition to the CRP came from state officials. Its report could have named New Hampshire’s then-Governor, John H. Sununu. A former nuclear engineer for Westinghouse, and one of Seabrook’s staunchest proponents, Sununu was the epitome of the NIMBY stance towards the CRP. The Commission recommended that future efforts to get rid of the stuff should be “consentbased.” If the for-profit nuclear power industry can’t manufacture consent from the likes of “Papa” Sununu, it can’t do it anywhere. The “undetermined period” those mammoth vaults will serve is likely to be forever. SAPL Anti-Nuke Film Series The Seacoast Anti-Pollution League [SAPL] is holding a special anti-nuclear/pro-renewable power presentation titled “Burying Nuclear Power / Getting To Solartopia” on Thursday, July 5th, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. in the Levenson Community Room at
The 5th Regiment New Hampshire Volunteers, a Civil War re-enactment group, mustered at Strawbery Banke on the weekend of June 16th-17th. Their tents are in the foreground, in the distance they play baseball — by 19th century rules, of course.
© 2012 by Dan Woodman
Friday, June 29, 2012 - The New Hampshire Gazette - Page 3
Portsmouth Public Library. Harvey Wasserman, the speaker, is author or co-author of a dozen books including Solartopia! Our Green-Powered Earth, A.D. 2030. Harvey was a founder of NukeFree.org, which helped derail a $50 billion federal loanguarantee program proposed by the U.S. nuclear reactor industry. He teaches U.S. history, western civilization and cultural diversity at Columbus State Community College and Capital University in central Ohio. In 1968 Wasserman helped found the legendary anti-war Liberation News Service and the communal/organic Montague (MA) Farm, now home to the Zen Peacemaker Community, International. 5th New Hampshire Volunteers A Civil War living history organization known as the 5th Regiment New Hampshire Volunteers encamped at Strawbery Banke recently (see photo, left). Their Quartermaster, Marc Vallee of Bedford, talked to us a bit about about the original unit,
which, as William Marvel has written, had “more men killed outright on the battlefield than any other Civil War unit on either side.” The Regiment was organized by Col. Edward E. Cross of Lancaster in 1861, in the months after Fort Sumpter was attacked. “He was not Regular Army,” Marc said, “but he subscribed to a lot of Regular Army philosophies. For instance, he firmly believed in having his NCOs trained in how to handle people, and how to manage people. That was a characteristic of the Federal Army, the U.S. Army, not state militias.” Such training and discipline made the 5th a formidable fighting force that was often asked to lead the Army of the Potomac’s II Corps into battle — an honor that came at a high cost. “When they left Concord in the fall of 1861 there were 1,200 men. They were reinforced several times while in the field. And when they returned to New Hampshire after the Battle of Gettysburg for rest and recuperation, there were
only 252 of them left.” Among the fallen at Gettysburg was Col. Cross. The 5th fought in nearly two dozen major battles from Yorktown to Appomattox, including Fair Oaks, The Seven Days, Savage’s Station, Malvern Hill, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, The Crater, Sayler’s Creek, and High Bridge. Although the members of the Regiment do not try to represent particular historic individuals, Marc says, “We are authenticity Nazis. If they didn’t do it we don’t do it.” And to that end they get together once every month, year round. Quotable “There are three things that make a race worth focusing on: a winnable seat, a strong progressive Democrat and an especially villainous opponent. The House race in New Hampshire’s First District has all three.” — Laura Clawson, endorsing Carol SheaPorter, cited by William Tucker at MiscellanyBlue.com.
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Welcome Home/End of Iraq War Parade To the Editor: At two o’clock, on Sunday, July 8th, New Hampshire’s “Welcome Home” End of Iraq War Parade will be going through downtown Portsmouth. The parade’s primary purpose is to celebrate the return of our military personnel from Iraq, by welcoming home our recently returning veterans from both Afghanistan and Iraq and thanking everyone who supported us during our deployments. It doesn’t make a difference if you supported President Bush starting the Iraq War and how he waged the Afghanistan War or if you supported President Obama ending the Iraq War and how he is ending the Afghanistan War. Everyone marching supported the troops in their own way, whether it be greeting them at Pease upon their safe return or standing vigil in Market Square until they all safely return. The secondary purpose of the parade is a jobs and services fair. Wars are expensive, but those that volunteered bear the majority of the cost. Unlike previous wars, there was no declaration of war, no draft and no shared sacrifice. Over the past decade, only one percent of the American population served. Never before has our nation expected so much from so few. Everyone sacrificed during World War II. The greatest generation returned to great fanfare, used the GI Bill, created the
middle class and made America an economic powerhouse. Today, thirteen percent of Afghanistan and Iraq veterans are unemployed and the jobs and services fair will help provide willing employers with the greatest members this generation has to offer. The VA and New Hampshire’s Dept. of Employment Security will be at the fair to explain new tax incentives to hire recent veterans. If you are an employer interested in participating, contact me at email@example.com. It is far easier to say you support the troops than it is to demonstrate that you support them. Demonstrate Portsmouth’s solidarity in supporting the troops by welcoming them home. As an Iraq War combat veteran and president of the parade’s steering committee, I am inviting everyone reading this to join the parade’s Co-Grand Marshals, Governor John Lynch, and several Gold Star families, and demonstrate Portsmouth’s commitment to our returning veterans and welcome them home with the fanfare they deserve. Josh Denton Steering Committee President Portsmouth, NH § Guinta Abuses Public Trust To the Editor: In his latest newsletter, Frank Guinta congratulated himself on his “victory” over “competitiondestroying” Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) because the U.S. Labor Dept. withdrew the PLA requirement for the Manchester Job Corps Center. He claims it isn’t about “union-bashing” but about “fairness.” This is false on both counts, and New Hampshire workers and taxpayers will be paying the price, literally, for the loss of this PLA. Mr. Guinta misunderstands or distorts what PLAs are and why they are used. Bizarrely, he claims that “PLAs divert limited taxpayer dollars away from funding
for important projects.” The best source, a May 2011 Cornell University study defines a PLA as a “comprehensive, uniform labor agreement — a ‘job-site constitution’ — that standardizes contract terms among various crafts for the duration of a project.” How could such a project framework “divert funds’? In fact, by standardizing contract terms with various crafts, PLAs achieve significant cost savings. Any contractor (non-union or union) can bid on a project. PLAs promote job stability and productivity by banning strikes, coordinating work schedules, mandating skilled, well-trained workers, and requiring a common contract expiration date. Shame on Mr. Guinta for pushing, at taxpayer expense, to inflate the profits of contract bidders (whose constructionindustry lobby contributes to his campaign). The Cornell study reminds us, “It is the public interest — not the business interest of individual contractors — that is to be protected by securing, through fair and open bidding, the best work for the money” (p.3). Guinta forgets — public office is a public trust. He continues to abuse that trust! Herb Moyer Exeter, NH Herb: Frank Guinta may not know the facts about PLAs, but when did he ever care about facts? His only concern is one Federal paycheck — his. The Editor § Facts vs. Rhetoric To the Editor: I only write about Israel when Marjorie Gallace has a letter in this column, as she did on June 1, 2012. Her comments are so outlandish that I feel that she can’t be allowed to pass “GO,” as is usually the case, without a response. Readers may remember her denial of the Holocaust as she quibbled over whether the first letter of the
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word was capitalized or not, rendering a strange kind of distraction from the actual event. Her lack of a semblance of objectivity and utter distortion of reality is downright embarrassing to read in these pages and serves at best as a kind of mock, grizzly theatre. Gallace’s words: “Ever since Israel declared itself as a state in 1948, its cruelty and crimes have been shown for all to see. Attacking all its neighbors, bombing civilians … mark its bloody history of atrocity.” Firstly, Israel did not declare itself a state. On November 29, 1947 the UN declared the existence of two states: a state for the Arabs and a state of Israel. The UN Partition Plan created unwieldy boundaries between the two nascent states based upon land ownership and population densities of the two groups. The Arab states in defiance of the UN plan launched a war which, by their own public rhetoric, was to be the war of annihilation. The intent was not to correct some border dispute or to reclaim turf lost in an earlier battle. The intention was to destroy the newly created State of Israel, and to dispatch by whatever means necessary its 605,000 Jews. Israel is the only known country in all of history to come into being via legal and beneficial land development. As to Gallace’s comment about Israeli aggression since its inception, in the wars of 1948 and 1967 Israel was the recipient of genocidal aggression and refusal of Arab nations to join it in peace negotiations. I have personally heard described in the 1948 war how Israeli’s banged on pots and pans, the sounds of which fended off attacks. What’s more, Israel is surrounded on all sides by hostile regimes. From genocidal Iran in the east, to an increasingly anti-Israel
Egypt in the west, terrorist Hezbollah in Lebanon to the north, and Hamas and a new growing terrorist infrastructure involving a who’s who of terror, including an al Qaeda affiliate in the Sinai Peninsula to the south. I appreciate thought provoking, honest commentary and debate in this column, above the fray, not nonsensical psycho-babble. Mike Kulla Pleasant Valley § Father’s Day Fatuity To the Editor: Father’s Day is special to me as it is to all fathers. My father is proud of America and I want to leave America even stronger for my children and yours. All Americans are dreaming of a better future for our children. But more and more, we see an America bogged down by big government, taxes and the taking away of our freedoms. As I look at my children, I think about the America they will and are inheriting … and it concerns me. One of my biggest concerns is the future of healthcare in this country if we don’t repeal ObamaCare. That’s why I have started this petition: www.Iwantrepeal.com. No matter how the Supreme Court decides, we need to be ready to fight Obama on his left wing ideas on healthcare and the country. That is why I am asking you to sign this Petition to Repeal ObamaCare … and I need you to sign it immediately. We will be delivering each and every petition to the White House … you can even see yours being printed live after signing. So please, sign the petition and then forward this to a friend. We need all conservatives on board to fight this massive government overreach. Rep. Pete Sessions [R-TX] NRCC Chairman Washington, DC
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Friday, June 29, 2012 - The New Hampshire Gazette - Page 5
And Other Correspondence Pete: Let’s see … steaming heaps of banal platitude? Check. Pious expressions of rote devotion? Check. Routine warnings of dire boogeymen? Check. Peremptory commands to follow orders? Check. Delusionally stupid use of an email address? Check. By the way, Daddy-O — our readers want to know: are you holding fundraisers at strip clubs more often now that you’re separated from your wife, or less often? The Editor § Frustrated Frank To the Editor: I was astonished to learn that Congressman Frank Guinta, when filing as a candidate, felt “frustrated” to have achieved almost nothing while in office. Wasn’t it tea-partier Frank Guinta who, during a debate in Oct. 2010 at New England College, asserted we “ought to … judge [members of Congress] not by the legislation they file, but by the legislation they repeal?” So why even be disappointed, let alone frustrated, at his lack of accomplishments? I get it — standing still wasn’t enough — he wanted to move backwards! The Democratic Senate is keeping us in the 21st century by blocking House Republicans’ repeated efforts to turn back the clock and gut the laws that protect us. Mr. Guinta and House Republicans tried, but Senate Democrats prevented tying the EPA’s and FDA’s regulatory hands and reintroducing poisons into our water, air, and food; protected us from financial predators by preventing Republicans from blocking the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau or handing Social Security to Wall St.; stopped them from privatizing Medicare or handing us back to unregulated rapacious health insurers.
Poor Mr. Guinta doesn’t have those backward-moving “accomplishments” (= repealed legislation) to brag about. Such a shame that we haven’t retreated to the early 20th century when robber barons and financiers drove the nation into the Great Depression, and people, free of safety nets, were free to starve and sleep outdoors year-round and travel the rails as hobos in freight cars and die of preventable diseases. Those were the days. Live free and die. Susan Mayer Lee, NH § Alike In Name Only To the Editor: By equating public service employee unions with private sector unions the Fortnightly Rant and the accompanying cartoon greatly distort the reality of the Wisconsin failure to recall Governor Scott Walker. In the first place it is erroneous to equate private sector unions with those of public employee unions. In spite of the propaganda that attempts to portray the fight for recognition as equally heroic, the public service employees were not empowered after being subjected to humiliation, threats, and beatings at the hands of company goons; they became empowered by President John F. Kennedy ‘s executive order in return for labor union support. Before that time public employee unions were forbidden by law, and even FDR thought it unthinkable that the public sector should organize. Furthermore, since all unions are a monopoly that want to organize workers in a particular area in order to gain better working conditions, salaries and benefits, the public service employees enjoy a secondary monopoly privilege in that the services the government provides have no competitors,
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and, as in the case of teachers, the state mandates, under penalty of law that their services be used, these public service employees enjoy a tertiary monopoly. Lastly, these employees think themselves an elite group that does not have to conform to financial realities as they demand that their fellow citizens, many of whom are private sector union workers, pay more taxes to continue their privileged position even when these workers have been hard hit by adverse economic conditions and have been forced to renegotiate their own wages and benefits in order to remain employed. No, instead of condemning Governor Walker for not conforming to the old policies of public service employees negotiating with government and leaving the taxpayers out, he finally showed the courage to represent all the people of Wisconsin, not just those who demand they be shielded from the economic realities that the rest ot their neighbors have to bear, neighbors,and some so called union brothers who cannot afford additional taxes to support an elite group of workers. Unfortunately the real hardship will fall upon those private sector unions that fought so bravely for recognitions and will now have to endure right to work laws. They should have distanced themselves from the public employee unions from the start, as did George Meany. John Dente Wilmington, DE John: Public and private unions may not be identical, but these days that distinction doesn’t seem to make much difference. We recognize “divide and conquer” when we see it. The Editor § Defend Durham To the Editor: Durham is engaged in a headlong pursuit of huge buildings in our downtown and outlying areas Murph’s Fortnightly Quote “All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.” — Galileo Galilei, astronomer, mathematician
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with the idea of alleviating what some see as a crisis in UNH student housing. It is said that these large buildings will add significant tax dollars to the town’s coffers but specifics have not been forthcoming. I would like to offer another way to look at the notion of out-oftown corporations building large apartment and rooming houses in Durham. Take, for example, the effect of soon-to-be completed Cottages at Durham which is, I understand, fully rented for the 2012 – 2013 school year. According to the town, 162 of the new tenants at The Cottages lived in rooms or auxiliary apartments in Durham’s private homes for the just finished school year. Assume an average rent of $600 a month for each of those 162 tenants and you can easily see that Durham’s small “Mom ‘n Pop” landlords will lose $97,200 a month or $1,166,400 a year with the loss of those tenants. If you further include the 84 students who have rented from or at Varsity Place, Davis Court, Perry Bryant, Jenkins Court, Slania, CES and Roselawn you come up with a total of 246 (162 from homes + 84 from small businesses) students whose rent will be lost to Durham’s landlords and small businesses, with a resulting monthly income loss of $147,600 and an annual loss of $1,771,200. This is particularly troubling More Hate Mail, &c. to page six
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Page 6 - The New Hampshire Gazette - Friday, June 29, 2012
The Long Home by William Marvel
hen I was about ten, my summer neighbor on Davis Hill alerted me to a little cemetery in the woods where two Civil War soldiers were buried. The centennial of that conflict had not yet inflamed the popular imagination, but I was already fascinated with it, and I immediately investigated the Hatch family cemetery. There I found a six-foot monument to James F. Hatch and a smaller headstone for Enoch E. Haselton, both of whom I eventually came to know quite well. The two were brothers-in-law. Enoch Haselton was born in Goshen, as South Conway was then known, in 1842, and as the youngest son of a relatively poor farmer with many children he had few prospects for inheritance. That did not stop him from marrying Grace Hatch in January of 1862, but with no home of his own he probably moved her into
his father’s place, next to her own family’s house. One hundred and fifty years ago this week, Abraham Lincoln issued a frantic appeal for volunteers in the wake of battlefield reverses. The federal government was offering an enlistment bounty of $100, and that amounted to a considerable sum for the yeomen of Goshen, where small farms could be had for $200 to $300. As a further incentive, recruits could claim $25 of the bounty in advance, along with one month’s pay of $13. The financial lure worked much better in the hardscrabble hillfarm districts, which provided a vastly disproportionate percentage of their male residents to the Union army. Probably looking for a stake, Enoch enlisted on July 12 with a Center Conway man who was raising a company, and three days later Grace’s 17-yearold brother added his name to the list, claiming to be 18. One can almost hear him wheedling his
father to corroborate that fib in his anxiety to join Enoch in the great adventure beyond the rocky hills of Goshen. A few days later they boarded the stagecoach together at the Conway House and vanished forever from the sight of their families and friends. By the end of the month they had been mustered into the 9th New Hampshire Infantry, at Concord, and their training consisted of exactly four weeks of sporadic drilling, without weapons. On August 25 they started for Washington, and twelve days later marched away on their first active campaign. The 9th New Hampshire went into its first engagement at South Mountain, Md., on September 14, 1862, less than three weeks after those rookies left home, and Enoch Haselton’s knee was shattered in the first volley ever aimed at them. He never fired his rifle. Friends carried him back to an impromptu hospital at the Lutheran church in Middle-
town, where he died of infection at the beginning of October. James Hatch soldiered on through the battles of Antietam and Fredericksburg. Around his 18th birthday, in January of 1863, he went to the hospital with dysentery so bad that the doctors sent him to Washington, but he was dead when they carried him off the transport. A burial detail took him to the Soldiers Home cemetery, out Seventh Street. President Lincoln summered at the Soldiers Home, and sometimes during the hot months of 1863 and 1864 he ambled among the fresh graves there, perhaps passing over the spot where a faceless boy from Goshen lay. At the end of the war, contracted laborers carted Enoch Haselton’s remains from the Middletown churchyard to Antietam National Cemetery, where he lies today beneath towering hemlocks. His South Conway headstone and the big monument to James Hatch reflect only the grief of their sur-
vivors, rather than their last resting places. A grateful nation awarded Calvin and Mehitable Hatch a pension of eight dollars a month for the loss of their son — whom they claimed, with probable exaggeration, to have been their sole source of support. Grace Hatch received the balance of her husband’s bounty, but no pension, for within two years she married John Page, from Fryeburg. She died at the age of 59 in 1900, and was buried behind the Fryeburg library with her second husband and infant daughter. If any photographs of the Hatches and Haseltons survive, I’m not aware of it. Both families’ names have died out, at least in the line of direct descent. Except for some crumbling papers in the National Archives, their houses in South Conway, the church in Middletown, and a few weathered stone inscriptions, nothing survives to say that they ever lived.
MoreMash Notes, Hate Mail, And Other Correspondence, from Page Five because many of those landlords have been using their rental income to pay their property taxes to Durham for years. Also disturbing are substantial tax breaks that are being proposed or have been given to developers under New Hampshire RSA 79-E, the Community Revitalization Tax Relief Incentive program. The proposals for massive rooming houses and apartment buildings by out-of-town and out-of-state corporations are contrary to the best interests of Durham’s resident taxpayers. Taking dependable income away from long term residents and shifting that income to new business enterprises is really a transfer of benefits away
from people who have been loyally paying their taxes for years to out-of-town corporations. This is not re-vitalization. It is re-location. Dudley Dudley Durham, NH § Support Obama and Education To the Editor: I grew up in the Keene area and come from a family that believes in education. My mom is a teacher, and I hope to become a teacher as well. While it was really challenging and frightening to find affordable options for school, I came out with enough financial aid to attend one of my top choices. Many of my peers
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were not so lucky. The Obama administration, however, is working hard to ultimately make sure that every student who wants to attend a good college can afford it; with programs like a new tax credit for tuition that began last year, and the doubling of Pell Grants. I’m concerned about the direction in which public education has been going. I have seen first hand through a mentorship program what the public schools of Boston, Massachusetts have to offer our children. Their experiences do not compare to the education I received here in New Hampshire. We absolutely need to ensure that public education is supported and improved, and President Obama
is working hard on that. The Recovery Act supported almost 300,000 education jobs. In 2010, the Obama administration helped school districts across the country prevent 161,000 teacher and school staff layoffs. In his State of the Union Address, Mr. Obama challenged schools and states to keep good teachers on the job and to keep students in school until they graduate or turn 18. But probably the biggest impact the President has achieved in terms of supporting education is the Race to the Top program. The program rewards states for raising educational standards, helping teachers to better themselves and aiding schools that are
struggling. Forty six states have already adopted educational reforms as a result of the Race to the Top program! Race to the Top includes grants to 21 states for an Early Learning challenge. Those states include 65 percent of children in the U.S. and 59 percent of all low-income students. President Obama clearly understands the need to support and improve America’s teachers, students and educational system so that we can shine not just here at home, but in the global arena as well. Please give the President your support so that he may carry on this hugely important work. Laura Haenchen Keene, NH
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Happy Hour for Craft Beers by Jim Hightower nd now, for some happy talk — by which I mean a noncorporate, “little-d” democratic, and altogether-pleasurable economic development that’s spreading across our country. In a word: Beer. More specifically, craft breweries are flourishing from Maine to Oregon, with happy hopheads in town after town now able to boast
of their own local, unique, zesty, and fun batch of suds. While Anheuser-Busch (now owned by a German conglomerate) and MillerCoors (partially-owned by Canadians) still dominate America’s beer market, sales of the nondescript national brands have soured in recent years. But innovative, small-batch, hometown yeast-wranglers have tapped a burgeoning market of brewski lovers reaching for the real gusto.
Since 2004, craft beers have doubled their share of the U.S. market. Some 250 upstart breweries opened last year alone, bringing their total number to nearly 2,000. This has been a true populist economic phenomenon. Consumers and artisans have found each other and spontaneously crated an alternative, locally-based economy that helps sustain themselves and their community, rather than having their money siphoned out
by far-away profit-takers. Of course, the big boys are slyly trying to sink their own taps into the craft success of the small guys. Budweiser and Miller, for example, are now marketing pretendcraft beers, having bought such once-local brands as Chicago’s Goose Island and Wisconsin’s Leinenkugel. Unabashed by this consumer deception, however, a Miller spokesman sniffed: “We don’t concern ourselves with
what [someone else] defines as a craft brewer?” Wow — sounds like Miller’s man quaffed one too many mugs of a genuine local beer from San Diego called “Arrogant Bastard”! When in doubt about whether a local beer is really local, ask the locals. Copyright 2012 by Jim Hightower & Associates. Contact Laura Ehrlich (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
Wishful Thinking To the Editor: Four suggestions: Our military/industrial complex is, and has been, on steroids since President Eisenhower told us to beware of its power. I’m told we have military presence in 120 different countries. Why? I’ve no idea, do you? Discharge some, and bring the rest home to build the worlds best infrastructure. Thus would we increase our country’s value rather than pile up weaponry to kill people. Where will we find the money to pay off the debt? That’s the easiest part of the puzzle to solve. Tax the folks who brought down the banks and ruined many a retirement portfolio. The harm they did was accomplished by quick trading enormous pools of wealth, virtual and otherwise, for fractional gains. They leveraged the market against itself with other people’s money (read ours). If every market transaction were taxed for a wee slice of its value, then all such speculation would be restrained. Threats to move trading overseas could be smothered by charging a double slice to those who moved their activity away. Thus would most of the money raised come from the very ones who have been gaming the system (not us). With it we can pay down our national debt, strengthen health care, and
move towards environmental reform. Fund universal health care for everyone by making it a federally administered single payer program for all. No such baloney as calling it insurance to profit the insurance industry. It’s care, and we all pay. It will likely cost less when we remove its15 % insurance overhead and spread the cost of care over a larger population. The opportunity to increase benefits may well be there. If not, take what’s necessary from the transaction tax income. If you want a higher or special level of care, you pay for that individually on top of what your federal health care cost you. If there’s a nut case who doesn’t wish to participate, he still pays, and he won’t be compelled to accept the care that’s there for him. One may hope he enjoys paying his share to help others in need. “Too big to fail” is a cheap phrase to provide cover for the biggest violators of our trust, Any auditor confronted by a combined savings and investment bank has a really tough job on his hands. The so-called banks have likely found ways within (or not) the law to commingle funds It’s no wonder their audits are usually late and conditioned with yards of CYA. We can make the auditor’s life a lot easier by reviving the Glass
Steagall Act’s provision that split commercial (savings) banks from Investment Banks. “Too big” would be cut in half, accounting vastly simplified, and some trust restored. W. Mason Bailey Kittery Point, ME § A Day’s Work For a Day’s Pay To the Editor: Congressman Frank Guinta’s annual salary is $174,000. When he is in Washington he puts in a three day week. The House of Representatives under Republican rule takes many vacations of a week or greater yet they continue to cash their paychecks as if they worked full time. What have they done to earn so much time off? Has unemployment dropped markedly? Is the economy booming? When Mr. Guinta ran for office did he tell you he planned to work less than half a year for a full year’s wages and benefits? As a retired Federal worker I resent having my taxes pay big salaries to bums who complain that Government isn’t working when the ones not working are the politicians complaining. Mr. Guinta was elected largely due to hundreds of negative ads paid for by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. I wasn’t aware that the Chamber lobbied to pay full time wages and benefits to work-
ers who take off half of the year. If this isn’t the Chamber’s policy maybe you should ask who is funneling in so much money for these ads and hiding behind the Chamber’s formerly good name. When you vote in September primaries and November election please find another person to replace Mr. Guinta. It should not be hard to find someone who will put in a full day’s work for a full day’s pay. Mr. Guinta clearly won’t. Walter Hamilton Portsmouth, NH § Friends of Frank To the Editor: Researching political contributions given to elected officials provides important information about the true loyalties and positions of politicians. A look at Frank Guinta’s sources of support reveals an alarming picture. Among his top four contributors are the American Resort Development Association, which is located in the South that deals mostly with time sharing. It was fined $9000,000 by the FEC in 2010 for violations in its business practices. Also supporting Guinta is the American Bankers Association, one of the four largest accounting firms in the country. This was also the firm that “audited” AIG before that company almost went under
while being a major partner of firms damaging the US economy at the end of the Bush era. This was the firm that dropped the ball in auditing Tyco, which resulted in executives being found guilty of looting $600 million from the company. It was also sued by Willie Nelson for putting his money into tax shelters that were later disallowed by the IRS. A third example of Guintagivers is BAE Systems, a foreign company seeking to land big defense contracts from the U.S. government, threatening U.S. jobs and siphoning federal dollars overseas. I would like to see reports from our local papers practice real journalism by doing similar research into how Guinta’s voting in Congress is connected to supporters like these. Let them forego the many puff pieces they write about bogus job fairs and visits to senior citizen centers (without stating how he voted against the popular Meals on Wheels program). In any case, it will be a breath of fresh air when we vote Guinta out of office next November. Chuck Rhoades Dover, NH Chuck: Your’re doing pretty well yourself — how about keeping it up? We’ll keep printing it. The Editor
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Page 8 - The New Hampshire Gazette - Friday, June 29, 2012
Admiral Fowle’s Piscataqua River Tidal Guide (Not for Navigational Purposes) Portsmouth, arguably the first town in this country not founded by religious extremists, is bounded on the north and east by the Piscataqua River, the second, third, or fourth fastest-flowing navigable river in the country, depending on
who you choose to believe. The Piscataqua’s ferocious current is caused by the tide, which, in turn, is caused by the moon. The other player is a vast sunken valley — Great Bay — about ten miles upriver. Twice a day, the moon
drags about seventeen billion gallons of seawater — enough to fill 2,125,000 tanker trucks — up the river and into Great Bay. This creates a roving hydraulic conflict, as incoming sea and the outgoing river collide. The skirmish line
moves from the mouth of the river, up past New Castle, around the bend by the old Naval Prison, under Memorial Bridge, past the tugboats, and on into Great Bay. This can best be seen when the tide is rising.
Twice a day, too, the moon lets all that water go. All the seawater that just fought its way upstream goes back home to the ocean. This is when the Piscataqua earns its title for xth fastest current. Look for the red buoy, at the upstream
end of Badger’s Island, bobbing around in the current. It weighs several tons, and it bobs and bounces in the current like a cork. The river also has its placid moments, around high and low tides. When the river rests, its tugboats
and bridges work their hardest. Ships coming in laden with coal, oil, and salt do so at high tide, for more clearance under their keels. They leave empty, riding high in the water, at low tide, to squeeze under Memorial Bridge.
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2002—Two America West pilots, after consuming nearly three gallons of beer, are thrown out of a Miami bar about 4:45 a.m. Slated to pilot Flight 556 to Phoenix, they are busted instead. 1991—George Herbert [Hoover] Walker Bush nominates Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court. 1973—Military conscription ends in the U.S., succeeded by an all”volunteer” force. 1968—South Vietnam officially takes over the Phoenix Program. 1968—A chartered DC-8 carrying 214 American soldiers to Vietnam goes off course, strays into Soviet airspace, and is forced to land in the USSR. 1956—Elvis Presley appears on the Steve Allen Show and sings “Hound Dog” to a basset hound dressed in formal wear. 1946—The U.S. Army detonates the world’s 4th nuclear exposion at Bikini Atoll. The U.S. Navy orders sailors to board radioactive target ships the following day. 1917—In Boston, 8,000 march against the war. 1916—On the first day of the Battle of the Somme, 19,240 British soldiers die and 35,493 go missing. 1884—Allan Pinkerton, founder of the strike-breaking, union-busting detective agency, dies from an infected tongue after biting it accidentally in a fall.
2003—George W. Bush says, “There are some who feel that the conditions are such that they can attack us [in Iraq]. My answer is, bring ’em on.” 1982—Vietnam vet Larry Walters, 33, ascends to 16,000 feet in a lawn chair buoyed by 45 helium-filled weather balloons. 1976—The Supreme Court rules there’s nothing cruel or unusual about the government killing certain selected people. 1970—Word gets out that South Vietnam is torturing prisoners at Con Son Prison. 1932—One year after predicting that highway speeds of 100 m.p.h. would soon be common, Fred Duesenberg rolls his Duesenberg at high speed. He dies three weeks later. 1917—A carload of white males conduct a drive-by shooting in black East St. Louis, starting the 20th century’s worst race riot. 1894—Attorney General (railroad director) Richard Olney gets an injunction against striking Pullman workers. 1881—In Washington, Charles Guiteau, a Republican of the “Stalwart” faction, shoots President Garfield in the back. 1776—Twelve colonies vote to support the Declaration of Independence at the Continental Congress in Philadelphia.
1993—In Littleton, NH, punk rocker and native son GG Allin is buried in the St. Rose Cemetery, clad in a leather jacket, dog collar, and jockstrap. 1988—The U.S.S. Vincennes, confusing an Iranian airliner for an F-14, shoots it down; 290 civilians die. 1960—George Lincoln Rockwell leads an American Nazi Pary rally on the Mall in Washington, D.C. It devolves into a riot. 1940—To prevent its falling into Nazi hands, the British Navy sinks much of the French fleet at Mersel-Kébir, off Algeria. 1894—President G. Cleveland sends federal troops to Cleveland, vowing to get the lowliest postcard delivered if it takes the whole U.S. Army to do it. 1890—The 43rd state is admitted to the Union. Idaho’s name, once thought to be Shoshoni, is more likely a hoax concocted by one George M. Willing. 1863—Portsmouth-born Benjamin F. Falls captures a flag at Gettysburg; he is later decorated with the Medal of Honor. 1850—Australian newspaper publisher James Harrison dooms New Hampshire’s ice-exporting industry by demonstrating the first mechanical refrigeration plant. 1754—George Washington finds it necessary to surrender Fort Necessity to the French.
2004—Joe Frost makes the final sale ever at The Book Guild on State Street. 1991—During Portsmouth’s “Welcome Home Desert Storm Vets” Parade, ’Nam Vets are applauded 17 years after the Fall of Saigon. 1961—The Soviet sub K-19 lives up to her nickname, “Hiroshima.” 1951—Baltimore’s regular fireworks display is preceded by a mock “atomic bomb” explosion complete with two collapsing houses, burst water and gas mains, and evacuation of the “wounded.” 1947—The Boozefighters, a subset of “The Greatest Generation,”® take over Hollister, CA. Three days of debauchery spawn a movie, The Wild One, and a generation of poseurs, mostly accountants. 1932—A spark prematurely ignites fireworks carried by daredevil Louis “Speedy” Babbs as he parachutes over Santa Monica. He plunges into the Pacific in a ball of fire but soon resumes his career. 1924—Thousands of Ku Klux Klansmen meet in New Jersey to burn crosses and celebrate the failure of a Democratic Party campaign plank which would have condemned the Klan. 1911—Nashua registers New Hampshire‘s highest temperature to date, 106 degrees. 1898—At Hampton Beach, a tornado kills 3 and injures 120.
1989—Lt. Col. Ollie North gets his wrist slapped for trampling on the Constitution. 1968—The Marine base at Khe Sanh, defended through a 78-day siege ending three months earlier at a cost of 737 lives, is abandoned. 1950—Private Kenneth Shadrick, 20, of Skin Fork, WV, becomes the first American killed in the Korean War. 1946—In Paris, Micheline Bernardini appears wearing the world’s first bikini. 1943—Residents of Boise City, OK are startled when, at 12:30 a.m., a lost B-17 drops six training bombs in the town square. 1934—During a dock workers’ strike in San Francisco, Joseph Roush, a Federal Laboratories sales rep, fires a long-distance tear gas shell at strikers. Hit in the skull, one later dies. Roush writes to his boss, “as he was a Communist, I had no feeling in the matter and I am sorry that I did not get more.” 1894—A massive fire, probably set, destroys six buildings at the World’s Columbian Exposition, including Machinery Hall, where Daniel Fowle’s printing press was last seen by the public. 1861—Abraham Lincoln suspends habeas corpus, permitting the arrest of 18,000 subversives and peace activists. 1810—Happy B’day P.T. Barnum.
2006—Riding a bike in Scotland, George W. Bush takes a hand off the handlebars to wave at police. Bush falls and strikes a policeman, who is hospitalized. 2003—A New York Times op-ed by Joseph Wilson accuses George W. Bush of “twisting” intelligence to justify a war against Iraq. 2001—Ex-FBI Special Agent, devout Catholic, patron of strippers, and exhibitionist Robert Hanssen pleads guilty to selling U.S. secrets to the U.S.S.R., then the Russians. 1971—Troubled by leaks, the Nixon Administration forms the “Plumbers” unit. 1959—A C-124 with a nuke onboard (minus its fissile core) crashes at Barksdale AFB in LA. Both plane and weapon are destroyed. 1957—John Lennon and Paul McCartney meet. 1933—The first All-Star Game is played at Comisky Park. Babe Ruth hits the first homer. 1916—The U.S. Army begins using dog tags to improve its method of accounting for dead GIs. 1894—U.S. troops land in Nicaragua to protect U.S. interests. 1892—Pinkerton “detectives” and striking miners begin fighting it out in Homestead, PA; 20 die. 1887—David Kalakaua, King of Hawaii, signs away most of his power as he inks the “Bayonet Constitution” at gunpoint.
1967—North Vietnamese General Nguyen Chi Thanh dies of a heart attack after excessively celebrating the Politburo’s approval of his plan for a Tet Offensive. 1954—As Ngo Dinh Diem arrives in Saigon to serve as premier, U.S. Gen. John W. O’Daniel, says “the war in Vietnam can be won without bringing in one single American soldier to fight.” 1950—FBI Chief J. Edgar “Mary” Hoover proposes the permanent detention of 12,000 people he deems “potentially dangerous to the internal security of the country.” 1924—President Coolidge’s son Calvin Jr. succumbs to blood poisoning resulting from a blister he got playing tennis with his brother on the White House lawn. 1905—Kentucky hangs Robert Mathley, but he’s six feet tall and the rope stretches. Officials with shovels dig until his feet don’t touch the earth. 1844—In Philadelphia, nativist Protestants and Irish Catholics armed with cannon fight it out at the Church of St. Philip Neri. 1826—In Frankfort, KY, Jereboam O. Beauchamp, Esq. is hurriedly hanged for murder before he can bleed to death from a self-inflicted knife wound. Beauchamp and his wife Anna are then buried, embracing, in the same coffin; her end of the suicide pact succeeded.
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1976—The State of New York yanks Richard Nixon‘s license to practice law. 1969—The U.S. begins withdrawing troops from Vietnam instead of adding more. 1959—Viet Cong forces attack Bien Hoa air base, killing two U.S. advisors as they watch a movie. 1947—Radio reports say a UFO has crashed at Roswell, NM. 1944—Japanese-speaking Marine Private Guy Gabaldon singlehandedly takes custody of 800 prisoners on Saipan. 1932—The Dow-Jones average bottoms out at 41.22 points. 1911—Nan Jane Aspinwall arrives in New York City having left San Francisco 310 days earlier, traveling more than 4,500 miles on horseback. 1886—In Britain it rains snails. 1853—Commodore Matthew Perry convinces the Japanese that it‘s better to trade with the U.S. than get shelled by them. 1835—The Liberty Bell tolls upon the death of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall. Legend says it cracked this day, but that’s been disputed. 1788—In Canterbury, CT, hail falls to a depth of 34 inches. 1776—In Philadelphia, the as yet un-named Liberty Bell summons citizens to hear the Declaration of Independence read for the first time, by Colonel John Nixon.
2004—”I trust God speaks through me,” says George W. Bush to an Amish group. “Without that, I couldn’t do my job.” 1993—Garry Hoy, a Toronto lawyer, while demonstrating the strength of the glass of 24th floor windows, plunges to his death. 1986—Ed “Meese is a Pig” Meese publishes a 1,960 page report on pornography meticulously listing 100 pages worth of obscene movie, magazine, and book titles. 1958—Fourteen thousand U.S. troops, equipped with nuclear-capable rockets, invade Lebanon. 1958—A landslide big enough to fill four million dump trucks falls more than half a mile into Lituya Bay, AK, causing a megatsunami over 1,700 feet high. 1951—The House Un-American Activities Committee sentences tubercular Maltese Falcon author Dashiell Hammett to six months in prison for reticence. 1937—Oliver Law, a battalion commander in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade and the first AfricanAmerican to lead white troops, is killed in action in Spain. 1932—Donald Rumsfeld slithers from his mother’s womb. 1918—Two trains collide head-on in Nashville at a combined speed of 110 m.p.h., killing 101 and injuring another 171. It is the deadliest train wreck in U.S. history.
2007—China punishes Zheng Xiaoyu, Director of the State Food and Drug Administration. He took bribes that led to 40 deaths; they kill him. 2001—George Tenet tries to warn George Bush and Condi Rice about Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, but can’t get their attention. 1989—Fifteen tornadoes rip through the northeast, causing $100 million in damages. 1985—French secret police in the South Pacific blow up Greenpeace‘s boat, Rainbow Warrior. 1972—In the Chandka Forest of India, a herd of stampeding elephants, driven mad by the heat, flattens a village killing 24. 1926—At Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey, a bolt of lightning strikes a powder warehouse. Several million pounds of explosives go off over a three-day period, destroying 187 of 200 buildings, killing 19 and injuring 38 more. 1923—In Germany, to accomodate inflation, a 500,000 mark banknote is introduced. 1805—RIP Revolutionary War soldier Col. William Butler who was court martialled for refusing to cut off his ponytail. “Bore a hole through the bottom of my coffin,” he wrote in his will, “[so that] the damned rascal [his ex-commanding officer] will see that, even when dead, I refuse to obey his orders.”
2003—Condi Rice improbably denies White House knowledge of Joe Wilson’s Niger investigation; Ari Fleischer tells reporters Valerie Plame works for the CIA; Karl Rove tells a Time reporter that Wilson’s wife sent him to Niger, and his report is suspect; and CIA head George Tenet takes the rap for the White House’s lies about Iraq getting uranium from Niger. 1995—The U.S. establishes diplomatic relations with Vietnam 22 years after pulling out its troops. 1979—After a period of global anxiety, Skylab crashes to earth in the outback of Australia. 1966—Poet Delmore Schwartz dies in a New York hotel. No one notices until two days later. 1955—Congress puts “In God We Trust” on all U.S. coins and paper currency. Which one isn’t specified. 1953—Ike OK’s the overthrow of Iran’s Prime Minister Mohammed Mosaddeq. What could go wrong? 1947—In Georgia, 8 black prisoners are killed for refusing to work without boots in a swamp. 1864—On a parapet at Ft. Stevens, four miles north of the White House, Abraham Lincoln comes under enemy fire. 1804—At Weehauken, NJ Alexander Hamilton fires into the ground in front of Aaron Burr, who takes aim and shoots Hamilton in the chest, killing him.
1982—The Federal Emergency Management Agency pledges that, in the event of a nuclear war, the mail will get through. 1973—A fire at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, MO destroys the only copy of the service records of 16 to 18 million Army and Air Force veterans. 1962—In Pennsylvania, a garbage dump fire spreads to a coal mine where it will burn for more than twenty years. 1917—Armed vigilantes in Bisbee, AZ round up striking copper miners, herd them into cattle cars, take them east into New Mexico, and abandon them in the desert without food or water. 1916—Lyudmila Pavlichenko is born in the Ukraine. As a Red Army sniper, she kills over 500 Nazis during WWII and becomes the first Soviet citizen welcomed to the White House. 1908—Birth of Milton Berle, the first American transvestite to have his own television show. 1892—The Pennsylvania militia wins the battle against striking Homestead steelworkers. 1836—In Cincinnati, a pro-slavery mob destroys type used by James Burney to print his abolitionist paper, The Philanthropist. 1834—Botanist David Douglas of the eponymous fir is trampled by wild bulls in a Hawaiian pit trap.
1999—Sen. Bob Smith (R-NH) drops out of the Presidential race, and the Republican Party to boot, to run as an Independent. 1987—Warren Rudman tells Ollie North during the Iran-Contra hearings, “The American people have the constitutional right to be wrong.” 1977—Lightning strikes and human error black out New York. 1959—A sodium-cooled nuclear reactor in Simi Valley, CA has a partial meltdown, releasing 300 times more radiation than Three Mile Island, a fact kept secret for 20 years. 1950—A B-50 Superfortress crashes in Lebanon, OH, killing its crew of 16. The fissile core of the nuclear weapon on board not being installed, the crater made by its high explosives was only 25 feet deep. 1948—Israeli troops drive 70,000 Palestinians from their homes in Lydda and Remleh. 1943—Alexander Schmorell, a student and veteran, and Professor Kurt Huber, co-conspirators in the antiNazi pamphleteering group White Rose, are guillotined in Munich. 1863—A New York mob, enraged by draft laws exempting the rich, egged on by Democrats claiming Republicans would bring freed slaves north to replace lazy white workers, go on a three-day rampage, leveling whole blocks and attacking the offices of Horace Greeley’s proUnion New York Tribune.
2004—Senate Republicans try to ban gay marriage via Constitutional amendment but just can’t seem to rise to the occasion. 2004—During filming of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a rigging error drops a $540,000 movie camera into a huge vat of chocolate. 2003—A syndicated column written by Robert “The Reptile” Novak reveals the identity of Valerie Plame, a CIA agent. 2000—A Florida jury orders five tobacco companies to pay $145 billion in damages. An appeals court later lets them off the hook. 1991—A derailed tanker car full of pesticide spills into the Sacramento River killing 100,000 trout. 1989—Alabama tries twice, 19 minutes apart, to electrocute Horace F. Dunkins, who’s black and developmentally-disabled. The first try fails because the chair is wired wrong. 1987—Oliver North‘s testimony before Congress ends; perhaps he‘s out of lies. 1970—Bob Haldeman informs Tom Huston that Richard Nixon has approved his despicable Plan. 1921—An important show trial ends satisfactorily in Massachusetts: Nicolo Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti are found guilty. 1791—In Lausanne, Vevey, and Rolle, Switzerland, citizens celebrate the liberation of the Bastille, shouting “Live free or die.”
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