What is an Adequate Education?

“Education is what survives when what has been learned is forgotten.”
                                B. F. Skinner
In an unexpected landmark decision, New Hampshire’s Supreme Court decreed, the State has a constitutional obligation to ensure “an adequate education to every educable child in the public schools in New Hampshire and to guarantee adequate public …

Power to the People

“We must be certain that government will be long to the people, not the people to the government”.
Bernard Baruch

A famous writer is reputed to have said, the only time he felt safe from Congress was when it was not is session. … a feeling with which many Americans appear to …

Listen to Surgeon General Elders

“The Drug War … a clear and present danger?”
Surgeon General Elders remarks to the National Press Club, while perhaps intemperate and ill-considered, finally brought public debate over the nation’s failed drug policies out of the closet. 
Since 1981, the “war on drugs” has cost taxpayers more than $100 billion.  …

Democracy Is No Guaranty Of Equality Or Liberty

“Democracy arises out of the notion that those who are equal in any respect are equal in all respects”
America’s political system was built on the canons of democracy, equality and liberty.  Yet, while each is vital to a free society, they are unique and strange bedfellows, frequently at odds with …

Censorship is an Inexcusable Solution

Leave the Private Sector Alone!

“Laissez faire, laissez passer”               
Fancois Quesnay
During the last five years we have witnessed the demise of dozens of economic systems which fell victim to the excesses of restrictive and costly regulations and social programs imposed by their governments.  These managed economies were been driven to the brink by destructive policies …

The Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms

The Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms … Shall Not be Infringed"

Bill of Rights (1791)

America is fast becoming a nation enslaved by fear, propelled by a dramatic increase in crime and violence. 

This fear has been fanned by social activists who aim to regulate individual behavior as …

Seeds of Discontent

“Discontent is the want of self-reliance”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Preceding the upcoming anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination, the networks have served up their latest Kennedy bios and conspiracy docu-dramas.  Yet, its was more than that tragic event which forever marked Kennedy’s murder as a defining moment in American history.
Less than forty-eight hours …

Student Accountability … Receiving a Failing Grade

Historically, American schools and universities were places where students learned, were evaluated and held accountable for their efforts and achievements.  Academic rewards were linked directly to individual performance.  Concurrently, schools were havens where discipline and respect were the norm.  Those who disrupted the system were summarily punished and often expelled.
Now, …

Federal Money … Our National Addiction

“Every form of addiction is bad …”
                Carl Gustav Jung
During our Constitution’s ratification process, the Federalist Papers urged its adoption, arguing the need for a strong central government.  Leading the opposition, Jefferson fought for a literal interpretation of the Constitution, arguing maximum power should rest in the hands of the …

An Uncomfortable Alliance in Defense of Liberty

“One man’s justice is another’s injustice”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
At the height of the civil rights movement, Anthony Griffin, grew up amid the dehumanizing aspects of racial segregation.  His mother, however, admonished him to ignore “blacks-only” and other signs of segregation because it was the “right thing to do”.
In 1958, when Anthony’s …

Ban The Minuteman!

“Much ado about Nothing”
With serious intellectual pursuits falling by the wayside at many colleges, small cadres of self-righteous students fritter time away identifying new social problems in need of an immediate cures.  As with earlier campus protests, demonstrations and the issuance of “demands” are the principal means of drawing attention …

Health Care Reform Must Demand Accountability

It’s Time to Leave the Quagmire of Somalia

American involvement in Somalia began with the noble intention of providing food and medicine to a civilian population whose fate was of no consequence to feuding despots battling each other throughout the impoverished African nation. 
After a masterfully-executed humanitarian effort, famine and the threat of widespread epidemics were, at least …

NAFTA’s Strange Bedfellows

Fear, uncertainty, the prospect of change and political expediency frequently breed strange bedfellows. 
After a partisan battle over his budget, President Clinton suddenly received unqualified support of five former presidents, four of whom are Republicans, Senate Minority Leader Bob Dole, and a Republican majority in both houses of Congress; all …

Congressional Meddling Strikes Again!

                                                “Every fool will be meddling”
Four weeks ago, the first provisions of the 1992 Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act went into effect.  This latest Congressional intrusion into the private sector is another sad example of government enacting legislation, without having any inkling of its long-term impact or cost.
Its …

Buchanan and the Religious Right … Are Wrong for the GOP!

“Our culture is superior …”
                                                Patrick Buchanan
Recently, former presidential hopeful Patrick Buchanan implored 2,000 Christian Coalition activists not to forsake their conservative social agenda.  However, as typifies his ego and rhetoric, Mr. Buchanan went one step further and suggested that if the Republican Party abandons its previous stand on the …

Privacy in America … A Right Under Siege

“There are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual consent and silent encroachment of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.”
                                                James Madison
To the framers of our Constitution and Bill of Rights in their noble attempt to ensure maximum freedom and privacy …

Luce and the Future of New Hampshire’s Libertarians

“The less government we have the better”                          

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Governor Merrill demonstrated political astuteness in nominating Miriam Luce to fill the Liquor Commission seat vacated by Roger Boisvert.  In picking the two-time Libertarian candidate for governor, Steve Merrill has effectively shut the Democrats out of one of the state’s …

“Where Have All the Flowers Gone?”

Pete Seeger

As the last decade of the twentieth century dawned, mankind was momentarily able to rest a bit easier, secure in the knowledge a nuclear holocaust between the world’s superpowers was highly unlikely.  Fears of instant inhalation and the possible extinction of the human species inspired by Neville Shute’s “On …

Lofty Objectives … Uncertain Outcomes

“You can tell the ideals of a nation by its advertisements”                               
Norman Douglas
In a parting shot, before deserting the nation’s Capitol for their summer vacations, members of the House (by a two vote margin) and Senate (by a single vote) passed the president’s fiscal 1994 budget.  Promoted as a …

Capital Punishment … A Right to Kill

“Punishment tames man, but does not make him better”

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche
As human society evolved, certain behavior was deemed inappropriate and codified as religious and secular doctrines developed.  For those found guilty of committing such offenses, a variety of penalties was meted out, many of which were cruel and barbaric.  Perpetrators …

America’s Most Misunderstood Guardians of our Liberties

“He that would make his own liberty secure,  must guard even his enemy from oppression”
Thomas Paine
The framers of our Constitution created a remarkable blueprint for a representative democracy with a centralized federal government.  It contained numerous internal checks and balances together with an elaboration of the powers of that government.
To …

Proselytizing Won’t Save Our Youth

“The difficulty in life is the choice.”
George Moore
New Hampshire law directs schools to preach abstinence from drugs and from sexual activity as the only way to avoid contracting HIV-AIDS.  In his recent defense of this policy, Board of Education Chairman, Ovide Lamontagne, appears as unwilling to confront the realities of …

The Art of Compromise or a Lack of Conviction

Throughout last year’s long, arduous presidential primaries, Bill Clinton more than once defied the pundits and rebounded from a series of revelations which would have ended the political careers of most mortals.  His capacity to weather these storms was due, in part, to his affable personality and an easy going …

Discrimination for Any Reason is Wrong!

“Our Constitution is color-blind”
                                                Justice John Marshall Harlan
In the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s 1954 decision declaring “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal”, the infrastructure which had sustained 165 years of American race-based social, political and economic institutions began to crumble.  This process, which initially focused on American blacks, eventually …

America’s Promise … Equality Of Opportunity

“Freedom is not safety, but opportunity”
Zechariah Chafee, Jr.
It’s appropriate at this time of year to reflect on a myth of our American heritage … one which holds our nation was established by people who sought to carve out a land of equality for themselves and their descendants.  Unfortunately, nothing could …

Government Mandates Are Not the Answer to Violence

  “Keep violence in the mind … where it belongs”
Brian Aldiss
During a recent appearance before the House Telecommunications Sub-Committee, Ted Turner made an impassioned plea for Congress enact legislation to curb what he sees as the primary cause of violence in our society.
While his testimony provided sound bites for CNN, …

Sports in America … An Ideal Gone Awry

The dictionary defines “sports” as; “an active pastime, a diversion usually involving physical exercise and having a set form and a body of rules”.  For the purists, the development of physical skills, an alert mind, concentration, enthusiasm, dedication and teamwork represent the essence of every sport.
Unfortunately, these ideals, like many …

A Nation of Immigrants

“All of us … are descended from immigrants”
Franklin Delano Roosevelt

In the days immediately following the grounding of the “Golden Venture” off Jacob Riis Park, a great deal of attention was focused on the plight of the Chinese refugees who had spent thousands of dollars and risked their lives to …

Souhegan’s Innovative Senior Project

“Only the educated are free”
Considerable attention has been focused on the failures of our educational system.  Unfortunately, most of this criticism is valid. Despite endless speeches by “experts” and the expenditure of billions of taxpayer dollars, a large percentage of America’s high school graduates can not coherently articulate their thoughts …

Censorship Is An Inexcusable Solution

“Nothing is more dangerous than an idea”
In an attempt to resolve a festering difficulty which won’t go away, the Concord School Board has embraced the bureaucrat’s favorite ploy and sent the uncomfortable issue off to a committee for “further study”.
Their nightmare began when educators at the Rundlett Junior High School …

Taxing The Rich … The Politics Of Class Warfare

“The power to tax involves the power to destroy.”
John Marshall
It has become axiomatic for politicians seeking votes from lower and middle class constituencies to preach  a “tax the rich” message.  It plays on the frustrations and jealousies of individuals who have seen their incomes stagnate and taxes balloon during the …

Clinton’s Choice Of Statesmanship Or Politics

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I …”
Robert Frost
While President Clinton continues to learn the difference between running for the presidency and governing once in office, it appears he has reached a crossroads.  His course will shape our future.
As a candidate, he had the liberty and luxury to make …

It’s Not The Time For An Official U.S. Language

“I would make them all learn English”
Winston Churchill
Last week, the County Commissioners in largely Hispanic Dade County, voted to override a previously enacted regulation making English the official language of the county.  This latest vote now permits the county to conduct its business in a language other than English when …

Feel-Good Legislation Won’t Cure Voter Apathy

“Science may have found a cure for most evils, but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all …
 the apathy of human beings” 
Helen Keller

It’s often been said, for every complex problem there’s a simple answer … and it’s wrong!  The so-called “motor-voter” bill which sailed …

Gambling On The People

“Liberty has never come from the Government”
Woodrow Wilson
The Video Gambling showdown being held at New Hampshire’s legislative corral is yet another example of unnecessary governmental intrusion into decisions which should be left in the unfettered domain of individual citizens.
Drawing its line in the sands of this emotional issue are those …

A Nation’s Dream At Risk

“I have a dream …”
Martin Luther King
Thirty-nine years ago this month, the Supreme Court unanimously overturned its 1896 doctrine by declaring, “separate but equal institutions for whites and blacks, had no place in education and were inherently unequal.”  The intervening decades witnessed remarkable progress toward the enfranchisement of America’s minorities, …

From Munich to Sarajevo … Deja Vous

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”
George Santayana
Tragically, during a week when survivors of an earlier period of “ethnic cleansing” traveled to Warsaw to commemorate the 50th anniversary of their armed rebellion against a madman bent on the racial and ethnic purification of Germany and its …

U.S. Foreign Policy … Morally Just Or Just Pragmatic

“The greatest weakness of pragmatism is that it ends up by being no use to anybody”
T.S. Eliot
President Clinton’s current dilemma over whether to extend “most favored nation” (MFN) trading privileges to China underscores a dichotomy in American foreign policy. 
What balance should exist between the moral values a nation professes …

Rhetoric, Reality and Responsibility

Wakefield’s Profiles In Courage

“Freedom is a system based on courage.”
Charles Peguy
Throughout last year’s presidential campaign, candidates reviled one another for their opponent’s failure to propose viable programs to address the nation’s economic malaise and staggering federal deficit.  Promises to eliminate the waste and commit the federal government to an era of fiscal responsibility …

A Judicial Power Grab

“Where law ends tyranny begins.”
John Locke
Most Americans understand the power of our government emanates solely from the “consent of the governed“.  The concept of a separation of powers is also fundamentally ingrained in our national psyche.
Yet, in New Hampshire, with its public aversion to intrusive government, the judiciary has subtly …

We Don’t Need A Risk-Free Society

This year’s State Legislature is on the verge of passing several seemingly benign laws which, if enacted, will impose another set of, albeit well-meaning, regulations on the citizens of, and visitors to New Hampshire.  Three of the most hotly debated of these proposals are bills to mandate (1) the use …

Souhegan’s Heterogeneous Experiment

“It is an experiment, as all life is an experiment.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
Most of last Monday’s Souhegan School District meeting followed a predictable and uneventful script.  However, once the $6.32 million budget was overwhelmingly approved, the meeting turned its attention to a sober philosophical debate over the wisdom of having …

“This Country … Belongs To The People”

Abraham Lincoln
Bowing to pressures of partisan politics, New Hampshire House’s recently voted to remand a bill eliminating straight-ticket voting to a committee for “further study”.  The suggestion that since the bill changes the status quo, it needed further consideration borders on the ludicrous!
Rather than denying any person the right to …

Ignorance of The Law … Justified or Not?

On my way down the driveway to retrieve last Sunday’s newspaper, I happened to glance at the half-dozen or so houses in my immediate neighborhood.  Most are owned by honest, hard-working middle class families who put untold hours into the upkeep of their properties. 
Then, it struck me … most …

Discrimination … Military Versus Civil Rights

No sooner had President Clinton announced his intention to fulfill a campaign promise and eliminate discrimination against gays and lesbians in the armed forces than legions of politicians began parading before the ever-available nation’s media.  While a few praised the President’s actions, the majority came armed with an almost predictable …

A Little Knowledge Is A Valuable Thing

“Obviously, a man’s judgement cannot be better than the  information on which he based it.”
Arthur Sulzberger
Eleven days ago President Clinton delivered a masterfully crafted speech outlining his economic plan to revitalize America and reduce the staggering budget deficit.  Then, to fend off the predictable offensive by his critics, the Administration …

End The Elected Aristocracy!

Mark Twain once characterized Congress as the only “distinctly native American criminal class“.  While an exercise in hyperbole, it’s undeniable Congress has repeatedly displayed incredible arrogance for those people it purports to represent; quietly bestowing exorbitant perks and other benefits on its members and conscientiously exempting itself and its members …

The Danger Of Expediency

“Those who give a little liberty to gain a little freedom, deserve neither!”
George Santayana
In an effort to protect the public from itself and frustrated by an inability to eradicate the world’s oldest profession, Manchester’s police, its mayor and aldermen and two state reps have turned to state government to …

Health Care Reform Must Demand Accountability

Reforming the nation’s health care system is neither the Clintons’ brainchild nor an idea of recent vintage.  During his ill-fated 1912 run for the White House, Teddy Roosevelt first surfaced such a notion.  During the ensuing eighty-one years, no fewer than four of Bill Clinton’s predecessors made an effort to …

The Fully Informed Jury Amendment

“The right to judge both the facts and the law”
Without fanfare, perhaps the most far-reaching bill the Legislature will address this year has been making its way through the hearing process.
Known as the “Fully Informed Jury Amendment”, this bill would require judges to instruct juries in criminal cases that, in …

Every Single Vote Counts!

In a year when a great many Americans are unhappy with either of the two major party candidates for president, George Bush and Bill Clinton have recently added a new plea to their campaign rhetoric.  Each implores audiences not to vote for a third-party candidate … specifically Ross Perot … …

My Forty-Eighth 4,000′ Summit

The steady breeze blowing across the summit of Mt. Hale was unusually chilly for late July … even at 8:12AM.  Less than one hundred feet above the cloud bases hung unevenly, obscuring many of the surrounding peaks.  No matter, I anticipated a feeling of elation upon cresting the last of …

Another Basic Freedom Slips Away

“… there are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual assent and silent encroachment of those in  power than by violent and sudden usurpations.“
James Madison (1788)
The Supreme Court, long the last bastion in defense of the most fundamental rights of American citizens, really blew …

A State Of Hypocrisy

“A conservative government is an organized hypocrisy”
Two headlines in this morning’s [New Hampshire] Union Leader bring into clear focus both the boldfaced hypocrisy as well as a lack of priorities of set by our governmental institutions.
In the first instance, we were fed yet another episode in the continuing saga of …

Our Electoral Nightmare

One good reason to scrap the Electoral College!
The arrogance and incompetence of the elitist gang running our Congress has finally brought the American public to the verge of a mild revolution.  With luck, we’ll wake up next November 4th to discover not a single incumbent has been returned to office!
However, …

U.S. Tax Policy … The Politics of Class Warfare

“The power to tax involves the power to destroy.”
John Marshall
It has become almost axiomatic for politicians harvesting votes from lower and middle class constituencies to preach  a “tax the rich” message.  It plays on the frustrations of individuals who have seen their tax rates balloon during the past decade …

A Right To Personal Privacy

In the wake of Cleveland-based TRW’s recent admissions that it has had numerous and significant “problems”, actually major screw-ups … reporting erroneous and personally harmful financial data on as many as 1,500 Vermont and New Hampshire citizens, Congress finally decided to act.  In typical fashion, these actions will take the …

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