Sunday, January 27, 2008

Hey ConcordTV, it's almost February

Tonight, I was watching a rebroadcast of the Concord School Board meeting on the ConcordTV [formerly CCTV] on Channel 6. They were talking budgets and tax rates and other interesting [to me] items ... BTW, did you know that a $1 added onto to Concord's tax rate would yield $3.8 million?
I was cooking while listening to the board talk and then the meeting ended. We then all sat down to eat and I started bringing items into the dining room when out of the corner of my eye, I saw a strange billboard: "Happy Birthday!" with a cartoon birthday cake. Below the cake it stated, "If it's November, it's your birthday!"
I did a double-take. Did I just see that? If it's November, it's your birthday! Sure enough, I did.
Note to ConcordTV: It's almost February.

You would think that with five - yes, five - employees, over there, four of them full-time with another part-timer paid for by the city, they would be able to change the billboards more than every few months. Although, I will admit that the School Board meeting looked a lot better than it used to look. So, someone over there is doing something right [They just are not changing the billboards].

Speaking of ConcordTV, earlier this week, I received an email with a slew of event notices in it. I scrolled down and saw this entry:

CONCORD TV OFFERS TRAINING SESSIONS, JAN-MARCH, including “Planning Your Program, Intro to Camera, Studio Production, Intro to Editing. The fees are low -- $10 – and you can trade volunteer hours in lieu of fees. Get the word out about your group.
I went to the channels' Web site and saw that they have a few classes set up. Specifically, eight between now and mid-March. So, they hired a full-time training person and the most the guy can put together is eight classes over more than two months? What is he doing the rest of the time? He clearly isn't changing the billboards which run over and over again. What can he be doing? Wow, that sure seems like a good use of our tax dollars, tongue firmly planted in cheek.
Elsewhere on the site, you can find a producers' page - with nothing on it - and a forms and documents page, the place they used to post their tax filings and other things. Guess what? That's blank too.
There is a "Values" page, with all kinds of talk about the first amendment and democracy, inclusiveness and diversity, etc. ... that is, of course, unless you are interested in probing documents which show programming numbers or anything else, like some people have asked for. In the end, it all seems so weird. It wasn't that long ago, May 2005 actually, when CCTV Board member Anthony "Skip" Tenczar screamed, "We have nothing to hide!" But the board hid behind the city solicitor and former City Councilor Kathy Rogers to keep from releasing any of their records. Sigh.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

It's St. Paul's School ...

According to the City Manager's office, the new siren this morning was St. Paul's School testing "a new emergency outdoor mass notification system." The system is set up to notify students and faculty about any emergencies. Hmm. I wonder. What is over there that would need emergency notification?

Emergency broadcast system test?

Does anyone know why there was this strange emergency broadcast system test alert this morning? It just went off about a minute ago. There were some very unclear words, then a siren which sounded like an air raid siren, then more garbled words on the announcement. How weird was that? Having just seen "Cloverfield," it kinda gave me the whigs for a split second. Did anyone else hear it? If the city did this, couldn't they have put a notice in the newspaper to let us know they were going to run it ... or that it even exists?!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Ani DiFranco cancelled

From the Capitol Center email list:

The Ani DiFranco January 21 concert at the Capitol Center for the Arts has been canceled by the promoter. We have been informed that Ani has laryngitis and cannot perform.

Ticket holders will be contacted shortly by the box office with information about a possible rescheduled date and about refunds.

For further information, you may call the box office Monday between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Cox receives a single vote

Chicago businessman John Cox received one vote in yesterday's Republican primary. You would think that a guy who held a few events in Concord and even appeared on local radio a few times, including an entire hour during which I interviewed him, would be able to muster up two votes. Nope, just one. I wonder who that person was and why they decided to vote for him.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Concord Election Returns

Barack Obama 4,367
Hillary Clinton 3,898
John Edwards 1,750
Bill Richardson 639
Dennis Kucinich 158
Joe Biden 17
Chris Dodd 7
Richard Edward Caligiuri 4
Kenneth A. Capalbo 4
O. Savior 4
Randy Crow 2
Henry Hewes 1
William C. Hughes 1
D.R. Hunter 1
Tom Laughlin 1

John McCain 2,684
Mitt Romney 1,577
Mike Huckabee 781
Ron Paul 601
Rudy Giuliani 565
Fred Thompson 49
Duncan Hunter 24
Alan Keyes 3
Vern Wuensche 2
Jack Shepard 2
Hugh Cort 1
John Cox 1
Daniel Gilbert 1
Albert Howard 1
Stephen W. Marchuk 1
Cornelius Edward O'Connor 1

More political news

If you looking for New Hampshire primary news, go to

A tale of one Concord voting precinct

I have not had a chance to really check out any of the voting precincts today, only my own. I think, after hearing some of the details, you'll get a sense of where things are headed tonight.

First, Obama kids were everywhere around Concord this morning and this afternoon, doing last minute canvassing. I probably saw about 10 of them in the morning and another six or seven in the afternoon, in two different parts of town. Hillary supporters were out on various street corners around Concord in the late morning, standing in pairs with signs. There were Ron Paul supporters on Main Street, like they have been for weeks.

At the actual polling precinct, there were two people standing out for Hillary, three for Edwards, three for McCain, five or six for Paul [most holding both Ron Paul and anti-war signs], and about eight or nine people for Obama. This is pretty good poll coverage for the middle of the afternoon. There were a few Romney and Rudy signs but no people there representing the campaign or other campaigns. A plane was flying around Concord in circles dragging a "Ron Paul Love Revolution" banner.

One odd thing I noticed was that there were no poll checkers in the Ward. Usually, even in small race, there is extensive polling beforehand and then, campaign workers at the polls, checking the votes coming in. There were no poll checkers inside. Every effective GOTV operation has these people inside the polls making sure their campaign's voters get out to vote. This was very, very odd.

There are about 3,300 registered voters in the Ward. As of 3 p.m., more than 1,300 had voted, or about 40 percent. That is pretty good with five hours left of voting. In the 2006 midterms, 55 percent voted and in the 2004 general, 74 percent voted. About 55 percent voted in the 2004 presidential primary [245 taking Republican ballots, 1,084 taking Democratic ballots]. John Kerry beat Howard Dean by about 110 votes that day. Interestingly, in just for years, more than 900 new voters have registered in the Ward.

The Ward is a liberal, affluent, lawyerly area, with new McMansions, patches of working class families, and wooded areas and farmland. The registration breakdown for the 2004 primary looked like this: 35 percent Democrat, 33 percent Republican, 31 percent undeclared. Some of the election returns looked like this: Democrat Paul Hodes beat incumbent GOP Rep. Charlie Bass here in 2006 by an almost two-to-one margin. Hodes beat Bass by a slim 200-plus votes in 2004, with John Lynch besting incumbent Gov. Craig Benson by more than three-to-one. Kerry bested President Bush by more than two-to-one.

So, it is easy to guess that tends to trend a bit more on the liberal side than conservative side and it would make sense that there would not be a ton of Republican sign holders at the precinct. McCain, as we all know, is drawing independent voters, which is why his campaign probably sent sign holders to the Ward.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Edwards: Enough is enough

Former Sen. John Edwards talks to voters in Concord on Saturday.

In front of hundreds of people at the Bektash Temple in Concord, John Edwards talks about why he wants to be president.

Richardson: Change AND experience

Gov. Bill Richardson rallies his supporters at NHTI on Saturday morning.
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson made his case on why his previous experience can bring about the change the nation needs.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Concord Monitor primary endorsements

I wrote about this earlier this week over at and I don't know why I didn't think to post it here, since it is local and all.
Mike Pride, one of the Concord Monitor's editorial board, explains the newspaper's decision to endorse Hillary Clinton and John McCain here: ["The story behind the 'Monitor's' presidential endorsements"].
Some people in the newspaper business don't think you should write these kinds of columns, explaining why a newspaper came to a certain decision; others do. I tend to side with the airing of information versus the fourth estate wall.
I do find the piece a pretty good explanation of how the newspaper came to its endorsements. But, frankly, it was not surprising. I knew that the Monitor would take the safe route this year and go with both Clinton and McCain. I just had a hunch in my gut and it proved to be correct. The editorial board really seems to take things from a baby boomer/Yuppie point of view and you can see it in the endorsement of Clinton ...
Clinton's ambitious to-do list for her first few weeks in office gives us confidence that her priorities are right and that she would act swiftly to make a positive difference.
But what real, tangible things has she done in six-plus years? She hasn't done anything!
In addition, by endorsing McCain, they indirectly drive independent voters away from Edwards and Obama, which in turn, helps Hillary.

Sidebar: The Boston Globe and other newspapers seem to be taking the same strategy with their editorials. This was done in 2000 too and led to a virtual collapse of Bill Bradley's campaign against Al Gore. I still contend that Bradley would have won against Bush because he would have eliminated any alleged Nader "factor."

I found this comment by Pride pretty revealing here:

Monitor endorsements have tended over the years to have far more influence in elections for school board and city council than for president. Voters live busy lives, and they know we take local election campaigns seriously and try to endorse on the basis of what's good for Concord and its schools.

I wonder if this is a reaction to what I wrote on in the "Election Aftermath" piece:
Future candidates can learn from this but the message might not be the best one to hear: You really need to figure out a way to get the Monitor endorsement. It isn't a guaranteed win, but it clearly doesn't hurt. And, if you don't get it, well, you better really get out there and hustle or else you are not going to win.
Also, there is this:
Belman, who had written the anti-Romney editorial the previous Sunday, drafted the Clinton endorsement.
No surprise there. But who wrote the previous semi-pro-Romney piece, commending him and saying he understood the nation's problems? That question was not answered and should have been. That would have been an interesting disclosure and it is too bad Pride declined to tell us.

More campaign news

For those of you who don't read my political blog, here is a bit of campaign news from a Concord perspective:

As anyone who lives in New Hampshire or watched my appearance on Keller's show knows, we get a lot of political mail up here during primary season. And the mailers seem to be randomly flailing at voters. There doesn't seem to be a cohesive strategy to the mailers except to perform the voter outreach.
Earlier this week, when I got home from work, there were five political mailers: One from Hillary Clinton's campaign, another from AFSCME PEOPLE supporting Clinton, and two from New Hampshire WOMEN VOTE!, "a project of EMILY's List," supporting Clinton, all addressed to my wife. Another 527, Alliance for A New America, sent a pro-John Edwards mailer to me, obviously targeting indie voters for the candidate in the state.
The Clinton campaign mailer continues with that theme a month thing I have been talking about for a while. "Ready to Deliver Change ..." and "Real Solutions for America's Greatest Challenges ..." There are four planks: Health Care, Economy, Foreign Policy, and Energy, touching on pretty basic themes Hillary has promoted although there is nothing about taking on the special interests or going after corporate greed, like her television ads. Interestingly, Hillary has also not, to my knowledge, sponsored any bills to create "green collar jobs" or troop withdrawal from Iraq. In fact, she has voted to give President Bush the ability to invade Iran if he wants. The flyer also contains lots of smiling, politically correct faces at campaign events [The veteran, a handful of seniors, the Yuppie mom embarrassingly smirking that she can't believe she is meeting Hillary, and the Latino family].
But one picture is really striking: In the lower right hand corner there is a dark-haired, slightly upper middle class mom-type with a young blond-haired girl on her lap [I'm assuming it is her daughter] with a transfixed look on her face. If you have ever lived on the edge, you know the look: It is one of slight desperation and deep concern but still hopeful that something can be done to fix your problems and those of the nation. It is one of those, "I was sold a bill of goods and it is not quite what I expected," looks. It is a visual theme that should be familiar to those who watch political campaigns because it is something Bill Clinton used quite effectively. My question though is this: What happens to that woman if Hillary is elected and then fails on all her promises like her husband did or gives us more bad legislation like her husband did? What happens this time, if she frits away another health care mandate with secret meetings and pharmaceutical stock manipulation like she did last time? And, how did she become worth close to $50 million, according to her 2005 disclosure forms, on a salary of about $133,000 annually and $4 million from book deals?
The AFSCME mailer talks about Hillary being "the clear choice" to fix health care noting that she is "Ready to be President from Day One," as if none of the other candidates are ready. On this mailer, unlike the previous AFSCME mailers or ads, there are no cheap shots against Barack Obama and no finger-pointing-blame at Edwards, which is a nice change to the positive for the union.
The two New Hampshire WOMEN VOTE! mailers are very similar, featuring [probably] two New Hampshire women who have endorsed Hillary. One, Amy Michaels, is a mom with two boys, who calls Hillary "determined to make things better" [A Google of variations of Amy Michaels, Hillary Clinton, and New Hampshire, yield no tangible results]. Inside, another theme: "Hillary Clinton: A Tested, Experienced Leader to Change America." The flyer rattles off a bunch of topics, including this one, which I found amusing "Corporate greed has eroded our middle class." Of course, this ignores the fact that husband Bill and the Democrats in Congress had a HUGE role in the economic crisis we are facing since it started back before Bush was selected by the Supreme Court. But beyond that, no real answers to anything. What is Hillary going to do? Tell us some specifics. Sorry, they aren't there. As well, the anti-corporate greed candidates are Edwards, Dennis Kucinich, and Mike Gravel, not Hillary. If EMILY's List is so concerned about corporate greed, why aren't they backing the anti-corporate candidates? Because they don't have the correct plumbing?
The second mailer seems to be geared towards the single, early- to mid-20s woman, with Kelly McCall on the front, dressed in a leather jacket with bangs that typically went out in the late 1990s [Note: No North Shore bug shield bangs which are still popular in some parts of Manch. A Google of Kelly McCall, Hillary Clinton, and New Hampshire, yielded some Blue New Hampshire posts about the mailers as well as a blog post by a guy in Florida talking about a woman who hand cycled 2,500 miles for the American Lung Association. The point of doing the Googling is to find out if these women are plants or if they actually live in New Hampshire]. Again, not a lot of substance as to what Hillary will do for the 20-something who might be barely struggling to live, possibly with a roommate, but still facing down the economic strife that many of us are looking at.

Question: Why is EMILY's List wasting its money on the mailers which tell the voters nothing about Hillary Clinton and give women no real reasons to vote for her other than the fact she is a woman?

Update: I was thinking about this on the drive to work this morning. I wonder if this group put the money up for the canvassers that the New Hampshire Citizens Alliance was advertising for. I talked about that issue over here: ["Interesting job offer ..."].

The Alliance for A New America has done a few mailers in the state with different themes. This latest one is about fighting special interests in Washington. It has a couple on the cover having a serious discussion [or argument, if you will] about the state of their finances. "New Hampshire families are losing out because specials interest money controls Washington." Well, umm, duh. Inside it states: "John Edwards has a plan to defeat the big corporations that have hijacked our government so they get rich at the expense of our families." Hmm, OK. Whattayagonna do? Tax relief for the middle class, quality health insurance, protect benefits, education opportunities and energy independence, it states. Later, on the back, there is a challenge: "Ask all the candidates what their plans are ..."
That's right: Ask them all. Get specific. I think you'll be surprised by the the lack of information you get.

Day before yesterday, I received another phone call from the Clinton campaign [603-289-4965]. Same old song and dance as before, only this time a bit of desperation in the voice of the woman making the call. I told her I wouldn't tell her who I was voting for, which caught this one off guard too. Note to the Clinton campaign: Please stop calling us!
Also, I received a robocall from Dennis Kucinich making his pitch to New Hampshire voters. I wondered what was going on with the call because when I first answered, there was a bit of silence and then a voice saying, "Democrat ... take three ..." and then Dennis spoke. Note to Dennis: You might want to have them edit your recording before sending out the robocalls. It will sound more professional.