Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Sunday, January 29, 2012
Help Support Local Workers

The NH Adjutant General's office is preparing to privatize the security function at Pease AFB. Currently, the security staff is 8 state employees covered under the collective bargaining agreement. These are armed guards protecting a sensitive national security asset.  The state (General Riddell and his staff, essentially) are saying that they can cover the security much less expensively with a private contractor.  

The current employees make about mid $30s with health and retirement benefits on top of the salary. There are no efficiency gains to be made with privatization, only a gain made by outsourcing to a corporation who will pay people less, offer no benefits and pocket the rest.  The General's staff has scored the bids and contractors and are waiting for him to return from El Salvador (no doubt where he's looking for a contractor to outsource the maintenance function on Pease!) to execute the contract.

The State Employee's Association is encouraging people to call the governor to protest this decision. Understand that Gov. Lynch is not making this decision, but he could have significant influence if he chooses to do so.  

Can you call Gov. Lynch and ask him to stop this initiative?  603.271.2121
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ALA-White House Petition On School Libraries


Below you will find a message from ALA President Molly Raphael. The link to sign the White House Petition on School Libraries (deadline Feb. 4) can be found here:



Dear Colleagues,


I hope that by now you have heard about AASL President Carl Harvey’s White House Petition on School Libraries. 25,000 signatures are needed by February 4, 2012, in order for this petition to reach the desk of the President. We are more than halfway there, but time is running out! In addition to signing the petition, please take these steps to ensure that this petition is a success:

  1. Spread the word and see that at least ten of your friends or family members also sign;
  2. Work with local educational groups, including the local PTA or PTO, and ask them to mount a signing campaign;
  3. Work with other community groups and ask them to get involved.

School libraries are everyone’s issue. Cuts in staffing or elimination of school library programs in a specific community affect all libraries in that community, whether it’s the public library now tasked with serving a school curriculum, or higher education librarians teaching remedial information literacy skills. In order for any of us to succeed, we must be willing to work on these issues together to support our broader library eco-system. Please get involved and help create awareness about the need to ensure that every student has access to an effective school library program.

Please note that the petition is a two-step process. You have to create an account, and then return to the web page to sign. We’ve heard reports that it’s also temperamental: if you have trouble signing, please try working in a different browser, or try in off-peak hours. It might not be easy but please be persistent! Our school library programs, and the children we serve, are so worth it. 


Let’s show the world that we can mobilize people to speak out for libraries. Anyone 13 or older can sign the petition. Help us make this an issue that commands attention. Thank you in advance for your efforts. 

Sincerely,
Molly Raphael
2011 - 2012 ALA President
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Saturday, January 28, 2012
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If you live in America, you cannot escape the result of the Supreme Court decision in 2010 that changed political campaigns. Known as Citizens United, this decision allowed those with big checkbooks to contribute unlimited amounts of money for a politician, as long as they do not give directly to the politician’s campaign.

That is why we now have Super PACs—they are used as the vehicle to transfer money. If an individual wants to give directly to a campaign, he or she can only give $2500 per election, and a political action committee can only give $5000, but if you are really rich or you are a corporation, and you want really heavy influence, you can now just give to the Super PAC who backs your candidate, and then sit back and enjoy the air war on TV that you paid for. And as a bonus, voters in each state won’t even know you and your partners were the ones who brought ugly ads to them until after they have voted, so they won’t know that you had a particular agenda.

For example, Mitt Romney’s group, “Restore Our Future” (never mind that you cannot restore something that has not existed yet), will not file until January 31st, well after New Hampshire and South Carolina, and on the day Florida goes to vote after seeing thousands of ads attacking other Republicans from Romney’s people. Governor Romney said he cannot talk to “Restore Our Future,” but that Super PAC is full of his former top campaign aides who know Romney intimately, so it is a pretty thin wall.

We could still win our future though, if Newt Gingrich has anything to do with it. The Super PAC that supports him, “Winning our Future,” is running ads about Governor Romney’s business dealings, thanks to one donor who gave a check for $5 million dollars to the PAC to pay for those attacks. If he had given directly to the campaign, he could only have given $2500 for the primary, but now, the Supreme Court has allowed him to give unlimited money to take Governor Romney down.

Pity the poor voter in South Carolina right now. According to McClatchy newspapers, New Hampshire voters saw 2,800 ads. By the second week in January, the South Carolina voters had seen nearly twice that many, and Super PACs were responsible for 69% of the spending on TV ads.

Does this matter? Does it influence voters? They wouldn’t do it if it didn’t work. Senator John McCain told CNN, “Now it’s the system under which we operate, which leads to this kind of campaigning and will lead to corruption and scandals. I guarantee it.” CNN reported that McCain said the Supreme Court, “basically unleashed—without transparency—and without accountability—huge amounts of money from those so-called ‘independent campaigns’.”
Right now, the Republicans are shooting at each other, but the general election is right around the corner, and Democrats have now answered with some Super PACs of their own. What we saw in 2010 was just a teaser to what we will endure this year. Super PACs and their very wealthy donors are drowning out the voices of the small-dollar donors. David Woodward, a professor of political science at Clemson University, said in the Kansas City Star, “it goes back to politics before we had campaign finance reform and Watergate. It’s just a complete reversal that has brought us full circle to where it’s rich guys playing politics.” Or, I might add, playing for friendly policies and legislation.

These Super PACs will once again be active in congressional races and Senate races, but in a bigger way than in 2010. Jeff Roe, a Kansas City, Missouri based Republican strategist said, “It will have huge impact.” We all remember the deceptions, the distortions, and the trickery from 2010 and from the 2012 Presidential primary. Is there anything we can do to stop it in the general election this year?

Yes, there is. Educate yourself. We all have a civic responsibility to pay attention and learn. There are so many places to check facts now, like FactCheck.org. Listen to the candidate debates, and watch C-Span programs. Look up voting records. Watch several major news shows. Visit websites like The Sunlight Foundation, and see information on Super PACs. Ask candidates if they will support legislation to take this kind of money out of politics. We are citizens, not merely spectators, and we still have the power to be heard. Speak up!

Best Wishes,

Carol
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Thursday, January 26, 2012
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Sign-Ups For Town Office Begin Today, End February 3rd 2012



Sign-ups for Town Office begin Wednesday, January 25th and end Friday, February 3rd.  The Town Clerk’s Office will be open regular office hours and from 2PM – 5PM on Friday, February 3rd for the acceptance of election filings.  
 
The following Offices are open:

2 Selectmen for 3 Years
3 Budget Committee Members for 3 Years
1 Treasurer for 1 Year
1 Trustee of Trust Funds for 3 Years
1 Supervisor of the Checklist for 6 Years
1 Moderator for 2 Years

The following School District Offices are also open:

1 School Board Member for 1 Year
1 School Board Member for 3 Years
1 School District Clerk for 1 Year
1 School District Treasurer for 1 year
1 School Moderator for 1 Year
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SOTU 2012 Address Video, Transcript, Links

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012
State Of The Union Speech Information




President Barack Obama will deliver his State of the Union address at 9:00 p.m. ET. During that speech, he’ll lay out his vision for an America where hard work and responsibility are rewarded, where everyone does their fair share, and where everyone is held accountable for what they do. There is a range of ways to get involved with this year’s State of the Union address.
  • There will be an online-only enhanced version of the speech, featuring data and graphics, live while the President is speaking.  Watch the enhanced version at www.whitehouse.gov/sotu.
     
  • Immediately after the speech, Senior White House advisors will answer your questions about the President’s address submitted via twitter (use #WHChat & #SOTU), Facebook and an in-person audience of tweetup participants.
     
  • Top Administration officials will continue to answer "Office Hours through Twitter" through the rest of the week.  Check out the full schedule of experts, dates and times at www.whitehouse.gov/sotu.
     
  • On January 30, President Obama will join a special Google+ Hangout from the West Wing to answer your questions about the speech. Just visit the White House YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/whitehouse to submit your questions and vote for your favorites between now and January 28. A few participants will be chosen to join the President in the Google+ Hangout to ask their questions of the President live!
Speech Talking Points: An America Built to Last 

-- In his State of the Union Address, the President will lay out a blueprint for an economy that's built to last -- an economy built on American manufacturing, American energy, skills for American workers, and a renewal of American values.

-- The President believes this is a make or break moment for the middle class and those trying to reach it. What's at stake is the very survival of the basic American promise that if you work hard, you can do well enough to raise a family, own a home, and put a little away for retirement.

-- The defining issue of our time is how to keep that promise alive. No challenge is more urgent; no debate is more important. We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while more Americans barely get by. Or we can build a nation where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules.

-- The fact is, the economic security of the middle class has eroded for decades. Long before the recession, good jobs and manufacturing began leaving our shores. Hard work stopped paying off for too many Americans. Those at the top saw their incomes rise like never before, but the vast majority of Americans struggled with costs that were growing and paychecks that weren't.

-- In 2008, the house of cards collapsed. Mortgages were sold to people who couldn't afford or understand them. Banks made huge bets and bonuses made with other people's money. It was a crisis that cost us more than eight million jobs and plunged our economy and the world into a crisis from which we are still fighting to recover.

-- The President has been clear that we need to do more to create jobs and help economic growth. But under his leadership and thanks to action taken by this President, the economy is growing again. The economy has added a total of 3.2 million private sector jobs over the last 22 months.

-- American manufacturing is creating jobs for the first time since the late 1990s. The American auto industry is coming back. Today, American oil production is the highest that it's been in eight years. Together, we've agreed to cut the deficit by more than 2 trillion. And the President signed into law new rules to hold Wall Street accountable. He stands on a solid record and tonight will lay out a blueprint that will ensure an economy built to last over the long term.

-- For the first time in nine years, there are no Americans fighting in Iraq. We've decimated al Qaeda's leadership, delivered justice to Osama bin Laden, and put that terrorist network on the path to defeat. We've made important progress in Afghanistan, and begun a transition so Afghans can assume more responsibility. We joined with allies and partners to protect the Libyan people as they ended the regime of Muammar Qaddafi.

-- We cannot go back to an economy based on outsourcing, bad debt, and phony financial profits. The President intends to keep moving forward and rebuild an economy where hard work pays off and responsibility is rewarded -- an economy built to last.

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HB 1282 Weakens The Workforce Housing Law


Call Members of the House Municipal and County Government Committee
 
 Public Hearing Set January 31
 
ABOUT THE WORKFORCE HOUSING LAW: The New Hampshire Workforce Housing law (RSA 674:58-61; Chapter 299, Laws of 2008 (SB 342) requires all municipalities to provide “reasonable and realistic opportunities” for the development of homes that are affordable to low and moderate income families, including multi-family rental housing.  The law is intended to address a statewide shortage of workforce housing, recognized by the Legislature as posing a threat to the state’s economic growth, presenting a barrier to the expansion of the state’s labor force, and undermining state efforts to foster a productive and self-reliant workforce.
    
HB 1282: For the third consecutive year, a handful of Legislators are attempting to strip this important law of any impact by adding an opt-in/opt-out meeting at the municipal level. This would make the Workforce Housing law optional for cities and towns, turning back much progress that has been made to local zoning and other regulatory approaches to fostering housing NH’s workforce.
 
WHAT CAN YOU DO? Call House Municipal and County Government Committee Members today. Tell them to:
* Oppose HB 1282
* Support ongoing efforts to provide safe, adequate, affordable housing for all of New Hampshire’s residents
 
POINTS TO MAKE:
* The Workforce Housing law is good for New Hampshire’s economy, workforce and housing needs
* The Workforce Housing law should not be repealed or weakened
* The Workforce Housing law does not create statewide zoning, retaining local control
* Over 50 communities have already adopted changes to their zoning to meet the law’s requirements
* The Workforce Housing law allows appropriate use of private property without undue local regulatory barriers thereby protecting the landowner’s rights under our New Hampshire Constitution
* The Workforce Housing law helps to create jobs, recognizing that housing development infuses over $50 million a year into NH’s economy

Find your legislators at http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/house/members/wml.aspx

Calls are better than emails. If you must email, please put "Oppose HB 1282" in the subject line.

REMEMBER, please contact Municipal and County Government Committee members before the January 31 public hearing.

See all legislation we're following and updates from Housing Action NH online at www.housingactionnh.org
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State Of The Union Preview



President Barack Obama will deliver his State of the Union address at 9:00 p.m. ET. During that speech, he’ll lay out his vision for an America where hard work and responsibility are rewarded, where everyone does their fair share, and where everyone is held accountable for what they do. There is a range of ways to get involved with this year’s State of the Union address.
  • There will be an online-only enhanced version of the speech, featuring data and graphics, live while the President is speaking.  Watch the enhanced version at www.whitehouse.gov/sotu.
     
  • Immediately after the speech, Senior White House advisors will answer your questions about the President’s address submitted via twitter (use #WHChat & #SOTU), Facebook and an in-person audience of tweetup participants.
     
  • Top Administration officials will continue to answer "Office Hours through Twitter" through the rest of the week.  Check out the full schedule of experts, dates and times at www.whitehouse.gov/sotu.
     
  • On January 30, President Obama will join a special Google+ Hangout from the West Wing to answer your questions about the speech. Just visit the White House YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/whitehouse to submit your questions and vote for your favorites between now and January 28. A few participants will be chosen to join the President in the Google+ Hangout to ask their questions of the President live!

Read more
Monday, January 23, 2012
House Labor Committee Heard Testimony On Nine Union-Busting Bills


Yesterday the House Labor Committee heard testimony on nine union-busting bills. They were counting on hearing all of the bills in one quick session.  

They weren’t counting on us. 

From 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., we kept the chamber full of Granite Staters speaking out openly against the bill. We overflowed their committee room and wouldn’t leave until we got moved to the floor of the 400-seat Representatives Hall, which we also filled.

We heard teachers, Republicans, small business owners, firefighters, nurses, county officials and community members share their stories about what collective bargaining means to them and the people they serve. We heard experts debunk these laws as a windfall for nobody but lawyers and ideological extremists. We heard labor leaders from across New Hampshire testify against these bills on behalf of their members. 

I joined them on behalf of the entire labor movmeent in New Hampshire and stood up for our collective bargaining law and all of the protections it gives workers in the Granite State.We watched IAFF president Harry Schaitberger stand with the firefighters of New Hampshire, and listened to him commend us for keeping up this fight.

Most importantly, we exposed these bills for what they were: an assault on workers’ rights. And we showed our legislators that we will hold them accountable for their attempts to hurt workers in the Granite State.

To everyone who came with us to the Statehouse yesterday – thank you. Thank you for lending your time and voice to this fight and telling the Republican leadership in our legislature that they cannot turn back the clock on our rights.

And to everyone who has fought with us until now, whether you could be at the Statehouse yesterday or not  – thank you for standing up for your rights, your communities, your families, and the rights of every Granite Stater.

If we continue to show our strength and stand together, we can continue to win for middle-class working families.

In solidarity,

President Mark MacKenzie, New Hampshire AFL-CIO
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Vision. Action. Community.

The Farmington Democrats believe that equality of opportunity can be achieved through community involvement, political action, and a shared vision of social justice.