Friday, March 28, 2008

Return of REAL ID, Day 2

TOP OF THE POST ACTION ITEM: The Committee's Executive Session for SB434 is scheduled for 2:00pm, 4/1/2008 in LOB Rm. 304. No public testimony, but could be interesting, nevertheless. Even if likely very short, at this point...

Herewith, the NH House Science, Technology & Energy Committee's 2nd hearing on SB434, 3/27/2008, which the NH Senate amended to reintroduce their irrational passion for a national ID. The Executive Session is scheduled for April Fool's Day, the day after the official compliance extension request deadline. Could be interesting, nevertheless. Additionally...

Although we still don't know what was in it (EDIT: This is purported to be it), we learned in Thursday's testimony that Gov Lynch had sent a follow-up letter to DHS, and it's a fair bet he would have run it by somebody if he was giving away the store. Therefore, as it would seem, somebody else "blinked:" NH has received an unrequested extension.

Oh, and just in case you missed it, Sen. Janeway, the original bill's sponsor, disavowed the REAL ID amendment, and NO ONE from the unanimous Senate (including Janeway, of course) had the balls (or lacked the arrogance) to show up and defend this crap they insisted, on the fly, be included. In fact, through 2 hearings, no one defended it at all...

And here, by special request, stand-alone testimony from Manchester Representative Steve Vaillancourt on the political and philosophical obligation of civil disobedience, from the first Committee hearing on 3/25/2008.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Separated at Birth?

OK, I know it's childish. But finally, I am compelled to ask...

But really, ya never see 'em in the same room together, do ya? Might explain the whole dominance thing...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Rep. Vaillancourt on patriotic civil disobedience

By special request, stand-alone testimony from NH State Representative Steve Vaillancourt on the political and philosophical obligation of civil disobedience, from the initial House Science, Technology & Energy Committee hearing on SB434, 3/25/2008. Complete hearing available here.

(Bear in mind, too, that Thursday, the day of the second scheduled hearing, is 3/27. The official deadline for requesting an extension on REAL ID compliance is 3/31. The Committee has to finish with SB434, the House has to vote on it [assuming they don't pass it on to another Committee first], the Senate must take up any House amendments, a Committee of Conference must hammer out any differences between final Senate and House versions, and the Governor has to review, write and mail such a request. Tick, tick, tick... Or are the rules less rigid than Chertoff would have us accept?)

REAL ID is in da House. Again...

TOP OF THE POST ACTION ITEM: The committee hearing was so much fun, we're gonna do some more at 10am, Thursday, March 27th. You gonna miss it AGAIN?

It's not even remotely clear for whom the NH Senate believes it works these days, or whether they quite grasp that "oath" thing they took. Hell, I haven't even been able to prod a response from my Sen. Janeway on anything. Have you?

Last year, to its everlasting credit, the NH House listened to its rather vocal constituents (not to mention surprisingly fairly unanimous enlightened media), came to grips with the myriad massive and troubling fiscal, sovereignty, privacy, federal competency (or rather repeatedly stunning lack thereof), and even religious issues involved, overcame a poorly considered committee report, and passed HB685, prohibiting NH from participating in any national ID scheme. However, they then had to drag the Senate, kicking and screaming, to pass the bill that Governor Lynch had already promised he'd sign, thereby actually representing NH rather than the federal government.

Well, fast-forward to this year, and despite just the latest D.C. security shocker, the Senate is clearly still steaming (about 1:35 in) over having to knuckle under to mere constituents and not reflexively genuflect to our masters in Washington, rather than make a stand for the Constitutional rule of law. Our clear duty, in the addled mind of the Senate, seems to be to blindly obey federal "authority." Unlawful or otherwise. Utter submission to continuing and growing federal hubris. Period. A paltry few pieces of silver-- sorry, fiat currency in exchange is just a happy bonus.

So they've now amended an unrelated Senate bill, SB434, to start the process all over again, and quickly passed it unanimously. What, exactly, is it that you have against the Constitutions, Senators? What of the 10th Amendment (which reserves authority over driver's licenses to the states) or NH Article 7 (which states -- redundantly, it could easily be argued -- that NH voters must first explicitly relinquish that authority, which, of course, we have not done) isn't crystal clear to you? What price is your freedom worth? What price are you willing to accept for mine, as if I'd in any way given you authority to trade it? There is not a single patriotic, sovereign, rule-of-law spine among them. Any bets on whether their roll call vote on this one makes it onto the NH Liberty Alliance's Legislative Report Card?

Now assigned to the House Science, Technology & Energy Committee, its (first, as it turns out) public hearing was yesterday, 3/25/2008. The important take-away is that the hearing is suspended until 10am Thursday, 3/27/2008, again in LOB Rm. 304, more than likely. Herewith, the record of this initial House committee hearing. I had intended to edit heavily, but as events developed, and became more time-sensitive, I decided to just post it as-is, so it's pretty rough. Sorry. I may get around to a "highlight reel." In the mean time, contact the Committee members, and see if you can set aside Thursday morning to join us...

Through the Governor's counsel's testimony, Lynch clearly believes this legislation is thoroughly unnecessary, even redundant. Representatives Kurk, Itse, and Vaillancourt are eloquent. Questions posed by the Committee members suggest they are sympathetic. The Committee Chair, informing me before the hearing that she believes the REAL ID component belongs with another Committee, and so intends to gloss over it, reconsiders mid-proceedings, and decides they need to reserve more time to its investigation. Thus the continuance to Thursday.

I believe merely asking for an extension is "blinking." I believe it would say that we're working toward compliance. And that would be lying, either to the feds or to the citizens of NH, who have worked very hard to keep NH out of any national ID scheme. And I now honestly believe the Senate is more interested in pleasing the equally arrogant feds, and selling us out for chump change than in listening to constituents and defending liberty. What would have become of the American Revolution had "inconvenience" been sufficient imposition to quietly lay down arms and obediently go home?

If we're making a stand for the constitutional rule of law -- as I vehemently believe we should, and must -- let it be here, let it be now. Damn it, I'm pissed. But cautiously hopeful...

"Contemplate the mangled bodies of your countrymen, and then say 'What should be the reward of such sacrifices?' Bid us and our posterity bow the knee, supplicate the friendship, and plough, and sow, and reap, to glut the avarice of the men who have let loose on us the dogs of war to riot in our blood and hunt us from the face of the earth? If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen."
-Samuel Adams-
speech at the Philadelphia State House, August 1, 1776

Monday, March 24, 2008

NH Citizens have spoken. Why are we still talking about this?

To the NH House Science, Technology & Energy Committee,

Multiple presidential candidates' passport files are breached by government contractors. This revelation is kept hidden for months. Is this the level of security the federal government guarantees us for all the REAL ID "breeder documents" they demand be accessible to damned near everybody now, before "allowing" us the freedom to travel?

This is -- increasingly -- the very definition of "no-brainer." So why is this before you again? Because the arrogant NH Senate, in a headlong rush to beat Homeland Security's extension approval (the same one the feds already sent to Montana unrequested) to the Governor's office, is sounding more and more like VP Cheney when asked about 2/3 of the people being against the war: "So?"

NH citizens have already spoken on this issue. Why are we still talking about it? NH wants to retain her sovereignty, at least the little she has left. Send the NH Senate a message. Send D.C. a message. Please reject their latest attempt to sell us down the river. Please reject REAL ID. Again. With prejudice. Please reject SB434. Stand firm. The citizens of NH have your back.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Appreciation for a job (substantially) properly done 

To my NH Representatives,

To those of you who chose to give our young people sufficient credit (they are NH's sons and daughters, after all) to realize when they're being repeatedly propagandized and outright lied to (as, I've little doubt, you would have justifiably expected for yourselves), as well as the opportunity to at least recover from "youthful indiscretion" (as, I trust, you would have appreciated for yourselves); to those who chose to reject simply continuing the same troubling level of irrational, hypocritical, inconsistent, fruitless and expensive hysteria, and to defend Article 18, by passing HB1623, "relative to the penalty for possession of marijuana," thank you.

It is indeed heartening to see our Hillsborough 7 contingent so dramatically proportionally depart (4-3) from the 40-94 authoritarian GOP party line vote on this question of liberty, reason and the constitutional rule of law. I look forward to us doing even better in the future, leading the way in NH to limited government, local control, inviolable property rights, and consistent personal freedom. Have yourselves a drink on me.

Day, Russell            GOP    Hills. 7    Nay
Emerton, Larry         GOP    Hills. 7    Nay
Fletcher, R              GOP     Hills. 7    Nay
Holden, R                GOP    Hills. 7    Yea
Hopper, Gary           GOP    Hills. 7    Yea
Kurk, Neal               GOP    Hills. 7    Yea
Manney, Pamela      GOP    Hills. 7    Yea
McRae, Karen          GOP    Hills. 7    Not Voting

And Representative Fletcher, I'm still very much interested in understanding how you ended up the sole House Republican siding with just 18 Democrats in favor of HB1354, in opposition to Article 2-a...

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Practical Considerations for a Day at the NH State House

A brief tour of the NH State House and environs for those trepidatious individuals who what to know where they're going before they get there. I gotcher back. C'mon down... Plus, some investigative reporting. };->

Thursday, March 13, 2008

'Firefly' Now Streaming Online

Full episodes. 'Nuff said. Go watch.

EDIT: Surprisingly, this post continues to get hits from "streaming firefly" searches. Unfortunately, as of late 2009, Hulu is offering only a limited selection of episodes. Fortunately, Fancast now has... hmm... the same limited selection... Screw 'em. Go buy the box set.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Wee-hour ruminations on speed limits

Given any road and any conditions, and barring any speed regulation, you get something akin to a bell curve distribution of speeds, which essentially defines "reasonable and prudent" (which, of course, isn't the same for everyone, yet I would still argue for minimum speeds on limited-access roads, not to mention "keep right except to pass").

If you set a regulated speed equal to the peak of that curve, nothing changes.

If you set it lower than that speed, the curve shifts down, but not as much as the lowered regulated speed, because drivers realize it's artificial (not to mention they get bored and start texting their friends, etc., which obviously introduces its own problems). And the more you shift the regulated speed below the natural peak, the greater the discrepancy between the two, because drivers realize it's bullshit. Thus generating less respect for speed laws in general.

If, on the other hand, you set a higher regulated speed, the bell curve will shift slightly higher than the natural peak, but only because that official sanction is an unnatural enticement for a few drivers. A dare, if you will, and so better not to post it at all. Such drivers would still be liable for any irresponsible damage they caused, and would likely have caused regardless of finger-wagging, anyway. But at some point, don't we all have to grow up and shoulder responsibility for our actions? OK, shouldn't we be expected to? Should we be driving if we aren't? Shouldn't we be encouraged to, rather than depending on some asserted protective government cocoon to restrict us? One that, believe it or not, isn't really always there, if ever? Think "jogger meets nature" in the LA hills.

Most drivers, however, faced with artificially high limits, will simply drive at the speed at which they were previously already comfortable. Higher speeds scared them before, and gentle coaxing won't change that.

Therefore, the, "We can't post higher than 65 because they're doing 75 already," argument is pure delusional nanny-state crap, since the interstate highway system was even designed for a "reasonable and prudent" 85mph on '50s-era suspensions and brakes in the first place.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

NH Gov Lynch discusses REAL ID

The NH Liberty Alliance once again visits the NH State House for a big day of House deliberations. Governor Lynch takes a meeting with REAL ID opponents. (He still won't say he won't ask for an extension...) And an (atypical) example of "roll call voting" in practice. No, the vote totals aren't supposed to be displayed live. Some Representatives are clearly having some fun with their newfound electronic toy... 3/5/2008