McCain’s old jokes

If you’ve never seen John McCain speak in New Hampshire, you probably should. Not because I expect he’s going to present some new policy idea or take the president to task, but because you can’t really say you lived in New Hampshire until you have.


Between his two presidential runs, Sen. McCain arguable campaigned more in New Hampshire than any other national politician. I covered him in 2007 when he had that crazy campaign collapse turned victory, thanks to the fact New Hampshire seems to really love the guy — or at least New Hampshire Republicans, as was pointed out to me on Sunday.

If you’re one of the many who has seen McCain speak to a small room, town-hall style, where he answers any question no matter how crazy, you’ve also heard McCain’s jokes. He doesn’t have many, but the ones he has are not bad the first time you hear them. But they go steadily downhill upon repeating. Here are a few, roughly transcribed:

When people ask me what I did after I lost the election, I tell them I slept like a baby — sleep for an hour, wake up and cry, go back to sleep for an hour…

I like to tell the story about the two guys in the prison chow line, where one says to the other, “I liked the food in here better when you were governor.”

and the sticker

I told that joke in Illinois, but it didn’t go over well.

McCain spoke on Sunday in Concord for an event honoring the late N.H. Sen. Warren Rudman and the opening of a policy center named in his honor. Here’s the story, for Associated Press.

Best News All Day, Prison Edition


One of the stories I followed closely in the past year is the state’s decision to investigate opening a private prison in New Hampshire. More than a year ago, the state issued a request for proposals from private prison contractors and developers interested in building or renovating a prison that the private company would run for 20 years, then hand back over to the state.

Interest in the proposal was strong.

But now the state has decided to end the discussion, saying none of the proposals outlined how the prisons would comply with a number of court orders, such as how they would provide equal services for men and women prisoners. Not only did the applicants fail to provide enough information on how they would comply, but in some cases they just said they would comply with the court order and left it at that.

Looking back at the coverage last year, it is worth noting the RFP was lauded for being open-ended.

“It’s probably one of the more unique and creative (RFPs) put out for some time,” said Eli Gage, the publisher of Correctional News, a national publication that covers trends in prison construction. “The state has given the ability to leave things (a bidder) is open to do or not do, depending on what they like. Even some in the industry say it’s the best RFP they’ve seen in a while.” (from Union Leader Jan. 2012)

Apparently they thought court orders fell under the open part.

The effort to build a private prison in New Hampshire was meant to save money and probably would have been met with more support if the prison didn’t have to go somewhere. When word got out developers were thinking of building a prison in Manchester (sorry only in print?!), the aldermen tossed it up like a hot potato until it landed in Ward 8, much to the chagrin of Alderman Tom Katsiantonis.

Then activists from Arizona — not a state known for compassion when it comes to prisoners —  spoke across New Hampshire urging Legislators to kill the deal.

But the real reason for killing the deal is likely the changes in the Legislature, Executive Council and Governor’s Office, as foretold by Annmarie Timmins of the Concord Monitor in Dec. 2012.

While residents of Manchester and the other towns targeted for a new prison are likely happy about the decision, the state still has little money to spare, the prisons are still in poor condition and the courts still expect the Department of Corrections to fix its problems. I guess it’s back to the drawing board.

Best News All Day 5-5-13


Another slush storm on the way? Who cares?! The beautiful weather and budding fauna of spring are just weeks away. Think positive.

— NH Chief Justice Linda Dalianis speaks with the Nashua Telegraph about budgets and court closings. She mentioned 32 full-time court positions are being cut, replaced with 66 part-time positions. She also was not optimistic about the courts’ budget outlook or the underfunded e-Court Project. She said, “The vagaries of the budget process being what they are, I don’t know how his will all turn out in the end.”

— Portsmouth City Council go a lot of work done last night, including a meh response to an outdoor ice rink at Strawbery Banke and an agreement to develop the Worth parking lot, aka the Whale Wall lot. This is where a parking garage had been proposed, but the neighbors pressured the council to nix the idea. Just to be clear, said Councilor Tony Coviello, this is not an attempt to bring back the Worth Lot garage idea through a back door, though some councilors totally thought it was.

— The NH Dental Society doesn’t want the state to expand laws authorizing dental technicians to do more complicated procedures. They make their case in the Concord Monitor today. I’ve done some research on this issue recently and I think it’s an interesting debate.

— For your political fix, Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, head of the DNC, will be headlining the Dem’s 100 Club Dinner on April 6.

— Also in national politics, everyone is SO EXCITED!!! about Jeb Bush and his book and his hints. The question everyone around here should be asking is when is he coming to New Hampshire? And will he consider headlining a fundraiser for the NHGOP?

— Journalist James Foley, who is from New Hampshire, was kidnapped in Syria on Thanksgiving Day last year. He is still missing. His family has set up a website about Foley and their campaign to find him. Please check it out.

Best News All Day 3-4-13

The Sarah Mildred Long Bridge over the Pisctaqua River in Portsmouth, new Hampshire.


Have you driven over the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge recently? It’s the one that connects the Route 1-Bypass from Portsmouth to Kittery. You know, the one that keeps closing down and is in a constant state of repair because it’s a rusty heap. Yes. That one. As efforts to replace the bridge ramp up, it looks like New Hampshire is going to have a tough time convincing Maine to go halfsies on the multi-million dollar replacement project, seeing as New Hampshire is getting way more out of the deal, according to a new study. (photo by Jerry Monkman)

Also around the state this morning:

— Driving through Concord on I-93 is a traffic nightmare anytime of the day, but I’ve always kind of liked the view of the city from that highway. The backs of all those old, brick buildings makes you feel like you are sneaking up on the city, getting a glimpse of the real, working side of the capital. The Golden Dome may be where all the action is in Concord, but driving past on I-93, it merely shimmers in the background.

Apparently city leaders don’t see it like I see it and are looking at sprucing up the view of downtown’s backside.

— Immigration reform is never high on the issues list when New Hampshire residents are polled, but there are many people in this state affected by these policies. Nashua Telegraph covers an immigration reform rally in the city Saturday, which provides a rare glimpse at New Hampshire’s immigrant population and the problems they are facing.

— A new bill could require high school students to take four years of math (ugg.) But a recent study suggests reports that students are entering college woefully unprepared in math may be overblown.

— I wanted to post something about the upper Seacoast region…Dover, Rochester, Durham perhaps. But is making it very difficult. Fosters, if you are going to have a pop-up on your homepage, users should be able to “x” out of it so they can see your product, not take me to some weird page deep within your site. Just sayin’.

— Elizabeth Kulig was elected Manchester City Democrats Chairman over the weekend, beating out Mike Farley, city dem’s former secretary. This 21-year-old is the youngest person elected to the post. Also worth noting, Alderman Garth Corriveau addressed the committee.

There’s been some peculation about what Corriveau’s ambiguous video message to his peeps meant last week. My guess is Corriveau still hasn’t made up his mind, though he’s really thinking about it. What he has to decide is whether he thinks his chances of beating Mayor Ted Gatsas are good enough to give up a relatively safe seat on the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

Best News All Day 2-26-13


Good morning. Another snow storm is on it’s way tonight, so I’ve included a few stories you may have missed (and I definitely missed) from this weekend. Consider it a little extra reading for you while “working from home” tomorrow.

— White pine trees in New Hampshire are stressed out, according to UNH scientists.

— GREAT Nashua Telegraph web front page today. Plenty of good reads, including the piece on the Mont Vernon GOP gun raffle. It mentions recent controversy with these kinds of gun raffles and has a quote from Manchester GOP moderate Chris Stewart warning this may not be the path Republicans want to keep going down.

— NH Supreme Court rules the Nashua Telegraph did not defame a man when it erroneously reported he cooperated with police. Plaintiff argues, it’s defamation if you’re in prison.

— Comprehensive look from Union Leader business writer Dave Solomon breaking down the natural gas/Power New England/deregulation issue. Also, a little more background from New York Times.

— There are plenty of good stories about the local impact of sequestration. Here is the official White House fact sheet for NH.

— From Concord Monitor Sunday paper, great Ben Leubsdorf interview with interim LGC head and all around obscure government agency fixer, George Bald.

— NH DOT Commissioner Chris Clement to speak about NH’s state of transportation at the Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce breakfast tomorrow. In the press release: New Hampshire has approximately 17,000 miles of roads, turnpikes and interstate highways and 3,795 bridges. “These structures are essential to our state and their deteriorating condition is a threat to our economy.”

— And my personal favorite, Nashua residents push Board of Public Works to hold its meetings at a reasonable evening hour, not in the middle of the work day. Former Alderman Dan Richardson adds this complaint (from Maryalice Gill at the Telegraph):

“When you read the formal Board of Public Works meeting minutes for that particular meeting, you’ll find absolutely no hint of public participation via that letter. It was as if no letter even existed. Is that what the mayor considers satisfactory public participation? It sounds to me like an official’s attempt to wash the official record of any public dissent.”