Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Don't forget to vote!

Whatever you do today, don't forget to vote.
Even if you hate all the candidates. Show up and blank the ballot.
Just vote. It's important. That's all.

Monday, November 5, 2012

More inaccuracies at 'This American Life'

For those of you who listen to "This American Life" and have heard about the inaccuracies at the program which is heard locally on NHPR, don't be surprised if you hear more - or not really telling the entire story.
The latest problems with the program come from the "Nothing in Moderation" segment that aired this weekend, put together by the former reporter for the Concord Monitor, Sarah Koenig.
This episode, which covers some of the problems at the Statehouse, including the banning of Annmarie Timmins from a press conference at Speaker William O'Brien's office, something I covered extensively, is a pretty good one. But it's those nagging problems that just drive me nuts.
First, there is the line that the first thing the Republicans did when they took over the New Hampshire House in 2010 was to vote to allow handguns at the Statehouse.
Well, technically, no. This act was a repeal of a previous law approved by Democrats when they controlled the Legislature for four years. "This American Life" makes it sound as if handguns were never allowed in the NH House until the Republicans took over and voted, first thing, to allow them to be brought into the chamber. Nope, sorry, incorrect and bad use of language. For centuries, guns have always been allowed in the Statehouse until the Democrats took over and banned them. The act was a rescinding of a bill.
Then there is the line that Republicans cut the University of New Hampshire budget by 50 percent. Democrats have used this line too. Not only is it not accurate but it is a manipulation of the numbers and bad use of language.
State appropriations for higher education were not cut in half. The budget was cut by 6.1 percent. The system has a budget of $535.3 million; the state put in $35.7 million instead of $68.2 million. While is it less than half the amount that was put in the previous year, it's only a 6.1 percent cut of the university budget.
When the Democrats and "This American Life" continue to state that the Republicans in the Legislature cut the university budget in half, they are making it seem as if it is a much larger cut than it is.
New Hampshire, however, isn't alone when it comes to higher education cuts. All but four states cut their contributions to college budgets in FY12, some as high as 25 percent.
Instead of raising tuition and fees, maybe the university system should have considered cutting some of the pay scales of its employees, something that happens in the private sector all the time to keep a business afloat. More than $320 million goes to personnel costs. And 10 percent cut in personnel costs - not unheard of in the business world when times are really bad - would add back in almost all the money cut by state government. Why is it always the students who are made to suffer?
Personally, I don't believe in cutting higher education. It's important. It can bring people out of poverty. But let's not make things up. It's bad enough without having to make things up.
I'm told they spent weeks working on this segment. So there isn't any excuse for manipulating the language and being inaccurate with that kind of time to work on one segment. A five minute Google search revealed the inaccuracies.