Jim Hightower - Where does GOP grouchiness come from?

I've found it! I've discovered the original document from which today's tea party pontificators have drawn their political creed.

Tea-infused Republicans are the "anti" party — anti-science, anti-public, anti-worker, anti-environment, anti-Obama ... anti-anti-anti. Where does all this unrelenting bombastic negativity come from? It turns out that their sour philosophy is rooted in "Horse Feathers." It's a 1932 Marx Brothers musical comedy that features Groucho belting out a song with these lyrics:

"Your proposition may be good/ But let's have one thing understood

Whatever it is, I'm against it!/ And even when you've changed it

Or condensed it/ I'm against it!"

So it's no surprise that the GOP's Senate leaders and presidential seekers have taken a preemptory "we're agin' it," head-in-the-sand stand against anyone President Obama would nominate to fill the current Supreme Court vacancy created by the death of Antonin Scalia. We won't let logic, fairness or our duty to the Constitution reverse our petulant, purely partisan, knee-jerk "NO," they vaingloriously proclaim. Maybe if he nominates a corporation or a sack of corporate cash to sit on the court they'd change their tune, but otherwise they're a big, fat no, no, no!

Actually, their recalcitrance is no surprise, for the right wing has consistently been an obstructionist group throughout our history. Indeed, there wouldn't even be a USA if the reactionaries of the 1770s had won the day — their Tory faction adamantly opposed Jefferson, Adams, Washington, and the other "radicals" who broke from the British Monarchy to forge our independent nation. And they've fought every progressive advance since — abolition of slavery, extending the vote to women, civil rights, Social Security and Medicare, women's rights, gay marriage, etc. etc.

The "Grouchos" of today are just singing the same old reactionary song, still trying to shove America back into a monarchy of the rich. So I really didn't expect this!

The National Republican Party has published an official policy document showing that the GOP really might be more than a gaggle of serve-the-rich plutocrats and wacky, Trumped-up right-wingers. Just when you thought the party was consuming itself in the know-nothingism of its presidential pretenders and the recalcitrant do-nothingism of its Congress critters, out comes a sign of sanity.

Right at the top of this 18-page manifesto, the party proclaims that, "Our government was created by the people for all the people, and it must serve no less a purpose." ALL the people! Forget pontifications by Wall Street billionaires dividing America into virtuous "creators" (like themselves) and worthless "moochers" (like you and me) — this document abounds with commitments to the common good. "America does not prosper," it proudly proclaims on page three, "unless all Americans prosper." Wow — that's downright democratic!

And how's this for a complete turnaround: "Labor is the United States. The men and women, who with their minds, their hearts and hands, create the wealth that is shared in this country — they are America." Holy Koch brothers, share the wealth?

Yes, and how about this: "The protection of the right of workers to organize into unions and to bargain collectively is the firm and permanent policy of the (Republican Party)." Eat your heart out, Scott Walker, and you other labor-bashing GOP governors!

The document also supports our public postal service, the United Nations, equal rights for women, expanding our national parks, "vigorous enforcement of anti-trust laws," and raising the minimum wage. New enlightenment in the Grand Old Party. Hallelujah!

Can all this be true? Yes — except it's not new. This document is the Republican Party Platform ... of 1956.

(Jim Hightower has been called American's most popular populist. The radio commentator and former Texas Commissioner of Agriculture is author of seven books, including "There's Nothing In the Middle of Road but Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos" and his new work, "Swim Against the Current: Even Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow".)

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Sanborn — What's not hot...

Last week we explored what is hot in the real estate world as far as desirable home features. Now, for WNHW. That's not a radio station, that's "What's not hot, Willie!" or things you might want to change if you can before you try to sell your home. Obviously, some things can't be fixed, like the fact that you live next to a junkyard, but some things can. So do your best.
The biggest challenge is always dated interiors. The minute someone walks into a home that is cosmetically outdated, even if it is in good shape, they usually have an urge to run out the door. If you've got wallpaper with flowers, sailboats, windmills, or cowboys and Indians, get out the steamer and see if you can remove it. But, there are other things that date a house as well, like:
1. Popcorn Ceilings. Nothing says the 70s and 80s more than popcorn ceilings. The only place you want popcorn is in the bowl on your lap while you are watching tips on TV about how to get it off your ceiling. It ain't rocket science but I guarantee you, your neck, back, and arms will be sore by the time you finish.

2. While many people still like wall to wall carpet in bedrooms, it doesn't go well in bathrooms and kitchens. Oh, you don't think there are houses like that? There are! And the color choices of the 80s and early 90s are passé as well. Go with neutral colors. And cheap laminate flooring looks like, well, it looks like cheap flooring. Use the good stuff and the buyers won't wonder what else you skimped on around the old fort.

3. Hollow core doors. I had a 1970 Ford Maverick and when I slammed the door it sounded like tin on tin because that's what it was. Slam the door on a new Caddy or BMW and you get that rewarding solid clunk. I like the doors in a house to clunk, too. Hollow core doors leave you feeling a little hollow. You know what I mean?

4. Old appliances. Yup, we still see a few harvest gold and avocado appliances around, but we are more likely to see dated early Jenn Air stoves or some old GE stoves with digital clocks where the numbers printed on cards mechanically flip over as time passes you by. You've gotta have black, white, or stainless appliances to be in vogue and even stainless might be on its way out.

5. Mauve, pink, gold, blue and yellow bathtubs, sinks, and showers are definitely undesirable. Luckily, you can have them refinished and save a bunch of money. Don't expect that the buyer wants to hear that, though.

6. Jacuzzi tubs are also out, especially, if they are sitting out in your bedroom instead of the bathroom. I've seen plenty of them like that. They might have seemed like a romantic idea at the time, but hardly anyone uses them anymore.

7. Shiny brass bathroom fixtures. Why shiny brass fixtures are no longer in style is a mystery as big as where they buried Jimmy Hoffa. Shiny brass is, well... it is shiny. Chrome, nickel, and stainless are shiny, too. So who was the guy that decided shiny brass is no good anymore?? Antique brass seems to be acceptable. I bet shiny brass will come back just about the time everyone removes all those faucets. So, save yours, they may be worth their weight in...brass, I guess, down the road.

8. Choppy room floor plans. Lots of older (and even some newer) houses have some pretty funky floor plans. Sometimes houses have been expanded seemingly one room at a time. We call those "expansion mansions." Some older homes were laid out funny to start with. One good example is when you have to go through one bedroom to get to another. Having a bathroom right off the dining or living room really doesn't work, either.

9. Florescent lighting is not really attractive or desirable and the buzzing noise some of those old round kitchen ceiling fixtures make can drive you nuts. I'm not a big fan of them in suspended ceilings either.

10. I know we live in the wilderness, but dead animals mounted on the walls tend not to be popular with some buyers. I guess how many are hung up might also be a factor unless the buyer's wife belongs to the NRA. A whole herd on the wall can be a little disconcerting. I went to one house least year and there was a dead horse in the yard by the driveway. I know that's an extreme case, but get rid of partial or whole dead animals unless you plan on staying where you are.

I could go on, but these are some of the main issues. So, if you have a house with popcorn ceilings, a kitchen with avocado appliances and worn linoleum floors, pink toilets and shag carpet in the bathrooms, a wild boar's head over the fireplace, and oh yeah, I forgot, dented aluminum siding, you have a bit of updating to do...maybe your dad would like to move in there?

There were 843 single family homes on the market as of April Fool's Day, 2016 in the twelve communities covered by this report. The average asking price was $527,853 while the median price point was $259,900. This represents about eight and a half months supply of inventory on the market.
Pl​ease feel free to visit www.lakesregionhome.com to learn more about the Lakes Region real estate market and comment on this article and others. Data compiled using the NNEREN MLS system as of 4/1/16. ​Roy Sanborn is a sales associate at Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty and can be reached at 677-7012

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Bob Meade - Revolution. . .

When you hear or read the word revolution, your mind may take you to the revolution that gave birth to our country. "No taxation without representation," The Boston Tea Party. George Washington. Or perhaps you thought of the revolution when, in 1854, 15 or 16 men who were intent on abolishing slavery, met in Ripon, Wisconsin to form the Republican Party. In 1861, Abraham Lincoln was elected as that party's first president. He was the Commander in Chief who led the North in the revolution that we call our "Civil War," where 630,000 of our citizens died in the battle to save the Union and to emancipate the slaves. Those wars emanated from the will of the people who wanted government to represent their wants and needs . . . not for them to be subject to the whims and demands of the government.

A government of, by, and for the people is what our founders gave us, and it is that which we must protect.

As we slog through this political season, the need/desire for revolution is again present. Democrat/socialist candidate Bernie Sanders is asking his constituents to join him in a "revolution" and to elect him so that he can transition our republic to socialism. He promises "free" college education, "free" health care, and other "free" things. In exchange for those free things, the citizenry will only have to cede their basic freedoms to the whims of the government.

The other Democratic candidate, deemed to be the chosen one, has more political baggage than most. Citizens don't believe she is trustworthy. She has virtually no record of accomplishment as a senator or as a Secretary of State. She left the Middle East in flames and her so-called "re-set" with Russia failed. The parents of those killed in Benghazi have said she lied to them. And, she is under intense investigation by 150 FBI agents who are looking into her use of a private, non-authorized internet server. More is yet to come.

Across the aisle, there has been an on-going battle between traditional politicians and outsider Donald Trump. One by one, traditional politicians have been rejected by the people. A large part of that rejection has been because the people have tired of the "professional politicians" who seek power and tenure and, in some cases, a "legacy." Essentially, the people are throwing a monkey wrench into the political machinery, demanding that they be listened to. As the only non-politician on either side of the aisle, Donald Trump has become the choice of a large cadre of citizens who have lost trust in our government. It is that group of people who are the creators of today's revolution.

In spite of his often immature actions and limited understanding of the Constitution and our laws, that group of people have chosen Mr. Trump to be the leader of their revolution, simply because he has not been a politician. The people have their fingers crossed in hopes that he can rise to the position and be a leader like a Washington or a Lincoln. Many others believe that instead of a Lincoln, the people may have chosen an "Edsel." Only time will tell.

But . . . in the meantime . . . the concern of leaders in the Republican Party is growing greater. Their foremost issue is that, if Trump is nominated, far too many Republican voters will simply choose not to cast a vote in the coming election. That would cede victory to the Democrat Party candidate, probably Secretary Clinton; if she successfully wards off being cited by the FBI. Her election would result in a Supreme Court being stacked with liberal justices and could lead to significant upheavals in the Constitution's "Bill of Rights"; particularly the First and Second Amendments. Her stated views on continuing the failed policies of President Obama will compound the uncertainties facing businesses, and that can only lead to a continuation of very slow growth in the economy and probably create an accelerated move of major corporations to more business and tax friendly countries. It must be noted that when a major corporation moves to a more tax friendly country, the shortfall in tax revenues at local, state, and federal levels, created by their move, must then be paid by the citizens.

So, this people's revolution may give us a socialist government, or perhaps a continuation of slow growth and accelerated uncertainty that will drive businesses to more friendly environs, or give us a leader with no political experience who uses bully and bluster instead of tact and diplomacy. The Republican front runner needs to demonstrate that he has the ability to bring together (under the "big tent") the various factions of the party?

Put emotions aside and think pragmatically about what's best for our country . . . who do you want to lead the people's revolution?

(Bob Meade is a Laconia resident.)

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Living Well with Chronic Pain

By Carolyn Muller

Living with chronic pain can be an ongoing issue for many of us. The cycle of pain and fatigue can be exhausting and can lead to other symptoms such as stress, poor sleep and depression. Living a full and active life can seem difficult when pain limits our ability to do what we want to do. The good news is, with the right skills, support and education it is possible to increase your level of activity and quality of life while managing your pain.

When pain is impacting your life, it can be useful to explore your options for helping to deal with your symptoms. Learning self-management tools or ways to help lessen our symptoms can help to break the cycle of chronic pain. Some examples of these tools include using your mind, better sleep, physical activity, healthy eating, relieving stress, and action planning. Developing a good relationship with your health care provider will also help you to meet your needs for symptom management. Talk with your health care provider about options for you.

There are a variety of resources available for pain management right here in your own community. LRGHealthcare offers workshops, classes, and tools to help you manage chronic pain. To receive a full listing with details, please call LRGHealthcare's Community Education Department at 527-7120. We are also excited to be offering the upcoming Community Education sessions detailed below.

Evening brief on pain relief
Meet local community experts with skills and tools to help you manage pain and live a healthy life.
Topics will include acupuncture, hypnosis and other therapeutic pain management options. For more information or to register for this program, call 527-7120.

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Lakes Region Profiles — Trigger your 'blue mind' in the Lakes Region

Why would the city of Tempe, Arizona spend $44.8 million to construct 225-acre Tempe Lake in the barren Salt River bed? In Moreno Valley, California, developers expended over $5 million to construct a 35-acre lake to be the focal point of their upscale community. An untold amount was spent by the Howard Hughes Corporation to construct Woodlands Waterway outside of Houston and surround it with luxury condos. Why go to these great expenses? Scientists are beginning to study what we know instinctually – hearing, seeing and feeling water has a positive effect on us. We may not know the science behind it but we know it is true. The Lakes Region has 273 lakes, rivers and ponds drawing people from all over the world. The reason? Researchers believe we have a "blue mind."

"We are beginning to learn that our brains are hardwired to react positively to water and that being near it can calm and connect us, increase innovation and insight, and even heal what's broken," says marine biologist Wallace Nichols. His book, Blue Mind, released in July 2015, compiles the latest findings in neuroscience with personal stories from top athletes, leading scientists, military veterans, and gifted artists. We have a blue mind – "a mildly meditative state characterized by calm, peacefulness, unity, and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment" – that is activated when we are near or in water (Gregoire, 2016, Huffington Post).

For decades, scientists have studied the effects of green space and classical music on mental wellness. The results are so pronounced that green space is factored into urban planning and Mozart is played in maternity ward nurseries. Much in the same way, water is now being studied with some surprising findings:

1. Water gives our mind a rest. According to Nichols, "When we're near, on, in or under water, we get a cognitive break...our brains don't shut down — they keep working, but in a different way."
2. Water can induce a meditative state. "When we're by the water, our brains are held in a state of mild attentiveness," says Nichols. This leads to lower stress levels, improved mental clarity and focus, relief from mild anxiety, pain, and depression, and higher sleep quality.
3. Viewing water invokes a sense of awe. "The emotion of awe invokes feelings of a connection to something beyond oneself, a sense of the vastness of nature and an attempt to make sense of the experience. That switches you from a 'me' orientation to a 'we' orientation." Some researchers believe this explains why many of life's important moments such as engagements, weddings and honeymoons overwhelmingly take place by the water.
4. A blue mind is a creative mind. Being by the water can trigger the part of your brain associated with imagination, insight, consolidation of memories, self-referential thought, and introspection (Gregoire).

The positive effects of water beyond enjoyment are undeniable. A study in England showed a gradient where the closer people lived to the shoreline the healthier they were. In nursing homes, it was discovered that patients experienced the same positive mental effects from viewing aquariums even when the fish were removed (Smedley, 2013, The Guardian). There is evidence that activities in water such as surfing have benefitted soldiers with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder where drugs and other conventional treatments have failed. Interacting with water was also found to have positive effects on disorders of the brains such as autism (Nichols).

There is no question that the waters of the Lakes Region have many positive effects on those who live and visit here. Countless reviews on TripAdvisor point to this very fact. Bob from New York said "the lake is breathtaking...wonderful and peaceful break from the day to day hectic pace...just sit on the dock and take in the sights and sounds...our happy place." A visitor from Canada said "staying on the shores of this lake was ethereal, with the sounds of water lapping on the shore" while Riki from Oklahoma said that "on this beautiful sparkling lake...time seems to slip away." A visitor from Maine called the lakes "heavenly" and said Winnipesaukee was "the dreamiest lake I have ever been to." Maurene K. said "it was so peaceful to watch the sun dance on the tiny ripples in the lake's surface." A visitor from Nigeria was taken aback by our "unimaginable huge lake with the sun hitting it and reflecting various colors due to the angle of light," and another traveler from India called the Lakes Region "a very calm, peaceful, and scenic place." In writing about Winnipesaukee, Mikeal S. was simply "amazed at how awesome it was." Pat A., who called herself a lifelong enthusiast of the Lakes Region, said, "My best inspirations and ideas come when I am looking out over the lake."

Do you want your blue mind to tap into the benefits of water? Find a green knoll and sit a spell while you listen to Mozart and watch the waves lap the shore of one of the many waterbodies in the Lakes Region. You never know what insight might pop into your mind.

Please feel free to visit www.rocherealty.com to learn more about the Lakes Region and its real estate market. Mary O'Neill is a sales associate at Roche Realty Group in Meredith and Laconia, and can be reached at 366-6306. rocherealty.com

 

 

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