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I (heart) Cow Hampshire

I often take a bit of pride in discussing some of New Hampshire's finer points. (OK, I'll admit it, I brag about them.) Not as much as I spend running down Massachusetts, I admit, but in my defense there is so much wrong about that state that it's easier to talk about that than to bring up what's right with us here in NH.

A few people, in the comments, have resented my affirmations of New Hampshire's rightness, and have brought up a few things about my home state that they consider less than admirable. I freely admit I haven't mentioned them too much, so it might seem as if I'm ashamed of them. Rest assured, I am not.

For example, the annual Road Kill Auction. I've known about this for almost 20 years. Every year the state (I think it's done through Fish And Game, but the Highway Department might do it) holds an auction of carcasses of dead animals collected along the highways. Most of them are quietly disposed of, but those of larger, rarer animals that are mostly intact are taken to a big freezer in Concord and once a year they are sold off to the highest bidders. Yes, it's tacky and gross, but it's simple economics -- if there's a demand for them, why not sell them? I don't know why people would want to buy a dead, frozen bear or moose or deer or wolf, but if they want it, and they're willing to fork over good money for it, I think that's just fine and dandy.

New Hampshire's reliance on property taxes is another point that bugs some people. As we have no sales or income tax (the only state that utterly rejects both notions), a good chunk of our public funds comes through property taxes -- and they're pretty damned high. We're looking at that, though, and we're always kicking around ways of tweaking the system.

Another point brought up is our former governor, the late Meldrim Thomson, Jr. Thomson was a Pennsyvanian who moved to New Hampshire and allied himself with the publisher of our only state-wide newspaper, and rode that friendship into three terms in the governor's office. "Mel" was a true character.

  • When a Massachusetts driver blew past his state-trooper-driven car, Thomson ordered the trooper to chase and pull over the guy, who not only got a ticket and hefty fine, but lost his privilege to drive in New Hampshire.
  • When Massachusetts had state troopers sit in the parking lot of New Hampshire state liquor stores and copy down the license plates of Bay Staters cheating Massachusetts' tax on booze, Thomson ordered New Hampshire state troopers to arrest their Massachusetts colleagues for loitering.
  • Thomson, a tireless supporter of states' rights, pushed repeatedly for the New Hampshire National Guard to be equipped with tactical nuclear weapons.
  • Thomson used his authority to order the states' flags lowered to half-staff at the drop of a hat. We offiicially mourned the official United States recognition of Communist China, the ejection of Taiwan from the Olympics, the signing of the Panama Canal Treaty, and several other times.
  • When anti-nuclear protesters assembled at the Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant (then under construction), Thomson put on his "commander in chief of the National Guard" hat and, while wearing military fatigues, flew in a helicopter to the scene and personally ordered the arrest of all 1,400 protesters.
  • Thomson was denied a fourth term in 1978, when Democrat Hugh Gallen finally defeated Governor Mel. But while politics might have been done with Mel Thomson, Thomson wasn't done with politics. In 1980, disgusted that the leading Republican candidate -- Ronald Reagan -- was too liberal, he ran a very brief presidential campaign.

In retrospect, Thomson was a seriously loose cannon, and a lot of what he stood for and fought for was just plain wrong. But with the benefit of 30 years of perspective, though, I'd take another Governor Mel today over a good chunk of the politicians Massachusetts keeps choosing over and over and over. After all, we got rid of Mel after three terms and six years. The Bay Staters are about to send Ted Kennedy back to the United States Senate (where he can -- and does -- cause far more damage than Mel ever dreamed of) for a ninth time, and let's not forget that they also "blessed" us with almost-presidents Michael Dukakis and John Kerry.

Yeah, we're kind of odd and peculiar up here in New Hampshire. We have our quirks and faults, just like every other state.

But I wouldn't live anywhere else for love or money.


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Comments (13)

"Thomson ordered New Hampsh... (Below threshold)
jdavenport:

"Thomson ordered New Hampshire state troopers to arrest their Massachusetts colleagues for loitering."

There was nothing wrong with that one. Brilliant.

Live Free Or Die

We need more Mel.... (Below threshold)

We need more Mel.

Gotta love a Governor like ... (Below threshold)

Gotta love a Governor like that! Wish we had more like him. Mass. is an asylum for the seriously silly and dangerous. But then so is California.

Off TopicI hope ever... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

Off Topic
I hope everyone is listening to Rush. He's totally off his Meds today.

I spent a week in N.H. seve... (Below threshold)
al:

I spent a week in N.H. several years ago on vacation. Didn't want to leave.

I'd love to go back and stay.

It's funny that you mention property taxes. A number of people that we talked to complained about them but those that would give the actual figure - well they were lower than we were paying at the time and we have income and sales tax as well here in the craptacular state of Illinois.

Barney:When are you ... (Below threshold)
Bryan:

Barney:
When are you ever on topic? Unless the topic is "Republicans are teh suxor!!1!" you don't really have much to contribute.

Anyway:
I live in VT and work in NH and grew up in CT. I'm at a loss to discern any realy difference between NH and VT.
Both have rabidly xenophobic natives.
Both like squeezing money out of rich people - VT does it through income tax, NH does it through property tax.
VT has sales tax and NH has ridiculously high vehicle registration fees.
VT's a blue state with a RINO governor and NH is a red state with a DINO governor.
VT has slightly more worthless hippies trying to overthrow the government and NH has slightly more worthless Libertarians trying to overthrow the government (how's that Free State Project coming? Making any headway?)
Vermonters and New Hampshirites like to glare at each other across the river and talk about how each one sucks, but this native Connecticutian isn't buying it. They're like an old couple who bicker incessantly but can't imagine life without each other.

Needs More CowMel... (Below threshold)
Tempus:

Needs More CowMel

Jay Tea:I hear Jua... (Below threshold)
Todd:

Jay Tea:

I hear Juan Carlos of Spain is looking for a little trophy action, but might be keen to your auction instead -- especially if the road kill comes marinated in State Store booze. And, there's always quick exit from the stores back to Logan.

"But I wouldn't live anywhe... (Below threshold)
jim b:

"But I wouldn't live anywhere else for love or money."

Hey I knew them ... Love and Money. Two interpretive dancers from Georgia.

You must have a real sence of self control!

Barney, Rush could be "o... (Below threshold)
cmd:

Barney, Rush could be "off his Meds" for ten years, and he'd still have more intellectual firepower in one shattered neuron than you'd have in your entire BDS-addled brain.

Now now "cmd" you are going... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

Now now "cmd" you are going to hurt "B'google's" feelings.

I can remmeber when those e... (Below threshold)
spurwing plover:

I can remmeber when those eco-jerks from that stupid CLAMSHELL ALLIANCE were protesting against the nudular power plant near SEABROOK just your susial antinucular idiots but once the media left they left as well

State-run liquor store???</... (Below threshold)
Denny F. Crane!:

State-run liquor store???

That is just WRONG! A whole lotta wrong! As Tommy Lee would say, "that's just marinaded in Wrong Sauce!"

State liquor stores are the scourge of the Earth. I HATE them!--and I would never live in another state like that. Ever.

Denny F. Crane!




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