Midsummer news and cranky complaints

A minor “inside baseball” dispute has arisen in the Republican senatorial exploration among those seeking to get the GOP nomination to succeed retiring U.S. Sen. Judd Gregg next year.

The issue is whether the national party, in this case in the form of the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, can or should dictate who the GOP candidate for office is going to be. Former Attorney General Kelly Ayotte seems to have been anointed by that committee as the candidate they hope to see nominated and to whom they seek to direct their and other contributions.

While there is nothing wrong with Ayotte as a candidate, others think a healthy primary with the give-and-take, notice, public interest and enthusiasm would be a good thing for the party.

Time will tell whether this is successful.

On the gubernatorial side of the upcoming primary, the case probably could be made that not having a GOP primary would be a good thing, if a candidate could emerge around whom the party could rally and who could be the focus of needed hard work, grassroots organizing and fund-raising, since Gov. John Lynch’s presumed quest for a fourth term will be energetic, well funded and have momentum.

Whether potential candidates would stay out of the race if one such candidate could be located is an interesting issue for the GOP. The Democrats seem to have been much better at avoiding primaries and focusing on candidates when they were out of office. It worked.


Superior Court Justice Kathleen McGuire’s decision that the malpractice fund money in the JUA (medical malpractice Joint Underwriting Association) fund could not be taken for the state budget received a lot of notice, although many observers believed that result to be probable.

In the event the Supreme Court upholds Judge McGuire, the state will have to find $110 million somewhere. There are only three places to look. First, alternate revenue sources could be sought, and there will be those clamoring to have their favorite option passed, most notably gambling. The second place to look is budget cuts. There will be strong support from the business community, Republicans and others that the budget hole created by the loss of JUA funds be solved with further budget cuts.

While $110 million is a lot of money, it is not a huge percentage of the state budget. Finally, the hope that an improved economy will result in higher revenue than forecast is possible, but a dangerous way to balance the budget.

As previously noted, it might be a good idea for the state government to form a budget panel now to start facing the issues that the next biennial budget will face when the 2011 legislature convenes, since spending and revenue issues probably will be worse then than they are now.


On the couple of things that are bugging me front, the following:

I watch “Good Morning America” every morning, since it comes on after the Channel 9 early morning news. I always thought this was a news program. Increasingly, however, it has become apparent that it is an entertainment program. Maybe I am alone in these comments and observations, but I do not care who won “Dancing with the Stars” last night, do not care what Oprah is going to have on her program later today, do not care whether The Bachelor or The Bachelorette has broken up with his or her selected intended, do not care whether people on television reality shows are getting divorced, do not care who the host of “American Idol” is and, most certainly, am not interested in the intrigue surrounding the unfortunate death of Michael Jackson.

There are big issues in the world. Diane Sawyer, Robin Roberts, Chris Cuomo and the others hosting this program are trained journalists who could present major issues in depth, and I would like to think people would watch them were they to do so.


Also on the gripe front is the near-total deterioration of grammar. While there are a host of examples of the disregarding of the English language, two that come to mind as blatantly ignored are as follows:

• Parallel construction. General Motors is not a “they.” General Motors is an “it.” We almost universally hear, “When General Motors designed the new Chevrolet, ‘they ….” Similarly, it is not correct to say, “When a student applies to college, ‘they’ have to fill out an application.” It is proper to say, “When a student applies to college, he or she fills out an application,” or “When students apply to college, then …” Why are we afraid of ‘he’ and why are we unable to use “he or she” if we are afraid of “he”?

• Objective case abuse. We often hear, “The average professional basketball player is taller ‘than me’.” The correct statement is, “The average professional basketball player is taller than I.” Many will argue about this, saying that “than” takes the objective case. The fact is, the phrase that is the object of the “than” is “I am.” Therefore, the average professional basketball player is taller “than I am” is contracted to “than I.” It should not be too hard to get it right.

There are many more examples of the disregard for English grammar. These two will suffice for now. We Americans need to “talk English good” if we are to be understood!

Thanks, I feel better now.

Brad Cook is a shareholder in the Manchester law firm of Sheehan Phinney Bass + Green and heads its government relations and estate planning groups. He also serves as secretary of the Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire.