Got A Hand Fulla Gimme…

Dear Sir:

In today’s Seacoast Online there was the story headlined, “Will three Seacoast Bridge projects face delays? N.H. politicians sound the alarm, urge action.” The story goes on to state that Governor Sununu and Executive Councilor Janet Stevens sent a letter to New Hampshire’s all-Democratic congressional delegation, complaining that the U.S. Coast Guard has yet to issue bridge permits for the General Sullivan and the Neil R. Underwood bridge projects. They also were concerned about the the updated preliminary navigation determination for the bridge connecting New Castle to Rye on route 1B. They went on to say, “It is incumbent on our federal partners to be timely and efficient in helping to deliver these needed infrastructure projects and to fulfill on the promises of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).”

While I agree that these are very worthwhile and important infrastructure improvement projects that need to be completed as quickly as possible, I find it somewhat interesting that we have two conservative Republicans pushing for these projects to fulfill the promises of the IIJA which was opposed by most Republicans in Congress. In fact the IIJA passed the House of Representatives with a vote of 228 to 206. The 206 nay votes included six Democrats and 200 Republicans. Only 13 Republicans voted for the bill to pass. In the Senate the vote was 69 yeas and 30 nays. All the 30 nay votes were from Republicans.

So while Mr. Sununu and Ms. Stevens can complain about the delay in getting these projects moving, if it had not been for President Biden and the Democrats in Congress they would not have had any bridge infrastructure project to complain about the timing of. Without President Biden there would not have been an Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act at all. A “Thank you President Biden and Congressional Democrats” coming from Mr. Sununu and Ms. Stevens would have been appreciated in their letter complaining about timing.

Rich DiPentima, LTC, USAFR, Ret

Portsmouth, N.H.


Anyone remember the Sixties, when stiff-necked conservatives like Mortimer Adler were warning everybody about those dope-smoking leftists and the moral hazards of their situational ethics? Don’t worry, no one else does, either—especially today’s so-called conservatives. 

No one is more fluid these days than a Republican deciding whether something is right or wrong.

The Editor


 Trumpazoids as Cheezy Imitation Pirates

Dear Editor:

We have our pirate-themed mini-golf courses for entertainment. Each has worked-up histories of real pirates as another entertainment element. 

I’ve heard Donald Trump’s slick voice on air waves, glorying in his own version of successful (he wishes) piracy, attempts to have an election win he can only imagine. Not ever entertaining, but deadly serious, however, as he racks up criminal indictments and boasts about them. 

Now I read this about pirates’ flags, using Blackbeard’s history: “Pirates hoisted the skull-and-bones flag to show what their prey could expect if they resisted capture. The flags could also be plain black or plain red without any pictures—everyone knew what they meant.” 

For us now it’s Orange Man and his crew’s anti-Biden and pro-Trump flags, off the backs of trucks and hanging from trees, threatening. The flags intend to strike fear. They brazenly challenge: “What the f___ are your laws to us?” Their crafty leader, in true pirate tradition, works for his marauder’s goal—taking down our ship of state, our democracy.

The mini-golf courses’ pirate-histories don’t end well for the pirates, however. May good prevail over evil.

Lynn Rudmin Chong

Sanbornton, N.H.


You’re onto something here, we think. Trump cultists do love to pose as bold and daring swashbucklers. Our mileage varies: they appear to us to be so deluded as to be thoroughly pathetic. It’s just a measure of the dysfunctionality of our politics that they can simultaneously represent a terrible threat to our democracy.

As you will see on page two, our Wandering Photographer likes to keep a lens on the local crew. They didn’t seem to be doing much business on Sunday in the marketplace of ideas.

Every once in a while some would-be tough guy in a colossal pickup truck with a gargantuan Trump flag in the back will go roaring through Market Square, determined to make sure everyone knows he’s fallen completely for the most transparent fraud in American history. His truck probably tickles the seismograph up in Tamworth as it rumbles through the Square, but the driver’s self-awareness probably measures somewhere around Absolute Zero.

Marcus Rediker, a Marxist historian, wrote Villains of All Nations: Atlantic Pirates in the Golden Age (Beacon Press, 2005). In this highly-praised book, Rediker transcends the simplistic notion of pirates as evil but entertaining. They may have been depraved, but they were living in a depraved time. Ocean-going ships were the high-tech of their time. Working conditions on board, though, ranged from barely tolerable to unimaginable. Such things were possible in a world where slavery was rarely questioned.

An excerpt from the description at

“This novel interpretation shows how sailors emerged from deadly working conditions on merchant and naval ships, turned pirate, and created a starkly different reality aboard their own vessels. At their best, pirates constructed their own distinctive egalitarian society, as they elected their officers, divided their booty equitably, and maintained a multinational social order.

“This unprecedented social and cultural history of pirates proves that the real lives of this motley crew—which included cross-dressing women, people of color, and the ‘outcasts of all nations’—are far more compelling than contemporary myth. Pirates challenged and subverted prevailing conventions of race, class, gender, and nation, posing a radical democratic challenge to the society they left behind. They dared to play the rebellious villain on a floating international stage.”

Just as Trump tries to steal anything he can get his tiny, ketchup-stained hands on, his Trumpazoid followers try to steal pirate glory. In fact, they’re all delusional. 

The Editor


Our National Lunacy

Dear Editor,

Retired Professor (I’m assuming) W.D. Ehrhart writes a great piece in your latest asking, with visible frustration, “How is this possible?” Like Mr. Ehrhart, millions of us have been wondering exactly the same thing ever since the infamous gold-plated escalator ride, actually and metaphorically downhill, in July 2015. After eight years of tortuous and self-abusive cogitating over this seemingly intractable situation, one has arrived at the conclusion for his own self preservation that it just doesn’t matter anymore. 

Simply put, 45 percent of this country has taken leave of its senses. The why is a mystery. Or maybe it’s that a perfect storm formed after decades of brewing under the national radar. A narcissistic con artist/criminal who spends his entire life perfecting his schtick meets up with a right-wing media juggernaut which for years has been feeding its gullible audience a non-stop diet of grievance, bigotry and extreme crackpottery. Voila! America today. 

It’s dire, no doubt about it. National lunacy has obviously gripped other countries in the past, in some cases far worse than where we are today. But national lunacies eventually die out, and ours will too. The only question, of course, is when.

John C. Ficor

Richmond, Va.


Eventually, yes—but how much time do we have? 

We’re surprised to say it, but we’re slightly less pessimistic than you about the percentage of Americans who are actively delusional. We’d peg it about ten points lower. That’s not very encouraging, though. 

We’ve got more than enough trouble now. Take the housing market. It was sketchy for decades. Then came the deregulated financial hooliganism of the early 21st century. Mortgage rates drop to the floor, then get all jacked up. Now, with rates where they are, no one who could afford to buy a house will sell the one they’re in. 

Now the inevitable disruptions of climatic chaos come along. The insurance industry isn’t there to protect you, it’s there to make a profit. Whole swathes of territory are becoming uninsurable—which is to say, borderline uninhabitable. If a third of the country is enraged over nothing now, what will be the tenor of our discourse after big chunks of the economy have been chucked into the wastewater treatment system?

As ever, your bearer of glad tidings, 

The Editor


The Orange-Faced Loser

Dear Editor,

Remember when Lehman Bros. collapsed in 2008?

 Who could forget?

That sparked Federal bailouts to banks and insurance companies that were deemed

 “Too Big To Fail.”

It looks like The Donald is making a similar page in history,

 by earning 91 criminal charges in four indictments.

Legal pundits are wondering how so many trials can even be scheduled?

 And, how would an ex-President serve prison time if convicted?

The Orange-faced Loser’s strategy is becoming

 “Too Corrupt To Be Convicted.”

Bruce Joffe

Piedmont, Calif.


Due, perhaps, to an irrational and ingrained prejudice, we generally try not to encourage poetic efforts. Yet, somehow you made it past our defenses. Must have been, “Orange-faced Loser.”

The Editor


M/V Thomas Laighton chugging upstream on Sunday, past a fence still full of love locks. We shall never tire of reminding readers that this spiffy 90-foot Maine-built vessel was named for one of our former editors. In partnership with Abner Greenleaf, Jr., Thomas Bell Laighton [1805 – 1866] published the Gazette from an office in the Glebe building, behind North Church, from July 4, 1835 to December 27, 1836. We like to think that at some point during that year and a half, his wife, Eliza Rymes Laighton must surely have brought their baby daughter, the future poet Celia Thaxter, into the office. In 1837, Thomas was off to the State Capitol in Concord, where he served as a State Senator through 1839. After “a political disappointment”—he lost the election, and was man enough to admit it—the allegedly eccentric Laighton took up a position as the lighthouse keeper on White Island. In 1847, with Levi Thaxter, he built the famous Appledore House, cementing his place in history.

First In The Nation…What?

To the Editor:

Once again, I take pen in hand (I actually mean tap on keyboard, but it sounds less poetic) to ask: “Who Believes This Crock of ___t?

We exist in a never ending state of election “news,” with breathless reporting on (1) “town halls,” (2) “debates,” meetings of interested voters with candidates to discuss (3) “issues,” and… my favorite: the latest Poll telling us “what voters think.” Sorry for all the quotation marks!

It’s just the same old same old: these are (1) Rallies, staged by those involved in the Election Industry; (2) pointless and meaningless 1-3 minute smackdown rants; (3) vapid talking points. This all uses a lot of energy and costs a bundle of money, in a huge marketing scam that gives us “leaders” (those pesky quotation marks again) who seem to do little besides demand more money so we can all go through this again, with barely a moment to pause.

One of the chief culprits keeping this whole circus going are The Pollsters. Who are they? How do they gather this “information”? Who pays them? Yet every day there is a new poll telling us that some percentage of “the Voters” don’t like x or y or this or that candidate.

Issues? Policy?? Who wants to talk about that boring stuff when this flimflam show is so exciting (and so lucrative).

Bah, humbug… .

Beth McCarthy

Tamworth, N.H.


Well, now—that’s bold. 

It’s not often that someone dares to cast aspersions at our beloved state’s most hallowed tradition, the First in the Nation™ Presidential Primary Election®. Pardon us as we make a courtly bow and brush the floor with the extravagant feather adorning our most formal chapeau.

Next thing we know, you’ll be describing, in startling detail, the very epidermis, warts, tattoos, and all, of our Emperor—despite his being sumptuously arrayed in the finest raiments.

The Editor


Another Trip to Planet Ewing

To the Editor:

Remember this about slavery and racism: 

As of three hundred years ago slavery had been a normal practice nearly worldwide throughout human history. In the U.S., free blacks as well as whites owned slaves, e.g., in 1830 about 3,770 blacks owned slaves ( 

What changed the worldwide attitude towards slavery? Christianity: the Christian principle that all men are created in the image of God and therefore slavery is a sin. 

Christians began arguing about slavery in Roman times. In the late 18th and early 19th Century Christians who favored abolishing slavery gained enough power in Great Britain to begin the effort to abolish slavery. 

Following Britain’s lead, other European powers joined, fought, and eliminated slavery in their empires by about the end of the 19th Century. 

It was European (white) Christians who provided the military power and paid the great human and financial cost to change the worldwide attitude towards, outlaw, and abolish slavery; it wasn’t Africans or Asians or another religion that led the fight and paid the cost to eliminate slavery. 

Some say that all white Americans benefit from slavery, that’s ridiculous. In the Civil War, hundreds of thousands of wives and children lost their husbands, fathers, and main providers. Most formerly rich slave owners became destitute, having contributed their fortunes to the war effort and had their formerly valuable slaves (some worth $40,000 each) freed without compensation. 

Since the Civil War, Democrats have been dividing Americans by race while blaming Republicans for the problems that Democrats themselves create. 

The U.S. outlaws discrimination on the basis of race. The only obvious apparent systemic racism against black Americans is in the bad schools, dangerous neighborhoods, government abuse, and the poor jobs, housing and other services provided in Democrat [sic] controlled cities. 

Don Ewing

Meredith, N.H.


Thanks for this lovely apologia. It induced in us a truly transcendant religious experience. As we read it, a celestial chorus appeared, made up of those who were slaughtered at Drogheda, Omdurman, Amritsar, and a thousand other far-flung outposts of the British Empire. They sang the praises of recently-crowned Chuck Three, “by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of His other Realms and Territories King, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.”

By your account, the monarchical Brits were gallantly eliminating slavery at the end of the 19th century. Want to know what else they were up to? On August 27, 1896, unenthusiastic about the recent succession of the insufficiently Anglophile Sultan Khalid bin Barghash to the throne of the Zanzibar Sultanate, Rear-Admiral Harry Rawson ordered three ships under his command to fire high explosive shells at the Sultan’s wooden palace. It promptly burned to the ground. About 500 died or were wounded, including women and children. Granted, some of those dead had been enslaved, so we suppose you could say they were emancipated.

We are shocked and confused by your statement that “it wasn’t Africans or Asians or another religion that led the fight and paid the cost to eliminate slavery.” What in the name of God are you talking about? You don’t think the resistance of the enslaved played a role in slavery’s abolition? That assessment strikes us as—dare we say it?—racist.

To be fair, the £20 million in compensation which was paid to the enslavers probably did not come from the formerly-enslaved.

Your sympathy for formerly-wealthy plantation owners is touching, and entirely in keeping with the general drift of conservative thought: Kiss up, punch down. You, too, are a potential multi-billionaire. Support all policies that favor the rich; some day you may benefit. Stomp on the fingers of those below you on the ladder; solidarity is for chumps.

Yes, it’s all the fault of those evil Democrats—always keeping the Black folks down. 

Just keep ignoring the past sixty years of U.S. history, during which all the real rat-bastard Democrats jumped ship, signing on to the Good Ship GOP, under captains like Tricky Dick and the Gipper.

The Editor

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