Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Upset

Well, it’s official. Republican Scott Brown beat out Democrat Martha Coakley in the Massachusetts US Senate race.

I was a little surprised at the outcome. But knowing what was happening in the polls prior to the election, I probably shouldn’t have been. One of my friends commented to me that, based on the negative ads being shown, Coakley should have been beaten because of the negative tone she took. In my previous post, I’d commented that I thought both sides were taking a fairly negative tone towards each other. I’ll stand by that at least to a degree, but in retrospect maybe Brown’s ads were not as harsh as Coakley’s.

With that said, I have to say that it makes things much more interesting with respect to healthcare reform. Because now there is no filibuster-proof majority for the Democrats in the Senate. Further, I have to believe that whatever comes will certainly affect negotiations with the House. But the thing that get my attention more than anything else is that it will cause all kinds of disruption with the other parts of the Democratic agenda. Like jobs and the economy, for example. I could be wrong, but won’t this make things more difficult for the Democrats on those items as well?

As for the other item I wrote about, I did get an opportunity to read the actual article in Sunday’s paper regarding the efforts a group of greater Manchester residents are making to stop the affiliation between CMC and the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health system. I’m glad I did read it because I didn’t have all of my facts straight. First, the group of people involved numbers thirteen including two priests. One of the priests is the current pastor of Ste. Marie Parish (located right next to CMC) and the other is the former pastor of Ste. Marie, now the pastor of St. Michael’s in Exeter. The rest are area Catholics from different parish communities, and they are working with a canon lawyer from Ohio who, among other things, is trying to make the case that CMC is violating canon law because the CEO of the hospital is not a Catholic. And from what I understand, the action is being filed with whichever administrative body/dicastery in the Vatican that is responsible for dealing with issues such as this.

I made a reference to the opinion given on this issue by a Manchester attorney in my previous post. Now, I don’t have a clue if this opinion would hold any weight in ecclesiastical circles, mainly because it was written by a secular attorney who was working with concepts found in US and New Hampshire law. But it wouldn’t surprise me terribly if this is something that is used as a defensive tool by the Diocese of Manchester if it comes to that.

I would suggest reading the opinion as, at least to me, it was an eye opener. I can’t say I’m totally sold on the idea of affiliating for reasons of my own, and they have nothing to do with the current debate. But this opinion is clearly written and it simplifies the issue to where the main points are made reasonably clear. It can be found here. I’d recommend it regardless of one’s position on this issue. And I’m definitely not saying it has to be agreed with. But it should at least be considered.

I also got served with a summons to appear for jury duty back in November. Yesterday was the first of three mandatory days that I have to go, and it was an interesting experience if you take the horrible weather and road conditions we had into account. I’ve been a juror before; about 20 years ago I got summoned by the Federal system and served at the US District Court in Concord. One of the things I can say is that the basics aren’t much different regardless of whether it is Federal or State courts. The faces are different, though, and the types of cases can be somewhat different as well.

The panel I was part of picked jurors for a murder trial. A man accused of stabbing his wife at an area campground about 18 months or so ago. I was not picked, and I was glad of that because I have little doubt that I would have not been able to serve due to conflicts; I knew about the case beforehand, plus I know the police chief in the town where it occurred. Also, one of the defendant’s attorneys was defending someone I testified against in a different criminal trial in September of 2008. I have no doubt this attorney would have remembered me as I helped send her client to prison. So that in itself might have caused a problem…

It will be interesting to see what happens when I go back in two and four weeks, respectively. While I don’t mind doing what’s asked of me, in criminal matters I’m not confident that there wouldn’t be some level of conflict present. But the best I can do is simply see what happens.

I can’t do any more than that.


TOTWTYTR said...

Brown ran a far more positive campaign than Choakley. Here campaign was lackluster until it looked like Brown was making progress, then it became 100% negative. It didn't seem to help her, and might have hurt her.

The campaign was more of a referendum on national health care and other key Obama initiatives. Choakley was a surrogate for Obama, and that should worry him quite a bit.

Walt Trachim said...

I have a feeling you're right about the bad effect this all has likely had on her; makes me think it doesn't bode well for her being re-elected Attorney General, either.

I remember her when she was the attorney for Middlesex County. There was a case I was involved in (nothing to do with the job - something personal - I was on the prosecution's witness list plus I had a victim witness advocate working with me) and I had some dealings with Michael Chinman who, at the time, was an assistant DA. My impression was that she was rather soulless. I wasn't particularly impressed. Chinman, on the other hand, was good. At the time I thought perhaps he should have had her job...

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