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A look back at the week in news

Shea-Porter, Kuster split on NSA bill, clarity of explanation

With Edward Snowden hoping that a grant of temporary asylum in Russia will allow him to finally move out of the Moscow airport where he’s been living for more than a month, the U.S. House of Representatives this week narrowly defeated a measure to curtail the very National Security Agency’s domestic spying activities that Snowden exposed. It’s more than a tad ironic that, as pressure builds to further expose and restrain federal efforts to trample personal privacy rights, the very person responsible for the growing outrage cannot return to the country without facing criminal prosecution.

The 217-205 vote against reigning in the NSA was especially interesting to New Hampshire because its two representatives split on the measure.

The Second District’s Ann Kuster voted against the proposal, while the First District’s Carol Shea-Porter backed it. Both are Democrats. In a statement, Shea-Porter said “government intelligence activities are in dire need of more transparency” and “I voted for this amendment because it would have helped keep our government accountable to the people.”

Spokesman Rob Friedlander’s explanation of Kuster’s vote was less precise, saying the congresswoman “supports a bipartisan measure that would ban the NSA from acquiring the content of Americans’ phone calls and emails without undermining counterterrorism tools that help keep our country safe.”

Kuster’s Second District constituents deserve a clearer, more specific explanation.

Changes to Voter ID law
are right for state, students

College students in New Hampshire can breathe a little easier now knowing their student IDs can still be used to vote here. Gov. Maggie Hassan signed into law this week changes to the state’s Voter ID law that, among other things, recognize college students have a legitimate right to vote in Granite State elections. Perpetrators of the original Voter ID law viewed college students as threats to the New Hampshire way of life – not exactly a wise marketing plan when we should be encouraging young people to be part of state and local issues. Students who invest their time and energies in New Hampshire are more likely to stay here – and that’s a good thing.

Belichick stepped up, like he coaches his players to do

The murder charges against Aaron Hernandez have taken a huge toll on the New England Patriots’ reputation as one of the leading National Football League franchises. And, until this week, coaches and players have been silent about the way the team goes about its business.

Head coach Bill Belichick struck the perfect tone when he told reporters Tuesday, “I’m primarily responsible for the people we bring into the football operation…most of those decisions have worked out, but some don’t. Overall, I’m proud of the hundreds of players that have come through this program but I’m personally disappointed and hurt in a situation like this.”

Belichick was uncharacteristically descriptive, patient, personal and he came across as honest as he admitted the organization had made “plenty” of mistakes and said the team would be looking to improve the way it evaluates players.

These are tough times for the Patriots and their fans. It’s a hurt that won’t go away as the Hernandez murder case – more than one, perhaps – grinds through the criminal justice system. But Belichick went a long way toward moving everyone forward so that the focus can be the communal joy of playing football.

Can’t wait for this guy’s
15 minutes to be up

One word describes Anthony Weiner. Pathetic. The New York mayoral candidate acknowledged this week he continued raunchy online sexual discourse for months after the same behavior destroyed his congressional career two years ago. Defiant as ever, he vowed to stay in the race.

The admission raised doubts about his claim “I can tell you these things are behind me and they were the moment I got in the race.” But perhaps, not a moment before.

Weiner estimates he’s shared racy online exchanges with a total of six to 10 women. Clearly, he cannot be trusted to serve in any public capacity.

The good news is that Weiner’s act appears to be wearing thin on voters. He was the front-runner, but slipped in the latest opinion poll. The end is near for Weiner. He would be wise to recognize his fate and step aside.