Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Government By Gimmick: Malloy Republicanizes His Fourth Budget

Shortly after Democrat and Republican leaders in the General Assembly announced they were close to reaching agreement on a compromise budget, Governor Dannel Malloy offered his fourth budget, Republicanized, some believe, to make it acceptable to the “turncoat Democrat legislators” who had rejected Malloy’s third budget and embraced a Republican offering, the only budget so far accepted by both Houses of the General Assembly.

Malloy pitched his fourth getting and spending plan to querulous reporters as a "lean, no-frills, no-nonsense budget,” inviting comparisons to his previous offerings, which were, one is entitled to presume, fat, union-friendly, and replete with the usual frills and nonsense. Malloy’s third budget factored in a SEBAC deal that assures state union workers raises of 3.5 percent per year, following a temporary 3 year wage freeze, until the expiration of union favorable contracts in 2027. The SEBAC deal also prevents future Governors, Democrat or Republican, from discharging deficits through lay-offs, the most overused implement in Malloy’s own gubernatorial tool box.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Malloy, Odd Man Out

Just a gigolo, everywhere I go
People know the part I'm playing
Paid for every dance
Selling each romance
Every night some heart betraying
There will come a day
Youth will pass away
Then what will they say about me
When the end comes I know
They'll say just a gigolo
As life goes on without me

Approaching the end of his second term as Connecticut Governor, Dannel Malloy has been bounced from the budget negotiating room. In some quiet corner of the Connecticut political barracks, Republicans must have been murmuring to each other, “How does it feel?”

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Fall Of The House Of Weinstein

Everyone in Hollywood wants to be a libertine -- like the Marquis de Sade, who also was an amateur revolutionist -- or perhaps they wish to emulate ex-Presidents John Kennedy and Bill Clinton. Kennedy was a tolerable Catholic because Catholic dogma did not live loudly in him, and the husband of Hillary Clinton was permitted indiscretions with cigars and interns because he was a hale fellow well met with a photographic memory, whereas ordinary politicians rely on Google and an expensive staff of brash know-it-alls.

To be an artist, after all, is to be in perpetual revolt against the usual pieties, conveniently listed in the Decalogue. Marriage among the Hollywood elite, for instance, is considered but a temporary interruption of multiple liaisons, and adultery, sex outside the boundaries of marriage -- “You shall not commit adultery” -- is rampant.  Andy Rooney, whom everyone will admit was a nice guy, had eight wives, the same as Henry VIII, none of them executed fortunately, twice as many as ex-Connecticut Senator and Governor Lowell Weicker. The second commandment – “You shall not make yourself an idol” -- is in Hollywood incompatible with Oscar Night. Few are the Hollywood twinkling stars unwilling to rally round the partial birth abortion flagpole. A caricaturist neatly summed up the ethos of the Hollywood mega-stardom when he said about his own profession, “What is the point of having absolute power, if you are not prepared to abuse it?”

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Malloy, The Man From Mars

Soon to be former Governor Dan Malloy might easily imagine himself in the role of the man who fell to earth from Mars.

Here is Malloy speaking about the “gridlock” in the General Assembly: “We have discussions that are on hold with companies that want to enlarge their footprint or move to our state who said, ‘Hey, listen, when you get a budget, we’ll have further discussion,’” Malloy said. “We’re going to lose thousands of jobs, potentially, because we can’t do the hard work that we were elected to do? That makes no sense at all.’’ The clanging irony in these lines – Malloy has chased more jobs and money out of Connecticut than any other Governor in recent memory – no longer shocks people stunned by his reckless policies.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Columbus And The Anarchists

A Boston Paper reports, “Authorities say the statues [of Christopher Columbus] at Harbor Park in Middletown and Wooster Square in New Haven were vandalized overnight Saturday. The paint has been cleaned up.”

On August 21st, the Baltimore Sun reported that a monument to Christopher Columbus had been vandalized by vandals, a perfect word to describe the members of Antifa, a group that claims to be anti-fascist, but does not scruple to employ the methods of fascists, including the beating of non-violent protesters by masked, black-clad brownshirts.

Friday, October 06, 2017

Connecticut Senators Tap A Blood Money Vein

It’s OK apparently to offer false solutions to serious problems – a national replication of Connecticut’s gun restrictions will not prevent mass slaughters such as happened at a Country and Western concert in Las Vegas – but profiting politically from wading in blood may be a bridge too far.

Concerning U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy’s most recent campaign money grab, Kevin Rennie writes in a Hartford paper, “If a politician is going to try to raise money off the dead and wounded of the Las Vegas slaughter only hours after the attack, be honest about it. U.S. Senator Christopher Murphy wants the money but wrapped his fundraising appeal in a deceptive request of support for control advocates. Murphy’s Monday email sought contributions for Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC, Everytown and Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. When supporters clicked through to the Act Blue donation site, there was a fourth organization splitting contributions, Murphy’s re-election campaign.”

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

The Current Crisis, October Soundings, A Self Interview

Q: You believe the state of Connecticut is in crisis.

A: Yes, and I’m not alone. There are two crises; the state itself, by which I mean its people and businesses, is in crisis; and state government, sometimes mistaken for the state, also is in crisis. To a certain extent, the first crisis is driven by the second.

Q: These two are not the same?

A: They are never the same. Lincoln spoke of a government of, by and for the people, but if you pause over that formulation and think about it, you will discover the two are not the same. In a perfect representative system, differences between the two are slight; state government and the larger, real state are close cousins. But that can never be the case in a republic in which government operates by force. This is the present condition in Connecticut, and the state has been in this mode for a long while. We have had single party government in the General Assembly, Connecticut’s lawmaking body, for almost half a century. When the founders of the nation tired of single party government, they threw it off. When Dannel Malloy, Connecticut’s King George, first occupied the governorship, he effectively served eviction notices on Republicans in both chambers of the General Assembly, the body constitutionally invested with budget making authority. Republicans had played no role in forming budgets during the entire Malloy administration – until now. That is a long time for a near majority in a representative assembly to spend in the wilderness.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Where There’s A Hole, There May Be A Loop

There is a hole in the state’s clean election law. Rigorously observed, the law is supposed to prevent state politicians from wresting campaign contributions from contractors and other business associates whom political officials oversee. The hole is quite legal, but it violates what ethicists sometimes call the “spirit of Connecticut’s clean election law.” The clean election law was adopted in Connecticut soon after then Governor John Rowland was sent packing to prison for the first time on corruption charges.

The hole most recently became apparent when Attorney General George Jepsen, once Chairman of the state Democratic Party, persuaded a host of Connecticut lobbyists, business executives and deep pocket one-percenters to cough up campaign contributions for Mark Herring, a friend of Jepsen who finds himself in a tight race for Attorney General of Virginia. The controversy surrounding Jepsen and Herring may or may not be – the reader must forgive the irresistible pun -- a red-herring.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be

“The future ain’t what it used to be,” an often quoted remark by the irrepressible Yogi Berra, might very well be the new guiding principle of a recovering Democratic Party that, during the administration of lame-duck progressive Governor Dannel Malloy, leaned a bit too far left and fell into a dizzying abyss.

Some Democrats – one thinks immediately of Senator Paul Doyle – have not yet fallen away from right reason and prudent moderation. Along with other moderate Democrats, Doyle voted against his party in favor of a Republican budget that was affirmed by the State Senate on September 15 and the State House on September 16.

Neither the Governor nor his partisan generals in the field -- among whom David Collins of The Day newspaper numbers President of the University of Connecticut (UConn) Susan Herbst -- are comfortable with the only budget presented to the General Assembly that yet had passed on a bi-partisan vote.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

What Would Webster Do?

Xiomara Rivera, mother of first-grader Isiah Rivera, is understandably perplexed. Her e-mail to Glen Peterson, the director of the state’s Regional School Choice Office, is fairly straight forward: “I am aware that Noah Webster School is struggling to make its ‘reduced isolation’ quota of White and Asian students, but I do not think this is a compelling reason to justify ongoing discrimination against my son.  I respectfully request that the school system stop discriminating against Isiah because of his race and admit him immediately into one of the open 1st grade seats at Noah Webster so that he can attend school with his siblings in our neighborhood.”

Webster himself would not have understood the expression “reduced isolation quota,” but the great lexicographer, after whom the magnet school in Hartford is named, died in 1843, long before the age of doublespeak.