Sunday, December 21, 2014

Umberto


Umberto Pesci, my grandfather, owned a small shoe and boot making shop in Windsor Locks. One blustery winter’s day, when the snow was piling up in the still unpaved Main Street, he looked out his window and saw a familiar sight, a clubfooted man, the subject of some raillery in the town, painfully making his way through the snow. The man – let’s call him Julio – was terrified when, passing the Pesci boot making shop, the door opened and he was collared by Umberto, who dragged the astonished Julio into a large, warm room. It was the Saturday before Gaudete Sunday.

The Shape Of Things To Come

"The esthete stands in the same relation to beauty as the pornographer stands to love, and the politician stands to life” – Karl Kraus.

It’s a great puzzle for those who think seriously about getting and spending. During his second winning campaign for governor, Dannel Malloy took tax increases – but not increases in borrowing, the last refuge of spending scoundrels -- off the table. Echoing George H.W. Bush’s boast at the 1988 Republican National Convention, Mr. Malloy invited Connecticut voters in so many words to read his lips: NO NEW TAXES.

And yet, even Mr. Malloy’s own Office of Policy Management guru, Ben Barnes, has told us that we shall have to get used to sluggish tax receipts, at least for the foreseeable future. Mr. Malloy has pledged to hold Connecticut’s Municipalities harmless, and so it will be difficult for him to pass the state’s budget woes to towns by reducing their revenue allotments. He has pledged not to renegotiate state contracts; no spending cuts there. He plans to increase or maintain educational spending at its current levels. For progressives – and we are all progressives now – education is a near sacred fetish. Nothing must be done to deprive even those who are ill prepared for college of an increasingly expensive education. No savings there.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Day Of Joy Will Arrive


At the coming of the night, the harsh defining edge of all that is
Disappears in the folds of night’s robes, and thought flies to You,
A child ensnared in its mother’s embrace, plenteous, round as a world.
Lovely is the night that swallows all in love. To think here
On this familiar ground, once love gave all that we might live
Is thought too large to think this night, this holy night.
When stars retreat and bow in courteous welcome of the day,
A child’s voice, eternity within it, rings a warning bell of weeping
Yet to come. But on this holy night, this night like banished love
Returned, a mother’s touch, for once, is sufficiency love accepts.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Malloy To Voters: The Joke’s On You


There is no danger anyone will read into the remarks made by Governor Dannel Malloy to the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce (MCC) a gubernatorial resolve to reduce Connecticut’s burdensome taxes or regulations.

Just the opposite; even reporters “got” the joke made by Mr. Malloy towards the end of his MCC speech when the Governor was asked, following his remark that he had “righted the ship” of state, whether he feared he was raising expectations that could not be met, in view of Connecticut’s still doubtful economic rebound.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Day Of Joy Will Arrive


It steals among us, creeps into our daily cares,
That whisper in the whirlwind you always knew was there.
However high the walls, how indifferent we are to hear,
Beauty comes, insidious in its mercy, and lodges in the ear,
From there to spread its glory, hold prisoner our dead resolve.
Now we are free and large enough to attend on God.
Others will say I dream. But no, I have heard the familiar
Music of my soul rising to splendid and abundant life.


On The Real Health Care Front: Bye Bye Tenet


At some point in the regulatory process, the business being regulated decides that the regulator – federal, state or municipal – exerts such control over the business or property that “ownership” reverts from the nominal owner to the regulator. At this point, the business begins to look for the exit sign.

Karl Marx and his students, among them “A” student V. I. Lenin, may have thought it was necessary for the proletariat to wrest ownership from capitalists so that their ill-conceived profits might revert to the proletariat. That is the central doctrine of The Communist Manifesto, with its stirring opening: “Workers of the world unite; you have nothing to lose but your chains, and a world to win.” Mr. Marx may have been a poor economist, but he was a superb ideological terrorist.

It turns out the Marxists were wrong: It is not necessary for the proletariat  -- in reality, the fascist state -- to seize the means of production so they might “own” property and businesses once directed by greedy capitalists who, following the revolution, would be dispossessed of their property by the state – i.e. the Communist Party – and sent packing to the Gulag.

None of this was necessary. There is a “Third Way” to “seize the means of production,” through the regulation of contracts, while leaving nominal ownership in the hands of capitalists.

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Day Of Joy Will Arrive


This is how the day of joy approaches:
On cat paws, quietly, quietly… building and building,
Delighting old women and young boys who have climbed lampposts,
The better to see and hear music that might have been written by choirs of angels.


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Women Patriots During The American Revolution


The first shots of the Revolution, we are told, were fired at Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775. But the blood of patriots had begun to stir long before then. Samuel Adams, called even in his own day “The Father of the American Revolution,” was stoking revolutionary fervor twenty years earlier.

Adams, primarily a pamphleteer and journalist, was quotable. Indeed, one of his quotes serves as the banner of Connecticut Commentary:

 “If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Grubertruth, Abortion And Crime


As many students of politics know, there are two kinds of truth: political truth, and all other varieties. Political truth, unlike scientific truth, need not be connected verifiably with objective reality. Political truth sometimes dresses up in the robes of science, but bad science also leaves objective reality behind at the altar.

Jonathan Gruber of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the Cassandra of Obamabots, was one of the architects of Obamacare who, unlike many proponents of President Barack Obama’s “Affordable Care Act,” went off script and, in venues he may have thought were off record, simply laid out the truth about Obamacare in such unvarnished terms that even those overfriendly to President Barack Obama in the media could not easily misunderstand Mr. Gruber’s essential message – which was: Obamacare, right from the get-go, was intentionally misleading. More importantly, he noted, it was of necessity misleading. The sales pitch of the used car salesman who wants you to buy the lemon on his lot, likewise and for much the same reasons, is misleading.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

State To LOWER Educational Testing Standards -- Pedagogical Gobbledygook


The following lede paragraph below in italics appeared in a Hartford newspaper under the heading, “State Working On New Rating System For Schools That Goes Beyond Test Scores.”

“State officials are seeking to broaden the measurement of school performance, often criticized for over-reliance on test scores, to include the arts, civics, physical fitness, attendance, and even qualities such as student persistence and personal development.”

Here is a re-write that accurately reflects both the intention and the outcome of the state’s effort to lower the measurement standard:

“State officials, attempting to readjust federal standards concerning test measurements  so as to satisfy Connecticut’s reform averse teacher unions, are seeking to dilute the measurement of school performance in core subjects by including among them the arts, civics, physical fitness, attendance, and even qualities such as student persistence and personal development.”


As my late father-in-law – without doubt the best malapropist in Connecticut -- might have said, “If the truth pinches, wear it.”

Educational reformers in the state who had hoped to reform education by creating a standard according to which the pedagogical chaff would be separated from the pedagogical wheat, particularly in underperforming urban public schools, had better hope that the Feds, who must pass on this nonsense, have the wit to see through politics as practiced in Connecticut. Here, somewhat like the Aztecs of old, we throw our children on the pyre to placate Union gods.