Monday, July 29, 2013

A Museum Of His Own


Ralph Nader, the nation’s consumer protection nag, is opening in Connecticut a museum that will memorialize his continuing effort to bring Big Business to its knees by means of suits and moral agitation.

The museum, the American Museum of Tort Law,  will be located in Mr. Nader’s hometown of Winsted, an inoffensive, small, New England town located at the junction of the Mad and Still Rivers. One of the first mill towns in Connecticut, Winsted was established in 1750. Mill towns are themselves becoming museum pieces in New England, manufacturing having fled to greener pastures elsewhere.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Newtown, Who Knew?


Danbury State’s Attorney Stephen Sedensky has been keeping information concerning the mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School close to his vest, and state police spokesman Lieutenant Paul Vance has countless times told everyone in Connecticut why: “There is an ongoing investigation.”

The criminal investigation has been ongoing ever since Adam Lanza, armed to the teeth with weapons he appropriated from his mother, shot his way into the school and murdered 20 young children and 6 staff members. Mr. Lanza also murdered his mother before leaving on his murderous mission.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Social Issues And The Democrats

On “social issues,” as defined by Democrats in the Northeast, here is no “there” there within the Republican Party’s ancient regime.


Northeast Republicans have only one election card on their table – the economy, stupid. There ain’t no more. Slothful Northeast Republican Parties have permitted Democrats to define all the social issues; for them, such subjects as abortion on demand, gay marriage and the abolition of the death penalty are strictly verboten. Among gentlemen Republican moderates in Connecticut, discretion on social issues has been the better part of valor for more than two decades, which may help to explain why there are no more social issue averse Republicans in New England.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Open Government, Then And Now


State hearings on legislative bills derive from town hall meetings, which predate state and federal constitutions. The Puritans established town meetings at the same time they established various New England colonies.

The animating spirit that informs both the town meeting and state hearings on legislative matters is much the same: Governors and legislators in a Republic derive their authority to govern from the people. There is no place in a Democracy or a Republic for authoritarian rule. Indeed, there is no place for authoritarian rule in a state in which men are ruled by laws rather than other men: Even under a monarchical form of government; such was the guiding principle of the founders of the American Republic.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Sandy Hook And Common Sense


A recent Courant editorial, “Sandy Hook Panel's Focus Turns From Guns To School Safety,” begins with the following lede: “Officials can turn a school into an armed camp, in an effort to make it safer, with metal detectors, bulletproof glass, armed guards and armed teachers. Or they can take a different approach.”

Naturally, the Courant, which is averse to “armed camps,” prefers a different approach. Schools “can promote good basic building security measures for access and corridor control. They can train faculty and staff to embrace the post-9/11 mantra: If you see something, say something. They can make smaller-scale changes that are easier to implement and pay for, such as more security cameras and, importantly, help for troubled students.”

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Spitzer And The Moral Pygmies


Let’s begin with a logically sound axiom: What you don’t know about moral delinquents – particularly if they are politicians – can’t hurt them.

During the administration of John Kennedy, a likeable, highly charismatic president, it was no secret among reporters whose business it was to keep people informed that the president had a woman problem: He liked them – very, very much -- and bedded as many of them as possible.

The attitude of the media towards Kennedy’s satyriasis was enlightened: Why make much ado about hypersexual disorder if Kennedy’s affairs did not materially affect his presidency? Suppose Mr. Kennedy had been a genius mathematician. Would his frequent sexual encounters distort the veracity of his mathematical computations? Of course not. Why then make much ado about Kennedy’s erotic liaisons if they did not interfere with the functioning of his office? This separation of eroticism and the man was, during the Kennedy years and before, the operative attitude of the media. Of course, less adept politicians than Kennedy occasionally flubbed up and let the cat out of the bag, in which case the media was free to treat them as lambs leading themselves to the slaughter.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Malloy, Gun Manufacturers And The Public Good


Guns are highly regulated in Connecticut, which means that gun manufacturers must satisfy two kinds of clients: those who buy guns and state regulators.

Before Connecticut passed its latest gun regulations, it was possible for gun manufacturers in the state to submit to the State Police finished prototypes for products so that the manufacturer could receive a nod of consent before the company invested money in producing the product.

The arrangement was a happy one for manufacturers, the General Assembly and Connecticut’s governors. Governors and state legislators charged with protecting the public – presumably from criminals rather than law abiding owners of guns -- were given a veto over products before they appeared in the marketplace; manufacturers were assured before production that their product either was or was not legally compliant; and because many regulations and laws are necessarily ambiguous and opened to reasonable interpretation, lawyers with tiger’s teeth, ever on the prowl for deep pocket industrialists who run afoul of the law, were kept at bay. Everyone was happy with the arrangement.

A worm has now crept into Eden’s apple.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Blumenthal and Murphy To Connecticut Gun Manufactures -- “Get Lost”


The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has sent to U.S. Representative John Larson a “Dear John” letter in the course of which the “H” word is prominently displayed:

“Our industry is offended by the hypocrisy (emphasis mine) of our elected officials in Congress and the state government that simultaneously advocate for legislation that pays homage to our industry’s heritage and legacy in Connecticut by establishing a National Park on the site of the legendary, iconic Colt factory, while at the same time pursue gun control legislation. As major contributors to the state’s economy, we find it unacceptable for lawmakers to propose banning our products and hindering the ability of Connecticut companies to grow their businesses; create more good-paying manufacturing jobs; and contribute hundreds of millions in taxes. Our Connecticut members are unwilling to trade valuable manufacturing jobs for ticket-taker jobs at a national park.”

An insult hurled randomly at Connecticut’s gun manufacturing industry by Governor Dannel Malloy while the state’s General Assembly was in the process of rushing through the legislative sausage making machine a gun restriction bill still rankles in the breasts of Connecticut’s arms manufactures.

Monday, July 08, 2013

The Coming Democratic Party Campaign


Governor Dannel Malloy already has been asked countless times whether he intends to defend his seat in the upcoming 2014 elections, to which impertinent questions he has responded coyly – maybe yes, maybe no. This is the default answer to questions that would prematurely commit the governor to an open and transparent campaign.

Republicans considering running for governor have been no less coy. Before he knocked himself off as a possible Republican contender for Mr. Malloy’s seat, Larry Cafero was every bit the Republican gubernatorial tease; Republicans Tom Foley and Senate Minority Leader John McKinney are still fetchingly turning an ankle in the direction of Connecticut’s media: Maybe yes, maybe no.


Friday, July 05, 2013

Release the Criminal Report and Lanza’s Medical Records

State police spokesman Lt. Paul Vance, the keeper of the Sandy Hook secrets, condemned leaks in the investigation of the mass murder of Newtown students, ‘but won’t say they’re acting to root them out,” according to a story in the Journal Inquirer.

“If that law enforcement source does not attribute their name to that information,” Mr. Vance said of an unnamed source in a Hartford Courant story that references the medical records of Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza, “then that information is suspect.” Indeed, most of the information that has seen its way into print from sources other than Mr. Vance has been questionable, to say the least.

It has fallen to Mr. Vance to make certain that none of the authoritative information included in a twice delayed criminal report comes to light anytime soon.

Malloy’s Responsibilities


The Headline on the story was New State Laws Take Effect: Gas Taxes, Gun Restrictions, Pool Safety and, in the body of the story, Governor Dannel Malloy was quoted to this effect after he had been questioned on his increase of Connecticut’s gas tax, already the highest in the nation: “I wasn't governor in 2005. I wasn't the minority leader of the House or the minority leader of the Senate in 2005.''

In 2005, during the administration of Governor Jodi Rell, the Republican governor and the Democratic dominated General Assembly had decided to increase the tax as part of a long term plan. Mr. Malloy, a Democrat, and the Democratic dominated General Assembly this year decided to play the role of bystanders and let the tax increase happen.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

The Fourth of July


It took the modern world two days to catch up to President John Adams’ enthusiasm for a national celebration. On July 3, 1776, Adams wrote, “The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more."

Three of the country’s first five presidents died on the Fourth of July. Ideological rivals during their politically formative years and after, owing largely to an election that is still considered one of the most disreputable in the nation’s history, Adams, the second president of the United States, and Jefferson, drew close together after both had put aside active politics. Adams died at 90, Jefferson at 83, hours apart on July 4, 1826. Before he breathed his last, Adams whispered – almost a prayer -- “Jefferson still lives.”