Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Who Killed Cock Robin? Connecticut’s Disappearing Surplus


This campaign year Governor Dannel Malloy had hoped to present voters with a tax rebate drawn from a budget surplus. The rebate, a slender $55 per person, disappeared because the budget surplus disappeared. On Tuesday, the bad news filtered down from the legislature’s nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis; state income tax receipts for the current budget ending June 30 will fall $357 million short of what had been budgeted. The crystal ball gazers in the Malloy administration affected surprise; the governor was disappointed. He wanted everyone to know, however, that in the event Connecticut produces a future surplus, some of the over-taxation would be remitted to taxpayers by Mr. Malloy, assuming the governor is returned to office in the next election cycle.

A number of economists, the usual culprits, were trotted out to explain who killed Cock Robin.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Foley’s Hidden Gubernatorial Campaign

On the Republican side, Tom Foley is refusing to debate other Republicans running for governor. Mr. Foley has a sizable edge over his Republican competitors in recent polls.

On the Democratic side, Governor Dannel Malloy only recently announced he was running for re-election. Previous to his announcement, Mr. Malloy, like President Barack Obama a perpetual campaigner, had been using his bully pulpit to gain an advantage over his Republican opponents; among political cognoscenti, this is known as “running for re-election.” Campaign “white lies” have become much dirtier over the years -- c.f. Governor Lowell Weicker: Instituting an income tax would be like “pouring gas on a fire.”

Asked why he should not give up the pretense and just announce he was running for re-election, Mr. Malloy showed his campaign hand. He said he wanted to give the Republicans sufficient time to beat up on each other. That is what a primary contest is: a friendly wrestling match among political compatriots that permits enemy combatants to gain a political advantage. Mr. Foley, the only Republican in the race who had previously engaged Mr. Malloy in a gubernatorial campaign, likely read the item in a newspaper and determined – not this time.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Blumenthal And Lerner


U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal is not just your run of the mill senator. Mr. Blumenthal entered the U.S. Senate a little over three years ago after having spent twenty one years as Connecticut’s Attorney General.

The new Senator has had some difficulty shedding his attorney general’s skin.  Some critics in Connecticut – there are not many – occasionally refer to him teasingly as the nation’s first consumer protection congressman.

As Attorney General of Connecticut, Mr. Blumenthal often seemed to be a consumer protection firebrand armed with subpoena power. The statutory obligations of the Attorney General’s Office have little to do with suits brought on behalf of consumers such as Big Tobacco. The Connecticut Attorney General is charged principally with representing Connecticut in legal matters involving state agencies, duties and responsibilities of the office that are detailed in the Connecticut General Statutes, Section 3-125 as follows:

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Pelto Introduces A Wrinkle



Were it not for Working Families Party votes in the 2010 gubernatorial election, Tom Foley might be governor today. This would have been a calamity, according to Malloyalists. “If you think our education policy is tough, just imagine what it would be like under Governor Foley,” writes Lennie Grimaldi on his widely read blog “Only In Bridgeport,” citing Malloy supporters.

 “Tom Foley,” Mr. Grimaldi reminds us, “received more votes for governor on the Republican line than Dan Malloy received on the Democratic line. The 20,000-vote difference was the Connecticut Working Families Party line where Malloy’s name also appeared for an extra 26,308 votes.”

The Working Families Party is the political arm of Connecticut’s powerful state employee unions, most especially teachers’ unions, and they deliver votes, campaign contributions and boots on the ground to Connecticut’s progressives. Progressive candidates such as Governor Dannel Malloy, once in office, are expected to show their appreciation by endorsing policies that benefit union workers.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

A Senator’s Brush With Reality


U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal presented himself for the cameras at the Milford train station on Good Friday to protest Metro North’s crappy rail service. During the media availability, while Mr. Blumenthal was assembling his condemnatory adjectives – “appalling,.. astonishing… defective…” --  and just as his lead-man was saying “as you know, safety is paramount…” a train passed by, nearly making an angel of the Senator.

The video shows Mr. Blumenthal standing on the cautionary yellow line. One news reporter, agilely avoiding the word “stupid,” remarked it was “ironic” that Mr. Blumenthal was standing in the danger zone while protesting the inadequacies of Metro North.

The moment, which likely will not appear in any of Mr. Blumenthal’s future political ads, is recorded for posterity below:


Friday, April 18, 2014

Lawlor’s Violent Felonious Graduates


The piling-on began following admissions made by Lisa Wilson Foley that a contract between herself and John Rowland, a radio talk show host following his stint in prison, was fraudulent, and recently Mr. Rowland, a burr in the side of Governor Dannel Malloy, announced he had recorded his last show. On the political stump – the governor, like his beau ideal President Barrack Obama, is rarely off the political stump – Mr. Malloy, along with the usual media attack pack, had called upon WTIC to sever its relations with Mr. Rowland.

Even Mr. Malloy’s Undersecretary of Criminal Justice Michael Lawlor contributed his mite, according to a story in a New Haven paper. One of Mr. Rowland’s programs, Mr. Lawlor pointed out, “included talk about guns, and as a convicted felon, Rowland is ineligible to legally own one.”

Sure, sure. But the law – even the new gun law promulgated and supported by his eminence the Undersecretary of Criminal Justice Lawlor – is a mere inconvenience to felons bent on mayhem such as, to cite only one of 21,929 ex-felons, all graduates of Mr. Lawlor’s get-out-of-jail-early Risk Reduction Earned Credit (RREC) program, Frankie “The Razor” Resto.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Taking the 5th


The FBI was a major player in the drama. And everything that has happened on the public stage should convince Connecticut’s General Assembly that the state needs an Inspector General to uproot corruption before the FBI enters the theater.  When federal prosecutors turn up on the scene, Grand Guigno unfolds.

John McKinney, a Republican running for governor this year who has not yet been drawn by federal prosecutors into the mire, has proposed just that. His proposal has been received in silence by Democratic leaders in the General Assembly who control political business in the chamber.

The FBI intervention began when the struggle for the 5th District U.S. Congressional seat left vacant after Chris Murphy’s elevation to the U.S. Senate seemed to be a contest between then Speaker of the State House Chris Donovan and an assortment of Republican hopefuls that included longtime State Senate leader Andrew Roraback, a late entry into the Republican primary, and three Republicans who had not held office before: Justin Bernier, Lisa-Wilson Foley and Mark Greenberg. The Republican nominating convention settled upon Mr. Roraback, a senator for more than a dozen years in the redistricted Torrington, Litchfield County area, and for several years Deputy Minority Leader Pro Tempore and Minority Caucus Chairman of the State Senate. On the Democratic side, Mr. Donovan, an early favorite, ran into an FBI sting operation in the course of which he was forced to withdraw from the race after federal prosecutors had indicted several of his campaign staff.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Rowland, The GOP And Campaign Propaganda



Will former Governor John Rowland’s upcoming court trial tar Connecticut’s GOP?

The answer to the question will depend on who is wielding the tar brush. There is some indication that left of center media outlets are disposed to take seriously the state Democratic Party’s absurd attempt to tar brush the GOP.

In point of fact, an unbridgeable breach between the GOP and Mr. Rowland occurred more than a decade ago when Mr. Rowland was nearly impeached. The impeachment panel included prominent Republicans who today would most vehemently dispute state Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo’s characterization of the current connection between the state Republican Party and Mr. Rowland. Ms. DiNardo told a Register Citizen reporter “The CT GOP bringing back John Rowland’s close friend, Jeb Bush, on the eve of more expected felony indictments for Rowland only reinforces the fact that the Connecticut Republican Party is still influenced by Rowland.”

Friday, April 11, 2014

How Could Rowland be So Stupid: Moth, Meet Flame

If this morning you moved your curser over the title of the Hartford Courant editorial, “How Could Rowland Do It Again?” another caption, apparently changed by the paper’s editorial board, appears for an instant: “How Could Rowland Be So Stupid?”

The editorial explores the monumental stupidity of Connecticut’s former governor. Mr. Rowland spent some years in the clinker awhile back, emerged chastened, was embraced by a tight circle of friends in Waterbury – the wide circle of political friends a politician acquires in the course of his career tends to constrict once the prison door slams shut on him – made his way into talk radio, a gadfly position that allowed him to slow broil over the air waves Connecticut’s new progressive vanguard, and seemed to outside observers to have redeemed himself. Mr. Rowland, and others of his now widening circle of political friends, often spoke of his ordeal in redemptory terms.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Humor And Its Discontents


Former Ambassador to Ireland Tom Foley is not yet Abe Lincoln, who made ample use of humor on the political stump, nor is he Mark Twain, whose political barbs give 21st century progressives stomach cramps:  “No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session.”

 “All Congresses and Parliaments have a kindly feeling for idiots, and a compassion for them, on account of personal experience and heredity.” That quip by Mr. Twain would not have passed muster with the anti-idiot-discrimination crowd.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Malloy On The Stump, An Orwellian Perspective


A few weeks after announcing he would not officially begin his campaign until the General Assembly had shut down its short three month session in May, Governor Dannel Malloy officially opened his gubernatorial campaign in Stamford, his old political stomping grounds. Mr. Malloy had been mayor of Stamford for four four-year terms before becoming governor.

In Stamford, Mr. Malloy explained his “early” announcement to reporters who long ago had exploded the absurdity that he was not running for governor. He had in fact been campaigning behind the veil for some time; like his counterpart in the beltway, President Barack Obama, Mr. Malloy is a perpetual campaigner. And like most politicians, he is given to telling what Mark Twain used to call “stretchers.”

Sunday, April 06, 2014

The Permanent Opposition


On April 5th, sixteen months after Connecticut’s predominantly Democratic General Assembly had passed into law the most restrictive gun legislation in the nation, opponents of the legislation rallied on the North side of the Capitol in Hartford.

The event was well attended: Capitol police estimated the crowd at 3,000; those hosting the event, the Connecticut Citizens Defense League (CCDL), placed the figure at 5,000. None of those present at the rally had been called upon by the General Assembly to offer testimony on the final bill, which itself was billed as an adequate and necessary response to a mass slaying at the Newtown Sandy Hook Elementary School. The final bill was passed without a public hearing by a legislature operating in the absence of information contained in a much too delayed criminal investigation.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Corruption in Corrupticut


Not all corruption is equal.

In a recent column, “A Kennedy Stirs Connecticut's Politics,” Kevin Rennie sideswiped departing Republican leader Larry Cafero, who is to the Republican Party what Rocky Marciano was to boxing, a hard slugger:

“Cafero got snagged in a 2012 federal investigation into campaign contributions and legislation. He was caught on video as an informant deposited $5,000 in cash into a refrigerator in Cafero's office. The money was converted into campaign contributions from straw donors, and the scheme was revealed last year during the criminal trial of a campaign aide to former Speaker of the House Christopher Donovan.
“What a mess Cafero leaves in his wake. His gelatinous, silent deputies, Reps. Themis Klarides and Vincent Candelora, have disgraced themselves beyond repair for failing to take a stand for honor during this long fiasco. They will wear Cafero's deep stains for however long they remain in public life.”

And the sins of the political father shall be visited upon the heads of his political children – yea, even to the tenth generation: “… gelatinous, silent deputies… have disgraced themselves beyond repair… They will wear Cafero’s deep stains for however long they remain in public life.”

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Rowland The Tar Baby


Henry David Thoreau used to say that most ways of making money lead downward. The way downward will be swift for John Rowland, former governor of Connecticut and, very likely, former radio talk show host.

Lisa Wilson Foley and her husband Brian Foley pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court to having paid Mr. Rowland for “secret political assistance” by means of a sham contract, a violation of campaign finance law.

Brian Foley fessed up after federal authorities threatened to prosecute his wife. The Foleys admitted culpability in court. Lisa Wilson-Foley said, "I did not report money that my husband paid to John Rowland while he was working on my campaign," and her husband said, “I knowingly and intentionally conspired with co-conspirator one, who was John Rowland." Prosecutors negotiated with the Foleys a plea agreement under the terms of which the Foleys pled guilty to misdemeanor charges that carry a maximum penalty of a year in prison.