Thursday, May 29, 2014

Connecticut's Tax And Spend See-Saw

Governor Dannel Malloy has a rough and tumble personality. Even his friends and political associates acknowledge that he has “sharp elbows,” but one of Connecticut’s prominent public pulse takers, director of the Quinnipiac University poll Douglas Schwartz, notes that there are more important issues in elections than likeability: “…the economy is clearly the most important issue in this year's governor’s election.”

Romney-bitten Republicans have heard this one before. Former Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign was all about the economy, stupid. President Barack Obama version of economic ills was highly bowdlerized, and well-padded with what frightened Republicans call “social issues.” Republicans – especially in Connecticut, where the party is awash in “fiscal conservatives” – consistently retreat with their pants on fire from social issues, leaving the field entirely to Democrats, with predictable results.

The Dog That Bit Blumenthal



When he was Attorney General, current U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal kept in his office a couple of dozen pit bulls, more commonly known as lawyers, who used to harass companies and people with the threat of interminable lawsuits, after which many of them would cough up settlement dollars -- the terms of such settlements not to be publically disclosed -- that would allow Mr. Blumenthal to boast that his office “pays for itself.”

Cases taken up by the Attorney General’s office are not necessarily won on the merits. They are endurance races. Often, a defendant’s material resources give out before the merits of the case can be decided. Mr. Blumenthal was “earning” millions of dollars for the state, he was greasing the publicity skids that eventually would carry him into the U.S. Senate, and companies that did not want to see their profits diminish over the years because of prolonged litigation were contributing their “fair share” to Connecticut’s burgeoning state government.

It was a win, win situation for Mr. Blumenthal.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Kerry At Yale


The good news is that Secretary of State John Kerry is not Ayaan Hersi Ali, and therefore his address to Yale graduates on College Class Day was not cancelled by a tremulous administration responding to charges that the appointed speaker had needlessly denigrated Islam. Yale, one may be thankful, is not Brandeis University, which first announced plans that it would bestow an honorary degree on Hersi Ali and later cancelled her invitation to speak at the college when students and Muslim organizations became restive.

Mr. Kerry, assuredly, is no Hersi Ali. His comments concerning the murderous assault on Christians by Muslim Salafists in the Middle East and Africa are so mild and inoffensive as to be barely noticed at all. 
  
Nor is Mr. Kerry Condoleezza Rice, currently a professor of Political Economy in the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University and  the first African American in U.S. history to be appointed Secretary of State. Ms. Rice graciously declined the invitation to speak at Rutgers University when students at the university professed to be agitated by former President George Bush’s Iraq War.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Russia’s Doors, Putin’s Time


Russia’s Doors, Putin’s Time

There are, and always have been, three doors to Russia, every one of which has been jealously guarded first by Russian Czars and in the Communist era by Russian Czars posing as proletarian workers such as Josef Stalin. There is a Western point of access (Ukraine, Poland and the Baltic states), a Middle Eastern point of access (Afghanistan, Iran) and a Southern point of access (China). Access doors open both ways and, depending upon one’s point of view, President of Russia Vladimir Putin has now either opened or shut all the doors. It would be paradoxical, though never-the-less true, to say he has shut the doors by opening them.

Mr. Putin was featured as Time magazine’s “Person of the Year” in 2007. That year, China’s leader Hu Jintao was featured as a runner up.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Trials Of John Rowland

Former Governor John Rowland, now a former radio talk show host, may have been “guilty,” in a metaphorical sense, of using his position to advance the political interest of one particular candidate over another. It has been said that Mr. Rowland had subjected poor Andrew Roraback, at the time a Republican Party candidate for the U.S. House in the 5th District, to a severe interrogation on his radio program, formerly called “Church And State.” Since being appointed to Connecticut’s Superior Court by Governor Dannel Malloy, Mr. Roraback has moved out of the political into the less contentious judicial arena. Apparently, Mr. Roraback had suffered no permanent harm, and losing a Hartford Courant endorsement to his Democratic opponent certainly cost the socially progressive Republican Party endorsed candidate more negative votes than Mr. Rowland’s barbed questions.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Another Day, Another Crony Capitalist: Where Is The Republican Populist?

Managing Editor of the Journal Inquirer Chris Powell may be right. Even on their best day, Republicans running for office do not know how to frame an issue so that it will appeal to those not born to the purple.


Governor Dannel Malloy had just disbursed $10 million in urban tax credits to ESPN, a well-known and prosperous sports broadcasting network that very likely did not need a handout from Mr. Malloy.

Tucked within Mr. Collins' story, one finds this line: “It’s not clear, though, that the state money made much difference to the project’s completion, since ESPN had already said it would build the center before Malloy picked it to receive state financial aid.”

Monday, May 19, 2014

Jerry Vale

Jerry Vale, very nearly the last of the great Italian crooners -- Tony Bennett is still with us -- has passed away. His voice was as pure as a spring stream. He died Sunday at his home in Palm Desert, Calif. He was 83.



http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/19/arts/music/jerry-vale-crooned-smoothly-of-love-is-dead-at-83.html?_r=0

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Parties, Nominating Conventions, And The Unitary State



"Patriotism if you must, but –please! – no parades” -- George Bernard Shaw

The Democratic nominating convention was merely a dot placed over a predestined “i”. Despite Jonathan Pelto’s occasional pokes at Governor Dannel Malloy, no one in the state seriously entertained the notion that Mr. Malloy would not emerge from the Democratic nominating convention as the party’s chosen gubernatorial candidate. Within the Democratic Party, there will be no room during the upcoming elections for liberty to stretch its legs. Opposition will be sternly repelled. The Republican Party convention, held this year in the sprawling Mohegan Sun Casino complex, was a different matter.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Weicker, The GOP’s Ahab


Connecticut Commentary,” as usual, anticipated former U.S. Senator and Governor Lowell Weicker’s remarks on WNPR by nearly a week.

On May 9, Don Pesci addressed Republicans in Westbrook and mentioned Mr. Weicker at some length:

“Both Mr. Weicker and Mr. Malloy are progressives. At the root of progressivism lies the sundering notion that if government is good, more government must be better. From here it is but a baby step to the equally absurd notion that government is the state. In fact, the state is all of us, the government merely an administrative apparatus designed, if you credit the U.S. and State Constitutions, to accomplish our reason informed will. Mr. Weicker, whose ego as U.S. Senator and Governor was infinitely expansive, took this absurd logic a step further and regarded himself as the state. I should like to call your attention to the hopeful tense in that last sentence: Mr. Weicker was, he regarded– past tense: There is a God.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Malloy vs. Pelto


The gubernatorial nomination on the Republican side is heavily, if politely, contested. In a few days, Republican nominating delegates will gather at Mohegan Sun Casino to sort out their ticket. On the Democratic side, the gubernatorial slot is a Malloy gimme – almost.

State employee union gadfly Jonathan Pelto continues to sting Governor Dannel Malloy.

Mr. Malloy’s temperament, like that of President Barack Obama, is sting averse. The Malloyalists who surround him sting back when stung. Both they and their chief have thin skins. And Mr. Malloy, when caught in a compromising position, has been known to throw a few elbows at his critics.

In the past, whenever Mr. Pelto had harpooned Mr. Malloy on his blog “Wait, What?” gubernatorial factotum Roy Occhiogrosso, who has parleyed his Malloy connection into a Vice Presidential slot with Global Strategy, leapt forward to answer Mr. Pelto with a box on the ear.

Friday, May 09, 2014

The Connecticut GOP And The New Democratic Progressives


Below is an address given to the Westbrook Republican Town Committee on the occasion of the 15th annual John A. Holbrook Awards Dinner

It’s wonderful having the opportunity to speak with you. Lee wrote to me back in February inviting me here. I told him it would be a great honor for me and that the title of the talk would be something on the order of “Whither The Republican Party? And he wrote back a note: “Gee Don, I hope you don’t plan to whither us too much.” I knew then we could have a little fun tonight. However, I do want to advise everyone that to forestall confusion the title of this talk has been changed to “The Connecticut GOP And The New Democratic Progressives.”

More Shared Sacrifice Is In The Cards


A Connecticut paper that has never met a tax increase in did not approve breaks the news gently. So gimmicky is Governor Dannel Malloy’s budget that it puts the editorial board in mind of Mr. Malloy’s predecessor, former Governor Jodi Rell, whose budgets – all of them passed by the Democratic dominated General Assembly – relied heavily on such gimmicks as moving red ink into future budgets, excessive borrowing to balance ordinary expenditures, and other sleights of hand that, Mr. Malloy said in his first campaign for governor, were exceedingly dishonest.

This year, the paper chides, “Now, pushed into a corner by a lag in tax revenues, Mr. Malloy and the majority Democrats in the General Assembly are using gimmicks of their own in passing what they say is a balanced budget for the fiscal year that begins July .”

The post-election year will open with a bang of a deficit -- $1.3 billion or more. That is the amount Mr. Malloy and the Democratic dominated General Assembly must wring out of the first year of Connecticut’s biennial budget if Mr. Malloy hopes to keep his “no new taxes” pledge, or …

Or what?

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Killing Bi-Partisanship


Connecticut operates on a two year budget and makes adjustments in the budget’s second year. Currently, the General Assembly is addressing itself to the second year of Governor Malloy’s’ second biennial budget. During his years in office, Mr. Malloy and dominant Democrats in the legislature have never produced an appropriation and spending plan that bears Republican fingerprints.

Republicans viewed Mr. Malloy’s budget as a political document because, to say the truth, all budgets are political documents. Prior to passage, senate Republican leader John McKinney, running this year for governor, pointed to a “frightening lack of detail” in the single most important piece of legislation the General Assembly has considered in the new fiscal year. The Malloy budget plan will shape the destiny of the state for the next two years.

Mr. Malloy, it will be recalled, also shooed Republicans out of the room when he was assembling his first budget. Democratic leaders in the General Assembly pre-approved Mr. Malloy’s first budget. Mr. Malloy then negotiated contractual terms favorable to SEBAC, a state union coalition called by some Connecticut’s fourth branch of government, and the final product, altered in protracted negotiations, did not return to the General Assembly for approval before being signed into law by the governor. The Democrat dominated General Assembly, abrogating its constitutional obligation to vote on a substantially altered budget, had invested the first Democratic governor since William O’Neill declined to run for re-election with near plenipotentiary powers, an investiture of powers not uncommon in other one party states.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

A Good Time Will Be Had By All



I’ll be the guest speaker at the 2014 Holbrook Awards Dinner, a yearly event put on by the Westbrook Republican Town Committee.

The Dinner will be held on Friday, May 9th in Westbrook at Water's Edge Inn and Resort. This year the Republican Town Committee will honor Lester Scott and State Representative Marilyn Giuliano.


The invitation may be found here: http://westbrookrepublicans.org/wrtc-info/events/annual-holbrook-dinner.html The RSVP date was April 28, but a few more people probably could be accommodated. Questions should be directed to:  sholbrook@westbrookrepublicans.org

Friday, May 02, 2014

Blumenthal, Benghazi And The Difference It Makes


Dick Blumenthal, the nation’s first full time consumer protection senator, has now weighed in on merchants who “may be selling lower quality items produced specifically for outlet stores without properly informing consumers,” according to a Philadelphia television station.


The Senator has asked the Federal Trade Commission to examine claims that merchants have misled consumers in their ads. “There’s a lot of evidence,” Blumenthal breathlessly told the television consumer protection watchdog in Philadelphia, “that people shopping at outlet malls or at outlet establishments have no idea that goods and merchandise are made specifically for outlet malls.”

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Academic Cowardice


On the same day that noted social scientist Charles Murray -- author most recently of “Coming Apart” – was advised by administrators of Azua Pacfic University that his scheduled appearance had been cancelled, professor Brent Terry at Eastern Connecticut State University was issuing a fatwa against Republicans in his Creative Writing class.

Republicans, said the professor, were “racist, misogynist, money grubbing people” who want to turn the clock back “not to 1955, but to 1855.” Should their political influence increase, the professor advised, “colleges will start closing.”

If the ECSU professor is ever dismissed on a charge of advanced stupidity – not likely, so long as he is tefloned in tenure – Mr. Terry easily might find a job with the Internal Revenue Service, the once non-partisan and politically disinterested federal agency that had, during the administration of the recently departed Lois Lerner, prosecuted a war on the Tea Party.

At roughly the same time these two colleges were bending the knee to political correctness, Brandeis University was withdrawing an honorary degree it had decided to bestow on “The Bravest Woman In The Western World,” a blog and column that appeared in Connecticut Commentary way back in 2006 -- reprinted in italics below: