Sunday, June 29, 2014

Cianci, Curley, Newton, Rowland, And The Politics Of Salvation


Buddy Cianci – the once, and perhaps once again, Prince of Providence – is, to mix metaphors, the Pete Rose of Rhode Island politics.

We all know what Mr. Cianci did in office. When he was good, he was very good; when he was bad, he was very bad. A typical view of former jail bird and radio talk show host Cianci, may be found, following an announcement by Mr. Cianci that he is considering another run for Mayor, on the Linkedin site.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Rell Stirs

  
After she left office in 2011, former Governor Jodi Rell relapsed into a stately silence, indicating that there just might be a life after politics. Retiring President George Bush, much vilified by then presidential aspirant Barack Obama, did the same.

During Mr. Obama’s second successful bid for the presidency, then President Barack Obama reached into history’s dust bin, pulled out the well plucked bones of Mr. Bush and berated him all over again. The constant refrain of both Mr. Obama’s campaigns was that he had inherited agonizing problems from the Bush years and it would take him some time to heal the planet, close Guantanamo, bring peace to the Middle East and haul Russian President Vladimir Putin, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Waiting For Walker


Tom Foley, who according to some polls will be Governor Dannel Malloy’s likely opponent in the upcoming gubernatorial race, ran into a string of barbed wire when he made an appearance at a recent AFL-CIO gathering, a watering hole for progressives seeking political office.

Mr. Foley appeared unarmed with empty hands – largely because there is as yet no “there” in his campaign – and he was, as expected, rudely rebuffed.

To approval and titters from the floor, Lee Saunders,  president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, warned, just before Mr. Foley stepped to the lectern, “He will tell you anything and then he will try to kill you ... We are smarter than that, aren’t we Connecticut?”

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Lawlor The Lawless


Government is at best but an expedient; but most governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes, inexpedient -- Henry David Thoreau

Mike Lawlor – once, along with Andrew McDonald, the co-chair of the General Assembly’s Judiciary Committee – was tapped by Governor Dannel Malloy in 2011 as the governor’s prison czar. His official title is Under Secretary for Criminal Justice Policy and Planning and, like other Malloyalists, Mr. Lawlor has a serious case of reformitus. Mr. Malloy is similarly contaminated.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Foley’s Non-Campaign And Powell’s Platform


Republican Mayor Boughton of Danbury has bowed out of the gubernatorial campaign, apparently because he could not raise sufficient funds in time to gain access to public financing. When John McKinney appeared in Hartford to debate other Republican candidates for governor, he found himself quite alone.  Mr. Boughton had withdrawn, and Republican Party nominee for governor Tom Foley has been assiduously avoiding debates with other Republican gubernatorial candidates. Odd-makers think it will be a Foley-Malloy gubernatorial race after the primary in August. Joe Visconti is still in the race. Assuming the odds-makers are right, how will Mr. Foley fare against Mr. Malloy?

No one knows because, possibly for strategic reasons, Mr. Foley is playing his cards very close to his vest. Usually, part of a contestant’s hand is shown during primary debates. Before declaring he intended to run again for office, Mr. Malloy said he was delaying his announcement because he wanted to give Republican gubernatorial contestants an opportunity to bloody themselves in a primary campaign. That has not happened. One might consider this an upside, but there is a downside to a quiet, uneventful campaign.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Suzio: "Lawlor Illegal Member Of Victim Advocate Advisory Committee"

 
Says law specifies that Victim Advocate is to be Independent from other state agencies
Lawlor wants new Victim Advocate to be “Rubber Stamp” for “Early Release” Scandal
 
 
Former State Senator Len Suzio, Connecticut's leading critic of the Early Release program, said Mike Lawlor should not serve on the Victim Advisory Committee because of his role in advocating for the Early Release of violent criminals from Connecticut prisons.  Also, Connecticut law makes him ineligible for membership – “he never should have been appointed by the Governor in the first place”, Suzio said.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Foley In The Lion’s Den


When Republican candidate for governor Tom Foley addressed the Connecticut AFL-CIO, he was perhaps more frostily received than he may have imagined.

Foley’s address to the crowd was summarized by one newspaper this way: “The Greenwich businessman devoted much of his speech in an attempt at convincing the delegates that, if elected, he will not propose legislation similar to the collective bargaining regulations passed by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

The anti-Scott Walker crowd wasn’t buying it. And when Mr. Foley sought to explain a phrase he had earlier used – “Looking for a Wisconsin moment in Connecticut… means I'm hoping we go from one-party rule to more balanced government, as Wisconsin did in 2010. It does not mean I will change the way collective bargaining works in our state." – titters arose.

The Fringe Candidates


Both Jon Pelto, now in the process of collecting signatures that would allow him to appear on the November general election ballot as a gubernatorial candidate, and Joe Visconti, who has declined to accept public funds to finance his campaign, likely would be put off by the term “fringe candidate” as applied to them. But there you are: A candidate for high office who has not been chosen by the Democratic or Republican Party nominating conventions and who, for strategic purposes, has decided to forgo a primary falls  necessarily into that categorical box. Campaign party reforms have made fringe candidacies not only possible but likely.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Remembering Dad On Father's Day

This is a very accurate photo of dad and brother Jim. Dad very seldom appeared in photos because he was, nearly always, the picture taker. Frank Pesci was for many years the lead photographer for the Travelers Insurance Company, and one of his sons – yours truly – was possibly the most photographed kid in Connecticut, appearing in brochures and the like.

I still wince when someone at the shooting end of a camera asks me to smile. But my dad is never far from my mind. He was the wisest and gentlest of men, a trait he probably picked up from his exquisitely polite father, who always stood and bowed when a woman entered or left the room. I knew my grandfather only from my father’s reports of him; he died before I was born.

My father’s mother was taken from her family as a young girl to be a companion for a wealthy family who lived in a palazzo on the Mediterranean. She was accepted as a member of their family and the Countess sent her to college. I never knew her either, except from my father's report, but a picture of my grandfather and grandmother on the Pesci side hangs today in my house. She was beautiful, refined, lovely.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Rock Cats Shuffle

Facing what is certain to be a hard fought gubernatorial campaign, Governor Dannel Malloy vowed that he would not intervene (read: invest state tax money in) a pre-arranged deal between officials in Hartford and the owners of the New Britain Rock Cats to reposition the baseball team in Hartford.

Chis Powell, managing Editor of the Journal Inquirer and the paper’s chief political columnist, noted wryly that any such “investment” on the part of Mr. Malloy would be redundant, since state taxpayers already provide Hartford, as well as other large non-self-sustaining cities in Connecticut, with sufficient funds that more than offset any expenses involved in relocating and housing the team.

The Malloy administration certainly has sufficient experience in providing tax funds to a number of companies in Connecticut that have moved from one town in the state to another, but this time, perhaps because of the proximity of an election, Mr. Malloy has turned his face to the wall. He had already gone on record as promising no new taxes, no union giveaways and no reductions in services. Any tax money doled out to Hartford, a one-party Democratic basket case, to facilitate the Rock Cats’ move from New Britain to Hartford would, considering the campaign pledges made by Mr. Malloy, have been politically awkward.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Malloy Waiting For The Rising Tide


President John Kennedy formulated the phrase “a rising tide lifts all the boats.” In an address to the New York Economic Club in 1963 Mr. Kennedy spelled out what he meant by the phrase. In a time of sluggish growth, rising taxes and improvident spending, Mr. Kennedy proposed to reduce marginal taxation, a measure that would, he was convinced, spur business activity and INCREASE tax revenue. Following the implementation of the Kennedy tax reforms, the tide manifestly rose. After Mr. Kennedy’s assassination, his successor, Lyndon Johnson, was able to use the increased revenue occasioned by Mr. Kennedy’s reforms to water his own garden, the Johnson “Great Society” programs.

By imposing upon Connecticut the largest tax increase in state history, Governor Dannel Malloy lowered all the boats – with predictable results. Connecticut’s economy, whipped by a malingering recession, has moved forward at a snail’s pace. The national recession ended three years ago, according to the Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research. But here in Connecticut, a suffocating recession marches remorselessly forward. Despite the good news proclaimed from the rooftops by the Malloyalists, Connecticut is still treading water, and all the important indices point downward. Prosperity remains elusive for nearly everyone but Mr. Malloy and those few businesses in Connecticut Mr. Malloy has favored with crony capitalist tax reductions, low interest loans and property giveaways. Mr. Malloy’s business is prospering; a campaign PAC affiliated with the governor, the ineptly named “Prosperity for Connecticut,” has raised over $235,000 in the course of fifteen fundraising events, three of which were held in Washington, three in New York and the remaining nine in Connecticut.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Politics Down Under


The Republican Party in the South is, as everyone knows, more robust than it is in, say, New England. In true-blue Connecticut, the GOP barely makes a ripple.

While on vacation in Arizona, Mrs. Pesci's attention was drawn to some political ads, the most entertaining of which featured Joni Ernst, then in a primary battle for an open seat with a fellow Republican whose ads were more cookie cutterish. Let down by a president whose impenetrable “friends and enemies list” has confused the traditional friends and enemies of the United States, Andree was amused by some of the more aggressive GOP political ads we saw while in Arizona.