Saturday, December 15, 2018

Sandy Hook Revisited

Documents just released years after a shooter murdered his mother, 20 students, 6 teachers and himself at Sandy Hook Elementary School have been made available to Connecticut politicians and the general public in answer to a legal action brought by a persistent Hartford Courant.

The documents had been carefully tucked away for five years and clearly point to the social and mental deficiencies of the shooter.

All reports should have been released soon after the shooter’s suicide, because none of the information contained therein could have prejudiced any legal action. It is impossible to put a dead mass-shooter on trial for murder. In the absence of the necessary data unearthed above, a public trial of sorts, some of it sprinkled with absurd speculations, was conducted entirely in the mass media, and eventually one of the weapons used in the mass slaughter, an AR15 semi-automatic rifle, was pronounced guilty and banned in Connecticut.

Saturday, December 08, 2018

Democrat Power Politics, Ned Who?

Is Ned Lamont, the Democrat multi-millionaire businessman who prevailed in Connecticut’s governor’s race over Republican multi-millionaire businessman Bob Stefanowski, being pushed to the back of the bus by party regulars?

The governor-In-waiting is being cuffed a bit by progressive U.S Senator Chris Murphy, among other ambitious Democrats, according to a news item in a Hartford paper. The traditional party boss structure ended decades ago, but necessary functions once executed by strong party bosses such as John Bailey of blessed memory must, never-the-less, be performed by someone. And why should the power to shape the future of the State Democrat Party not fall to Murphy rather than Lamont?

Monday, December 03, 2018

The Man Who Wasn’t There: Trump and Connecticut Losses

The notion that Republicans this year lost heavily in the General Assembly because President Donald Trump sank them is a bit too facile.

Mark Pazniokas, a writer for CTMirror, explores the notion in a story titled CT GOP had right message, but ‘Trump just trumped it.’

The quoted portion in the title, “Trump just trumped it,” is taken from a remark made by former U.S. Representative Chris Shays, the last Republican standing in Connecticut’s U.S. Congressional Delegation. Shays, Connecticut’s U.S. Representative from the 4th District from August 1987 through January 2009, lost to current U.S. Representative Jim Himes long before Trump appeared menacingly on the presidential horizon, and his loss, as well as the losses of longtime U.S. Reps. Nancy Johnson and Rob Simmons, had nothing to do with Trump and much to do with changing political dynamics in Connecticut campaigns.

Sunday, December 02, 2018

Pension Non-Reform In Connecticut

To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves, is sinful and tyrannical – Thomas Jefferson

California, of all places, is making a stab – too little, too late -- at reigning in its Gargantuan pension liabilities. Pension reformers in California recognize frankly that certain kinds of state workers should not be invested with benefits and pensions in excess of those available to all other workers in the private market place.

California’s unaffordable pension and salary burden can be ameliorated, reformers say, by dividing government employee benefits into three types: 1) benefits already earned for completed work, 2) those under pending contracts that relate to future work, and 3) those performing work not yet performed and not covered by contracts written in stone. Under a reform regime, different levels of protection will be afforded to the different groups. Level 1 workers will be afforded full protection; pension and salary arrangements for level 2 workers will be open to revision by the state; and level 3 workers will be afforded protections similar to those in the private market place.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The Lamont Honeymoon

We cannot know yet what a Ned Lamont administration will be like. Fate is always a work in progress. But it seems a reasonable assumption that there will be Democrat Party continuity between the Malloy and Lamont administrations; both Lamont and Malloy are progressive Democrats.

Lamont did stress during his campaign that he had run for governor against Malloy, but this was largely a feint for show. Nothing in the Lamont campaign suggests a policy break with Malloy. Moreover, the election results have returned Connecticut to the status quo ante as it existed during Malloy’s first campaign. Republicans had made some inroads to power during the Malloy administration. Prior to the November elections – a stunning victory for the majority party in Connecticut -- Republicans were at parity with Democrats in the Senate and trailing them by a few seats in the House. The election washed out these gains.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Christmas In The House Of God: Up From The Catacombs

Christmas is approaching, not the discordant commercial enterprise we see all around us at this time of year, but the real Christmas – a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, the sovereign lord of the Christian heart. Atheists, those who do not believe in God or religion, have been in the habit of seizing the occasion to celebrate an obverse Christmas by spreading ashes on the joys of the Christian heart and obliterating the season through the application of free and equal graffiti.

In Bethel, Connecticut, atheists are especially interested this year in ridding the town’s P. T. Barnum Square of its nativity scene. For the benefit of those atheists who do not always follow the niceties of Christianity, it should be noted that the bones of Barnum’s family are buried in the quiet graveyard abutting the Congressional church not a stone’s throw from Barnum Square., and the name "Bethel" means "the house of God." The atheists have not yet been so bold as to petition the town to change its name.

Friday, November 23, 2018

The Cynic In The Diner

Q: I have lots of questions.

A: I’m sure I do not have lots of answers.

Q: I’ll ask the questions anyway.

A: You always were persistent, an indispensable virtue among good reporters.

Q: You were a reporter once, right?.

A: No, a columnist. Reporters dig up the truffles, columnists make use of them in their pâtés.

Q: When did you start publishing Connecticut Commentary?

A: About 2004, thirteen years after then Governor Lowell Weicker destroyed the character of Connecticut, once a magnet for companies seeking to escape the withering hand of autocratic government, by instituting his ill-advised income tax.

Monday, November 19, 2018

An Abbreviated Political Dictionary for Bewildered Republicans

Antifa: The Progressive Party in action.

Autocrat: A member in good standing of the reigning power.

Bipartisanship: A political ploy. Political parties that have been deposed by voters cling to demands for bipartisanship with all the fervor of a drowning sailor grasping at a straw.

Border: A largely irrelevant demarcation line on a map indicating the presence of a largely irrelevant nation.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

The Malloy Myth

Even before he departs the state for Massachusetts, where he will teach courses at his alma mater, Governor Dan Malloy is being mythologized. But the Malloy myth has collided with Red Jahncke, who writes in The Hill that the newly manufactured myth is a tissue of half-truths: “One pre-election newspaper headline read ‘Malloy myth is dead wrong; he slashed state spending,’ and another excoriated Republicans for wrongly accusing Malloy of instituting ‘the top two tax hikes in CT history,’ as if this would absolve him of the several huge increases he imposed… This media revisionism falls apart in math class: ‘slashed’ spending would lead to budget improvements. Logically, reduced spending combined with tax hikes would lead to even greater budget improvements, yet the state is facing big budget deficits as far as the eye can see.”

Friday, November 16, 2018

Toll Talk For Suburban Women At High Tea

Image result for connecticut tollsHey, working suburban women who voted for the toll guy for governor -- get out your wallets. Multiple reports in Connecticut’s media advise us that Lamont eked out a win over Republican Gubernatorial nominee Bob Stefanowski with some encouragement from suburban women, many of whom hold down jobs to which they travel – by car, not by largely empty FastTrack windmill powered busses.

 During his gubernatorial campaign, Governor Elect Ned Lamont was warm on tolls – but the tolls, working suburban women and others were told, would be levied only on out-of-state trucks, a dubious constitutional gambit. Rhode Island, the state from which Lamont lifted the idea, is now embroiled in law suits.

A little more than a week after the election, it was reported by the indispensable Yankee Institute that a new CTDOT Study Calls for 82 Tolling Gantries on Connecticut Highways. A note provided on a map furnished by the Connecticut Department of Transportation commissioned study reads, comfortingly, “Locations are for preliminary planning purposes only.” The mapped major transportation arteries are pock-marked with red dots, gantry locations, that make the state look as if it had come down with an advanced case of measles. In a somewhat sour note, the study remarks that “fairness” in toll collections should be paramount: “Fairness – tolls should be set to ensure collection of revenues from CT as well as out-of-state auto and truck trips.” But fairness, Connecticut’s taxpayers will understand lies, like beauty and truth, in the eye of the beholder.