Wednesday, November 20, 2019

PURA Pulls The Plug

Juliana Simone
Voltaire, one of Thomas Jefferson’s heroes who was driven from country to country by the victims of his stinging wit, thought that if states wanted to take a proper measure of freedom of expression, they should ask what cannot be said. Many are the ways of clipping freedom of speech.

The modern world offers unique possibilities. Connecticut's Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) does not paste gags over the mouths of its victims or lay them on racks, pre-enlightenment methods much too crude for modern, refined sensibilities. But there is a small, valiant number of contrarians in Connecticut who believe that PURA has not been responsive to their justifiable pleas.

One of them is Chairman of the Barkhamsted Republican Town Committee Juliana Simone – obviously a Republican and as obviously conservative-leaning. Simone has been the Host/Producer of "Conservative Chat, operating undisturbed out of a studio in Winsted, Connecticut for 14 years. Some notable guests she has interviewed over the years include: former Republican congressmen Rob Simmons and Chris Shays; economist Peter Shiff, when he was running for the U.S. Senate; U.S. Congressional candidates such as Matt Corey, Dan Carter, Peter Lumaj and Leslie Hill; First and Fifth District congressional candidates Mark Greenberg, John Decker and Ann Brickley, as well as many Republican State Senators and State Reps, including Kevin Witkos, Andrew Roraback, Michael McLachlan, John Piscopo, Selim Noujaim, Richard Ferrari, William Simanski, and many others including this political writer.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Senate President Martin Looney Finds Tolls Unpalatable

Martin Looney

There is no indication that any of the various toll plans offered during the past year were ever palatable to a majority of Connecticut voters. During the second week of November, Senate President Pro Tem Martin M. Looney at long last took the hint. “I think we need to find something that is broadly palatable in the General Assembly and also to the public,” he said.

The shelving of tolls – for now – does not mean that some other toll plan may not be advanced after the upcoming elections by a Democrat dominated General Assembly always hungry for new revenue streams. A new revenue source would relieve the General Assembly, responsible for all getting and spending in Connecticut, of the necessity, ever more apparent, of cutting spending, the alternative to raising taxes.

Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff noted, “I think we all want to move forward on a [transportation improvement] plan, we just have got to figure out how to fund it.”

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Connecticut’s Corruption Loop

Lamont, Gunn and Luciano
A recent media availability during which Governor Ned Lamont unveiled his new Transportation Plan, several times revised, was marred, but not irreparably so, by Hilary Gunn, who appeared at the event standing behind Lamont and Connecticut AFL-CIO union boss President Sal Luciano wearing a knitted yellow Phrygian or Liberty Cap embroidered with bold, all too visible letters that read – “No Tolls” in revolutionary red letters.

Luciano’s presence at the press conference was not inadvertent. He was there to commend Lamont’s new transportation improvement plan on behalf of some union workers who stood to benefit by it – monetarily.

“We have been assured by the Lamont administration,” Luciano said, “that this work will be built using project labor agreements. That’s important because it will protect taxpayers by eliminating costly delays due to labor conflicts or a shortage of skilled workers.” And, not incidentally, the project labor agreements will enrich a union membership largely responsible for electing to high office Democrat politicians who, like Lamont, are eager to shower with benefices state workers whose political contributions and campaign activities have hoisted them into office.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Icons And The Art of Communion

Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in S.C. by Kordis
The Sacred Art Institute at Enders Island, within stomping distance of Mystic, Connecticut, has been in business now for nearly 25 years. The Institute, devoted in part to all things Iconographic, opened its doors in 1995 and draws students from all over the United States. And no wonder. The institute offers extremely intimate classes, usually numbering a dozen or more students, in such disciplines as Gregorian Chant, Iconography, Medieval Manuscript, Mosaics, Painting, Photography and Stained Glass.

For those who suspect that art in the Western world did not begin with Picasso, the Iconic experience offers irresistible temptations. Those acquainted with Byzantine or Russian Iconography will be familiar with the lure of Icons. For the rest of us, the excitement of writing an Icon or producing a Byzantine drawing may be compared with a child having two stomachs wandering hungrily through a candy store. Here at Enders Island, surrounded by the peace of the water, one is immersed in the methods and theology of an ancient art that preceded and gave rise to the splendor of the Renaissance. Classes usually last a week, though this one, under the direction of master Iconographer George Kordis, lasted two short weeks and was broken into two parts, Byzantine drawing and Icon painting. All courses at the institute are taught by master artists whose backgrounds in the history of their disciplines run leagues deep.

Friday, November 08, 2019

In Politicians We Trust

The matter of trust in government always lies like a dagger in the clenched fists of the disenchanted. It was American lawyer, newspaper editor and politician Gideon John Tucker (1826-1899) who said “no man’s life, liberty, or property is safe while the Legislature is in session.”

The CTMirror report is titled, Lamont: Trust me. GOP lawmakers: Why should we? The title may leave behind the impression that only quarrelsome Republican legislators mistrust the usual Democrat hegemony in the General Assembly. What else is new?

That clearly is not true. It has been mistrust – not to speak of mistreatment – that has caused in Connecticut a lingering ten year recession that elsewhere in the country ended in the second quarter of 2009. Businesses have moved out of state; so have people. “Connecticut ranks third from last nationally on United Van Lines’ annual study of outbound moves, with New Jersey dead bottom,” The Hour tells us.

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

The Toll Vampire

Like a quiescent vampire snoozing by night in his coffin, the prospect of tolls, which the No Tolls CT group thought it had slain, is now showing signs of new life. This may be Governor Ned Lamont’s third or fourth – one loses count – toll proposal iteration. According to a story in a Hartford paper, Lamont is proposing tolls only on bridges “as low as 40 to 80 cents under revised plan.”

What a bargain, as compared with his previous proposals. Lamont, during his campaign for governor, first proposed a trucks only toll on numerous gantries – one loses count. The No Tolls CT movement -- perhaps the first real populist, in the sense of popular, movement in Connecticut since the much abused Tea Party movement a decade past – pretty much slayed the toll dragon after Lamont, now elected governor, expanded his proposal to include pretty much anyone in the state traveling on  a major highway. The Tea Party movement was more or less buried under an avalanche of spending and corresponding increases in taxes.

Sunday, November 03, 2019

The Solemnity of Impeachment In Connecticut

Democrats across the nation and in Connecticut’s U.S. Congressional Delegation, all-Democrat since 2009, are assembling their adjectives to describe a recent vote in the U.S. House on the question of an “impeachment resolution,” which is not at all the same thing as a vote in the House on a bill of impeachment.

In an impeachment proceeding, the U.S. House of Representatives produces and then votes yes or no on a bill containing articles of impeachment. If the vote carries in the Democrat controlled House, it then passes to the Republican controlled U.S. Senate, which conducts a trial. If a sufficient number of senators, sitting as a jury, find the offender guilty of the charges specified in the bill, the offender is removed from office, the only punishment that can be visited upon an impeached government official.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Understanding Sanders, Warren And New England

If you lop off California and New England, you’ve got a pretty good country” – Barry Goldwater

To people who have been stung by socialism – ask any American refugee from Cuba, Venezuela, or any of the Baltic States that only recently have thrown off Soviet tyranny – there is not much difference between professed socialist Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and progressive Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Trump And The 2020 Connecticut Presidential Campaign

Connecticut Democrats ran against Trump in the last off-year presidential election, and he was not on the ballot. There were no ringing defenses of Trump among Connecticut Republicans, who tend to be rather shy on the subject of Trump’s accomplishments, the most important of which involves jobs produced in Connecticut by Trump’s aggressive military procurement policy. Electric Boat, Sikorsky and Pratt & Whitney are producing jobs and hiring new workers at a record pace, all of which will, during the next 20 years, produce tax revenue for a state still mired in a recession that ended elsewhere in the nation about 10 years ago.

Despite Connecticut’s 30-year-long descent into economic turmoil, Connecticut progressives did very well in the 2018 elections. Hard won Republican gains in the General Assembly were wiped out, and the progressive caucus in the Democrat dominant General Assembly is now approaching 50 percent. In 2020, Trump will be on the ballot in Connecticut, despite an effort by some Democrats to remove his name from the ballot.

Will the state witness in the 2020 elections a repeat of the 2018 election?

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Have A Happy Winter

Connecticut has just been bowled over by a bomb cyclone, a rapidly strengthening area of low pressure. In the area where I live, all the houses went dark – for three days and nights. Throughout Connecticut, about 41,000 energy consumers lost power.

And winter is coming.

CTMirror tells us there is a stalemate over long-term transportation funding between legislators and Governor Ned Lamont. The battle of the political egg-heads is “about to create an immediate crisis: With $30 million in promised local aid months overdue, fall tree trimming and winter snow removal are at risk.” The recent outage was caused mostly by falling trees that are singularly uninterested in Lamont and tax hungry legislators. The General Assembly in Connecticut has been controlled for the last three decades by Democrats whose reckless spending proclivities have been responsible for much of the budget outages during this time.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

The Blumenthal Burisma Connection

Steve Hilton, a Fox News commentator who over the weekend had connected some Burisma corruption dots, had this to say about Connecticut U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal’s association with the tangled knot of corruption in Ukraine: “We cross-referenced the Senate co-sponsors of Ed Markey's Ukraine gas bill with the list of Democrats whom Burisma lobbyist, David Leiter, routinely gave money to and found another one -- one of the most sanctimonious of them all, actually -- Sen. Richard Blumenthal."

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PURA Pulls The Plug

Juliana Simone Voltaire, one of Thomas Jefferson’s heroes who was driven from country to country by the victims of his stinging wit, t...