Tuesday, September 10, 2019

The Other Immigrant

My Father’s Prayers
A Refugee’s Continuing Search or Freedom
by Peter Lumaj, ESQ
Page Publishing, Inc. New York, New York
Price: $25.95/softcover, 208 pages

Ben Johnson once said that the prospect of execution in the morning “concentrates the mind wonderfully.” So did communism in Albania, and elsewhere among captive nations, during Peter Lumaj’s formative years.

My Father’s Prayers is subtitled A Refugee’s Continuing Search for Freedom. Peter Lumaj is precisely the storm tossed refugee that the Statue of Liberty in upper New York bay welcomes with her lifted torch: “Give me your tired, your poor/ Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” Lady Liberty boasts, “I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Monday, September 09, 2019

Fix The Hole In The Tax Bucket

 I can’t imagine how you can think philosophy and wine are similar—except in this one respect, that philosophers sell their learning as shopkeepers their wares; and most of them dilute it, too, and defraud customers — Lucian, “The Sale Of Philosophers”

Governor Ned Lamont has two serious problems. The first is his inexperience in Connecticut politics, which makes him the plaything of lean and hungry Democrat leaders who have a wealth of experience in Connecticut politics. And the second is Red Jahncke.

“First, it was diversion. Now it’s ‘interception,’” Jahncke writes in the Connecticut Post. His article should have been titled “What a wicked web we weave when first we practice to deceive.”

Sunday, September 08, 2019

West Hartford RTC Keynote

Image may contain: 1 personI’d like to thank Dennis Swanton for inviting me here.  I want to touch on two areas of interest tonight, national and state government --they impinge on each other -- and end with a prayer to God to save us from ourselves. Otto von Bismarck used to say “God has a special providence for fools, drunkards, and the United States of America.” Let us hope it’s true. We’ll need a little divine intervention if Connecticut is to survive as a prosperous and welcoming state.  If you feel inclined to chuckle along the way, don’t restrain yourselves. Laughter is therapeutic. I’m hoping we might be able to bat around some questions in the Q&A that will follow.

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Weak Political Parties Weaken Politics

Even though no member of “the squad” – Democrat congressional representatives Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts – is participating in the national Democrat primary debate now underway, the drift of Democrat politics post primary has been set by them and, of course, Vermont socialist Bernie Sanders. Primaries bring out political extremists who, along with a 24-7 media, set the party narrative.

Before primaries became common in both parties, candidate selection was made by party bosses in smoke-filled back rooms, and eccentrics in the parties were allowed their fifteen minutes of fame during national conventions. Party bosses disappeared long ago; more likely, they have gone underground. And national conventions are now regarded as prime-time political shows, essential for generating campaign funding and spreading political gospels through sympathetic media outlets. Over the years, party conventions have lost their sharks’ teeth.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Forty Years Before The Mast

Nephew Craig and Don
Q: You have been writing about politics in Connecticut for forty years. Happy fortieth!  You are, by your own account, a small fish in a small pond. What keeps you going?

A: I’m tempted to respond as another journalist, Chris Powell, did when I asked him that very question.  I was marveling that he had written editorials and columns long before my appearance on the scene. And yet, I said to him, even though much of what you have written is lucid and politically necessary as a corrective tonic, only a handful of thoughtful people seem to be paying attention. What keeps you going? Chris has a sharp sense of humor, rarely visible in his writings. “Spite,” he said.

Spite, like other human virtues, is useful. It’s difficult to write, day after day, about the obtuse human carnival without feeling a bit spiteful. But I’m certain that what keeps him going – though retired, he’s still slogging away -- is his sense of humor, indulgent but arousing. Humor, you know, is the closest thing we journalist have to illicit sex. An Englishman, asked what he thought of coitus, responded, “Sir, the posture is ridiculous.” We journalists tend to avoid it as much as possible.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Play Ball: Connecticut Tigers v. CAIR

In the early part of August, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) jointly condemned E. Miles Prentice, the owner of the Single-A Connecticut Tigers based in Norwich, and co-owner of the Double-A Midland (Texas) RockHounds. Prentice was assailed because of his association with the Center for Security Policy (CSP), a group, according to a story in the Norwich Bulletin, that has been identified by CAIR as an anti-Muslim hate group.

Immediately after the “hate” gauntlet had been thrown down, curious minds certainly wondered if the CFSP was indeed a Muslim hate group, which is to say a group that hates all Muslims because they are Muslims. In a story of this kind, it is important to know whether the CSP is inspired chiefly by hate or by something far less toxic -- scholarly curiosity: is sharia law compatible with constitutional and the common law? In addition, one would want to know whether Prentice himself hates Muslims simply because they are Muslims, or whether Prentice is being assailed because of his close association with the CSP, while he himself is free of the presumed taint of hatred. Prentice is chairman of the Center for Security Policy and appears to be far more interested in baseball than irrational hatred.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Mann Gets Sticked

The publication in the New Haven Register of one of my columns produced a letter of protest on 4/12/17 from climate scientist Michael Mann. Both the original column and Mann’s response may be found in Connecticut Commentary: Red Notes From A Blue State hereThe Curse Of Victimology.”

The gravamen of the column and blog, put in a single sentence, is this: Scientific matters in dispute should not, and perhaps cannot, be decided by courts. The blog and column also touches on victimology. Corollary: Courts should not be used by “scientists” as a thumbscrew to silence legitimate scientific inquiry.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Rebranding Progressive Democrats In Connecticut

Image result for brandingThere will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet…
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

 -- T.S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Connecticut And The Catholic Thing

The headline in the Hartford Courant is, or perhaps should be, a blow to the solar plexus: “Catholic couple say (sic) daughter’s removal was due to religious bias.”

The couple, it would appear from the story itself, does have a case. Whether the case can be settled justly in the state of Connecticut is, as the logicians say, a separate issue.

The parents are referred to in the story as John and Jane Doe, not at all unusual in cases of this kind. The Attorney General’s office, obligated by statute to defend state agencies in court cases, is insisting that the names of John and Jane Doe should be made known because “the couple asserts no harm and requests no action on behalf of their daughter, but are suing in their individual capacities and claiming emotional distress.”

Friday, August 16, 2019

Take The Money And Run

Chris Davis -- CTNewsJunkie

Xerox Corporation, headquartered in Norwalk, was not the first, nor will it be the last, of Connecticut’s anchor companies to take the money and run. The administration of former Governor Dannel Malloy, desperate as it was generous, lathered Xerox with $4.4 million in loans 2017, in return for which the company promised to keep 150 jobs create 40 more in four years, according to a piece in the a Hartford paper.

The additional jobs would in turn produce additional taxpayers, who would as the years rolled by swell the state’s treasury with additional dollars. Malloy, a life-long politician rather than a businessman, at least got that part of the economic equation right: more taxpayers equal more tax revenue. Corollary 1: tax reduction – albeit only for targeted industries – increases revenue. Corollary 2: tax reduction good, tax increases bad.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Naming Connecticut

A rose by any other name, the poet says would smell as sweet. However, we should never forget that naming is essential. No one appreciates this more than journalists and philosophers who are in the business of correctly naming people, things and ideas.

The name “Connecticuter” (pronounced Connetta-cutter) has cropped up recently as a possible name for people who live in Connecticut.

The name Connecticut itself, like other native-American place names, presents unique difficulties because they are tongue twisters. The tongue trips over Quinnipiac College; some talking heads invariably mispronounce it.  Connecticut the place was named with reference to the river that flows through it, called by native-Americans Quinnehtukqut, which means "beside the long tidal river."

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The Other Immigrant

My Father’s Prayers A Refugee’s Continuing Search or Freedom by Peter Lumaj, ESQ Page Publishing, Inc. New York, New York Pric...