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Showing posts from July, 2005

An Interview with Don Pesci: How to Succeed in Politics Without Really Trying; a Primer for Connecticut Republicans

Most editors and commentators, provided you could get them to swear on a Bible, will tell you that there are only two political parties here in Connecticut: their bums and our bums. Because the state is overwhelmingly Democratic, the vast majority of the bums are either liberal or moderate to liberal.

National conservatives for some time have been making a fuss over the liberal media, and they have opened their own outlets. Fox News -- despite its claim that it is fair, balanced and objective – leans to the right. Rush Limbaugh is a man of the right. Bill O’Reilly claims to be a moderate every five minutes but, on many important issues, he carries water for Republicans, not all of whom are conservatives. Successful radio talk shows are mostly conservative; media outlets are mostly liberal. The blogs, mostly conservative, have exerted a moderating residual influence on the mainstream media.

The pool of conservative writers have expanded exponentially over the last few years. Are there so…

Lt. Governor Kevin Sullivan on the Burning Deck

It is always amusing – in a scary sort of way – to watch a politician leap from the burning deck into the icy, shark filled waters below.

Such was Lieutenant Governor Kevin Sullivan’s fate when newspapers began to report that he had planned to “host” a gala affair at the Mohegan Sun casino-hotel.

The annual meeting of the Eastern Regional Conference of the Council of State Governments is to be held this year in the post- Gov. John Rowland era, and eyes and ears were everywhere poised to discover offenses against relatively new ethical proprieties.

Since the hot-tub affair, when the former governor of Connecticut admitted publicly that he had accepted at least one favor from people doing business with the state, it had been generally assumed, especially by Democrats who began impeachment proceedings against the future felon, that the acceptance of favors from people whom politicians were in a position to reward was a “no-no.” That assumption remains operative today, even though legislatio…

Bishop Smith's Inhibition

The Episcopal dust-up between Bishop Andrew Smith and half a dozen Connecticut pastors, better known as the “Connecticut Six,” is but the tip of a volcano; the eruption is portentous because it points to a profound and long lasting split in the world-wide Anglican Church over the issue of gay pastors and, in this case, gay Bishop V. Gene Robinson, recently installed in New Hampshire.

The fissure in the Anglican Church began at the moment of Robinson’s consecration, the battle lines at that point forming around theological issues. Robinson’s installation was the tap of the jeweler’s hammer that split the Anglican diamond, some scholars now predict, into two world-wide provinces: a conservative contingent that opposes admission of gays to the clergy on doctrinal grounds, and a liberal contingent that favors such admissions and an allegorical reading of sacred texts.

Having threatened to depose the Connecticut Six, Bishop Smith now has “inhibited” – Episcopal-speak for “fired” – the Rev.…

Bush Among The Gnostics

There are reasons why President George Bush continues to dance a minuet around his harshest critics: They are not nearly as bright as he is.

No one knows for certain where or when the “Bush is stupid” fallacy began, probably among media commentators infested with self importance who think too highly of their own intelligence. Bush’s abuse of the language, his slurring of words – and, of course, that famous smug grin on display whenever he found himself in front of a camera – gave color to the notion, eagerly adopted by his partisan critics, that the president was not up on his Proust.

It came as a shock to some of them when they learned, just recently, that Bush’s grades at Yale were slightly better than those of Sen. John Kerry, whom he bested in the last presidential campaign. Apparently, both presidential candidates were indifferent students.

Bush’s critics have vastly underestimated him, and they continue their folly – to their peril.

Just now, the “Bush is a dummy” crowd is delighti…

A letter to Major Donnelly's son

A letter to Major Michael Donnelly’s son Sean, who soon will be attending East Catholic in Manchester. Major Donnell was a hero who died in the service of his country.

Sean,

When you came to see me at Nordstrom with your uncle Tim in tow, there to buy a blazer for your father’s funeral, I was struck dumber than I usually am.

It was the sight of you that did it – because you looked as your father once did when your grandmother used to bring him to another store where we both worked, Luettgens Limited, now a blessed memory. He and your uncle Tim used to visit me there when he was a few years younger than you.

In the spot where your grandmother and I used to spend our days working and laughing away the hours, there now arises a towering apartment complex that, the city fathers hope, will help Hartford throw off its stupor and become, as the ad-men say, “a rising star.” But don’t bet on it.

If ever a son was the spitting image of his dad, you are that son. The shock of recognition was a l…