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Showing posts from November, 2005

Bring Back Honorifics

One possible solution to the growing acidity in communications, including political columns and increasingly rude bloggers, is to bring back honorifics: Mr. for men; Miss or Mrs. for women; and Ms. on those doubtful occasions when good manners is likely to get you castrated by a radical feminist in full fury.

Public discourse without honorifics sounds too much like a bar brawl. As anyone who has ever been involved in a bar brawl will know, there is a world of difference between saying 1) “Smith is an ass,” and 2) “Mr. Smith is an ass,” even when sorrowful bad news is brought to Mr. Smith in a bar. (As an aside, it should be noted that the absence of honorifics in bars has become especially troublesome since smoking, a much frowned upon habit that seemed to have had a calming effect on inebriated patrons, has been criminalized.)

The only thing that might upset bar patrons more than the prohibition of smoking would be the criminalization of hard liquor – not an impossibility when one cons…

Doing the Math on Property Tax Reform

“Tax reform,” Democrat gubernatorial aspirant Dannel Malloy wrote in an op-ed piece, “should mean something very clear and very simple: The state must shoulder a far larger share of education costs. One of my first acts as governor would be to set a goal for the state share of education - an absolute minimum of 50 percent in the short term - and commit to reach that goal within a reasonable period of time.”

Malloy’s new tax reform measure is very much like Bill Curry’s old tax reform measure, which is not surprising since Malloy’s campaign staff is top heavy with advisors who previously worked for Curry. The idea, back when Curry was running for governor against John Rowland, was to provide tax relief to municipalities by having the state assume a larger portion of education taxes.

The state currently pays about 38% of the cost of education, down from 45% in 1989. A Governor Malloy would immediately increase the state’s portion to 50%. Assuming the legislature was to adopt Malloy’s prog…

Rowland and His Enemies

Two appointments made by Governor Jodi Rell recently have come under criticism. Rell has chosen Ross Garber, formerly John Rowland’s attorney during his impeachment hearing, as a legal advisor and George Gallo as state chairman. Gallo managed Rowland’s 2002 campaign and was the executive director of the state GOP for a little more than nine years.

Ross Garber has been disqualified by his critics because he committed the unpardonable sin of defending his client to the best of his ability. But no one, not even highly sensitive political commentators, has accused Garber of accepting hot tubs from pay-to-play state contractors. And, despite objections from the authoritative New York Times, there is no reason why Garber should not be advising the Rell campaignon legal issues, especially since Democrats and others are even now making attempts to cast aspersions on Rell’s reputation through her presumed association with former Governor John Rowland.

Rell was Rowland’s Lieutenant Governor, duri…

Republicans in the Poor House

Said the wizened Republican Party activist, “Rell won’t have a problem raising money (for the upcoming gubernatorial campaign), but any other Republican unfortunate enough to embrace her ideas is going to find himself down and out.”

Governor Rell, dubbed “Snow White” by former Democrat Party Chairman John Droney, can well afford to forego tainted campaign contributions from the usual suspects, lobbyists and state contractors on the make, but her fellow Republicans may find themselves unable to mount successful campaigns by relying solely upon the kindness of strangers.

It is no secret that Democrats who control the legislature are not anxious to adopt before statewide elections begin many of the reforms proposed by Rell. In the absence of statutory restrictions, they can plausibly argue that the acceptance of funds frowned upon by Rell is perfectly legal, though it may be morally questionable. But Republicans who support Rell’s vow to forgo such funding in the current election season wi…

Rell's Petticoat Tails

Though the gubernatorial campaign is still in its infancy, Governor Jodi Rell’s prospects look promising. Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, the Democrat Party’s great white hope, is out of the race, and the governor’s poll numbers are stratospheric.

But in the recent past, improved prospects for Republican governors have meant little or nothing for the party with which they have loosely associated themselves. As one end of the see-saw goes up, the other end goes down. Former Governor John Rowland was popular enough to win a record three terms in office, but Republicans are still the minority party in the legislature. Rowland’s star power was not enough to pull other Republicans into office partially because all politics is local, but also because of the atomization of political parties.

The war on the parties, waged mostly by reformers who view them as vessels of corruption and division, has been hugely successful. There are no longer any party bosses, the role of the boss having b…

The Supreme Court and Defiant Presidents: FDR, Lincoln and Jackson

“The Court, in addition to the proper use of its judicial functions, has improperly set itself up as a third house of the Congress - a super-legislature, as one of the justices has called it - reading into the Constitution words and implications which are not there, and which were never intended to be there.

“I want - as all Americans want - an independent judiciary as proposed by the framers of the Constitution. That means a Supreme Court that will enforce the Constitution as written, that will refuse to amend the Constitution by the arbitrary exercise of judicial power - in other words by judicial say-so.”

The author of these words was not Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, still less Robert Bork, an originalist interpreter of the U.S. Constitution whose name has given rise to the expression “borked.” To be borked means to be publicly assaulted in congress by ideologically committed legislators who profoundly disagree with the words Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivered to the Americ…

Rats In The Attic

"Sometimes you take a good piece of legislation, and you tack on a rat. This is some huge rat." -- Robert Genuario, Governor Jodi Rell’s budget director.

Actually, said State President Pro Tem Donald Williams in a disquisition worthy of a 12th century Dominican, or a modern lawyer, the rat that Mr. Genuario thought he smelled in Clean Contracting Bill was a mythical rodent.

Mr. Williams was not quite certain whether Mr. Genuario's metaphor was purposeful or not – It may have been negligence -- but both he and State Senator Donald DeFronzo called a news conference to protest the “lack of truthfulness” on the part of Republicans and call upon Governor Jodi Rell to “stop the campaign of misinformation against the Clean Contracting Bill passed by the General Assembly” which, Mr. Williams did not note in his press conference, is controlled by majority Democrats.

Mr. Williams was particularly disturbed that the possibly mendacious misinformation campaign waged by Republicans aga…