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Showing posts from 2006

Happy Old Year

Gov. Jodi Rell said she planned to pick her battles carefully with the Democrat leadership this year.

"I have great plans, but I also understand the people of Connecticut have elected me to be the voice of reason.”

The governor indicated she is willing to bargain with Democrats concerning her plan to eliminate the local property tax on motor vehicles.

"I very much have every intention of doing it. But if they're going to stand there and give me one of these folded arms and just say, 'Go ahead, we're not even going to entertain it,'" Rell said. "I need to pick my fights and I need to pick the ones that are going to make the biggest difference for the taxpayers."

Re-elected by a huge margin, the governor said she would use her political clout in negotiations with the Democrat dominated legislature.

"If it's something I believe is detrimental to the people of Connecticut, I won't have any hesitation of standing up and telling the public wh…

Dodd’s Anti-War Views Mature

It’s a little surprising, what with all the political wags in the state, that no one yet has suggested Sen. Chris Dodd may have had a Damascus road experience in Damascus while cannoodling with that consummate liar Syrian President Bashir Assad.

Dodd now is positioning himself for a run for the presidency, already crowded on the Democrat side with anti-war candidates. Like Dodd, Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, Delaware Sen. Joseph R. Biden and North Carolina Sen. John Edwards all voted in favor of the war at first; but, now that the war has soured, all favor some form of withdrawal and redeployment.

How to distinguish oneself in this pea pod of anti-war presidential contenders presents a dicey political problem.

Dodd’s most recent view on the Iraq war was summarized in an op-ed piece he wrote for an Iowa paper: Troops engaged in Iraq, Dodd wrote, should be re-deployed “to the Syrian border, to stop the flow of terrorists; to the north of Iraq, to better train Iraqi security forces; to…

A Matter Of Justice

Students of politics know that every political issue has a foreground and a background. Political acts – which is to say, actions that affect the polis or state – occur within a context, and the context informs the action. The art of journalism involves a bringing forward of the background, so that discrete political acts will be understood by those affected; not only the principal players, the actors on the stage but, more importantly, the audience, the polis or state itself, which is affected by the actions of politicians.

The background surrounding the selection of a Chief Justice for Connecticut’s Supreme Court now threatens to swallow up the foreground. It is a very tangled web, involving principles of justice, the entire state Supreme Court – indeed, the entire court system in Connecticut – the state legislature, Governor Jodi Rell and the welfare of the citizens of Connecticut.

The foreground has been in view for some time. Everyone must be familiar by now with the well worn scr…

What Chris Dodd And The Go Along To Get Along Media Did Not Want Us To Know About John Bolton

Former UN delegate John Bolton, the object of attention of the friends of the enemies of US interests, was tapped by President George Bush to serve in the State Department as undersecretary for arms control and international security. His appointment as UN delegate was opposed by US Sen Chris Dodd, among others, and the opponents were able to prevent the nomination from coming to a vote in congress.

Writing in National Review, Jay Nordlinger tells us, that Bolton’s most notable achievement in the State Department “was to lead the diplomatic effort to establish the Proliferation Security Initiative, which has been useful in slowing the spread of nuclear weapons. (It got Qaddafi in Libya, for example.) Bolton is often faulted for being a diplomat lacking in diplomacy; repeatedly, his record contradicts that impression. What trips people up is Bolton’s strict pursuit of American interests; they think of diplomacy as multilateralism for its own sake.”

Using the seat in the UN as other nati…

What Now in Iraq?

There are two kinds of realists, Christopher Hitchens reminds us in a suburb analytical piece printed in Slate magazine, an on-line publication: real realists and fake realists.

“Many people write as if the sectarian warfare in Iraq was caused by coalition intervention. But it is surely obvious that the struggle for mastery has been going on for some time and was only masked by the apparently iron unity imposed under Baathist rule. That rule was itself the dictatorship of a tribal Tikriti minority of the Sunni minority and constituted a veneer over the divisions beneath, as well as an incitement to their perpetuation. The Kurds had already withdrawn themselves from this divide-and-rule system by the time the coalition forces arrived, while Shiite grievances against the state were decades old and had been hugely intensified by Saddam's cruelty. Nothing was going to stop their explosion, and if Saddam Hussein's regime had been permitted to run its course and to devolve (if one ca…

Dodd's Conditional "Support"

According to a report in the Hartford Courant, US Sen. Chris Dodd “could back a temporary increase in the number of U.S. troops in Iraq - but only if that surge was for a very short period and specifically helped end American involvement.”

Should anyone be worried that Dodd’s position may not please progressives in the Democrat Party who together worked to oust Sen. Joe Lieberman from the senate, largely because of his support for the war, they need not trouble themselves too much; Dodd’s “support” of the introduction of new troops into Iraq is heavily conditioned.

In the Courant report, Dodd laid down two conditions that must be met to assure his support: 1) Before new troops are introduced, the two warring religious sects, the Shias and Sunnis, must sit down and recognize that they have an obligation to come together as a people; and 2) The troops must be “needed” to “get the job done.”

"Show me, Dodd said, “some demonstrable evidence that they're coming together as a people -…

Dodd, Ambassador At Large

If you give me six lines written by the most honest man, I will find something in them to hang him -- Cardinal Richelieu

US Sen. Dodd is like one of those Russian dolls in a doll; open one up and you find another inside. Open that one, and you find yet another. Somewhere inside all the Dodd dolls is an "ambassador to the world" doll strutting its hour upon the stage. Dodd's ideas about the efficacy of diplomacy in Arabia are certain to go over big with the French. Ever since the age of Richelieu, the French have been masters in diplomacy. When news of the death of Richelieu was brought to the pope of the day, he is reported to have said, "If there is no God, Richelieu will have lived a good life; and if there is a God, he will have much to answer for." So with all diplomats.

Reviewing a David Pryce-Jones book, Betrayal: France, the Arabs, and the Jews, Mark Steyn remarks:

“Since the time of Napoleon III, French diplomats have described the country (the Middle East…

No More 9/11

The Commanders in Chief over at the New York Times soon will call for a withdrawal of troops from Iraq, some suppose, to be deployed in New York City to prevent… Well, everyone knows what they will prevent.

"Lamb: Do you think you'll eventually call for us to get out of Iraq?

"Andrew Rosenthal- Wow, should I answer that question?

"Lamb - Absolutely.

"Rosenthal- I think its becoming more likely. I mean I don' t know what George Bush is going to say. We've been going through this very odd spectacle this week of all these meetings and I'm not quite sure what to make of it. We actually wrote about it this week. I mean, are we really supposed to believe he just started thinking about it this week? What are these meetings about? Are we supposed to believe the Army just started thinking about it this week? I mean its crazy. It has to be true that he's just going through this for some crazy public relations stunt.

"It depends on what he says - if he …

Signs of Christmas

One can always sense the approach of Christmas: Winter’s bite is in the air; crèches spring up, where permitted; uncles and aunts lay in supplies, most importantly food for the holiday; Dylan Thomas’ “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” is re-read, again; ACLU lawyers busy themselves preparing suits to prevent Baptist churches from ringing bells in Connecticut, soon to be followed by a suit requiring Catholic churches to remove crosses from steeples lest the sight send village atheists into psychological tailspins; books written by atheists decrying the asininity of the Christian faith are reviewed positively, without a hint of irony, in the Hartford Courant; and somewhere in this land of milk and honey, reporters or commentators once again threaten to start their own religion, unmindful of Voltaire’s advise to a student who asked him how best to go about such a business.

Voltaire said: First you make a nuisance of yourself and get yourself arrested. Then you submit to crucifixion on a cross…

The Terms of Surrender

Negotiations between belligerents after a war has commenced usually involve terms of surrender. That is why leaders of counties at war with each other are unwilling to negotiate until victory has been decided. Once victory has been achieved, negotiations are fairly straight forward: The victors simply dictate the terms of surrender to the conquered. In cases in which victory has not been decided, negotiations can only be considered, to turn a phrase, war by other means.

The real problem in negotiating with Middle East terrorists and their client states -- Syria and Iran -- is that there is no clear cut victor in the battle between the United States and the terrorist network.

Bush, not to put too fine a point on it, is not disposed to surrender; neither are the leaders of Syria and Iran, though both Bashar al-Assad of Syria and Mamoud Amadinajad of Iran – as well as the much arrested Cindy Sheehan, citizen of the world -- would dearly like to dictate terms of surrender to the United Stat…

Rennie's Trojan Horse

Kevin Rennie a Hartford Courant moderate Republican highly praises the prospective Republican Party chairman, Rob Simmons, in his most recent column.

"Simmons would be a high-profile chairman who could command attention and is conversant on important issues. In addition, Simmons is not afraid to take the fight to the Democrats…

"Simmons has already met with the new chairman of the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee, the political organization of House Republicans. He talked about the "investment" the party needs to make in moderate Republicans in the Northeast and Midwest. The party can be shrilly conservative and stay in the minority, or it can stop emphasizing losing social issues and have a shot at winning the seats it needs. "If you regularly present a right-wing agenda, you isolate moderates…"

“At the distance of 13 months before the presidential caucuses begin, Simmons thinks 2008 could be a good year for Connecticut Republicans. Two popular R…

Is Dodd Credible?

Way back in August of 2005, US Sen. Chris Dodd advised anyone who cared to take his advice that President George Bush should not appoint John Bolton as an ambassador to the United Nations while the Congress was in recess because Bolton “lacks credibility,” is “damaged goods” and “doesn’t have the confidence of the congress.”

In fact, no one knew at that point whether Bolton had “the confidence of the congress,” because Dodd and others, by means of what the media euphemistically had called a “filibuster,” kept the nomination from coming to a vote in the congress. The so-called “filibuster” was really more like a work stoppage, and if Bolton was “damaged goods,” the goods had been damaged largely by Dodd.

This is how clever senators assure that presidential appointments should not be made to the UN. First, by means of a work stoppage they prevent the congress, sometimes called “the greatest deliberative body on earth,” from deliberating and then voting on appointments. Then they demand fr…

Dodd Runs Bolton Out Of Dodge

Republican successes are punished unremittingly by partisan Democrats.

If one reads just the Connecticut press, and nothing else, one must suppose that U.S. delegate to the United Nations John Bolton was a failure during his short term in the UN.

That is not true. As Robert Novak notes in a column on U.S. Senator Chris Dodd and Bolton. And, of course, Dodd supported those who refused to bring to a floor vote Bolton's nomination to the post, congress' way of executing the prisoner and then washing one's hands of the business, the coward's way out.

Some responsible journalists, David Lightman of the Hartford Courant among them, continue to refer to Dodd as a senator who rarely opposes presidential nominees. Dodd now has at least two notches on his pistol – representing Reich and Bolton – and one wonders how many more Bush nominees Dodd must successfully run out of Dodge before reporters stop referring to him as one who generally believes that presidents should have the op…

Peas In A Pod: Spitzer and Blumenthal

Elliot Spitzer, the attorney General of New York, appears to have pulled it off. Most political prognosticators agree that he will be the next governor of the empire state.

It may well be a step down for him.

The attorneys general have managed to define their office as a safe haven outside of politics, and so they have little opposition; certainly they have little opposition in the media. Former attorney general Joe Lieberman reconfigured the office here in Connecticut from what used to be called in the colonial period “the king’s lawyer” to the more exalted position of “the people’s lawyer,” and the change in form necessarily involved changes in functions. There are no attorney general anti-bodies out there in the body politic. The power of the attorney general is hedged about only by sleepy-eyed judges who are busy engaged in their own bailiwicks.

Since many legislators are either sympathetic lawyers themselves or bureaucrats whose livelihood depends on an entrenched legal establishmen…

The Grand Ball

“Governor Jodi Rell says there are three committees working on her January third inauguration. One is working on the parade, one on the inauguration ceremony and one on the ball…

“Rell says her office is waiting for some guidance from the office of state ethics on how best to fund the inaugural ball. New laws taking effect ban contributions from lobbyists and contractors. In past years, both helped to foot the bill.”
--News Channel 8 Report

Dear Prince Charming,

It’s a little embarrassing. Somehow, the invitation to the Grand Inaugural Ball was sent to your lobbying firm by mistake.

As you are doubtless aware, new laws banning the acceptance of contributions from lobbyists and contractors are now in effect, and my wide-awake staff–-particularly Ms. Lisa Moody–-have advised me, somewhat tardily, that you have a contract with the state.

Unfortunately, Mr. Charming, your commendable altruism makes it impossible for me to entertain your presence at the Grand Inaugural Ball. Thank you in advance…

The Last Moderate Republican Standing

What do Nancy Johnson, Rob Simmons and Lincoln Chafee have in common? They were -- it now becomes possible to speak of them in the past tense -- all moderate New England Republicans. And they are all gone.

Moderatism (if I can coin a word) has often kept Northeast Republicans in business in a political theatre that is overwhelmingly Democratic. Moderatism – some incorrectly called it pragmatism -- was the Republican’s River Styx; bathed in the waters of moderatism, Northeasten Republicans, afloat in a bitter sea of Democrats, seemed to be, like Achilles, invulnerable to attack.

Until he was unhorsed by Joe Lieberman, Sen. Lowell Weicker was the very epitome of the Republican moderate, a rakish “maverick,” willing to “take on” his party in matters of grave principle, who often seemed to Republicans to be a liberal Democrat in a powdered wig. “Mavericks” are the party turncoats we like.

Weicker was defeated, so it was thought at the time, because his treachery towards other Republicans had…

Public School And The Courts

The Sirkins, who have written about public education in Connecticut, point us in the right direction and review a book edited by the masterful Eric A. Hanushek

By Gerald and Natalie Sirkin

Thinking Americans have become keenly aware during the past 30 years of two public entities which, by their bungling, are doing great damage to society.

One is the public school system. The other is the arrogant, intrusive judiciary. Separately, each is capable of inflicting serious harm. Combined, their power for injury is greatly magnified. We are only just becoming conscious that the public schools and the courts have joined hands.

Excellent essays concerning legal proceedings on school financing are collected in Courting Failure, How School Finance Lawsuits Exploit Judges’ Good Intentions and Harm Our Children, edited by Eric A. Hanushek (Stanford, Cal.: Hoover Institution Press, Education Next Books, 2006, pp. 367, $25, paperback $15).

Interested parties in the …

The Nation (no, not that “Nation”) Warms to Lieberman

As if losing were not humiliation enough, The Harford Courant this morning mainlined more bad news into the anti-Lieberman camp over at the Huffington Post and DailyKos, two liberal blog sites full of foaming at the mouth pro-Ned Lamont progressives: It turns out that the good old USA thinks Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman (ID-CT) is more loveable and cuddly than either New York Sen. Hillary Clinton or Massachusetts Senator and perennial presidential hopeful John Kerry.

According to a national Quinnipiac poll that measures the affection of people towards their leaders, Lieberman falls just a step behind that loveable mushball ex-President Bill Clinton, who came in at number 5; Hillary followed at 9; Lieberman was 6 and Kerry, alas, was at the bottom of the barrel, a lowly 20.

Rudolph Giuliani topped the list at numero uno; Nancy Pelosi ranked 12 and Bush 15.

According to the Courant, “Lieberman scored well among almost every constituency in the Quinnipiac poll, which surveyed 1,623 reg…

Blumenthal as Caligula

Gore Vidal, who was friendly with the Kennedy family, once was asked whether he was disturbed by Edward Kennedy’s long reign as senator of Masachussetts. Not at all, said Vidal -- author of “Myra Brekinridge/Myron-Myron", whose heroine, sort of, was a transvestite and “Imperial America: Reflections on the United States of Amnesia", as well as a host of other well received books on various topics – every state “should have at least one Caligula.”

Connecticut’s Caligula may be Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, whose fondest wish – to save the world by suit – was granted, according to a story in the Hartford Courant, a day after Thanksgiving, when the Supreme Court of the United States agreed to hear a suit championed by Blumenthal and other attorney’s general to force the Environmental Protection Agency to classify CO{-2} as a hazardous emission.

On the local front, according to the paper, “…a second coalition case known as Connecticut vs. American Electric Power seeks to f…

News You Were Afraid To ask About

Crypto-Stalinist Vladmir (Shoot’in) Putin has poisoned yet another opponent of his regime, this time a defecting spy who thought he was safe in England. And Putin rounded out the merry month of November by selling a Tor-M1 air defence rocket system to Iran. The system is designed to shoot down airplanes, helicopters and other airborne targets and will be useful to fascist Iran just in case Israel decides to take out a nuclear missile program that Iran’s kookoo president is developing to “wipe Israel off the map,” as he so felicitously put it.

Not to be outdone on the larger stage of human events, soon to be Madam Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, has committed yet another boner. She wants Alcee Hastings to head up the Intelligence Committee in the House that Jefferson built. Problem is: Hastings was impeached by the House for bribe taking and other shady activity usually attributed by Democrats to Republicans. Byron York, in National Review, has the best shor…

Thanksgiving Morning in Blogsville

Jane Hamsher, always brimming with the testosterone of progressivism, takes aim over at firedoglake, the blog site she maintains, at two impertinent revolutionists who have strayed from the fold.

“If you'd been sitting in Le Pan Quotidian restaurant on Santa Monica Boulevard yesterday afternoon you would have seen me pitch back in my chair and howl with laughter when Digby told me John WATB Harris and Jim "Pool Boy" VandeHei were leaving the WaPo to honcho a groovy new interactive news media site:

"'Harris and VandeHei note that their move is tied to a new vision of political reporting. It uses every medium on the web — text, video, and interactivity — to pull back the curtain on political stories and narrow the gap between reporters and their audience.'

“Tears…tears…oh lordy, it's just too funny…I can just hear the sales pitch for this future dinosaur (probably the same one they made for Hot Soup): ‘We'll tap the great untapped center, the people who …

Global Warming Revisited

Gerald and Natalie Sirkin, whose writings have appeared on this site before, wade into the Global Warming swamp and surface with some sound data.

By Gerald and Natalie Sirkin

Europe is stepping up its campaign to persuade the United States to sign on to the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and stop global warming. The British Government has just released a report commissioned by Parliament, the Stern Report, which finds the future cost of global warming to be very high and the cost of implementing Kyoto very low. How can any country turn down such big benefits at such low costs?

One reason the U.S. is not leaping at the bargain is that the cost and benefit estimates of the Stern Report are questionable. The Stern Report estimates that the cost of cutting emissions to 60% to 80% below the 1990 levels would be about 1% of global domestic product. However, other estimates range as high as 16%. As Jerry Taylor, a…

Is the Republican Party Worth Saving?

Is the Republican Party in Connecticut worth saving?

The short answer is “No.” The long answer is, I’m afraid, longer.

The Republican rot begins, as may be expected, with former senator and governor Lowell Weicker. When Weicker was senator for several terms and full of the puss of hubris, he sighed in the presence of a Hartford Courant reporter, “The Republican Party in this state is so small; someone should take it over.” So Weicker did, and the Courant, of course, obliged him.

Weicker considered himself a Republican in the mode of Jacob Javits of New York – a moderate, anti-conservative with a lively social conscience. Weicker appointed his handmaiden, Tom D’Amore, as chairman of the party, and together they proceeded to reform and destroy it.

What we see now in the age of Jodi Rell -- more popular, apparently, than salt -- is an empty husk of a party, paralyzed and useless. I am not speaking hyperbolically: Except as a reflex action to the preposterous and ruinous agenda of the Democra…

Murtha’s Augean Stables

It didn’t take long for Democrat unity to become hopelessly entangled in petty feuds and party alliances.

Speaker elect of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi’s choice for Majority Leader, Rep. John Murtha, was quickly voted down by a majority of Democrats. Many of the incoming “young turks,” swept into office owing to voter disenchantment with the war in Iraq, voted for Murtha on Pelosi’s recommendation, which came late in the day after Rep. Steny Hoyer had secured promises of support among House members uncomfortable with corruption in Washington DC.

Among Murtha most vigorous supporters in Connecticut were one “young turk,” Joe Courtney, who defeated Republican Rep. Rob Simmons by the narrowest of margins, and one “old turk,” Rep. John Larson, who praised Murtha’s opposition to the war in Iraq as a sufficient reason for supporting him. Larson has been appointed House Democratic Caucus vice chairman in the reconfigured congress and, as such, may have felt himself duty bound t…