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Showing posts from April, 2006

Out of the Mouths of Bloggers: or Who, Whom?

Here is a little back-and-forth between two anonymous bloggers, ctkeith and Genghis Conn, on a popular Connecticut blog.

ctkeith said...

GC Wrote,
“What's interesting about this is that in the past, Rell has been able to make compromises break her way. Stem cells, civil unions, public funding of campaigns and even the recent transportation bill have somehow ended up making the governor look good.”

Can you tell me which one of those issues made REPUBLICANS happy?

11:56 PM, April 29, 2006
Genghis Conn said...

To Republican partisans and social conservatives? None of them. In fact, most of the Republicans in the legislature didn't support those initiatives.

Legislative Republicans are irrelevant, and Rell doesn't really care what social conservatives think. This leaves her trying to pass her own agenda all by herself. She may be most effective when she's proposing compromises to Democratic plans.

That exchange pretty much says everything needful about Rell, compromise, the …

Zarella in the Dock

The nomination of Judge Peter Zarella as Chief Justice of Connecticut’s Supreme Court was seriously compromised when retiring Chief Justice William Sullivan held up the publication of a decision the release of which, Sullivan apparently thought, might harm Zarella’s prospects. The case itself meandered through the usual judicial maze before the Supreme Court rendered an en-banc decision that some case information should not be made available to the media through Freedom of Information petitions.

It should be noted that the media does have a dog in this fight. The champions of open government cannot be expected to approve final court decisions that authorize the withholding of information. In calling upon Governor Jodi Rell to nominate someone else – anyone else but Judge Zarella -- for the post of Chief Justice, a Hartford newspaper advised that the governor should promote someone who “has an unwavering commitment to open government.” This is an argument for degrading all the justices …

Who Knew What When?

“While I cannot comment directly on Judge Zarella’s qualifications to serve as State Supreme Chief Justice – it is clear that Gov. Rell should not re-nominate him and that former Chief Justice Sullivan’s actions have irrevocably harmed the confirmation process. Additionally, the sudden resignation of Chief Justice Sullivan and Gov. Rell’s immediate nomination of Judge Zarella to replace him, have already been troubling. Those concerns were immediately compounded yesterday as it is now clear that Judge Sullivan’s acted to protect Judge Zarella’s nomination at a point in time prior to Gov. Rell even saying she knew there was a vacancy. Either Judge Sullivan or Gov. Rell don’t have their stories straight, either way this harkens back to a way of doing business that Connecticut residents thought they put behind them. They deserve better.”

This little missive is from gubernatorial hopeful John DeStefano, and it suggests that Democrats are fully prepared to turn the nominating process for Ju…

Thinking Dangerously

“Seeking to create more Connecticut jobs, “the lead line ran, “the state Senate voted unanimously Friday night for tax cuts for manufacturers and incentives for movie-production companies.”

The tax cuts for manufacturers and incentives for movie production companies, senators reasoned unanimously, were necessary because businesses in Connecticut are going south – no pun intended – and start struck legislators have realized that the best way to encourage start-up industries is to create a climate in which industries do not feel preyed upon by rapacious state governments.

For Connecticut, this is a revolutionary perception and a significant admission. Practically speaking, it means that the proclivity of our state legislature to tax everything that breaths is, as the film stars might say, a real drag: Less taxes good, more taxes bad.

Economists who graduate from one of our state’s ivory league colleges might put it this way, “Whatever you tax tends to disappear” – including state business…

Zarella and the Opposition

Judge Peter Zarella, nominated by Governor Jodi Rell to be the next Chief Justice of Connecticut’s Supreme Court, begins his masterful disquisition on the separation of powers doctrine, printed in the Connecticut Bar Journal under the title “Judicial Independence at a Crossroad,” with a quote from Robert Frost: “Good fences make good neighbors.”

Frost, like Walt Whitman before him, first gorged himself on all things American before spewing out his poetic pearls; and with either poet it may truly be said that little from sea to shining sea was beyond their ken. Some of Frost’s poems are shockingly political; others, like “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors,” are allegories that outline the central truths of the American experience.

One has the same feeling reading Zarella’s “Judicial Independence at the Crossroad.” Everything American and familiar is here: Montesquieu on the laws; John Locke, the tutor of the founders who established our tri-partite form of government and thereby destroyed …

On Force and Compromise

When is a compromise not a compromise? There are two answers to this question: 1) When the Hartford Courant says it is a compromise; and 2) when compromise is impossible.

Examples of the impossibility of compromise abound. For instance, if the Courant were compelled by a judge to reveal a source of information whose testimony was sought at trial, the paper would resist the order as a matter of principle. No compromise would be possible. The Courant would not yield to the variety of forces that could be brought to bear against it. Papers that cannot provide anonymity to their sources are not long for this world.

The Catholic Church regards abortion as a moral disorder and a crime against canon law. Any attempt to compel the church to allow abortion in any of its facilities would be resisted, and compromise on the point would be impossible.

So, when the Courant editorialized recently, “We had hoped Roman Catholic hospitals would find a way to provide emergency contraception known as Plan …

A Lieberman Lamont Debate Worth Having

The beef about U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman is that he is out of touch with his constituents concerning the war in Iraq. The beefing comes mostly from bloggers who support Ned Lamont’s attempt to oust Lieberman in a Democrat primary, a few Democrat town committees that have drafted official rebukes, and a sizable chunk of Connecticut voters. President George Bush’s flagging poll numbers in Connecticut suggest a broad dissatisfaction with the Iraq war.

The anti-Iraq war contingent received an assist from an unlikely quarter recently when the Sioux Falls Argus Leader reported that Newt Gingrich, the former Republican Speaker of the House that progressives love to hate, leapt off the burning deck, telling students at the University of South Dakota, "It was an enormous mistake for us to try to occupy that country after June of 2003. We have to pull back, and we have to recognize it."

Gingrich did not suggest a time table for the rug pull.

Fox news, the TV station progressives love to ha…

The Ghost Monologues: Caligula and Stalin

Hilliare Belloc’s advice to the rich – “Learn something about the internal combustion engine, and remember: Soon, you will die.”


So, I have become a ghost, the nearest I shall ever be to a God again; for, in life, I was a God. Divinity, you know, is the highest form of politics. What is higher or nobler than a God? … But wait: Nobility has nothing to do with it, as if nobility and Godliness could ever share the same frame; a God is above that sort of thing … As a former Emperor – now, God and ghost – everything to me was permissible, and understandable. I comprehend by grasping my subject from the inside; nothing was alien to me. I am solid as earth now, though I know it does not seem so to you, because I know everything; I am in everything, and everything is in me. That is how I know; through a process of identity and self revelation. I become the thing I want to know – say, a tree, or a young boy, or a virgin – and then, at will, I revert to Godliness. You, on the other hand,…

Zing This

The Hartford Courant has now zinged – in an unsigned column in the paper’s Northeast newszine – Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Antonin Scalia. The piece in which Scalia is zinged is titled, appropriately, “Zingers.”

The lead line is breathtaking: “There's nothing like a visit from the biggest homophobe on the U.S. Supreme Court to stir up emotions at the University of Connecticut School of Law.”

Scalia agreed to teach two classes in constitutional and administrative law at UConn and then – Perhaps Scalia read about Ann Coulter’s reception at UConn earlier in the year – give a lecture to “invited guests.” Coulter’s event, open to the general public, was dismantled by grunting students shouting obscenities at her from the safe remove of the galleries. And what they said could not be printed in the pages of Northeast.

So then, it’s come to this at UConn, a place where the rights specified in the First Amendment are in full retreat – a private lecture; in other words, a frank adm…

The Project for Excellence in Journalism’s Statement of Shared Purpose

The Project for Excellence in Journalism has issued a statement outlining nine core journalistic principles. A contentious group by nature, most journalists would have no difficulty in agreeing that the stated principles are central to the practice of journalism.

Styled “shared purposes” in the statement, the principles are: 1) Journalism’s first obligation is to the truth; 2) its first loyalty is to citizens; 3) its essence is a discipline of verification; 4) its practitioners must maintain an independence from those they cover; 5) it must serve as an independent monitor of power; 6) it must provide a forum for public criticism and compromise; 7) it must strive to make the significant interesting and relevant; 8) it must keep the news comprehensive and proportional; 9) its practitioners must be allowed to exercise their personal conscience.

On journalism’s first obligation, the statement notes that “Democracy depends on citizens having reliable, accurate facts put in a meaningful conte…

Voting With Their Feet

"It's a great budget. Nobody can say we're throwing the money away wastefully” -- Sen. Edith Prague.

"This budget leaves no dollar left unspent. Tax relief is nowhere to be found - no car tax cut, no estate tax cut, no energy tax cut for consumers - while bloated spending proposals are to be found throughout" – Governor Jodi Rell

The 2006 budget offered by Democrats makes sense only as a campaign document. In every other sense – as a serious budget, for instance – it is an irresponsible horror. It folds the entire current surplus into their spending plan and is particularly generous to supportive Democrat interest groups.

Details of the Democrat spending program were released at the same time Mass Mutual Insurance Company announced that it was packing its bags, kicking the dust of Connecticut from its feet, and returning to Massachusetts, as state nutmeggers used to refer to derisively as “Taxachussetts.” If Democrats who control the legislature cannot put a cap o…

Johnson, Murphy and the Sleaze merchants

One can well understand why U.S. Rep Nancy Johnson would wish to put a ten foot pole between herself and Jack Abramoff, the beltway lobbyist and wheeler dealer recently sentenced for sleaze peddling.The once powerful Republican Majority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, Tom DeLay, this morning announced he will be resigning his seat, news reports indicate, because he failed to put a ten foot pole between himself and Abramoff.

And so, smeared by a ad that “links” Johnson with Abramoff, the Johnson campaign called upon her likely Democrat opponent, Christopher Murphy, to condemn the add.

The “link” between Johnson and Abramoff is more than tenuous; it is non-existent. Johnson had never accepted money from Abramoff, unlike Democrat Party Chairman Harry Reid who, according to a February Associated Press report, “collected nearly $68,000 in donations from Abramoff’s firm, lobbying partners and clients” over a three year period.

The ad “links” Johnson with more…

Plan B Returns

The disclaimer by Rep. Denise Merrill, co-chairman of the Appropriations Committee, was hilarious. Merrill claimed that the provision smuggled into the state’s budget was “not aimed at Catholic hospitals.” The measure, which penalizes with a withdrawal of state funds hospitals that do not provide Plan B pills to rape victims, will adversely affect only those hospitals that, for religious reasons, do not dispense the pills to women who are pregnant or ovulating. That would be the state’s four Catholic hospitals.

The disclaimer was no less disingenuous than the measure itself. A bill forcing the staff of Catholic hospitals to violate religious precepts earlier had not been reported out of the appropriate Public Health Committee. A provision securing the same objective was quietly tucked into the Democrat budget plan, where it gestated until it was spotted by Rep. Ruth Fahrbach of Windsor, an eagle-eyed congresswoman known for reading bills closely. The single sentence section read: “&quo…