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Showing posts from July, 2006

Shucking Off the Mortal Coil

If anyone should want to send a get well card to Fidel Castro, now might be a good time. The ailing dictator has turned over power in Cuba to his younger brother Raul, no spring chicken at 75. Castro will be 80 on August 13. The obit writers are fleshing out their texts, though it is always possible that news of Castro’s imminent demise is greatly exaggerated. In the past, the Cuban dictator has survived exploding cigars and other novel attempts by freedom loving CIA agents to help him over the bar.

But age and stress, pulling us all sooner or later into the grave, has taken its toll. According to an AP report, stress “from recent public appearances in Argentina and Cuba” has led to gastrointestinal bleeding, never a good sign. Extreme stress, Castro said "had provoked in me a sharp intestinal crisis with sustained bleeding that obligated me to undergo a complicated surgical procedure."

The good news is that Castro is being tended by Cuban medical personnel, said by other dict…

Judge Chatigny’s Memory Lapse

“Judge Chatigny stated that he had forgotten his brief, inconsequential involvement with Ross' direct appeal and would have recused himself had he remembered it. A failure to recuse resulting from an innocent and reasonable memory lapse is not misconduct."

Those lines, from a special committee report clearing Judge Robert Chatigny from charges of misconduct, ought to be dubbed “the Lisa Moody defense.” Essentially, the panel of judges that gave a pass to Chatigny are saying 1) Chatigny did indeed fail to recuse himself for having participated earlier in the Michael Ross case, 2) the failure to recuse does indeed indicate misconduct, but 3) a failure to recuse oneself need not lead to a determination of misconduct if the judge “innocently and reasonably” has a memory lapse.

One recalls Moody’s doubtful memory lapse in connection with Chatigny because Moody, Governor Rell’s chief aide, had made handwritten notes on a memo she claimed not to have remembered; Chatigny hand wrote 15…

Yellowcake anyone?

The indomitable Christopher Hitchens – who is neither a neo-con nor a Christian fundamentalist nor an ardent Bush supporter – ties up a few loose ends concerning Joe Wilson, his CIA wife Valerie Plame, Nigerian yellowcake and the now notorious few sentences, much commented upon by the left, in president George Bush’s 2003 State of the Union address.

"This means that both pillars of the biggest scandal-mongering effort yet mounted by the "anti-war" movement—the twin allegations of a false story exposed by Wilson and then of a state-run vendetta undertaken against him and the lady wife who dispatched him on the mission—are in irretrievable ruins. The truth is the exact polar opposite. The original Niger connection was both authentic and important, and Wilson's utter failure to grasp it or even examine it was not enough to make Karl Rove even turn over in bed. All the work of the supposed "outing" was inadvertently performed by Wilson's admirer Robert Nova…

Israel, the Terrorists and the West

To say that war is a continuation of diplomacy by other means is to say that diplomacy may be, when circumstances are ripe, a continuation of war by other means. The object of both war and diplomacy is – to get what you want in the long run; the short run is often tactically confusing.

What does Israel want?

Immediately, it wants an end to the death and destruction showered upon it from military emplacements in the southern part of Lebanon, land from which Israel withdrew as a part of a peace process several years ago because a) a long Jihad with Hezbollah, a terrorist organization supported by Syria and Iran, had exhausted it, and b) Israel had bought into “peace for land” arguments advanced by diplomatists who are now suggesting that further diplomacy is the solution to recent attacks by Hezbollah launched from territory surrendered to them. The highlands in South Lebanon were swapped for an illusive peace, and before you could say “diplomacy is war by other means,” missiles were rain…

The Eagle Has Landed: Clinton in Connecticut

About 2,000 Democrats showed up at the Palace Theatre in Waterbury to cheer on ex-President Bill Clinton and re-welcome in the Age of Aquarius. Fleetwood Mac’s hypnotic verse “Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow,” Clinton’s signature song, filled the air, and the revelers certainly were focusing on tomorrow.

Recent poll figures show Ned Lamont edging Senator Joe Lieberman among likely Democrat voters, which betokens a tomorrow unwelcome by former Democrat Leadership Council presidents Clinton and Lieberman. The DLC’ers are moderate Democrats; the insurgents now laying claim to Lieberman’s senate seat are, shall we say, immoderate.

A Hartford reporter covering the event wrote, “The former president said no Democrat should be held responsible for the war in Iraq, the issue that polls say is driving Democrats away from Lieberman and to his anti-war challenger, Ned Lamont.”

Not exactly: In Clinton case, one has learned to pay attention to fine print qualifiers. Any assertion boldly made by Cl…

The Lowell and Colin Show

“Thinking about today's show,” Colin McEnroe – blogger, author, Courant columnist and beau viviant – writes on his blog, “ I re-read Genghis Conn's excellent meditation on Weicker's 1970 three-way. (It is fun to wonder how many of the people posting comments, back then, about Lieberman crushing Lamont like a bug have revised their entomology. Hey, we ALL get stuff wrong.)”

Gengis Conn is the proprietor of Connecticut Local Politics, a much read progressive blog. The blog is read mostly for its sometimes colorful and disputative commentary section. Among the comments on the particular site to which McEnroe refers is this one:

Don Pesci (that would be me) said...
I believe in God and Senator Dodd and keepin' old Castro down --Phil Ochs, Draft Dodger Rag
In the context of the times, Ochs' song is instructive. It's generally forgotten -- and never mentioned in discussions of the Dodd pere/Duffy/Weicker race that Duffey was the anti-Vietnam war dove. Dodd, unlike his …

The Silence of the Lambs

Address of Grand Ayatullah Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Fadhlullah

On the Birth Anniversary of Imam al-Mahdi (aj)

Allah says in His Glorious Book: {Allah only wishes to remove uncleanness from you, members of the Family, and to purify you} [3:33]. The first member is Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib ('a), while the last is Imam al-Mahdi (May Allah hasten his relief) whom Allah, the most exalted, has prepared to fill the earth with justice having been filled with wrongdoing.

The struggle between Israel and Hezbollah – the Islamists would call it a jihad – probably will affect state campaigns only slightly.

In Connecticut, where anti-war candidate Ned Lamont is challenging incumbent Senator Joe Lieberman, some subtle shifts in emphasis may be expected. Lieberman’s opponents have been unusually quiet of late. The conflict has been going on for more than a week and promises to continue much longer than that. Just as a picture is worth a thousand words, so is this portentous silence.

The left in Connecticu…

Billy Get Your Gun

Four years ago, the Daily Times reported that former U.S. President Bill Clinton would have been more than happy to put his life on the line for Israel.

“The Israelis know,” Clinton told a crowd at a Toronto Jewish charity fund raising event, “that if the Iraqi or the Iranian army came across the Jordan River, I would personally grab a rifle, get in a ditch and fight and die.” Clinton’s remark, the paper noted, shocked many Arabs who may have thought he was “more even-handed on the Palestine question than his predecessors.”

Since that time, the Iraqi army has undergone (ahem) reconstitution, but a Hezbollah army of terrorists backed by Iran that has found sanctuary in Lebanon and Syria recently pounded Israel with rockets, with predictable consequences, causing some in Toronto and elsewhere to wonder whether it might be time for the former president to leap into an Israeli foxhole.

Former President Clinton’s wife, the artful and agile Hillary Clinton, is defending her seat as a New York …

The Art of the Possible

It’s these unexpected twists and turns in the course of human events that make politics an art rather than a science.

Alan Schlesinger, the Republican nominee for the U.S. senate, is being pressed by Governor Jodi Rell and state party chairman George Gallo to withdraw from the race following a disclosure that he had gambled at Connecticut’s two casinos.

Schlesinger’s game of choice was blackjack. Schlesinger said he had gambled more frequently in the 1990’s but, during the past few years, he had visited the casinos about once a year.

His card counting skills limited his losses, Schlesinger said, but “I never had a year when I won.” Having been spotted by casino officials as a card counter, Schlesinger said, “I’ve been asked not to play blackjack.”

Neither gambling nor card counting are illegal in Connecticut. Indeed, the state is heavily reliant upon the taxes it receives from the casinos to pay for its basic services, an admission that gambling is both necessary and an ethically neutral …

The Times They Are A’Changing

Paul Bass, who now writes a regular column for the Hartford Courant, would have told you a little more than a year ago that it’s legal but not kosher for politicians to accept campaign contributions from contractors with whom they do business– provided there is no quid pro quo.

Here is a piece from the Yale Daily news, dated September 30, 2005, in which Bass gave a get-out-of-jail pass to John DeStefano:

For the most part, DeStefano has managed to avoid any implications of corruption during his decade in City Hall. A notable exception occurred in 1998, when a scandal broke over a zero-interest loan his then-executive assistant, current Ward 4 Alderwoman Andrea Jackson-Brooks, received from the Livable City Initiative. Controversy ignited over a number of other controversial loans from LCI, and in the ensuing scandal, which involved an investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office, DeStefano fired three top aides, including Jackson-Brooks.

But DeStefano's popularity and reputation q…

Trouble in Paradise

It didn’t take long for the snake to rear its corrupting head in progressivism’s Garden of Eden. Sadly, it would appear that everyone – even the white knights of Daily Kos, like their patron, billionaire supporter George Soros -- are in it for the money.

The Hartford Advocate, a sister publication of the Hartford Courant, has noted in a story, “Just Kos?, that the struggle between the New Republic, a center left puiblication, and Daily Kos, the epitome of far leftism, parallels closely the division within the Democrat Party between primary challenger Ned Lamont and sitting Senator Joe Lieberman.

The flare-up between the New Republic and has parallels with the Connecticut Democratic primary race between incumbent Senator Joe Lieberman and Greenwich businessman Ned Lamont. First, it exemplifies the conflict between the hawkish, centrist wing of the party (the New Republic /Lieberman) and the anti-war left (liberal blogs/Lamont).

“But besides ideological similarities, allegianc…

Objects May Be Bigger Than They Appear

There is a scene in Jurassic Park in which the driver in a vehicle looks in his rear view mirror and sees for the first time a Tyrannosaurs Rex gaining on him; a little white message on the mirror informs us that “objects may be bigger than they appear.”

Alfred Hitchcock would have loved that touch.

Mayors John DeStefano and Dannel Malloy, both in hot pursuit of Democrat primary votes, have not glanced in their rear view mirrors lately.

The one thing that Democrats despise -- even more than President George Bush -- is puffed up moralists; in this respect, one thinks of Sen. Joe McCarthy, beset with personal problems and an aggressive moralist, charging that one of Joseph Welch’s attorneys had ties to a communist organization. Welch, a Boston lawyer the Army had hired to represent it in the Army/McCarthy hearings promptly denounced McCarthy with the scorching words, "Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness." And when McCarthy p…

Moody Transendentalizing

The worst case scenario concerning the now notorious memo at the center of a legislative investigation of Lisa Moody, Governor Jodi Rell’s right hand woman, was presented by co-chairman of the government administration and elections committee Christopher Caruso, D-Bridgeport:

"It now appears that Lisa Moody has lied under oath to the legislature,” said Caruso in a Hartford Courant story, “has perjured herself, and, and effectively has obstructed the legislative process.

"I think it's high time that the governor seriously reconsider her professional relationship with Lisa Moody and possibly severing ties," Caruso said Friday night. "I think it will be impossible now, at this point, for her to be able to effectively work with the legislature and within the government."

Moody was defended by House Minority Leader Robert Ward, who pleaded extreme business on her behalf:

"Busy people who read hundreds of documents a week don't recall every detail of what t…