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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 why," she said, predicting bonding, taxes and the budget will be the largest areas of contention.

House Speaker James Amann, D-Milford and Senate President Pro Tem Donald Williams have said they have no plans to steamroll Rell despite their veto-proof majorities. Williams said he was not spoiling for a fight.

"All sides are looking for areas of agreement where we can move forward. Certainly we've got enough challenges.”

If “moving forward” means more of the same, Connecticut had better batten down the hatches. Moving forward from the Weicker years, state government has managed to triple the budget within the space of three governors: Weicker himself, a recovering Republican who fathered the income tax; John Rowland, a Republican who spent the money Weicker hauled in; and now Republican Governor Rell who -- as her predecessors have done to no purpose -- claims to be ready to do battle on taxes, bonding and the budget. Businesses considering moving into the state no doubt have noticed the old pledges of yesteryear, followed by carefree spending, and even Massachussetts – once derisively called Taxachussetts – appears to be more prudent than Connecticut.

The upcoming New Year is beginning to look much like the rag tailed preceeding years: Punch and Judy shows in which Punch spends, Judy threatens to stamp her feet, and life merrily moves forward on old well-worn paths. For years, Democrats have negotiated the gold out of the teeth of compliant Republicans. With Lisa Moody – the great compromiser – steering business through the Rell administration, the new year will follow the tried and true script that has successfully secured in office all the usual culprits.

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During Christmases past, the American Civil Liberties Union has sued crèche lovers who wanted to install their artworks on public property. The Supreme Court will permit the art installations provided the crèches are accompanied by various non-Christian and secular representations so as to dilute an alleged Christian message. A crèche plus a plastic Santa plus a menorah plus a signed copy of The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins--40% off after Christmas--is okay with the Supremes; a stand alone sculptural representation of the Holy Family is strictly verboten.

But now that the Connecticut chapter of the American Atheists Inc. has sued a Baptist church in Jewitt City for ringing bells and disturbing the peace of non-Christians, a modification of the Supreme Court ruling seems to be wanting. In the New Year, church bells will peel only if they are accompanied by the sounds of police sirens, heavy metal band music and Madonna videos showing the celebrated but crucified diva pinned to a Swarovski crystal cross topped by a menorah.

Is it not ironic that the suit happy atheists have chosen a Baptist church as their target? The “separation of church and state” doctrine that some constitutional scholars believe has been misinterpreted by the ACLU and derivative organizations is found originally not in the US Constitution but in a letter written by Thomas Jefferson to a committee of the Danbury Baptist Association. A cluster of Jeffersonian texts that advert to the notion of “separation of church and state” show that Jefferson did not intend by this phrase to suggest that the federal government – which includes federal courts – should have the power to regulate or impede the practice of religion in the states.

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And--yes Virginia!—for sure there will be a Sen. Joe Lieberman to kick around in the New Year. Lieberman has become the Richard Nixon of the Democrat Party leftists; heavy breathing bloggers who have denounced Lieberman in language that could not be repeated even on the Colin McEnroe show just can’t let it go, poor things. In The New Year, they may be able to cast off their burden of hate and learn to embrace their disease.

Love liberates.

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