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Showing posts from March, 2007

Rellism, Weickerism and Rowlandism

Henry Mencken, the great Baltimore sage and journalist, once defined democracy as that form of government in which “the people get what they want – good and hard.” What is that form of government in which the government gets what it wants, good and hard? We might call it Rellism, or Rowlandism, or Weickerism. This form of government was perfected by Lowell Weicker, but his Republican gubernatorial accolades have followed the former senator and governor faithfully in his rather large footsteps. The thing achieved perfection when Weicker, having shunned the prospect of an income tax in his campaign, then became governor and appointed as head of his Office of Policy Management William Cibes, who had run in and lost a primary as a pro-income tax candidate. Following this appointment, came the income tax, followed in turn by a decade long deluge of spending and a predictable seemingly endless bout of economic anemia. Elsewhere in the country during these years, the economy has been robust


By Gerald and Natalie Sirkin c2007 A front-page story on PCBs in the March 9 News-Times is just wrong. The first thing to know about PCBs is that they never killed a single person nor did they ever cause cancer. The second is that although they are invariably called “cancer-causing,” that designation comes chiefly from a single rat study. The third thing is that the subject rats were exposed daily for 21 months to 100 parts per million (ppm) of PCBs containing 60% chlorine. (The 100 ppm was about 5,000 times the tolerable daily intake of PCBs set by FDA in 1973.) When rats were exposed to PCBs containing less chlorine, they developed no cancers. The fourth, that when the exposed rats were allowed to live out their lives, they had fewer cancers and lived longer than the unexposed rats. PCBs is a family of chemicals known as polychlorinated biphenyls. PCBs contain chlorine ranging from 12% to 70%. They were used in two General Electric plants that manufactured electric

Bill Clinton The Metaphysician

Former President Bill Clinton, as everyone knows, is the best metaphysician in the Democrat Party. A metaphysician is someone who devotes himself, day in and day out, to the meaning of the word “is,” as in “Hillary Clinton is not a war hawk.” At least not today. She was a war hawk after 9/11, when a few peaceable followers of Mohammed, blessings be upon him, drove two planes loaded with non followers of Mohammed, blessings be upon him, into the Twin Towers in New York, a state now represented in congress by Hillary. Or was she? Bill says “no.” “I don’t have a problem with anything Barack Obama [has] said on this,” said the former president on a conference call while speaking to hundreds of supporters -- Barack, by the way, says “yes,” Hillary was a tempestuous war hawk after 9/11 -- but “to characterize Hillary and Obama’s positions on the war as polar opposites is ludicrous. “This dichotomy that’s been set up to allow him to become the raging hero of the anti-war crowd on the I

Rell-Moody, The Great Compromiser

“Rell,” screamed one headline in a Hartford paper, “Shifts Gears On Car Tax Proposal.” Way back when everyone thought Governor Jodi Rell was a Republican , she proposed what some people would consider a distinctively Republican measure – an honest to God tax cut. Rell proposed to eliminate the car tax. Since that time, Rell has issued a white elephant of a proposal that, all will agree, is distinctively Democratic: a hike in the income tax to finance a pointless spending spree in the educational sector. That sector is devoted mostly to electing Democrats who will feed its voracious appetite. Now Rell has shifted gears on her car tax proposal. “Shifting gears” is perhaps not quite the correct metaphor, because it does not capture the driving force (no pun intended) behind Rell’s habitual tendency to compromise Republican principles and deliver the legislative goodies to Democrats. That driving force is Lisa Moody who, when she was a political up-and-comer in Vernon, was disposed to ma

Hillary As “Big Brother.”

Blue State Video has issued a “ statement ” on the dastardly video that features senator and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in the role of “Big Brother,” the dominant character in George Orwell’s book “1984.” The popular video assembled by Blue State Video employee Phillip de Vellis at home on his computer, a mash-up of an ad introducing the Apple Macintosh computer, has been making the rounds on the net. Mr. de Vellis may have borrowed the idea for his video from local blogmeister Connecticut Bob (aka Bob Adams), who adapted the commercial to poke some good natured fun at Sen. Joe Lieberman. Sen. Lieberman, driven from the Democratic Party fold by primary challenger Ned Lamont, has been a disappointment to blogger furies ever since, having lost a primary to Lamont, he refused to go quiet into that good night. Lieberman waged a general election campaign against Lamont, won and thereafter re-emerged in the senate as a “Democrat Independent.” Lieberman, in fact, survived a

Krayeske Unbound

The hills are alive with the sounds of Ken Krayeske’s release from Connecticut’s gulag, and a blow has been struck for the freedom of the press of those who own the presses in Connecticut. I am proud to say I added my own little bit to Krayeske’s liberation here . Krayeske appears to have been sprung by Stan Simpson, myself, his able lawyer, a ton of blogging well-wishers, progressive agitator elect Colin McEnroe and the God of common sense. We ink stained wretches all can breathe more easily now that Krayeske is free to take pictures of the governor, should she ever again venture out of sight of Lisa Moody.

In Defense of Polygamy, with explanatory notes

No one said during a recent Hartford Courant’s seminar on blogging that the activity was pretty much like a masked ball on the Pequod; masked because most of the commentators on ship operate under pseudonyms, and the Pequod because that fair ship was, among other things, Melville’s metaphor for a jostling, multicultural world. Most of the usual arguments against gay marriage having been answered sufficiently by proponents of gay marriage, I was wondering whether the same defenses used by gays may also be used to check what appears to be a troglodyte resistance to polygamy. So I proposed the question during a blog session at Connecticut Local Politics, one of the most active sites in Connecticut’s burgeoning blog community. A blogger, ctkeith, helpfully suggested that I move the dialogue to my own blog, “where it will never be read”. If it is never read, I see no harm in this. What follows below is the resulting thread on the question proposed. I’ve edited out other comments that do n


Camille Paglia , whose enticing column appears in Salon, an on-line publication, does not dread going where even dark angels fear to tread. Here is Paglia commenting on Hillary Clinton’s less than adroit handling of David Geffen’s defection from the Hillary camp: “What in tarnation was the Hillary Clinton camp thinking when it threw a tantrum about Hollywood producer David Geffen making a few critical remarks about her to a fagged-out media scold? Most people in this country have never heard of David Geffen and don't give a damn about whether or not he defects to Barack Obama.” The “fagged out media scold” is none other than New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd. Paglia praised Obama’s “lofty assertion of statesmanlike unconcern” and then drove the shaft home: “Hillary didn't help herself with her over-the-top sermon at the First Baptist Church in Selma, Alabama, two weeks ago. Her aping of a black Southern accent from the pulpit was so inept and patronizing that it shoul

Governor Blumie

Mark it on the calendar: On March 18, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal ended the most prolonged petting session in Connecticut’s political history. Columnist Kevin Rennie has revealed that Blumenthal was – seriously folks – throwing his hat into the gubernatorial ring. The Democrat Party has for 20 long years been trying to entice the camera shy Blumenthal to run for something – anything – but attorney general, and he now has semi-definitively said that he will go all the way. Blumenthal’s announcement follows former attorney general Elliot Spitzer’s successful run for governor in New York. The attorneys general have been in the habit for many years of following each other around like a string of doggies, nose to tail, and it’s possible that Blumie, noting Spitzer’s successful venture in New York, figured to copy his template. Or perhaps Blumie simply tired of trotting out old excuses when political functionaries in Greenwich asked him for the hundredth time when he planned to run

Plan B Flotsam

Every so often, in what we are pleased to call a “debate” on a polarizing issue, a piece of information will float by, like flotsam in a rain swollen stream, that sticks in the mind like a burr. Such was the testimony of Dr. Frank Davidoff before the state’s Human Services Committee, which later voted out a bill that will satisfy thoroughly all the wrong people for all the wrong reasons. Davidoff’s testimony supported proponents of a bill titled “An Act Concerning Compassionate Care for Victims of Sexual Assault.” He said, “In fact, the most careful and rigorous study that’s been done to date, which was published just last month in the scientific literature, showed that while Plan B was nearly 100% effective in preventing pregnancy when it was used before ovulation occurred, it was almost completely ineffective in preventing pregnancy when it was used after ovulation and fertilization had occurred.” Catholic hospitals refuse to administer Plan B only on one condition; otherwise it

Rell And The Ethics Petard

How many swallows does it take to make a summer? More than one, surely. How many ethical goofs does it take to make an unethical administration? More than one. Yet another mailing list issue is bedeviling Governor Jodi Rell’s administration, and it all seems eerily familiar: Someone on Rell’s staff procured state address lists from tourism and art officials that later were used to solicited contributions for Rell’s campaign, this in an administration that prides itself in out ethicizing its political opponents across the aisle. Lisa Moody , Rell’s chief aide, has already got banged once by the ethical swinging door, and now it appears to be happening all over again. The precise roll played in the affair by Moody, Rell’s “Karl Rove,” is unknown at this point, but the fingerprinting squad is on the case. Way back in August, the lists procured by Rell policy council Philip Dukes were forwarded to Moody, and before anyone could say “stick’em up,” the good people on the lists were receiv

All Too Human: The Life And Times Of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed

Progressives now have weighed in on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Colin McEnroe , on his blog To Wit, wrote: “I'm not sure I understand the prominent placement of all the Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. There was never much doubt that he played a huge a role in planning the 9/11 attacks. Hadn't he even boasted of that before capture? “Now we've had him for four years. We've tortured him. He's confessed to the 9/11 crimes and a host of other plots, including the killing of Laura Palmer on 'Twin Peaks.' Why is this big news? He actually claims some remorse over civilian casualties. Which is more than I ever remember hearing, oh, for example, Bush say about what we are pleased to call 'collateral damage.' A sorry state of affairs when an evil terrorist mastermind seems to have more human perspective than the POTUS. “Anyway, I saw '300' last night, and I'm pretty sure Xerxes is behind at least some of this stuff.” Well now, let’s see. When Khalid S

Hillary Triangulating: Let The Howling Begin

According to the New York Times, not generally regarded as kind to moderate Democrats or lingering fanatics who do not wish to see Iraq dismembered by theological oppressors in Syria and Iran, Hillary Clinton is moving cautiously towards a position on Iraq that is likely to get her into Dutch with the kind of people who think Joe Lieberman has cloven hooves and a tail. Clinton told the Times in a half hour interview on March 13th that, were she elected president, she would “keep a reduced military force (in Iraq) to fight Al Qaeda, deter Iranian aggression, protect the Kurds and possibly support the Iraqi military.” In the interview, the Times' reporter thought, “Mrs. Clinton articulated a more nuanced position than the one she has provided at her campaign events, where she has backed the goal of ‘bringing the troops home.’ She said in the interview that there were ‘remaining vital national security interests in Iraq ‘that would require a continuing deployment of American troops.

Who Killed Cock Robin?

The successful prosecution of “Scooter Libby" – for lying to a grand jury – was a spectacular failure because it did not answer the question “Who outed Valerie Plame as an undercover agent?" There will be no further prosecutions in the case because the prosecutor fingered the wrong man: Scooter Libby did not blow Plame’s cover, because she was not an undercover agent. Prosecutor Fitzgerald packed his bags and went home after his flawed prosecution of the case because he fingered Libby rather than Richard Armitage, chief aide to then Secretary of state Colin Powell, as the primary leaker. Libby’s troubles began with a column written by Sun Times columnist Robert Novak , who testified to the grand jury under oath that Libby had said nothing to him about Plame. “While my column on Wilson's mission triggered Libby's misery,” Novak wrote in a recent column, “I played but a minor role in his trial. Subpoenaed by his defense team, I testified that I had phoned him in repor

Pols on Parade

Amann Among The Lilliputians “I acknowledge that you can't keep an organization together without patronage. Men ain't in politics for nothin'. They want to get somethin' out of it” – George Washington Plunkitt Jim Amann, the powerful Speaker of the state House of Representatives, has come under fire for behavior that turn of the century Tammany Hall boss William Jefferson Plunkitt would have considered praiseworthy. In his day job, Amann raises funds for the Greater Connecticut Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, which pays him a yearly salary of $67,5oo. By tapping the shoulders of lobbyists for contributions to the charity, newspapers have said, Amann has created for himself, if not a conflict of interest, then the “appearance” of a conflict of interest. Are the lobbyists turning out their pockets for the charity because they are charitable or because they wish to curry favor with the speaker? Would they have given as avidly to, say, Mother Teresa

The Wicked World

“ My mother cried, my father wept, into the wicked world I leapt ” – William Blake In her forthcoming best seller, rumor has it that Ann Coulter will apologize profusely for using the “F” word – no, not that one – while adamantly refusing rehab. Meanwhile, over on the less far right, Jonah Goldberg of National Review On Line has offered a luminous piece on the Wilsons , Joe and Valerie Plame. And Binny turned 50 on Saturday. Assuming he is yet alive, Osama bin Ladin will have celebrated his fiftieth birthday on March 10th. A celebrant, Abu Yacoub , offered his good wishes on a website commonly used by insurgents and possibly by CNN. Said Mr. Yacoub, “Osama bin Laden turns 50. God protect our leader, our Sheik Osama bin Laden. God reward him for his words and actions.” He will Mr. Yacoub, He will. Someone has turned up a article written by Winston Churchill in 1937, “How The Jews Can Combat Persecution,” that seems to assign partial blame to Jews for the reprehensible way they were tre

Scooter Libby And The Poetic Imperative

“Tell the truth,” says the poet Emily Dickenson, “but tell it slant.” The poetry resides in the slant. Bill Curry , a liberal Democrat who twice ran for governor and now writes a column for the Hartford Courant, is Connecticut’s politician poet in residence. Personally, I’ve always considered it unfortunate that Curry had not prevailed over former Gov. and felon John Rowland. Had he won in one of his two attempts to be governor, the state almost certainly would have been spared a messy gubernatorial prosecution and threatened impeachment, and not only because Curry can be as honest as the day is long – when it suits his purpose – but also because the state’s liberal press is somewhat laggard in the matter of applying to Democrats the lashes it distributes with such relish to Republicans. I do not doubt – as have said or intimated many times in this space – that Rowland got what he deserved, and before commenting further on Curry’s column on “Scooter” Libby, I wish to state without e

Enabling Spending: Rell’s Budget and the Decline of the Connecticut GOP

It was fairly obvious soon after Governor Jodi Rell delivered her budget address that Democrats, who now enjoy a veto proof majority in the legislature, were less than pleased with it. Their appreciation of the governor’s ideological drift in a progressive direction – she surprised members of her own party by proposing a tax hike to pay for new education proposals – was voluble and sustained. Following the address, it was difficult to find a Democrat who was not effusive in his compliments. Republicans , on the other hand, were stunned into an uneasy silence. Into the bi-partisan Garden of Eden created by Rell’s surprising capitulation, now slither several snakes. The Democrats are having second and even third thoughts about the Rell budget plan. It was not viewed as a propitious sign when Speaker of the House Jim Amann tossed Rell’s budget plan in the wastebasket, suppressing a sigh as he did so. The speaker several times has suggested that, in matters of the budget, the light bulb

The inevitability doctrine

State Rep. Mike Lawlor, the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee since 1995, a proponent of marriage for gays, has said that the movement in that direction is “inevitable.” Lawlor and others conceive of marriage as a civil right, and Lawlor has noticed that in the past century civil rights have been expanding. The right to vote once was denied to women, but with a little persistence, women were eventually – Lawlor would say “inevitably” – enfranchised. African Americans, once treated as chattel, first won their emancipation in a brutal Civil War and later, during the Civil Rights decade of Martin Luther King, won a victory over Jim Crow. The “enfranchisement” of gays – specifically endowing them with the “right” to marry – is next on the Civil Rights docket, and it is "inevitable" that the case should be decided in favor of gays. The Lawlor theory runs aground on the perception that in politics only death, an unfortunate by-product of the human condition and apparently th

Obama Meets a Mudball

The headline on the Chicago Tribune story, “Obama calls Iran threat to U.S, Israel,” was a little ambiguous;that Iran is a threat to Israel no one disputes, but Barack Obama’s message, delivered before a the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a major pro-Israel lobbying group, was a little more complex than that. "One of the most profound consequences of the administration's failed strategy in Iraq,” Obama said, “has been to strengthen Iran's strategic position, reduce U.S. credibility and influence in the region, and place Israel and other nations friendly to the United States in greater peril.” Some people will dispute the claim on both historical and strategic grounds. Iran’s antipathy to both Israel and the United States precedes the arrival of President George Bush in the White House. The Iranian revolution, which followed the deposition of the Shah of Iran, began during the administration of former President Jimmy Carter . One of the key participants in th