Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from June, 2007

The Republican Opposition

Freshman state Sen. Sam Caligiuri voted against a compromise budget and by doing so became, in Henry David Thoreau’s phrase, “a party of one.”

Caligiuri has said the spending increase in the biennial budget’s first year is too high. And he did not understand why the legislature was unable to cut taxes in the face of a $915 million surplus.

"I think this is the best budget that we were able to put together given the political reality that we are facing,” Caligiuri said, “and let me also say that if it wasn't for Republican pressure, we would have tax increases today."

The budget deal was an exercise in defusing extravagant hopes; some would say nightmarish dreams.

The Democrats, as part of the deal struck with obdurate Republicans, gave up a potentially destructive refashioning of income tax – for the time being.

Instead of producing a timely budget, Democrats this year spent their time and energy in seeking to make Connecticut’s not quite flat income tax more progressive. Ef…

The Bloomberg, Weicker, D’Amore Industrial/Political Complex

The Greenwich Times is reporting that former senator and governor Lowell Weicker would enthusiastically support the presidential bid of New York Mayor and fellow multi-billionaire Michael Bloomberg.

"I think he is head and shoulders the best candidate to be president of the United States. I think he'll find lots of support wherever,” Weicker said.

There is a problem though: Over at The Politico, Roger Simon is reporting that Bloomberg has given the kibosh to third party enthusiasts such as Weicker, whose former chief aide and Connecticut Republican Party Chairman Tom D’Amore may possibly be angling for a new political prospect after his latest venture, propelling Greenwich senatorial hopeful into current Sen. Joe Lieberman’s seat, proved disappointing.

“Asked if there were any circumstances under which he would run,” Simon reported, "Bloomberg replied: ‘If everyone in the world was dead and I was the only one alive, sure.’”

That’s a “No.”

However, in politics “No’” not infreq…

Understanding Obama

If you are an accolade of one of our more modern secular faiths -- say, the ministerial alliance of MoveOn.org or the Non-Sectarian, Non-Religious Atheists Association of Dawkins, Harris and Hitchens -- whether you like Barack Obama or not, and there is a there there to like, will depend less on Obama and more on your own deeply held secular and/or anti-religious beliefs.

If you think the whole religious business is hokum, you will not appreciate Obama’s brand of hokum. In the anti-religious theatre of thought and action, it is not possible to loathe the war but love the soldier. Hitchens, for one, cheerfully threw off that imposture when, shortly after the death of the Rev. Jerry Falwell, he vigorously and publicly attacked the corpse. A convert to America from Merry Old England, Hitchens is in some ways more American than apple pie; so, for that matter, was DeToqueville. As a confirmed atheist, Hitchens has never been comfortable with religious prattle. Since hypocrisy remains the on…

Hillary’s Traction

We often say here in America that politicians with a past are carrying a lot of baggage into office with them. Hillary Clinton’s baggage, as everyone who has not slept through the past two decades may have realized, is husband Bill. And no, I am not referring to what the press used to call in Bill’s Monica Period the president’s sexual “peccadilloes.” We like to turn our pages on our pasts, and America is after all the land of second chances. Most Americans were quite willing to forgive Bill his “indiscretions” about five minutes after the cigar incident. The few women in Bill’s past who were crying “infidelity” – and in at least one case “rape” – were dismissed, even by the feminists, as implausible publicity hounds.

No, all that lies in a past that, despite William Faulkner’s misgivings, is over. Faulkner said the past was not over, “It is not even past.”

Hillary’s big problem is with husband Bill’s warmongering.

In a review of two recent books on Hillary, “Hillary Clinton: Her Way” by…

The Art Of The Deal: Dems, Repubs And The Budget

A state budget soon will be reported out of the legislature – a little late, say some – and it will be yet another “let’s make a deal” budget.

Here in Connecticut, it is virtually impossible to get folks focused on state budgets. Town budgets are a different animal, largely because municipal tax payers are occasionally given the opportunity through referendums to vote budgets up or down, a rare concession in Connecticut politics to direct democracy.

There is no state budget referendum, which means that final decisions on budgets are left to duly elected legislators -- the deal makers. If the public does not like the budget, it is assumed it will vote out of office the deal makers who, so far, have conspired to raise the bottom line of the state’s budget from a modest pre-income tax budget of $8 or $9 billion – the figures are rounded and near accurate; what’s a billion or two among friends – to about $18 billion today.

Now, we know for certain, through casual conversations over beer and …

You Gotta Be Kidding Me!

According to investigative reporter Jon Lender, reporting in the magisterial Hartford Courant on the DeLuca mess: “One ethics law says ‘no person shall offer or give to a public official ... anything of value, including ... a gift, loan, political contribution, reward or promise of future employment based on any understanding that the vote, official action or judgment of the public official ... would be ... influenced.’”

The law, be it noted, punishes the gift giver, not the recipient, who is likely to be a politician. The ethical law, as written, would punish the FBI agent who, acting in his official capacity, offered a bribe to Lou DeLuca. It does not set a punishment for DeLuca for either accepting a bribe from the FBI agent or refusing the bribe and declining to report it. If there is such a rule, it is probably lying rusting in the tool box of the ethics commission. If there is no such law, perhaps some of the ethical paragons in Connecticut’s ruling Democrat Party might want to f…

AIR SCARES ARE TALL TALES

By Natalie Sirkin

Polls show that Americans consider environmental groups the most credible sources of information on the environment, and that they also trust information from regulatory agencies. Yet, these trusted sources routinely misrepresent -- Joel Schwartz

Much excellent research has been published on clean air. Joel Schwartz, who has done 30 studies, has added to it that the public has not been told it and does not believe the truth. Much of this column is based upon his lecture, “Breathing Easier About Air Quality,” given in April, 2006, at the Institute for Study of Economics and the Environment at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri.

Air pollution was a problem when Seneca in 61 AD complained of “the stink, soot, and heavy air” in Rome. In London, in 1285, King Edward I created a commission to improve air quality. In the U.S., pollution has been decreasing.

Americans get their information, much exaggerated, from journalists, government regulators, environmen…

The DeLuca Murtha Connection, Why The Silence?

Sen. Lou DeLuca has now been “done in” by most commentators and editorial boards. It’s difficult to see how he can survive the drubbing, and it is safe to predict that his days in the state senate soon will be drawing to a close.

The Harford Courant has, somewhat tardily, called for DeLuca’s resignation from the senate. DeLuca has stepped down as Minority Leader for Republicans but continues to cling on to his seat by (pun intended) the seat of his pants.

“And Mr. DeLuca,” the Courant intoned two days before two of its columnists, Kevine Rennie and Bill Currry opened fire in the Sunday edition of the paper, “ a Woodbury Republican, was wrong again last week in deciding not to resign his seat in the Senate. Resigning would be the honorable thing to do, but Mr. DeLuca is nothing if not consistent.”

Rennie, whose jeweler’s eye was trained on prosecutorial inconsistencies, in addition to holding aloft DeLuca’s severed head, also lambasted prosecutors who arrogantly refused to settle what may…

DeLuca’s From Venus, Healy’s From Mars

The Chris Healy disaster, following closely upon the heels of the Lou DeLuca disaster, caused one agonized and/or furious Republican to burst forth with a comment on a blog site: “You guys are killing us.”

Healy is the Chairman of the state Republican Party arrested the day after a Republican presidential debate at the University of South Carolina for driving while under the influence, and DeLuca is the former Minority Leader in the state senate who recently gave up his position after he had been arrested on a misdemeanor threatening charge.

Following DeLuca’s tete a tete with James Galante, who is in the trash hauling business, during which Galante offered to have someone “talk with” DeLuca’s son in law, DeLuca was quickly set upon by political commentators. Republican Party officials closed ranks and went into their omerta mode, but DeLuca probably was encouraged privately to do the right thing.

Although he has resigned his leadership position in the senate, DeLuca still can be censure…

Messaging 101: The Dodd Ads

Ads, as everyone knows, are primarily messaging instruments. This is true also of political ads. U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd’s latest ad features his five year old daughter Grace.

The title of the ad is – do not blush – “Amazing Grace.” The referential message here is religious, though the text of the message is obscure.

In the ad, Dodd says, “I was blessed to become a first time father at age 57,” and he reminds everyone that Grace was born on Sept 13, 2001, two days after the attacks on the World Trade Center towers in New York.

Following a black and white photo of baby Grace, another photo shows the senator’s new family, wife Jackie and daughter Christina. This is Dodd’s second marriage.

"I want my campaign to be about all of our children,” Dodd remarks, “and the kind of world we give them." Dodd says he wants to increase the security of the country, stop global warming and "restore our moral leadership."

A following ad will picture Dodd as a young Peace Corps volunteer in…

IMMIGRANTS WHO DON’T ASSIMILATE

This guest Blog was written By Natalie Sirkin

Assimilation—a cultural unification of the American population—has been challenged by an anti-assimilationist ideology, which is called “multiculturalism” . . . and which is specifically identified with the Hispanic community -- One Nation, One Standard

In an enlightening autobiography, Herman Badillo explains the nature of Hispanic immigrants. An orphan, Herman Badillo, by chance, by a keen brain, and by determination, rose to be Deputy Mayor of New York City and the first Puerto Rican in Congress. He analyzes Hispanic non-assimilation and its background, the “five century siesta” of Spanish civilization. He offers arguments relating to the immigration bill which the Senate is now debating, that apply to Latin Americans and Pakistan.

Badillo asserts that Mexicans haven’t been helped by U.S. government programs. The fundamental problem is educat…

Will The Fat Lady Please Sing

Taxpayers, their own belts tightened, may breathe a sigh of relief that the current legislative session is officially over. Of course, it’s never over until the fat lady sings, but this year, the summer of our discontent, we narrowly escaped some idiocies, mostly because Democrats, the dominant party in the legislature, ran out of time.

This was the year that progressives in the Democrat Party were poised to fleece the state’s millionaires, but there did not seem to be, even among the general voting public, the necessary support for their program.

The “millionaire’s tax,” embraced with wild enthusiasm some time ago by progressives such as mayor of New Haven John DeStefano, quickly trickled down to wage earners making about $250,000 a year.

Democrats argued that their re-vamped plan would effectively provide tax relief to middle class wage earners, and when Governor Rell, showing some spine at last, refused to sign the legislation, the big guns in the party were brought out to accused her…

Of Mice And Men

On one of his many campaign stops across the country, Senator John Kennedy, then running for president, found himself at the Alamo. It was very hot, very crowded, and Kennedy was anxious to be on time for his next campaign appearance. He was running late. So Kennedy corralled a guide and asked where the back door was.

“There are no back doors to the Alamo, Senator Kennedy,” he was told. “Only heroes.”

Speaker of the House James Amann beat a most unheroic retreat, one newspaper reported, “rather than have budget negotiations that included Republican leaders Rep. Lawrence Cafero and Sen. Louis DeLuca,” who has a bid of a problem involving his grand daughter’s husband and state prosecutors.

DeLuca recently pleaded guilty to a charge of “threatening conspiracy,” a misdemeanor, that arose from a meeting he had with James Galante in which DeLuca was told by Galante that he would help the senator settle a family problem.

The problem involved a granddaughter who, DeLuca thought, was being abused…

DeLuca Should Resign

Senate Republican leader Lou DeLuca should resign, sparing himself and the Republican Party unnecessary grief. Any politician who has been the subject of a bribe attempt and who has not reported the attempt to the proper authorities should resign his or her office.

That is true of DeLuca, and it is also true of the Democrat Party's earmark king John Murtha, still parceling out favors years after he had been swept up in the notorious ABSCAM case.

Both DeLuca and Murtha were targets of bribe attempts made by agents interested in gathering evidence against them in criminal probes. Both refused the bribes but did not report the bribe attempt.

Since DeLuca fessed up to prosecutors, suggestions have been made in some quarters that DeLuca himself is mob connected, and his claim that he brought pictures to police showing his grand daughter had been brutalized by an ex-con boyfriend also has been doubted.

The question whether DeLuca's grand daughter was indeed brutalized by an ex-con is of…

Weicker Is Not A Fathead

Peter Urban over at the Connecticut Post has unearthed several comments on Connecticut politicians made by former President Ronald Reagan in a newly published book, “The Reagan Diaries.”

With breathtaking concision, Reagan remarks about then Senator Lowell Weicker:

“Tuesday, March 20, 1984

“We lost the school prayer amendment in the Senate. We had a majority but needed a 2/3 majority. The sad thing is about 15 Sens. were convinced the amendment was a mandate that schools would have to have prayer. Lowell Weicker was the head ringmaster against us as he is on everything we want. He's a pompous, no good, fathead.”


Reagan, of course, was a master of hyperbole, and the short, pithy diary form, comparable to a blog, is not exhaustive. So, perhaps Reagan may be forgiven for calling Weicker a “fathead.” Given his size, Weicker’s head was proportionally not that fat.