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Showing posts from July, 2007

Slipping on Blood: Lessons for Blumenthal

Now that Governor of New York Elliot Spitzer has been hobbled by scandal, are there any lessons to be learned in the Spitzer mess for our own crusading Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who is said to be seriously considering a run for governor?

The template for the successful attorney general here in Connecticut was fashioned by once attorney general, now senator, Joe Lieberman, who took a sleepy office and transformed it into a major indignation outpost. In the colonial period, the attorney general was the King’s lawyer; but the modern office, first under the hand of Lieberman and now Blumenthal, has been transformed into a consumer protection agency with subpoena powers.

When Spitzer, as attorney general, wanted to set right defective businesses, he would direct his sprawling office to examine all the records he had gathered through his subpoena powers and, having found a chick in the armor of the business, there he would thrust his lance. Pre-prosecution publicity, the death knel…

Speaking Truth To Power: Gingrich on Bush's Failure

If the Bush administration has suffered from a failure of thought – and it has –his Democrat opponents are suffering from a failure of will. Newt Gingrich examines both in a short, devastating analysis.

Gingrich's analysis is devastating because it is true. The Democrat analysis is impotent because it is not true. It is not true on a very elemental level, because it is a pretense that if America retreats from the jihadists, it will suffer no permanent loss in lives and honor.

Despite Democrat propaganda to the contrary, there is evidence that the surge has been at least partially successful.

There are two reasons for this: 1) The increase in troops has provided in some embattled areas of Iraq shelter from the storm of foreign terrorists, and 2) the jihadists clearly have overplayed their hand, as may be seen in this report from Jack Kelly.

But the limited success of the surge can only mean that Bush’s early strategy – low troop levels, a diminished American presence – was a horrific f…

No "Three Strikes and You're Out" Law for the Outlaws

Chris Powell, over at the Journal Inquirer, has responded thoughtfully to what has been mislabeled the “tragedy” in Cheshire. Actually, it was a multiple rape and murder and a tragedy only for the victims who could not avoid the unwelcome attentions of the two rapists and murderers who decimated Dr. William Petit’s family.

Connecticut’s so called “three Strikes and You’re Out” legislation is little more than a pretense at law and order. The law, Powell writes, “merely allows prosecutors to seek and courts to impose life sentences when someone is convicted of a third violent felony. Connecticut law also merely allows prosecutors to seek and courts to impose a doubled sentence on people convicted of a second felony.’

There are no mandated requirements in the law. In practice – the only true measurement of the effectiveness of laws – Connecticut, Powell says, “is infinitely indulgent -- as are many state legislators surveyed about what happened in Cheshire.

“That is, what Connecticut calls …

Slipping on Blood

According to an extensive report in The New York Times, the state’s new governor, the redoubtable Elliot Spitzer, once attorney general of the Empire state, has slipped on blood.

Evidentially, carrying into his new office some of the bad habits he so carefully cultivated as New York’s attorney general – some dare call him Caligula – Spitzer planted a story in an upstate newspaper that was designed to discredit his chief foe in the state’s legislature, State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno.

Problem was the information leaked to the paper was rancid, and not entirely true. Newspapers generally resent being manipulated in this way and, even as I write, it may be supposed that several managing editors of various newspapers are knotting the rope they will use to hang Spitzer.

The poor fellow probably lapsed for a moment into his discarded skin as attorney general and thought he was dealing not with a powerful legislator but rather with some small time businessman who had run afoul of one …

Bobby and J. Edgar: The Historic Face-Off Between The Kennedys And J. Edgar Hoover That Transformed America

Burton Hersh, the author of two books on the Kennedys and an authoritative book on the founders of the CIA, “The Old Boys”, was ambivalent about writing Bobby and J. Edgar: The Historic Face-Off between the Kennedys and J. Edgar Hoover That Transformed America.

At first, Hersh wanted to keep the book narrowly focused, “though honest.” Too wide an historical orbit, he thought, “was likely to scorch out sources and friends whom I have cherished since the middle sixties.” But he had become privy through his contacts to new information, and the book flowered under his hand. Hersh’s scorched friends and sources are not likely to be indifferent to the book. Nor is anyone else who reads it.

The face page at the beginning of Bobby and J. Edgar carries a quote from Ralph Martin’s Seeds of Destruction: “John F. Kennedy ‘told his good friend John Sharon that if he had his life to live over again, he would have a different father, a different wife, and a different religion.” Sometimes in the face…

At The Sign Of The Braying Ass

There’s been a little tug of war going on in blogdom – and in other places – between Lanny Davis, author of “Scandal: How 'Gotcha' Politics Is Destroying America,” and Gotcha monger Colin McEnroe, the host of an eponymous radio program and the author of “Lanny Davis Is (Still) An Emu."

The two are bickering over the question, "Is Sen. Joe Lieberman a Democrat?" (Short answer, yes and no) and a related question, "Is Lieberman a tolerable human being?" Lanny says yes; McEnroe, occasionally given to wondering why Lieberman has not appeared on his radio talk show lately, says no.

In a short column printed in the Hartford Courant, McEnroe’s stomping grounds, Davis asserts that Lieberman – with the exception of his support of the war on jihadism – has been a good liberal Democrat, and he adduces the senator’s votes as proof. Lieberman has voted with Democrats 90% of the time, and he still caucuses even with Democrats whooping it up in the anti-war camp. "…

Totalitarianism In The New 21st Century

In the future, 21st century socialism in Venezuela will be indistinguishable from 20th century totalitarianism.

Stung by Manuel Espino’s criticism during a recent pro-democracy forum in Caracas, Hugo Chavez, the president of Venezuela, retorted, “"How long are we going to allow a person - from any country in the world - to come to our own house to say there's a dictatorship here, that the president is a tyrant, and nobody does anything about it?"

Chavez has ordered officials in Venezuela, according to a recent Associated Press report, “to closely monitor statements made by international figures during their visits to Venezuela -- and deport any outspoken critics.”

Sen. Chris Dodd, busily engaged in becoming president of the United States and considered an authority on Latin America, has yet to comment publicly on Chavez's new policy.

John Bolton, whom Dodd was instrumental in easing out of his position as the U.S. delegate to the United Nations, thinks it stinks.

Referendum Blowback: Marmer to Vernon -- “Let’em eat cake!”

Mayors and other keepers of the public purse have made an art of punishing presumptuous voters who deny them funds in referendums.

Taking a page from then Governor Lowell Weicker, who threatened to close state parks if he did not get sufficient votes in the state legislature to pass his income tax proposal, Mayor Ellen Marmer of Vernon closed the iconic War Memorial Tower on Fox Hill, a structure built by the Works Projects administration during the depression, after the naughty citizens of her town pared back her budget in three referendums.

On a fourth try, the town realized an increase of about 3% on its previous budget, a $2 million increase – enough, reasoned the Journal Inquirer, to maintain operations on the war memorial tower. Over in Tolland, where citizens persuaded the town fathers to reduce their proposed expenditures in a fourth referendum, a zero-increase budget finally was passed after the town poobahs somewhat arrogantly scheduled a second referendum without adjusting th…

Democrats Pull An All-Nighter

Democrat senators decided to pull an all-nighter at the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to persuade warmongering Republicans to adopt their plan for ending the war in Iraq.

According to an Associated Press news report, Democrats knew going into the great debate they did not have the votes necessary to achieve their objective but were none-the-less undeterred.

Republican Olympia Snowe of Maine supported the Democrat position: withdraw the troops from Iraq in 120 days. Waxing eloquent, she said at a news conference also attended by Republican Sen. Gordon Smith of Oregon, “"We are at the crossroads of hope and reality, and the time has come to address reality." Snowe accused the Iraqi government of "serial intransigence,” in failing to suppress terrorists, many imported from Syria and Iran. According to the AP report, Smith, who is seeking re-election next year, “said that Iraqis appeared focused on ‘revenge, not reconciliation’ and that the administration needed to change its ap…

Why North Korea Is Now A Nuclear Free Zone: The Untold Story

It’s very nearly impossible to find out from the cursory accounts printed in most major newspapers what persuaded North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il to agree to shut down his nuclear program.

We know positively it was not the allure of sweet reason. Since his ascendancy to the exalted position of “Dear Leader” following his father’s demise, Kim has not been friendly to reason, the delicate pressure put on his country by China, or U.S. President George Bush’s decision not to engage in direct talks with North Korea. Despite pressure put upon it by both Kim and some major American newspaper, Bush declined direct talks with Kim, preferring instead multilateral talks involving countries that would be impacted should Kim be successful in producing big boom weapons that would give the dictator a power he does not now possess to negotiate terms with other nations.

Only a few months ago, the front pages of many newspapers bristled with accounts of Kim’s steadfast refusal to succumb to pressure fr…

The Glory Of Biases

A green color, passed through a bias prism, is seen as red.

We all have biases, but some cherish them more than others. U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman has become a target in the blogsphere for progressives who wish to advertise themselves as such by sporting their biases.

Rejected by his party in a primary, Lieberman ran as an Independent in the general election – and won, much to the dismay of left wing Democrats who favored Ned Lamont, an anti-war Democrat from Greenwich nudged into the race by ex-Senator and Governor Lowell Weicker. At bottom, all politics is personal because, unsurprisingly, it involves persons, many of whom are unwilling to lay aside their biases for the public good.

Weicker was defeated by Lieberman in a hotly contested senate race. A few years later the sleeping bear was back again wielding a bludgeon, a left wing fellow from his old hometown, against his former rival. Since Lieberman’s defeat of Lamont in the general election, progressives in Connecticut and its environ…

Welcome To Tombstone

Genghis Conn, Chris Bigelow of Enfield, recently proposed on his blog site, Connecticut Local politics, the question “Has Dodd’s Moment Passed?”

The Headless Horseman weighed in with this answer: “With Dodd currently polling somewhere in between the guy who fills the soda vending machine at the US Capitol, and Eleanor Roosevelt’s bones, I’d say his time is long passed, if he in fact ever had a shot.

“It shouldn’t surprise anyone that it took him this long to actually run for president. Look how long it took him to grow up, stop going to Spring Break with Ted Kennedy, and get married and have a child.

“I expect him to have a mid-life crisis when he is 143 years old.”

That’s a “Yes.”

But it’s a “Yes” burbling with what bloggers call snarkiness: a smart answer, deeply layered with irony, a little vitriolic, the sort of response to a reasonable question not likely found on the editorial pages of a respectable hometown paper. Comments in the commentary sections of blogs are anything but stuffy.…

Iran Prepares The Big Boom

According to Israeli intelligence, more intelligent usually than American intelligence, the clock is ticking on efforts to persuade or force Iran to give up its effort to produce nuclear weapons. Time is running out.

According to Brigadier General Yossi Kuperwasser, Iran is “very close” to crossing the technological threshold that will allow it the capability of enriching uranium at an industrial level. Having mastered the technology, Kuperwasser predicts Iran will be able to manufacture a nuclear device within two or three years.

Sanctions alone, Kuperwasser says in a report entitled "Halting Iran's Nuclear Weapons Program: Iranian Vulnerabilities and Western Policy Options," will not be sufficient to persuade Iran to abandon its program.

The sticking point, as always, is Russia. Because Russia is unallied with the United States, sanctions alone would be ineffective, said Kupperwasser.

"For significant sanctions to be effective the world needs to at the same time threa…

The End Is Near

According to the Washington Times, two of the suspects in the attempted bombings in Britain had eyes on the United States. David Hanson, the author of “A War Like No Other,” an account of the Peloponnesian War, sees the West sliding back into Carterville. But, not to worry: Madonna has saved the planet. And Colin McEnroe, once a religious writer for the Hartford Courant, planned to hobnob over the weekend with some Muslims, at least one of whom is a shady character, though not quite so abhorrent to the new left as Sen. Joe Lieberman. In view of the barrage let loose by leftist bloggers on Lieberman, the most amusing line in McEnroe’s piece is this one: “It's no accomplishment at all to hate somebody you've been told to hate. It is quite an achievement to get past those instructions and see the real people.”

Just Look Over Here: Democrats and Magic Realism

Talking a bit off page to a reporter for The Day, Democrat Rep. Ted Moukawsher of Groton blurted out the truth.

“The tax package,” he said, “… sort of just appeared, and I don't think we were invested in it. It was like budgeting by press conference. It was whatever someone decided was a counter to the governor's (latest) press conference and whatever sort of proposal she had. The leaders didn't really consult with membership at the Senate or the House level, and then when it didn't work out the way they expected it to, they never came back to us and said, 'Well, how about this?' It was really kind of weird. They never consulted us and then they abandoned us afterward. We went from being this mighty majority to being this feeble, fractured, kind-of disorganized group.”

The blustery Speaker of the House Jim Amann of course was singing a different tune. “They must be ... brain-dead,” Amann said concerning disgruntled members of his party in an interview with Ted Ma…

Lieberman Among The Lilliputians

It’s difficult these days to get Sen. Joe Lieberman’s opponents, who are legion, to dispute with him. They much prefer abuse; it takes so little effort.

Progressive bloggers in particular, cloaked in anonymity and petulant by design, are very good at this; they all sound like Don Rickles with a hangover. Thus, Lieberman is referred to by even reasonable bloggers as certifiably nuts.

On June 10, Lieberman caused the leftist’s stomachs to churn when he said the United States and its allies should be prepared to take action against Iran, according to the Hartford Courant, “…if that country continues helping extremists who are killing US soldiers in Iraq.” And on July 2, perhaps in preparation for the holiday that was to occur two days later, Lieberman said, following a briefing in Baghdad by Brigadier General Kevin Bergrier, “The US has a responsibility to use all instruments at its disposal to stop these terrorist attacks against our soldiers and allies in Iraq, including keeping open the…

What the Lady in Waiting to The Empress Josephine May Teach Us About Political Reporting

Madame de Remusant’s "Memoirs of the Empress Josephine," the first wife of Napoleon Bonaparte, was published by her grandson about eighty years after the death of Napoleon. Madame de Remusant was a lady in waiting to the empress.

It was thought an earlier printing might be possible, but Madame de Remusant’s son declined publication because many of the characters mentioned by his mother were still alive. Publication, the son thought, might be too wounding. In the modern period of course, publication almost certainly would have preceded by a day or an hour Napoleon’s trip to Elba, so little do we care about wounded feelings of those mentioned in memoirs. And Madame de Remusant, a suburb conversationalist, would have been making the rounds of the usual journalistic watering holes.

Madame de Remusant herself wanted her memoir published before she tipped into the grave, but she tucked it away in a drawer after Napoleon, always a vengeful and unpredictable character, had escaped fro…