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Showing posts from August, 2007

Joe Lieberman And His Enemies

Decoding McEnroe Any piece of writing by Colin McEnroe, the Hartford Courant’s Voltaire, has to be decoded. This is because McEnroe writes in a sort of Joycian stream of conscious mode; his columns are usually studded with arcane references and barely suppressed prejudices not unusual to his station in the world. McEnroe is the sole host, now that his companion Bruce has departed, on his own radio talk program, the Colin McEnroe Show, a blogger, the author of an entertaining biography; and he also does house calls. McEnroe graduated from Yale, in the course of which – I am guessing here – he developed affection for coffee house banter and a disaffection for the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, not infrequently impaled in his remarks and columns. McEnroe used to be the religious writer for the Courant at a time when it was thought chic to employ religious writers, but he is not friendly to organized religion, preferring the quasi-religious vagaries of Buddhism, and the disorganize

DeLuca Committee And The Need To Know

The special Senate investigating committee inquiring into the DeLuca affair has issued a request to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Attorney’s office, the state police, Waterbury police and the chief state’s attorney, asking for information necessary to discharge its legislative mandate; upon completing its investigation, the committee is empowered to recommend Sen. Lou DeLuca’s expulsion from the senate. It is not known whether any of the agencies that will be contacted by the committee will comply with its requests. Committee co-chair Martin Looney , the Senate Majority Leader, is dubious. Such information, he said, “Is not frequently requested.” Republican co-chair of the committee Sen. Andrew Roraback and others on the committee think it is necessary to acquire the information, which would include an audio tape or a transcript of a conversation DeLuca had with an FBI posing as a confederate of James Galante, the subject of a 93 criminal count racketeering indictment

Castro For Hillary/Obama

According to a report from Reuters , Fidel Castro, who has outlived nine American presidents “… since his 1959 revolution turned Cuba into a thorn in Washington's side by building a communist society about 90 miles offshore from the United States,” would cast his vote for a Hillary Clinton/Barack Obama Democrat ticket in the unlikely event that the Cuban military were to launch a successful attack on Miami, destroy Cuban resistance here in the United States and impose a communist dictatorship of the proletariat on Washington DC. Presidential candidate Chris Dodd, an authority on Latin America, reacted to the communist dictator's failure to endorse his candidacy by saying...

Why Vietnam Analogies Don’t Matter

Yesterday’s question concerning the war in Iraq – “Are we winning or losing?” – has given way to today’s question – “Is Iraq Vietnam?” The question arose because President George Bush in a recent speech at a Veterans of Foreign Wars convention hinted that a retreat from Iraq would be attended by consequences similar to the retreat from Vietnam. "One unmistakable legacy of Vietnam,” Bush said, “is that the price of America's withdrawal was paid by millions of innocent citizens.” This has prompted a “discussion” – really, more like a bar room brawl – that Bush cannot win. A quick glance at the discussion on the weekend following Bush’s analogy will show why. The Hartford Courant and one of its lead commentators – Bill Curry , once an advisor to former President Bill Clinton, once a student anti-Vietnam war protestor – were very quickly out of the gate. Mr. Curry has told us that in writing his columns he often consults with name Carolyn Lumsden , now the Editorial page edito

Digging The Dirt: Committee Hearings, Politics By Other Means

It’s a mouthful from “ Red Five ,” a commentator on Connecticut Local Politics, but well worth heeding: “So far the committee hearings themselves have appeared bipartisan. “But someone is feeding a steady stream of “dirt” on Downey to the panel, and the media, and it makes you wonder who that might be … and why they’re doing it. “Anyone who actually reads the Downey transcript on (Strom) Thurmond can see he (1) condemned Thurmond’s bigoted past and (2) spoke as someone with a personal relationship to the senator, not as a fan of his politics. “Lawlor and McDonald - and please note here that Chris Healy was as wrong about this as he could have been - said as much themselves. “Yet the damage was done. “Then there’s the “questions” about his comments concerning immigration status. Even the lawyer for the party in question calls the comments innocuous - an intellectual exercise. “Yet more damage was done. “Come today and the committee is forced to delay action due to “surprise” new

Superceding Considerations, Delucagate

" The course of action that we take today is not easy, but it is necessary, and we do not embark upon it lightly ," Senate President Pro Tem Donald E. Williams Jr. told the Hartford Courant . Indeed. There is a bottom and a top to almost everything said by Williams, and this one is one of the neatest political packages on the planet. On his blog “ To Wit ,” Colin McEnroe notes a superceding consideration: “Let me offer at least one aspect of this case about which more facts are needed. It comes from the announcement, two months ago, from the U.S. Attorney's office, about a superseding indictment in the Galante case: “The Superseding Indictment also contains an additional racketeering act that alleges that members of the enterprise and their associates bundled campaign contributions to politicians, that is orchestrated campaign donations through straw donors who were then reimbursed in cash and, on occasion, provided unlawful favors to politicians so as to establish a

In This Corner, DeLuca

Senator Lou DeLuca has painted himself into a corner from which he cannot escape. The Federal Bureau of Investigation had been tapping the phone lines of “trash magnate,” so one newspaper put it, James Galante, who supposedly had ties to the Mob, when they stumbled upon DeLuca. DeLuca was having family problems. He had contacted Galante, who signaled DeLuca that he would dispatch, with DeLuca’s approval, a couple of tough guys to intimidate Mark Collela. DeLuca was fretting that Collela had abused his grand daughter, whom Collela later married. The FBI arranged a decoy to talk to DeLuca. The conversation between DeLuca and the FBI agent, posing as a confederate of Galante’s, has not been disclosed in full, but in the course of their tete a tete, DeLuca was offered a bribe, which he refused but did not report. DeLuca, in an expansive mood, promised he would do anything possible to help Galante. DeLuca may have been signaling Galante, through a third party he thought was a business a


The State Children’s Health Insurance Program--so called though it is enrolling adults—is due to expire the end of September. The law was amended by the House of Representatives on August 1 and by the Senate August 2. The more stringent House bill withdraws the federal subsidy from private insurance companies offering plans to elderly Medicare beneficiaries. Originally SCHIP was to be reauthorized every ten years. The House bill has made it a permanent entitlement. The House bill passed narrowly by 224-204, defying a veto-threat from the President, who sees SCHIP as too expensive and too much like socialized medicine. The Senate bill was passed by 68-31. All the “no” votes were Republican. Eighteen Republicans joined two Independents to vote with the Democrats for the bill. Both Democrat and Republican observers agree that SCHIP is on track for HillaryCare, to reach the same final outcome as HillaryCare but incrementally, one person, one group, at a time. SCHIP was des

PJAK To The Rescue

It’s not a household acronym yet. PJAK is, according to the Guardian of London, “the Kurdistan Free Life Party, an armed Iranian Kurdish group that is stepping up its campaign for Kurdish rights against the theocratic regime in Tehran.” PJAK is the fastest growing armed resistance group in Iran. Right – that Iran, the home of the birth of the modern anti-Western jihadist movement. The Guardian, no pro-Bush newspaper, reports that resistance group has “3,000 or so members under arms in the mountains” and also – a datum that certainly will bring hope and cheer to progressives here in the United States – “it also claims tens of thousands of followers in secret cells in Iranian Kurdistan. Its campaigning on women's rights has struck a chord with young Iranian Kurdish women. The group says 45% of its fighters are female. Iranian authorities regard the group as a terrorist outfit being sponsored and armed by the US to increase pressure on Iran. “On a recent visit to PJAK camps in the

YouTube Nation: Anti Americanism At Home And Abroad

The first selection is from Osama binLadin following the successful attack on the World Trade Center towers in New York. The second is a celebration of Anti-Americanism at home. The third is from a report on the European media . And the concluding video features Andrei Markovits , author of “Uncouth Nation,” who examines the roots of European anti-Americanism, tracing the most virulent strain to a general dislike on the part of European intellectuals of all things American.

Eye On The Courant

Don’t Mess With Gombossy In Sunday’s edition, The Hartford Courant’s new Consumer Watchdog, George Gombossy , brings the president of Connecticut Light & Power, Raymond Necci, to heel – with a little help from the paper’s friends. CL&P has been unable to shed it’s arrogance as Connecticut’s former state supported energy monopoly. It could not be brought to admit that its meters might possibly malfunction and overcharge its customers. When several consumers complained to Gombossy that their meters appeared not to be working properly, Gombossy produced a front page story on the issue, the paper enlisted the help of Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, and before you could say “You’re gonna get sued,” the president of CL&P was on his knees, begging for mercy. In yet another front page consumer column in Sunday’s edition, Gombossy pulls no punches. “CL&P and its parent company, Northeast Utilities,” he writes, “are under pressure from the state attorney general's of

Merry XMass And a Happy Hanukkah, Ramadan, Kwanzaa, Chinese New Year, Pagan Winter Solstice And Atheist Non-Belief Day

Vernon, Connecticut is preparing for XMass – and other celebrations -- early this year. According to a report in The Journal Inquirer , Vernon’s mayor Ellen Marmer and Town Administrator Christopher Clark have “crafted a document” that will allow Vernon’s annual crèche display to be disported once again on the town green. The crèche display was yanked from the green two XMasses ago when village atheist Mr. Dennis Paul Himes, state director of the American Atheists, threatened legal action because the town had “violated the constitutional provision of separation of church and state by allowing the Christian crèche to be displayed on town property.” Last year the crèche was re-sited to St. Bernard Church because landscaping was being done on the green. This year, according to the JI, the issue “came to a head when the Republican Town Committee passed a unanimous resolution requesting the scene representing Jesus' birth be returned to its traditional spot in Center Park for 2007.”

Lawlor, The Politicized Judiciary Committee, And The KKK

Jon Lender reported in the Hartford Courant that “State Appellate Court nominee John R. Downey's praise of longtime segregationist Sen. Strom Thurmond as a ‘great American’ four years ago has now surfaced as an issue in his legislative confirmation.” That “praise” stuck in the craw of state Legislative judiciary committee co-Chairman Michael Lawlor, who said, according to Lender’s report, that the comments about Thurmond, “by themselves, are unlikely to derail the Superior Court judge's nomination by Gov. M. Jodi Rell to the higher court. "Lawlor said Downey's prospects are ‘probably OK, but he's probably going to have to answer questions about his thought process leading up to those comments,’ as well as queries about race relations in general. Downey's confirmation hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.” Several paragraphs into the story, Lender advises that Downey was praising Thurmond’s “transformation” from one who was considered by many to be a “bigot and r


The FDA’s philosophy seems to be that the way to protect the public from uncertainty about the safety of new drugs is to stop approving any at all. But who will protect the public from the FDA -- Henry I Miller, M.D. These past several months, the Food and Drug Administration has been under severe attack by former officials, by unfairly treated pharmaceutical companies, and by patients in pain. Let us list a sampling. Avastin, a breast-cancer drug, is delayed a year or more because FDA wants additional data. Moving the goalpost in the middle of the game is vexing for drug-developers, says Henry I. Miller, M.D., FDA official 1979-94. The FDA some times requires testing long after it has approved the therapy. FDA approved doxepin for depression in 1969. Doxepin may be useful as a sleeping pill at very low dosage. FDA has ordered animal testing, a procedure always done prior to use on humans. Vioxx, an arthritis drug for pain was withdrawn by Merck, its maker, when it was foun

Urban Pathology And Distance

The distance between Windsor Locks, just to pick a suburban Connecticut town at random, and Hartford may be measured in more than miles. In Windsor Locks awhile back, there was a triple murder, an affair of the heart, some think. A Lothario who held dual citizenship both in the United States and Italy contracted with a third party to have a husband put out of the way because he had a fancy for the man’s wife, according to early press reports. The wife perversely refused to leave her husband for the star-crossed lover, and so the duel citizen purchased the services of a fellow of low wattage to bump off the husband. When the bullets stopped flying at the scene of the murder, three people were dead, and the person accused of arranging the contract killing was overcome suddenly with a hankering to visit the Old Country, at which point prosecutors in Connecticut began extradition proceedings. Like most fastidious Euro countries, Italy will not surrender those accused of murder to other n

If I Only Had A Brain: Rove To Resign

Karl Rove is expected to resign at the end of August, according to a Wall Street Journal piece, at which point the Bush regime will deflate, for the Frankensteinian monster cannot continue without a brain. That should be the view of most progressives, who have always insisted that Bush was towed forward by Rove, Bush’s brain. It very likely was the other way round, but then the truth was never a stumbling block to ideologues on the left. Rove himself has a different opinion. “In the interview, Mr. Rove said he expects Democrats to give the 2008 presidential nomination to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, whom he described as "a tough, tenacious, fatally flawed candidate." He also said Republicans have "a very good chance" to hold onto the White House in next year's elections. “Mr. Rove also said he expects the president's approval rating to rise again, and that conditions in Iraq will improve as the U.S. military surge continues. He said he expects Democrat

Gold Coast Turns Copper

A report in the Connecticut Post by Rob Varnon indicates that the population in Fairfield County – the killing fields for rapacious Democrats who want to plunder the rich, mostly in order to feather the nests of those who vote for them -- is dwindling. Connecticut’s largest county lost population between 2005-2006. The population in the county has remained steady for the last several years only because the number of people moving out, carrying their plunderable wages with them, has been balanced by immigrants from abroad moving in. Lisa Mercurio, the director of the Fairfield County Information Exchange, interprets the data cautiously. More than 10,000 people have out-migrated from Fairfield County in a single year; in 2000, the loss was only 1,200. The figures provided by the U.S. Census Bureau give no indication of the causes of the outflow, Mercurio said, but she pointed out that policy makers and business owners have cited the need for more affordable housing and transportation.

Moore Is Less

Kevin Leffler, who knew Michael Moore in High School, has made a documentary about the famous documentarian that very likely will not win the prestigious Palm D’Or award. He was interviewed by Brian Lamb of CNN early in August 2007. A teaser from Leffer’s documentary, "Shooting Michael Moore," may be found here , courtesy of YouTube. And the full CNN interview may be found here . In the interview with Lamb, Leffer describes an encounter between his daughter, then working for NBC, and Moore in which the famous documentarian – not the fierce defender of the First Amendment we all know and love from “Roger and Me,” “Farenheit 9/11” and, most recently, “Sicko” -- prevents the young lady from filming him at a public event and threatens to have her fired: “She was - so she’s in her NBC shirt, NBC camera, and filming the Traverse City film festival, what we just saw. Mike comes up to her and puts his hand over the lens of the camera and says you can’t do anything for your dad,

The Human Comedy… Continued

Sex (And Shotguns) In The City Leave the guy alone . “Judge, I was just walking to my neighbors house to borrow some sugar for my coffee when, all of a sudden, my morning reverie was disturbed by this gang of cops who descended upon me like a swarm of locusts.” Bad news for the Bushwackers According to Gallup , the president’s positives are nosediving up. How It’s Done Under The Rock From the authoritative Howard Kurtz, Washington Post muckraker: “One month after rekindling their partnership, Moldea learned that Sen. David Vitter's number had been found in the phone records of the escort service run by the alleged D.C. Madam, Deborah Jeane Palfrey. This was no coincidence, as Moldea had just agreed to write a book with Palfrey. He promptly leaked the Vitter calls to Time. And when the Louisiana Republican preempted the magazine by apologizing for having sinned, Moldea made sure Flynt got credit by leaking word of his role to ABC News.” The Flynt mentioned in Kurtz’s account

In Praise of Famous Men

Let us now praise famous men, and their fathers that begat them - Ecclesiasticus During our brief vacation in Florida -- where we went to see my wife’s brave sister, Sandy, recovering from a bout of cancer – we were able to reconnect with Dick D’Avanzo, an old and true friend. Several years ago, when I was writing columns exclusively for the Journal Inquirer of Manchester, D’Avanzo had called and asked if I could come over to see a letter he had received from a young boy then in a prisoner of war camp in Thailand. The camp was full of the human detritus of the Viet Nam war. The Khmer Rouge occasionally would raid the camp, forcibly impress into service the young boys and rape the young girls. The letters D’Avanzo had received were written by a boy whose family had made it from killing fields, across the perilous Mekong River, into one of the border camps. The letters were, in the precise sense of the term, pitiful, all of them written in English in longhand with a pen on rough pap

Dodd’s Shield Law: Protection For Or From Journalists

Like the pigs in George Orwell’s Animal Farm, journalists at the Hartford Courant want to be equal to everyone else – only more so. That is why they need a shield law protecting them from giving evidence at trial. Ordinary folk, the other animals in the barnyard of humanity, do not need such protections. And why not? Well, see now, there’s this here thing called the US Constitution. And the US Constitution provides that all the animals in the human barnyard should have an equal right to a fair trial by jury. But rights depend on obligations. There can be no right to a fair trial unless testifiers are obliged to cough up what they know on demand, which is why judges are empowered to find in contempt of court those animals in the human barnyard who have information necessary to assure fairness at court but refuse, for perverse reasons, to depart with it. Traditionally, some exceptions have been allowed: Wives and husbands, for example, cannot be compelled to testify against each othe

O’Hanlon and Pollack: A War We Just Might Win

Michael O’Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack, both senior fellows at the Brookings Institution, considered by many a liberal think tank, published on July 30 a column in the New York Times that immediately caused ripples in the leftist anti-war community. The lede was startlingly blunt: “Viewed from Iraq, where we just spent eight days meeting with American and Iraqi military and civilian personnel, the political debate in Washington is surreal. The Bush administration has over four years lost essentially all credibility. Yet now the administration’s critics, in part as a result, seem unaware of the significant changes taking place.” And the second paragraph, written by two thoughtful consistent critics of President Bush’s prosecution of the war, was a stunner: “Here is the most important thing Americans need to understand: We are finally getting somewhere in Iraq, at least in military terms. As two analysts who have harshly criticized the Bush administration’s miserable handling of Iraq, w

Living and Dying by Polls

A report from McClatchy provides some interesting data on the great Democrat/Republican struggle in the U.S. Congress. It would appear from the poll numbers that voters have become, to put it mildly, disenchanted. “Meanwhile, many voters who longed for a change last year now appear disgusted with Congress. Several recent national polls have put Congress' job rating in the mid-20s, and 51 percent of Americans held an unfavorable view of Congress in a Pew Research Center poll released this week. That's worse than the 46 percent unfavorable rating that Congress scored last fall, when Republicans were still in control.” The whole article , which includes predictable spin from both parties, is worth a read.

Caruso, More Honest Than Joe

There is little love lost between the Democrat Party in Bridgeport and Rep. Chris Caruso , an out of the box Democrat. When Caruso told a blogger that he would run as an independent should he lose in a primary with Bill Finch, the likely Democrat candidate for mayor, the blogger acknowledged a problem – “I guess primaries aren’t a principle of the Democratic party?” – but gave Caruso a pass on the larger question of loyalty to party: “But I do give him credit for being straightforward about his intentions. I’m completely against ignoring the results of a primary, but he’s being more honest than Joe Lieberman was.” Lieberman came under heavy fire from bloggers on the left when, having lost a primary to leftist heartthrob Ned Lamont, the senator refused to acknowledge the primacy of primaries, ran against Lamont in the general campaign, and won. Following the pitched battle between Lieberman and the left wing of his state party, the date for filing a petition for an independent line o

The Dodd/O’Reilly Smackdown

Prior to the Dodd/O’Reilly smackdown , leftist bloggers in Connecticut who simply hate Lieberman were rooting for their champion – hint, not O’Reilly. The show, largely a shouting match between the two, did not disappoint. O’Reilly produced a vile picture showing Lieberman preparing to perform a sexual act on Bush and asked Dodd, who is a friend of Lieberman, to condemn the picture and the site, DailyKos, on which it appeared. Dodd said no and went on to make a valid point: O’Reilly, he said, disliked the site because he disagreed with its ideological posture. This distaste preceded O’Reilly’s search for an offensive image on the site. That image, Dodd suggested, was not representative; yet, on the basis of a few remarks, O’Reilly was rushing to condemn millions of people… yada, yada, yada… O’Reilly has over the years pretty much perfected the “I am alarmed and surprised pose one sees and hears so often on his show, and so it was not surprising when he was abashed that Dodd did not f

The DeLauro-Ryan Bill

In a commentary over at Connecticut Local Politics , a popular liberal blog site, Ghengis Conn remarks, “Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-3rd District) is trying to find middle ground on what has been the stickiest and most controversial issue in American politics for a generation: abortion. Her approach, which she is undertaking with pro-life Democrat Tim Ryan of Ohio, is to reduce the need for abortions.” “Got a problem with that?” DeLauroites are now asking. DeLauro is a liberal Catholic who, like virtually every other Catholic US congressperson in Connecticut, disagrees with her church and her Pope on the matter of abortion. So, there’s a tiny red flag flapping wildly in the stormy debate. Then too, in discussing “needs,” we should bear in mind George Will’s priceless definition of a need: To the modern sensibility, a need is “a want that is more than 24 hours old.” Some non-ideologues in the great pro-life, pro-choice debate have supposed that if a woman’s life were in danger during her