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Showing posts from November, 2007

Chicken Little Finally Admits The Sky Is Not Falling.

Rep. John Murtha today said he saw signs of military progress during a brief trip to Iraq last week, but he warned that Iraqis need to play a larger role in providing their own security and the Bush administration still must develop an exit strategy. "I think the 'surge' is working," the Democrat said in a videoconference from his Johnstown office, describing the president's decision to commit more than 20,000 additional combat troops this year. But the Iraqis "have got to take care of themselves." Violence has dropped significantly in recent months, but Mr. Murtha said he was most encouraged by changes in the once-volatile Anbar province, where locals have started working closely with U.S. forces to isolate insurgents linked to Al Qaeda. He said Iraqis need to duplicate that success at the national level, but the central government in Baghdad is "dysfunctional." Mr. Murtha's four day-trip took him to a Thanksgiving dinner with troops i

Dodd’s Little Ease: It's The War Stupid

Connecticut’s Sen. Chris Dodd is a liberal; or, as liberals like to style themselves these days, a progressive. So, naturally, conservatives in and out of the senate tend to rejoice at his absence from the chamber, increased these last few months by his quixotic pursuit of the presidency. Dodd’s ratio of missed votes compare favorably to other Democrat presidential wannabes. Hillary Clinton has missed 18% of senate votes because she is able to avail herself of private aircraft to speed her back and forth from the capital; Barack Obama missed 34%; Joe Biden missed 35% and Dodd 34%. According to Project Vote Smart, an organization that tracks votes important to Dodd’s clamorous progressive supporters on various blog sites, the senator missed 75% of “key votes” last month and 100% by the end of November. Now comes a page one story in the Hartford Courant written by Rinker Buck , the paper’s designated funeral director, to drive the last few nails into Dodd’s coffin. Buck points to a Q

That makes one vote: Brother Tom on Christy

" Tom Dodd , who is currently touring Iowa on behalf of his brother, Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd, was a different type of visitor from what the students had previously encountered. He served as U.S. Ambassador to Uruguay from 1997 to 2001 and then as ambassador to Costa Rica until 2005. Last year he authored a third book, "Tiburcio Carias: Portrait of a Honduran Political Leader," about the longest-serving head of the Honduran government. In addition, Tom Dodd serves as adjunct professor in the school of foreign service at Georgetown University and has previously taught at the Escuela de Estudios Superiores in Mexico. "The former ambassador discussed how the life of the younger brother he refers to as "Christy" and his own have often been on parallel tracks, despite a 10-year age difference. "'He went into a life of politics and got interested in Latin America as a Peace Corps volunteer,' Dodd said. 'I went into academic life. But we int

O’Neill RIP

Former Governor Bill O’Neill passing is a sad day for the state, though few will remember why. O’Neill was an honorable man and a watchful governor, an oddity in modern politics. He was ushered into office at the death of former Governor Ella Grasso. Personality wise, she left him with large shoes to fill. Grasso was brash, bold, commanding, and those who knew her said that on occasion she had a salty tongue. O’Neill had a quiet presence and dignity that suited the state well. His political acumen was vastly underestimated by almost everyone. People somehow mistook his gentility for weakness; but as a former House majority leader, Democrat chairman and lieutenant governor, O’Neill was a formidable politician. Both Democrat governors were by temperament and disposition fiscal hawks, which is probably why they were followed by a succession of Republican governors disposed to give away the state’s silver plate to all comers. Former Gov. Lowell Weicker, now officially a resident of Virg

What Makes Chris Dodd Run?

Concerning the strike authorized by CBS News writers this week, four questions quickly rise to the surface: 1) Will the Democrat candidates for president support the strike by refusing to cross picket lines? Yes. Who among the candidates has lent their support to the unionists? Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama, Bill Richardson, Chris Dodd and John Edwards all have pledged their support, though it may be a measure of the esteem in which Connecticut’s own Dodd is held that the story from Politico , “CBS strike could put debate in disarray,” mentions Dodd only fleetingly. Dodd has yet to rise much above 3% in most polls, and his coverage in the national media is correspondingly slight. 2) Will the strike and the reluctance of leading Democrats to cross picket lines affect the debates? Yes. Clinton, the front runner, has issued a statement that said, “It is my hope that both sides will reach an agreement that results in a secure contract for the workers at CBS News, but let me b

The Surge Has Worked

The view concerning Iraq from Britain appears to be, according to a shrewd analysis in Prospect magazine, cheerio. To be sure, the analysis is somewhat old. “Mission Accomplished,” by Bartle Bull, appeared in the magazine in October, weeks before the New York Times acknowledged that that times in Iraq, they are a’changing -- for the better. The glad news in the Times appeared in its inner pages. We don’t want to frighten the kids now, do we, with the possibility that the surge in Iraq has succeeded ? Not all the American press was missing in action? For years, the New York Times, which long has appeared to neo-conservatives as a propaganda annex of the Democrat Party in retreat, had dwelt with feverish anxiety on the signal failures of President George Bush’s policy in the Middle East. If information were money, it would have been possible for any objective observer to warn the paper that it was too heavily invested in an American defeat. The tide in formerly unlivable hotspots i


Natalie Sirkin , in an eye opening column on DDT, points out the difference between pop-science and the real thing. Africa is awash with preventable diseases because false science, in obedience to Grisham's law, has driven out real science. Roger Bate is a South African who has devoted himself for decades to promoting the use of DDT in the battle with malaria in Africa . Bate in his November 5 Wall Street Journal piece, “Last Chance for DDT,” tells how the use of DDT is being undermined by environmentalists and organizations selling alternatives to DDT. Environmentalists are scaring undeveloped nations telling them that DDT causes cancer or birth defects (totally false). European Union officials are suggesting their crops would be boycotted. Within national donor agencies, teams are writing anti-malaria literature while running No-Spray programs. The U.N. is hurting. Mozambique has run a successful indoor residual spraying program, but the media ignore the news. DDT is a mirac

DeLuca, The Aftermath

The interest in soon to be former state Sen. Lou DeLuca has flagged, especially among news reporters, at exactly that point at which it should be most intense. DeLuca announced that he was resigning last Wednesday, made a very pretty speech in which he once again admitted wrongdoing, and was as quickly forgotten as yesterday’s hasty pudding. Everyone went back to sleep, hardly noticing that nothing of any note, other than DeLuca’s resignation, had been settled. Predictable people said predictable things. Republican Sen. John Kissel said “It put an unfortunate chapter behind us.” Sen. Andrea Stillman, a Democrat, offered that the conclusion would have been the same had the legislative committee investigating DeLuca completed its work. Sen. Majority Leader Martin Looney, a Democrat, breathed a sign of relief. “Obviously,” he said, “the Committee will be concluding its work today.” But of course. It was never the work of the committee to devise and implement procedural rules to prev

A Winter's Tale: The Election in Enfield

The following story first appeared on Ron Winter's blog, A Winter's Soldier Story . It is reproduced here with permission because I like good political literature. The 13th Candidate: Enfield CT, GOP Victory Provides Template for National Campaigns Enfield Connecticut is a village/small city with a cohesive downtown area surrounded by tracts of open space punctuated by subdivisions. A large shopping mall anchors the commercial district, Interstate 91 bisects the community on its way from Hartford to Springfield, Massachusetts, providing quick access for the struggling industrial base, and the Connecticut River establishes Enfield's western border. The population of 45,000 residents is a relatively stable blue collar/white collar mix, and at election time most candidates are known to the voters for their other activities in the community as well as their politics. Like many similar communities across the nation Enfield is facing serious financial issues from burgeoni

ACLU Time?

Question: When is a house not a home? Answer: When it’s a Jewish temple. Chabad Lubavitch, an Orthodox Jewish organization, bought a Victorian era house in Litchfield and announced that it planned a temple on its property. The temple would require changes in the house: a roof steeple bearing a clock face with Hebrew lettering on it to identify it as a synagogue and a star of David. These changes did not pass muster with Litchfield’s Historic Commission, which previously, according to a story in the Waterbury Republican American , “had ordered flower boxes removed from in front of homes and more recently a historic plaque to a Revolutionary War hero taken down from the side of a house.” During a Sept 6 meeting, Commission Chairman Wendy Kuhne offered an objection to the plan. According to the minutes of the meeting: “A steeple will be added to the roof of the building and have a clock face with Hebrew alphabet lettering. The siding will be a combination of wood and Jerusalem stone. M

Small “d” Democracy

Democracy, the ability of the people to throw the bums out, runs purest in Connecticut’s town governments, because US congressional districts in this and other states are gerrymandered in such a way as to frustrate the democratic instinct. British author Malcolm Muggeridge used regularly to vote against incumbents because, he reasoned, the challengers, whatever their political orientation, had not yet presumed to rob him of his assets, cluttered the legislative landscape with pointless laws and deprived him of his God given liberties. That impulse is as American as apple pie. Here in the good old USA, the presumption generally lies against incumbents, even as the ability to survive the storm of voter discontent lies in favor of incumbents. For reason other than gerrymandering, the carving up of districts so as to prevent the party out of power from gaining a foothold, some legislators in some districts will forever be secure in their sinecures. It is difficult to imagine what Democra

Reform Primary Debate Format

Primaries are intra-party struggles. They answer the question: Who will represent Republicans and Democrats in the general election? In the past, questions of this kind used to be determined by party bosses in smoke filled back rooms. A John Bailey, the last Democrat Party boss here in Connecticut, used to gather together party regulars and decide, for instance, that everyone would back John F. Kennedy for president and Abe Ribicoff for governor. Applying a little pressure and buying off the more principled of the pols with a local project certain to gain them votes, all would emerge from the meeting in amicable agreement, and a party convention would put the gentlemen on the ticket. Everyone had a cigar, a shot of Jim Beam, and yet another putatively successful campaign was launched. This arrangement did not prove satisfactory to reformers. A concerted assault on the smoke filled back rooms ensued, after which primaries were instituted. Someone stuffed Bailey, put him in a political m

The Wuss Factor

Wussiness is a matter of perspective. If Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, Bill Clinton’s choice for president, has thus far appeared to be a tad less wussy than the other empty wallets with whom she has shared the stage during the Democrat primaries, it is because Hillary’s position on the Iraq war has been more attentive to consequences than, say, that of Sen. Chris Dodd. Dodd’s position on the war is: Run away. No ambiguity there. More precisely, Dodd’s ambition is to do everything legislatively to force the president to withdraw from Iraq – short of passing a bill definancing the war, which would create a multitude of problems for his comrades in the Senate and House. That kind of a bill would be a) constitutional, b) effective in ending the war and c) politically disastrous for the future of the Democrat Party. Dodd, an old anti-Vietnam war protestor, knows that the American public was loathed to turn against that lost cause until very late in the season. Generally, American

Triangulating Hillary: The Morning After

It may be a hopeful sign that Big Media still considers vacuity a no-no in politics. Sen. Hillary Clinton has taken a few raps for her performance at the last Democrat debates, and the rapping appears to have come from both sides of the political barricades. Following Clinton’s dance of death at the Democrat debate, John Edwards told an audience in South Carolina that Hillary hasn’t been candid with voters. It has not been recorded in press accounts of the South Carolina meet-up whether the audience was shocked – really, SHOCKED ! – that yet another politician was found lacking in candor. "Since the debate,” Edwards said, “we've continued to hear spin, smoke and mirrors — the same kind of double talk — to get away from the very serious issues that are in front of us in this campaign.” Barak Obama pointed out that although he was black and had been hit hard during the debate on various foreign policy issues, he sucked it all up and “didn't come out and say look I'm

Cubanizing Venezuela While The Courant Winks

Hugo Chavez, the Fidel Castro of Venezula, is moving his country towards a communist form of government. The constitutional changes made recently by the Venezuelan legislature dominated by Chavistas would, according to an AP report, “allow the government to expropriate private property prior to a court ruling and take total control over the Central Bank, create new types of property managed by cooperatives, and extend presidential terms from six to seven years while allowing Chavez to run again in 2012.” People in Connecticut, if they blinked, will have missed the report in the Hartford Courant. The paper reported the story in its Nation/World News section, a clip bin of world news stories. Though U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd from Connecticut, now running for president, is considered an authority on Latin America, apparently no one from the paper has contacted him to gage his response to the Cubanization of Venezuela. Dodd also has been cited in the Courant as a supporter of constitutional

Connecting Dodd’s Dots

The Journal Inquirer has reported that U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd is worried about unintended consequences and seeks to act responsibly. Dodd was not worried that a plan he supports to withdraw American troops from Iraq by March would be attended by unsupportable consequences. The senator was taking about friendly contributors to his campaigns. “Managers and partners at private equity firms, whose personal income-tax bills could double under proposed legislation,” the paper disclosed, “continue to be among the biggest contributors to U.S. Sen. Christopher J. Dodd's quixotic bid for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, Federal Election Commission records show.” During Sunday’s televised presidential debate, Dodd allowed that he “might” join the three Democrat presidential frontrunners -- Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, and former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina -- in supporting “some version of proposals to hike taxes on highly-compensated d

Crime and Punishment

Connecticut built new prisons several years ago on the assumption that getting serious on crime would deter serious criminals. Prison beds expanded, and they were soon filled. Some on the left have now concluded that punishment does not deter criminals. They are suggesting treatment programs for drug crimes; this, they say, will release more beds for serious criminals and, in the long run save us some money. The question of decriminalization may not be wholly a right, left issue. It’s been more than three years since Bill Buckley , hardly a man of the left, suggested that the use of marijuana for medical relief should be decriminalized. In arguing for limited decriminalization, Buckley suggested that the “stodgy inertia most politicians feel” when they address the issue of limited decriminalization should give way to “a creeping reality.” Buckley noted that “Professor Ethan Nadelmann, of the Drug Policy Alliance, writing in National Review, estimates at 100,000 the number of American