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Showing posts from May, 2008

You’ll Never Know

Everything you really wanted to know about the Obama-Hillary primary can be learned on the cheap by listening to The Platters. First the charismatic Obama: And Hillary of the broken heart:

Would You Buy An Insurance Policy From This Guy?

The Hartford Courant has dropped an editorial hammer on soon to be Speaker of the House Chris Donovan’s baby, a deficient bill that would open Connecticut’s health insurance pool to municipalities, smaller businesses and non-profits. Sean Matterson, chief of staff to New Haven Mayor John DeStefano, no shrinking violet when it comes to accepting state taxpayer handouts, claimed in a letter to a legislator that, far from saving his city $8.6 million, Donovan’s brainchild “would result in no savings from current costs.” Having done the math, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton says, according to the Courant, the bill would cost his city $5 million. The folk who claimed Donovan’s insurance pool bill would save Danbury $2.8 million… er…“forgot to include retirees in their calculations, an astounding math mistake no self respecting insurance company concerned with getting and spending would make.” Over in Massachussetts – formerly Taxachussets – few people have bought into the state’s new insurance

Obama and Kennedy

Comparisons have been made between Sen. Barack Obama and President John Kennedy, and on some points the comparisons are well founded. Both were and are young candidates running against war heroes. Both are barrier breakers, Kennedy the first Catholic president, Obama the presumptive first black president. Both wives of the candidates were and are intelligent, attractive and not camera shy. The hopes of young people appear to be vested in both. Obama and Kennedy are and were what has come to be known as “rock stars,” charismatic figures. Both were and are running on a program of change, though the "change" envisioned by Obama is somewhat different than the change envisioned by Kennedy. It seems odd to recall now that Kennedy had accused Eisenhower of being soft on Communism, part of a campaign salient in which the new and untried prospective president sought to assure a doubtful public that he was willing to "bear any burden" for the cause of liberty. There are som

What? Me Worried?

According to a story in the Hartford Courant – You have to hunt for it on page A13 – some black holes have made an appearance in Sen. Barack Obama’s cosmos. He lost Kentucky by 249,000 votes, “the most lopsided loss by either candidate in more than three months. He's lost ground in the nationwide popular vote steadily since March 1, losing a net of a half-million votes to rival Hillary Clinton. He faces another possible big loss next week in Puerto Rico. And early looks at key battleground states such as North Carolina and Ohio suggest troubles with whites, Hispanics and the working class. “He's having difficulty in the primaries locking down fall battleground states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and has been unable to show he can win in Republican-leaning states such as Kentucky and Indiana.” And the ruminations of Dante Scala, a political scientist at the University of New Hampshire, are not comforting. The big Mo has disappeared: "Momentum has disappear


Surgeon Michael DeBakey last month received the highest civilian award for his pioneering work in life-saving cardiac surgery. This 99-year-old inventor of open-heart surgery took the occasion to recommend to health-care policy makers and others, veterans’ health care ( VistA ), as the very best model available. A member of the selection committee, he presumably had studied all health-care systems. VistA? Nowhere have we seen it discussed. It is not even mentioned once in the eight-paged VA Connecticut Information Packet. Fortunately, there’s an excellent new book: Best Care Anywhere , Why VA Health Care Is Better Than Yours, by journalist Phillip Longman (Sausalito , CA , PoliPointPress, 2007, 158pp). Longman came to the subject from months of exasperating experiences dealing with prestigious health-care providers for his wife, a breast-cancer patient. Two unique factors distinguish VistA. One is the VA’s “spectacular” use of electronic medical records: its “integrated he

Edward Kennedy

Very likely, according to the prognosis of his doctors, Sen. Ted Kennedy will be passing along soon, perhaps as early as two years, into the hands of his Maker or into the void. He is the last Kennedy of what we here in the United States have come to regard as the “First Family.” Those who belive in a "Maker" are sometimes comforted by the Veni Creator Spiritus : Creator Spirit, by whose aid The world's foundations first were laid, Come visit every pious mind, Come pour Thy joys on human kind; From sin and sorrow set us free, And make Thy temples worthy Thee. Others pay cash. Most of us were young when Sen. Edward Kennedy's brother John was elected the first Catholic president. When JFK died, I was just passing through my freshman year in college. Everybody remembers where they were on that dreadful day. I had just taken a shower after a basket ball game, and when I rushed through the doors out into the bright November day, the parking lot was crowded with

The Politics of Fear 3

Colin McEnroe fears that if you criticize Barack Obama you may be a KluKluzer.

The Politics Of Fear 2

Sen. Joe Lieberman, the scourge of progressive (anti-war) Democrats, once again has been caught engaging in “the politics of fear,” this time in the editorial section of the Hartford Courant . Lieberman and his Republican pal, Sen. John Warner of Virginia, have together produced a bill “that will sharply reduce America's output of greenhouse gases responsible for global climate change and drive the technologies that will make us energy-independent.” Attached to the bill is a warning: “The act puts the U.S. on a trajectory to help the world avert the catastrophic effects of unchecked global warming.” Yes, catastrophic! Now there’s a word that raises the hairs on the back of your neck. Over in Australia, at least one scientist is warning that we are about to enter a new ice age. Something to do with sunspots, which are not behaving as they should. All this is bound to provoke a discussion of the Robert Frost poem: Some say the world will end in fire, Some say in ice. From

Endtimes: The politics of Fear 1

Iran is not only a state that facilitates terrorism. The United States, as President George Bush’s opponents in the U.S. Congress never tire of reminding us, is engaged in a hot war in Iraq. Many of the Democrat primary presidential candidates – including, to mention just two, U.S. senators Barcak Obama and Chris Dodd - and their media supporters continue to favor an unconditional withdrawal from that war patterned after the U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam, an “orderly” withdrawal followed by mayhem, murder, the slaughter and imprisonment of innocents, and the humiliating betrayal of those in Vietnam, such as the Hmong tribesmen, who supported our actions. A similar turn of events has been anticipated in Iraq should American troops be forced to withdraw at this stage of the war. By precipitously withdrawing its troops, the United States would leave all in Iraq who had supported its military actions at the mercy of vicious terrorists supported by Iran and Syria. The innocents who would m

The New Good And Bad Rules Of President Obama

The new rule under Barack Obama, agent of change in Washington, is this: If you’re connected with a lobbyist , that’s no good. If you are running for president on the Republican ticket, and you establish a guiding rule according to which everyone connected with your campaign who has lobbyist ties in Washington must leave the campaign, you become a target for accusations that you are supporting the status quo in Washington. If you are connected to either a black racist preacher , a terrorist who has not repented of his terrorist activities or an indicted moneybags Chicago politician who had contributed oodles of cash to your campaign and later helped you purchase a million dollar home – not so bad. If you mention these things in print – bad. You are engaging in the dreaded "politics of fear."

The Courant, Court Ordered Legislation, Gay Rights And Polygamy

In connection with gay rights, the Hartford Courant is untroubled by the fact that a California court has vetoed the vox populi . Rolling over the legislature, California’s state Supreme Court has decided that the right to marriage is a constitutional right. The Courant heartily agrees. The paper cites a dissent by Justice Marvin R. Baxter, who argued that the justices had “substituted ‘judicial fiat’ for democratic change.” No problem, the Courant argues: “…that's what courts do when people's rights are long denied. In the celebrated Brown v. Board of Education case in 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court — headed by Californian Earl Warren — jump-started school integration in parts of the country that had been slumbering since the Civil War. “The majority of justices found that marriage is a constitutional right and that the state had no compelling interest in denying that right to same-sex couples. ‘In contrast to earlier times,’ wrote Chief Justice Ronald M. George in the majo

Caruso Sings The Blues

At the end of the “do nothing” legislative session, Rep. Chris Caruso and Senator Diana Urban, the co-chairs of the Government Administration and Elections Committee, had a press conference the subject of which was ethics reform, but another senator, Edward Meyer, unexpectedly showed up, commandeered the microphone and rained on their propaganda parade. “I want to state a different opinion,” Meyer said as reporters recorded the interruption of an otherwise placid media opportunity. According to a report in the Journal Inquirer , “The Guilford lawmaker then charged his two House colleagues on the GAEC panel with producing a ‘watered down’ pension sanctions plan designed to shield unionized state employees, questioning their resolve to affect a linchpin of the Democratic base. ‘It looks self-serving,’ Meyer said. ‘It looks union-biased.’” The king was stripped naked of his trappings and the two co-chairs of GAEC gasped with astonishment. Of course, it didn’t take Caruso long to recove

Labeling The Enemy

V.I. Lenin used to say that if you label an idea properly, you do not have to argue with it. On a similar line, if you find that a proposed amendment in Connecticut’s General Assembly is “not germane,” even when it is germane, you do not have to consider it. That is what was done by Majority Leader in the House of Representatives Chris Donovan in the case of a Republican alternative budget submitted by Republicans as an amendment after Democrats and Governor Jodi Rell had decided to skip school. Rather than confront the serious problems facing the state, which include but are not limited to a vanishing surplus and mounting spending, the Rell-Democrat combine chose not to tinker with a budget that later will require either severe spending cuts or crippling increases in taxes. This dereliction of duty, some have speculated, is related to the coming elections. Democrats, some critics have said, are loathed to raise taxes to cover anticipated deficits and burgeoning spending increases bef

What Chocolates And Government Programs Have In Common

Like chocolates, government programs are instantly addictive. They are also difficult to repeal, especially in Connecticut, because every new program creates its own constituency, instant professions; and as George Bernard Shaw reminds us, “Every profession is a conspiracy against the laity.” The laity is the world outside the profession. In government, the laity is the collective whose pockets are mined by the profession to extend and continue the conspiracy. That is how hard pressed and friendless taxpayers in the state should think about new programs. Old programs involve entrenched constituencies, which are considerably more difficult to uproot and cast into the fires of Hell. An entrenched constituency is like a mouse in a house. First you see one, then two; then nothing happens for about six weeks. Then the mouse population explodes. Soon you are overwhelmed by boisterous mice chatting in the wall. What a mouse population that threatens to overrun the house needs is a cat – a bri

Democrat Grass Roots Want the Primary To Continue, Leaders Fear Committment

According to a Gallup Poll , most Democrats want the primary race between senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to continue. However, nervous Nellies in the Democrat leadership remain nervous. Huge beads of sweat continue to pour from party leader Howard Dean’s forehead, and Chris Dodd continues to hover between strangling Hillary and smooching her. The longer the primary goes on, Dodd said, the more committed people become. Better to cut the thing off while people are yet malleable: "The problem as this thing goes further down the pike is that your supporters, the intensity, increases. Your loyalty deepens. Your feelings about the other side deepen. ... The question is really whether these other folks out there, who have really invested a great deal of their lives in this effort for the last two years, are going to be willing to sort of pat each other on the back and go charging off for eight weeks." The tingling at the back of the neck that every genuine reporter and

Why Opra Dumped Wright

Television host and mega-celeb Opra Winfrey was, according to a story in Newsweek, “a member of Trinity United from 1984 to 1986, and she continued to attend off and on into the early to the mid-1990s. But then she stopped. A major reason—but by no means the only reason—was the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. “According to two sources, Winfrey was never comfortable with the tone of Wright's more incendiary sermons, which she knew had the power to damage her standing as America's favorite daytime talk-show host. "Oprah is a businesswoman, first and foremost," said one longtime friend, who requested anonymity when discussing Winfrey's personal sentiments. "She's always been aware that her audience is very mainstream, and doing anything to offend them just wouldn't be smart. She's been around black churches all her life, so Reverend Wright's anger-filled message didn't surprise her. But it just wasn't what she was looking for in a church." O

Primary Dirt Dished By Democrats

The Democrat primary campaign, writes Noemie Emery in National Review , certainly is not without irony: “A campaign in which a feminist trailblazer [Geraldine Ferrero, once a Vice Presidential candidate on the Democrat ticket] is called a racist by a post-racial healer [Sen. and would-be president Barack Obama] who indulges a racist bible thumper [the silver tongued Rev. Jeremiah Wright] is a little too strange for their minds to keep up with, but it is the long termed result of the world they created. They never dreamed that the diversity codes they cooked up could snap back and attack them. But they could, and they have.” “We can dismiss Reverend Wright as a crank or a demagogue,” Obama said some time before he dismissed his pastor as a crank and a demagogue, “just as some have dismissed Geraldine Ferraro in the aftermath of her recent statements as harboring some deep-seated racial bias.” The “some” to whom Obama was referring were Obama backers, ardent Democrats all. Ferraro, wh

Saderist Bloc Throws In The Towel

The good news probably will not make the front pages of the New York Times and its Connecticut derivatives. But weeks after the Times and other publications decided that the Mahdi Army had prevailed over Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki, the government of Iraq and the Saderists have reached an agreement, according to the most recent update on The Long War Journal . According to the terms of the agreement: • The Iraqi government and the Mahdi Army would observe a four-day cease-fire. • At the end of the cease-fire, Iraqi forces would be allowed to enter Sadr City and conduct arrests if warrants have been issued, or if the Mahdi Army is in possession of medium or heavy weapons (rocket-propelled grenades, rockets, mortars). • The Mahdi Army and the Sadrist bloc must recognize the Iraqi government has control over the security situation and has the authority to move security forces to impose the law. • The Mahdi Army would end all attacks, including mortar and rockets strikes against the I

Connecticut’s Budget And Dystopias Elsewhere

“ It is, perhaps, too complimentary to call them Utopians, they ought rather to be called dys-topians, or caco-topians. What is commonly called Utopian is something too good to be practicable; but what they appear to favor is too bad to be practicable " – John Stuart Mill Gov. Jodi Rell this year conspired with the Democrat leadership in the legislature to shut down a promising Republican alternative budget. There’s something old and something new in all this. In times past, other Republican governors have joined the Democrat leadership and blissfully ignored objections coming from the loyal opposition. Former Governor John Rowland was notorious for beating up on the loyal opposition within his own party to bring in expensive Democrat crafted budgets. And former senator and governor Lowell Weicker, the father of Connecticut’s income tax, had been practicing the art of subtly and not so subtly undermining the efforts of his party ever since he emerged mewling from the political cri

The Right’s Loss Is The Left’s Gain

Voters are deluded, Arianna Huffington wrote, “The thing is, these voters clearly still think of McCain as the maverick of 2000, a straight shooter who would never seek the embrace of a man he couldn't bring himself to vote for, nor accept the regular counsel of Karl Rove, the man behind the vile, race-baiting attacks on him during the 2000 campaign.” And the mainstream media, “the John McCain Protection Society,” is primarily responsible for the deception, according to Huffington. The MSM, in the lingo of blogdom, has become the scapegoat of such as Huffington who, for awhile there when she was a cheerleader on the Right, was part of the putative conspiracy to portray McCain as a Republican maverick. She has changed her mind since she changed her principles and leapt over the barricades to hitch up with progressives. Huffington insists it was her principles that impelled her to disclose that McCain once told her in a private conversation that he did not vote for President Geor

Closing Time, The Punch And Judy Hour

Well, it’s crying time again, you’re gonna leave me. I can see that far away look in your eyes … Ray Charles The old saw has it that neither a man’s property not his wallet is safe so long as the legislature is in session. Connecticut may now breathe a collective sigh of relief. The legislative session has officially ended. The bad new is that the duffers may be called into a special session. The legislative plate this year had been pretty full, before the governor and the legislature threw the carefully prepared meal on the floor and stomped out of the room. The boys and girls were supposed to tackle ethics reform, provide relief to hard-pressed taxpayers slogging through a recession, prevent murderers and rapist from murdering and raping us a third time and, of course, give more money to UConn, a reflex action of the last zillion legislatures. As it happened, the surplus, eaten by recession mice, dwindled to nothing; at which point, the legislature and Governor Jodi Rell deci

Putting On Ayers, Radical Chic Lives

Another associate of Barack Obama, former terrorist now Distinguished Professor of Education at the University of Illinois, Chicago, Bill Ayers, is shown in an article on him that appeared in Chicago Magazine with a flag rumpled at his feet, a Mona Lisa smile coursing across his face. Ayers, one supposes, is no fan of flag pins. He’s duded up in jeans and a frumpy navy sport coat, the very picture of soi-disant late 60’s early 70’sb, bomb throwing, cop hating, marriage scorning, pot smoking, authority questioning, radical underground revolutionary whose Daddy was a wealthy capitalist. Sol Stern in City Journal writes that Ayers is highly influential among the nation's educators: "Ayers’s texts on the imperative of social-justice teaching are among the most popular works in the syllabi of the nation’s teacher-ed schools and teacher-training institutes. One of Ayers’s major themes is that the American public school system is nothing but a reflection of capitalist hegemony. Thu

The Real Wright, In Context

In the May 19 issue of National Review magazine Stanley Kurtz, a senior fellow of the Ethics and Policy Center, puts some of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s wilder flights of fancy into their proper context, and finds the context as disturbing as the statements themselves. Far from being in the mainstream of the black American church, Chicago’s United Trinity Church of Christ, Kurtz writes, is “the most radical black church in the country.” The “theology” of the church has been lifted from the writings of James Cone, “the founder and leading light of black-liberation theology” and the author of Black Theology & Black Power . “Wright acknowledges” Cone’s work as the basis of Trinity’s perspective, Kurtz writes, “and Cone points to Trinity as the church that best exemplifies his message…Cone’s theology is the first and best place to look for the intellectual content within which Writes views took shape.” Presently the Charles A. Briggs Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology a

Connecticut's Big Bad Deficit

When a deficit occurs in Connecticut – not often, because the state regularly reaps surpluses by overtaxing its citizens – the first instinct of the Democrat politician is to reach for someone else’s wallet. Millionaires -- the-well-to-do, the redundantly rich, the average Connecticut Gold-coasters who usually, according to those who want to pilfer them, spend their Sundays grinding the faces of the poor -- are a convenient target. It was Luke, not the relatively inoffensive Mathew, who in his beatitudes called down lightening upon the heads of the rich and heedless. Luke’s beatitudes, unlike Mathew's, include curses: “…woe unto you that are rich, for you have your consolation; woe to you that are filled, for you shall hunger; woe to you that now laugh, for you shall mourn and weep; woe to you when men shall bless you, for according to these things did their fathers to the false prophets.” Luke’s objection seems to be that the sons of wealth need no God; comfort can well affor


Twenty-five years ago, in 1983, the Nation At Risk warned us our schools were falling behind. The National Governors’ Conference in 1989 declared we would be first internationally in math and science by 2000. The warning was heard but not heeded. We were further behind than ever. Many countries have been surging ahead of us including Liechtenstein , Estonia , Macao-China , Finland , Singapore , South Korea , Taiwan , Japan , and HongKong. We try. Chester Finn , Jr., started his career in the new U.S. Department of Education by investigating and reporting on all the good published studies on “what works.” The Department distributed over 500,000 copies, with little impact. Is all lost? There are a few signs of resuscitation in “Going for the Gold, Secrets of Successful Schools,” by Barry Newstead, Amy Saxton, and Susan Colby in the Spring issue of EDUCATION NEXT, pp. 38-45. The authors analyzed the successful schools for the elements that make them successful. The schools are

Poison Pill 2

Breathing heavily, the Hartford Courant noted in a Friday editorial that state Rep. Chris Caruso, “ once (emphasis mine) the leading voice on revoking the pensions of corrupt government employees,” has inserted yet another “poison pill” into proposed ethics legislation. The legislature wisely excised Caruso's first "poison pill" -- the unconstitutional retroactive revocation of pensions -- from the legislation and permitted it to float into obscurity as a stand alone bill, wherefore Caruso, the Inspector Javert of ethics in the House, now has offered his second "poison pill," a provision that offers an escape hatch to unionized corrupt public officials. On Tuesday, Democrat House members "exempted union members from pension revocation," the Courant fumed. Under the provision backed by Caruso and the unions, "judges could reduce the pensions of unionized employees — but only (emphasis mine) to repay stolen money and pay fines, court expenses an

The Deficit, A Really Inconvenient Truth

Since February, State Comptroller Nancy Wyman wrote in her monthly budget analysis, income tax receipts have been declining. “And, based on current employment reports, I expect this trend will continue throughout the remainder of the fiscal year and will impact July accruals. Current sales tax collection patterns also suggest a shortfall in revenue.” But never fear, Democrats intend to patch part of the hole with an amnesty program for tax delinquents, a move advocates say could infuse the next budget with more than $100 million in one-time revenue.” To quote myself quoting former senator and governor Lowell Weicker, father of the state income tax, way back in December 2005: “The eyes of the world and of other states are on us. What have those eyes seen so far? Following the institution of a new income tax, they’ve witnessed a doubling of the state’s budget, which means a doubling of state spending, and a shift in collections from consumer sales taxes to less business friendly income t

The Long War Journal

If the Pulitzer Prize Committee were on its toes, it might consider awarding “ The Long War Journal ” a Pulitzer for superior reporting from the war front: “Fighting in Sadr City has been heavy over the past four days. The largest engagements occurred on April 29 when a large force of Mahdi Army fighters ambushed a US patrol on the border area where the wall is being built. US forces responded and killed 28 Mahdi Army fighters while suffering six wounded. On April 27, 22 Mahdi Army fighters were killed as they massed to strike at a checkpoint in Sadr City. Sixteen more were killed in separate engagements that same day.’ That is not the sort of paragraph one sees in the usual reports in major newspapers, most of which spun off the operative premise that Muqtada al Sadr would be successful in his promised “uprising.” Nothing could be further from the truth . “US and Iraqi troops killed 173 Mahdi fighters from the period between March 25 and March 30, when the Basrah offensive began u

Should Democrats End Proportional Primaries?

News Channel 8’s is reporting that Joe Andrew , appointed Democratic National Committee chairman by then Preident Bill Clinton from 1999-2001, is switching his allegiance from Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama. “I am convinced that the primary process has devolved to the point that it’s now bad for the Democratic Party,” Andrew said. “While I was hopeful that a long, contested primary season would invigorate our party, the polls show that the tone and temperature of the race is now hurting us,” Andrew wrote. “John McCain, without doing much of anything, is now competitive against both of our remaining candidates. We are doing his work for him and distracting Americans from the issues that really affect all of our lives.” All this was predictable after the Democrat Party had put forward two strong candidates for the presidency, one a woman and the other a black American. The Republicans, relying on winner take all primaries, put their primary season to bed early. The Dem