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Showing posts from July, 2008

Easy On "Legacy," and "Icon"

But this election is still about Bush and the legacy of the past eight years in significant ways” – Connecticut Local Politics.

legacy
c.1375, "body of persons sent on a mission," from O.Fr. legacie "legate's office," from M.L. legatia, from L. legatus "ambassador, envoy," noun use of pp. of legare "appoint by a last will, send as a legate" (see legate). Sense of "property left by will" appeared in Scot. c.1460.
patrimony

1340, "property of the Church," also "spiritual legacy of Christ," from O.Fr. patrimonie (12c.), from L. patrimonium "a paternal estate, inheritance," from pater (gen. patris) "father" + -monium, suffix signifying action, state, condition. Meaning "property inherited from a father or ancestors" is attested from 1377. Fig. sense of "immaterial things handed down from the past" is from 1581. A curious sense contrast to matrimony
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It’s a little premature to tal…

A View From The Left: Obama’s European Trip

As seen from the left, both in the United States and in Europe, Barack Obama’s recent trip was a signal failure.



What, it may be asked, did the left expect of him?

They expected a clear repudiation of President George Bush’s war policy. But Obama is subtle, and it is too much – especially in the midst of a presidential campaign – to expect clarity of him. The left has already chosen sides: Palestinians against Israel; peace, almost at any price, against war; anti-Americanism against pro-Europeanism.

When Obama returned to the United States, American reporters reminded him that he was so warmly greeted in Europe because he was the anybody-but-Bush candidate, and Bush is loathed in Europe.

Obama went on to explain that he had been selling unity in Germany, England and France. He had been harsh on the terrorists. He was calling upon Europeans to embrace the horror, the United States, in unity, one of the reasons he was so generously endorsed by Carla Bruni’s husband, French President Nicol…

Shays' Last Stand?

This may be the year that Connecticut bids goodbye to the last Republican U.S. Representative in New England.

It is not likely that Rep. Chris Shays will be enthusiastically supported by his Republican base, a problem presidential candidate Sen. John McCain is also facing.

According to one news report, Shays this year is offering himself as a Republican who “could work with likely Democrat presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama," and never mind that Shays is co-chairman of McCain campaign in Connecticut.

"On the issues, I work with Republicans and Democrats,” Shays has said, “If Obama's elected, he'll probably be turning to me. If he is going to do what he says and work with Republicans, I am going to be one of his natural allies that he'll turn to if he wins,” all of which is possible – if Shays wins.

There are enough “ifs” in this proposition to choke an elephant. Getting back home to Kansas from Oz is always the difficulty.

Among the items Shays regularly hands ar…

How EPA Got Away With It

The Environmental Protection Agency has never said the air is safe to breathe and never will--as clean-air expert Joel Schwartz has pointed out--because the day it does, is the day it is out of a job.

EPA writes the regulations under the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 for the six pollutants—seven, the Supreme Court having just added another, carbon dioxide. Three times EPA has declared new standards, each one tougher, for ground-level ozone, first at 0.12 parts per million for one hour, then at 0.08 parts per million for eight hours, and in March at 0.075 ppm for eight hours.

This latest change, declares EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson, is “the most protective” in history from air “simply too dirty to breathe.” (EPA defines as “unhealthy” anything above its latest arbitrary standard.) Each time the standard is changed, the new standard is always the most protective in history, since it is always tighter than the standard it replaces.

EPA declares that tightening the ozone …

Edwards Spindives

Ugly rumors about ex-presidential candidate and former Sen. John Edwards, he of the perfect hair, that have been in the pipeline for several months are now burbling to the surface.

The rumors involve a child Edwards produced with his reputed love interest, Rielle Hunter.

Somewhere along the line, the Hounds of Heaven who toil at the National Inquirer, got wind of the affair and decided to pursue Edwards during a tryst he had arranged recently at the Beverly Hilton Hotel with Hunter and their alleged child. Edward's wife, though cancer stricken, valiantly supported him during his presidential bid. Edwards has denied the child is his.

“His secret mistress Rielle Hunter and her baby were upstairs," The Enquirer reported, "and Edwards had just spent hours with them in a secret rendezvous.

“As Butterfield and Hitchen tried to question Edwards, he ran down a hallway and ducked into a men's public bathroom. The reporters attempted to follow him in and Edwards pushed the door sh…

The surge has worked

It is one thing to re-write history, quite another to re-write the present, as some willfully blind progressives are doing who still insist that the surge has not worked. Even the New York Times, no friend to the Bush administration, knows that life has improved in Iraq – largely due to the success of the surge.

Barack the Conqueror

At the present moment -- remembering that there is nothing more changeable than a moment -- Hanna Strange reports from Timesonline, these are the positions of Sen. Barack Obama on the war in Iraq:

September 12 2007

"We should enter into talks with the Iraqi government to discuss the process of our drawdown. We must get out strategically and carefully, removing troops from secure areas first, and keeping troops in more volatile areas until later. But our drawdown should proceed at a steady pace of one or two brigades each month. If we start now, all of our combat brigades should be out of Iraq by the end of next year.

"We will need to retain some forces in Iraq and the region. We'll continue to strike at al Qaeda in Iraq. We'll protect our forces as they leave, and we will continue to protect U.S. diplomats and facilities. If - but only if - Iraq makes political progress and their security forces are not sectarian, we should continue to train and equip those forces.&qu…

On Fannie, Freddie, Saints and Sinners

There are some saints among the sinners in the Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac shakedown of the U.S. Congress.

One of the saints is the Wall Street Journal, which for years has inveighed against the dangers involved when private profit is yoked with governmental power.

In a recent column, Paul Gigot, the Editorial Page Editor of the paper, puts it this way:

“The abiding lesson here is what happens when you combine private profit with government power. You create political monsters that are protected both by journalists on the left and pseudo-capitalists on Wall Street, by liberal Democrats and country-club Republicans. Even now, after all of their dishonesty and failure, Fannie and Freddie could emerge from this taxpayer rescue more powerful than ever. Campaigning to spare taxpayers from that result would represent genuine 'change,' not that either presidential candidate seems interested."

The WSJ does not hesitate to name the sinners. Here is a rundown of previous postings by the Jo…

The Centering of Obama

Sen. Barack Obama’s move to the right, after having dished Sen. Hillary Clinton in the Democrat presidential primary, has been variously described as traitorous by hot headed bloggers on the left and refinements by the senator’s apologists in the mainstream media.

Markos Moulitsas of the Daily Kos website, marching orders central for leftist bloggers, is having second thoughts: “There is a line between 'moving to the center' and stabbing your allies in the back out of fear of being criticized. And, of late, he's been doing a lot of unnecessary stabbing, betraying his claims of being a new kind of politician. Not that I ever bought it, but Obama is now clearly not looking much different than every other Democratic politician who has ever turned his or her back on the base in order to prove centrist bona fides."

Columnist Donald Lambro recently caught Obama in mid-pirouette on the question of the Iraq war when he cited an article written for the July/August issue of Fore…

A Piddling $25 Billion

The Associated Press is reporting that a bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, federally supported mortgage lenders, could cost taxpayers $25 billion.

“’This is like two months in Iraq for something that involves, literally, market stability and (calms) global jitters,’ said Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, D-Conn., the Banking Committee chairman. Dodd said he hoped the legislation would clear Congress by the end of the week.”

Dodd and the Moonlit Mackerel

He is a man of splendid abilities, but utterly corrupt. He shines and stinks like rotten mackerel by moonlight -- Senator John Randolph of Virginia, commenting on fellow lawmaker Edward Livingston.

In a follow-up to its explosive story on Countrywide, the nation’s now defunct largest mortgage lender whose president Angelo Mozilo had greased the palms of shakers and movers in Congress such as U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd, the chairman of the senate’s powerful banking committee, Portfolio, a Conte Nast publication, now gives us the honorable Richard Aldrich, a California state appeals court justice.

As was the case with Dodd, Aldrich also was favored by Mozilo’s chief agent, loan officer Robert Feinberg, who was put in charge of the now notorious “Friends of Angelo” VIP program.

Refinancing his 8,200-square-foot house adjacent to a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course at the Sherwood Country Club in Westlake Village, Aldrich turned to fellow member Mozilo, who through Feinberg approved the $1 milli…

Why Clinton Lost

The autopsies on Sen. Hillary Clintons’s failed presidential bid are now coming in. Frank Luntz of Luntz Maslansky Strategic Research in Washington D.C., characterizes it as “the worst campaign ever. It was a disgrace."

Leading Sen. Barcak Obama by 22 points on the same day as the Iowa caucuses, Clinton blew it.

Her “arrogance” and “viciousness,” Lutz said, got the best of her.

John McCaslin reports in Townhall.com that Lutntz’s consulting firm “examined the speech patterns of both Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama during the primary campaigning and determined the Illinois senator and now-presumptive Democratic presidential nominee issued a negative attack or statement almost every three minutes.

"Mrs. Clinton, on the other hand, issued an attack ‘every 50 seconds.'"

About Those Loans Senator

US Sen. Chris Dodd, Kevin Rennie finds, is still dodging on his loans: “I took the Dodd challenge, and the senator won't like the result. Several days after news broke last month that Sen. Christopher J. Dodd and his wife received significantly reduced interest rates on more than $800,000 in mortgages from Countrywide Financial, Dodd taunted reporters to look at the rates. He claimed he got a deal available to any other borrower. He was wrong.”

The average rates at the time Dodd secured is jumbo loan from Countrywide was about 5 percent; the Dodds got a 4.5 percent loan from the troubled lender. “The 2003 loan on his D.C. property, purchased a few years before from his old friend, Rep. Rosa DeLauro, was for $506,000. That's a jumbo,' more than the maximum of a conventional loan, and records on those interest rates aren't widely available.”

“The chairman of the Senate Banking Committee could get the information if he thought it would confirm his loud claim that it's …

Oops!

A video that explores Sen. Barack Obama's "refinements" of his position(s) on the largely successful Iraq War, out just in time for his expected trip to the Middle East.

The New Yorker Story

While barrels of ink have been spilled over the New Yorker cover, not much has been said about the story that appeared in the magazine.

From the point of view of the publisher, the cover was a clever device. It certainly produced a good amount of controversy. If you are a magazine, it’s always better to be noticed, and the cover was the equivalent of a bared breast.

Cartoons of this kind always carry a mixed message. The partisans on the right were not unpleased, and for those on the left, the cover made their point: that much of the criticism issuing from the fever swamps on the right was silly, cartoonish. Michelle Obama is not, as pictured, a bomb throwing 60’s radical; Sen. Barack Obama is not a practicing Muslim but a Christian politician. Even Fox News, generally held up by the left as the simulacrum of right wingnut politics, acknowledged that this kind of criticism was unfair.

The real problem with the cover was that it detracted from a fair and fulsome account of Sen. Barack Ob…

Obama’s Site "Refinements"

This just in, from the neo-cons at the Associated Press.

On the question of the war in Iraq, the changes on Obama’s official site include the following:

An updated Obama quote at the top of the page. The previous quote stressed how Obama had the judgment to oppose the "rash war" from the start. This was a popular message among Democratic voters and was meant to draw distinctions with primary rival Hillary Rodham Clinton, who initially supported the war. The new quote focuses on how ending the war will make Americans safer — a message aimed at general election voters who are more likely to trust McCain on issues of national security, according to polling.

• A description of Obama's plan as "a responsible, phased withdrawal" that will be directed by military commanders and done in consultation with the Iraqis. Previously, the site had a sentence that has since been removed that flatly said, "Obama will immediately begin to remove our troops from Iraq." Mo…

Dodd and the Monopolists

The senator from Connecticut is the best friend monopolists ever had.

Among all the piffle and patter concerning the housing crisis, it has not been sufficiently noticed that this is a “made in Washington” fiasco.

Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac, both teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, are quasi- governments creatures -- federal monopolies, in fact – that pushed the envelope on awarding housing loans to people who could not support them because they knew taxpayers would pick up the tab when they engaged in risky and possibly criminal lending practices that Dodd's children would scorn, if they were grown-up like their Daddy.

This is not a point one expects to be discussed at length by Connecticut senator Chris Dodd during any of his senatorial inquisitions as the banker’s banker-in-chief in Washington.

Perhaps The New Yorker could develop a suitable cartoon showing the connections between bought and paid congresspersons and infinitely stupid bankers for its next cover.

Fanny and Freddy we…

The New Yorker Cartoon

The New Yorker cartoon – on the front page of the magazine, no less – is a monument to tasteless commentary. But there is a difficulty in protesting it.

The idea seems to be to satirize stupid commentary on Sen. Barack Obama. The cartoon shows him in Islamic garb: Take that all you people who suppose that Obama is a Muslim, rather than a practicing Christian. His lovely wife Michelle is dressed as a 60’s radical, wearing an afro and carrying a Kalashnikov rifle: Take that all you bottom feeders who have suggested that Michelle lacked pride in her country, and so on… and on. An American flag is shown burning in the fireplace, a slam on opinion from the right that Obama’s failure to wear a flag pin signals an absence of patriotism.

Now, all this is not funny. Satire is not supposed to be funny, especially for those who “don’t get it.” And, judging from much of the commentary surrounding the New Yorker’s tasteless cover art, the great unwashed American – who is not a subscriber to the New…

PATRIOTISM, DOES IT MATTER?

You can go to live in Turkey but you can’t become a Turk. You can’t go to live in Japan and become Japanese. But . . . anyone from any corner of the world can come to America and be an American.” -- Ronald Reagan

Americanism is a matter of the mind and heart; Americanism is not, and never was, a matter of race and ancestry. A good American is one who is loyal to this country and to our creed of liberty and democracy.” -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

In 1776, we declared ourselves independent and committed ourselves to certain principles and ideals. Our ideals, set forth in the Declaration of Independence, implemented in the Constitution, go back to the Magna Carta, common law, Athenian democracy, and the Hebrew covenant.

What does it mean to be an American? Opportunity , reward for hard work, respect for talent, entrepreneurship, leader in productivity, respect for education; the chance to get ahead, to name a few characteristics.

What makes us a nation is our heritage, but we are lo…

Cibes Rises

Many of the young people who read Bill Cibes' op-ed column in the Hartford Courant, “In Case Of Rain, Break Open: State Fund Meant For Tough Times,” may well be asking themselves “Cibes who?”

The op-ed piece was attributed to two authors. Cibes is identified in the by-line as the former “secretary of the state Office of Policy and Management” and “a member of the board of the Connecticut Association for Human Services.” His co-author, Elizabeth McNichol, is “a senior fellow with the State Fiscal Project of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington, which focuses on fiscal policy and public programs that affect low- and moderate-income families and individuals.”

Cibes is so much larger than his titles suggest. Before he was chosen by former Governor Lowell Weicker to head the Office of Policy Management, Cibes was a candidate for governor. His primary campaign program had but one serious plank – the state needs an income tax – and he was beaten with the plank in the…

What Goes Up And Never Comes Down?

State employee salaries, according to Paul Hughes of the Waterbury Republican American: “The legislature is supposed to approve or reject contracts and awards, but the full House and Senate generally don't even vote on them…

“Democrats contend the trend reflects the deference due negotiated agreements and the decisions of neutral arbitrators in contract disputes.”

Senate Majority Martin M. Looney, D-New Haven explains why: "In my own view, there is a strong presumption in favor of sustaining an arbitration award or a contract based on respect for the collective bargaining process.”

Best lede of the year award

The "Best Lede of the Year Award" goes to Jon Lender of the Courant: “For two years, the Department of Children and Families has operated under a bizarre governmental quirk: Its compliance with a federal court order has been policed by an official fired by the DCF in 2006 for having sex in the 1980s with a woman he met as a social worker.”

Presidential Race Even Steven

According to the most recent Rasmussen Poll, the presidential race has evened out: “Obama holds a statistically insignificant 47% to 46% advantage.”

Previous to this poll, Obama had been leading McCain by about 7 points.

The favorable verses unfavorable ratings have changed: “McCain is now viewed favorably by 56% of voters, Obama by 54%. Obama receives unfavorable reviews from 44% of voters while McCain is viewed unfavorably by 41%. McCain earns favorable ratings from 32% of Democrats while Obama is viewed favorably by 22% of Republicans. Among unaffiliated voters, McCain is viewed favorably by 58%, Obama by 54%.”

The poll mentions as a matter of interest that “55% of Democrats have a Very Favorable opinion of Obama while just 33% of Republicans are that enthusiastic about their nominee. However, 86% of Republicans have at least a somewhat favorable opinion of McCain while only 80% of Democrats have such an opinion of Obama. Other key stats on the race can be found at Obama-McCain: By t…

Blumie Backs Dodd for VP

Connecticut’s Attorney General Richard Blumenthal backed Sen. Hillary Clinton for president, not his “good friend” U.S. Senator Chris Dodd.

However, Blumenthal is backing Dodd as a Vice Presidential candidate in the Barack Obama administration, should Obama succeed in defeating likely Republican nominee for president Sen. John McCain.

A reporter for ctnewsjunkie, Christine Stuart, caught up with Blumenthal at one of his hourly (only kidding) news conferences and put the question to him: Assuming Dodd vacated his position to run with Obama as Vice President, would Blumenthal be interested in occupying his seat in the U.S. Senate?

“’Of course I have an interest in the senate seat.’ Blumenthal then explained that he doesn’t think the Countrywide mortgage issue that has dogged Dodd in recent weeks should be anything more than a ‘minute blip on any national candidate’s resume.”

A New Haven For Terrorists

Somewhere along the line, the new policy of New Haven, Connecticut regarding illegal immigrants ran up against a thinking journalist, the Managing Editor of the Journal Inquirer in Manchester,Chris Powell, and the collision has produced sparks that may be of interest to those who sometimes worry about terrorists. Connecticut's commissioner of emergency management and homeland security James Thomas is not among their number.

With the blessing of Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Commission and the state’s commissioner of homeland security, New Haven, with perfect secrecy, may now hand out to illegal aliens identification cards that, in Powell’s estimation, “create identities --genuine or contrived -- for its illegal alien residents who have no genuine ID documents, so that their continued illegal residency in New Haven may be facilitated.”

If you are an illegal alien who has penetrated the porous borders of the United States on your way to New Haven, you may be rewarded with an i…

Dodd Slips

An story in The Day of New London examines the slippage in US Sen. Chris Dodd’s popularity, now hovering around 50%: “The percentage of voters who disapprove of how Dodd is handling his job has risen six points since March to 34 percent…”

Doug Schwartz, the pollmeister at Quinnipiac University, attributes the dip to Dodd’s deal with Countrywide and resentment over Dodd’s failed presidential bid: “The perception was that he was not focusing on his job as senator representing Connecticut,” said Schwartz.

Former Democratic state party chairman George Jepsen begs to differ. Jepsen said it wasn’t unusual for failed presidential candidates to suffer a home-state backlash and attributed Dodd’s slippage to, according to the Day, “the anti-incumbent mood from the sour economy."

If Jepsen’s analysis is right –it isn’t – the Democrat Congressional delegation should be shaking in its boots. The last Republican congressman standing in New England is moderate Rep. Chris Shays; the rest are all De…

We Feel Your Pain… But: An Examination of a Courant Editorial

The Courant editorial is called “Have Another Drink,” and it draws a parallel between the consumption of alcohol and gas.

And what’s wrong with that?

The suggestion is that those who drive cars are addicted to gas in the same sense that drunks are addicted to alcohol. There are some differences: Alcohol is not a necessity, except for those who have fallen into the bottle, and gasoline, a by product of oil, is a necessity, pending the invention and mass production and availability of cars that run on air, water or fairy dust.

The premise of the editorial is that alternative transportation sources are not likely to be developed in the absence of some need. Gas at $14 a gallon, (the price in Ireland and much of Europe) to pick a random figure, is likely to produce such a need. Therefore, any attempt to lower gas prices to a level that decreases the pain of shelling out $14 for a gallon of it would be, as the progressives say, not in the public interest.

Got a problem with that?

Well, yes. The…

Citizen Donovan

Next year, Speaker of the state House Jim Amann, will hand the Speaker’s baton to Rep. Christopher Donovan, a Democrat from Meriden who works part time as a union organizer for the Congress of Connecticut Community Colleges and is presumed to be much further left on the political spectrum than his predecessor.

Should he become Speaker, Donovan has suggested he will sever his ties with the CCCC. The business community, perhaps reasoning that while you can take Donovan out of the union, you cannot take the union out of Dovovan, is said to be wary of the presumed new Speaker.

Bye-Bye

The news site of the year, TimesOnLine, is reporting that the surge has succeeded in driving Al-Qaeda from Iraq: “American and Iraqi forces are driving Al-Qaeda in Iraq out of its last redoubt in the north of the country in the culmination of one of the most spectacular victories of the war on terror.”

It may take some time for the good news to trickle down to other news hot spots like The Huffington Post and MoveOn.org. It is rumored that Democrat presidential candidate Barack Obama intends to visit Iraq, sometime or other, at which point his aides may disclose the news to him, after which he may -- ahem -- "adjust" his view on the withdrawal of troops without regard to realities on the ground.

Them That's Got Will Lose

Comptroller Nancy Wyman has detected some cracks in Connecticut’s principal revenue engine, the state’s income tax.

“The drop in the income tax is directly linked to the drop in job growth we saw in the first four months of the calendar year,” Wyman said.

According to a report in the Journal Inquirer, the 40 percent of the state’s income tax tied to Connecticut’s wealthiest households in the form of capital gains, dividends, investment income, and year-end bonuses has suffered a drastic diminishment.

“Between the 2001 and 2002 fiscal years,” the JI reported “the investment portion of the income tax lost more than $420 million. By 2003, the overall decline topped $550 million.”

It would appear that the rich don’t always get richer as the poor get poorer. Former President John Kennedy got it right when he said that a rising tide lifts all the boats. Prosperity lifts both the rich and the poor on its broad shoulders.

Connecticut’s tide has been receding for a long while, and the question aris…

Obama and the Audacity of Adjustments

Sen. Barack Obama waged a hard-left campaign against Sen. Hillary Clinton and dished her, with much help from hard-leftists both in the media and on blog sites. It is only a slight exaggeration to say he became Clinton in order to up-end her.

The quick change artist may have something similar in mind for his Republican opponent, Sen. John McCain.

The trick, now that Obama is facing a moderate Republican, is to move to the middle without irreparably damaging his support on the left.

This can be managed.

Obama, whose stern and inflexible views on immediate withdrawal from Iraq solidified his position on the left in the primary, now finds it necessary to adjust that view in the general election. An immediate withdrawal from Iraq in the post surge period, to take but one example of Obama’s recent serial adjustments, was always questionable, except as a primary campaign strategy.

But a guy’s got to do what a guy’s got to do.

And so now we are told, both by Obama’s handlers and the cheerleading s…

A Good Photo-op Spoiled

Mellissa Baily of CTNewsJunkie tells us that Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz jumped the gun in a VA hospital recently and, if we can mix metaphors, landed on the shark. Mark Twain once said of golf that it was “a good walk spoiled.” Here we have a good photo-op spoiled. Has Blumenthal slipped on blood?

CAP AND TRADE FOR CLIMATE CHANGE

Rightly or wrongly, Global Warming offers disaster for our planet. Countering it has become a consuming concern. Emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) focus on carbon dioxide. “A reduction in carbon emissions has become an end in itself,” observes Bjorn Lomborg, whose Copenhagen Consensus found 36 better ways to accomplish the goal.

Carbon dioxide is the by-product of fossil fuel, chiefly oil, which provides 85% of our energy. European attempts to decrease CO2 have failed while being extremely expensive. Nearly every European country has higher emissions today than when the Kyoto Protocol which started it was signed in 1997. Cap and Trade (C&T), a favored approach, is “the biggest income tax on industry yet devised,” in the opinion of Senator James Ihhofe (R, Oklahoma). Nevertheless some influential firms welcome it.

“Cap” would put a lid on the emissions each plant can produce through “allowances” distributed by government or some other authority. “Trade” is to enable fir…