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Showing posts from December, 2008

McEnroe RIP

Colin McEnroe – radio talk show host, columnist, former religious reporter for the Hartford Courant, and a member of the illuminati – is now off the air, and there are grumblings right and left. A fan writes in the Courant: "I am inexpressibly SHATTERED by the unforeseen and unforgivable loss of Colin. What is wrong with those MORONS at WTIC? Can they not recognize the sublime genius and JOY that is Colin? Please, oh please, BARRAGE them with "Bring Back Colin" missives to: 10 Executive Drive, Farmington, CT 06032. Talent of his caliber does NOT come along very often in one lifetime, and I deplore and despair loosing this tremendously precious human being. Say it ain't so...SCREAM it ain't so…God Help Us...And GOOD RIDDANCE to STUPID, BORING, and TRAGICALLY MYOPIC WTIC." The contras were legion, brief, brutal and short. But Colin’s talents cannot be denied. He has flair with the language and a ready wit. And then, of course, there is his saving friendsh

Blago’s Choice

"Please don't allow the allegations against me to taint this good and honest man," Governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich said, and with that he announced his appointment of former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris as his choice to fill President-elect Barack Obama’s senatorial seat. Some people, among them the man whose seat Burris is to fill, were not amused. Said the president-elect, "Roland Burris is a good man and a fine public servant, but the Senate Democrats made it clear weeks ago that they cannot accept an appointment made by a governor who is accused of selling this very Senate seat. I agree with their decision, and it is extremely disappointing that Governor Blagojevich has chosen to ignore it. I believe the best resolution would be for the Governor to resign his office and allow a lawful and appropriate process of succession to take place. While Governor Blagojevich is entitled to his day in court, the people of Illinois are entitled to a functio

US Attorney General-elect Eric Holder Was Not Straight With Congress

At the time president Bill Clinton pardoned a wealthy contributor to his campaigns, Mark Rich, Attorney General-designate Eric Holder was the number 2 man in the Justice Department. Clinton had fired all the US attorneys connected with the previous administration and appointed new faces in the department. At the time of the pardon, Rich was the largest tax defrauder in the United States. In sworn testimoney before Congress, Holder claimed he had “only a passing familiarity" with the case against Rich. The Washington Times is now reporting: “Correspondence with the Justice Department and testimony secured by Congress from other witnesses show that 15 months before the pardon, Mr. Holder met privately with Mr. Rich's attorney and received a presentation about what Mr. Rich's defense believed were flaws in the government's case. "Mr. Holder, then serving as the No. 2 official in the Clinton Justice Department, later took the rare step of contacting federal pros

The US Attorney General-elect and the Terrorists

In 1983, a gang of criminals trained in Cuba under the enlightened administration of Fidel Castro, pictured to the left schmoozing with a well known US senator and sometime later the governor of Connecticut, knocked over a Wells Fargo office in West Hartford and absconded to Cuba with $7.2 million. Following a 1986 visit to Cuba, Weicker told The Village Voice that Castro was "a man of enormous intellect and idealism. Castro has been known to snow people but he didn't snow me. We flew all over the place and I saw what he has done with my own eyes. By Caribbean standards, it's Park Avenue." It is not known whether during his brief visit Weicker asked Castro to turn over Wells Fargo robbers to his custody. All were members of a Puerto Rican terrorist gang called Los Macheteros, a group affiliated with the Armed Forces of National Liberation linked to 130 bombings, a few murders and about a dozen robberies. According to the FBI, Los Macheteros, among other radical I

Palin-Kennedy Revisited

Andrew Sullivan , no Republican Party stooge, compares Caroline Kennedy, the presumptive senator from New York, and Sarah Palin, governor of Alaska, finding one of them wanting: “I was struck by this story in the NYT this morning: “As the day wore on, the carefully maintained silence surrounding her campaign-that-isn’t cracked, then shattered under the weight of the intense public interest her bid has drawn. She declined any questions in Syracuse, grudgingly answered a few in Rochester, and then gave what almost felt like — but was not — a full-fledged news conference in Buffalo, joined by the mayor there, Byron W. Brown. "Remind you of anyone? "In fact, Sarah Palin was more qualified to be vice-president than Caroline Kennedy is to be a Senator. Both are celebrities, but Palin made her own way herself, winning election as mayor and governor without the kind of raw nepotism now on display in New York State. The model now, of course, is similar - finding a way to get ele

The Bush Legacy, a Prequel

Kevin Hassett of Bloomberg News has offered a prequel of the Bush legacy, and it doesn’t look good for the Bush beaters. Historians usually are not quite so tempermental as bloggers, commentators and compromised reporters. On the Iraq war: “The argument for his eventual vindication is stronger than many might expect. “On foreign policy, Bush emphasizes that he pursued a “freedom agenda” and spread freedom to Iraq. While the Iraqi future is far from clear, it is possible that the country becomes a democracy and a reliable ally of the U.S. If that transformation is completed, then it could well be viewed as a turning point in the war on terror. “On the home front, to virtually everyone’s surprise, we’ve avoided a terrorist attack since Sept. 11.” On the body blow to the economy: “We are in the midst of the worst recession of our generation, yet it is hard to attribute this crisis to anything that Bush actively did. If his large deficits produced skyrocketing interest rates that c

Absolution for Obama: Who Knew What, and When Did They Know It?

Rham Emmanuel, the numero uno aide in the incoming Obama administration, has now been offered absolution of any wrong doing in any connection he or the Obama administration may have had with media tainted Governor of Chicago Rod Blagojevich by 1) the Obama administration (in a report the administration soon will released) and 2) host of ABC’s “This Week,” George Stephanopoulos, to whom the report was released early. It's who you know that counts in political reporting. That should satisfy the the complaisant Main Stream Media , as well as President-elect Barack Omaha’s other adoring fans. “I have been briefed on the review that Obama has done,” Stephanopoulos said. “The sources I talked to say that what it will show is there were actually far less contacts than we had heard – that Rahm Emanuel only had one phone call with Governor Blagojevich. It wasn’t even really about the Senate seat.” The New York Times is reporting that "lawyers who compiled the Obama review did not

Environmental Defense Fund Burries DDT

With the help of Environmental Protection Agency’s Administrator, William Ruckelshaus, the media, and environmental organizations, DDT today is as rare as Mercurochrome. Article after article discusses the decades-long efforts to develop a malarial vaccine, mentioning the unsatisfactory measures in use, but omits the efficacious DDT—the greatest, the cheapest. Yet the manufacturers of DDT were among the first lawsuits targeted by the infant Environmental Defense Fund, then three guys and a clipboard. One of the three, Victor John Yannacone, Jr., spoke of those early days at the paper industry’s luncheon meeting on May 20, 1970. (We have a transcript.) Yannacone’s credentials : “I think I ought to disabuse you all, at the beginning, of some basic prejudices. . . . I have no undergraduate degree, and for those of you who wonder about my legal talents . . ., you ought to know that I have the lowest average of anybody who ever graduated in the entire history of Brooklyn Law School , whic

Name Four Ways to Cut Spending

Shelly Sindland, the affable host of “ The Real Story ,” a Fox news production, had on her program three guests: Chris Healy, the chairman of the state Republican Party, Roy Occhiogrosso, a principal with Global Strategy Group, and Kevin Rennie, once a Republican state Rep. and now a commentator for the Hartford Courant. Mrs. Sindland asked of her guests a question that reporters should not fail to ask of legislators as the state attempts to discharge a $6 billion biennial budget deficit: How do we cut spending? At first there was some palaver about tolls, selling Bradley Field and selling off portions of state highways to private firms for maintenance, while politely asking the UConn Health Center to return some of the money lavished upon it by past legislatures. Then Mrs. Sindland offered an idea of how to pump money back into the economy: “I have a great idea. A congressman from Texas on the federal level is proposing to suspend the income tax and the social security tax for two

Immanuel’s Involvement with Blagojevich Deeper Than First Reported

The Chicago Sun Times is reporting that “President-elect Barack Obama's incoming chief of staff Rahm Emanuel had a deeper involvement in pressing for a U.S. Senate seat appointment than previously reported... Emanuel had direct discussions about the seat with Gov. Blagojevich, who is is accused of trying to auction it to the highest bidder.” Update: Citing unnamed sources, George Stephanopoulos of ABC News is reporting that Rham Emmanuel has had only one direct conversation with Blagojevich. Immanuel had four conversations with Blagojevich chief aide John Harris: “The sources add that the report will show Emanuel also had four phone calls with Blagojevich Chief of Staff John Harris. During those conversations, the Senate seat was discussed. The pros and cons of various candidates were reviewed, and the sources say that Emanuel repeatedly reminded Harris that Blagojevich should focus on the message the pick would send about the governor and his administration. “Sources also c

Did BOA Write Dodd’s Bill?

Did Bank of America write Dodd’s Housing Bail Out Bill? The scoop was not, as may be expected. Provided by Connecticut’s main stream press. "Some journalists and Republican lawmakers are asking if Countrywide bought a bailout bill with its VIP loans to Dodd, who is chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. But when asking cui bono? about Dodd's bill, we need to look to Bank of America. "Bank of America agreed in January to buy Countrywide, and the deal is near completion. House and Senate staffers opposing the measure say Bank of America operatives wrote that chamber's version of the bailout. "One Senate staffer was told by a lobbyist, 'the bailout section is exactly what Bank of America and Countrywide wanted.' The Senate staffer added 'its obvious they got what they asked for.'" These stories exist, when they exist at all, in out of the way places, though the Los Angeles Times did consent to notice back in June.


Connecticut’s Congressional delegation , all Democrats now that Rep. Chris Shays has been defeated by Jim Himes, have written to president-elect Barack Obama to suggest that he appoint as leader of the Peace Corp soon to be former Rep. Chris Shays, a maverick Republican.

Déjà vu All Over Again

It’s always worth while having a look back before stumbling forward into a precarious future. Those who have memories will remember that moment, just before Connecticut’s state income tax became a reality, when arguments were being made in various quarters in favor of the income tax. The pro-tax folk had three sharp arrows in their quiver. The primary tax revenue engine, the sales tax, was said to be subject to the vagaries of the market place. In good times, the sales tax flooded state coffers with the mother’s milk of politics, money. But in bad times, the flood dwindled to a trickle, leaving legislators in the unenviable position of having to settle upon spending cut, never a bright prospect for those legislators who wish to be all things to all men. This budgetary punning was something the two most well known Democrat governors, Ella Grasso and William O’Neill, did with glum pusses. It was a time when the income tax was but a glint in former senator and governor Lowell Weicker’s

Kennedy vs. Palin

The New York Times has now weighed in on Caroline Kennedy’s fitness to serve as senator from New York. According to a lede from a recent story, even the true blue New York Times is having a problem wrapping its headlines around the idea: “She has not held a full-time job in years, has not run for even the lowliest office, and has promoted such noncontroversial causes as patriotism, poetry and public service. Yet Caroline Kennedy’s decision to ask Gov. David A. Paterson to appoint her to Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Senate seat suggests that she believes she is as well prepared as anyone to serve as the next senator from New York — and is ready to throw her famously publicity-averse self into the challenge of winning back-to-back elections in 2010 and 2012. Already, some columnists, bloggers and even potential colleagues in Congress have begun asking if she would be taken seriously if not for her surname. Representative Gary Ackerman, a Queens Democrat, told a radio host on Wednesday th

Harry Reid Opens a Vein

A distressed Harry Reid, the Democrat US Senate Majority Leader, opened a vein in the well of the senate a few days ago. Pity and concern for the auto workers' union poured out. The bloodletting on behalf of the Big 3 auto makers was, as it turned out, an entirely useless gesture, because soon to be ex-President George Bush a day later hinted he would give the auto workers everything they wanted – and then some. Congressmen and others allied with the auto workers' union wanted a no strings attached bridge loan of $14 billion to tide the Big 3 over until a new administration, possibly more accommodating, was installed in Washington. More responsible legislators wanted either a) the Big 3 to declare bankruptcy so that the companies could trim the fat from their paunches, reorganize their business practices and emerge from the process leaner and more prosperous, or b) to assign a “car czar” to oversee the process or reorganization before bail out loans were made. The bridge loa

The Fishwrap

Santa Claus Is Coming To Town. Liberal heartthrob Ned Lamont , the Greenwich millionaire who, hand in hand with agents of Lowell Weicker, tried and failed to off Sen. Joe Lieberman, has written in The Hartford Courant a “Recovery” opinion that contains the following sentiment: “But every state is lining up to sit on the lap of the federal Santa Claus and say whether they've been naughty or nice. So, Connecticut better be prepared to explain how our projects can put people to work in year one, how they make us more competitive in the long term, and how we can pay our share of the cost.” The subliminal message of Lamont’s lucubration is: “We’re broke, let’s spend money in the expectation of a gift from Santa.” Jodi Rell sat on Santa’s lap during this year’s governor’s conference and found it cushy. The occasion was celebrated in a Courant editorial : “Mr. Obama singled out Republican governors, whose number includes Mrs. Rell, in extending ‘the hand of friendship’ on Tuesday. His L

France Spikes Politically Inconvenient Report on Electric Cars

Some months ago, Nicholas Sarkozy’s government commissioned one of Frances most respected energy regulators, Jean Syrota, to draw up a report analyzing all options towards building cleaner, more efficient cars by 2030. The 129-page report, completed in September, possibly will never be published because it confirms some inconvenient truths the global warming crowd would sooner ignore. The report concludes, according to the Financial Times , that electric powered cars are cultural and technological a cul de sac , to use a French term: “Instead, it suggests that the traditional combustion engine powered by petrol, diesel, ethanol or new biofuels still offers the most realistic prospect of developing cleaner vehicles. Carbon emissions and fuel consumption could be cut by 30-40 per cent simply by improving the performance and efficiency of traditional engines and limiting the top speed to about 170km/hr. Even that is well above the average top speed restriction in Europe, with the notab

Emanuel Stiffs Reporters: Dead Fish on the Way

Some people just say “no comment,” but President-elect Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, is a little more inventive than that. Staff reporters for the Chicago Sun Times , a pesky lot, caught up with Emanuel recently to ask him whether he was the Obama “advisor” named in the criminal complaint against Gov. Rod Blagojevich . Blagojevich himself once used a higher-up contact at the paper – not named in prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald’s complaint – to try to ward off pesky reporters from the Sun Times. Here in Connecticut, the guessing game as to who this might be has already begun. Real Estate magnate Sam Zell owns both papers. Under Zell's direction the Tribune Company is on the point of declariung bankruptcy; if the company had banking functions, it could apply to the Obama administration and the incoming Democrat controlled US legislature for a bailout loan. The Sun Times noted that “Emanuel was uncharacteristically absent from Obama’s news conference this morning. He was s

For the Record, Blagojevich

For the record, here are some excerpts printed in the New York Times from a transcript of prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald’s news conference following the complaint issued against Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich: Speakers: Patrick Fitzgerald, United States attorney general for the Northern District of Illinois Robert Grant, Federal Bureau of Investigation special agent in charge Fitzgerald: In addition to the pay-to-play allegations, which are described in greater detail in the complaint, we also were surprised to learn of an extortionate attempt against the Chicago Tribune newspaper. The Chicago Tribune had not been kind to Governor Blagojevich, had written editorials that called for his impeachment. And Governor Blagojevich and defendant Jonathan -- John Harris, his chief of staff, schemed to send a message to the Chicago Tribune that if the Tribune Company wanted to sell its ball field, Wrigley Field, in order to complete a business venture, the price of doing so was to fire c

Bush Busses Babs

The kiss heard round the world. And in some corner of the universe, a puppet maker, alive to the irony of the situation, is hard at work immortalizing the moment in paper mache, the puppets to be towed around in a pick up truck and displayed at every future Streisand appearance.

Republicans and Rell

There will always be what the French call “frisson” between political parties and their nominal heads. In Connecticut, the nominal head of the Republican Party is Governor Jodi Rell. Foreground politics is different than background politics. At the end of November and the beginning of December, the background moved on stage, and for a brief moment one saw disquieting fissures. The Republican Party in Connecticut must be something other than its nominal head. Political graveyards are populated with the brutalized corpses of leading politicians who had mistaken themselves for their parties. Politicians come and go, parties remain. They are intended to be the permanent structures in a politics of developmental change, though parties also are subject to an evolution that should enhance a deliverable message . And here is where the trouble begins. Parties are like flags or constitutions. Armies gather under flags; countries move forward into uncertain futures on the wings of constitution


Around the 1990s, some women who had developed breast cancer began wondering if there were some particular factor causing it. There were regional differences in the incidence of breast cancer. Certain areas were high risk: the Northeast, the San Francisco Bay area (even Sherman ’s Briggs Hill was added—briefly). Risk factors were upper–income women, older than 50, Jewish, never had children or had first child at a later age, an early age at menarche, menopause at a late age, used hormone-replacement therapy, with (poor) diets rich in fats, and a family history of breast cancer.. Those were known high-risk factors. However, they could not be used to predict which women would get breast cancer nor could they be used for prevention. To those high-risk factors, alarmists added environmental pollution, with air-pollution still another factor (but small if at all). Epidemiologist Geoffrey C. Kabat ’s new book, Hyping Health Risks, Environmental Hazards in Daily Life and the Scien

No Time To Slash State Spending, a Commentary

A commentary on “Major Cuts, Tax Increases Will Only Accelerate Downturn,” by Demetrios Giannaros , D-Farmington, deputy speaker of the state House of Representatives and a professor of economics at the University of Hartford specializing in macroeconomics and public finance. When your car is skidding on ice, the first reaction is to slam on the brakes. But experience tells us that a lighter touch will actually keep us from careening off the road. This is the dilemma facing state officials as they confront rising budget deficits and consider drastic spending cuts. I suggest we take a more deliberate approach to keep on course, avoid inflicting more pain on state residents and give us the best chance for economic recovery. Connecticut legislators hadn’t considered a deliberate approach to spending control until right now. And now the fierce urgency of now is knocking at their door. In the past, free spending legislators slurped down surplus after surplus, thus adding to bottom line

The Fishwrap

Let’s get the sex out of the way right off the bat: Here is the now notorious pic of Hillary Clinton being groped by President Elect Barack Obama ’s communication director . Hillary’s response was amusing; she said she was happy that the offender was taking an interest in the Secretary of State’s office. Bill, one suspects, was not amused, but it’s wonderful that Hillary’s bruising primary and general election campaign has not dented her sense of humor. She’s gonna need it. OJ Simpson got tossed in the caboodle for attempting to recover some sports memorabilia, a fitting end, some thought, to Simpson’s eternal dance on the rim of a volcano. State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal was in the news multiple times this week; we forget what brought him before the cameras, possibly random speculation concerning his run for governor or for senator – in the event the star-crossed Sen. Chris Dodd finds himself in the calaboose along with OJ. “In the midst of the worst economic situation