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Showing posts from February, 2010

The Malloy Box

Dan Malloy, the former Mayor of Stamford presently exploring a run for governor on the Democratic ticket, appeared before a group of Rotarians in Westport at the end of February and was asked how he might apply his mayoralty experience as governor.

Exploratory candidates have to be careful in answering such questions. Should the candidate slip and fall into a recognizable gubernatorial campaign mode, he would risk losing a great deal of money. Campaign contributors are permitted to give more money to those “exploring” a candidacy for public office in Connecticut than they might give to declared gubernatorial candidates.

Prompted by a questioner how he might turn his mayoral experiences to use as governor, Malloy answered, “The root of the trouble in stumbling Connecticut is a divided legislature incapable of producing a good government. We have to recognize that a divided legislature cannot produce good government."

Malloy added that the Democratic Party, though dominant, was unw…

Democrats on the nuclear option

The most florid arguments against the so called “nuclear option,” now widely considered as a measure that might be useful in passing the health care initiatives of President Barack Obama, Chris Dodd, Chuck Schumer, Harry Reid and the better angels of Hillary Clinton’s nature were made in 2005 by the Democratic politicians mentioned above.






A stern warning issued at the time by present Vice President Joe Biden was especially bracing.

In 2005, confronting an assault on the Republic by Republicans who were attempting to end a Democratic filibuster by employing the nuclear option, present Vice President Joe Biden said:

“I say to my friends on the Republican side: You may have the field right now, but you won’t have it forever. And I pray God: When the Democrats take back control, we don’t make the kind of naked power grab you are doing…”

Sen. Chris Dodd, who for more than 30 years had honed his oratory in the senate, rose to the occasion with a speech that even Sen. Robert Byrd, often comp…

Tea Party Patriots, Who They Are

Shortly after a Kamikaze pilot in Texas drove his plane into building occupied by the Internal Revenue Service, leftist bloggers began to speculate, on very slender evidence, that the pilot may have been connected with Tea Party protestors. His obvious preference for communism over capitalism in a sign off letter he left behind soon spoiled that hastily constructed thesis. But the faulty thesis begs the question: Who are these people who call themselves Tea Party Patriots.

In an effort to arrive at an answered to that question, the National Review Institute commissioned McLaughlin & Associates to study two separate groups of Tea Party Patriots: the “6 percent of the 1,000 likely voters polled in mid-January who told McLaughlin that they had participated in tea-party rallies and the additional 47 percent who said they ‘have not participated in a tea party protest but . . . generally agree with the reasons for those protests.’”

The results of the study are certain to disappoint tho…

A Primer On The Role of Money in Politics

Money is important in political campaigns because it buys face time. Most incumbents have face time in abundance. They also collect political contributions in abundance, some of it donated by groups the incumbent is supposed to be regulating.

That was the case with Chris Dodd, the favorite candidate of every Republican running against him. As head of the Banking Committee, Dodd was supposed to be regulating big banks and financial institutions. When the Journal Inquirer publicized the role played by Dodd in the termination of the Glass-Steagall Act, the skids were greased and Dodd found himself on the wrong side of an accepted political narrative: that campaign contributions corrupt, and big campaign contributions corrupt absolutely.

This is the dark side of political contributions: They are swords that may cut both ways.

Self financed campaigns are a different kettle of fish. Self financing gets rid of toxic middle men. The self-financer can only corrupt himself. There is no ticking …

Miss Me Yet?

Cafe Press, according to CBS News, is doing a booming business in this:


"There were no Obama-themed designs on the list," a company spokeswoman said. "Bush has stolen the political spotlight, just like Sarah Palin did the week before when she re-surfaced with crib notes written in her palm."

Lamont To The Rescue

Today, Connecticut finds itself facing immense fiscal challenges — as our working families and small businesses continue to bear the brunt of the economic downturn.

After years of unfocused leadership, our state is sorely in need of a chief executive who will focus like a laser on creating jobs and getting our economy back on trackNed Lamont

If you unpack “economic downturn,” you will find that the “burden borne by working families and small businesses” is related to high spending priorities in the Democratic dominated legislature, an unfriendly tax environment and excessive liabilities. A chief executive who focused like a laser on “creating jobs and getting our economy on track” would sturdily resist a legislature now spending beyond its means by, in round figures, about $3 billion.

One can only hope the next governor will direct his or her well focused laser at legislative leaders such as Speaker of the House Chris Donovan and President Pro Tem of the Senate Don Williams, both o…

CORRUPTION IS CAPTURING SCIENCE

We have long been accustomed to believe that science is absolutely truthful. In little more than half a century, that is changed. As everyone knows, a hacker broke into the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia and distributed thousands of e-mails indicating blatant attempts by the Global Warming professors to cook the books.
There’s more. We learn that 5,428 Global Warming articles in Wikipedia have been rewritten. (Click on Lawrence Solomon; read his article, “How Wikipedia’s green doctor rewrote 5,428 climate articles," published originally in the Financial Post of December 19, 2009.) That’s not all. Another 500 articles were deleted, reports Solomon.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) activists were involved. There was a Medieval Warm Period around 1000 AD to 1400 AD, which was warmer than today. It was not caused by humans. The existence of that Medieval Warm Period is fatal to the Global Warming activists, such that they have been induced to …

The Courant Gets Sick Of Sick Days

A Sunday Hartford Courant editorial opposing proposed legislation by state Sen. Edith Prague that would require ailing Connecticut businesses to provide workers with paid sick days for employees was accompanied by a, Englehart cartoon showing Prague as a vampire about to sink her fangs into the soft neck of a businessman.
And in case Prague didn’t get the point, the Courant editorialized, “It simply courts trouble to create another mandate that could pile more costs on employers trying to keep workers on the payroll during a recession.

“Gov. M. Jodi Rell has opposed the sick-day mandate in the past. We hope she remains steadfast.”

Rell has gone a bit wobbly since she announced she did not want to be governor anymore. The budget she is writing for the new legislative session, outlined in a recent state of the state message, is long on short fixes and short on spending cuts.

Democratic vampires over at the legislature likely will not have much to fear either from the Courant or Engleha…

The Left and Blumenthal

Whoa!

Mr. Gregg Levine of FireDogLake has launched several rhetorical missiles at the highly partisan Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat now running for Chris Dodd’s seat in the U.S. Senate:

“Those who know Dick tell me that he is the quintessential finger-in-the-wind politician. Hell, just listening to this short interview on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show, I got the image of some classic Hollywood film caricature of the blowhard, entrenched, do nothing, say anything gasbag. So, what struck me while listening was which way this weathervane thought the wind was blowing.”
Mr. Levine is disappointed both with Blumenthal’s hawkish view on President Barack Obama’s war in Afghanistan and the attorney general’s public disagreement with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder concerning the proposed trial of terrorist Kahlid Sheik Mohammed in a civilian court.

Mr. Levine quotes an offending passage from Blumenthal’s interview:

“I am determined to chart my own course in Washington, differen…

Points Of Interest: Phone Taps; Taxes; Iraq, Obama Sucess Story

Obama Administration Favors Phone Taps

On Friday, a federal appeals court considered a case that involves wireless phone tapping. The money graph is here in a story that appeared in CNET News:

“In that case, the Obama administration has argued that warrantless tracking is permitted because Americans enjoy no "reasonable expectation of privacy" in their--or at least their cell phones'--whereabouts. U.S. Department of Justice lawyers say that "a customer's Fourth Amendment rights are not violated when the phone company reveals to the government its own records" that show where a mobile device placed and received calls.”
Will Consider Taxing Households Making Less Than $250,000

Business Week reports that the Obama Administration will consider taxing households that make less than $250,00 per year:

“Obama, in a Feb. 9 Oval Office interview, said that a presidential commission on the budget needs to consider all options for reducing the deficit, including tax incre…

Amann Calls It Quits

Former Speaker of the state House Jim Amann, the Wicked Stepmother to Gov. Jodi Rell’s Snow White, has decided he would rather not be governor. The road to this decision for Amann has been a winding one. As Speaker Amann was regarded by some as a “fiscal conservative,” a vanishing breed within the Democratic Party. He stepped out of the House in favor of the present Speaker, Chris Donovan, once and forever a union leader and not, even his most ardent admirers may admit, a conservative anything.

"I'm just a beach kid from Milford, Connecticut,'' Amann told the crowd that saw him off. "Never in my wildest dreams did I think I could run for governor.''

A dwindling number of moderates in the Democratic Party regarded Amann, a plainspoken man, as a Harry Truman type. Truman was, of course, the Stalin bashing president who launched the United States on the road to containment of the Soviet Union, a steadfast course pursued by several presidents whose determinat…

Dean Cuffs Blumenthal

Martha Dean challenged present Attorney General and heir apparent to U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd’s seat on the Democratic ticket way back in 2002. She lost in part because the money cards were stacked against her by Blumenthal.

Weeks before the election, Dean discovered from a fellow attorney who wished to contribute to her campaign that he could not do so. The attorney supplied Dean with a copy of a contract between his firm and the state containing language that prevented him -- as well as all the lawyers in his firm and all their spouses and legal staff -- from voting with his dollars for Dean.

Dean said she was “stunned’ by the prohibition. She called Blumenthal’s office. The gang there confirmed that the provision, considered by some a violation of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Buckley v. Valeo, had been inserted for the first time by Mr. Blumenthal into state contracts with law firms in 1996. “Mr. Blumenthal,” Dean said “refused to release potential contributors from the ban.”

Eye goug…

OMG, Yankee Did It!

The Yankee Institute, the premier conservative-libertarian think tank in Connecticut, has provided a new tool – a web Sherlock Holmes that allows political watchdogs to monitor spending in the state – that will make it less possible for entrenched politicians to fool all the people all the time.

The website, titled appropriately CTSunlight.org , is “an electronic tool constructed by the Yankee Institute for Public Policy – so that the citizens of Connecticut can look at every line item of state government spending and discover how OUR tax dollars are being spent by the people in Hartford.”

The site provides three windows – Payroll, Pensions, and Checks to Businesses & People – that allows concerned citizens, reporters and politicians to view every dollar spent by state taxing authorities in Connecticut.

And, yes, you can find out how much Joe Blow, now retired from Three Rivers Community College, makes per year in his retirement pension, or how much Jim Amann (“position not discl…

Bysiewicz And The Narrative Trap

Everyone very likely will recall the Moody-Rell-Arts And Tourism incident, then Gov. Jodi Rell’s Teapot Dome scandal.

Lisa Moody, Rell’s chief aide, ordered that an address list of art and tourism organizations be put on a disk, which she then shared with Rell’s re-election campaign committee. It was assumed at the time, by very nearly everyone who had access to a computer keyboard, that the campaign committee would use the names to furnish funds for “Snow White.”

This mini-Teapot Dome affair was stopped in its tracks by a vigilant press.

The incident delighted anti-Rellites in both the opposition party and the media. Then Speaker of the House Jim Amann strummed the chord of corruption until the strings on his rhetorical harp broke, without once asking why Bill DiBella had not followed Ben Andrews to jail. And the media began humming “Schadenfreude, My Schadenfreude” in its sleep. The moral epigones guessed Moody was far more corrupt than U.S. Rep. John Murtha, the powerful Chairman o…

Waltzing Towards Bankruptcy

“I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

These lines from “The Road Less Taken,” a poem by Robert Frost, should be seriously studied by everyone in the state legislature as well as the new incoming governor, whoever it may be.
The outgoing Governor Jodi Rell’s State of the State address, followed by the usual accommodating do nothing solutions, was her way of saying to the opposition in the legislature: You’ve made your bed, now lay in it.

It is a bed of nails.

The best guess, from serious commentators on Connecticut politics, is that no one will heed the stern warning in the Frost poem. Some men and women learn by rigorous thought and precept. The heedless and inattentive, handed over to the rough and unforgiving hands of experience, are mauled.

They learn by their lumps.

The wayfarer in the Frost poem makes his choice and keeps in mind the path not ch…

Nutty Feminists And Feminists

Sally Jenkens of the Washington Post reminds us that not all feminists are members in good standing of “the ‘Dwindling Organizations of Ladies in Lockstep, otherwise known as DOLL.”

Some are just plain feminists.

Among these are Jenkins and Pam Tebow, the mother of Heisman winner Tim Tebow, who appear in an ad that has sent NOW up the wall.

“I'm pro-choice, and Tebow clearly is not. But based on what I've heard in the past week, I'll take his side against the group-think, elitism and condescension of the "National Organization of Fewer and Fewer Women All The Time." For one thing, Tebow seems smarter than they do.

“Tebow's 30-second ad hasn't even run yet, but it already has provoked 'The National Organization for Women Who Only Think Like Us' to reveal something important about themselves: They aren't actually "pro-choice" so much as they are pro-abortion. Pam Tebow has a genuine pro-choice story to tell. She got pregnant in 1987, …

The Democrats And Post Rell Republicans

The last time Gov. Jodi Rell attempted to placate unappeasable Democrats in the state legislature, the lads and ladies handed the obliging governor her head on a platter, and then began to chide her for having been inattentive to the state’s chronic problems.

Political observers liken it to witnessing a conversation between an arsonist and a fire chief in which the arsonist accuses the chief of responding too slowly to a fire he has set.

Republican governors in Connecticut have tended to negotiate with legislative Democrats for an assortment of reasons. Chief executives want to get the state’s business done; and to accomplish this purpose, it is necessary to give a little to get a little.

In the good old days, when party bosses ruled with iron fists, the negotiations occurred, usually out of public view, in smoke filled rooms. Presently, Democratic and Republican strategies are hammered out in smokeless caucus rooms. Budget compromises occur in closed meetings attended by the governor…

FREE SPEECH AND THE SUPREME COURT: RANDOM REMARKS

It is fascinating that the First Amendment is of enormous concern today as it was to our Founding Fathers. It was not originally in the Constitution, which nearly prevented the Constitution from being ratified. Madison opposed adding it to the Constitution but in the end had to give way. To secure ratification, he had to promise that once the Constitution was ratified, it would be added, and so it was.

The Supreme Court on January 21 invalidated laws that made certain kinds of political speech by corporations a crime. Critics fear corporate corruption or a diminution of democracy or both. Thus:

"What a terrible day for American democracy. . . . [A] deeply divided Supreme Court has essentially given corporations free rein to drown out the voices of the American people, rejecting the secret democratic principle of 'one person, one vote.'"—Senator Dodd

"[W]e’re being told that an extremely vituperative expression of disdain for a candidate for president in Americ…

The Big Apple, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed And Mayor DeStefano

New York has turned its bloody thumbs down to the prospect of a civil trial for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) in the city he terrorized several years ago.

Attorney General Eric Holder, with a wink and a nod from President Barack Obama, wanted to try KSM in New York, but the city fathers nixed the deal, partially on grounds of traffic congestion. It seemed as if the New York venue was set, but late objections were raised by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Sen. Charles Schumer, among other Big Apple politicians, and the president, or perhaps Holder, relented and began to look around for venues on the United States mainland less congested than New York.

There were, of course, muted political reasons involved. Elections are looming in New York, as elsewhere in the country, and Obama’s notion that terrorists should be tried in civil rather than military courts is not quite as popular in the former home of the Twin Towers as it is with Holder or, for that matter, Mayor of New Haven John DeStefan…

I, Donovan

A Hartford Courant castoff, Mark Pazniokas, went out and got a real job after he had lost his position on the paper. Mr. Pazniokas now writes for a news site called ctmirror, which has just filed a stunning story, “Connecticut in the red on retiree pensions, benefits.”

The story includes a pie in the eye chart illustrating Connecticut’s unfunded liability debt, a massive $57.8 billion.




Such enormous debt is not likely figure in the calculations of Speaker of the House Chris Donovan, though the figure weighs heavily on the minds of some grown up Democrats.

"Our kids and our grandkids are the ones going to be paying for this," said state comptroller Nancy S. Wyman.

The state’s present $18.6 billion budget devotes one of every five dollars to pension contributions, health care funding for retirees and long term debt payments for schools and capital projects.

Wyman says, “"It's not sustainable."

The Waterbury Republican America, a sane whisper in the whirlwind, off…